Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIAW - my very first link up!

I started this blog just a few days ago and immediately started perusing the web to find some link-ups so that I could meet some other bloggers.  I came across WIAW and immediately got giddy because I thought it said WaWa, pretty much the most glorified gas station with the best coffee on the planet (or at least the east coast).  Alas, there was no WaWa link up, but there is this pretty cool one called WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday).  So for all you people out there in blog-land who happen to stumble across my little blog here (even though I'm convinced it's just been my mom and I so far), here's a photo-journal of yesterdays lovely feasts.

Breakfast: 1 super-ripe, juicy ruby red grapefruit with cinnamon on top along with a cup for fat free greek yogurt flavored with stevia and cinnamon.  I nuked some frozen strawberries for about 30 seconds in the microwave and added them to the greek yogurt. Oh, and coffee.  Always coffee.  Actually, I'm still drinking coffee...

Lunch: Lunch was a piece of The Coconut Diaries' Chili Pumpkin Turkey Meatloaf.  I follow Kim from "The Coconut Diaries" on instagram and she's awesome.  She always posts awesome, healthy recipes and everyone raves about her Chili Pumpkin Turkey Meatloaf.  I've gotta tell ya, I was kind of skeptical of trying this out just because I wasn't sure if I would like the flavors.  Yea, I caved and decided to make a batch of it on Monday while watching The Bachelorette (and then I ate a massive piece of it because I was so upset at Brooks... don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about!).  I've officially been converted to a believer.  The flavors just go so well together.  I added some extra kick to mine with cayenne pepper and topped it with dijon and siracha before eating.  I had it for lunch yesterday with some broccoli and spaghetti squash.  Definitely filled me up!

Pre/Post-Workout: Quest Bars, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... (1) I love you when I wake up. (2) I love you with my coffee. (3) I love you before my workout. (4) I love you for dessert. (5) I love you all day, every day... seriously guys, Quest Bars are the best protein bar out there.  They're the perfect pre-workout snack (or snack any other time of day for that matter).  My favorite flavor is Cinnamon Roll, but I've never had a flavor that I didn't like.  The "natural" line is clean and they have around 20g protein and 17 g fiber in each bar.

Post-workout I had a strawberry cheesecake protein smoothie with sprinkles on top(yesterday was National Cheesecake Day!)  Look back to yesterday's post for the recipe... to die for :o) 

Dinner: Just kidding... that wasn't my dinner, it was my fiancé's, but this was mine.....
The only difference between our dinners is that his has mozzarella on top of it.  I made my version of a chicken parm, stuffed with spinach and cheese.  Added additional cheese on top of his, left the extra cheese off of mine, and served it with a big 'ol salad.  It was a hit, and you can consider this a teaser because I'll post the recipe in the next few days.

Well, there ya have it! My first WIAW, my first link-up, my first week of blogging in general.  Let me know what you think, leave some suggestions, or just let me know I'm not alone out here in the blogging world! Until next time...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

happy national cheesecake day 2013!

I originally posted this on Tuesday, but I'm linking it over to Katherine & Angel for Thursday Favorite Things because, c'mon.... smoothie?  strawberries?  cheesecake!? rainbow sprinkles!!? It's pretty much all of my favorite things wrapped into one healthy treat! Thanks for hosting ladies. Can't wait to see some of your other followers' favorite things...

Did you know July 30th is National Cheesecake Day?? I didn't either until a little birdie told me this afternoon. I love a good piece of straight-from-the-refridgerator, super-moist, unbutton-my-pants cheesecake as much as, if not more than, the next person and I wanted to help celebrate this glorious day. One problem - I've never made a cheesecake in my life. So, running to the store and buying items to try and make a healthy version of cheesecake was bound to end in an epic failure. My solution? Cheesecake smoothie! Now wait, hear me out, this this was truly amazing!

I decided to toast the day with a post-workout "Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie." The name is deceiving. This thing was much more like strawberry cheesecake fro-yo than a protein shake (and I should know since I may have recently downed a cup of cheesecake fro-yo).  There may be a straw in there for the picture, but it's simply for aesthetic purposes.  I had to eat the creation with a spoon and I'm not complaining.

Here's how I make my super simple shake (or dessert?):

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein 
1 tablespoon of dry sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
stevia (to taste)
1 cup of almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I'm sure you could use soy milk, dairy milk, probably even water with little change in the taste/consistency) 
3/4 cup of frozen strawberries 

Add all the ingredients to a blender and and let the blender do its thing. 

Using frozen fruit instead of ice is what makes the consistency of this creamy and awesome. Another plus? Protein (whey) + a simple carb (strawberries) = the perfect post-workout food for your muscles.

And the rainbow sprinkles? Well, they're not exactly healthy, but rainbow sprinkles never hurt anyone... and this is a celebration after all!

Monday, July 29, 2013

tacos, tacos, everywhere

Now, I'm not claiming to cook anything "authentic," but I love Mexican food.  Mexican food is so easy to make healthy by including fresh ingredients and tweaking the normal toppings slightly.  So, I set out last week to make fish tacos and, let me tell you, they were a success.  So much so that I was asked to make them again for dinner last night.

I started off my making a greek yogurt "crema" to take the place of the normal sour cream.  I love greek yogurt because it's so versatile.  It can be sweetened up and eaten with fruit or left in its normal form as a tangy substitute for sour cream or mayo in recipes.  To make the crema I combined greek yogurt, a seeded jalapeño, a handful of cilantro, a green onion, and the juice of half a lime in a blender and let it spin!

I heated some coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Coconut oil is kind of a new discovery for me.  I was originally worried it would make my food taste like a tropical island, but it really doesn't have much of a taste.  It's a saturated fat, which would lead you to believe it is unhealthy, but it is a great substitute for other saturated fats.  I won't go too far into it, but it's been linked to everything from blood sugar regulation, to metabolism, to Alzheimer's treatment (people also use it on their skin and in their hair... that just freaks me out.  Not gonna happen, but feel free to try it and let me know how it goes for ya!)  I don't believe everything I read on the internet, but I do know it's a healthy fat and it's good to use when cooking at high temperatures.  You could easily use any other cooking fat, or even cooking spray, but I had it on hand so I said what they heck.

I seasoned my fish (I used tilapia since it's an inexpensive white fish) with salt free fajita seasoning and red pepper and seared it for about 3 minutes on each side in the pan.

I cut the fish into bite-size pieces and let the taco assembly begin.  Spread some of the greek yogurt crema on a low carb tortilla (I used "La Tortilla Factory" because even though they are low carb I can pronounce all the ingredients in them!  I compromised with the fiancé and bought a pack of normal flour tortillas for him to use).  Top with some pre-shredded cabbage, the fish, some red onion, and some avocado and chow down!  I also topped mine with siracha, because I'm a spicy food fanatic.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Fish Tacos with Greek Yogurt Crema
(for 2 servings)
2 tilapia filets
red pepper
salt free fajita seasoning
1 tbs. coconut oil
4 low carb tortillas (I used "La Tortilla Factory" low carb, high fiber tortillas)

1 c. greek yogurt
1 jalapeño (seeded)
1 green onion
juice from 1/2 lime
handful of cilantro (about half a cup)

possible toppings:
shredded cabbage
red onion

1.  Combine the ingredients for the crema in a blender and blend until smooth.  You may want to play around with the proportions to get it to a consistency that you like.

2. Pre-heat pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil to heat it.

3. Pat tilapia dry with a paper towel and season both side of tilapia with the fajita seasoning and red pepper to taste.

4.  Add the tilapia to hot pan and don't move it! Let it sit for about 3 minutes on the first side, flip, and let it sit for 3 minutes on the second side.  That's it... it'll cook quickly.

5.  Transfer the tilapia to a cutting board and cut into bit-sized pieces.

6.  Assemble your tacos: spread about 2 tbs of the crema on the tortilla, top with shredded cabbage and fish.  Finish your assembly as your wish (I like mine with red onion, diced avocado, and siracha)

This will also work well with any other white fish.  I made some shrimp to go along with it and it would be GREAT with mahi mahi, I just went with the fish I already had in my freezer.

There you go... my very first recipe and hopefully the beginning of many more to come!  I'm a newbie at this, so let me know your thoughts, suggestions, all all that business!

Hope you enjoy,

learning to cook clean for two...

So here it goes... my very first blog post.  This is all a little new and scary to me.  I've spent the last two years reading my mom's incredibly well-written and witty blog posts thinking to myself, "Hey! I should do that!" but never having the guts to get a blog going myself.  I never had anything I really wanted to throw myself into and was scared to put myself out there for everyone to see and judge, but that's all about to change.  Seeing as I'm now a "lady of leisure" during the summer (no, I don't sit around and eat bon-bons all day, that would kind of go against the premise of this blog... but since I'm a high school teacher I DO have more free time this part of the year) I figured, why not! So here it goes...

I love cooking. Let me repeat myself... I LOVE COOKING.  Even during the times of my life when I've unfortunately dieted in unhealthy ways, I've always loved the activity and process of cooking.  Let's add to that... I love cooking healthy food for myself and others.  I eat more now than I ever have, but I fill my plate (mostly) with clean, healthy foods.  One little problem with that: my fiancé loves decidedly unhealthy food.  If it were up to him he would eat cups of cheese, pizza, and burgers at every meal.  Oh, and bacon... lots of bacon.

Right now that's fine, we live in separate apartments (old fashioned, I know... but I've held out for 6 years, I can wait to live together until next July).  The way I see it, when we do move in together I have a few options. Option #1: I start eating like him, not gonna happen.  I enjoy eating healthy and would prefer not to put on a bunch of post-wedding weight.  Option #2: I cook two separate meals for the rest of my life, also not gonna happen.  Although I am currently a lady of leisure I do work as a full-time teacher and I coach swimming during the school year.  So that leaves option #3: I somehow get my fiancé to eat like me.  Easier said than done, but I hope to use this blog as a test kitchen.  By the time I get married next July I hope to create an arsenal of clean, healthy recipes we both approve of, and I think the fiancé is quietly excited to be my tester.  Hopefully other people who read this will enjoy the food I love creating as much as I do.

One last thing... do I always eat clean and healthy?  Well, the empty Orange Leaf container and red wine bottle in the trash can from this weekend will tell you that I don't.  I like wine too much.  I like chocolate too much.  I like going out with my friends and having a good time too much.  But if there's one thing I've learned it's all things in moderation.  Well, maybe not wine in moderation...