5 Things This Week.

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5 Things This week.

5.New Year, First Week. We survived! I hope all of you have had a chance to get your goals in tact because I have. This is definitely a perfect opportunity to reflect on all the thing we can ADD into our lives to be more successful on a daily basis.

4. Made some yummy cannellini bean soup. It’s been raining this whole week so if you’re in a rush for the week soup is a great meal to have for leftovers.

3. Mushroom medley tacos. Add some cumin, salt, pepper, lime and garlic powder and BOOM! They were bomb.

2. I will have managed 5 workouts this week. Some circuit, one yoga class and I will hit up Soul Cycle on Sunday to end my week on a positive note! Feels good to start off the year on the right note.

1. “Don’t Be Busy. Just Be Productive.” It’s such a thing that we create this “too busy” for our lives, tasks and people around us. Are we really too busy, or just wasting time on non essential things? I am going to go with the ladder. New goal: Be Productive! Get things done NOW!

Hope you all had a great week!

 

Kitchen Savvy Weekend.

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It looks like the beginning of winter is in FULL effect. The rain didn’t stop me from getting a few workouts in annnnnnd staying busy in the kitchen! Instead of going out to eat we opted on cooking up a storm. On the menu for Sunday:[Lentil soup] [Garbanzo Bean Salad] & [Homemade Raviolis] Does it get any better?? I love soup and this is the perfect season for it. See the recipe below!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • chopped yellow onion
  • diced celery & carrots
  • tomato paste
  • zucchini
  • 1 cup fennel
  • 3 bay leave
  • dried thyme
  • salt/black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 bunch choppep fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 cup lentils

Start by cooking the carrots, onion, celery with olive oil on a med heat. The beans are SEPARATE! This is important. Start the lentils on a boiling temperature and then bring to a med heat and let the beans cook through. This will prevent them from splitting and being too mushy. Once they are finished-drain them and then add the bean water to the carrots, onion and celery. From there add the fennel, tomato paste (about half a small can), bay leaves, salt, pepper, dried thyme, dill, zucchini and let them simmer on a low heat. When the soup is near done, add the lentils and serve. I like to add feta cheese to the top just to add a little texture. Enjoy!

Watermelon + Feta Goodness.

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Ever wonder what to do with all of the extra watermelon?? Here’s your solution. Watermelon + Feta + Mint Salad. This is so refreshing!!

What you’ll need:

  • Watermelon
  • Feta
  • Mint (chopped or sliced)
  • Olive oil/Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt (just a dash)
  • Red Onion (Optional)

Prepare watermelon and mint. I usually cut my watermelon in half, and then half of the half to make 4 pieces. This makes it easier to slice up. Add feta, olive oil, red wine vinegar {or balsamic} and just a touch of salt.  This salad doesn’t need to sit for long as the watermelon is really great at absorbing flavor fast. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Quinoa.

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Hey friends! After my crazy hard workout last night I jumped on Pinterest and found this recipe. Mexican quinoa is EASY ( I am all about easy) and damn good at the same time! Nothing like a recipe that kills it in the taste department. Score! I have made different variations of this salad, but adding the cumin was a hit).  I have vowed to myself for the next 6 weeks there will be nothing but clean eating. (Well, majority- let’s be realistic). I am all about moderation including moderation, but I know for a fact that the daily habits we do add up  so with a few changes here and there between food and working out I should be seeing some results coming my way! Here is another easy recipe sent from me to you. I try to make/look up different dishes and use the ingredients I already have on hand. This alleviates any time constraints or any additional trips to the grocery store than necessary. Baby steps like replacing pasta and rice with quinoa can really add up when it comes to minimizing refined carbohydrates. Think you don’t eat a lot of a certain food? Start by jotting down and the truth finally comes out. All is fun and games until your jeans don’t fit! What are you doing to replace your habits with healthy ones?

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

This recipe was found here. Thanks, Pinterest!

Fourth of July Recap.

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{This is what a road trip with Khloe looks like 😉 }

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mojito

{Fresh Blackberry Mojito}

Artichokes

{Grilled Artichokes from Castroville}

Pancakes

{Homemade Banana + Blueberry Pancakes}

Fruit Salad

{Breakfast of Champions}

Happy Monday Friends! Hard to believe fourth of July is Ova! Time flies when you have too much fun. This weekend was great. I took a few days to sort of check out and simply relax. I tend to work a lot, so getting time off can be tough, but this weekend just happened to be in my favor. 3 days off means getting out of town. I know when we leave town or have a holiday weekend we tend to make up excuses that it’s okay to eat like crap, but this wasn’t the case for us. I would say for a 3 day weekend we did pretty good in the food department. All it takes is a little bit of planning and by that I mean hopping on Pinterest and gaining some new ideas on some recipes. We managed to have a fairly healthy meanu! All it takes is practice…EVERYONE can cook, you just have to try!!

  • Grilled Artichokes
  • Fruit Salad
  • Vegetable Pasta Salad
  • Garbanzo Bean Salad
  • Chicken + Sausage + Tri Tip {for those meat eaters}
  • Homemade Pancakes w/ Fruit
  • Corn on the Cob

How was your fourth?? Are you ready to get back in the groove of your daily routine? I am! I will share some of these recipes throughout the week. Until then, have a great Monday!

 

 

Smoothie Prep.

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Meal Prep.

Let’s be honest, who has time for meal prep? From someone who loves to cook and eat healthy I have never really been a fan of meal prepping. This isn’t because I am lazy  but more so because I actually enjoy the act of going to the grocery store, and cooking everyday. Annnnd well, I am not really a fan of cooked food sitting in the refrigerator more than a day. I know, maybe it’s weird but it’s just how I am. I came across this idea over the weekend as far as a meal prep that I could relate to and I couldn’t wait to share. In my last post I mentioned I bought a Vitamix which can be used for all sorts of things, but in this case I am focusing on smoothies. Actually now that I think about it, soups and juices can be prepped ahead as well. I do know from experience that prepping fruit can be a 10 minute longer excursion that you don’t have time for in the morning so with a little time on Sunday (or whatever day) you can throw some fruits and veggies in a mason jar, label, and WaLa! you have your smoothie just about ready. I always love new ideas of getting healthy and making things just a little bit easier. What are some of your favorite meal prep ideas?

 

Photo Courtesy: Vega_Team.

Baby Steps.

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Weekend Recap

Hello Friends! What a game last night, right?! Although the Niners weren’t in the Superbowl, we still made sure to watch until the last minute. All I can remember is everyone saying, “Anybody but the Seahawks!” It looks like dreams really do come true. Great job, Patriots!  Until the next SB which will be held in our very own Santa Clara, CA!

-Moving-

I am in the process of moving into a new apartment which means this quick impulse to want to buy everything in sight. I visited Crate & Barrel over the weekend, and in the midst of kitchen goods I came across this Meatless Monday cook book. Paul, Stella and their daughter Mary McCartney launched the Meat Free Monday campaign as a simple straight forward way of showing everyone the value of eating less meat. Just one day each week of not eating meat can contribute to saving debt in your wallet, and more importantly reduce your environmental impact. One day less of eating meat each week can also reduce your risk for heart disease and maybe even help you drop a couple LBS! Who doesn’t love that?! Even if you can’t imagine becoming vegetarian, this is a great way to incorporate more nutrients into your diet. Just think, baby steps. I just ordered this cookbook on Amazon. You should too!

-WORKOUT-

I made sure that among that Superbowl and excess shopping for my apartment that I did make some time to get a workout in. That above is not the stairway to heaven my friends, but rather the stairway to a better looking booty and stronger legs! We call this Communication Hill which consists of 252 steps. Four rounds up and down and I was DONE! Needless to say, today my calves are feeling very sore! #nopainnogains

I hope you all have a great Monday!

 

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

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These peppers were soooo delicious! I am so fortunate to have great friends who love to donate to the newtritionsavvy cause. I work near a local farmers market and every Sunday I am lucky enough to be given bags and bags of fresh produce…Sometimes it’s more than I can consume so I end up cooking for my friends. The great thing with stuffed peppers is that you can add just about any vegetable in your fridge and even add some meat for extra protein. In my opinion, they were just as great without it. Go ahead and give these a try…..I would say prep time about 15 min, and cook time 30. Enjoy!

Bell Peppers Prep:

  • Large Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms (whole or sliced)
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic clove (minced)
  • Tomato (roma or heirloom both work)
  • Jalapeño (optional for more spice)
  • Chopped Dill
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Grated Mozzarella cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice the bell peppers in half/clean out seads (set on baking tray)
  2. Slice mushrooms, zucchini, tomato
  3. Heat sauté pan to med heat
  4. Saute olive oil and garlic together
  5. Add zucchini and mushrooms and jalapeño with lemon juice, salt and pepper (only sauté to get a little softness to vegetable (you don’t want to overcook here because the veggies will finish cooking while baking.
  6. When veggies are done I add tomato (these will cook in the oven)
  7. Place the rice in the bell pepper, with veggie medley over the top
  8. Bake on 400 for 30 min (if they aren’t cooking fast enough you can up the temperature to 450)
  9. The very last minute you can throw some mozzarella cheese on top and bake until cheese is just melted

Lemon Dill Rice

1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried dill/or fresh (I prefer fresh)
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/2 lemon lemon zest (finely grated)
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper (to your liking)
2 cups water (chicken broth optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan
  2. Saute the chopped onion for 1 minute
  3. Add rice and “parch” over low heat, by stirring until the rice turns white again. Do not let the rice brown
  4. Add the rest to the ingredients and bring to boil.
  5. Lower heat and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Fluff well with a fork, replace the lid and let sit for 5 minutes.

Lentil + Barley Soup.

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This was my first time cooking with barley and needless to say it was delicious! I found this recipe and I altered it a little- the recipe called for a crock pot and simply put, I am impatient.

Lentil Vegetable and Barley Soup

  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash (or zucchini), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C yellow split peas
  • 1/2 C barley
  • celaery (diced)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable broth (or chicken or beef), plus ~2 C extra water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil to top (optional)

I opted out for the split peas and instead of vegetable broth I used the water that I used to boil the lentil beans in. Start by dicing up your carrots, onion and celery. Meanwhile, in a pot boil 1/2 cup of lentil beans. In a separate pot, boil 1/2 cup barley. Even though it seems like it’s not a lot- the both expand and should be enough for about 4 people. When the veggies are done cooking on med-high heat add can of diced tomato. When the beans are done cooking (they will split if overcooked) drain water. I added the bean water as a veggie broth instead of store bought. I added salt, pepper, dried oregano, 2 bay leaves and let simmer. The barley took over an hour to cook so be patient. When the barley is done cooking- add to soup. Let the soup simmer and allow all the flavors to combine. After the soup is done I added some lemon for extra flavor. This recipe is fairly easy but if cooking raw beans it might take a while so allow time for those to cook! Hope you enjoy!

You can find the original recipe here.

Veggies w/ Spicy Marinara

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Last night I ended up getting home pretty late (9-ish) after a long day of work, working out and then hitting Whole Foods for the week. The problem with me is that on my nights that I have off I LOVE to cook! Sometimes I intend on making something quick- and then and hour and a half later I have my meal. It probably doesn’t help that I am snapping 99 pictures along the way, but needless to say I enjoy the time it takes to prepare my food. I consider it relaxation time.

I whipped together this veggie medley and it was nothing short of just what I wanted. Not to heavy, but still filling enough after a hearty workout.

{Ingredients}

  • broccoli
  • cherry tomato (cut in half)
  • fresh minced garlic
  • mushroom
  • crushed tomato (canned- I use DiNapoli brand)
  • fresh parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili flakes

For the veggies it was easy, I browned the garlic (don’t burn) with olive oil. Shortly after added the broccoli and let cook. Add salt, pepper to taste. When the broccoli seems to be halfway done add the cherry tomatoes. After the tomatoes start to get soft then add the mushroom.  Mushrooms are always last because they cook fast and I personally don’t like overcooked veggies.

For the marinara. I also used a little olive oil with fresh minced garlic on med heat. After the garlic is brown I added a can of crushed tomatoes, fresh parsley along with salt, pepper and chili flakes. As soon as the sauce reaches a slight boil turn temperature down and simmer.  Instead of pasta with marinara – veggies with red sauce is always a great substitute to leave you feeling less bloated. Think of simple as being better. If healthy is the theme of your January then add this one to your list. You won’t be disappointed.