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!
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!
Until recently, I would not have considered myself a “breakfast person.” In fact, I didn’t even like eggs until I met Meaghan in 2011 …. and I was 22. Back in our MUSC days, I used to eat a 1/2 cup of dry breakfast cereal every morning. There is even a picture of our pantry with all of our 12 cereals lined up in our Mt. Pleasant apartment. I would eat my dry cereal in the car, while driving to work (you can imagine what my car looked like).
Then I got a job, moved to Greenville, and started trying to eat a big girl breakfast: oatmeal. I tried the instant oatmeal, then the organic instant oatmeal, and even tried making baked oatmeal. I never quite felt right after eating oatmeal, and was absolutely ravenous after 30 minutes.
In April we completed about 6 weeks with whole foods only: no processed out of the box type stuff, we made everything. During this time, I got hooked on this simple, yet healthy and very satisfying breakfast. Every Sunday night I make a big batch of quinoa with cinnamon apples and walnuts or pecans, and eat off of it throughout the week. This provides everything you need in a healthy breakfast: carbs from the apples and quinoa, protein from the quinoa and nuts and healthy fat from the nuts. This recipe has 5.2g of protein – almost as much as an egg!
Cinnamon Apple Quinoa with Nuts
Servings: 6 (3/4 cup each)
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 2 small apples, chopped (I use organic pink lady)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice(I typically use pecans or walnuts)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Cinnamon to taste
- Place the quinoa, water and milk in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer, stirring frequently to ensure the quinoa and milk do not brown to the bottom ~ 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, melt the butter in a medium sized frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped apples and season with cinnamon to taste. Stir frequently and cook for ~5 minutes.
- In a large serving dish with a lid, combine the quinoa, cinnamon apples and nuts and place in the refrigerator. (It will last up to 7 days.)
- Reheat 3/4 cup of the quinoa breakfast mix in the morning by placing in the microwave for 30 seconds – and you’re good to go!
Nutrition facts: 214 calories, 11.9g total fat, 3.2g saturated fat, 23g total carbs, 5.2g protein, 45mg sodium
What’s your go-to work day breakfast?
Mug: Fiestaware Poppy Jumbo Cup
Thank god it’s July! Anyone who knows me knows that June has been a crazy month, and I am very excited to welcome all that July has to bring 🙂
It has been unusually hot in South Carolina the past couple of weeks, reaching 100-120 in the afternoons (check out our Insta pic here, and yes I had the car maintenance completed). What better way to cool down than with some Wine Pops! These will not only serve as a cool treat in the summer, but they are more than appropriate for happy hour as well. Similar to our Vodsicles, I used the Zoku Popsicle maker, and have found that 3 cups of liquid is the perfect amount.
Happy 4th of July everyone! We be sure to share some festive pics and videos on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to follow us!
What boozy pops are you looking to see on the blog this summer?
Strawberry Lemonade Wine Pops
Servings: 6 Pops
- 2 cups Trader Joe’s Organic Strawberry Lemonade (or similar)
- 4oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 4oz Pinot Grigio
- In a large mixing bowl or pitcher, add the lemonade, lemon juice and wine.
- Fill the mold 3/4 full (until the fill line) with wine mix.
- Place the Popsicle sticks and tops back into the mold. Freeze overnight, at least 10 hours.
- Remove from mold, and enjoy!!
If you follow us on Instagram, might have saw some shots from my amazing NorCal trip! We started south of San Francisco where my cousin graduated from high school and spent time with my entire family going to dinner, riding Google bikes and just having fun catching up. From there, we drove up to Lake Tahoe for TJ’s friend’s wedding and to stay with our good friends Mike & Heather (we have nine weddings this year, incase I haven’t told you this already). The Sierra Nevada mountains were like nothing I’ve ever seen before. WAY bigger than the mountains we have in South Carolina, and even more breath taking than the Adirondack’s where I grew up. Finally, we came back to San Fran to spend time being tourists and visited a fun speak easy, had dim sum and visited the Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown and took a day trip to Napa/Sonoma. The people there are so friendly and laid back, and the weather was 70s with next to no humidity (as I write this it is 97 degrees and 90% humidity).
Castle Rock in Lake Tahoe
On Saturday we were invited for dinner at my old roommate Nicole’s downtown condo, and I was asked to bring an appetizer. I thought what better than a fun and fresh summer soup?!
Gazpacho can be thought of as a “salsa soup.” It’s perfect for summer, as it’s meant to be served cold and literally takes 5 minutes to prepare. The next time you are invited to a summer dinner party and would like to a bring a healthy dish, but some more fun than a veggie platter, try this recipe! It can be served in small bowls, or for a cocktail party try shot glasses instead.
Cilantro Gazpacho Soup
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 4 tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 cucumber, cut into chunks (skin on)
- 1 poblano pepper, seeds removed, cut into chunks
- 1/4 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- Black pepper to taste
- Hot sauce for serving (optional)
- Place the chopped tomatoes, cucumber, poblano pepper, yellow onion, cilantro, water, olive oil, sherry, chopped garlic and black pepper into a food processor. Pulse until soup is chopped, but not pureed.
- Serve in bowls with optional hot sauce or as smaller “shooters.”