Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Tacos are definitely a staple in our house, and not just Taco Tuesday. There can basically be tacos any day that ends in a Y. But on our mission to eat healthier we’ve been trying out different recipes and since I’m not a fan of following directions (hence why I don’t really bake…that would be a disaster!) I like to change things up and make them my own.

tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp ground pepper
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • avocado
  • Mango salsa (I used Newman’s Own, but you can make it homemade or buy it)
  • cilantro

Combine Chicken, garlic and all the spices with orange juice and lime juice in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours. Once cook, shred the chicken while still in the juices. Warm the corn tortillas on both sides in a skillet over low heat. Spoon the chicken onto tortillas and dress with salsa, avocado and salsa!

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Eggplant Rollatini with Sausage

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It’s tough eating healthy during the holidays. I know that I for one had 3 Thanksgiving dinners over the course of the past weekend alone and more wine than I care to remember. But we all slip up, and we should during the holidays. It’s not a time to stress out over food and weight, it’s a time to enjoy spending time with people that you care about. But if you don’t want to completely fall off track, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes that I’ll be cooking up to stay healthy during the week.

For one, there won’t be any salads. It’s cold in Boston and the last thing I want to eat is a cold salad. That’s just doesn’t appeal to me, sometimes even during the summer months it doesn’t either. I’m just not a salad person. So last night’s meal was cheesy, and full of vegetables and protein!
Eggplant rollatini with sausage
Serves 4
Per serving:
Calories: 344
Carbs: 27
Protein: 21
Fat: 19
Ingredients:
1 16oz container of Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggplants thinly sliced the long way
1 egg
1/2 pound of Sweet Italian Sausage (can also use chicken sausage for a low fat version)
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Parsley
10 oz of Partly Skim Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups Hearty Marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tbsp garlic
Directions:
Cook sausage until all the way browned and set aside.
Pre-heat over to 400 degrees
Grease cookie sheet and lay out sliced eggplant, once oven is preheated, bake Eggplant for 10 minutes or until softened.
Grease baking dish and coat bottom with 1 cup of the marinara sauce.
While the eggplant is in the oven mix together the ricotta cheese, 8 oz of the mozzarella, basil, parsley, egg and cooked sausage.
Remove eggplant, once it’s cool enough to touch, add 1.5 tbsp of the ricotta mixture to middle of eggplant and roll up the short side, place in baking dish. Top with the rest of marinara and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Cyber Bulling and Body Shaming

I feel like I’m incredibly lucky because for the most part I’m surrounded by incredibly supportive and positive people. However, I recently have experienced a bout of cyber bullying and mostly centered around body shaming from a small percentage of people in my communities. Realistically, for every one negative comment I receive there are 15 positive ones. 

But these negative ones can really get to you especially when some one takes the time out of their day to criticizes you for not having a 6 pack and not being super lean. For not looking like the athlete that you claim to be. For promoting unhealthy ideals. Yes, I got these messages the other day after posting this picture:

I posted this on instagram to show my progress with the whole 30. It wasn’t to show off, and I mostly talked about how my gut feel healthier and how I’m going to keep myself feeling this way after the whole 30 is over.

Nope no 6 pack to be seen. It’s actually been a long time since I’ve been lean enough to see them. Maybe I don’t look like your stereotypical endurance athlete because I’m no Shalane Flanagan. But I do go out there and run mileage that makes people cringe and I promote balance and self love.

So here are some things to remember when people criticize you or your body:

1. A 6 pack is NOT an indicator of health. Just because you’re super lean doesn’t mean you’re super healthy and fit. Actually, when I did have a 6 pack back when I was into bikini competition, I was essentially starving myself and completely crazed. Does that mean someone with a 6 pack is unhealthy? No! However, we don’t always know what’s really going on behind the scenes.

2. In today’s day and age it’s a lot easier for people to be cruel. It’s easy to hide behind a screen and comment on a persons appearance because even though your picture may be you, we are all still pretty anonymous online and the wicked in people tends to come because there’s something else going on with them. 

3. When someone criticizes what you’re eating, remember that you’re giving your body what it needs. Okay, that may not be the truth if you’re constantly eating sweets and downing a bag of potato chips. But if you’re eating nutrient dense foods that support your body and activity level then you don’t need to be eating your plain chicken breast and broccoli for six meals a day. 

4. What you do is your current best, like I said I’m not Shalane Flannagan. I do not run a sub 5 min mile, or crush Ironmans every other weekend. But I work hard and do my best, whatever you’re doing, you’re doing your best. You don’t NEED to be super fast or work out so hard 7 days a week. Who cares that someone else can run faster, you have to remember where you personally started and how far you’ve come.

And I don’t want to be cliche, but I will anyways! “Haters gonna hate hate hate.” 

So brush yourself and go about your journey. 

The Whole 30 Round Two

Last week I started doing the Whole 30 again. If you’ve been following me for awhile, I blogged about my first round at the beginning of this year. That first round I mostly did for weight loss. I had a couple more stubborn pounds that I wanted to be rid of and a bit of a pizza habit so I decided to give this a try. It was actually really successful and up until about two months ago, I was able to keep it all off.

But two months ago things changed for me. I started not sleeping well, which was effecting my work outs, my energy levels, my mood and my weight. I put on about 12 pounds in the course of 2 months. I know I was eating badly, mostly on the weekends. But it was because while I had good intentions of cooking a healthy meal, I was just so darn exhausted from doing almost nothing so take out was a better option. On top of this I was always bloated, my stomach was bothering me again and I would have weird allergic reactions at random times to foods I ate regularly.

Some thing was not right.

I went to the doctors to see if they could find a better explanation for what was going on in body. But she really didn’t. I had blood tests done and they all came back normal. Normal thyroid, normal iron etc. Her only suggestion was to see a nutritionist. I was a bit irritated by this because I know how to eat healthy, I was doing it 80% of the time. But that didn’t explain my constant exhaustion and lack of ability to sleep through the whole night.

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That’s when I decided to give this a try again because I had started drinking a ton of coffee and not even that was helping. Not necessarily this time for weight loss but to get the rest of me back in order, if weight loss happens with it, I’m not going to complain.

Right now I am one week into my 30 days. I have 23 days left and I already fell a ton better. I actually have slept through the night the past 3 nights and I DON’T still feel completely tired when I wake up. My stomach isn’t as bloated (I think I might even be able to see some abs again if I squint really hard and flex even harder!). My stress levels are down and I’m only have green tea.

I won’t lie though, I’m a bit nervous about when these 30 days are up. Obviously this is not the most ideal way to eat the rest of your life. NO grains at all? Like what?! Also the CHEESE. I LOVE cheese! But I also don’t want to be back to being WIDE awake at 3am. So I need to have a happy balance. The week I’m done is my birthday, so I will enjoy a glass of wine and a birthday treat. But I think I’m going to stay gluten free and dairy free for a bit, having is only on special occasions. With the holidays coming up in the next couple months it would be hard to stick to eating this way, but at least I can do it most of the time. I’m excited to see how things turn out at the end of this!


Start of whole 30


One week into whole 30

Whole 30 week 3!!

We are grinding down to the end of this and let me tell you, while I don’t miss bread and pasta as much. I do miss rice and other grains. I also miss cheese.

As you know, before I started this journey with the Whole 30, I planned it out. I did my research, I found recipes that were compliant and I made sure that I was never second guessing what I was going to eat. Well, I failed this week. Most of my meals were not pleasing to my palate and I ended up scraping most of it.

Breakfast: Sausage and potato hash
This meal was probably my only success for the week. I did end up adding eggs to it every morning, because while it tasted good, after the first day of eating it, I was still HUNGRY!!!
2 lbs white potatoes, cubed (small!)IMG_4814
1 lb Italian mild sausage (read ingredients to find one without sugar)
1 onion finely diced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil (or coconut oil), brown sausage and cook through. Remove and place in towel lined bowel. Add potatoes and cook for about 5 min then add onion and saute for about 5 mins then add bell pepper. Stir in cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in sausage. Serve.
Lunch: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken on baked sweet or regular potato.

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This recipe turned out ALRIGHT. I ate it for three days and then got sick of it. I’ve never really had a loaded potato like this before so I wanted to try it out. The sauce just didn’t do it for me and it was definitely better on a regular potato because it made the sweet potato just too sweet.
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
10 pitted-medjool dates
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp coconut amino acids
1 lb boneless chicken thighs.
Basically just throw it all in the crock pot for 8 hours on low. Bake a potato and top it.
Dinner: Butternut squash soup, burger and side salad.

Not going to bother with the butternut squash soup recipe. It was boring bland and I threw most of it out. I had the burger and side salad but ended up just eating another baked potato. I’m kind of sick of potatoes right now.

Well everyone, stay tuned for my last and final week of the Whole 30!!!

Whole 30 Week 2

 

Week two is in the books of the Whole 30. I won’t lie. I was craving donuts at the beginning of the week. Really badly. I almost broke down. But the thought of going back to constantly feeling bloated and burping all the time deterred me. Plus I want to do this the right way. I’m also feeling better in my own skin again. Can somebody say hello abs? These babies haven’t made an appearance in years. Per the rules of the Whole 30 I have no weighed myself. But I’m loving what I see!!image1

Week 2 menu:

Breakfast: Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Lunch: Spaghetti Squash and meatballs

Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry

Southwest Breakfast Casserole

I was surprised by this one, I usually don’t like ground chicken. It’s just weird to me, but I enjoyed this recipe!

1 red bell pepperIMG_2027
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
1 lb ground chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
7 oz can of chopped green chili

6 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Chop peppers and onion and cook them in a skillet until onion is translucent. Set aside to cool. Add chicken to skillet and juice from the green chili, cook until slightly browned. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and coconut milk. Once the chicken and veggies are cooled to room temperature mix into eggs and pour into a 9-in greased pie pan. Bake for 35-40 min!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

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Probably my favorite meal this week. I didn’t even miss real pasta and the spaghetti squash was surprisingly filling!

1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 medium sized spaghetti squash
24 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 egg

In large bowl mix together the ground beef, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and coconut flour. Mix together with hands until well incorporated, add in egg and continue to mix. Form into large meatballs, about 6-8. Grease skillet, brown meatballs on each side. You don’t have to cook thoroughly, they will cook in the crock pot. Add meat balls to slow cooker, top meat balls with tomatoes, onion and garlic. Serve with fresh basil and spaghetti squash.

Chicken Stir Fry

IMG_2075 (1)So I kind of winged this one. There’s no real recipe, I just took a chicken breast and whatever vegetables I had (mushroom, spinach, pepper, and onion) and sauteed it all together in some coconut oil. It was pretty bland so I found a Whole 30 approved Tahini sauce at Trader Joe’s and added that. It made a HUGE difference. Some times you just have to experiment and see what works for you. I have to say that my meals are usually anything BUT boring!

 

 

Here are some other meals that I tried during the weekend:

 

Sweet potato hash with eggs:

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Prosciutto wrapped chicken thighs with a baked potato and side salad:

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B Good Burger with no bun, avocado and an egg with sweet potato fries:  IMG_2054

The Whole 30 Week 1

With week one under my belt I can definitely tell that my stomach has been so much better (aka less burps) . It’s hard to say energy wise how I’m doing since I just added a second job on top of a full time job and training for a marathon. But I have no cravings for any of the off limit foods and I think it’s because I’ve had good meals to look forward to.

Week 1 meal plan was the following:

Breakfast- Spaghetti squash quiche

Lunch- Chicken tenders with roasted potatoes and broccoli

Dinner- Sweet potato chili

 

Spaghetti Squash QuicheIMG_1999

This was probably my favorite of the week. I didn’t even miss the cheese that I would usually put in an egg-y dish!

1 spaghetti squash

6 whole eggs

Mixings of your choosing: I used 5 slices of bacon, mushrooms and spinach

Bake spaghetti squash at 350 for 40 min, remove and leg cool. Once cooled use fork to remove the squash from shell. Take a 9 in greased pie pan and smoosh the squash to the sides of the pan so it creates a “crust.” Place chopped mixings into the crust

In a separate bowl whisk together the 6 eggs. Pour over the mixings in the crust and then bake for about 40 min or until egg has settled.

About 5 servings

 

Chicken tenders

These were super tasty, but I think next time I’ll pan fry them and then stick them in the oven for a little bit too.

IMG_19941 lb chicken tenders

1 egg

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk or other nondairy milk of your choosing

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

 

 

In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg and unsweetened coconut milk.

In a second bowl combine the coconut flour, garlic powder and salt.

Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture and coat with the coconut flour mixture. Lightly fry in a pan with coconut oil until cooked all the way through.

 

Sweet Potato Chili

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I was skeptical of this meal because I’m so used to traditional bean chili topped with cheese. But this was delicious all on its own. When shopping for the ingredients for this recipe though, make sure you’re reading labels to make sure you’re not buying anything with added sugar to it.

1 onion (chopped)

1 15oz can tomato sauce IMG_1992

1 15 oz can diced tomato

1 can water

1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 lb ground beef

1 1/2 tbsp cocao powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in crock pot, breaking up beef before putting it in. Cook and low for 8-10 hours. Enjoy!

The Whole 30

Last year I tried the Isagenix 30 day cleanse and that helped me shed a lot of weight and get me back on track in 2015 when it came to my health and fitness goals. I mananged to lose and keep off 15 pounds, run two 5ks, a 10k, 3 half marathons and 2 sprint distance triathlons. But my body hasn’t completely healed from the hell I put it through when I decided to participate in a bikini competition 3 years ago and fell back down the rabbit hole of eating disorders.

in 2014 I landed in the emergency room with horrible stomach pains and vomiting blood. Turns out at the rip old age of 26 I had a stomach ulcer, which is not unheard of, but not very common apparently for someone my age. My stomach has never been the same. When I eat certain things like the fake sugar alcohols found in a lot of protein bars, or when I get incredibly stressed out I get these horrible, sounds like I’m going to throw up burps.
I knew that I had to do something about this if I really wanted to ever be in my best health. So this year, without having to go through a battery of tests, I decided to cut all the things that might be irritating my stomach. That’s where the Whole 30 comes in.
The Whole 30 isn’t a cleanse or a diet. It’s basically a stripping of your normal diet in order to reset your metabolism and negative effects certain foods have on your system. You don’t eat small amounts of feed, there are no shakes, it’s simply cutting things out. In short, no grains (bread, pasta, rice, quinoa etc.), no dairy, sugar and no legumes. After the 30 days of cutting these foods out, I am going to slowly add them back in to see what effects my stomach. Starting with dairy, because I really don’t want to live the rest of my life without cheese!!!!
So what am I eating to keep my energy up while training for a marathon? Lots of potatoes and squash. Before I even decided to commit to this I did a lot of research and planned out my 30 days of meals. I’m a creature of habit so I can eat the same things throughout the week without getting sick of it as long as I change it up the next week and on the weekends getting creative with eating out yet still sticking to the Whole 30.
Here’s what it looks like:
Week 1:

Breakfast: Spaghetti Squash Quiche
Lunch: Slow cooker Sweet Potato Chili
Dinner: Chicken tenders, roasted potatoes and broccoli
Week 2: 
 
Breakfast:  Southwest Breakfast Casserole
Lunch: Spaghetti Squash and meatballs (slow cooker)
Dinner: Chicken stir fry
Week 3: 
Breakfast: Sausage and sweet potato hash
Lunch: Slow cooker BBQ chicken on a bake potato
Dinner:  Butternut squash soup, burger and green vegetable
Week 4: 
 
Breakfast: Sausage and egg breakfast bites
Lunch: Paleo Meat Loaf, roasted potatoes and veg
Dinner: Slow cooker chicken fajitas with avocado
Snacks: Fruits like apples, celmentines, and bananas. Different nuts and almond butter!
Stay tuned for some of these recipes coming up in the next few weeks!

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

I have been dying to get a crock pot for almost a year, just never got around to picking one up while I’m at the store. I won’t lie, I’m disappointed with myself, that I didn’t get one sooner!! My dad finally gave me one for Christmas and I have been having a blast cooking things up! Last week I made chicken enchilada soup and it was not only delicious, but super easy! Cut my meal prep time in half!!!

This soup is perfect for those cold winter days that are finally starting to come around to warm you up and stay healthy!!!

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Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

1.5 cups vegetable broth

1 14oz can of diced tomatos

1 14oz can of red enchilada sauce

1 can corn

1 can of drained, rinsed black beans

Optional toppings: tortilla chips, cheese, avocado

  1. Place all ingredients in crock pot and set on low for 8 hours
  2. Use spoon to break up chicken breast (mine was so tender it just shredded itself  when I stirred it)
  3. Serve and add any additional toppings.

 

Told you that was super easy!!!! If you want to it to be gluten free, find gluten free tortilla chips and make sure you find a gluten free enchilada sauce! Enjoy!!

Protein Pancake Muffins!

I, like many people, struggle with getting enough protein in my breakfast in the morning. Which has been a shame because I’ve found it super important for me to get enough protein in the morning so I don’t crash early on in the day. But my problem is, I get sick of yogurt especially during the winter. I like eggs but I don’t have time to cook them every morning and I’m not a huge fan of reheating them. I love protein pancakes but that’s also hard to travel well…so I decided to combine the famous egg muffin idea with a protein pancake.

Results: SUCCESS!!!

I made these beauties, they’re super easy to make and delicious! Here’s the recipe for you…IMG_1359

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 container (5.3 oz) siggi’s vanilla bean yogurt
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 scoop of protein (I used Whey Better’s peanut butter)
  • toppings of your choice (I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too think add either coconut or almond milk. Use muffin liners in your pan (I found that the tin ones are better, the paper ones were hard to peel off and I ended up eating paper). Pour evenly into muffin cups (about 6-8 muffins) place on toppings and bake for about 20 mins or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!!!!