recipes

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

How to Peel a Pomegranate

It's the week of love and well, I love this fruit! Pomegranates pack an antioxidant punch and tons of other health benefits, and they're delicious! They have a unique flavor that works with everything from chocolate to salad to pizza. The only problem? They can be expensive. I saw a package of peeled pomegranates at Whole Foods the other day for $10 - $10! Take my advice and pass-up the packaged stuff! You can find whole pomegranates for about $3 in the produce section of most grocery stores.

You might be wondering how to peel a pomegranate! It might seem intimidating at first, but it's really quite simple! The hardest part is not staining your fingers, clothes, and counter bright red! :)

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Step 1: To begin, I suggest cutting a cone around the root of the pomegranate and pulling it out. Then cut slits into the ridges of the hole (or "score the ridges").

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Step 2: Pull the pomegranate in half and then begin breaking off chunks, using your scores as a guide.

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Step 3: As you pull off small chunks, submerge each piece into a bowl of water while simultaneously using your fingers to massage the pomegranate seeds away from the membrane and rind. You can completely discard the rind when you've extracted all the seeds (they're actually called arils - read more about these gems here).

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Step 4: You'll notice a lot of excess webs floating in the water, but that's fine! In fact, that's the point. The water separates the membrane from the seeds, which then floats to the top, making it easy for you to pick out and discard.

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Step 5: After you've pulled out the excess membrane (that sounds gross! Haha), rinse and strain the seeds.

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Store the pomegranates in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week! If you're not sure what to do with these beauties, consider throwing them on top of yogurt (I've been obsessed with doing this recently) or, if you want to get a little fancier, try any of these fun pomegranate recipes!

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Pomegranate Recipe Round-up: 

And for easy retrieving, here's a how-to you can pin to Pinterest for quick reference!

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Do you like pomegranates? Have you ever had them? 

How do you peel a pomegranate? 

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!

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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!

How to Make Chicken Stock

Hi friends! Happy Friday Eve! Today I'm sharing the last part in our Kittchen Basics series with Kit, author of thekittchen.com. Kit’s already shown us how to roast a chickencarve a chicken, and how to make gravy. Today she's sharing how to make chicken stock - a common ingredient in cooking! Chicken Stock-1

Homemade chicken stock is incredibly easy to prepare and is far more flavorful than the store-bought stocks. This stock is a great base for soups, and it can be used in recipes that call for stock or broth. It can also be frozen, either in ice cube trays to add to sauces, or in larger containers to use in soups!

You will need:

  • Chicken or Turkey bones – meat removed
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 2 cups celery
  • leftover gravy

Step 1:

Chop the onion, carrots, and celery.  Your chopping doesn’t need to be nice and neat since these vegetables will be strained out of the stock.

Step 2:

Put the chicken bones in a large pot and fill the pot with water until it is 3/4 full.  Put on a burner over medium high heat and bring to a simmer.  Add in the onion, carrots, celery, and gravy.  Let simmer for 2-3 hours – until the stock reaches a nice golden color.  I always add leftover gravy to my stocks and soups if I have any on hand because it adds so much flavor.

Step 3:

The most important step in making stock is putting a colander in a large pot in the sink!  Do not forget to put the colander into a pot otherwise you will be dumping your stock down the drain.  Pour the stock through the colander and into the other pot.  Throw away the vegetables in the colander.

Now you have homemade chicken stock, which can be frozen and used later or used immediately!

A quick tip: If you have a Parmesan rind add it into the stock. Chop it into a few chunks and it will completely dissolve into the stock and add loads of flavor.

Volia, you're done!

Kit, thank you so much for this great tutorial and ALL your videos - they're GREAT. I'm in charge of hosting the Christmas gathering for my family this year and I've decided I'm going to make (my very first!) whole chicken + gravy using your tutorials! I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

Sign-up for the Salad Club Ebook

I believe there comes a certain point in everyone's career (in their life, really) that they have an ah ha moment in realizing this is what I want to do. I love this! Whatever your this may be. I had one of those moments recently, and it came at the most unexpected time. It was one quiet evening at home, after long day of work when I was preparing a simple kale salad. I massaged the kale with olive oil, sprinkled sea salt on top, and then added chunks of avocado, some cucumber and sunflower seeds... I felt a sense of ease that I had the evening to myself, and no responsibility to cook for anyone else. I also knew, deep down, a perfect salad would make for a perfect evening.

Suddenly, it hit me. Salad is my thing. I love salad! I love eating salads. I love styling salads. I love preparing salads for others - showing them salad can be hearty and delicious. A night all to myself and what do I want? Salad.

Secretly declared to myself, I'm PASSIONATE about salad!

That may sound odd to some of you but the point is what you do with that passion, right? What are you supposed to do about something you LOVE so much? I think you're supposed to nurture it, create it, share it, expound upon it... and that's exactly what I'm doing with Salad Club, the ebook -- nurturing my love for salad and finding a way to share it with the world!

Salad-Club-Containers// Image from my friend Lauren

I've been talking about this book for awhile now; it's been on my goal list for several months, but it wasn't until this last week that I really buckled down and made some major headway in actually finishing the book. Here's a sneak peak you may have seen on Instagram.

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Seeing it finally come together makes me SO excited to share it. We're so close now, I can taste it! Of course, the book still needs a few finishing touches, but the bulk of the writing and formatting is done (what a relief!), and I hope to release it sometime in December (or at the very latest, January).

Even though it's taken me awhile to finish, I can't help but think this is the perfect time of year for the release. Salad Club is a great way to combat the overload of holiday goodies around the office, and a great way to incorporate vegetables during carb-loaded family feasts.

The book comes with shopping lists and schedule templates to make explaining the concept to your officemates really easy! I also included sample shopping lists for big and small groups, which is something I'm very happy to offer. (I know a few of you struggled to get started with just 3 participants - I got you covered!) And of course, a few salad recipes and fun facts about salad!

This announcement is to ask those of you who are interested in purchasing the ebook to go ahead and sign-up to be the first alerted when it's ready. You can sign-up right here!

If you sign-up, you'll recieve an email as soon as the book is ready for purchase. Additionally, be on the lookout for pop-up sales and announcements about the book via instagram!

Know someone who's interested? Sign them up!

This is going to be a great way to start off your year!

To read more about Salad club, go to this post.

To see more of my salad club salads check out #ffabsalad on Instagram!

Paleo Challenge: Weeks 3 & 4

It's hard to believe I'm starting the sixth week of the Fall Paleo Challenge already. I have to say that I have truly enjoyed eating this way, and while some people might question a whether Paleo, as a lifestyle, is feasible, I can say that for me, it's working. You'll notice based on my food diary below that I haven't been perfect, especially when it comes to coffee creamer (it's my weakness), but beyond that, I have kept up with the challenge, which was one of my main goals after all. (See my food diary for week one here and week two here.) Paleo3+4

A look at what I've been eating!

Day 16 (Sept 19): I totally lapsed and didn't write a full record! All I have down is coffee with almond milk and green seedless grapes...

Day 17: Egg omelette and sweet potato hash. CrossFit. Kale salad with chicken, cucumbers, sweet potato and avocado dressing - yes I put sweet potato in my salad and it was good! La Sandia for dinner - ordered an avocado and shrimp salad, and drank one glass of red wine.

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Day 18: Leftover sweet potato hash. CrossFit. Coffee with creamer. Salad club salad. Salmon, sweet potato, and salad with avocado dressing. Strawberries for dessert.

Day 19: Coffee with creamer and vegetable omelette with bacon on the side. Ants on a log and a larabar. Chicken, mushrooms and green beans for dinner. A little snacking on random (paleo) foods during meal prep.

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Day 20: Coffee with almond milk, sweet potato hash (it's my favorite recipe), and a peach. Ants on a log and a salad club salad. A lima bean salad (I know i'm not supposed to have lima beans but a coworker brought it in for me and I didn't want to be rude!), larabar, almonds, and for dinner: salad with chicken, shrimp and avocado from Dogfish Ale House. Balsamic dressing on the side.

Day 21: Chicken sausage, scrambled eggs, and salsa with grapes on the side. Chipotle (paleo style) for lunch and a larabar. Raisins and almonds, and spaghetti squash for dinner.

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Day 22: Chicken sausage and scrambled eggs again, salsa, and avocado. Coffee with creamer (2 cups). Apple and almond butter. Leftover marinara sauce (I just ate the sauce) and banana ice cream.

Day 23 (Sept. 26): Banana. Coffee with almond milk. Salad club salad.  Larabar. CrossFit. A random salad with a million throw-ins (all paleo).

Day 24: Coffee with almond milk. Chipotle (paleo) bowl with chicken. Thai shrimp and broccoli. (I have a feeling the Thai sauce had sugar, but I'm not sure; either way I didn't eat the rice!) One glass of red wine.

Day 25: Eggs and salsa, chicken sausage, apple and almond butter. Carrots, cucumber and bell pepper slices for a snack (was on the road). Family party - ate all all sorts of non-paleo food!

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Day 26: Eggs, an apple and bacon. Dinner at my husband's grandmother's house - we ate leftovers from the night before - more non-paleo foods! Also, (confession time!) I ate a plain McDonald's sundae on the drive home. IT WAS SO GOOD! Lol.

Day 27: Larabar. Coffee with almond milk. Salad club salad with chicken added. Almond butter and celery. CrossFit. For dinner, a batch of guacamole and plantain chips. Bib lettuce with guacamole and chicken sausage - so random, I know! More random snacking during meal prep.

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Day 28: Sweet potato hash, coffee with almond milk, larabar and carrots. Some almonds and raisins. CrossFit. Cabbage and rotisserie chicken with some sweet potato on the side. Banana and pineapple "ice cream." Not sure why, but I got a tummy ache after dinner.

Quick Thoughts: 

  • I'm down more than 10 lbs now! I haven't weighed myself but last time I did, I was down a total of 10 lbs. Several people have commented that I look thinner, husband included, and I can really feel a difference in my clothes!
  • I've been very lenient with the coffee creamer, which I mentioned last time I wanted to cut out. I know I should but coffee is seriously my weakness! I love a good cup of jo!
  • It's time to try some new recipes. I'm a little sick of things like sweet potato hash and avocado dressing. There's tons of paleo recipes out there, it's time to give a few new ones a try.

Moving Forward: 

  • Sweets. I feel myself going to town on things like almond butter, raisins, and larabars, which I know are the foods full of sugar. I'd like to reign it in a little on the sweets and maybe even the starchy vegetables like sweet potato, and see the effect (if any occurs).
  • These last few weeks are going to be the hardest as I'm traveling A LOT. Also, the week after the challenge ends, I'm headed to see my grandmother in Florida. --> I always gorg myself at her house! I don't want to go buck wild when the challenge is over. I'd like to maintain this way of eating.

Tips for you:

  • Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. I've been helping my father-in-law adopt this lifestyle and I swear, the only thing saving him is all the meal prep we've done so that allowable foods are on hand. Meal prepping is half the battle!
  • Don't be afraid to try new foods or combinations of foods! I have been obsessed with sweet potato in my kale salads lately and while I know that sounds like a crazy combination, it's seriously so good! Try it!
  • I've also been loving Pellegrino just as something different to drink than regular water! It's definitely a splurge (at some restaurants they charge like $5 a bottle), but it feels so worth it!

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I'd love to hear what you've been eating lately!

Have you ever considering adopting a paleo lifestyle?

Sneak Peek: Chocolate-Covered Kiwi Pops

I mentioned last week how much fun I have doing styled food shoots with my friend Lauren - they are the funniest! Then, when I get the photos back from her, I'm again reminded of how awesomeamazingincredible she is! I'm still putting together the recipe post for these chocolate-covered kiwi pops, but I thought you might enjoy a sneak peek!  They were the pride and joy of our most recent shoot!

And they are delicious! 

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Oh, and fun fact! In total, this recipe is only THREE ingredients: kiwis, coconut oil, and chocolate chips (and well, peanuts if you want to add them, which I recommend you do because they were bomb)! I also used dairy free chocolate chips to make the chocolate! Details coming later this week!

Thank you Lauren for this, and so many other, amazing photos!

Recipe: Avocado Eggs & Sriracha

Greetings again!

Today's recipe is not paleo. It's just something I love very, very much...

Avocado-3

This is a slice of Ezekial bread topped with eggs scrambled with yellow bell pepper, topped with slices of avocado and a little sriracha. Also known as, the most delcicious breakfast ever!

The bell pepper is really irrelevant  - you can add anything to your eggs, or eat them plain - but the most important elemens of this dish are a.) the avocado and b.) the sriracha.

It's sort of surreal to even type those words (avocado and srirachia) because for the longest time, I disliked both. I'm not a fan of spicy foods and I remember the first time I tried avocado-and it mushed in my mouth-I thought "omg, most digusting thing, ever!" So if you're there, I get it. This is an aquired taste for me, too!

Here's how to make this breakfast:

Step one: Scramble Egg Whites / Optional: Add Veggies / Lay Them Over Bread.

Step two: Smash-up a half of an avocado over the egg.

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Avocado

 Step three: Top with sriracha!

I will say, minus the bread, this is a great paleo breakfast! It incorporates the handful of protein and healthy fat!

Oh and warning: it's addictive! I found myself craving it for dinner! So weird!

What's your favorite breakfast?

Have you acquired a taste for certain foods you used to not like?

Weekend Recap

Hey all! Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend! Mine was pretty good: Friday night I made Paleo cookies and a delicious whipped butternut squash. Saturday morning I went to Crossfit and it was another crazy workout ("Lorenzo" is six rounds of 24 air squats, 24 pull-ups, 24 lounges and 400 meter run). I've never sweat so much in my life! Saturday evening I went to Girl's Night, this time hosted by the twins! Yesterday was church and a little running around.

I'm trying something new, posting this "weekend recap" with few pics from my iPhone. Hope you enjoy it!

Girl's-Night

Girl's night was hawaiian themed and so fun! Nutella-stuffed strawberries are so yum! :)

{Top right} The favors were mason jars filled with gym balls, with a note that read, "thanks for popping over!"

I love that we've started this tradition of getting everyone together once a month.

Do you do that with your friends?

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 {Top row} My pup got a haircut this weekend and I got a color!

{Bottom left} I did a little window shopping at Loft; they're having a huge sale!

I'm totally regretting not buying this outfit! :(

{Bottom right} Friday night's dinner was supposed to be Paleo until I realized green beans were BEANS. Lol.

The butternut squash turned out great, though! (I blended it with a little coconut cream!)

Weekend-Jul-14-Cookies

I also made Paleo cookies this weekend! They were so good!

I'm logging the ingredients into MyFitnessPal now. I'll definitely post about these again!

What did you do this weekend?

Banana Protein Pancakes

Crazy title for a post, ey? Let me explain... It's rare that I have a weekend free with no plans or obligations, so when this last weekend was approaching and I had nothing on the agenda, I got a little happy. As I thought about how I wanted to spend all this free time, I knew I wanted to be in two places and do just two things-- the grocery store and kitchen to cook and meal prep!

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In all honesty, I think Instagram is to blame for this. All those foodies and meal preppers... I see thier dedication week after week and the way they turn simple ingredients into amazing, delicious food, and what can I say? I want to join the fun.

Plus, you guys know I'm trying to stick to a meal plan as part of the May-ke it Happen Challenge (how are you guys doing, btw?) and I've learned that if I'm not prepared with healthy foods on hand, it's impossible to stick to the plan.

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Enter protein pancakes. I've wanted to make these FOREVER. I first saw them on Nutty4Nutrition's instagram and then on her blog (the actual recipe is here; search "banana protein pancakes")... And I'll be honest, at first I was a little confused, thinking, pancakes? healthy? huh?

Then I looked over the ingredients and didn't see anything bad: it's just vanilla protein, almond milk and oats...

Then, finally, Saturday morning I made them...

I know I'm making this sound really dramatic, but in fact, it was! As Aaron walked into the kitchen that morning, I said, "This is revolutionary!" HEALTHY FOOD THAT TASTES THIS GOOD! Who knew?! (I sure didn't!)

Portein-Pancakes

And, of course, I didn't stop there. After a Costco haul, I prepped for the entire week! I packaged up celery and hummus and hard boiled eggs for snacks, as well as various mixtures of fruit and veggies for green smoothies in the morning...

Costco Haul

Meal Prep

I made Zucchini tots (not shown) and egg muffins, and cinnamon quinoa crusted sweet potato casserole (so good!) and blackberry frozen Greek yogurt from busygirlseatclean (also on Instagram)... Hence the title of this post! :)

Sweet Potatoes

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I had a blast guys!

Who would have thought meal prepping could be so fun? It's FUN!

Granted, you have to take the time... you have to buy the food... but it's sooo rewarding... at least it is to a girl like me, with a fast food-ridden past. I never EVER would have thought this journey to a slimmer waist and stronger body would result in me learning to make my own pancake batter, or my own ice cream. (I mean, who would think?) But, here's the thing: there's a whole new world out there for us healthy-goers! It's just waiting for you to decide you want better than McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and store-bought foods, and in today's day and age, with Instagram and Pinterest, the possibilies are endless.

So get in your kitchen and have some fun!!!!

What are your favorite healthy recipes?

Have you discovered any amazing-tasting healthy recipes lately?

Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Bake

Hi guys! I have a treat for you today-- the recipe I made for my girl's night (a recipe I have made countless times!) and the answer to your craving for Mexican, but without all the calories and fat! Here's why you'll love it:

  • It's delicious and doesn't taste low fat!
  • It's only 300 calories per serving (the shrimp version is 280 cals), but it's hearty. Your husband will love it!
  • It's great for get-togethers because the recipe serves 8.
  • You can freeze and/or store this meal ahead of time (yay for meal planning)!
  • It's easy to modify based on your likes- try making it with shrimp!
  • Did I mention it's delicious?

I got this recipe from my favorite recipe source, Eatingwell.com. It's a modification of the Quick Shrimp Enchilada Bake. I love eating this with a side salad and tangy cilantro-lime dressing. Hubs loves it with ranch! You can use pretty much use any kind of chicken you want for the filling (or use shrimp!), but I always opt for rotisserie because it's moist and oh so delicious!

The pictures in this post were once again styled and shot by Lauren-Michelle. She is amazing! We tried to capture the process, rather than just the final product! We figured you might learning to make this through pics, rather than me telling you how! :)

Now say hello to our lovely Costco chicken that cost just $5!:

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And some target-brand green chiles. I never cooked with these previously but they add a lot of flavor!c

To make the enchilada filling simply chop up some chicken and mix it with the green chiles and one cup of frozen corn.

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Then prepare your baking dish by pouring a little green Verde sauce on the bottom, and add a single layer of tortillas.

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You'll need refried beans too, of course! These are the non-fat kind, but they're just as good. They're a big part of the reason this dish is so filling!

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Add a layer of your fill on top, and then another layer of corn tortillas.

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We used all of our chicken so that none of it went to waste, but seriously, you don't need that much!

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One more layer of tortillas!

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A little more green salsa and voila... you're ready to throw it in the oven!

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I've mentioned before that I like simple recipes with ingredients I recognize, or can at least find pretty easily in the store and that's exactly what this is-- the filling is unbelievably simple: frozen corn, green chiles, chicken, and a little green Verde sauce.

As you can see, the assembly is easy, too! Layer and go! It's literally JUST that.

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And after about 20 minutes in the over, you'll add a little shredded non-fat cheese. Let the dish bake for an additional 5 minutes and... you're done! It's SO easy!

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*Now, I have to say that the final product usually looks a lot better than this! The cheese hardened as we were shooting other recipes as well-- I promise it's good though! Seriously, it's so good and the cheese is usually oozing!

I'm actually not going to post the recipe here. It's available right here- just substitute the chicken for the shrimp (if you want; the shrimp is good too)!

As for the nutrition facts, they're listed below. As you can see, I saw that we used half of the entire rotisserie chicken, but truth be told: we put the whole chicken in this bad boy for the shoot! (So if your mix doesn't look as dense, that is probably why!)

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I hope you will try this recipe and report back!

It's one of my favorites and I'm really excited to have shared it on the blog now!

What's your favorite low-calorie/low-fat Mexican meal?