What I Eat in a Day #2

Hey healthy bunnies!
I’ve posted another “what I eat in a day” video which features my vegetarian plant-based lifestyle and also what I do for fitness on a typical weekend day. 
 https://youtu.be/am8eMyz0e68 

I hope the video gives you new ideas for meals to make at home which are quick, easy, and inexpensive!
Xoxo
Fifi 

A Simple Gluten-Free Dinner

I’ve been struggling to get to the bottom of some resurfacing inflammation issues with my stomach. I realized even more so on this journey that I will have to be intentional about what I put into my body…even in the moments when I’m starving and seemingly out of options. When I grocery shop, I get a mix of raw food, frozen food, and quick grab-and-go prepared food which is still healthy, but optimal for days when I’m either lazy or short on time.

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For dinner I enjoyed medium roasted salsa, blue corn chips, lemony roasted asparagus, and balela, which is a Mediterranean chickpea and black bean salad from the grocery store. This was the most perfect and delicious meal for such a hot summer day!

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Roasted Chicken & Butternut Squash Pasta

By Jordan R.

Jordan is one of my instagram pals that never ceases to amaze me with her beautiful and healthy food photos. I asked her to share this recipe because it is perfect for Fall!

This is a recipe with which you can really play around. Use different squashes, pastas, and cheeses to make this recipe your own. The mixture of whole wheat pasta, lean chicken breast, and a variety of vegetables is sure to keep your waistline in check during the indulgent months of Fall. Here is the basic blueprint for a delicious autumn squash pasta:

(Servings for one person)1/4 butternut squash

Extra virgin olive oil

salt

pepper

1 tbsp sage

3 oz of chicken breast

2 oz. whole wheat spaghetti pasta

5 asparagus spears

1 c. eggplant

1 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette

1 tsp. minced garlic

Parmesan cheese (or another grated or shredded low-fat cheese)

Basil

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.2. Coat butternut squash lightly with olive oil, about 1 tsp. of sage, salt, and pepper, then place in a shallow pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.

3. Coat chicken breast lightly with olive oil, sage, salt and pepper. Place on a broiling pan and broil for 20 min. or until chicken is cooked.

4. Cook noodles according to directions on package.

5. Coat eggplant lightly with olive oil, about 1 tsp. of sage, salt and pepper. When the squash is halfway done roasting, at about 15 minutes, place the eggplant in the pan with the squash.

6. Repeat for asparagus. Place asparagus in the pan with the other vegetables for the remaining 5-7 minutes.

7. Once cool, place chicken and veggies on a cutting board and chop them all into 1″-1 1/2″ cubes. Cut asparagus into about 5 parts each.

8. Heat a large wok or skillet. Pour a nickel-sized amount of olive oil in the skillet. When heated, place vegetables, chicken, and pasta in the skillet. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette, garlic, and the rest of the sage. Add basil, salt, and pepper to taste.

9. Serve on a plate, topped with your favorite cheese. (I used a little bit of feta cheese in the picture!)

 

The Roasted Taco

So, I never really get it right on Taco Tuesday. I’m usually craving Italian or Thai and it never occurs to me. I almost always have the ingredients to make tacos, though. Tortillas are a grocery list staple, and cheese goes with everything. The rest of the details are left to curiosity and chance. Today’s roasted tacos are nice hearty mixture that also comes with a nice crunch. I hope you like it as much as I did! Feel free to add a meat protein as well.

  • 2 corn/artisan tortilla shells
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/4 lemon wedge
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded kale
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • 1/4 avocado (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tortilla on a nonstick baking sheet. On one half of each tortilla, add 1/4 cup black beans, 1/8 cup shredded carrots, 1/2 cup kale, and 1/8 cup shredded cheese. Squeeze some juice over the veggie mixture and sprinkle a pinch of garlic powder and sea salt. Close taco and brush ousidelightly with olive oil. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and serve.

 

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Weight Loss & Frozen Entrees

Are lean cuisines good or bad? Well, that choice is up to you. Personally, I think that Lean Cuisines, Smart Ones, and other frozen meals just provide the convenience of a low calorie fast meal.

Did you know that the FDA allows for an almost 20% margin of error when it comes to calories for pre-packaged meals? More than anything, this encourages me to make my own food and to really just use portion control. If we plan at the beginning of the week, we can come up with yummy combinations that can be refrigerated or frozen. Diet is a bad word because it refers to restriction– but if can change our lifestyle to incorporate meals with nutritious ingredients, we are less likely to gain the weight back.

Check out this video with more tips on weight loss:

 

 

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Easy Turkey Rollups

In my last post titled, “Lean Abs“, I mentioned making good choices for meals and snacks. My easy turkey rollups are perfect for snacks, lunches or picnic finger foods. Not only are these rollups great for children, they are great for children to assemble. Fun, easy, and healthy? What is there to lose? I used Tofurkey for the demo, but feel free to use carved turkey, or any other sliced meat. They can also be wrapped in lettuce. Check out this quick video on how to put them together:

I Heart Summer Salad

I have for as long as I can remember loved summer—the smell of barbecues, sun-kissed skin, vacations, delicious sweet fruits, and the sun staying out longer than any time of the year. This salad is light, yet filling– and adds enough sweetness to appeal to your sweet tooth, yet just enough fiber to keep you right on track with your health. I am celebrating summer, because even if most of us are too old to enjoy summer vacation from school or all day pool parties, we can all use an extra hour or two of sunshine. Happy 1st day of summer, everyone!
Ingredients (per salad)

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ¼ cup cubed cucumber
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small plum, seeded, sliced
  • 1 apricot, seeded, sliced
  • 1 thin slice of red onion, rings separated
  • 1/8 cup of mint leaves
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 8 to 10 Kalamata olives
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil or olive oil

 

Instructions

 

In a large mixing bowl, toss spinach, arugula, cucumber and mint leaves with 2 TBSP lemon, sea salt and 1 TBSP grapeseed oil. Once well tossed, move salad to the plate or bowl in which it will be served. Top the salad with layers of plum and apricot slices, thin onion rings, feta, olives and additional lemon juice for added flavor. Last, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the entire salad and serve.

 Check out the video below to find out about the delicious dark cherry balsamic vinegar I used for my salad for from Pastamore:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hul3HMEZERo&feature=plcp

Spinach & Kalamata Calzones

I’ll let you all in on a little secret– though I’ve been called a foodie, food obsessed, a cook, and whatever else can be described as an usually great fascination with food, but my absolute favorite food has not changed since second grade. My mom can attest to it– and I’ll happily admit, it’s pizza! I’m picky about it, too. The crust cannot be too thick or too thin, the sauce cannot be too sweet, I must be able to detect the garlic, not too much cheese….I think I just made myself hungry! Anyway, pizza, pizza, and more pizza.

I did not have the pleasure of trying calzones until I was in adult. They can be large or small, and sometimes offer a less-messy option to pizza when you want to go with a lot of toppings. I cannot remember my first calzone, but I remember the best I’ve ever had. Picture me walking the urban streets of North Park around 11pm:

Since it’s been 4 hours since dinner, my stomach doesn’t have any recollection of ever knowing food. Most restaurants are closing, and I’m not in the mood for dessert. I spot this little Italian spot just past a cute little bakery, and there’s a sign that says they have $5 calzones. I decide to take a chance. My pre-recession-sized calzone comes out and it’s large enough to feed me and wagon full of preschoolers (Where do I get this imagery?). Seriously. It’s got spinach, mozzarella, freshly made marinara and a generous amount of kalamata olives. I didn’t even make it through half! It was in a word–amaaahzing (I didn’t say a real word)!

So, in my longing for that delicious little Italian spot, being over 100 miles away, I recreated it myself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 Ingredients

  • Premade pizza dough (at least enough for 4 servings)
  • Marinara or pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cutting board, or clean counter top dusted with flour
  • Flour
  • Rolling pin (optional, you can use your hands)
  • Large baking sheet
 InstructionsRemove pizza dough from refrigeration and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and brown for about 30 seconds. Next, saute spinach, but do not allow it to fully wilt. Cook for only 2 to 3 minutes and remove from heat.

Dust cutting board or counter space with flour to keep dough from sticking. Pull dough apart and roll into even sized balls for each serving. The size is entirely up to you. With either your hands, or a rolling pin, work the balls into a nice flat circle. Make the dough about 1/4″ thick.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over dough, keeping about 1/2″ to 1″ away from the edges. Next, sprinkle mozzarella, spinach, and kalamata olives on one half the circle. Fold shape into half moon, closing the calzone. Neatly pinch along the edges, to close it.

Place on lightly oiled large baking sheet and cook according to pizza dough instructions (Approximately 10 to 12 minutes, usually). I used wheat dough, so I noticed that it did not brown as much as the white dough.

Allow to cool and serve with additional warm marinara for dipping sauce.

 

 

All About Balsamic Vinegar

If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll have noticed that an item I use very often in my dishes is balsamic vinegar. This vinegar’s rich dark color is a nice indication of its equally rich and dark flavor. It’s a flavor enhancer, base for sauces and marinades, and an extra dimension of flavor. It can be your secret ingredient in stir-fry dishes, and it can also work to lower the amount of salt needed in a dish. Many have grilled peaches or other stone fruits with this vinegar, and topped it with a delicious reduction which thickens and becomes even more powerful in flavor. My preference is aged balsamic, so I use a good quality 8 year and it really lasts a long time! I highly recommend adding this to your pantry as soon as possible.

Below is my latest video discussing aged balsamic vinegar. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly posts!