I get so incredibly blue after Christmas, and then once New Year’s hits, I feel an even deeper sadness. The rush of the holiday season, the music, the wrapping paper, homemade cookies, and house all adorned with twinkling lights… fades into the coldness of winter. It is so depressing. Then the time comes when my husband starts nudging me, “When are you taking down the Christmas tree?”
I love when an experiment works. This side dish was created from leftover ingredients in our refrigerator. I literally opened the veggie drawer, assessed and started sauteing. Because that is what I do people, I saute. Pretty simple.
A little background. I never use to be a fan of Brussels sprouts.Yuck, yuck, yuck. The thought of them made my nose wrinkle in disgust. Why? Who knows!
Somewhere along the way it changed. I cannot really pinpoint when but it happened. Now, I could eat them as my veggie for every meal. I have a couple Brussels Sprout side dish recipes saved in my back pocket, but I do think my latest kitchen creation is worth a Blog Post.
- 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- Brussels Sprouts
- Summer Squash / Yellow Zucchini – sliced then halved
- 2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
- Balsamic Vinegar to taste
- Salt & Pepper to taste
I can see why people steer clear of certain foods. They are intimidating. Mango, Avocados, Brussels Sprouts – why, why, why do you look so complicated? Well, let me tell you that I found this little gem of a video and it truly helped.
Prep the Brussels Sprouts. I follow this video by washing, cutting the Brussels Sprouts in halves, cutting the stock and scoring.
While you prep the Brussels Sprouts, add 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil to a pan on medium high. Once heated add the Brussels Sprouts and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. Then add the halved Squash, minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. I like my Brussels Sprouts slightly seared so I add then first to get the cooking time started. Remove from pan and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar to taste. Enjoy!
I am a snacker. There I said it. I like to snack pretty much… well, a lot of the time. Especially in that 10 am and 2 pm time frame. It is like clockwork. My body is yelling – “feed me!” And, I usually oblige. The key however, to snacking is choosing the right foods.
If you have been joining me on my Blog journey you may have read my post – Belly And Food – Love/Hate Relationship. There I introduced you to my quest to adopted a healthy lifestyle through Clean Eating. A lot of times I get asked – “Well, what can you snack on?” I will admit, when I first started this journey I asked myself that question too. My biggest struggle was my work week. Having an office job, you get stuck behind your desk all day and with the crazy hours and deadlines came skipped meals or really poor meals on the fly. I felt like crap.
However, once I invested the time to learn more about Clean Eating, I realized that it was foods I already loved but needed to look at differently. I always tell people my biggest struggle was with my sweet tooth. I always crave chocolate at the end of the day. But guess what? It was all mental. My body was hungry but it really didn’t have to have chocolate. I found the sweetness in fruit, well, it did just the same thing as a candy bar except this time my hips were yelling – “Yeah, take that chocolate!” and “You go girl!”
Snacking has actually become easy! I find now I am in a routine during the work week and my biggest struggle is maintaining through the weekend. I decided to round up some of my favorites to share with you.
2 – String Cheese – I love me some String Cheese. It is portable and offers a great source of calcium.
3 – Clementines. Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’ Clementine. I pack just for the song! Nah, again a super easy fruit on the go. These are my perfect mid-afternoon snack when the sweet tooth kicks in.
4 – Hard Boiled Eggs – Yes. It is true. Hard Boiled Eggs are low in calories and high in nutrition, containing a great source of protein.
5 – Hummus. Yum! Pair with some Pretzels or Pita Chips and let’s have a party! Hummus is made with chickpeas which are a great source of complex carbohydrates and protein.
6 – Edamame – Cook ahead of time and sprinkle with some sea salt. It is a wonderfully addictive treat.
7 – KIND Bars! These are my go-to! The Oats and Honey tastes like a Rice Krispie treat too!
Please comment below on your favorite Clean Eating Snacks!
I have never been a breakfast sandwich kind of girl. Now when I say that, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy eating them, I just tend to not make them. When Nathan gets in the kitchen during breakfast hours, it is all about mastering the ideal breakfast sandwich, which usually includes a fried egg, sausage patty or bacon and lots and lots of cheese. I will reiterate, lots and lots of cheese.
For me, an open face style sandwich is much more appealing during breakfast.
This recipe was born out of my need to clean out the refrigerator and use up some leftovers, but it was so delicious that I just had to share. The night prior, we had salmon for dinner. I baked three salmon filets in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. I brushed the salmon with some olive oil and then seasoned with lemon pepper, garlic salt, pepper and dash of sea salt. We also had a random amount of asparagus stalks leftover from a previous weeknight meal. Does anyone else have the same problem as me? Asparagus that is pre-bundled is usually too much for two people but not enough for two separate meal sides? I always feel I throw away a few random stalks.
Don’t you just love how confident that asparagus is in the photo below?
LEFTOVER OPEN FACE BREAKFAST SANDWICH:
- 1/2 tsp of Olive Oil
- Asparagus Stalks – Cut into thirds
- 1 – English Muffin – You can use wheat, whole grain, white, or switch it up to a bagel half. Anything your heart desires!
- 1/2 Tbsp of Light Butter
- 5 – Eggs or 7 – Egg Whites
- Splash of Almond Milk – Original
- 1 – Salmon Filet
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Start by prepping the Asparagus. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Wash The Asparagus, snap the ends and cut the stalk into thirds. Coated with 1/2 a tsp of Olive Oil and season with pepper and sea salt. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add 1/2 a Tsp of Light Butter to a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Beat eggs in glass bowl, add a splash of Almond Milk and season with pepper. Add eggs to pan. Let the eggs cook for a minute before you begin to push around mixture. Cut your English Muffin in half and toast both sides. Add eggs, salmon and asparagus to top of an English Muffin half.
Please Note: Salmon was a leftover in this recipe, so no cook time was needed for Salmon; however, if you make this recipe from scratch, bake a Salmon Filet at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Season with Olive Oil, Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Pepper and a dash of Sea Salt.
Optional: Garnish with Salsa.
You know what I love? A great Guacamole.
It wasn’t always such a sweet relationship between us two. In fact, the beginning was a rocky road for us. I was that girl who would go to a Mexican Restaurant and place my order (usually a Chimichanga) and say, “Oh, and hold the Guacamole.” I totally, noticed the waiter’s eye roll too.
Mostly, I didn’t give it a chance, but I also think I just had some bad versions. It wasn’t until my Sister-In-Law, Amie and her husband, Corey made a batch a few years back, that my thoughts went from, “No, thanks. I will pass.” To, “Holy, Guacamole, where have you been my whole life?”
Start by rounding up your ingredients, ya know… wrangle them in.
As, you can tell. It is a pretty shady I mean sparse bunch. Start with the Avocados… the scarey Avocados. I say that because I think it is an intimidating fruit. Yes, it is a fruit people. I think they are avoided because many don’t know how to cut, chop or handle them. Kind of like Avocado’s scarey right-hand man… the Mango!
Before you begin make sure the Avocado is ripe. I cannot stress this enough. It must be ripe. To tell if it is ripe, look for the “Ripe” sticker on the Avocado placed by a diligent Produce employee. Just kidding! Give the Avocado a gentle squeeze. The skin should give a bit. If it doesn’t then it is not quite there. Leave it on the counter a few days to soften up. Here are some more tips.
While it can be intimidating, cutting, chopping and dicing an Avocado is pretty easy. First, start by cutting it in half. You won’t be able to go through because of the pit, but continue to cut around. Then twist slightly to separate the halves.
Take your knife and strike the pit so that the blade sticks. Hold the Avocado and twist the knife to loosen and remove the pit. For Guacamole, I use my knife to make length wise and width wise slices (Are they words? Not sure, but you get what I am saying).
Then using a spoon, scoop out the Avocado into a bowl. Don’t forget to scoop out any pulp that remains on the skin.
Using the backside of your spoon, smash up the avocado. I like mine chunky. Add in your chopped tomato, diced red onion, the juice of half of a lime and add Garlic Salt, Pepper and Sea Salt (this makes it! Love the course salt) to taste. Give it a stir and serve. It is that easy!
- 2 Avocados
- 1 Heirloom Tomato – Chopped
- 1/2 Red Onion – Diced
- 1/2 the Juice of Lime
- Garlic Salt, Pepper & Sea Salt – To Taste
Diced Avocados and smash in a bowl. Add chopped tomato, diced red onion, the juice of 1/2 of a lime and give it a good stir. Season with garlic salt, pepper and sea salt to taste.
Belly & Food. Hmmm? This post could go in a million directions. Well if you haven’t learned by now I kinda love food. I think I may just be a big foodie. I love trying new things…. I love exploring cities and local hot spots… I love food events… I secretly have a love affair with fair food / food trucks (not a secret anymore!)… I love holidays because my family is centered around a meal that was homemade. I just love food.
I will let you in on another little secret. My belly sometimes does not have the same affection as I do to food. I know spare the details, but it all started a few years ago with agonizing pain in my gut that would cripple me for a few hours or so. I was certain it was a food allergy and made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist, but after a few tests… nothing. No Lactose intolerance, no Celiac disease, heck they even went as far to tell me that I didn’t even posses the gene that would make me develop Celiac disease. At that time, the doctor wrote something down on a piece of paper and said, “Read this. I guarantee if you make some changes to your diet you will notice some changes.” The piece of paper read… “The China Study.”
I picked up the book that week and read a little bit, putting it down only to engage in everything it said not to. I didn’t take it serious. It also overwhelmed me with the statistics and research facts. I mean some points were interesting and others, well they scared me more than living my current life. How could I cut out meats and dairy? I mean I married the son of a son of a farmer.
A few years went by since all of this occurred; however, my reoccurring growing stomach issues lingered. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I actually sat down and decided to give this whole diet thing another look. And, by diet I am not referring to what probably first pops in your mind, but instead my own personal diet… a lifestyle change.
Two words – Clean Eating. Three words – Eliminating processed foods.
That pretty much sums it up! Thinking before you eat. Choosing healthy and natural options vs processed options. It gets a bit deeper but on the surface this simple task alone makes a huge difference.
To go back to my early read, I think the reason “The China Study” scared me so much back then was that it does focus on a plant-based diet, which is something I was not ready for then or even now. I mean I love a hamburger or some BBQ during the summer and don’t you dare touch that bowl of my Grandma’s homemade chicken and wild rice soup. Co-Author, T. Colin Campbell will state that he doesn’t believe in using the words “vegan” or “vegetarian” but plant-based. And, while he doesn’t altogether state you must go 100% plant-based, the book does advocate for such a diet. I can’t give up my meat and dairy, but I can choose the quantity and quality of my food. That is why I have found “Clean Eating” to be much easier to chew on. (Pun 100% intended).
Pinterest has been a HUGE help in this effort. You can find great articles, helpful tips and amazing recipes. Check out my – “Lean, Green and Eat Clean” Board. I started this little journey almost two months ago, with baby steps, and I mean baby steps. The results so far have proven to be quite rewarding. I am hoping to use this Blog to continue to share my story, and hear from you.
Here are a few quick tips on starting to incorporate Clean Eating into your diet.
1) Start Small – I find things are most successful when I don’t put all my eggs in one basket or stop cold turkey. This has been super gradual for me. I still LOVE salty potato chips dipped in cheese and who can say no to an Oreo, but chose moderation and start finding out what is really behind your cravings. For example, for me I have found after a super stressful day I craved sweets and I would reach for a cookie in the cupboard, but now I have found that fruit is just as sweet. I will go for slices of pineapple over a cookie now. 80% of the time stick to the plan and 20% of the time allow yourself to indulge.
2) Add to your Diet… Load up on the veggies and fruits, lean meats and whole grains. At first it may be a challenge, but after about two-weeks I was craving fruits and veggies over sweets.
3) Avoid from your Diet… Processed foods, fast foods, soda and sugary drinks and refined sugars. This is a good starting point. Start making healthy decisions – Choose fresh fruit and veggies over canned, switch a coke for an ice water with lemon, and substitute sugar with some honey in your Hot Tea. Baby steps.
4) Drink Lots of Water – I cannot stress it enough. I drink water all day, but definitely make sure to drink as soon as you wake up, before a meal and before bed. It does wonders.
5) Plan, Plan, Plan – Have you read my Blog Name? Backwards N High Heels – I am busy! Eating clean won’t work unless you plan. Usually Sundays are reserved for week long meal plans followed by a Market Order. Not only does it #1 help me not stress out over dinner during the week, but #2 helps me stay focused so I try not to lose course.
I am not perfect and I am by no means a nutritionist, nor have any medical background. This is simply me sharing my experiences with you. I am also practicing in moderation. Please read that again, I am practicing in moderation. Don’t hold it against me if you see me out indulging in wings (oh, because I am a sucker for wings) or enjoying a few cold beers, but know that small, simple changes have made an impact on me and hopefully may help you. Enjoy!