Monday, August 31, 2015

Meal Prep: Pecan Crusted Chicken

Didn't summer just start? How in the world is it already time to go back to school?! I am so not ready for classes today :( Let's push rewind on summer and make it June 1st again, sound good? Yeah, I thought so. 

Now if only I could really do that that would be AMAZING! Sadly, I have to drag my butt to classes and get back to real life, but only for a semester because I'm graduating early!! WHOOP WHOOP!!! Anyway, back to school means back to meal prep. I took last week off from meal prep because I found a stash of turkey veggie meatballs and grilled turkey burgers in the freezer- score! So my lazy butt didn't have to cook all week :)

This week I wanted to try something I've only ever had in restaurants- pecan crusted chicken. I like pecans and they're one of a few nuts that I can eat raw (long story). Normally the chicken is coated in some kind of breadcrumbs (not gluten free) but I wanted to keep everything super simple. No breadcrumbs, no crazy ingredients, in fact you'll only need 4 ingredients and whatever spices your heart desires for this drool worthy chicken.

Pecan Crusted Chicken
  • 1/3 cup pecan chips
  • 2 Tablespoons almond flour, or gluten free all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons egg whites, whisked
  • 1lb chicken tenders
  • 1/3 cup PLUS 1/4 cup pecan chips

Lay out three small/medium mixing bowls.

Preheat oven to 40F degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil or a baking mat and spray with nonstick cook spray.

In a food processor or blender pulse 1/3 cup pecan chips until a bit of flour is formed. You don't want to pulse it too long or a greasy nut butter will form and that's what you DON'T want.

In the first mixing bowl dump empty the pecan chips/flour from the food processor. Mix in 2 Tablespoons almond flour and any seasonings you like (it will look like the photo above). Often pecan crusted chicken has paprika, but I didn't have any on hand so I threw in some ground black pepper and a few other things I had on hand.

In the second mixing bowl whisk 3 Tablespoons egg whites until they are foamy and set aside.

In the third mixing bowl place 1/3 cup PLUS 1/4 cup pecan chips. 

Using your hands or a fork (I found a fork to work really well) take the first chicken tender and press it into the first mixing bowl- the mixture of ground pecans, almond flour, and spices. Coat each side and shake off any excess. 

Dip the chicken tender into the second mixing bowl, the liquid egg whites. Coat each side- yes some of the "breading" mixture will fall off, that's ok.

Place the chicken in the third mixing bowl, the pecan chips. Using a fork press the chicken into the pecan chips so they stick, be sure to coat each side. 

Place the pecan coated chicken tender onto the baking sheet. 

Repeat steps with remaining chicken tenders. 

Bake chicken at 400F degrees for about 8 minutes then flip all the chicken and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Check to see if the chicken is done by cutting into a piece, if the juice runs clear it is done, but if the meat is still pink bake for an additional 2 minutes and check again. Keep a close eye on the meat as you do not want to burn the nuts. 

Serve chicken on it's own or chop it up and throw it in a salad!

Nutrition per serving (based on 1 chicken tenderloin)
MACROS: 3C/13F/15P
Nutrition Facts
Servings 7.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 178
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g20 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 24 mg8 %
Sodium 115 mg5 %
Potassium 11 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 3 g1 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g7 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 15 g29 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium2 %
Iron4 %

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to the Swing of Things

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth I swear! I apologize for my extreme lack of postings this past week, I have been moving back to school so I have been up to my ears in boxes and packaging tape. So, now that that is over I have so major catching up to do including posts from vacation, new product reviews, and new recipes to post! 

It's way past it, but National Dog Day was earlier in the week and thinking about it has me missing my pup! I've been missing my nutty cuddle buddy who has WAY too much energy for her own good. 

Friday I drove out to school and I got stuck for over an hour in traffic because a large portion of the freeway was shut down. I ended up getting back to campus way later than I planned and I wasn't the happiest of campers (traffic does that to a person). Thankfully I was smart enough to pack food for lunch and dinner because I did not want to fight the crowds at the grocery store.

For lunch I packed a paleo english muffin stacked with lettuce, tomato, beets, banana peppers, avocado, and sliced turkey breast. Literally the exact same sandwich in the picture above. I also had a carbmaster vanilla yogurt with strawberries, blackberries, and some Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig granola. 

In between unpacking I checked the mail and aside from all the pizza flyers I will never need I had a package waiting for me! I get really excited when I get mail that's not bills! The awesome people at Nuts 'N More sent me two of their peanut butters to try out. Thankfully my stomach has been better and able to handle some peanut butter- I went almost two weeks without peanut butter and it was terrible! I am most definitely looking forward to trying both of these out and will post a full review of both.

I always think it's strange how hours can fly by without me ever noticing. Before I knew it my stomach was grumbling for dinner and it was well past my normal dinner time. I had grilled salmon the night before and packed leftovers for dinner the next night (Friday night). The salmon is seasoned with lemon peel seasoning and some kind of seafood seasoning my mom and I found at Costco. I also packed leftover steamed green beans- seasoned with garlic and greek seasoning, and sliced up a red delicious apple. It was an incredibly lazy, but delicious dinner.

After dinner I attempted to curl up with a book but only managed to make it a few pages in before I crashed. I've been reading Plum Upside Down by Valerie Comber- it's part of a Farm Fresh series that I got hooked on when I got the first book free on Amazon Kindle. I love all the books in the series, plus they're great books because you don't have to read the first book to understand the fifth book. If you're looking for a good read I highly recommend the series, it's an easy fun read!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Leg and Arm Workout

Happy Monday!! There is no better way to start the week than with an awesome workout, I'm talking about one where you feel the burn.

Monday is always leg day number 1 (leg day number 2 is Friday) for me. I have a love/hate relationship with leg day. I dread the day going into it, but the burn is always satisfying- minus the part where it hurts to walk for days after. 

Today I switched things up and threw in arm work as well. Normally I just do my leg sets with some HIIT thrown in and then do cardio, but today I threw in arm work which incorporated cardio then did LISS cardio, which I did a nice walk. 

I have gotten more requests to post my workouts so I will try to remember to type them out and post them. If you try it remember to tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thesimplelife! Have an awesome Monday! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bai5 Molokai Coconut Review

I follow a lot of foodies and fitness people on instagram and I love seeing food or drinks they try. If I was made of money I would spend a TON on food because I always see new products I want to try, but I'm in college and I'm broke. 

However I did manage to get my hands on a Bai5 drink and was super excited because one of my friends LOVES these drinks. She lives in Florida, aka land of permanently frizzy hair, and kept telling me I had to find one of their drinks. I happened to go into a health food market and see bai5 so of course I picked one up! I tried the Molokai Coconut flavor and it did not disappoint! 

I love flavored water, but this was definitely not flavored water. It really tasted like the juice inside of a coconut except this is way better for you. It's only 5 calories per serving- there's one serving in a 11.5 oz bottle- and was perfect for sipping down by the lake on a 90F degree day. The macros for a serving are 9C/0F/0P pretty awesome right?

Bai5 isn't packed with hard to pronounce ingredients, but it is packed with antioxidants that I have no problem putting in my body. It's delicious to drink straight and I hope to find it again because I want to mix it into smoothies and baked goods. 

Overall I would give Molokai Coconut 10/10 because it was delicious and very refreshing. I have had some flavored waters that have left me even thirstier after drinking, but Bai5 didn't do that. The flavor was perfectly tropical- I've been to Molokai and I think everyone on Molokai would give it two thumbs up! 

If you want more information about Bai5 Molokai Coconut or any of their other products click here. This is NOT a sponsored post, I found a product and wanted to try it and give my honest opinion about it. However, if Bai5 wanted me to sample some of their other flavors I would not be opposed ;) 

Have you guys tried any of the Bai5 drinks? What do you think of them? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


It has been a LONG time since I've posted a workout and that needed to change. So you wanna torch your abs and get your heart pumping? Then I have just the thing for you! 

This workout focuses on working your abs, but incorporates moves that work your back, arms, legs, and cardio. Each circuit should take you around 7 minutes and treat each as a superset so no rest between moves. If you rest between circuits don't rest longer than 30 seconds because you want to keep your heart rate up. Don't forget to use the highest weight you can possibly do and if you achieve failure before reaching the number of reps move on.

I love seeing your gym photos so tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thesimplelife so I can see your photos!! Have a good workout!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Meal Prep: Grilled Turkey Burgers

It's Monday, Monday, gotta get down on Monday...wait I don't think that's how the song goes. I have actually never heard the song, I've only heard other people singing it, but in any case Happy Monday! Good gravy can you believe it's already the middle of August?! What the heck happened to summer?! 

I am very sad to be going back to school so soon- I miss my friends, but I do NOT miss all the work. Besides I had the BEST internship ever this summer and I just wanted to stay and work at the station full time. 

In any case nothing says summer quite like a good burger and that's what we have here today my friends. A delicious, tender, and incredibly juice turkey burger that is packed with veggies and bursting with flavor. I love a good grilled turkey burger and this will most definitely be my go to from now on, plus you can add in any veggies or spices you want to make it your own. Summer grilling just got a whole lot healthier!

Grilled Turkey Burgers
  • 20 oz extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 yellow summer squash, shredded
  • 1 medium carrot or 1/3 cup baby carrots, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • minced garlic, to taste
  • pinch onion powder
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey and veggies. You can use a fork or your hands to do it, I found using my hands to be the easiest to combine everything.

Add in the seasonings and stir to combine.

Using a kitchen scale weight out 4-5 ounces of meat, shape it into a patty and place it on a plate. 

Repeat until all meat is gone- I was able to get 8 patties out of the meat each patty weighing about 4.5-5 ounces. 

Heat up the grill and when the grill is warm place patties on the grill. I always place meat on tinfoil, spray the tinfoil with nonstick cook spray, and then put the meat on the tinfoil because then it won't stick to the grill. 

Grill each side for approximately 4 or 5 minutes. Every grill is different, but you want the meat to get browned. 

Check to see if the burgers are done by slicing into them and if the meat is dark brown and the juice is clear it is done. If the meat is still pink it needs more time. You can also use a meat thermometer and check the temperature of the meat, it should be between 165-170F degrees. 

Remove the burgers and serve with your favorite toppings! I had mine on a paleo bun with lettuce, avocado, tomato, and a bit of ketchup, but I also love loading it with veggies such as beets, bell peppers, and banana peppers. These burgers are so healthy you don't have to feel bad about going back for seconds...or thirds! 

If you make these delicious burgers or any of my other creations snap a picture and tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thesimplelife so I can see your yummy creations! Enjoy and have a fantastic Monday! 

Nutrition per serving (for 1 burger):
Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 115
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g8 %
Saturated Fat 2 g8 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 50 mg17 %
Sodium 54 mg2 %
Potassium 128 mg4 %
Total Carbohydrate 2 g1 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g2 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 14 g27 %
Vitamin A3 %
Vitamin C15 %
Calcium2 %
Iron5 %

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Seven #9

I haven't done one of these in a long time so it seemed appropriate. Without further of my favorite things from this week.

1. Avocado chicken salad! I have eaten a sinful amount of this deliciousness this week and I don't regret a single thing. It makes a great packed lunch and it kept me full until dinner because it's loaded with protein. When classes start back up and I have to pack a lunch this will definitely be a regular in my lunchbox. 

2. Paleo english muffins. I'm not even kidding when I say I ate one every day this week. I've been eating my avocado chicken salad on these bad boys too...There are so many ways to eat them that I don't think I could ever get tired of them, let alone it takes less than 5 minutes to make! An absolute win in my books! 

3. Pancakes all day everyday. Really though, I'm pretty sure I could eat pancakes everyday, especially my favorite coconut flour pancakes. I made this massive stack of deliciousness about a week ago and may have gone back several times to gawk at it because I want it to magically appear in front of me again :) The only change I made to the recipe is adding in fresh whole and mashed raspberries to the batter. The toppings are fresh fruit, walden farms zero calorie pancake syrup, and a chopped up Quest Nutrition quest cravings bar. Everything was heated up to warm, gooey perfection! 

4. NoGo Slim protein bars. I randomly found these at a health food store and I will be going back for more! Everything about the bars is delicious, plus it's gluten free and vegan. Majorly tasty stuff people I recommend finding these bad boys for yourself!

5. Peach Siggi's! This was a new flavor at the grocery store so of course I got and it gets two thumbs up from me! There are real peach chunks in the yogurt, but they are not mushy and the peach yogurt does not taste artificial. I've had fruity yogurt and hated it because it's fake and the fruit is mushy, but not this stuff. 

6. Family <3 I love my family and these girls are the ones who always have my back no matter what. I'm seriously lucky to have such an awesome group of cousins! Not to mention my cousin looked absolutely beautiful on her big day!

7. Dang I just realized how much food I included this week. Whoops? I guess the way to my heart is through my stomach hehe :) Another random health food store find was this Gluten Wize soft and chewy granola. I have tried so many gluten free granola and this definitely ties for first place (with Purely Elizabeth). The macros are 18C/3.5F/2P for 1/3 cup. Literally you must get your hands on this stuff because it is SO GOOD! Just do it you will not regret it! 

What are some of your favorite things from this week? Have a fantastic Sunday everyone! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Better Late Than Never: Weekend Recap

I really stink at remembering to get weekend recaps posted. This week I just flat out forgot because I think I've just sat down for the first time since my cousins wedding.

My cousin had an outdoor wedding and reception at a garden and it was absolutely beautiful! The weather was perfect and there were so many flowers in bloom I could have spent all day there photographing the flowers. I didn't get many good photos of the ceremony because a really tall couple sat down in front of me and blocked most of my view. 

We had some time to kill after the wedding and pictures so we went back to one of my family members hotel rooms and relaxed. I knew dinner was going to be late so I packed a NoGo Slim Espresso bar. I had never had a NoGo bar before and was excited to try it- the macros were 20C/5F/16P. The bar had a crunch to it and I really liked it! I accidentally left it in the fridge so it was partially frozen, but it was still really good and rather refreshing after being out in the heat. 

The wedding reception was absolutely gorgeous! Lights and chandeliers light up the tent giving off a very romantic feel, especially once it got dark it was beautiful! Congrats to my cousin Danielle and her new husband! 

Sunday night I got a few minutes to relax and happened to have a vanilla maple Arctic Zero. I have been having major tummy problems with nut butters (NUT BUTTER WITHDRAWALS) so after going without for a few days I decided to try a bit of San Clementes P.B. Bodaciousness on top- use code RACHAELMINER to get 10% off your order. My stomach is doing a bit better, but I can only have a teeny tiny bit of nut butter at a time some is better than none though! 

Monday I moved some of my things back to school :( I can't believe it's already almost time to go back to school, seriously where did summer go? I knew I would be busy cleaning and unpacking so I packed avocado chicken salad and had it on a paleo english muffin. I also packed a Siggi's yogurt, some mixed berries, and a few slices of watermelon- cleaning and unpacking works up an appetite! 

I hope you had a good weekend and are having a good week! On the bright side it's almost the weekend again :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pet Summertime Safety: Preparing for Fall

I'm sad to say, but fall is approaching. I have already seen multiple leaves on the ground that have changed colors :( Summer is by far my favorite season and while I do love crisp fall mornings I never look forward to winter. Cora is definitely a summer dog too, she lives for long days outside chasing squirrels and playing in the lake. While the dog days of summer may be behind us it's time to start preparing for fall, which also means getting your pet ready for the cooler weather. I've teamed up with PetSmart to give pet owners tips on how to keep your pet safe for the end of summer.

1. The long days of summer are slowly slipping away, which means we are losing daylight. With less daylight it can be hard to get outside and walk or play with your pup, or if you are outside you may be in the dark. To keep both you and your pet safe in the early morning or evening wear reflective clothing so other people and motorists can see you and your pet. Also consider taking a flashlight so you can always see what's in front of you and never walk in unfamiliar areas, especially when it's dark. 

2. If you can't get outside as much with your pup try finding an indoor dog run in your area. Not all areas have them and if your area doesn't another great way to get your pet some exercise and socialization time is by dropping them off at PetSmart Doggie Day Camp. Your dog will get to play with other dogs of the same size and there are tons of toys in the play area for him/her to play with. Your dog will come back tired, but having had a blast! 

3. Snow is (unfortunately) coming. Cora loves the snow and would spend all day outside if I'd let her, but like humans dogs can get hurt from spending too much time outside in the cold/snow. Ice or snow can get stuck in a dogs pawpads and be extremely painful, an easy way to avoid this is by getting dog boots or socks. There are a variety of options so you can find the best one for your pet and if dog boots aren't for your dog then limit your dogs outdoor time and check their pawpads for any snow or ice that may have gotten stuck.

4. Chilly mornings and nights may have us reaching for a cup of hot tea or cocoa, but certain foods can be deadly for pets. It's a good idea to keep any and all food out of reach of your pet, and that includes item you would never think of eating. Cleaning chemicals, deicers, and salt used on your driveways and walkways should be kept up and out of reach for pets because they can be deadly if consumed. If you want an easy and pet safe treat Cora loves these peanut butter dog treats, best of all there's only four ingredients and they're ridiculously easy to make and Cora gives them two paws up :)

5. Fall clean up, let's be honest no one likes it. Raking leaves and cleaning up sticks isn't my idea of a fun afternoon, but it must be done. I don't ever let Cora run through leaf piles because you don't know what could be in the piles. Sharp sticks or other objects may be in there that you can't see and you don't want your pup getting hurt. Let alone there could be other things in the leaf piles, like ticks or fleas that your pup can get.

Fall is a great time of year, even if it does mean winter is coming, but taking a few steps to prepare ensures an easy transition to the cooler months. With the wacky weather we've had this summer we could have a heatwave and an Indian Summer- my fingers are crossed for that! If you're planning one last road trip for summer check out my tips on how to keep your pet safe on the road here, and don't forget my water safety and beat the heat tips!