Tag Archives: clean eating

What’s in the Box? #79

What's in the Box?

We made it through our first week in the “OC” and are finally beginning to feel settled in our new place.  We have enjoyed trips to the park, dips in the pool and lovely walks in the neighborhood.  I wish I had photos to share of all our adventures but my iPhone screen went grey last week and this time, I don’t think she’s coming back.  So for now we will all just have to use our imagination until a) she gets fixed or b) someone surprises me with the new iPhone for my birthday ;)…I’m hoping for the latter.

In the meantime, let’s just stay focused on the veggies.

Last week we had a total of 8 link ups and apparently it’s all about the party food.  Pizza, salsa, and tacos, all inspired by fresh and seasonal CSA bounty.  Gotta love the difference a box full of fruit and veggies can make in your life :)  Thanks to everyone for linking up and sharing their goodies with the rest of the group.  Keep ’em coming!

Now on to my first box from my new CSA…

What's in the Box? #79 - In Her Chucks

I am officially in grape heaven.  I am drowning in them…but that makes me SO happy :)  Harper and I snacked on a few on the way home from picking up our box and they tasted absolutely perfect!  I will be enjoying these for the rest of the week.

I also have more broccoli than I think my fridge can hold.  4 heads!  But with the way my family eats broccoli around here, that might last a few nights.

I am super excited to see an eggplant.  It has been a while since I have gotten one in my box and this is the first time I have ever received a white one.  There have been so many delicious eggplant recipes posted lately that I am dying to try but the hubs requested this meal, which I had completely forgotten about.  Looking forward to a delicious and clean dinner tomorrow night.

To celebrate the end of the work week, I have decided to make a taco salad for dinner Friday night.  So that lettuce, tomatoes and peppers will be perfect.

I got a ton of fresh herbs that I am excited to cook with this week.  Chives and a fragrant bundle of herbs de Provence will be the perfect complement to some delicious meals.

I am thrilled to have fresh plums and pluots in my box this week.  I am doing my best to stay away from sugar at the moment so no pluot crumbles this time around.  But besides snacking on them I am thinking about some savory dishes where I could put them to use.  Or of course, I could always make Kirsten’s muffins…yum!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits into simple and delicious meals?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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Tomato Basil Bisque

Tomato Basil Bisque - In Her Chucks

I am a meat eater through and through.  No meal is complete without a big lump of protein on my plate.  So when I went through my Fresh Start Challenge meal plan and saw that there was a vegetarian soup on the menu, I was skeptical.  I mean, I love veggies, and I love soup, but can’t we toss some chicken in there to boost up the heartiness factor?  Well let me just say, this soup is perfect just as it is!  Not only was it incredibly delicious, but it was definitely hearty!  The quinoa and goat cheese help to bulk up the texture and give it enough protein to keep you full and satisfied without weighing you down.

Ingredients

4 large carrots, chopped,

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tsp Tamari

2 tbsp coconut oil, divided

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained

1 cup organic marinara sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tsp honey

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (more or less to taste)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Dashes of dried thyme, rosemary and oregano

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cups chicken broth

Prepared quinoa

Goat cheese

Preparation

1.  In a large soup pot, heat the Tamari and 1 tbsp coconut oil over med-high heat.

2.  Stir in the chopped onions, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic, carrots and about 1/2 cup chicken.  Sauté another 5 minutes.

3.  Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, basil, broth, salt, marinara sauce and remaining spices (wait to add the remaining 1 tbsp coconut oil and nutritional yeast until the very end before pureeing).

4.  Let soup come to a boil and cook on low-med heat for about 1/2 hour, allowing all of the flavors to meld together.

5.  Pour all of the contents from the soup pan into a blender, along with 1 tbsp coconut oil and the nutritional yeast.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.

6.  Portion out soup into bowls and add prepared quinoa, mix until combined.  Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Recipe slightly adapted from Amazing Grass:  Fresh Start Challenge

What I love most about this dish is how super duper easy it is to make.  Just throw everything in a pot, let it hang out for a bit and then toss it in the blender.  And with enough soup for 4-5 servings, there is plenty to share or hide away in the freezer for later ;)

PS:  Congratulations to Tiffany T for winning the Amazing Grass Giveaway!  And a big thank you to everyone who participated.  Cheers to a Fresh Start!

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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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January Photo A Day Challenge

Photo Challenge 1-9

Photo A Day Challenge 10-18

Photo A Day Challenge 19-21

2013 started off with a bang.  We moved into a new house, had family in town to visit, got hit with a stomach virus, recorded a CD and traveled to Disney World.  All on top of our regularly scheduled lives.  So needless to say, we have been busy.  Which means my blog (and blogging activities) have taken a back seat this month.  But I did my best to participate in Big Green Parenting Experiment’s Photo Challenge when I could.  It’s one of my favorite things to do and although I wasn’t able to meet the requirements 100% this month, I wasn’t going to let all of that craziness get in the way of sharing the few pics I was able to capture (ps: I may have cheated a bit too…and by cheating I mean, post dating pics).  Looking forward to keeping up in February :) (so far so good…)

1.  Day 1: Resolution–  Clean Eating is an ongoing resolution for me.  I was successful in completing some strict Clean Eating meal plans in 2012 and am looking forward to continuing to alter my habits in 2013.

2.  Day 2: Defines Me–  Family, Chuck Taylors, and the color blue are three things that define me.  So what better way to capture that then with a pic of a family of blue chucks :)

3.  Day 3: My Passion–  I have always had a strong love for teaching music to children.  However, after seeing the difference that music has made in Harper’s life, I have become even more passionate about sharing the joy of music with others.

4. Day 4: Where I Live–  One of our favorite things about the new house is the yard.  Harper and I can spend hours in the back playing in the sand, going down the slide or driving around the cozy coupe.

5. Day 6: Weakness–  If there is one thing that has forever had a hold on me it is Pralines n’ Cream ice cream from 31 flavors.  It is pretty much heaven in a cup with chocolate sprinkles.

6.  Day 7: Guilty Pleasure–  I love to people watch and am known to stare at folks in public.  So reality shows allow me to satisfy my people watching without embarrassing my husband (oh, and for the record, he like the Kardashians too!)

7.  Day 10: I Am Going…-  to record my first children’s CD.  2013 has brought about some amazing milestones already.  After a little over a year of running my own music classes, I am excited to share my favorite sing along songs with my students and friends.

8.  Day  12: How I Roll–  After nearly 2 years of wanting to be carried wherever we go, Harper is finally becoming interested in her stroller.  We love venture out on walks in the neighborhood and shop for groceries, search for trucks and pick up lunch.

9.  Day 13: Daytime–  Whenever the clouds part and the sun shines through, I hear my grandmother say, “That’s what it is going to look like when Jesus comes”.  And whether or not you believe in her words, you can’t deny the beauty of the bright sun gleaming down through a pack of fluffy clouds.

10.  Day 16: Evening–  Evenings are all about bedtime routines at our house.  Dinner, bath, brush teeth, bed.  Harper loves to wind down in the tub with her bubbles while she sings a few tunes and plays with her toys.

11.  Day 17: I’ve Been…- Hanging out with a bunch of adorable toddlers.  Harper and I love having mamas and babies over for play dates.  Nothing makes me happier than watching Harper create friendships.

12.  Day 18: Goal–  I have never been one to travel but after visiting Epcot, I now have a goal to go to Japan and Morocco.  I love the architecture and can’t wait to eat the food :)

13.  Day 19: Saturday–  This time of year we have a lot of birthday parties to attend.  So Saturdays are usually spent with friends, eating cake, and running around the park with balloons.

14.  Day 20: My Job–  Like I mentioned above, I am so grateful to be able to teach music to children.  Dancing like no one is watching, singing my heart out and playing peek-a-boo with colorful scarves makes every class a blast.

15.  Day 22: I Am...-  In love with this lamp.  I definitely have a thing for light fixtures and Moroccan inspired design.  And no, I am not just saying that because I saw it.

16.  Day 24:  Watching–  I thought singing my first commercial when I was 3 was pretty young to be in the studio but Harper has me beat.  There is nothing I love more than watching my little girl sing her beautiful songs.

17.  Day 25:  Looking Forward–  I misread the prompt on this and thought it said moving forward…so I took a picture of the Disney monorail moving forward.  Nice reminder of our trip though :)

18.  Day 25: Authentic–  I am not much of a juice drinker.  Mostly because the juice you buy at the store is chock full of junk like sugar and pesticides.  But when Freddie and I make fresh, authentic, orange juice at home, there is no better way to start your day.

19.  Day 27: My Colors–  I am a bit obsessive compulsive about organizing Harper’s closet.  I like to keep the colors in order so it resembles a rainbow.  Not only does it look pretty but it makes it easier to find things.

20.  Day 30: Wish–  I wish I had a pet  hippo.  They look so cuddly and adorable.  Harper and I have decided that he can live in our bathtub.  Still waiting on Freddie to tell us if we can have one for real…

21.  Day 31: Something You Should Know About Me– I have a brand.  When I was in college I joined a sorority and one of their traditions is to brand their inner thigh.  It is a wonderful reminder of the incredible women that I am blessed to call my sisters.

Photo Challenges are a great way to document your life throughout the year.  With new and creative prompts it challenges you to think outside the box and see life from a new perspective.  I clearly have an addiction to them and I am not ashamed to admit it :)

Wanna get in on the action? Check out this post for more details…and feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

PS:  Congratulations to Liz from The Lambent Life for winning the Conscious Box Giveaway!  And a big thank you to everyone who participated.  Stay tuned for another exciting giveaway coming in a few weeks.

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Chicken and Swiss Chard with Couscous in Brodo

Chicken and Swiss Chard with Couscous in Brodo

Believe it or not, this has been one cold winter for us Cali folks. The other day Freddie texted me this picture from the car…

photo

Yeah…36 degrees. In these parts that’s considered unacceptable. But if I were to find the silver lining in all of this (which I like to do), 36 degrees is the perfect weather for a warm bowl of soup :) Especially when it’s easy to make, contains ingredients you already have in your fridge and super, duper delicious!

But before we get to the recipe, let’s settle something here. What the heck is brodo? Well, according to my Google search, brodo is another word for broth or clear soup. Nothing special, but when you add it to the title of your recipe, it makes it sound so much more fancy. And these days, I’ll take all the fancy I can get :)

Ingredients

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts,

2 garlic cloves, smashed

3/4 cup Israeli couscous

3/4 cup thinly sliced carrots

1/2 bunch Swiss chard, center ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2 inch pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh dill fronds

2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives

Lemon wedges (for squeezing)

Preparation

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Shred into bite sized pieces; set aside.

Return broth to a boil and add couscous; cook until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Add carrots and continue to boil until carrots are crisp-tender and couscous is cooked through, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in Swiss chard; season with salt and pepper. Divide soup among bowls and garnish with dill and chives. Squeeze a bit of lemon over each bowl and serve.

Recipe from Bon Appetit

What I like most about this soup is the crisp, clean flavors. The dill, chives and lemon really bring this dish to life by adding a subtle sweetness. But don’t let this healthy dish fool you…it’s darn hearty! Between the couscous, chicken and Swiss chard your belly will be happily full. And the leftovers? Even better. The longer you let the flavors mingle, the more delicious it will become. So bring on the cold weather Mother Nature…because I got soup for days!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You have until February 1st to get your entries in. Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks. Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!

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What I Ate Wednesday #7

When I grow up I want to be a product tester.  I have mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.  Especially since my entire day of eats today was inspired by some new grocery store finds.

Yesterday, as I was doing my daily Facebook check-in, I came across a post that made me drool…Non-fat Pumpkin Greek Yogurt?  Yes please!  So I did what any normal human being would do.  I jumped in my car and headed to Trader Joes and picked up a few cartons of this seasonal delight (along with $80 worth of groceries).  Ah, the power of social media.

So what other goodies did I happen to bring home in those sturdy paper bags?  (I know, shame on me for not bringing my reusable bags…).  Well, the highlights included a jar of Mango Butter, a can of Coconut Cream, Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Gran Bread and bananas (had to buy something familiar…).  I was on a roll yesterday.  I had my product tester hat on and I was determined to try a handful of new things.  The result?  Pretty darn delicious…

Breakfast:

3 egg whiles, scrambled

 2 slices of Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread with Mango Butter

1/2 grapefruit topped with 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

I am not normally a toast eater but between this gluten-free bread and mango butter, I could eat toast all day!  I love how surprisingly light this bread is and how the mango butter makes each bite seem like a mini vacation to Turks and Caicos (memories of my honeymoon…).  Even though the mango butter does have a tad bit of sugar in it, it’s a treat I am willing to cheat for :)

Snack #1:

2 lightly salted brown rice cakes topped with unsalted peanut butter and sliced banana

There is something about peanut butter and banana that just goes together.  It’s the perfect mid day treat.  I can remember my mom snacking on a banana smothered in peanut butter and sprinkled with granola as a kid.  She taught me so many healthy habits for which I am grateful.

Unexpected (but welcomed) Surprise!

1/2 of a Gluten Free Brownie

After music class today, the host offered everyone some gluten-free brownies.  Kind of hard to resist.  So I took half to munch on for the car ride home.  Chocolatey and delicious!

Lunch:

Homemade Persian Style Rice with 1/4 roasted chicken and mixed veggies

1 Dragon Fruit, sliced

I made a batch of this rice on Sunday.  I had been eyeing the recipe for a while now and was glad to finally give it a go.  It didn’t turn out as wonderfully as I had hoped it would (hence it’s not on the blog) but it’s good enough to incorporate in our daily meals.  Can’t go wrong with basmati rice and lentils.

I normally don’t buy produce at the grocery store because of my abundance of fresh fruit and veggies from my box, but after seeing some of this dragon fruit around the blogosphere I couldn’t help but pick one up on my recent visit to Whole Foods.  I only wished it tasted as wild and crazy as it looked.  A little underwhelming…

Dinner:

Mixed greens topped with short grain brown rice, carrots, feta cheese, tomato and guacamole and sautéed tofu with tahini dressing

Tuesdays is our night to eat out now that Harper has swimming in the evenings.  Tonight we enjoyed dinner with our good friends the Sewards.  We hopped on down to our favorite local restaurant for some healthy eats.  This salad was ginormous and definitely hit the spot :)

After Dinner Delight:

Homemade Vegan Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse topped with a handful of Chocolate Granola

The inspiration to pick up the coconut cream at Trader Joe’s yesterday came from a friend of mine who is also practicing clean eating.  She had recently posted a pic on Instagram with some Homemade Vegan Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse and I was intrigued enough to try making it on my own.  I am working on perfecting the recipe and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

So how am I doing with my “falling into good habits?”.  Overall, I continue to be proud of my efforts.  I find that having a plan for each day helps me to remain successful on my clean eating journey.  Also having a few different options to satisfy my naughty cravings keeps my sweet tooth in check.

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!  I will be busy counting down the days until my 30th birthday (eek!).

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  You only have a few days left to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comment acts are your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!  

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NatureBox: Review & GIVEAWAY!

I’m at it again…stuffing my face with more delicious snacks delivered straight to my door (yes, I am talking about enjoying another subscription box).  And this month they are courtesy of NatureBox, a new and growing company whose mission is to make it easier for people to feel good about the way they snack.  But I’m not just talking about their wholesome and minimally processed foods.  For every NatureBox sent each month, a meal is donated to help feed the over 14 million children in America who go hungry every year.  Now that’s what I call, good eats!

Ever since I began my clean eating journey, I have found it hard to enjoy snacks that come from a box or bag.  So many of the foods on the shelves these days are packed with so much artificial junk, that you end up eating a chemistry experiment as opposed to real food.  What makes NatureBox’s snacks different is that they are committed to providing subscribers with foods that are healthy and nutritious.  Their products contain no high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no trans fats, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial flavors or colors.  Which means you can feel good about the way you snack.

This month’s theme was all about busting health myths.  So not only did my tummy get full, but my head was also loaded with nutritional information that will help me to make better choices when it comes to food.  Here is a breakdown of the yummy snacks that we have been munching on…

1.  Pistachio Power Clusters:  The perfect balance of salty and sweet, these little bundles of joy take your ordinary nuts to a whole new level.  Packed with pistachios, almonds and cashews this snack is a good source of the healthy fats that help keep you full until your next meal.  Freddie and I both agree, this is our new favorite indulgence.  Crunchy, savory and just enough sweetness to make you think they are naughty?  Sold!

2.  Umami Roasted Nuts:  The problem with your average nut today is that it is loaded with salt.  The solution?  Satisfying levels of flavor without the extra sodium.  Enter Umami Roasted Nuts.  Umami, a Japanese word that translates to “yummy” or “delicious” is best described as a savory flavor that adds depth and richness to foods.  Which means, these nuts will trigger your savory taste buds and not your blood pressure.

3.  Big Island Pineapple:  As much as I loved all things fruity, I could never seem to get on the dried pineapple train.  I have tried it before and found it to be too gritty and hard to chew.  But this bag of dried pineapple changed all of that.  One bite and I was basking in the sun on the Hawaiian Islands.  And the best part?  It has all of the fiber and natural sweetness of the real thing but is easily storable and portable.  Talk about fast food :)

4.  Apple Orchards Granola:  After discovering that I could make my own homemade granola, I have found it hard to find another variety that compares to my recipe.  Well, this granola blows mine…Out. Of. The. Water!  Warm cinnamon, tart apples, crunchy pumpkin seeds , flakey coconut and whole oats coated with agave and soft-baked.  Sounds like the perfect way to welcome autumn :)  All I want to do it layer a handful on top of some Greek yogurt and enjoy this delicious treat “a la mode-y” (must be pronounced like this).

5.  Toasted Sesame Stix:  Did you know that sesame seeds are considered the oldest condiment known to man?  (Don’t feel bad…I just learned that myself!)  I also found out that they are a great source of calcium.  And with the perfect shape to dunk them in hummus, salsa or another one of your favorite dips, they are a nutrient rich snack you can feel good about :)

So now that I have you drooling all over yourself (I’ll give you a moment to wipe the dribble off your chin…), are you ready to find out how you can get your hands on one of these new snacking sensations?

For just $19.95 you can sign up for a monthly membership that will deliver healthy, hand-picked snack foods to your door.  Enter promo code APPLE25 and receive 25% off your first month of subscription service (please note that the 25% discount is only applicable to the month-to-month subscription.  6 month subscriptions receive 1 month free and 12 month subscriptions receive 3 months free).

And why not share the health?  Nature Boxes also make great gifts for your friends and family for holidays, special occasions, or just because.  College students, teachers, coaches, new parents and deployed service members all love to receive healthy snacks any time of the year.

I, for one, love to give gifts to my faithful and loyal readers.  Thanks to the generous folks over at NatureBox, one lucky reader will win a snack box of a future month (Due to shipping restrictions, this giveaway is limited to US residents only).

So, here’s how you enter…”Like” NatureBox  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 @naturebox on Twitter and leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve done so.

3.  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 September 22nd.  A winner will be randomly selected and announced on September 23rd.  Make sure to include your email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you win.

Alright…time to get busy!  Good Luck :)

*Full Disclosure: NatureBox provided me with a box 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 #6

 

September 11th.  A day that will forever be remembered in our country’s history.  I am sure we can all recall where we were when we heard the news.  The reality of the events were shocking.  But the way that our country came together to support one another was encouraging.  As a family member of an active serviceman, I can’t help but be grateful for all the men and woman who have devoted their lives to ensuring our safety.  The sacrifice that they make is truly inspiring.

After such a heavy intro it’s hard to find a way to transition into talking about today’s meals without there being an awkward moment.   But I figured if I recognized the elephant in the room, it wouldn’t seem so silly…So without further ado, here is a look at what I was munching on today…

Breakfast:

Melon Smoothie

1 egg, hardboiled

Ever since I made this smoothie for the first time during my clean eating journey, I have been hooked.  I love that I can cram in two servings of fruit and veggies during in my first meal.  Helps me to start the day off right :)

Snack #1:

1 pluot

Handful of raw almonds

With as tasty as these pluots were, I couldn’t dare use them in a crumble.  Instead, they have become my staple snack this week.  Crunchy, sweet and delicious!

Lunch:

Chicken Enchiladas: Corn tortillas stuffed with ranchero chicken, black beans, brown rice and cheese.  Topped with mild enchilada sauce, and sour cream.

Green leaf, red leaf and Romaine lettuce tossed with grated carrots, jicama, red cabbage and sprouts in a tahini dressing.

I wish I could take credit for this yummy lunch, but I owe it all to my leftovers from take out the other night.  And as much as I loved the enchilada, the salad was the best part of this meal.  The tahini dressing is amazing.  It’s so good I kind of want to drink it.

After lunch indulgence:

A handful of Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips

I don’t normally find pleasure in eating chocolate chips out of a bag.  I would much rather whip them up in a baked good.  But while I was putting some groceries away in the pantry this afternoon, they caught my eye and I immediately began to salivate.  I think I have just started a new habit…one that has the potential to become dangerous…

Snack #2:

Salty Date and Almond Raincoast Crisps topped with Dubliner Cheese

Thanks to my sister-in-law, I am hooked on these amazing crackers.  And really, calling them crackers doesn’t even do them justice.  Because they in no way belong in the same category as Ritz.  They deserve to be in a food group all their own.  Simple divine.

Southwestern Rubbed Flat Iron Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Vegetables

Last week, Harper started back at swimming class.  And while I love being in the pool with her again, Tuesdays are now the busiest day of the week.  So until I wrap my head around our new schedule, when it comes to dinner, we are opting for take out.  And this meal definitely hit the spot.

After Dinner Treat:

1 Coconut and Mango Smooze!  Fruit Ice

I seem to have quite the sweet tooth today.  I was really craving some mango, but after coming up empty-handed, I settled for this refreshing treat instead.  And it didn’t disappoint :)

So how am I doing with my “falling into good habits?”.  Overall, I think I did pretty well.  Could have probably skipped the sweet indulgences, but I definitely think they were the lesser of possible evils.  For me, it’s about finding a balance where I can eat clean without feeling like I am making huge sacrifices.  It is a work in progress but I am proud of my efforts…

Hope you all had a lovely little Tuesday.  Here’s to good eats and yummy treats!

PS:  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  You only have 1 day left to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comment acts are your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!  

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Seedy Orange Zest Muffins

Today I went on a baking spree.  I couldn’t help myself.  I had muffins on my mind.  I started with the intention of making a batch of Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins after receiving just the right ingredients in my box this week (which were absolutely amazing!).  And then decided, why not go for another round?

This past Wednesday I was introduced to a melt in your mouth, zingy delight.  I showed up at one of my music classes to the aroma of yumminess.  My girlfriend Cynthia was at it again, baking up another homemade recipe of healthy goodness.  I took one bite, and I was in heaven.  I had a craving for more.  So while we were out today, I made a pit stop at Whole Foods to pick up a few ingredients and dashed home to get busy.

These muffins hit the spot for a variety of reasons.  For one, they are incredibly moist.  No really, like buttah baby :)  Secondly, they have just enough zest to make them exciting.  A soft, subtle undertone of citrus that adds a lovely brightness to each bite.  And finally, the chia seeds not only help to create a crunchy texture, but they also add omega-3s, antioxidants and help to balance blood sugar.  Not bad for a simple baked good :)

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided and softened

1 cup Sucanat

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup plain organic whole milk yogurt

1 cup sprouted whole wheat flour

½ cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon orange zest

3 tablespoons orange juice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease 12 cup muffin pan with 1 tbsp softened butter.  In medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt and baking soda.  Using a stand mixer, cream remaining butter and Sucanat on medium speed.  Once combined, add eggs, and yogurt.  Continue to mix until blended.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just moist.  Finally add seeds, orange zest and juice and mix until combined.  Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Oh, did I mention that this recipe is clean?  By using ingredients like sprouted whole wheat flour, almond flour and Sucanat, you can create a delicious snack without refined sugar or highly processed grains.  Which means I have yet another “naughty treat” that I can enjoy without the guilt :)  Love it!

PS:  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  Only 3 days left to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comment acts are your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!  

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What I Ate Wednesday #5

Oh, how I love holiday weekends.  They are always full of plenty of rest, lots of fun and tons of delicious food.  Labor Day was the perfect way to celebrate our 4 weeks of clean eating.  We decided to have a barbecue with our friends and neighbors and whipped up some pretty yummy dishes.  The biggest hit was Freddie’s ribs.  Since we got together, Freddie has been begging me to prepare ribs for him.  But after doing some reading and browsing on the internet, they always looked like such a daunting task.  So Freddie decided to take the bull by the horns and give it a go (mind you, Freddie’s cooking repertoire consists of scrambled eggs, sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs).  And his efforts were successful!  We scarfed down every last bite.  But he promised me that he would make another batch so I could post them on the blog.  I’m kind of loving this new cooking side of the hubby.  I think I just fell in love with him all over again.

Now that the holiday is over, it’s back to business as usual.  Which means, even though I am no longer on a clean eating plan, I will be doing my best to stay on track by making good choices.  And this commitment to a new way of life couldn’t come at a better time.  Jenn from Peas and Crayons has reinvented What I Ate Wednesday once again and this month it’s all about setting new goals and falling into good habits (such a clever one, that Jenn).  My goal is to continue with my clean eating journey, falling into the habit of making good clean choices and finding new and creative ways to satisfy my cravings.

So let’s see how I put my goals into action today…

Breakfast:

Barbara’s Shredded Wheat biscuits, 1 cup milk and 1 banana sliced

Lunch:

Gobbler Burger:  Ground turkey patty char-broiled, topped with grilled red onion, lettuce, sprouts, cheddar cheese and avocado, served on a whole wheat bun with 1000 island dressing

After Lunch Treat:

5 yogurt covered pretzels

5 dark chocolate covered pretzels

Dinner:

Miso-Glazed White Sea Bass:  Pan-seared, marinated in a sweet white miso reduction and served over a bed of sautéed long beans with crispy risotto cake

Candied Apple-Pecan Salad with crumbled bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Late Night Snack:

1 mango peeled and chopped

After 4 weeks of 5 home cooked meals a day, Freddie and I finally enjoyed some take out today.  It is not often that we eat out, but it was nice to get a break from the kitchen.  Dinner was a treat!  It was what I craved most when I was pregnant with Harper.  In fact, I probably ended up eating it once a week (hard to say no to a hungry pregnant mommy with a strong craving).

So how’d I do?  Overall, not too bad.  I indulged a bit with the pretzels but it was all in moderation.  Breakfast was a “greatest hits” from the meal plan, and with all the leftover cereal I have in the pantry, I will probably be eating this for the rest of the week.  But it was a great way to start off the day.

Hope your day (and holiday weekend) was filled with delicious eats :)  Happy Hump Day!

Your turn:  What are some of your goals for the upcoming month?  Any healthy choices that you have been thinking about that you want to launch into action?  Looking forward to hearing your responses.  

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