Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican-Spiced Croutons

I’ve been eating more Jenny food recently.  While I know it’s good for my waistline, it’s also super handy for my crazy summer schedule too.

I thought June was the busiest… but now, I’m seeing that it is just the whole darn summer.  Travel, vacation, work trips, projects… it’s all happening at once!  August will be calmer, right?

Regardless of the hectic nature of summer, I still make time to get a little creative in the kitchen.  When Darsie reached out to me a few weeks asking for suggestions for how to mix up the Jenny Craig Turkey Burger, I realize that I hadn’t spent much time experimenting with this dish… and decided to take a stab at some fun recipes using it!

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican-Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

For those of you on the Jenny Craig program – YES!  That is the turkey burger, but it’s in quite the disguise.  If you are looking to mix up your menu, this recipe is one to try!

Taco Salad with Mexican-Spiced Croutons

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

1 Jenny Craig Turkey Burger

1/4 red onion

1/4 bell pepper

2 tsp. taco seasoning

1 1/2 cup butter lettuce

1 tomato, seeded and diced

1/3 cucumber, quartered

2 Tbsp. salsa

1 Tbsp. light ranch (optional)

cooking spray

cumin + taco seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Cook bun in the microwave for 20 seconds to defrost.  Remove to a cutting board, and cut bread into crouton-sized pieces.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cumin and taco seasoning.  Toss to coat.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Place on a cooking sheet and bake for 6 minutes until croutons are toasted.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Cook the turkey burger on a plate in the microwave for 70 seconds.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Place in a food processor and pulse to create a taco meat consistency.  Note: I chopped veggies in the processor too, thus the color variation you may see.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Sauté diced peppers and onions in a saute pan sprayed with cooking spray for 2 minutes.  Add meat and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Add taco seasoning and a sprinkle of cayenne to the meat mixture.  Add 2 Tbsp. of salsa.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Prepare a salad base with your favorite veggies on it.  For me, that was cucumbers, tomatoes, and orange bell pepper.

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

9.  Add meat, drizzle with light ranch.  Note:  If you prefer not to use the ranch, simply add a little extra salsa.  

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

10.  Add croutons, and enjoy!

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

Jenny Volumizing: Taco Salad with Mexican Spiced Croutons | No Thanks to Cake

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Crack Life Open

Since my trip to Fitbloggin late last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my next steps look like in this little weight loss process of mine.

I am not at my goal weight, but I’m pretty darn happy where I am.  I do feel like I have an opportunity to push myself a little more in upcoming weeks and to be a little more selective regarding the foods I eat.

That being said, ZICO® Premium Coconut Water™ could not have appeared at a better time.  Not only did this campaign give me a fantastic opportunity to try a new beverage, but it also gave me an opportunity to consider how I want to “Crack Life Open™” moving forward.

I know that losing 65 pounds didn’t just happen.

Before-After | No Thanks to Cake

I absolutely know that it was the result of me overhauling my diet and making better choices.  Those choices were ending my relationship with fast food restaurants and spending every evening on my couch.  Along the way, I discovered a new love for healthy cooking, a passion for yoga, and a fierce determination to move forward on this journey and create a better, stronger version of me throughout the process.

Inspired by Fitbloggin, I’ve identified that it’s time to take the next step.  It just is.  I deserve to be the absolute healthiest version of me, and only I can make this happen.

Moving forward, I want to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, to be conscientious of hydration, and to fuel my body with healthy foods that will power me through all of my activities.  The other commitment I’ve made is that I refuse to sacrifice flavor along the way…. When I sacrifice flavor, I fail.  I need delicious flavors to stay satisfied and to stay on track.

As part of renewing my commitment, I jumped feet first into to the opportunity to try ZICO® Premium Coconut Water™.  Having read much about this popular product, I knew that coconut water naturally possesses five electrolytes and that it is fat free – - totally great for my body as a result.  I also knew that so many of my readers and friends were drinking this product, so I had to give it a shot!

Zico Coconut Water | No Thanks to Cake

While I found both flavors to be delicious, the chocolate coconut water stole my heart.  It tasted like dessert!  For someone who loves a sweet treat, a small glass of chocolate coconut water was perfect for quenching my sweet tooth and helping me to say “No Thanks to Cake.”

Just because I’m eating healthy doesn’t mean that my life will be slowing down. 

Instead, it means I pack my lunch a little differently than I used to, and that I prepare for the cravings that may come up.

Zico Coconut Water Lunch | No Thanks to Cake

I’m still living life.  I’m still making it to the beach, and I refuse to sacrifice a moment of my life for healthy living.  Instead, I’m using healthy living to enhance my life…

Zico Coconut Water Beach | No Thanks to Cake

While I’m busy “Cracking Life Open” with new healthy choices this summer, I plan to enjoy every second of this beautiful life!  For me, it’s all about balance.  That beautiful balance that makes it all worth it…

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by ZICO® Premium Coconut Water™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about ZICO, all opinions are my own.

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A Product of My Lifestyle

As usual I am amazed by how much the Fitbloggin experience means to me every year… and how darn different it is every single year.  The faces change.  New voices emerge.  New opportunities for selfies appear. :)

I feel particularly compelled to write about one of my biggest takeaways of the weekend:  A simple phrase uttered by our fearless leader, Roni Noone, who is responsible for the organization of this yearly retreat.  And, who is a stunning example of how to lose weight, keep it off, and rise above the challenges that appear along the way.

On Saturday morning, exhausted and geared up in an 80′s workout getupI stepped into a session called “Life after Goal” with very little expectation.

Realistically, I am not at goal.  I am still about 30 lbs from it, which to me is pretty significant.  So, why in the heck did I have my butt in that room?  I was there because I wanted to listen. 

Everyone wants to be at their goal weight.  Everyone wants to be safely across the finish line.  And, I too have dreamed of being one of those people.

Even moreso, I’m a girl who is amazingly happy in her skin right now.  Even with the extra pounds I carry every day.  Still happy, but I wanted to hear what the group had to say and to see what I might be missing out by not chasing after my goal right now.

Overall, I heard Kelly, Sarah, and Roni talk about how life is several years after weight loss.  I tuned into Roni’s comments most, as I’d never really heard her speak about her journey and frankly, she has such wise things to say.

My Body is a Product of My LIfestyle | No Thanks to Cake

THIS IS SO ME and resonated completely…

My ups and downs all relate back to my lifestyle.  I’m never truly SURPRISED when I gain a pound or two… I can always track it back to a specific week and what did or did not happen during that week.  And, when I’m feeling GREAT, I can also tie that right back to my lifestyle… it’s all interconnected.

And right now, my body with that regained ten pounds is reflective of my lifestyle for the past few months… and I totally own it, rock it, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a year! I’ve been getting out a little more, vacationing without a hyper-critical eye on my food intake, and I’ve been living freely.

For the past week, I’ve been at the beach.  Wearing the same bathing suit that I’ve worn for the past few years… but feeling that extra weight more than normal.  When it’s all out there and exposed, it’s hard to ignore… but I had these words in my pocket to reference.

Rather than jumping into that space where I criticize every bit of my existence, I took a deep breath and remembered.

It’s ok… my body is simply “a product of my lifestyle.” What a kind way to look at the current state!  Shifting my lifestyle will yield the results I am looking for… and I looked at these words as a gentle hug that I needed during this moment of realization/discomfort.  Now, when I start structuring my meals, making it to my mat regularly, and getting the sleep my body craves… I absolutely know that my body will shed the extra pounds.

I don’t see these words as an excuse, simply a confirmation that my mind has been elsewhere… and that a shift will once again bring change.

Take a look at your lifestyle… is your body reflective of your lifestyle?  I suspect it is…

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Fitbloggin 14: The People

Fitbloggin is 150% about the people you meet at this jam-packed three days of fitness and wellness event.  As a result, I think it’s only appropriate to include a post about the fabulous people I’ve met!

Fitbloggin People | No Thanks to Cake

Now, I couldn’t possibly share with you guys every single person that I met while in Savannah.  There’s just not enough room in the blogosphere for me to gush that much.  Instead, I’m sharing a brief list of people with you that I’d recommend you check out.  People that inspire me, people that bring amazing energy into my space, and people who radiate joy.  Yep, those are my people.  Without further ado… here’s a few of them.

Ashley – Fierce Forward

I met this amazing woman last year at Fitsocial and through the magic of the internet, we’ve become friends.  Her Facebook community and blog is called Fierce Forward, and it’s all about moving FIERCELY in the direction of your dreams…

Fierce Forward | No Thanks to Cake

I absolutely loved having a chance to visit with Ashley, to get to know her better, and to observe the impact she had upon others she met.   She’s one of my soul sisters… follow her here.

Fierce Forward | No Thanks to Cake

Oh, and PS… she’s the creator of those fabulous intention bracelets I’m always wearing.  GORGEOUS products.  Check them out here.

Fierce Forward Bracelets | No Thanks to Cake

Alyssa – Double Chin Diary

Alyssa and I met last year at Fitbloggin during a session where I totally burst into ugly tears… and we’ve been bonded since!

Double Chin Diary | No Thanks to Cake

She also was the grand prize winner of the California Avocado Commission’s Recipe contest at Fitbloggin and the other half of what we called “The Avocado Room!”  After spending the three nights as roomies, I totally adore her even more!  Follow her story at the Double Chin Diary.

Monica – Run Bang Run

And, then… there’s Monica.  Oh, how I love this lady.

Run Bang Run | No Thanks to CakePhoto Credit: Carrie D. Photography

Monica and I refer to each other as “life twins” because, seriously, we have a ridiculously similar and parallel journey.  We’ve both lost about the same amount of weight and have been working to navigate the “after” life.

Run Bang Run | No Thanks to Cake

While it wasn’t NEARLY enough time, it was SO great to have a chance to spend time with her “in real life” and to get photobombed by so many of our Fitbloggin friends… smooches, y’all!

Run Bang Run | No Thanks to Cake

Dawn – Fit Dawn

And, then… there’s Dawn.

Her journey to lose weight is one that inspires me incredibly, because it’s so much more complicated than mine.  Dawn has two gorgeous baby girls that are constantly craving momma time… and she still makes time for workouts and to take care of herself.  If Dawn can do it, I totally can.

Fit Dawn | No Thanks to Cake

True story:  Dawn lives two blocks from my brother in Virginia.  So, I know I’ll be seeing her pretty face again in December…

Jessica – Racing to Zen

Jessica came up to me at the badge making session to say hello and introduce herself.  And, to talk about my yellow dress… she had seen me post it on Instagram the week before.  One of the first people at met at Fitbloggin, it reminded me of how connected we all are before we even walk in the door… the power of social media. :)

Racing to Zen | No Thanks to Cake

I seriously can’t say enough awesome things about this lady.  We had an opportunity to have dinner twice during Fitbloggin, and she’s from Ohio not too far from where my family lives… so, lots in common.   She writes her story over at Racing to Zen.  Check her out, folks!!  Love this one….

 Lynne – The First Pancake

And then there’s Lynne.  I met Lynne through Dawn… another Virginia lady that I hope to see over the holidays.

Lynne | No Thanks to Cake

Lynne is a new yoga instructor working on gaining her first job as an instructor.  I cannot WAIT to hear all about her journey to inspire others through my favorite practice.  We talked our way through the Fitbloggin 5K on Sunday!  So glad to have had a chance to get to know her!

Lynne… I wasn’t kidding, I’m totally taking one of your classes over the holidays… xoxo

Alan – Sweating it Off

I finally had a chance to get a selfie with Alan this year… three years later!  Alan has been mentioned as the “Justin Beiber” of Fitbloggin in another recap I read this week, but I’m not sure that’s a solid nickname for this powerhouse.  He’s incredibly inspiring, driven, and he’s a freakin’ triathlete.  Beibs couldn’t handle all that… So great to see you, Alan!

Sweating it Off | No Thanks to Cake

Lauren – Breathe Deeply and Smile

Lauren and I also got to spend quite a bit of time together during evenings at Fitbloggin, including our ghost tour! Her story and passion for fitness is incredibly moving.  I am so glad we had a chance to meet, lady!!

Breathe Deeply and Smile | No Thanks to Cake

There really were SO MANY OTHERS…  Here’s a collage of many other lovely people I got to meet.  And, I am so sad that I didn’t get more pics of the rest of you guys!

Fitbloggin People | No Thanks to Cake

Legitimately, Fitbloggin is a lifechanger… and as mentioned above all about the people.  Thanks to each and every one for taking the time to chat it up with NTTC this weekend…

Thank you for making this experience so incredible, folks!!! xoxo

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