Monday, February 15, 2016

Southwest Salad Jars and Mango Pineapple Smoothies

My husband and I made the executive decision to jump on the meal prepping bandwagon. Since I am a vegetarian and my husband is not, we decided to try salad jars (to individually customize our jars - with/without meat). And since we've been having an unhealthy amount of Taco Bell lately we've decided to start with southwest salads. 

These are the ingredients we used, but you can customize them any way you like.

Romaine Lettuce, coarsely chopped
Tomatoes, diced
Avocados, diced
Yellow Corn, canned, drained
Black Beans, canned, drained
Mexican Blend Cheese, shredded
Taco seasoned meat, cubed (chicken, beef, pork, fish)
Dressing (I used zesty Italian, my husband used Buffalo Ranch)
Tortilla Strips

First, you want to add about 1/4 cup of dressing to the bottom.
Then, add a layer of Romaine to separate the dressing from everything else. 
Then, layer in the ingredients that you want (except the tortilla strips).
Add a final layer of lettuce.
Store the tortilla strips separate if you don't want them to get soggy.
Keep stored in upright position.

When you are ready to eat just shake the jar and dump out onto a plate/bowl. 
Sprinkle on tortilla strips. 

Now for the perfect drink to go with your salad!

Throw into a blender and mix until smooth:

1 cubed mango
1 cup cubed pineapple
1 cup ice cubes
½ cup mango orange juice
6 ounces vanilla yogurt

I don't like pulp, so I strained my smoothie.

Happy Lunch!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Jumbo Shells
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 cloves minced Garlic
4 cups chopped Baby Spinach
12 ounces part skim Ricotta Cheese
1 cup shredded part skim Mozzarella Cheese (plus more for topping)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 large Egg
4-6 leaves finely chopped Basil
Salt and Pepper for taste
1 jar Marinara Sauce
Crushed Red Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cook shells according to directions. Drain and set aside. Be careful not to break shells.
Sauce:Heat in sauce pan over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning to your liking. Pour just enough sauce to cover bottom of 9"x12" glass baking dish.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and let simmer until brown. Saute spinach for ~3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, stir together spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil, salt and pepper. Stuff each shell with mixture and create a single layer of shells in baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, add a layer of shredded mozzarella, and back for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy with your favorite wine :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Healthy Vegan Apple Muffins

1 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Apples (I used 3 Granny Smith with peels)
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
2 tspn Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 tspn Vanilla Extract
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tspn Baking Soda
1 tspn Baking Powder
1/2 tspn Salt
1 tspn Pumpkin Pie Spice, Allspice, or Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat Milk in microwave on high for ~30 seconds. This will prevent the coconut oil from clumping. 
3. Heat Coconut Oil in microwave on high for ~30 seconds or until liquified.
4. Add Vinegar to Milk, stir, and let sit for a few minutes (this makes it like buttermilk).
5. In large bowl, whisk together Coconut Oil, Milk/Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Oil, and Vanilla until smooth.
6. In separate bowl, combine both Flours, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, and Spices.
7. Add flour mixture to oil mixture and stir until just combined.
8. Fold in apples.
9. Add batter to greased or lined muffin pan. I use coconut oil spray and liners just in case.
10. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. 

Enjoy! Happy Healthy Snacking!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lacto Ovo Vegetarianism: Week 1

This week I officially made the decision to become a lacto-ovo vegetarian. That means that I can eat dairy and eggs; no meat. Or pretty much nothing without a face. Eventually, I will try and cut out eggs all together, but right now I want to make sure I have a good protein source. I am not really a fan of tofu or nuts; I will eventually learn how to like it (once I start expanding on my recipes). Anyways, here is a taste of my work week (Mon-Fri) meal plans...

Breakfast- yogurt with granola, banana, and coffee (I also cut my coffee habit down to 1 cup a day)
Lunch/Snacks-weight gain shake (Ensure Plus Chocolate), baby carrots, craisins, luna bar (chocolate coconut)...I was in the lab all day so I didn't really have time to sit down for lunch so I really just snacked when I could.
Dinner- penne rosa, red wine (cabernet)

Breakfast- yogurt with granola, banana, and coffee (there is a trend)
Lunch/Snacks-leftover penne rosa, water, baby carrots, apple
Dinner- avocado egg salad on a croissant, red wine (cabernet), chocolate coconut milk icecream

Avocado Egg Salad Recipe Here
(I opted out of using greek yogurt)

Breakfast- yogurt with granola, banana, and coffee
Lunch/Snacks- leftover avocado egg salad on a croissant, water, baby carrots, apple
Dinner-caprese panini,  red wine (cabernet)

Caprese Panini Recipe Here
(I didn't use balsamic on mine)

Breakfast- yogurt with granola, banana, and coffee
Lunch/Snacks- leftover penne rosa, Mango smoothie, baby carrots, apple
Dinner-homemade veggie burrito bowl, water

Homemade Veggie Burrito Bowl Recipe to Come :)

Breakfast- yogurt with granola, banana, and coffee
Lunch/Snacks- leftover burrito bowl, baby carrots, water, granola bar (oats and honey)
Dinner-grilled cheese, caesar salad, water

I must say this week went by smoothly. No cheating :) If you're wondering I spent less than $100 in groceries this week and it wasn't all food that I bought. I also liked that I could use the leftover tomatoes from my penne rosa in my panini and then again in my burrito bowl. I also used the left over avocado from my egg salad in my burrito bowl. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chocolate Chip Bars

Apparently, it was National Chocolate Chip Cookie week, and small confession, I've never actually made a chocolate chip cookie! It was a co-worker's birthday this week and I wanted to try something close to a chocolate chip cookie. I remember my sister always making these chocolate chip bars when we were kids, and they were always so delicious! So, I gave it a whirl. 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine (room temp)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together margarine and both sugars on medium speed, until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly add dry mixture until well-combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in an ungreased 9" x 13" baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Check with toothpick. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Makes ~20 bars. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Banana Muffins (with Vegan option)

2 large mashed ripe bananas
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted 
1/2 cup warm milk, (coconut, almond, soy, skim cow)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
coconut oil cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray non-stick muffin pans with coconut oil cooking spray (I also add liners for aesthetics).

2. In a small bowl, mash the bananas and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, melted coconut oil (1 minute in the microwave), warm milk (30 seconds in microwave), brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk to combine, then fold in the bananas.

5. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour wet mixture into the center. Gently fold dough until all dry bits are gone. Don't overmix . 

6. Fill the muffin pan wells about 2/3 full.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes. Check with toothpick.

8. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before carefully turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 18 muffins.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Happy and Healthy Snacking!

Friday, February 13, 2015

DIY Valentine's Day Card

Thumb Bunny Loves You!

Blank Note Cards
Black Ink Stamp Pad
Thin Sharpies

I was at Target and saw a card like this. A few thoughts went through my head. 1.) This card is perfect from me - I am a proud owner of 2 rescued buns (see pictures below) and the fingerprint goes along with my background in Forensics (I personally prefer DNA though). 2.) It came in a pack of 8 and I only needed to send a card to a few people. 3.) I t was kind of pricey. 4.) I can make this - I have all the materials at home!

It's really simple, you stick your thumb in ink and stamp the center of the note card. I let the ink dry overnight so that there was no smudging. The next day I used my artistic skills to draw bunnies (using my own as models of course) and then tried really hard to keep my handwriting neat. On the inside of the card I wrote Happy Valentine's Day, but you can also save these for Easter - just change the greeting!

Reading time!