veggies

keep calm and run like simba

Hey all!

I hope you had a kickass weekend.  Mine was….busy to say the least, but I like it that way! I ate great food and even got to run outside, so I can’t complain.  The fact that it was warm enough to get outside and pound the pavement got me way too excited for spring, a pretty premature feeling here in Chicagoland according to the weatherman.

But hey, I’ll take what I can get. The only downside was I couldn’t find a headband for the life of me so I looked like Simba by mile four.

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One of the most important things I did this weekend was sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle downtown this upcoming Sunday! I was going back and forth about actually running this…call it fear, call it laziness, call it tight-wallet syndrome but I just couldn’t commit. Well I finally bit the bullet yesterday and registered. I’ll be running with my friend Jordan, and with a new playlist and visions of our post-race brunch, I’m confident that I’m going to kick butt.  Here’s to hoping it hits 40 degrees!

In terms of food I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies and pure sources of protein into my diet in preparation of summer, and I’ve definitely been making some progress! Like we talked about last week, it’s hard to crave veggies in cold weather (unless they’re covered in cheese, of course) but I’ve done a decent job. Not to mention I’m still balancing those healthy choices with things like cheesy chicken quesadillas the size of my head and chocolate. It’s a work in progress.

I have a crazy amount of work to do over the next few days so I’ll be back on Wednesday! But until then, here are a few pictures of my weekend happenings. Have a great Monday! Can you believe it’s almost April? Good lord.

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shrimp, jicama, avocado, black beans, queso fresco, corn, peppers, tomatoes and onions

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Protein Box from Starbucks

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Pounded chicken with a panko/red pepper flake/garlic crust, baked at 400 for 45 minutes. Served with “hot pasta” aka pasta, finger hot peppers, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and salt. Also the smallest glass of wine you’ll ever see

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Homemade bran muffins

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This was the best thing I saw all weekend. I don’t understand if there’s a cake in there or if m&ms just spill out, but either way, sign me up

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you did this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite part of spring that you’re looking forward to?

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Simple Stir Fry (recipe)

This time of year, we all start to look for comfort food.  The days when I crave salads and smoothies lately are few and far between.  The only downside to this is that most people don’t have the time, knowledge, or motivation to think up healthy ways to make comfort food.  Most of the time, we automatically grab for the baked mac and cheese or the extra cheesy pasta to keep us warm while the snow falls outside.

Oftentimes the only thing you need to make a healthy, hearty recipe is a “star”, or something to center your dish around. It’s hard to see how a dish can come together without bread or cheese, two things that we often mindlessly add to a meal to make it “complete.”

Today I’m going to share with you a really simple recipe for stir fry.  You can add whatever protein you like (lean beef, chicken, shrimp, egg, etc.) to bulk up this veggie-based dish and you’ll have a complete, hearty meal in no time.  You probably have all the ingredients at home already.  All you may need to go out and buy is the star of the show: sweet chili sauce! My roommate and I used to make this all the time in college (shoutout to Christina!) and it was eaten many a time watching E! News after classes throughout winter.

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Veggie Stir Fry (+ protein of choice)

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli (just buy the steam and go bag from the grocery store)
  • Sweet chili sauce (Mae ploy brand is very common)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Pre-cooked shrimp, chicken, beef, etc.

First wash and lay out your veggies on a cutting board.  Cut up the peppers and onions into slices and mince the garlic.

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Grab a sautee pan and sprinkle it with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons or so).  Put heat on medium-low and add your minced garlic. “Low and slow is the best way to cook veggies so lean more towards low heat.”

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Once you can smell the garlic cooking, add your pepper and onion mixture. Sautee the veggies for about 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked.  The perfect cooked veggie still has crunch to it but is soft to the touch.

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As the veggies are cooking, add your sweet chili sauce.  It really doesn’t matter when you add the sauce since I always pour some on top of my finished veggies anyway, but I think it’s nice to cook the veggies with the sauce too to give them a deeper flavor. Whenever you choose to add your sweet chili sauce, also put in a few shakes of red pepper flakes.  I always add a lot because I love heat in dishes, but add it carefully (start with two shakes). You can always add more later.

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When your veggies seem about done add your pre-cooked protein.  I chose shrimp because I’m a major seafood lover and always have frozen shrimp on hand.

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Give it a final stir, remove from the heat, and it’s all ready to serve! Make sure to top off your bowl of stir fry with a little more sweet chili sauce…it’s so delicious and the flavor isn’t terribly strong in the veggies after they’re cooked.

This easy, low-calorie dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and fulfills any craving for comfort food in the dead of winter.  

Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

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Question

  • What’s your favorite comfort food when it gets cold outside?

Detox Monday

Detox can be a scary word. I always read about cleanses and want to try them…then I remember that I love food and that a juice cleanse or seriously restricting diet would be way too hard and I’d just be setting myself up for failure.  So today, I’m starting fresh after 5  days of not-so-healthy eating.  

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t shove Twinkies down my throat and wash them down with Doritos and a Big Gulp. But I always get a little lackadaisical with the sweets/pizza/alcohol  on holidays. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! There’s nothing better than celebrating with friends and family and forgetting the “rules” of everyday life, then getting back to good habits the next day.

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So today, I start a 7 day “adventure” of clean eating!  Here’s my version of a detox, one that I’m hoping will leave me feeling lighter and cleansed.

Eat This

VEGGIES, Fruits, H20, Green Tea, Oatmeal, Eggs, Avocado, Lean Protein, Brown Rice, Ezekiel Bread, Dandelion Root Tea, Plain Greek Yogurt, Boca sausage and burgers, etc

Not That

Milk, cheese, anything fried, added butter/oil, SWEETS

I don’t drink much milk so that won’t be a problem.  The cheese and sweets part? That’s my biggest issue 🙂 I’ve done this before though and it does make me feel great.  There’s a reason this is only 7 days though…I love my cheese and sweets! I just need to get back into a good balance of eating.

Day 1 wasn’t bad at all! Good thing I love veggies 🙂

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Breakfast was an amazing 2 egg omelette with onions and garlic (both GREAT for detoxing) as well as green peppers.  I topped it with sliced avocado and sea salt. It was so satisfying it kept me full for hours.

I did some grocery shopping this afternoon to supply this lovely eating plan.

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It’s like a rainbow woooo!

Stars of the show were kale (gonna try making kale chips good luck to me), Yogi detox tea made with dandelion root, sugar snap peas, mangoes, and cucumbers. I have so many ideas of how to use these new products I can’t wait!

I reheated a veggie burger that my Dad grilled last night.  A burger with no cheddar is not nearly as delicious but oh well–it’s only a week.  I topped the burger with spinach, iceberg lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, ketchup and mustard. Such a summer meal.

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Soon after I went to the gym.  I ran 5 miles while watching The Bachelorette–I didn’t think I was going to get into this season but I really like Des more as it goes along. I’m rooting for Chris but we’ll see what happens!

I came home and made a Chocolate Cherry protein smoothie.

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Recipe to come!

I ended the night with a veggified snack.

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The picture makes me miss the buttery popcorn I was snacking on this weekend instead

…..but I know I’ll feel a million times better by Sunday 🙂

Happy post-holiday week!