I love going to the gym.
In high school, I was involved in the dance program, which pretty much summed up the extent of my physical activity.
After I graduated, however, I became much more sedentary and put on about 20 pounds, which I was not happy about.
My first couple of trips to a gym were totally uncomfortable, since I had no idea what I was doing. The complicated machines and peacocking people all made me want to leave as quickly as possible, and I didn’t have a friend that I was going with, so that made it even worse.
Luckily, I found a small women’s gym that was exactly what I needed at the time.
In addition, I began borrowing and reading tons of books from the library on the subject of working out, and became very inspired by Denise Austin’s fitness show.
My problem area has always been my lower half, so that’s where I concentrated.
Squats, lunges, hamstring curls, deadlifts…all of these moves and more became second nature to me and still are!
Now, my husband and I are in the gym 4-5 times each week together, and while we split up to focus on our own individual workouts, it’s nice to be in the same space together.
Many times, after a morning workout, we like to head to our favorite Mexican food restaurant for lunch, where I dine on a rice bowl filled with Spanish rice, pinto beans, and grilled chicken (though I really look forward to the chips and salsa more than anything!).
Recently, however, I’ve been having more allergy trouble.
My allergies are weird in that I can eat something for a while, but if I eat too much of it, I become allergic! It’s highly stressful and can take a toll on my emotional well-being when I feel like I don’t know what to eat.
Because of this, we’ve been steering clear of our lunch spot, and I’ve been attempting to make our favorite rice bowls at home.
I’ve made Spanish rice before, but this gave me the opportunity to perfect the recipe.
I like to use olive oil as the fat and healthier brown rice in place of white…not quite authentic, but better for you and just as delicious!
The addition of a few veggies and spices make this really special, and the best part of the meal!
Lighter Spanish Brown Rice (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- 2 1/2 c. cooked long-grain brown rice about 1 1/4 c. raw rice
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1/2 c. yellow onion chopped
- 1/4 c. green bell pepper chopped
- 1/4 c. celery chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 1/2 T. tomato paste
- 1/4 t. cumin
- 1/4 t. paprika
- 1/2 t. sea salt plus more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. lightly packed cilantro chopped
- 1/2 lime about 1-2 teaspoons juice
- Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet.
- Add in the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and saute the mix for 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Add in the cooked rice, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Stir the mix to evenly distribute the tomato paste among the rice grains (add a splash of water if necessary to facilitate this process).
- Heat the rice through and stir in the cilantro and lime juice (start with one teaspoon and add more to your taste).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!
I like to take this rice and layer it in a bowl with a spoonful of black beans, some diced chicken, iceberg, lettuce, fresh cherry tomatoes, cold cucumber cubes, and cheddar cheese.
I also enjoy making a creamy cilantro dressing to go over the top, and it just makes the best dinner!
Do you enjoy going to a gym? What’s your favorite genre of food?