Summer Salad Round-up

With this hot weather, I’m craving salads and smoothies (and lots of watermelon). I thought I’d round up a little list of delish looking salads from my Pinterest Board. We are hitting up the first weekend of the Summer Farmer’s Market (!) on Saturday, so I’m excited to put together a salad with some fresh greens.

Untitled designThis little beauty from How Sweet It Is.

bbq-quinoa-salad

 

 

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad from Pinch of Yum. Peanut sauce is one of my favorite things on the planet. #yum

chopped-thai-chicken

 

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad from Closet Cooking. This flavor combo is right up my alley. So fresh for a light summer lunch.

MED-QUINOA-SALAD

 

 

This beauty makes me want to get a spiralizer ASAP. SkinnyTaste never fails to impress.

greek-cucumber-salad

 

 

And I can’t pass up a watermelon salad 😉 Watermelon & Spinach with feta? Sign me up. Recipe via Cozy Country Living.

spinach-watermelon-salad

 

 

Any must-try salads on your weekend menu? (or Pinterest boards?)

Happy Friday!

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New on the grocery list…

It takes a lot for me to permanently add something to our rotation, but recently a few loves have been found.



Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips I’ve been getting these from costco for a while and they are so good, I don’t even miss “real” chips. They are delicious with salsa, hummus, or guac.

Cream of rice I used to eat oatmeal everyday (with some concoction of egg whites, almond milk, pb2 or whatever else sounded good) but I’ve been dealing with some GI issues and decided to try cutting some things out of my diet. I went with cream of rice instead and it’s delicious. I’ve always liked cream of wheat and it’s very similar (but GF). I add a scoop of protein powder and it’s delicious.

Questbars These are seriously the best protein bars. If you bake them they turn into cookies. I’ve gotten a few samples over the past few months, and finally bought a box at the fitness expo we went to a couple weeks ago. 20 grams of protein and 3-5g net carbs you cannot go wrong. My favorite flavors are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and White Chocolate Raspberry

Ezekiel Bread It took forever for me to try it, but thanks to Jazzything’s suggestion at the motivational event a few months ago I tried it. And loved it. It’s flourless and is made from sprouted grains. It makes the best toast and is delicious with avocado (but what isn’t?)

Coconut flavored La Croix I’ve tried a few flavors and this one is the best! It’s really good with a little pineapple juice too.

Zevia This one is for my husband. It’s soda sweetened with stevia and it’s delicious. He likes the cream soda flavor. We get this at sprouts, but I’ve seen it at Whole Foods and Harmons.

Superfood salad mix Also from Costco, this delicious blend of kale and a bunch of other greens is delicious. I’ve used the craisin/pumpkin seeds it comes with in a chopped salad (with apples, chicken, etc) But I’ve never used the dressing it comes with. 


Have you come across any new faves recently? 

7 weird foods I’m loving

Here are a few (strange) recent food loves. Kind of an odd bunch, but once I find something I love, I’m obsessed with it for a few weeks (or months) then it’s on to the next thing….


1. PB2 I was a bit late to the PB2 party because I couldn’t find anywhere that sold it in Utah until the last few months (although it is available on amazon). I first found it at Harmons (local grocery), but now my closest Wal-Mart carries it. I love it in smoothies as well as on rice-cakes. Mix it with apple sauce instead of water for a yummy treat!







2. Rice cakes— I love these things. My favorite used to be the Trader Joe’s brand, but they stopped carrying them. It was a sad day, and I think I’m positive I gasped out loud when the guy at TJ’s told me they were discontinued. 😦  Now I love the Mother’s brand from Whole Foods. Only 35 calories each- can’t beat that! Top with peanut butter, PB2, bananas, hummus…the options are endless! 





3. Egg whites- I use a lot of egg whites (plain and in things like protein pancakes, etc.) but I hate separating eggs and throwing away the yolk. These babies are amazing. Once again Costco is my favorite! I have been loving egg whites cooked in coconut oil topped with cinnamon. I’m such a weirdo, but don’t knock it till you try it! 



4. Silk Coconut Milk– I’ve loved the Dark Chocolate Almond milk for a while, but I recently picked this up and it is SO good (It was used in the smoothie I posted yesterday). Tastes amazing by itself and especially in smoothies. 


5.   Luna Bars– For an emergency snack, these are great. My favorite flavor is chocolate peppermint stick! So yummy! 


6.   Popcorn–  one of my favorite treats. I’m obsessed with topping popcorn with a little cinnamon and a few chocolate chips for a sweet and salty treat! My husband thinks I’m crazy, but it’s seriously amazing.




7. Cinnamon! Lately I cannot get enough. I put it on everything! Like I mentioned above, on popcorn, egg whites, and even cottage cheese with apples. Naturally I have the big boy from Costco. Never enough cinnamon. 





What foods are you loving lately?


Spice up your Salad!

Salads can easily get boring. I’ve actually let a lot of lettuce go bad in my fridge because I didn’t want another boring salad- fortunately salads are easy to change up! I recently switched from romaine to spinach – even just simply switching your greens can make things more interesting. Since salads are such a great way to pack a lot of nutrients into one meal- don’t cut them out of your meal plan! 

the salad I had for lunch yesterday:
 spinach, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, strawberries, grilled chicken, & balsamic


Here are a few other options to add some spice to your salad:


almond slivers
pecans
seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc)
beans (black or kidney)
boiled eggs
avocado
peppers 
chicken 
fish
quinoa 
shrimp
lean strips of beef 
red onion 
apples
strawberries
mandarine oranges
cherry tomatoes
olives
salsa  



Plan Ahead!

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” pretty much sums up the importance of making preparations ahead of time. I’ve always been a planner- almost to a fault. I like to plan out almost everything (except for my weekends, oddly enough) outfits, meals, workouts- you name it.

I realize that this isn’t something that comes as naturally for everyone. It’s important to plan ahead so when the time comes to act (whether that be on eating a meal or doing a workout)  you are prepared. It’s a lot easier for me to get up at 5am when I know I have my pre-workout on the counter and my gym clothes laid out- it’s less work for me. Here are a few tips for success when it comes to planning


1. Use your down time wisely- If you have an extra hour (or even 20 minutes) in the evening, you can easily prep your breakfast and lunch for the next day, so you aren’t left to get takeout if you end up sleeping through your alarm. Even while you’re watching TV you can throw some chicken in the oven and chop a few veggies during commercials- easy peasy!

a little meal prep


2. Make a list– Always make a list before going grocery shopping. Make sure to buy plenty of healthy options to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Just don’t forget the list!

3.Use a planner– It doesn’t matter if it’s an actual paper planner or in your phone- just use it. I use mine to plan the workouts I’m going to do during the week, and the meals I have plan to have.For me- once it’s written down I’m more likely to stick to it. This is also beneficial because I can plan my workouts around my schedule depending on what I have going on for the day. Some days the morning is better, and other days I prefer afternoons or evenings. 

my planner

4. Know yourself– If you hate running, don’t plan your gym time around the treadmill. If you hate chicken or broccoli- don’t buy it! Try new things and have fun! Working out and eating healthy should not be miserable- it should be about making your life healthier and happier. If you have the opportunity- go to a new class at the gym or try a new recipe. You may just find your new fav!

Remember: Planning is all about making your life easier in the long run!


For the Love of Costco

Anyone who knows me, know I LOVE Costco. My mom taught me about the magic of Costco at a young age, so it was only natural that I got my own membership when I went to college. After my husband and I got married, we upgraded to an Executive membership, and have pretty much only done grocery shopping at Costco ever since. 

A lot of people may wonder why we shop at Costco if we are only shopping for the two of us- well, we do eat a lot, but we also are able to get amazing deals on our favorite healthy foods. We even recently got lucky and found Optimum Nutrition Whey Isolate protein powder as well as a 2 pack of Cellucor C4 pre-workout!


Here is a list of our main Costco staples:

salmon
chicken breasts
turkey burgers
tuna
quinoa

eggs (which we buy by the 5 dozen)
plain Greek yogurt
cottage cheese
soy milk

pita chips
Pirates Booty 
natural peanut butter 
protein powder

frozen berries
apples
canned pineapple
strawberries
bananas

spinach
tomatoes
asparagus
sweet potatoes
avocados
snap peas 
canned black beans 

Naturally we don’t buy all of this each time we go. We usually stock up once a month, and go back a few times in between for whatever we are out of. 

Of course I love places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but when stocking up on groceries, Costco is my fav!

Breakfast: Berries and Cream Protein Oats

This is one of my go-to breakfasts during the week. It’s super easy and delicious, but the best part is that there are only 3 ingredients!



Ingredients:
1/2 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 C Frozen mixed berries

1/3- 1/2 C Oats



Defrost the berries in your bowl for one minute in the microwave. Add the protein powder and oats. Stir. Add a small amount of water and microwave for another minute. Enjoy!!

*if you don’t have/ dont want to use protein powder you can always use an egg white. It’s obviously not as flavorful, but will give you some added protein! If you do use egg whites, flavor the oats with cinnamon, stevia, vanilla, etc 

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

This weekend was a perfect combination of relaxing and being productive. On Friday night we had date night (CPK + Menchies = best ever), hung out with friends, stocked up on groceries and supplements, got the apartment cleaned and laundry done, and of course worked out. 





new workout clothes

my delicious Menchie’s creation
my growing bicep, and Cellucor- new favorite pre-workout
my husband after a lot of hard work
Tonight we had this delicious (and easy) salad for dinner. I love spring and summer for a million reasons, but I really love the fresh produce. I got some yummy strawberries at Costco and they were perfect in this salad. You  can really use any veggies you want in the salad. 



For the salad:

Spinach
Strawberries
Avocado
1 Yellow pepper
Celery stalk
A handful of chopped pecans
Chicken breast
Salt-free seasoning

For dressing I just used olive oil and balsamic vinegar

I just tossed all of the salad ingredients, then topped with grilled chicken- nothing better than dinner in under 30 minutes!




Enjoy!!








Meal Planning 101

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So what is so great about meal planning anyway?


the why

Planning my meals has made my life 100x easier. When I first moved out and went to college, I would walk in to a grocery store and have no idea what i was looking for (because I hadn’t even made a list, usually). Then I’d get home and realize I had almost all of the ingredients for a few recipes, but nothing to make a whole recipe. This was extremely frustrating and also an easy way to waste money! What I’ve come to realize though, is that the most important part of meal planning is that it keeps you on track if you are trying to stick to a specific diet, or just avoid fast/processed foods in general! 
 
So other than saving time and money,  why is it so important to plan your meals? Inevitably you will be hungry a few times a day and you will have 2 options- you can either have a healthy snack on hand to eat, or your hunger will take over and you’ll end up consuming whatever you can get your hands on (which is usually not the best thing for you)


the how

For me, the method that works best is planning meals and grocery shopping for about 2 weeks at a time. This doesn’t mean that every last bite is planned 2 weeks ahead. I just have a general idea of meals that I will be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner- and depending on the circumstances of each day, I choose one of those meals I’ve planned. 

There are so many resources online for finding recipes. My favorites are pinterest and Skinny Taste. After I pick about 10 dinners (this allows for some days to have left overs and some days to eat out),  I comb through the recipes. I then make a big list and go grocery shopping! 

Now that I’m in a good routine for doing this I have certain things I keep on hand so that I don’t have to buy them as frequently. Some of these items include:

greek yogurt
cottage cheese
frozen berries
canned pineapple
oats
natural peanut butter
low sodium chicken broth
chicken breasts
seasonal veggies/ fruits
brown rice
wheat pasta
turkey sausage
eggs
…………..

I have gotten to the point where I keep a few of my favorite things on hand for breakfast and lunches so at this time I mainly just plan my dinners and snacks.  It’s important to know yourself and your triggers! If there is a certain time of day you get ravenously hungry, have something on hand (at your desk, in your pure or backpack, etc) and eat it before you are starving! 

Good luck with planning your meals! 

And remember