Saturday, November 30, 2013

Post-Thanksgiving Detox

Hello there!  The holidays are now in full swing and I'm sure that many of you, like myself, overindulged this past week.  Between two Thanksgivings, buffalo wings and the most insanely amazing sandwich I've ever eaten on date night that was literally the size of my face, it's time to reign things back in.

Enter this peanut butter *detox* shake.  I don't believe in traditional detoxes, cleanses or pills.  Your body has it's own detoxification system, also known as your liver and kidneys, which help to break down and expel toxins that you encounter.  My idea of a detox is to fill your body with nutrient dense foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables.  The easiest way to remember what to eat is the more colors the better. Why?  The more colors you encounter means the more antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamins and minerals you'll encounter.  

So, now that Thanksgiving is over, I'm giving my body a much needed break and eating clean for a few days.  I decided to start with this shake.  The good news?  The taste is so rich and creamy, that you would never guess the ingredients...!

Here are the contenders.  Bananas, an excellent source of potassium and also vitamin C, add the creaminess to this shake.  Soy milk adds protein, calcium & vitamin B 12 (make sure it's fortified!).  Ground flaxseed is high in fiber but also omega 3's -  Chia seeds are not only rich in omega 3's and fiber but also contain zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium. I went with powdered peanut butter as traditional butter is higher in fat, albeit healthy fat, but I wanted to keep the calories low.    

*Tips for success*
1. Make sure to purchase ground flaxseed, your body can't break down the whole seeds, meaning if it's not ground, you'll be missing out on valuable omega 3's!
2. Feel free to swap out cow's milk for soy or regular pb for powdered pb - let me know in the comments how it works.



Peanut Butter Banana Detox Shake

Ingredients

1 large banana, frozen
2 tbsp flax seed, ground
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp powdered peanut butter
3/4-1 cup soy milk
4-5 large ice cubes

1. Add first 5 ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high.
2. Add 4-5 large ice cubes, blend on high until desired consistency is reached.
Enjoy!


What's your favorite food or activity to help you detox from the holidays?


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shrimp for the shrimp!

Hi there!  I hope your week is going well :)  Even though it's halfway to Friday, I'm ready for the weekend already - pumpkin carving with my BFF, wedding dress shopping!! the Bengals game and Monday off of work?!  What more could a girl ask for.

I love seafood, I order it at restaurants almost all of the time, chicken is good but seafood is great, at least in my eyes.  I'm the chef in my home, obviously, and my fiance is not a seafood person - typical boy.  So anyway, what happens when your seafood hating man leaves and goes away for work?  You cuddle up on the couch with blankets, How I Met Your Mother and this delicious and ridiculously easy recipe.  I bought frozen, wild caught shrimp and thawed them overnight in the fridge.  I served mine over quinoa with plenty of broccoli on the side.  Enjoy!




Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

10-12 large shrimp, tails removed & deveined
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Heat small pan over medium heat, add olive oil.
2. Add shrimp and garlic to pan, cook shrimp for 1 minute on first side then flip and cook for 2 minutes on the second side.
3. Remove shrimp from pan, add white wine and lemon juice until sauce forms.
4. Pour sauce over shrimp and serve.


What's your favorite seafood recipe? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 Ways to Make Fall Fabulous!

Hi there :)  A few months ago, I made a list on my cell phone under notes #addictedtonotesonmyiphone of ways I wanted to make summer fantastic.  A few of my favorites included taking a hot yoga class going on a vacation, strength training, buying a new bikini, planning a sushi girls night and making homemade ice cream.

There were somethings that didn't get checked off the list - finding the perfect summer sandals, running 4 miles without IT band pain and reading 5 books... things that I would have loved to happen that just didn't, but that's the whole purpose of making the list - to try to accomplish things that otherwise won't happen.

The best thing about my list?  Some of the things were slightly outside of my comfort zone - I was terrified for hot yoga, but powered through the class against my fear and ended up loving it.  Making homemade ice cream was totally outside of my normal routine...especially when the recipe called for cream. All of the items on the list were worth it, even the ones I never accomplished, so now here's a new list for fall.

Now, I present you with 10 ways that I'm going to make fall fabulous!!

1. Carve a pumpkin - I always used to carve pumpkins with my grandpa as a little girl, plus it's a fun way to get in the holiday spirit as an adult.  My fiance and I carved pumpkins last year, so I'm looking forward to repeating that tradition!

2. Make a butternut pasta dish - I've never cooked squash although it's been on my list of things to do for years.  I'm not lying - it's super intimidating.  I'm swooning over these recipes though: http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2012/11/creamy-butternut-squash-macaroni-cheese.html and http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/09/butternut-squash-and-spinach-lasagna.html

3. Decorate for the holidays - Well, to the dismay of my fiance, this has already happened... the Halloween decorations are out and as soon as Thanksgiving is over, it will be time to decorate for Christmas!! #sorryImnotsorry


4. Make fondue - Recipe coming soon to this blog!  Things dipped in cheese?  What's not to love?  Yummmm.  The dippers included chicken, baked fries, apples, gluten-free bagels and broccoli.


5. Watch a Halloween flick - There are a ton - you can go super scary or you can go with kind of cheesy from the 90's.  Last year, it was Beetlejuice. This year, Hocus Pocus. Done and done.

6. Set a new fitness goal - I'm setting the goal of being able to run 4 miles without any IT band pain - this is something I've never done.  I fell of the 5K training bandwagon after I ran a whole 5K with no pain.  Right now, I'm at about 2.75 miles.  Hopefully, there won't be any setbacks along the way, but as long as I make plenty of dates with the foam roller, I should be good to go.  The next goal will be 5.  Maybe there is a 10K in my spring future :)

7. Makeover your fall routine - Use your Sephora gift cards towards the purchase of new Urban Decay eyeliners like I did ;)

8. Fall clean - everyone cleans for spring, but why not start fall with a clean house?  So far, I've scrubbed our hardwood floors, cleaned out our linen closet and gone through my fall wardrobe.  It feels like such a relief to get rid of all that junk!

9. Make something pumpkin flavored - I couldn't resist.  It's quintessential fall right there.  Coming to our kitchen?  Copycat pumpkins spice scones.

10. Go to hot yoga 2x a month - I loved hot yoga when I went, so why not continue the experience?  The studio isn't close to my house and it's a little on the pricey side, so to go weekly might be a struggle, but this is definitely doable.  Yoga calms my slightly frantic mind in a way that nothing else does, so I need to commit to spending more time doing it.

How are you going to make fall fabulous?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Favorite Love Story

They say that while they're are millions of love stories in the world, the best love story is the one you create for yourself.  I can assure you a million times that it is true.

Our love story was beginning to be written years ago - growing up less than two miles apart, going to high schools that were hundreds of feet apart, sharing mutual friends in college - the stars hadn't aligned yet, but eventually they would.  You see, I had known for a long time who my future husband was - I just didn't know that he would be anything to me.  About four years ago we became facebook friends, I don't know who added who but I knew who he was and he knew who I was.

We had a few random facebook exchanges - don't even ask me how because I can't tell you. Thanks to the powers of timeline, I found this hilarious exchange from 4 years ago regarding whether or not I could make a pumpkin spice latte at home:  "i just texted cha cha and they say no" "nooo that's the most depressing news ever. i can't be giving $4.60 to starbucks everyday.""you need an in.... you need to flirt it up with a worker or at the bare minimum befriend some sucker that works there" "they lied! i made one semi successfully" "$4.60 is too much for a drink.... you need to correct your tastebuds and get used to $1 motor oil gas station coffee... then your home made pumpkin spice will taste delicious." My favorite other exchanges included making fun of someone's Halloween costume and discovering new Lady Gaga songs.  I thought of myself as the biggest creeper ever when I admitted that he was my "secret crush"... that is until I discovered, you know, three years later when we were actually dating that I was his "secret crush". Life is funny that way.

Time went on and I started graduate school, I dated random guys here and there and couldn't seem to get all the way over an old flame - all the usual problems of a single girl.  I finished graduate school and decided that I needed to clear out the clutter from my romantic life, no matter how hard it was to do.  It sounds cliche but I knew that I was finally ready to find the one, where I hadn't really been ready before.  I had always been distracted, distracted by old relationships, distracted by school, distracted by the freedom of having my own apartment and space, to really give a lot of thought to actually being in a relationship.  Now, it was 2012 and I was finally ready - I believed it would happen and I knew it was coming.. but I didn't know when.

On April 4th, my friends decided to go downtown for opening day.  I debated staying home, but finally decided that since I was looking for a job and didn't really have any responsibility the next day, I might as well go... which turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.


While we were out, I walked past my future best friend and since we knew each other, he called out my name.  I stopped to chat and I would say we had a brief 2 minutes exchange about books that ended with him asking me if I wanted to grab coffee and chat more.  The next day, we shared a few texts and it seemed like that was where it would end.  Until, we started texting again that night and ended up at the Starbucks inside of Barnes & Noble.  We talked all night and I remember feeling that I had never been so comfortable with someone in my entire life, we chatted more outside and it was freezing... so we went inside to Gameworks and played video games and won tickets. We ended the night by getting temporary tattoos and shared a kiss goodnight in the parking lot.

We went on SO many fun dates over the next few weeks - he called restaurants to make sure they had gluten-free food and we ended up sharing drinks and getting dinner at a hip taco place, we shared Cincinnati's best ice cream, we viewed and experienced the music video exhibit and all of the other exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center, we searched for a 3D puzzle at Big Lots & Toys R Us, rented Super 8 from the last existing video store, we built a replica of the White House out of Legos, I experienced Avatar for the first time ever, we made our own pottery on the wheel at a pottery class, we went to final friday at the art museum, we cooked risotto together while reading Dear Prudence out loud and I almost set the stove on fire, we went running at the park and I learned that I was capable of running 0.5 miles, within a few months we were an official couple.... the rest as they say is history.

We went through ups and downs, like every relationship does, but always came out stronger on the other side and continued to grow together in the process.  In January, I left my single girl apartment life and moved into this house.  Living together brought new experiences together - painting, cleaning, organizing, Game of Thrones marathons, Saturday breakfast and weekend chores, HGTV, sharing an itty bitty bed during the renovation our own room, in short, we began to build our lives together under the same roof.  This summer, we decided to plan a trip to San Francisco and Sonoma for our first big vacation.  Neither of us had ever been to California and I was so excited to be experiencing it together.

We made it to California, checked into our hotel and got ready for dinner.  I had packed one of my favorite new dresses - a white shift dress - and decided it would be perfect for our first night out.  We went to a dive bar before dinner and I started having a conversation with the bartender while my future fiance was chatting it up with a random man at the bar.  The man suggested that we walk to the Coit Tower after dinner, I had researched it in our list of things to do and was totally excited about going.  Little did I know that the man had asked Paul if we were in San Francisco celebrating an engagement, his response was "No, but I'm doing it tonight" - after exchanging some words regarding gameplan (and lack there of) he suggested the Coit Tower.  We left the dive bar and had dinner at Vicoletto's - we split an amazing mozzarella, tomato basil salad and then I picked out the gluten-free pasta.  Finally, after dinner, we made our way to the Coit Tower courtesy of Apple maps.  I was in heels and we walked up what felt like a thousand steep stairs to get to the lookout point, we wandered around the area to find a stopping point.  While the views of the city were foggy, you could still see lights and it was still breathtaking.


We found a lookout point and looked out over the bay.  We talked about how we would remember this vacation forever and my future fiance stated that climbing all the steps of the tower reminded him of all of the things we had overcome in our relationship and now that we were at this point and where do you go from here, the next words that stand out in my mind were that I was raised to believe that the person you marry is one of the most important decisions of your life and you made that easy for me.  He got down on one knee and I threw my clutch on the ground in sheer excitement, I didn't even look at the ring before I yelled yes as I tried to hug him while he was still down on one knee.  We had picked out the setting together and had looked at diamonds, I had gotten teary during the showing of one of them and that was the diamond he picked - but I had no idea it would happen on our trip.  He slipped the ring on and it slid around on my finger - San Francisco is cold - but the moment was perfect.  We immediately text all of our family and friends and called too as soon as we got back to our hotel.  It was the perfect proposal and everything about it was so us.


That moment is one that I will remember for my entire life and will tell our children and grandchildren about.  To my fiance, I love you more than you will ever know, I honestly believe that I loved you even before I knew your name. Everyday that we share together, I only love you more and I can't imagine what adventures life has in store for us.

I knew if I didn't write our story soon, there could be details that I would forget - I don't want to forget anything about that moment!  To me, this ring represents so much - our shared life together, our commitment for the future and our ability to love through thick and thin.  Here's to many shared memories before and making more memories in the future :)

What's your love story? 

A Better Breakfast

Hi there!  When it comes to breakfast, I'm always trying to think up quick and easy options.  I commute about an hour to and from work, which means I'm always eating breakfast at my desk.  I pack everything the night before, so I need portable and healthy options.

When it comes to breakfast and basically every other meal that I pack, it's easy for me to get trapped in a rut.  Do you ever feel that way?  My breakfast of choice lately has been an egg and cheese sandwich that I prep ahead of time and then re-heat in the microwave...but sometimes it gets kind of old!

Since the start of September is here, fall is right around the corner and I'm ready to reunite with some cold winter favorites like oatmeal.  However, oats in the microwave always explode and now that the mornings are darker, overnight oats just won't cut it.

So, instead we have oven baked oatmeal!  Oats are combined with applesauce, vanilla and the milk of your choice, then they are baked in individual glass serving dishes for a breakfast that's easy and portable.  Feel free to top with almond butter, dark chocolate chips, flaxseed or coconut... the possibilities are endless!

Perfectly Portioned Oven Baked Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla
11/2 cups milk
3/4 cup applesauce


1.  Preheat oven to 350. Combine first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir until combined.
2. Add egg, vanilla, milk and applesauce. Stir until combined.
3. Divide equally among 5 oven-proof glass containers or an 8x8 baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday lined up in the back of the fridge!

All packed and ready with my other meals for the day!

What's your favorite easy breakfast option?  I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pizza of dreamsss!

Hi there!  Welcome back.  I hope your week is going well - my weekend was relaxing and filled with catching up with friends and family, along with a hot yoga session and a 2.5 mile run.  Now, it's back to the work week - I'm anxiously counting the amount of "wake-ups" until Friday.  Three more to go! Today's post isn't about my life, instead it's about pizza... oh and buffalo chicken.  Combined.

A few years ago, before going gluten-free, I somehow became acquainted with buffalo chicken wraps. They were my absolute favorite - there was a restaurant near my old apartment, although the name of it has escaped my mind and it has since closed - that served the most incredible buffalo chicken wraps in the entire world.  I used to try to recreate them at home using wing sauce and tortillas.  When I went gluten-free, the wraps went away as did most things buffalo chicken flavored, except for salads.

I'd had wings a handful of times in my life and only trended towards boneless being the picky eater that I am was, so naturally I never realized that the majority of the time, wings are gluten-free.... flash forward a couple of years.  I was in a new relationship and we made dinner plans at a trendy restaurant downtown - that has also since closed? I'm sensing a pattern here - and inquired about gluten-free items for yours truly.  Wings were one of the options...I can't remember if we decided to share them or if Paul ordered them and I ate one but from that day I was HOOKED.  From that moment on or maybe it was that autumn, anyway, somewhere along the line, wings became our thing.  You don't feel like cooking?  Let's get wings.  We got in a fight?  Let's get wings. I know what you're thinking... let's get wings!

Now, wings obviously are not an *always* choice, but it's fine for them to be a sometimes choice - especially after you've pushed yourselves through P90X and Insanity in the basement.  My personal culinary efforts have been buffalo chicken pasta, buffalo chicken fingers, twice baked buffalo chicken potatoes.... but buffalo chicken pizza?  It eluded me.  

So tonight, I set out to make it.  After burning the crust on one pizza and making an emergency trip to Kroger dinner was ready... and it definitely did not disappoint.



Individual Buffalo Chicken Pizzas 

Inspired by How Sweet It Is

2 Udi's Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts
2 tbsp ranch dressing
2 tbsp + 1/3 cup Frank's wing sauce
1/8-1/4 cup diced green onions
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp trans-fat free, oil based margarine

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees farenheight.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick spray or drizzle with olive oil.
2. Place pizza crust on baking sheet - spread or drizzle 1 tbsp of ranch and 1 tbsp of wing sauce over crust - repeat with remaining crust. Set aside.
3. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat.  Meanwhile, cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Add to pan, saute until golden brown ~8-10 minutes.
4. Place chicken in bowl, top with 1/3 cup wing sauce.  Divide chicken evenly between crusts, spooning any remaining sauce over chicken.
5. Top each crust with 1/3 mozzarella and green onions. Bake for 10 minutes.




What's your favorite pizza topping? 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Friday Favorites

Hi there, happy Friday to you!  This week seemed to go by rather quickly, but I couldn't be more ready for the weekend.  I've been alone at work for the past few days - luckily, our census has been low - but today I completed the annual clinical audit ::stressful::.  I haven't done too well on the workout front this week and feel like I could benefit from giving myself some TLC - I typically find when I don't take enough time to take care of myself, stressful situations that normally wouldn't be so stressful are just so much more wearing.  Needless to say, I'm ready to relax for a couple of days - I've got my first hot yoga class planned for Saturday and plan on curling up on the couch Atlas Shrugged.  So, here are my Friday favorites - complete with a little fashion, a thought provoking article, an artistic piece, tips for optimism and a recipe!

1. This lace shift dress from Target.  I tried this on in the store last week and fell in love with it.  I ended up ordering the black dress and the cream dress... they were buy one get one 50% off!  I'm a little nervous about how it might wash, so based on my past experiences it will just be making a trip to the dry cleaner when it needs to be freshened up.  I've been looking for ways to update and clean out my wardrobe, so this little number was perfect.



2. My Mom, Borderline Personality Disorder and Me - My mom might not have a personality disorder, but she is an alcoholic....she can be very loving and in the same breath extremely hateful.  I would say that having her as my mother has made me a stronger person - it has also made me incredibly patient and has reiterated the importance of treating other people kindly even when I don't always feel like it - in short it has gifted me with some of my best qualities. However, being her daughter can be challenging and sometimes it does affect my self esteem.  Late last year, I found this article and now whenever I feel particularly wounded, I reach for it.  Almost of the feelings and scenarios experienced by the author are similar to those that I've experienced - almost as if I penned some of the situations myself.

3. Reflections: Portraits of the Elderly - if you haven't already seen this, make sure to click this link.  I love the concept of how Tom Hussey has captured how we all age but may see ourselves differently when we look in the mirror.  Have you ever thought of your age and through that you internally feel much younger?  I suspect that feeling never goes away and love how it is portrayed through this artwork.  In each piece, he seems to capture the individual at one of their most confident times. Breathtaking.

4. 12 Tips for Staying Optimistic - We can all use more positivity in our lives, so why not share?

5. This BBQ chopped chicken salad from Iowa Girl Eats.  I love the version from Panera Bread, so why not make my own at home?!  This would be perfect with avocado added!

What's your Friday favorite?

Have a great weekend!  See you soon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Two Months to Go

My 28th birthday is only 2 months away...yikes.  27 has been wonderful - in fact, it's probably my favorite year so far and I would be lying if I said I might not freak out and cry when it's really over.  Last year, I made a list of 27 things I wanted to do before 28... lets review the list and see how I've done so that I can get cracking on what's left!


1. Take a cooking class - Complete!  I took a sushi class in March and it was SO much fun :)

2. Go to yoga once a month - This didn't happen, yoga is one of those things that I adore, but can't seem to figure out how to fit it into my life.  Any suggestions?

3. Run a 5k - Complete!!!  I'll scream it from the rooftops.

4. Keep a journal for 21 days - I think this goal should change to keep a journal for 7 days and blog for 21 days... this may or may not happen, but I would love if it could!

5. Get a passport - Yep, still no passport.  Paul and I have discussed this, so maybe we can knock this off my list together!

6. Meditate 3 times a week and work up to daily - So close.  I've started meditating recently because it helps me feel grounded - which isn't anything I didn't already know - so why I haven't gotten around to making it a daily priority, like brushing my teeth, is beyond me.  My ego must be getting in the way.

7. Continue crafting - Complete!  I've decorated wine glasses for all of my friends, made glitter glasses for my family at Christmas and still have a few tricks up my sleeve before my birthday even rolls around.

8. Carve a pumpkin - Complete!  Paul and I did this in October and it was so much fun.  I'm pretty sure he thought that I was going to lose a finger, but I didn't.  Our pumpkin proudly sat outside the entire month of October... and part of November.

9. Go to a football game - Complete! Well, kind of.  The setting was late November....were only there for a half an hour - I had been pretty sick that week but decided to tough it out.  That is, until my doctor's office called during the game and said "Congratulations, your chest x-ray shows you have pneumonia."  Nailed it.

10. Make a chocolate chip tofu cheesecake - Complete!  Paul and I made this together for a Thanksgiving friendsgiving party that I didn't get to go to.... because of the illness described in #9.  He brought me home the leftovers and potato skins, as I had barely moved from my location on our couch.  Keeper.

11. Go on a bike ride - FAILED IT!  And found out that apparently that old adage "it's like riding a bike" is NOT true in my case.... after a failed attempt to go bike riding with Paul and his family.  Most embarrassing moment ever.  Poor Paul, I'm surprised I didn't give him a heart attack.

12. Go on a picnic - Hasn't happened yet but there is still time!

13. Waste less time on my laptop - Better!  I barely ever use my laptop except for at night :)

14. Don't always multitask - Failed.  Jeez.  I should have looked at what I wrote next to this.  Something to work on for the next two months that's for sure.

15. Continue to follow my budget - Nailed it.  I have an excel spreadsheet now and track like a badass, I've cut spending in some areas and tripled my contribution to my retirement account. BOOM.

16. Become a better friend - A work in progress that I hope continues :)

17. Perfect a signature cookie recipe - Errr. Nope, still gotta work on this... especially since I can't remember the last time I made cookies.

18. Spend more time with my grandma - Trying and not succeeding that well.  I moved in January and now I live about 10 minutes away from her.  It makes it easier to make little trips in and easier to get there on the weekends, but it's still difficult with working full time.

19. Blog at least one time per week - Clearly, this didn't go according to plan... working on it!

20. Plan a trip - Complete!  Paul and I went to Louisville in December and we're heading to San Francisco in August :)

21. Be more grateful - A work in progress too :)

22. Take a class - I haven't done this yet... but it's not too late to look into calligraphy, cake decorating or photography.

23. Read one book per month - Complete, kind of!  I wouldn't say it's averaging to one per month, more like one per three months - still better than none.

24. Volunteer - Complete!  I've volunteered at a few different events since my bday and applied for the Junior League of Cincinnati - I should be finding out soon if I was accepted!

25. Discover the area of dietetics I'm passionate about - I love maternal/child health and wellness, oncology outpatients... actually all outpatients and preventative health and wellness.

26. Complete one month of the Physique 57 challenge - Incomplete!  This has to be a winter goal... I love running too much :)

27. Try a book on tape & stay more current with the news - I recently listened to a book on tape thanks to Audible!  I've been working on staying more current with the news but it's hard when I don't waste as much time on my laptop looking at websites anymore - I do listen to NPR occasionally which helps me stay semi-up-to-date and I love the CNN app on my phone.


How many do you think I can reach by my birthday?!  Two more months go to!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Healthy Snacking 101

Hi there friends :)  As an RD, I'm always asked about food and for good reason.  After all, I do have a MS degree in nutrition science.  "What should I be eating?" "How much?"  "Healthy foods are so boring - can't I just snack on chips - I mean it's only 150 calories for a little bag right?" "All I snack on are carrots - that's good for me, right"  Ehhhh.  Pick up a magazine or look on the internet and you'll find a multitude of sources telling you to eat this or eat that, but is that really the best choice for you?  


Snacking has many benefits, that is, if you reach for the right thing.  Picking a snack that's higher in fiber with healthy fat and lean protein can help keep cravings at bay by helping your blood sugar stay stable throughout the day.  Skipping meals can lead to overeating... which often results in feeling sluggish and bloated throughout the day.

You might know the benefits, but what about the choices.  I fall into the rut of grabbing the same old thing.  However, I have a few "rules" for my snack habits.

1. It has to be "clean" - that means no processed foods allowed.
2. It has to have some source of lean protein and/or healthy fat

Even as an RD, I struggle with snacks and grabbing the same old thing everyday.  I've compiled a list of some of my favorite healthy snacks to share with you - feel free to add your own in the comments. 

Smart Snacks


  • Air-popped popcorn topped with nutritional yeast
  • LARABARS
  • 0% greek yogurt topped with 1/2 c fresh raspberries and 1-2 tsp of honey 
  • Low-fat string cheese with a small lunchbox sized apple
  • Pecan nut thins topped with nut butter and raisins
  • Chopped veggies with 1/4 c salsa or homemade ranch (use greek yogurt)
  • Homemade larabar balls
  • Dried fruit leather with 1/4 cup nuts
  • Guacamole and blue corn chips
  • 1/2 c fruit salad with a low-fat string cheese
  • Chocolate smoothie (blend 1-2tbsp ground flaxseed, frozen banana, chocolate almond milk)
  • Rice cakes with 1 tbsp nut butter & choice of preserves
  • Hard boiled eggs with crackers
  • Pear with a small dark chocolate square
  • 1% chocolate milk or chocolate soy milk
  • Edamame with sea salt
  • Homemade trail mix - gluten free pretzels, nuts/seeds, dried fruit & dark chocolate chips




Feast away!  What's your favorite snack idea?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday Bachelorette Fun

Good morning friends!  It's finally Saturday AND my friend Carrie's bachelorette party.  Her wedding is only less than two weeks away!  Tonight's festivities include taking a painting class, dinner at Crave and a night out - I couldn't be more excited to celebrate the bachelorette party of one of my truest friends :)  I plan on indulging in plenty of wine, girl talk and sushi!

That being said, I knew I needed to start the day off on a good foot eats wise.  I slept until 9:30am this morning - which is insanely late for a person that normal gets up at 5:30 am - and when I finally rolled out of bed, I was in the mood for a pancake.  I used to make single serve protein pancakes all the time back in my single days, so I decided to see if I still had my old tricks up my sleeve.  Sure enough, it turned out well :)  If you don't have PB2 - a powdered form of peanut butter - feel free to use regular peanut butter.  Remember, choose the one with the least amount of ingredients, ideally peanuts and salt.



Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

Ingredients

2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
1 tbsp vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseed 
1 tbsp PB2
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp canola oil
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup milk

1. Combine dry ingredients in a small cup, set aside.
2. Add milk and vanilla, stir to combine. 
3. Cook over low heat in a small saucepan until the edges begin to brown and bubbles form.
4. Flip, cooking remaining side about another 1-2 minutes.


I threw in a few chocolate chips for good measure, then topped it with peanut butter and flaxseed.  Served with my favorite metabolism boosting drink - more on that later.

See you soon!  What's your favorite kind of pancake? 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  TGIF, after the longest work week ever, I'm totally ready for the weekend :)  That being said, here are my friday favorites!!


1. This quote... word, Lauren Conrad.



2. This interview with Edie Windsor brought tears to my eyes.  "The fact is, marriage is this magic thing. I mean forget all the financial stuff - marriage symbolizes commitment and love like nothing else in the world."  I couldn't agree more - love is love and we should all have the right to love and commit ourselves to whoever the one is, regardless of their gender or your own.

3. Pic Stitch - I'm obsessed with this app!  Can you tell?



4.  Easy chicken tacos from Iowa Girl Eats - these look divine!  If only I had a crockpot...hopefully someday soon!  I've heard great things about them.



5. The new music room in our home -  it's fantastic.  There's nothing I love more than watching my other half play guitar - seriously, there are so many things hooked up to different things and I don't even know what they do, but what I do know is that it's AMAZING.  We painted the ceiling, walls, moved in all the equipment and furniture - I'm so happy this room came together :) 



What's your friday favorite?


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Let's Play Catch Up

Hi again!  I can't believe that I haven't blogged since March... MARCH... can you believe it?  4 months with no blogging.  I've gone MIA before in the past and I've always stated that for me, blogging tends to stop when life happens.  I always come back to it because I love blogging and expressing my thoughts and feelings through text.  Sometimes, I tend to have trouble with speaking what's in my mind and having it be expressed the way I mean it to - does anyone else have that happen?  The past few months have been hectic and happy.... and the next few months I'm sure will be as well... so what better way to document them than on my blog.

Now, to explain what I've been up to over the past few months, here are some of the highlights courtesy of Instagram :)

I completed my first 5K in the beginning of May!!!!  I've run other 5K's before but they've usually been a combination of walking/running due to my IT band syndrome (read more on that here).  I focused on foam rolling and stretching in the weeks before this race and gradually increased my runs over the course of a few months.  Crossing the finish line after running the whole race was huge for me - all of the months of doubt of whether or not I would ever be able to run 3.1 miles vanished and I literally felt unstoppable.  It took hard work, doubt and the constant threat of failure but I did it... not only that, but I ran the race in under 30:50.... the fastest that I've ever run.



In June, I celebrated the wedding of two of my college friends, Katie and Chandler, in Toledo.  The wedding was beautiful and I had so much fun catching up with my college friends and their parents :)  Weddings are so full of love and joy that I always enjoy them.



For the 4th of July weekend, I spent most of it relaxing at home with my other half.  It was rainy here in Cincinnati... we spent the 4th of July watching Despicable Me 2, playing video games at Gameworks and concluded the night with dinner at PF Changs.  On Saturday, we went to the mausoleum where my grandpa is buried - he passed away a little over 4.5 years ago and I've never been brave enough to go alone.  It was so precious to me to share in that moment together and I'm so very lucky to have someone that is so supportive in my life.  Sometimes, I can't think about the fact that they will never meet one another in this life and it simply breaks my heart.  I'm grateful that God brought both of them into my life, even if they had to be at different times.  I'm so grateful for the relationship that I had with my grandpa and I've come to understand that when someone passes into the next life, the love you feel for them never does go away.  

Tonight, I'm relaxing on the couch with iced green tea, sushi and The Bachelorette.  As crazy as it may seem, sometimes you just need to relax and watch something mindless.  I realize that not everyone is wired that way, but I've come to realize that if I don't force my brain to take a break, I'm not as well equipped to handle the stresses of everyday life.  My top pick at this point for Des is Chris - he's so open with his feelings with her and that's refreshing!



Now, it's July and hopefully if all goes according to plan, you'll be seeing a lot more of me! The rest of the summer should also be filled with adventure.  My other half and I are making a trip to San Francisco in early August.... neither one of us have ever been to California!  I'm looking forward to quality time together away from the stresses of everyday life... and to exploring a completely new city together.

What have you been up to this summer? 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Becoming an RDN: Picking a Route

Happy National Nutrition Month!  I'm a little late to the game this month you could say :)  I'll do another upcoming post on National Nutrition Month, which was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to highlight the importance of nutrition.  Since my career is obviously a huge part of my personal and professional life, I wanted to highlight exactly how I became a Registered Dietitian (RD)/Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist (RDN).  As of yesterday, both credentials are able to be used by RD's, which is exciting for the future and branding of our profession.

I receive a lot of questions about how I became an RD/RDN... from other health professionals, high school students, parents, college students and there is a lot of confusion around it.  In most majors, you go to school, graduate and then just get a job in your field.  It doesn't exactly work that way in dietetics... as there are a few routes to becoming an RD/RDN.  In today's post, I'll explain the different options and then next week, I'll post about how to become a competitive candidate.

My personal route: I attended the University of Cincinnati and started off in fashion design. I finally ended up in dietetics at the beginning of my junior year of school. I had some of my education requirements completed but barely any of my science credits... so I took summer classes - including an entire year of anatomy and physiology crammed into 9 weeks - and was able to graduate within 3 years of beginning the dietetics program, 5 years in total.  After finishing my undergraduate degree, I completed my internship through a coordinated program in dietetics as a certificate student and then sat for my board certification exam.

The basics...

The most important step is that your program is accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - you can find a list of accredited programs by clicking this link: http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/content.aspx?id=8156 

If your school doesn't offer an accredited program, this might mean switching schools or completing a distance program.

Route One - best for a brand new college student: This is the most traditional route.  First, you complete an accredited undergraduate degree in dietetics/food & nutrition that fulfills the didactic portion of the dietetics curriculum.  In winter of your final year of schooling, you apply for the dietetics match.  If you are matched, you'll begin your internship after graduation.  Once it's successfully completed, you can sit for the board certification exam.  You can find a list of dietetic internships here: http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/content.aspx?id=8147

Route Two - best if you already have an undergraduate degree:  Already have an undergraduate degree but not in the field of dietetics?  You'll need to complete the didactic components of the degree program - this can be done on it's own or in combination with a MS degree.  After completing your requirements, you'll be eligible to go through the same internship process as the students in step one.  Find a list of didactic programs here: http://www.eatright.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=10905

Route Three - best if the matching process seems too stressful:  Complete an undergraduate degree in dietetics or complete a didactic program with an already existing undergraduate degree.  Apply for an open spot in a coordinated program.  Once you successfully complete the program, you'll be able to take the board certification exam. Find a list of coordinated programs here: http://www.eatright.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=74

Route Four - best for a brand new college student sold on dietetics: Apply to schools that offer a degree in a Coordinated Program in Dietetics.  Complete your degree and the supervised practice program in 4-5 years, sit for the board certification exam. Find a list of coordinated programs here: http://www.eatright.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=74

I hope that was helpful :)  See you next time about a post on how to become the most competitive candidate possible so that someday you'll be able to see RD/RDN behind your last name.

Any other questions? Feel free to comment!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buffalo's Back


Happy Friday Eve!  I can't believe it's almost Friday, this week has gone by so quickly.  I'm looking forward to March and the start of spring.  I'm so over these midwest winters and I shouldn't even complain because this winter hasn't been *that* bad and I got to escape for a week and go to Kauai.

In grad school, one of my friends used to rave about a restaurant she frequented with her boyfriend that served gourmet mac & cheese.  She said the combinations on the menu were endless, but she most often talked about the buffalo macaroni and cheese.  I thought that sounded incredible, but you know there obviously wasn't a gluten-free option.  Over time, I mastered the art of homemade macaroni and cheese, but I'd forgotten about buffalo mac....

Flash forward a couple of years - now that I'm cooking for two people instead of just myself, I've started to get even more creative in the kitchen.  Since I love wings - yes, dietitians eat wings too - and my boyfriend always wants wings and because I always want wings too  I decided to try this recipe as a way of combining two things that I love.  It was incredible and I quickly broadcasted the idea to all of my friends.

A couple of quick tips. If you've never made gluten-free breadcrumbs, it's super easy.  Throw your bread in the food processor, in for a few seconds and there you have it - gluten free breadcrumbs that are much better than anything you'll find at the store.  For the cheese, feel free to substitute other cheeses - I didn't have enough cheddar, so I used mozzarella and a mexican blend as well.

swirls of sauce!


Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free pasta
2 tbsp trans-fat free margarine
2 brown rice flour
1 3/4 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups shredded 2% cheddar
1/3 cup wing sauce
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
2 slices gluten free bread, made into breadcrumbs 

.
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat, sprinkle the brown rice flour on top –
fold in with a spatula. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour skim milk into mixture. Continue to stir, occasionally scraping the bottom with a spatula.
The mixture should begin to thicken and should begin to start to bubble – keep scraping the
bottom of the pan with a spatula until the mixture thickens.
4. Once thickened, turn the heat down to low, add cheeses and wing sauce. Stir until smooth.
6. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray, fill with drained pasta. Spoon cheese
sauce over the top, stirring to coat all noodles. Stir in chicken cubes. 
7. Top with breadcrumbs, bake 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown.






What's the craziest mac & cheese combo that you've had? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Craving Conquered

Hi there!  I hope you're Monday is off to a great start.  I can't wait for The Bachelor tonight and I'm looking forward to the start of March later this week!  The past few weeks have been a little hectic - as usual - but this week I'm really excited to be presenting at Seton's Lite Hearted Affair and volunteering at the Food on the Run.  My life lately has been a little busy and of course a little stressful - look for a post on managing stress later - but I'm glad that I've had this weekend to revamp and revitalize.

Anyway, I'm a horrible blogger for keeping this recipe from you.  It's been weeks since I've made it and now that I'm posting it, I find myself wanting it again.  You'll want it too when you see the picture below, so if you won't be going to the grocery anytime soon, you might want to stop reading.

Before I was gluten-free, I wouldn't touch nachos.  I just wasn't interested in them, since of course there were other gluten-ridden items on the menu.  Anyone who is gluten-free knows the restaurant struggle that comes into play when dining out as a gluten-free guest.  Do I order a less than healthy gluten-free appetizer and save some of my money or do I spend $20 on grilled chicken or salmon because that's the only other option left for me on the menu?  I ended up trying grilled chicken nachos at one of my favorite restaurants a year or so ago and fell in love....

There's just one problem.  Nine times out of ten, nachos are horrible for you.  Smothered in cheese, topped with sour cream and more cheese - the saturated fat is out of this world.  A few weeks ago, I was thinking about nachos and wondered, couldn't I create a healthier version at home?  Greek yogurt is one of my favorite substitutes for sour cream - and also bumps up the protein and calcium content, I could use 2% cheese, add avocado for healthy fat, add black beans for some protein and fiber.... and this recipe was born.

This recipe will serve two people, but feel free to half it or even double or triple it depending on the amount your feeding.  Now feast away (and don't forget your veggies!)


Pumped Up Nachos

Ingredients

2 servings corn tortilla chips (preferably baked)
1/2 cup 2% shredded cheddar
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
6 oz 0% greek yogurt
1/4-1/2 cup salsa

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper with non-stick spray.  Layer tortilla chips flat on the baking pan, try to avoid any gaps between the chips and the pan.
2. Top with cheese, black beans and diced tomatoes.  Bake ~10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
3. Add diced avocado to nachos, serve with greek yogurt and salsa.


What's your favorite appetizer that you would like to revamp?  Request it here and I'll give it a shot!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fashion Friday - January Birchbox Review

Happy Fashion Friday readers!  Have you ever heard of Birchbox?  I signed up in July - after signing up on a wait list in May - and have been happy with my subscription ever since. For $10 per month (shipping is included), you receive about 5-6 deluxe beauty samples delivered to your doorstep.  After signing up, you fill out a survey about your preferences and then you receive a box full of goodies delivered to your doorstep.

Simply put, I love it.  It's like getting surprises every month and fuels my beauty addiction without breaking the bank.  Even better, for every product in your box that you review, you receive 10 points - every 100 points are redeemable for $10 off in the Birchbox store.  You'll also receive points for referring friends to Birchbox or for purchasing Birchbox for your friends.  Birchbox also offers a Birchbox man subscription for any male readers that might be interested.

I've gotten amazing products in my boxes - even full-size like the Stila eyeliner I received, fell in love with and subsequently lost a few months later.  Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm was another one of my favorites - I'm hoarding my Birchbox points to buy it :)

So, each month on Fashion Friday, I'll be reviewing my most recent Birchbox and giving you a heads up on my favorite finds.  This month is a little late, since it's already February, but my new box hasn't come yet :)

Overall, January's box wasn't one of my favorites but it wasn't one of my least favorites.  I loved, loved, loved the blush I received, but all of the other products I used even though I wouldn't buy them personally.



My January Birchbox included the following...


Deborah Lippman the Stripper to Go - ughhh these were horrendous and I have no idea why someone would waste their money on this when cotton balls and nail polish remover are so much cheaper.  This didn't even take the nail polish off all ten of my nails.
 

the Balm Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One - I am madly, madly in love, this eyeshadow was so beautifully pigmented. I will be buying this as soon as it runs out.  This was by far the best thing in my box!!


My Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer - it did make my face more matte, but I don't have a big problem with shine to begin with.. but I could see how it would be very helpful for someone that does!


Amika Color pHerfection Shampoo - it was okay, the sample was a tad small and I felt like I needed to use it a little longer to see results.


Harvey Prince Skinny Chic - it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't buy it, I do plan to keep it in my purse or a carry on for trips.  It doesn't compare to my favorite fragrance of all time, Chanel Chance :)


Need an invite to Birchbox?  Click for a referral.  

*Disclaimer - This post is not sponsored by Birchbox, I purchase my own box every month. Clicking the above link will allow you to bypass the wait list and will also give me referral points as discussed above*

What subscription services have you tried?  I'd love to hear your comments!

Monday, February 11, 2013

All Things Valentine's Day

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to a great start :)  Now, for my long term readers, you all know that I love Valentine's Day and you can read a re-cap of the food, girlfriend and fun that went down last year.  It shouldn't be surprising that I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve for celebrating Valentine's Day, even if I already did receive my own Valentine's Day gift a little early.  This recipe that I've come up with is perfect for Valentine's Day due to it's pink color - you could even cut the bread into hearts using a cookie cutter for heart shaped pieces :)

On Saturday morning, I crawled out of bed at 7:00 am to get ready for a bootcamp class that I've been dying to try.  Before I left the house, I decided that I wanted to make french toast.  I planned on letting the bread soak in the egg mixture - in the fridge of course - while I was at class, so that when I returned home, I would have a quick and oh so easy breakfast waiting for me.

A quick background story. I picked up this new to me prairie bread a couple of weeks ago from Whole Foods.  I've never been a crazy bread eater, I was never the person that snuck into the kitchen to sneak a piece of bread before or after going gluten-free.  I tried one bite of prairie bread and almost died - absolute heaven.  It can be a little bit crumbly if it's not toasted, but it's hearty and dense... which makes it perfect for french toast.  If you don't have prairie bread available, I highly recommend brown rice bread as a substitute.  Use any kind of milk you want and if you don't have agave nectar on hand, then just roll with maple syrup instead :)



French Toast with Blueberry Syrup

Ingredients  

1 egg
1/4-1/3 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 pieces gluten-free prairie bread
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup blueberries

1. In a small dish, combine egg, milk & cinnamon. Beat to combine.
2. Add bread to egg mixture, so that one side of each slice is able to be coated.  Let soak for 10 minutes, flip and soak the other side.
3. In a small pan heated over medium heat, spray cooking spray or use a small amount of trans-fat free margarine to prepare the pan. If using margarine, swirl the pan around so that all sides are coated.
4. Add bread slices, flip when golden brown on first side, about 3-4 minutes, cook the other side until golden brown.


What's your favorite weekend meal? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quinoa Love

Happy Tuesday!  I hope your week is off to a great start, my apologies that I've been a little MIA.  In between moving, unpacking, meetings etc., blogging fell a little bit off of the bandwagon.  Not to mention that I haven't had much time to do any cooking...or come up with new recipes.  I've found that this week, I'm back in the swing of things... and am currently lounging on the couch watching The Bachelor.  Love.

Sunday is our grocery shopping day in this house.  Yesterday, the store was packed with people stocking up for Super Bowl Sunday and I barely made it down the aisles without crashing into about a million people.  One thing I noticed was a sale on quinoa that was ending asap... $3.99 a box when it's normally $6.39? Sold.  I love quinoa for it's high protein and fiber content, all while being gluten-free.  I remembered how I had made a similar recipe earlier in the year and with a few tweaks, it was perfect.

All dressed up and ready to go 


Three Cheese Quinoa Cakes

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
4 eggs
1/2 cup 2% shredded cheddar
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 tbsp potato starch
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil

1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, cheeses, green onions, potato starch, red pepper flakes & salt/pepper, stir to combine.
3. Add quinoa to egg mixture, stir to combine.
4. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a large saucepan, heat to medium high.  Pack a 1/3 measuring cup with batter, flip batter into pan.
5. Cook ~4-5 minutes per side until golden brown, serve with greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream.

Too hungry to take a non-blurry picture!

What's your favorite quinoa recipe? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quick & Easy Black Bean Burrito

Hi there! Hope your Monday is off to a great start :)  Even though I love to cook, sometimes life is too busy to spend all night (or even 30 minutes) in the kitchen.  There are emails to answer, laundry to do, cleaning to take care of and workouts to get to, just to name a few.  It's way to easy to pick up the phone and order something, which more often than not tends to be something unhealthy, especially if it's been a rather stressful day.  It's better on your waistline (and wallet!) to make something from home, but sometimes it's hard to come up with quick and healthy creations when you feel completely drained.  

So, let me help you out!  My newest creation combines a few of my favorite things - brown rice tortillas, brown rice, black beans and avocado.  It's full of fiber and healthy fats :)  Feel free to leave out the cheese to cut saturated fat or substitute with vegan cheese.  Serve with a simple salad on the side to round out your meal.  Now friends, run to your kitchen and make this so that you can feast away!



Black Bean Burrito

Ingredients

1 brown rice tortilla
1 slice low-fat cheese
1/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup cooked black beans
2 tbsp salsa
1-2 tbsp avocado, chopped

1. Heat tortilla between two wet paper towels for 35 seconds in a microwave on full power.
2. Layer ingredients into the bottom half of the tortilla, fold in both of the sides.
3. Working from the bottom, roll the tortilla up into a burrito.
4. Place back in the microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt the cheese.

What's your favorite quick & healthy meal?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fashion Friday - Fabulous Finds

Happy Friday!  TGIF.  Winter is upon us and I'm anxiously waiting for spring.  While spending my time indoors, I've recently been browsing more fashion blogs.  I've become so inspired that I even recently purchased a bright turquoise bubble necklace from Etsy that I'm dying to wear.

One of my goals for 2013 is to create a more cultivated closed, meaning that I want to invest in pieces that go well with the rest of my clothes and further develop my sense of style.  I need to quit buying and liking things purely for the fact that they are on sale.  I've also been testing the new rule that if I buy something and I don't wear it within a week, then I return it to the store.  

I would say that my style is mostly classic, but that it could use a little updating.  I've recently been inspired by Pinterest - one of my favorite styles for winter is layering.  Recently, I've been seeing a lot of layering with gingham and chambray shirts - two things I've always been intimidated by....

Take a few spare hours in Hawaii, an Old Navy giftcard and Pinterest and here are my fabulous finds for Fashion Friday.  I love that Old Navy is so on point with trends now, it's a great way to test out lower priced pieces of modern trends.

First up, this white oxford.  It's pretty fitted and will be perfect for layering under warm sweaters, in fact, I'm planning on wearing it to work asap. A classic piece that was missing from my closet.



Second, this purple gingham button down.  I've been thinking about the gingham trend for awhile and almost purchased a pink gingham shirt from JCrew a few months back, but I just wasn't sure.. a pink gingham shirt could be in my future depending on how I do with this one!


Finally, last but not least, a chambray shirt.  I can't wait to wear this, I think it will be super cute dressed up with skinny jeans, heals and a black blazer.


*Disclaimer, this post was not sponsored or endorsed by Old Navy* 

Have a great weekend and I'll see you again soon!  There might or might not be a weekend favorites post this week... it depends how crazy my big move gets :)

What's your favorite fashion blog? I'd love to add a few more to my favorites.   

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mexican Fever

Hi there!  Today's post is about enchiladas.  Once upon a time, I despised Mexican food...and all of my best friends loved it.  I was dragged along to Cancun, Don Pablos, El Toro, Chipotle and numerous other places, while I whined about how I didn't like it.  Gradually, I started to come around - it started with quesadillas.... I moved on to burritos...discovered fajitas... began to eat avocados and fell hardcore in love with guacamole.... tried tacos and then finally one day I realized that I had become a convert.  Now, Mexican just might be one of my favorite cuisines, not to mention one of the easiest to find gluten-free options.

The first time I had enchiladas?  Well, you can read all about that here.  I've had a few enchilada fails, but this recipe is pretty solid.  It's also simple, so now, get yourself to the kitchen and get your enchilada on.  Also, feel free to substitute a vegan cheese such as Daiya if dairy isn't your thing.  Don't skip the microwave step (or the paper towels!) with the tortillas - it helps them to be more pliable so that they don't rip when you're stuffing in your filling.

Gather your supplies...
Stir to combine... let's get filling!

Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas 

Ingredients

28 oz can enchilada sauce
1 poblano pepper, diced
15 oz can black beans
2 cups mexican cheese, shredded
16 corn tortillas
avocado & shredded lettuce (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a large nonstick pan with cooking spray, fill with 1/4 of the enchilada sauce. Set aside.
2. Chop poblano pepper removing membranes and seeds. Drain black beans and rinse with water.  Add both to a large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of the mexican cheese, stir to combine.
3. Lightly wet a large paper towel, wrap 4-5 tortillas inside, microwave for 35 seconds. Add about 1/4 cup filling to each, gently fold in the sides about 1/4 inch, roll from the bottom until the enchilada is like a small burrito, place in pan seam side down. Replace until all tortillas are used.
4. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, top with remaining shredded cheese.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Feast!

What's your favorite enchilada filling?