Recipes

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish

Sweet & Savory Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes!

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

Hi friends!

I thought I would take a breather from sharing JR's story and switch gears to something lighter: food!

If I'm being totally honest cooking, which used to be my jam, has been really hard as a new mom! It feels like there's just not enough hours in the day to work and get a hot meal on the table at a decent hour, which is why, when it does happen it's so glorious! I love a home-cooked meal!

So here's how this went down -- I accidentally bought $14 worth of Brussel Sprouts from Safeway last week (#truestory)! 😳

The huge bag of brussel sprouts literally beckoned me from across the produce aisle! I was intrigued! I knew I couldn't eye-ball the weight so I threw it on the scale and did a quick read: about 2 lbs and the sign said $3.99 per lb (or so I thought?). Later, I realized I misread the scale and in total, there were more like 3 lbs!

Was I upset? Not at all! I never get sick of brussel sprouts and saw this as an opportunity to experiment and try some new recipes. They're so versatile, they can be eaten alone, made into a salad, a hash or served alongside a protein like chicken or turkey... and Thanksgiving is coming up so, what better time to do something new and delicious with these beauties!

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

The other ingredient I'm loving lately is pure maple syrup! I know it's like pure sugar (#notmadatit 😏) but it seems to add so much flavor and depth to whatever you put it on. I've used it in several recipes lately (from this hash to oatmeal) and it just never disappoints. Plus, this is the time of year it's easy to snag from apple and pumpkin orchards. Isn't maple syrup part of what makes this time of year so cozy after all?

The other thing I love about brussel sprouts are that they're SO EASY to make! You just rinse and chop them in half, and volia, you've got a sheet-pan of bright delicious gems ready to be gobbled up!

Peeling and chopping sweet potatoes on the other hand? Not my fave.

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

Once you've covered your cookie sheet with brussels and sweet potato chunks, drizzle on the maple syrup!

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

Then pop it in the oven to start roasting!

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

Then take it out and take a million pictures! Ha! Sike, that's just me. 😜

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

Don't forget to add the cranberries and chopped pecans throughout.

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish 11
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish 11
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish
Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

That's it, folks. Easy peasy! Let me know if you try this out, and happy Thanksgiving. :)

Maple Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potato Side Dish

Super easy, delicious sheet pan dinner or side dish made with five simple ingredients: brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pecans and maple syrup. 

  • 1 lb brussel sprouts
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp pecans
  • 3 tbsp cranberries
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and prepare a sheetpan with small amount of non-stick cooking spray. Rinse, trim and cut in half brussel sprouts, and spread evenly over pan. Rinse, peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks and mix-in with brussel sprouts across the sheet pan. Pour approximately 3 tbsp of maple syrup over the brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes, tossing to coat evenly. Roast 25 minutes. Turn vegetables, add pecans and cranberries, and return to oven for additional 5-10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked thoroughly. Serve with another small drizzle of maple syrup if desired. 

This recipe is adapted from a similar recipe on EatingWell.com.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake

Thick & Creamy Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake

Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake

Hey friends!

It's been awhile, huh? A long while!

I'm still here, still plugging away at this blogging thing (albeit slower than ever).

How was your summer? Mine was a complete whirlwind but full of so many good things: JR's 2nd birthday, a girl's trip, a gold-and-pink themed baby shower for my sister-in-law, and a fun trip to Vegas with my hubby! Life has been good -- it's been full and busy, but really, better than ever.

Except of course blogging, I miss it so much!

I didn't feel right hopping back on the scene without a single thing to show for myself so I whipped up this and a few other fall recipes to share. I'll admit: I'm not a huge pumpkin milkshake girl, but for a protein-packed snack, this checked the box for both decadent and delicious. Plus, like so many of you, I've welcomed the season with open arms and have been diving face-first into all things pumpkin, including even cereal! 😳 Yes. You read that correctly! I got suckered into trying General Mills Pumpkin Spice Cheerios! The verdict? They're just so-so.

Halo Top on the other hand has been a delight! This was my first taste of the low-calorie, protein-filled ice cream and I have to say I'm quite pleased!

Halo Top Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
Halo Top Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Halo Top Ice Cream Wins Over Arctic Zone

Awhile back I gave Artic Zone a try but something about the flavor and texture were off to me. I didn't like it and it definitely didn't satisfy my urge for a creamy, smooth treat so since then I've veered from any kind of low-calorie ice cream, but once again the pumpkin display got me and this Halo Top called my name. I was pleasantly surprised at the difference between it and Artic Zone.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 1
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 1

Below you can see Halo Top's ice cream is creamy and smooth (I couldn't help but snap a photo). To make this milkshake I just blended two heaping scoops with ice, almond milk, cinnamon, a half a frozen banana and 2 ice cubes.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 3
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 3
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 5
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 5
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 2
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 2

A Few Milkshake-Making Tips:

Don't be an idiot like me and put your protein powder in first!! Add your almond milk first, then your ice cream, then your protein powder. I put the powder in first and ended up having to scrap protein chunks off the bottom of the blender cup to get everything mixed well (ugh). 😩

Also watch the almond milk to ice cream ratio. A little almond milk goes a long way! After the first blend it was way too watery which prompted me to add the 1/2 a frozen banana. The texture turned out great but be careful not to dilute the ice cream too much!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 6
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 6
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 4
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 4
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 7
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 7

Oh and don't forget the whip cream -- you have to add it! 😝

I also sprinkled a little cinnamon on there which topped the whole thing off nicely!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 8
Pumpkin Spice Protein Milkshake 8

A little info about the protein ...

You might have also noticed the black bag of protein I'm using for this shake - it's Xwerks Grow Vanilla, Aaron's absolute favorite protein powder! I've only used it a handful of times myself but it smells amazing and mixes really well. He's pretty much swore allegiance to this brand (after trying a billion others) so I asked him to run down a few reasons he loves it. See below! 👇

xwerks vanilla grow
xwerks vanilla grow
  • Xwerks is sourced from naturally raised grass-fed cows all the way in New Zealand and they're free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.
    • Something to keep in mind is the difference between grass fed and grass finished. A lot of products tout being grass fed when in actuality those cows are allowed to graze and eat grass but are finished with grain to get them up to weight before being slaughtered.
    • For each serving of Xwerks there is 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs and 23 grams of protein.
      • I'm a believer in one gram of protein per pound of body weight. I am not heavy but have you ever tried eating 160 grams of protein a day without supplementation? Let alone 200 grams? That’s a lot of food if 4 oz of meat generally yields you 20 grams of protein not to mention the fat that accompanies the meat.
      • It's not cheap but it's not crazy expensive ($50 for 2 lbs) and the ingredients are purer than most you'll find in other whey proteins -- not to mention there's free shipping (all the way from New Zealand)!
      • Xwerks is gluten, soy, and bleach free and includes no artificial flavors, sweeteners or coloring.
      • Xwerks is also a great alternative to plant-based protein if you're looking for something "clean" but tasty (I've never been able to stomach pea protein).

What's it boil down to? Happy cows; free shipping; nice packaging; very little crap (sweetners, etc), no lcatorse; no carbs; and it mixes well!

If you're big into protein this one is definitely worth checking out! Also for the record this post is not sponsored by Halo Top or Xwerks, I'm just sharing our experience with these brands! Thanks for reading and more to come! ✌

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake

5-ingredient pumpkin spice protein milkshake made with almond milk, halo top pumpkin spice ice cream, vanilla protein powder, a banana and a dash of cinnamon. 

  • 2 scoops Halo Top Pumpkin Spice Cream Cream
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 medium Frozen Banana
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein

Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Frittata

Smoked-Salmon-Asparagus-Frittata.png

Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Frittata

Hey, hey and happy Tuesday!

Today I'm excited to share a new recipe with you.

For me, one of the biggest steps toward getting fit again has been getting back in the kitchen! With all the stress these past two years, I forgot how much I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes. The kitchen is a safe/zen zone for me where I'm able to temporarily set aside daily stressors and focus on making something -- the small steps of combining this ingredient plus that ingredient calms me and of course, there's no better pay-off than when something turns out delicious -- like this frittata did!!

Like most recipes I find these days, I stumbled across this one on Instagram < if you're not already following @Whole30Recipes, go follow them now! > I've made so many recipe cards from recipes I've found there -- I'm yet come across one I didn't like!

What I love about this smoked salmon and asparagus frittata is that it doesn't taste as dry as some frittatas do because the salmon keeps it moist. The asparagus adds a subtle crunch/texture as well! The original recipe called for zucchini but I only had asparagus so I tried that instead, and voila, this recipe was born.

The other secret ingredient to this dish is the fresh dill! If you aren't using fresh herbs in your bakes at home, people get with the program!! They add so much flavor and little to no calories at all; plus have some amazing health benefits. Here's the ingredients you'll need for this dish:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or coconut oil)
  • Asparagus
  • White onion
  • Eggs
  • Fresh Dill
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Salt & Pepper

I used about 8 eggs for this recipe but pretty much eye-balled the amount of other ingredients to a ratio I thought looked about right. Clearly did not hold back on the dill! :)

Smoked Salmon Frittata1
Smoked Salmon Frittata1
Smoked Salmon Frittata2
Smoked Salmon Frittata2

One key component to this dish is the asparagus and onion mixture -- after you sauté this in oil, you'll want to give it some time to cool before adding it to the uncooked eggs and dill. I was super surprised at how delicious this tasted on its own! I definitely ate a couple spoonfuls while I waited for it to cool --

Smoked Salmon Frittata5
Smoked Salmon Frittata5

How to prepare the salmon and asparagus frittata:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease your baking pan with coconut oil
  • Sauté small slices of white onion and asparagus until the onion becomes translucent; side aside to cool
  • Combine 8 eggs and a handful of chopped fresh dill
  • Once cooled, add the asparagus/onion to the eggs
  • Then add in slice of salmon and stir well.
  • Cook at 350 for 36 minutes or until the center is no longer wobbly
  • Cool before slicing -- then keep refrigerated until you're ready to heat and eat it!

The end result should be a deliciously creamy, tasty egg bake that you can slice and store for breakfast on the go -- I sent some with Aaron to work and had a coworker taste it, both approved with two thumbs up!

Smoked Salmon Frittata6
Smoked Salmon Frittata6
Smoked Salmon Frittata7
Smoked Salmon Frittata7
Smoked Salmon Frittata8
Smoked Salmon Frittata8

This recipe is a modified version of the Stupid Easy Paleo Smoked Salmon Frittata - which is made with zucchini not asparagus - be sure to check it out as well!

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one -- how did it turn out?

What's your favorite breakfast frittata?

Is the kitchen an escape for you too?


Summer Smoothie Made with Sambazon Açaí Juice

This post was going to be for an açaí bowl but I'm still experimenting with the right recipe to get a bowl, not smoothie. I used a little too much almond milk in this one and ended up with an açaí smoothie, but let me tell ya, it was still delish! I actually really love these and Aaron does too. They're fruitful, refreshing and perfect for summer -- you can't mess up the açaí flavor! The flavor combinations are endless, too!

For this one, I blended frozen strawberries, a banana, chia seeds, almond milk and the açaí juice.

Acai & Almond Milk Smoothie
Acai & Almond Milk Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie

I've also tried this recipe with spinach and hemp seeds that add a lot of great nutrition, and I'm loving them! I think magic ingredient for this drink is the sambazon açaí juice I recently picked up from Costco. You can purchase a double pack for just $8! I'm definitely adding this to my list of Costco must-haves!

Acai Smoothi
Acai Smoothi

Are you a fan of the açaí flavor? 

Do you shop at Costco? Discover any new, great products there lately? 

Raspberry Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Raspberry-Coconut-Chia-Recipe
Raspberry-Coconut-Chia-Recipe

This recipe is incredibly easy to make!

Simply blend 1/4 cup of chia seeds, 1 cup of almond (coconut or regular) milk, a big handful of raspberries and a 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut. Then refridgerate the mixture for at least 8 hours or overnight. When it's time to for a snack, scoop out some chia pudding and top it with fruit, more coconut shreds, granola or cacao nibs and enjoy!

Note: If you don't have a blender, that's OK! Just combine the chia seeds and milk in a Ziploc or other airtight container and refridgerate. This chia seeds will expand and create a plain-tasting pudding that's your canvas for whatever flavor combination you have in mind! Top with peaches, honey and granola or bananas, nut butter and peanuts, or whatever other combination of toppings you think would taste good!

Also, this is just for fun, but I absolutely love storing food in these oversized mason jars I snagged from Target! They're the best!

Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding
Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding

What's your favorite chia seed recipe?

What do you top your chia pudding with?


New Year, New You with this Bumble Bee® Tuna Recipe!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day, friends! I hope those of you off work are enjoying the long weekend!

With this being the first official holiday of 2015, I thought it'd be a good time to check-in with where you are meeting your new-year new-you goals! I know some of you have hit the ground running since the stroke of midnight this new year to make healthy habits stick. I also know that for some of you the countdown to the wedding just got a lot closer and you mean business!

You need change. You need results. It's a new year and you're ready to transform!

Well, my advice is start any major change with small steps, such as by swapping healthy recipes for your regular go-to snacks and meals. This twist on your classic favorite -- tuna salad! -- is the perfect way to start healthier snacking in 2015!

tuna-bell-pepper-boats
tuna-bell-pepper-boats
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

Now, I'll admit, there are some things I've said won't ever taste as good as the way I grew up eating them but, what I've learned on my weight loss journey is that healthy food can sometimes taste just as good, if not better, than the foods I used to eat.

The trick is using nutritious food that keeps me feeling full longer - like plump bell peppers and meaty Bumble Bee®  tuna- and, getting a little creative. These tuna salad, bell pepper boats are a prime example!!

I didn't think there was such a thing as tuna salad without gobs of real mayonnaise and sweet relish, but I was wrong! This recipe, adopted from Against All Grain, really surprised me! Paired with deliciously plump bell peppers, these tuna boats are tasty and satisfying! I also made my own mayonnaise for the first time (only four ingredients, delicious, and EASY! I used this recipe.

Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

I was also pleasantly surprised how chunky and meaty this Bumble Bee® was! I love tuna because it's an easy and delicious way to add a variety of nutrients to your diet, including lean protein, healthy fat, and important vitamins and minerals.

Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did!

Tuna Salad Bell Pepper Boats

Recipe Type

:

Snack, Lunch

Cuisine:

American

Author:

Adopted from Against All Grain Paleo Tuna Salad

Prep time:

15 mins

Total time:

15 mins

Serves:

4 boats

These bell pepper tuna boats are the perfect snack to pack for lunch, dish out when you get home after a long day at work, or snack on with your kiddos. !

Ingredients

  • 3 cans of Bumble Bee Tuna in water (drained)
  • 1 cup of paleo mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup of red onion
  • handful fresh dill
  • 1/4 of an apple diced
  • Juice from 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish (or dill, your choice)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: teaspoon of red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. After draining tuna
  2. Add to a bowl and top with other ingredients
  3. Mix well
  4. Slice bell peppers in half and de-seed (rinse)
  5. Scoop mixed tuna salad into bell pepper boats
  6. Store and save remaining tuna in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (though, mine didn't last that long cause I ate it pretty quick!)

3.2.2885

Feel free to pin this image to find this recipe on-the-go!

Paleo Tuna Recipe
Paleo Tuna Recipe

What's your favorite Bumble Bee® recipe? 

--

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Whole30 Recipes {Favorites List}

best-whole30-meals-1
best-whole30-meals-1

Now that I've done the Whole30 I want to tell everyone about it and all the foods they can eat during it! I know when people hear they'd have to cut out sugar, grains, and dairy, they automatically panic wondering what will be left to eat, but I'm here to tell you: plenty!

This list of tried and true recipes is proof! It's delicious food that will leave you satisfied and feeling good. This list includes my favorite snacks, condiments, and recipes, as well as the favorite recipes of the girls who did the Whole30 with me -- thanks ladies!

Snacks:

  • Carrots
  • Wholly guacamole packs
  • Apple + almond/cashew/or sunbutter
  • Black Kalamata olives (my fav!!!)
  • Pickles
  • Trail mix of pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, coconut shreds, and raisins
  • Larabars
  • That's it bars
  • Ants on a log (almond butter and raisins on celery)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Sliced red or orange or yellow bell peppers
  • Sliced cucumber 'crackers' and tuna/chicken/egg salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Guacamole & cut veggies
  • Plantain chips (homemade or store bought)
  • Homemade apple chips

Condiments:

  • Organic spicy brown mustard (I love this on salmon!)
  • French's regular mustard
  • Fresh salsa

Breakfast: 

Lunch/Dinner: 

Crockpot:

Dessert: 

  • "Fried" bananas -- cook slices of banana in coconut oil sprinkled with cinnamon (optional: top with coconut flakes or pour over almond butter; or both!)
  • Banana chia pudding
  • Organic cinnamon applesauce
  • Pomegranate seeds

"Fast" Restaurants:

  • Chipotle - Carnitas salad bowl with pico de gallo (tomatoes), and guacamole (Carnitas is the only meat that is compliant at Chipotle)
  • Cava Mezze - Salad with chicken toppings: pickled onions, olives, cucumbers and evoo, topped with evvo and lemon
  • True Food Kitchen - Bison burger "protein style" with no mayo side of sweet potato hash and kale salad (hold the parmesan)

Also, a head's up: I'm planning to do another Whole30 in January!! Yay!!

I'd actually love to do it sooner but it's not recommended you attempt a Whole30 over the holidays, which makes total sense to me. However, I am very much looking forward to round two in January and I'd love for you to join me! Let me know if you're interested and I'll make sure to include you in any discussions leading up to it!

What's your favorite Whole30 recipes? 

Would you say this list is too restrictive? 


Final Recap of the Whole30

This is it guys - I made it! I finished the Whole30!

Yay!!!

How did I celebrate? Well, I haven't yet. I had plans to go out tonight but it's rainy and cold, and all I really want to do is curl up on the couch! I did splurge this morning with a rainbow sparkle donut and coffee from Dunkin... and it was so, so good! I also had a mini snickers last night. It's funny the very first thought I had was: I want another one. The sugar monster doesn't wait long to rear its ugly head, does it?

I wanted to do a quick recap of the last two days of eats even though I didn't take a lot of pictures. Read more below.

whole30-full recap
whole30-full recap

Day 29: B: Monkey salad of course and black coffee (I'm loving the donut shop blend). L: Whipped butternut squash with chunks of apple and apple-chicken sausage topped with nutmeg, cinnamon and pecans.* Throughout the afternoon I snacked on an apple, applesauce, and plantains.

D: Kale salad with cumin-flavored dressing (1/ c apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c evoo, cumin, paprika, and sea salt to taste), topped with rotisserie chicken and oranges; the oranges were awesome! I'm addicted to those little guys!

Day 30: B: Eggs scrambled with bell pepper and onion and a chicken sausage link; so good! Second breakfast: Monkey salad -- also so good! L: Butternut squash mix take two; applesauce, an apple and plantains. D: I had an event immediately after work so dinner was a random mix of things: a bell pepper, plantain chips, olives, and a few halos.

Dessert - MY FIRST TASTE OF CHOCOLATE: a miniature snickers!

THE END! :)

I talked about how great I felt during the Whole30 - not just physically but mentally as well. It was such a confidence boost to take this challenge and stick with it till the end.

Physically I'm not sure I've ever looked better -- ! I'm down to my wedding weight (not that the number matters, jus' sayin') and I've dropped a whole pant size, which makes shopping such a joy right now! (Oh, hello size six! It's been awhile!)

I also want to point out that I've had some pretty incredible gains in CrossFit since starting the Whole30, too. I can't say whether one has anything to do with the other but I've PR'd my thruster and power clean, and Rx'd workouts I never thought possible.

Even though I know this week there'll be some splurges I do plan to continue to try to incorporate Whole30 principles in my diet, keeping in mind the four food principles, and recommending this "reset" to others as well.

Special thanks to my CFFC (CrossFit) friends for inspiring me to do this!

What's your favorite k-cup flavor?

Are you shopping for black Friday?

Any questions about Whole30?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be back Monday, Dec. 1st.

If you’re just joining me, catch up by reading my recap of Weeks One + Two + Three + Four.


Whole 30 {Week 4 Recap}

Hey, hey! Happy Monday! My Whole30 challenge ends tomorrow! Can you believe it's been 30 days already? It feels like I was just gearing up to start and now, it's over!

This has been an incredible journey for me. I feel really proud of the fact that I made it to the end -- I didn't quit! And, I only had one small cheat!

I'm more confidence having realized that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve it! I am also thankful for all the revelations (allofthem!). I was really able to differentiate an emotional appetite and real hunger. My sense of taste and smell improved. I've also inspired others around me, like my mom, which I think is pretty cool.

This last week was unique because I did the juice cleanse, but once that was over, I went back to the Whole30 way-- monkey salads, lunch club salads, and applesauce for dessert!

There's a full breakdown of my final week of Whole30 eats below!

whole30-week-4 recap
whole30-week-4 recap

Day 22: B: Monkey salad and black coffee L: Leftover PaleOMG roasted red pepper soup with a side of raw green beans; small salad club salad. D: Two chicken lime burger patties with spicy brown mustard, a pickle, and some olives.

Throughout the day I snacked on an apple, almond butter, and plantain chips.

Days 23, 24, and 25: Nothing but juice!

Day 26:  B: Roasted butternut squash, sliced apples, and apple chicken sausage with black coffee. Second breakfast: monkey salad. L: A few slices of turkey breast and some brussel sprouts during a holiday potluck at work. A salad club salad later in the day. CrossFit! D: Date night! We went to Cava Grill at the Mosaic District. I got a salad of "powergreens" and topped it with chicken, the cucumber and olive oil salad, pickled onions, salsa, and olives. I also topped the whole thing with the house-made olive oil and lemon juice and treated myself to a pellegrino. It was really, really good!

Whole30 Food Diary
Whole30 Food Diary
2014-11-23_0002
2014-11-23_0002
Cave Mezza Grill Whole30
Cave Mezza Grill Whole30

I almost walked out of Cava because it looked like there wasn't much I could have there: the pita, the rice, the hummus or tzatziki (things I usually love!), but I decided to stay and try to make it work and I did! It just goes to show, if you want it to work, you can make it work (and the result may surprise you! This turned out to be very tasty)!  

Day 27:CrossFit! B: Lox omelette and double fruit with black coffee. L: Snacked on a Larabar and some plantain chips while we ran errands. In the afternoon I ate a random bowl of guacamole, chunks of rotisserie chicken and these new sweet potato chips I snagged from Costco.

*I realized later they are made with canola oil (the label says and/or saffron oil and/or sunflower oil). The Whole30 program doesn't strictly prohibit canola oil, but they do suggest omitting vegetable oils from food consumed at home (it's impossible to avoid it when you're eating out). Plus, they're chips... so they're processed. Probably not the best snack! 

D: Salmon cooked with spicy brown mustard and ghee (a new favorite combo!) with a side of broccoli and a half a sweet potato.

Whole30 Food Diary
Whole30 Food Diary

Day 28: B: An apple with almond butter. Eggs and bacon. Black coffee. D: Chipotle bowl of carnitas, guacamole, lots of lettuce and salsa.

I snacked on a Larabar and black olives that evening.

Alright, so, I know you're wondering...

What's the first non-Whole30 food I want to have? 

A donut and iced latte! I've been craving a donut for about 2 weeks! I'm going for a maple glazed, chocolate glazed, or maybe both! :)

Other questions you might be wondering... 

What about Thanksgiving, what's your plan? 

I'm going to eat what I want on Thanksgiving (guilt free!) (and actually, we have two Thanksgiving dinners to attend; a second on Saturday) but outside of those dinners, my goal is to stick to Whole30 food principles.

I'm also planning to make a banana chia pudding for Thanksgiving. Aaron and I both fell in love with the chia pudding we had at True Food Kitchen a few weeks ago and I think it'll surprise our family to find out this delicious dessert is healthy, too!

What Whole30 foods will you continue to eat? 

  • Lots! I'm definitely going to have more monkey salads; I love them!
  • Of course my salad club salads aren't going anywhere either.
  • I'll still make all my favorite paleo recipes from PaleOMG, and my chicken sausage egg casserole is a staple always in my rotation.

What are your favorite Whole30 recipes and/or snacks?

  • I'm a big fan of Wholly guacamole now; it's so convenient and so good!
  • I loved this acorn squash recipe. I'd like to make it again.
  • I love snacking on black olives now... weird cause I used to not like olives!
  • Oh and, chia pudding! I'm a huge fan of that now!

Anything you're worried about? 

  • Coffee creamer: I don't want to go back! I was such an addict before! I've gotten really used to black coffee, but I could see myself slipping back into this old habit...
  • Also, sugar. The number one food rule for Whole30 is to eat foods that "promote a healthy psychological response," and obviously sugar is not one of those foods. In fact, it does the opposite! I'd like to think I could eat it in moderation but if there's a psychological response, that seems like a fine line to walk.

Did you lose any weight?

  • I didn't weigh myself before the challenge but I'm pretty sure I was around 155-156 lbs and when I weighed myself for the first time Saturday, I was 150 lbs. So, yes, I lost about 6 lbs. I knew I was smaller because all of my clothes are loose. Shopping recently, I noticed I dropped a pant size, too.

What other noticeable differences are there?

Final take-aways?

I started watching GMO OMG (the documentary) last night and realized I still have a lot to learn about food. Technically, if I ate anything with GMOs during the Whole30, which I likely did since GMOs are so prevalent, then that means it was soy or corn fed and therefore, notWhole30 compliant. It's hard to understand these kinds of complexities in the modern American diet, but I hope to continue to educate myself and eat mostly whole (non-processed) foods.

Would you do it again? 

Absolutely!!

What about you; would you do a Whole30? 

Have you ever read It Starts with Food? 

Any questions for me about the experience? 

If you’re just joining me, catch up by reading my recap of Weeks One + Two + Three.


Whole30 {Week 3 Recap}

whole30-week-3 recap
whole30-week-3 recap

Hi guys! Happy Monday! I'm officially starting my fourth week of the Whole30 program and wow, just wow! The more I eat the Whole30 way, the more I love it. Here are a few recent revelations:

  • I'm saving a ton of money by not eating out as often or stopping at Starbucks and buying pricey coffees, and passing up on booze at bars and restaurants.
  • I'm a positive influence on those around me. I've seen my mom respond to the changes I've made by trying to do the same for herself, which is really exciting. My boss is also experimenting with a version of Whole30 and Aaron's embracing it as well.
  • I waste a lot less. I eat all the food we buy. There's nothing stored on a shelf for a rainy day and leftovers don't spoil. We buy week-to-week (with the exception of Costco hauls for meat) and I love embracing a waste-not, want-not mentality.
  • Food tastes GOOD! The simplest foods taste so good: roasted sweet potatoes with olive oil and sea salt; apples and almond butter; even black coffee!
  • Believe it or not, I've been ENJOYING black coffee (go figure!)
  • Oil and vinegar is all I need. I used to worry about giving up my beloved salad dressings but I don't miss them at all. We had a cumin-flavored cabbage and kale salad the other night and the flavors just popped! I also recently Ah, Oil & Vinegar, a boutique that sells speciality oils and vinegars -- I picked up a sample pack this weekend and the pomegranate balsamic is my new favorite dressing!
  • The recipes never cease to amaze me and there's so many I've yet to try! You might think this way of eating is very limited (I can't tell you how many times people ask "What in the world do you eat?") but in my opinion, there's plenty of options! So much so that 30 days isn't enough to try it all.
  • I don't miss mindless eating at all. I really prefer eating quality food that I've prepared with some thought over filling my body with what's within reach. It feels so good to show restraint and make a conscious choice; not just eat something because it's in front of me.
  • I really love being in tune with my body. Not to get all yogi on you, but I totally believe in a mind-body connection and I love being so in tune with myself. It feels like my body is 'giving back' in a way, too, with improved energy levels and sense of pride and feeling better overall. Treat yo' self has a whole new meaning.

Read exactly what I've been eating below the jump!

Day 15: B: Eggs and chicken sausage with a side of grapes and black coffee. (Then I went to CrossFit for a 3,000 meter row - ugh!) L: After CrossFit I ran a bunch of errands and only had a larabar on me. I was starving by dinner! B: I tried a stuffed acorn squash for the first time and it was so good! The only picture I snapped did not make it look at all appealing so I decided against posting it; however, I highly recommend this dish! It's very, very tasty! After dinner I snacked on plantain chips and ate a pickle.

Day 16: B: Eggs cooked in salsa and chicken sausage with a side of grapes. For a mid-morning snack I ate wholly guacamole and carrots. L: I went to the mall with a friend and didn't sit down to eat with her until about 5 hours later! I was starving! At Elevation burger I ordered the bison burger wrapped in lettuce with tomato, onion and mustard, but it didn't fill me up so I ordered another one (kid's size), and left feeling satisfied! (Also proud I didn't touch my friend's big plate of french fries!)

Whole30 Breakfast
Whole30 Breakfast

Day 17: B: Back to work so my usual: a monkey salad, but I added almond butter for a twist. (I actually ended up preferring it without the almond butter but it wasn't bad.) L: I ate a salad club salad with chicken sausage with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for dressing. I snacked on olives and a pickle when I got home from work. D: Cooked salmon smeared with spicy brown mustard and leftover cabbage and broccoli; applesauce for dessert. Awhile later I ate a few apple slices with almond butter. (I've been on a serious almond butter kick this week!)

Salad Club Salad
Salad Club Salad
2014-11-15_0002
2014-11-15_0002

Day 18: B: Monkey salad and black coffee - my new favorite breakfast combo! L: Salad club salad with chicken sausage (I'm boring, Lol) topped with... you guessed it! Balsamic vinegar and evoo. I also had some plantain chips. In the afternoon I had an apple and almond butter, a That's it bar from Starbucks and another black coffee.D: I hit up a Pilates after work with ClassPass then made PaleOMG roasted red pepper and avocado soup for dinner... I LOVE THIS SOUP! It's so good and was perfect for a rainy, cold night.

PaleOMG Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup
PaleOMG Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup

Day 19: B: Monkey salad! (Are you totally over seeing that yet?? It's just so convenient and easy and I love it. I'm a creature of habit, I suppose!)  L: Leftover soup with chicken sausage and an apple and almond butter. D: Date night! We tried True Food Kitchen, a progressive restaurant promoting the anti-inflammatory diet. (I'll be blogging more about this place soon.) I got the bison burger "protein style" no mayo with a side of sweet potato hash and a small lemon kale salad. It was delish!

TrueFoodKitchen_Whole30
TrueFoodKitchen_Whole30

For dessert (yep -- there was a Whole30-approved dessert!) I got banana chia pudding. I've always been a bit worried about chia pudding because of the texture but it was seriously the most delicious dessert, ever! (I'm hooked!) Aaron said it was better than his cake and ice cream dessert! #healthywins :)

2014-11-15_0005
2014-11-15_0005

Day 20: B: I started the day with CrossFit (Fight Gone Bad) then had eggs cooked in black truffle evoo (from Ah, Oil & Vinegar), bacon (I finally found paleo-approved no-sugar added kind from Whole Foods), with a side of apple slices and almond butter.

Whole30_Breakfast
Whole30_Breakfast

L: For lunch I snacked on the other half of my apple with more almond butter, some olives and almonds. D: Two bunless beef burgers marinated in balsamic vinegar topped with spicy brown mustard and a few banana peppers. Sides included small white potatoes cooked in onions and more black truffle evoo and green beans! For dessert we had homemade banana chia pudding (I used this recipe). Told you I was hooked!

2014-11-15 20.07.49
2014-11-15 20.07.49

The bad news: I had a small cheat on Day 20! Some friends were in town and going to a bar right near my house. I didn't want to be rude and not join them so I went and had a glass of red wine! I also had about three glasses of water! I contemplated a second glass of wine but ultimately decided I needed to finish my commitment to the Whole30. Even though I know this is a no-no according to the Whole30 program rules, I felt really good about the restraint I showed! I also didn't let the cheat derail me. I was right back on track the following day! 

Day 21: I used ClassPass to check out Revolve Fitness for a morning spin class, which was great! Then I popped over to South Block Cafe and got the Green Caveman, a smoothie made up of kale, bananas, dates, and delicious cashew milk! It's my new favorite smoothie from there! (SO good!)

2014-11-16 11.32.13
2014-11-16 11.32.13

I also picked up a few of Caveman Balls made up of walnuts, dates, cacao powder, coconut, vanilla, coconut oil and sea salt. They were such a treat! I ate about three!

2014-11-16 11.31.58
2014-11-16 11.31.58

Between the smoothie and these treats, I think I should have used a bit more caution! The Whole30 website says dates are allowed but, "these little sugar bombs pack a big punch—they’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30. We recommend against using them as a “treat” to feed your sugar dragon." 

Oops! :)

D: Chicken with whipped butternut squash topped with pecans and a side salad of kale, broccoli, and cabbage; we used pomegranate balsamic vinegar for dressing. It was good! I also had a little almond butter after dinner; I think I've eaten almost the entire jar this week!

So, there you have it! Weeks one, two, and three! Woo hoo! I can't believe I'm already in the final week! Eek! I'm really proud of myself for making this far without giving up or throwing in the towel. It feels good to have stuck with it this long!

With that said, these next few days are going to be a little different. I'm trying a three-day juice cleanse from South Block Cafe! I'll be instagramming a lot throughout the cleanse and promise to give you a full report Thursday when it's over. In the meantime, wish me luck! I've never a done a cleanse! :)

Oh, and of course, I plan to get right back on the Whole30 when the cleanse is over; at that point I'll have just 5 days to go!

Have you ever done a juice cleanse?

Have you ever tried flavored balsamic vinegars or olive oils? 

Do you like dates?

What's your favorite Whole30 snack or recipe?

If you're just joining me, catch up by reading my recap of Week One + Two of the Whole30! 


Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bites

Need to satisfy your sweet tooth for some pumpkin-y goodness this season?

I got you covered!

Healthy Peanut Butter Bites
Healthy Peanut Butter Bites

Let me repeat: dark chocolate... pumpkin... peanut butter!

How can you go wrong with these flavors? You can't! PLUS, these are easy to make, easy to transport, and, they're made up of mostly healthy (ish) ingredients! Your welcome. :)

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites

This recipe was made possible because of this Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice spread I stumbled on at Target the other day! I went in to buy almond butter, but it was like $6 and the pumpkin spread was on sale for $3! Hmm, pumpkin? YES, PLEASE.

Jif Whips
Jif Whips

I scooped up a container and my 100th bag of dark chocolate chips... I buy dark chocolate chips ALL THE TIME with the intention of making this recipe and you know what happens? I eat them by the fistful first! Well, I *finally* resisted long enough to make this recipe and I'm so glad I did; these things are good! Here it is!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of honey 1/3 cup of Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 cup of dry rolled oats 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips 1 tbsp on chia seeds

I would have added flaxseed if I had some...

Also, I think raisins would be AMAZING added to this recipe!

Pumpkin-Pie-Peanut-Butter-Bites-Pinterest
Pumpkin-Pie-Peanut-Butter-Bites-Pinterest

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

The mixture should be dough-y and sticky now. Using your hands to pull out a tablespoon at a time, and roll into little balls! (I've totally just eaten the mixture from the bowl... feel free to do that, too!)

Store these snacks in the refrigerator and, try not to eat them all at once! :)

What else should I make with this awesome pumpkin peanut butter? 

When Fall hits, do you crave all things pumpkin? 

Also, PS: In hindsight, I would have made these more bite size...

PPS: I owe this recipe to my friend Stephanie who made a version of it (with almond butter and raisins) for our trip to Austin last year...

PPPS: ACTUALLY, this recipe is modeled after these energy balls from Gimme Some Oven. Go check out all the variations!


The Perfect Coffee Protein Shake

Morning friends! Happy Monday! Today I'm sharing a the most perfect coffee protein shake, ever! I'm really excited about it because it involves coffee and I looooove coffee! I've tried putting coffee in my protein shakes before and they've always tasted weird, but I think I found the magic formula!

First, the coffee needs to be chilled. (Duh, should have realized that sooner!) Second, you need to add chocolate. Haha. Yes, cause, let's face it: everything is better with chocolate! Third, frozen bananas are a must! I made this with a few ice cubes the first time around and it was good, but when I subbed out the ice for a frozen banana, BAM!!! The perfect coffee protein shake was born! That's when I figured it was time to share this deliciousness! :)

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

What made me wanna put coffee in my protein shake, you ask? Well, I've been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet. I've suspected for awhile that I wasn't getting enough and this past week when I started logging my food, I realized just how much I'm lacking this important building block! (I like this article from Woman's Health on why protein is important part of diet!)

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

I knew I could easily incorporate a protein shake in the morning when I have access to a blender, but I almost always want coffee in the morning (nothing else), so I googled "coffee protein shakes," to get ideas. There were a lot of good recipes but mostly everyone used the same formula: cold coffee and either almond or coconut milk. When I finally gave this a try I was so pleased with the outcome! I hope you guys like it, too!

Ingredients: 

In the evening, I make a single cup of coffee using hot water from my Keurig and Taster's Choice instant coffee. I make it in a mason jar and store that in the refrigerator overnight. I also make sure I put a banana in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight.

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

In the morning, I dump the cold coffee in my Ninja blender cup over one scoop of vanilla protein and two tablespoons of cocoa, a frozen banana and splash of almond milk. Then I blend it, which only takes seconds!

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

I usually run out the door with the blender cup in hand, but I thought you guys would appreciate a little nicer presentation. :)

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

The best part about this smoothie is that you can't taste the protein! In fact, I think it tastes like a Starbucks mocha frappuccino! I usually finish it by the time I get to work (who am I kidding? I finish in like 2 seconds), and when I get in the office, I don't have that urge for a cup of hot coffee anymore! I already feel wide awake and alert -- so I go right to drinking water! I love that fact that this is a healthy swap for my cream-and-sugar-filled coffee in the mornings.

With summer around the corner, I'm also happy to have a nice, cool way to start my morning and one that packs more than 20 grams of protein!

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

There's plenty of ways to change this up, too. You can omit the banana and just use ice cubes or omit the almond milk altogether (if you don't have it or don't like it). You can also swap the cocoa for cinnamon, or omit both and make it a caffe frappe!

Coffee Protein Shake
Coffee Protein Shake

I really want to experiment with more protein shake recipes; I'd love to hear your favorites! Here are two others I've shared previously:

Have you ever put coffee in a protein shake?

What are your favorite protein shake/smoothie recipes? 

Please note that FitforaBrideBlog.com participates in select affiliate advertising programs. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on the site or any related social media platforms, FitforaBrideBlog.com may make a commission from that click and/or purchase. All opinions are my own, and all brands featured represent what I personally like and support.  

Recipe: Lemon Coconut Chia Truffles

Hey guys! Thanks for your encouraging comments about 14.2! I'm definitely anxious to hear what 14.3 will entail - hopefully it's all moves I can do! Also, good news: the first day at my new job went well! I'm really excited because I have a big office with a great view! I joked with Aaron that I was going to bring in a yoga mat and some dumbbells to do mini workouts at lunch (there's no gym) but he suggested I hold off awhile... they might think I'm crazy! :)

The bad news is there's no kitchen! I'm so disappointed because salad club requires a kitchen and in fact, the lunch area in general is really small and sad looking! There's a microwave (from the 80s, I swear!) and a tiny refrigerator! It's pathetic! :(

2014-03-10_0001
2014-03-10_0001

Random bathroom selfie and my view! 

Anyway, meal prep is saving me this week! I went in overly prepared yesterday with sliced overnight oats (which turned out great, btw), sliced apples, trail mix, and leftover PaleOMG casserole. I hardly had time to eat it all! I also brought in these little guys to help battle my sweet tooth and they do the trick! They're super tasty and sweet!

Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles
Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles

Also, I have to say, I just love when I have all the ingredients for a recipe right in my pantry, and when I don't have to turn on my oven or stove to make something good! Such was the case with these lemon coconut chia truffles...

Lemon-Coconut-Chia-Truffles
Lemon-Coconut-Chia-Truffles

They really encompass everything I look for in a healthy recipe- they're easy, portable, and taste good! Even my husband likes them and he's picky!

And that's coming from a girl who's really not that into dates - the main ingredient!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup almonds (the original recipe called for pecans)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Shredded coconut (optional)
Lemon Coconut Chia Truffles
Lemon Coconut Chia Truffles

I had the dates leftover from the banana bread recipe I made awhile back, but I had no idea to do with them. I've also had a package of pumpkin seeds in my cabinet for awhile waiting to be used!

Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles
Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles

To make these truffles, simply put all your ingredients in a blender and blend them well. (I was worried these dry ingredients would blend in my Ninja blender, but they did!)

Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles
Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles

Pull out chunks of the mixture and roll them into little balls...

Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles
Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles

Then, if you chose, roll them in coconut! The coconut I used was a little dry and it didn't stick as well as regular coconut would, but the flavors are all there and I'm loving them! It's like a sweet gooey ball of goodness!

Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles
Coconut Lemon Chia Truffles

I stored mine in the refrigerator and will grab-and-eat them on the go!

I'd love to know if you try these!! If you do, tag them #ffabtruffles on Instagram!

Do you eat dates? Do you like no-bake recipes? 

Green Smoothie No. 1

Hi guys! How was your weekend? Mine was nice. The weather in DC was gorgeous and I spent some time outside! Saturday we had lunch with friends and then, upon my husband's request, spent the day at Carmax! (He loves cars.) Sunday we went to open gym at our CrossFit box - it was our first time going on Sunday - and we really liked it! Open gym means you can pick whatever workout you want to do or just work on skills. Aaron and I did Saturday's workout. It was tough but shorter than I thought it would be (the whole thing took me about 18 minutes). We did some grocery shopping and I loaded up on all my favorite healthy foods: spinach, apples, eggs, and Larabars. I've been addicted to green smoothies lately! If you haven't started incorporating green smoothies into your diet (and you're still just mixing protein with water, or not using protein at all), you're missing out friend! Join the green smoothie gang, get in the kitchen, and get busy experimenting - that's just how I came up with this super easy, deliciously satisfying recipe - it's one of my favorites at the moment!

Banana-Almond-Butter-Smoothie

Ingredients:

SONY DSC

When you're shopping for your ingredients, make sure you check the label on your almond butter - sometimes you'll find extra sugars hiding there! Look for just almonds!

SONY DSC

I like the Blue Diamond Almond Milk but any brand will work. Same goes for protein - I love this particular brand because it's smooth and creamy, but just about any vanilla-flavored protein will do.(I have a post coming about different protein powders! Stay tuned!)

I used a cup of almond milk but you can use more or less. You just need enough liquid in the mix so that the ingredients blend! (You can even do part milk, part water - you won't taste the difference!)

You can also use an unfroze banana and add an ice cube or two. Personally, I love to peel and freeze individual bananas in Ziploc bags for quick and easy use, but if you haven't tried that yet - no worries! Just throw in some ice!

This is literally three steps, ya'll! Stuff. Blend. & Enjoy!

green smoothieSONY DSCSONY DSC

I plan to share many more green smoothie recipes because the possibilities are endless!

I'd love to hear your favorites at the moment!

Have you tried making a green smoothie?

What's your favorite green smoothie recipe?

Please note that FitforaBrideBlog.com participates in select affiliate advertising programs. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on the site or any related social media platforms, FitforaBrideBlog.com may make a commission from that click and/or purchase. All opinions are my own, and all brands featured represent what I personally like and support.  

Valentine's Day Desserts for Two

Valentines-Dessert
Valentines-Dessert

Happy Valentine's Day dolls!! I hope you're having a wonderful morning, maybe breakfast  and mimosas in bed? Wouldn't that be nice! The husband and I both have to work today but we plan to go to CrossFit tonight and then have a romantic meal at home. I'm a stickler for a home-cooked meal and he's promised to cook so I'm definitely excited! I wanted to remind you guys of this awesome recipe I shared this time last year, in case your looking for a last-minute Valentine's dessert for two that won't run you 2,000 calories! Remember these delicious coconut-chocolate parfaits?

I'm thinking about making these tonight but maybe switching out the strawberries for pomegranates - I've been obsessed lately! If you're in the mood for something a little different, check out these other recipes we've featured that are Valentines-worthy!

Valentine's-Dessert
Valentine's-Dessert

Photo by my friend Lauren-Michelle of Ella Mae Studios.

Have a great weekend friends!

Chicken Sausage Egg Casserole

Good morning friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I spent mine in Delaware with my sister-in-law celebrating her engagement -- it was so fun! I may have mentioned she got engaged on Christmas Day and of course, I'm totally thrilled! Today I'm sharing one of favorite breakfast casseroles. I made this during my paleo challenge and it just kind of stuck. My family loves this casserole and because it only requires 3 ingredients, we make it often!

This recipe is borrowed from Mark's Daily Apple and I love that it's so easy to modify. If you don't like spinach, try making it with kale instead! Not a huge fan of the roasted red pepper sausage? Try it with the apple chicken sausage instead, or just regular sausage! The brand of sausage I use is Aidells, which can be found at both regular and bulk grocery stores, like Costco. (See some of my other favorite things to buy at Costco here.) I like Aidells because they use all natural quality ingredients and their products do not have nitrates, added hormones or MSG.

When I first tried this recipe, I cooked the spinach and parsley with the sausage on the stove before mixing it in with the eggs, but I've since learned that's not necessary! The sausage is pre-cooked, so you can literally throw it all in a baking dish and pop it in the oven!

When it's cooked and had a chance to cool I usually cut the casserole into squares and package them in Ziploc bags for work! I heat a sqaure for about 30 seconds when I get in the office and enjoy it with my coffee. It's very satisfying!

SONY DSC SONY DSCLike I mentioned, this recipe is easily modified. If you don't have all of these ingredients, swap some things out and play around with new combos! Let me know if you happen upon a good one! Enjoy!

SONY DSC

Chicken Sausage Egg Casserole
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Sara, Adopted from Mark's Daily Apple
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
This easy-to-make egg casserole is delicious and filling. It's perfect to eat on the go and you can swap out ingredients to customize the flavors.
Ingredients
  • 8-10 Eggs
  • 2 Chicken Sausage Links (or more, depending on how meaty you want it)
  • 2 Cups of Spinach (or Kale)
  • A small bunch of parsley (optional)
Instructions
  1. This is the easiest casserole, ever!
  2. Mix eggs, spinach, and parsley in a bowl.
  3. Slice and heat sausage pieces over the stove.
  4. Combine all ingredients into a greased 8x8 baking sheet.
  5. Cook on 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until firm.
  6. Cut the casserole into squares and package them inidividually in Ziplocs for easy grab-and-go breakfast.

 

13 Healthy Recipes in 2013

Hi guys! I'm actually in route to Italy at Philadelphia airport posting this! I have a few other posts planned while I'm away and I'll probably pop in with a few unscheduled posts, too! I hope you have a great weekend! Follow my travels via Instagram!    I'm taking these last few days of 2013 to reflect on what I blogged through the year! One thing I love about blogging is that it serves as journal and it's fun to look back and see what I've been doing. In 2013, if there's one thing I did a lot of, it was cook! I learned that I LOVE to cook! I love to experiment with new recipes, and try to make healthy foods (like cauliflower, kiwi, and bananas!) taste good.

After some experimenting in the kitchen, I love to get together with Lauren and have fun food photoshoots! If I could make a living off of making cookbooks, I would! Cooking and food photography is definitely one of my passions, and it shows in posts like these that you saw throughout the year on Fit for a Bride. Here's a look back at 13 great healthy recipes we featured on the blog in 2013!

Easy Egg White Casserole

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Turkey Thai Lettuce Wraps

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Chicken Enchilada Bake 

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Apple Butternut Squash Soup

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Lightened Up Deviled Eggs

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 Chocolate-Covered Kiwi Pops 

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Chocolate-covered banana bites

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Greek Yogurt, Honey, & Walnut Banana Pops 

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Paleo Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Arugula Mango Salad with Craisins

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Caprese-Style Quinoa

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Banana Protein Pancakes

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Banana Ice Cream

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All of these lovely images were styled and taken by my friend Lauren-Michelle! She's so talented! Lauren has been helping with the creation of Salad Club, my ebook and we have plans to collaborate on many more food shoots in the future! You'll definitely see a lot more recipes in 2014!

Recipe: Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins

Paleo-Chocolate I was in a real baking mood last weekend. More than anything, I just wanted to get to the grocery store -- we were out of everything -- and get in my kitchen. I've discovered that's my happy place (either one really), and I love trying new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients.

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I debated sharing these with you because they weren't out-of-this world like some of our other recipes, but they weren't bad either. I wanted to bake -- it's that time of year -- but I didn't want to make something I'd regret later (like cookies or brownies), so that is why I choose these paleo chocolate banana muffins from Fit Foodie Finds (one of my favorite blogs for recipes)!

I followed the recipe exactly, but I think hers look a little different than mine! Mine didn't rise as much, and I may or may not have upped the number of chocolate chips in the recipe. ;)

Next time, I plan to make a few slight modifications. I'd use two smashed bananas instead of one - there wasn't enough banana flavor in my opinion. I also might try raisins instead of chocolate chips because I think the muffins needed to have a sweeter taste. They were a bit grainy, too but I think that's my fault because I didn't sift the almond meal - was I supposed to? Oops! Either way, they were still a nice addition to my breakfast rotation and I recommend trying them yourself!

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If you wanna give these a try, go here for the recipe!

Also in case you're wondering, I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they are dairy-free. They're great to work with and I later used them for these nutty energy balls (recipe for that coming soon)!

Also, I'm proud to report that these are my pictures! I took them! [Insert cheesy smile here!] I'm working on improving my food photography skills because Lauren (our resident food photographer) isn't always available.

What do you guys think? Did I do OK? I read a tip to use an old cookie sheet as a backdrop, and I think it turned out great! I'd love your feedback.

Are you a food photographer? 

Do you like experimenting with new foods or tweaking recipes? 

 

Chocolate-Covered Kiwi Pops

Hello, hello! Happy Friday Eve. It's been a boring week here at Fit for a Bride headquarters. I'm still on Furlough and it's been pouring rain for two days straight in DC! Looks like Mother Nature is just as sad about the state of our Government as are Government employees currently missing their jobs. There, I said it. I miss my job!

Anyway, I have a special, special treat for you today - a delicious innovative way to enjoy kiwi! I almost forgot how much I loved this fun fruit until I picked up a big carton from Costco a few weeks back. I peeled and sliced several kiwis for easy grabbing, and then stumbled upon this picture on Pinterest. I cataloged the image onto my Photoshoot ideas board, and didn't think anymore about it... that is, until I found a recipe for homemade magic shell. Oh yea!

On photoshoot day I wasn't too focused on the kiwis because I had plans for all things banana, but I had some extra kiwi leftover from the Costco batch so we gave it a try. As soon as I tasted this pop, I realized this is it! Holy yum!!! Then I ate like 5 more! :)

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That same night I made about a dozen more and took them to a jewelry party my mom was hosting and they were a hit! Now I'm convinced these are the perfect party favor or after dinner snack. Not only are they totally delicious, they're low in calories and made with just four ingredients: coconut oil, dairy-free chocolate chips, kiwis, and peanuts. Yep, they're DAIRY FREE!! You know what that means - pops without peanuts are also paleo! (Score!!!)

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Lauren, who took these amazing photos, was a huge help in making these.

The instructions for making magic shell suggested just microwaving the coconut oil an chocolate chips, but Lauren though a double broiler would work better. (I talked about a double broiled in this post. It's basically just a bowl on top of a boil pot of water.) Lauren was a bit nervous our dairy free chocolate chips (the brand is Enjoy Life) would melt in the double broiler, they did!

So, with the broiler setup, we added two heaping tablespoons of coconut oil and kept a close watch, stirring until the chocolate was soupy.

In the meantime, we sliced kiwis into thick pieces, and stuck a popscile stick in each one. We laid these on parchment paper and put them in the freezer for awhile. The coldness of the kiwi seemed to help the chocolate adhere when it came time for dipping. It was so fun and easy to do - once the chocolate was a smooth liquid texture, we pulled it off the stove and started dipping out kiwis. We added crushed peanuts to some and left others plain. (The peanut ones are the best!)

This is a really fun and easy treat that people will surely be impressed with! It'd also be a fun after-school project to do with the kids or in my case, during an afternoon babysitting!

Bottom line: they're damn good. And, are my new favorite FFAB creation!

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Do you like kiwi? 

Have you ever had dairy free chocolate chips? 

Chocolate-Covered Kiwi Pops
Recipe Type: Dessert Pops
Prep time:
Total time:
Dairy-free chocolate kiwi pops with peanut topping
Ingredients
  • Enjoy life chocolate chips
  • Coconut oil
  • Kiwi
  • Peanuts
Instructions
  1. Cut thick slices of kiwi.
  2. Carefully slide popsicle sticks into the center of the pops.
  3. Place kiwi pops on parchment paper and place in the freezer.
  4. Next, place a bowl on top of a pot of boiled water.
  5. Pour your chocolate chips in the bowl.
  6. Add the coconut oil. Stir. Watch closely.
  7. Take the chocolate from off the broiler.
  8. Let cool for about 5 mins.
  9. Dip kiwi pops in the chocolate coating.
  10. Place on the parchment paper to harden.
  11. Sprinkle peanuts on top, if desired.
  12. Place the kiwi pops back in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
  13. Serve immediately.

Photography and food styling by Lauren-Michelle.

Recipe: Greek Yogurt, Walnut & Honey Banana Pops

Good morning + happy Tuesday. For those of you following the National news, you might be wondering if the Government shutdown affects me... Well, it does! I'm on furlough until further notice, but, for now, that just means free time to experiment with recipes like these delicious Greek yogurt + walnut banana pops smothered with honey! Mmm. Banana-Pops

These pops were far easier to make than the chocolate-covered banana bites because we didn't have to mess with a double broiler and melted chocolate! Instead, we simply cut the end off the banana, stuck a popsicle stick in it, and then started slathering Greek yogurt on top!

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Then, depending on whether you want a little crunch or a lot, sprinkle on your walnuts, and drizzle with honey!

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I'll be honest and tell you I wasn't sure how these would taste, but I absolutely LOVE them. They're the best, most filling, delicious snack and because of their sweetness, feel like a total cheat!

The original recipe did say to freeze the bananas before adding the Greek yogurt, but we opted not to; yet they still turned out great.

It's the end of September and the end of our Bananas series - I'd love to know what you thought! Did you make ice cream or banana bites yet?