|November 9, 2015|
People used to tell me all the time that saying you “don’t have time” was an excuse. But I really believed I didn’t have time. And I used to look at those fit people who’d be at the gym every day and have these healthy looking meals packed with envy. I wished I had the time to meal prep they way they did.
I started a #90DayChallenge with my gym and since I started, I learned I DO have time. I spend one day over the weekend making all the food for the week. Then the rest of the week, I don’t have to slave over the stove every night trying to make something healthy, because I already did it already!
I had a few outings last week that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get to a microwave. But I didn’t want a normal salad so I came up with this spicy Mexican corn salad. It’s a great option for a packed lunch because it’s a no-heat dish! (It’s also a no-cook dish so it’s super easy to prepare!) I just added a side of cold cocktail shrimp to add some protein to my meal and I’m ready for a healthy week.
Note: Notice my serving size is divided by 7 for easy meal prep. You’ll start to see a lot of my future recipes also divided by 7.
Mexican Corn Salad
Macros: 11.1g Fat, 33.1g Carbs, 7.5g Protein (Serves 7)*
- 3 cans of corn, no salt added
- 1 can of black beans
- 4 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 bundle of cilantro, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)
- 3 tbsp mayo
- Optional: cotija cheese
Gently toss the corn, black beans, tomato, onion, and cilantro together. (You can chop up some of the stem too. I’m lazy and don’t pluck off the leaves. I just chop the whole thing up.)
Next, put the habanero and garlic in a small food processor with the coconut oil and mayo and puree into a sauce (you definitely don’t want big chunks of habanero all in one bite). Then mix the sauce into the salad.
Top with some crumbled cotija cheese and serve with your choice of protein.
Spicy Note: if opting not to use a habanero pepper, feel free to use a garlic press and stir in the pressed garlic, coconut oil, and mayo – skipping any need for the food processor.
*Macros were calculated off Del Monte brand corn (5 cups), Sun Vista black beans (1.5 cups), 12 oz tomato, 10 oz onion, Hain organic brand coconut oil, Kraft mayo, and 3 oz cheese.
|November 1, 2015|
Hello fit foodies. I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA. I was falling into a downward spiral, resorting back to my old ways. This year, I gained 15 pounds…. It may not sound like a lot but when you know how hard it is to work off weight, 15 pounds is a lot. I would eat healthy one day, and the next I’d be driving through In’N’Out getting my burger and fries. I wasn’t making it into the gym and honestly, I wasn’t really even trying.
While I was enjoying all the fun, I lost my motivation to be healthy. I was still posting on Instagram but I felt disconnected from blogging. I felt like I should practice what I preach. I made a few dishes that I could have posted but I felt like a poser. I didn’t want to post something healthy and share it with all of you and the next day eat exactly the opposite of what I cooked up. It just felt wrong.
Let me recap this crazy busy year of mine…
I was maid of honor (MOH) for TWO weddings! One of which was my one and only sister’s which meant that in addition to being MOH, I was sister of the bride which has a whole other list of responsibilities. Of course, I had a blast being MOH! But it’s time consuming (and expensive!).
In addition to my happily ever after duties, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, the largest sporting event in LA since the ’84 Olympics took place. Since I work for Special Olympics, you can imagine how busy I might have been throughout this whole process. Juggling work life and MOH life and gym life while trying to eat healthy.
My foot problems was also finally diagnosed correctly! The foot pains I have been having is a result of Morton’s Neuroma. Since being diagnosed, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Knowledge is the real power. When I feel pain, I know why. ‘Why’ is the best cure for anyone’s sanity in my opinion. Having doctors play trial and error is not fun and I feel so blessed finally knowing what the problem is.
Since I missed a bunch of stuff, I’m still going to post it all and back date it (with a note on the post that it was backdated). Here’s all the links so you can read up on everything I haven’t told you: (Bullet points will be hyperlinked as I post them. If they are not linked right now, check back in a week to see which new posts have been added.)
- Adventure Is Out There – Morocco
- Surf City Half Marathon – The Ups and Downs of 13.1 Miles
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Planning a Memorable Bachelorette
- Confessions of a Maid of Honor
- Tinker Bell Half Marathon & My Two Cents on Race Superstitions
- The 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles
- The 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon & Overcoming Excuses
Now let me get back to the present. I feel like my normal self again. My house is finally getting purged of pink tulle and leftover pizza boxes and it’s starting to look more like a place I live in – fridge stocked with my healthy foods; clean blender bottles stacked up; and my gym doesn’t have a wanted sign with my photo on it.
It’s important to understand that everyone falls down. Only the lucky people can breeze through life without set backs. But the important thing is to not give up. While on this unhealthy hiatus, of course things ran through my mind like “will I always be this heavy?” or “maybe I should just accept that I’m larger than I want to be.” But you can’t give in. It took me 9 months to pick myself (and my lifestyle) back up – and it was hard. I was torn between wanting my carefree lifestyle back where I could stay out late and eat what I felt like and my healthy lifestyle where my evenings consist of a date with the gym and slaving in the kitchen to make my healthier dinner. But ultimately, I feel most like myself when I’m on the healthy track. I’m not hiding certain pieces of me or feeling any regrets.
|February 6, 2015|
One question I always get from new runners is “what should I eat for breakfast on race day?” So I wanted to share my go-to pre-race breakfast with you: PB&J toast + banana + hydration
Technically speaking, I eat an AB&J (almond butter and jelly). And I guess if you want to get even more technical. I don’t own a toaster oven so I don’t actually eat toast unless I want to turn on the oven.
On average, one slice of whole wheat bread is around 12 grams of carbs. You can choose whatever bread you like but my favorites are the earthy nutty breads like Ezekiel bread. Adding the almond butter and jelly aid in flavor as well as providing a little bit of protein for muscle repair and extra sugar for additional carbs.
A banana is a good fruit option pre and post race because it’s a good source of potassium, B6, and magnesium. Potassium for me is very important. I am very prone to muscle cramps, especially in my toes due to my flat feet. With proper shoes, socks, and stretching I’ve been able to alleviate most of the problems I’ve come across during races, but I still struggle with the cramps from time to time and potassium is known to help prevent cramping. B6 is involved in transporting oxygen to the cells. This is vital for any athlete. Finally, magnesium helps to maintain healthy bones. With the prolonged pounding on your joints from running, magnesium is important if you plan to continue running through your 60s.
Last but not least, hydrate. If it’s race morning and you didn’t hydrate enough the past 2 weeks, this is not the time to make up for slacking off on your hydration routine. You don’t want a tidal wave swooshing in your stomach as you run. I like to drink about 1 bottle of water before the race depending on how much time I have from the moment I get up to the race start. I also like to add Nuun to my water. I’m a sucker for any flavored drink since I gave up soda and Nuun has added electrolytes – great for an athlete! Then I rely on the aid stations to provide my water along the course.
One big mistake you don’t want to make is trying something new on race day. What I shared with you above is what I personally do. But everyone is different and I am not a nutritionist. You’re training plan should have some long runs scheduled in. Plan to do your long runs at the same time of day that your race will start, that way you can get to know your own body and what it craves early in the morning.
… But let’s be honest. My race breakfast does NOT look like the photos above. It looks more like this. Packed the night before in a ziplock bag and a banana on the side.
It was freezing outside so I ate in my car with the heater at full blast until it was time to head to the start. This was before the Citrus Heritage Half Marathon. I did it last year for the inaugural event and had to come back for the 2nd annual race. It’s a beautiful run through the historic orange groves in Riverside and the sunrise was breathtaking! As I ran, I could smell the sweet citrus growing along the course.
|October 30, 2014|
A while ago, I visited Koreatown for the first time in Los Angeles with a bunch of other food bloggers in the area. Christina of Christina’s Cucina was our tour guide for this food crawl. It was my first time ever in a Korean market and boy was I glad Christina was our tour guide. There were so many things that I’d never seen before or never cooked with before. By the time our crawl ended, I had a full bag of groceries and somewhat of an idea on how to use them…
What I learned was…
1. Most food packaging is not in English, but most still have the ingredients and nutrition listed in English.
2. Watch out for MSG. It’s in a lot of products offered at a Korean supermarket.
3. When they have jerky-like fish samples… it’s not jerky. It’s meant to flavor broth.
4. You can buy SO MUCH MORE in terms of produce. It’s a lot cheaper. Even organic food is cheap!
5. I love buckwheat noodles. They have a similar texture to normal noodles but have protein in them! Great way to sneak in extra protein on those cheat days when I eat carbs.
6. Bibimbap is actually a pretty healthy lunch option, as are many Korean food items.
7. It’s official. I can’t resist the milk tea and boba… No wonder why I rarely go to a mall. The boba calls to me.
8. Kimchi (or Kimchee) is really cheap and easy to make. Save yourself the $ and just make it yourself.
Easy Kimchi (Kimchee) with Sriracha
- 1 head of napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup white rice vinegar
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1/3 cup sriracha
- 1 bunch of scallions
Quarter cabbage lengthwise, then chop into pieces. The size of your chop depends on how little or big you want each bite. I chopped 2 to 3 inches each piece.
In a large bowl, toss with 1/2 cup of kosher salt and let stand for 2 hours at room temperature. Toss occasionally (about every 20-30 min) while it sits. Drain excess water as needed when tossing.
Rinse cabbage with water & drain. Squeeze out all the excess water with your hands and transfer to a large bowl. Tip: I used a colander during this process. It makes it much easier to rinse & drain.
Purée garlic and ginger with vinegar in a blender & pour over cabbage. Add scallions and sriracha. Toss until the cabbage is evenly covered.
Put it in a jar and let it marinate overnight in the fridge & enjoy!
Note: The longer you let the flavors marinate in the jar, the better you’re kimchi will taste. If you have the patience, wait a week before eating it.)
Storage: The best type of containers to store Kimchi is in a glass container. The red juice can stain plastic containers. Keep it in the fridge. It should last you a while because it’s fermented. Mine lasted me about 2 months before I ate it all (and it wasn’t bad yet). I have no idea how long it actually will last because I ate mine before I could find out.
>> If you keep yours longer for 2 months, let me know and I’ll update this to let other readers know how long it lasts.
|October 1, 2014|
This weekend I turned 25: my quarter life crisis; my quarter of a century celebration; my half way over the hill mile marker…
This year, I like to think I took the famous words of Lesley Gore to heart – “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” Or should I say “it’s my birthday and I’ll run a half marathon if I want to.”
Yup. That’s right. Even knowing that the chances were pretty high that I’d be running alone, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than going for a long run and getting a medal at the end. (Because running and not getting a medal just isn’t the same…)
I will begin my story most other epic birthday stories begin – we drove to Vegas.
Saints & Sinners Half Marathon Race Recap
The morning of my birthday, my alarm went off before dawn and I anxiously put on my birthday sash and Sparkle Skirt. My normal pre-race breakfast was waiting for me on the dresser of our hotel room – a slice of wheat bread, some almond butter, and a banana.
Traffic from the strip wasn’t bad at all on the way to the start line. But what was bad was the wind once I got there. Wearing a tank top and a skirt, I had no protection from the cold. Luckily, the closer we got to the race start, the more people arrived. And the more people that arrived, the easier it was to use them as a wall of protection against the wind.
When the race started, I can’t lie and say I was super pumped – because at that point I was freezing. But once we got to the first fueling station, I was pretty stoked.
The reason why they call this race the Saints & Sinners Half Marathon is because along the way they, the fueling stations have tempting snacks and goodies to help you determine if you’re a saint or a sinner. Along the course they had an array of things like brownies, donuts, and marshmallows for the sinners. For the saints, they had a variety of fruits.
As the race went on, the wind died down and the temperature settled around mid 70s. The sun began to peek out from the clouds and the weather was beautiful. I probably could have gotten a better time if I didn’t stop to take so many photos.
The closer I got to the finish line, the more beautiful the race became. The finish line was at Lake Mead so with every mile, we got closer and closer to the water’s edge. Around mile 7, we were actually running along the edge of the cliff that overlooked the lake.
The course itself, while mostly downhill still had it’s challenges. When we were on that cliff side overlooking the lake, we were in a prime spot for the wind to pick up (and it was blowing directly at me giving me more resistance). Those few miles were also on a gravel/dirt trail which I have absolutely no experience on which slowed me down.
Finally coming to the end, there were two finish lines to cross. I had to make a choice – am I a saint? Or am I a sinner?
Having PRed on my birthday AND I didn’t touch a single snack from the Sinner’s side, I definitely earned that medal crossing the Saints’ side.
Race Recovery – Vegas Style
After crossing the finish line, I snacked on some of the goodies they had for us in addition to demolishing my beef jerky waiting for me at the car.
Once we headed back to the hotel, this is what I should have done… I should have eaten lunch right away. For lunch, I should have eaten a sandwich or wrap (my usual go-to meal after a race). Then I should have taken my cold shower and changed into some clean clothes, including my compression socks. The rest of the day should have been relaxing with my feet up and occasionally going for a short walk.
Instead, after getting back to the hotel, I showered first because I wanted to look presentable. It is Vegas after all… Then I walked around for about an hour trying to figure out what I wanted to eat because the buffets were calling to me but my conscience was telling me not to. The struggle was real. After finally deciding on a place to eat (possibly the most fattening meal I’ve had all year), we headed off to the pool. We spent a few hours at the pool, enjoyed some mojitos, and then off to Pink Taco for dinner.
…We were in bed by 10 p.m. I’ve never gone to bed that early in Vegas but all the excitement from the day was finally hitting me. And the next day, the lack of my usual race recovery routine also hit me. I was hobbling like a penguin. One thing I know for all my future races is NEVER skip my post-race recovery routine.
Cheers to being 25!
|July 14, 2014|
I love meeting new bloggers and reading other blogs. But lately, I find myself browsing Instagram a lot more than I do the web. That’s when I found Lauren Lives Healthy. Her Instagram is very similar to what I post: yummy healthy food & fitness.
Lauren nominated me for the Liebster Award! What’s that you ask?
Liebster – adjective: meaning dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant… (I think you get the idea that it’s pretty flattering to be nominated)
The Liebster award is an award BY bloggers, FOR bloggers. It’s a way to get to know other bloggers and a way to share the love and let them know, “I think your blog is cool.”
Lauren asked me to answer 10 simple questions. Here’s a peek into me and my current favorites:
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live and why?
I would love to live in Hawaii. I used to go there every year as a kid on vacation and I have some family out there too. I wanderlust over the photos they post sometimes. A lot of people say I’d get island fever or get bored but everything I enjoy is there in abundance. I love to swim and hike and kayak… I would miss my regular trips to Disneyland but with a backyard that’s the ocean, I wouldn’t complain.
What’s your favorite website right now?
Oh Pinterest. How did I ever live without you?
Could you ever go a month without your phone and internet?
Yes and no. I would love to go on a month long vacation and purge myself of all outside connections. I’ve done it for weeks at a time. But as long as I’m home and everyone around me is using the phone and internet, I think this would be very difficult to do and I probably wouldn’t last more than a few days.
What’s your all-time favorite meal?
All time favorite meal is hands down the old fashioned burger. If you hadn’t noticed, I LOVE burgers. Sure, I could eat sushi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner … and I crave pho on a daily basis. I have some pretty tough competition for my favorite food, but at the end of the day, the nostalgia of a good juicy burger is always welcome to my tastebuds. I know it’s not the healthiest, but it’s sure tasty! (ps. Did I make your mouth water?)
What is your favorite quote and by whom?
“You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” -Annie, the broadway musical
It was the quote I put next to my picture in my high school year book and it’s still relevant. I just love to smile, but more than that… when I’m happy I feel so good about everything in life. I feel like I can do anything. I make better diet decisions. I am more social. I am overall a better person. Smiling and happiness come naturally to me. I hope its true that smiling is contagious
If money were no object, what would you do all day?
If money were no object, I’d move to Hawaii and buy a house with plenty of yard space to raise chickens and grow my own vegetable and fruit garden. I’d wake up and hike in the mornings, tend to my garden and house during the day and go for a swim in the afternoon. Then cook dinner with my freshly harvested veggies and read a good book next to the fire. Sounds like a dream. Hopefully when I retire, I can make it happen.
What’s been the biggest challenge since you started blogging?
Balancing time. Between working full-time, blogging, going to the gym, regular house chores, friends, family… my schedule is fully booked. I’m often blogging at midnight after my long list of to-dos is done.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be and why?
I would love to play the piano. I have always loved singing and there’s something magical about singing with a piano. I’d love to play and sing along all day. I actually took lessons when I was younger but was never serious enough to practice. I recently started picking it back up in hopes that I might be able to teach myself.
What’s your favorite way to unwind?
A bottle of Stella Rosa and a good book. Bonus points for a view of the ocean added to the mix, but there’s no drinking at public beaches in SoCal so that only works when I’m on vacation.
Describe your personal style in 3 words.
Casual. Comfy. Athletic.
Now it’s my turn! I am nominating: Alanna (Eats Real Food), Lindsay (Lindsay Living Vegan), Erin (The Almond Eater), and Parita (My Inner Shakti) for the Liebster award. I can’t wait to get to know you more! Here are my questions for you to answer:
- What are your top 5 workout playlist songs?
- What’s one food you wish you could learn to like?
- Your biggest pet peeve.
- Your go-to snack.
- Your favorite quote.
- What is one thing you try to do every day?
- Name one TV show you feel guilty or embarrassed to admit you actually like.
- How and why did you pick your blog name?
- What is your favorite workout? (Running? Yoga? Crossfit? Kettlebells?)
- Who inspires you?
|May 10, 2014|
I was SO excited when Fairfield Farms invited me to take a tour of their organic blueberry farm. I’ve never been on a commercial farm before and honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect.
Fairfield Farms is in Pauma Valley, San Diego County CA. I drove with Tanaya from Tanaya’s Table, and driving there seriously felt like we were lost. We got off the freeway and it looked like there was nothing there. But as we kept driving, there were fruit stands and little mom & pop cafes … then we found the farm.
It was absolutely beautiful! We got to the gate and I was just in awe. Maybe other farms have beautiful gates, but I’d never seen anything like this other than movies. So for me, it was a little surreal.
What was even more exciting was Fairfield Farms has previously never been open to the public. We were invited the week before they officially open the gates to the public to launch their U-Pick weekend events. (More info on how you can visit to pick your own organic blueberries after the recipe.)
Meet Harrison (in the middle), our tour guide and blueberry expert for the day. He is also one of the family members that owns the farm. Yes – Fairfield Farms is not only organic, but also family owned! (I made him take a selfie, haha. #shameless)
It was really interesting learning about organic farming and what it’s like to work on a family farm with your parents and siblings. I asked if he ate a lot of blueberries and he said there are literally more blueberries than can ever be eaten. I guess that makes sense when they’re producing just over a million pounds of blueberries a season.
The packaging factory was definitely not what I expected. I guess when I think of any food that has a label, I think big, sterile, overwhelming warehouse, but this was nothing like that. Sure they label their berries and you can find them at major grocers on the west coast like Whole Foods and Sprouts, but it was very family friendly and Harrison knew everyone by name.
In the packaging warehouse, first the berries are measured by weight. They’re tracked by who picked them and where they were picked. And when they go through the sorting machine (which makes sure all the berries that get packaged are ripe and beautifully blue). At the end of this machine, they are packaged and the Fairfield Farms label finishes it off like a bow and stored in the biggest fridge I’ve ever been in.
Picking the berries was a lot of fun! I will definitely be going back with my mom and sister and making a day out of it. The views are spectacular and you can’t beat fresh blueberries right off the bush. They were so juicy and sweet! And the neat thing I learned was that the blueberries you buy in the store are actually a variety of blueberry types. This is why sometimes some look larger than others. It was so much fun tasting the different varieties as we picked. You can tell the different varieties by the bush. Some bushes leaves were greener while others had a yellow hue or rougher leaf. The difference in taste was very slight. I mostly noticed that ones on the first two rows (my favorite rows) were big and luscious and much sweeter than the other berries down the row. But of course, taste also has to do with when you pick them and those first two rows Harrison said he made sure no one touched so when Tanaya and I arrived, they’d be full of juicy fruit.
Want the insider secret to keeping your berries fresh?
I asked Harrison for the insider tip… He said the most common mistake people make is washing the berries and then putting them back in the fridge so they are ready to eat. But blueberries are very prone to mold when introduced to moisture. Only wash the berries you plan to eat or cook immediately. If you wash more than you need by accident, make sure they are completely dry before putting them back in the fridge. They can literally grow mold within hours of being exposed to moisture if you put them back in the fridge wet!
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
Macros: 1.5g Fat, 72.5g Carbs, 4g Protein
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 large handful of fresh blueberries (or 3/4 cup)
Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until all the ingredients are well pureed. If you have a lower speed blender, you might not be able to fully liquify the blueberry skins but that’s ok. It will just look a little different but the taste will be the same.
Thanks you Fairfield Farms for inviting me to tour the farms and pick some berries to take home. If you want to visit the farm in Pauma Valley to pick organic blueberries, join them Thursday thru Sunday from 8am-6pm. The season ends June 1 so get out there before all the blueberries are gone!
14224 Old Cole Grade Rd
Pauma Valley, CA 92061
Blueberries are $5 a pint and they accept cash and all major credit cards.
|March 25, 2014|
(Although technically I got a coupon to go pick up my bottles because sending alcohol via mail is illegal. You learn something new!)
There is a TON of buzz going around the benefits of açaí berry. It’s everywhere. It’s the super fruit, the Brazilian “purple gold.” I have dark chocolate covered açaí in the cupboard, açaí smoothie packets in the freezer … seriously it’s in everything, including alcohol. Yes, VeeV is the world’s first açaí spirit.
Now I can’t really say if an alcohol has all the same health benefits of the berry … it’s alcohol. But why not give it a try, right? AND Vita Frute Cocktails are organic!
Pre-mixed cocktails are always convenient. I love being able to throw it into a picnic basket and head out for some fun. But one of my least favorite things about pre-mixed drinks are that they’re usually super sweet.
I like my margarita’s on the rocks (which is exactly how the label said to serve it). When you order it on the rocks, it’s generally a different mix than the ones in the frosty machine behind the counter. The frosty, mile-long drinks you find in Vegas make my stomach feel sick from a sugar overload. A lot of the pre-mixed drinks on the shelves usually have the same level of sugar overload, made with syrup and who knows what other kind of crazy stuff. It’s sweetened with agave!!!
The Vita Fruite margarita was surprising really fresh and crisp. It tasted like my margarita recipe. Definitely has a nice kick of alcohol (this girl likes it strong) but wasn’t syrupy or overly sweet. The alcohol was not the usual overpowering tequila that burns your throat as it goes down. It was really smooth, similar to a vodka. And it tasted like the limes were freshly squeezed.
It probably was made with real fresh limes … when I got the bottles, I noticed there was a little bit of pulp in it. And if you read the label, it even says to “shake up those all-natural ingredients.”
Now let’s get to the serving size. The bottle boasts 125 calories a serving. After reading the label, the 125 calorie serving is 3 ounces … I’m pretty sure 3 ounces is less than what you’d get when you ask a bartender for a margarita on the rocks. It took me 2xs their serving size to fill my glass so it’s more like 250 calories a serving. Still better than a lot of drinks out there. Sure it’s not a skinny drink, but it also doesn’t have all the artificial sweeteners and other crazy ingredients most skinny drinks have.
I definitely liked my cocktail and pretty excited that I have a whole other bottle in my fridge!
I’m looking forward to trying the other flavors like lemonade and cosmopolitan next time I see it on the shelves. You can pick it up at your local grocery or liquor store.
Thank you VeeV for the cocktails! I am definitely a fan!
|March 6, 2014|
Mac & cheese is definitely one of my favorite guilty comfort foods. It’s a funny story though, because generally a lot of comfort foods come from when you grew up with, but when I was little I LOVED the blue box mac & cheese and wasn’t the biggest fan of the home-made stuff.
When I was a kid, my Grandma would pick my sister and I up from school every Friday and we’d all have dinner together. When it first became a weekly thing, she asked my mom what my sister and I liked to eat. My mom said macaroni. My Grandma, being the AMAZING cook she is, made it from scratch. And of course, me being the child I was, I said it wasn’t the same as having the blue box mac and I liked “my mom’s” better. Although we all know “my mom’s” was really my way of saying I liked the boxed kind. To this day, I still feel a little ashamed because the next time my grandma made mac & cheese for us, she made it out of the box. Sure I loved it at the time, but looking back on it … I was young and ignorant … what can you do?
I can confidently say that my palate has gotten a lot better (and I no longer prefer boxed foods, haha). But either mac & cheese recipe, blue box or from scratch, can put a damper on the diet.
Mac & cheese is full of fat and carbs. But I wanted to make a skinny version that didn’t just replace everything with fat-free labels. Can anyone honestly say that fat-free cheese is better than the real thing? No.
I wanted to keep the essence of mac & cheese intact by not touching those two ingredients. I used full fat cheeses and normal pasta (because I’m also not a fan of wheat pasta) but just replaced the heavy cream and butter with cauliflower. With the added fiber, it’s definitely more filling than the heavy buttered up mac. Not to say this is an every day “healthy” meal, but it’s certainly better than the traditional recipe, twice-baked with bread crumbs on top.
The serving size is for a full bowl of mac, so if you want to indulge without using this as a cheat meal, eat it as a side dish with some chicken and spinach. Who says macaroni has to be a main dish?
Side note: This recipe passed the boyfriend test. I gave it to him and didn’t tell him it was cauliflower. About half way through, I asked him what his opinion was and told him it was cauliflower. He didn’t taste it until I told him. #winning
Skinny Mac & Cheese
Makes 4 Servings ~ Macros per serving: 28g Fat, 68g Carbs, 34g Protein
- 3 cups uncooked pasta of choice
- 1 small/medium head of cauliflower
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to tast
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Pour in your favorite pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Personally, I like to go for the fun kind like fusille (spiral) or farfalle (bow-tie, although it technically means butterfly in Italian). Radiatore pasta is what can be seen in the photos.
While the pasta is cooking, cut cauliflower into florets. Place cauliflower, garlic cloves, and chicken stock into a covered pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let steam build in the pot. Cook until cauliflower is tender (about 5 minutes depending on the size of florets).
Drain pasta and set aside.
Pour cauliflower, garlic cloves, and chicken stock into a high-speed blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot used to cook the cauliflower. At medium heat, slowly stir in the cheese until melted smooth to create a sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Gently stir sauce and pasta together. Depending on your pasta and how well it absorbs the sauce, you might have extra cheese sauce. Add it in slowly and put any extra sauce in a tupperware. (You can use it as a sauce for veggies, chicken, etc.) Serve immediately.
I topped mine with a little cayenne (optional!) for an extra kick, but feel free to add your favorite topping. Some tasty ideas: bacon, green onions, jalapeño, diced ham (probably not all these ingredients at the same time)
Play around with different cheese options. They all have different nutritional value to them so have fun experimenting. For instance, the parmesan was lower in fat and higher in protein than the cheddar. I added it to balance out the fat content so there would be more protein than fat per serving.
|February 13, 2014|
Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Have you gotten your loved one a gift yet?
It’s pretty standard to buy a girl flowers and chocolates. For me, of course I like the flowers, but when I get chocolates I say, “thanks, yum” but I’m really thinking, “I won’t be able to eat these.”
For all those guys out there, do a girl a favor. Don’t give them something they can’t eat. I complied a list of great ideas for those last-minuters. So instead of turning to the nearest 7-11 to pick the shelves clean of the left over reject chocolate boxes (because by now the good ones are gone), head to the sporting goods store. I promise they won’t be sold out.
- I’m nuts about you – While a box of chocolates is traditional, a package of nuts is far more enjoyable for a health nut. Even chocolate covered almonds is more likely to get eaten than traditional chocolates. I’d eat nuts. If they were covered in chocolate, I’d just pace myself. Just don’t confuse a chocolate truffle with a whole almond with a chocolate covered almond. Still two completely different things.
- You got me all shook up – Can you really have too many Blender Bottles? I only have one, so maybe someone that has 5+ might tell you something different. But I keep loosing mine or forgetting it at the office. To me, I could definitely use a few extra bottles. Might as well get some in a few colors and sizes too
- I like how you roll – Having a good foam roller is good for any fitness junkie. Foam rolling is a sweet treat for your muscles. There are a TON of foam rollers and other similar products, everything ranging from $5 to $50. It does make a difference to have a good foam roller. Sure my black PVC pipe does the job, but having the actual thing would be a nice gift. I’ve borrowed the RumbleRoller from my trainer and I can tell you for a matter of fact – it works better than my PVC pipe.
- Your pace or mine? – What girl doesn’t love a new pair of shoes? And when they’re a dedicated gym goer or regular runner, getting new fitness shoes is a treat. If your Valentine is a runner, steal one of his/her running shoes and take it to the store with you. Tell the staff that you are looking for a shoe that has a similar amount of cushion, stability and motion control. If they are not as experienced in shoe fitting for runners, you can pick a shoe out and just keep the receipt. Pictured are the new Reebok ZQuick. Aren’t they cute?
- You get my blood flowing – Compression socks help improve blood flow, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster, more efficient recovery. Not to mention you can get some really cute colors and designs. I picked up a pair of Pro Compression Marathon Socks from an Active.com deal and have been in love since. I’m looking forward to adding more colors and designs to my sock drawer. Compression socks are the way to go … especially for long distance runners.
- You’re whey out of my league – Whey … It’s pretty much a standard. Just like anything in the cupboard, it eventually runs out. I’m nearly out of my vanilla whey. But it could be cute to get chocolate and do a play-on-words with that … “whey better than a box of chocolates.” I had trouble with my last whey powder clumping when I used my blender bottle so I’m on the prowl for a new brand. My trainer Emily recommended I get Gnarly, so that’s why this one is on my list. Hoping to try this one next.
***All opinions are my own. I was not compensated by any mentioned brands.