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?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

January Recap

So in order to get this blog restarted right, I figured I'd give you a little overview of what I accomplished in January!  The year started off with me at Disney World with my mom, while it's a magical place, temptation is all around!  So I definitely had some "get your butt back on track" moments when I got home from the trip.  I hope to write more in-depth posts about some/most/all of these things, but here's what I accomplished for the month.

Joined a DietBet - this is such an interesting concept and it was actually the second one I had attempted.  Why not bet some money on yourself to get you motivated to hit your goal?  I will give you the spoiler and say that I was able to accomplish the goal this time around (I had failed my first one) and I've joined a longer one at 6 months now!

Successfully accomplished at least one new recipe a week! - I tried Skinny Detox Soup, Banana Pancakes, Lemon Basil Chicken, Parmesan Crusted Chicken and Puffed Quinoa Energy Bars to name a few!  Some were bigger hits than others, but surprisingly nothing turned out awful that we wouldn't want to eat it again!

Broke in Just Dance 2014 - It's amazing how much more you exercise when you are doing something fun that you enjoy!  They got rid of some features I liked from the last one, but overall it's still a great option for a cardio break!

Finished the Hotcake Hustle 5k. - This was a 5k literally steps from my apartment, I had no reason not to try it!  It was a fun way to kick off the new year of goals and challenges for myself.  I'm still quite slow by most runner's standards, but I finished and that's what is important to me!

So overall I think I've set myself up for a pretty successful year and hope to build on what I've already accomplished in the few short weeks we've had of 2014.  What have you done for yourself to kickstart your new year?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Restart

As I'm sure many of you can relate, sometimes we just loose track of things and don't know where the time goes.  My last post here to you all was early 2013, and suddenly it's 2014!  A lot has changed in my life since then and it took me a little while to really adjust to some of the changes.  Promotion at work, new relationship, new workouts, new eating habits.  Life is ever changing, and we are constantly needing to adapt.

Unfortunately in this time, I did gain a lot of the weight I had lost back.  My priorities had changed and I lost track of the slow creep up on the scale.  I was suddenly eating out a lot, and working through lunch.  Too exhausted to get to the gym and once winter hit, the lack of sunshine caught up to me pretty fast.

Am I going to let any of that stop me from trying to lead a healthier life?  Absolutely not!  I've finally put myself first again and made my health a priority.  I have lots of fun new exercise options to share with you and have set the goal for myself to try one new recipe a week to help offset some of the eating out by forcing myself to cook at home (which I do love to do, most of the time!)  Additionally, I've also challenged myself to finish one 5k a month and hope to improve my running time and endurance by the end of the year.

So hopefully you'll be hearing from me more this year, as I've set long-term goals, not short term fixes!  I want to share all my new recipes, how the 5K experience is, and even some fun outfits I put together on days where I feel great!  What are your goals for the year ahead?  Have you made January set a good pace for your 2014?  Thanks for sticking with me through all this, can't wait to share what I find :)

Cheers to you, all you accomplish, and to 2014 being our best year yet!