April 30, 2013

Tuesday Night Sweat Sesh


Started out with C4 and Creatine
1 Hour of hills on the elliptical
Shoulder Press
Leg Press
Hamstring Curls
Leg Extention
1,224 Calories
Finished with Protein, BCAA's, Creatine and a Banana

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Transformation Tuesday

April 25, 2013

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing


Recipe Adapted from: Pinch of Yum.  I made some changes to the ingredients and also made this salad gluten free and I made the dressing a little more sweet.  If you a vegetarian, feel free to substitute the chicken for tofu.  

I absolutely love Thai food and often crave it.  I have been waiting for a recipe to satisfy my Thai and peanut sauce cravings.  This recipe did the trick for me! Love it because it was crunchy from the cabbage and the peanuts and the dressing gave it so much flavor!  I usually try to stay away from peanut butter because it contains so much fat, but I found I didn't need to use too much of the peanut sauce dressing on the salad because it was thin and so flavorful.  I ate this salad for dinner and I have enough for about three more meals. Looks like I know what I will be having for lunch tomorrow!  I really enjoyed this salad and I hope you do too!

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ cup of cilantro
  • ½ cup of peanuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar (or stevia to make it clean!)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup water
DIRECTIONS
  1. Bring pot of water to a boil.  Add chicken breasts and boil for 15 minutes.  Once chicken is cooked thoroughly  let cool and shred the chicken.
  2. Meanwhile, chop cabbage into thin pieces and place in large bowl.
  3. Peel the outside of the carrot and discard. Peel the entire carrot and then chop the carrot strands in smaller pieces.  Add to large bowl.
  4. Chop cilantro and peanuts then add to large bowl and mix.
  5. In a small bowl, add garlic, sriracha, tamari, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, olive oil and fish sauce.  Whisk until mixed well.
  6. Add peanut butter and water.  Whisk until smooth.
  7. Add cool shredded chicken to salad mixture, toss.
  8. Top with peanut sauce dressing.
  9. Enjoy!
Jess

Ingredients

Chopped Salad
Enjoy!

April 24, 2013

Southwest Salad with Cilantro Honey Lime Dressing


This recipe was adapted from The Garden Grazer.  I made changes to the dressing to make it a bit more sweet.

Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 bag of precooked sliced chicken - I used John Soules Foods Chicken Fajita
  • 1 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt
DIRECTIONS
  1. Chop romaine, orange pepper and cherry tomatoes then place in large bowl.
  2. Add in black beans and corn. Mix salad.
  3. Cook chicken until warm.  I cooked mine in the microwave for about 3 minutes.  My chicken was frozen precooked chicken, so it did not take long to warm up.
  4. For the dressing, place cilantro, greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, honey, vinegar, garlic and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Add chicken to the salad and then toss with the cilantro honey lime dressing.
  6. Enjoy!
I really enjoyed this salad.  Since I used precooked chicken, this was a very quick weeknight meal.  

Hope you enjoy!

Jess

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Ingredients
Blend Salad Dressing Ingredients
Chop Vegetables
Enjoy!

Confidently Dressed

Ever since I started this journey to lose weight and find my happiness, I have found a new love for shopping. Not sure it's a good thing!  The more comfortable I feel in my own skin, the more I enjoy dressing up and putting more effort into my appearance.

Before I started this journey to lose weight and get fit, I literally hated my body.  I didn't want to be in family pictures, I didn't want to try on clothes, I didn't even want to be around people and I even felt like I was too fat to even go to the gym.  I used to only wear black because I felt like it hid the obvious - the fact I was overweight.  I refused to buy new clothes that actually fit me because that meant I had to face the fact that I had gained weight.  So I covered myself in black clothes that were too small for me hoping no one would notice.

Along with all of my fitness goals, I have a couple other goals for myself this summer. Wear a bikini and wear dresses. I have always envied those girls who wore dresses.  A girl in a dress represents a girl with confidence to me.  I have never been one to wear dresses during the summer because I have always felt they draw too much attention to my body and that was the last thing I wanted.

I was talking to a friend a couple weeks ago about wishing that I was one of those girls who could rock a dress. Their response, "Why can't you?".  Good question.  I feel like I finally have the confidence to wear a dress and pull it off.  I always assumed I had to be skinny to pull off a dress, but in reality, the only thing I have been missing is confidence.

So lately, I have been buying dresses.  Summer dresses, cocktail dresses, casual dresses - you name it! I want to have casual summer dresses to wear to the park, cocktail dresses to wear out to a nice dinner and a cute party dress to wear on my birthday this summer. The last time I wore a dress on my birthday was when I turned 21, which was almost four years ago! This summer, I will be turning 25 and I am going to rock a cute party dress!

I have lost 35 lbs now and that does make trying on clothes more enjoyable.  But most important, I am finally comfortable in my own skin and I have the confidence to rock a dress!

Jess

April 23, 2013

Back Pain and Cellucor's C4

I feel like it has been a while since I last blogged! My back has been hurting since last Friday, so I took a break from the gym over the weekend.  I have been icing and taking ibuprofen, but nothing seems to be helping. I took it easy this weekend.  No workouts, but still managed to eat fairly healthy. Ended the weekend at my lowest weight since college! Only 5 lbs away from my college graduation weight!



I met with my trainer last night.  I told her about my back and she gave me several good stretches and exercises I can do.  She recommended that I go out and buy an exercise ball to use at home.  I can do wall squats with the exercise ball to support my lower back.  Laying over the ball, both on my stomach and back can help stretch my back out.  I plan on getting an exercise ball this evening and using that to workout at home.

My days just aren't quite the same when I don't get to go to the gym. I am really thankful that my trainer gave me ideas to workout with an exercise ball at home because this many days away from the gym is driving me crazy! I am really trying to listen to my body and take it easy, but at the same time, I still want to do the exercises that don't hurt my back.



On a separate note, I have been trying to cut back on coffee.  I am down to about one cup a day, but I noticed I am much more tired during my workouts in the evenings. Based off a friend's recommendation, I bought Cellucor's C4.  C4 is a pre-workout supplement that give you energy and is fused with Creatine.  I tried C4 this weekend to see how it reacts with my body.  It definitely gave me energy, but it also made me feel pretty warm.  Really looking forward to getting back into the gym and trying out C4 before my workout.  I will let you know how it works!

Jess


Transformation Tuesday

December 2011 vs April 2013
July 2011 vs April 2013
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April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Sadie!


My sweet baby girl is 3 today! Happy birthday Sadie!

Jess

April 15, 2013

Gym Motivation of the Day



"Be stronger than your strongest excuse"

Today, this is what is motivating me to get to the gym:
  1. I am ready to be done losing weight, want to be able to just maintain it.
  2. I want to be toned with muscle.
  3. I want to be able to lift heavier weights.
  4. Working out helps me clear my mind.
  5. I never regret a workout.
  6. I want to be happy with the way I look.
  7. I want to be able to wear summer dresses and heels this summer.
  8. I want to feel confident in a bathing suit.
  9. The pain of being overweight is much greater than the pain of working out.
  10. Working out makes me want to eat better.
  11. I want to be able to take more progress pictures.
  12. I want to feel confident running into old friends.
  13. I want to sign up for a half marathon.
  14. I want to be able to run my upcoming 5Ks with a good mile time.
  15. I want to be strong.
  16. I want to love myself.
  17. I want to be proud of myself.
Happy Gymming!
Jess

Weekend In Review


I had a great weekend, hope you all did too!  I went wine tasting on Friday night and then relaxed at home with my dogs.  I slept in Saturday morning, feel like I haven't slept in on the weekend in forever! I went to the gym and I ran about three miles.  I ended up getting a blister on my foot, so I decided to stop running and lift some weights.  I lifted back, chest, hamstrings, quads and glutes.  I usually don't lift that much, but since I cut my cardio short, I decided to spend more time lifting.  Felt really good! 

On Sunday morning, I went shopping with a friend.  I feel like I need new clothes because none of my old summer clothes fit me anymore.  Last summer, I remember going shopping for summer clothes.  I was lucky if I could find a tank top that looked ok or a pair of capris.  I have always wanted to be able to wear cute summer dresses and cute heels, but I never felt very comfortable in them because I hated my legs. While out shopping yesterday, I found not only one, but two dresses that I really liked. I found a pink one and a black one that looks really cute with a thin belt around the waist.  Last summer I would have never been able to wear either one of these dresses.  I was also able to find two cute pairs of wedge heels for summer.  

Of all the dresses I tried on yesterday, there were plenty I didn't like.  I may not have liked the style on me, but none of them made me feel fat or insecure.  Its a nice feeling to try on clothes and not feel like my weight is holding me back from wearing the styles. 

On Sunday night, I went grocery shopping and stocked up on food for the week.  I made my Gluten Free Taco Salad for dinner last night and I made extra to take for lunch during the week.  I feel like I am finally back on track after my Easter cheat weekend. 

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Jess
Mia and I on Friday night
Protein, Creatine, BCAAs and a banana for the gym

April 12, 2013

Gym Motivation of the Day

"Quit making excuses, putting it off, complaining about it, dreaming about it, whining about it, crying about it, believing you cant, worry if you can, waiting until you're older, skinnier, richer, braver or all around better. Suck it up, hold on tight, say a prayer, make a plan and just do it!"

Happy Friday! I love this quote so much because it is so true! It is always the right time to get fit and eat better, quit waiting for the 'right' time! Now that I have started this fitness journey, I wish I would have started so much sooner.  If I would have started eating better and working out a couple years ago when I noticed I was gaining weight, I would be so much further along on this journey!

I have been in the process of buying new clothes since my old summer clothes are too big for me now.  While shopping this week, I was really able to see my progress.  I am down four pant sizes and now wear a size small in most shirts.  That is just crazy! Seeing progress makes this whole journey so rewarding. I wish I would have decided to get fit a long time ago! Feels so amazing.


There is no better time than now to get fit and start this journey. No more excuses. No more waiting for the 'right' time.  The time is now.  Just do it!

Happy Gymming!

Jess

April 10, 2013

Gym Motivation of the Day


I have always dreamed of the day that I would be fit and in shape again, as if it were going to magically happen.  Always telling myself, I will go to the gym tomorrow, I will start my diet tomorrow. Always tomorrow. Getting fit was something I would do 'tomorrow'. All of those tomorrows add up and turn into weeks, months and years. No more dreaming about it, I am finally making it come true. 

Happy Gymming!

Jess

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Baked (Not Fried) Black Bean Chicken Tostadas



I got the idea for this recipe from Skinny Mom's Kitchen. I made a few changes to it and they came out fantastic!  I found that these tostadas are very easy to assemble and you really don't need to measure out each ingredient for it to taste great!  These are gluten free, can easily be made dairy free if you substitute the cheese with soy cheese and you can substitute the sour cream with Tofuti sour cream.  Also, these can be made vegetarian if you leave off the chicken.

Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 1 cup of refried black beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Shredded lettuse
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Light sour cream
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Place chicken in boiling water for 10 minutes or until fully cooked. 
  3. Meanwhile, spray both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray and place in frying pan over medium heat.  The goal here is to make the tortillas a little bit crispy.  Cook for 1 minute on each side, or until the tortillas start to brown.  The tortillas will cook in the oven, so they do not need to be fully crisp.
  4. Drain the chicken and let cool in pan.  Shred chicken and add taco seasoning and 2 tbsp of water.  Heat on medium low for two minutes.
  5. Heat refried black beans in small bowl and cook in the microwave for one minute.
  6. On a baking sheet, place all four tortillas.  On each tortilla, spread 1/4 cup of refried black beans, 1/4 cup of chicken, 2 tbsp of cheddar cheese and 2 tbsp of pepper jack cheese.
  7. Place under broiler for 6 minutes. I set my timer in one minute increments to be sure that they did not burn.  I took mine out after 6 minutes when the edges of the tortillas were crisp and the cheese was browning.  
  8. Add toppings, lettuce, chopped avocados and light sour cream.
  9. Enjoy!
I boiled and seasoned the chicken the day before, so this recipe from start to finish took me less than 10 minutes to crisp the tortilla, assemble and broil.  This is a great recipe to use with leftover taco meat. 

Jess

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Crisp the tortilla
So good!

April 8, 2013

Gluten Free Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry



Adapted From: Chicken Recipe Box

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb chicken breast, chopped into one inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/4 lb broccoli, chopped
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil, onion and garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add bite sized chicken pieces and ginger.  Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tamari, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and sriracha.  Cook until chicken is almost thoroughly cooked through.  About 5 minutes.
  4. Add chopped broccoli and cover frying pan with a lid.  Steam for 2 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!
Jess
Ingredients

Pictures From the Weekend

Finally getting some muscle!
Friday Night Date with the gym
After hair appointment
New lamps
Before hair appointment
Painted nightstand and new lamp

Hope you all had a great weekend! I spent my weekend in the gym and setting up my new lamps with my freshly painted nightstands.  My new bed should be delivered some time this week.  Can't wait to see the whole room come together and use my new bedding!

Jess

April 5, 2013

Pineapple Mango Green Monster



As I mentioned yesterday in my post, I have been struggling to get back on track after a weekend of cheat meals.  Right now, I have a lot of trigger foods in my house that I normally don't even buy.  When I say trigger foods, I mean foods that I crave and have no willpower over.  For me, these foods are gluten free bread and lately, Pirate's Booty.  These are foods that I usually would never have in my house.  Gluten free bread is one of the things I try not to buy because it is literally all I will eat until it is all gone.  So, since I have it in my apartment, I figured I would make toast for breakfast.  I got out my toaster, toasted the bread and then I had a moment of clarity and reminded myself that this bread is full of empty calories.  High in sugar and high in fat, low in actual nutrients.  Proud moment for me - I took the bread out of the toaster and put it down the garbage disposal. As I learned yesterday, empty calories causes a person to enter into a vicious cycle. A cycle of wanting more and more empty calories.  No more!

So I broke the cycle and found some spinach, low calorie orange juice, pineapples and mangos.  Took out my magic bullet and made a delicious Pineapple Mango Green Monster smoothie.  So good! Knowing I made a healthy decision makes it taste that much better!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup Spinach (I packed the spinach in my measuring cup)
  • 1 cup of Orange Juice (I used Trop50 which is only 50 calories per cup!)
  • 3/4 cup Pineapple (I used frozen from Trader Joe's)
  • 3/4 cup Mango (I used frozen from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 packets of Sweet & Low (optional)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Add spinach and orange juice to blender. Blend until spinach is completely blended.
  2. Add pineapple, mango and sweet and low. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour over ice and enjoy!
This is such a simple recipe, but it full of nutrients!

Hope you enjoy!

Jess

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Ingredients
Blend until smooth
Enjoy!

April 4, 2013

Empty Calorie Cheat Meals



Most people will tell you its ok to have a cheat meal once a week while trying to lose weight.  A meal where you can eat whatever you want and not worry about it.  I know some people who have an entire cheat day once a week, some have a cheat meal and others cheat the entire weekend.  I know it is good to have cheat meals, that way you don't feel completely deprived while dieting.  I get it, makes sense.  My trainer always says, eat healthy during the week and save the things you're craving for the weekend.  Usually by the weekend, you forget about the things you were craving during the week.

I have been following the advice of my trainer.  I save my wine and unhealthy snacks for the weekends and usually by the time the weekend rolls around, I completely forget about the wine and the snacks. So although I allow myself to have those things on the weekends, I usually don't even want them once its the weekend.

Now that I have been on this journey for a while, I have noticed that my weight responds much more to a good diet than it does a good exercise routine.  Meaning, I lose the most weight when I eat healthy rather than when I workout really hard. Although I workout hard and I try to eat healthy, my cheat days really do effect my weight and my progress.

Last week, I avoided drinking any wine, I packed lunches everyday, cooked dinner and ate very healthy. My body responded nicely and I was at my lowest weight.  On the weekends lately, I still eat very healthy and usually eat less than I do during the week since I am busy.

This last weekend was Easter and I did not, let me repeat, I absolutely did not plan on cheating and eating poorly.  (Before I go on, please no "this is why you're fat" comments - I am being honest and keeping myself accountable). My sister came over late on Saturday night and spent the night - and brought over McDonald's fries.  The next day was Easter, we had appetizers, ham, potatoes and candy.  Nothing was healthy and of course I did not eat in moderation.  Very hard to limit what you eat at gatherings.

One bad weekend isn't going to ruin all of my progress, I know that.  But my problem is getting back on track.  Once I cheat like this, my body CRAVES carbs and junk food and I find myself making poor food choices. Why?? Why is it so much harder to eat healthy after cheating?

I was so curious that I did some research. After several google searches, I found one that made sense to me.

Empty Calories: Calories that come from food with little to no nutritional value, usually made up of carbohydrates or fat.

Examples:

  • Chips, Fries
  • Cheese
  • Sweetened Breakfast Cereals
  • Cakes, Pastries, Doughnuts, Cookies, Brownies
  • Soda, energy drinks, fruity juice
  • Pizza
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Wine, Beer, Liquor
  • Butter
  • Sausage, Bacon, Ribs
This site lists some good substitutes: Click here

This list of food looks familiar to me, all of the foods I crave after a cheat meal.  But why? Although these food items taste good, they lack nutritional value.  They contain lots of sugar and fat, yet lack vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber and antioxidants. Since these empty calories lack nutrients, they actually leave you more hungry.

Don't get me wrong, its ok to have a cheat meal every now and then.  But eating these food items make it so my cheat meal turns into a cheat week. I thought this article was interesting, mentions how eating empty calorie foods makes your blood sugar spike.  Your blood sugar spikes and then crashes, which makes people tired and needing another instant boost from more empty calories.  Interesting, right? When I see it like that, it just shows how this cycle goes and why it is so hard for me to get on track after cheating and eating empty calories. It is a hard cycle to break!

When I really think about it, I am more inclined to cheat when I don't have food with me and when I have failed to plan. I am really great at planning my meals out during the week because I have such a set schedule.  On the weekends though, I am all over the place and it is harder to plan meals. I guess this is a reminder of how important it is to meal plan, even on the weekends!

I am still working on getting back on track after this last weekend, but I am working on it! I really need to think twice before I decide to cheat and eat empty calories, not worth it for me.  Once again, I think its ok to have a cheat meal, but I think I need to be more mindful of what my cheat meal is.  If I am craving carbs, probably better to have potatoes rather than potato chips or fries.  I am working out way too hard to eat poorly. It is a waste to workout everyday and kick butt in the gym if I am eating like crap.

Ready to get back on track!

Jess

April 3, 2013

Coffee Creamer Substitute

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets your metabolism started and it is actually beneficial for weight loss.  Before I found out I am allergic to gluten and became more health conscious  breakfast was no problem for me.  I started my morning out with my coffee (with a TON of vanilla coffee creamer) and toast lathered up in butter.  Breakfast was not an issue for me because I was eating comfort food, which is not a good way to start out the day!

Ever since I removed gluten from my diet, I have struggled to find items for breakfast.  Although they do have gluten free breads and cereals, I really try to stay away from any product that isn't naturally gluten free.  So that means no bread, muffins, doughnuts, cereal or oatmeal.  Lately, my go-to breakfast items are my Egg Nests (without the cheese) or a Chobani Greek yogurt and a banana. Both are high in protein, low in fat and keep me satisfied throughout the morning.

But what do I do when I just don't feel like eating breakfast? Some mornings, I am just not in the mood to eat breakfast, just doesn't sound appetizing, but I know its best for me not to skip out on the most important meal of the day.

So, that's when I discovered that protein powder can be substituted for coffee creamer.  I usually make my coffee with vanilla soy milk and sweet and low.  But vanilla protein powder is a great substitute! One scoop of protein powder in my coffee only adds 85 calories, 1 carb and 18 grams of protein! It fills me up without actually having to eat something.  Then later on in the morning, I can snack on a banana or something.

I have found many different ways of incorporating protein protein powder into my meals. When I eat Greek yogurt, I always have to add sweet and low because it is so sour.  Vanilla protein powder is a great substitute for that as well!  I also love to cool my coffee to room temperature, toss it in my blender, add protein powder and ice and blend it up.  Makes vanilla blended coffee, so good!

I posted a picture of my coffee and protein and was surprised by how many people hadn't tried it! So just wanted to share it with you all :)

Hope you enjoy!

Jess
Starbucks Iced coffee and Vanilla Whey Protein
Coffee, Soy Milk, Vanilla Whey Protein and Ice

Chobani yogurt, two egg whites and half a grapefruit

April 2, 2013

Gym Motivation of the Day

Pico de Gallo




I really like Mexican food, always have.  If you are anything like my Mom or I, we really just go out to Mexican food for the chips and salsa, and of course the Coronas and margaritas too!  We usually just order a small taco so it doesn't look like we just came there for the chips and salsa.  At one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, they have amazing Pico de Gallo - which is one of the reasons we like going there! My Mom decided to recreate it so we could make it at home.  So the credit of the recipe goes to her!

This recipe is pure vegetables so it is gluten free, dairy free and vegan! When I make this recipe, I never measure the ingredients out, I just guess.  But today, I decided to measure everything out so I could give you all a recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups of Cabbage - finely chopped (about half of one head of cabbage)
  • 1 large Tomato - chopped (only use outside of tomato - do not use seeds)
  • 1/2 cup of white Onion - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of Cilantro - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of Lime Juice
  • 2 Jalapenos - chopped (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
DIRECTIONS
  1. Chop up all ingredients and place in a large bowl.
  2. Mix and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Enjoy!
I like to eat my Pico de Gallo with tortilla chips and use it as an appetizer.  This pico de gallo is great on tacos, fajitas and salads!

Hope you enjoy!

Jess

Ingredients
Slice outside of tomato - do not use inner seeds
Chop all ingredients
Enjoy!