Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday Favorites: 2/19/15

This week flew by! I think it was a combination of the cold weather and driving in the snow. Happy Friday! How was your week? Any big weekend plans? I am looking forward to bundling up and staying in this weekend after spending too much of this week out in the cold! It's Friday and that means Friday favorites....this week, I'm linking up with Life in Leggings. Here is my collection of things I am loving this week.

Food - Quick and Easy Pad Thai

  • When it's cold out, I crave warm meals. This pad thai comes together in 5 minutes and will warm your soul.  Most of the ingredients are already in your pantry, making it the perfect meal for a snow day. 

Fashion - Kimonos

  • The kimono is looking like a hot trend for spring 2015. I am totally craving this one from Express. I love the easy of being able to layer and the cute floral print. 

Fitness - Brooks Ravenna 5

  • This is my 4th pair of this shoe. I love them! They not only provide stability and comfort, but have also helped me overcome a chronic IT band issue. I highly recommend getting fitted for shoes at a running store to find your dream pair; this shoe is totally mine. Also, the 5's are on sale if you're a Ravenna fan!
Fun - Saved by the Bell Reunion

  • Jesse and Slater haven't aged a single day!! I could hardly believe it. If you loved Saved by the Bell as a kid, then you will love this clip. Totally a childhood throwback. 
Find - Headspace
  • Have you ever wanted to mediate but have no clue how? There are numerous benefits to meditation - better sleep, overall sense of happiness, less stress. Headspace is a guided meditation app. The first ten sessions are free and then you buy sessions in sets of ten after that. I have been using Headspace for a month now and I love it! I have noticed that I sleep better and feel less stressed. I highly recommend it. 

What are you loving this Friday? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Veggie Tuesday

Happy Fat Tuesday!  Anyone celebrating out there?  I wish I was celebrating with veggie pizza. You know, that appetizer that always tastes amazing.  Did I mention that it's one of those easy to throw together appetizers that only uses one bowl.  There is only one issue in making it gluten-free. The crust.

Veggie pizza is typically made using crescent roles.  I wanted to adapt this classic favorite for a co-worker's baby shower and so I decided to experiment with gluten-free pizza crusts instead. Lightly toast the pizza crusts, mix up the cream cheese layer and sprinkle on your favorite colorful veggies. Does it really get any easier?


If my kitchen walls could talk: Feel free to switch up the vegetables or experiment with different color combinations for party themes. Yellow bell peppers, broccoli and purple cabbage for Mardi Gras, all the green veggies for St. Patrick's Day. The possibilities are endless!



Veggie Pizza

Ingredients

3-4 small gluten-free pizza crusts
16 oz cream cheese (2 packages)
10.6 oz greek yogurt (2 single serve containers)
2 packets ranch dip
1/2 tsp dill, dried
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 broccoli florets, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
Shredded cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast pizza crusts for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, greek yogurt, ranch dip, dill and garlic. Dice and prepare vegetables, allowing the flavors in the cream cheese mixture to combine.
3. Spread the cream cheese mixture over pizza crusts. Lightly press veggies into cream cheese. Top with your choice of shredded cheese as desired.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2/15/15: Meals for the Week


Hi there!  As always, here is our weekly menu.  It's brutally cold here and we're trying to clean out our freezer and roll with some leftovers.  I made way too many scalloped potatoes for Valentine's Day, so we'll be eating them for awhile.  I'm not complaining, batch cooking saves time later, so I highly recommend it :)



Sunday: Pizza! Donato's :)
Monday: Tofu/chicken with spaghetti sauce, scalloped potatoes, brussels sprouts 
Tuesday: Leftovers! Baked Potato Soup, asparagus 
Wednesday: Cheese enchiladas, salad  
Thursday: Chicken/veggie burgers, brussels sprouts 
Friday: Chicken tacos
Saturday: TBA

What's on your plate this week? 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spiralize it Girl

Hi friends!  Today, I am here to clue you in on a little secret.  Did you know that you can make noodles from vegetables?  Maybe you have seen the term zoodles on the internet and been confused about what it is referring to.  After all, what the heck are zoodles?  Well, zoodles are zucchini that have made into noodles using a spiralizer, hence the name zoodles.

A spiralizer is a brilliant kitchen gadget as it will make pretty much anything into noodle shapes.  I have mentioned it in previous posts, like that time I made baked curly fries, it couldn't be easier to use.  There are various spiralizers available all over the internet, but the one that I love is here.

After an intense workout at the gym, I wanted something that was easy, but also nutritious.  I dreamed up this recipe in my head while pushing myself to the limit on the stairmill and voila this recipe was born.  It's lean, green and clean, making it a perfect recovery meal or way to sneak in extra veggies.


If my kitchen walls could talk: Missing a spiralizer? Cut zucchini into matchstick pieces instead.  Alternatively, feel free to swap out zoodles for regular zoodles and follow along with the recipe. It will not have the health benefits of zucchini, but I promise it will taste equally delicious!



Zucchini Primivera 

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup edamame

1. Wash zucchini with water and dry. Using a spiralizer, spiralize zucchini into noodle shape. Set aside
2. Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add grapeseed oil, swirling to coat pan.
3. Add zucchini, stirring until lightly sauteed, add peanuts, Parmesan and edamame. Continue stirring until zoodles are slightly crunchy and heated through.


Have you ever used a spiralizer? 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2/8/15: Meals for the Week

Hi there!  Just checking in with my recipes for the week. I love helping my readers to come up with new meals that they can make throughout the work week, so feel free to steal some of my meals for the week.

My number one tip for successful meal planning? Planning. I always plan out my meals on Sunday prior to heading to the grocery store. Typically, I will look to see what staples we have in our cabinets and then go from there. I make sure to incorporate anything that we might be missing onto my grocery list, so I am not empty handed while in the middle of cooking dinner.

Using items we already have helps to cut down on weekly expenses by keeping our grocery bill somewhat in check.  I swap things out left and right based on what I have and then modify recipes accordingly, which also helps me to come up with new recipes that I can there share with all of you!

I have been craving soup recently, so I knew I had to include it in our weekly menu.  Thai fried rice was thought up when I realized that we have a bag of rice in our cabinet that has been sitting there unused, so look for that recipe this week. I remembered how much I loved the quinoa cakes and after seeing a half opened box of quinoa in the cabinet, well, I knew it was time to make them. Typically, one of our meals will be leftovers that I have frozen from a prior meal, but our freezer is pretty barren this week.

Also, note that I always include one or more servings of vegetables with all of our dinners. This could be oven roasted brussels sprouts, sauteed zucchini, broccoli, mixed green salads or oven roasted asparagus. The sky is the limit.




Sunday: Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
Monday:  Baked Potato Soup 
Tuesday: Family Dinner
Wednesday: Thai Fried Rice  
Friday: Pizza!
Saturday: Valentine's Day! Recipes tba...!

What's on your plate this week? 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Simple. Clean. Efficient

I love Thursday. The weekend might not be here, but it is nearing closer. Another week closer to spring and another two days to sleep in. I am looking forward to relaxing for a few days from all of the hustale and bustle of my normal happy life :)

Sometimes after a busy day, I want to cook something novel but I also crave simplicity.  My brain is not in the mood to process a complex recipe after processing information all day long. You might feel similarly after a long day of working, caring for children or studying for classes. It can be tough!

The weather is going to be in the 50's on Saturday, which takes me back to our trip to Kauai. Granted, it was closer to 80 degrees, but for the Midwest winter a 50 degree day might as well be a heat wave. I had the simplest pad thai from a food truck and from the moment I ate it, I immediately started dreaming up a way to create it at home to share with all of you.  It needed to be simple. Easy. Efficient.


You can make this pad thai with ingredients that you probably have laying around in your kitchen. The longest step will be soaking (or cooking!) the noodles. Mine called for 10 minutes of soaking in hot water. The rest of the recipe comes together in minutes. Feel free to double or quadruple if you are feeding a crowd.



If my kitchen walls could talk: Need to turn up the heat? Feel free to layer on the sriracha sauce. A tip - the sauce may seem minimal based on the amount of noodles that are cooked, so feel free to double or triple the sauce based on your personal preference. Not a fan of edamame? Swap out chicken or tofu to still pack a protein punch.


Quick and Clean Pad Thai 

Ingredients

1 tbsp tamari
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp lime juice
1-2 cups rice noodles, cooked per package directions
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/4 garlic, minced
1/3 cup edamame
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1 scallion, chopped

1. Combine tamari, brown sugar and lime juice in a small bowl, set aside. Cook rice noodles per package directions, set aside.
2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add grapeseed oil and garlic. Add rice noodles, edamame, peanuts and scallions, stir to combine. Add tamari sauce. Continue to stir until heated through and peanuts are lightly browned.



What's on your plate this Thursday? 



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2/4: WIAW

Hey there - I can hardly believe that today is Wednesday! This week has been dragging by and I feel like I have constantly been a day ahead of schedule.  I think the culprit is my early morning workouts and excess coffee :) Anyway, before I lose my track of thought, What I Ate Wednesday is here! Let's get started shall we.

My alarm went off bright and early, I stumbled my way to the coffee machine and started my day with half of a glass....and then hit up the gym for 30 minutes on the stairmill... yikes! It was everything I hoped it would be and I remained scared of every staircase I saw for the remainder of the day.


After my workout, I started getting ready for work and enjoyed another cup of coffee with almond milk and my beloved breakfast cookie.  I hopped in the car and was on my way.... I got a little hungry midway through the morning, so I ate half a banana.



Soon, it was time for lunch.  I always eat around 11 am, but received a call that IT was finally coming to check out our PC problems. The printer and keyboard have been on the fritz in our office, so imagine our surprise when instead of offering to fix it, IT just said they were going to replace it!  I was totally on board with the new swanky PC they brought us in the afternoon, complete with working printer and keyboard. That's what Wednesday dreams are made of.


They must have wanted out of our office after checking out this new calendar that was hanging on our wall. My co-worker brought it in yesterday and it is the prime real estate right over our printer. "Hot Guys and Baby Animals". Could you really want anything more? 12 whole months of the cutest baby animals you have ever seen. Oh, and a few hot guys too!

I ate my salad - mixed greens, balsamic chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella, cucumbers - and munched on this insanely amazing gluten free bread while IT checked out the equipment and decided what they needed to replace. I spent my afternoon in clinic seeing patients, grabbed a water and came back to eat a quest bar.


Soon, the day was over and I was home. I was headed back to the gym for a new "design your own workout" feature that I had signed up for.  I decided a second workout called for a second snack so I added peanut butter and a few chocolate chips to a slice of the same bread I mentioned before.  The class was  informative and I learned about the gym equipment, but I didn't walk away with any new knowledge. Oh well!


I came home and sauteed a zucchini before moving on to my next kitchen project - pad thai. While I was in Kauai, I had the best pad thai from a food truck.  It was insanely simple - rice noodles, sauce, tofu, peanuts and bean sprouts.  I wanted to create something equally simple at home and it was amazing (recipe coming tomorrow!) quick and clean pad thai for the win!




And then I snuck 2 chocolate hearts out of the Dove bag. I will eat all heart shaped candy. It's my jam :)


Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Breakfast in a Flash

Hi there!  Happy Tuesday :) I am sharing one of my favorite breakfast classics with you today.  Maybe you have found yourself in a bit of a rush in the morning and are looking for a new classic recipe.  I find that classic recipes are ones that require minimal ingredients and preparation, while always ending up a hit in this kitchen.

Today, that classic is french toast.  Dip bread in an egg wash that has been sweetened with the rich taste of cinnamon and warm vanilla, heat until golden brown and serve with fresh fruit and organic maple syrup.  Could there be anything better?

If my kitchen walls could talk: Minimalist recipes call for quality ingredients. I recommend using a hearty gluten free bread, such as Whole Foods Prairie Bread, or similar bread that combines nuts and seeds.  Vanilla is a key player as well, so be sure to use real vanilla as opposed to imitation.



Quick and Easy French Toast 

Ingredients 

2 eggs
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
2 slices hearty gluten free bread
1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil/butter

1. Combine eggs, almond milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a large pie plate, beating with a whisk until combined.
2. Set bread slices in egg wash, allow to soak for 5 minutes per side.
3. In a medium pan, add grapeseed oil or butter over medium heat. Once pan is heated add bread slices. Cook until golden brown 1-3 minutes per side, flip and repeat.

What's your favorite french toast topping?

Monday, February 2, 2015

2/2/15: Outfits of the Day

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  By the way... happy first day of February!  I am disappointed that the groundhog did not see his shadow this morning, but am looking forward to the last official month of winter. I plan to soak in all the snow showers, puffer coats and cute scarves that I can while the temperature is 30 and below.

Today, I am taking the blog in a different direction and sharing some of my recently loved outfits from Instagram!  I have gotten a few questions about the pieces in the photos, so what better way then to share my favorite looks with all of you.

Casual Travel


Scarf: Target (sold out), similarsimilar, also love, Shirt: Nordstrom Rack, similar, Sweater: The Limited,  Leggings: Athleta, Bracelet: JCrew, similar, Shoes: Ralph Lauren

I'm all about comfort when it comes to long road trips or airplanes. Think leggings, an oversized t-shirt and a big scarf. Bonus: you can use the scarf as a blanket.

Standard Work Look


Shirt: The Limitedsimilar, Pants: The Limited, Necklace: Etsy, similar, Flats: Michael Kors, similar

When it comes to the work day, I am all about style with a splash of comfort.  I walk almost the entire day, so flats are always on my agenda. I love cheery bright pops of color, especially in the winter.

That wraps it up. See you tomorrow with a recipe post!