Category Archives: Health

Fresh Start: The Final Days & a Giveaway!

It’s hard to believe just two short weeks ago I began this Fresh Start Challenge.  The time has flown by but I am feeling better than ever.

But now that the challenge is over, where do we go from here?

The most important thing to take away from this challenge is the lifestyle changes that will last beyond the two weeks.  This includes a commitment to choose fresh, raw foods that will help fuel my body, giving me the energy I need to get through my days.  I am fortunate enough to get a weekly delivery of local and organic produce to support this goal.

I am grateful for the variety of delicious recipes I picked up during this challenge.  I am looking forward to sharing them with you and making them a regular staple in our weekly meal plans.  I am also excited about the new ingredients such as coconut oil and Celtic Sea Salt that I am not only aware of but a big fan of thanks to this challenge.

Here’s a look at my last few days of eats during the Fresh Start Challenge…

Day 121.  First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  In addition to all the yummy recipes I learned during this challenge, I am most grateful for being introduced to this delicious and energizing drink.  It has become such an important part of my daily routine and I look forward to continuing it beyond the challenge.

2.  Breakfast: Fruit Salad with Walnuts and Dates-  Starting my day out with a fresh bowl of fruit topped with nuts really puts a smile on my face.  It was a great excuse to enjoy some more of  those fresh strawberries that came in my box this week as well as the leftover bananas from all the pudding.  Refreshing and delicious.

3.  Lunch:  Goat Cheese Quesadilla-  The plan for lunch today was supposed to be a bowl of Tomato Basil Soup but since I didn’t have time to make it the night before, I settled for another Goat Cheese Quesadilla…which was amazing!  I layered in some leftover sautéed kale which helped to make this a well-rounded and filling meal.

4.  Snack:  Raw Coconut Fudge-  This snack was actually on the menu for Day 10, but I neglected to read the directions which suggested you soak the nuts for 6-8 hours.  So I soaked the nuts and then made it on Day 11, but again neglected to read the directions that suggest chilling the fudge for 2-3 hours.  So I had to wait until today to enjoy it.  Luckily, it was worth the wait.  And I am excited to share the recipe with you soon.

5.  Dinner:  Baked Salmon with Sautéed Kale-  Believe it or not, I was so busy Friday, I completely forgot to eat dinner.  I happened to be talking to my mom around 10pm and I noticed that I was unusually hungry.  Luckily, I had this salmon marinating in the fridge and my mom walked me through cooking it in the oven while we were on the phone (usually I refer to google for such a thing but since I have Verizon, I can’t talk and surf).

6.  Snack:  Young Coconut-  After such a yummy and flavorful meal, this was the perfect way to cleanse my palate.  I always save the coconut water for the following day (way better than bottled) and then scrape off the meat from the walls using a spoon.  A great way to end the evening.

Day 13

1.  First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  The Amazing Meal is delicious enough to drink with coconut water or your milk of choice, but can be easily added to your favorite smoothie.  It is a wonderful way to jump-start your body in the morning or can also serve as a pre or post workout snack.  The possibilities are endless :)

2.  Breakfast:  Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt–  I went ahead and tried another new flavor today and to be honest, it’s not nearly as good as the strawberry or the mango.  It’s not terrible, but without the fruit to mask the pungent goat milk flavor, it was a little tart for my liking.  Especially first thing in the morning.  So for now on, I am sticking with the flavors I like best.

3.  Lunch:  Lettuce Wraps Stuffed with Tuna Salad-  Choosing to wrap your sandwiches in lettuce instead of bread is an easy and delicious way to cut back on processed grains.  Since I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with Harper, this was the only way I could enjoy my lunch most days.  And to be honest, I have come to prefer eating my sandwiches wrapped in lettuce now.

4.  Snack:  Apple Topped with Peanut Butter-  Knowing that we were going to be out and about running errands, I got my snack all ready to go before we left the house.  When the time came for me to enjoy it, I realized I had left it on the kitchen counter…darn!  Enter Trader Joes…they always come through :)  Bought a bag of organic sliced apples and a new jar of unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter and snack was served!

5.  Dinner:  Black Bean Tostada-  I am in LOVE with these beans.  If you thought I was into beans before, these beans take the cake.  This will definitely be a recipe I plan to share…once I make a new batch of them ;)

6.  Snack:  Almond Milk Ice Cream–  Sometimes, ice cream just tastes better out of a carton.  And this almond milk frozen dessert is no different.  Since there was only a few bites left anyways I decided to skip the bowl and just grab a spoon.  PS:  I am totally hooked on this stuff!

Day 14

1.   First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  To think this whole journey started with one green drink…For those of you out there who are skeptical about this cup of greens, I encourage you to give it a try.  If you like the taste of fresh juiced greens, they offer an original flavor and for those of your who prefer something sweet, why not try a vanilla chai or chocolate?

2.  Breakfast:  Raw Steel Cut Oats-  I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat cereal with fruit, there has to be an equal fruit to cereal ratio on my spoon.  And when the fruit is all gone but there is still cereal left?  Better slice up some more fruit so I can enjoy the rest of the cereal.  Does that mean that instead of eating Raw Steel Cut Oats with fruit, I am really eating fruit with Raw Steel Cut Oats?

3.  Lunch:  Tomato Basil Bisque-  I finally had time to whip up a fresh batch of this amazing soup.  And then proceeded to eat two bowls of it.  It is just so darn tasty!  I have plans to post the recipe later this week so stay tuned.

4.  Snack:  Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt–  After an unsuccessful experience with the Vanilla, I went back to my old faithful, Apricot Mango.  And it really was the perfect snack while I was in the midst of prepping dinner.  Soooo creamy :)

5.  Dinner: Stir-fry Chicken and Vegetables with Soba Noodles-  It’s not often that I eat pasta, but since I haven’t eaten it in nearly 2 weeks, I was very excited about this meal.  And the recipe delivered!  Silky soba noodles, tossed with green onions, red bell pepper and diced chicken drenched in a homemade cilantro peanut sauce, this dish is a definite winner.

6.  Dessert:  Kombucha-  I have never jumped aboard the Kombucha train.  I guess I just don’t know much about it.  But this delicious drink was a great way to end the evening.  It was tasty and refreshing and has loads of health benefits.  Might just have to get hip to the Kombucha craze.

And with that, the 2 week Fresh Start Challenge is complete.  It was a wonderful journey and I truly learned a lot about how to make better choices in the food I eat.  Plus, I have more than enough recipes and ideas to keep me going down the right path.

Now it’s your turn for a Fresh Start.  The generous folks over at Amazing Grass have offered to giveaway 1, 15 serving bottle of Amazing Meal to one of my faithful readers.

To enter: “Like” Amazing Grass  and In Her Chucks on Facebook and leave a comment telling me that you have done so.

For additional entries…

1.  Subscribe to this blog and leave a comment telling me you have done so.  If you already subscribe to my blog, then leave me a comment telling me that you are already subscribed (and thanks for the support!).

2.  Follow @amazinggrass on Twitter and leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve done so.

3.  Follow Amazing Grass on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve done so.

4.   Pin this giveaway and comment here with a link to your post.

The more entries you have, the better your chances are to win.  The giveaway will close at 12:01 am on February 25th.  A winner will be randomly selected and announced on February 26th.  Make sure to include your email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Fresh Start: Day 10 & 11

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Hope your love holiday was filled with lots of hugs, kisses and chocolate ;)

As for me, Valentine’s Day was spent with my two loves.  Breakfast with little Harper Do while Freddie was at the dentist.  Family cuddles during a midday nap.  A post nap music session in the living room (Freddie played the drums while Harper and I danced, sang and shook the maracas).  A daddy/daughter swim class while mommy prepared a healthy dinner at home.  And we ended the night with a fresh batch of Valentine’s day cookies for my big cookie monster (ps: that would be Freddie…)

Oh, and did I mention that today, Freddie and I are celebrating our 4 year anniversary?  4 years of love, laughter and the Lakers…Where has the time gone?

One of the many things I have to give Freddie credit for is my ability to cook.  You see, before we got married, I had little to no experience in the kitchen.  But once we were man and wife, I realized I had better find a way to get food on the table.  Because we all know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  And four year’s later, he still hurries to the table when dinner is called.  Which means, I must be doing something right :)

And tonight was no different.  Instead of a fancy dinner at a crowded restaurant, Freddie, Harper and I enjoyed a healthy meal in the comfort of our own home.  Check out what we munched on…

Day 10a

1.  First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  Who needs a red bull or coffee when you have organic, raw greens?  I kicked my caffeine habit when I got pregnant with Harper (in fact, you really don’t want to see me on caffeine anymore, talk about jumping off the walls…) so this is a great alternative to a morning, or afternoon pick me up.

2.  Breakfast:  Apple and Cheese Tortilla-  I have made brie and apple quesadillas before but I never thought about eating them for breakfast.  Well, Harper and I are huge fans of this new idea of apple and goat cheese quesadillas for breakfast. They were a huge hit!  I can see this one going on repeat once the challenge is completed.

3.  Lunch:  Brown Rice Sushi-  Another quick trip to Whole Foods for some tuna and avocado sushi.  I was hoping I could make it to the sushi restaurant in time but Harper was ready for her nap so I wasn’t going to push it.  In fact, she fell asleep minutes after we got in the car.  So I enjoyed my sushi in the front seat while Harper snoozed.

4.  Snack: Amazing Grass Bar-  Ok, I know every time I eat one of these I tell you it’s my favorite.  But seriously, this one IS my favorite.  I love almonds and like the label reads, this bar is all about the almonds.  I have to pick up a case of these next time I am at the store.

5.  Dinner:  Baked Salmon with Sautéed Kale-  Throwing a filet of fish in the oven is so easy and so yummy, I wish I did it more often.  This meal plan has a lot of fish recipes and I love each and every one of them.  We are so lucky to live close to the water where fish is being caught and sold in less than an hour.  There is nothing quite like a fresh filet of fish with a side of delicious veggies.

6.  Snack:  Avo-Banana Pudding with Fruit-  If there is anything better than pudding, it’s pudding topped with fresh berries.  And after being spoiled for the last few weeks with fresh strawberries, I hope they are here to stay.

Day 11a

1.  First Thing:   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  Nothing says love like starting your day out with a green drink.  And as much as I adore my reusable straw, today I had to show my Valentine’s spirit with a bright red straw.

2.  Breakfast:  Peanut Butter on Eziekel Bread Topped with Apples-  When Freddie and I first got married, one of my go to breakfast options was a whole wheat english muffin topped with peanut butter and apples.  I love apples and nut butter together anyways, and the toast just makes it that much easier to marry the two flavors together.

3.  Lunch:  Veggie Sandwich Wrap- I have a confession.  This is the first sandwich wrap I have ever made.  And I had a blast experimenting with all the different ingredients.  For starters, I used a sprouted tortilla for the base.  Then I spread a layer of avocado topped with grated goat cheddar and carrots.  On top of that I added a layer of thinly sliced chicken breast followed by broccoli sprouts and spinach leaves.  Talk about filling!  Not only was it oozing with delicious goodness, it gave me the energy I needed to get through the day.

4.  Snack: Edamame-  Edamame is one of my favorite snacks.  They are easy, healthy and can be found at Trader Joes (I love all things TJS!).  I like to sprinkle them with salt, dip them in tamari or simply eat them as is.

5.  Dinner: Asian Salad with Chicken-  A good salad dressing will change your life.  And for me, nothing is better than a homemade dressing.  With ingredients like fresh squeezed orange juice, sesame seeds and minced ginger, this Chinese inspired salad dressing is the bees-nees.

6.  Snack:  Almond Milk Ice Cream–  Another day of ice cream?  Don’t mind if I do :)  Might have finished off the carton, but hey…it’s Valentine’s Day!

Can’t believe that I only have a few more days left of this challenge.  This is by far my favorite meal plan yet.  Not only has it provided me with tons of new ideas for healthy meals, but it has taught me so much about the value of food and the importance of making the choice to eat whole, raw and organic foods.

Wanna join me in turning over a new leaf?  Check out Amazing Grass’s Two Week Challenge and commit this new year to creating a new you :)

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Fresh Start: Day 7, 8 & 9 & WIAW #16

I might as well apologize from the start.  I am about to dump 3 full days of meals on your lap.  It’s a bit much for one post, but my busy behind has been running around like a chicken with her head cut off the last few days and therefore there has been minimal computer time.  The good news is, this post is jam-packed with delicious and nutritious food that is sure to inspire you to eat clean.

So instead of wasting time on small talk today, let’s move straight to the grub, shall we?

Day 7

1.  First Thing:  Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  After a whole week of beginning my mornings with a green drink, I am LOVING this new addition to my daily routine.  It really does get the day started on the right foot and its delicious to boot :)

2.  Breakfast: Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt–  I promised myself I would try a new flavor and this strawberry is delicious!  I think we have a tie between this flavor and the mango.  I am liking this idea of branching out…I wonder what I will try next?

3.  Lunch: Sprouted Tortilla with Goat Cheese and Mixed Veggies-  Definitely my favorite lunch so far.  It has been on the menu a lot the last week but I don’t mind a bit.  This time I topped it with some leftover veggies from the stir fry.  It was divine!

4.  Snack:  Amazing Grass Bar–  Even though I quickly fell in love with the Chocolate Amazing Grass bar, this Chocolate Peanut Butter has taken its place.  I scarfed it down in a matter of seconds.  I can’t wait to run to the store to stock up on some more.

5.  Dinner: Salmon and Veggie Kabobs-  I had never made kabobs in the oven before but since Freddie was gone on a business trip, and he is the ultimate grill man, I had to get creative.  Luckily they turned out great.  Although I owe all the credit to the amazing marinade.  You can’t go wrong when you are dousing fish and veggies in tamari, coconut oil, honey, rice wine vinegar, cilantro and sesame seeds :)  The combo is pure heaven.

6.  Snack:  Almond Milk Ice Cream–  When I read that I could enjoy a bowl of non dairy ice cream, I nearly flipped.  I have such a weakness for ice cream it’s not even funny.  Maybe we need to just straight up label it an addiction.  So I do my best to stay away from the parts of town where the 31 Flavors and Cold Stone’s are located.  I was also slightly doubtful that this non dairy ice cream could tickle my fancy…but it totally did.

Day 8

1.  First Thing:  Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  I have officially started week 2 and I am feeling great about this fresh start.  I am also proud of myself that I finally remembered to use my reusable straw from Simply Straws.  Working on new habits in all areas of my life :)

2.  Breakfast: Avo-Banana Pudding with Berries-  Pudding for breakfast?  Yes, please!  Making up for all those times I wanted chocolate pudding for breakfast when I was a kid.  Although if I had asked my mom for this rendition, she would have gladly served it to me.

3.  Lunch:  Asian Salad with Fresh Tuna and Avocado-  Another fresh batch of tuna made, another fresh batch of tuna devoured. The nuts, the avocado, the salad dressing, all adds to the incredibly delicious experience that is my lunch.

4.  Snack:  Apple Slices with Almond Butter-  I really do love the fresh almond butter that you can make at the store.  It’s so much more nuttier and lot less pasty than what you buy in the jars.  I should rename this “Almond Butter with Apple Slices” as the fruit is merely a vehicle to shovel more almond butter in my mouth.

5.  Dinner: Kidney Bean Tostada-  It’s official, I am a refried kidney bean lover.  From dried bulk beans to pure bliss, I am so happy with the way these beans turned out.  It was definitely time intensive (12-15 hours of soaking, another 30 minutes of simmering before they were even ready to hit the skillet), but it was totally worth it.  I sautéed mine with garlic, green onions and bell pepper and also added in some fresh corn and cilantro.  Spread it on a sprouted tortilla and topped it with fresh veggies and avocado.  Yum, yum, yum!

6.  Snack:  Almond Milk Ice Cream-   Loving that I get to eat ice cream two days in a row.  Feels so naughty, but then again, it feels so nice.  I can’t say that it tastes like “real” ice cream, because it doesn’t, it tastes like Almond Milk Ice Cream, but I am an almond milk lover so it works out well.

day 91.   Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  What makes Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal so Amazing is that their greens are raw, organic and infused with delicious flavors.  Did I mention that they are vegan, Non GMO, Gluten, Soy and Dairy free too?

2.  Breakfast: Egg White Scramble-  Another delicious morning of veggie packed eggs.  I used an orange bell pepper this time and was loving the minor change.  Also, no tomatoes this time as I forgot to pick one up at the store last night :(  Although it was still a killer way to start the day.

3.  Lunch:  Spinach and Hummus Pita with Goat Cheese- This sandwich was super!  I tried it with some shredded goat cheese cheddar and was loving both the taste and texture.  Next time, I am going to add a handful of sprouts and maybe some grated carrot to the mix.

4.  Snack: Fruit Salad with Shredded Coconut-  Mangos, raspberries, blueberries, bananas and strawberries with a handful of coconut flakes…might as well take me to the Caribbean.  This fruit salad was everything I needed this afternoon and more.  Forget about anything else, I could easily live on fruit alone.

5.  Dinner: Halibut Burger-  I have never tried fresh fish in a sandwich or burger before.  But I love fish in tacos and figured a burger might be a similar experience.  These were out of this world delicious!  I started by cutting up the fish in small pieces and mashed it with a potato masher.  I added in some lime juice, egg, cilantro, green onion and seasonings and pan fried it with coconut oil.  I only wish Freddie was here to taste it.  This might even rival my turkey burger recipe.  Looking forward to sharing the recipe with you soon.

6.  Snack:  Piece of Dark Chocolate-  Need I say more?  Except that I didn’t eat the entire bar.  Just a few pieces.  It was just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy my after dinner dessert craving.

Now can you see why I haven’t had much computer time?  I have been too busy preparing and eating these amazing meals :)

Wanna join me in turning over a new leaf?  Check out Amazing Grass’s Two Week Challenge and commit this new year to creating a new you :)

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Fresh Start: Day 5 & 6

Nothing makes a girl feel better than a fresh haircut :)  Yesterday, while Daddy and Harper spent the day together, Mommy (that’s me) took some time to herself for a little pampering.  It’s not often that I get to be by myself, let alone do something for myself.  But thanks to my loving husband, I got to do both!  So now I am feeling refreshed on the inside and out.

In order to make sure I kept up with the challenge during mommy’s day out, I packed up my lunch and snacks and took them with me.  And it went perfectly.  The hardest part was dinner.  My day went a bit longer than expected and so by the time I was headed home I was beyond hungry.  I passed by a ton of restaurants that were calling my name (*cough* In-N-Out *cough*) but I was determined to make it back for my planned Fresh Start meal.  Thanks to some hard-core self-control I was able to stay on track and enjoy a delicious bowl of shrimp and veggie stir fry.  Success!

My intention was to post this for you all yesterday, but I was so tired from my fun-filled day that my eyes wouldn’t stay open long enough to finish the post.  So my apologies for keeping you on the edge of your seat but here’s what I have been cooking up this weekend…

Day 51.  First Thing:  Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  There are a number of reasons why starting your day out with a large glass of greens is beneficial.  For starters, green superfoods such as wheat grass and Spirulina help to cleanse and detoxify your body.  Because your body naturally cleanses itself in the early hours of the morning, feeding your body green superfood as soon as you get up will aid in the cleansing process and as a result gives you a boost of energy.

2.  Breakfast: Spinach and Egg Scramble-  Greens, garlic and goat cheese, oh my!  I am loving this hearty and delicious breakfast scramble.  The addition of avocados really does take it over the top.  I might even had to invite a sprouted tortilla to the party next time :)

3.  Lunch:  Chicken Sandwich with Sprouted Bread and an Apple- I have to admit, I am not one for sandwiches, never have been, but this brown bag lunch had me jumping for joy.  Not sure if it was the toasted sprouted bread, the avocado spread or the grated carrots I stuffed in the middle, but this is my new favorite lunch.  And pairing it with an apple satisfied my need for that crunchy side (instead of chips…).

4.  Snack:  Apple with Almond Butter- It may not look like the most beautiful snack, but it sure was yummy.  In fact, in the midst of me scarfing it down, both Harper and Freddie joined in on the fun.  Good thing I had extra apples and almond butter to refill the stash.

5.  Dinner:  Asian Salad with Marinated Chicken-  I had tried this salad for lunch with tuna on Day 1 but I was excited to give it a go with the marinated chicken.  Loved it!  But my favorite part has got to be the dressing.  A simple recipe that is easily thrown together with ingredients you have in your home, it will take any ordinary pile of lettuce to a whole new level.

6.  Snack:  Young Coconut-  This was a definite first for me.  One bite and I was immediately whisked away to a tropical island in the middle of the ocean.  The texture was different from what I expected…soft and smooth.  And the flavor was pretty mild.  Not as “coconutty” as I thought it would be.  But either way, a nice, sweet, way to end the day.

Day 61.  First Thing: Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  On the meal plan, they suggest mixing your Amazing Meal in a smoothie or with Coconut Water and I always choose the latter.  I love the taste so much there is no need to mask it in a smoothie.  What I am usually not a fan of is Coconut Water.  So in truth, the Amazing Meal masks the taste of the Coconut Water :)

2.  Breakfast: Raw Steel Cut Oats-  A bowl of soaked oatmeal was exactly what I needed to get my day going.  Drenched in unsweetened almond milk and decorated with a variety of fruits, nuts and seeds, Harper and I couldn’t get enough of this breakfast-y goodness.  I liked the addition of the bananas this time.  It gave a slight sweetness to the oats as well as making it feel a bit more like cold cereal.

3.  Lunch: Goat Cheese Quesadilla-  This is my second time enjoying this lunch and I have to say, this go around it was even more delicious.  I sautéed some kale, onions, garlic and zucchini and served it alongside and it was delightful.  I had planned on eating it cold since I was out and about but the girls at the salon offered to warm it up for me, which made a world of difference.

4.  Snack: Carrots–  I never thought I would devour a bag of carrots as quickly as I gobbled these puppies up but after hours in the salon I was pretty hungry.  Plus they were so sweet and crunchy, it almost felt like I was eating a sugary treat.  Almost.

5.  Dinner: Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry-  By the time I got home, it was nearly 9pm.  I was beyond starving and ready to eat anything that was put in front of me.  The meal plan called for fish kabobs but I neglected to read that they needed to marinate for a while (oops…), so I chose a dinner from later in the week that easier to whip up at the last minute.  So yummy and satisfying.

6.  Snack:  Avo-Banana Pudding with Fruit-  I was skeptical about whether the pudding would still taste good, but surprisingly it had gotten even sweeter.  I can’t wait to start experimenting with other flavor combinations and textures on the next go around.  Dark chocolate bits maybe?

One more day to go until week one is completed.  Which also means Valentine’s Day is just a few days away.  What are your plans for the holiday dedicated to love?

Wanna join me in turning over a new leaf?  Check out Amazing Grass’s Two Week Challenge and commit this new year to creating a new you :)

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Fresh Start: Day 3 & 4

Before I get into what I have been munching on the last few days, I need to share something with you.

I know you are not going to believe me when I tell you this, but I lost my keys today.  No joke.  The universe is having a blast with me and the idea of locking me out of things.  Can someone please translate this for me?

So, as suggested by my husband, I stayed home most of the morning.  Harper and I lounged in our PJS, built igloos with her blocks and did some chores.  In the midst of doing laundry, I ran out of soap.  So I decided to run to the store to pick some up.  While I was out I figured I would take care of some other errands I needed to do.  Harper and I took a trip to Michaels to get some treat bags for her Valentine’s day party tomorrow.  As I approached the car I went to grab the keys from the shopping cart and they were gone.  I went back in the store and walked each aisle 3 or 4 times.  I kept asking the store clerks and the managers if anyone had turned them in but no such luck. I reluctantly called Freddie again and he said he would be to us as soon as he could.  In the meantime I went back out to the parking lot and scoped out the scene.  I decided to go into a few other stores to see if someone had turned them in there and sure enough I found them at RiteAid.  But after yesterdays debacle, I didn’t feel like laughing, I felt like crying.  Guess I need to start affixing my keys to my hip.  Lesson learned.  Again.

Luckily, I am loving this Fresh Start Challenge.  So lets focus on what’s right around here and take a look at the grub…

day 31.  First Thing: Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  Still totally in love with this drink.  It’s sweet, it’s healthy, it’s delicious.  I will most definitely be continuing this routine once the challenge is completed.

2.  Breakfast: Spinach and Egg Scramble-  Talk about a party in the skillet.  Eggs, spinach, garlic, green onions, red bell pepper, goat cheese, tomatoes and avocado.  Yummy in my tummy.  This meal had me FULL!  So much delicious goodness I lasted until the late afternoon before I was ready for lunch.  Breakfast of champions for sure.

3.  Lunch:  Fresh Tuna Salad over Lettuce-  Finished off the last of the fresh tuna today.  Such a simple dish to make and yet so life changing.  Had I known it was this easy to make homemade tuna from fresh fish I would have been doing this ages ago.  My favorite recipe so far.

4.  Snack:  Amazing Grass Bar–  A chocolate bar that is healthy?  Look no further.  Amazing Grass has made all of my wildest dreams come true.  You need to eat one of these.  Stat.

5.  Dinner:  Tomato Basil Bisque with Quinoa and Goat Cheese-  This vegetarian soup knocked my socks off.  Love the addition of the quinoa and goat cheese which made it a bit more hearty.  It was the first time I ever cooked with coconut milk and I am officially hooked.  Can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys!

6.  Snack:  Nana’s Peanut Butter Cookie–  So, the meal plan suggested Nana’s Gluten Free Cookie Bars, but I was unable to find them.  Which means I indulged in a peanut butter cookie instead.  And it was oh so sinful (in a good way).  No refined sugar, no eggs and no dairy.  Looking forward to seeing what their other products taste like.

day 4

1.  First Thing: Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water-  Not much more for me to say except for I am officially Amazing Grass’s number one fan.  As much as I love the Pomegranate and Mango flavor, I can’t wait to taste some of the other varieties they offer.

2.  Breakfast: Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt– After my Amazing Meal, I wasn’t really hungry for breakfast, so this yogurt was perfect.  I have a few other flavors in the fridge but went with my favorite Apricot Mango instead.  Next time, strawberry :)

3.  Lunch: Brown Rice Sushi-  When I read that I got to eat sushi today I started having daydreams of enjoying fresh sushi at my favorite japanese restaurant while sipping on a mug of green tea.  And then I remembered I had a toddler, and realized, it would probably be easier to pick up some sushi from Whole Foods (which happened to be where I was buying my laundry detergent anyways).  Their sushi is pretty good and very fresh and the whole experience of eating it in the comfort of my home while Harper scarfed down her mac and cheese was much more relaxing than eating at a restaurant.

4.  Snack:  Almonds and an Apple- Nothing fancy, just something simple.  But the perfect pairing, really.  Salty and sweet.  And easy to eat on the go.  I grabbed this snack before heading out to take Harper to swim class and it absolutely hit the spot.

5.  Dinner:  Smoked Salmon Rolls- Stuffed with goat cheese, avocado, arugula, Dijon mustard, Kalamata olives, green onions and a little bit of cilantro, these little gems are beyond decadent.  I can see serving these as an appetizer or thrown on top of a salad.  I am not the biggest fan of smoked salmon, but putting them under the broiler for 6-8 minutes almost made them taste like bacon.

6.  Snack:  Avo-Banana Pudding-  This was a true experiment for me.  I have never attempted using avocado in a sweet dish but the result was awesome!  Plus, I got to use fresh coconut for the first time which was rad.  The fresh strawberries really took this healthy dessert to the next level.

I am halfway through my first week and I am feeling great.  I am not only enjoying delicious foods but I am learning a ton at the same time.  In addition to the daily meal plans, the Fresh Start Challenge shares a video about how and why these life changes are important.  I am so grateful for all the knowledge that I am gaining on this journey.  My hope is that now that I know better, I will do better.

Wanna join me in turning over a new leaf?  Check out Amazing Grass’s Two Week Challenge and commit this new year to creating a new you :)

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Fresh Start: Day 2 & WIAW #15

Day 2

 

It’s only day 2, but already I am feeling like a million bucks.  I don’t know if it’s because the meal options are so darn delicious or that I am hopped up on fresh greens.  But either way, I am loving this challenge.

And since I am sharing my daily eats with you all anyways, why not join up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons and gawk at the rest of the parties yummy food choices.

First Thing:

Day 2: First Thing

Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water

After such great success with Day 1, I was excited to jump out of bed and grab my morning greens.  This really is the best way to start my day.  Already looking forward to tomorrow.

Breakfast:

Day 2: Breakfast

Raw Steel Cut Oats in Unsweetened Almond Milk Topped with Fresh Berries, Slivered Almonds, Chia, Hemp and Flax Seeds and Raw Honey

I have never had soaked oats overnight before, but after this mornings breakfast I will never eat oats any other way.  I love the texture as well as the fact that you can eat them cold which means that you can eat oatmeal all year round!  Kind of went overboard with the toppings, but wanted to make sure I fit in all my favs.

Lunch:

Day 3: Lunch

Sprouted Tortilla with Goat Cheese and a Side of Brussels

I love quesadillas and I love goat cheese, but for some reason I have never thought about making a goat cheese quesadilla.  Delish!  I popped it in the toaster oven and I had a yummy and easy lunch in no time.  Served it with a side of leftover Brussels from dinner last night.  Definitely hit the spot.

Snack: 

Day 2: Snack

Naturally Sweetened Goat Yogurt

Anything apricot and mango is a winner in my book.  This yogurt was the perfect midday snack.  And the best part about it is that there is no refined sugar (which is hard to find today even in “plain” yogurt).

Dinner:

Day 3: Dinner

Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

This is by far my favorite meal yet.  The sauce that I used to coat the veggies is out of this world.  Super simple to make (I made mine in a mini Cuisanart) and contains ingredients you already have in your cupboards and fridge.  It was so delicious I went back for a second and third time to pile more veggies in my bowl.

Snack:

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Raw Almonds and Hibiscus Tea

There is nothing more comforting than snuggling up on the couch with a warm cup of tea.  And this cup of hibiscus tea was the perfect way to end the evening.  A handful of nuts helped to curb my naughty cravings and I am officially ready for bed :)

Wanna join me in turning over a new leaf?  Check out Amazing Grass’s Two Week Challenge and commit this new year to creating a new you :)

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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Fresh Start: Day 1

Day 1I love a fresh start.  Whether that is in the form of a blank 2013 calendar, a pristine pair of shoes or a nice clean kitchen, it feels good to celebrate new beginnings.  Which is why I am such a big fan of the new year.  January is the perfect time to reflect on your life and work towards fostering better habits for the months to come.

Starting 2013 with an awesome Conscious Box was the inspiration I needed to get back on track.  I do my best to eat clean and avoid processed foods on a regular basis, but sometimes life (and Disney World) gets in the way.  So when I learned about Amazing Grass and their Fresh Start Two Week Challenge, I knew that it was the perfect solution to help me renew my habits and continue on my healthy journey.

What I love most about this challenge is that you can take it with you wherever you go.  Amazing Grass has helped make your fresh start accessible by creating an app for your iPhone.  So whether it is a shopping list, meal plan or product finder, everything is in the palm of your hand.

So what does an Amazing Grass Fresh Start look like?  Check out my eats for Day 1…

First Thing

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Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal mixed with Coconut Water

Nothing like starting off your morning with organic Green Superfood packed with 10 grams of complete protein and 6 grams of fiber.  This stuff not only tastes good, it is good for you.  I went with the Pomegranate Mango flavor and am totally in love.  A little taste of paradise and enough energy to face your day with confidence :)

Breakfast

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Sprouted Ezekiel Toast with Natural Almond Butter and a Fuji Apple

After drinking my Amazing Meal, I was pretty full, so this toast and apple was the perfect light breakfast.  Plus, who can resist the combination of apples and nut butter.  It’s almost sinful.

Lunch

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Asian Salad topped with Tuna Salad and Avocado Slices

I have to be honest with you, when I read that I was going to be making my own tuna salad from scratch (meaning not from a can) I was totally skeptical.  But now, I am a true believer and a total tuna snob.  I will forever make my tuna salad from fresh albacore.  There is nothing more delicious or nutritious.

Snack

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Amazing Grass Bar

Would you believe me if I told you this energy bar reminded me of a fruit roll up?  You know those overly processed candy snacks that are loaded with corn syrup but oh so good.  This yummy superfood was deliciously salty and sweet.  Packed with fruit and veggies it’s the perfect well-rounded meal on the go.

Dinner

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Grilled Salmon with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

When you marinate fish overnight, the result is pure goodness.  With ingredients like tamari, citrus and garlic, this salmon was bursting with flavor.  The simplicity of the Brussels complimented the fish wonderfully (and besides, in my book, you can never have enough Brussels!).

Snack

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Coconut Water and Dark Chocolate

As Harper would say, “I love chocolate mommy!”.  Sounds like she is definitely my daughter.  After a long day, dark chocolate and a bottle of cold coconut water was the perfect way to wind down.  Full of antioxidants and sugar-free, indulging in a few squares of Lilly’s Dark Chocolate made this tired mama very happy :)

Not a bad way to kick off a fresh start right?

Wanna join me in turning over a new leaf?  Check out Amazing Grass’s Two Week Challenge and commit this new year to creating a new you :)

*Full Disclosure:  Amazing Grass provided me with one bottle of Amazing Meal free of charge.  I was not paid to write this post. With exception of some of the factual information given about the various products, all opinions regarding the products are my own and 100% honest.

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What I Ate Wednesday #14

This time last year, I had yet to indulge in a pumpkin treat.  Shameful, I know.  So this year, I made my best effort to stuff my face with all things pumpkin during the holiday season.  I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t started my day with Pumpkin Oatmeal, treated myself to a few Pumpkin Bars, or scarfed down a bowl of Turkey Pumpkin Chili.  And just when you thought I couldn’t possibly eat any more pumpkin, with only a week left until Thanksgiving, I decided to up the ante and incorporate it into my day as much as possible.  Because after next Thursday, it’s all about peppermint, gingerbread and egg nog :)

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe coming soon)

Side of Kielbasa

I have always taken pride in my homemade pancakes.  But these pumpkin pancakes kind of blow them out of the water.  I’m just saying…they are pretty darn scrumptious!  And nothing completes a pancake breakfast like a side of burnt-to-the-crisp kielbasa.  The blacker the better.  I like it scorched.  Can’t wait to share the recipe with you :) (the pumpkin pancake recipe that is…)

Snack #1:

Pineapple Chobani Yogurt topped with Fresh Raspberries

A handful of Roasted Coconut Chips

Believe it or not, I am still trying to work my way through my huge Chobani shipment.  So today I enjoyed my favorite combination of all…Pineapple Chobani Yogurt topped with fresh raspberries.  It’s so sweet and refreshing it kind of takes me away to a deserted island.  Magical.  And then I had to take it to the next level with a handful of my latest addiction: Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips.  Can’t go a day without them.  You MUST try them.

Lunch:

Chicken Cornbread Salad

After a fun and festive music class, Harper and I were ready for a healthy and hearty lunch.  This salad is one of our favorites.  With add ins such as grilled chicken, dried cranberries, walnut pieces and crumbled cornbread, it’s pretty much an autumn explosion on a bed of mixed greens.  If only my homemade salads where this fancy.

After Lunch Treat:

Slice of Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Ever since I received my Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows from my Foodie Pen Pal, I have been wanting to whip up a batch of Rice Krispies Treats.  Sadly, Halloween has come and gone and my poor Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows were still sitting on the counter.  Even though Thanksgiving is around the corner I couldn’t let me my fun idea for Jack-O-Lantern Krispies Treats go to waste.  Besides, now I have a killer idea mastered for next year’s festivities!

Snack #2:

Bolthouse Farms Mango Protein Smoothie

Since Harper has swim class on Tuesdays, dinner is always later than usual.  I was looking forward to a filling meal, but my tummy couldn’t wait.  Luckily, I found this sitting in the fridge and it was the perfect snack to take the edge off of my hunger until dinner was served.

Dinner:

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

Sautéed Swiss Chard

Comfort food has never tasted so good.  Butternut squash is one of my favorite autumn veggies and it pairs perfectly with pork.  I normally serve this meal with a side of broccoli but grabbed a bunch of chard from the crisper instead.  I love to sauté chard with some olive oil, onions and a few splashes of stock (chicken in this case).  It’s so quick and easy and the result is mouth-watering.

So just in case you were keeping count, I managed to squeeze pumpkin into 3 of my meals today.  Which in my opinion should win some sort of pumpkin rockstar award.  Granted it was more of a “pumpkin essence”, but the bottom line is, I am a pumpkin machine.  And tomorrow I am shooting for 4 pumpkin filled meals :)

Your turn:  What is your favorite way to incorporate pumpkin into your meals?  Any favorite pumpkin recipes you want to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

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What I Ate Wednesday #13

Every four years, we as American citizens have a responsibility to exercise our right to vote for the president of the United States (in addition to other things…).  Today, Harper and I took a stroll down to the polls to make our voice heard (in our Chucks of course…)

I hope you were all able to take some time out of your day to collect a cool sticker and make a difference in our country’s history.  It’s fun to rock the vote!

And after all that hard work, there was lots of yummy food to be eaten.  So let’s take a look at the food that fueled my tummy on this special election day.

Breakfast:

Hootenanny

Side of Bacon

It’s been a while since I have enjoyed this delicious and ridiculously easy to make breakfast.  I love that with only a few ingredients and 25 minutes (all of which take place in the oven), you have a protein packed meal that can go sweet or savory.  I drizzle mine with pure maple syrup and serve it with a side of bacon (which I also cook in the oven).  It’s a a pretty great way to start the day :)

Snack #1:

1 Pear

Handful of Raw Almonds

I love nothing more than biting into a juicy pear.  And while I am not normally a fan of the skin, this skin wasn’t too bad.  After having Gestational Diabetes, I learned to pair my carbs with fat and protein, so I grabbed a handful of nuts to accompany my sweet mid morning delight.  A lovely autumn combo :)

Lunch:

Tropical Iced Tea

Fettuccine Bolognese

Gorgonzola Walnut Salad

In order to celebrate Harper’s first time voting, we decided to pick up food from our favorite local cafe.  Harper loves “sketti” and I love salad and iced tea. So needless to say it was the perfect ladies lunch.  I make a mean homemade bolognese myself, but when I don’t have time to sit over the stove and cook, this hits the spot.

Snack #2:

Chobani Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt

After winning a box of Chobani yogurt from Savor Life’s Flavors Giveaway, I have a fridge full of Chobani goodness, and more than a few flavors to choose from.  Strawberry Banana is one of my favorites and it serves as a great snack to get me through until dinner time.

Dinner:

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Cornbread Muffin

I wish I could take credit for this AMAZING meal, but I can’t.  My lovely friend and neighbor whipped up this seasonal dish for our family and boy was it special!  I will be getting the recipe and sharing it with you shortly.  But until then, you can drool over the pictures and imagine how gooooood it is :)

In fact, this dinner was sooooooo good, it has me wishing Thanksgiving was right around the corner.  Instead, I have to wait a little over 2 weeks to enjoy my favorite holiday of the year (it’s true, I have an official countdown).

Which reminds me…what will you be cooking up for Thanksgiving?  Looking forward to reading your responses.

Happy WIAW!

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What I Ate Wednesday #12

Grocery shopping with a toddler has the potential to become quite an adventure.  But never in my life did I know how fun it could be until I had my first encounter with the mothership of all shopping carts.  In case you are wondering, I am referring to one of these…

Now I have to admit, it was my idea for Harper to ride in the car but I had every high hope that it would make our shopping experience more enjoyable.  WRONG!  Well, I think Harper enjoyed the ride, but I couldn’t maneuver this thing worth a damn!  I got stuck in the produce aisle and knocked over more bags of nuts and dried fruit than I am willing to admit.  It was a bad scene.  Pretty much looked like this…slightly embarrassing.  So in the future, I am going to stay away…far, far, away!

But enough about my poor driving skills…let’s take a look at what has been making its way into my belly :)

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Breakfast:

Sweet Potato Pancakes with a side of Bacon

I recently picked up a bag of this pancake mix and now I am hooked!  They don’t taste much different from regular pancakes but the consistency is far fluffier.  They are delicious with a tiny bit of butter and a splash of pure maple syrup.  Oh, and bacon of course :)

Snack #1:

Passion Fruit Greek Yogurt

This is my new favorite obsession.  I can’t get enough of it.  The other day I ate 2 of them within hours of each other.   The taste is so magical it takes me away to a deserted island.  Seriously amazing.

Lunch:

Chicken Breast with Homemade Cherry Tomato Pesto (recipe coming later this week) topped with Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Toasted Pine Nut Couscous

Today’s Photo A Day Challenge was to eat roasted veggies.  And in my opinion, Brussels Sprouts are the best when roasted.  Plus, they always get me in the mood for fall.  I enjoyed them with a pan seared chicken breast topped with homemade cherry tomato pesto and parmesan cheese and a side of couscous.  Delicious and satisfying.

Dinner:

Marinated Tri Tip with Brown Rice Medley and Sautéed Green Beans

Raw Veggies and Rice Crackers

Tonight was my monthly book club meeting.  And the best part about book club, besides the awesome ladies I get to hang with, is the yummy food.  And wine.

Even though there is one more week until Halloween, we will be begin our celebration this weekend.  Our first event is this Friday and will be the big reveal of our costumes.  Can’t wait to share with you :)

Have a great rest of the week and Happy WIAW!

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