03.22.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Healthy “Fried Rice”

Every morning when I wake up, I have the day planned out in my head…. and none of the craziness that the day brings is included in those rose colored delusions. My fantasy goes something like this. I wake up and get my workout in (that happens. thankfully)… and then I get so much done in the hour before Harper wakes, that we spend 2 uninterrupted hours together, before she goes down for a nap, without me feeling like I have to multitask (this never happens). Once she goes down for her morning nap, I figure I have an hour and a half to regroup…. instead, I get caught up responding to an e-mail or editing some photos… that I lose track of time…. you get the drift, I don’t need to go into any further details….

It’s odd. Before I became a mom, life was pretty smooth sailing. With only myself (and of course TJ and our fur baby) to worry about, I was focused, stayed on track, and the days generally went as planned. “LOL” my former self says to my current self.

All that to say, the early evenings, right before dinner, are no exception… and likely one of the crazier times in our household. Given that, I like to have a pretty solid plan, and easy dinner, for the family. A meal that’s full of nutritional value, while still packing taste and satisfaction (I aim to please over here….)…. and not taking over 30 minutes from start to finish…..

This cauliflower quinoa dish is just that sort of meal. It’s gluten free, dairy free, full of veggies, and a good source of protein (with the quinoa being a complete protein itself). It’s even a great leftover as well. I know some of you are like “yuck…. cauliflower,” but I promise you that it’s tasty (it passed the test of 5 people who aren’t cauliflower lovers!)…. especially with a little soy sauce + quinoa (which gives it some added texture). You can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s (a one stop shop…) and can eat as is, or toss on some chicken, shrimp, salmon, or flank steak (it’s a fairly versatile dish….). If that hasn’t sold you, I don’t know what will…. so I’ll just stop talking, and get to the recipe….

Cauliflower Quinoa Fried Rice:
(serves 2, double if serving more)
1 package of riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s
1 package of frozen quinoa from Trader Joe’s (if you make on your own it’s 1 cup cooked)
1 cup shaved carrots
1 1/2 cup mushrooms
2/3 cup frozen peas (microwave before putting into dish)
3/4-1 cup tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce), this will also depend on your own tastebuds
diced green onions
1 clove of garlic, or 1 frozen cube of garlic (I buy my minced garlic frozen in a tray)
1 cup of diced onions (Trader Joe’s has them pre-diced for us lazy peeps)
protein of choice
1 tbsp sesame oil

Directions: In a large pan, heat the oil and add the garlic and onions. Next, add the cauliflower rice, mushrooms, and shredded carrots. Pour in the tamari sauce, stir to combine all ingredients, and then reduce to medium heat, place the lid on the pan, and allow the cauliflower to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring a few times. Be sure to watch the cauliflower here, as you don’t want it to get too soggy, yet you need it to cook. Use your own judgement, and do a few taste tests. While the cauliflower is cooking, microwave the peas (about 1 minute), quinoa, and cook your protein. When the cauliflower is finished, add the peas, quinoa, and a little more tamari sauce (if you’d like) and stir to mix. Lastly, top with green onions and your protein of choice.

Enjoy!
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(Outfit Details || Top (wearing XS) | Jeans | Bowl (old))

03.01.2017

5 Days Of Healthy Eating || Favorite New Food Products

I have to admit that I often times love going to the grocery store (not all the time…. but more often than not….). I love pursuing the isles in search of new products to try, or for some inspiration in the kitchen. It’s so easy to get caught in a rut of eating the same thing, day after day, that I’ve found by simply mixing in a few new products here and there you can really create some variety. So today, I’m sharing with you some new favorite healthy food products I have found, as well as a full 5 days of what I ate last week……oh, and a few favorite pieces of workout wear that are currently on sale (at the very end of the post)……

Recent Favorite Products:

Hilary’s Eat WellWhile the brand is not new to me, what is new are a few of the veggie items I’ve been incorporating lately. Both Harper and I love the veggie burgers, veggie bites, and the veggie breakfast sausages…. they’re hearty, delicious, and void of ingredients that you can’t pronounce. They’re non-GMO, gluten free, and organic which makes them a pretty great option.

Barely Bread: I was recently introduced to this grain free option and fell in love. I’ve tried other paleo style breads and they literally fall apart the moment you pull them out of the bag (and with the heafty price tag, it’s a tad frustrating). Not this line. While not as firm as grain bread, it definitely keeps its shape…. the bagels are pretty delicious too. I’ve incorporated them in my breakfasts and lunches!

Health-Ade Kombucha: My new favorite flavor is the pomegranate. Period.

Perfect Bar: I’ve chatted about these before, but my new flavor of the day is the “Nuts + Fruit” variety. I’m also a huge fan of the 100 calorie size for a little mid morning snack.
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5 Days Of Healthy Eating

Monday:

Breakfast: 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats, 1/2 sliced banana, dash of cinnamon
Snack: hard boiled egg + Healthade pomegranate kombucha
Lunch: Organic Cauliflower Soup (in Trader Joe’s pre-prepared section) + 3 Hilary’s Mediterranean Bites
Snack: RX Bar (Blueberry)
Dinner: Mexican Sweet Potato Hash: organic, grass fed ground beef sautéed with 3 bell peppers, 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup cheery tomatoes, 2 cups mushrooms, 2 cups brussels sprouts. 2 medium sweet potatoes diced, seasoned with cooking spray, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and roasted at 450 for 20 minutes (on convection setting). Served with guacamole + salsa. (see below photo)

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Left over veggies + sweet potatoes with two spicy veggie patties, topped with salsa
Snack: 100 calorie perfect bar + Healthade Pink Lady Apple Kombucha
Lunch: Open-faced Tuna Sandwich: 1 slice barely bread, 1 can of tuna, 1 tsp Annie’s organic honey mustard, 1 cup of spinach, sprouts, 1/ avocado smashed. Assemble sandwich in whatever order you prefer…. side of carrots. (see below photo)
Snack: Lara Bar Cashew Cookie
Dinner: Healthy Carnitas: 4 lbs organic, no antibiotics/hormones pork butt (cut off fat) in crock pot. Placed pork in crock pot along with 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde, minced garlic, and 1 tbsp of liquid smoke. Placed on low for 8 hours. Shredded when done, and let it marinate in the juices for about 20 minutes. Served with mexican cauliflower rice (used a package of riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s) and sautéed bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and zucchini. Topped with guacamole.

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Toast: 1 slice barely bread, 2 tbsp Justin’s Peanut Butter, 1/4 sliced banana, honey drizzled on top
Snack: Hard Boiled Egg + Healthade Original Flavor Kombucha
Lunch: Hilary’s Veggie Burger topped with 1/2 smashed avocado, diced tomatoes, spinach, and sprouts.
Snack: Beauty Smoothie 
Dinner: Shrimp Stir Fry: Sauté the shrimp in garlic, olive oil, and red bell pepper flakes. Then in a separate pan use some sesame oil and garlic to sauté your cauliflower rice. Turn heat to low and allow cauliflower rice to cook with the lid on for about 8 minutes. Add cooked broccoli, baby corn, spinach,  cooked peas, and 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice…. then drizzle some soy sauce over it (I’m generous with this….).  When it’s all warm and flavors to your liking you’re done. You can use the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s and then just heat it up in the microwave… as well as their broccoli…. it makes the dish even easier. They also have excellent uncooked shrimp (not fishy at all!). (see below)

Thursday:

Breakfast: Hilary’s Veggie Patties (2), 2 poached eggs, sliced avocado, sliced tomatoes
Snack: Banana + Healthade Pomegranate Kombucha
Lunch: Spinach Salad: 1/2 cup Quinoa, 3 cups spinach mixed with 1 cup romaine, Hilary’s veggie burger bites, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, sprouts, diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, lemon agave dressing (1 tbsp).
Snack: Beet Chips
Dinner: Grilled Salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and broiled asparagus. So simple, and a weeknight go-to.

Friday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal (same as Monday)
Snack: Bowl of berries + Healthade Kombucha
Lunch: Ate Out, ordered an avocado veggie sandwich
Snack: RX Peanut Butter Bar
Dinner:  Ordered Mexican Food Take-Out: Mesa Rice Bowl, side of guacamole, hold the beans (they bother my stomach….).
2 glasses of wine

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I also wanted to share that a few of my favorite workout pieces are on sale with the ShopBop GOBIG17 event (buy more, save more). These high waisted leggings are literally one of my favorites and I feel as if they look good on everyone! This open back tank would go perfectly with the leggings, as well as this sports bra and this open front cardigan (that I own…. it’s so soft!!).

02.15.2017

Wellness Wednesday: The Three Must Haves In My Breakfasts + A Nutrient Packed Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

We’ve all heard it, time and time again…. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And, if you think about it, it’s pretty true. I mean, I eat dinner around 6:00pm (senior citizens over here…..)…. and don’t have breakfast until 6:30am…. so, I’m literally breaking the fast with my first meal of the day…..

Growing up, I couldn’t leave the house until I’d had something to eat in the morning. In college, breakfasts were often pushed back until 9:30am (#LateNights #YOLO). In grad school, I lived on cereal. When little miss arrived, I relied heavily on my favorite oatmeal bake (pop in the oven, and voila). Needless to say, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about what will keep me nourished, satisfied, and provide me with the energy needed to get through the morning…..

First, I need carbs. Have to have them. So, I opt for items like my favorite rolled oats from Trader Joe’s, sweet potatoes, or a piece of toast. I also find a good source in the fruits I incorporate… I tend to prefer a sweet breakfast over a savory option, which is why I like fruit in the morning. I typically top my oats with fresh fruits for the perfect combo….

Second, a healthy dose of fats. They help me feel full longer. My preferred morning fats (sounds kinda funny, huh??)? Avocado or some kind of nut butter. They’re pretty much my #obsession. On toast, in my oatmeal (well, nut butter that is… haven’t been adventurous enough to toss in avocado…), on the side with my egg dish….

And lastly, some kind of protein. When I was in grad school I would have a bowl of cereal and wonder why I was hungry an hour later (or, better yet, why I needed a second bowl…..). Eggs, bacon (nitrate, hormone, antibiotic, organic kind), and protein powders are my favorite options….

Annnnd, a few mornings ago, I decided to get a little creative with those three must haves…. and that’s how this amazingly thick, delicious, and nutritious breakfast was born. You can drink the whole thing if you’d like… split it between two people (which is what little miss and I did)…. or make it into a breakfast bowl and top with more fruit and granola…. the options are limitless. Do what your tastebuds desire. Either way, you’re sure to be left with a cup (or bowl…) of goodness in front of you…….

Oh, and there are two hidden, nutrient dense, ingredients in this baby…. beets (in the oh-so-delicious Pressed Juicery Strawberry Almond Milk) and frozen cauliflower (trust me when I say you can’t even taste it….but it adds some amazing texture)…..

Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 medium, frozen, banana
1/2 cup oats (I use the gluten free oats from Trader Joe’s)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp chocolate protein collagen peptides
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
1 cup Strawberry Almond Milk from Pressed Juicery
1 scoop of nut butter (I used this one)
1 1/2 cup ice cubes
sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender (I used a vitamix) and blend until well combined. If it is not as thick as you would like, add a few more ice cubes until it reaches desired thickness (this is what I had to do).

Thank you to Pressed Juicery for sponsoring this post and allowing me to create delicious recipes for you. All opinions expressed are my own.

02.08.2017

Wellness Wednesday: Donuts. Yes, You Read That Right.

Donuts were a post-church tradition every Sunday growing up…. that big pink box, filled with a dozen morsels of yumminess. My favorites? Maple bars, sugar donuts, and chocolate sprinkles. I still can’t drive past a donut shop and not think about Sunday mornings with my family….

In all honesty though, the last time I had a donut was when I was pregnant…. I was craving it, but knew that it wouldn’t sustain me throughout the morning…. I mean, dough, sugar, flour, and butter, would you expect anything less? After inhaling the thing, I was hungry within an hour (and picked up an acai bowl….)….. Hypothesis confirmed, and I haven’t really had one since….

So, for this Valentine’s Day I decided to try my hand at a nutritious donut. Yeah, I know, sounds like an oxymoron, right? Healthy… donut….. not buying it? I promise you, it’s possible. These donuts are gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (in case you’re wondering, the following are refined sugars: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener)… but not taste free (trust me on that one….). You see, I recently saw this quote on instagram:

“Sugar feeds cancer and creates diabesity. The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year and about 146 pounds of flour.”

Holy smokes. Insert wide eyed emoji here. Yet, what I take from that quote is that everything in moderation… a full blown donut once in a blue moon isn’t going to hurt me. It might leave me hangry an hour later, but not going to do any long lasting damage….

Buuuut, what if you want something donut like more than once in a blue moon? Well, then, I’ve got you covered. I used simple swaps to make this a more nutritious option. Instead of butter I used an avocado (incredibly rich and creamy….), instead of regular flour I substituted almond flour, and I replaced regular old cane sugar with coconut palm sugar (a much lower glycemic index). I tossed in Pressed Juicery’s new strawberry almond milk (which has beets (!!), strawberries, and coconut water in it…), as well as some collagen peptides…. and there you have it. And while I don’t like to associate the word “guilt” with “food”…. it’s an indulgent treat that you’ll also get nutrients from too (that’s better, right??).

Make these morsels for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day… or just make them for whenever the heck you feel like it. Some initial reactions from my taste testers included:

“Oh my gosh. What the heck is this??” immediately followed by “We’re going to have to make these to have on hand daily.” ~ sister

Reaching and shoving mass quantities into the mouth ~ Harper

Need I say more??

Oh, also, if you’re looking to send a healthy Valentine’s Gram to some friends, Pressed is sending out juice grams to you and your besties. Just check out this link. Harper and I already sent some out!
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Strawberry Walnut Donuts:

1 cup walnuts (which will become 1/2 cup walnut powder)
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup Pressed Juicery strawberry almond milk
1/4 cup mashed avocado
1 cup coconut palm sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vital proteins collagen peptides (optional)

Frosting Ingredients: 

1/2 cup cacao powder
1  mashed avocado
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Pressed Strawberry Almond Milk
1 tsp coconut palm sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° (I also used the convection setting). Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray (I used this one).
2. In the bowl of a food processor add the walnuts and 1/4 cup of the almond flour and pulse until finely ground into a powder. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, collagen peptides, and salt to the walnut mixture. Stir to combine.
4. Add the avocado and sugar to the food processor and pulse until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla, and process until combined.
5. Then, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients (which should still be in the food processor) and pulse until combined. While the machine is running, pour in the strawberry almond milk (I used a funnel) and continue to process until the batter comes together.
6. Use a spoon to fill the donut pan. I recommend filling them almost to the top (I did it only halfway with the first batch and they were the skinniest donuts I’d ever seen….#NotRecommended). Bake for about 20-25 minutes (they will begin to separate from the pan and firm up when they are almost done). Once removed, I immediately turned over the donut tray and patted them out onto a cooling rack (be sure the pan is greased enough or they will stick #TrustMe #FirstBatchFail).
7. While they are cooling, make the chocolate frosting. To do this, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree. It should be a creamy texture. Also, be sure all the avocado is mashed as well.
8. Frost the donuts and top with chopped strawberries.
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{Post Details || Sweatshirt Tee | Harper’s Tee | Harper’s Pants}

Thank you to Pressed Juicery for sponsoring this post and allowing me the opportunity to create delicious recipes for you!

01.25.2017

Wellness Wednesday: My Top 4 Tips For Staying Healthy When Busy + A Delicious Sweet Potato Crust Egg Muffin

Over the past year, the term busy has taken on a whole different meaning. Gone are the days when a “hectic” day at work was immediately followed by a relaxing evening at home (although, Harper does go down around 7:30pm, I still always feel like there is something left to do)… or a weekend day is filled with “nothing.” It seems that there are endless to-do lists, friends to catch up with, a toddler running everywhere all the time, and sometimes it just seems like it would be so easy to just say “forget it” to healthy habits (I mean, going through the drive-through is much easier than actually preparing a meal….). Yet, over the years I’ve found ways to ensure that making healthy choices is a natural part of my lifestyle….. and, as I figure my life is about to get a whole lot busier with little miss running around, I figured now is as good a time as ever to refresh my mind, and share them with you!

1. Have Pre-Made Snacks/Meals Available: I have always found this to be the most effective option when ensuring I eat nutritious foods/meals.Having something that I can make, in bulk, ahead of time is such a helpful option. Which is why I recently made these egg muffins you see here today. They take about 30 minutes to make 12…. they’re kiddo and husband approved…. and so easy to store and re-heat when you want. I also love making my favorite oatmeal bake (can also be distributed into small containers to store for an even easier grab-n-go option)… or this dairy free chia seed pudding option. I know that these are all breakfast options, but sometimes I feel as if the mornings are the most rushed time of the day…. but also the most important meal… so I’m always sure that it’s a nutritious one.

2. Have Healthy Grab-N-Go Snacks Available: I love to snack in between meals. I get hungry, bottomline. So, I am certain to have healthy options readily available. Some of my favorites include a hard boiled egg (on the days I don’t have one of the egg muffins… no need for an egg overload…), pistachios (I like the roasted, and salted option from Trader Joe’s), Rx Bars (blueberry + chocolate sea salt are my favorite), and Lara Bars (peanut butter and lemon are my fav)… both of the bars have simple ingredients, which I love… and beet chips (Sprouts and Trader Joe’s have excellent pre-packaged options).

3. Keep Healthy Items In The Refrigerator + Cabinets: I only buy items I find to be nutritious…. if I buy the other ones, it’s probably just going to create temptation that isn’t needed (it’s what I talked to my clients about in my therapist days….. stimulus control… if it’s not around, it makes it pretty hard to get into….). When I have healthy items, and it comes time to making meals, it kind of ensures that a nutritious meal will follow. I follow this grocery list (I need to update it) pretty closely.

4. Move Whenever + Wherever You Can: When I don’t move, in some way, shape, or form, I simply feel off the entire day. I schedule it in… I figure that I have no problem scheduling in other activities… so why not this one, that’s an investment in my health? I typically wake up pretty early to get a workout in…. but if TJ is out of town, it makes it more difficult to leave the house. So, I do one of my at-home workouts, or go for a long walk, or quick run, with Harper in our BOB stroller.
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{Outfit Details || Fleece Pullover | Jeans (identical)}

Mexican Sweet Potato Crust Muffins

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs
1 large white sweet potato (not a yam)
2 cups spinach (cut off stems)
1 large red bell pepper (chopped into tiny pieces)
3 strips of bacon (I buy this kind…. it’s amazing)
1/2 cup red onion (chopped)
1/4 cup vital proteins collagen (they don’t add taste… only good for you collagen, read more here)
1/4 cup almond flour (I use this kind)
Avocado
Salt, Pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 450°, and spray cupcake tins very well (or they will stick). Wash + peel the sweet potato, then cut it in half. Use a cheese grater and literally grate the sweet potato on the side with the larger holes. You’ll want to grate the entire potato. Then divide the grated pieces evenly across the muffin tins (I used a standard tin with 12 muffins). Once done, place in the oven for about 10 minutes.

While the sweet potato is cooking, sauté your spinach, red onion, and bell pepper. Cook your bacon…. I just microwave mine for the sake of time, and when it is done break it into small pieces. In a large bowl crack all the eggs and whisk them together, and then add in the almond flour and vital proteins, stir to combine. Next, evenly distribute the bacon, red onion, spinach, and bell pepper mixture amongst the muffin tins. Then, place 1/4 cup of the egg mixture in each of the tins. Then, place in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. They will rise (and possibly spill over slightly) and will brown a little on top when they are finished… to be sure just stick a toothpick in the middle. Remove immediately. I like to serve mine with a little smashed avocado on top…. with a side of salsa…. TJ recommended a sirracha drizzle too.

You can store these in a baggie, or tuber ware, in the refrigerator and heat up whenever you want.

01.10.2017

A Delicious + Healthy Weeknight (Or Day) Meal: Ground Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

I’ve always tried to be aware of what I put into my body…. you know, minimizing processed foods and sugars (although, I do have quite a sweet tooth), heavy on the fruits + vegetables, with whole grains and lean meats tossed in the mix…. Yet, when I became pregnant with Harper, I became increasingly aware of where my food was coming from, and how my food was grown and raised. I felt that I was being entrusted with the responsibility to carry our growing baby, and I wanted to ensure that what I put into my body was good for her as well… That meant I became pretty strict…. especially with the meats I was consuming. They needed to be organic and raised on organic land…. no antibiotics, hormones, or steroids (since that’s the crap that gets stored in the animal’s fat + flesh…. and are then passed onto me… from what I have read in my research.).

Annnnd, now that little miss is eating all the foods that we do, it’s something that continues to be of importance to me in food preparation and grocery shopping. So, when I was introduced to Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey, I was eager to try it out… it met all of the above criteria, and was at an excellent price point (because, let’s be honest, organic isn’t cheap….). I loved it so much that I’ve teamed up with them to bring you a Turkey Tuesday dish that has become a regular staple in our household…. stuffed acorn squash. It’s hearty, nutritious, and little miss + hubby approved (oh, and my sister tested it out too and gave it two thumbs up….). If you’re short on time during the week, you can always prepare the turkey  and acorn squash ahead, and simply reheat them when it’s time for dinner…..

Ingredients

1 Package Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey (I found mine at Costco, in a two pack, for a little over $15!)
1 package of riced cauliflower (found at Trader Joe’s… or you can rice it on your own….)
Spinach
Green Onions
Avocado
1 Medium to Large Acorn Squash
1 Cup Diced Onions
1 Jar Of Salsa Verde (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s)
2 tsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Salt
Pepper
Garlic
Olive Oil

Directions For Acorn Squash
Pre-heat the oven to 450° (if your oven has a convection setting, I recommend using it as it will bake faster.). With a sharp knife (trust me, you want it to be sharp…) cut the squash in half length wise. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, place the acorn squash halves on the sheet, place 1 tsp of ghee in each acorn squash, then sprinkle with salt + pepper. Place in the oven for 45 minutes- 1 hour (30-45 minutes with convection). You’ll know the squash is cooked when you can easily pierce it with a fork.

Directions For The Ground Turkey (cook while acorn squash is roasting)
I found the ground turkey to be incredibly flavorful, so I was happy that I didn’t use too many seasonings. I sprayed a frying pan with non-stick oil and tossed in the ground turkey. I sprinkled the turkey with some salt + pepper, and cooked it until it was done. About 15 minutes.

Directions For Cauliflower Rice (prepare while turkey is cooking)
Place some olive oil in a sauté pan, along with some garlic + diced onion (amount is up to you). After about 3 minutes, toss in the cauliflower rice and sauté. After about 5-7 minutes, pour in about 3/4 of the salsa verde (or all of it if you like, you just don’t want to have too much liquid) and mix it all together. After about 5 minutes, take 2-3 handfuls of spinach and place in the pan with the cauliflower rice. Mix together. Continue to cook the cauliflower until it is tender. This can take about 20-25 minutes. Once the rice is done, combine it with the cooked ground turkey and mix together.

Assembly
Once the acorn squash is tender, remove it from the oven. Place it on a plate. Scoop in the desired amount of the turkey mixture into the acorn squash. Top with mashed avocado, diced green onions, and additional salsa to taste… and, a few chips adds a nice little crunch….

That’s it! The whole process sounds labor intensive, but all in is a pretty simple dish to make… not much chopping, just a lot of tossing into a pan. I’ve always felt that delicious + nutritious meals should be easy and simple… that way they can become a seamless part of my lifestyle. This one makes the cut. Hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

*Thank you to Foster Farms for sponsoring this post and allowing itsy bitsy indulgences to content create. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

12.14.2016

Real Ingredient Christmas Cookies + Cozy Christmas Pajamas

Part of our annual Christmas tradition is to spend a weekend baking… it runs the gamut from fudge, rice krispee treats, our family sugar cookies recipe, and snickerdoodles. We also make peanut butter blossoms (which I affectionately call “the boob” cookie)…. they’re the tastiest treats with a Hershey Kiss placed in the middle. With all the richness of the other cookies (and for that matter, indulgences of the season…) I decided to try my hand at lightening up the recipe a bit….. but not removing any of the flavors. I decided to try a few simple swaps… apple sauce for butter, organic coconut sugar for refined sugar (lower glycemic index), almond flour for regular flour… and probably the most delicious swap of them all, Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups for the Hershey Kiss (this, in my mind, was a #GameChanger). The end result? An “oh-my-gosh-this-is-so-good” cookie…. that’s filled with pretty real ingredients (scroll down to see the recipe!)…..

And, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite pajamas for your Christmas Eve + Christmas Day festivities…. because what would cookie making be without the accompanying pajamas to cook them in? I bought Harper this adorable onesie (it’s so soft and warm) but I also think this festive striped option is adorable, as is this plaid footie onesie. I have my eye on this ribbed jogger and hoodie combo, as well as these striped pajama pants paired with this cozy pullover.  I also think this faux fur eye mask is perfect for people like me who love complete darkness when they sleep.
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{Post Details | Pajama Pants (several color options) | Pullover (so cozy!) | Slippers | Harper’s Pajamas | Plate (c/o anthropologie) | Milk Jars (c/o) | Blanket (similar)}

Real Ingredient Peanut Butter Blossoms:

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar (purchased mine at Sprout’s)
1/2 cup organic coconut brown sugar 
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 tbsp unsweetened almond mild
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups almond flour
24 Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cup 

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the applesauce and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat in flour until it becomes a sticky consistency.

2. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls (I used a small ice cream scooper). Place balls about 2 inches apart on an uncreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in a 350° oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are firm. While they are baking, unwrap the peanut butter cups. Once cookies are done, immediately press them into the center of the cookies. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, I stored mine in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.

11.30.2016

The Campfire Cocktail: A Festive Holiday Libation

festive holiday cocktail, itsy bitsy indulgences

As I mentioned yesterday, for the past several years, TJ and I used to sneak off to Vegas for a night before Christmas. The decorations were always over the top, the weather was brisk, and it just seemed like a fun way to celebrate the year and grab a little alone time before the rush of the holiday season. We’d typically wake up early Saturday morning and arrive with enough time to enjoy a full day and night. One of the activities that was always on the top of my list was ice skating on top of The Cosmopolitan….. they had it set up with fire pits, festive cocktails, and you couldn’t beat the view of the strip. After a few spins around the rink, we’d settle around one of the fire pits for a libation. My favorite was the “Campfire,” which was topped with roasted s’mores and graham cracker crumbs. Pretty much one of the most delicious, and decadent drinks I’ve ever sipped on…..

Last year, since I was pregnant with little miss, I missed out on the festive merriment of enjoying a seasonal drink…. so, I guess I’m making up for lost time with this delicious creation. It’s a much lighter version than my Vegas favorite, but not lacking in the taste department. By using Pressed Juicery’s Spiced Almond Milk (last seen here) you get a punch of flavor without those processed sugars (um, yes please!!). Enjoy this cocktail while decorating your tree, watching your favorite Christmas movie, or while you’re sitting around an outside fire pit with friends. Either way you enjoy it, you’re sure to want seconds (and since it’s made with a non processed almond milk, go ahead, have another!)!

Spiced Almond Milk Fireside Cocktail

1.5 oz Kahlua Liquor
3-3.5 oz of Spiced Almond Milk
1 Graham Crackers (love this gluten free option)
Mini Marshmallows
Cinnamon Sticks
Cinnamon

Directions: Combine the kahula + spiced almond milk in a cocktail shaker to mix (you can also shake it… that’s how TJ preferred it, I prefer mine stirred). In a bag, crush graham crackers until you have finely crushed crumbs, then put onto a plate. Next, line the rim of a cocktail glass with lemon juice (works so much better than water and you can’t taste the lemon). Then turn the glass upside down into the graham cracker mixture to fully coat the rim. Fill the same glass with ice, then pour the mixture in. Place several small marshmallows on a roasting stick and place over the stovetop until roasted to your liking. Garnish the drink with marshmallows, a cinnamon stick, and a few dashes of cinnamon. Sip + enjoy!
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{Post Details || Juice | Glass | Cocktail Shaker | Sweater | Scarf}

festive holiday cocktail, itsy bitsy indulgences

festive holiday cocktail, itsy bitsy indulgences

festive holiday cocktail with kalua, itsy bitsy indulgences

holiday cocktail with pressed juicery spiced almond, itsy bitsy indulgences

pressed juicery spiced almond holiday cocktail, itsy bitsy indulgences

pressed juicery spiced almond holiday cocktail, itsy bitsy indulgences

festive holiday cocktail with roasted marshmallows, itsy bitsy indulgences

Thank you to Pressed Juicery for sponsoring this post and helping me bring you fun, delicious, + healthy recipes! 

11.23.2016

Wellness Wednesday: The Perfect Post Thanksgiving Detox Breakfast

dairy free chia seed pudding, itsy bitsy indulgences

I typically throw caution to the wind on holidays. I mean, I don’t gorge myself, but I also don’t worry too much about indulging here and there…. 3 small slivers of pie (yes, our family makes a pumpkin, apple, + chocolate), + a little hot chocolate please. Yet, when it comes to that Friday after, my body is typically screaming for a restart. Given that, I typically like to give myself a jolt of nutritious goodness in the morning. One of my favorite dishes to do this with is my favorite dairy free chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are jam packed with antioxidants, fiber, and omega 3’s…. all which help my body to reset. Yet, with it being the holidays and all, my old recipe just wasn’t cutting it. So, I decided to make a small little tweak… and boy, did it make all the difference.

I decided to replace the traditional almond milk ingredient with Pressed Juicery’s seasonal Spiced Almond… which has the consistency of almond milk. The taste was phenomenal. Pretty much a chi tea latté in a breakfast bowl… and I’m not kidding here. My sister snuck a serving from my leftovers and texted me, “Well, I pretty much devoured that in under 5 minutes. More please.” I chose to top mine with some banana nut granola, a few blueberries, + bananas…. but TJ topped his with honey peanut butter, blueberries, + raspberries…. you pretty much can’t go wrong. It’ll taste divine either way you top it.

Spiced Almond Chia Seed Pudding

2 cups Pressed Juicery Spiced Almond 
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
6 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions: 

In a bowl, quickly stir together all ingredients, except the chia seeds. In a blender, pour in the combined ingredients, and begin to blend on low. Slowly add in the chia seeds, a tablespoon at a time, being sure the chia seeds don’t end up on the sides of the blender. Once all chia seeds are combined, blend on low for 2-3 minutes. Then, pour the mixture into a large bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator. After about an hour, stir the ingredients again, and then placed the lid on, and leave in the refrigerator over night.
*Note: It’s best to prepare the pudding 8 hours prior to eating to ensure it sets. ____________________

{Post Details || Juice | Granola | Sweater}

dairy free chia seed pudding, itsy bitsy indulgences

dairy free chia seed pudding with almond spice milk, itsy bitsy indulgences

pressed juicery almond spice dairy free chia seed pudding, itsy bitsy indulgences

almond spice dairy free chia pudding, itsy bitsy indulgences

pressed juicery almond spice, itsy bitsy indulgences

dairy free chia pudding, itsy bitsy indulgences

dairy free chia seed pudding, itsy bitsy indulgences
Thank you to Pressed Juicery for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

10.26.2016

Wellness Wednesday: 6 Superfoods To Add To Your Smoothie. Like, Now

5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences

Before we headed to Hawaii, I was in “clean out the refrigerator” mode. I really didn’t want to toss anything out (I hate wasting food), and so I decided to make a smoothie. I had some of the obvious ingredients…. spinach, bananas, blueberries… but I also decided to toss in a few not-so-traditional items as well. I follow a few healthy food bloggers and had seen some of them incorporating cauliflower into their daily smoothies. I was intrigued. I mean, I’ve been loving it as a rice substitute, but wasn’t so sure about adding it to my smoothie….. I decided to give it a go, and the outcome was delicious (actually… you can’t really taste the cauliflower….). The end result of my “refrigerator emptying” ended up being a pretty powerhouse packed smoothie…. a superfood conglomerate if you will.

I always give TJ the last say before I post anything food-wise… just to make sure I’m not the only one who likes it…. he gave it the go ahead…. and so did our newest member of the team. Little miss pretty much begged for more after her first bite (drink??) and I was all for it. Why? Well…. for starters….

Spinach is pretty much full of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories (inflammation causes disease), and vitamins that help support bone and vision health…. annnnd, there’s a ton of calcium in it as well…

Blueberries are full of fiber (great for digestive health… thing regularity….), cancer fighting properties, and can assist with memory (this #MomBrain needs it!!)….

Chia Seeds expand in liquid so they help smoothies feel more substantial…. they are full of essential fatty acids (which are great for your brain), fiber, and are loaded with antioxidants (which prevent against aging and disease).

Bananas are another excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, and aid in heart health + digestion. I love to add them to my smoothies when they are frozen because they make the consistency thicker and frothier. They also add a little sweetness.

Avocados make my smoothies thick and smooth…. they are also an extremely healthy fat, can help you absorb the nutrients from other plant foods, and assist in cancer prevention. I also think they are a great superfood to add for an extra beauty boost (think glowing skin….)

And the most intriguing superfood???

Cauliflower which is an amazing cancer fighter…. and that to me is enough to incorporate it!

So, there you have it. I pretty much make this smoothie a few times a week… and if I’m feeling generous I share (insert wink face emoji here). Looking to add it to your weekly menu? I have the recipe below:

Superfood Goodness:

1/4 small avocado
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 cup riced cauliflower (you can add it frozen and it will make the smoothie thicker
1/2 – 1 frozen banana (depends on how hearty you want to make the smoothie)
handful of spinach
1 tsp chocolate collagen whey 
1/2 cup yogurt (I opt for Kite Hill dairy free… but if I make it for TJ I use Siggi’s)
1/2 cup-1 cup nut milk (less for a thicker consistency)

Toss all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Then devour.

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5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences

5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences

5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences

5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences

5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences

5 superfoods to add to your smoothie, itsy bitsy indulgences