November 15, 2015

Skinny Turkey Spinach Meatballs

Good morning!

Well, it's finally gotten cold in San Diego. And I am happy to say I have been using my central heat the past couple of weeks. I have been sleeping much better under several blankets and instantly putting on my robe and slippers upon waking. What's more, cooking warms me up, so I've been doing more of it. Yay for me, yay for you! ;-)

I also changed up my workout routine the last couple of weeks. Fall is my favorite season and I seem to get more energy once the seasons change. I'm always the most fit during the holidays, which is probably very unusual. However, I am usually the least fit after summer, which is not that lucky! Swim suit season persists in San Diego for months. For whatever reason, the holiday season peps me up and gives me more motivation. And being a school counselor, I have a lot more free time for working out during the winter months.

So I recently started doing reformer Pilates at a place near my work and it is tough! It doesn't look like it's doing much, but holy moly, it burns in places you didn't even know could burn. What I like about Pilates is that it is very core focused. Core workouts are my favorite. The core muscles repair the fastest, so you can see progress quicker and you can build muscle easier than other body parts. The secret to a flat core, however, is your diet. You can have all the muscle you want on your abs, but a bad diet will cause a layer of fat to conceal all your hard work. So that's why I put more focus on my diet recently and also invested in a heart rate monitor. I've been alternating between Pilates for resistance training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) for cardio and fat blasting. I went to a Grit Strength class (HIIT) at 24 Hour Fitness that was 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute core conditioning class, and I burned 550 calories. Not too shabby. With my heart rate monitor, I'm able to see how high I get my heart rate and how many calories I burn.

I got this heart rate monitor on Amazon and I'm very happy with it. It's easy to use and it inspires me to challenge myself. If you feel like your workouts are stale or you've reached a plateau, just change up your routine or try something new. Remember: if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. ;-)

I've been trying to eat cleaner, home made meals lately after slacking a bit because I get so tired after working so early during the week. So, the other day I decided to experiment with some meatballs. Generally they're pretty easy to make and there are a million variations. But I was quite pleased with how these turned out. They were flavorful, hearty, and gluten free. Plus, for picky eaters, they have finely chopped spinach hidden within them.

I regularly buy ground turkey, so I had all the ingredients on hand, which was nice and convenient. You could use ground beef if you want. This recipe is very versatile.

You could use regular pasta, gluten free pasta, or even just have the meatballs by themselves with veggies on the side. I ate leftover meatballs with a side of my easy roasted zucchini and carrots and it made for a delicious and healthy lunch.

What new workouts have you tried out or been wanting to try out?

Skinny Turkey Spinach Meatballs
Makes ~5 servings

1.25 lb package of extra lean ground turkey
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. paprika
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small handful spinach leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato sauce or marinara

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Lightly coat large baking sheet with spray; set aside
3. Combine turkey, salt, seasoning, paprika, egg, oats, garlic, spinach, and tomato sauce in large bowl; mix well by hand
4. Roll mixture into 15 1.5-2 inch meatballs. Place on prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

Optional: Place meatballs in a sauce pan and add a jar of marinara until sauce is warmed through. Top pasta or a roll with the meatball mixture.

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