Back From Pilates Holiday :: Avoiding Stairs At All Costs, Meal Planning & Prepping, and Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Jalapeno Herb Dressing

I am so sore. We are back from the London “Pilates Holiday” feeling completed depleted physically, but so inspired and deeply contented with the opportunity to take 11 classes over three days! We had the chance to visit so many beautiful and amazing studios; challenging ourselves with new exercises, techniques, and sheer stamina over the weekend. Some of my favorite classes were:

  • Tempo:   Reformer Pilates set to (you guessed it!) the tempo of the playlist which is astonishingly difficult at times, especially the static holds

  • Bootcamp Pilates: One of the toughest Reformer sessions I have done physically, lots of shaking muscles and dripping sweat with one of the most infectious and vivacious instructors ever

  • Xtend Barre: The sweatiest and most cardio-intensive thing I have done in ages! I love this for a change of pace and focus in a barre session, the instructor was fantastic and I definitely got my seat kicked

  • Ten Pilates Jumpboard: I love Ten Pilates studios and have taken a few classes there while visiting London in the past. This weekend we took four classes total at their various locations and our very last (thankfully!) class of the weekend was their Jumpboard class which was a blast

As a serious Barre and Pilates addict, I could not have asked for a more jam packed or enjoyable weekend! And Julette is the absolute perfect travel companion for such an event. Not to mention, anytime shopping for new Lululemon and laughing over a lunch out is involved, I am pretty happy.

And now back home to my husband and mini baby pup, Coco, for one more day off before getting back to “reality” tomorrow. Although, I always love traveling, seeing and doing different things, I truly do love my daily routine. Due to the August bank holiday in Ireland, Monday is the new Sunday this week and I plan to spend a good portion of my day in the kitchen meal prepping for this upcoming week, planning class choreography, finalizing a new playlist, reading, and most importantly, spending some time with my little fam. And tomorrow, it’ll back to business as usual starting with teaching my Early Riser Barre Superstars at 645 AM – one of my favorite things on the agenda every week.

Planning and preparation are ridiculously important to me. Whether it comes to optimizing a dream Pilates holiday class schedule, mapping out teaching class plans, scheduling time for my own workouts, or creating a detailed meal plan and shopping list for each week; I find that a little time spent in consideration of some of the details pays massive dividends in terms of reducing stress, helping to maintain focus on my priorities and to stay on track. It’s not stressful and I don’t have to waste any time considering what I will eat when I am unexpectedly running late and starving on a Wednesday, because I have it listed out for me and have all the ingredients on hand already, plus nothing goes to waste. I don’t have to struggle with convincing myself to exercise Tuesday, because I have already booked classes and blocked the time in my calendar.

When I spend a few hours over the weekend preparing some things in advance, I make running out the door for the early mornings teaching possible, stress free, delicious, and nutritious. There are staples that I prepare every week like coconut yogurt and Paleo mayo (to use as a base for a lot of recipes, including the dressing for this salad) and those that I change up every week for variety. I generally make two different breakfast options ahead of time for both my husband and me to grab and go before heading off to work along with some snacks and my own lunches. To save time, money, and effort (and because I don’t mind at all) I usually eat the same lunch Monday – Friday for a week and then totally mix it up week-to-week. This time around, my lunches will be absolutely effortless because I made a flavor packed lemon rosemary marinade and then precooked my chicken for salads this week. This chicken is so delicious hot or cold and easy to take on the go with a salad. And it’s even better when paired with this Jalapeno Herb Dressing which uses the #sundaymealprep staple – Paleo Mayo. This salad is squeaky clean, Whole30, bursting with fresh flavors, and super simple. Or you can use the chicken as a dinner option, pairing with some veggies or easy sides prepped ahead or at the time of the meal. I consider it a perfect example of how investing a small bit of time to get things in order in advance can make your week more healthy, delicious and stress free!

Rosemary Chicken Salad w/ Jalapeno Herb Dressing

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Serves: 5

Simple lemon and rosemary chicken bursting with flavor which can be added to the salad with Jalapeno Herb Dressing, another dressing of your choice or on its own with sides instead of as a salad.
Lemon Rosemary Chicken
  • Chicken Breasts 5 each
  • Avocado or Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 TBSP
  • Zest and Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Fresh Rosemary 1 sprig with leaves removed (discard stem)
  • Sea Salt .25 TSP
  • Black Pepper .25 TSP
Jalapeno Herb Dressing
  • Paleo Mayo (recipe below) .25 cup (60 g)
  • Juice from ½ Lemon
  • Chopped Parsley .75 cup (18 g)
  • Chopped Cilantro/Coriander .75 cup (18 g)
  • Canned/Tinned Jalapenos (Check labels for weird ingredients!) .25 cup (30 g)
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes .25 TSP
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Salad Base
  • Mixed Leaf Lettuce 7.5 cups (500 g)
  • Avocado 2 each
  • Medium Sliced Tomato 4-5 each
  • Small Red Onion Sliced 1 each
Lemon Rosemary Chicken
  1. Mix together all ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl and then pour over chicken in a storage container or large plastic bag to allow the flavors to work their magic. I recommend at least an hour for marinating up to overnight. The longer you go, the stronger the lemon and rosemary will become.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F/190 C and transfer the chicken and marinade to an oven safe baking dish.
  3. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through to 165 F/74 C
  4. Remove from oven and slice for salads or leave whole to go with sides as desired.
Jalapeno Herb Dressing
  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and pulse until well mixed. If you don't like spicy, reduce the amount of jalapenos (or you can add more if you are a spicy fiend like myself). For a creamier/thicker dressing, you can also add a bit more mayo at a time until desired taste is achieved.
Putting it all together
  1. Build your salads in advance or at the time of the meal by piling the lettuce mix on a plate and topping with the chicken and remaining ingredients. Drizzle your Jalapeno Herb Dressing and enjoy! When I make this as part of my weekly meal prep, I build the salads, but leave the avocado and dressing on the side until it's time to eat so that things don't get soggy and the avocado doesn't oxidize too much in advance.

Paleo Mayo

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Serves: Varies

Easy, breezy Paleo Mayo to be enjoyed as clean mayonnaise alternative as a condiment or base for a plethora of other clean eating recipes
  • Egg Yolk 1 Each
  • Lemon Juice 1 TBSP
  • Water 1 TBSP
  • Dijon Mustard 1 TSPN
  • Avocado Oil or Light Olive Oil (not extra virgin!) 1 cup (235 ml)
This paleo mayo has nearly endless uses as either a plain condiment or as a base for many different sauces and dressings! It will keep as long as your egg would normally. I have found that you are best to store it away from the cooling unit or back of the refrigerator to avoid freezing which will drastically change the consistency.
  1. Separate the egg white from the yolk and discard or save for alternate use.
  2. Add all the ingredients except for the oil to a blender.
  3. Start the blender on the lowest setting and VERY SLOWLY pour the oil into the blender. This will require some patience, but it is only for roughly two minutes in total. Keep blending and pouring until all the oil is incorporated. The mixture will emulsify and thicken as you do.
  4. Using a spatula transfer the mayo to a glass container and keep refrigerated.
If you pour the oil too fast, the mixture will not emulsify and thicken. If this happens, you really do need to start over although you may be able to use some of the “liquid mayo” in place of the oil in the next batch. You do need to go slow, but it really doesn’t take long.