|March 1, 2016|
Ok, so I realize this is my second Mexican dish in a row but what can I say? I’m Mexican. And I’ve always preached you can’t be on a diet eating food you don’t like. So made something I LOVE. I’ve had it planned in my meal prep for 3 weeks straight. I’m hooked! If a tamale and an enchilada had a baby, this is it.
Mexican Cornbread Casserole
Macros per serving: 12g Fat, 36g Carbs, 26g Protein (Serves 7)*
- 1 (8.5 oz) box of corn muffin mix
- 1 can of cream style corn
- 4 oz can of diced green chilies
- 1/3 cup fat free milk
- 4 tbsp liquid egg whites
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1 1/3 pounds (21 oz) of skinless boneless chicken breast – cooked and diced or shredded
- 10 oz can of red enchilada sauce
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 cup of shredded cheese
- sliced black olives
*Macros were calculated off Jiffy corn muffin mix, Del Monte corn, La Preferida green chilies, Fairlife milk (my favorite!), All Whites 100% egg whites, Las Palmas enchilada sauce, 220g onion, Kraft Mexican Four Cheese blend, and 32 grams of Pearls sliced black olives.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl (muffin mix, corn, green chilies, milk, egg whites, and taco seasoning). Mix until well combined. Pour into a glass casserole dish coated with cooking spray and bake for about 35 minutes. ~ This time will vary based on your casserole dish size, glass depth, oven, etc.
While that’s baking, slice (or dice) your onion and sauté or grill to your liking. If you grill in slices it will be like veggie fajitas. If you dice and sauté, it will act more as flavoring. Once cooked, mix the onion, chicken and red enchilada sauce in a bowl until everything is evenly coated and set aside.
Now your corn bread base may be ready to pull out of the oven. You’ll know it’s ready when the edges are golden. Use a fork and poke into the center of the corn bread base to allow for little pockets of space for the enchilada sauce to seep into.
Note: The mixture is raw if it is runny. If its solid enough that it sticks to the fork, its ready. It should be somewhat sticky and thick.
Pour the chicken mixture evenly over the top of the corn bread base. Top with cheese and olives. Place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Slice and serve.
Meal Prepping tip! Since 7 servings is hard to cut a dish into, I slice it into 8 pieces. Then I weigh 7 slices and add bits and pieces from the last slice into my tupperwares until all 7 tupperwares weigh no more than 0.1 oz from each other so each serving is nearly identical.
- 1 (8.5 oz) box of corn muffin mix
- 1 can of cream style corn
- 4 oz can of diced green chilies
- 1/3 cup fat free milk
- 4 tbsp liquid egg whites
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1 1/3 pounds (21 oz) of skinless boneless chicken breast - cooked and diced or shredded
- 10 oz can of red enchilada sauce
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 cup of shredded cheese
- sliced black olives
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray and bake for about 35 minutes.
- Slice (or dice) your onion and sauté or grill to your liking. Mix the onion, chicken and red enchilada sauce in a bowl until everything is evenly coated and set aside.
- When you're corn bread base is done, using a fork, poke holes into the corn bread base to allow for little pockets of space for the enchilada sauce to seep into.
- Pour the chicken mixture evenly over the top of the corn bread base. Top with cheese and olives. Place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Macros were calculated using Jiffy corn muffin mix, Del Monte corn, La Preferida green chilies, Fairlife milk (my favorite!), All Whites 100% egg whites, Las Palmas enchilada sauce, 220g onion, Kraft Mexican Four Cheese blend, and 32 grams of Pearls sliced black olives.
|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.
|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.
|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 11, 2014|
Lately I have been craving cake batter. Maybe it’s my lack of baking cupcakes … I usually bake cupcakes at least once a month so I guess I’m used to spoon-licking and have been missing it. I actually impulsively bought a cake batter protein powder.
But I’m impatient. So this morning I made my own cake batter shake.
I actually got my package in the mail later today and tried the protein powder I purchased for dessert and I like my Strawberry Cake Batter Protein Shake recipe better.
Strawberry Cupcake Batter Protein Shake
Macros: 4g Fat, 6g Carbs, 26g Protein
- 1 cup ice (or about 8 ice cubes)
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 6 medium-sized strawberries
- 1/4 tsp butter extract
- 2 tsp stevia
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Optional: whipped cream & sprinkles
Blend all the ingredients together. Pour into your favorite jar, mug, cup, or tumbler. This recipe should fill a venti size cup. If you don’t want to add the protein powder, add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Optional: Top it off with whipped cream and sprinkles.
Note: Macros were calculated with a 25g protein scoop and without whipped cream and sprinkles.
|January 28, 2014|
So I finally broke down and bought a juicer. I love my Vitamix but some times you just want a juice. There are definitely pros and cons on both sides of the juicing-blending spectrum. Since I bought my juicer, I really can’t say which one I like better.
Blending vs. Juicing
When you juice, most of the fiber is stripped from the fruit. However, with the lack of fiber, fresh juice requires minimal digestion giving the digestive system a break. The concentrated form of nutrients can be more quickly absorbed in the body. That being said, that also means the natural sugars from the fruit and veggies will also be absorbed quicker and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Blending only breaks down the fruit you put in so all the fiber is left in there for you to drink. It’s still in a liquid form so it still delivers nutrients faster than eating the whole fruits would be, and without significantly spiking blood sugar levels due to the high fiber content. However, if you’re comparing how much fruit and veggies yielded one cup of your drink, juicing uses more fruits and veggies, packing in more nutrients. And when blending things like carrots, it is very unlikely you will get a juice consistency without watering it down.
Having now been juicing for a week (supplemental to solid foods), I do think despite the fact that juice is not rich in fiber like smoothies are, it does not mean it won’t “clean you out.” Haha! So really, it’s personal preference and up to you to do your research. There really isn’t and answer to which is better for you because our bodies all take what we eat differently. But I CAN tell you I am kinda addicted to my juicer now. It’s super fun! I already have some more juice recipes planned for you all 🙂
Orange Carrot Juice
Macros: Fat 1g, Carb 56g, Protein 4g
- 2 oranges (peeled)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 apple (cored)
- 1 cup fresh spinach (or one large handful)
Follow your juicer’s instructions and juice those babies! Feel free to try different apples and figure out which is your favorite. I personally went the cheap route and bought a bag of whatever was on sale. Recipe should give you 2 servings as a snack or one serving if you’re having it as a meal. (Macros were calculated on the whole recipe, not by servings.)
And if you’re new to juicing, my friend Catherine from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth wrote a great post called “Juicing for Dummies.” It covers everything from shopping for your fruits and veggies to cleaning your juicier.
Note: Some say it’s ok to juice whole apples because the seeds don’t have enough cyanide to be harmful. I decided why even eat ANY cyanide at all when it only takes a few seconds to core it. But if you core it you might not get as much juice because you’re wasting some of the apple. It’s up to you.