Category Archives: Recipes

Meal Prep Monday: Slow cooker turkey chili and jalapeno honey cornbread muffins

Good morning! I’m still in my pajamas enjoying my coffee, as I have the day off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I spent some time this morning reading his letter from Birmingham jail. It took me a while, since I had to stop every 30 seconds to scream into a pillow. How are we still fighting these same issues over 50 years later? I don’t know about you, but for me January 20 is going to involve sweat pants, beer, and ugly crying.

Actually, it WON’T involve beer because I have a CrossFit competition the next day and I’d like to minimize the chances of me throwing up in front of a crowd. (<– Please admire my not-at-all-subtle subject changing skills.) I’m pretty nervous, since it’s only my second individual competition – I usually do them with a partner, which is way less scary to me. It’s also my first “RX” division competition. (Most CrossFit competitions have two divisions: scaled and RX. The RX division involves heavier weight loads and more advanced movements like handstand push ups, toes to bar, chest to bar pull ups, and whatever other evil movements the event planners can think of!) I just keep reminding myself that the worst that can happen is that all the other people finish before me and then everyone in the building stares at me while I struggle to complete the workout and then a few days later I find out that somebody was taking video and now I’m a sad gym fail meme.

1303921990_weight-ligft-fail

Welcome to my mind. It’s terrible here.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty good about keeping my nutrition dialed in since Christmas, although I did eat a slab of German chocolate cake the size of my head at a birthday celebration at work on Friday. It tasted really good, but I spent the rest of the day wanting to unzip my pants and take a nap under my desk, which wasn’t the greatest.

img_4537

For my meal prep this week I made a huge batch of this slow cooker turkey chili. It’s really good topped with plain Greek yogurt and a little cheese,  but you could also roll it up in tortillas with some avocado to make tacos or burritos, plop it on top of a bowl of greens and eat it as a salad, or even use it to make stuffed peppers.

And since chili is basically useless if you don’t eat it with cornbread, I made some cornbread muffins to go with it. I was going to use a box mix until I looked at the macros and HOLY SUGAR, that shit is not great for you. I made them myself instead, using Greek yogurt and decreasing the amount of oil. I also added finely diced jalapenos to the batter, and these babies are SO good eaten warm with a little butter and raw honey.Here’s the recipe for those:

Greek Yogurt Jalapeno Honey Corn Bread Muffins
Ingredients:
1 egg
8 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1/2 cup milk
3T oil
1T raw honey
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

Method:
Preheat oven to 425.

Mix together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add to the wet. Whisk until just combined. Add the jalapeno.

Grease a muffin tin, and fill the cups 3/4 full with the batter. (I wanted my muffins a little larger, so I only got 11). Bake for 12-14 minutes – you’ll know they’re done when the tops begin to brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

They’re SUPER tasty, and the calories/macros are WAY better than the boxed stuff:

img_4521

Of course, the macros will vary slightly depending on the brands you use!

Stop what you’re doing and make them right now!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Chicken curry + coconut rice

Happy Monday! Our weather over the past week has been insane. It started out gorgeous on Tuesday and Wednesday, with over a foot of fresh powder:

img_4430

snow-2

And then it got ridiculously cold (like, negative degrees cold), then snowed some more, and then poured rain all weekend. The storm drains are all blocked up with snow so the roads have flooded on top of the packed snow/ice, so driving around town right now is like a real-life version of the winter level of MarioKart. I may start carrying a stash of banana peels around with me so I can throw them out the window in front of tailgaters.

let-it-snow-winter-cat-meme

Me on day one of the storm.

553295_459921600748554_1950320326_n

Me right now.

Anyway, on to this week’s Meal Prep Monday! If you’re new to meal prep, you can read about my meal prep method here.

This weather has me craving warm, rich comfort food, so for this week’s lunches I decided to prep coconut rice and chicken curry. The idea for this came from my coach, who told me she adds coconut milk to her rice to make it creamy and delicious and I was like YES I MUST TRY THIS.

To make the rice, I just replaced half the water with coconut milk and cooked it like usual. I co-hosted a baby shower on Sunday and knew I wouldn’t feel like coming home and slaving over homemade curry, so I kept it super simple and used this simmer sauce:

prod-ss-kc

I try not to eat too many jarred sauces because they tend to be really high in sugar and artificial ingredients, but the ingredient list for this isn’t too terrible: Onion, Water, Tomato, Tomato Puree, Coconut Cream, Tomato Paste, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Spices (Including Turmeric), Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Salt, Sugar, Garlic, Ginger, Gum Arabic, Xanthan Gum, and Carrageenan.

I just sauteed some onions,  mushrooms, and chicken in a little olive oil, then threw in this sauce once the chicken was cooked through and simmered it on low for 15 minutes. It tastes AMAZING with the rice – I’m super excited to eat it for lunch next week.

img_4475

Since I’ll be eating the same lunch throughout the week, dinners will have a bit more variety: I plan to make Pioneer Woman’s Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup (using turkey sausage) as well as PaleOMG’s slow cooker Barbacoa (which I will likely wind up throwing over the coconut rice since I’m not actually Paleo). Both of these make enough to provide ample leftovers, so I’ll be cooking a grand total of two days this week. Which means I can spend more time huddled in front of the wood stove trying not to freeze.

What are you prepping this week?

Meal Prep Monday!

I put all my Christmas decorations away yesterday and now my house looks so sad and boring. But do you know what is NOT sad and boring? Meal prep! OK it’s kind of boring but it will definitely make you happy to have delicious and healthy food at your fingertips every time you get hungry during the week.

meal-prep-memes-03-640x640

LIES! You totally got time fo that.

Meal prep has 100% changed my nutrition game. I didn’t start to see real changes in my body until I started paying more attention to my food, and the only way I’m able to stay on track with my nutrition is to take some time on the weekend to prep healthy meals for the week ahead. I’ve been thinking of starting a Meal Prep Monday feature where I tell you what I’ve prepped for the week, and I figure the new year is probably a good time to finally kick it off! I love getting new meal ideas from bloggers so I don’t get bored, so hopefully this will help you think of some different ideas to try.

I should note that I subscribe to what I call a “flexible meal prep” philosophy. Some people find it easier to prep and eat the same meals/snacks every day of the week. If I ate the same meal every day I would go crazy by day 2, so what I like to do is make a big batch of a healthy protein and/or carbs on Sundays and use it in a bunch of different meals throughout the week. Sometimes I do chicken and sweet potatoes, other weeks I’ll do ground beef and rice, etc.

If you’re new to food prepping and are feeling lost, here’s a bit about my method: I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays and my prep on Sundays. On Friday evenings, I sit down and make my shopping list for the next week. My first step is figuring out what I want to prep for lunches for the week. I work full time, so it has to be something that’s easily re-heatable and also portable in case I have to take it to work with me. Then I take the extra step of entering my lunches into MyFitnessPal for the next week. After that, I add my breakfasts to MyFitnessPal. I basically alternate between three breakfasts (protein pancakes, oatmeal with egg whites, and Kodiak Cakes with eggs), so this step is really easy.

After that’s done, I’m able to look at my macros for each day and see what I’m short on so I can plan for dinners. This sometimes involves what I call “Macro Tetris.” If I’m high on carbs one day, maybe I’ll switch my breakfast from oatmeal to protein pancakes. Or maybe I’ll plan a dinner of chicken thighs and veggies. If I’m low on carbs, I’ll plan a dinner that involves rice or pasta. It sounds high maintenance, but once you do it for a few weeks it really takes no time at all. The key is to find a lineup of recipes you love, and then cycle through them so you never get bored.

If you’re just getting started and all that is giving you a panic attack, then just start by prepping some healthy food on Sundays so that you don’t find yourself in the McDonald’s drive through at lunchtime or after work.

One of the easiest things to prep is chicken. If you have a slow cooker, just dump some chicken breasts in there with salt/pepper and a little bit of water or chicken stock (or salsa if you’re feeling fancy!) and let it go for 6 hours or so until you can shred it. Then you have a giant pile of chicken you can use for so many things throughout the week. Here are some of my faves:

Chicken burrito bowls
I start with cauliflower rice/crumbles (available in most grocery stores, including Walmart), then top with chicken, avocado, onion, plain Greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes, salsa, and sometimes cheese if I have enough fats 🙂 I’ll usually dump whatever greens I have in my fridge on top as well!

Healthy chicken salad

Avocado chicken salad
Mix shredded chicken with 1/2 an avocado and season with salt and pepper. I’ll eat this as a sandwich on whole wheat bread, or roll it up in a FlatOut wrap.

Another thing I like to prep are snacks. Sometimes I’ll hard boil a dozen eggs to have on hand, or just pre-portion Greek yogurt so I can grab it and go. It doesn’t have to be hard!

For lunches this week, I made a double batch of Juli Bauer’s Pizza Spaghetti Pie.

img_4414

You guys, this recipe is SO AMAZING. I know I said I get bored eating the same thing multiple days in a row, but this is one recipe I look forward to eating for multiple days. I modify the recipe just a tad by adding mushrooms to the sausage and onion, and sprinkling a little Parmesan on top for the last 15 minutes of baking. It’s one of those recipes that seems to get even tastier re-heated, making it a perfect make-ahead meal.

Do you have any favorite food prep meals/recipe? Let me know!

Healthy Quinoa Mac and Cheese (and a story about my neighbor)

Rain

It’s been raining off and on for the last week, which is awesome news since California is facing a pretty terrible drought right now. I was under the impression that everybody is aware of this fact, until I saw my neighbor down the street walk outside yesterday and turn his sprinklers on immediately following a massive downpour.

I wanted to shout at him, but he looks mean so instead I just glared at him from my driveway.

What I felt like:

200_s

What I’m guessing I looked like:

glare

Anyway. All this rainy weather is making me crave comfort food. And for me, comfort food = carbs covered in cheese. Luckily, I’ve found a carb + cheese combo that is fairly healthy and doesn’t contain a ton of processed crap. I haven’t blogged much about it yet, but Dave and I have been making an effort to cut out processed foods. Mostly this involves me making batches of quinoa and whole wheat tortillas on Sundays while having daydreams about being alone with a big plate of fettuccine Alfredo.

Michael Fettuccine

My only thought right now is, “I wonder if there’s garlic bread in that bag?”

In an effort to satisfy my carby, cheesy cravings without consuming a ton of frankenfoods, I concocted this delicious lunch that I can heat up in the microwave at work because my life is sad and I eat at my desk almost every day. Womp.

Quinoa mac

Don’t judge, this was taken with my phone under fluorescent lighting.

Healthy Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked quinoa (about 1/4 cup dry)
Chopped veggies: mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, broccoli, really whatever strikes your fancy
1 wedge Pepperjack Laughing Cow (or any of the other flavors)
Salt + pepper, to taste

Season the quinoa with a little salt and pepper. Throw the quinoa and veggies into a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on high for a minute. Test the temperature, and heat more if necessary.

When the quinoa and veggies reach your desired temperature, remove from the microwave and mix in the wedge of Laughing Cow with a fork.

Yes, the Laughing Cow contains a few mystery ingredients, but you’re only using one wedge and you’re also getting a good amount of healthy grains and veggies. Plus, it’s really filling: eat a bowl of this for lunch, and I guarantee you won’t be pacing in front of the office vending machine at 3 p.m. facing the gut-wrenching decision of Cheetos vs. Doritos. (Cheetos, duh.)

Give it a try! And then go eat a plate of Alfredo for me.

Sparkling White Sangria Recipe + Deck Progress

I have a really good sangria recipe to tell you about, but first, an important announcement: WE HAVE DECK FURNITURE!

IMG_4979

We technically had deck furniture before, but it was plastic and old and every time we got a strong breeze the chairs would end up scattered all over the yard and then they’d stay there for weeks because we’re too lazy to go pick them up and I’ve watched enough reality TV to know that that a yard full of broken, plastic lawn furniture is the first step toward an appearance on “Hoarders.” So when my parents offered to give us their deck furniture when they moved to Hawaii, we were super excited to take it off their hands. In addition to being sturdy and wind-resistant, it also has an umbrella so I don’t have to reapply my SPF 110 three times during dinner. #melaninproblems

(BTW, SPF 110 is a real thing, and it is awesome.)

We don’t have a truck, so the furniture has spent the last two months at my aunt and uncles’ house. However, my mom was visiting last week, so she, my brother, and my grandma loaded it up and brought it up to us on Sunday. We thanked them by feeding them barbecue and this delicious sangria:

Sangria

The bad news: This is the only picture I took, because I was so busy hosting my guests refilling my glass. The good news: I wrote down the recipe before imbibing, so now I can give it to you:

Sparkling White Sangria
1 bottle sweet white wine (I used moscato, but a riesling would be good too!)
1 bottle Champagne or sparkling white wine, chilled (I used sparkling moscato, which made it extra sweet!)
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
Handful of blackberries

Combine the wine and fruit at least 4 hours and as many as 24 hours before serving, and chill. Just before serving, add the sparkling white wine or Champagne and mix well. If you want, spoon out some of the fruit from inside the container and place in the glasses before filling. Pretty! Delicious! Makes you feel like Olivia Pope!

Olivia Pope wine

P.S. – If you make it with both regular and sparkling moscato like I did, it’ll probably be sweet enough without adding any sugar. If you use a less sweet wine, give it a taste before serving to see if you need to add sweetener (I’d suggest honey, agave, or raw sugar).

Zoodle Mania

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, but I have to admit that I plan to make an effort to eat more vegetables this year. I don’t eat horribly by any means, but turning 30 last summer made me realize that now’s probably the time to start doing all that awful crap that magazines say will keep you looking young forever.

Dark leafy greens. Night cream. Pilates. Ritual animal sacrifices.

Apparently a veggie-rich diet helps your skin glow, so I figure if I eat enough zucchini I should resemble Emma Stone by Valentine’s Day. To kick-start my efforts I picked up a little spiralizer called The Vegetti at Bed Bath and Beyond, because let’s be honest: if something looks like a noodle, I will eat it. Even if it’s zucchini.

Vegetti

Just like regular noodles, in that they would taste better covered in cheese sauce with a side of garlic bread.

I then scoured the internets for some veggie-noodle recipes, and landed on Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles from SkinnyTaste. Verdict? Amazing.

Zoodle bowl

I won’t pretend to love it as much as the greasy slop I get from my local Chinese restaurant (mmm, mystery meat and MSG), but the sauce tasted super authentic, and a huge heaping serving is fewer than 400 calories. Dave loved it too, and he’s usually a zucchini-hater. I think next time I’ll throw in some water chestnuts for a little extra crunch.

I definitely plan to make veggie noodles a staple from now on – if you have any good recipes, let me know in the comments! (I think they’d be really good covered in this sauce!)

My Favorite Healthy Pinned Recipes

Before I dive in with my favorite healthy recipes I’ve pinned, I have to ask: is Pinterest still happening, or at this point is it only yoga-pants wearing women age 18-35 looking at fitspo pics while crying into pans of slutty brownies? Actually, don’t answer that: I don’t care. I still like it. Make fun of me if you want, but if I ever win the lottery, I know EXACTLY how I’m going to decorate my 2,000-square foot kitchen that I’ll use exclusively to make mac and cheese.

Anyway, since this is the time of year when most of us are all, “Maybe I should counteract the last two months of gluttony by eating healthy for a week,” here are some healthy recipes you should consider making. I’ve made each of these over and over because they’re so delicious and easy. Click the photo to get to my Pinterest board, and the source link to get to the recipe:

Source Crispy Orange Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Source Crispy Orange Chicken Quinoa Bowls (Note: Cut the Sriracha in half and don’t add the red pepper flakes if you don’t like spice!)

Source Cilantro lime skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Source Cilantro Lime Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Source Paleo pad thai

Source Paleo Pad Thai

Source Cauliflower crust pizza

Source Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Source Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Source Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Source Veggie alfredo lasagna

Source Veggie Alfredo Lasagna

Dave and I have been battling the plague for most of 2015, so we haven’t really gotten around to cooking very much yet. The good news: I think I’ve lost all the holiday weight I gained. The bad news: I’m pretty sure eating only ramen and Christmas candy isn’t healthy, even if you can lose weight on it. I hope you’ll try some of these!