Slender Fried Chicken

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Hello Readers!!

It’s getting cold! At least where I am… I’m up in Michigan, and today we have a wind chill of -18°F. Burrrrrr! That makes today a good day to stay inside and keep warm.

Luckily, you can make yourself a tasty dinner without going out in the cold. You only need a few ingredients for this fried chicken, and it’s HEALTHY too!

It’s perfect for kids, picky eaters, and anyone who loves fried chicken but also likes to eat healthy. My boyfriend and I have this about once a week because it’s healthy,cheap, quick, and easy!

I like to dip mine in barbecue sauce (not the healthiest choice, I know), but try dipping them in my healthy honey mustard. It’s just as good and is all natural.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks or strips
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sauce for dipping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat your olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk your egg in a small bowl.
  3. Spread your flour out on a cookie sheet or plate, giving yourself enough room for coating the chicken.
  4. Dip each chunk of chicken in the egg and then coat it in flour.
  5. Gently set it in your olive oil. Be careful! The oil might splatter, and it’ll be hot!
  6. Once all the chicken is in the pan, let it fry for about 5 minutes until it gets crispy and golden brown, then flip it for another 5 minutes.
  7. To make sure it’s fully cooked, you can use a meat thermometer and make sure the chicken reaches 165°F.
  8. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and put the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels. This will help soak up any extra oil and keep your breading from getting soggy.
  9. Salt and pepper your chicken the way you like.
  10. Let it cool a little bit, and serve with your favorite sauce!

Just writing this is making me want some chicken! I like to eat mine with a  sweet potato and green beans. Yum! It’s the perfect balanced meal: healthy fats, lean protein, complex carbs, and veggies.

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it and what you like to dip your chicken in.

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Slender Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas

¡Hola!

Last night I feasted on a delicious chicken quesadilla that had whole grain, veggies, and lean protein. With Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and no cheese, it’s sure to keep you slender! If you’re really craving cheese, just add a little; don’t go overboard!

Normally, a quesadilla would include flour tortillas loaded with cheese and topped with sour cream – not exactly the healthiest dinner idea. But I’ve slenderized it for you! You can still indulge in a tasty meal without any guilt.

This is a quick and easy recipe, so if you don’t have a lot of time or energy, no worries!

I have a quesadilla maker, but you could easily make these on the stove. Here’s how:

Ingredients:

(for one quesadilla)

  • Olive oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 whole wheat tortilla shells
  • 1/2 cup peppers & onions (can be frozen or fresh)
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt, salsa, guacamole (optional)
  • Cheese (optional, only if you must have it)

Directions:

  1. Lightly oil a pan with olive oil and warm it over medium heat.
  2. Grill chicken breast until fully cooked (temperature reaches 165°F)
  3. Salt and pepper chicken breast to taste.
  4. Cut up chicken into bite-sized pieces or shred it if possible.
  5. If using a quesadilla maker, plug it in and get it warm. If using a pan on the stove, get the pan warmed up. Do NOT use any oil. You don’t want soggy tortillas.
  6. Put down one tortilla shell and evenly spread the chicken, peppers, and onions. Put the other tortilla shell on top.

    Chicken quesadilla

    Frozen peppers and onions don’t have to be warmed up ahead of time. They will thaw and heat as the tortillas brown.

  7. Again, if using the quesadilla maker, just follow the directions for it (you won’t need to flip it). If using the stove, let each side of the quesadila brown up (you’ll have to flip it at least once to see how it’s browning).
  8. Once the tortillas are nice and toasted, set the quesadilla on a plate and let it cool a few minutes before cutting.
  9. Top with Greek yogurt, guacamole, or salsa.

This is by far my favorite dinner recipe, as well as my boyfriend’s. It’s just so quick, easy, and delicious. And the best part is, it’s healthy too!!

¡Adios!

Time for Something New: Recipe Makeovers!

Hello Readers!!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted! I’ve been so busy.. I know, excuses excuses, right? Well, I’m trying to make more time for blogging because I really don’t want to quit! I want to keep writing and sharing with all of you.

Lately, it’s been hard for me to find the time to experiment and make new recipes. So, I think it’s time for something new! I’m going to start doing some easy recipe makeovers for you!

I’m currently working two jobs, and my boyfriend works full time. We rarely have time to sit down and have a nice meal together, so lots of our recipes have to be quick, cheap, and easy to make. Well, unfortunately, quick, cheap, and easy foods are usually highly processed frozen meals, boxed mixes, or other unhealthy foods. I’ve been trying my best to make our meals healthy while still keeping them cheap, quick, and easy.

Most of my recipe makeovers just swap a few not-so-healthy ingredients for healthier ones. These makeovers aren’t really my recipes; rather, they are someone else’s, and I’ve just made a few substitutions. I haven’t done a recipe makeover in a few days, but I’ll post each time we have a made-over meal.

If you have any ideas for recipes I can makeover, let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas; even Pinterest leaves me wanting more!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Healthy Yogurt Parfait Equation

Hi Readers!

I know it’s been a while since my last post… I know it’s no excuse, but I’ve been so busy moving to a new city, finding a new job, and being a grown up! Finally, I have some time to blog a little and try some new recipes. Here’s a cute little chart I made to help you make delicious yogurt parfaits.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other foods you like to add to your yogurt. I’m always looking for new ideas! Enjoy 🙂

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Grocery Shopping for Two for only $50 per Week!

IMG_20140821_123409_496That’s right! Only $50 per week, and that’s for two people. Now, when I say $50 a week, that’s an average. Some weeks might be a little higher, depending on what kind of meat you buy. Some weeks might be a little lower if stores are having really great sales (or if you have good coupons). But, overall, you can eat healthy for about $50 per week!

My boyfriend and I have recently moved in together, and for a few weeks, neither of us had a paycheck coming in. It was scary, but we are really good at budgeting our money. I really like to eat healthy, so I was worried about our grocery bills. But I had no reason to worry! We can eat great food and still pay all the bills! All it takes is a little planning, some extra time to find coupons, and a few adjustments to your regular purchases. You might have to compromise once in a while to save money, but in the end, it’s definitely worth it to be able to keep some money in the bank.

Here are some tips that will really help you save money on your grocery bill:

Plan out your meals for the entire week.

Choose one day per week to do your grocery shopping, and plan out all the meals you’ll need for that week. I like to write down each day and list what meals we’ll need, keeping in mind that I might change them based on sales or coupons I have. This is better than running to the store every few days to grab a few things. Not only does that waste time, but it will also waste gas, and you’ll probably be in a hurry, so you won’t take the time to find sales or coupons.

I also allow two or three days each week for leftovers. Chances are, when you’re only cooking for two, you’ll have a lot of leftover meals or ingredients to use throughout the week. Consider taking leftovers in your lunch or using the leftover ingredients to make a different meal. My boyfriend likes to combine leftovers with noodles and make a pasta dish.

Take your own lunch to work.

Don’t go to a restaurant every day for lunch. Even if you only spend $5 per day, that’s $25 per week (for a 5 day work week), which is $1300 per year! Plan to only go out to lunch once or twice a month, and see how much money you’ll be saving. When you really think about it, packing your lunch makes way more sense.

Read the grocery store sale ad.

You can find most sale ads online, at the store, or in the mail. Some stores even have an app that makes it really easy to find what they have on sale each week. Once you see what’s on sale, you can tailor your meals and you shopping list to what will save you more money. But remember, just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it! Not all sales are great deals.

Make a list of all the things you need, and stick to it.

Once you’ve planned all your meals, think about what you’ll need to make all of them. Write them on a list. Don’t forget basic weekly needs like eggs, milk, and butter. Once you’re at the store, only buy the things on your list. It can be tempting to pick up a few extra things that you didn’t plan for, but each one of those little purchases will add up. Stick to your list!

Use a store rewards card.

If you shop at a grocery store that has a rewards program, take advantage of it! I do most of my shopping at Kroger, and they have a rewards card that allows me to save money in the store, use digital coupons, and accumulate fuel points to save on gas. If your favorite store doesn’t have a rewards card, no problem. You can still save lots of money without a card.

Use coupons.

Whether you prefer digital coupons, paper coupons, or printable coupons online, use them! However, don’t think you need to use good coupons just because you have them. If you won’t use something, or you don’t need something, don’t bother using the coupon. Also, don’t forget to read the fine print. Some coupons only save you money if you buy multiple items. Don’t be fooled. What good is saving a dollar if you have to buy two extra things you don’t really need?

Don’t be afraid to try the store brands.

I almost never buy name brand items unless they are on sale and I have a good coupon. So far, almost every store brand item I’ve purchased has been just as good (if not better) than the name brand! Some store brand foods are almost identical, and they can be about half the price! If you’re skeptical of trying store brands, just try one item per week. That way, if you don’t like it, you didn’t waste very much money. 

Look for reduced-price items at the store.

Most stores will have items marked down that are about to reach their sell-by dates. It doesn’t mean these items are expired or gross; it just means the stores can’t sell them anymore after that date. One day, we got a perfectly good loaf of bread for only 40¢! You can get meat that’s marked down and simply put it in the freezer or cook it up that day and use it for dinner. Just store things in the fridge, like bread, fruits, vegetables, and anything else that goes bad quickly. The fridge is the best place to keep things from going bad too quickly.

Don’t be afraid to splurge a little.

Like I said earlier, some weeks you’ll spend more than $50, but some weeks you’ll spend less. You’ll have to give up seafood, steak, and fancy cheeses some weeks, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself once in a while. Just this week, my boyfriend and I got some shrimp, but it was totally worth the extra money. Once in a while, it’s ok to splurge! 

I hope these tips help you out. Let me know in the comments where you like to get your coupons, what stores have the best sales, and where I can get cheap groceries. I’m always looking for the best deals!

Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

peanut butter ice cream

Have you ever eaten way too much ice cream and it makes your stomach a little upset? Well, I did that last night because this ice cream was so good I couldn’t stop eating it!! I had two good-sized bowls, and I still have a ton left for tonight! I can’t wait to eat some more. It’s just so so so good! As long as you love peanut butter (who doesn’t??), you’ll LOVE this ice cream recipe!

Thanks to my awesome boyfriend for getting me a Cuisinart ice cream maker, I can finally make my own recipes! So, grab your ice cream maker, a spoon, and get ready to dig in and indulge!

Ingredients:

(For 4 servings)

  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk
  • 3/4 cup smooth all natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 Tbs. honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Dark chocolate chips or chunks (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except chocolate chips, until well-blended and smooth.
  2. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker. The directions for mine say to turn on the ice cream maker and then pour in the mix. It took about 12 minutes.
  3. If you like your ice cream soft-serve, go ahead and get a serving and sprinkle some chocolate chips on top!
  4. If you like your ice cream a little firmer, put it in a container in the freezer for a while until it’s how you like it. Then add chocolate chips, and eat up!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! I’m a peanut butter addict, so I couldn’t get enough of this ice cream. Try adding different ingredients instead of chocolate chips, such as almonds, raisins, or banana slices, and let me know what toppings you like best!

 

Healthy Campfire Foods & Snacks

Photo courtesy of HealthCastle.com

Photo courtesy of HealthCastle.com

I love summer! The best part about summer is spending time outside with family and friends. We usually have quite a few bonfires during the summer (actually, we just had one last week!). Campfires are all about eating s’mores and hot dogs, but if you’re trying to eat healthy like me, it can be hard to find something equally as delicious to enjoy!

No worries! I’ve compiled a list of some easy and delicious campfire foods for a backyard bonfire, camping trip, or even just an indoor stove-top flame.

Grilled Fruit

  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Bananas

Top your fruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, a handful of raisins, some peanut butter, or even a little brown sugar!

Grilled Veggies

  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans

Starchy Snacks

  • Popcorn (just the kernels, not the store-bought kind)
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Sweet Potatoes

Small Meals

  • Burritos/Fajitas (whole wheat tortilla filled with beans, salsa, chicken, cheese, etc.)
  • Grilled Chicken, Shrimp, or Fish
  • Kabobs (with veggies, fruit, chicken, or shrimp)
  • Peppers stuffed with quinoa and cheese
  • Pita Bread Pizzas (whole wheat pita stuffed with cheese, veggies, etc.)

It’ll take some experimenting with all of these to get them just right. It really depends on how you like your campfire foods cooked, how hot your fire is, and what equipment you have with you. For most of these foods, simply wrap them in foil and set near the coals or on a cooking rack. the popcorn and kabobs will take a little more equipment, but if you have it on hand, try it out!

I hope these healthy campfire foods make it easier for all of you to stay healthy while enjoying time with friends. It can be hard to eat healthy foods while socializing, especially when everyone else is indulging in marshmallows and s’mores. Remember: don’t deprive yourself of a s’more; just eat one! But remember to fill your belly with healthy foods too!

 

 

Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Quinoa Poppers

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I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way something with cheese can actually be healthy, and there’s no way something this delicious can be good for you. But guess what!! It’s possible! This recipe has whole grain, complete protein, vegetables, and delicious cheese!

I’ve been working on this recipe for a while, playing around with it in my head, trying to figure out what combinations would work best together, and I finally created my masterpiece! You might remember my zucchini poppers recipe. This one is kind of similar, but way better! (In my opinion, anyway.) I present to you… CHEESY GARLIC BROCCOLI QUINOA POPPERS!

Ingredients:

(For 18-20 1-inch balls)

  • 1 cup cooked OR 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup canned/cooked navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup finely-chopped fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 20 small cubes

Directions:

  1. If not already cooked, place quinoa and 1 cup of water into a small pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed by the quinoa. Remove from heat, and let it cool.
  2. While quinoa is cooking and cooling, mash beans in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Then, add broccoli, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt to the beans and mix thoroughly. Add quinoa.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a baking sheet. Now it’s time to start rolling balls.
  5. Take one cheese cube at a time, and form the bean/quinoa mixture around it, forming it into a ball shape. I found it easiest to compact the mixture around the cheese, rather than trying to actually roll it in my hands.
  6. Place each ball on the cookie sheet. They can be very close together, but don’t let them touch.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the poppers feel crispy on top.
  8. Let cool for about 5 minutes, and serve while warm.

These are so good! I could have eaten the entire pan of them in 10 minutes. A couple of my poppers oozed cheese toward the end of the baking time, but they still tasted great. Just be sure to cover the entire cheese cube with the bean/quinoa mixture to prevent this from happening.

I hope you enjoy! And keep in mind, these might be even better with different kinds of cheese, so let me know if you use anything besides cheddar. What’s your favorite kind of cheese??

Healthy Snacks to Satisfy your Cravings

Today, I’ve been outside enjoying the spring sunshine! It’s just so beautiful out here! I decided to make a cute, helpful chart of healthy snacks that will satisfy any cravings you might be having.

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How are you spending this gorgeous day?

Healthy Eating versus Clean Eating

Hello readers! I’m not sure how many of you have noticed, but recently, I changed my blog a little bit. I decided I’m going to focus more on healthy eating instead of strictly clean eating. There are a lot of reasons why I chose to do this, so I thought it would be nice to share them with all of you and hear your opinions as well!

For about a year and a half, I was a clean eater, meaning I didn’t eat many animal products, processed foods, chemicals, or sugars. I thought this was the best diet for me because I wanted to be healthier and manage my weight. However, after doing more research on the Eat-Clean Diet and taking a nutrition class here at my university, I learned that this kind of diet isn’t really best for me.

Tosca Reno, creator of the Eat-Clean Diet, isn’t a doctor (neither am I), so you have to be skeptical when reading her book. I’m not saying my advice is any better than hers; this is simply why I am changing my eating habits.

Here are some reasons why I decided to make the switch from clean eating to healthy eating.

Moderation

Over the year and a half I was eating clean, I was almost obsessed with eating the right foods. This diet didn’t allow any room for moderation. Instead, I am focusing on eating so-called unhealthy foods in moderation. For example, I’m now allowing myself to eat salad dressing and other condiments as long as I eat my vegetables. I’m also letting myself treat myself whenever I have a craving, as long as I eat my fruits and vegetables that day.

Saturated Fats

The Eat-Clean Diet preaches that saturated fats are unhealthy and should be avoided. However, there is no evidence that says that saturated fats are unhealthy, so there really isn’t a need to eliminate them from your diet. I’ve reintroduced milk, cheese, and cream into my diet. Let me tell you, I’ve missed cheese!!

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Long-term Sustainability

Eating healthy is more sustainable in the long run than eating clean. It’s unrealistic to place restrictions on yourself for your entire life, so I’ll eat treats in moderation and make sure to eat my fruits and vegetables like always.

It is also a lot cheaper to eat canned and frozen vegetables than buying fresh, organic ones. Although I would love to eat organically, it’s unrealistic for me in the long run because of the high costs and difficulty finding organic food.

When eating healthy, it is much easier to eat out or indulge during social gatherings. It was always very hard for me to find something to eat at restaurants, and it was even more difficult for me to find something to eat at parties, cookouts, or other get-togethers. It was inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing to always bring my own food to social events, but with eating healthy, I can treat myself without feeling guilty.

Restrictions

When eating healthy, there are fewer restrictions than when eating clean. Healthy eating (to me) means eating the recommended servings of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and fats each day, while eating sugar and processed foods in moderation. Instead of eliminating certain things from my diet, such as cheese, beef, condiments, salad dressing, coffee creamer, desserts, and potatoes, I will simply eat them in moderation.

Calcium

I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling that while I was eating clean, I wasn’t getting near enough calcium in my diet. I rarely drank milk, almost never ate cheese, rarely ate yogurt, and stayed away from most fortified breakfast cereals. Now that I’ve reintroduced cereal, milk, and cheese, I’m doing my bones a favor.

Cost

Organic, all-natural, chemical-free foods are expensive. Shopping at specialty health food stores can also take a toll on your wallet. I tried to buy organic, all-natural foods, but I just couldn’t afford to do it for long. Now, I buy lots of frozen and canned vegetables, and it really saves money while keeping me healthy!

Since I’ve started eating healthy and reintroducing foods back into my diet, I’ve actually felt better! My mind feels healthier and my body feels more energized. I’m not sure if I’m eating more calories or anything, but I feel like this is healthier for me than following such a strict diet with such rigid guidelines.

Some foods I’ve reintroduced to my diet are:

  • Store-bought whole wheat bread
  • White potatoes
  • Skim milk
  • Cheese
  • Beef
  • Store-bought healthy breakfast cereals
  • Salad dressing
  • Croutons (in moderation)
  • Desserts (in moderation)
  • Salami
  • Pepperoni

Hopefully, none of you readers are upset with me for abandoning the clean eating train! I’m not saying clean eating is any less healthy than a normal healthy diet, but it’s just what works best for me. I think we all need to find what works best in our lives and focus on being as healthy as can be!

What is your opinion of eating clean? How do you feel about my switch to regular healthy eating?