What I Ate Wednesday

Going to get straight to the point this week — happy What I Ate Wednesday!

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Breakfast

I’ve officially decided on-the-go breakfast options just aren’t pretty. I mean sure a green smoothie and a yogurt parfait look alright in mason jars, but in to-go Tupperware, not so much. Sorry for the mess (& dark photo), but this breakfast was brought to you by a green smoothie (w/ mango – yum!) and Greek yogurt with homemade granola and strawberries. 

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Lunch

So lunch. It was clearly tasty because I gobbled it up without grabbing a photo. Um, oops? Anyway, I munched on half a whole wheat pita, lots of veggies and hummus. Accompanied by an orange. 

Snacks

Cajun roasted chickpeas and a no-bake peanut butter granola bar. A little savory and a little sweet. I highly recommend making both – stat!

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Dinner

When it comes to dinner, I usually stick to creating a handful of go-to meals, especially during the week. With the abundance of amazing recipes out there on blogs and in cookbooks, I’ve decided to start utilizing them more. I bookmark so many “that looks tasty” options and it’s about time I start enjoying them. Tonight’s dinner was Smoky Black Bean Tostadas from Alex at Delish Knowledge. They were fabulous and are vegan (or vegetarian if you use regular mayo in the sauce like I did). 

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Speak up: What are you eating this week? What are your go-to sources for healthy recipes?

Cajun Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese

As someone who has a whole Pinterest board dedicated to mac and cheese, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject. As in, I want all the macaroni all the time. Unfortunately, stuffing my face with bite after bite of cheese and pasta isn’t exactly very healthy. **sad face**

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While I do indulge in my fair share of cheesy goodness, I wanted to find a way to make one of my favorite foods healthier. So as I was driving home one day thinking about the spaghetti squash on my counter, it came to me! Sure using spaghetti squash as a noodle replacement is nothing new, but it’s the creaminess of this dish that will hook ya!

I also pumped up the protein by using pureed Cannellini beans to help make a creamy “sauce.” I know it sounds a little weird, but it tastes genius really… I promise. My official taste tester couldn’t even detect a hint of beans which in my book is a win!

If you want, you could really ramp up this recipe with different veggies. Though I only tossed in tomatoes, I think spinach or broccoli could be delicious here are as well. 

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Cajun Spaghetti Squash Mac
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 spaghetti squash, roasted
  2. 1 can cannellini beans, pureed (use blender or food processor)
  3. 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  4. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
for flavor & spice
  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  4. 1 tsp onion powder
  5. 1 tbsp parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Cook garlic in heated oil for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add squash and bean puree. Mix well so beans evenly coat squash, about 6-8 minutes. It will become easier to mix as the beans warm up.
  5. Fold in cheese little by little until melted.
  6. Add Cajun seasoning, onion powder and parsley. Stir until well-mixed.
Fresh Simple Five http://www.freshsimplefive.com/

Warming Winter Wellness Tips

I feel about winter how I feel about white furniture. It’s beautiful to look at, but in the end, it’s not really all that practical. Sure the winter months give us Christmas, hot chocolate and cozy sweaters; however, I’d take sunshine, smoothies and flip flops any day. 

I do know one thing for sure about winter and it’s that it is not a free ticket to skimp on healthy habits. Even though giant bowls of macaroni and cheese and comfy couches sound more appealing than fresh produce and exercise, it’s important to keep your body in tip top shape no matter the circumstances. In fact, feeling your best makes other things not seem so bad… like that impending snow storm.

So what’s my secret for coping with Midwestern winters? Tricking myself into thinking I’m warmer than I really am… which isn’t necessarily hard to do since I’m always absolutely freezing! On that note, here are my favorite ways to stay warm and well all winter long. 

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is by far my favorite workout when it’s cold outside. I mean, how else am I going to reach 90 degree temps without hoping on a plane? My favorite classes are vinyasa which incorporate a strong flow to warm up the body even more. The added bonus? The warm studio serves as major motivation to leave my house on dark evenings. 

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Tea

Lately my evenings have been spent with a cup of warm (decaffeinated) tea in hand. I especially love herbal teas and my current favorite brands are Yogi Tea and Celestial Seasonings. I scored a few seasonal flavors from the latter and have been enjoying Candy Cane Lane with a hint of honey. Tea is hands down the best way to warm up your whole body.

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Warm Meals

Just add this to the list of reasons why home cooking rocks! Warm meals are comforting and good for the soul. Whipping up a homemade dish doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time either. With things like one pot meals and slow cookers, delicious dinners are easy to make and enjoy. I have my eye on this Spicy Butternut Squash Soup. For more healthy recipes, visit Aloha’s recipe page

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Speak Up: How do you stay well in the winter months? What’s your favorite flavor of tea?

This post is brought to you in partnership with Aloha

What I Ate Wednesday

What I Ate Wednesday Button

I’ve had a tough time getting into the swing of things this week… in fact, all I’d like to do is nap and read books on the couch. But real life calls and I managed to do some food prep Monday night which made this week’s What I ate Wednesday post not only tastier, but a bit healthier too. Fact: I survived the workday on Monday with the help of leftover Chinese food.  

Breakfast

Recycled meal, recycled photo. I forgot to grab a picture of my smoothie and oats this morning, but they pretty much looked the same as usual. While the color can sometimes get a little muddy, my favorite smoothie combo right now is frozen berries, spinach, banana and some chocolate protein powder. 

WIAW Breakfast

Lunch

This week’s lunch brought to you by lentils! I love lentils and am always trying to find fun ways to eat more of them. To create this little lentil salad, I tossed together green lentils, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers. Seasoned with lemon juice, oregano and dill. Plus an apple on the side.

WIAW Lunch

Snack

Homemade granola bar — simply fantastic!

Homemade granola bar

Dinner

A few months ago I found a recipe for a Mexican quinoa dish on Pinterest, and I’ve been making variations of it ever since. For tonight’s dinner I mixed together quinoa, corn, black beans and bell peppers. I add to the yum factor, I topped with cheese, guacamole and a bit of Greek yogurt. All my favorite flavors in one!

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My Favorite Kitchen Gadget for 2015

After a few years of debating with myself over whether or not I needed a food processor, I decided that yes, owning one was a must. Lucky for me, Santa and his elves stuck a Cuisinart under the tree for me this Christmas. And so grew my obsession with making homemade snacks, nut butters and hummus. Before I get to all the goodies I’m planning on whipping up with this bad boy, let’s take a step back.

Last summer (remember summer?! Come back now, please) I decided enough was enough when it came to shelling out $1.29 for a granola bar and set out to make my own. While the end result was totally delicious, the path to get there included three small kitchen electronics, a pretty big mess and a lot of transferring ingredients back and forth. (See the aftermath below.) It was then that I realized all these problems could have been solved by simply biting the bullet and getting a food processor. 

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So here we are. On the verge of food processing all the things — not to be confused with processed food. In fact, quite the opposite. One of the things I’m most excited about is using the food processor to cut out some of the processed foods I do buy. While I try my best to keep these types of foods to a minimum, sometimes you just need a Larabar or some TJs hummus. And that’s totally fine, but why not replace some of these things with homemade as time allows? Plus I’m pretty sure you’d save money in the long term. Boomshakalaka!

In case you need some food processing inspiration, I’ve gathered up a handful of recipes I’m dying to try asap… Hope you love them!

Granola Bars

No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars  (Hummusapien)

So these don’t technically need a food processor, but I’ll probably use mine anyway for the dates. Don’t they look scrumptious? 

No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Copycat Cashew Cookie Larabars (Fit Foodie Finds)

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars (The Healthy Maven)

Nut Butter

 Homemade Nutella (Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)

Confession: homemade Nutella was the first thing we made in our food processor and it was wonderful. Much, much better than store bought if you ask me. Plus it makes for the perfect after work snack with some pretzels… just sayin’. 

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 Cake Batter Cashew Butter (Edible Perspective)

This look like funfetti in a glass… seriously!

 Dark Chocolate Almond Butter with Sea Salt (Ambitious Kitchen)

 Just looking at all these recipes makes me hungry. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Now I must go and process things!

Speak up: Do you have a food processor? What’s your favorite thing to make with it?