Monday, March 31, 2014

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken

Thank goodness for a crockpot! After a busy weekend and an early morning drive back to college I needed an easy meal. 

I have heard mixed reviews about Santa Fe chicken so naturally I had to test it out myself. It took awhile for me to figure out a recipe because there isn't a "standard" recipe to deviate from. Finally I threw all caution to the wind and just went with what I felt.

You will need:
  • pack of chicken breasts, I prefer thin sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 16 ounce bag frozen organic corn
  • 14 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 14 ounce can organic black beans
  • 1 cup organic low sodium chicken broth
  • garlic to taste

Pour chicken broth in crockpot then put in chicken breasts.

Layer in remaining ingredients. I put 1/2 of everything on and then repeated it for the second layer. I did sweet onion, green onion, tomatoes, corn, and black beans. Then I repeated that layer again with the remaining ingredients. 

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 

Serve over quinoa for a gluten free option or over rice. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

After reading Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, if you haven't read it I highly recommend it, I was shocked to see how grains affect the brain. 

I'm not a big bread eater anyway, but I've been trying to cut back even further on what I do it, but it isn't easy. I already read nutrition labels, but now I read every single nutrition label because gluten is a hidden ingredient in many foods. 

I just made gluten free banana muffins and they are heavenly! They are moist like banana bread and you'd never know they're gluten free unless you were told. Even if you aren't trying to jump on the gluten free train you will still want to make these muffins because they are that good- even Cora approves of them!

You will need:
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl combine wet ingredients, but do not add in the banana yet.

Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and combine.

Once a batter begins to form add in the mashed banana and combine.

Finally, add in the chocolate chips if you choose.

Pour batter into muffins tins and bake for 14 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Makes 18 muffins.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

5 Mile Run and Post Workout Protein

The lingering winter weather left me feeling a little blue, but it was nothing a good gym session couldn't fix. My legs needed a good run and I need to start training again for the summer races I want to do. 

It was not my best time, but it's always better to run then to regret not running later. Sometimes when I just need to think I go out and run and won't even look at my time. Running doesn't always have to be a sport it can just be for pleasure. 

After a long workout I always refuel with healthy and natural protein. I had another bowl of oats with greek yogurt, cinnamon, blueberries, 1/2 small banana, and kiwi.

I loved the sweet taste of this combination of fruit and oats. Oats will help curb your hunger and bananas are always great to eat after a grueling workout. And I know the greek yogurt mixed with oats sounds weird, everyone always knocked me for it until they tried it and now they love it too! 

Hope you're enjoying the weekend and I hope to get a few more recipes up soon. Sorry for the delay, as the semester winds down I have a ton of papers and projects to do. I'd rather be in the kitchen or typing up posts for you, but the work has got to get done.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chicken Lo Mein Leftovers and the Most Delicious Salad Ever!

Another back post, but worth sharing! One night before spring break I heated up a little bit of leftover chicken lo mein. I paired it with the most delicious side salad ever. Be sure to check out my recipe for chicken lo mein because it is really easy to make and totally delicious.

The salad had a mix of lettuces: iceberg, spring blend, spinach, and kale. It had 1/4 cup diced red and green bell peppers, 1/4 cup red grapes, a few chunks of cantaloupe, a pinch of shredded carrots, 1/4 cup grilled shredded chicken, and was topped with my favorite indulgent poppy seed dressing. Only once in a blue moon will I use salad dressing, but I decided to treat myself so I went for it. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

All Day Energy Oatmeal

Start the day off right with a healthy breakfast for all day energy. Recently I have been obsessed with oats because there is so much you can do with them. 

Here is one of my favorite go to oatmeal recipes:
  • 1 cup old fashioned or steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 4 strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dannon light and fit vanilla greek yogurt- for extra protein

Monday, March 24, 2014

Crockpot Ratatouille

Happy Crockpot Monday! What a strange Monday it has been. It was like a blizzard outside this morning for a few hours, but now the sun is shining brightly and the snow from this morning has melted. I wish the weather would make up its mind and be spring already! 

Anyway, this strange weather inspired my cooking. This dish is so unlike anything I've done before and I'm so excited to share it with you. I know when I hear Ratatouille I think of the Disney movie, but this ratatouille has my own spin on it. 

You will need:
  • 3 bell peppers any color, diced, I used red, yellow, and orange
  • 2 green zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow zucchini, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 eggplant, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 package skinless turkey sausage- for vegetarian option omit this! 
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounce jar natural or organic tomato paste
  • OPTIONAL SEASONING: a pinch of: dried basil, red pepper flakes, parsley, and oregano

First chop up all the vegetables and the turkey sausage.

Take half of the chopped vegetables and half of the chopped turkey sausage and place it in crockpot.

Spread half of tomato paste over vegetables and sausage in crockpot.

Layer in the rest of the chopped vegetables and turkey sausage. 

Before spreading remaining tomato paste over vegetables and turkey sausage add in spices if you're going to use any.

Spread the remaining tomato paste over vegetables and sausage.

Lastly, drizzle olive oil over the top.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-7 hours.

Before serving use a serving spoon and stir to make sure all vegetables get coated with tomato paste.

This recipe is delicious served by itself, or over pasta noodles or spaghetti squash. Or serve it with warm french baguettes. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Back Post

I found a some old pictures I never posted so this week I am going to try to get as many up as I can.

About a month ago I posted about going to my schools President's Ball (if you want to check it out click here). I found some pictures from the day after the ball that I wanted to share.

I had posted a picture on Instagram of one of my friends and I. I wore a dress I already owned to save money. I absolutely loved my dress though. It was a simple black dress that has a unique tule design down the side. My friend Marissa (on the left) curled my hair and made it look amazing!

I didn't get home until way late, technically it was the next day when I got back. Despite not getting to bed until late I still woke up at my normal time. Dang internal alarm clock! Despite working out like normal I just wasn't hungry come lunch so I just had a fruit platter. 

On my fruit platter I had a small handful of fresh blueberries, 1/3 cherries, a few black berries, a small bundle of green grapes, and half a banana smeared with peanut butter for protein. 

Even around dinner I just didn't feel like cooking. Luckily I had a Panera gift card, so I went to Panera and picked up a salad. I got the Thai Chicken Salad. To make it healthier I don't use the dressing and I don't eat the wontons. I don't think the salad needs dressing with the peanut drizzle- which is delicious!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Favorite Old Fashioned Oatmeal

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats- cook according to directions
  • 1/2 cup dannon light and fit vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • 4 blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gluten Free Crockpot Asian Pork with Mushrooms- Low Sodium!

Happy Crockpot Monday! The end of the semester is coming up fast and the work is piling high. Sadly I don't have a ton of time to update the blog, but I am going to try to post as many recipes as I can because I do have a ton of recipes to type up and post.

Anyway this week I wanted to do something easy and gluten free. I'm trying to cut down on gluten intake, which is partly inspired by reading Grain Brain by David Perlmutter. I HIGHLY recommend the book if you haven't read it. All the ingredients in this recipe are gluten free-minus the rice I served it over. 

This week's recipe is Asian Pork and I really could rave about this recipe. I've had Asian pork before but creating my own recipe gave me control and I loved it! And as a bonus it made apartment smell wonderful!

You will need:
  • 4 pork chops, cut off access fat
  • 8 ounces organic sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • pinch of ground pepper, don't have to include
  • 1 cup organic low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • slightly less than 1/2 cup gluten free reduced sodium soy sauce, Meijer brand is really good
  • 1.5 tablespoons agave nectar, you can omit this and it will still be delicious

Pour chicken broth, soy sauce, white balsamic vinegar,and  agave nectar into crockpot.

Add minced garlic and pepper into crockpot.

Gently place pork chops in crockpot. They should be submerged, or mostly submerges, in liquid. 

Finally, dump mushrooms on top of pork chops.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.

I served my pork chops over brown rice with a side of grilled red and yellow peppers. 

Nutrition per serving (serves 4):
Calories: 167
Carbs: 13
Fat: 2 grams
Protein: 24 grams
Sodium: 429mg
Sugars: 11 grams

Friday, March 14, 2014

No More Mushy Cereal!

I am not really a cereal person. Don't get me wrong I love Raisin Bran Crunch, but I never eat it for two reasons. One: it has a high sugar content so if I do eat it it's a special treat. Two: Nothing can be worse than soggy cereal, it makes me cringe just thinking about it.

Recently I tried something that restored my faith in cereal. If you hate soggy cereal like me you might want to try it, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Instead of adding milk to your cereal add 1/2 cup of Dannon Light and Fit vanilla Greek yogurt. The yogurt only adds 40 calories, 1 cup of the yogurt is 80 calories, and your cereal won't be mushy! Sounds crazy but it really does work!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Be honest. Do you like what you see, or do you immediately start picking out your flaws? Hair that's too dull, zits that won't go away, and boobs that are too small. Why are we so obsessed with outward appearances?

Outward appearance has been something I have and continue to struggle with on a daily basis. I am also guilty of picking out my imperfections in front of the mirror: I don't have perfectly clear skin, I don't own the most fashionable clothes, I don't have the perfect body, and so-and-so is way prettier than I am. All it does though is make me self-conscious and make me feel bad about myself. So why do I still do it?

The media is constantly scrutinizing people and their bodies, especially women. Watch five minutes of Fashion Police and you will hear celebrities get called some harsh names all based on their bodies and what they're wearing. Yes some clothes are more flattering than others, but I think the larger problem is the misconception that we have the right to judge another person solely based on outward appearance. We all do it, but why? 

Is it because the media does it so we think it's ok? It's not ok. Young girls are especially impressionable and when they see their favorite celebrity getting called fat they might think they're fat too. I am a firm believer that the heavy presence of media in our lives is to blame for the exceeding number of eating disorders being diagnosed. Women who are a perfectly healthy weight go to extremes to alter their appearances because someone said they're too fat. That's not right. Why should a person have to measure up to anyone else's standards? 

One of my favorite bible verses that I recite when I am feeling bad about how I look is Psalm 139: 14: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

God made you. You were created by the king of the universe, how unbelievably amazing is that?! He had crafted you and made you look the way you do. To him you are beautiful and loved beyond your wildest dreams.

I know it is easier said than done but other people's opinions should not determine how you feel about yourself. The creator of everything made you the way you are for a reason. Don't listen to anyone who tells you you are anything other than beautiful, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Stop trying to measure up to someone else's standards. Measure up to your own standards. Stand in front of the mirror every morning and tell yourself you are beautiful, because you are.

I am so much more than a few zits or the baggy sweatpants I like to wear. When I am at home I don't wear makeup and I walk around in sweats. I'm ok with that, because that's who I am. Embrace your flaws and stop putting yourself down and allowing others to put you down. Look up to the one who made you instead of looking around to see what others say about you. 

You are beautiful and you are loved. Forget those who tell you anything else.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Fitness Gear!

I love looking at adorable workout gear, but I never buy anything because it's all so expensive! I have a hard time making myself pay twenty dollar for a shirt that I am going to ruin because I will be sweating in it. It just doesn't make sense to me.

I really needed new workout clothes. One of my workout shirts is starting to look a bit like swiss cheese. I have also been having problems with my feet so my mom wanted me to get some new workout shoes. 

I a firm believer in paying more for good workout shoes, especially running because you do not want to mess up your feet. If you mess up your feet in cheap shoes it will cost you more later on to get your feet so always splurge on good workout shoes.

While out shopping for new workout gear I hit the jackpot in sales. One of the first stores I hit up for workout gear is Target. Normally you can find some pretty good sales and they usually have really cute stuff. I found a sports bra and a shirt that whisks the sweat away from you on clearance for $6.48 a piece!

I usually go to a running store or to Finish Line for shoes, but this time I went to Kohls and got a great deal. I must confess I am a hard core Reebok girl. I bought my first pair of Zigtechs when they initially came out and they lasted forever! They are by far the best pair of shoes I have ever owned. I didn't go with Zigtechs this time, but instead went with a lighter cross training shoe. I absolutely love the colors though! 

Lastly, I finally used part of a gift card I had gotten for Christmas and bought a Polar RS300X Heart Rate Monitor Watch. I've only used it a few times and am still trying to decide if I like it or not.

Being a fitness nut it was like Christmas with all my new goodies. I can't wait to use everything! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Break Wrap Up

Spring Break came and went so fast I feel like I hardly had time to do anything. I had six papers to write over spring break, so it's a good thing I didn't go anywhere this year.

I spent spring break at home mostly doing homework, but I got to spend a ton of time with Cora. Cora made sure I payed lots of attention to her, and when she felt like I was paying too much attention to my homework she was quick to refocus my attention. No wonder people are not allowed to bring their pets to work, nothing would ever get done!

One paper in particular I found extremely difficult to write because the professor had given so little guidance on what they wanted. I got so frustrated that I ended up quitting and going to the gym to pound out my frustration on the treadmill. Frustration can be a great motivation at the gym! I cut a minute off my mile, ran my fastest time ever for a 5k, and ran a little extra just because. It took me awhile, but I was finally able to finish my paper- let's all hope the professor likes it!

Aside from homework I did take some time to experiment with new recipes. I posted a few of my new recipes already, so be sure to check them out. The blueberry waffles with strawberry honey glaze is one of my new favorites and definitely worth trying.

I know that it's nothing overly exciting, but that was my spring break. I will be posting a few other simple recipes for you to try that I made over break throughout the week. I think after all that I should get another week off because I had to write all those papers! Wishful thinking I know :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Crockpot Stuffed Greek Chicken

Happy Crockpot Monday! I am excited to be back in action with my crockpot this week. I thought for awhile about what kind of meal to make this week, and with Spring finally around the corner I decided to kick it up a notch, while still keeping it fairly simple. 

If you've never had stuffed Greek chicken you are missing out! It is absolutely delicious. It's the perfect blend of spices and it melts in your mouth. I recreated Greek stuffed chicken for the crockpot to make it even easier for all of us who are busy and don't have time to slave over a stove. 

You will need:
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups organic spinach and kale mix
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • reduced fat feta to taste, can omit if you don't like feta like me
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup organic low sodium chicken broth

Pour chicken broth into the empty crockpot. 

In a mixing bowl combine spinach/kale, bell peppers, oregano, and feta.

Sprinkle chicken breasts with pepper.

Using a knife carefully cut a 4 or 5 inch slit down the center of the chicken breast, do not cut all the way through the chicken.

Stuff chicken with spinach/kale, red pepper, and feta. 

Carefully place chicken breasts in crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3 hours.

If you're not using feta cheese and are using mozzarella or even taco mix cheese, sounds weird but it is good!, five minutes before serving sprinkle cheese over chicken breasts, cover and switch crockpot to high to melt the cheese. 

Check to make sure chicken is fully cooked before serving.

Serve and enjoy! 

Calories: 157
Carbs: 4
Fat: 4 grams
Protein: 29 grams
Sodium: 137mg
Sugar: 4 grams

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Waffles

It's already Sunday, what happened to my spring break?! I finished the last of my six papers last night, so I didn't have much of a spring break. At least I got to go home and spend time with my family and my puppy. I will make an entire spring break post later.

For now I wanted to share with you one of my delicious creations I made over spring break. I had an extra can of pumpkin laying around so I decided to put it to use. I had been researching pumpkin waffles for awhile and wasn't satisfied with what I was finding, so I ending up combining ingredients and substituting others and magically they ended up turning out! I know it's a weird time to be making pumpkin waffles, but come fall you will definitely want to try this recipe!

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice, I used almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Spray waffle maker with non stick spray.

Pour batter onto waffle maker.

Cook until waffles are crispy and golden brown in color.

If you make smaller waffles you can get 6 waffles. If you make bigger waffles you can get 3 or 4. 

Top with fresh blueberries and strawberries and enjoy!

Nutrition (based on 6 waffles):
Calories: 112
Carbs: 21
Fat: 2 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 107mg 
Sugar: 7 grams