Chicken Salad and Easter Eggs

What a day! I’m barely keeping my eyes open as I write- it has been a long eventful day.

It started early with Elvis.

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He was waiting for his morning walk. So patiently I might add.

After a long day of work, I came home to a broken dishwasher.  My dad spent most of the day trying to fix it so dinner came really late (the kitchen was covered in water and plumbing tools).

We had Salad with Marinated Chicken.

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Chicken marinated in Tuscan Sun-dried Tomatoes, baby spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers with poppy-seed dressing.

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I skipped the cheese but had some garlic bread (not pictured). It was light but satisfying, great for a night before Easter.

Now onto coloring Easter Eggs! A tradition we still hold in my house, we all joined together at the kitchen table for some egg coloring.  easter egg collage

Who doesn’t love good, quality family time coloring some eggs? I know we do!

Now for some shut-eye before tomorrow!

Keep an eye out for these upcoming events: organization challenge, 3 ingredient cookies, and homemade protein bars!

 

Question of the Day:

How does your family prepare for Easter together?

Sunday Shopping

Well hello!

I hope your weekend is wrapping up to be a good one.  Mine was jam-packed with things to do and I barely had time to take pictures of it all! There definitely was not enough hours in the day.

So for the recap:

Friday night, Mike and I headed to dinner with my friends Erica, Rachel and Rachel’s boyfriend Harish.  We dined at Benihana’s , a Japanese restaurant where they cook the food in front of you! I was really excited to try the place, after hearing only good things about it.  Our chef was fabulous-he made is so we had dinner and a show.  He was very skilled at doing little tricks while cooking and cracking jokes the entire time.  I could barely eat because I was so busy watching him.  Almost every main dish comes with soup, salad, an appetizer and your entrée so there was more than enough food to go around.

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This soup was amazing! I ate mine and half of Mike’s as well.

I ordered the Benihana Colossal Mango Shrimp- and I highly recommend it.  The mango really added flavor to the shrimp and I finished every last bite.

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Erica and Rachel ordered the same thing, so it was definitely a group favorite.

Saturday, my dad was throwing a fundraiser so Mike and I stopped by for breakfast and some mingling.

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My parents (and grandma in the background).

We enjoyed some eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy (my favorite!), potatoes and fruit while everyone talked.  Coffee and pastries were also served and it turned out to be a lovely event.

Saturday afternoon, we stopped by Mike’s parents house and I learned how to make italian sausage.  Now for those of you looking for a decent arm workout without going to the gym- I highly recommend making italian sausage! My arms were burning after cranking all that sausage out!

Sunday consisted of grocery shopping (one of my favorite activities) and I wanted to share with you some of my finds!

I had read so many yummy recipes this past week that I wanted to try so I picked up a few ingredients I would need.

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1. Chia seeds- I read on Julie’s blog that these would thicken and fluff up my oats.  Plus you can put them in protein shakes and smoothies.

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2. pumpkin seeds- They were just calling to me at Whole Foods and I can put them in my oats or just snack on them.

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3. Ginger Snaps- but not just any ginger snaps, gluten-free, dairy free and wheat free ginger snaps!

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4. Gluten, Dairy and Soy free Blueberry Muffins-explanitory.

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5. Cookie Butter- a tasty twist on peanut butter, I’m going to add it to my protein shakes and see how it changes the flavors. I’m sure I can find other yummy uses for it as well 🙂

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6. Coconut milk yogurt- I had tried this brand’s version of yogurt made with almond milk and saw they had a coconut milk option as well.

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7. Dairy free Cheese- YES!

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8. Coconut Milk Hazelnut flavored creamer- to make my coffee extra tasty!

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9. Peppermint extract- I really want to try a peppermint and chocolate protein shake!

I picked up a few other things including bananas and salt.  I would say it was a successful trip! Recipes to come this week!

Now for a night of studying and some tea perhaps.

BBQ Chicken Bacon Pizza

Do I have a dinner for you!

Okay let’s back up just a bit first.  This morning I hit the gym for a quick workout- 20 minutes on the treadmill and 10 minutes on the stair-master.  I went upstairs stretched and did some ab work before going home.

Shower. Change. Protein Smoothie. Class.

Okay now for my incredibly delicious (and healthy!) dinner.  Barbeque Chicken Bacon Pizza– just the name makes me start to drool a bit.

I wanted to make a healthy homemade pizza so I came up with this.

I started with chicken breast in the crock pot to make the BBQ chicken portion of this pizza.  Cook on low most of the day.

Shred the chicken when finished and top with more barbecue sauce.  If your short on time you can use rotisserie chicken meat instead.

For the ‘crust’ I used Flat Out Healthy Grain with Flax Flat Bread– 1 flatbread is only 100 calories!

I topped the crust with the barbeque chicken, some sautéed onions, fresh spinach, bacon bits (I actually cooked bacon and cut it up) and a little bit of cheddar/Parmesan cheese.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

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It was AMAZING! Bursting with flavor.  No one flavor overpowered the others, every bite I got some barbeque chicken, some bacon, some cheese and some spinach.

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Now time for some tea and maybe a Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yoga is now going to be a regular part of my routine! After class today, I hit the gym and ran two miles with interval speeds. On a whim, I decided to stop into the 7pm yoga class my gym offers and thank goodness I did! It was the most relaxing thing I’ve done in a long time. I spend one hour completely focused on my stretching, breathing and relaxing. It’s amazing what one hour of yoga can do for your sanity. With a crazy week full of tests, simulations and vacation planning, a yoga class was just what I needed to clear my mind. Leaving the gym, I felt at peace and ready to tackle the rest of the week. I also had forgiven myself of any lapses in diet for the day as well- thank you yoga instructor for giving me that ability.

With a clear head I made my way home to some spaghetti my grandmother had cooked.

I finished the night with a Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie, a recipe I’ve been trying to perfect since my Paleo Brownie.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
2 tablespoons dairy free chocolate chips
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Mix together in a cup and microwave for 1 minute.

It might be even better than the brownie!

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What healthy desserts are you cooking up tonight?

Sausage and Salad!

With a Florida vacation on the horizon, I decided to kick up my workouts but also clean up my diet too.  I have been eating clean most of the time but there is definite room for improvement.  I want to be in swim suit shape in 2 months! When I woke up to my alarm this morning, of course I had a craving for pancakes.  I wanted to make sure I was getting my protein in though so protein pancakes it was!

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

1/2 cup gluten-free flour

1 banana

a shake of cinnamon

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The pancakes cooked quickly and were actually light.  I topped them with some honey for sweetness.

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They really hit the spot-without making me too full.

I spent the afternoon in class with the promise to hit the gym later that afternoon.

Once I got to the gym, I realized I really need to start going back in the morning.  It was packed with people and I had to wait for machines.  I spent 30 hard-core minutes on the treadmill and then went upstairs to start a circuit workout.  I stretched and then got to work.

I was all over the place with my circuit workout- I was really making it up as I went along but it was intense!

Set 1:

20 sumo squats

1 min plank

20 sumo squats

1 min side plank

Repeat.

Set 2:

50 crunches

15 leg raises with stability ball

leg press

Repeat.

I did a few more leg machines before calling it a night.  I just have to say one of my biggest pet peeves is people at the gym who are not really there to workout.  People today were sitting on the machines, not really working out, for much longer than they needed to chatting with their friends.  I don’t mind socializing at the gym- but actually workout.  Don’t just sit on the machine and pretend your working out your legs while watching some guy on the otherside. I would have probably stayed later but I was getting too frustrated.

Anyways. on a happier note-DINNER!

My sister and I had a craving for meat.  We mixed together polish sausage (we are of polish descent) and a Morning Star Mushroom burger, sautéed with some bell peppers and a dash of salt.

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We added some salad on the side for a vegetable.

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I ate every last bite! The salad was really refreshing and crunching.

Hope your Monday was a happy one!

Chocolate and Strawberry Oats

After class, I needed some dinner to bring with me to work. Working at a department store, the food options are anything but healthy. Most of the time, I end up bringing my lunch or dinner. Today I decided I wanted breakfast for dinner! Actually the oats were just staring at me and I wanted to try a new recipe with them- and I could put them in a container. I ended up making Chocolate and Strawberry Oats.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup oats (mine were gluten-free and dairy free!)

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon cocoa

mix and heat in microwave for 3 minutes until the oats are nice and steamy!

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I cut up some strawberries to top it off. It tasted like chocolate covered strawberries with some oats on the side 🙂

These were yummy and portable.

I swear I do my best thinking in the car, especially at night on the way home. As I am driving home, I was seriously thinking about how I can amp up my clean eating. I am really trying to go as unprocessed as possible- without being a freak about it. However, I need things that I can take with me to work or class.

Any ideas? What foods can you not go without?

The other thing that has been on my mind- NASM. I really want to do it! I am going to kick up my workouts and do more research on the certification. I am really interested in what jobs are available once you are certified or what opportunities open up because you have the certificate.

 

Abs, Glutes, and Thighs

Working out in the afternoon is sometimes so invigorating! Usually I like to get my workouts done and over with in the morning so I can spend the rest of the day satisfied in knowing that I already did it.  Today, because I slept in, I had to fit it in after class.  I headed over the gym and started with 20 minutes on the treadmill (approx 2 miles).  Then I jumped off, stretched a bit and got a mat to start some ab work.  It turned into a hard-core sweaty workout! Here’s what it looked like:

abs glutes and thighs

It was all about the abs, glutes and thighs today! I used weights and I encourage you do to that- it just intensifies it.  I repeated the circuit 3 times and by the third time my legs were trembling! After 20 repetitions, I would pulsate a bit and then hold the position for one minute (ouch!).

For dinner- a nice hearty salad!

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And a turkey burger (not pictured).

tonight’s outlook: homework, lots and lots of it and a Paleo Brownie

 

When is your favorite time to workout?

Veggie Burger Hodgepodge

Dinner tonight was a little bit of everything left in my fridge- a hodgepodge as I’ll call it. I was just throwing things together and it ended up being extra tasty! Points for creativeness! I’ll call it my veggie burger hodgepodge.

Ingredients:
1 Trader Joe’s veggie burger( you can substitute another brand)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 1/2- 2 cups of red meat sauce ( I eyeballed it here)
4 meatballs

Chop up veggie burger
Add mushrooms, sauce and meatballs and heat all together.

Viola! A delicious, quick meaty dinner!

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Have a great night! I’ll be snuggled up on the couch, staying warm!

Paleo Brownie

While I promised a Paleo dinner recipe, it really did not come out as well as I expected. It was alright, but not post worthy. So instead I stumbled upon this Paleo brownie in a cup recipe and this one was a hit! Now to clear some things up, I am not 100% Paleo, but I like to try about 80/20- 80% of the time Paleo and 20% other. As an avid chocolate lover-  I have an intense love affair with chocolate- a Paleo brownie is a dream come true. At first I was a little hesitant- a healthy brownie? Is that possible? But it’s true!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut sugar ( I substituted organic maple sugar)

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of beaten eggs

2 tablespoons of coconut milk (I substituted almond milk)

place everything in a cup, stir together until you have a chocolaty paste, then microwave for 1 minute (less if you like it a little doughier)

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And then you have a Paleo chocolate brownie in a cup!

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Source

It doesn’t look spectacular but it was delicious!

A chocolaty way to end the night 🙂

What other recipes have you made that were in a cup?

Show me the Mussels!

I took a quick break from a busy day at work to scarf down this delicious salad.

Ingredients:

Iceberg lettuce

chopped up hard-boiled egg

1/2 cup chopped ham

1/2 cup finely chopped bacon

cherry tomatoes

Lite Italian dressing

Mixed together it looked like this

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Now I just have to say a little bit about my new tea addiction.  I used to be a Starbucks Girl- I even worked there for almost a year.  I was quite the caffeine addict (back in my unhealthy days), I could easily drink up to six shots of espresso in one day! For a girl only 4’11 that is A LOT of caffeine! I toned it down a bit after I quite that job- but only for financial reasons.  Finally I came to my senses and realized just what an addict I was- I wanted to prove that I could quit.  So I did- cold turkey.  I stopped drinking all forms of caffeine ( I was never a big pop drinker). Now I know your going to say well tea has caffeine in it- but some teas do not- usually it’s the darker black teas that hold the caffeine.  After quitting my Starbucks addiction, I was looking for a cheaper, healthier replacement.  This is when I discovered Teavana! And let me tell you, I will never go back.  Not only do they have many delicious samples for you to try in stores, you can either just order a drink to go or take your tea home with you. ( you cannot bring a Starbucks Barista home with you- although someone did offer me this option).  After trying a few different flavors and mixing and matching some teas, I settled on one that I usually get every time I’m working.  It is a mixture of Pineapple Kona Pop Herbal tea and Honeybush Vanilla Herbal tea.  Let me just say- it is fruity heaven in a cup and it warms me to the core.  If you are not a fruity person, they have so many teas to choose from, there is definitely something for everyone!

You can order tea and find locations near you at this link. Fun fact- I just found out today that Teavana was just bought out by Starbucks- the irony!

Now onto dinner.

I went out to dinner with my boyfriend’s family and we went to a great french restaurant in Oak Brook, IL.  It was called Mon Ami Gabi and it was wonderful!  I had been there about 6 months ago when it was warm and we could eat outside- I was not as impressed.  Tonight, they definitely changed my mind.  The atmosphere was cozy and we were brought fresh bread right away.  I ended up ordering the Mussels Mariniere and it was fabulous! I am a seafood lover so this was right up my alley.

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They come in an entire bucket (the full order) and they go all the way to the bottom, submerged in a white wine sauce that was finger licking good! I polished them off quite easily. I left wtih a full belly and highly satisfied.

Well this post is a little long so I’ll call it quits for the night.

Any other Tea Lovers out there? Have you ever had Teavana? What are your favorite flavors?