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clean eating

Protein Bowls- Vegetarian and GF

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I find that I eat healthy at breakfast and dinner, but tend to struggle at lunch to not either a) eat out or b) eat a bunch of random poor choices that don’t keep me full. Full disclosure- I’m currently eating Annie’s Mac n Cheese for lunch- like, at this moment- because I ran out of spinach (a staple in my house) and this was the best I could do today. It happens. But on a normal day, this is one of my favorite lunch salads because it can be prepped the night before or even served for dinner the night before with leftovers the following day. Terra’s Kitchen (my fav meal delivery service- click the link for a discount) calls them “Sweet Potato, Spinach, Apple and Quinoa Bowl”, but I think they could use a bit of help in their titling department so I renamed them. Here is the adapted version from their bowl!

Serves 4. Time to Table 30 Minutes. Calories 477

16 ounces sweet potato chunks (roughly 2.5 chopped)

6.5 ounces red quinoa (or any color)

3 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1 1/4 tsp honey- preferably local for the anti-allergens!

1/8 cup pecans, chopped

half an apple, chopped into chunks

2 loose cups of spinach

Feta to sprinkle on top

olive oil, salt, and pepper.

1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 425°F. On a greased rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes, or until browned and tender, tossing halfway through.

2. Rinse the quinoa: Place the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water for a solid minute, swishing the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.

3. Cook the quinoa: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1¾ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to the pan. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, COVERED, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork.

4. Make the dressing: While quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooking, whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.

5. Toast the pecans: Place pecans in a dry small skillet over medium heat and cook 3 minutes or until toasted.

To Serve: Arrange quinoa, sweet potatoes, apple slices, spinach, the pecans and feta in serving bowls. Drizzle with dressing.

Pro Tip- Meal prep the sweet potatoes and quinoa at the beginning of the week and grab as needed! I can usually get 4-6 lunches out of this one. Not looking to go meatless? Shredded chicken and wild salmon are also great add ins!

Zoodles (Zucchini Spaghetti)

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My absolute favorite quick dinner has to be zoodles. If you’re not familiar, zoodles are zucchini noodles that replace traditional pasta- I think they taste even better! Zoodles are a breeze to make, add an extra serving of veggies into your dinner, and don’t leave you feeling stuffed afterward like other pasta dishes might. Pick up a few zucchinis from the store and a spiralizer of your choice (I like the kitchen aid attachment, but there are hundreds of options in every price range) and get to Zoodling!

There are countless versions of Spaghetti Zoodles. Sometimes I add ground turkey, sometimes I go veggie only (it depends on whether my husband has any input). Sometimes I make my own sauce and sometimes I pick up a jar from wholefoods- play with it to see what works for you and your family.

Weeknight Zoodles:

Time to table: 25-30 minutes. Serves 4

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey breast, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes (if you like heat…which I don’t). Cook until turkey is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Move to a strainer and set aside.

While the turkey is cooking, Spiralize your zoodles- following the instructions on your particular spiralizer. Important* After you’ve turned the zucchini into zoodles, pour them into a colander with salt to draw water out and let them drain for at least 15 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water- you don’t want all that water in your sauce!

Add your veggies to the turkey pan with 1 tsp oil. Saute until tender crisp. Add your pasta sauce (I make mine in a big batch and use it throughout the week for 2 or 3 different meals. If you opt to buy yours, look for one that is low in sugar like Thrive Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce. Read the labels!) Add your cooked turkey and mix.

In a different sauce pan or even a wok, heat 2 tsp oil until shimmering. Pour your zoodles into the pan (but not the excess water!). Cook for only 2-3 minutes. You still want them to crunch slightly. Overcooked zoodles are soggy.

Plate your zoodles and spoon the sauce on top. Voila, a healthier take on spaghetti!

Recipe of the week: Honey Mustard Chicken Salads

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We eat a lottttt of salads over here. Like… a lot. Salads are versitile, they’re a great way to sneak a bunch of veggies into your daily diet and they travel well (just put your dressing in a separate container). What’s not to love? They get a bad rap, but if you’re branching out of the lettuce-tomatoes-croutons-ranch salad trap, there’s a million variations to keep things interesting. One of our favorite tricks is to mix in a few surprises- maybe even something you wouldn’t let yourself eat normally so that you’re now excited to eat this giant bowl of green stuff. Case in point? Today’s recipe has bacon in it! Not into bacon? Skip it or replace it with something that makes you happy. You can find the original recipe HERE. We made a few edits because we thought it was too sweet.

Prep Time      Cook Time           Total Time
 10 mins             15 mins                  25 mins

Here’s our take!

Dressing / Marinade:
  • Roughly 1/6 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons smooth and mild Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • tablespoon Apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar), (OPTIONAL — to cut through the sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt to season
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
For Salad:
  • 1/4 cup diced bacon
  • 4 cups Romaine lettuce leaves , washed
  • 1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
Instructions
  1. Whisk marinade / dressing ingredients together to combine. Pour half the marinade into a shallow dish to marinade the chicken fillets for an hour if time allows (we skipped this step and just put it on the last 2 minutes of cooking – {no time!} and it still turned out great). Refrigerate the reserved untouched marinade to use as a dressing.
  2. Heat a nonstick pan (or grill pan or skillet) over medium heat with about a teaspoon of oil and sear / grill chicken fillets on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through. (Grill in batches to prevent excess water being released.) Once chicken is cooked, set aside and allow to rest.
  3. Wipe pan over with paper towel and fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to paper towels and dry off excess oil.
  4. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with leaves, tomatoes, avocado slices, corn and chicken.
  5. Whisk 2 tablespoons of water into the remaining untouched marinade / dressing and drizzle over the salad. Sprinkle the bacon over the top and season with a tiny bit of salt and cracked pepper (optional).

Voila! Speedy, delicious salad that makes a great lunch or dinner. Send us a message if you make it and let us know what you think!

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip

By Blog, recipe

This may be the most popular “healthy dessert” recipe we’ve ever tried. It’s from our favorite healthy sweet blogger, Chocolate Covered Katie, but we’ll admit it, we tried it rather skeptically. Turns out we were wrong to be nervous. In fact, we were blown away by how good this is.  It’s hard to wrap your head around this snack if you know you’re eating beans, because we would have absolutely sworn it was cookie dough. So what did we do? We didn’t tell anyone what was in it- we just asked our wonderful flexfam to try it and tell us what they thought. The verdict? Cookie Dough. That’s a healthy dessert for the win. When the Idahoan “meat and potato” half of Flex is pretty-pleasing that we make this for him to take to work for lunch, you know it’s passed the sweets test. Here’s our take on it below. Check out the original here.

 

  • 1 can white beans  (drained, rinsed, and air dried very well)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda (makes it taste like cookies and helps with the beans)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (If you use peanut butter, it will have a slight pb cookie dough taste)
  • up to 1/4 cup almond milk, only if needed
  • Sweetener of choice – (we used 2/3 cup brown sugar because it tastes the most like cookie dough- if you want this to be healthier, start with a few tablespoons of brown sugar, honey or agave and work your way up. Sugar free? Sub 1 1/4 cup pitted dates and use 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla instead- also good, just not as similar to dough)
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2-3 tbsp oats and ground flaxseed

Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor, and process until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips. Make sure it’s well blended and then refrigerate. We serve with graham crackers and apple slices (or a spoon…)

 

Peanut Butter Dip- aka “Crack dip”

By Blog

Looking for a post workout snack? Here’s our favorite. It’s peanut butter yogurt dip, but we prefer to call it “crack dip” because it is seriously delicious. Seriously- we’re not lying to you and telling you that Kale tastes good if you concentrate really hard. This dip is amazing! Best of all, it takes less than a minute to make and is great with apples, bananas, or anything else you want to put it on.
It’s only 3 ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 (5.3 oz) containers vanilla greek yogurt
  • .5 tablespoon local honey

That’s it. Mix them together and be amazed. We’ve had teachers sub almond butter for peanut, add cinnamon, and use maple syrup instead of honey. Let us know what you try!

 

Here’s the blog we found the recipe on or follow us on Pinterest for more great recipes!