Friday, March 28, 2014

Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

Food Find Review
Frozen Entree
From: Kashi

I was excited to finally get my hands on one of these, as Hungry Girl RAVES about this particular frozen entree.  I didn't used to like a lot of the things this seemed to include, but as I've been working on eating healthier I've been adding new things to my diet and this finally seemed like something I would like!

healthy girly life: Kashi frozen dinner review
Here's what you're looking for!

So I brought this into work one day I knew I wouldn't be making it home for a lunch break.  I stuck it in the freezer no problem and it was ready for me when I got hungry.  It took a decent amount of time to warm up with considerably complicated directions for a frozen entree.  "Place tray on the outer edge of the turntable and heat for 5 minutes on 50% power" This was Step 2 of 4.  It takes in total about 10 minutes to heat up and stand in the microwave.  First of all, if I'm so busy I'm working through lunch, I don't really have that kind of time to hang around a break room.  Secondly, people don't like when you monopolize the microwave at lunch time!  Either way, after all that effort, this is what I got!

healthy girly life: Kashi frozen dinner review
Ready to eat!

It was tasty and surprisingly filling!  I love the addition of the plantains as well for something a bit different, as I'd never buy them myself.  It's also great to see a "healthy" frozen entree that's actually packed full of good-for-you food that tastes great!  There's no skimpy white pasta portions here trying to pass themselves off as good for you.  Would I buy this again? Probably.  Am I running back to the store to get another one?  Nahh.
Have you tried this or other frozen Kashi entrees?  What did you think?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cardigan Clad Culinary

Hey all!  Just a quick update :)  I spent some time writing a guest post for my friend's wonderful blog.  It's travel week over there!  She does great updates on literary life, book reviews, recipes, and travel.  I highly suggest you check it out.

Here's my post, all about what you shouldn't miss at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Five Must-Do Disneys

Additionally, if you just want to browse, here's her homepage - seriously lots of great stuff over there!
Cardigan Clad Culinary

Enjoy and I'll be back with more updates soon!  I've been too busy cooking to get to writing, so lots of good stuff is in store!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Winter Salad (maybe in a jar)

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 2/24
From: Simple Bites

For me, one of the hardest things about salads is eating them throughout the year.  As it gets cold and gray outside, I stop wanting fresh and light things and start craving heart warming comfort foods.  Especially as fresh produce gets bleaker looking at the supermarket, it just isn't as appetizing!  I don't think I'm alone in this, am I?  But that's no excuse to stop eating these wonderful veggie-packed meals all seasons of the year!  So I was on a mission to find a winter-based salad to try to really get me going back and this one just sounded right up my alley!  "Sweet Potato & Kale Salad with Black Beans" mmm doesn't that just sound heart-warming and wonderful?  Anyway, the first step was to roast the sweet potatoes, so I took a little liberty here and decided to season with some Greek seasoning instead of a more basic roast.  

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
All you need!

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
Sweet potato cubes!
healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
All seasoned up!

When roasting veggies, you really just need to cook them until they are to your liking of softness, so that's what we did! I then turned them out onto a plate to cool, because packing a bunch of hot sweet potatoes with other delicate veggies seemed like a bad idea...

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
These were great all on their own!

So once those cooled a bit I stuck them in the fridge to make sure they really cooled down and actually ended up assembling my salads the next day.   Here's where a few other things strayed from the original for me, I found this greaat Yogurt & Dill dressing at Central Market, so I went with that because I didn't want to be bothered making my own.  Then we were making other things with black beans this week so I didn't want to overload, easily swapped for some Garbanzos!

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
Simple few ingredients!

The only other prep needed was to rinse the beans and chop up the kale into bite sized pieces.  I don't know why, but I always manage to cut kale too big and it always frustrates me!  Then once you have all the ingredients ready to go you just layer them up in the jar dressing-to-greens.  I was doing my assembly line around lunch time, so my first portion of all the ingredients actually went straight into a bowl, isn't that a beautiful salad?

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
all done and ready to nom!

So for the mason-jar salad portion of it I just layered the rest of the ingredients into 4 quart sized jars and topped with a plastic lid so I could write my name on them for the office.  They look nice not only in my fridge, but don't take up too much space in my work fridge either so it's always easy to find a spot for them!  If you aren't referring back to the original recipe, the order to layer this one is dressing, feta, chick peas, sweet potato, kale.

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
perfect lunch for work!
healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
I also keep a real bowl at my desk

So it comes time for lunch at work and I just open the top, and dump the entire contents of my jar into the bowl.  I think keeping the real bowl makes all the difference, because it really makes it feel more like a meal at the office.  If you don't need to bring lunch to work, it's still great to save yourself time preparing your lunch at home each day too!

healthy girly life: winter salad (maybe in a jar)
still just as lovely post-jar
This salad was absolutely wonderful.  The Greek seasoning paired with the dill dressing in lovely harmony.  The feta also played nicely with the dressing, almost turning it into a feta dill dressing over the greens.  Sweet potato and kale are both great and fresh in the colder months as well, so I didn't feel like I was forcing some summer salad on myself just for the sake of  "eating a salad"  I can't wait to make this one again!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ready for spring!

Just a quick little pop in with a style update.  Every once in a while I feel inspired by my outfits, but with the blistering cold we've had here in Dallas for a few months I wasn't feeling it for a while.  I haven't taken any great outfit pics lately, but I'll work on that soon.  BUT I am ready for spring and to prove it I got a fresh set of highlights in my hair and did a fun little 5-color mani in shades of mint and glitter.  Enjoy!

healthy girly life: ready for spring!
come on sunshine!

I had been blonde for quite a while, and then in a crazy turn of events died my own hair black to make my Halloween costume more authentic.  I quickly had my hair stylist change it to just a dark chestnut brown after the holiday but hadn't been ready to bring back the blonde quite yet.  Until now!

healthy girly life: ready for spring!
Close up of the colors

I used a variety of colors from OPI and Essie with a topcoat to make it all last longer.  The color on my ring finger was actually bought for Halloween as the colors perfectly accent some Vanellope Von Schweetz :)  Glad to pair it with some of my other colors finally!  Also I hope you all love my Ariel mug as much as I do, I have three from this set, they are the "Art of Ariel" collection.

healthy girly life: ready for spring!
Randomized the order while watching my DVR 

The colors I used were... Revlon Whimsical (multicolor sparkle), Deborah Lippmann When Lightening Strikes (silver glitter), Essie Turquoise & Caicos (mintyturquoise), OPI Mermaids Tears (darkest mint), and Essie Mint Candy Apple (lightest mint).  Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Veggie Packed Sloppy Joes

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 2/17
From: Hungry Girl
Find out more

So we got home from a cruise late Monday night, and were leaving Friday after work to head to Austin for the weekend.  I didn't want anything complicated but I definitely wanted something homemade to cut back on the eating out (if you've ever been on a cruise, you'll know what all you can eat all the time will do to ya!)  This Hungry-Girl Trio seemed like the perfect fit.  We bulked it up a bit to make it a full meal, using buns and sweet potato chips, but overall we still kept it super simple and healthy!

what to use
hungry girly life: veggie packed sloppy joes
Browning the turkey!
These three ingredients are all you need for the main part of the dish.  It took us a while to find a "sloppy joe" sauce we were okay with, as the popular Manwich brand is loaded with a lot of things we can't pronounce but the Red Fork brand has no preservatives and very few ingredients.  Right up our alley!  Our ground turkey comes in big packs, and since we knew it was a short week, rather than make the half and deal with the rest, we just doubled the whole recipe to make it for the week!  Once the turkey was cooked we put in the broccoli slaw and I put a lid over it to help steam it up bit.   This is where I wish I would have added in another step, lightly chopping the broccoli slaw.  It's so long compared to the meat crumbles, it made it a little difficult to eat, but can be easily rectified.

So many veggies!

Once softened, we layered in the sauce and mixed it up to get it all heated and flavorful throughout.  Since we doubled it, we had to be a little careful not to spill it out over the pan, so sorry it's a little messy.  I'm not the most graceful, but it's still an easy recipe, promise :)

healthy girly life: veggie packed sloppy joes
Adding the sauce!
healthy girly life: veggie packed sloppy joes
All mixed up and ready to go!
So it was that simple.  We toasted some whole wheat buns to plop the mix on and served it up with Sweet Potato Popchips.

healthy girly life: veggie packed sloppy joes
the veggie-packed sandwich!

healthy girly life: veggie packed sloppy joes
so many popchips!

healthy girly life: veggie packed sloppy joes
find these!

This was a satisfying comfort food meal packed with a secret serving of veggies and lean protein, but you could hardly tell!  You can see how the long broccoli strands kind of hung out of the bun though, again definitely just a quick chop before throwing them in next time.  My boyfriend raved about them and said they are definitely on the list to make again!  He didn't miss the beef or the preservative packed sauce at all!  So if you need an easy weeknight dinner or want to keep a male happy while keeping your healthy habits up, this is the recipe for you!  As for the side, you could make it even lighter by just steaming up some veggies, but these are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.  They are just so light and crispy and a serving is such a great size for a "chip" type snack.  So if you like this kind of thing, seek these out!

Veggie Packed Sloppy Joes
Adapted From: Hungry Girl
Serves 6-8
  • 1 package lean ground turkey
  • 2 bags broccoli slaw
  • 2 packages Red Fork sloppy joe sauce
  • 1 pack (8 ct) whole wheat buns

  1. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat.   
  2. Brown ground turkey in skillet, gently breaking it apart with a spoon as it cooks.
  3. Gently chop broccoli slaw while turkey browns, then add to same pan.
  4. Cover for several minutes to soften the veggies, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in sauce until all is well combined.
  6. Serve on toasted bun.
Nutrition Facts: 1 sandwich; 281 calories, 3g fat, 44g cholesterol, 856 g sodium, 39g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 12g sugar, 26g protein

Additionally, this recipe (according to MyFitnessPal) has 99% your daily needs of iron.  This is great for me, as I'm borderline anemic and I know a lot of my friends suffer from this as well, so it's great for that punch of iron rather than a supplement!

Do you have any other tricks to lighten up a sloppy joe?  Let me hear them in the comments!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cool Whip Cookies

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 2/10
From: Skinny Mom
Find out more

I saw this post come up on Skinny Mom right before Valentine's Day and thought it was a great idea.  We were heading out on a cruise on 2/13, so I needed something easy but cute to start celebrating the holiday right!  I opted to try this with both strawberry cake mix, and red velvet cake mix.  Red velvet got most of the pictures, so here you go!

healthy girly life: cool whip cookies
mostly all you need

This was just as easy as it seemed!  Whipped all the ingredients together in my Kitchen-Aid and in a few minutes it was fluffy goodness.  Covered it and popped it in the fridge to firm up for a little bit.  

healthy girly life: cool whip cookies
The batter looks so yummy!

Once the batter firmed up, I got out my bowl of powdered sugar and got ready!  I tried to do it right next to the stove, to contain any powdered sugar getting all over my kitchen...

healthy girly life: cool whip cookies
batter and powdered sugar to prep for baking

My hands might have turned a little red, but I just scooped a spoonful out, rolled it into a ball, rolled it around the sugar, and smushed it on over to the baking sheet!

healthy girly life: cool whip cookies
ready to bake!

It was really a pretty quick and easy process, and about 10 minutes later they were ready to come out!  They did stick to the pan something fierce, but the flavor and look was still great!  But next time I'll be sure to spray the pan with some non-stick spray first. You do have to be careful not to over- or under-bake these, so keep a close eye on them in the oven.

healthy girly life: cool whip cookies
they bake up so pretty

Both flavors turned out great, and I heard this is also really good with lemon cake mix.  We took some with us to the airport for a little travel treat, and the rest went into the freezer.  What I love about these, is they are great RIGHT out of the freezer.  You don't need to thaw them or anything, they stay light and fluffy so these are great to make to keep a sweet treat on hand.  And the stats are totally reasonable to be able to indulge in one (or two) after dinner a few times a week!

Have you tried something similar to this?  Let me know the flavor combos!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 2/3
From: Skinny Mom

The idea of overnight or slow cooker oatmeal is so appealing to me.  I love the stuff for breakfast in cold winter months and am really trying to ween myself off those instant packets of processed stuff.  I wish I could say this was a keeper, but unfortunately I messed this one up big time (hey, I'm not perfect!).  I thought I had a genius plan, set it up to cook overnight before my 5k, then it will be all ready to go when I get home.  I was wrong.

  1. I sleep more than most people the way it is.  Gimme 9 hours in my bed and I'm a happy camper.
  2. I bought the wrong oatmeal, more on this later.
  3. Putting it on "warm" for hours while you go run for chocolate, still keeps it cooking and kills it in my experience.
These three things spell oatmeal disaster, and I will probably give this or something similar another try in the future, because I totally blame my silly self for this one.  I did try it, and I will tell you the flavors were great!  So again, pay attention when you make oatmeal and don't mess it up like I did.

The prep was super easy for this one, chop up some apples and stir a bunch of fun stuff into a crockpot.  I took this opportunity to take advantage of my kitchen gadgets, but it would be easy even without them.

healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
the ingredients

healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
apple prep!  I love my apple corer :)

healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
This little chopper came in handy too!
Then it was really as easy as toss it all into the crockpot and stir.  Turned it on and went to bed :)

healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
all into the crockpot!

healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
after a little stir!
healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
almost done!
So the problem was here.  This was pretty much done, this was the morning before I headed out to the 5k.  So I should have eaten it then or shortly there after.  Not hours later after a 5k and a rest.  And I did just immediately portion it all out, so I apologize that it's not in a nice bowl or anything.  Sometimes you just gotta eat right out of the tupperware :)

healthy girly life: slow cooker apple pie oatmeal
you can see some of the burnt bits here, I lose :(
So yeah, lesson learned.  Don't cook "quick cooking" oats overnight.  Definitely don't keep leaving them because a slow-cooker isn't supposed to burn things.  They will burn, they will be yucky.  BUT keep this flavor profile in mind because mm mm apple pie!

Have you had success with overnight oatmeal?