Good Eats – Craving Brussels Sprouts

Some days, I have no idea what I want for dinner.
Other days, I only know what protein I want.
And others, I only know what veg I’m craving (the recurring craving theme in my pregnancy so far has been vegetables, much like most of my life!)

Today I was craving Brussels sprouts, and grass fed beef was on sale, so that became our delicious dinner plan! Topped with Rhode Island mushrooms 😍

Did you have any pregnancy cravings?

Tasty Tuesday – Fajita Chicken Kebabs

Yum… perfect summer dish!

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lime, plus additional for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (remove seeds and membrane for less heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Salsa, Greek yogurt, and guacamole, (optional)
  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and place in a Ziploc bag.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, lime juice and zest, chili powder, cumin, garlic, jalapeno, and salt. Pour over the chicken, seal the bag, then gently “squish” the bag so that the chicken is coated with the marinade. Place the bag in a baking dish to catch any drips, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water for at least 20 minutes prior to use (I prefer metal because even soaked, wood skewers can char sometimes.)
  3. Cut the bell peppers and onion into 3/4-inch chunks, then thread onto skewers with the marinated chicken pieces, alternating the chicken with the vegetables. When ready to cook, heat your grill to medium-high. Lightly oil the grill, then place the kabobs on the grill, cover, and let cook until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning the chicken once or twice throughout so it cooks evenly.
  4. Remove the chicken kebabs to a serving plate and sprinkle with cilantro and a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Serve warm, garnished with salsa, Greek yogurt, or guacamole as desired.

Food Tip Friday – Blanch Your Veggies

Do you blanch your veggies? You might want to start!

Ever sauteed broccoli to see it go from vibrant green to a very unappealing, matte shade of “dirty-gray green”? Blanching helps keep your veggies vibrant! In addition to the color, blanching also locks in the vitamins in nutrients, shortens cooking time, helps remove the dirt and bacteria, and for veggies like Kale, denatures the enzymes that make it bitter.

My husband blanches our veggies when we cook, and it really does make a difference – the color alone is MUCH more appealing!

Who’s a blancher, here?

Tasty Thursday – Mango Salsa

My husband discovered this one day and to say I have been hooked since is a pretty serious understatement. I suppose it should be noted that I am an absolute SUCKER for anything that pairs with a tortilla chip, and this certainly fits that bill!

We have since taken to making our own, and I pretty much cannot get enough of this stuff – plus it’s clean ingredients (natural sugars for the win!)

I like it with tortilla’s, but it actually works well on top of grilled chicken, too!

Note: I buy pre-peeled mangoes because it makes it easier, and I am all about making life easier!

Have you tried it? Do you love it? Let me know what you think!

Try It Thursday – Infused Water

Do you like water? You probably know by now that I LOVE water, and getting enough water is one of my strengths. But I know I am the exception in this, not the rule. I could sit here and preach the benefits of water to you, of which there are far too many to count. or I could help you find a way to learn to love water, or at least enjoy it enough to get a respectable amount. So guess what option I am going to choose? That’s right – find ways for you to love water!

Right off the bat, I am going to tell you that all those commercial “flavor drops” you see are not the answer. Sure, they probably infuse a ton of flavor, but, they are also loaded with preservatives, artificial sweeteners, added vitamins/minerals, artificial colorings (Red 40, Blue 1 etc), sodium, sucralose, sucrose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, and refined sugar (the horror!). Which means they go against everything we are trying to accomplish. So there is no need to go stock up on these.

The simplest way to infuse your water is… to make your own! It’s simple, promise!Water Infusions

There are so many combinations you can try. I always suggest to start with things you love, which will automatically inspire you to drink more water. Are you crazy for cucumber? Toss some cucumber in a jug, take a muddler (or a wooden spoon) to help break down the cucumber, and add water. You can stick it in the fridge so it cools and infuses, or you can drink it immediately.

Same goes for most other fruits and veggies. Simply smash it up a bit, put water in, and let the two marry. This gives you the flavor without all of the added calories, since this is an infusion, not a juice.

You can toss in herbs, and spices…. play around a bit, find some different combinations that taste good. There is no wrong combination here, just as long as you are getting half of your body weight in ounces of water!

Do you drink plenty of water? Do you have any tips to help you get your daily intake?

 

Tip Tuesday – Eat Your Veggies

Helpful tips to maximize your vegetable intake:

As usual, making something easy to do is about forging new habits. Below you’ll find some of the simplest habits that’ll have you happily munching on more fruit and veg in the least amount of time. Once you’ve chiseled out these habits, getting your 8 a day really will be as natural to you as making a cup of coffee, or whipping up a sandwich.

Simple ways to eat more veggies:

  • Tip 1: Always add a serving of fruit or veg to (or with) your breakfast. This is definitely one of the easiest habits that’ll instantly give you 1-2 extra servings. Fruits and veggies can be blended to make a smoothie/shake, berries can be added to oatmeal, fruits and veggies can both be eaten plain, etc. And remember, fruit juice doesn’t count! We’re after real, whole food here. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, starting your day off with a serving of fruits and veggies is a really smart way to go.
  • Tip 2: Base every snack on either fruit or veg. While occasionally it’s fine to have a splurge snack, that needs to be the exception, not the rule. If you’re going to snack, make it real food. Have veggie sticks & hummus, 1/2 an avocado, a handful of grapes, or an apple with some almond butter. Healthy food doesn’t need to be difficult. So keep it simple to keep it quick.
  • Tip 3: Snack on veg sticks while preparing your dinner. This is an insanely simple tool that is grossly underutilized. When you’re in the kitchen with your chopping board out and a knife in hand, chop up some extra veg sticks to munch as you cook. Make it half a bell pepper one day (good luck stopping me at just half a bell pepper!), some cucumber another, or whatever else you have at hand. See, its actually not that hard! 🙂
  • Tip 4: If your meal is saucy, serve it on a base of grated veg. I’m a big fan of saucy meals. Curries, stews, even homemade Chinese dishes with a lot of sauce (healthy homemade sauce of course!) can lend themselves to this super quick technique. Simply wash and grate some raw veg, carrot, courgette or beetroot for example, or finely slice some Asian leafy greens or purple cabbage, pile them into the bottom of a large bowl, and top with your hot saucy meal. Takes a total of about 2 minutes, and you’ve got an extra 2-3 servings right there. There is also a tool called the Veggetti which can be used to make linguine out of zucchini, squash, etc. GREAT tool.

How are YOU doing with eating your veggies? Do you have a favorite way to eat them?

Tip Tuesday – Low Carb Veggies

In case it hasn’t been made abundantly clear… I LOVE VEGGIES.

DLife has put out their roundup of the best veggies for Diabetics – the ones with the lowest carb counts!

  • ARUGULA – It contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of arugula contains 1g of carbs.  It is rich in phytonutrients, which may reduce the risk of several kinds of cancers, including breast, stomach, and colon.
  • CUCUMBER – It contains 1g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced cucumber contains 2g of carbs. The flesh of a cucumber is mostly water but also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. The skin is rich in fiber, magnesium, and potassium — a combination that may help lower blood pressure.
  • BROCCOLI RAAB – It contains 1g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked broccoli raab (also spelled “rabe” and also sometimes called “rapini”) contains 3g of carbs. This immune-boosting vegetable is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help prevent macular degeneration. It’s also a great source of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K.
  • ICEBERG LETTUCE – It contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains 2g of carbs. Iceberg lettuce is an excellent source of potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure, and manganese, which is essential for bone health and may help regulate blood sugar levels. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • CELERY – It contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. Two medium stalks of celery contains 2.5g of carbs. Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also rich with nutrients such as phthalides, which may lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and coumarins, which may protect against some forms of cancer by preventing damage from free radicals.
  • WHITE MUSHROOMS – They contain 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of raw sliced white mushrooms contains 2g of carbs. Mushrooms are extremely dense with nutrients, including selenium, a trace mineral that may help fight cancer. They are also rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • RADISHES – They contain 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced raw radishes contains 2g of carbs. Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium. Like other cruciferous veggies, they are thought to have cancer fighting properties, and have been used as medicinal food for liver disorders.
  • TURNIPS – They contain 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked turnips contains 4g of carbs. Turnips are especially high in cancer-fighting glucosinolates. Turnip greens are rich in antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • ROMAINE LETTUCE – It contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of shredded romaine lettuce contains 1.5g of carbs. Romaine lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which work together to prevent the oxidization of cholesterol. It is also rich in potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure. This makes romaine a heart-healthy vegetable.
  • ASPARAGUS – It contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked asparagus contains 3.5g of carbs. Asparagus is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, zinc, manganese, and selenium. It may help reduce the risk of heart disease and regulate blood sugar because it is rich in fiber and B vitamins, which play a key role in the metabolism of sugar and starches.

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