Monday, May 6, 2019

28 Day Good to Great Challenge, Interrupted

I spent about three weeks participating in the 28 Day Good to Great challenge at BCS Fitness before my normal life went to hell in a handbasket, and even though I didn't get to finish, I still wanted to write about my experience with it. 

This was an extra program that you could do for a small fee, and I wanted to do it because while I knew I was doing well with my exercise by running three days a week along with working out three days a week, I thought there were areas that I could improve...and let's face it, who wouldn't want to be great?  Along with the big two - exercise and eating, the program also focused on energy/sleep and stress management.  I mostly focused on the eating part of this challenge.

I had two goals - to get in more protein, and more vegetables.  I sound like a broken record with the vegetables, but for me it's easier to get off track than it is to make it a habit.  And I'm not always consistent with getting enough protein - just the sign of a lazy cook, I guess.

Roasting broccoli is one of my favorites.  Jeff and I can eat an entire bag with dinner, especially if we're not loading up the meal with rice or bread.  It finally dawned on me that I could spend the time prepping several bags of broccoli at once (I like to roast smaller bits so I end up cutting a lot of it up beforehand), which cuts down on the mess - plus it's so easy to grab several handfuls of broccoli, throw into a Ziploc bag, add a little olive oil and seasoning, shake it up, then dump out onto a sheet pan and pop it into the oven.

I have several Rubbermaid Freshworks produce savers so I use one for the broccoli:
I don't know if broccoli really needs a Freshworks tub but the size works for this much broccoli.
My very technical recipe:  several handfuls of broccoli florets, 1 tbsp of olive oil, many shakes of Mural of Flavor seasoning, mix well in a bag, place onto sheet pan, roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.  I also add sea salt afterward but that's not necessary - I just like salt.

The other thing that we were doing was grilling chicken breasts.  Our kadults gave us a nice Weber gas grill for Christmas and Jeff has been honing his grilling skills; mostly he's discovered that by using a meat thermometer, everything comes out perfectly cooked.  Amazing, right?!  So he'd be outside grilling while I had the broccoli in the oven, and I'm not going to lie, sometimes the broccoli finished before the chicken and we'd pick at it while we waited - nothing wrong with a roasted broccoli appetizer, right?  Obviously we were very casual with dinner, but it worked for us, especially when I worked out in the late afternoon and was basically ravenous afterward.  Filling up on broccoli is fine.

I branched out from broccoli to roasting carrots and cauliflower for one week:
All cut up and ready to go...
Ready for the oven.  This turned out OK but I still prefer the roasted broccoli.

As for the chicken, we usually grilled two boneless breasts with BBQ sauce and then another one with teriyaki sauce - we saved the teriyaki piece to use with bagged salads the next night for dinner. 

I made Skinnytaste's Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps in the instant pot for dinner one night:
I also made her bleu cheese dressing for a topping - this was so good!  I had plenty for leftovers, too.  The hardest part of the meal was getting the lettuce leaves separated in one piece for the wrap.

Most of the time I usually ate one meal late in the morning instead of both breakfast and lunch.  Now that the weather is warmer I went back to making my frozen fruit/Greek yogurt smoothies, or sometimes I made more of a breakfast-like meal:
Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, green onion, parmesean cheese, avocado, and topped with a squeeze of fresh lime juice - YUM!  I had the shredded hash browns in the freezer so I cooked some up but eh - they weren't anything special.  Next time I made the egg combo but had a piece of toast instead of the hash browns.

I don't put limits on fruit:
Sometimes I ate the fruit singly, and sometimes I mixed it all together.  This was so good; the only thing that would have made it better would be if someone else made it for me!

We made a version of pickle chicken one evening - there are a lot of recipes that have you brine/marinate chicken in dill pickle juice for 24 hours and then dredge it in seasonings and flour and saute it in a skillet.  We brined the chicken and then seasoned it with garlic and onion powder, pepper, and paprika, and grilled it - and oh man was that ever good!  I happened to have a jar of pickles that we recently finished so I saved it for that meal; if I make this again soon I'll have to buy pickle juice at the grocery store (they sell it alongside the sports drinks) because we don't go through pickles that quickly.  I served it with roasted broccoli and fresh green beans that I drizzled a little balsamic glaze over:
First time I roasted fresh green beans - we loved them and have added them into our roasted veggie rotation.

I was so pleased with the improvements we made to our meals, especially dinner.  This challenge was really helpful in nudging me to plan a weeks' worth of meals, actually shop for said meals, and - get this - actually cook them.  What a concept, right?  And while by no means was I perfect with all of my meals and eating, I made enough improvements that I think some are going to stick.  Well, when I get back to more normal eating, that is.


  1. Some great recipes there. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your food looks yummy! People who think they don't like vegetables haven't tried them baked with seasonings yet. I love them baked it brings out their natural sweetness. My problem is I hate to chop and peel veggies.

    Hopefully you will be bake to normal eating soon.

  3. I typically steam my veggies...I don’t know why I never thought about roasting my broccoli!!!! I may have to try that tonight!!!!

  4. Everything looks so yummy. Next time you make lettuce wraps see if you can find Boston/Bibb/Butter lettuce. The leaves peel off perfectly for wraps.

    I pretty much roast all our veggies. Try carrots by themselves, cut them on a diagonal, and toss with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. So delicious. Or skip the balsamic and buy a little jar of balsamic glaze and drip some of that on the finished veggies - it's actually delicious on every roasted veggie! No cauliflower for me, except riced. I just don't think it ever has flavor!

    Your take on fruit is my take on vegetables. I don't limit veggies at all and seriously have a terrible time consistently eating fruit. I really do believe people tend to like one or the other.

  5. I too am trying to eat more veggies. I love roasted veggies!

  6. I'm a big fan of roasting brussel sprouts and sweet potato together. Give it a try!

  7. I'm on team Fruit. But your veggie meals look pretty. Good job on branching out.

  8. I never heard of that pickled chicken. I might have to try that sometime. I roast a lot of veggies, but for some reason, not broccoli. I think I tried it once without enough oil on it. I'll try it again sometime!

  9. I am glad the challenge helped with meals!!! Yay! We used to always steam broccoli, but Steven has been making it in the pan with oil lately and it's SO MUCH BETTER (but oil, yeah). SO GOOD THOUGH.


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