Category Archives: Diet

Buffalo Beef Spaghetti Squash Pasta Recipe

I’ve always loved anything with buffalo sauce on it.

I make buffalo wings and even buffalo cauliflower all the time. Actually I’m not sure which I love more…buffalo sauce or cauliflower!

While I wasn’t feel cauliflower today, I thought it would be delicious to make Buffalo Chicken “Pasta” using spaghetti squash since I was in the mood for spaghetti squash AND buffalo sauce.

However, I quickly realized we didn’t have any chicken…only some ground beef.

So instead of a Buffalo Chicken “Pasta” recipe, Buffalo Beef “Pasta” was born. And boy was it delicious!

Buffalo Beef Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”

buffalo beef spaghetti squash recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 can Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
1 medium Spaghetti Squash
1 lb Ground Beef
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tbsp heavy cream
2 oz blue cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Slice spaghetti squash in half and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and some garlic powder. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Once spaghetti squash is done, let cool and then scrap out with a fork. Place in a bowl and save until meat and sauce are done.

Heat a skillet on high. Place meat in skillet and begin to brown. Add garlic, salt and pepper.

Once meat begins to brown, add tomato sauce and hot sauce. Cook on high until meat is browned. Then simmer for a few minutes on low.

While meat is simmering, add spaghetti squash and mix well.

In a microwave, combine cream and blue cheese. Melt blue cheese.

Once spaghetti squash and the beef sauce are combined, top with a bit of the melted blue cheese sauce.

Serve. Should make about 4-5 servings.

Thinking about this meal now….It could be yummy after Thanksgiving when you have leftover turkey to use up!!! GOING TO HAVE TO TRY THAT! YESSS!

Thanksgiving – To Indulge Or Not To Indulge…INDULGE

I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach.

And one thing I believe in is “cheat days/meals” (or whatever you choose to call them).

A day, a meal, to indulge and simply enjoying any foods I want, in any quantities I want.

I especially believe in doing this over the holidays.

BAHA!

While I believe that all too often our social gatherings are centered around food, there are certain holidays where food is part of the tradition and where food is a big part of what truly makes the day special.

So if food is a big part of what makes the day special, why miss out? Why deprive yourself of that once-a-year-meal if it is truly meaningful to you and you really enjoy it?

Because you are trying to be healthy? Because you are trying to lose weight?

There are over 300 other days a year you can worry about that.

Thanksgiving is not the time to start.

But today…This week…BEFORE Thanksgiving…This is a good time to worry about eating well.

Eat clean in preparation.

Eat extra clean so that the day or two of indulgence doesn’t truly have any affect on your progress. Eat extra clean so you feel ready to fully relax and indulge. Eat extra clean to strengthen your resolve to return to your healthy lifestyle after the day or two of enjoyment.

And then on Thanksgiving, STOP WORRYING. One day, even two days, won’t really matter.

Health is a LIFESTYLE! It is about eating well and living well a majority of the time, not every single day.

A couple of days of bad eating won’t matter especially if you eat well before and return to eating well right after.

Actually especially if you return to eating well right after.

So instead of depriving yourself of the Thanksgiving meal you love just don’t indulge for days or even weeks right after or before.

Days like Thanksgiving don’t cause you to gain weight.

Not getting right back on track is what adds up and causes us to truly gain weight.

So if you are searching for tips to help you diet on Thanksgiving or eat clean at holiday parties, you won’t find them here.

Nope…I say eat those stupid holiday cookies at the holiday party.

Just don’t eat them for days and weeks before and/or after the celebration.

If you want to be healthy over the holidays, start eating well today.

Then forget about your healthy lifestyle on Thanksgiving IF you will feel deprived if you don’t indulge. Because deprivation causes way more problems than one day of bad eating.

For me Thanksgiving isn’t a day to diet. Eat well before. Eat well after.

But on Thanksgiving…ENJOY!

Do you do the eat clean “sandwich” aka eat clean before, indulge and eat clean after? Or do you search for tips to help you eat well even on Thanksgiving?

Your Go-To Healthy Dish

I think everyone needs at least one dish that they just always have the ingredients for lying around.

Those ingredients that you always have stocked in your cabinets or buy each week at the store just to make sure you never run out of them.

A dish, while maybe not the most delicious dish you’ve ever eaten, is something you can enjoy every time and not be so bored with that you would rather go eat out then quickly make it.

A dish that you can quickly make if you haven’t been able to do any meal prep and have no leftovers to quickly heat up.

For us, omelets (or scrambled eggs) and chili are our healthy go-tos (and I don’t mean the super long cooking chili…I mean the dump everything into the cast iron and let it simmer for 10 minutes and then devour chili).

We always have ingredients for both around - eggs, tomato sauce, some sort of vegetable and ground beef.

Since we usually have at least a pound of ground beef lying around, if we make a quick chili, there are even leftovers to eat later!

Below is the basic quick chili we make along with a link out to my favorite cauliflower chili (which is a bit more time-consuming).

Quick and Basic Beef Chili

beanless chili recipe

While a few basic spices are listed below, you can add in others like chipotle powder.

Ingredients:
1lb grass-fed ground beef
1 can organic tomato sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
OPTIONAL…AKA if we have them around:
Onion, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, sausage, bacon, olives

Heat a skillet, we use our cast iron, over high heat and add the ground beef. Add some salt and pepper and break the beef up. (Can add in sausage and onion at this time if you are putting them in.)

When the beef is still a little pink, add in tomato sauce and spices. Stir.

Add in any vegetables and bacon if you are adding any. (Cook bacon before adding beef to the skillet. Let bacon cool and then crumble.)

Mix vegetables into the sauce and then lower heat to low. Let simmer another minute or two, stirring everything together occasionally.

Serve with maybe some grass-fed or raw milk cheese on top. If we have the ingredients for guacamole, we will also usually top it with that.

This basic chili recipe can also easily be served over spaghetti squash as a “spicy” meat sauce if you have any lying around!

And if you happen to love cauliflower as much as I do and have a bit more time to cook, try this chili variation - Cauliflower Chili.

What is your go-to healthy dish? What ingredients do you always have lying around?

Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter Recipe

While I’ve been enjoying an assortment of nut butters from Ingr-EAT-ients, I couldn’t help but want to try to make some of my own again.

Ever since I made the macadamia nut butter about a month ago, I’ve been wanting to try a nut butter variation of one of my favorite healthy desserts – Salted Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark.

Which when I tried making it the other day, along with a plain Macadamia Nut Butter and a Vanilla Honey Cashew Butter (which reminded me of cookie dough), ended up sort of tasting a little like Nutella. Not exactly like Nutella, although I’m sure you could make something even closer using hazelnuts, but enough that it really really REALLY tasted like a treat!

Although I could simply eat the chocolate macadamia nut butter by the spoonful, it was also great on an apple. And I can’t wait to try it in the Yonanas later this week…Just image….Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Banana Ice Cream….DROOL….

Anyway, here is the Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter recipe!

Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter

salted chocolate macadamia nut butter recipe

Ingredients:
10 oz Unsalted Roasted Macadamia Nuts
About 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate chunks
1 tsp Sea Salt (can use less or more to taste)
1 tsp Coconut Oil

Place nuts in a food processor. Process until a fine powder. Add in chocolate, salt and oil. Continue to process until smooth. This will take only a minute or two.

If you would like it to be chunky, put in a few nuts at the very end and blend for only a second or two.

Have you ever made a chocolate nut butter at home? What would you eat the Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter on?

Healthy Comfort Foods: Recreating Foods From Your Childhood

There are certain comfort foods, certain meals, from my childhood that I crave when I get stressed.

However, some of them don’t fit the way I like to eat on a regular basis…which means that if I really want them, I have to find a way to make them healthy.

So the other day when I was craving one of my favorite meals growing up, “Green Olive Pasta,” I had to find a way to make a healthy, gluten-free, variation of it. (I think I was a bit obsessed with green olives in general growing up actually…But anyway…)

If you love or crave garlic, olives and pasta, you may just want to try my Healthy Comfort Food Green Olive “Pasta.”

Green Olive “Pasta”

spaghetti squash pasta

Servings 3-4
Ingredients:
4 cups cooked Spaghetti Squash
3/4lb Chicken Breast
1/4 cup green olives, sliced
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 large clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp+1/2 tbsp oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut chicken into chunks and sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp oregano, 1 clove garlic and salt and pepper. Cook the chicken in a skillet until browned and cooked through.

While cooking the chicken, slice olives and tomatoes. Dice garlic. Add olives, tomatoes and 1 clove garlic to a bowl with olive oil, 1 tbsp oregano, salt and pepper.

Add cooked spaghetti squash to the mix as well. (To cook spaghetti squash, preheat oven to about 375. Cut in half and spoon out pulp and seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the size. The squash is done when you can easily scrap out pulp into strands using a fork.)

Add chicken to squash mixture once cooked. You can either serve the dish hot or as a cold “pasta.”

I find that the longer everything sits in the olive oil sauce, the more flavorful the dish becomes even if you choose to reheat it later!

What comfort foods from your childhood do you occasionally miss? Have you found a way to make a healthy variation of them?

Why do weekends sabotage our progress?

It’s Friday and many of us have been dedicated to our healthy lifestyle all week – we’ve eaten well, worked out, and taken care of ourselves.

Yet for some reason the second Friday evening hits, it’s like our healthy habits never existed.

For many of us, weekends seem to completely sabotage all the progress we make during the week.

WHY!?!

What is it about the weekends that makes us lose all control?

Is it because we are home and have easy access to food? Is it because we want to go out and party? Is it because we spend time with friends? Is it the way we unwind and de-stress? Is it because we are sometimes bored and there is food right there? Is it because we mindlessly eat when we watch TV?

Maybe even all of the above?

Whatever the reason, if we want results, we can’t go completely crazy every single weekend.

So how do we help ourselves stay on track during the weekend?

Here’s what I’ve found helps people stay committed to their healthy lifestyle even on the weekends:

  • Be active! When we sit around the house, we look for things to fill the time….Like eating anything we have in our cabinets. Yup…We tend to eat out of boredom, especially if it is easily accessible. If we stay active and entertained, for one, food won’t just be right there and two, we won’t be as tempted to eat. Activity keeps us motivated and from eating out of boredom!
  • All social engagements don’t have to revolve around food and if they do, PLAN. Over the weekend, we tend to get together with friends and family. And too many get-togethers revolve around food. Try doing something active instead. Go bowling or on a hike. HOWEVER, there will be parties that you can’t avoid that are centered around food. PLAN for those and decide to either use them as a cheat or stay on track. If you plan ahead, you won’t let one party derail all your hard work and send you on a downward spiral the rest of the weekend!
  • Clean out your cabinets. If you find you eat badly when you have bad food around, it may be best to clean out your cabinets and not keep the foods that tempt you in the house. When you get bored, you won’t have anything to reach to and you may find you look for something to DO instead. It will also keep you from mindlessly eating as you watch TV. Sometime the best way to stop yourself from doing something, is to not even give yourself the option to do it.
  • Make some healthy snacks. Kale chips, carrot chips, apple and almond butter….Make a healthy snack to munch on as you hang around the house. It will satisfy you without derailing your progress. Plus, it may just cure your boredom to experiment with some healthy snack recipes…And…gasp…cooking may actually be fun! (It could also be a fun FAMILY activity!)
  • Be moderate in your alcohol consumption unless you plan to cheat. We tend to make bad eating decisions when we’ve consumed too much alcohol. And some alcoholic beverages also contain a ton of calories themselves. So a great way to stay on track is to be moderate in your alcohol consumption unless you are consciously indulging. While the weekends should be a time to relax and enjoy, it doesn’t mean we have to binge!
  • Be prepared and keep yourself motivated! All week long, we do things to motivate ourselves and prepare ourselves. We prep meals. We write out workouts. We cruise the web for motivation. Why not spend an hour or two on the weekends doing the same thing? Many people take the weekends off from working out. Instead maybe take a weekday off and save a workout for the weekends to keep you motivated. Doing a workout on the weekend may make you less likely to cheat because you are reminded of what you are working for and just even spent time working toward it! Just remember to remind yourself of your goals even on the weekends.

I would just like to note that a planned cheat day isn’t sabotaging your weekend EVEN if it means you lose a little ground on your goal. For many, cheat days are a chance to recharge and can actually help keep you on track.

That being said….If cheat days lead to a downward spiral, you may want to avoid them on the weekends until healthy habits are created.

Don’t let this weekend sabotage your progress! Stay on track using these tips.

What else helps you stay on track over the weekend?

Chicken “Nachos” – Create Your Own Healthy Recipes

I mentioned about a week ago that while getting into a routine is key, making your healthy new lifestyle FUN and interesting is also super important to creating new habits.

And one of the best ways to keep your new lifestyle FUN and INTERESTING and make healthy habits stick is to make them your own – to mold them to fit you and your specific needs and goals.

Find workouts that you ENJOY. Don’t force yourself to do something that a friend said worked. Find something you will stick with in the long run that combines something fun with something that is good for you.

Same goes for recipes. Yes, the more you can eat only whole natural foods, the better off you will be. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat simply baked chicken and broccoli every night.

AND it also doesn’t mean you can never have those foods you love.

While I’m not a huge fan of “Paleo” baked goods, I am a huge fan of making TRULY HEALTHY variations of the foods we love to indulge in.

I love taking recipes I used to love and tweaking them to be healthier. It is creative and fun and it makes you feel like you aren’t being deprived of the foods you loved!

Plus it is just so exciting when that new recipe tastes freaking amazing!

Anyway, I was super pumped when I got texted this delicious picture of Mini Pepper Chicken Nachos by Jodie last night.

bell pepper nachos

She first made the shredded chicken for the recipe in the crockpot, which was great because she also had leftover chicken for later this week!

Jodie’s Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts
1-2 cups Chicken Broth (depending on size of chicken breasts)
Cumin and chili powder to taste

Add all ingredients to a crockpot. Cook on high for about 4 hours until you can pull the chicken apart with a fork.

She then took that shredded chicken and made Mini Pepper Shredded Chicken Nachos:

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, sliced with white and green parts separated
1.5 cups of shredded chicken
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup salsa (all natural or even homemade please!)
1 pound mini bell peppers (can also slice up regular bell peppers a bit smaller)
1.5 cups shredded cheese (grass-fed is best!)
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and the white parts of the green onions and cook and stir 1 minute.

Mix in shredded chicken and chili powder. Toss until all ingredients are well coated with chili powder and chicken is warm, about 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in salsa. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the ends off each mini bell pepper and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribs and press each half open so the peppers are as flat as possible. Arrange close together in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly over pepper halves. Top with black olives and cheese mixture.

Bake nachos for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven, top with tomatoes, cilantro, and remaining green onions.

Top with a little sour cream or guacamole if you want!

Enjoy! (Makes about four servings.)

What are your favorite healthy variations of recipes you used to love?

I know one of my favorite recipes is our healthy variation of the Shepherd’s pie!

Healthy Eating – Keep it interesting

While keeping it simple is key to sticking with a diet and creating healthy habits, keeping things interesting is key to healthy eating longevity.

If you get bored, you are going to give up or give in to temptation.

So while I like to get the same basic groceries week in and week out and I like to make the same basic recipes over and over again, I DO make sure to change things up.

And one of my favorite ways to change thing up is by using new tools!

I love getting a food processor or blender, or pressure cooker…And learning how to use a new tool and create even more delicious meals. (I also love getting new tools so Ryan can create even more delicious meals while I chatter away to him and simply enjoy.)

For our wedding, we asked for a couple of different things….

  • A cast iron stove-top reversible grill/griddle
  • Pressure cooker
  • Yonanas

Today we used the grill/griddle to make some delicious burgers. It’s crazy how burgers can taste so different just by changing the way you cook them!

cast iron grill

I can’t wait to try the pressure cooker and yonanas this weekend!

While I’m not a fan of paleo baked goods or any of that crap, I am in favor of truly healthy SIMPLE treats…like frozen fruit that is made into a frozen yogurt like substance.

So now my question to all of you on this wonderful Friday is…Do you own any of the tools I listed above? And if so, what are your favorite recipes to make using them!?!  Or do you have other tools that you love to use?

Stay tuned for some cool new recipes!!! YUM!

Wedding Week Part 3 – How to eat clean on vacation

In my opinion, vacation is a time to forget that the word “diet” even exists and to eat anything and everything that looks good. (NOTE: I’m talking about VACATION not simply travel…aka traveling for work every week)

I will eat extra clean before and after vacation just because I want to completely relax and indulge in whatever I want the entire time I’m on vacation.

HOWEVER, there will be times when you want to FEEL and LOOK a certain way so eating whatever won’t really be something you want to do….Like the days right before you are going to get married. Or if you go on a vacation before a competition…

So then the questions arise, “How do you eat well when you can’t cook, can’t necessarily pick where and when you eat and when you still want to completely relax on your vacation and not have to stress?…And how do you continue your diet while still enjoying and not being harassed by friends and family about sticking with your diet?”

You know…The answer really is simple yet most people completely bypass it…PLAN AHEAD!

When I go on vacation, I plan ahead even if it is simply looking for fun things to do and horribly delicious bad for me food.

We plan ahead so we know what our options are and we can make sure we make the most out of our vacation.

So if you plan ahead to make sure the vacation is fun, why wouldn’t you plan ahead to make sure you make your vacation relaxing while sticking with your healthy eating plan?

Before my wedding, I didn’t want to eat a whole bunch of bad food. I wasn’t necessarily worried about how I looked. I was actually more worried about feeling crappy after eating food my body wasn’t used to.

And the last thing I wanted to feel was sick and crappy on my wedding day!

I had to enjoy some delicious cupcakes..I just made sure to use a little portion control so my tummy didn't hurt!

I had to enjoy some delicious cupcakes..I just made sure to use a little portion control so my tummy didn’t hurt!

Therefore before we even left, I considered what I was going to do.

I looked at restaurant options. I thought about eating schedule. Heck, I even chose to simply explain why I was going to eat a certain way.

And guess what?

I EASILY ate well the entire time and felt GREAT at the wedding!

Here is my guide to help you plan ahead so you can eat the way you want on vacation if you choose not to indulge (which also is more than OK when on vacation). These guidelines below are great if you travel a lot for work and want to eat well! And the best part is…THEY AREN’T REALLY VERY CHALLENGING TO FOLLOW!

  • Know your schedule. When will you be able to eat? If it isn’t going to be your normal schedule, how are you going to handle it? If you don’t normally eat breakfast, but have to go out with people, are you going to be ok with just a cup of coffee so you can stick with your normal fast? Or will you maybe eat something small and healthy? Prepare yourself and decide how you will handle situations ahead of time. It always makes you feel less awkward when your mind is already made up!
  • Check out meal options. What restaurant options are there? Find some options and check out the menus. Go in prepared with the healthy options you can eat. The more prepared you are the less tempted you will be to cheat.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring your own snacks or cook. Vacations don’t mean you always have to eat out! I’ve brought my own snacks or even chosen to stay with friends or at places where I can cook. Heck if you are staying with friends, I doubt they will turn down a home-cooked meal (especially if you also do the dishes afterwards!).
  • Use portion control. I don’t necessarily say “use portion control.” I believe in eating when you are hungry and eating till you are full. I believe that if you eat CLEAN, you don’t really have to count calories. HOWEVER, there are times when you are on vacation that you want to indulge while not destroying your diet or feeling like crap. Using some self-control and really watching your portion (aka one cookie) can allow you to indulge while not upsetting the tummy too much.
  • Stay hydrated and watch the alcohol! Often when we are dehydrated we feel hungry even when we aren’t! And when we are on vacation we tend to also be drinking a lot of non-hydrating drinks (I think I made that word up!). To make sure we feel good and avoid overeating, make sure to drink plenty of water! Also, make wise alcohol choices. If you are trying to be healthy, I suggest avoiding fancy mixed drinks in favor of simple beverages. Or just make sure to have ONE fancy drink. Alcoholic beverages tend to have a lot of calories especially if they are fancier, fun drinks. Alcohol also tends to lower our inhibitions and make us crave bad food. Drinking in moderation (or maybe even not at all if you don’t really miss it) can help you stay on track!

How do you stay on track during vacation? Or are you generally like me and use vacation as a time to completely indulge?

And after the wedding...My usual indulging...Heck, when a menu has "fried chicken pot pie nuggets" you HAVE to try them!

And after the wedding…My usual indulging…Heck, when a menu has “fried chicken pot pie nuggets” you HAVE to try them!

Reaching Your Goals: Consistency Creates Habits

July16

I often talk about being patient with yourself and not expecting perfection. I often talk about not worrying if life occasionally gets in the way and you “slip up.” I often talk about how you need to indulge and recharge every once in a while.

But there is also a flip side to all that.

While achieving your goals isn’t about being perfect day in and day out, you do have to be CONSISTENT.

The more consistently you work toward your goals day in and day out, the quicker you are going to reach them.

Often clients will get frustrated when they feel like they’ve been “good” yet they aren’t seeing great results.

Most of the time when they break things down though, they realize that “yes…they have been good, but not good for a long enough stretch in a row.”

Not “good” consistently.

I’ve often mentioned the 80/20 rule…80 percent of the time you do the things you should while 20 percent of the time you indulge in those not so healthy treats.

Eighty percent of the time is pretty darn consistent. Honestly, it’s more consistent than most people are . Twenty percent adds up very quickly.

80/20 doesn’t mean you can be good one week and then the next week slip back into old habits. It doesn’t mean you can be basically good during the week and then do whatever you please on the weekend. It doesn’t mean you can just excuse every little slip up!

80/20 really means consistently doing the right thing. It means creating habits that lead to change. And habits honestly take about 21 days to create.

That means for 21 days you have to follow the lifestyle that you truly want if you want it to create results and ingrain habits. It means you have to be consistent to adhering to the lifestyle you want.

I mentioned a bit ago that there are points where you will find you NEED to adhere more strictly to a diet and exercise program. That you shouldn’t feel like you are restricting yourself all of the time, but that there are times where it is ok to be super clean.

And one of those times is when you are trying to ingrain the habits.

I tell clients all the time that the hardest part is reaching their goal, not maintaining it.

Because once the habits are truly instilled, you won’t have to think twice about living the lifestyle you want. You won’t constantly be draining your self-control tank to eat clean and workout consistently.

So I would like to present a challenge….

Set aside 3 weeks right now. Don’t wait for the New Year to lose weight or have to worry about dieting over the holidays.

Take three weeks right now and be consistent in your healthy lifestyle. Take 3 weeks to do the right thing day in and day out.

Be strict for three weeks, ingrain those habits and realize just how much easier it is to get results when you are CONSISTENT!

Dedicating 21 days is really all it takes. Just three weeks to make a HUGE change.

Start next year off right….Create those habits NOW!

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