Eat This Now

On today’s episode of Eat This NOW:

Monkey Salad: unsweetened toasted coconut chips, unsalted roasted baby cashews, and a banana. The recipe doesn’t specify amounts of each ingredient, but I used 1/8 cup of cashews and 1/4 cup of coconut. It was so easy and so satisfying.

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Also, last night I made green bean fries with dinner using this recipe, and they were amazing. Nothing like real fries, obviously, but crispy and satisfying. Be warned, it was super messy and time-consuming to coat the green beans.

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Best x.

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Back on Track

The first week of classes is always exhausting (especially on crutches), but I made it; The last first week of classes ever.  I’m so ready to graduate in May that it’s not even funny.

Also, in lieu of school starting, I’m trying to get my life back on track after being lazy and recovering from surgery over Christmas break. I’m trying to get my eating back on track without overdoing it and giving up after the first week. I’ve started making smoothies for breakfast with a banana, almond butter, almond milk, spinach, and protein powder. They’re easy to make and I drink them on the way to class. I’ve also made sure to make my dinners at least half veggies and my husband and I made a pact to stop eating out until Spring Break (with small exceptions for a birthday and Valentine’s day).

AND, I crossed two items off my cooking bucket list last night with the same meal: zoodles and pesto! I bought this inexpensive appliance from Amazon and dusted off my food processor waiting on standby since my birthday (thanks mom!) and put together a delicious meal. I topped my “zoodles” with fresh spinach pesto (pureed in the food processor) and mixed in chicken apple sausage and artichoke hearts. It was delicious; I highly recommend zucchini as a pasta substitute.

Pesto pasta

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Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving (Drunksgiving) was a delicious success! My family isn’t American, but we still know how to feast! The menu was complete with turkey, mashed and roasted potatoes, roasted carrots/sweet potatoes/parsnips, broccoli, homemade green bean casserole, rolls, macaroni and cheese, nut loaf, gravy, chocolate cheesecake and fail brownies! Needless to say, we all hurt from overeating (in the best way possible). Also, drinking began with mimosas, transitioned to coffee and Baileys and ended with beer and wine. (P.S. grocery stores here in the deep south DO NOT sell alcohol on Thanksgiving!- note to self.)

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Thanksgiving

I must say, the macaroni and cheese I made this year was the best I’ve ever made. I used this recipe as a guide. I used extra sharp yellow cheddar, Vermont white cheddar and gouda from the fancy cheese section and it was AMAZING. I also added just a little heavy cream and baked it for about 20 minutes with an extra special sprinkling of cheese.

My husband, being the honorary American at our dinner, requested green bean casserole, which really isn’t something we normally cook. I found this recipe and just tossed some thin sliced onions with flour and breadcrumbs and baked them instead of deep frying the topping. The combination of shiitake and thyme was phenomenal.

IMG_4907Before eating we decided to take our family wolf pack (3 scotties, 1 husky and 2 mutts) out on a big walk. It felt so much like fall in the chilly air and crispy leaves. We discovered a dog park along the way and the dogs had fun running around and swimming in the muddy pond. Also, I had my entire left leg disappear into the swampy ground while chasing a dog and had to have my husband yank me out. It was actually hilarious and totally unexpected. Sinkholes do exist in these parts.

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Happy Thanksgiving x.

An Easy Salmon Recipe for Tonight

In celebration of another fabulous Friday, I’m going to share with you guys a super easy salmon recipe. Yes, salmon tastes amazing AND it can be effortless to prepare AND it’s really good for you. WIN WIN WIN.

I saw this post on Pinterest and got to work.

Lemon Baked Salmon in a Pouch

  • 10-12 oz. salmon filet
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Tear off a piece of foil big enough to wrap the salmon. Line the lemon slices in the middle of the foil to create an area the size of filet. Place the salmon on top of your lemon slices, skin side down. Sprinkle with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap the salmon with the foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

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Salmon

I served mine with brown rice and stir-fried asparagus.

Have the best friday x.

Week 1 Day 2 of The Super Shred Diet

I’ve been slowly chugging along with the Super Shred diet. It’s essentially a plan that keeps you eating small amounts throughout the whole day to keep your metabolism up and your blood sugar levels stable. I know it’s only been 2 days, but it’s tough to eat so often! I’m the kind of person who will default to eating only one or two HUGE meals a day if I stop trying. So more food, less often. This is a whole new way of eating for me. I’m not naturally a snacker, and this diet encourages snacks. I love the smoothie recipes and eating lots of carbs for breakfast. YUM!

Here’s my beautiful ‘Meal 3’ Salad. Look at those veggies!

IMG_2939 Another huge part of the plan is the horrible E word. Exercise. Lots of it, almost everyday for about 45 minutes or so. I mean, I know exercise is important BUT WHYYYYY?! Yesterday I sweated my ass off for 45 minutes doing intervals on the treadmill. Today I huffed and puffed my way around the neighborhood with the puppies and the husband and burned around 320 (per my HRM) in the process.

I’m still feeling very positive! It’s just going to require a lot of commitment to keep my meals prepped and on time!

Ladies Weekend: Fun & Food

This past weekend I drove the 4 hours up to my old college town to connect with my 2 best girlfriends. It was really relaxed. We chatted, drank wine and had an all around good time together. My friend served a variety of delicious cheeses and made us some giant bratwurst for dinner to get the party started.

IMG_2903Also, I spent some much needed time with my doggy nephew Hercules. I love this little man!

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Saturday involved hangover breakfast, a coffee date, boutique shopping, afternoon antiquing and going out for drinks and burgers. Responsible over 25’s still take selfies right? PS. Love you guys!

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Can Jean make me hangover breakfast every morning?

Can Jean make me hangover breakfast every morning?

Check out this beaut! I found it while antiquing for quite the deal!

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And now, after a fun weekend, I’m ready to detox both my liver and eating habits and get on the Super Shred eating plan! I’ve got my grocery list and meal plan ready! Here’s to the next 4 weeks!

 

Zucchini Pizza Boats

I love Thursdays because it’s the day that my husband and I both have off.  It always starts with coffee in bed while we watch crappy TV, followed by epic brunch. Today we got our butts out of bed and took the dogs for a walk at the park. I can’t deny that autumn in Savannah is beautiful!

Epic brunch- roasted potatoes and broccoli with mushrooms and black beans topped with an egg and avocado

Epic brunch- roasted potatoes and broccoli with mushrooms and black beans topped with an egg and avocado

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For dinner today I wanted to finally try my hand at a recipe idea I’ve seen floating around Pinterest for years now, zucchini pizza. There are about a billion different recipes online already so I decided to ignore all of them and make up my own to add to the mix! I decided zucchini pizza would pair perfectly with the glass of Cabernet I had my eye on for tonight (P.S. they went perfectly and perhaps I had another glass). For this recipe I decided to keep some of the zucchini “pulp” you scoop out to make room for the toppings because it seemed wasteful to throw it away. Just mix it in with the sauce and you won’t even notice! Also, I found these adorable mini pepperonis that were the perfect size for the pizzas. Feel free to jazz the recipe up a little with any topping of your choice.

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Easy Zucchini Pizza Boats

3 large zucchini
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup mini pepperonis (or topping of choice)
Fresh pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash the zucchini well and dry with paper towels. Cut off the stems and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of the zucchini into a small bowl leaving about 1/4 inch around around the edges (I used a grapefruit spoon to scoop it out!).  Chop the zucchini pulp and mix half of it with the tomato sauce, discard the rest. Using your hands, (if you’re a messy cook like me) rub the zucchini down with olive oil. Line zucchini on the baking sheet and fill with tomato mixture. Top with pepperoni, cheese, and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

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Healthy Turkey and 3 Bean Chili

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I love eating a big bowl of chili in the winter time! I always load it with veggies and beans so I don’t feel guilty about eating it. Whenever I cook chili, I usually just throw in whatever veggies are just hanging out it the fridge and I never measure anything when I cook. I decided to actually put it in writing to share with you! I use low fat turkey instead of beef and 3 kinds of beans, but you could really use any kinds of beans you want. Make sure to rinse the canned beans before using because those canned beans are loaded with sodium. My husband absolutely loves this chili and his father is a firefighter, so he knows good chili! I usually make one big pot and we will eat it throughout the week for lunch or dinner. Leftover chili always tastes better anyway because the spices and juices have had time to really develop their flavor. Sometimes I serve the chili over brown rice or with a slice of whole wheat toast, or you can just eat it by itself. It’s that good!

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Healthy Turkey and 3 Bean Chili

1 lb ground turkey
2 cans tri-bean blend (or any beans of your choice) drained and rinsed
1 can 28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 bell pepper chopped (I used an orange one)
1 onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 stalks celery finely minced
1 carrot chopped
1/2 small head of green cabbage shredded
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 32oz carton veggie broth
4 TBS olive oil
3 TBS chili powder
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 TBS garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS italian seasoning
1/2 TBS pepper
salt to taste

Brown the turkey in a small skillet over medium and set aside. In large pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat. When heated add onion and sauté for about a minute. Add the pepper, zucchini, celery, carrot and cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetable are tender. Add the turkey to the veggies and add in all your spices. Stir over heat for a few minutes until you can really smell the spices cooking. Add in the beans, crushed and diced tomatoes, corn, and vegetable broth and heat to boiling. Cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve hot.

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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

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Growing up in a British food (and might I add beer) loving family I had my fair share of fish and chips, curries and shepherd’s pies. Brits aren’t known for the most healthy of foods, but my mom always put a healthy spin on them when possible. It wasn’t until I left the house that I realized how much I would miss my mom’s home cooking! One day she served a version of shepherds pie made with lentils instead of the traditional ground beef. It was AMAZING! Since then I’ve always wanted to recreate it in my kitchen, but my mom, being the kind of cook she is, had no recipe (we Braid cooks just eyeball everything) so I went to work! This recipe is versatile and I truly believe you could throw whatever veggies you have in the fridge fresh, canned or frozen. To all the cooking virgins out there, before cooking lentils, make sure to always sort and rinse with water first (I’ve actually found little rocks in the bags before).

For my shepherd’s pie I like using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes because I love the taste of them and they have more nutritional benefits, but feel free to use either. This recipe is both vegetarian and gluten free!

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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:
1 cup dry lentils washed and sorted
2 or 3 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 an onion diced
1/2 a zucchini chopped
1/2 bell pepper chopped
1/2 bag baby spinach
2 TBS + 1 tsp olive oil
2 celery stalks minced
1 large or 2 small carrots minced
1/2 cup of corn or peas
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk or any milk substitute)
1 tsp balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 and spray an 8×8 glass baking pan. To cook lentils combine 1 cup of lentils with 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a separate pot with a pinch of salt and cover with water. Boil over medium heat until tender and drain (20 minutes or so). Add milk and 1 tsp olive oil, mash and set aside. In a sautéing pan heat 2 TBS of olive oil over medium heat. When oil is heated add onions and sauté for a minute or so until tender. Add bell pepper, zucchini, celery, carrots, spinach and the remaining spices/seasonings and cook stirring occasionally for an additional 5 minutes or so. Add the crushed tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette along with the cooked lentils and simmer on low heat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer lentil mixture to the greased baking pan. Top with mashed sweet potatoes and cook for 30 minutes or until the topping begins to crisp.

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