Summery Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad

Now that I’m no longer pregnant and I’m nursing, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to eat healthy again. What does this mean for me? It doesn’t mean cutting out sweets (sorry LM, but I have a sweet tooth!), but instead, it’s about balance. Which means finding ways to get my veggies in.

When I was pregnant, I was turned off by salads and a lot of veggies for some reason. But now that I’m not, I am happy to eat them again! There are only 2 things getting in my way:

  1. I’m turned off by boring food – if I’m going to have a salad, I want it to be FUN!
  2. I don’t have much free time lately. My hands are full literally most of the day (see: nursing a newborn) and then at night when I’m juggling 2 kids, one of whom is a needy and hungry toddler, I don’t feel like spending too much time preparing a meal.

That’s where this salad comes in. It’s anything BUT boring – look at it! It’s colorful! Doesn’t it just shout, “summer”?

AND it can be prepped in advance. I was able to prep all the ingredients throughout the day and then it only took 2 minutes to pull it together at dinner time. Plus, Half of the ingredients were things that I could put on FW’s plate, too, so we all could enjoy a similar dinner, which doesn’t happen often!

See FW’s food vs ours

I can barely call this a recipe because it’s just throwing a few foods together, but in case this inspires you – here it is.

Summery Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad

For us, this served 2

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped grilled chicken – I got lucky and B had grilled the night before so we had leftover grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 4-6 cherries, pitted and sliced in half – I used Skylar Rae cherries* because of their sweetness, firm texture and beautiful color
  • 3 cups lettuce
  • 1/2 cup other veggies of your choosing – I did roasted sweet potatoes and sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup other protein of your choosing – I did chickpeas, hard-boiled egg and ham
  • Your favorite dressing – mine is an easy balsamic dressing with mustard (similar recipe, here)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare your ingredients. Measure out your chicken, goat cheese, avocado and cherries. The Skylar Rae cherries are perfect for this salad because of their sweetness and nice crisp texture.
  2. Place on top of lettuce.
  3. Gather other ingredients of your choice – I also added roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, hard-boiled egg and ham. Some other toppings that would be good include tomato, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, edamame, etc. Also, this could easily be a vegetarian salad – simply swap out the chicken and ham for other proteins, such as lentils.
  4. Top with salad dressing.

See how easy that was? Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: Stemilt sent me some complimentary Skylar Rae cherries, and I loved them. I mostly just ate them, but also put them into this salad. All views are my own.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

At 37 weeks pregnant, there’s not much new that I’m craving these days. Fruit? Yup, still fruit. Especially all of the strawberries, grapes and pineapple. Desserts? Yup, even chocolate, which I’m not usually a huge fan of. Sweet and salty foods? Even better. Which is why I’m a fan of this snack/meal/side dish. Because sweet potato fries are – in my opinion – the ULTIMATE sweet/salty treat. And, they’re even good for you! Or at least better than the other ultimate sweet/salty treat – chocolate covered pretzels. Yum.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I highly suggest you make these to pair with your favorite meatless (or meaty) entree on the grill. I’ll be sharing a recipe soon that pairs SO well with these, too!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
For the Sweet Potato Fries

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. While oven is preheating, preheat a baking sheet as well.
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes. (Here’s the knife I use to get the cute crinkle cut fries) Toss with olive oil.
  3. Mix the spices (garlic powder through black pepper) and toss them with the sweet potatoes.
  4. Spread them out on the preheated baking sheets.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until starting to brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until the other side is brown, about 10 minutes.

For the Dipping Sauce

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • pinch of garlic powder (I probably used just under 1/8 teaspoon)
  • pinch of salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Serve with fries!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like Sriracha?
  • What’s your favorite sweet/salty combo?

Linking up with Meatless Monday.

Thinking Out Loud: Summer Edition

I have so many random things on my mind that I think it’s the PERFECT time for a Thinking Out Loud post. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

Home Renovations …

B and I (or should I say B) are knee deep in some serious updates/renovations. I hope to have more to show soon, but he just tore down a ceiling (and wallpaper) in the dining room and then put one back up. I’ve never looked at ceilings so much as I have the past week or so. And now they’re all I notice!

Shopping …

I’m feeling in a serious fashion funk and I need want some new clothes. Ever since I went to the Saks blogger brunch/fashion show, I’ve been really wanting to get some new clothing items. BUT with the aforementioned home reno, I know I should be saving money. Le sigh. Still, it’s Nordstrom’s anniversary sale and here are some items I’m admiring (from afar):

This Bootie

This sweater

And while we’re at it, these non-Nordstrom items have been calling my name:

From J Crew

From Loft

Running (or NOT Running) …

I hurt my piriformis a few weeks ago and haven’t run since. That’s right, I’m going on 2+ weeks with NO runs. This is the longest I haven’t run since giving birth a year ago and I do NOT like it. I’m going a little stir crazy! Sorry in advance to anyone I snap at …

How I feel…

Cooking …

Now that FW is one, I’m trying really hard to find some foods he will eat. He is a picky eater has a refined pallet, and it’s getting hard to find foods that he, me and B will all eat. Oh, and FW has low iron and doesn’t like meat so I’m trying to find things with iron and/or protein. Some of the newest things I’ve tried:

Spicy Chickpea Burgers (without the spice for FW) >> I liked them as did B, but FW wasn’t a fan

Spinach Banana Muffins >> We all like these!

Crockpot Spicy Peanut Chicken  (without the spice for FW) >> I liked it, B sorta liked it and FW just spit it and threw it out

Cauliflower tots >> I liked them, B didn’t try and FW may have liked them (he didn’t eat them at home but school said he did …)

So, we’re 1ish for 4 …. any tips? Food or recipe suggestions?

And that’s about all the brain randomness from me this morning. Cheers to it almost being Friday!

Some questions for you:

  • Any recipes for picky eaters? Ideally something that an adult and a one-year-old would eat? Please?
  • What’s a fashion item you want right now?
  • What’s the last home renovation/DIY thing you did?

PS – Happy birthday MOM!!! You are a great mom and wonderful grandma … ❤

 

 

 

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing

I know it’s winter. I’ve looked outside – no need to remind me. This is what I see. SNOW.

20160216_083644

Yes, it may be gloomy and snowy (but somewhat pretty, right?). But still, we all need a pop of color sometimes. And bright salads. All year round – don’t we? While I do enjoy eating seasonally, I do also enjoy salads in winter (and soup in the summer). And since we go meatless on Fridays during Lent, here’s an easy meatless meal you can enjoy  then – or even for Meatless Monday or any day of the week.

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing - icrashedtheweb

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa* – I like red quinoa, but other varieties should work fine
  • ¼ cup all natural almond butter*
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (or more, based on taste) Sriracha
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage – I like using 1 cup red and 1 cup green for color
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • few handfuls chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped unsalted cashews*

Here’s what you do:

  1. While the quinoa is cooking, you can make the nutty Asian dressing. To do so, mix the almond butter and honey in a medium bowl. Add in soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha and water and mix well until dressing is smooth. and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy.**
  2. Mix half of the dressing with the cooked quinoa.
  3. Add in vegetables – cabbage, pepper, carrots and then add in remaining dressing.
  4. Before serving, top with cilantro and cashews.  Add more Sriracha if you like more spice and enjoy!

Mine made four servings – perfect for dinner and lunch leftovers!

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but thanks to Swanson Health for providing some of the ingredients (quinoa, cashews, almond butter).  My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson. AND I’ll  be doing a giveaway so you can get some goodies too, soon 🙂

**I used all natural crunchy almond butter which is pretty oily – if you were using a less oily spread you may need to microwave the almond butter first or add in a little oil / more water to get your consistency to be dressing-like.

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing

Some questions for you:

  • Do you eat seasonal?
  • What’s your favorite hot sauce?

For more vegetarian posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below! I’m linking up with Sarah and Confessions of a Mother Runner.

Meatless Monday: Easy (and adaptable) Overnight Oats

It has been a while since I’ve written a Meatless Monday post – and I don’t know why! I’ve had a few meatfree meals lately, but I haven’t taken the time to truly capture them and write down a recipe and then post them.

So, today’s meatless post is a meal you can enjoy for breakfast. Overnight oats! I make these sometimes when I’m craving something other than my typical egg white and spinach and veggies for breakfast and have been asked how I make them. The answer? It’s always different. There are so many ways to make them. It depends on what ingredients I have. So here you go – a standard overnight oats recipe for you to enjoy and it’s adaptable so you can add or remove the toppings as you please!

Easy Overnight Oats - icrashedtheweb

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup yogurt (for this recipe, I used  plain Greek yogurt)
  • ½ cup milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is my favorite, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used regular milk)
  • 1-2 teaspoons your favorite nut butter (I love almond, peanut and sun butter!)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Chia seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey
  • To top your oats (wait until you’re ready to eat to add these): fruit (I like 1/2 banana, blueberries, nuts and more nut butter)
overnight oats ingredients

basic overnight oats ingredients

 

Here’s what you do:
  1. Combine oats, yogurt, milk, nut butter, chia seeds and honey in a 10-12 ounce jar. Stir with a spoon or shake until everything is pretty combined.
  2. Let sit in fridge overnight or at least 7-8 hours. When ready do serve, add toppings! I love adding some freshly sliced banana, blueberries, a few nuts and even more nut butter.
  3. Enjoy a hearty and delicious breakfast. Or snack. Or dessert. I’m not judging!

20160203_094650

Isn’t that easy? Some modifications I’ve enjoyed include:

  • Adding more milk and less yogurt for a less tangy and less thick oatmeal.
  • Adding some diced banana to the oats in the overnight version and peanut butter. Then topping with more banana and more peanut butter for a peanut butter and banana oats.
  • Adding PB2 or another powdered peanut butter before mixing for a more peanut buttery flavor.
  • Adding dried fruit or coconut to the top when it’s ready to serve
  • Adding flax seed (1-2 teaspoons) for some extra fiber/grit/texture.
  • Topping my oats with more oats (meaning: homemade granola) or a few mini chocolate chips if you’re feeling ambitious.

That’s one of the things I love about overnight oats – in addition to being super easy and not at all time consuming, the possibilities really are endless!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like overnight oats? What’s your favorite combination?
  • What’s your go-to breakfast?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, some of the product (nut butter, oats) was  provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson. AND I’ll likely be doing a giveaway so you can get some goodies too, soon 🙂

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below! I’m linking up with Sarah and Confessions of a Mother Runner .

 

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to fall meals, I crave comforting foods.

Foods that are easy to put together, but taste like they’ve been cooking all day.

You know  – spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna, chili … all those delicious, hearty meals. Meals to curl up on the couch with, to watch a movie, read a good book or even for game day (go Browns!). I have also begun to enjoy the occasional meatless meal and find that if done right, vegetarian dishes can be great fall comfort meals. That’s why when Silk challenged me to join their Sideline Meat campaign and come up with a Meatless Monday meal, I was excited to participate. And challenged to find a meal that even B (as you know, he has a self-proclaimed “meat tooth”) would enjoy.

Introducing this eggplant “pasta” dish. It should be no surprise that I’m choosing a zucchini pasta dish. I’m a lover of my zoodler (aka spiralizer) and I love making zoodles. Plus, the Silk adds a somewhat creaminess to the sauce and served over zoodles, it’s nearly guilt-free. Enjoy!

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce-icrashedtheweb

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into one-inch pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • Generous sprinkle of hot pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond milk – I used Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized (this is the zoodler I use)
ingredients

ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat a medium to large size pan over medium high heat. When hot, add olive oil, and then add the chopped eggplant. Cook until brown, about 3-4 minutes, and then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add add the shallot and garlic, and continue cooking until the eggplant and the onions are soft, about 3-6 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it starts to get juicy. Add hot pepper flakes generously over the veggies. I like my food spicy so I added a lot – add as much as you feel comfortable with. Feel free to add salt at this time as well.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the almond milk. Cook until the tomato sauce is a little thick. When everything looks about done, add in the zoodles. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or so, carefully so the zoodles don’t get soggy, and then plate.
  5. Enjoy!
sauce is looking good!

sauce is looking good!

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce

ready to eat!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite fall comfort food?
  • Have you ever cooked with almond milk? What did you make?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, product was provided to me by Silk. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of WhiteWave and/or Silk.

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below!

Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding

Have I mentioned I’m a Meatless Monday blogger? I am! And while I’m not a vegetarian, I do enjoy the occasional meatfree dish.

That’s why when I was provided a package from Lotus Foods with a few different meatless, carbalicious (rice and ramen) yum yums, I was super excited to try them out and share the recipes with you. I had also recently gotten some coupons from Silk and was interested in seeing what I could make from the both – what could I do to combine Silk’s dairy free milk with Lotus Foods package?

goodies from Lotus Foods!

goodies from Lotus Foods!

I’ll have some savory meals coming soon, but first off, I knew I had to try making some rice pudding. My mom always made such good rice pudding growing up. It was creamy, soothing, warm, and so so so delicious. Inspired by memories of her dessert, I bring you Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding. Probably a little better for you than the version I had growing up, but still pretty good!

Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding

Almond Milk Volcano Rice Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk – I used Silk unsweetened original
  • 1/2 cup rice – I used the Lotus Foods Organic Volcano Rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
the ingredients - so few and so simple! (minus maple syrup. it was camera shy)

the ingredients – so few and so simple! (minus maple syrup. it was camera shy)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Place the almond milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle bubble and lower the heat to simmer.
  2. Add the rice and season it with the cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Stir until the spices are evenly coating the rice and almond milk. Cook for 10 minutes until milk is starting get absorbed.
  3. Pour into an oven-safe pan and cook for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until nearly all of the milk is absorbed. Serve warm or cold, topped with additional cinnamon and maple syrup if you like.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever had volcanic rice? What did you think of it?
  • What’s your favorite rice dish? I need new recipes!
  • Do you have a favorite childhood dessert?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, product was provided to me by Silk and Lotus Foods. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Lotus Foods or Silk.

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below!