Monday, June 30, 2014

Healthy Cookie Dough Parfait

Sometimes the summer heat just gets to me. It was already 77 degrees at 5 AM and over 90% humidity, YUCK! By the time lunch rolled around the heat had sapped my energy and my appetite. 

I didn't want a heavy meal, it was just simply too hot for it. I don't believe in skipping meals, so I whipped up a light parfait. The parfait had a great balance of protein while still maintaining a great flavor that's perfect for a light summer lunch!

Healthy Cookie Dough Parfait
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon KIND Granola Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flax Seeds
  • 1 Cookie Dough Quest Bar cut into chunks

Layer in greek yogurt and berries and repeat one more time.

On the top of the second layer of the berries add 3 tablespoons of greek yogurt.

Top with granola and cut up Cookie Dough Quest Bar.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Workout

On Sunday's I opt out of my normal pedal to the metal cardio and go for a lighter workout to give my body a bit of a rest. I don't feel good when I don't workout, which is why I designed this light workout so I can still get moving in the morning and not feel icky later.

The moves are a combination of different workout challenges that engage all muscle groups and work to strengthen muscles while building lean muscle. This workout should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete. If you do these moves 3-4 times a week in addition to regular cardio and strength training you will begin to see a pleasant change in your body, I know I have! And if you're up for a real challenge at the start of each week up the rep count of each move by 10-15 and increase plank time by 20-30 seconds.

Sunday Regimen 
  • Tricep Kickbacks 15 reps x2
  • Shoulder Fly 15 reps x2
  • Weighted Arm Raise 15 reps x2
  • Bicep Curl and Press 15 reps x2
  • Reverse Plank 30 seconds x2
  • 25 Sit Ups
  • 50 Crunches
  • 8 Core Leg Raises
  • 8 Leg Raises to each side (8 to the left and 8 to the right)
  • 25 Squats
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 30 second plank x2

Apricot Mushroom Summer Salad

My apologies as this post will be rather short and the photos are not the best. I threw together a really quick salad that was really good and perfectly sweet for summer that I wanted to share.

Apricot Mushroom Summer Salad
  • 3 small apricots, sliced
  • 2 cups organic spring mix lettuce
  • 1/3 cup bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 1/6 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried tart cherries
  • 1 teaspoon dried coconut 
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced and grilled
  • 1 veggie burger, cooked and cut into chunks

Arrange salad and toppings on plate. 

Heat grill to 400 degrees. Spray portobello mushroom cap with nonstick cook spray so it won't stick to grill.

Grill mushroom cap on each side until tender, about five minutes on each side.

Once mushroom is cooked, remove from grill, slice up and throw on top of salad. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chicken Marsala For Two (Low Sugar, Low Carb)

Happy Saturday! Wow it is warm here which made for the perfect lake day. It was so nice to relax and simply float on the lake without a care in the world. Sadly the sky started getting really dark and a storm started to brew so my lazy lake day came to an end.

Fortunately it was almost dinner time and I whipped up a healthy and quick one pan meal. I am all about easy meals in the summer and the less cleanup the better. I don't think you should have to sacrifice a healthy meal for a quick meal. This meal is full of flavor and it's still healthy! 

Chicken Marsala For Two
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 ounces organic baby bella sliced mushrooms
  • pinch of freshly grated ginger
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup organic low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or 1/3 cup white wine vinegar diluted with water just over 1/2 cup

Heat olive oil in a large skillet to a medium heat. 

Add chicken and brown on both sides, do not cook chicken all the way through.

Remove browned chicken and set aside, about 4 minutes.

Add mushrooms and garlic into pan. Sauté mushrooms until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Place chicken back in pan with mushrooms. Pour in chicken broth and wine or vinegar/water.

Allow the liquid and chicken to simmer until chicken is cooked all the way through. This allows both the chicken and mushrooms to absorb the most flavor, mine took about 8 minutes but time will vary based on your cooktop. 

Check to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through, the juices will run clear when the chicken is done. 

Serve over rice, noodles or baked spaghetti squash. 

Nutrition (per serving):
Calories: 143
Carbs: 6
Fats: 6 grams
Protein: 21 grams
Sodium: 101 mg
Sugars: 2 grams

Friday, June 27, 2014

Blueberry Banana Quest Bar Crumble

I promised you a delicious recipe today and here I am to deliver! There is so much summer fruit in season and I am loving it. I probably eat way too much fruit, but at least fruit is better than eating other foods right?

Anyway, this recipe is so simple and it makes a great post-workout meal. It is loaded with protein which will help keep you full longer and it is oh so tasty! It's the perfect combination of sweet and healthy so you don't have to have to feel guilt eating it!

Blueberry Banana Quest Bar Crumble
  • 1/2 heaping cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • small handful blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon prepared PB2 or Trader Joe's Cookie Butter
  • 1 Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar cut into chunks

Scoop greek yogurt into a bowl. 

Arrange banana slices and blueberries on top of greek yogurt.

Spread Quest Bar chunks throughout the bowl.

On a microwave safe tablespoon measure out prepared PB2 or Trader Joe's Cookie Butter. Microwave for 15 seconds, until the peanut butter or cookie butter is more of a liquid syrup.

Drizzle peanut butter or cookie butter over top of all ingredients in bowl and ENJOY!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy Thursday!

It is such a beautiful day and I couldn't be happier! This morning after going to the gym I made a trip to one of my favorite stores: 

Yup, I went to Trader Joe's. I picked up a few ingredients for an absolutely delicious recipe that I will share with you tomorrow. Just for fun I'll give you a hint- it's a healthy sweet that you can eat for a meal or a treat and it may involve a Quest...

Speaking of quests after Trader Joe's I stopped in to The Vitamin Shoppe and picked up a few Quest Bars. I got the coconut cashew, vanilla almond crunch and cinnamon roll. I am beyond stoked to try each and every flavor! I already have so many ideas for new and delicious ways to enjoy Quest Bars.

I also picked up a sample packet of Vega protein powder. I've had their protein before, but i wanted to try the sport version. I love that it is a plant based product and not manufactured ingredients.  

Look at the nutrition facts! Those are some facts I can happily stand behind. After I try it I will post a review of my thoughts.

I also picked up a Chia Bar by Health Warrior at the Vitamin Shoppe. I have heard really good things about them and I thought it would make a great snack. It's only 100 calories and has a decent amount of fiber and is lower in sugar. 

After doing my running around and helping my mom unload groceries I was hungry for lunch. I didn't want a heavy meal because it's too warm out for something heavy and I had to go to the dentist later on. SO, I used one slice of Udi's gluten free bread, two tablespoons of PB2 and half a banana I made a sandwich. With it I had a cup of cherries and 1/2 cup greek yogurt with KIND Granola. 

Be sure to check back tomorrow because I am beyond excited about the recipe I have to share with you!! I hope you can get out and enjoy the sunshine on this beautiful Thursday afternoon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lake Days

Lake days are my favorite days and Sunday was the perfect lake day. The sun was out, the temperature was near perfect and not a rain cloud was in sight! After all the hard work of getting the boat ready my dad and I enjoyed the fruits of our labor and went out for a boat ride, we even took Cora with us.

Cora was terrified of the boat last year, but she did much better this time around. She was still scared, but when we stopped the boat she came out from hiding, sniffed around and explored. Before Cora I had a dog who LOVED the boat, so it's hard having Cora be so scared of the boat. Anyone have any tips that could help us get her to like the boat?

I NEVER take selfies, but nothing like a boating selfie! The breeze made helped keep us cool on the lake. No makeup and a messy bun, but who cares?! It's summer! 

My go to snack, which is perfect for the beach, has been apple chips. I found them at Kroger when I was there over the weekend and they are addicting! I also love that they're made in Michigan. The company's website is if you're interested in checking them out- I highly recommend you do they are amazing!

I seriously adore this picture! After coming back from our boat ride Cora went to the end of the dock and was investigating the boat, it was so cute! It gives me hope that one day she will like going on the boat. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Quest Bar Brownie Bowl

I'm going to make a conscious effort to not overload you with delicious Quest Bar recipes. With that being said my awesome brother did get me a variety pack which has a number of different flavors that I am excited to try.

Yesterday I tried my first Quest Bar and I fell in love. It was amazing!! Adding it on top of an already delicious parfait was icing on the cake. If you have a favorite Quest Bar recipe do share, I'd love to try it!

Quest Bar Brownie Bowl
  • 3/4 cup Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • small handful of blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons KIND Granola- cinnamon oat clusters with flax
  • 1 Quest Chocolate Brownie Bar, cut into chunks

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunny Summer Birthday

I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who sent me birthday messages and wishes yesterday! Thank you so much, you sure know how to make a girl feel special!!

I wish I could say I did something crazy exciting for my birthday, but I really didn't. Maybe I am getting older and lamer? Yesterday was a beautiful day for the first day of summer. I spent most of the day helping my dad clean our boat to get it launched, I warned you it wasn't exciting! 

After finally launching the boat and getting the trailer back to storage I felt like a smoothie. My dad and I went up to Panera Bread and I got the low fat mango smoothie. I was so disappointed to find out they cut their smoothie menu WAY back. They only offer two smoothies now, talk about disappointing!

Anyway, on to the exciting part. My brother is totally awesome, and even though I told him not to get me anything for my birthday he did. Guess what he got me!?!

That's right, he got me a variety pack of Quest Bars! I told you he was an amazing brother! I've never had a Quest Bar, but everyone I know raves about them, so I'm super pumped to jump on the Quest bar band wagon! I apologize in advance if I post a ton of Quest Bar recipes.

I cannot wait to try all the flavors. I really don't know how I will choose which to try first...decisions, decisions...

Thanks again for making me feel loved on my birthday and I hope you can get out in the sunshine and enjoy the rest of the weekend! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cinnamon Banana Muffins

My freezer is bursting with delicious muffins and I feel no shame. The rain won't seem to stop, which means I have been on a baking spree. Lately I have been experimenting with muffins. 

I must tell you I have made a LOT of muffins in my day, but these muffins made my house smell better than anything I've ever baked. It was a sweet cinnamon smell and it was making my mouth water. As delicious as these muffins smell they taste even better!

  • 1 cup whole wheat OR gluten free flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (can omit this if desired)
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, about two large bananas
  • 1/4 heaping cup organic or regular honey
  • 1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup diced peaches, fresh or frozen- if using frozen 

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, chia seeds, baking powder and baking soda. 

Once all the dry ingredients are combined add in mashed banana, vanilla extract, honey, applesauce and the egg.

Do not over mix the batter. After the batter is formed add in the peaches if desired. Pour batter into muffins pan. Makes 12 muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Check the muffins with a toothpick at 20 minutes to see if they're done. If they're not done bake for an additional 5 minutes. 

Allow muffins to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or in a Ziploc bag for freezing.

Nutrition Information (for one muffin):
Calories: 89 calories
Carbs: 19 
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 3 grams
Sodium: 224 mg
Sugar: 9 grams

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life is Good

All these rainy gloomy days have made for good baking days, but I am missing the sunshine! Last night I posted a picture on instagram of the blueberry chia seed muffins I made and I had a few requests for the recipe. I have both a gluten full and gluten free version posted in the recipe index, but I will post it again to make life easier.

Blueberry Chia Seed Muffins
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour OR gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned or steel cut oats (GF)
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup blueberries- fresh or frozen (I used a combination of both)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk, any kind
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed- should equate to 1 cup

In a small bowl combine chia seeds and milk. Allow to sit and thicken. 

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients first- GF flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

Once the dry ingredients are mixed together add in the wet ingredients- egg, vanilla, safflower oil, mashed banana, and thickened milk/chia seed mixture. Make sure everything is completely mixed.

After a batter forms add in blueberries and chocolate chips. If you don't like blueberries strawberries work well too and are just as good! 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with aluminum tins- DON'T USE PAPER TINS! The batter is sticky and makes getting the paper tins off muffins a nightmare. So unless you feel like eating paper do yourself a favor and us aluminum! 

Pour batter into tins. It will make 12 large muffins, or 18 smaller muffins.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffins comes out clean. 

These muffins freeze great! I usually make a giant batch to keep me a couple weeks. If you're going to freeze the muffins allow them to cool completely and then place in a gallon ziploc bag or airtight container in the freezer. Just remember to peel off aluminum muffin tin before microwaving! 

The crummy weather forced me to do my entire workout inside at the gym. When the weather is nice I like to do the cardio portion of my workout outside. This morning I laced up my sneakers and hit the treadmill for a run. After running I walked to cool down and then hit the weights for half an hour.

After hitting the gym and the grocery store on the way home I treated myself. I love almond milk so when I saw dark chocolate almond milk I knew I had to try it! Normally I do not like chocolate milk- it's too sugary and gives me a really bad stomachache, but this didn't! And OH MY GOSH IT WAS GOOD! I'm basically chugged the entire thing. I highly recommend trying dark chocolate almond milk!

Cora has not been liking being cooped up in the house all day with the rain. She loves her stuffed bear, currently her favorite toy, but she is getting more than a little stir crazy with all this rain.

Tuesday I posted my favorite creation of all time healthy banana split and I really didn't think it could get any better, but it did! Hard to believe I know. 

I made a smaller version today, only using half of a large banana, but I smeared PB2 on both slices of the banana. I still used 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, granola and chocolate chips. I did not add the cherries because I opted for a nectarine instead.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Single Dish Dinner: Chicken and Quinoa

I am all about quick and healthy meals. What's even better than a healthy meal that takes 30 minutes to prepare and cook? A meal that is made entirely in a single pan! That's right. I used one pan for the entire meal and let me tell you it made clean up a breeze!

The one piece of advice I do have for you is you will want to use 3 or 4 chicken breasts for this meal. I only had two breasts on hand, so there was a lot of quinoa/rice for only two breasts, but I just saved it and heated the extras up throughout the week with other food. 

Chicken and Quinoa
  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 10.5 ounce organic diced tomatoes
  • oregano to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup organic low sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa blend with jasmine rice
Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add olive oil and chicken breasts. Sprinkle chicken breasts with pepper if desired. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides.

Once chicken has browned on both sides, it will not and should not be cooked all the way through, remove and set on a plate to the side. 

In the same skillet reduce the heat to a medium low heat and sauté the onion until lightly brown.

After the onion is browned add in the diced tomatoes, quinoa/rice blend, chicken broth and add the chicken back into the skillet. Return to a medium heat.

Cover the skillet and allow the chicken to cook and the quinoa to absorb the liquid in the pan. Cook for 12 minutes.

Check the chicken to ensure doneness, the juices will run clear when the chicken is done. Most the liquid should be absorbed by the quinoa and it should be tender. If it is not done cover and allow to cook for an additional 3 minutes and check again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Healthy Banana Split

I just died and went to food heaven, seriously! Banana splits are a summertime favorite for many, but they aren't exactly healthy. Inspired by the crazy heat we are currently having I created a healthy version of a banana spilt and...OH MY GOODNESS! It was so delicious (and completely guilt free) I felt no shame eating it for lunch. 

I could rave about it for a long time, but I think you should make it and try the deliciousness for yourself! If you make the healthy banana split take a picture of it, post it on Instagram and tag me @rachael_miner I want to see your photos!

Healthy Banana Split
  • 1 small banana, sliced in half
  • 4 strawberries, sliced in half
  • small handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Dannon light and fit vanilla greek yogurt
  • a few KIND granola clusters broken apart
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup cherries

Slice the banana in half and place on a plate. Scoop greek yogurt between the banana slices.

Place strawberries slices on top of banana slices. Drop blueberries on top of strawberries and banana and on the yogurt.

Break granola clusters apart and sprinkle on top. Sprinkle chocolate chips across the top. 

Finally line cherries on either side of the banana and enjoy!

Loaded Oreo Brownie Bars

A few days ago I posted a recipe for loaded oreo cookie bars. The recipe was a major hit with my friends and family- the bars were the first item gone at a recent potluck. 

Since the bars were such a big hit I thought why not make a brownie version of them? The brownie version was an even bigger hit!! I found the brownies are moister than their cookie counter parts, but I was told they are equally delicious. You will have to make them and be the judge on this one! 

Loaded Oreo Brownie Bars

  • 1/2 package Oreo's (any kind), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup M&M's
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Hershey's special dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8x8 pan with nonstick cook spray.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder.

After dry ingredients are combine add in safflower oil, vanilla and the eggs. Thoroughly combine.

Once a batter has formed add in the chopped Oreo's. I have found that actually cutting the oreo's with a knife takes a long time and is extremely messy. An easy way I found to do it was put all the Oreo's in a large Ziploc bag and break them apart with your hands. The mess is contained in the bag and the contents of the bag are easily dumped into the batter.

Fold Oreo pieces into brownie batter.

Dump batter into greased 8x8 pan. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula evenly spread out the batter in the pan.

Finally, take 1/2 cup of M&M's and spread them over top of the batter. Using the same spoon or rubber spatula gently press M&M's into the batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. The edges will begin to pull away from pan when the brownies are done. Always check bars with a toothpick to ensure doneness- the toothpick will come out clean (or have a few crumbles on it from add ins) when it is done.

Allow the brownies to completely cool before cutting, otherwise they will crumble. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Yesterday was one of those days when I just wasn't overly hungry, but I wanted something sweet.

I love baking sweet treats for other people, but sugary foods make me really sick so I can't eat them. Instead of loading up on sugary treats that would cause me to get sick later I simply threw in 1.5 teaspoons of chocolate chips into my oatmeal. I know it sounds weird, but it cured my fix and it was actually really good with the fruit.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup GF steel cut oats, cooked according to directions
  • 1/3 cup Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1.5 teaspoons chocolate chips

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Raw Granola

Happy Sunday! Granola is a favorite of mine, but I like to switch it up. Instead of making a baked granola I decided to make a raw granola and it was delicious!

  • 1 1/4 cup oats, any kind
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup mixed raisins and chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

In a bowl combine oats and sliced almonds. 

In a separate bowl pour honey and coconut oil. Microwave until coconut oil is melted, about 45 seconds. Use a spoon and stir together.

Use a rubber spatula and pour honey/oil mixture onto oats and almonds mixture. Once combine add in raisins/chocolate chips mixture and toss with rubber spatula until combine. 

Allow to cool and harden into clusters.

I served mine over greek yogurt and it was delicious- it added a great flavor!