Monday, April 25, 2016

21 Day Fix Creamy Chicken Salad

 Well, here's a newsflash for you...I have NEVER finished a diet plan, ever.  I also am just hitting my 6-week mark post-baby boy and am desperate to get these unwanted baby pounds some.  So I am really putting my heart all-in this time.  Plus, the hubs is actually doing it with me this time which will make a huge difference.  AND I am in a weightless challenge to keep me accountable.  So, between all these things, I am hoping to stay on track.

The program I chose to follow is the 21-Day Fix.  If you have not heard of it, it is a portion-controlled diet along with 30-minute exercises.  The reason I chose this was the length of the exercises, the fact that it does not eliminate any food group, and I am hoping teaches me good habits for the future.  I have been experimenting with the workouts and a few recipes the last few weeks, but today is my day #1 of doing this full-out.  So far, I have been impressed.  I feel like there is no way I will ever eat the calories allowed (I bumped myself up  to the next higher calorie bracket since I am breastfeeding).  The best part is I do not feel limited on what I can have (besides the junk stuff)...just how much.

The other part of the diet I have really enjoyed and have been doing for about a week is drinking Shakeology.  The stuff is pricy, but it is delicious.  It definitely makes me want less junk and sugar by curbing my cravings, and keeps me fuller longer.  I am going to bite the bullet of the cost and keep it going, because it is full of goodness.  

This chicken salad is super yummy and the dressing is tasty as well.  Keep watching for my final review of the program after 21 days!

21-Day Fix Creamy Chicken Salad

Serves 4 (1 1/4 cups each) | Containers: 1 green if serving over romaine or 1 yellow if eating over 1 piece whole grain bread, 1/2 purple, 1 red, 1/2 blue, 1/2 orange

3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken breast (boneless, skinless) (I used turkey breast this time)
1/2 cup chopped green apple
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half
1/3 cup raw almonds
2 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup honey mustard salad dressing (see below)
8 cups shredded romaine lettuce

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

1/2 cup reduced fat (2%) plain greek yogurt
3T Dijon mustard, gluten-free
3T raw honey
3T rice vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
pink salt to taste
Combine the yogurt, mustard, honey, and vinegar in a medium bowl and whisk until combined

Then slowly add oil, whisking until well blended.

Adjust the salt until it’s totally awesome for ya!

…putting it all together

Combine all ingredients except for the lettuce in a large bowl, mix well, and refrigerate (covered) for 2 hours

Serve 1 1/4 cups of the creamy chicken salad over 2 cups of romaine lettuce or whole grain bread.

Recipe Source:  Fit Baby Steps

Friday, April 15, 2016

Cheese Fondue

I think we have just found a new Valentines Day dinner we can have year-to-year!  The hubs and I definitely like our own time around Valentines Day to go out to eat at a fancy restaurant or a winery (for the food, not the wine), but we also like to do something fun with the littles.  It had been years since I had made a cheese fondue, probably because the last one I did turned out a little less than stellar ;)  This one, however turned out great and my 7-year old thought it was the greatest dinner ever.  The recipe caught my eye because it was actually one that doesn't call for alcohol...and that is something that is never in my house, so I was all over that!  Plus, it comes from one of my fav food bloggers, so I trusted that as well :)  Enjoy!!

Cheese Fondue

2 cups lightly packed shredded Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups lightly packed shredded Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup low-sodium, good-quality chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice (don't leave this out! I just gave a quick squeeze of a lemon without properly measuring)
1 tablespoon finely minced or pressed garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of paprika

Place both the shredded Gruyere and Swiss cheeses in a gallon-size resealable bag with the cornstarch and shake until evenly coated.

In a stovetop-safe fondue pot (or in a regular saucepan or electric fondue pot), add the chicken broth, lemon juice, and garlic and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cheese, a small handful at a time, stirring constantly, but not briskly. It works best to use a wooden spoon and and stir in an S-shaped motion, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so it doesn't burn.
Once the cheese is melted and begins to just barely simmer, add the remaining spices and move it immediately to the table on the fondue stand with the sterno flame below. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Add more or less cheese for perfect consistency and additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Serve with your favorite fondue dippers: steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower, carrots, apples, chicken sausages, bread (and more bread!), lightly sauteed mushrooms, tender potatoes - the options are endless! 

Recipe Source:  Meds Kitchen Cafe

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

I did something for the first time...I put cottage cheese in a smoothie.  I knew it would all taste fine in the end, but just scooping it in for the first time freaked me out just a bit, I'm no afraid to admit it!  It yielded a different texture than I could have gotten with lets say, yogurt.  So I will be using it more and more in my smoothies, hopefully not cringing next time :)

This smoothie turned out super good, perfect consistency and fulfilled my craving for something sweet that was pretty darn healthy as well.  

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

One ripe banana, quartered
⅓ cup lowfat cottage cheese
⅓ cup lowfat milk
1 packet sweetner (optional...I like Stevia)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup ice
Graham crackers (I just threw one whole cracker in)

Add all of your ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glass and enjoy!

Recipe Source:  A Night Owl Blog

Friday, April 8, 2016

Puerto Rican Style Beans

One of my FAV trips by far has been a cruise with friends to the Southern Caribbean.  We flew into San Juan, Puerto Rico and got to spend a few days there.  Our absolute favorite thing was just the rice and beans (and mofungo).  Trying to re-create the beans has been tough.  This recipe definitely gave me the flavor I was looking for, finally!  They were super good, I kind of impressed myself ;)  I will post about the chicken I made to go with it soon.  Enjoy!

Puerto Rican Style Beans

For the sofrito:
1/2 small onion
1/2 cubanelle (banana) pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

For the beans:
1 tsp olive oil
15.5 oz can pink or red kidney beans (I like Goya)
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 medium potato, peeled and diced 1/4-inch (4 1/2 oz)
1 1/2 tbsp Sazon seasoning (homemade or store bought)
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp oregano
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

In a mini food processor, chop onions, garlic, pepper and cilantro. Add oil to a medium saucepan and sauté the chopped ingredients, cook on medium heat until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the beans (not drained) to the saucepan along with 3/4 cup of water. Add tomato sauce, potato, sazon, bay leaf, oregano, salt if needed and pinch of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Discard bay leaf and serve over rice. Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe Source: Skinny Taste