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Easy Dinner #2: maple bacon spinach salad with roasted veggies

28 Apr

Just finished eating this for dinner. Oh. My. Goodness…it was amazing!

It was one of those recipes that I just kind of “threw together” (Paula Deen, who?) and if I had known how delish this was, I would have taken more pictures..sorry! It’s a very sweet dish, but packed with veggies! Plus it has bacon…ANYTHING is good with bacon! Sorry I don’t have a better picture…but it is SOOOOO yummy, I promise.


Ingredients:
4 slices of bacon
2 large sweet potatoes – chopped
2-3 medium zucchinis- chopped
1 small red onion – sliced
1 bell pepper- chopped
1 bag of uncooked spinach leaves
2 small Macintosh apples
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Oregano
Red chili flakes

Dressing:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup 100% maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil

Let’s get cookin,…
1. Start by cooking the bacon to a reasonable crisp, remove from pan, and crumble. Drain half of the grease and leave the other half in the pan.
2. Place chopped up sweet potatoes in the pan and cover, stirring every so often.
3. After about 7 minutes place onion, peppers, zucchini, 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, and a dash of red chili flakes. Stir and cover on med/ low heat until all veggies are soft and cooked down.
4. While the veggies are cooking, cut the apples into chunks, prepare the spinach onto plates, and whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.
5. Top spinach with apple chunks and crumbled baco.
6. When veggies are done, plate them right next to the salad.
7. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over everything.
8. Enjoy!

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Paleo update

23 Apr

The Paleo plan is going well! I have lost another 5 pounds and I’m fitting into things that didn’t fit BEFORE I was pregnant! woo-hoo!
I definitely need to kick my working out into high gear though. Once you have a baby, things are never the same haha.

The only struggle I am having with Paleo right now is limitation. Since I’m still eliminating things for Abbie’s stomach issues (plus my own allergies)…I am running out of things to eat! Today, the doctor suggested I cut out eggs since I mentioned Abbie has rashes that look like eczema. There goes another source of protein 😦 I already had to cut out nuts and beans (which aren’t Paleo anyways), so I’m left with straight up meat.
My favorite snack right now is a kale and garlic turkey wrap. I sauté garlic and kale in olive oil, add salt and pepper, and wrap it in a slice of turkey. Yum!

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Pale-oh!: My story

9 Apr

I’m pretty sure I started worrying about losing my baby weight as soon as I ganed 15 pounds around month 6. I was extremely careful and followed the Brewer Diet until I was about 8 months pregnant (I had gained a healthy 20 lbs by that point) but then, I think I just stopped caring and started giving into my cravings.

(Side-note: cravings are pretty much an old wives tale. Just because you’re  pregnant and want ice cream, that doesn’t mean “my body needs calcium”. I most likely means you want ice cream. lol. There is an interesting article here about that. I’m definitely not giving into cravings during my next pregnancy. .. it’s what packed on all my weight in the end!)

Long story short, I gained 46 lbs! I wish I had  better ‘before and after’ pics since I started out a little smaller and ended a little bigger at 42 weeks. But you get the idea…

Being pregnant and having a baby really helped put my health into perspective and I knew that I needed to do something to change my habits. I wanted to lose weight and be the most fit and healthy that I could be for my family. Which is where the ‘Paleo lifestyle’ comes in. I have a few friends who have been doing this Paleo diet/ lifestyle for a while… You can read about what that is here .

Before I was pregnant, I tried to go on it a couple of times, but always gave in to my love for sweets and breads. Once Abbie was born, I had to go on an elimination diet because she had gas/ reflux. Before we put her on meds, we wanted to make sure it wasn’t a specific food that I was eating since I breastfeed her…but in the process of eliminating basically everything and slowly adding things back, I found that certain foods caused me to react. I would “puff up” and feel very lethargic (even with portion control and trying small amounts). I realized that without those foods that puffed me up, I was basically eating Paleo! So I did some research, learned A LOT, and I have decided to join the Paleo bandwagon!

It  has been 15 weeks and I have already lost 53 pounds! Needless to say, I’m a believer and I feel better than I have in a long time. I’ll be posting recipes and weight-loss info as I go along (I want to lose 30 more lbs). But I encourage you to do some research on Paleo and try it for yourself! Not just for weight-loss, but for a healthier life 🙂

Delish and Nutrish: Kale chips

7 Apr

Is it just me, or is there a Kale craze going on? It seems to me that new ways to use kale are popping up all over Pinterest and recipe blogs everywhere. While I’m no recipe blogger, I do have a soft spot for yummy food. Ever since I have been trying to jump on the Paleo bandwagon (post about that soon to follow), I have been scouring the internet to find delicious and filling snacks that are both taste bud -friendly and Paleo-friendly. Which brings me back to kale.

Thanks to Pinterest, I am now obsessed with salt and vinegar kale chips! They are delish, nutrish, and all-natural 🙂

Here’s what you will need: kale greens (leaves), olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, gallon-sized ziploc bag

Here’s how I make them…

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 300. cut the kale leaves off (if they weren’t already pre-cut like mine. I cheated!) and place in a gallon-sized bag. Pour in olive oil and vinegar to taste. I used about 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp. vinegar). Close bag and shake it like a polaroid picture (sorry, I had to).

Step 2: Once the kale is evenly covered  in oil and vinegar, place an even layer onto a baking sheet. Cook for 15-20 minutes. The longer, the crunchier 🙂 Once they are out, sprinkle with salt and crunch away!

Before

After

I’m sorry that the ‘After’ picture looks so sparse. I may or may not have been so ravenous that I forgot to take a ‘fresh out of the oven’ picture 🙂 These “chips” are soooo good. The perfect combo of salty, bitter, and crunchy. And the plus side is that you don’t have to feel bad about devouring the whole pan by yourself!

Go try some for yourself!

Easy Dinner #1: Chunky Pot Roast

3 Apr

Dinner has been a challenge the last couple of months. Abbie loooves to be held all the time,  so for me to commit  20-40 minutes to making dinner is a bit of a struggle most evenings. It bums me out because I have always loved having dinner ready when Justin comes home (not just so I can feel like Betty Crocker, but I like to have a consistent schedule. I might have OCD).

All that said, I need to confess to you all: I am OBSESSED with my crock-pot…. OB.SESSED.

They are so handy- I just throw everything in (as long as I remember to plan ahead) , let it cook all day, and enjoy in the evening! Here is an easy pot roast recipe that I made yesterday and, oh man, was it delish!

Ingredients:

  • pot roast (I used a nicely marbled 2 pounder)
  • 5 potatoes cut into chunks
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 4 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 medium onion cut into chunks (I was out of onions so I used onion powder to taste. Still yummy!)
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic (to taste…we love garlic!)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (unsalted, all-natural)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 5 dashes Worcestershire sauce (or as I say, “wer-sher-sher”)

Step-By-Step:

Chop up the veggies

season all sides of the meat

place meat in a hot pan to brown the sides

once all sides are browned, place at the bottom of the crockpot 

Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and seasonings. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours.

Voila!

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