Quick Meal Round-Up

IMG_5134I don’t know if you are anything like me, but lately I have been so caught up in homeschooling the kids, projects around the house and work that there are more days than not I am looking at the clock and thinking: “It’s already time to eat and I am starving, but cooking is going to take FOREVER!!!” (So sorry if you were hoping this was the blog of a fit, homeschool mom who always has meals perfectly planned out and a crock pot schedule that would make your grandma proud..not so much).

I have practically ZERO patience when I am hungry, but ordering out or going to a restaurant always seems to take much longer than it did in my head and the food is never super healthy (plus, it gets pricy) – so here are some of my EASIEST, quickest meals to literally THROW together, when you are starving and time has gotten away from  you.

IMG_0828Taco Salad – or my lazy version. I almost always have some ground turkey meat in my freezer, defrost that bad boy, cook it up with some cumin, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and throw over some greens and tomatoes. If I’m going to be fancy I’ll throw salsa, shredded cheese and maybe even open a can of black beans and add those too.

If you have some time on the weekend – not a bad idea to cook up some of this “taco turkey” and have it on hand for busy nights.IMG_0574

 

Mediterranean Chicken – wow, that name sounds a lot fancier than this dish actually is. For this meal I just chopped up some rotisserie chicken – or left over chicken breast and topped it with tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese. I like to season with fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper. Of course if you REALLY want to get fancy, some fresh mint would be divine, but it’s pretty delicious just as is.

Again – if you have time on the weekends, pick up a rotisserie chicken, or cook a bunch of chicken breasts ahead of time – honestly, protein is the hardest thing to cook quickly, so if you can do it ahead of time and have some pre-cooked options on hand it will save you big time!!

IMG_3519

Bun-less Burger – this may look fancy, but it was one of those, what do I have on hand that is quick and easy and will fill me up because I am HANGRY, meals. I just cooked up a hamburger, we had no buns, so I just topped it with some cheddar cheese and a tomato slice and put a side of lettuce (can’t really call it a true salad because it is literally JUST lettuce, but the crunch was nice and I drizzled it with some Italian dressing and I thought it was tasty!)

The sweet potato fries was just me using up our last sweet potato, I cut it into thin strips, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and roasted in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Shakeology – This is not my clever way to do a little pitch on Shakeology, I HAD to add it to the list, because more often than not, when I am flat out exhausted, hungry and have no time, this is what I have for lunch or dinner (or breakfast). I get a lot of questions about Shakeology – you can read more here if you like. This recipe is one of my VERY favorites: Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk + Chocolate Shakeology + 1/2 banana + handful of ice. Fill the blender in THAT order, blend and add 1 tsp of peanut butter. SO. FREAKING.GOOD.

IMG_1179

Fresh Cabbage Salad – Cabbage is one of my all time favorite veggies. This salad comes together super fast, simply slice the cabbage into thin strips and drizzle with a dressing made from mixing: 2 Tbs. Rice Vinegar, 3 Tbs. Olive Oil, 2 Tbs. Honey, salt, pepper, ginger. (If you don’t have Rice Vinegar in your kitchen I am not even going to give you a substitute because it just WON’T be the same, buy some – now! It’s amazing!! You’ll find it with the oriental foods in your grocery store and once you have it you’ll use it ALL the time!) I add chopped almonds and cubed chicken (again, having that protein already cooked is a life-saver) and it’s a pretty incredible little meal. IMG_3215

 

Broccoli & Cheese Pasta – This is pretty much a leftover throw together. Whenever I make pasta I always have just a little leftover, not sure how or why but it’s true. On this lovely day I threw some cubed chicken and then heated up one of those vegetable steamer bags (are those not the greatest invention of all time?) of broccoli. I tossed a ton of broccoli on top of the pasta and chicken and a generous sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and had a super quick delicious meal.

—————————-

I suppose, if there is one reccuring theme in all my meals it’s: cook your protein ahead of time!! It really is probably the biggest obstacle to health eating. Veggies can be eaten raw, carbs are quick to cook but protein is it’s own little beast. I don’t have many fish dishes here, but fish is another great protein to have on hand because it does cook super fast, and also eggs – mmmmm I could do an entire post on eggs!

Hope these meals inspired you and that you continue to make your health a priority – no matter how crazy or busy life is – don’t get caught up in culinary perfection and let that keep you from doing what you need to to fuel your body right!!

 

 

Cafe Latte Shakeology Ten Different Ways

I’ve been drinking coffee since I was ten years old. My dad would drink it every morning – black – and I wanted to be just like him, so one morning I asked for a cup. I remember I didn’t like it much at first, but I felt so proud and grown up to have my own cup of coffee that I just pretended to like it and kept drinking it until one day I realized I actually did.

Fast forward to my first pregnancy and I stopped drinking it cold turkey (like the paranoid first time mom I was) and the withdraw was AWFUL! I started going down this rabbit hole of thought, asking myself what would happen if a catastrophe hit and there was no coffee and I couldn’t protect or take care of my child because I was addicted to coffee and I just decided I didn’t want to be addicted to it any more (Yes, sometimes I make decisions based on imaginary scenarios I’ve created in my mind). Since then I’ve had the occasional cup here and there, but now that I’m not a regular drinker it REALLY affects me when I do.

IMG_3772I love the jolt of energy and the taste and experience, but I don’t love the way my heart races, my breath smells and I start to sweat in a very non-attractive way.

I’ve often thought, if only I could still enjoy the taste and benefits of coffee without the side-effects and addiction.
The Beachbody gods must have heard me, because lo and behold, the newest Shakeology flavor is: Cafe Latte.

This flavor has no more caffeine than the regular Shakeology formulas, but has the rich flavor of coffee and the amazing health benefits found in the entire coffee fruit. To say I’m obsessed with this newest flavor would be an understatement. I only ordered one box of it and my husband and I have been neglecting our previous favorite chocolate flavor the whole month!!

I’ve compiled some of my favorite Cafe Latte flavors, but to be perfectly honest, I LOVE it with 10oz of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and Ice, just shaken in a shaker cup. However, on those days I like to be fancy, here are my top ten recipes.

– VANILLA LATTE: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla extract, ice
 
– THAI ICED COFFEE: Cafe Latte Shakeology, strong coffee, cold, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp almond extract, ice
 
– BANANA MOCHA: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 banana, 1 tbs. cocoa powder, ice
 
– PEANUTY BUTTER COFFEE: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 Tbs. peanut butter, ice
 
– COCOA MOCHA: Cafe Latte Shakeology, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut water, 2 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut, ice
 
– SALTED CARAMEL: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, caramel extract, a pinch of pink himalayan salt, ice
 
– TIRAMISU LATTE: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened almond milk, almond extract, rum extract, cinnamon, ice
 
– PEPPERMINT MOCHA: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened almond milk, peppermint extract, 2 Tbs. peanut butter, ice
 
– HONEY NUTTY LATTE: Cafe Latte Shakeology, unsweetened almond milk, cashew butter, honey, ice

– TROPICAL COFFEE: Cafe Latte Shakeology, coconut milk, 1/2 banana, 1 tsp cocoa powder, ice

If you would like to order your own supply of Shakeology or have questions about it’s health benefits, safety for pregnant or breastfeeding moms and how as a coach I can get you the best price SEND ME A MESSAGE

The 100g Protein Challenge

IMG_3267

If you have been following me on social media, you know I have been struggling with EXTREME nausea this pregnancy – which has thrown me for a loop because I barely had any with my other three pregnancies. After trying all sorts of things and just suffering through it, I finally decided to take a closer look at my nutrition. I’ve been eating fairly healthy, but not a LOT of food because of the nausea.

When I looked at my protein numbers I KNEW that’s where I needed to put my energy. My midwife recommended at least 100g of protein each day and I was at about half that. So I took a few days and started pushing myself to eat 100g (or as close to it as possible). I don’t know if this ALONE has been the game changer, or the fact that I am now 16 weeks and well into my second trimester, but it has been like night and day!

I am finally feeling energy and WAY less nausea! I will never take feeling “normal” for granted again. It hasn’t been easy, I almost feel like I have another job now, eating every 2 hours is harder than it sounds, but it is completely worth it to be feeling so much better!

Because I love my meal plans, I have decided to share with you this week’s high protein meal plan. If you are pregnant, I strongly suggest you take a look at your protein intake. This meal plan is for you to enjoy and to use. Obviously, feel free to make tweaks per your own tastes and likes. Also, MOST of the recipes in this meal plan can be found on my website.

I am using Shakeology daily in this meal plan. Shakeology is a super-food meal replacement shake that I have used throughout my months breastfeeding and now as I am pregnant. It is safe, full of nutrients my body needs, replaces my pre-natal vitamins and was one of the few things I was able to stomach during my most nauseous days. If you would be interested in trying a sample or have more questions about Shakeology shoot me a message (I read every single one!) and I’d love to hook you up with the flavor of your choice.

Click here to download the printable meal plan.

Click here to download a printable grocery list.

**This meal plan has a variety of dinners and protein options, if you are looking to make this a more budget friendly meal plan, I would suggest making a larger batch of dinners like Turkey Chili, Pork Roast or Baked Chicken Thighs.

Soufflé Mushroom Omelet

mushroom omeletI am a HUGE lover of cooking shows. America’s Test Kitchen is one of my very favorites. When they go into the science of food and why certain techniques work to give more flavor or texture to foods I am in my own little foodie heaven (I know – total nerd alert). Usually I tuck all of these tricks and tips away for later when I have the luxury to spend more time preparing food, but there was one little “trick” that I decided to give a try and it’s SO great I just have to share.

Because I eat eggs almost every single morning, this was really exciting to me to give me a little change of pace and texture. So, here’s how it works – this is a technique that makes the fluffiest, lightest omelet you could imagine and it is as simple as separating the egg whites from the yolks and whipping the whites until they are light and frothy.

Let’s get into the recipe.

First, the filling.
Because these eggs are so light I do not recommend something heavy, like ham or bacon. I decided to go with mushrooms because they still have a meaty flavor. I sliced up 5-6 mushrooms and sautéed them into 1 tsp of olive oil until tender. Then I added 1 tsp of soy sauce and cooked another 2 minutes or so and then removed from the heat.

While the mushrooms are cooking, separate three eggs and put the whites into a miegg whitesxer. Mix the whites until white and frothy, then gently fold in the yolks (which you can scramble up with a fork separately). Pour this egg mixture
onto a non-stick (I recommend using a generous amount of spray) pan that is at med heat. Cover the skillet with a lid so the top can cook as well as the bottom, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and add in the mushrooms along with some mozzarella cheese. Turn off the heat, cover once more and cook for about a minute. Gently remove from the pan and fold the omelet. (Even if it’s not perfectly pretty, like mine, I promise you will LOVE this light and fluffy breakfast!).

I know it’s extra work, but if you have some time on the weekend or just want a change of pace to your every day egg breakfast – this really was way too delicious not to share!

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

butternut squashI made this dish for my kiddos (and myself, let’s be honest), and I LOVED it! Originally I used an entire butternut squash so my kids could tell the taste was different. I am going to recommend, if you are serving this to children who are a bit picky, to stick to using only half of the butternut squash, but if you are serving this to adults the full squash is wonderful!

Here is the recipe:

Roast 1 butternut squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the squash and let cool. Cut the squash into cubes and place in a food processor to puree. Add 1/2 cup of milk to the squash to thin out.

In a sauce pan melt 2 Tbs. butter and then add 3 Tbs. flour. Once it starts to smell a bit nutty add 2 C. milk. Stir and heat until it starts to bubble and thicken. Add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. rosemary and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg to the milky sauce. Stir in 2 C. of sharp cheddar cheese to the sauce until melted. Turn off heat. Mix in the butternut puree until fully combined.

Pour sauce over cooked elbow macaroni and enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili

This is WAY good. Even as a non-chili lover I am a huge fan. My kids loved it, my friends loved it and can be made in the crock pot. All around a win.

SIDE NOTE – also a great dish when you are trying to stretch the budget but still feel like you are eating WELL!

 

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

4 tsp. olive oil
1 butternut squash, roasted and cut into cubes
3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 – 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 box of chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in a sauce pan and cook carrots, onions, garlic and chili powder until tender. Add these ingredients and all the rest to a large crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs. or high for 4-6 hours. Smash some of the butternut squash cubes to make the chili thicker if desired. Garnish with cilantro.

If you are doing the 21 Day Fix this would count for 1 green, 1 yellow and 0.5 purple.

Fresh Cabbage Salad

Cabbage is one of my favorite veggies. It’s an amazing source of cancer-preventing nutrients and vitamin C. I love it because it’s also delicious (and super cost-effective)!

Fresh Cabbage Salad

This fresh salad is easy to throw together and bursting with flavor:

Chop 1/4 cabbage into thin slices.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 Tbs. Rice Vinegar, 3 Tbs. Olive Oil, 2 Tbs. Honey. Pour this dressing over the cabbage and toss to coat. Season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger.

I like to add chopped almonds or cubed chicken for a more hearty dish!

Enjoy!

Meal Plan for Breastfeeding Moms

Breastfeeding Meal Plan
Our bodies are freaking amazing – aren’t they?
Every time I learn something new I just want to look in the mirror and say: “You are such a badass!!”

At the same time, our bodies need to be taken care of and protected because it’s the only one we’re going to get!

So Breastfeeding mama’s I’m talking to you – take care of yourself!!

I know, you are laughing at me right now. “Take care of myself? With what time? With what energy? I don’t even know what day it is!!”
I totally get it! I have three kids and I remember well the haze of newborn days, the excitement of those first milestones, the craziness of a mobile crawler and before you know it the first year is over.

But, it’s important…let me drop some science on you.
When you are breastfeeding – baby’s nutrition is numero uno. Your body will do whatever it has to do to make sure your baby get’s what they need. It’s pretty amazing! However, if you aren’t eating nutrient rich foods, guess where your body is going to pull the nutrients from? YOU. Your reserves, your storehouse – your body will start breaking apart in order to get the nutrients your baby needs.

Sounds dramatic…but it’s true. Your bones will lose density if you aren’t getting enough calcium. Not to mention, you are probably a tiny bit depleted in the nutrient department already from growing this baby inside you for nine months! Amiright?

This is why it matters, yes because you want to give you baby the best milk possible, yes because the healthier you eat while breastfeeding the more your baby will develop a natural taste and preference for healthy foods, yes, it will help you have more energy and stamina and drop some of that baby weight but also because you either fuel your body right or let it fall apart – literally!

Eating a variety of foods is THE best thing you can do for your body during this time. I know that for me, carbs are the quickest, easiest and most satisfying foods to eat. I remember grabbing a bowl of cereal for breakfast, crackers for snack, a handful of gold fish for lunch, some chips and salsa later on when I was starving from such a small lunch, and then I would finally get some good food at dinner – protein, carb and a small portion of veggies. This was SO bad for my energy and mental clarity and health, but it was EASY (or so I thought). Little did I know, taking a bit of time to plan out healthy snacks, and a variety of foods, increasing my protein intake, fruits, veggies and healthy fats gave me SO much energy and then I couldn’t NOT include these foods in my diet.Breastfeeding Meal Plan

Variety doesn’t have to mean “complex”.
Here is a sample meal plan that you can use whether you are breastfeeding or not – you can use it as is, or simplify and use it to inspire you to create your own meal plan by choosing one or two of the breakfast and lunch options and repeating all week long (this is what I do).

For all the recipes in this meal plan (and TONS more) CLICK HERE.

You are worth taking care of mama! Fuel that body so you can be around a long time to enjoy your babies and have the energy to be the mom you want to be!

Beef Roast with Brussels

Beef Roast with BrusselsI’ve got to be honest, as convenient as it is, I am NOT a fan of the crock pot. Everything comes out one texture: soft (mushy) and one flavor and I’m just not a huge fan. There are, however, times when it serves a wonderful purpose and this is one of those times. So get out those crock pots because this is a meal that is healthy-ish and simple and will please any of you with a “meat and potatoes” man (like me!).

Start with a Beef Chuck Roast and pan sear it on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper. Put into your crock pot and add some sliced onions or a packet of onion soup mix. Throw in some baby carrots and set it on low for 6 hours.

That’s it for the meat (I know, so simple) it will be SO tender and juicy and delicious when it’s done.

For the brussels, simply toss with 2 Tbs of olive oil and salt and place on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until the get a little golden and crispy on the outside.

Enjoy!!

Healthy Snack Roundup

Healthy Snack RoundupWho doesn’t love a good snack? It’s not quite time for a meal yet, but you’re feeling a little hungry, or you are sitting down to a good movie or to get some work done and you just want something to munch – am I right?

But snacks are ALWAYS where I find myself falling off track with my nutrition. I over do it, I choose something unhealthy, I ruin my appetite for my next meal and I feel discouraged that an otherwise healthy day has now been ruined by the potato chip bag, or candy bar.

So, here are some of my all time favorite snacks, they take very little (if any) time to prepare and when I have the ready in my fridge or pantry I can snack to my hearts content, knowing that I am staying on track with my nutrition and fueling my body for everything I have going on in a day!