Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

Sometimes I make one meal/dish that everybody loves and sometimes it isn’t that easy. My solution; use one protein to make different things. I do this with other proteins too, not just chicken, but chicken is the most versatile, for sure. 

I know what you’re thinking; who has time for making three different dishes? Well, this is not an every day type of thing, But very often I do make a varation on our dinner, for myself, anyway. It’s just part of what needs to be done for me to reach my goals…So, I just make it happen. I just find a way, because I’m done finding excuses. Would it be easier and less time consuming to eat a chicken quesadilla, like I’ve made for the kids? Yes. But I’ve got strict guidelines I’m following, for now, to reach my goals. In the future, a chicken quesadilla would be fine, now and then for dinner, but not right now. So I make a few different meals with one protein, often.

I prep chicken for a million dishes. [here’s a blog specifically on how I make my chicken: ]   I love chicken. So, I usually make a lot of chicken at once. Then, what I don’t eat in that meal (usually dinner), I can use the next day or two for many, many things. I’ll go ahead and just list some of my ‘go to’ chicken meals. These would be some meal options I might make from my already prepped chicken:

Healthy Chow Mein? Yes, Please!!

I LOVE Chinese food! But let’s be real, it’s not the most healthy of meal choices. So, I’ve been trying to come up with alternatives to use, in place of the parts that aren’t so great for you. Chow Mein is made with veggies and meat(which are great), but those noodles, for me, are where I need to look for an alternative. (I’m really trying to keep my carbs down.) So, when I tried spaghetti squash for the first time, chow mein was one of the first things that came to mind. So, I tried it, and I was pleasanlty surprised, because it was good! Really good! So, I’ve got to share!! 

This dish is pretty simple. I definitely made a simplified version of this dish. I didn’t “velvet” my chicken or anything. So, this should be a pretty easy one. (If you don’t know what “velteting meat” is, don’t feel bad, I love food and cooking, and have my own food blog, and I didn’t even know what it was until I was researching chow mein recipes. Apparently there are multiple different ways people do this, but it is a process used to tenderize the meat in Chinese food dishes. That’s why the meat is always so soft and tender and not dry! Who knew?!? 😳 I’ll have to try that another time.) 

You could use your own favorite Chow Mein recipe and just substitute the spaghetti squash for the noodles you usually use, and it would make it a little more healthy, or you could use my super simplified version. Up to you.  

(All the produce and meat you will need is in this pic)

    You will need: 1/2-1 tbsp olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, and low sodium soy sauce, and [pictured] julienne carrots, thinly sliced cabbage, bean sprouts, green onion, thinly sliced chicken breast, and spaghetti squash (1/2 squash- pictured/used) [ in case you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash, check out my post where I detail how I cook it here:], amounts were not measured. I think it’s sort of a preference thing. 

    I put about 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a pan at medium to medium high heat (temps vary so much. Use your judgement), put chicken in the pan and sprinkle with onion and garlic powder. Fry until meat has turned white, but not necessarily cooked through. Add carrot and then cabbage. Once desired tenderness is almost reached for carrots and cabbage add the spaghetti squash. Then, I add a little more onion and garlic powder and the soy sauce. Mix until hot. Then fold in sprouts and serve with green onions on top. (If you like green onions, I would chop them up and add them at the same time you fold in the sprouts. I don’t like them, so I just used them for color and used onion powder to get that onion-y flavor.) 

    That’s it. Super simple. Super yummy. Super healthy.

    I’m going to offer a tip today- 😊

    Today’s Tip: If you make stir fry’s and chow mein’s and the like, enough, you may want to consider investing in this awesome kitchen tool! Man, has it saved me some time! I can julienne carrots in a fraction of the time with this little gem!

    Happy, Healthy Cooking, My Friends! 

    Not Your Mama’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

    I tried spaghetti squash for the first time and I was not disappointed. I didn’t have any expectations of it tasting ‘just like spaghetti’ or having the exact same texture. I went into the experience with an open mind, but no big expectations. I have to say, I was very pleased with my dish. 

    Though, the spaghetti squash is what makes this dish, the Meatballs are pretty important too. So, I’m also going to tell you how I make my Meatballs. 

    But I’ll start with the squash. 

    You can look up a million different recipes on how to cook spaghetti squash. All of them are about the same, in temp and time: Preheat to 375° or 400°, for about 30-45 min, but there are different ideas for most everything else, including, how to cut the squash. I personally like the way mine turned out, so I’ll continue doing it that way: I cut the squash in half length wise (obviously, you can see the pic 😜). There is also some conflicting advise as to whether or not to scoop out the seeds and such. I thought it made more sense to remove it, so the veg would have more of a chance to dry out a bit, and not be soggy. So, I scooped it out before cooking. I drizzled it with olive oil and seasoned with fresh cracked Himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. I cooked it face up (as you can see) and it turned out good, so that’s the way I would suggest, ’cause it worked for me. 

    Once the squash is tender, it’s done. The next step is just to use a fork to, sort of, scrape the sides to get the spaghetti texture. The video I took wouldn’t load, so I tried to capture one shot to show the angle I shredded: 

    I’m not sure that this next step is necessary, however, my meal was fantastic, so I’m going to tell you exactly what I did: I “spaghetti-ed” one whole side of the squash and put it in a separate bowl that I lined with a doubled paper towel, and set it aside, while I worked on the meatballs. 

    My Meatballs 

    *I left the oven on 400° for the Meatballs. Now, I’ll apologize ahead of time for my lack of measurement, but I don’t really measure. So these are just rough guesses. Please feel free to adjust according to your tastes. -Love garlic? Add more! Ya know?- So I start with 2lbs of Organic Ground Turkey. 93/7. I add about a cup, I think, of my favorite bread crumbs. They are “Italian Style”. You could totally use plain bread crumbs, or I’ve even used crumbled crackers. You just might want to add a little more seasonings if you use plain (and add a little parsley). So the seasonings I use are pretty simple and if you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll notice I use these spices for A LOT  of things. 

    • Onion Powder- 1/2- 1 tbsp 
    • Garlic Powder- 1/2- 1 tbsp
    • Salt & pepper- to taste
    • Egg- 1 large egg ***see random Factoid for adjustment***
    • ***Factoid: I have learned, through lots of cooking, that it makes a difference if you are cooking ground turkey that is fresh from the store/fridge, as opposed to ground turkey that you have frozen and thawed. I’m not going to claim to know the cellular structure that has changed, but I can tell you that if it has been frozen, it is going to be a lot more… um.. ‘not dry’. (that’s for any of you who hate the “M Word”, like my sister-in-law 😂 Love you Jess 😘) So, if you are using ground turkey that has been frozen, you may want to start with just the egg white, or it’s going to be too wet. If your mixture is too wet, and you can’t make a decent, round meatball, then you will need to add more breadcrumbs. 

    Now, you want to add all ingredients, mix (You gotta use your hands for this), and roll into balls about 1 inch (maybe less) in diameter , I put them on a cookie sheet with non-stick foil, as I go, and then bake. I think I did 10 min and then turned them, and did 10 more. You can do bigger balls. You’ll just need to adjust the time accordingly. (I like my Meatballs pretty firm and possibly considered over cooked, to other people, so this may be something you want to use your own judgement.) 

    Now we’re getting close to dinner time… 😃

    Once my Meatballs were done, I took the paper towel out of the bowl that I had the squash resting in. I put a decent amount of garlic powder (😬about 1/4 teaspoon? I’m not sure) a bit of parsley (mostly just for color), salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Then I mixed it all together and put it in the microwave for just enough time to rewarm it. (If you don’t have a micro, just throw it in a hot pan for just a min or two to warm it up.) Then I poured the “pasta” back into the vegetable shell, and put the Meatballs on top. 


    Then I enjoyed it! And boy did I enjoy it! A must try, for sure. I’ll be making it again. No doubt. 

    My ‘Go To’ Food Prep


    I think some people don’t like the idea of “food prep.” The idea of preparing a bunch of meals in advance, portioned into little ‘heat and eat’ Tupperwares, isn’t appealing, and for the most part, I’d have to agree. But food prep doesn’t have to be that. I often premake large portions of chicken to eat in different meals over a few days. I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of “food prep”, but no where in that description is a Tupperware. 

    Now, all the different things I make with my prepped chicken is a whole ‘nother blog entirely (stay tuned- I’m working on that one😉), but for this blog I’d like to just simply explain how I cook my chicken. The method I use has versatile spices, and what I’ve found to be the best way to keep the chicken from drying out. 

    First off, I think the cut of chicken in pretty important. Too thin and you risk dry out because it cooks quickly. Too thick and you risk dry out because you may overcook it in an effort to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. So, I usually butterfly, or even go all the way through and make one thick breast into two thinner breasts. (I should note that I like my chicken on the drier side, so I have been, even known to take a thick chicken breast and slice it into 3 thinner breasts. But whether you do that, depends on what you are using the chicken for and how you like your chicken.) 

    Next, is the spices. Because I use my chicken for a variety of things, I pick spices that are pretty versatile and taste good on everything, in my opinion. But this is clearly a preference thing. I’ll just tell you what I do, but you do whatever your little heart desires. I use garlic powder, onion powder, Himalayan sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. It’s perfect. Flavorful and simple. 

    For cooking my chicken I always use Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You would think that’s enough explanation, but I’ve found that there are two ways to use it and one uses much more oil and may cause you to overcook and, thus, dry out your chicken. If you pour the oil in you pan, let the oil get hot, and put the chicken in. It will create a tougher outside almost like a crust. This is yummy and is good for some dishes, but for food prep I don’t think this is the way to go. The potential for the chicken to get dried out is high, and the tough ‘crust’ makes it harder to cut into nice slices for dishes. What works best for me, is to put the spices on the chicken and then drizzle and rub the olive oil around. Making sure to cover the whole chicken breast with the oil. I say this because if garlic powder isn’t moistened (sorry if you hate that word 😬 lol) by the oil, then it may burn easily and turn bitter. 

    So, that’s about it. In case you aren’t sure how long to cook it, well, that just depends on the thickness of the chicken. I look for the white to start to come up the sides of the chicken and look for a golden brown color on the meat, then I flip. 

    I think maybe I should mention also that you should never cut a protein right after you cook it. Let it “rest” for at least 5 mins or so. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat. If you cut it too soon you will lose some of the juicyness to the cutting board or plate that you cut it on. 

    Have a wonderful day and Happy Cooking, My Friends!!

    Please feel free to share this if you think someone would like this info! 

    The Zucchini Pizza

    I MUST HAVE PIZZA!!(Ok maybe a little melodramatic, but, still, I really must.) I love pizza. My last meal: pizza. Stranded on an island: pizza. Who I love more, you or pizza: probably… you get the point. (I kid! I kid! I love you all!) However, in my quest to finally feel comfortable in my skin again, pizza, in the traditional sense, just isn’t something I can have as often as I would like. So, I make quite a few healthy variations of pizza. Today I will tell you all about the Zucchini Pizza! 

    Now, I am a giant fan of looking stuff up on that amazingly helpful search engine we all know and love. I have done that, and found a lot of ideas from other people, but I think I have some tips that make the difference. I have made these quite a few times and they weren’t always great. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned, from trial and error, and maybe you won’t have to make the same mistakes. I’ve made a handy photo with each of the steps, in case you’re a visual learner. Ha

    Step 1. Cut the zucchini in half length wise and scrape out the center so it’s kinda like a zucchini boat. Think ‘pizza crust’ when your scraping. This is one of the first mistakes I made. I left the zucchini much too thick and it didn’t give me that “pizza” feeling. It gave me a “zucchini with toppings” feeling (And an undercooked one at that). Making the zucchini thinner will help it to resemble more of a pizza crust and it will allow the zucchini to cook through and be tender, not crunchy. 

    Step 2. Your ‘crust’ is scraped out. Now cook it. I can’t remember if I ever read about this step from someone else or not, but I think it’s important. To make sure it is nice and tender, and in order to complete step 3. I usually cook mine in a toaster oven. I only use the ‘toast’ feature. This is part of the reason I love this pizza. It’s just so easy. It depends on how big/thick your zucchini is, but I think I usually toast it about 7-8 min. You want it to be soft enough that when you push the sides of the ‘boat’ down you’re able to push them flat. (Of course you don’t want it mushy, so keep an eye on it, everybody’s ovens vary.) 

    Step 3. This step is important, but please practice caution, my friends. When you take the veg out it will be hot. Please let it cool a bit because this next step will burn you if you are not careful. Trust me. Lol. Once it has cooled a bit, fold up some paper towels (kinda thick), and squish it! Yes, That’s right, push down on it pretty good and squish that excess water out. Sometimes you will get more water out than others, but I wouldn’t skip this step. It keeps your toppings from hanging out in a watery boat and it flattens the zucchini for more surface area for your toppings. 

    Step 4. The sauce. I like to go light with this, but going heavy is probably fine, just messy. 

    Step 5. The cheese. When I think pizza, I think; crust, then sauce, then cheese, then toppings. But with the zucchini pizza I use the majority of my cheese on top. Why you say? Because there is not a lot of surface area on here for toppings. With my nutrition goals I need to eat protein! (Thank goodness for my shakes!) Its not always easy for me to get in as much protein as my awesome trainer wants me to consume. That being said, I need to try to cram 4oz of chicken on two little halves of zucchini, so I use the cheese on top as my ‘glue’ to hold all my toppings on. Thus, the reason for very little cheese at step 5. Of course people can do what they want with their cheese and toppings. This is just a tip in case, like me, you may need to use your cheese for ‘glue’, Don’t put it all on after the sauce, like any right minded pizza lover would. (I know people like pizza all different ways. I’m just kidding. 😉) 

    Step 6. Toppings!! Of course this is a preference thing. I happen to love these three toppings. I love chicken. I love the red bell pepper for the crunch and I love the olives for the saltiness. Get crazy! Do whatcha like. 

    Step 7. Cheese ‘glue’! This is the key to my toppings staying on so I can eat it with my hands like you usually like to eat pizza. I have a few tips here: •Use nonstick foil. (I weigh my ingredients to accurately record what I’m consuming. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna lose a 1/2oz of cheese because it’s crusted on to the foil! Lol. Maybe that’s just me. Can you tell I love cheese?) •Add your cheese after you have put your pizzas on the foil. (You’ll never transfer it onto the foil without losing a bunch of cheese and/or toppings.) •If you push the zucchini halves right next to each other it helps prevent topping loss. 

    Step 8. It’s cooked. Everybody’s ovens vary, so I think you guys are on your own for this one. I toast mine for probably another 7-8 mins.

    Step 9. Enjoy. (Note how thick the “crust” is in this pic. For me, perfection.) 

    My Zucchini Pizza had:

    1 zucchini 

    1/2oz Pizza Sauce

    1 1/2oz Mozzarella Cheese

    4oz Chicken

    12.5g Red Bell Pepper

    3 Olives

    237 calories, 32g protein, 5.6g carbs, 8.9g fat
    I hope you give one of these pizzas a try. If you love pizza and you are watching your waistline, they really do help curb your pizza craving. They are surprisingly filling and they are good for you! 

    Always be prepared

    For me, one of the biggest factors in falling off my nutrition game, is simply failing to prepare. [I would insert the famous Benjamin Franklin quote here, but I’m gonna save it for the end 😉] As many people know, busy moms or not, life gets crazy. The things you have to take care of in the day, feel like they don’t fit in the 24 hours you’ve got. So these are two salads I like to prepare ahead of time, so that when the day gets ahead of me I have something healthy in the fridge to eat, and I don’t end up making crappy decisions about what to eat in a hurry. I’m making this post because last week I fell victim to the “too busy to make something healthy” excuse. So this is my little reminder to myself. I do have my shakes. I usually chose to have one of those for breakfast and one post workout, so the rest of the day I’ve gotta make good decisions. Unfortunately, if I’m unprepared I will more likely skip a meal, than eat bad. Which is also terrible for you. Don’t think you’re doing yourself any favors by skipping meals. You can cause your metabolism to tank and super slow down when you do that. No bueno. The solution: be prepared. 

    These two salads are similar because I’m a creature of habit. I like what I like, so I just keep eating it. I change it up a bit, so I don’t get tired of the same thing, but I do what works for me. I feel like you can really add anything healthy to these that you like, but I’ll tell you what I add and why.
    Avocado- I always add avocado. Do you have to ask why? Because avocado is delicious! It’s got ‘good for you’ fats and it’s a very nutrient dense food, with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in it. Nuff said. (Well, also it helps to add moisture and acts as a ‘mayo substitute’ sorta.) 
    Olives and pickles- these may seem odd to some, I’m not sure, but I love them. Mostly because of the saltiness they offer, but also the texture. The crunch that the pickle adds is crucial.
    Red Bell Pepper- also important for adding to the texture. Crunch is crucial. You don’t want a bowl full of mush. (Unless that’s your thing. Then you do you. Lol) I happen to love bell peppers, but you could substitute celery or onions, for crunch. Neither of those are my jam. Like, I don’t wanna ‘yuck somebody’s yum’, but not the texture I like 😬. (I do add onion powder. I like the flavor, just not the texture)
    The mayonnaise substitute- this is important for me. Most people use mayo in tuna or chicken salad. If you aren’t watching your waistline that’s all well and good, but I am. So, I need something to hold everything together. Most “healthier” recipes of these salads call for plain Greek yogurt. I like that, and I do that some times. Sometimes I use the combo of greek yogurt, salsa, and avocado. That’s a nice way to change it up. But one time I was out of Greek yogurt and needed to come up with something else. What I chose to experiment with instead, was really good! Like, I prefer to use that over Greek yogurt now. I’m not sure if this will also seem odd to others or not, but to me it’s good and worth mentioning. I used cottage cheese! It was good! 

    The protein- this one is pretty self explanatory. I use chicken breast that I have made in advance. I usually try to make chicken breast every week and use it in a bunch of different things. (Whole ‘nother blog idea right there- Uses for Prepreped Chicken- Coming Soon) I just chop it up to pretty small pieces. You could also shred it. Up to you. And the tuna I use is Solid White Albacore, but you can use whatever you like. 

    Put whatever you think sounds good in it! (Don’t forget the spices! I use onion powder, garlic powered, salt, and pepper sometimes.) Just remember texture is good! And put it on whatever you want too, just remember this is a delicious low carb meal. You don’t have to put it on anything (often I eat it right out of the bowl), but I wouldn’t put it on a big ‘ole carb-y bun. That would really defeat the purpose of trying to prepare ahead of time and being super mindful of your meal. 


    Be healthy and happy, my friends. 

    Failure is not an option

    [This post is not necessarily about food, but instead it’s more of a backstory as to why I’ve decided to share the food I cook/make. To show where I came from, and where I am. To inspire. With love.]
    This is not a post that everybody will relate to or care to read. This is a post to reach out to people like me. People who have wanted to get their health back and FAILED. MANY. MANY. TIMES. I’m talking to that person who, maybe, was once happy with their body and health, and let other things in life become more important than taking care of themselves.

    I’m talking to that person that looks in the mirror and doesn’t know how they got where they are. Who spends time, how ever little, or how ever much of their day, feeling less than. Less than they could be. Less than their potential. And it feels like life is in the way, and it’s just too hard to get back to where they felt comfortable with themselves. Who has wanted to make changes for so long, but has never been able to commit and stick to anything that worked. We have felt failure over and over, and embarrassment, and shame, and maybe even disgust, and don’t even know where to begin, to get back to the “me” we felt comfortable with.

    I’m talking to the mom who feels like she could be a better mom and wife if she had more energy for her family. That mom who worries about setting a bad example for her children because she’s grown to have no confidence in herself. The person who loves a sport or activity, but doesn’t participate because he/she can’t or doesn’t feel comfortable. The person who said they would “start Monday” only to fail by Thursday and plan to start again next week. The person who wants to make changes, but has no interest in really making changes “right now”. The person who says “it’s just not the right time.” The person who says they’re comfortable being “bigger”, but truly would like to feel better, and worries about their health. The person who would like to eat healthy, but doesn’t know how or what to eat. That person who just needs to find something that will work for them. The person desperate to not fail again. I’m her. That was me. That is me. They’re all me. And it’s hard to be her, and it hurts to be her, and I’m done being her. 

    If I read this just a few months back I would probably think to myself “that’s nice, that someone knows how I feel, but she can’t offer me anything to help. I’ve tried before, what will make this time different? I’ve got too much going on right now to ‘start’…” and on, and on, would come the excuses in my head. I loved (what I call) the excuse train. I would jump on it any chance I got. Even when I really didn’t want to ride, Somehow I just would. 

    I do have something to offer. Something pretty powerful if you let it be. Hope. 

    I was all of those things and all of those excuses. I felt all of those awful feelings, but I just started. Again. I just said enough is enough and I took a leap. One day at a time one meal at a time. I found something that finally worked for me! The inches and pounds that I have released are not important (though I will admit, my trainer was impressed 😉). The changes I’ve made in my mind and my life are immeasurable. The weight that feels automatically lifted when you have the strength to decide you will not keep doing what you were doing. Realizing ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’ is a very simple concept that can be immensely difficult to implement. 

    It could be deciding to walk every day, even if it’s just parking further away from work, or the store. It could be committing to not eat after 7:30pm. It could be giving up that Carmel mocha frappe (clearly I don’t drink these, because I can’t even make up a respectable fake name for one 😬) drink you have every morning. You can start small. Or you can leap. It could be all those things. Decide to eat better and move your body more. Make the changes necessary to give you the health/body you want, however long it will take. Just start. You could get a trainer, try a nutrition system and eat according to a meal plan, or you can look up recipes and workouts on line. The resources there are amazing, and probably a lot better than you realize. My point is that anybody can decide to change. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with something your body can’t handle and you don’t have to have the money to buy a gym membership. You just have to decide to change. You can do it right now!! This second! 

    I have made many changes in my life. I have committed to eating better and working out. I personally LOVE food and I love to cook (obviously, I started a food blog!), but if I’m honest with myself, I am a “soccer-baseball-dance-swim-first grader-2 year old- mom”, I won’t eat breakfast. I don’t have time for anything healthy, so I will skip it. That’s just how I roll. So, when I was introduced to an amazing nutrition system, that included a shake that I could have for breakfast, I thought it would be a great fit for me. If you asked me if I would ever be a person who drinks protein shakes every day, I would have told you “no, I like to chew my food” (haha), but now, I love my protein shakes, and for me they couldn’t be more convenient! I still eat food. I’ll say it again, I love food! But I also drink protein shakes, every day, and I love them. I also said before, everyone needs to find what works for them. This is what works for me. It’s just food that’s really easy and convenient. When I’m not having a shake I just make sure most of my snacks and meals are clean and balanced. And I work out. I do very little cardio every week. My workouts consist of majority weight training and I am losing weight and my body is changing a lot. It’s pretty nice to see, without spending hours on the treadmill a week (“ain’t nobody got time for that.” 😜), as I have tried that, in the past, and stopped because I didn’t like it. I had to find what was right for me. And it’s not cardio. 

    I’m going to be very vulnerable here, but I want to get my point across, so I think it’s important. There is a reason I have just told you everything I’m doing now. It’s so you can compare where I was, to where I am now. It’s because I was all those people I explained above. The ugly truth: I was very overweight. Definitely considered obese. I felt helpless, and sad, and embarrassed, and guilty, and unworthy, and ashamed, and disgusted, and overwhelmed. And no one should feel those feelings about themselves. And now I don’t. Am I terrified to fail again? Yes. Anyone would be. But I let that terror fuel me. Now I feel strong, and empowered, and worthy, and determined, and inspired, and dedicated, and happy. I want that for everyone! I wish I could reach out to every person who feels any of those feelings I felt, and tell them they can change. That I will be here to support them and I want to help in any way I can. I want to offer hope. Hope that if you’ve tried and failed, what feels like, a hundred times, you should still try again, Because it will be your time. You just have to believe in yourself. Don’t give up on you. You deserve to feel your best. I believe in you. 

    Simple DIY Ranch

     I know I can be long winded. I’m sure there’s a person or two who is not a fan of reading long food blogs. If that’s you, this post is for you. I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet. Pretty much everything you need to know about this recipe, I put together in a collage. So simple, right? 

    I’ll just give a little explanation as to why I take the time to make this, when there is a very tasty version you can buy at almost any store or market that sells food. The explanation, also super simple: It’s more healthy. It’s made with just a few ingredients, all of which I can read and am very familiar with. So, if you’re looking for a healthier version of a ranch dressing, or if you weren’t looking, but now you’re interested in giving it a try, here’s a recipe I like to use.

    That recipe made both those little cups. I’ve since estimated a single serving recipe, in case you’re interested in that one:

     I hope you enjoy it! 

    Stay Healthy, My Friends

    Deli Meat: It’s not just for sandwiches any more.

    …At least not in my book. 

    *I want to mention: All deli meats are not created equally. Some are not healthy, so please do your own research and decide what is best for you and your family.*

    I make a lot of different things with deli meat. It’s tasty and it’s a great source of lean protein. (I usually use turkey. Occasionally I’ll use ham, but not much else. I think this comes down to preference. You may like to try it with something else.) I thought I’d share what I make in case anyone is looking for a recipe idea or two.

    • So, these look a lot like a turkey sandwich, however, they are not all “carb-ey”, like sandwiches typically are, because of the things I used instead of bread. I rarely eat bread. I watch my carb intake and I’d rather get my carbs from other, more nutrient dense foods. Try a Sandwich Thin or a Flatout Flatbread instead of bread. I often only use half of a flatbread. How do I even eat it without the wrap wrapping all the way around the contents, you ask? It’s not always pretty, but it’s always delicious! I’ll show you (because I figured someone was curious, I made this collage. 😜)…

    Moving on…

    • Use it to spice up your scrambled eggs or omelette! (I use a spicy turkey like Cajun or black pepper crusted, so it is litterally spicing it up! Ha) I am very much a creature of habit. I have things I like and I don’t mind eating them every day, so you’ll notice that a great deal of my recipes will have avocado and/or red bell pepper in them. I love them! That’s just my choice, but you can add any vegetables you like, obviously. These are very simply: 2 eggs, 2 oz of deli turkey, avocado, red bell pepper, onion powder, salt and pepper. Oh, and I add hot sauce to the finished product. Clearly, I like it spicy! Very flavorful. Nice texture. Good amount of protein (which will satiate you much longer than a carb filled breakfast) and I don’t think it needs to be limited to being enjoyed only at breakfast, but that’s just me. 

    • Add deli meat to a pizza! This one seems obvious to me, but just in case you hadn’t considered adding deli turkey to a pizza before, you should. It’s a great way to add protein to a pizza without adding a lot of fat too. I just weigh out the amount I want, stack it up and cut it into tiny squares. [Pictured] The top pizza is a zucchini pizza with turkey, red and green bell pepper, and olives (check out my blog on zucchini pizzas for all the details on how to make one, if you’re interested), and the bottom pizza is made  with turkey, turkey pepperoni, And olives on a Flatout Flatbread. Both “crusts” coupled with some lean deli meat are great ways to get your pizza fix without the guilt. 

    • I (not so) cleverly named these Turkey Roll Ups. Once again you see my favs: avocado and bell pepper, but I think this would be good with a lot of different things depending on what you like. I would just keep in mind texture when changing it up. The bell pepper is crucial for crunch. So, if you don’t use the bell pepper, try to think of something else that will add a little crunch. There’s a pic that shows how I lay the turkey out and lay the ingredients on top. Not often, but sometimes, I spread a Laughing Cow spreadable cheese under the other stuff. (You can’t really see that very well, so I thought I would mention it.) Then I just roll it up. You could just snack on it that way, but I find the ingredients slide around less if you cut it in half (and it looks cooler, like turkey sushi. Haha). This is one of my favorite snacks. I hope you guys give it a try. (I’d love to see other people’s variations. If you post a pic, please tag me😉) 

    • This one I think of as a healthy philly cheesesteak sandwich. A Philly “Cheeseturkey” Sandwich, if you will. (I feel I should mention that I have actually never had a cheesesteak sandwich in my life. But I know the idea of one.😬) I actually fry the turkey. I use either a spray oil (like Pam) or a little coconut oil (coconut oil is fantastic- but I could do a whole blog on just that. Another time.) When you fry deli meat it does some good stuff to it. The caramelization on the meat brings out the yummy saltiness and turns it sorta bacon-y (especially if you buy a smoked turkey.) This, of course depends on the meat you buy, but let’s just be real, most deli meats have a good amount of sodium. (I usually drink extra water, on the days I eat deli meat, in some, probably futile, attempt to counteract the extra sodium. Go ahead, Judge away. 😉Lol) Now, I don’t like onion, or should I say onion texture, but I do like onion flavor. So, to get that “peppers and onion” flavor, I use onion powder with my peppers. You can quickly fry them up and throw everything together with some cheese (the amount and kind of cheese is totally up to you),or you can pile the meat up, throw some cheese on it, sprinkle some onion powder, throw on some thin slices of bell peppers, crack some black pepper (if you love it, like me) and throw it in the toaster oven for a few minutes to get it all melty. Like I mentioned before, I don’t do bread much, so I eat all of this on a Flatout flatbread, which adds to the ‘healthy factor’, but obviously, you can put it on what you please. When I do it in the toaster oven, I slide it onto the flatbread after I get it all melty. That’s just how I do it, so I don’t burn the flatbread, but you can experiment with whatever you think works for your bread or toaster or what knot. 

    • The Breakfast Sandwich is pretty self explanatory right? This is where I sometimes use ham. The key to this is to fry the meat well, so it resembles bacon, sorta. And yes, gasp, I used bread! If you’ve never had avocado on toast your missing out. Add a little fried deli meat and an egg and you’re in business. More often, though, I use a Sandwich Thin (only half) and a slice of cheese and it’s delicious! 

    So, I hope maybe you’ll give one of these a try or maybe one of these recipes gave you an idea of something to try. As my journey to get healthier continues, I realize that variety is important. I love me some chicken and veggies, and turkey sandwiches, but it’s important to feel like you’ve got options. It’s not going to be a lifestyle change, for me, if I don’t learn to have lots of things I can “go to” that are tasty and still pretty healthy. Keep up the good work, my friends! 

    Oh, Stir Fry, How I Love Thee…

    Well, “The Holidays” have come and gone, and I feel like I haven’t slowed down in weeks (months?😬) enough to think about posting to the blog. This year, the holiday season came with an epic cold that hit the whole family, but I think I may have held the tile for getting beat down the worst by it. Sooo, I was off my cooking game and everybody’s appetites were all over the place too. Nobody wants to spend a bunch of time preparing a dinner that no one has an appetite to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I was not free and clear of dinner (or breakfast or lunch, for that matter) making duties, even though I was feeling horrid, I was just throwing together unimpressive, not super healthy, meals for the fam, in order to get food in them. That happens. Life happens. (That’s yet another reason I’m grateful for the shakes we drink. Thank goodness I was able to get some great nutrition in without standing at the stove. ‘Cause that wasn’t happenin too much.) But, Yesterday I was finally feeling good enough to get to the store. So, what did I choose to make for my first meal back in the game?? That’s right, one of my faves, Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry. 

    I make a this stir fry all the time. I use a lot of the same veggies every time. Some times I change it up and add some different veggies. I feel like it’s pretty darn simple. I’ll tell you the way I make it:

    Step one. The chicken. I’ve done this a couple different ways, actually. The way I do it now is my favorite, but may not be yours, so I’ll tell you how I used to do it too. I used to cut the chicken breast into very thin slices and then season the raw chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Then I would fry it up and set it aside, and then begin cooking the veggies. The problem with this way of cooking the chicken, for me, was that I could never get the chicken as thin as I wanted or as uniform as I wanted (I can be a little OCD with my cooking sometimes 😬). The way I do it now makes it much easier to correct both those issues. It also works for me now, because I am being pretty strict with my food intake (macros gotta be accurate 😉) and it enables me to measure out 6 oz of cooked chicken and add it to my stir fry so I know exactly how much chicken I’m getting. I still season the chicken with the same ingredients. I add the seasonings and then drizzle with olive oil and rub it around to cover the whole surface.  I cook the chicken breast whole or butterflied. I make a lot of chicken, for what some of  us people on a health journey call “food prep”. (“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin. Pretty simple, wise words.) I make batches of chicken and I cut them up and use them for all sorts of things. Dinners, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, or just a snack. I use this chicken for my stir fry. If you choose to do it this way it’s pretty simple. Cook it, cut it, add it to the cooked veggies. The only piece of advice I want to add, is a tip that I think most people know, but I shouldn’t assume. After you cook any meat you should let it rest before cutting, or you will cut it and watch all the yummy juices escape onto your cutting board. For a chicken breast, just a five minute rest should be enough. And you still have to cook all the veggies, so just wait a few and cut it while the veggies are cooking. 

    Now, you can use a new pan, completely clean the pan and start anew, or you can do what I do. I just scrape up the “stuff” in the pan that you don’t really want to burn while cooking the veggies. You should be left with just a bit of stuff and a bit of olive oil. I usually start there with my veggies. I try to keep it simple. Less pans= less clean up. Plain and simple. 

    Step two. The veggies. When thinking about blogging this recipe I just felt like it couldn’t be more simple. Chicken and veggies in a pan. Can’t get much easier than that. But there is a little bit of a timing issue. You can’t just cook the chicken and then throw in the veggies. The way I do it, the chicken is cooked and set aside, and then comes the ‘veggie timing’. This all depends on what vegetables you use. I LOVE broccoli and asparagus! These both take longer to cook than bell peppers and carrots, for example. So, if you just throw all 4 of those veggies in together your carrots and bell pepper are going to be mush by the time you get to your desired tenderness of broccoli and asparagus. So, depending on what you are cooking, take that into consideration. I usually cover the bottom of the pan with the veg with the longest cooking time, sprinkle a little onion powder, salt, fresh cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix it all up and let that one cook for a few. Then I add each veg accordingly. I add a little garlic powder and onion powder here and there as I go. This is usually because, if not for the desire to save time, I would be using these two ingredients fresh. But I don’t like the texture of onions, only the flavor (insert Woody Harrelson clip from Zombieland “…it’s not the taste, it’s the consistency.” 😂 hahaha! If you’ve seen that you’re laughing. If you haven’t you need to.) Anyway- sweating onions and garlic takes time I just don’t have, most of the time, so I just use the powder. (Little tip though, don’t add garlic powder until the pan is full of veggies. If garlic powder sits on the pan uninterrupted it will burn easily and taste bitter.) Now I understand if you are not a big cooker and you are not sure you’ll be able to get the right tenderness out of each veggie timed right, fret not, there is an alternative. I do use this way from time to time because when multitasking this can be easier, so you don’t overlook your veggies. This method also lends itself to a little less olive oil usage (though I really don’t use too much either way).  Sometimes I steam the broccoli and asparagus first. I cook them maybe just a bit under from the desired tenderness. This way I can just throw them in, season, toss, and then throw in the rest of the quick cook veggies and the sliced chicken, season, toss and Voilà. In minutes you’ve got a super tasty, healthy dinner! 

    Get crazy! Put every vegetable you love in there! Change it up each time until you find your favorite mix. I like to use the stems of the broccoli sometimes, or use my Veggetti and ‘ettie’ up some zucchini, or toss in some artichoke hearts at the very end, or one of my favorite adds is to add 1/4-1/2 of an avocado! That’s good sh..tuff right there. You never have to get bored with this one. There are a ton of ways to change it up! Enjoy your food and be healthy!