#whatiatemonday | Vegetable Fajitas

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This past week, the favorite Instagram post from my #whatiatemonday series was a tie between Vegetable Fajitas and a Green Smoothie. I’ve talked about green smoothies before, so I decided to share a recipe for Vegetable Fajitas. veggie fajita dinner

I reserve two dinners a week as meatless meals, this means that I have really been stepping out of my box for dinners. A couple of months ago, I made fajita vegetables for a burrito bowl. I was rooting through my fridge, saw some tortillas and it hit me, Vegetable Fajitas!!! Well let me say, I haven’t looked back! This delicious treat is a hit not just for me, but for the man in my life as well. fajita veggies

I love to pair a colorful assortment of fajita vegetables with well seasoned beans for a filling delicious treat. I also love pickled jalapeno’s and will take any excuse to use them. Sometimes I top my fajitas with pico de gallo or guacamole or any number of options. The most important ingredients are beans, tortillas, and vegetables. Other than that, the options are endless! This recipe is for two, with 4 loaded fajitas total: Veggie Fajitas rc

I like to use beans that I have cooked in a tomato sauce or a sofrito as the base in my fajitas, but you can still just open a can and season well. I try to stay away from refried beans as a healthier approach to tasty food. Let me know what meatless meals you enjoy as I am always looking for new recipes to try!

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In the Kitchen | Mom’s Chicken & Rice

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I made my mothers chicken and rice the other day and I decided to film and share. This is a delicious one pot meal that also works well within meal prep with protein, carbs and veggies.  This is also a meal that cooks itself, I often go for a quick run while my food simmers away. I hope you try the recipe, and please share your recipes for Chicken and Rice with me!

Mom’s Chicken & Rice

Serving Size: yield’s 4 portions

Ingredients:

2 tbsp OliveOil
4 Chicken Thighs
1 cup Brown Rice
1 medium Onion
2 stalks of Celery
2 cups Chicken Broth/Stalk
2 tsp minced Garlic
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Warm olive oil in pan over medium heat.

2. Salt chicken on both sides and add to warm pan. Let the chicken brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side).

3. Remove chicken and set aside. Add onion, celery, and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent.

4.  Add brown rice and spices. Stir continuously for one minute.

5.  Add chicken broth, bay leaf and chicken. Bring the mixture back to a boil.

6. Taste. Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the chicken falls off of the bone.

Fluff the rice and Enjoy!!!

Tip: If you want the recipe to be even simpler, add 2 Tablespoons of Poultry seasoning when you add spices, but don’t forget to salt the chicken.

Mason Jar Salads | My Favorites

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photo 2-1This summer, up until September I have been eating salads that I take to work in Mason Jars for lunch. I was able to eat a different salad each week, which kept me from getting bored and happy to try this again next summer. I thought I would just share some of my favorite ingredients for those who want to get into Mason Jar Salads.

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Protein:
Chicken
Roast Beef
Quinoa
Black Beans

Veggie’s:
Heirloom Tomatoes
Green Onion
Yellow, Red, Orange Bell Pepper
Cucumber
Avocado

Fruit:
Strawberries
Grapes
Dried Cranberries

Nuts:
Slivered Almonds
Pecans

Cheeses:
Gorgonzola
Blu Cheese
Herbed Feta

Lettuce:
Spinach
Organic Girl Power Green
Romaine

I tried other ingredients, but the above are my favorites. My salad ingredient ratio combo is usually:
Protein
2 Veggies
Optional Fruit
Tablespoon Nuts
Tablespoon Cheese
Serving of Greens

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I never put my salad dressing in the jar, so I will do a separate post about my favorite salad dressings. Plus I always use quinoa and beans together for a great dose of protein. I kept a box of plastic forks and paper plates at work all summer, and was asked just about every day what salad and dressing I was eating that week.  These salads are quite high in good, healthy, sustainable calories. They are multi-vitamins in a jar, they are filling, they look gorgeous and are very easy to take to work.  Give it a try! What are your favorite’s?photo 3-4

SO Over Salad…On to Sandwiches

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My summer salad binge has come to a close, and now I want sandwiches. Yes, I have been eating sandwiches for lunch, basically since September began. I love Vegetarian sandwiches, I enjoy meat, but I find veggie sandwiches just have a lot more flavor. Plus, I will use any excuse to pile alfalfa sprouts onto a sandwich!

For my sandwiches, I like to start by taking a trip to Whole Foods Market and purchasing a fresh loaf of bread. No white bread for me, I like the nutrients that grain breads provide. Then I head over to the olive bar and pick up Peppadew peppers. If you’ve never had them, go find some, they are divine!

Then I head either to Publix or Trader Joe’s and pick some innards. I like to use Honey mustard or Hummus as a spread for my bread, and I always have a slice of cheese (usually Pepper Jack, Provolone, or Monterey Jack). As stated above, Alfalfa Sprouts are a must. The rest of the ingredients change based on what I am feeling, but its usually some combination of Avocado, Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Pickles, Tomato, and/or Onion. I don’t add any leafy greens, instead I leave those to my daily green smoothie.

I usually take some fruit, veggies and potato chips as a side. I mean, I literally take a Tupperware container and put a little of each into the small container. That strategy tends to keep me from eating too much of one thing. For my next food post, I will compile a list of my summer Mason Jar salad’s, plus I will talk a little about Salad Dressing.

Freezer Staples | Making Healthy Eating Easy and Cheaper

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I have come to realize that the most practical way to purchase healthy food on a budget is by purchasing items that will be held in my freezer. This also makes cooking for one easy as well.

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In my last post I spoke about my soup files, which have really made lunch easy. With the remainder of my freezer staples I kept that same meal portions concept in mind.

First up, Chicken Breast. I eat chicken every week in soups, curries, wraps, etc, so I wanted to find a good economical frozen bag of breast fillets. However, I still wanted hormone free, organic chicken packaged with as few preservatives as possible. I went to my three favorite stores for purchasing meat, perused their selection, and chose the best option.
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Of the options, Trader Joe’s won, hands down. This 2lb bag of frozen breast meat is hormone free , there are no preservatives, and is individually frozen (meaning I don’t have to pry stuck pieces of chicken apart. Each breast is 4oz., which for me is a perfect portion. Continuing with meat, seafood and beef.

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I live in Florida with easily accessible, cheap seafood, so it’s a must in my life. I go to the market, buy a few large fillets, cut them into the portions I need and freeze them in water (keeps frost bite away). For example, I bought one sizeable Salmon fillet and cut it into 4 portions ($6.99/lb), a good size Mahi Mahi fillet (9.99/lb, cost $7 that day) and cut it into two portions, and a pound of Bay Scallops (5.99/pound) portioned into 4 clumps. I froze each portion separately and ended up with about a months worth of seafood. I also purchased a pound of lean ground beef from Trader Joe’s (5.99/lb), seasoned and froze it in two separate portions (spaghetti and stuffed peppers).

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Last of the seafood is frozen shrimp. I almost bought shrimp from the same seafood market, but my sister pointed out that the bag from the Publix Frozen food section is peeled and deveined, which will make those tired nights easier, so I splurged and purchased the one pound bag for $18.99. Seems expensive, but when you do the portion math, it’s not so bad, none the less it’s a splurge. Next up was Smoothie fruit:

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My sister kindly pointed out to me that I could purchase a 5 lb bag of mixed fruit from Sam’s Club for $10.98, and that was that. I make a green smoothie daily and this bag of frozen fruit is by far more economical than anything else I was purchasing. I still add a piece of fresh fruit to my smoothie (banana, mango, avocado or pear), and save lots of money. Last but not least is veggies:

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I was hesitant to purchase frozen veggies because they do not have as much flavor as the fresh variety, but the nutritional value is higher, so I decided to give it a try. Economically, Walmart wins with these three pound bags of Bird’s Eye veggies are $2.99 a piece. As you can see I am almost done with one of the bags. These are so easy to steam, throw in a stir fry, noodles or curry dish. They have cut down on cooking and prep time tremendously.

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I have to admit that while economical, they do not have as much flavor as their never frozen counterparts. Plus, pesticides and preservatives, well you decide. None the less, these freezer staples have made life sooooooo much easier. My weekly grocery spending is sooooo much cheaper and meal planning now starts with the freezer!

My Go To Lunch Options

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I take lunch to work daily, so I need something that is easy to store, holds up well for a couple of hours and doesn’t require a ton of day of prep. For me, that means that I have settled into a soup or sandwich routine.

Everyday I take either soup or a sandwich for lunch. I will do a separate post on how I do soups and maintain a variety, but with hearty soups, a bowl full is all I need, for vegetable soups I take a piece of toast to fill me up. Sandwiches are usually a veggie sandwich with cheese crumbles for fat or a meat sandwich with no cheese to lower calories. I am toying with the idea of veggie wraps, but I need to do more research into low cal, healthy and most importantly tasty wrap choices.

I do not make a plan each week to buy specific ingredients for my sandwiches, I just decide at the beginning of the week whether or not I am going to do veggie or meat sandwiches and purchase what I am missing. I keep my refrigerator stocked up with sandwich fixings:

Hummus
Red Onion
Bell Pepper
Peppadew Peppers
Alfalfa Sprouts
Cucumbers
Tomato
Avocado
Feta, Blu, or Gorganzola Cheese Crumbles
Meat (Turkey, ham, roast beef, chicken)
(when avocado’s are in season, I often use them for healthy fat instead)

I keep my freezer stocked up with several kinds of soup, portioned into single servings. This means that I can choose to have soup for a day or two, a sandwich for a couple days, and continue to switch it up. I also take leftovers because they are always a good, easy option. I do not take salad anymore because, well, it just doesn’t appeal to me at the moment.

Anyone out there take wraps? What tortillas do you use and how do they taste?

Healthy Eat | Groceries & Meal Plan

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MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Breakfast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

 2 Eggs

w/toast

2 Eggs

w/toast

Snack

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Lunch

Beef

Rollup

w/fruit

Lentil

Soup

w/small

Salad

Lentil Soup

w/small salad

Lemon

Dressing

Chicken curry

Quinoa

Chicken curry

Quiona

Green

Smoothie

w/beef roll-up

Green Smoothie

w/beef roll

 

Snack

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Dinner

Spaghetti

Squash

w/red sauce

Steamed
Veggies

Quinoa

Chicken curry

Green beans

Lettuce

Cup

Tacos

Valentine’s

Day

Lettuce

Cup

Tacos

Bean

Soup

Small salad