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!

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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!

Say NO to Osteo…porosis

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I few days ago, I was contacted by a woman who asked me if I would help spread awareness about osteoporosis because it affects over half of the total U.S. adult population. Of course, I was very willing to help. I like to do anything I can do to help my readers stay healthy! After researching more about osteoporosis, I became concerned that I, like many of you reading this, could be at risk for this disease.

Again, I want to reiterate, that I am always willing to help raise awareness about diseases and other health issues. Just leave me a comment, a Facebook message, a tweet, or send me a direct email. I will do whatever I can to help all my readers stay healthy! Now, back to the reason we’re here. The following information comes from the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the American Recall Center.

What is osteoporosis?

It is a bone disease that makes bones brittle, weak, and porous with low bone density. It can cause broken bones, especially in the hip, wrist, and spine. (For more interesting information about hip fractures and replacement, click here.) It can lead to chronic bone pain, height loss, and poor posture. There aren’t really symptoms of osteoporosis because it sneaks up on you without warning.

How common is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is extremely common. Statistics say that one in two women and one in four men (age 50 and older) will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Sound scary? Just keep reading.

Here is a direct quote from the National Osteoporosis Foundation: “A woman’s risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is equal to her risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer combined. And a man age 50 or older is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.”

See that? All these years, doctors, media, and other people have warned us about these types of cancers. I don’t know about you, but no one has ever brought up osteoporosis, and it is even more common.

What puts us at risk for osteoporosis?

Some things you can’t control that can put you at an increased risk for osteoporosis:

  • being a female
  • being age 50 or older
  • having a family history of osteoporosis
  • going through menopause
  • having a low body weight or being small and thin
  • having certain health issues (click here to see the list)

There are risk factors you can control, however:

  • not getting enough calcium and vitamin D
  • not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • smoking, losing weight
  • eating too much protein, caffeine, and sodium
  • not getting enough exercise
  • taking certain medications (click here to see the list)

What can we do to decrease our risk of osteoporosis?

Eat foods that promote bone health:

  • milk (dairy, soy, almond)
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • vegetables
  • fish
  • fruits
  • calcium-fortified foods (cereal, bread, juice)

Do exercises for strong bones:

  • high-impact weight-bearing exercise (dancing, running, tennis, jumping)
  • low-impact weight-bearing exercise (speed walking, elliptical, stair-stepper)
  • strength training (weight lifting, resistance bands)
  • balance exercises (yoga, Tai Chi)

And to finish off this post, I will include some of my recipes that have bone-strengthening foods!

Please raise awareness and spread the word about osteoporosis!

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!

 

 

There is NO such thing as PERFECT

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Read that title again. Memorize it. Repeat it. This is what I tell myself multiple times per day so I don’t drive myself completely crazy trying to be something I’m not.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to remember that there is no such thing as perfect. No one is perfect. Nothing is perfect. It’s our so-called “imperfections” that make us truly beautiful. Don’t let anyone ever convince you that you need to be perfect, because it simply doesn’t exist. We are all perfectly imperfect.

So why have I been struggling to remember that there is no such thing as perfect? Well, after making the switch from clean eating to healthy eating, I relaxed a bit on my healthy eating and my exercising. I took a couple weeks off from working out, and I treated myself more often than I normally do. I spent more time relaxing and watching tv, and I napped more often. I was in need of some stress relief, so I relaxed for a while.

Well, obviously, when you spend hours each day watching Netflix and taking naps, you’re bound to put on a few pounds… especially if you just started re-introducing foods into your diet that you haven’t eaten in a while (for me, it was cheese, milk, cereal, and bread). So, I gained a few pounds. Nothing serious. My jeans fit a bit snug, and my shorts are too tight. But it really got me concerned – way more than it should have.

At first, I was all upset, and I wanted to go back on a strict eat clean diet and exercise it all off. But then, I realized that I’ve been happier, more relaxed, and less stressed now that I’ve been less strict with my dieting and exercising. I tried to remind myself that moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle. And then, I reminded myself that there is no such thing as perfect.

There is no perfect body type. Even though society and the media pressure us to have a “perfect” body and “perfect” appearance, there isn’t one specific body type that is desirable for everyone. We are all different, and we all should embrace our unique bodies!

There is no perfect personality. I try to get along with everyone and be nice to everyone, but no matter what, there will always be people who don’t like me. And that’s totally fine. No one’s personality can be compatible with everyone.

There is no perfect diet. No matter what, you can’t eat a perfect diet without driving yourself insane. Try going even a week without one so-called “cheat” food. No salad dressing, no store-bought bread, no mints, no cheese… can you imagine??

I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. Your best friend isn’t perfect. Your significant other is not perfect. Your family isn’t perfect. But does that make you love those people any less? No? Exactly! So they love you the same whether or not you’re perfect. (Which is good, because none of us can be perfect!)

So, keep this in mind: there is NO such thing as perfect. Don’t go trying to make yourself perfect; just surround yourself with people who already think you are.

 

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??

Whey Protein Could be Causing my Acne!?

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Sorry in advance if this post grosses anybody out, but today, I’m gonna talk about acne! I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always had bad acne. I started getting pimples in middle school (just like everyone else), but I always thought once I got older, they would go away. I assumed once I was an adult, I’d have clear, pimple-free skin. WRONG. I’m 22 years old, and I still get acne!

Before I talk about the connection between acne and whey protein powder, it’s important to understand that people don’t get acne from “not washing your face enough.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d have enough money to pay off my college debt.

Since middle school, I’ve washed my face every day (usually twice a day). I tried prescription acne medicine. I tried Proactiv. I tried different kinds of makeup. I tried changing my pillow case every 2 days. I tried almost everything, but I still have pimples! Luckily, my acne isn’t near as bad as it was back in middle school, but it’s still worse than most people my age. It’s embarrassing, and I won’t leave the house without covering up my face in makeup.

The other day, I stumbled across an article on Reddit that said whey protein could contribute to acne, so I did some research. Here’s what I discovered.

Why could whey protein cause acne?

According to AcneEinstein, a growth hormone in whey protein known as insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is thought to accelerate muscle growth, as well as acne production. The higher the IGF-1 levels, the more sebum (oil) your skin produces. This could set off hormonal acne.

Is this a problem for everyone?

AcneEinstein explains that whey protein can increase your risk of getting acne, but it won’t give acne to everyone. You might be at a high risk if you experience the following:

  • oily skin
  • insulin resistance with elevated blood sugar levels
  • aggravated acne after eating sugar and simple carbohydrates

Is the acne worth it?

According to AboutLifting, whey protein can help with fat loss and muscle gain, so acne might not be that big of a deal. Bodybuilders probably won’t mind acne because they’ll be seeing muscle gains, so it’s not that big of a deal.

Is whey protein the only cause of my acne? 

Nope. AboutLifing explains that whey protein might cause acne outbursts in some people, but diets high in calories, sugar, and chemicals put us at risk for acne (and other worse health issues).

How can I cut back on whey protein?

There are lots of other sources of protein out there besides whey. Meat, poultry, legumes, nuts, tofu, quinoa, and eggs are all excellent sources of protein. If you are still interested in supplementing protein, try vegan protein, such as hemp protein, brown rice protein powder, and pea protein.

After doing all of this research, I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea for me to cut whey protein from my diet. I figured I’ll give it a try for a couple months and see if I notice a difference in my acne. I won’t change anything else because I want to know if whey protein is the real cause for my acne. Today is the first day I’m going without it, so I’ll keep you guys updated on my results!

Have any of you experienced acne related to whey protein?

 

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