Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coconut Oil Popcorn for 1

I'm a snacker.  I've always been a snacker.  I love to snack.

And popcorn has always been one of my go to snacks.  For a long time, it was the 94% fat free microwave version.

But in reading the labels and reading online, I saw how many chemicals were actually used in making it, so I searched for a better alternative.

The answer?  Coconut oil.

I'm a fairly recent convert to coconut oil, mostly using it in my coffee as well as using the spray to "fry" an egg or some veggies.  I really love the flavor it gives.

So I turned to the trusty internet and found a lot of recipes for coconut oil popped popcorn.  Only the recipes made huge, and I mean huge, family size amounts.

Which, I would definitely eat.  However, I decided to play around and see if I could come up with a friendlier, single serving ratio. 

So here it is!  But know that you can definitely double if you are making it for more than one person!

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tsp. of coconut oil.  Place 2 unpopped kernels of popcorn in the oil, and cover the pot partially with a lid.  Listen for the 2 unpopped kernels to pop - this will let you know the oil is hot enough for the rest of the kernels.

Remove the 2 now popped kernels and put 3 tbsp. of unpopped kernels in the heated oil.  Cover the pan completely with the lid and shake slightly. 

Then let it pop!  You don't have to watch it but don't go too far, you need to listen.  Mine usually takes about 2 minutes, but when you hear the popping start to slow down, get ready to remove it from the heat.

The result?  Delicious, fluffy, healthy popcorn!

I always put it in a smallish bowl too, so it looks really big :)

As for toppings?  Well I try to keep it healthy, I may spray a bit of coconut oil spray on it, and then I love to sprinkle some malt vinegar - a great substitute for my favorite salt and vinegar potato chips.  I also really love sprinkling some tabasco over the top for a spicy kick!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tri Color Orzo Salad

Who doesn't want an easy, light, and non-mayo salad option to bring to a summer party or BBQ?

This recipe is actually adapted from Giada DeLaurentis' recipe.  I made a few changes, using less olive oil (much less!) and substituting goat cheese for the ricotta salada because I could never find it!  I also usually leave the pine nuts on the side since you never know who is going to have allergies at a party you are attending!  I also up the greens, because why not?

Side note:  Last time I made this I actually used dried basil since I couldn't find fresh anywhere, and it was still delish so no worries about having to substitute!

Tri Color Orzo Salad

1 pound orzo pasta
3 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil
3 cups (or 1 bag) of baby arugula
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup dried cherries
12 basil leaves, torn 
1 lemon (for the juice!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the orzo according to directions on the box.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  While it is still cooling, transfer to large serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and stir.  While it cools, stir it every once in a while to prevent sticking.

Once it cools, add in the bag of arugula and toss.  Then add in the basil, goat cheese and dried cherries.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and season with salt and pepper to taste.

(This is also a great recipe to double and triple for big crowds!)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken - 21 Day Fix Friendly!

The crockpot is my best friend.  Especially when I'm doing the 21 Day Fix, where prep is key.  Throwing something in the crockpot on a Sunday and having it for the week makes life a lot easier.

I knew I wanted a protein for the week, something I could eat on its own or toss on a salad or in a wrap.  And so this recipe was born.

I used a pound of chicken breast, but you could just adjust the spices up if you wanted to make more.

First things first, I sprayed the crockpot with organic canola spray.  Then, just lay the chicken breasts on the bottom.

Then I sprinkled a 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. of dried rosemary, a pinch of kosher salt and a 1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper.

Then I added 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar.

Turn the crockpot on high and cook for about 2 and a half hours.  I flipped the chicken about an hour and a half in.

After about 2 and a half hours, I turned the crockpot down to low and shredded the chicken (it was so tender, it took about 2 minutes!).  Then I let the shredded chicken sit in the vinegar mixture on low for another half hour.  I also added about 2 tbsp. more of the balsamic vinegar.

And that's it!  Fill a red container with it and use it to top salads or just eat on its own!


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. of minced garlic
1/2 tsp. of dried rosemary
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Combine all ingredients and cook on high for 2 - 2/12 hours.  Flip chicken about halfway through.  Turn crockpot to low and fork shred chicken, allowing to cook for another 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Chocolate Covered Cherry - For Breakfast?

Sounds crazy right?

And yet, this new Shakeology combo I tried the other day?  Totally tasted like it.  And yes, also 21 Day Fix friendly!

As I've said before, I make my Shakeology with coffee since those yellow containers are precious to me, too precious to swap out for almond milk, but you could totally do this with whatever you make your Shakeology with. 

I used a Double Chocolate Truffle K-Cup (brewed the night before and refrigerated over night), 1 purple container of frozen dark, sweet cherries, 1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract, 1 scoop of chocolate Shakeology, and a handful of ice cubes.

Like having candy for breakfast, only totally healthy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

21 Day Fix Helpful Hint - Roast those Veggies!

I'm not a huge veggie eater.  I wish I liked them more than I do, but the ones I do like, I like a lot, so I guess there is that.

One of the things I do to help set myself up for the week is to prep them ahead of time.  And my favorite way to do that is to roast them.

Roasting your favorite veggies brings out great flavor and makes them a little crispy as well.

I've roasted all sorts - my favorites being brussel sprouts, asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash.

Generally what I do is spray a baking sheet with some coconut oil spray and preheat the oven to about 425.  Then I lay any veggies I want in a single layer, spray a bit of coconut oil on top, and bake for about 20 minutes, flipping them once.

Once they are roasted, I store them in airtight containers and then I have them for the week for anything from a side dish, to a flatbread, or an egg scramble.

An example?  My flatbread pizza!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Love List: The AquaZinger

Confession.  Not a water lover.  Sure, I drink it (especially when running), but it isn't my favorite at all.

And yet I know, to continue being healthy and doing any of the Beachbody programs I do, I need to do just that.

So, while shopping for Father's Day, I had come across this water bottle called an AquaZinger.  Basically the claim was you could make your own water infusions using fresh ingredients and not have all the artificial sweetener and chemicals you may find in a lot of flavored waters.

Well I picked on up for Dad for Father's Day, and finally picked myself up one at the end of the school year.

I have to say?  I'm sold.  It's a nice looking water bottle, but more importantly, it really does work.

So basically step one?  Take it apart.

As you can see in that bottom piece, there are metal spikes that stick up, and on the corresponding top there are spikes that go the opposite way.

So, you take whatever fruit (or veggies or herbs) that you want and fill that bottom cup.

Then place the top piece on an turn several times to mash up the fruit and get those fresh fruit juices out.

Then screw that whole portion on to the top of the bottle, fill with water, and give it a shake.  

Now, this is definitely something I do ahead of time.  The longer it sits, the better and more flavorful the water is.  So I tend to make it the night before, and then grab it chilled out of the fridge before work the next morning.

So far, I've tried both raspberries and blueberries and have loved both.  It definitely makes drinking that water more enjoyable.

For those interested, I've seen it at Brookstone, but I just ordered mine on Amazon.

Who knew you could make water healthy AND exciting?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Turkey and Berry Salad - 21 Day Fix

Salads are tough for me.

I like them out at a restaurant, but that's because they are usually loaded with things that aren't the healthiest.

I'm not a huge veggie fan either, which is a whole other post entirely. 

So when I make salads at home, I tend to veer towards fruit.  Because fruit?  I love fruit.

Tossed this quick salad together after summer school and it was delicious and filling!

The Breakdown:

2 green - filled with arugula
1 purple - mixed berries (I used blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
1 red - leftover baked turkey breast, shredded
1/2 blue - crumbled goat cheese

For the dressing, I drizzled some raspberry infused balsamic vinegar over the whole thing.  Delicious and easy!  (And a great use for any leftover protein!)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shakeology Review

I honestly wasn't sure what to think about the claims Shakeology made when I first started researching it.  I'm a vet of protein shakes, it's an easy quick breakfast that I can drink while getting ready for work.

But one day I bit the bullet and ordered a bag of the chocolate.  Within about a week?  I was a believer.

First and foremost for me?  It tastes great.  And there are tons of availabe recipes online where you can mix up the variations (I also have a few that I've tried that I'll be posting soon!).

But what really impressed me was how filling it is.  I have my shake, during school at least, at around 6 in the morning.  Snack time with the kids is around 10.  And I have to say, that shake kept me satisfied for those four hours.

I felt more energetic and definitely had less cravings for sweets.

Now I can't imagine a day without it!  On the weekends I usually have it as a post - workout meal or lunch since I have the time to cook a good breakfast on the weekends.  But regardless, it really is a delicious and healthy way to get a lot of nutrients into one power packed drink.

Full disclosure - the chocolate is definitely my favorite.  I tried the vanilla and while I liked it, the chocolate was what I ended up putting a monthly order on.  I also tried the strawberry but found it to be a tad too sweet for me.

I definitely credit Shakeology with my success in getting healthier and more fit.  If you have any questions about it, let me know!

Friday, July 4, 2014

21 Day Fix - Private Challenge Group Forming!

Interested in slimming down and feeling great for the rest of the summer? There's still plenty of it left!

I will be starting a private challenge group on Facebook for anyone interested in doing either Shakeology or the 21 Day Fix! Get motivation, recipes, meal ideas, and more!

As a veteran of 1 round of the 21 Day Fix, being in the challenge group helped me stay focused and get some great ideas and motivation. 3 weeks later I am one clothing size smaller!

If you are interested, private message me and I will add you to the group! The group will be starting Wednesday July 9! If you'd like more information on the 21 Day Fix or Shakeology I can answer those questions as well!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

21 Day Fix Friendly Taco Salad

Because who doesn't love a good taco salad? 

But let's face it, at a Mexican restaurant, the cheese, guacamole, and shell alone would put you over the top. 

So how to make a good one at home?

This little beauty!

It's an EZ tortilla pan (thanks Mom!).  Basically, you preheat your oven to 375 degrees, pop your tortilla of choice in the bowl, and bake it anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes depending on your desired level of crunch.

No oil, no fat, nada.  Just a crispy tortilla shell to fill with good stuff!

What did I fill mine with?

Crockpot taco turkey (basically 93% lean ground turkey - I made three pounds so I would have it! -  in a crockpot with 2 cups of water and 3 tbsp. of chili powder and 3 tbsp. of cumin and cooked it on high for about 3 hours and low for about another hour). 

I also added some arugula and avocado.

This delicious recipe breaks out like this...

1 yellow - 6 inch flour tortilla
1 red - crockpot taco turkey
1 green - arugula
1/2 blue - mashed avocado with a squeeze of fresh lime juice

A delicious and filling lunch!  I also rounded it out with a purple of some mixed berries.  Easy to make and it feels like a treat!