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?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hot Chocolate 5k/15k

5K Experience
5K a Month Challenge - February
February 8th, 2014 @ Fair Park, Dallas TX

First of all, let me make it very clear that I moved to a more southern state to escape winter.  I hate the cold, but more-so I hate the gray dreary days that tend to be a part of winter, especially in the little valley I grew up in.  So WHAT IS THIS TEXAS WEATHER?  Seriously, the sun has shone maybe two days so far this year.  That does not make for me keeping up with my running training.

Needless to say, I was not feeling good before this race.  This is one of the few 5ks I've signed up for (The first one I'm doing) with a minimum speed.  I have to keep up a 15 minute/mile pace.  Nothing earth-shattering, but with how much I haven't been training it will be close.  (I'm not fast even when I do train, especially in the cold) Packet pickup was a bit of a nightmare as it snowed Thursday when we were due to drive all the way downtown.  The setup was nice once we got there, but it's just a lot to get all the way to the location from where we live and the short time spent was not entirely worth my terrified-of-the-ice mindset.  I like the ones that offer several locations of packet pickup or allow you to pick up on race day.  I get that there was "the expo" but Thurs/Fri nights until 7pm in one location is just not practical somewhere as spread out as Dallas. It was in the same area as the 5k would be, and there was ice on a lot of the paths.

Once we finally got into the Expo building it was pretty painless, check in and get your bib, then over to pick up your swag.  They had "try on" stations for their sweatshirts (so nice to get something other than a T-Shirt) so you could make sure your stuff fit before leaving!  Then there were a handful of vendors set up and a lot of cold-weather gear you could buy.  At the very end there were hot chocolate and fondue samples.  Okay, you give me a hot chocolate covered marshmallow and I forgive a little bit of the agony getting downtown in rush hour :)

So it was still pretty cold come race morning, but not too terrible.  Thankfully we didn't have to pay to park again and we made the trek down to the starting line area (which was quite a hike from the car)  We had no gear to check but that was an option for those of you who just can't seem to travel light.  The corrals were nicely organized although all of the signs said "No Walking" which gave me a bit of a panic attack, as I can not run a full 5k yet but have to go in intervals.  Anyway by the time we got over to F they were already pretty full and we squeezed in.  This was very well organized and they quickly had the first corral off and the remaining folks moving up.  If you were running the 15k, you could hang out and watch as the 5kers cleared out and then they set up the corrals for them!

It was a nice race trek through some of Dallas, which was very interesting.  I had done a previous 5K in this area and we stayed mostly in the Fairgrounds.  While I liked the change in scenery and the cheering volunteers along the way, I did NOT appreciate the dogs barking aggressively from people's yards.  Gosh if anything could get me sprinting that was it.  I'm TERRIFIED of them.  So that happened 2 - 3 times and then I had to really slow down a bit to catch my breath.  Really threw off my steady pace I was trying to keep.

Finally we made it back to the Fairgrounds and music really started getting pumping again, amping us up for the end.  Hey, there was CHOCOLATE on the other side of that finish line, I was gonna get it!  My personal goal was to finish the race in under 40 minutes, and I'm sad to say I didn't quite make it.  But still a good showing and a ton of fun! I had actually gone 3.2 miles in 40:38 according to my Runkeeper app, so I didn't miss it by much!

We waited in a short line for our chocolate cups and headed off to the car.  It was still a pretty chilly morning after all, and we were up early to get down there!  I really enjoyed this race and am looking forward to trying it out again next year!

healthy girly life: Hot Chocolate 5k Dallas 2014
The few pictures I managed to take... 
This is a national race with multiple stops around the country, could you see yourself participating?  Chocolate is a great motivator! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lemon Basil Skillet Chicken

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 1/27
From: Pillsbury Fast and Healthy
Find out more

So the name of the cookbook I pulled this from kind of says it all, this recipe is fast and healthy!  It's a skillet meal which makes it also a little lighter on the dishes which is always appreciated :)  

You essentially just cook the chicken breasts in a pan, then remove them and add lemon and basil to make the sauce.  We also did rice, (Rice Select Royal Blends, if you need a great rice suggestion) and I happen to love peas with my rice and this dish needed some veggie, so that was that!  What's nice about this is you can make it with all stuff you normally have on hand, so it's a great one to have in your back pocket.  We just chose to use fresh basil this time but dried basil would work too!  I usually have lemons in the fridge, chicken and peas in the freezer, and rice and basil in the pantry, what about you?  

Looks great when done!
So I really don't have much to say about the prep here, because it really was that easy!  The flavor was great.  Basil and lemon are both subtle flavors but pair so nicely together with the mild flavor of chicken and rice.  And again, it's all done in two pans, so clean up is pretty easy.  This one was definitely a keeper and will be made again soon since I do have all the stuff I'd need currently in my kitchen which is what's so nice!  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 1/20
From: What's for Dinner, Curtis Stone
Find out more

Who doesn't love the idea of a nice Parmesan crusted chicken breast?  This recipe took a little tweaking to make it on the healthy side, but the reason I love this cookbook is Curtis Stone really believes in eating whole, fresh food.  So while he might be a little heavy handed on the oil in his recipes, they still have great bones to work with.  The cookbook is also wonderfully divided into sections for each day of the week.  This one came out of "Family Supper Sundays" which makes sense to me, this is easily a people pleaser!

So it's pretty basic, get chicken breasts to desired size and thickness, dredge and coat. No major revolutions here.  The mixture of panko and parmesan in the breading is what sets this bad boy apart!  I also used whole wheat flour for the first step, just because I can!

healthy girly life: Parmesan crusted chicken
Chicken and a meat pounder, key things here.

healthy girly life: Parmesan crusted chicken
My setup
So the recipe calls for sauteing the chicken, and that just sounded like unnecessary oil for me, since there was already the delicious cheese!  So I opted to try for baking instead.  I sprayed a baking sheet with PAM and laid my chicken pieces out one by one.  I then sprayed the top with just a spritz of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray so it would brown up a bit.

healthy girly life: Parmesan crusted chicken
We made a lot!
Once you get all your chicken laid out on the sheet, just pop it into the oven.  There was a ton of extra breadcrumb/cheese mixture left over, we definitely didn't need to use quite so much for this recipe.  Anyway, around 375 is good and I did about 12 minutes per side because my chickens were still pretty plump.  The trick is definitely to turn them over half way through cooking, it helps get things crispy.  Always make sure to check your chicken is done all the way through before pulling it out, no one wants raw chicken!

We also switched up the side a little bit, because the snow peas looked good at the grocery store.  Still pretty basic, red onions, olive oil and snow peas.  These we did give a quick saute, very easy to do while the chicken bakes!

Delicious finished product!
So with our tweaks and the amount of chicken I used, this recipe made 5 three piece servings at 357 calories each.  The big pile of veggies didn't add too many calories either, so overall while this meal tasted decadent, it still definitely fit the calorie bank!  I didn't find myself missing that buttery sauteed flavor on the chicken, but I was able to enjoy the crisp cheesy coating and nice juicy chicken inside.  Additionally, since there was a significant coating on the chicken, I didn't find myself missing a starchy side.  No rice or pasta needed, just those beautiful greens and it felt like a wonderfully complete meal!

Could you swap out a greasy chicken tender for these?  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Frozen Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Food Find Review
Frozen Entree
From: Lean Cuisine Honestly Good
Find out more

So Lean Cuisine rolled out their new "Honestly Good" line, and I was honestly excited!  Frozen dinners can really save the day in a pinch, but they typically have much higher sodium than I would personally like to eat in one sitting.  On top of that, these varieties sounded delicious and looked like they actually had decent amounts of veggies in them!  Seems like a win all around, and it mostly is.

On one of my many busy days at work, I threw this in my bag on the way, knowing I wouldn't have time to take a lunch and wanted something quick.  I wasn't expecting it to be such a complicated process to get this food heated, as usually it's just vent and heat, maybe a quick stir and heat again.  You had to open it up and get the sauce packet out.  Then thaw that in running water while you heated the rest in the microwave in numerous steps.  I really was cranky about having to take so much time to do this, but I had no other choice at that point and just went ahead and did it all.  Here's what I ended up with:

a frozen meal that actually looks like a yummy meal!
What I can tell you, is the effort was worth it.  This food was tasty and satisfying.  I felt full for a good while after, as if I had put together something similar myself.  I loved how much broccoli I got but didn't feel cheated on the noodles either.  Another plus is I was easily able to eat this with the plastic-ware available to me in my office.  I'm definitely not opposed to purchasing this again, or other entrees from this line.  I just have to keep in mind that it takes about 10 minutes of my day to get it together at work, so don't time crunch it next time.

Have you tried other varieties of Honestly Good?  What did you think?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Super Easy Healthy Pancakes

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 1/20
From: Cheap Clean Eats

First of all, I love breakfast.  Second of all, I love carby-delicious-wonderfully-bad-for-you breakfasts.  But these are some of the easiest things to lighten up at home!  I came across this recipe and thought it was too good to be true.  Honestly, I was ready to be disappointed and let down and never try this again.  I was wrong.  These are TOO EASY and make a single serving in just a few minutes!  Packed with protein and nutrients, you don't even have to feel bad about splurging on some real maples syrup to put on top!

What you need: ripe bananas, eggs.  Optional: cinnamon, pancake mix.  Something to top with (if you wish)

healthy girly life: Super Easy Banana Pancakes
Two ingredients!

Just pop that banana and two eggs right into a blender (I used my handy Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth!  I also add cinnamon because I love that flavor in my breakfast goodness.  When I make these for my boyfriend, I also mix in about 1/4 cup heart-healthy pancake mix per serving to give them a little extra fluff.  It doesn't hurt the stats too bad and it makes it more "pancakey"

healthy girly life: Super Easy Banana Pancakes
I didn't quite get all the pictures needed, sorry!
It takes a little while to master flipping them, but once you do, it's easy as can be!  Since they are a little thinner than regular pancakes, they almost come out crepe-like.  Making the nice little mini sized ones definitely helps the flippability.

healthy girly life: Super Easy Banana Pancakes
Ready to flip!
One banana and two eggs makes one serving, and it's huge!  This time I chose to have mine with some vanilla greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.  As I mentioned earlier, they are also great with pure maple syrup.  I've also had them with whatever flavor greek yogurt I have in the fridge.

healthy girly life: Super Easy Banana Pancakes
Yum yum, yum, all for me!
These come out thin but so tasty.  There is a slight hint of banana to them, but they still definitely pack a pancake punch!  I felt satisfied and full after eating these until lunchtime too.  I rolled them up and dipped them in my yogurt, I just love finger foods :)  They don't always come out quite this pretty (depends on how much effort I put into flipping them that day) but they do always taste great!  As you can tell, I loved them so much I've already made them three times since initially trying them out last month!  Definitely a keeper in our brunch routine!

What do you think, could you swap out your carbo-loaded breakfast for this one?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hotcake Hustle 5k

5K Experience
5K a Month Challenge - January
January 11th, 2014 @ Addison Circle Park, Addison TX

I apologize in advance, I didn't take any pictures this morning.  The Hotcake Hustle is the first in a series in the Dallas area of I believe 8 races per year.  What I liked so much about this one, is it was essentially out the front door of my apartment.  It seemed like a great way for me to kick off my goal of getting one of these done a month, because how could I find an excuse to blow off something so close to me?

I opted to pick up my packet on race day, rather than venture out to a store since it was so close.  Well, first, this was a mistake!  They were out of shirts by the time we got there (thankfully the super nice people of Run Project finally decided to ship it to me since I missed my post-race pickup due to lots of traveling)  It was a bit hectic and there wasn't a ton of signage around to get us to packet pickup, but everyone was in high spirits this fine morning!

Since this is a smaller race, there are no corrals or anything, we just kind of hopped into the crowd with everyone else.  They did some little warm up exercises with us too, which is always a nice touch.  What I found interesting here was that 10k participants and 5k participants all started together.  At one point the 10kers just turned around and did another loop of it!  And yes, they did start to lap us slow little 5kers!  A little intimidating but also a little motivating at the same time!

I had no goal going into this, just wanted to see what I could do now that I had been training a little bit and on a normal road course (in December, we had done a trail run 5k that took me about 45 minutes, but I wasn't sure how that would compare to this) So we hit the ground running!  There are a few 5ks in my area and they all pretty much take the same course, which honestly isn't terribly exciting.  Out of the circle/park area, over the bridge, turn around, come back.  It's a nice bridge, but since I run that way normally sometimes it's not as motivating for me in a 5k.  Really pretty uneventful little course and pretty soon we were in range of the finish line!

I tried my hardest to really push at the end, but I had gone a little too hard in the beginning.  This is really something I am trying to work on more but it's a challenge for me to find my balance with everyone else running faster around me.  I made it across the finish line with 40:10 as my time!  I had managed to shave quite a bit off the trail run and was feeling exhausted but accomplished and ready for some pancakes...

BUT the line for pancakes was suuuuper long.  It was great that they were making them to order, but we just weren't in the mood to wait.  We grabbed some bananas and headed home for a nap :)

I love the small little events like this that really feel like great community involvement.  Do you have anything like this in your area that you could try out?  They are great for beginners because for us at least, no minimum time!

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Revolutionary" Mac and Cheese

Recipe Experiences
From: Pinterest & Naturebox
Find out more here & here

A few weeks ago I had some extra 2% milk in my fridge from a grocery store mishap (I usually buy vanilla almond or skim) and I had to think of something to do with it.  Enter a Pin I see every so often on Pinterest - "revolutionary" mac and cheese.  Cook the pasta IN the milk.  Why did no one think of this before?  I like the idea of it, as it sounds simpler than so many homemade mac and cheeses that has come before it.  And no processed junk that you find in various boxes and bags of the stuff.  I also had a red onion in the fridge I wanted to use, so I figured a nice veggie side would round out this meal nicely since mac and cheese can be heavy.  This Naturebox Blog kale side is super easy and tasty!

So off to the grocery store I went to buy some reduced fat block cheddar and some kale to complete the two half-recipes I had at home.   I really don't usually care to shred my own cheese, but it was recommended so I got to work while the milk and pasta cooked.  They aren't kidding, this really is easy!  In no time I had some cheesy goodness ready to eat.  The kale salad/stir fry is also crazy easy.  I cut up a red onion and sauteed with garlic and olive oil before throwing in some roughly chopped kale to wilt and stir. Bam, done, dinner!

healthy girly life: Super easy mac and cheese with kale stir fry
It doesn't look like much, but it worked!
So, was this mac and cheese revolutionary?  I didn't really think so.  I liked the ease of it but it was just missing that "cheesiness" I'm used to.  I'm not crossing it off my list, I do want to try to make it again, but maybe with full-fat cheese next time.  It just didn't have that UMPH I wanted.  The kale and onion stir fry I have made in the past and will make again.

I'm curious, with this idea being so popular on Pinterest, have you tried it yourself?  What did you think?!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Skinny Detox Veggie Soup

Recipe Experience
New Recipe of the Week, Week of 1/6
From: Skinny Mom

So this was the recipe I chose to start off the year because not only did I have a nice indulgent holiday, I followed it by a 9 day trip to Disney World where I indulged on lots of tasty eats!  No one likes that post-vacation bloat feeling, so this seemed like the perfect little fix for me to start getting right back on track!

I kept to the recipe as much as I could, but I ended up using sweet potatoes instead of turnips because I couldn't find them at my store.  I also didn't buy enough stock, so oopsie!  This was before I really decided to restart my blogging, so pictures are lacking.

It was definitely simple enough which I loved, and the recipe made a TON.  So much it almost didn't fit in my pot!  But what I loved is that it all did go in just the one pot, so it made less dishes, score!  Just a lot of chopping at the beginning, but really nothing too fancy, just cut into the size pieces you want to eat.  Everything went as well as expected and in about an hour and a half I had a huge pot of bean and veggie soup.  We took the serving suggestion and got some fresh Italian bread to serve with it (not really on the detox part, but it sounded good!)
healthy girly life: Skinny Detox Soup from Skinny Mom

I love how the veggies are just overflowing, made me feel great eating it.  And I couldn't even finish this whole bowl, it was so filling!  It did need an extra hit of salt and pepper at the dinner table, but I blame that on my lack of stock and having to use water to fill it up and I probably didn't compensate enough.  This recipe was just what I needed in the cold winter months, but I couldn't eat it (coupled with my boyfriend) enough times to actually eat the whole batch!  So we portioned it out and froze about 3 servings for either quick dinners or better-than-canned easy soup when we are sick.

What do you think, would you give this one a try?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lunch Rush

I'm not one of those people who can eat the same thing for lunch every day and be happy, so I'm always looking for inspiration!  I'm lucky enough that I can come home to my apartment a few days a week so I do have access to a stove to make lunchtime goodness sometimes, but that doesn't make it easy to come up with something quick and easy to still give myself enough time to eat.

So every once in a while I figure I should share ideas as well, if I'm always taking them from others :)  So here's some of my recent lunches, enjoy!  It looks like I was on a sandwich kick recently, but I do try to mix it up, promise!

healthy girly life: French Inspired Grilled Ham and Cheese with Apple Slices
French Inspired Grilled Ham and Cheese with Apple Slices

healthy girly life: "Philly Cheesesteak" on FlatOut Foldit with Cucumber and Hummus
"Philly Cheesesteak" on FlatOut Foldit with Cucumber and Hummus

healthy girly life: Grilled cheese, carrots, grapes and hummus
Keeping it simple, grilled cheese, carrots, hummus, and grapes!

healthy girly life: FlatOut Foldit with turkey, apple butter, and spinach.  Side of carrot chips and hummus.
This one came to work with me - FlatOut Foldit with turkey, apple butter, and spinach.  Side of carrot chips and hummus.

healthy girly life: FlatOut Foldit with turkey, apple butter, brie and spinach. Cuties as a side!
FlatOut Foldit with turkey, apple butter, brie and spinach. Cuties as a side!
What have you had for lunch lately that stood out or helped mix up your routine?