Full steam ahead! I’m back in my 7th out of 10th class in grad school (yes this is taking forever…), working full time at Pure Barre and as a Coach for All Access Internships. Woah buddy. All great things – but sometimes it just doesn’t allow for making healthy bachelorette meals. (Though did you hear the news?! Bachelorette only for a little while longer!)
Meal planning really helps during these busy weeks, and be sure to check out our healthy meal planning tools. These are the kind of weeks when you revert back to college and instead of doing laundry – you just buy more underwear. Yeah that happened.
Check out my weeknight power bowl! The majority of this recipe is prep, especially if you use chicken that you already cooked earlier in the week. It is a yummy, healthy and fresh meal for one that you can save for the next night, or even bring for lunch the next day. It provides lots of color from the vegetables that serve as your base, and you top it all off and make it more than your typical boring salad by adding hummus, avocado and a fun lemon cilantro vinaigrette. Did you know that the Vitamin E in olive oil helps you absorb the nutrients in your vegetables? See, salad dressing isn’t always a bad thing! Enjoy and happy cooking 🙂
Weeknight Power Bowl
Serves: 1 and 1 leftover
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 of a hot house cucumber, washed and sliced into half moons
- 8 campari tomatoes, washed and quartered
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, sliced into 6 pieces
- 6oz grilled chicken, cubed
- 4 Tablespoons pine nut hummus
- 4 Tablespoons cilantro
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided (I used dill infused for more flavor)
- Pepper to taste
- Set out a large salad bowl and a tupperware bowl.
- Add 3 cups of the baby spinach to each bowl, and top with 1/2 of the cucumber slices, 4 tomatoes, 1/8 cup red onion, 3 avocado slices and 3oz of the grilled chicken.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the pine nut hummus to the center of the bowls.
- Top each bowl with cilantro, squeeze one half of the lemon onto the salad and drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
- Top with fresh ground pepper, and serve!
Lunch ready for tomorrow! And check out this fancy planner that I got to design with Erin Condren for Pure Barre. It also has a meal planning dashboard – pretty awesome!
The weather has been frigid and dreary which means I don’t want to do anything except wear flannel pajamas, eat cheesy foods, and watch Rom-coms. Despite this, I am determined to not let the annual “winter coat” back on (or, better known as the reason I have 8 pairs of jeans in varying sizes). I love to make soup, especially the good and hearty type. This soup accomplishes that perfectly and, as a bonus, is thickened with cannelloni beans making this a low-fat, high fiber version!
Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Serves: 2 (+4 lunches!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups of water
- 1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 carrots, peeled and minced
- 3 cups of chopped broccoli
- 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1/2 cup 1% Milk, optional, and recommended 🙂
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat a soup pot on medium and add the olive oil and onions. Sauté for 2 minutes until they turn clear.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. (If it starts to become dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of water.)
- Add the stock and water to the pot. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. (This is important as all of the flavors from the onion and garlic season the stock).
- Add the cannelloni beans and blend everything together using an immersion blender. This will create a nice puree of your aromatics and beans.
- Add the carrots and broccoli to the pot with the puree and allow the soup to simmer for another 5-8 minutes, until the carrots and broccoli are soft.
- Blend the soup again until it is almost entirely pureed. Leaving some whole pieces of broccoli works well.
- Add the cheddar cheese (and milk, if desired), stir until melted, and season to taste! Serve with extra cheddar.
*You can also use a regular blender, obviously! When blending in step 5, leave about 2 cups of the soup in the pot and puree the rest.
*If freezing, do not add milk to the soup. You can add milk when re-heating at a later point.
This fall I joined the Hub City Farmers Market CSA – Fall Farm bag, and am really loving it! I have heard about CSA’s before, and have had friends who have joined them, but 4 servings of produce every week was just too much food and it would have gone to waste. This farm bag is perfect as it supports local farmers with produce that has been picked within the last 24-48 hours and is only $15 per week for 8 weeks. Every Saturday, I select which items I would like in my farm bag, and the bag is actually delivered to my office on Tuesday! It is a very exciting part of my day. This season is almost over, but if you live or work in the the Spartanburg area, I would highly recommend the Hub City Farmer’s Market CSA program for Spring.
Since it is a fall farm bag, we have been getting a lot of fall squashes such as butternut, acorn and of course spaghetti squash! This has caused me to get quite creative with my fresh recipes (exactly the result I wanted out of this program). This week I got a little creative with my spaghetti squash.
If you have never had spaghetti squash, I highly recommend you try it. It is a gluten free option to spaghetti, is a whole food (no added chemicals, preservatives, fat or salt) and actually has way less calories than real spaghetti. One cup of spaghetti has 221 calories, compared to spaghetti squash which has about 40 calories per cup – that is over 5x the calories! And I promise you, the texture and the flavor is way better than bland out of the box spaghetti. Try using spaghetti squash in any dish you would typically use spaghetti noodles (with pesto, marinara sauce etc).
Recently, I have really been obsessed with these “spaghetti squash boat” recipes you see on Pinterest . It’s super easy, just roast the squash, add in your toppings, roast a little more and serve. Check out my BLT Spaghetti Squash Bowl below and don’t be expecting leftovers .. you will want to eat it all!
BLT Spaghetti Squash Boats
- 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 pieces nitrate free bacon (I used Applegate)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 6oz bag baby spinach
- 2oz goat cheese, divided
- Black Pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the both ends off of the spaghetti squash, then cut it in half. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
- Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and grate fresh black pepper over each half of the spaghetti squash.
- Place the spaghetti squash face side down on a cookie sheet. Bake on 425 for 35-40 minutes.
- While the spaghetti squash is cooking, cook the bacon in a large frying pan on medium-low heat trying not to char it.
- Once the bacon is cooked, place on a plate with a paper towel and pat off the extra grease.
- Add the spinach and halved tomatoes to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
- Once the spaghetti squash is roasted, remove from oven and turn over face side up. Fill the middle of the spaghetti squash with the spinach and tomatoes and top with crumbled bacon and 1oz of crumbled goat cheese.
- Roast for another 5 minutes on 425, and serve!
It’s the season of red Starbucks cups and butternut squash! Butternut squash is one of those super delicious foods, but sometimes it’s really annoying to peel… and why the heck does it have to be so heavy?! If you can find the peeled and diced packaged versions, go crazy! For the rest of you, invest in a good peeler and sharp chef’s knife. This soup made a ton but it just get’s better as the flavors meld together over a couple of days. This is a great winter comfort dish without all the extra kcals, so enjoy!
Serves: 2 (+4 lunches- wahoo!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- juice of 1 lemon
- 32 oz Vegetable stock
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1/4 cup milk of choice
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a soup pot on medium and add the olive oil
- Add the onions and garlic, saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the carrots, butternut squash, oregano, and lemon. Stir frequently for 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable stock and allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork. If the liquid evaporates too much, add an additional cup of water.
- Use an immersion blender and blend the soup until the desired consistency is reached. I did mine about 3/4 of the way, meaning there were still some pieces of butternut squash left in it. You can obviously blend it all the way too… and in a blender if you want!
- Lastly, add the beans, kale, milk, and dill. Stir for 2-3 minutes until kale becomes soft and wilted, then serve!
Giant pot of soup. My pot, by the way, is from World Market… and it’s amazing ($13). It’s made of enamel (think camping bowls/mugs etc.). Super easy to clean and store and its so pretty.
It’s fully fall here in New England… how do I know this? I leave my house at 7am in a wool coat and come home at 5pm sweating and holding my wool coat. New England temperature fluctuations never cease to amaze me, just be incredibly inconvenient. But it’s all good, ya know? Especially when I have delicious food to make at home. So, I haven’t been apple picking yet, which means I let some nice person from Whole Foods pick them for me (wink wink). Please enjoy this quinoa salad however you wish! I served mine with oven baked spicy panko encrusted chicken, however, this would be awesome with fish or even just beans. Luckily, kale is such a hearty beast that this salad will still taste good for lunch the next day. Our homemade dressing is as simple as it gets with just four ingredients – don’t worry all of the names are easy to pronounce!
Apple Quinoa Kale Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Serves: 2 with leftovers
- 5 of your leafiest Kale leaves
- 1 large apple, chopped (use your favorite kind or whatever is seasonally available to you!)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- Pepper to taste
For the dressing:
- juice of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.
- While the quinoa cooks, tear the leaves off in small pieces from the kale stems, wash thoroughly, drain, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped apples, feta cheese, sliced green onions, and avocado.
- Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl once cooked and toss well. The heat from the quinoa will help soften the kale leaves.
- For the dressing: squeeze the lemon and lime juice into a medium bowl and add the honey. Whisk well until combined. While briskly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully combined.
- Pour dressing over salad and serve!
Place all ingredients in the bowl together.
Honey, lemon, and lime juice mixed together.
Whisking in the olive oil.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper!
I have heard from many of our followers that they have gotten spiralizers recently, and I am so excited about that!! I love how you can take one of your favorite pasta dishes, and create it into a healthy low carb dish that literally takes half the time.
This dish is inspired by a recipe I saw on Pinterest. I added some flare and used low carb zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti (which has 45 grams of carb per 1 cup cooked…a cup of pasta is not very much!). Proof that any pasta recipe you see can be transformed into a guilt-free dish by using zucchini or summer squash noodles! What are some of your favorite pasta dishes that you want to make with the spiralizer? Be sure to leave a comment and/or recipe below and we will try to re-create it!
Lemon Ricotta Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Serves: 2 (or 1 and 1 lunch)
- 6oz grilled chicken breast, sliced
- 3-4 zucchini
- 2 Tablespoons julienne cut sun dried tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup fresh ricotta
- Black pepper
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Spiralize zucchini using the medium sized noodle blade (like spaghetti).
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and add 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan. Add zucchini and sun dried tomatoes and toss to cook about 2-3 minutes.
- While zucchini is cooking, combine the rest of the olive oil, lemon juice & zest, ricotta and black pepper in a small bowl and mix with a fork.
- Add the ricotta sauce to the zucchini noodles and toss to coat.
- Divide the noodles between 2 large bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 of the sliced chicken breast and lemon slices.
- Grate Parmesan cheese over each bowl, serve and enjoy!
Hey winter – enough is enough!
If you saw our Facebook post on Friday, the weather in Greenville, SC vs. Boston, MA is very different right now. Ranging 30-50 degrees! For those of you in the Northeast .. I am so sorry. You have put up with enough snow, ice and cold.. you all deserve spring!! I grew up in upstate NY and went to ‘Cuse, so I totally get it. March weather is seriously the worst.
Today I thought I would bring a little hope for spring through food. Check out my springy tasting avocado strawberry salad with goat cheese and walnuts. This salad is a great meal for one, whether it be for lunch or dinner. You can add some lean protein to it too to make it heartier (think grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon). The strawberry brings a refreshing sweetness, while the goat cheese and avocado give a welcomed creaminess to the salad and the walnuts give the perfect amount of crunch. The avocado also gives some “meat” to the salad, as it is full of healthy good fats, and also keeps you fuller longer. Remeber: don’t be afraid of fats!! While I totally and completely love everything about the 90s, I do hate how fat phobic it made everyone. Incorporating good fats in your diet (like nuts and avocados here) will help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Bonus: They have a much better full factor than carbs, which make you crave more and more.
Enjoy, and don’t worry, spring is coming!!
Avocado & Strawberry Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
- 2-3 cups arugula
- 1/4 medium size avocado, sliced
- 3-4 medium sized strawberries sliced
- 1 oz goat cheese
- 1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Fresh ground black pepper and dried herbs to taste
- Add the arugula to a large bowl.
- Top with the sliced avocado, sliced strawberries, crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnuts.
- Dress the salad with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and fresh ground pepper and a small amount of fresh dried herbs (such as basil, if desired).
- Toss and eat!
What are your favorite spring foods?