Greek Couscous Salad

This is another easy, vegetarian option that is super flavorful.  I’m sure you could add some chicken to make it a complete meal but make sure you add 1 red to the final container cost.  I would also suggest not making/mixing this together at the beginning of the week but rather prep everything, keep in separate containers until the morning you’re planning on eating it.  I eat this cold.

Greek couscous salad clean lunch

Greek Couscous Salad

Ingredients- Makes 5 servings

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous + water to make it (may vary depending on package, mine said 1 cup water)
  • 1 can rinsed/drained great northern beans
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cups chopped cucumbers (1-2 cucumbers)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 3/4 cup Crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Olive oil (5 tsp- 1 tsp per serving)
  • Salt, pepper, oregano to taste

If eating right away or within 2 days:

  1.  Add the vinegar, lemon and spices to the chopped vegetables and let soak overnight.
  2. Fill yellow container with 1/2 serving couscous and 1/2 serving great northern beans, put in container
  3. Drizzle 1 tsp Olive Oil over couscous and beans
  4. Top with 1 cup seasoned vegetables and 2 Tbsp (1/2 blue container) crumbed feta cheese

NOTES:  I suggest putting it all together right before you eat it or the morning of or night before, store the couscous/beans in your fridge in a separate container from the vegetables.  This would also be really good stirred all together and taken to a pot luck!   I pair this with plain greek yogurt, drizzled with honey and 1 cup frozen fruit on the side to make a meal of it.

21 day fix:  1 green, 1 yellow, 1/2 blue, 1 tsp

How to pit a cherry like a boss

How to pit cherries like a boss without a cherry picker
How to pit cherries like a boss without a cherry picker

So, we went cherry picking this past weekend and picked 6 1/2 pounds of sweet cherries.  That doesn’t even count the many we ate right off the trees in the fields… a benefit of picking your own.  I haven’t decided what I want to do with these sweet treats yet but I know that it involves pitting them all which takes FOREVER and I don’t have a cherry picker.  I saw somewhere that you can use a straw but thought it would break so I decided to use my hard plastic straw from my water cup and it worked like a dream!  I didn’t mention this in the video but wash your fruit before doing this and wash your hands!  Also, don’t wear white… this is a messy job.

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The final product! Took me 30 minutes to pit 6 1/2 pounds of sweet cherries

 

You can see that you don’t waste a lot of the cherry which is also amazing!  Remember don’t wear white when you do this because it’s messy!! Now… what should I do with these cherries?!!?

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3 Day Refresh- Final Review and Results

Well… the moment of truth has come!  I spent 3 day cleansing my body in hopes of decreasing cravings and increasing my energy all while detoxing.  I liked that the 3 day refresh was gentle and I could eat real food in the form of fruit, vegetables and healthy fats (hummus, almond butter, avocado,coconut oil) and it was gentle on my system.  I should mention that I already eat a pretty well balanced diet with lots of fiber so that was not an issue for me.  I also have almost completely cut caffeine out of my diet except for my pre-work out and occasionally coffee in my shakeology.  So, I had no headaches during the 3 days.  Click on the days below to and the link will take you to my blog post for that day.

Day 1: I questioned a lot whether this was worth it.  I wasn’t looking to lose a bunch of weight or inches but rather I really wanted to decrease my never ending cravings.  I felt satisfied all day with some cravings but it was the beginning and I was very motivated.  The recipes in the book are all tasty and some I will keep as staples in my diet.  I’ll probably put up a couple of the recipes on here since I use my recipes when I plan meals for ideas.

Day 2: This was the hardest day and I STRUGGLED from 12-5pm.  If you read my other post on the 3 day refresh-day 2 then you know I cheated a bit with peanut butter but overall it wasn’t a horrible cheat and it wasn’t with my normal cheat/cravings.  So, I consider that a win.  I was exhausted all day and again questioning WHY I was starving myself. I was seriously hating the program and wanted to quit but I bought it for a reason and motivated myself by saying it is only 3 days.  If you’re disgused by poop talk continue on to day 3.   I had HORRIBLE gas this day, especially in the afternoon/evening but my poop was regular and I wasn’t going anymore than I normally do.  Again, another benefit of a gentle cleanse!

Day 3:  I woke up feeling great, energy back and guess what…. my cravings had basically diminished.  By the afternoon I wasn’t wanting to raid the pantry and binge eat everything.  I was satisfied with my portioned controlled food.  This was the day that I realized how truly amazing this 3 day cleanse is.  I was satisfied, not starving and I overcame a HUGE obstacle that I didn’t know I possessed.  I was able to say NO to my cravings and finally take control.  And that my friends lead us to my results…

3 day refresh results:

The pictures don’t do the results justice but I will share.

3 day fix results- front

Weight– Down 3.2 pounds

Inches- Down 4 inches… including 1 inch off of my waist!

I forgot to take a side picture so the side picture happened after I worked out and showered
I forgot to take a side picture so the side picture happened after I worked out and showered

Other Results

First off, I’m EXTREMELY happy with these results!  Not only did I do that in 3 days but what you can’t see in the pictures is the amazing energy I have.  I look forward to my meals and my body craves healthy food.  I waited an extra day to write my review because I wanted to see how I felt the day after when I reintroduced food to my diet and started working out again.  Monday morning I woke up to push plan on my Insanity Max 30 Cardio Challenge DVD expecting to have no energy to complete it.  BUT I powered through and only took 1 break… where as I was taking 3-6 breaks per workout.  WHAT?  How did that happen?  I ate normally that whole day after with little to no cravings, even in the afternoon.  I had no caffeine.. I didn’t need it.  I’m experimenting something with coconut oil in the afternoon as well so that may have something to do with it but I’ll let you know.  I had already planned my meals for Monday and was prepared to continue with my success, so that was helpful.  Monday was easy… I had energy, felt lean and in control.

So, I’m writing this Tuesday afternoon.  I got up this morning to get my workout in feeling great and ready to rock another workout but not expecting anything like yesterday.  But to my surprise…. I did even better!  My workout was Insanity Max 30 Tabata Strength… which is NO easy workout.  Lots of jumping and push ups, it’s probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. Seriously, I have no upper body strength,  I hate push ups. Previously I took a break at 6:38 into the DVD doing knee diamond push ups.  Today… I lasted until almost 20 minutes.. I mean talk about beastmode!  In Insanity Max 30 you keep track of the first time you need a break so you can try and push yourself further the next time, that’s why I know when I was taking breaks.  I didn’t even have to modify!  WHAT?  I’m impressed.  I also track my calories burned and monitor my heart rate during my workouts (I’m obsessed what can I say) and track them everyday when I’m doing a program.  I like to push myself and make sure I’m getting my HR up.  I use a Garmin Viviofit as an activity tracker but it’s also a heart rate monitor that you wear a chest strap for.  Here are some screen shot of my calories burned this week compared to last week:

3 day refresh workout results

I wasn’t trying to do this to prove a point, it just happened.  I burned almost 100 calories more in 2 days then I did doing the same workouts last week.  So if the increase in energy, dropped weight & inches, decrease in cravings and appetite as well as overall feeling of control in my life didn’t sell me on this program…. that visual does!!   Oh, and I had some capris I bought YEARS ago that I’ve been wanted to fit in to by the end of this summer.  Guess what… I zipped those right up today no problem!

Will I do this again and when?

100% yes! It would be perfect after a vacation to get back on track quickly or before a big event when I wanted to lean out a bit.  I would probably also use this for a plateau.  I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to gain some energy by detoxing the bad chemicals in every day food out of your diet.   I really enjoyed this in the end… once I got through that 2nd day.  At the very least it was a mental battle I overcame and taught me that if I laser focus on nutrition for 3 days I can be back to “normal”.  The structure and schedule were nice as well as the cleansing aspect.

Will the weight come back?

I’m really not sure.  I weighed in Tuesday, so 2 days after and my weight was the same.  I’ll weigh in again on Friday and report back if it came back.  I’m sure if you keep a healthy lifestyle it will stay off, which I’m planning on doing.  A little over 5 pounds to my goal weight!

Whew, that was a long post.

3 day refresh Day 3

My final day and by far the easiest day!  My energy returned and my mood was positive.  The cravings were still there but mainly just to eat whatever I wanted to eat.  I had another amazing night of sleep and woke up refreshed.  I’m so excited to share my results with you all tomorrow.

Breakfast:  I did skakeology blended with 1/2 banana while running out the door to go cherry picking with my family!

Morning snack: Fiber sweep.  I brought 8oz of water and mixed my fiber sweep in the fields.  It was fine, I really don’t mind drinking this… at all.  It kept me full until lunch which was a little later since we were out and about.

Lunch: I thought I took a picture but apparently it didn’t go through.  I had 1/4 an avocado with red pepper strips and a little himilayan salt and it was AMAZING.  I also blended the Vanilla fresh with blueberries, added a little cinnamon, nutmeg and pure vanilla extract… it tasted like a blueberry muffin!

Afternoon snack:

Simple clean snacking on the 3 day refresh

Here’s where I noticed a HUGE difference with this program.  I wasn’t starving and I still had energy despite running around in the morning.  My cravings were diminished and I enjoyed every last bit of that garlic hummus!  I may have thrown in an extra carrot but I was chugging water all day long so I think I deserved it.

Final dinner:

3 day refresh dinner day 3

So, I made the Carrot-Seaweed salad that was the recipe in the book and it was AMAZING.  I loved the flavor combination and will definitely be making this again.  I had everything in my house already except the sea-weed and had to hit up Mom’s Organic to find it but I love seaweed and I was dedicated to this program and wanted to try this dish.  It was the perfect ending to this 3 day cleanse!  Of course I pared it with the Vanilla Fresh blended with nutmeg, cinnamon and pure vanilla extract.

I was so glad that my energy was back!  I wasn’t exhausted putting my daughter to bed and was able to run around at the playground with her and her friend.  I was up until almost 10pm working!

My final review I’ll be doing tomorrow including a little about the day after the cleanse and transitioning back to real food.

3 day refresh Day 2

Wow, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it through day 2!  I seriously think it was the hardest thing mentally I’ve ever had to do.  I had a severe moment of weakness in which I may have enjoyed 3 tbsp of peanut butter (definitely NOT a part of the cleanse) but I chugged a bunch of water and was able to stick to the plan going forward.

I couldn’t even write a blog post last night I was so exhausted.  I don’t know if it was a mix of not caffeine or the low calorie cleanse but I took a nap in the middle of the day… something I haven’t done since Elizabeth was a baby.  I awoke feeling rejuvenated and ended he day perfectly.  However, I was still in bed by 9pm.  You definitely sleep well on the 3 dayrefresh!

My meals:

Breakfast 8am:

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This was breakfast, strawberry shakeology and blueberries.  I was so looking forward to my shakeolgy for breakfast… this may be the best part of the cleanse!

Mid-day/10am fiber sweep:

fibersweep

Going into the second day I was still a little nervous about taking the fiber sweep but it’s really not bad but its a little chunky and has a lemony after taste.  Let me tell you…this is filling!  I wasn’t hungry and even went out and about for a play date without feeling hungry.

Lunch 12:30

3 day refresh lunch

I made my lunch to go since I had the play date for Elizabeth and wanted to make sure my lunch was ready in the chance that I was not home in time to eat.  I should also mention that I was CHUGGING water all day.  I think that’s where I got most of my energy from and I got a lot of advise to make sure you drink a lot of water.

Afternoon snack-2:30pm:

Oh, well…. there’s no picture of this because this is where things went down hill… fast.  Mid-afternoon snacking is my nemesis and probably when I get the most cravings.  Day 1 wasn’t so bad but day 2… well day 2 was horrible.  I wanted to eat EVERYTHING!  I started off with some carrots and the alloted amount of peanut butter but things escaleted and I ended up eating 3 Tsbps of peanut butter.  Which in the long run… I’m not even that upset about because I still stuck close to plan and I enjoyed every bit of that peanut butter.   I also fell into a deep slumber afterwards and awoke with much more energy.

Dinner 6pm:

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This was totally satisfying!  I don’t know if I was still coming down from my peanut butter high earlier but I was totally satisfied and had more energy then I did Day 1 in the evening.  Now I was still in bed by 9pm but it wasn’t a struggle to stay awake and put my daughter down.   The vanilla fresh has a lot of protein in it so I’m sure that is what keeps me going.

Overall, I was definitely nervous that I would not be able to do this.  It literally took all of my will power to not go off the deep end Day 2 in the afternoon.  I think one of the things that kept me going was when I stepped on the scale I was down 1.3 pounds that first day!  Hoping for more energy on Day 3 and going forward!

3 day refresh day 1


3 DAY REFRESH LOSE WEIGHT AND FEEL GREAT!

I just completed the first day of the 3 day refresh. I wanted share some of what I ate and my thoughts.  I’ll do a full review at the end of my 3 days but wanted to document as I went.

What is the 3 day refresh? The short answer: It’s a 3 day cleanse to jumpstart your healthy lifestyle, kick some cravins, drop some weight and get a healthy break from bad habits.  The best part is you eat real food that includes protein unlike a lot of juice cleanses which are high in sugar and low in protein.  You drink 3 shakes a day (1 shakeology, 2 vanilla fresh), a fiber sweep, lots of filtered water, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats!

3 day refresh beginning
Planning for the 3 day refresh


Why did I decide to try the 3 day refresh?

Mainly because my biggest struggle is nutrition!  Cravings get the best of me  and when I refocus and have a good week I still reward myself with non-healthy food.  I have mainly gotten a lot of control over my diet but some things creep back up and I was looking for something that would really jumpstart me after having a vacation or bad month.  I wanted to see what it could do for me, I see a lot of people have success with it.  And if it gives me a flatter stomach… all the better!

What preparing did I do?

Most of the prep is already done for you, which is nice.  All I had to do was grab some fresh veggies and fruit.  I used the recipes from the book to make a quick shopping list.  My favorite meal was by far shakeology, I’m already excited to wake up and drink it again.  I pre-cut my veggies so they would be easy to grab and wrote out everything I would be eating so there was no guess work.  It was super simple.  After I’m done I’ll go over everything in more detail.

Weren’t you hungry all day?

Surprisingly, No. The Vanilla fresh was very filling, as was shakeology.  I had my normal afternoon cravings and wanted to raid the fridge but it passed quickly and I CHUGGED water all day long and tried to keep myself as busy as possible.

What was the hardest part:

Honestly, I felt tired starting early afternoon and pretty exhausted after dinner.  Even writing this right now is a struggle and I’m definitely going to bed soon.  It’s hard work cleansing yourself!  I don’t mind the shakes so that makes this cleanse easy and the fiber sweep wasn’t that bad- little gritty and thick but wasn’t horrible.  I’m excited to see what this does for me!

Here are my before photos- see you all in 3 days!

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3 DAY REFRESH LOSE WEIGHT AND FEEL GREAT!

21 day fix final results and review



I completed the 21 day fix AFTER doing the 21 day fix extreme program. Why?  Why not?  I bought them together but was just too excited to do the extreme I did them a little out of order.  I was fully prepared to try the 21 day fix for a week and then go back to the extreme because it wouldn’t be a challenge for me.  Boy was I WRONG!  They are 2 different workout systems and the 21 day fix was just as challenging as the extreme for me.  The best part was since I had already completed the extreme I knew how to modify some of the moves to make them HARDER!  Talk about feeling like a badass.  For the most part I stuck to the plan (including my cheats and treats some times in excess).  I made it through a wedding weekend, being at my mom’s house for 6 days and a busy IEP week at work.  Did I stick to plan 100%?  No.  Did I push play when I could and eat according to my goals when I could?  Yes.  I may not have had the jaw dropping results everyone is looking for but I could have thrown in the towel and unraveled all of my hard work so I’m proud of my results and how far I’ve come on this journey.

Results

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I lost 1 pound and 3 inches in the 3 weeks, making my total for the 21 day fix regular and extreme 6 pounds and 5.5 inches in 6 weeks.  Not too bad for someone nearing their goal weight!  After not seeing the scale budge before plan I’m completely okay with these results!  The results you can’t see is the increase in energy, confidence, I can do regular push ups and my body is changing visually in ways I didn’t think it could.  The scale isn’t everything and shouldn’t be your only form of measurement for success.  I think the pictures speak for themselves.  Take your body measurements and focus on how you’re feeling mentally, the weight will take care of itself… whoa off topic a little….

21 day fix real results

What is the meal plan like?

The meal plan can be overwhelming when you first open that book but it takes less than a week to understand and TRUST me it is worth it!  The meal planning guide gives you a list of approved food (based upon clean eating principles) that are REAL, whole foods, not garbage.  It’s easy to create a new lifestyle after a couple of weeks on this plan when you focus on learning it and focus on the feeling you get from cleaning up your diet.

Meal planning is a struggle for everyone but the 21 day fix makes it easier because you already know what types of food you need to eat so you get the fun part of fitting it all in to your day like a puzzle.  My challengers are offered a bonus guide to help with meal planning which includes a meal planner and extra printable workout schedule like this:

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Can you do this program as a vegetarian?

Short answer: 100% yes!  See my review of the extreme and being a vegetarian.  Basically the same principles apply as I followed the regular 21 day fix diet plan but did the extreme workouts.  I’m working my way towards finding a balance with my diet but taking baby steps.  I hope to one day do this program without cheats and without high calorie days but until then I”ll take what I can get.  If you need help meal planning shoot me an email (katieknight52210@gmail.com) and we can chat.  I have vegetarian friendly meal plans I’m willing to share with recipes.  You can also check out my RECIPE section on here for some ideas. 

Here’s what beachbody says about vegan and the red container:

What are some good options for the red container for vegans who do not want to eat soy-based intimation meat?

There’s always tofu and tempeh, which are soy, but not that processed imitation stuff. Also, a vegan modification for the Fix is in the works. In the meantime, it’s okay to put beans, lentils, or peas in your red container, but if you do this, make sure to fill some of your yellow container portions with grains so you get complete proteins.

Who would I recommend this program to:

Those who are looking for serious help with their nutrition and want to go more towards clean eating.  This is also a great program for those who are beginning their fitness journey or who want to change up their current routine.  As I said before, I completed the extreme before doing the 21 day fix and I was still able to get my heart rate up and enjoyed the workouts.  

The workouts

Equipment needed:  A set of light, medium and heavy dumbbells.  I started using 5’s and 8’s and upgraded to 10’s for some of the workouts in the last week.  You will also need a resistance band with handles. I suggest getting the resistance band, especially if you travel, you can do most of the workout DVDs with just the bands.  Be aware that the base kit for the 21 day fix does not include this.   It is also recommended you have a yoga mat.  There is a modifier throughout the whole program, hi KAT, so you can follow her if you’re new to working out or if you need a break from the insanity that Autumn brings.  What’s nice about the workouts is you can build up within a workout.  Don’t get discouraged if you can’t finish a workout, look at is as an opportunity to get better and dive in next time with the goal of going further than last time! I’ve included my calorie burn (determined by my garmin vivio fit) so you get an idea of just how great this program is for 30 minute workouts.  Keep in mind that you’re using weights and also building muscle which burns calories even after you’re done working out!

Total Body Cardio Fix:  This is a total body, and it starts out with the hardest move! You’ll need weights and a mat for this workout. Average calorie burn was 280.

Upper Fix:  Using weights or resistance bands focusing on your chest, back, shoulders, arms and abs.  You’ll need weights or a resistance band for this workout.  Average calorie burn was 240 calories

Pilates Fix:  Active recovery day focused on fast paced pilate moves to strengthen your core and elongate your muscles as they recover. Average calorie burn was 160.

Cardio Fix:  This one will get your heart rate up in a bootcamp style workout- no weights needed. Average calorie burn was 270.

Dirty 30:  Using weights through cardio based exercises that will get your heart rate up.  Average calorie burn was 220.

Yoga Fix:  Active recovery day working on your balance, flexibility and strength all while relaxing your tired muscles!

10 minute fix for abs:  Bonus ab workout for those who need a little more

*Calorie burned was found from my heart rate monitor fitness watch, calorie burn is different for everyone, these were my averages over the course of 3 weeks from my workouts.



PB & Jelly Oatmeal

I love oatmeal, it’s so versatile, nutritious and fills me up.  I’m a creature of habit and usually only eat my oatmeal with frozen berries and little honey.  Recently I tried adding 1-2 tsp of peanut butter to my morning oats and seriously… it’s the real deal!  I also LOVE peanut butter so I can’t believe I have never thought to do this before.  It’s so simple but just what I needed to shake things up.

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PB & Jelly Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1-2 tsp peanut butter, nautral
  • 1 cup fresh cut strawberries
  • OPTIONAL:  1 tsp honey

Direction:

  1. Add oatmeal and water to bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds
  2. After removing from the microwave put 1-2 tsp natural peanut butter and stir until mixed completely
  3. Add strawberries and honey (if using) and stir
  4. Enjoy!

21 day fix:  1 yellow, 1 purple, 1-2 tsp

NOTES:  You can also make this on the stove top by cooking the oatmeal by what the package says just add the peanut butter and strawberries after it’s done cooking.

Asian Broccoli Salad with peanut sauce

I stumbled across this recipe from Gimme that Oven blog and the original recipe can be found HERE.  But I wanted to make it appropriate for the 21 day fix so I tweaked it a bit.  It makes 2 lunches and it is pretty tasty and definitely different from my normal 21 day fix approved lunches and it’s ready in 15 minutes!  I usually pair this with greek yogurt or it could be used as a side salad for your lunch.  Add tofu or chicken/beef to add a little extra protein.

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Asian Broccoli Salad with peanut sauce

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of broccoli (4 greens) cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1.5 cups shelled edamame (2 yellows)
  • 1/4 cup Roasted, shelled peanuts (2 oranges)
  • Peanut sauce recipe (listed below)

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp Braggs Liquid Amminos (or lite soy sauce)
  • OPTIONAL: Water to thin it out

Directions:

  1. Mix peanut sauce in a small bowl with a whisk and set aside
  2. Blanch broccoli by putting bite sized broccoli into boiling water for 30 seconds
  3. Using a strainer move to a bowl of ice water immediately
  4. Drain completely and put in a bowl
  5. Add remaining ingredients and mix until peanut sauce is coated

NOTES:  Put the peanuts in ONLY if you’re eating immediately, otherwise they get soggy.  So, if you’re making this ahead of time omit the peanuts and add them right before you eat.  This stays well in the fridge for up to 3 days but I usually eat it right away!  I prefer it room temperature or heated up a little but it would be good cold too.

21 day fix containers:  2 green, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 2 tsp

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I just discovered Brussels sprouts this year and today I realized they are spelled brusselS sprouts and not brussel sprouts! Learn something new every day.  Brussels sprouts are proof that your tastes buds do change over time, I hated them last year.  If you haven’t tried them in awhile give them another try but make them yourself and buy fresh not frozen!  These can absolutely be messed up and taste mushy, it’s hard to mess them up if you make them yourself and you roast them.  These are so simple, delicious and contain lots of vitamin c and K with B vitamins as well (Think folic acid and b6).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

4 servings

  • 1 1/2 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, mined
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Wash and trim the bottoms of the brussels sprouts.
  3. I cut in half the small ones and quarter the larger ones
  4. Throw in 13x 9 inch pan with the EVOO and garlic and stir
  5. Cook for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes so they don’t get burnt on the bottom

NOTES: I’ve made these for a week of meals and they reheat just fine in the microwave.  They get a little mushier as the week goes on.  I sprinkle with salt and pepper before I eat.

21 day fix:  1 green and 1 tsp