Shaking Things Up A Bit!

Smoothie

Lately Ive really been trying to get healthier. Not just working out, but my whole lifestyle. Eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, eating non-processed foods etc. You get the picture.

I’ve really given a lot of thought about going Paleo but its pretty hard, as well as unreasonable, to expect my family to make that transition also. So I’ve done what I can for now, until they decide they’re into it.

More protein, fish, veggies, fruit, and water.
Less bad carbs (picture me bawling) – no white bread, no white rice, minimal white potatoes, and a very minimal amount of sugar. Whats too bad about that?

My wonderful fiancé got me a Ninja Blender that is out of this world! As of two weeks ago, I have started each day with a GREEN SHAKE!

Load that baby up with everything good for you, and on gym days you can even add your protein powder to it! I personally prefer the frozen fruit because it makes it thicker and colder, it doesn’t rot like fresh fruit does, and its way more affordable.

Here are the main ingredients I use daily:
Fresh Spinach (Target has the cheapest bags $1.99, and its freezeable)
Bananas
Carrots
Kale
Celery (you get used to the taste after the first drink)
Frozen Fruit Mix (no added sugar or sodium. Target has the most affordable $10 mixed bags)
I usually get three bags of varying mixes to have a variety during the week. Blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries. Mango, pineapple, peaches. Strawberries, mangos, bananas.

When you make a smoothie you need some sort of liquid. A friend of mine suggested I use warm brewed Green Tea, which is GENIUS! Not only is it wonderful for you, but it helps melt the frozen fruit.

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Daily Smoothie

1 Cup Spinach
1 Carrot (cut in a few pieces)
1 Banana
1 Stalk Celery (cut in pieces)
1 Cup (sometimes more) mixed frozen fruit
About a 1/2 cup liquid. I add it slowly until my smoothie is the consistency I want.

Blend until smooth, and add to whatever glass or bottle you want! These smoothies are so very filling, and healthy! You get a huuuuge dose of veggies and fruits. I have replaced my breakfast with them, and they keep me full until about 12pm (drinking smoothie at 7am).

Enjoy! 🙂

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Braised Chicken with a Veggie Spiral

Chicken can get old and boring, fast. Sure there are so many recipes for it, but its still chicken… lol Ive roasted, fried, stuffed, diced, shredded, and spun various cuts on a rotisserie, but Ive never braised anything. I had no idea how simple it was, and how juicy and flavorful the meat would end up being. And the spiral is a great twist on simple, healthy veggies! Enjoy!

Braised Chicken

3 chicken quarters, leg & thigh – bone in, skin on
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large carrot – roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic – roughly chopped
6 Cippolini onions – quartered
1 pack sliced crimini mushrooms
1 tablespoon EVOO
2 tablespoons of your fav seasoning mix
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 can chopped tomatoes

veggies

In a deep cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, heat oil until glassy. Rinse your chicken, pat dry, season generously with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 10min total, and set chicken aside.

Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sautee until tender, about 3min. Add tomatoes and carrots and bring to a simmer. Add wine, broth, and seasoning, mixing everything together so it is all incorporated and bring to a boil. After about 3min, add the chicken back to the pot, skin side down. Make sure to shimmy the chicken all the way under the veggies, so that its covered in broth. Put a lid on and let it simmer, untouched, for 1 hour.

braised chicken

Veggie Spiral

2 green zucchini
2 yellow zucchini
2 russet potatoes
1 large onion
1/2 cup cheese (I used a blend of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)
1 tablespoon garlic herb seasoning mix, or whatever you prefer

I dont have a fancy baking dish, so I used a round pie pan. *shrugs*
(you can prep all of this while you’re browning the chicken, and while “sauce” is coming together)

In a skillet, sauté onions so they are translucent. Meanwhile, slice zucchini and potatoes into thin disks. After the onions are cooked, spray baking pan with non-stick spray and fill the bottom of the pan.

 

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Arrange the zucchini and potatoes on top of each other, at an angle going in a circle, around until you’ve filled the whole pan. Cover with cheese and seasoning mixture.
Bake at 400°F for 1 hour

veggie spiral

Rainy Day Chicken Pot Pie

One of my favorite childhood meals was chicken pot pie; Marie Calendars frozen ones were such a treat after school. So comforting and delicious, and in a pie crust – yum. I have always loved them but never really thought to make one, Im not sure why. This was one of the easiest things Ive ever made!

I chose to stick to pre-made pie crust, since it was my first time and I wasn’t about to be stressing over making dough.. I bought a frozen pie shell, and a pack of refrigerated pie crust for the top. Easy peasy.

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Pie Filling

1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
1 pack pre-sliced crimini mushrooms
1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast
1 bag frozen peas and corn mix
3 teaspoons corn starch
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, whisked (set aside)

I used a pre-cooked chicken breast I had in the refrigerator from the other night. I tend to cook a pack and use them throughout the week for salads, in meals, whatever. But if you don’t have one already cooked, season your chicken and cook it thoroughly. Let it cool and then shred it, or dice into small cubes and add it back to the skillet.

Turn heat on medium-high, add a little oil and the chopped onion. Let them cook for about 2min together, add mushrooms and cook for 4 more min then add garlic.

**Preheat oven to 395° and take pie crust out of the freezer**

While that is simmering, mix together corn starch and 3 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Add remaining stock and the carrots/peas to the pan and bring to a boil, let it cook for about 3min then add the corn starch mixture and cream. Stir well, letting it thicken to desired consistency and then remove from heat. While you’re letting the filling cool, take your refrigerated pie topping out of the fridge and unroll.

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After the filling has cooled somewhat, and the oven is heated, fill your pie shell. It is ok if it is heaping, you just dont want it overflowing. Top with rolled out pie topping and pinch sides together.

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In a small bowl, beat the egg and use it to “paint” the outside of your pie. This will help give your pie a golden and crispy crust!
Bake in the preheated oven, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

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This turned out sooooooo delicious! I cant believe I never tried making it before! Our little family of 3 basically demolished the whole pie tonight. There is only one piece left! Yummmmyyyy! I think I’ll make it without chicken next time. I always find myself picking the pieces out after a while, for whatever reason. I will definitely be making this again. Mmmm!