Tag Archives: clean eating

Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Zucchini Boats

17 Jul

chicken-spinach-stuffed-zucchini-boats

 


Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Zucchini Boats (inspired by Skinny Taste)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. shredded sun-dried tomato fontina
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c. pesto
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. pasta/marinara sauce
  • salt-free Ms. Dash Italian seasoning

Prepare the chicken stuffing by browning the chicken in 1 T. olive oil over medium heat.  When the chicken is browned, season it with 1 t. of Italian seasoning and incorporate well.  Then, add in the sun-dried tomato, the basil, and the spinach.  When the spinach is almost wilted, add in the garlic.  When the garlic is fragrant, stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and basil.  Combine and keep everything on a low heat while you prepare the zucchini.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the zucchini  in half longways, then scoop out the middle of each “boat” to create a cavity.  You will want to leave about 1/4″ around the outside to keep the “boat” sturdy.  Add the zucchini to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute, then remove from water.   Spread 2 T. of pasta sauce on bottom of baking dish, then place zucchini skin side down in the sauce.  This will keep it from burning on the bottom.  Spoon the chicken mixture over the zucchini boats, then top with 1/4 c. remaining shredded cheese.  Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes at 350*F.

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Balls

16 Jul

buffalo-chicken-quinoa-balls


Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Balls (original recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Red Hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and roll into balls, as if you were making meatballs.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350*F for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Yes, they will get crispy and brown on the outside, so be patient.  🙂

Why You Should Try Something New

15 Jul

I did that thing again where I disappear for a few weeks, huh?  I’ve been taking the last week to recharge after 4th of July weekend.  Having an extra day off and a weekend full of festivities sure did feel like a momentum stopper.  The Monday after the holiday weekend, I started a 4 week challenge in a secret Facebook group.  It’s been really fun and honestly I’ve been seeing some really great progress.  Since we have to post in the group 2 pictures of food we’ve eaten during the day, 1 picture of us being sweaty (I don’t post very many of those!  #notphotogenic), and 1 picture of our protein shake.

The group has helped me in a few ways:

1.  It forces me to be accountable.  I would die of boredom if I was one of those bloggers who posted every day about every single thing they ate.  Snooze town, right?  The FB group setting has kind of a revolving door feeling where people just stop by and photo dump, then move on.  It’s a great place to get ideas, encourage others, and also BE encouraged by others in a way that feels like real-time.  It’s like a little positivity bubble!  I think that’s what has made me excited to reach my goals for each day, which are simply:  eat clean, hydrate, and be active.

2.  I’ve upped my water intake to a gallon of water a day.  Yeah.  The struggle is real.  The first week, I’m certain that I wasn’t getting my full water goal in.  I’m not denying that I was hydrated because HOOBOY was I hydrated, but why half ass it?  Based on a suggestion from one of the group members, I replicated her “Water Bomb.”

water-bomb-hydration-motivation

3.  I’ve been drinking protein-powder fruit smoothies every morning.  I’d never been all that consistent with protein powder.  If I remembered to drink a recovery shake after a workout, I remembered.  Usually not.  Since this challenge started, I’ve been drinking a fruit smoothie with protein powder every morning.  Having a full banana, a handful of strawberries, and at least 1 large handful of spinach (usually more!) has had DRAMATIC results for me.  I’m getting 2 full services of fruit and a serving of vegetables in 1 drink, not to mention all of the nutrients, calcium, and added protein.  My appetite is much more easy to manage during the day and I have had so much more energy.  Plus, I’m constantly wanting to try different variations based on the group member’s suggestions (tofu & avocado wouldn’t have occurred to me).

I lost 2 pounds the first week!  I can honestly say that I’m really glad I tried this – who knew that posting my pictures to some random strangers/ex-classmates would be what I needed to get through my weight loss plateau?!  It never hurts to try something new!  Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on my Monday Training Overview posts and I hope to be back on the bandwagon this week. 🙂

 

In other news, I dyed the underneath of my head peacock colors:

peacock-highlights-mermaid-hair

I’m kind of obsessed with it.

 

3 Healthy Options From My Week

20 Jun

They say something like 80% of weight loss happens in the kitchen – I don’t know how accurate that 80% is, but the sentiment is true.  For the past 2 years I have increased my activity by leaps and bounds, but I’ve still managed to just maintain my current weight.  I might go up or down within 10 lbs., but I don’t see much progress in one direction or the other.  Why is that?  Because when I increase my activity, my brain says “YOU’VE EARNED ALL THE THINGS!  HAVE WHATEVER YOU WANT!  GREAT JOB!”  Wrong.  So, so wrong stupid brain.  As my physical self gets stronger, I have to learn to strengthen my will power and remember that food is simply fuel to keep me going – it’s not a hobby and it’s not a reward.

Swear, the only time I get excited about eating clean is because I get to share it with you guys so here we go!  Here are 3 simple, clean recipes that helped me stay on point this week.

1.

Frozen-Greek-Yogurt-Dots



These are ridiculously easy to make, healthy, and they make me feel like I’m eating a ton when really I’m not! Frozen-Greek-Yogurt-Dots-Tutorial

Really, it’s that easy.  Pop them in the freezer for 1-2 hours and then gobble them up!  If they start to get melty, just put them back for about 15 minutes. BOOM.

2.

Fruity-Overnight-Oats

These overnight oats were super easy – you make them the night before!  I mixed 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats, 1/2 c. Greek yogurt (I use honey from Greek Goddess), 1/4 c. flax milk (or your choice of non-dairy milk), 1 t. chia seeds, 1-2 T. honey, and a handful of frozen berries.  I just put everything in a Snapware container, shake it up really well, and then refrigerate it until morning.  I cut up half a banana and put it over the top when I’m ready to eat it.  The texture of overnight oats is still growing on me, but I can’t get over how much more energy I have when I eat a great breakfast.  I will share more overnight oat mixtures as I go!

3.

chef-salad-2

Getting creative with salads has been a Godsend for me this week.  Particularly when it’s hot outside, the thought of eating anything except crisp, crunchy salad with loads of fresh toppings is all I need.  This spinach salad has turkey, turkey bacon, feta cheese, hard boiled egg whites only, and some of the remaining roasted red peppers from Monday.   I stored the peppers with a splash of olive oil and some garlic (which absorbed into the peppers a bit). The bottom salad has my famous balsamic vinaigrette – swear it’s the best dressing you will ever need. I’ve got loads of other salad topping ideas, but I refuse to waste food.  I always start the week with the ingredients that have the most limited shelf life!

roasted-red-peppers-garlic


 

Questions of the Week:

What are some of your go-to healthy options for the week?

What toppings are on your favorite salad?

 

Sausage, Goat Cheese + Arugula Stuffed Peppers

19 Jun

Growing up, my mom made stuffed peppers pretty often.  Hers were usually whole bell peppers, stuffed with rice, ground beef, and some kind of tomato sauce.  They were so much a part of our regular rotation that I absolutely hated them.  They were always overcooked or undercooked, never an enjoyable texture.  I think I actually hated bell peppers for a long time because of that particular meal.  It got to the point that I would just empty the pepper of its stuffing and discard it completely.

Oh, I’ve tried to get on board.  I’ve only made stuffed peppers a handful of times as an adult and they just never turned out great.  Until now.  For me, I can say that halving the pepper lengthwise and using the peppers as boats instead of urns makes all the difference.  That and an amazing low-carb stuffing.

Sausage-Goat-Cheese-Arugula-Stuffed-Peppers-NEW


Sausage, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Stuffed Peppers (original recipe from Cook Like A Champion)

  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • half an onion, diced
  • 2/3 lb. hot Italian sausage (use whatever sausage you want!), no casing
  • 2 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Parmesan Reggiano to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400*F and sautee onion in about 1 T. olive oil until translucent.  Then, add the sausage and cook until browned and crumbly.  While the sausage is cooking, slice the bell peppers in half lengthwise to remove stems and seeds.

Stuffed-Peppers-Empty

When the sausage is browned, add the goat cheese and arugula.  Mix until the goat cheese is combined and the arugula has wilted.

Stuffed-Peppers-Goat-Cheese

stuffed-peppers-arugula

I didn’t add any salt or pepper until the arugula is wilted and I can taste the actual mixture.  Here is where you can season it to your taste!  I used fresh ground pepper, sea salt, and some crushed red pepper flakes because I like a little heat.

stuffed-peppers-sausage-stuffing-mixture

Once seasonsed, spoon the mixture into the bell pepper boats and top with the smallest amount of Parmesan Reggiano.

stuffed-peppers-filled

I baked mine for about 18 minutes – until the peppers were soft, not mushy and not crunchy!

Sausage-Goat-Cheese-Arugula-Stuffed-Pepper-2


Yes in every single way.  The only reason I see to eat low-carb dinner is to save room for the most important carb.

Oh and before we move on, I just wanted to share how amazing a one pot dish is for clean-up:

one-pot-dinner-kitchen

sweet nothingness

Since I have the absolute best customers in the world, I got this piece of majestic art as a tip earlier in the week!  I knew I had to get it extra cold and save it for the hottest, muggiest day of the week – which was most definitely yesterday.

white-sky-brew-gentlement-chai-wheat


(Disclaimer: No, I wasn’t prompted to blog about this or even mention it!)

Um….wow.  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  White Sky Chai Wheat beer from The Brew Gentlemen.  This beer is everything I hoped a beer could ever be.  The chai undertones are phenomenal, all clovey and gingery and cardamomy (hello, fall in my mouth) and the taste is just incredibly smooth.  This may be the best beer I’ve ever had in my entire life.  Sorry, North Country Brewing but you’ve been bested by Braddock’s newest brewers:  The Brew Gentlemen.  I 100% intend on heading over there for a full report!  I don’t care how many beers I have to try, I will do what I have to for you guys!  Oh, to be young and have a higher alcohol tolerance again.

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