My Awesome Lunch: Easy Chick Pea, Cucumber & Tomato Salad

I had an awesome lunch today. And it took me all of 15 minutes to make it last night.

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Easy Chick Pea, Cucumber & Tomato Salad

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 English cucumber (quartered and chopped)
  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 a medium red onion (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced or grated)
  • Juice of half a lemon (or a whole lemon depending on how juicy it is)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix, mix, mix and enjoy. You can eat it solo, on a bed of lettuce, in Romaine lettuce cups, or as a side dish! It’s light, fresh and delicious!

Sweater Weather…almost

Now that I’m a SoFlo resident, Winter just isn’t the same. It’s not about fires and flannel and snow. But, it’s finally cooling down here! To the point where I’ve been wearing multiple layers and (joy of all joys) scarves to work.

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I’ve also been getting into those winter flavors and warmer beverages. Last night I picked up my favorite tea…Constant Comment, and I made some Cranberry Chia Seed Jam.

Cranberries have so many great health benefits! You can read a great article on them HERE. The jam is also sugar and preservative free and filled with fiber.

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Cranberry Chia Jam

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

Directions

Place all ingredients except chia seeds into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once cranberries start to “pop” open, reduce heat and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.

Transfer to a glass storage container. Mix in chia seeds. Allow to cool completely, and then refrigerate overnight.

The chia seeds will soak up the excess liquid making a delicious jam!

I eat it on my microwave flaxseed muffin 🙂 oftentimes on my way to work!

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Jalapeno Citrus Salmon

I really love to roast salmon to take in my lunch, but putting lemon pepper on it gets a little old sometimes. So, I try to experiment with new seasoning combinations. This week I had a lot of mandarin oranges and had just bought jalapeno pepper spice…and my recipe was born!

salmon

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 mandarin oranges (depending on their size/the size of your salmon filet)
  • jalapeno spice or fresh jalapeno ground into a paste (to your heat tolerance… I like it spicy!)
  • garlic powder or minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parsley to top

Juice 2-3 of the oranges into a small bowl, add jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper until the taste is to your liking and then rub into fish on both sides. Top with sliced mandarin oranges and sprinkle parsley on top (just for looks!).

Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.

Enjoy over mixed greens as a salad or with some freshly steamed veggies as an entree. 🙂

(no)sugar, spice & everything nice

It was C-O-L-D cold this week! And that meant two things…

1.) I felt the need to listen to Christmas music! (And thus broke my anti-Christmas-music-before-thanksgiving stance)

2.) I’ve entered into every minute of the day hot beverage mode.

Now during the day I drink my fair share of black coffee. But that caffeine can get to your head (even though my homemade blend is 1/2caff)…especially before bed. So, I branch out to my homemade Peppermint Mocha. It’s delicious, dairy-free, sugar-free and all of 15 calories. BOOM, you’re welcome…enjoy!

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Skinny Peppermint Mocha

  • 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp stevia powder
  • Hot water (or half hot water, half almond milk)
  • 1 Peppermint tea bag

Mix together first three ingredients. Let tea steep for approx 3 minutes. Stir, sip, savor.

Who needs Starbucks?!?? 😀

#pumpkinspiceeverything

Fall in American no longer means the leaves are changing colors or the weather is get cooler… it means pumpkin spice everything! Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice Jell-O pudding, pumpkin spice creamers and cookies and liquors!

And, you know what? I friggin LOVE it!

Here’s my logic…

Sara+fall=love

Fall=pumpkin spice everything.

Therefore, Sara+pumpkin spice everything= love.

(Undergrad philosophy 101 did teach me something after all.)

However, I don’t enjoy how pumpkin spice everything usually means processed everything. So, I’ve made a few deliciously non-processed pumpkin-laden things over the past few weeks and thought I’d share. (especially since the last time I posted was way way way way too long ago).

Pumpkin Spice Oat Bars

Oatbars

  • 2.5C rolled oats
  • 1 tsp powdered stevia
  • 1 TBPS cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of all spice
  • 1C pumpkin puree
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • any other add-ins you enjoy (craisins or fresh cranberries with a little extra melted honey are a great addition! and I usually add in a scoop or two of protein powder to make them a more well-rounded snack)
  • TIP: add a dash of almond milk if it looks too dry or a little more pumpkin

Mix dry, add wet, PRESS (really press) into a pan (smaller pan if you want em thicker, bigger pan if you want em thin… but the thinner they are the more likely they are to crumble!)

Bake in 350 degree oven  for ~10-12 minutes or until the tops are dry to the touch.

Overnight Slow-cooker Pumpkin Butter

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  • 1 medium “pumpkin pie” pumpkin
  • 1/2C coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of all spice
  • 2 TBPS cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 C water
  1. Gut the pumpkin like you would a jack-o-lantern. (Clean and roast the seeds if you love some peppitas on your oatmeal like I do).
  2. Split it in half and place flesh side down in a casserole dish with about 1 in of water in the bottom.
  3. Roast in 350 degree over until you can pierce the skin easily with a knife.
  4. Allow to cool and then skin the pumpkin.
  5. Place pumpkin flesh and all other ingredients in a crockpot.
  6. Allow to cook on low overnight (8 hours) or on high for ~4 hours.
  7. Puree in a high-end blender or with a blender stick.
  8. Enjoy on everything… even cardboard. 😀

TIP: if you’re having a hard time blending it add some apple cider/juice to it to help the process.

Enjoy all the tasty pumpkin treats this season! And, feel free to share your faves below!

Change & Chewsday

I love inspirational quotes, mantras, verses, and anything else that makes you go “yea, right on!” when you read it. One in particular came to mind this morning as I substitute taught a fitness class…

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To be honest the first quote that came to mind is “sticks and stones may breaks my bones buuuuttt…” this one seemed more positive 😉 There are people that HATE change mainly because they are unwilling to try anything new, and a met one of those ladies today in the locker room after class. All that came to mind is, if we repeatedly do the same things over and over again (no matter if it’s fitness related or not) eventually we become numb to them. And last time I checked being numb, stale, or constantly maintaining the status quo in lift is not only boring, but also unhealthy. I’ll add one more mantra for good measure… variety is the spice of life! So, here’s to trying something new and not whining when you’re forced to do it 🙂

What’s one thing you can change TODAY that will make your life healthier, more fun, or just spice things up?

Well, you could make a new recipe! I put a new twist on one of my favorite bake-ahead recipes (I usually cook 2-3 recipes the first weekend of the month and then freeze half or more for quick lunches/dinners) and I thought I’d share it!

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Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Filling:

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1/2C brown rice dry (par-boil it…aka cook it halfway)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced or grated)
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP oregano (mexican if you have it)
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced (this is where you can control the spice!)
  • 2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 small can (6-8oz) of tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 green peppers, cleaned

Sauce:

  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 TBSP of the adobo sauce from the chipotles
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl mix all ingredients except peppers and crushed tomatoes together until well incorporated. Place peppers upright in a baking dish. Fill evenly with meat mixture (I used a medium ice cream disher to be sure they were all evenly filled…two scoops each!). Mix sauce ingredients until desired spiciness. Pour over peppers. Cover dish with aluminium foil and bake for approximately 1 hour or until peppers are soft and meat is fully cooked.

As you can see I enjoy mine over a bed of spinach. 🙂 They’re the perfect lunch option! One pepper is about 250 calories: 15g of protein, 13g of fat and 19 carbs.

Buen provecho!

Happy Chewsday! aka Blueberry Flaxseed Microwave Muffin day!

It has been seriously so long since I’ve posted anything new! Hopefully that’s about to change as I work on getting into a better groove with life, school, work, and everything else!

I wanted to share this quick, scrumptious, healthy, no bake muffin recipe with you all! It’s so quick (like 3 min quick… never skip breakfast again!), easy, and a great source of Omega-3s all under 250 calories!

I don’t know if the picture does it justice… I usually leave it in the mug I make it in 🙂 This morning I took it out, split it in two and added Powercakes Strawberry Chia Jam (google it… you won’t be disappointed) to it.

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Blueberry Flaxseed Microwave Muffin

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C milled flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4C frozen blueberries
  • Optional: 1 tbsp melted coconut oil (makes it a little smoother) but adds the extra 130kcals

Directions:

In a mug or a 1C glass measuring cup mix dry, add wet, and stir until well incorporated. Taste to make sure it’s to your sweetness liking. Place in microwave on high for 1-1.5 min. Let cool a bit and then enjoy.

According to myFitnesspal (I’m user sholtz1005 if you’d like to be friends) It’s 238 calories, 14g of protein, 17g of fat (sans coconut oil), and 11g of fiber. It’s also #glutenfree, #dairyfree, and #paleo…BOOM!

A special thanks once again goes out to Aunt Gina who supplied me with the original recipe from which this is adapted. She was sugarfree, dairyfree, glutenfree before it was a fad… go Aunt Gina!

Have a Happy Tuesday!