Easy Crock-Pot White Chicken Chili

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Hey, I’m back already sharing with you a recipe from my “Holiday Party!”   Here is a super simple soup recipe that I will definitely be adding to my ongoing menu! This past weekend we experienced almost 60 degree weather here in Iowa and it was wonderful to have the window open refreshing our home after we all got knocked down with a horrible, horrible stomach flu. Nothing better to get some fresh air as I clean and sanitize the house!  But, sad to say, that nice weather soon diminished quickly and now we are back to wee, little teens and twenty-degree weather, brrrr!  As soup season is upon this would be a killer recipe to warm up to and prepare in a flash when entertaining!  I also thought this recipe would be perfect for January as we approach getting on-track with our eating goals!

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So the ingredients are simple with my new favorite, salsa verde!  And by the way . . . I made this soup with another brand of salsa verde and it was not as good as the with the organic HealthMarket brand.  To these ingredients I added low-sodium broth, green peppers and chopped chilies, delish!

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Easy  Crock-Pot White Chicken Chili Serves 6

Ingredients

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 lb. shredded chicken, cooked 

1 (16-oz) jar salsa verde

1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans

1 (4.5-oz) can chopped green chilies

2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped

 Preparation

Place all the ingredients in a crock-pot and place on HIGH for four hours.  Add any topping you may enjoy. Try crushed tortillas, avocado or a dollop of Greek yogurt! 

 

 

 

 

Wow! Look at that awesome nutrition profile!  Super filling will great sources of fiber and protein. Perfect for entertaining and perfect for the New Year! Enjoy!

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Special Holiday Treats for a Birthday Celebration!

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Hey! So I am a just a tad behind . . .time is just passing by way too fast!  I swear once it is Thanksgiving it seems like all you have to do is blink and it is Christmas!  These past  two weeks have been a blur with my birthday, party and having the entire family knocked down by a horrible, awful stomach flu, blah!  Anyway . . . yes, I mentioned my birthday and I also celebrate another year of blogging at Daily Dietitian!  That is right five years ago my hubby decided to give me a blog for my bday.  Back then I had no idea what the heck I was suppose to do with it but thought it was super cool!  Over the years, I have really enjoyed sharing my passion for nutrition with my friends and family through this site.  I am no pro at this gig, but enjoy the hobby of of inspiring and educating anyone who peeks at my latest recipe invention, favorite product recommendation or even sharing my latest struggle in feeding my children good-for-you-foods!

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So, since it was also my birthday I decided to host my own party but decided to just call it a “Holiday Party” so no one really has to know it is my birthday, okay?  I mean, who doesn’t throw themselves a party on their birthday?   I thought to myself, “Why not? You love to entertain so all the work will be fun, right?”  And yes, it sure was an awesome day!

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I wanted to make this a special day because for 18 years, my dear mother threw me a birthday party every single year I was under my parent’s roof, no joke! Even my birthday parties in high school were cool (at least I thought) because again my mom made the best food!  I still remember her making not only one but TWO half-sheet pans of monkey bread! We are talking about 18-inches by 24-inches of pure, yummy-liciousness in a happy marriage between Butter Sugar and Cinnamon Bread, OMG, right!? My friends loved me for it and they especially loved my mother for it plus all the other goodies she made!  Then after we pigged out on the giant buffet I decided it would be fun to give every single girl that I invited over a prom-makeover!  And night probably ended with some girl talk and watching one of my favorite holiday comedy movies. . .  Christmas Vacation!

Throwback of my birthdays from one-year-old to I think twenty-two! 

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Back to my point . . . I threw myself a party because this stay-at-home mom wants to have some fun!  I think all mothers fantasize about how their birthday is going to be just glorious and you wake up with breakfast in bed and every single call for mom is dismissed because it is your birthday.  You open up a card on your breakfast plate that includes a coupon good for no house work, no carting kids from here or there, no cooking and the day is all about you! You go on your way, free as a bird, and start the day off with a Big-Gulp-sized latte, massage, salon and shopping! We all know this is not true but we can always dream, right? A mother’s birthdays usually follows like any other day and you have remind your kids it is your birthday.  And make sure your hubby has it on his calendar so he won’t make the mistake of walking out the door for work and forgetting, so you kindly remind him week before and say,  “Hey, remember the time you forgot my birthday, harharhahaha!?”

So this year’s birthday was nothing but wonderful!  Seriously, it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I invited eight friends (those who were not working during the day, sorry to those who were)  and their kids over and I made some fun holiday-entertaining treats! Here are my friends that joined the party!  Had some camera issues, I will get better pics next party, promise!

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Love it when kids play so well that it seems like you are on a Girls-Night-Out!  Here are some of the kiddos enjoying some goodies!

Now onto the goodies!

Here are the ingredients that I used for the Layered Taco Dip.  After having my mom’s taco dip for Thanksgiving, I was craving some taco dip!  And you know what  . . .making it this is really good for you!  So good, I have it for lunch!  Get in some veggies, beans (fiber), calcium and protein from the Greek yogurt.

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These are my chocolate trail mix bites and super-duper simple to make!  Just melted milk and semi-sweet chocolate topped with nuts, dried fruit and whatever else you may like!

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Fruit salsa . . .next time I promise to use the cinnamon and sugar chips.  This time I thought cinnamon  Magic Pops would work but they did no justice.  I also did not use any added sugar because at my house we are on a this no-added-sugar kick but here is also a very healthy option for some out-of-this-world salsa, try this recipe from an old post Fantastic Fruit Salsa.

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Who knew, mango mimosas would be so divine?  Oh my, these were delicious! Can’t wait to show you how easy they are to make!

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And here is my yummy White Chicken Chili!  This was so easy, yet, so fantastic!

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And for the kiddos and I guess the adults, too  I made Simple Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes.

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I will follow-up and post the recipes for my goodies!  White Chicken Chili will be first! 

What a great birthday! My family and I ended the night out and I was one happy girl with my three kids, husband and oh yeah, let’s not forget about some awesome beer and pizza!

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Tell Me What To Eat! Week 2

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Hey friends!  I hope everyone had a wonderful turkey day with all the yummy holiday favorites. I will say this year I enjoyed my mother’s taco dip and cheeseburger soup the best oh and let’s not forget her on-top-of-the-world cinnamon rolls!  I don’t think I went too overboard with all the goodies but I definitely picked out my favorites from the long menu list and savored each bite! Glad I got to enjoy some good food and good times with family.  But now, it is time to get back into the groove of a normal routine again.  Yes, that is right it is back to get on track with eating a variety of good-for-you foods! I guess I could say healthy but I tend to shy away from using that word because I feel most people associate the word healthy (too many times) meaning “doesn’t taste good!”  Does this sound like you or someone you may know?  The word healthy, in my opinion, is way over used, so lets just focus of good food for you that tastes amazing! 

Now let’s finish up from last week’s mini series “Tell Me What To Eat.  For this week I have chosen a protein smoothie for breakfast.  You can follow my steps in this post or lately I have been using 2 handfuls of greens, 1/2 banana, 2/3 cup frozen mango, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein and about 10 ounces of water.  So awesome! I also like to add a handful of nuts along side because I like to eat food instead of just drinking my meals, ya know?

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And for morning snacks . . . yes, I am including Dora the Explorer edamame packets along with a clementine, or two!  I absolutely love these Dora edamame packets because the beans are already shelled!  If you are unfamiliar with edamame, they are immature soybeans packed with a good source of protein! Don’t be afraid, they may look like lima beans but taste nothing like them!  I love them and most of my kids do too.  I think it is always so funny when my two-year-old sees the packet and will say, “Dora!  I want them!”  I open up the package and she spits them out, ha!  The power of marketing because this happens not once, not twice but at least seven time and then my daughter finally will say, “Yummylicious!”  See, you really do have to feed your kids certain foods at least a number of time before they actually like the food!  My own little research  project! 

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Anyway, this is a great snack and perfect for on-the-go!  I put Dora edamame in my husband’s lunch too and always wonder what people are thinking when a grown man pulls out a snack with Dora on the package, ha!  Gotta love it! This is always on my shopping list every Wednesday for 10% sack sale day at Hy-Vee in the HealthMarket.  They are located in the freezer section in the HealthMarket usually next to the frozen veggies.

 

And for lunch here is the perfect make-ahead, take-on-the-go lunch!  The beauty of this idea is that you can alter the ingredients to your likings! Follow my steps here: Simple Steps to Make the Perfect Salad.

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No need to buy a bottled dressing, just make a super-duper, simple homemade dressing with the ingredients you already have in your frig and pantry!  

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Or if you are not a salad lover, maybe I will entice you with Taco Salad in a Jar! This is a bit on naughty side, doncha think?  However, I am a huge fan for giving all kinds of suggestions for every type of eater!  Even if it means suggesting, Doritos, ahh!  For all you clean eaters out there I have found a nacho cheese tortilla chips at Trader Joes awhile back that was fabulous!  This was definitely my closest find to a Dorito, or just plain old tortilla chips will do the trick, too!  Be sure to check out the link for how to use your scale when prepping up these salads.  I love using the scale because it is precise and no stinkin’ mess with measuring spoons!

Remember if you want, you may add a fresh fruit along with your salad for lunch!  An apple or pear works great to throw in the lunch bag.  FYI – I have had these salads in a jar last me about 4 days in the frig.

Now afternoon snack!  Ah, Siggi’s!  Love this yogurt and how low it is in sugar!  A yummy, sweet afternoon treat!  Add about 10 almonds to this yogurt for a balanced snack!

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Dinner time rolls around and you think, “What in the heck am I going to eat!”   This is always the question at my house and for me, time is a major issue.  I want to cook something super fast and here is a great solution  – Easy Beef Stir-Fry. So. Darn. Filling.  The left overs are yummy, too!

 

And after dinner if you are wanting something to eat, try some herbal tea! 

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Remember to not eat at least three hours before you go to bed.  Don’t waste all your hard work of eating well  for the day!  You can do it!  It is all a mind game! Enjoy!

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Tell Me What To Eat–How to get skinny before the Holidays!

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Hey friends!  Back at it again and wanted to address something I get asked all time, “Will you just tell me what to eat?”  I usually follow this with a similar reply, such as this, “Sure, you can eat whatever your heart desires but cut your portions in half.”  Easier said than done, right?  And you probably want to hurt me for that comment, so here are the specifics.  I would like to start a mini-series here and just show you super-duper-simple ideas for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner ideas.  These are realistic meal and snack ideas that I use every day in my busy, hectic life (like everyone else) and so can you!  Now, I will take your hand and show you just how simple eating healthy and how super simple it really can be for you!  This is just what you needed right before the holidays, right?  And remember take the ideas/suggestions you like and maybe you will find more examples I give in the upcoming weeks. 

BREAKFAST

Check out this post about the products I like to use Getting Real About Breakfast.  Super simple as I microwave two eggs on HIGH for two minutes.  Add a sprinkle of  shredded cheese and pop back in the microwave for 12 seconds.  Toast a hearty slice of bread and add a spat of real butter, ahh, now this a breakfast of champions, eh?

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If you don’t want to try the sprouted bread, I also like Sara Lee 100% whole wheat with only 1 gram of sugar per serving.  Check out your bread you are buying, how much sugar per serving?  Yikes!

Oh yeah, and I always have a plain latte – just one cup of milk and espresso!  Or if you want skip the coffee/espresso and just have a glass of milk!

I am finally able to nix my sugar in my coffee and boy do I feel like I conquered the world.  My trick to kicking the sugar in coffee is buying really good coffee, like Starbucks, Caribou and Panera Bread ground coffees – my favs!  I also bought an aero press which is the the second trick into making absolutely wonderful coffee/lattes.  Honestly, the aeropress is my best kitchen investment ever! I will have to show you how I make lattes.

 

A.M. SNACK –Anytime in the morning.

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Psss . . . for starters go ahead and have a whole apple . . .maybe if weight loss is stagnant then go for just a half apple.

 

LUNCH

This is my super-quick lunch that I just adore! Find more info at How To Make The Perfect To-Go Lunch.

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Just one chicken sausage link for lunch and don’t forget to ADD eight crackers or chips to this lunchI really like Hint of Salt Triscuits.

Remember this easy template?  Try this for variety if you do no like the suggested items I have shown above.

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P.M. SNACK!  I always crave something a little sweet in the afternoon, like chocolate,eh?  So here is a great way to satisfy your afternoon sweet-tooth.  You may pair this item up with a glass of milk or if you need a little pick-me-up like myself in the afternoon, I sometimes make another latte with just milk and espresso.   Remember it is all about training your taste buds to like flavors without added sugar. Plus, it is even easier to nix the sugar habit when you pair it up with something a little sweet. 

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Remember when looking for a snack protein bar shoot for less than 220 calories, less than 8 grams of  added sugar and at least 4 grams of protein.   My other favorite bars are Chocolate Peanut Butter Quest Bar and Snickerdoodle or Carrot Cake Lara bar – OMG!  These are all amazing!

 

DINNER

Try this super simple, yet comforting and heart-warming Skinny Chili.  I think chili is one of the best meals this time of year and it even tastes good days after.  Love chili leftovers! 

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Try my recipe by cutting down the fat and calories with chopped mushrooms! Remember this trick?  You really don’t even taste the mushrooms and this is an awesome way to get extra veggies into any dish! 2013-10-09

If you don’t want to do this, not a problem – sometimes I just cut the amount of ground meat down to half or even a third!    One serving is 1 1/2 cups!  I always add a handful of oyster crackers because it would not be chili without them, right?  And don’t forget to open up your fresh-cut vegetable tray and dig in!  And one tablespoon of Ranch dressing is fine to dip!  Check out where I got found my container Getting Organized – My favorite food storage containers.

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And for bedtime, please hold off on the eating and try get your mind off of food.  Relax a bit, read a book, watch your favorite T.V. shows or one of my favorites, surf some pinterest! Try to stick to eating your last meal at least three hours before you go to bed.   I like sip on some herbal tea while I enjoy some night time quiet time, oh wait . . . not sure if that actually happens at my house, ha!

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Oh, and how could I forget the recommendation to water, water and more water throughout this meal plan. Make your own water station at your work or at home.  This just means to have a set spot where you keep your water bottle so you know where to go!

Here is a great overview!  *TIP – save pic to phone so you will remember what to buy when you are grocery shopping! 

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So, I hope you enjoyed the first post of “Tell Me What To Eat” series and come back for more! This is all about finding simple solutions that don’t break the budget and focusing on real food that taste awesome, yet good-for-you!  Cheers! 

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How to Get your Kids to Eat Better! Realistic tips for picky-eaters and more!

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I never would have thought that one of the toughest jobs of being a parent is to get your kids to eat healthy foods.  This is a tiring, never-ending battle I deal with every day and some days are fabulous and other days I feel like a failure of a dietitian/mom, ugh.  But I am true believer in the balancing act of healthy eating given the 80/20 rule or whatever it may be . . . there is no such thing as perfect eating, especially when it comes to kids, eh? But as a parent it is our job, our duty, our will to do our best at promoting healthy foods to our kids.  I have found through this rollercoaster ride of teaching my kids to eat better, I believe there are definitely some standards that parents should strongly support and here I go . . .

 

BE A ROLE MODEL

If you expose healthy options at home regularly then the child will be familiar with those foods and won’t see it as an option.  If you buy mostly processed food, aka not-good-for-you-foods, then the child will more likely eat the junk food, and same goes with if you mostly buy healthy foods, then the kids will more likely eat the healthy options.  Remember this rule totally leaves room for all “junk food” in moderation.  Being a role model also supports portraying balanced eating and that totally means going out for an ice cream once in awhile or having a brownie for dessert.  Just keep the good-for-you-foods as the main act on the stage for most of the day.

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GET CREATIVE WITH FOOD

Make a pretty plate or let your kids make a pretty plate and that sometimes means, letting them play with their food.  Offer a variety of colorful foods, including a good amount of fruits and vegetables on the plate! And for the little ones, a  little creativity can do wonders – try using cookie cutter shapes for fruits, vegetables, quesadillas or even sandwiches.

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Pancake Pops                                                                 Homemade Popsicles for the Kids

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Spider Web Pancakes                                                          Pizza Cracker Bites

GET CREATIVE BY ROLE PLAYING

I have found a little role playing with food may be the trick to tackle especially for those hard to handle vegetable dilemmas.  This tactic may not be something you want to try on your teenager but I find it work wonders for my kiddos, especially my youngest children: my 4-year-old and 2-year-old.   Make the food talk or make your carrots a racing plane that needs to enter the landing gate (kid’s mouth).    If I make a fool of myself then my kids pretty much guarantee me some participation, even it is just a couple bites – that is all that I am asking for, hooray!

Here I am at my daughter’s school talking about healthy food through a puppet, again, making a fool of myself to get the kids attention but all in good fun and I think they got the point about having fun learning about some good-for-you-foods.   Someday I will make myself a giant broccoli costume – I have always dreamed about a cool vegetable costume, ha!

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GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

Sometimes a little attention is all that is necessary for a child to eat well at dinner time. Get them involved in making a dish or maybe it is something as simple as having them help out with food preparation like setting the table.

Another way to get them involved is to let them pick out a new vegetable to try at the grocery store. I know, kids and grocery shopping is probably one of my toughest jobs of the week, I dread it, but sometimes it is totally worth it in order to get your kids excited about trying a new food. This is a great way to change up the grocery list!

Other great tips include starting your own garden!  We had our first garden at our new home this summer, the kids were not into it but once they saw me pick a giant zucchini out of the garden they were amazed it came from OUR garden!  I told them it is like getting free groceries!  I am putting a reminder on my spring to-do list – Let the kids plant seeds to sprout, maybe it might be more exciting for them to see the plant start to finish instead of buying already grown vegetable plants.

 

 

OFFER FOODS A VARIETY OF TIMES

Research shows that a food must be exposed to a child at least 7-10 times before the food to be accepted. Try positive reinforcement for a job well done at cooperatively trying a bite.  Remember you do not have to force them to finish a food. Encouraging one bite to taste is great and more bites even better but if your child is resistant try not make it a negative experience.  Setting a good base of healthy eating habits at a young age will carry on into adulthood.

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  Doesn’t this look say it all?  “Mom, I am not sure about these green popsicles, what did you put in them?” 

 

MEAL TIME LESSONS

I have often asked kids, “What does healthy mean?”  And many times a child will define the word healthy  by telling me that broccoli, strawberries are healthy.  I will then ask what do these foods do for our bodies?  They will finally get the idea and tell me that carrots may help them see better or milk gives them strong bones, etc.  I love the idea of teaching kids that there are foods that can be grouped into two different groups.   “Every Day Foods,” aka good-for-you-foods foods you have on your plate at breakfast, lunch and dinner!   And then we also  have “Sometimes Foods,”  aka not-so-good-for-you-foods -  foods that can be eaten once a week or every other day. I always give the example that my family has donuts on Sundays, just once a week not everyday.  Somehow my kids will ask me, “Is it Sunday today?”   Teaching kids about these two food groups foods is a great lesson in letting them know the differences between foods and making healthy choices.

 Raising Healthy Eaters – Plus my trip to school!

 

Sometimes I believe there are foods that we just don’t have to tell our kids (husbands, too) what we put in them and just let them enjoy the food.  Of course, always encourage them to eat their vegetables at every meal but sometimes it our “mom-duty” to make a sweet treat just a little bit better for you!  That also includes sneaking in more vegetables at a meal (mushrooms in ground beef).  My husband and kids have caught onto my mission but here are some great examples, such as my simple   No-Bake Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie recipe, loaded with a variety of good-for-you-foods! And Check out more My Top Food Fools – Tips for making your food a bit better for you!

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 OFFER FOODS SEPARATE

After a couple of years of making stir-frys or any one-pot dish, I always struggled getting my kids to eat the dish and then ended up throwing most of it away, grrrr . . .  I have found better luck by simplifying my meals and offering my kids a protein, vegetable, starch and fruit separate.  I find my picky eaters eat better when foods are offered separately.  Remember, think MyPlate! Here is a great example of what our plates look like at meal time.  Simplify!  

One Amazing Simple Grilled Meal

 

Well, if you are like me I just keep trying and realize that not everyday is perfect or every week is perfect heck, let’s face not every month even comes close to being perfect on the healthy eating scale but I try and try and try and try my very best.  Hopefully my persistence will pay off . . . I hope!  Cheers to our kids eating better! 

 

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One Amazing Grilled Meal–Grilled Chicken & Vegetables with Rice

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Hey!  Well, I mentioned the other day on Facebook and Twitter that I made an awesome, super-duper-quick, meal the other night and here it is, taadaaa!  This meal could not be easier and it took only minutes (less than 10 minutes, that is . . .) to put together!

First I started out with 1/2 red onion, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper. I chopped up all the vegetable and added 1/4 cup Bolthouse Balsmic dressing and 2 tbsp Italian dressing.

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I added the same amount of marinade (1/4 cup Bolthouse Balsamic dressing and 2 tablespoons Italian dressing) to the chicken and I refrigerated it for at least 30 minutes for the marinade and the chicken to marry.   I added my veggies to a grill pan and here we go grill!

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Yum! I absolutely adore grilled vegetables and could probably eat this entire pan!  The kids did okay with eating the grilled veggies but the rice medley was definitely their favorite! 

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To this simple dinner I complimented it with Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Medley, including quinoa and brown rice with garlic.  Oh boy was it tasty!

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Simple Grilled Chicken & Vegetables

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breast

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 yellow squash, choped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup Bolthouse Balsamic dressing, divided

1/4 cup  Italian dressing, divided

Preparation

Add 1/4 cup balsamic dressing and 2 tbsp Italian dressing to the chicken breast. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Add the same amount of marinade (1/4 cup balsamic + 2 tbsp Italian dressing) to the chopped vegetables and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Place vegetables in a grill pan and grill until tender.  Grill chicken breasts over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

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Celebrate the 4th with My Skinny Strawberry Watermelon Frozen Cocktail!

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Can you believe that it is already July 4th?  Whaaat, it is unbelievable that summer is flying by this fast!  The fourth always marks the middle of summer and now the rest of the summer is only a blink of an eye, whew!  So today I would like to share with you a super simple cocktail drink that will save you from packing on the unwanted pounds during this holiday weekend. 

I used only three ingredients to make this tasty drink and here they are: lemonade, frozen strawberries and watermelon flavored rum.   Yes, I am sorry to say the rum is left my honeymoon, almost 8 years ago!  We went to the Bahamas and boy oh boy, was the rum super cheap but we probably made up for it by paying extra for our heavy luggage, ha! Oh well .  . . I have been making more alcoholic frozen drinks this summer because I now have a high-powered blender, hmm  . . .  green smoothies or  margaritas? Heehee, I do both but once a week I love playing bartender with my blender and mixing up something fun!  Honestly, I am a true beer girl but making drinks is sure fun!

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Strawberry Watermelon Frozen Cocktail  (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lemonade

1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries

2 oz watermelon rum

Preparations:

Blend all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts: 122 calories; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g fat; 0 g protein; 11 g sugar

(Most cocktail drinks range from  200-400 calories per serving!)

 

By the way .  . . this makes a good serving, so enjoy (bigger than the picture, woohoo!)!

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Get Real About Breakfast . . . A simple breakfast with tons of benefits!

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Hi friends!  I will have to admit, this dreary weather lately just makes me want to be lazy.  Relax . . .read the paper, surf pinterest, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy a wholesome breakfast.  Ahh . . well, that does not lasts not very long until I hear the words, “Mooooooooommmm!”  I know someday I will miss hearing those cries for mom, but  one of my favorite times during the day is enjoying a late breakfast with a little “me time!”  After the kids wake up and eat their breakfast, I like to enjoy a quiet breakfast by myself while they are playing together. I try to make it last as long as possible and explain to the kids that mommy need some time to eat a good breakfast so I won’t start the day off as cranky-pants-mommy.   Nobody like it when that happens!

I think breakfast is probably one of my favorite meals but let’s face it, I have to make something super quick so I can enjoy more “me time”, right?   And here is what I cherish to eat every morning, well,  most mornings let’s say . . .

Super duper simple and so very filling!  Eggs and toast!  Yep, you  got it, just real eggs and toast with a little bit of real butter, yum!  No egg substitutes, no soft-tub margarines and no low-calorie breads! These last few years, I have jumped on the real-food bandwagon and have been devouring real wholesome foods in proper portions.  I used to be so freaked out by the amount of calories and fat in butter that I decided that soft-tub margarine spreads was a better choice.  But have you ever done a taste test between margarines and real butter?  Umm . . . yeah real butter wins by a landslide. I only use a half tablespoon (maybe less) on a slice of bread, so yes – keep the serving small.  I see more and more new research claiming that fat may be not as bad as we think it is after all, hmm . . . (BTW, I hear Jillian Michaels has the same breakfast – eggs and sprouted toast!)

As for the eggs, I am not against egg substitutes and I actually do use them in my egg protein wrap when I am trying to really bump up the protein grams!  But I like the fact that eggs are good for you and are an excellent source of protein!  Egg are packed with essentials nutrients such as vitamin D, choline (aids in brain function), vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, (promotes eye health) and many more!  Don’t fret the fat and cholesterol, eggs can be apart of a healthy and balance diet everyday! Eggs & Heart HealthBreakfast & Weight Loss

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Side note : here is my new coffee that I am in love with . . . Starbucks Via is an instant coffee that tastes wonderful!  This is how I pass on the flavored creams – by drinking really good coffee!

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The egg puffs up so pretty!  I crack two egg and place in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave on HIGH for two minutes.  Then I top the eggs with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and pop it back it back in the microwave for an additional 12 seconds for the cheese to melt. Or sometimes I cook the eggs on the stove in a skillet. I make 2 eggs because I (lesson learned)  usually have some little munchkin coming to me asking, “Mama, can I have some egg too?” 

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Now let’s talk bread!  Back in the day when I worked at the grocery store, I used to stock these frozen Ezekiel breads and think “Why in the heck would someone pay $5 for  loaf of frozen bread?”  Well, honestly I was not aware of how this bread was made and did not know that it is packed full of nutrients.  Now, I know why and love the taste of this bread toasted with a spat of butter! 

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Okay, let me explain . . .this bread contains sprouts of different grains and then used to make bread.  The process of sprouting grains actually increases the level of different vitamins and minerals, therefore increasing its nutritional profile!   This bread is also a low-glycemic food, meaning that after you eat this bread your blood sugar does not spike as high as it would if you would have eaten a slice a bread made with flour. 

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I adore this bread toasted!  I will admit the bread is a little dry when eating plain so I have found that by toasting the bread and topping it with a little butter is pure heaven!  My kids also love, love the bread toasted but I add a little bit of cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar to their toast for snack or breakfast! It tastes like a cinnamon roll, omg!  Did someone say cinnamon roll? 

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So here we have it folks, cheers to eggs and toast, the breakfast of rock stars!

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How To Make The Perfect TO-GO Lunch

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Heeellloo!  You got it, if I haven’t been posting I have been crazily organizing and cleaning. There is still more to do but I have went through the girls’ closets, pantry, coat closet and onto the dreaded storage room, ahh!  I have realized (like most people) that when I am super, super busy I eat whatever is in sight,aka, meaning whatever is left of my kids’ meal and snack plates.  That’s right, my diet is now consisting of chicken nuggets (all-natural brand), pretzels, apple slices, bits of broccoli and dip, popcorn and the best yet, left-over ice cream cones, times three, ha!  Yep, just call me the human garbage disposal. Uuuugggghhh, how do I get out of this cycle and still try to get a 101 things done?  Well, I thought about making up my own ready-to-go lunches on the weekend and hopefully it will be a no-brainer for me to reach into the frig, open container and eat.  Hmm . . . . 

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Here is my option #1, I hope to make up a gizillion more ready-to-go lunches, so I won’t get bored and keep up this great idea!  I know, it is not a new idea but I am motivated to make this happen, hopefully every week!  I have made up four lunches (all the same) and this week has been going great, except that some of the lunches got pushed back in the back of the frig and now some of the vegetables froze a bit, grrr! Lesson learned! Anyway, here is my format for each lunch.

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Note the largest section will have me eating more vegetables! Let’s see if I can do it?  For this lunch option I did not actually include the protein source in the container because I thought it might ruin my vegetables.  Above my container, I have two options for protein sources.  These sausages are very tasty and lean on the high side of sodium, therefore the rest of the meal is almost very little or no sodium at all.

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I love, love, love guacamole but do not buy it that often because it is a bit pricey and sometimes it goes bad before I am able to finish the container.  I did find a huge container of homemade guacamole at Hy-Vee for a pretty reasonable price. Oh my, is this stuff goood! Next time I think I am going to look for a container half the size.  The price is not bad considering the name-brand versions contain about half the amount of guacamole for about $4! I was able to finish all the guacamole this time around.

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Now like I said my goal is come up with more creative lunch ideas and maybe have a different ready-to-go lunch each day! But for now I thought I would test this idea out and see how it goes for the week. 

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Estimated nutrition facts: 281 calories; 18 g carbohydrate; 10 grams fat; 16 g protein, 740 mg sodium; 7 g sugar

Now my biggest questions I ask myself, “Did these lunches fill me up? Yes, and no . . .the first day I think I was too busy to find anything else to eat but on the second day I was ravenous to find something else and I did, a kind bar and a glass of milk.  I think they make a wonderful nutritious base for my meal and I may have to include a couple things to complete them but for now I love it!  Definitely room to improve!

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Easy Beef Stir-Fry

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Happy Friday!  This week is flying by and the kids and I are having a great summer.  I was a little worried about having all the kids home for the entire day but our trips to the pool, zoo, library, science center and more sure help make the day go smoothly!  Well, here’s to a super simple meal that can made and put together in just minutes.  Perfect for those busy nights when you get home and everyone is hungry now!  Don’t ya just love those night, ha, when the kids go straight to the freezer and grab a popsicle or cookie right before dinner, ugh! A big huge ugh! Anyway . . .

First I browned some cubed stir-fry beef. Once it was cooked I set it aside and started sautéing onions with olive oil in a skillet. Then I added an entire bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables plus an extra can of water chestnuts because at our house we just can’t get enough of them!

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Next comes the special simple soy and ginger sauce.

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Cover the pan with lid and let it cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add beef to mixture and dinner is done! 

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Easy Beef Stir-Fry  (Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 pound cubed stir-fry beef

2 tbsp canola oil

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetable blend

1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts, drained

Sauce:

3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp water

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preparation

In a non-stick skillet sauté beef until brown.  Remove cooked beef and set aside (may use a separate skillet) Add oil, onion and frozen vegetable to pan and sauté vegetables until slightly tender.  Add water chestnuts.  In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, water, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Pour mixture over vegetables.  Add cooked beef and cover pan for 8 to 10 minutes until flavors have combined. Serve on a bed of your favorite rice!

*(Nutrition facts per the beef and vegetable mixture, rice not included)

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 240; Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Fat: 2g; Protein: 22 g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Sodium: 600mg; Sugar: 3g; Trans Fat: 0g; Daily nutritional values: 10% vitamin A; 25% vitamin C; 4% calcium; 20% iron

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