Berry & Blue Cheese Salad

I’ve been making mason jar salads several times a week for lunch lately. There really are so many options and varieties! This berry & blue cheese salad is another favorite of mine. I prefer spinach salads over lettuce, and the spinach with a sweet dressing and fruit with the tangy taste of blue cheese is amazing.

Berry Blue Cheese Salad

Another great dish to prep the night before and take with you to work for lunch the next day!

What you need:

IMG_6689
-Spinach
-Blueberries
-Raspberries
-Walnuts
-Blue cheese
-Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

What to do:
IMG_6698
Layer your salad in the following order:

  1. Dressing
  2. Walnuts
  3. Blue cheese
  4. Berries
  5. Spinach

Shake well and pour on plate when you’re ready to eat!

IMG_6888

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad, but all that mayonnaise isn’t exactly healthy. So I decided to try to find a way to lighten it up. This chicken salad uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo. It gives the same consistency, but it is rather sweet, so I played up that aspect by adding apples, raisins and pecans. I ate it in a whole grain pita to keep with the healthy trend.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

What you need:

IMG_7006

-Cooked, pulled chicken breast
-1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-Handful raisins
-1/2 chopped sweet apple
-Handful chopped pecans
-Pinch of salt and pepper
-1/2 whole grain pita

Mix the first 6 ingredients together and add salt and pepper to taste. Stuff into a half of a pita. This is a great quick, healthy option for lunch!

IMG_7009

IMG_7013

Meatball & Vegetable Slow Cooker Soup

We are right in the middle of a major blizzard here in Virginia! They’re calling for 24-30″ of snow. So what is better on a cold, snowy day than a crock pot full of warm, delicious soup?

Veggie Soup

This soup is packed with veggies and simple to prepare the night before, or even freeze ahead of time. It is a “tomato based” soup, so to speak, but it cheats with spaghetti sauce, rather than crushed tomatoes or tomato paste. To me, it tastes very reminiscent of Olive Garden’s minestrone soup with I absolutely LOVE. This was a real hit, and we have TONS of leftovers to keep us full and warm throughout this snowstorm. Let’s just pray we don’t lose power…

What you need:

IMG_7104

 

  • 1 lb small frozen meatballs, thawed
  • 3 cups frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 24 oz. pasta sauce
  • Onion flakes and salt & pepper to taste

What to do:

Just thaw your frozen items the night before in your refrigerator, and dumb everything into your slow cooker. Give it a good stir. Cook on low for 8 hours.

IMG_7107

IMG_7111

IMG_7108

I channeled my inner Olive Garden and sprinkled a bit of cheese on my bowl, and even considered eating it with a side of garlic bread. My husband loved this soup too, and so did our spoiled little dog. To those of you experiencing “The Blizzard of 2016,” stay safe, warm, and full!

IMG_7118

La Croix Lovin’

I’ve never been much of a soda drinker so cutting it out of my diet has been no problem at all. Growing up my parents always drank water, and so that’s what I drank too. I’m not much into juice, milk, tea, Gatorade, or anything else. Nine times out of ten I stick to regular ol’ water when choosing a drink. But every now and then I do like the bubbly feel of a soda when I’m eating a meal. It almost feels like it helps wash things down–cleanses the palette a little more than water.

IMG_6761

On all the healthy blogs, Pinterest and Instagram accounts I follow, I’ve been seeing people rage about La Croix. It comes in a cute little colorful can and a variety of flavors and people seem to think it is a Godsend. La Croix’s claim to fame is that it is a sparkling, flavored water with zero calories, zero sugar, zero sodium, zero artificial flavors. The water is flavored with the natural oils of fruits. It is apparently “Whole 30 Approved” which I think is part of why I have been seeing so much of it lately on social media. So I picked some up at Food Lion the other day to see what all the fuss is about. They had a few flavors in stock, but I chose Passion Fruit. It came in a pack of 8 for about $3.69.

IMG_7028

I have to be honest, it was not what I was expecting, at all. I’ve had flavored waters before, with a very sweet and strong fruit flavor. This was not that. It tastes mostly like seltzer water, with a hint of fruit flavoring. It is certainly not sweet. To tell you the truth, I was a little put off by the taste at first and wasn’t sure I’d finish my case. But as I continued to drink it, it started to grow on me. A few cans later and I can say I’m falling in love! It has a very refreshing quality with the carbonation and almost makes me feel as if I am “treating myself” by drinking one. I’ve been taking a can to work with me every day and look forward to it as a late-in-the-day pick-me-up, although this is purely mental as La Croix contains no caffeine or sugar.

IMG_7020

A few days ago I went back to the grocery and saw some generic sparkling flavored water for $0.79 a liter. I thought I was beating the system and getting a generic version for much cheaper than La Croix! But when I poured a glass after getting home, I found it was overwhelmingly sweet, way too much after getting used to the subtle flavor of La Croix. I looked on the nutrition label, and although the front of the bottle boasts “calorie free! sugar free!” it is loaded with aspartame and about 8 other ingredients, some of which I can’t even pronounce. That’s another thing I like about La Croix–it’s ingredients are literally carbonated water and natural flavoring.

IMG_7026

So far I’ve tried Passion Fruit, Cran-Raspberry and “Cerise Limon” aka Cherry Lime. All have been very good! I think I’m a little bit addicted now and can’t wait to try other flavors. I hear Target has the best selection (we don’t have Whole Foods and the like where I live)…as if I need another reason to go to Target! There are many recipes and concoctions online for mixing La Croix with booze for a lower-calorie drink. I think that liquor and the water may be a little too harsh, but I’d definitely like to try some Berry La Croix with some red wine for a refreshing wine spritzer!

Pomegranate Pear Mason Jar Salad

Have you ever prepped a delicious salad for lunch the night before, only to discover soggy, gooey lettuce when you open it up to eat? Mason jar salads are the God-send solution to your problem! I would have never thought to put my salad in a jar, but it really is a genius idea.

Mason JarSalad

 

IMG_6947

The magic is in the layering. The key is using the dressing as your bottom layer, and your leafy greens on top, so your produce never gets soggy! I’m telling you, GENIUS! When you’re ready to eat, just give it a shake and pour on a plate or eat right from the jar! There are endless possibilities to mason jar salad combinations and I’m excited to experiment. Just remember the magical layering order:

  1. Dressing
  2. Nuts
  3. Chunky vegetables (like broccoli or carrots)
  4. Cheese/beans/eggs/avocados
  5. Fruits
  6. Leafy greens

I’m telling you, Google mason jar salads, you’ll be blown away by the variations.

This pomegranate pear combination was to die for. The sweetness of the fruit with the salty richness of the blue cheese was delicious. And the hardest part of the whole recipe was cutting the pomegranate!

What you need:

IMG_6916

-Spinach
-Crumbled blue cheese
-Pomegrante
-Sliced pears
-Walnuts or pecans
-Sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing

What to do:

  1. In a large mason jar (I didn’t mean to get the purple kind, oh well!) pour in desired amount of dressing.
  2. Next, add walnuts, blue cheese, pears, and pomegranate, in that order.

    IMG_6921

  3. Fill the rest of the jar with spinach.

    IMG_6922

    IMG_6925

  4. Shake when ready to eat!

IMG_6946

IMG_6945

Ham & Spinach Omelet

There’s nothing quite like eggs in the morning! This omelet is a simple, old-fashioned favorite with a bit of a healthy twist. (Can I tell you how many tries it took me to spell “omelet” correctly? Wow!) Eggs are great for healthy eating due to their low-calorie and high protein count! One full hard boiled egg has about 72 calories, 4.8 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein! If you use only an egg white, you cut down to only l7 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, and 3.5 grams of protein.

IMG_6847

I made these omelets (2 servings) with 2 whole eggs and 3 egg whites, to get the best of both worlds. I added some spinach to my omelets for some added nutritional value, and ham and Colby Jack cheese for flavor. This protein-rich omelet was a great recovery meal after a 90 minute yoga class on Saturday morning.

These omelets turned out really light and fluffy! I used a bit of almond milk which helped with the consistency. I was worried the almond milk would taste a bit odd but I didn’t even notice a difference compared to when I make eggs with cow’s milk. I also seasoned the eggs with sea salt and pepper before they were fully cooked.

IMG_6845

No need to be creative all the time with your healthy eating–sometimes “old faithfuls” can be the best!

Berries & Greens Smoothie

Although I’m no longer eating a green smoothie EVERY single day for lunch, I’m still regularly throwing them into my meal rotation. A smoothie is a great meal for breakfast, and can be very quick to make when prepped the night before. I normally add all of my refrigerated items into my blender, refrigerate overnight, and pop in the frozen fruit in the morning before work. My NutriBullet takes all of 10 seconds to blend, and my smoothie is ready to go!

IMG_6907

When I first started making smoothies, I strictly followed recipes found on Pinterest, the internet, and in my NutriBullet book. But nowadays, I just throw whatever produce I have into the blender and go. This one I put together based on frozen fruit and vegetables I already had at home. Don’t let the brownish color deceive you, it’s actually pretty good!

What you need:

IMG_6728

-2 cups spinach and baby kale blend
-1/2 banana
-1/2 carrot, peeled & chopped
-1 cup frozen berries (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries)
-~1/2 cup coconut water
-2 tbsps flax seed
-3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

What to do:

I don’t really know what to say other than mix and blend!

IMG_6910

You really can’t beat how easy it is to eat your daily portion of vegetables and fruits with smoothies and who knew this much spinach could taste so good!