Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pasta with Spaghetti Squash

The one thing I LOVE about meal planning each week is discovering new recipes to try. When I am in a funk and living by the seat of my pants with eating, I tend to eat the same junk over and over again....pizza, tacos, sandwich, pizza, taco, sandwich... the cycle goes on and on until one day I snap back into my senses and start meal planning again. It can be a struggle to get going with it but I PROMISE it's worth the time and effort. Plus, when you make recipes like the one I'm about to share, you are covered for at LEAST 2-3 meals... depends on how many people you have to share it with! ;) The goal is to make things easier during the week when you are busy running from work, to errands, to carting the kids around, back to work...you get the drift. So, having meals like this on hand that you can just portion out into containers and grab and go during the week, makes life MUCH easier! AND you are not spending as much money eating out... AND you are staying on track much better with your nutrition. Sounds like a lot of winning. :)

So, low and behold this AMAZING recipe! Even if you aren't the biggest fan of spaghetti squash you should still try this...all the flavors mix well and I actually could barely tell I was eating spaghetti squash! You could also sub whole wheat noodles, zoodles or even quinoa or rice instead of the squash. Either way, give this a try and let me know what you think!


Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • - ½ t. salt
  • - ¼ t. pepper

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • - 1 lb. chicken, cubed
  • - ¾ t. salt
  • - ¼ t. pepper

  • - 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • - 2 T. butter, or olive oil
  • - 2 T. cornstarch
  • - ½ c. milk (or almond milk)
  • - ½ c. chicken broth
  • - 3 T. cream cheese
  • - 1/3 c. Greek yogurt
  • - 1-15-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • - 2 c. fresh spinach, packed
  • - 1/2 - 1 c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • - Parsley, fresh (optional)
  • - Parmesan cheese (optional)


For the Spaghetti Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut one large spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Discard seeds.
  3. Drizzle 1 T. olive oil in each half of the squash and sprinkle with equal amounts salt and pepper.
  4. Place, face-down, on a parchment paper or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast squash in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until squash is tender and shreds easily with a fork.
  6. For the Chicken:
  7. Drizzle 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet. Place cubed chicken, salt and pepper into skillet and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  8. Remove chicken and set aside.
  9. For the Sauce:
  10. Once chicken is removed, in the same skillet place butter and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is golden brown.
  11. Add cornstarch to the butter and garlic and reduce heat to low. Whisk until a thick paste forms. 
  12. Slowly add milk and chicken broth over the course of 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  13. Add cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Stir to combine.
  14. Add artichoke hearts and spinach. Stir to combine and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  15. Add chicken and let heat through for an additional 5 minutes.

For the Assembly:

  1. Once spaghetti squash halves are done baking, remove from oven and shred insides with a fork to form spaghetti “noodles.”
  2. Fill each half with equal parts of the spinach artichoke and chicken mixture, making sure to pull up the noodles so the sauce spreads out evenly.
  3. Top both halves with equal amounts of Mozzarella cheese. 
  4. Set oven to High Broil.
  5. Broil spaghetti squash halves for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese just starts to bubble and turns a light golden brown.
  6. Top stuffed spaghetti squash halves with parsley and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of: glutenfreewithlb.com 


And today I got to enjoy it for lunch! YUM! :)

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Core De Force - Week 1 Recap & Week 2 Meal Plan

I am SO excited to share with you my recap of my first week doing Core De Force! First of all, I.am.sore. Leading up to starting this program I was doing Hammer & Chisel, running, and even adding in some Insanity Max 30 workouts from time to time, but this workout managed to find muscles that I never even knew existed and turn them into it's b*tch. :) I have been slamming recovery more than ever and have noticed results much faster than any other program I have done so far. So, in other words, I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!!

First things first - the workouts! I decided to make a video recap of each day this last week to not only to show you what these workouts are like, but to also track my progress. I am not going to lie - the first couple days doing these moves..... I felt super uncoordinated. Which is actually nothing new for me, but there were times I just sat there staring at the screen thinking, "huh?" There are short instruction videos before each workout breaking down the moves before you start so you know what you are doing but I am totally the type that likes to wing things and just jumped right in....So, maybe don't be like me and watch that instruction video before you start... ;)

Here is Day 1 - MMA Speed

Day 2 - Dynamic Strength

Day 3 - MMA Speed

Day 4 - Power Sculpt

Day 5 - MMA Shred

Day 6 - Dynamic Strength

Day 7 - Active Recovery

I have to say, my mindset was FINALLY in the right place to start this program. I took time last Sunday/Monday to plan my meals, snacks, workouts, etc for the entire week and I stayed on track the best I have in MONTHS. It's amazing what a little meal planning can do! So, with the success I had from last week I decided to not get cocky, and do it all over again this week! Here is my week 2 meal plan:

The entire Core De Force nutrition plan is exactly like the 21-Day Fix meal plan, with one exception: Each week is a little different depending on the intensity of where we are with our workouts. This basically helps fuel our bodies properly but also keep our bodies guessing. So, week 1 I followed Plan A (1200-1400 calories), which is the plan I will be following for the full 30 days. The only difference is during week 2 I get to add an extra serving of fruit which I will be adding to my Shakeology in the morning. Here is a breakdown of how the nutrition plans work:

To figure out how many calories you need and which plan you fall under you would take (Your Weight in lbs) x 11 = (Calorie Starting Point). Then, take your (Calorie Starting Point) + 400 (Your Calorie Burn) = (Maintenance Calories). Then, take your (Maintenance Calories) - 750 (Caloric Deficit) = (Your Calorie Target). Now, you would use Your Calorie Target to choose a plan above. 

Even though I am officially starting week 2 of this program TODAY, my Core De Force Launch Group is starting their week 1! I am so excited for the women in my group because there is just something empowering about doing this program! Not only do you get to literally PUNCH out any stresses you have going on, you get in an awesome workout that makes you feel badass, AND you shed pounds and inches while doing so. The workouts fly by because they are fun and unlike any other workout program out there. Here is a recap of my results after just ONE week of Core De Force!

Welp, if you haven't been able to tell by now, I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! I think it's perfect for people that are getting bored with their typical fitness routine. If you are stressed - PUNCH it out! If you are in a plateau - FIGHT through it! If you want to feel empowered - KICK the day in the face! 

For real though, between all the kicks, punches, MMA moves, energy and SWEAT that comes from this workout, I have no doubt that it's effective. In my first week, well actually first 3 days I dropped 4 pounds just from the workouts and following the meal plan. And the kicker is, that by following the meal plan I was eating way more than before when I was just winging things. I actually had a hard time getting all my meals in because I was FULL from eating every 2-3 hours. Less spikes in hunger meant less grabbing junk for me, which is where I tend to struggle. I also struggle with late night snacking...like 9/9:30pm right before bedtime. That was probably the only time I struggled with this program so far but after the first few days those late night cravings went away. Overall, for my first week I am pretty proud of myself. I didn't miss a workout, I stuck to my meal plan about 85-90% of the time, and got over my late night snacking. 

So, here's to week 2! If you missed my previous blog post where I explained more about this program, shared before and afters from the coach test group, and more check it out here

If you or anyone you know would like to join me for my next online exclusive Core De Force accountability group starting on November 28th (after Thanksgiving) please fill out the application below!

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Core De Force - Day 1 + Week 1 Meal Plan

First off, I cannot believe I am officially starting Core De Force this week!!! I have been anticipating and anxiously waiting for this program to come out since Beachbody's Summit last July in Nashville...so that's like 4 months of torture!! ;) 

My love for Core De Force stems from the first ever program I completed, Les Mills Pump, because the trainers that created that program created Core De Force. When I found that out I was immediately game for this program and knew it would NOT disappoint! And after day 1 today, I can honestly say that this program will be a game-changer! Why? Well, because its completely different than any other program I have done (and I have done A LOT), the workouts don't re
quire any equipment and are 30-45 minutes long, they make you feel like a BADASS, AND the meal plan is easy-peasy. It's actually the same meal plan that is used in the 21-Day Fix, which means it's simple, convenient, and fool-proof. Speaking of meal plans, here is one I put together for this week:

Now, I am not one to be too picky when it comes to variation in my meals so I typically will make 2-3 new recipes per week and use them for breakfast, lunch and dinner (I just swap them around) and fill in snacks with whatever floats my boat that week. This meal plan follows the container system from the 21-Day Fix so I don't have to count calories or anything like that. Basically, as long as you eat clean food (non-processed) you can do this meal plan, no problem. One of the meals I tried for the first time today is the sweet potato black bean burgers and they were AMAZING!! Honestly, I didn't even like sweet potatoes a year ago and today I inhaled these burgers like it was my last meal ever. SO GOOD!!! I topped my burgers with salsa instead of my normal 30 packets of ketchup and I was still loving them... so that says A LOT. Anyway, here is the recipe for those burgers!

If you haven't tried Lime-Cherry La Croix water DO IT NOW!!! :)

Serves: 12
  • 2 cups mashed sweet potato (~2 large sweet potatoes - organic when possible)
  • 1 cup cooked salted black beans, rinsed and well drained (if unsalted, add more salt to the burgers)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice* (or sub cooked quinoa with varied results)
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecan meal (or very finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green onion
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional | for added sweetness)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sprouts, lettuce or parsley
  • Sliced onion
** I skipped all of that and just used salsa :)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cut sweet potatoes in half. Rub with olive oil and place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake sweet potatoes until soft and tender to the touch - about 30 minutes - set aside. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.
  2. While potatoes are baking, cook rice or quinoa (see notes for instructions).
  3. Add black beans to a mixing bowl and mash half of them for texture. Then add sweet potato and lightly mash, then 1 cup rice, green onion, nut meal and spices. Mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more rice or nut meal if the mixture feels too wet. It should be very moist but moldable.
  4. Lightly grease a baking sheet and line a 1/4 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap.
  5. Fill the lined measuring cup with sweet potato mixture. Scrape down to pack, then lift out and transfer to the baking sheet and gently press down to mash. The thinner you press them, the faster they’ll cook, but no need to go too far. Just a gentle press will do.
  6. Bake burgers for a total 30-45 minutes, carefully flipping 20 minutes in to ensure even cooking. The longer you bake them the firmer and drier they will get - up to preference. I went for around the 35 minute mark.
  7. Serve on slider buns (double stack for more bulk) or atop a salad with sliced avocado, red onion, greens, and ketchup or salsa.
  8. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a few days. Freeze for longer term storage.

* To cook rice: bring 2 cups water to a boil, then add 1 cup very well-rinsed rice, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until fluffy and tender. You will have leftovers. 

* For quinoa: rinse 1 cup quinoa and add to a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté in a bit of olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until tender and fluffy and the water is absorbed.


So, now that I have discovered the most delicious, clean-eating, HEALTHY recipe, for a burger I will probably have this in my rotation at least a couple weeks out of the month. :)

Now, onto the day 1 workout - HOLY MAN!! Today's workout was "MMA Speed" and it was TOUGH! I pushed myself as much as I could for the 27 minutes and afterwards was a sweaty mess! I was actually a little frustrated though because our internet decided to take a crap and stop working about 10 minutes into my workout (I was streaming it from BOD) and after about 10 minutes of messing with it I decided to take my frustrations outside and go for a run. Living in Wisconsin, our November weather is normally NOT 60 degrees in November so I took advantage and got in a 5K. By the time I got back my internet was back in action and I finished up day 1. Not exactly what I had planned but when there's a will, there's a way! I have declared this month "No Excuses November" so I stuck to my plan and made it happen! #poundit 

Here is a little recap of today's workout:

I am not gonna lie, I am pretty determined to get through this program 100% committed...even with the meal plan. I haven't felt this way since Les Mills Pump and back when I completed that program I got into the best shape of my life. So, needless to say, I am SUPER PUMPED to start day 2 tomorrow! Do you want to join me in this excitement? Do you want to kick your excuses to the curb this month and join a group of supportive women that will help you kick ass and stay accountable? If so, there is still time to join my Launch Group! Just fill out the application below and I will contact you:

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