July Goal Check-In

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Ever look back and marvel at how far you’ve come — yet realize how much you’ve veered off course?

That’s pretty much how I feel about this year’s goals at this point, but that’s the name of the game now: learning how to roll with the punches and adjust (and re-adjust) expectations. Chalk that up to another lesson of parenthood.

Regardless, one day at a time and one foot in front of the other, the important part is that we’re making progress, right?

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

We’re still working on getting a daily routine down (naps, anyone?), but I have gotten good at making little workouts happen in the nooks and crannies of our days. Even if it’s just a walk with the stroller, a stroll with the baby carrier or some at-home body weight exercises designed by one of my favorite trainers, I try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on the regular.

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In the absence of a regular fitness schedule, however, I’ve realized it’s also come high time to revamp my eating habits. Up until now, I’ve been using breastfeeding as an excuse reason to be more lax than usual…

But now that Wyatt’s getting more mobile, energy is the focus so I’ve been supplementing with Forelle, a new meal delivery service here in Portland that specializes in raw, plant-based meals  using whole, organic and seasonal ingredients that are sourced from local suppliers. Clean eating feels good again, even if it’s only for a few meals a week!

2. Training

Now that we’re creeping up on six months where I have yet to get a full night’s sleep, I’m starting to re-think the plan for this fall’s marathon. Although mileage is now up to double-digits on weekend runs, operating in a state of chronic sleep deprivation is hardly conducive to smart training — i.e. the last thing I want to do is get injured in the process.

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The good news is that my average pace per mile has been dropping steadily as I’ve been increasing distance each week. The bad news is that I’m nowhere near the kind of mileage that’s considered preparation for 26.2.

Walk/jogging is an option, for sure, but there’s something to be said for training properly for a race so you can enjoy the whole experience. Needless to say, I’ve been mulling over my options, so stay tuned.

3. Community

This month we switched things up at one  of our weekly Team LUNA Chix Portland Run practices and held a scavenger hunt with some of our favorite fitness stores and studios in the area (shout out to Bar Method, Barre3, Burncycle, Lucy, MUV, Revocycle, Title Nine, YAS, YoYoYogi and Zest Nutrition). Between bags of bars, coupons for free classes and all kinds of raffle prizes, everyone walked away a winner!

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But what I really want to address this month in terms of community is the fitness scene here in Portland. What I love about it is that there’s much more camaraderie than competition — to each his own with workouts, so there can (and should) be room for everyone to play.

However, this past month I witnessed something happen to one of my favorite studio owners that made my blood boil. Rather than go into a rant here, though, I’d just like to take the opportunity to commend the people and places who pitched in and redeemed our faith in the Portland fitness community — namely Industrial Barre and PureBarre Bend — as well as those who stepped forward and asked how they could lend a hand to a fellow small business owner in need.

That’s how it should be, folks!

4. Career

My consulting work with Pulse Creative continues to be a juggling act, schedule-wise, but is so worth it. Aside from working out, it’s the other small piece of my day where I can feel like the old ‘me.’

And what’s nice, I’ve learned, from having less time is that you get to prioritize projects — i.e. partner with great people and do only work that you love. Which makes the time spent doubly enjoyable!

5. Life

Finally, as I mentioned last month and the previous month, life hasn’t been without its lessons since Wyatt came along. The latest of which is:

It’s no longer about you. 

Well, duh, you’re probably saying. Anyone over the age of five knows this. 

But after years of being able to do what you want, when you want and how you want — from things as simple as setting sleep hours and eating regular meals to more complicated things such as work/life balance, training for events or, heck, even a date night with my husband — it can be a hard pill to swallow in the adjustment as a first-time parent.

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And what initially felt like a tug-of-war to not forget about what makes me ‘me’ or what makes Ben and me ‘us’ has become, well, a more comfortable shade of normal. It may have taken a handful of months and some newfound perspective — or maybe it’s just that there’s a flicker of light ahead at the end of the newborn tunnel — but I see now that it’s less about losing something and more about adding pieces to the puzzle.

What that bigger picture is, we don’t know yet; we’re still very much in the thick of it. But the prospect of creating it together, all three of us, is pretty exciting.

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 
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Feel the Burn: 4th of July Firecracker Plyo Workout

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This past Monday we did a themed workout at Team LUNA Chix Portland Run practice in honor of the upcoming holiday. And there’s no way to pay better tribute to the explosive power of all those 4th of July fireworks shows than with plyometrics, of course!

Plyometric workouts are great for runners because this type of training helps produce greater power and efficiency through the recruitment of more muscle fibers. In layman’s terms: When you train your muscles to contract more quickly and forcefully, you can really amp up your strength and speed.

Hint: If you’re not familiar with some of the moves listed, simply Google the term, and you’ll be able to find a description or video of it in action.

And, as always, remember to go at your own pace and use proper form. Think quality over quantity when it comes to this workout!

Do you utilize plyometrics in your training?

StitchFix Shipment No. 10 Review

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StitchFix no. nine landed me a comfy-yet-cute sweater (read about it here) after I tasked my stylist with finding belly-friendly items to fit an eight-plus-months pregnant lady but also be versatile enough to be used postpartum.

For my tenth installment, I waited until three months after giving birth to try to avoid too much transitional clothing. Although I’m just about back in my old sizes, things don’t quite fit the same yet; I’m still carrying a bit of extra weight, and it’s distributed a bit differently nowadays (hello, boobs!).

For this particular fix, I told my stylist I was looking for mom-friendly (read: cute, but easy-care and easy-fit) items that would work for summer. And since we’ve got a wedding coming up in August, I also asked for a breezy-yet-bright dress option that would flatter my new-found “mombod.”

New to StitchFix? Read all about how it works here

Let’s take a peek at what came in this month’s box, shall we?

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First up was the Kut from the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean ($78). The big bummer? I was sent these in a previous fix!

But the good news is that I kept the previous pair because I liked the fit, so I decided to give these another chance. Not only was the wash darker, but my stylist said they’re perfect for summer with flats or sandals.

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Next was the Loveappella Jono Mixed Print Top ($48). It was love at first sight; the cut and color were right up my alley.

My stylist thought it was a great option for summer, especially with white jeans or denim shorts. Although the material is pretty thin, I thought the asymmetrical print at the collar was a nice touch.

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Third was the Mystree Chamberlin Striped Drape Front Cardigan ($78). Horizontal stripes, though? This one would really have to wow me.

The neutral tones are pretty, and I love having the option of something to throw on when it inevitably gets chilly on Portland summer nights. My stylist clearly thought the same, and likely figured the draping would be flattering on a still-shifting shape.

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After that was the Donna Morgan Lideea Dress ($158). My stylist called this one a “show-stopper romantic dress.”

Sure enough, the floral print is perfect for a summer wedding, and the A-line shape is one of my favorites. I particularly liked the extra details at the bust and hem, however this style seemed to run large even though the numerical size was correct.

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And, finally, came the Loveappella Olivier Crochet Yoke Knit Top ($54). Light and airy, this sweater looked like the perfect summer layering piece.

According to my stylist, it should be worn with the jeans and flats as an easygoing outfit. I liked how the crochet detail up top broadened my shoulders, although the fit was a little looser than I usually wear.

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So what did I end up keeping?

In the end, second time was a charm for the Kut from the Kloth jeans. Although I was disappointed to not have a whole new style to try, my previous pair has been getting a lot of use so I figured it’d be good to have a backup (baby spit-up, anyone?).

I felt like I was swimming in both of the sweaters, and the dress would have to be take in and hemmed to fit properly, as well (I’m holding it in the back in the picture to cinch it). And I just couldn’t justify spending nearly $50 on the coral top because the material was super thin, even though the color and style were on point.

My next fix is scheduled for August, and I’m requesting some trend-driven pieces for fall because I’m hoping to be a tad closer to pre-baby shape by then and I love layering up as the temperatures drop! So stay tuned to see what kind of magic my stylist works for StitchFix no. 11…

Want to try StitchFix? Use my referral link to fill out your style profile and get started.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I simply love the service and think it’s fun to share my experience. I pay for Stitch Fix on my own. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get a credit…so thanks in advance for fueling my next fix! 

May Goal Check-In

 

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You know how when you start running, it can be pretty uncomfortable, discouraging and fill you with self-doubt? Well, that’s also how the initial few months with your first baby can feel.

Am I doing this correctly? I have no clue. Is this normal? Who knows. Is he happy? I sure hope so. 

But then you push through, eventually hit your stride, and that’s when things finally start to click. That’s exactly how this past month felt.

Not that we’ve got everything figured out — far from it! But we’ve started to get into a good rhythm as a family and find some semblance of a life outside of diapers, naps, bottles and mountains of laundry.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

After last month’s initial excitement of being cleared to work out again, my goal for May was to address any weaknesses from the last year of bodily changes, as well as help protect myself against future issues — i.e. “mommy slump” from feedings or back pain from picking up a rapidly-growing kiddo.

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Enter the wonderful Angi McClure, who runs a program here in Portland call Body401k. She’s not about quick fixes; her work focuses on in vesting in body longevity because, let’s face it, we’re in ’em for the long haul, so the least we can do is take good care of ’em.

I worked out with Angi while I was pregnant, and I know a lot of the work we did helped me stay strong while carrying Wyatt and recover quickly after. So now that I’m getting back into my fitness routine, I’ve resumed sessions because it’s one thing to be cleared to work out and it’s quite another to proceed properly while learning how to navigate the ‘new normal’ of your body.

Another awesome component of postnatal fitness? Stroller Strides.

If all goes to hell, at least I can count on this workout each week. Not only do I get to bring Wyatt along to a butt-kicker of a workout, but it’s also a fantastic way to commiserate connect with other moms in the area.

2. Training

My first official post-baby race (Wanderlust 108‘s 5k) is under my belt, and what can I say? It was rainy, it was cold, the course was hilly and I was huffing and puffing the whole time.

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But thanks to the encouragement of several of my Team LUNA Chix Portland Run teammates, I got it done. No PR’s, no course records — just the satisfaction of knowing I finished, I have a baseline from which to work, and things can only get better from here.

That said, my grand plans to start building mileage this month in an effort to work into training for this fall’s Portland Marathon was an epic fail. I did manage to get a few miles in each week, but I’m currently thinking I’ll have to re-set expectations when it comes to that race.

3. Community

We had a busy but successful month with Team LUNA Chix Portland Run, thanks to our inaugural “Community Week” in which we teamed up with other local businesses and groups to highlight all the great things going on here in PDX.

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We ran, we yoga’d, we bootcamped, we shopped and we volunteered, all in the name of helping to get the word out about what we do, as well as show some love for a few of the great stores, studios and charities in the area.

Up next? In addition to our weekly workouts (Mondays, 6:30 pm at Duniway track), we’re working on organizing a scavenger hunt, as well as more events with our favorite people and places in the fitness community.

Check out our Facebook page for details, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for updates on what we’ve got going on each week.

4. Career

As I mentioned last month, I ended up extending my maternity leave from my company, Pulse Creative, through May. Mama intuition told me that Wyatt needed a full three months of being my sole focus, and I’m fortunate enough to have clients who are very understanding when it comes to balancing family with work.

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Having my Wanderlust gig, however, did allow me to ease back into things by leading the warm-up at the event’s 5K. And I even squeezed in a few client calls and informal proposals to get a few things in the queue for when I start to ramp back up in June.

5. Life

I’m pretty sure having a child is going to teach me many life lessons, the first of which are:

  1. You cannot control everything.
  2. You cannot do it all.

The way in which Wyatt was born did a pretty good job teaching me no. 1, and life with a baby is schooling me no. 2…every. single. day.

I’ve learned that there are two keys to surviving the first few months with an infant: delegation and outsourcing. Family and friends have been literal lifesavers for me and Ben, whether they’ve dropped off food, stopped by for a visit, shared war stories, helped with a feeding or stayed up practically all night to help us get a few hours of sleep (thanks, MOP!).

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But it’s other little luxuries like having someone come in to tidy up your looks-like-a-bomb-went-off apartment every few weeks or a few precious hours here and there with an extra pair of hands, thanks to this awesome flexible childcare service, that help make a job that’s 24/7 — with no breaks, sick days or vacation — a little more sustainable.

Which leads me to the third, and perhaps the most important, life lesson I’ve learned so far from Wyatt’s past few months on this planet:

Happy moms make happy babies. 

My pediatrician told me this early on, but it wasn’t until recently that I fully understood what he meant — i.e. it’s important to be able to take a step back once in a while and make a little time for myself to regroup.

Not only does this give me better perspective as a mom, but also does wonders for me as a person when I have those oh-my-God-what-did-I-get-myself-into moments where I feel totally overwhelmed and impossibly unprepared.

Because, as I’m learning from my more seasoned parent friends, that feeling never quite goes away!

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

StitchFix Shipment No. 7 Review

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My previous StitchFix (read about it here) netted me five new pieces for my summer wardrobe. With colorful staples — a dress, a top and three blouses — that were both comfortable and flattering (not to mention a 25 percent discount for ordering everything in the box), it was pretty much a no-brainer.

So no pressure for my seventh installment, right?! Not only did I request some transitional pieces for late summer and early fall, but I also asked my stylist to add some color because I always love seeing what they end up choosing based on my Pinterest page.

New to StitchFix? Read all about how it works here

Let’s take a peek at what came in this month’s box, shall we?

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First up was the Papermoon Garland Geo Print Maxi Skirt ($58). I’m a huge fan of maxi skirts; I just got one from Forever21 that I absolutely love and have been wearing non-stop, so I was excited to see this in my fix.

Although this version didn’t have a fold-over waist (which I prefer, especially now that I’ve got a growing belly to take into account), I like that it’s a print that’s different from anything else in my closet. Plus, Liz (my stylist) mentioned that it would be able to transition easily from summer to fall with a few accessory changes, which made it even more appealing.

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Next was the RD Style Angus Split Back Mixed Material Sweater ($68). I’ve got a few black sweaters already, but this one piqued my interest because of the unique details on the back.

It’s tough to see in the picture (which is the back of the sweater), but there’s a keyhole opening up top, three button details in the middle and a sheer panel along the bottom. The elbows also have cute patches, plus the bottom has a flattering asymmetrical hem.

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Third was the Pixley Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt ($54). Quite frankly, it was love at first sight — and touch — with this shirt.

I like that it’s a fun twist on the traditional chevron print, but I love that it’s just so dang comfortable. Seriously, the material is like worn-in PJ’s, yet the style is perfect for going casual with jeans or dressing up with leggings or a skirt.

I’ll gladly trade in my work-from-home sweats for something like this, so it’s definitely a keeper!

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After that was the Market & Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top ($58). As I mentioned in my last fix, the word “dolman” used to make me shudder, but now this style’s actually growing on me.

Not only is this sweater a new color and print for my closet, but it’s also loose, stretchy, breathable and airy (read: belly-friendly), which is perfect — both for the transition of seasons and the transition of my body. I’d wear it solo on warmer days and layer it under a scarf or blazer for when it gets cooler.

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And, finally, came the Pixley Linden Sheer Detail Sleeveless Top ($54). The sheer panel up top won me over for looks, but I knew this would be one of those pieces I’d have to try on to see if I really liked.

Liz suggested pairing it with the maxi skirt, which you can see in the image below. But black’s so versatile, I could wear it with a number of skirts and pants already in my closet, which is always the mark of a good wardrobe staple.

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So what did I end up keeping?

The Henley and the Dolman sweater were the winners for this round. Because my Forever21 maxi was only $13, I was having a really tough time justifying the $60 price tag on this one (yikes!), and although I liked both the sheer top and back-detailed sweater, I didn’t love ’em enough to shell out another $125.

My next fix is scheduled for mid-October, and I requested some belly-friendly maternity clothing since I’ll be about halfway through my pregnancy by then. Can’t wait to see what comes next, as I’ll take all the help I can get when it comes to figuring out how to dress a bump in non-workout attire!

Want to try StitchFix? Use my referral link to fill out your style profile and get started.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I simply love the service and think it’s fun to share my experience. I pay for Stitch Fix on my own. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get a credit…so thanks in advance for fueling my next fix! 

August Goal Check-In

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“August is the Sunday of summer.”

I’ve been hearing this sentiment crop up lately as we enter our final stretch of summer. But it’s hard to share in that all-too-familiar melancholy when you feel as though you’ve made the most of the past few months, life-wise.

Admittedly, I haven’t been the most disciplined or the most goal-oriented when it comes to training and racing this season. But you know what? I needed a mental break, plus my body needed a breather. And I’m going to stop feeling guilty and/or apologizing about it. 

This is primarily a health and fitness blog, though, which is why I always put pressure on myself to keep pushing boundaries. I like it that way; not only for accountability, but to keep things fresh and fun and for the support of a community in which we reach for things once never thought possible.

But it’s also real life. And the truth is that the reality of living a healthy lifestyle isn’t always about testing the limits of strength and endurance or earning new PR’s and shiny finisher medals.

Those are wonderful — not gonna lie — but as my “off-season” stretched further than usual this year, I’m less concerned at the moment about living and dying by a strict training plan and more preoccupied with thinking about priorities, motivation, goals and how they’re evolving as I grow older.

As you can probably tell, I’ve had ample time to reflect this month. Maybe too much. But that’s one of the perks of an extended off-season, as well, I suppose.

So, you can see how it’s also hard to believe that this is the last summer edition of my monthly recaps; the next one will be after the official start of fall, and I’ve got something a little different in the works for September… Stay tuned!

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

In August we officially wrapped up the summer edition of the Portland Trail Series. There were two final races this month, one of which I paced friends and the other I ran with Ben (or rather, behind him) to finish the series just as we began it: together.

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What I’d really been waiting for, however, was a visit from my parents from Michigan! I can count the number of states my dad hasn’t been to on one hand — and Oregon was one of them, so it was especially thrilling to be able to explore with them and show off the beauty of summer in Portland.

2. Training Smarter

I like to think I’m pretty in tune with my body, but this month I honed my skills on the subtleties of hearing versus really listening. Hearing can be tuned out, but actual listening takes effort to decipher what’s going on — i.e. sometimes a nap with the dogs is warranted instead of a tough workout.

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Along that same theme of body awareness, I’ve taken a deeper dive into yoga, Pilates, barre, cycling and strength training this month. In the absence of playing with my usual running numbers (pace, mileage, etc.), I’ve found it very satisfying to keep my brain engaged with these types of technique-driven classes.

3. Facing Fears

Gah! Another month slipped by, and I’ve only made it into the pool once to practice those drills I learned in July. I did give Ben a long-desired birthday gift, however — a waterproof iPod and ear buds — which I’m thinking I will likely be stealing borrowing for upcoming water workouts.

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That’s right; no more excuses! I’m making it a goal to get in the pool at least once per week for September so I’m holding myself accountable — right here, right now.

4. Pushing Myself

Although I opted out of this year’s Hood to Coast in favor of cheering Ben on, I softened the blow by registering for a 5k with my sister in October. I’m also keeping an eye out for fun, holiday-themed events in November and December to round out the year. Because who doesn’t love a turkey trot?!

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And my eyes are already on the prize for 2016. The wheels have been turning, and I’m thinking I’d like to do a fall marathon, as well as some shorter distances (5k’s, 10k’s) in between to focus on speed over distance for a change. More on that soon…

5. Giving Back

Finally, our LUNA crew has really been blossoming over the course of the season, and I love ending Mondays with these beautiful, smiling faces. Our regulars are killin’ it with PR’s and all kinds of race distances, and we’re getting a steady stream of newbies popping by to check us out (if you’re interested, #justshowup — we really are ALL levels, walkers through runners)!

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In addition to sponsoring our second Portland Parks and Recreation $5 5k, we also started promoting our big Spin-a-thon charity event, which is taking place on September 27 from 3-5 pm at Revocycle in the Pearl. Get your sweat on, enjoy entertainment and refreshments, win some amazing raffle prizes and go home with a swag bag packed with goodies — all for a great case: the Breast Cancer Fund.

Join us — space is limited, so reserve your bike here before we sell out. And be sure to follow along in the fun via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

We’re also still actively recruiting, so whether you want to get out and stretch your legs with a vigorous walk or challenge yourself with a tough track workout, we’ve got something for everyone at practice each week. Bring a friend, and start your week off on the right foot!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Recipe: Green Bean Salad with Seared Pineapple and Shrimp

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Sick of the same old same old when it comes to summer dinners? Spice things up a bit with this Sriracha-spiked salad.

I spotted this recipe in the July issue of O Magazine, and since it’s A) not too heavy on ingredients, B) chock full o’ nutrients, and C) ready in practically no time, it’s been what’s for dinner. Especially on weeknights when we’re pressed for time and creative meal ideas!

And, no, it’s not as spicy as you’d think. I’m not one for set-your-mouth-on-fire heat, but I love me some Sriracha; this recipe is more about flavor, though, than pushing the limits of your palate.

Green Bean Salad with Seared Pineapple and Shrimp

(courtesy of Marcia Kiesel via O Magazine)

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1½ cups 1″ pineapple chunks
  • ½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. Sriracha

Directions:

  1. Bring a large nonstick skillet of water to a boil. Add ½ tsp. salt and green beans, and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
  2. In the dry skillet, heat ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil on high heat until shimmering. Add pineapple chunks in a single layer. Cook until browned on the bottom, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add ½ Tbsp. oil to skillet. When hot, add shrimp, and season with ⅛ tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring a few times, until shrimp is just cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pineapple.
  4. To skillet, add 2 Tbsp. oil and add garlic. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup tomatoes and cook 1 minute, crushing with a spoon to release juices. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and Sriracha and stir well. Remove from heat and season with ¼ tsp. salt.
  5. To bowl, add reserved beans and the additional ½ cup tomatoes. Pour warm tomato-Worcestershire mixture on top and toss well. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Are you on Team Sriracha — yay or nay?