Go Greens!

You may be seeing a common trend here throughout my blogs…. versatility amongst foods! Why make dieting and healthy eating complicated? Key is to choose healthy choices, but make it easy on yourself. So as I continue to find the most convenient, versatile foods, I will continue to share.
So here it goes…..salads. I know when I started this journey, one of my first thoughts were, “Man, I’m going to have eat boring, blah salads for the next months.” But, the truth is, I have learned to love salads, I don’t eat them all the time, but I sure do love them. Why? Because I can be creative and have a different salad every day if I really wanted too! I don’t always have time to cook and salads are an easy, healthy choice.
Some of favorite toppings I share below:

Dressings:
Balsamic
Raspberry vinaigrette
Oil/vinegar
Italian
Vinaigrette’s

Favorite toppings:
Strawberries
Feta cheese
Red onion
Parmesan
Pearl Mozzarella
Olives
Chicken
Turkey
Sweet peas

Oh the options are endless…. get creative. Do you have a creative salad creation? Please share it, I would love to read and hear new ideas!

Got a Sweet Tooth? Go Bananas!

Who would have thought such a simple fruit can used for so many reasons. They are a great substitute for many desserts to make it a bit healthier.
To start, I love adding bananas to my shakes every morning. They are so versatile, taste great with both the vanilla and the chocolate, or add any additional fruit, peanut butter, and coconut oil to change the flavor up a bit.
Now onto the sweet stuff… bananas make a great substitute for butter and oil in baked goods. Instead of adding butter to your cake, add smashed bananas. Bananas will still offer the moistness to the cake without the added calories and fat. Also, any recipe calling for a whole egg, add a banana instead.
Bananas are cheap, convenient, healthy, and if they get old on the counter, throw them in the freezer for another day.
I made a “clean” cookie recipe this weekend, cutting out the flour, eggs, and butter. (Of course, I had to the leave in the chocolate chips 🙂 )

Clean Cookies:
1 Cup Quick oats
2 Bananas (I used 1 old, and 1 new)
Handful of chocolate chips
Cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Enjoy!Banana Oatmeal Cookies 003  Great for a treat while eating clean!

Countdown Is On!

As you may recall, my primary motivator that started my “get fit” “get healthy” journey was to be in the best I have ever been in and to able to wear a bikini for trip to Punta Cana in a few short months! Am I there yet? No. Am I closer to reaching my goal? Yes. Will I get there? Yes! I have 3 short months to get there. Not going to lie… last week was a bad week of exercising…. completely lost my motivation. Maybe it was the weather, maybe I lost interest in my program. No matter the reason, I must stay focused and get through this.  Over the weekend, I did find a little motivator… I started looking at swimsuits, which reminded me why I started this in the first place and what I am working towards. Sure, I could settle with a tankini or a one-piece, but that would be cheating myself. So, last week is past, this is a start of new week and I am determined to get back on track.
The countdown is on… 3 months… I can DO this!

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Greek It Is!

greek yogurt

On my journey of healthier (cleaner) eating, I have discovered something wonderful… Greek Yogurt! Greek yogurt comes in many flavors, but I am referring to plain Greek yogurt. For someone that has never tried it, may think it is quite bitter, and to say the least, horrible. I thought that until I started getting creative with it.
To eat at for a snack or breakfast, I like to add fruit, granola, or another great option to sweeten it up a bit is to add honey. I also enjoy it in shakes and smoothies as well.
The best yet that I have discovered, is it is a great substitute for sour cream. Tastes great with tacos, Quesadillas, chip dip (add salsa or fresh chives. ) Last night I made Jalapeno Popper Chicken, which called for mayo and cream cheese. I substituted with 1/2 the cream cheese using 1/3 less fat, and Greek yogurt… it was amazing (see recipe below).
Spread the word…. Greek yogurt is such a healthier choice and so versatile, everyone should be aware! I cannot wait to continue to find recipes to use it in.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

4 Chicken breast
4 oz Cream cheese
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 can Green Chiles
Shredded cheese

Place thawed chicken breast in baking dish. Mix cream cheese, yogurt, and chiles and spread over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min. Sprinkle cheese on top and place back in oven till melted.

Shake It!

No… I don’t mean shake it off with some dance moves :)…. I mean that I have grown to love shakes, that shakes that you drink! Throughout my journey here, I have mentioned that I use Shakeology, offered by Beachbody. Besides the price, I love them! I love the taste, the convenience, the way they make me feel, and the variety they offer. I have fun with it. The shakes allow me to be creative and make any flavor into a new one! It’s all about experimenting.
My favorite is the chocolate. I always mix with 6 oz. of Almond milk and 6 oz. of water. I also like to switch it up by adding a banana, coconut oil (the here is heat up the oil first before adding, that way there are no chunks in the shake), or PB2 (powdered peanut butter). It’s amazing what these ingredients offer to these shakes… by adding coconut oil, it tastes like an Almond Joy candy bar or add butterscotch pudding mix and you have a Butterfinger (too sweet for me)!
I also love the vanilla because it is so versatile. I have add things like: Orange juice (tastes like an Orange Julius), strawberries, triple berries, coconut oil, PB2, bananas, coffee (brew 1 cup, chill, and add to shake before blending), chocolate almond milk, cheesecake pudding mix, and variety of different extracts. The options are endless here! So much fun!
Simple as adding ice, ingredients of choice, and blend! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I love these shakes… never have been a shake fan till now :).

21 Days

They say it takes 21 days to get into a habit. I can honestly say, I now believe in this statement. As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I started my healthy journey with Beachbody, the program I chose was 21 day fix. (Hence, 21 days to get into a habit). This program has a set fitness and nutrition plan to follow for 21 days. I personally did not do it to lose weight, so I didn’t use the containers that were also given with the program, but I followed the fitness portion to a tee. The fitness portion contained 8 different, 30 minute workouts with a variety of programs including: Pilates, yoga, cardio, and weight lifting exercises, all targeting core areas of the body. Now that my 21 days is complete, I am still going, I am committed. I honestly feel the need to work out every day, and if I don’t, I don’t feel good about myself.
The same goes for eating. When I started the fitness challenge, I also started the healthy (clean) eating challenge. I have also come accustomed to this and WANT to eat healthy. I feel better, I look better, my clothes fit better, I am happier… all in all, I enjoy being me!
I have come to realize that it is all about making choices and commitments. Giving it 21 days….has made me addicted to a better lifestyle.

Fitness quote

Dessert…. Anyone??

One of the biggest challenges I and probably most others have when dieting, or like my journey of eating healthy and going clean, is giving up dessert. But, on this journey I have learned that there are still ways to have dessert! Again, as I have mentioned several times through my blogging…. Pinterest has been a lifesaver for ideas!

Here are a couple… give them a try! You’ll be glad you did! 🙂

Clean Eating Banana Cookies  Banana Cookies
2 Large old bananas
1 Cup of quick oats
1 Cup dark chocolate chips
Mix and Bake @ 350 Degrees for 15 minutes

Avocado Cookies

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies (Am I serious? Yep!)
3/4 Cup Fresh avocado
½ cup coconut sugar
1 egg
½ cup dark cocoa powder
Dark chocolate chips
½ tsp. baking soda

Mix together, and Bake @ 375 degrees for 10 minutes

Protein Pudding ( No lie… it tastes like ice cream!)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 scoop Chocolate protein powder (I use Shakeology)
1 small scoop stevia
1 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Mix altogether and place in freezer for 30 minutes.protein pudding

So there you have it… try these and they will for sure be the trick to satisfy your sweet tooth and allow you to stay on the track of a healthy lifestyle. They have worked for me and even my kids enjoy it!

What’s for Dinner?

OK…Now back to my healthy living, clean eating journey. One of the most challenging things I have found on this journey is figuring out “What’s for dinner?” Being a mom of two small children and a husband that likes to eat (what man doesn’t like to eat?? 🙂 ), it gets pretty tricky trying to make one meal that will satisfy everyone. I have to say that I am pretty amazed by how well my children do eat, and I am so proud that they are learning about the important of eating healthy at a young age and they enjoy it! I would consider my daughter to be pretty picky, but she has learned to try it and then if she doesn’t like it, she can substitute with a peanut butter sandwich. My son, on the other hand, is a champ… he loves his veggies! And my husband, he’ll eat anything, just takes more to fill him up :). I’m not going to lie, we definitely have our “cheat” night when we order in pizza, or go out to eat, oh, and don’t forget about those cookies we have to make once in a while :).
So, you may be wondering… what do we eat? Well, our typical go to’s include: using ground turkey instead of ground beef for tacos, casseroles, burgers, ect., using wheat noodles, tortillas, bread, buns instead of white, brown rice, we eat lots of chicken, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, and eggs just to name a few.
I find a Pinterest to be a life saver, when planning meals. There are so many ideas for quick meals, crockpot meals, and of course desserts! Here I share a few of our favorites so that I have found and tried… give them a try, you won’t be sorry :).

soup

http://www.artandthekitchen.com/2013/10/italian-turkey-burger-soup.html/

Chix brown rice casserole

http://www.skinnymom.com/2013/03/08/skinny-rosemary-chicken-and-brown-rice/#.UtXHq9JdX4U

I can honestly say, I look forward to cooking and trying new things, and to me, if I know it is healthy and clean, I enjoy it that much more.

A New Ride

I am taking a turn on my blog this week, don’t worry, I will be back with the healthy living journey again :). Being this blog is about life in general as well, I wanted to share the exciting news that I bought a new car this week. Getting a new car is always a fun and new adventure. I bought a Nissan Murano, I had one years ago and ever since I sold it, I have always wished I still had it. So, I promised myself when the opportunity rose again, I was going to purchase a Murano again! So I did… nothing like following your dreams, right?

I have never really had a vehicle that was fully loaded, guess that means I must get fully loaded this time :). My Murano is fully loaded with leather, heated seats, Bluetooth, Bose stereo system, seat memory, double sunroof, key less entry and start, and premium 20″ wheels. The ride is so smooth, and I feel so safe in this vehicle. I have only had it for a week, but with my history of owning one before, I would recommend this vehicle to anyone.Murano

Snacking

Through my journey to adapting to a healthier lifestyle, I have learned so much about eating habits, and one being the importance of snacking. Before I started this journey, I always thought that snacking was bad, but the truth is, it is good for you and it is important to have two snacks a day, in between meals, but the key is to have the RIGHT snacks. Things like chips and cookies would not be considered as a healthy snack. Healthy snacking fights hunger which prevents binge eating and overeating during meal time, it also helps you meet your nutrition needs, as long as you choosing the right snacks. Some of my favorite snacks to eat are:

  • Jicama (Mexican Potato) It tastes like a sweet pea, just peel it, slice it, and eat it like any other raw vegetableJicama
    • Celery with Peanut butter
    • Baby carrots
    • Greek yogurt Plain, but I add fruit, honey, or cinnamon to mine for some flavor
    • Protein bars
    • Sweet Peas
  • • Almonds
  • Fruits (Apple, strawberries, grapefruit)
  •  Granola bites
  • Rice Cakes

These are just a few that I enjoy and find the most convenient. It is hard to eat healthy, let alone choosing healthy snacks too, but again planning and preparing ahead it key to success. I love how I feel and I love reaching out to others and the internet for new ideas.