A Lesson on Balance & Comfort – Brought to you by my crockpot.

For a while now I’ve been using my crockpot as storage. The most action it’s gotten in the past few months have been the bottom of miscellaneous stacked bowls. This also goes for my gym membership. For awhile, my $39.99 membership mine as well had been cash I dropped on the ground. I wasn’t going. I couldn’t get myself up to go before work, and couldn’t get myself to go after. I had been a morning person before, so I knew, eventually, I’d be back at it. But it took time. I am four months into my first big girl job and I have finally nailed down my schedule and daily routines. As I continue to get used to my new schedule, I’m slowly learning how to balance my time in order to keep a balanced diet and a balanced social life. I wasn’t really sure what clicked. It could have been seeing the dust on my crock pot, realizing that I don’t cook anymore. It could have been that I work for a denim company, and that denim was getting a little tighter as the holidays drew closer. It also could have been my swollen face from taking in way too much sodium, which made me realize I didn’t have to participate in every happy hour special, no matter how good $5 beers and half off nachos tasted. I realized I was missing this little thing called moderation, self discipline and general comfort in my clothing. In the past few years, I’ve gradually graduated from the phase of wanting to be a size 4, to focusing on comfort and overall health and happiness.

sundays

So – I’ve laced up my shoes, given in to my alarm clocks, and made a few moderate changes that have gone a long way. My energy has already improved a long with my attitude. Results take time, but I feel them coming (I know, just in time for me to have four helpings of eggplant parmesan on Christmas). Sundays, for me, are crucial. As are my weekends. I have started to make the best out of my Sundays. I make sure to make a trip to the gym, whether it’s a good or bad workout, it’s a workout, and I always feel great after it. I make sure to not binge on fried food and carbs, and allow myself to eat something I love, in moderation, like the sushi roll and gluten free cookie I had yesterday. I grocery shop, make sure I’m outside even if it’s just a walk to the gym or store, and cook up some food for the week. The only thing I let myself binge on is Netflix. It is Sunday, after all.

I have been using my crock pot a lot recently. Meal prepping for the week has me in the kitchen like a spazz and using the crockpot has really calmed down the process. I throw a few different ingredients into my crockpot – leave it for a few hours – and there I have it. Dinner or lunch for every day of the week.

Chicken Chili Soup

Don’t worry – it tastes better than it looks. Confession – this wasn’t supposed to be a soup. I decided to wing it and threw the below ingredients into my crock pot. Though I was hoping for a chili, it turned out a bit soupy. (Is soupy a word?) It could have easily thickened over night / throughout the course of the day but for now – I’ll call it a soup. Update: It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. 

FullSizeRender

1 lb. Chicken Breast
1 cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1 can Refried Black Beans
1/2 bag mixed veggies (carrots, peas, corn)

IMG_1886 IMG_1887 IMG_1888 IMG_1894

Makes about 4 servings.

1 serving:
326 calories
6 g Fat
28 g Carbohydrates
38 g Protein
(6 g Fiber , 5 g Sugar)

Chicken & Vegetable Soup (with or without Rice)

IMG_1716

3/4 lb Chicken Breast
2 Cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1 bag mixed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, corn)

IMG_1699

IMG_1700

IMG_1703

IMG_1701

 IMG_1709 IMG_1704

Makes 3-4 servings.

1 Serving:
254 Calories
3 g Fat
10 g Carb
35 g Protein

Optional: Make your soup into 4 servings and add rice. I cooked quinoa and brown rice and mixed it together – switching it up every now and then is important! (Recommended serving size – 1/2 cup cooked rice)

A CrockPot Mishap

My CrockPot Mishap

I wanted to make some sort of delicious crockpot recipe but then I remembered that I am unfortunately not Juli Bauer. I also wanted to keep it as “clean” as possible. I threw some stuff together and this is what happened. It turned into a half soup half chili type situation, but it was seriously delicious!

✔️2 Pounds Ground Turkey
✔️2 Cups Kale
✔️1 Pepper (I used 1/2 Red, 1/2 Yellow)
✔️1 Cup Chicken Broth
✔️3 Chopped up Garlic Cloves
✔️Lemon Juice, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, Basil

Put your ground turkey into your crockpot, add the Kale, peppers, seasonings, garlic & broth! One step process, people. You’ve got this. I served myself about 1.5 cups of this recipe over 1/2 cup of Brown & Wild rice.

IMG_4669IMG_4670IMG_4671IMG_4702IMG_4722IMG_4723IMG_4724

Yours Truly,

Stef

High School Parties & Chicken

IMG_8123
Something you eat a LOT of on your typical healthy diet is chicken. And I’m not talkin chicken nuggets. Just like you, I sometimes wish chicken nuggets were a part of my every day life. Plain chicken gets boring. Chicken nuggets make you feel young again. Young as in the sense of drunken high school nights at Jenna’s house, with the main concern being that we had dinosaur chicken nuggets to eat after our “party” filled with stolen Absolute Vodka and Mikes Hard Lemonade from our parents. Nights that made me think it was funny to stick my head in a mailbox outside of the royal farms?
4832_1143595229939_4133269_n
Nights like New Years senior year. These nights made us think it would be funny to post pictures of our guy friends who wore elephant thongs at midnight, to only be found by our high school principle. I’m not sure if they were our friends anymore after that.
18162_1184369489270_5981517_n
But, 500 dinosaur chicken nuggets and a few stupid nights later we did in-fact graduate.
30018_1222517522947_1503119_n
And now I’m sitting on my computer trying to write a blog about chicken. Chicken has great protein, almost nonexistent fat, and decent calories. It’s the go-to for a quick healthy meal, and it is largely chosen over most meats. I recently discovered chicken thighs, and haven’t let myself turn back. Buuuut now I’ve been moving back to the usual chicken breasts. They pack a little more protein and are generally less expensive… You can also have more chicken breast for the same macro’s as a serving of chicken thighs offer. Not a bad switch.
In my opinion, chicken is boring. Yes, it’s delicious, but to eat it 2-3 times every damn day? No, nike, I will not just do it. That’s why people favor red meat so often, the flavor is already there. If you want a crazy good chicken dinner, it requires trying. And nobody has time for that. So we go with simple. Or at least I do. Little spices, oils, or herbs can go a LONG way with chicken. Eating plain chicken will eventually turn into eating cardboard. Nobody has time for that, either.
IMG_9815
Garlic & Basil Chicken Breasts
Yeah, that’s chicken in a bag. I didn’t get to capture this cooking process so that’s all you’re gonna get.
I put a pound of chicken in a zip lock bag. Added garlic olive oil. The garlic olive oil is a game changer. I chopped up some basil and put it all in a bag, mixed it up, and let it sit for about 15 minutes before I cooked it. Talk about a mouth watering smell, and a simple mouth watering lunch.

Next, Homemade Guacamole Stuffed Chicken Breast.
IMG_9809

IMG_9810

IMG_9816

IMG_9819

Simple. One pound chicken breast, and 1-2 tbsp of homemade, or store bought, Guacamole. I’d recommend buying the thick chicken breasts. Slice your chicken in the middle as deep as you can without poking through. Measure your guacamole and stuff it in your sliced chicken. Fold the chicken back over. Cook for about 25 minutes on 400 degrees. Does that not look delicious? And it took almost zero effort. Fun times.
Something else I enjoy making is soup. Chop up some chicken, cook with salt and pepper. Chop up veggies of your choice. You can use your typical carrots, green beans, celery. Use organic (no salt added?) chicken broth. What’s pictured is this soup I made with gluten free noodles. You can leave out the noodles…but it’s whatever you’re into.
IMG_6296
And then you can simply add spices to your chicken. That’s self explanatory. Mrs. Dash is my go to. Garlic powder. Salt and pepper adds a kick, though that still gets a little plain after awhile. I’d start experimenting. That’s all I do. This simple lunch pictured at the beginning of this post could have turned out very boring. Instead, I added Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning and some meat tenderizer. On the sweet potato I added 1 tbsp of cashew butter and some raspberries. The broccoli, well, it’s just broccoli. There’s really not much you can do about that one. Sorry everyone.