Friday, November 1, 2013

The Scarecrow

I am already in love with Chipotle Mexican Grill, but this makes me love them even more. Take time to watch the video - it's only three minutes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vitamix And Other Fun Things

My dreams of owning a juicer are now on hold for a couple of months. As I have been researching the best juicers on the market I came across a lot of positive reviews about the Vitamix blender. I have always wanted a really awesome blender to make smoothies, but little did I know you could juice and make soups, sauces, dips, and a ton of other concoctions in one of these amazing machines. Sold! I found a local Costco that was having a Vitamix roadshow and ran down to ask questions and see how it worked. The Vitamix representative made us smoothies, italian ice, and hot soup (yes, it makes HOT soup) in less than 10 minutes. I also met a Utah food blogger (My Good Clean Food) while I was there and if I wasn't already sold on buying a $500 blender, she sold me. She said she used hers up to four times a day to make everything from baby food, smoothies, mayonnaise, nut butters, ice cream, and so much more. It was a lot of fun to talk to her and the Vitamix rep about all the things you could make. 

Since buying it just yesterday, I have already made a couple of smoothies, my husband made a milkshake, and I made homemade hot macaroni and cheese sauce for my daughter. I am so in love! So, for now you can find me in kitchen whipping up green smoothies and juices, salsa, hot soup, ice cream, and more. 

I love Spring! The temperature is almost perfect for walking and playing outside. The spring flowers are starting to bloom. I always look forward to going to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. Also, this year I registered to do the Race For the Cure 5K in May. So many fun things to look forward to. 

Last, I thought I would share a couple of my favorite things that I am loving right now: 

They are organic cold-pressed juices that come in many flavors. They are pure heaven full of vitamins and nutrients. You can find them at Whole Foods

BB Creams are so popular right now. BB stands for beauty balm and they got their name for being an all-in-one product. I love Tarte because it is natural, eco-friendly make-up. The Tarte BB Cream has a primer, moisturizer, light foundation, anti-aging treatment, and sunscreen all in one. It is perfect for quick, easy cover-up that you wear everyday. 

Hands down this is my favorite popcorn in the world. Be careful with this stuff - it is super addicting! I can finish a bag without thinking much about it. It is so savory and delicious (and low-cal if you don't eat the whole bag at once)!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Traded The Gym For A Juicer

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from my gym stating that I only had a short time to renew because my 2-year membership would be ending. At that time I wondered if I should renew or look for a new gym to join. One afternoon I stopped by LifeTime Fitness to see what a membership would cost. LifeTime is a massively huge and beautiful facility that has everything you could ever want in a gym. During the tour I started to feel very anxious. I don't know if it was the used car salesman I was walking around with or the women working out in full make-up that made my dream gym feel so fake. After the tour, the salesman took me into the little room with no windows to talk about my contract. The panic really started setting in. After he told me it would ONLY cost $71 per month, I respectfully declined the membership and ran out of the gym. 

After that I decided I would just renew my less expensive membership at 24-Hour Fitness and try and go over and work out more than once per month. But after renewing, I just didn't feel like that was the right decision for me either. I didn't use my last membership as much as I should have. Having a two-year-old makes it difficult to go anywhere. I cancelled my membership and decided that I would purchase a Breville Juicer with the money I saved. I also had enough money left over that I could buy Les Mills Body Pump for home. Body Pump was my FAVORITE class at the gym and now I can do the same workout at home. I am so excited! I feel like this was the perfect decision for me at this time. 

Product reviews coming soon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Healthy Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan

One of my favorite magazines that I look forward to getting in the mail every month is Clean Eating. I love all of the advice, product ideas and finds, and of course, all of the recipes. They are all clean, healthy, and for the most part, really easy to make.

One recipe that I made tonight out of the March 2013 issue was Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan. It was so delicious and flavorful that I had to share it with you. I made a few changes to the recipe and I also used mostly organic ingredients. I served it over whole-wheat capellini pasta (angel hair) with sauteed zucchini as a side dish. It's a meal your whole family will love.

Healthy Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used Kirkland Organic Crushed Tomatoes in the glass jar, 24 oz)
1 large sprig of basil
1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

Prepare sauce: In a medium saucepan on medium, heat oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and slightly browned (about 6 minutes). Add tomato paste, garlic, and Italian seasoning and stir until combined (about 1 minute). Add tomatoes and sprig of basil. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes). Discard basil and add salt. Set aside.

Prepare chicken: Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray). Set up three plates/bowls for dredging the chicken - to the first one, add flour; second one, add egg, egg white, and black pepper and whisk to combine; and third, add panko, parmesan, Italian seasoning, and rosemary and stir to combine. Dip each piece of chicken in flour, then in egg mixture, and then into panko, flipping to coat both sides. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from oven and turn on broil setting.

Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Add chicken in a single layer. Spoon about 1/3 cup sauce over each piece and pour remaining sauce around chicken. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the chicken. Put the pan in the oven and broil until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes (watch closely). Sprinkle with chopped basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over whole-wheat pasta for a complete meal.

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Weight Loss Journey

It has been 10 years since I lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers. Since then I have gained the 50 pounds plus more back. I have lost 10 pounds here and there but I always manage to find it again. I lost 30 pounds before getting pregnant with my daughter and after I had her I lost all the pregnancy weight pretty quickly. I was down to the weight I was before getting pregnant. Now, I have gained some back and have been struggling to find motivation ever since. I shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Farmer's Markets. I eat a lot of fruits and veggies. I eat a lot of lean protein and whole grains. My problem is I love sugar WAY too much and I don't exercise enough. I also work at a coffee shop where drinking high calorie drinks for breakfast has become routine. 

I love when I eat healthy and work out because I have so much more energy and feel so much better. But then I give into my sugar cravings (I'm like a crack addict for sugar) and my healthy eating and motivation go out the window. After I come out of the sugar-induced coma I am left feeling sick, low on energy, and my weight is back to square one. 

So, I decided that I would share my successes (and failures) on my blog. I will post healthy recipes and other tips and tricks I find along the way. I know that I will need to remain dedicated and work hard to reach my goal.

My plan for the first month is:
  • Eat healthy, all-natural, organic, and whole foods. I will cut way back on high sugar processed foods and indulge my cravings with a small piece of dark chocolate or frozen grapes.
  • Drink a green smoothie (or 2) daily.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Work out 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes. I will be walking and taking weight lifting classes.
  • Have one meal out a week with dessert. It will most likely be at Chipotle, Blue Lemon, or Bocata, so I know it will be fairly healthy. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hungry For Change

The documentary, Hungry For Change, changed the way I think about food. I watched it last year when it first came out and ever since I read labels and I know, whether it's good or bad, what is going in my body. I know that diets don't work. I know that sugar is an addiction. I bought the Hungry For Change Book just so I could have a reference manual when I need it. 

In just a couple of days you will be able to watch this film for free online. I promise you that is so worth it. This film is life-changing! (Just watch the trailer above to find out more.) To sign up for the free online screening, click here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Toddler Smoothie

I have mentioned this before, but my 2 1/2-year old loves smoothies. Every time she sees me making a smoothie she runs over and wants to help make our "smovvies." I have found a recipe that makes just the right amount and that she loves. It includes one of her favorite foods, yogurt tubes. 

Her favorites include; Chobani Greek Yogurt Champions, Trader Joe's Organic Squishers, and Horizon Organic Tuberz. 

Toddler Smoothie

1 Yogurt Tube (or 1/4 cup yogurt)
1/2 Cup Frozen or Fresh Fruit 
1/2 Banana
10 Baby Spinach Leaves
2 T. Vanilla Almond Milk (add more, if needed)
1 tsp. Flax Seeds or Chia Seeds 

Blend until smooth and creamy.

I found a frozen fruit mix that has mangos, strawberries, pineapple, and peaches - all of her favorites. If you use fresh fruit, just add a couple of ice cubes. 

Serve in their favorite cup and know that your little one is enjoying something healthy for them that they will love (adults love this recipe, too). 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Breakfast For Dinner

I am not a huge breakfast fan (in the morning) and usually make a smoothie of some kind to fill me up until lunch. Even though I make a good breakfast for my family most mornings they still LOVE breakfast for dinner. We make pancakes or waffles from scratch, french toast, frittatas, or breakfast burritos. Sides include scrambled eggs, bacon (nitrate free, of course), and potatoes.

The breakfast for dinner we are loving right now are breakfast skillets. The following Denver Breakfast Skillet recipe is from Pink Pistachio. It is easy to make and so delicious.

Via Pink Pistachio

Via Pink Pistachio 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Love To Freeze

No, I am not saying I love the below freezing temperatures we have had in Northern Utah for the past month. I am saying that I love to freeze any foods I can get my hands on. For example, I freeze brownish bananas for smoothies - they make the best smoothies. I also freeze leftover tomato paste in tablespoon portions for future recipes - because most recipes only call for a tablespoon or two which leaves the rest of can to throw out. 

I use the following technique to freeze bananas, onions, bell peppers, fresh fruit, and more. How to quick freeze produce: First wash and drain produce before spreading in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheet. Once it is frozen solid, store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. 

Picture from Martha Stewart

I am a green smoothie addict and buy my organic spinach in bulk at Costco. Some weeks I have leftover spinach and hate the thought of throwing it out before it turns bad. You can put it in a blender with a little water, blend, and pour it into ice cube trays. Once frozen store in a freezer bag. Add a couple of cubes to your green smoothie and you're good to go.

Picture from All That Is Sweet In Life

I love using wine in cooking, especially when making anything Italian. It gives the dish such a great flavor. If you ever have left over wine... okay, that was silly... when you are at the store then pick up an extra bottle of wine just for cooking. Freeze wine in an ice cube tray and then store in an airtight container once frozen. Add it to your favorite sauces or dishes for extra flavor.

Picture from The Art Of Doing Stuff

I always freeze fresh herbs. I grow herbs every year and freeze as many as I can or I buy them in bulk and freeze them. Find out how I freeze fresh herbs, here. On Pinterest I found a great tip on freezing fresh herbs in olive oil. I love this because I use a lot of olive oil and fresh herbs when I cook and these can be dropped into a lot of different dishes.

Picture from theKitchn

These tips and more can be found on my Kitchen Tips and Tutorials board on Pinterest.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Product Review: Yonanas "Ice Cream" Maker

 I love banana "ice cream"- it's one of my favorite go-to treats. You make a delicious frozen treat out of frozen bananas and you can add other fruit like strawberries or berries or you can add peanut butter for a WAY yummy treat. Click here for my Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream" recipe. So delish!

I was really excited when I received a Yonanas Banana Ice Cream Maker for Christmas. I thought this would be such a fun and easy way to make my delicious frozen concoction. It did a really good job making the bananas into what looked just like ice cream. After you put in the first frozen banana, you then put in your mix-in's, and then another banana. When finished you have to mix it all together really well. I like it a little more creamy and add a splash of vanilla almond milk.

Personally I thought it was a little easier to make it in my small blender and it always came out perfect. But since I have the Yonanas maker I will use it even though it takes more time and it is a little harder to clean than my blender.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top Five: Favorite Toddler Pins

Happy New Year! One of my goals for 2013 is to create, make, and bake more of the pins I have collected on Pinterest. Some of things I plan on doing this year are from My Little One pin board. It's a board of pins just for my toddler.

Here are my top five favorite pins on My Little One pin board: 

DIY Sidewalk Paint

This easy-to-make paint made with food coloring, corn starch, and water makes a super fun and easy summer activity. You can find the recipe at All Things Simple.

A Handmade Hideaway

This little playhouse is so cute. Now I just have to convince my husband to build it. You can find the instructions on how to build it and a price list of all the materials on The Handmade Home

DIY Fishing Game

On Design Dazzle you can find free printable fish and instructions on how to create this fun game for little ones. I think my 2 1/2-year old will love this. 

Toddler Lunch

This is such a cute way to serve lunch since most toddlers, including mine, are so picky. You give them an ice cube tray full of fruits, veggies, crackers, and even cookies. It's a great way to give them variety while experimenting with new foods. You can find out what foods are pictured below at Pink Pistachio.

Kids Artwork Book

I couldn't find where the original post of this picture came from, but I love the idea. You scan your kids artwork and create keepsake books. You can add pictures of your kids creating the artwork or their school picture to track their grade/age. 

You can find and follow My Little One pin board, here. Or follow all of my Pinterest boards, here.