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.

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 … ❤

 

 

 

Fresh Cherry and Double Chocolate Almond Scones

Do you like fruit? I love fruit. Fresh, juicy fruit is something I crave pretty much year-round. When I was pregnant last year, I couldn’t get enough fruit. And now, FW is a fruit fiend. He’ll eat pretty much any fruit!

This time of year especially, I can’t get enough stone fruit. Nectarines. Peaches. Cherries. So, when Northwest Cherries reached out and asked if I’d like to try some of their cherries, I of course said yes.

The Northwest U.S. is actually known for seven varieties of cherries, including Bing cherries, the most popular cherry in North America, and Rainiers. You can typically spot the sweet cherries by their darker red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

So, while I’ve been enjoying eating cherries by the handful (and spitting out the seeds … so ladylike), I’ve also been enjoying testing out different recipes using my delicious bounty. In addition to making these cherry pie bars, I have also been dabbling in the scone game (or should I say Game of Scones? #nerdhumor).

These scones are a great way to use some fresh cherries, but also just great in general. The combination of cherry and almond is great, and the dark and white chocolate picks up on the cherries’ sweetness.

The only part about this recipe I don’t like? Chopping and seeding the cherries. But, if you can get past that, then I highly recommend you make these.

Luckily, B decided that he doesn’t mind chopping and seeding cherries, so I see more cherry recipes in my future. If you don’t have yourself a B to chop the cherries, I suggest you wear clothes you don’t care about and be prepared to have deep red cherry hands for a little while!

Fresh Cherry and Double Chocolate Almond Scones

Makes about 12 scones

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups cold butter, sliced into pieces
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup of your favorite chocolate chopped up or chips – I used 1/2 cup semisweet and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. Using your fingers or a fork, cut in butter until the batter resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add in coconut milk and almond extract. Combine until batter is wet and sticky.
  4. Fold in cherries and chocolate. Combine with a spatula or spoon until dough is evenly mixed.
  5. Divide dough in half and pat down into two even circles about 1 inch high.  Cut into 6 triangles.
  6. Bake on an oven sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite fruit?
  • Do you like fruit desserts?

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Energy Balls – a.k.a. Boobie Balls

One of the things I’ve noticed as a breastfeeding mom is that some days I am ravenous. Some days I need two breakfasts. Other days I’m not hungry until 10 but then I need two (or three) snacks!

While I’m not yet actively trying to lose weight (in case you couldn’t tell by my double the ice cream day What I Ate Wednesday post), I am trying to make healthy-ish choices sometimes – for me AND for FW. So I’m so glad to have found these delicious energy balls.

I’d had energy balls like these before becoming pregnant (they’re good for everyone! not just breastfeeding moms!), and Anson had made me some when she and her daughter came over to visit FW and I. But these are a little different. Why? They have ingredients that are supposedly good for breastfeeding – Brewer’s yeast, oats, flaxseed. And yes, these are supposedly good for non-breastfeeders, so feel free to make them, share them with your BF friends and eat some yourself! I’ve been known to share some with B as well:)

energy balls - boobie balls - breastfeeding snacks

Energy Balls – a.k.a. Boobie Balls

Slightly updated from here  

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter (I like Once Again almond butter or Peanut Butter & Co crunchy peanut butter– I’ve also made with creamy peanut butter and it’s just as good!) (NOTE: the quantity of peanut butter you use will depend on the type/consistency. The more runny the peanut butter – like in many natural kinds – the less likely you’ll need a full cup because it’s so wet. The more dry the peanut butter – as is with a low fat kinda like low fat JIF – you may need more)
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Brewer’s yeast (I buy my Brewer’s yeast from Swanson Health* online)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1 cup add-ins – a mixture of chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc. I like craisins and/or chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or mini m&ms

20160819_133252

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium low. (NOTE – I’ve also done this by hand with a large spoon)
  2. Add in the dry ingredients: oatmeal, coconut, Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed and any adding (I added 1 cup chocolate chips).
  3. Roll into small balls, about 1-inch thick. Store covered in the refrigerator and enjoy!

20160819_135053

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but some of the products mentioned were provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson

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 .

 

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

I LOVE biscotti. I grew up with biscotti – my mom seemed to always have a package of Nonni’s biscotti on hand for desserts, snacks (breakfast…shh), etc. There’s just something deliciously satisfying about the crunch of a good biscotti, paired with some coffee or hot tea. Amiright? And now that I know how to bake them (I’ve made a few different kinds before, including chocolate pistachio biscotti and pumpkin biscotti), I am loving them even more!

Seeking a last minute cookie to bake for the holidays? Okay, I guess it’s not quite last minute yet, but these make the perfect Christmas cookie. The green pistachio and red cranberries are festive – but these really are great all year round. I made these for a holiday party/cookie exchange and recommend you try them out too. The recipe is from B’s mom, and I was so grateful that she shared it with me – so now I’m sharing it with you!

cranberry pistachio biscotti-icrashedtheweb

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg set aside for egg wash
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ⅓ cup dried cranberries (soak 5 min in hot water)
  • 1 cup pistachios, chopped

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Combine first five ingredients.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Work into dough using hands.
  4. Drain cranberries and add to dough with pistachios.
  5. Roll into two logs. Flatten slightly and place on greased pan. Brush with egg wash (1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon cold water).
  6. Bake for 50 minutes, slice into pieces and bake an additional 10 min. per side. Makes approximately 36 biscotti cookies. Enjoy!

cranberry pistachio biscotti~icrashedtheweb

I also made this recipe sheet if you’d like to print out the recipe (click here to download the pdf).

CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI-icrashedtheweb-recipe-small

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like biscotti?
  • What’s a favorite family cookie recipe?

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!