Friday, July 31, 2015

Sautéed Kale Sprouts

Oh Trader Joe's how I love thee, oh how I wish there was one closer. I had an appointment that ended up being close to a Trader Joe's, which is always an excuse to go right? I had to pick up my favorite Trader Joe's find...kale sprouts! If you're interested in the macros for the sprouts a picture of the nutrition label is below.

There are so many ways to eat kale sprouts- sautéed, roasted, and this weekend I'm going to try grilling them. Sautéing them is super easy and quick, which makes whipping up a quick week night meal that much easier. 

Sautéed Kale Sprouts
  • 1 bad Trader Joe's Kale Sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon herb seasoning, to taste
  • Greek seasoning, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Spray a skillet with nonstick cook spray and heat to a medium heat.

When the skillet is heated dump the kale sprouts in and lightly drizzle olive oil on top of them. I did not measure the amount of olive oil, but I know it was less than 1/2 Tablespoon. Add in any seasonings you desire.

Allow the sprouts to cook, turning occasionally so they don't burn. 

The sprouts will be done when they are crispy. The easiest way to tell if they're done is to prod one with a fork or taste one. 

It took me less than 10 minutes to cook the sprouts and they were delicious! I heated up leftovers to have with lunch and dinner the next few days and I'm already looking forward to whipping up these bad boys again. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts #12

1. Nothing like the dogs days of summer...bad pun I know :) Cora has been loving the warm weather because it means extra lake time and she never says no to extra lake time. The water has been warm like bathwater and it has been amazing. I could spend all day floating in the lake and Cora would be content to swim and chase her frisbee in the lake all day.

2. I seriously LOVE Trader Joe's. All of their ready made salads look delicious and last week I got a chicken and roasted beet salad. The macros for the salad were really good, I didn't use the dressing (I don't like salad dressing), and it kept me full for a long time. 

3. I also bought kale sprout from Trader Joe's. Kale sprouts are my favorite- shout out to Sam and Amanda for getting me obsessed with them! I am already planning on making a special trip out to Trader Joe's just so I can get some more.

4. Last weekend I made a paleo english muffin and holy moly it was DELICIOUS! I really wasn't expecting it to turn out, but since it did turn out I can't wait to make it as a bunch of other sandwiches. 

5. This week I've gotten to try a bunch of GoMacro bars thanks to my sweet friend Dani (who by the way just had the cutest baby ever!). They have all been really good (I will get a review up soon), but so far my favorite flavor has been the granola and coconut. It tastes like the tropics! 

6. Speaking of trying new things I finally got my hands on bai5! I tried the Molokai Coconut and it's really good! I drank it down by the lake, which was perfect because it was so hot out! I will get a full review up soon! 

Is there any (new) products you've tried recently--thoughts? Have a fantastic Thursday everyone! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Siggi's 4% Review

Happy hump day! It's officially half way through the week so that's always a good thing right? It has been HOT HOT HOT here the past few days and it has been wonderful! Even though I have been at work and not at the lake I will not complain about the heat because there are worse things, like snow (ugh).

Over the weekend I was grocery shopping and found the new Siggi's 4% vanilla yogurt. It was on sale so I had to get it and try it. I am already a fan of Siggi's because it is low in sugar and carbs and high in protein- always a win in my books and it tastes great. The 4% does contain more calories, 120, versus the regular Siggi's that has 100 calories.

The 4% didn't disappoint. It is very thick and creamy, but taste wise I didn't notice much difference from the regular Siggi's, maybe it's just me. Vanilla is vanilla in my world. Yes I enjoyed the thickness and creaminess of the yogurt, but I guess I was expecting a little more from it. Don't get me wrong its very tasty and I do recommend it, but I think you'd be just as satisfied with the regular Siggi's (and save a few cents in the process). 

Either way it's definitely a delicious snack to beat the heat! I love topping mine with fresh summer fruit like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meal Prep: Spring Rolls

What an absolutely picture perfect weekend! Why did it have to end so fast?! It was sunny, upper 80's, and there was a light breeze so it was literally the PERFECT summer weekend! This whole week is supposed to be gorgeous and I am looking forward to getting out to the lake after work this week. Shouldn't it be against the law to work when it's absolutely gorgeous outside? Now that would be epic!

I was antsy to get outside this morning and didn't want to waste any time on meal prep. I've seen spring rolls all over pintrest and instagram and had to give them a try- plus they looked quick and easy. The thing that took the longest to do was cutting up all the veggies and even then that didn't take overly long. It's a quick and easy meal for lunch or dinner that is packed with veggies and bursting with flavor.

Spring Rolls
  • 8 spring roll rice paper (found in the international aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1/2 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot or about 8 baby carrots, peeled
  • 1/3-1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2-2/3 cup organic romaine and spring mix lettuce
  • 4 4oz chicken breasts, grilled and cut in half

The first thing I did was grill the chicken. I turned the grill on high, let it heat up and then cooked the chicken breasts about 6 minutes on each side. Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. 

Allow the chicken breasts to cool and then cut them in half. S

While the chicken is cooling prepare the veggies.

To get the rice paper useable run on sheet of the paper under warm water (you don't want hot, but you don't want cold) for 15 seconds. You can fill a bowl with warm water if prefer, but I found running it under water in the sink to be easier.

Gently pat the rice paper dry with a towel- don't use paper towel the rice paper will stick to it. 

Place the prepared rice paper on a cutting board (I don't recommend wood because it tends to stick to the wood). 

Fill the rice paper with lettuce, shredded carrot, red bell pepper, red cabbage, avocado, and half of one chicken breast. You can shred the chicken if you prefer. 

Gently fold one side of the rice paper up and over the fillings, then gently pull the other side over the filling so it overlaps the first side. Don't pull on the rice paper or it will rip.

Fold the ends of the roll up (like a burrito) so the veggies don't fall out. Fold it up and press it down on top of the roll. 

Repeat with remaining ingredients until all the spring rolls are prepared. Keep rolls stored in airtight container in the fridge. 

I'm no spring roll expert, but I love all the fresh veggies and I love that it's quick and easy to prepare.

*Nutrition information will vary depending on the brand of rice paper used and the amount of veggies used. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pennsylvania Road Trip Part 2: Things to do in Pittsburgh

I already shared a little bit from my road trip to Pittsburgh to see Sam and Amanda, but I wanted to share a bit more, specifically things to do in the area. Pittsburgh is a great city and there is a TON to do, most of which is free or relatively inexpensive. 

Before I left I had a few things I knew I wanted to do, namely see Consol Energy Center (GO PENS!) and visit Mt. Washington. I lucked out with an absolutely beautiful (and very hot) weekend in Pittsburgh. If you plan on visiting in the winter you may want to reconsider things to do as gallivanting across the city in snow wouldn't be overly pleasant, but for summer it was perfect! 

1. Duquesne Incline. The incline takes you up to Mt. Washington and gives you a panoramic and absolutely breathtaking view of the city. The incline is two cable cars that go up one VERY steep hill and on the way up and down you get to enjoy the beautiful city skyline. The incline is $2.50 each way and $5 round trip. You can buy a round trip ticket but you need exact change to buy a ticket. They do have a change machine, but there was a line to use it so I would recommend having exact change beforehand. This would be a great activity to do with kids because they would love the view and the ride!

2. Mt. Washington lookout- the views are FREE!! This is literally the most beautiful view of the city ever! I could have stayed up there all day gazing out at the skyline, but it was WAY too hot to do so (it was already 85F at 10:30am) and I wanted to go explore downtown. The view really is incredible and there is a binocular stand for kids (I think it cost a quarter to use). Plus, if you took the incline the building at the top has tons of interesting articles and artifacts that tell the history of the city and the incline. 

3. Cathedral of Learning on Pitt campus. The cathedral of learning is absolutely massive and the artistry is incredible! You can walk around the Pitt campus and can't miss the cathedral, trust me. You get in for FREE (I don't think this is something little kids would be overly interested in though). The building is actually used for classes and looks like something out of Harry Potter. There are different classrooms, the German room, French room, etc that are all ornately decorated. Some of the rooms were locked when we were in there, but we still got to see a number of rooms and they were beautiful! 

4. Consol Energy Center. Of course this has to be included on the list! Even though it's July and there isn't any hockey I had to see the arena. It's gorgeous outside and I can only imagine how awesome it is inside. If you're in town during hockey season definitely catch a Penguins game- they're an incredible team and the new arena is top notch. During the off season check out the arena's event calendar because there are tons of concerts and other events that happen there too. 

5. Drive around! It's free to look, so the only thing you have to pay for is gas. Pittsburgh has a zillion bridges and each one is different. I'm sure kids would enjoy counting how many bridges you pass over and they would like looking at how different they all are. I also like driving around in a city because sometimes you happen upon places you never knew existed.

6. Walk around downtown. Totally FREE the only thing needed are your two legs and a good pair of shoes. I loved how everything was in walking distance in Pittsburgh. If walking isn't your cup of tea you can rent bikes and explore the city. There are a TON of statues in the city honoring various famous people from history. It was cool to read the monuments and learn about the people.

7. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This is an absolute MUST in Pittsburgh! The gardens are gorgeous and there is a butterfly house! Inside is broken up into different areas and each area has its unique flowers and vegetation. There are maps (totally free!) to guide you and staff members around in case you get turned around or have questions. I roamed around the gardens for about 2 hours because there is so much to see. If you have kids there is outdoor gardens with play areas for kids- there are sandboxes and different activities set up for them. 

The outdoor gardens were bursting with a variety of flowers and decorated with statues. There were also lots of benches under trees incase you needed to rest or wanted to sit and have a snack.

One of my favorite rooms in the gardens was the orchid room. I don't know the first thing about flowers, but I like looking at them! All the flowers are have signs that tell what they are and a little about them. (and no this photo is not retouched or photoshopped at all, isn't is pretty!?!)

I also really liked the tropical room in the gardens. There were so many colorful plants I had never seen before that I could have spent all day there photographing them. Sadly I only had a few hours before closing or I would have spent way longer. 

The butterfly house was AWESOME! There were butterflies everywhere and some even landed on people if they held still enough. There were families with kids, couples, and singles wandering around, but it wasn't crowded (even for a Saturday afternoon). 

Last picture from the botanical gardens I promise! I have a ton of pictures from there though because everything was so gorgeous- who doesn't enjoy butterflies and pretty flowers? If you want to see more you'll have to go and check it out for yourself!

Phipps is open 9:30-5pm Monday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday and on Friday they are open until 10pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for students with school ID, $11 for kids 2-18 and kids under 2 are free. Tickets are pricey, but this was my favorite thing to do (by far!) in Pittsburgh. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out. For more information about the gardens click here.

These are only a few of the things there are to do in Pittsburgh. It's a beautiful city and I had an absolute blast exploring it, I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Thoughts #11

1. I have been missing my little slice of Pittsburgh this week. I miss waking up and eating breakfast on the porch while watching the sunrise. It was so peaceful and literally the perfect way to start the day.

2. Although I was sad to leave the 'burgh I was very happy to be reunited with Cora <3 there is nothing like puppy kisses and snuggles to make you feel at home!

3. Of course I've been missing these two beautiful ladies! Sam and Amanda were so gracious to spend time showing me around beautiful Pittsburgh, not to mention it was Sam's birthday! I will forever be thankful for their friendship and definitely plan on going back to visit, and hopefully one day they will come to the mitten state!

4. I LOVE SURPRISES!!! I came home Monday to the sweetest package from my sweet friend Dani (a fellow foodie). It was loaded with GoMacro bars, which I haven't been able to try so I'm super excited, plus it had a wild friends packet, and a gorgeous pair of earrings!! I am so thankful to have such amazing friends <3

5. "Trust in the LORD with all your heat and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will makes your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

This verse has been on my mind a lot lightly, especially as I reflect on the ending of my internship and the what will soon be the end of my college career. It's scary how fast life can pass you by, but at the same time I am really excited to see what the Lord has in store for the future.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wink Frozen Dessert Review

I love trying new products, especially when they are healthy products. I see a lot of delicious products on instagram and I want to go out and buy them all (and then I'd be very very broke).

Wink was one of the products that kept popping up in my instagram feed. A lot of my vegan and food allergy friends kept raving about it and I definitely wanted to try it, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Well, I finally found it at an organic market (the same place I found Elli Quark) and knew I had to try it- and no this is not a sponsored post, I paid for it with my own money!

The first thing I noticed was there were a lot more flavors of Wink than there was of Arctic Zero. The flavors are different too, there's cake batter, cocoa dough, etc. Again it is pricey, so it's not something I would ever buy on a regular basis because I'm a broke college student. 

As for the taste and consistency, it tasted very similar to Arctic Zero. The texture was the same too. Macro wise Wink has a bite more carbs than Arctic Zero, but the two are very comparable. Allergy wise its free of the top 7 allergies, seen in the above photo, and it's vegan. 

Overall, I would give cocoa dough a 8.5/10. If you're expecting it to be exactly like ice cream it's not. The texture is different and it's not as creamy, but if you're looking for a healthy alternative then this is right on the money. 

I would definitely recommend Wink if you've got a sweet tooth or are looking for a healthy snack, but it is almost $5 a container, so it's pricey (be warned!). As a special treat I'd be willing to pick it up and for all food allergy people out there there are options for healthy desserts or snacks :) 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pennsylvania Road Trip Part 1

My Pennsylvania road trip was a success! I won't post everything, because it would probably bore you, but I want to share some highlights. I will break up to post into places to eat, things to do, and other randomness.

I arrived late afternoon on Thursday and hit rush hour traffic, which wasn't pleasant after enduring HOURS of Ohio turnpike construction.

Friday afternoon I ventured out to the grocery store, Giant Eagle, and let me tell you that place is AWESOME!! They have the best salad bar I've ever seen! I piled everything I could into the container and had to press rather hard to get it to close :) This is salad had romaine lettuce and kale topped with red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, mini corns, banana peppers, fennel, red grapes, blueberries, hard boiled egg, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, orange tomatoes (so good!) and I know there's more but I can't remember!

By far the BEST find of the trip was Wild Friends Nut Butters (my favorite!). I can't have the pretzels in the peanut butter (shoutout to my best friend who picks them out and eats them and I eat the peanut butter aka epic teamwork), but the peanut butter is out of this world yummy!! Of course I couldn't leave without my all time favorite vanilla espresso almond butter!!

Friday Sam and Amanda were showing me around the different neighborhoods of Pittsburgh when we happened upon Salud Juicery in Shadyside. It was an adorable cafe of sorts and I would be there all the time if I lived in the area!

Their menu is chalk full of all sorts of delicious juices, smoothies, and AÇAI BOWLS!! I introduced Sam and Amanda to açai bowl- it wasn't as thick or rich as they are in Hawaii, but for a nontropical location it was delicious! The cafe was really cute and cozy. 

They had a really cool wall where you could write something you want to do before you die. I liked reading what other people put, can you guess which one I wrote? Sam came over and immediately said she knew which one was mine- I'm fairly predictable ;) If you're in the Pittsburgh area I highly recommend checking out Salad Juciery. 

After a full day of exploring on Friday Sam and Amanda took me to Trader Joe's!! I know it's weird to get excited about going to a grocery store, but I don't have a Trader Joe's near me so it was fun to explore and see all the delicious things they had. 

Sam and Amanda were so sweet and cooked dinner after shopping and it was majorly yummy!! I finally got to try kale sprouts- SO GOOD. Amanda grilled chicken, it was perfectly cooked, and Sam maned the sautéed zucchini and kale sprouts. Amanda topped the chicken with pesto and I had never had pesto before so I tried it too and she was right, it's really good!

Saturday was beyond HOT, it was flat out miserable. It was one of those days when food just doesn't even sound appealing because it's so hot. The three of us had lunch downtown while out exploring and for dinner I picked up a small salad from Giant Eagle salad bar. The salad had romaine and mixed green lettuces, beets, grapes, blueberries, banana peppers, red bell pepper, a little bit of egg, and a few small chunks of chicken. 

I'm not a snacker, but it was so hot that I needed something cold. I found a new flavor of yoplait greek whips when I was getting my salad so I had to try it. It was really good! It tasted like summer because it was fruity and light, making it the perfect snack to cool down.

Sunday morning I had the usual oats before heading out bright and early to drive home. Pittsburgh definitely has some great restaurants and lots of yummy food, but my favorite part was all the places I got to explore. I can't wait to share more of my adventure with you!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meal Prep: 3 Ingredient Crockpot Chili

Happy Monday!! I am so sad the weekend is over!! I was finally able to visit Sam and Amanda in Pittsburgh and it was so much fun exploring the city and just hanging out with them- and can we please talk about how adorable their dog Layla is!?! Puppy kisses galore! I was missing Cora so having Layla as company definitely made up for lost puppy kisses :) 

I travelled home Sunday and jumped right back to work today, but I will try to get a Pittsburgh recap up soon! The next time I visit I want it to be hockey season so I can see my Pittsburgh Penguins play! Before I get to the food I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Sam and Amanda for being such gracious hosts and showing me around!

Anyway, onto the food. After running around when I got home I knew I needed something for meal prep this week. Even though it's hot out the crockpot seemed to be the logical answer to a quick and easy meal, which we all know I am ALL about! This is a super basic chili recipe- only 3 ingredients and then you can use any seasonings you desire.  

3 Ingredient Crockpot Chili
  • 14.5 oz can organic dark red kidney beans, partially drained
  • 14.5 oz can organic petite diced tomatoes (no salt added) with green chili's
  • 1 container (20 oz.) extra lean ground turkey
  • OPTIONAL: seasonings of choice

Put the turkey on the bottom of the crockpot.

Partially drain the red kidney beans- you still want some liquid left in them. Dump the beans on top of the ground turkey.

Pour the petite diced tomatoes into the crockpot, do not drain the tomatoes! 

Finally if you want to add any seasonings in add those in. I added in 1 heaping Tablespoon of chili powder, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of ground black pepper.

Cover the crockpot and turn on high for 4 hours or low for up to 10 hours. I turned the crockpot on in the morning before I left for work and came back over 10 hours later (after 10 hours the crockpot turns itself to warm), the house smelt AMAZING, and dinner was done! Just be sure to stir the chili before serving. 

What I love about this "recipe" (if three ingredients can be called a recipe) is it is so customizable. You can add in any other ingredients or spices that you'd like. After the chili was done I added in more chili powder and stirred it in until I was satisfied. 

Nutrition per serving (makes 4 one cup servings):
MACROS: 19C/10F/33P
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 317
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10 g15 %
Saturated Fat 3 g16 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 100 mg33 %
Sodium 355 mg15 %
Potassium 0 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 19 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 7 g28 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 33 g66 %
Vitamin A11 %
Vitamin C20 %
Calcium11 %
Iron21 %

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Seven #8

I have been slacking off of my Sunday Seven posts for awhile and that needs to change! Before I head home from my weekend in PA I wanted to share my favorites from this week..

1. Happy National Ice Cream Day!! Yup it is seriously a holiday and best of all this year your puppies can get in on the actions! PetSmart PetsHotel locations are giving away free doggie safe ice cream TODAY at all locations, all you have to do is bring your dog in! There are no strings attached at all, just simple and pure ice cream goodness, plus it's a great way for your pup to cool off from this summer heat! Find a PetSmart PetsHotel location here

2. This was my favorite week day surprise! Triple layer chocolate piñata cake because birthdays are supposed to be celebrated! I made this bad boy for a coworkers birthday and just seeing the look on everybody's faces when they saw the cake was filled with M&M's (an office favorite) made it worthwhile. Making other people smile with something as simple as baking makes my heart so full <3

3. Wink frozen desserts! I finally found it and was able to give it a try (I will get a review up sometime this week). There were a lot more flavors than arctic zero, plus its totally allergen friendly, and topped with San Clemente Cookie Dough Brownie No Frownie (use code RACHAELMINER for 10% off your order!) It was a relaxing snack and totally macro friendly!

4. Elli Quark. I posted my review of two of the flavors on Friday (no it was NOT a sponsored post), and I really was surprised by how good it was. It's much thicker than regular greek yogurt and there is WAY more protein. Definitely a good once in awhile treat because it is a bit expensive.

5. PENNSYLVANIA!! I MADE IT TO PITTSBURGH!! WHOOP WHOOP!! The drive felt like it took forever, shout out to Ohio who has MILES of the Ohio Turnpike closed and not a worker in sight...UGH. But I made it and I love it! Sam and Amanda have been nothing short of amazing as hosts! They have showed me around the beautiful city, we've shopped, eaten delicious food, and had tons of laughs! These girls are such a blessing in my life and I am very sad to leave :(

6. Another reason I'm sad to leave Pittsburgh is this view in the morning while eating breakfast. I have been enjoying breakfast while watching the sunrise here and it's so peaceful. I will definitely be back, hopefully during hockey season to see the Penguins play, but I also miss my puppy! 

7. WILD FRIENDS NUT BUTTERS! Ok so maybe I'll just have Cora shipped out to Pittsburgh because I can buy Wild Friends here! I wanted to buy a giant case of it so I could take it home, but I think it would get too melty in the car driving home- major sad face :(

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone! Get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather :)