Memorial Weekend Side Dishes.

I LOVE Memorial Weekend! It feels like the official start of summer and kick off to the warm season, water activities, hiking, BBQs, and everything outdoors. I’m also a huge fan of all the food that comes along with this season. My two favorites – cool dips and salads, and I’m sharing two of my party specialities. Trust me, I’ve had plenty of approval on these two dishes at get togethers.

Caprese Salad:

Grab yourself some mozzarella pearls, diced cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar. I throw all my ingredients in a Pyrex glass dish, seal the lid, and shake it around. Serve on the side of burgers, chicken breast, tacos… pretty much anything that comes off the grill!

Corn Dip:

Mix together a can of corn, feta cheese, diced cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime. Just like my salad, I throw this all in a Pyrex glass dish, seal the lid, and shake. Serve this as a dip with tortilla chips or use as a salsa topper for tacos. So yummy and fresh!

These are guaranteed crowd pleasers or a nice late night snack after a day of outdoor adventure!

What I Order: Chipotle

I’ve become a huge fan of Chipotle lately since there is a convenient location right around the corner from the Barre studio I teach at. But I try not to eat out that often because I enjoy cooking at home, saving money, and knowing exactly what I’m consuming for nutrients.

The guilt-free benefit of Chipotle is it’s a larger chain that provides nutrition options across the web so when I’m busier and don’t have time to stop at home to cook lunch or I’m getting home late, I know I have a healthy option in reach. Here are three of my personal favorite orders:

  • Lighter = Steak Salad:
    • Order a salad with steak, black beans, fajita veggies (I order a double order), and tomatillo-green chili salsa. If you’re looking for extra fat – add a small scoop of guac.
      • Calories: ~325
      • Protein: 31 g
      • Sodium: 955 mg
  • Protein Packed = Chicken Rice Bowl:
    • Order a bowl with chicken, brown rice, black beans, shredded cheese, fajita veggies, and tomatillo-red chili salsa.
      • Calories: ~685
      • Protein: 50 g
      • Sodium: 1,400 mg
  • Tacos:
    • Two crispy corn tacos with black beans, guacamole, fajita veggies, lettuce, and light queso.
      • Calories: 436
      • Protein: 10 g
      • Sodium: 497 mg

I rarely skip an order of chips and queso as well for some splurge. Enjoy & stayed tuned for future ‘What I Order’ posts at different locations (Have a suggestion – send it my way!)

Dijon Mustard Salmon Bowl.

I forgot how delicious a well-cooked salmon filet is until earlier this week! I normally always have a bag of frozen salmon in my freezer for quick meal options and Monday night was one of those. I unthawed the fish in the fridge through the day and then cooked at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes with a side of diced sweet peppers.

Below is the glaze and oil topping I did for both – which I always just eyeball these ingredients to personal preference.

Salmon Glaze:

  • Dijon Mustard
  • drizzle of Honey
  • Soy Sauce

Sweet Peppers:

  • drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Salt (I buy a mixed jar from Whole Foods which is amazing)
  • Black Pepper

I added the fish and peppers on top of brown rice and spinach for a pretty filling dinner. I was pretty satisfied!

What I’ve been Eating: Lunch.

How is it already February? I don’t think I’ve even been able to process the fact that we’ve past the holiday season and Valentine’s Day is next weekend. Holy heck!

Since my schedule has been so busy lately, I’ve been going after really quick lunches so I can focus on cleaning, walking Nella, getting in a quick workout, or running an errand over my lunch hour. Today I’m sharing three of the three quick lunches I’ve been eating like crazy lately. I try to get in a good portion of protein for my lunches so I’m full through the afternoon and can avoid cravings.

Lunches from Left to Right:

  • Scrambled Eggs & Turkey: Brown up about 1/2 cup of ground turkey with 21 Season Salute from Trader Joes. When the turkey is almost fully cooked, add in two stirred up eggs – scramble in the pan all together. Place in a bowl and top with salsa.
  • Ground Chicken Salad: Brown up about 1/2 cup of ground chicken in a pan with 21 Season Salute from Trader Joes. Place over butter lettuce, 1/8 cup shredded Mexican Cheese, & 1 spoonful of Plain Greek Yogurt.
  • Pasta & Green Beans: Pictured is the Birds Eye Veggie Made Mac & Cheese (but all of these pastas are super delicious) with crushed red pepper. Side of 1 can Green Beans with a slice of Pepper Jack Laughing Cow Cheese.

These are my current go-to lunches that only take about ten minutes to whip up because I’m always about being super productive through my day and maximizing my time. If you have quick lunches that you love, I’d be happy to hear & try them out.

If you enjoy food ideas, you can find more from me daily on Instagram at @ashraeeining where I share a lot of different meals, snacks, and drink ideas on stories! Let’s be best friends on social 🙂

Whole 30 Shopping List.

Happy New Year loves! I’m so excited for a new year but also to stop seeing people trash on 2020 because even through a pandemic, life is still so good. I always enjoy January since there is so much motivational energy in the air with everyone trying to determine their goals for the next year (my yearly goals will come in a later post!)

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, my boyfriend & I will be attempting a version of Whole 30 for the month of January to get the gut health back to a good spot and feel good before heading to Cabo at the end of March (send me your swimsuit recommendations!)

There are so many sales going on right now and I’ve been wanting to get up some favorites posts up for ya’ll but I’ve been too slow & busy with work to compile those before the sales are over. But a few I’ve been eyeballing is the up to 65% off from Beautycounter & the Christmas Bundle from HydroJug. I literally went a little crazy purchasing some new water bottles with the bundle, items from BruMate when their 20% of sale was going (looks like they have select items for 30% off now!), and a few fun ones off Etsy because I’m really trying to increase my water consumption in the new year. I’ve been slacking for a while so I’ve been looking for new ways to get me excited to drink water. A few other things I’ve done recently is stocking up on seltzer waters & MiO flavoring (Yum!)

Back to the Whole 30 plan! I’ve never fully attempted the plan so I’m really excited to find new food items and recipes. I’ve also never fully eliminated carbs and dairy from my diet (I have done no added sugar plenty) so am really intrigued to see how my body feels after the month.

Below is a rough shopping list I’ll be using throughout the month. If you have found items that are great, send them my way. I’ll be sharing a lot of large topics here on the blog but smaller updates on Instagram so following along there as well (@ashraeeining). For now, have a fabulous New Year Day – I love the clean slate of the first day of the month AND the first day of the year!

Shopping List:

Meats:

  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia
  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken
  • Shaved Steak
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Deli Meat
  • Sausage

Produce

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Avocados
  • Canned Veggies
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Lemon
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Dry Fruit

Additional:

  • Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Almonds

I can update this through the month for ya’ll as these items change. But if you’re also doing Whole 30 let me know so we can collaborate on ideas!

How to Balance Food over the Holidays.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a “don’t indulge” post because I am the queen of indulging over the holidays. But I’m also not a fan of the “working off”, “detoxing”, or “working-out for” the holiday food either. I think the key to not feeling like you completely let yourself go is in the mindset going into these next few days.

The holidays isn’t a time to completely forget about fueling your body but a time to feed it with what it needs and also what it wants. So I’ve rounded up a couple of my tired and true tips that I’ve incorporated in my holidays to feel fueled and happy.

  • Water, water, water: If you’ve been around here at all you know I love my wine. And during the holidays, I definitely enjoy letting my hair down a bit more. But with my increasing wine consumption, I drink that much more water. Yup, on top of the recommended water you should be drinking each day, increase that when having alcohol. I aim to drink a glass of agua between each glass of wine or stop drinking wine after 3 glasses and drink 3 glasses of water if its close to bedtime. I don’t enjoy waking up dehydrated and my skin dried out so this motivates me to get more water in (especially during the winter time). Drinking plenty of water throughout the holidays will also help you feel food and not overeat or “graze” the appetizer & treat table.
  • Pick Your Treats: Maybe this is where I’m not so fun since I’m not the biggest sweet fan but I determine which treats are worth my indulgence. I LOOOOOOVE caramel puffcorn and only allow myself a batch each Christmas because I would never stop with it so I know I’m going to be going a little crazy with that treat. I also allow myself a few of my favorite homemade cookies. I pick which treats I’m going to enjoy instead of eating everything, even treats I’m not a huge fan of. This helps me manage how many sugary items I’m consuming. I try to limit my sugar intake on any given day and the holidays are not days I take off because I know how sugar drains me and upsets my gut – but I don’t avoid them!
  • Greens: I probably love my greens just as much as I love caramel puffcorn because I know how consuming the recommended amount of vegetables each day can make your body feel. I aim to get in a helping each major meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) if possible. Think about adding spinach into the breakfast egg bake, having a side salad with lunch, and some green beans and brussel sprouts with dinner. If it’s in your normal routine, drink a green supplement smoothie/drink in the morning if you know you won’t have access to many vegetable options at your holiday events. (My favorite green drink)
  • Determine the Quantity: Make a game plan before going in. I’m super type-A so you know I make a plan for what and how much I’m going to eat. I like to limit myself to two plates at dinner – one trying little portions of each item that catches my eye and then a second with more potatoes and (potentially) a protein item or whatever else I really enjoyed. Then I switch to drinking some water, taking some time to see how full or hungry I am and then assess from there.
  • Enjoy Yourself! If you have a plan and roughly stick with it then you can feel confident indulging here and then – guilt free!

If your schedule allows it and it’s part of your normal routine, make sure to get in your vitamins and some movement if possible. Even if it’s just a walk, a virtual workout class, or dance party! This will be a huge part of helping with digesting all that yummy holiday food.

And biggest reminder is that it’s okay to get off your routine and take advantage of the next couple days. It’s not always the holiday season so you know you’re not eating like this every week. Enjoy that cookie, glass of wine, extra helping of potatoes… or three!

Simple Chicken Salad.

After weeks of the same meals pretty much everyday (which I’m totally okay with), I had a spark of creativity in the kitchen and wanted to try out new recipes this last week – As you can probably tell from my most recent food posts. The latest was a very simple and quick chicken salad, because you know I love simple!

This was a nice add-in to my workweek lunches which I have a tendency to have tuna, eggs, or a roast beef sandwich. This one is definitely a keeper! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 12.5 oz can Chicken Breast Chunk in Water
  • ~1 tbsp of Fat Free Mayo (or to your liking)
  • diced Celery 
  • sliced Black grapes 
  • Honey Roasted Pecan Pieces
  • Optional: Cheese

Directions:

  • Mix chicken and mayo in a small bowl. Once throughly mixed, stir in celery, grapes, and pecan pieces.
  • Enjoy on a brioche bun or across crackers with a tall glass of lemonade on the side!

Have similar simple recipes you enjoy, send them my way!

Thai Noodle Salad.

After attending a lake birthday party this last week I had a pretty intense craving for Thai Noodle Salad since the birthday girl had made a batch for her party but I didn’t get to try it. My typical experimental brain hit the web Monday morning to find a simple recipe that I could quickly whip up and voila, I found one that I happened to have (most) all of the ingredients!

We tested it out last night after a longish run (4 miles) in the heat. I would definitely tweak a few things next time just to experiment with taste but overall I would say it’s a keeper. Also noted, we served it hot but traditionally after mixing all the ingredients you would chill it in the fridge and eat cold.

Ingredients:

  • Rice Noodles
  • Sauce:
    • Soy Sauce
    • Sesame Oil
    • Honey
  • Seasonings (I used Garlic Sea Salt, Terriakyi Ginger mix, and Crushed Red Peppers)
  • Vegetables (I used a mixed bag I had in the freezer)
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Mini Corns
    • Snap Peas
    • Onions
  • Optional Meat Topping (I had some Trader Joe’s Potstickers on hand that we through on top but shredded chicken or pork would also be delicious!)

Directions: 

  • Soak rice noodles in a pot or bowl for ~30 minutes. We placed our noodles right in the pot we would boil them in and went for a run. 
  • Boil noodles on high for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Sauté veggies in a pan with olive oil until crispy.
  • Mix sauce in a small bowl. I used about a 1/4 tbsp of seasme oil, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, and 1/2 tbsp of honey but this will depend on the amount of noodles you are cooking. 
  • Drain noodles, return to pan, add sauce mixture, and cook on low so sauce absorbs into the noodles.
  • Add veggies to the noodles. Continue to cook for about ~5 minutes or while cooking meat.
  • Cook optional meat.
  • Hot: Serve in a large bowl with a cold drink! 
  • Cold: Place mixture in a large bowl, set in the fridge for a few hours, then enjoy!

 

Delicious Instapot Chicken Tacos.

I’ve just started to explore the instapot craze since my partner owns one and let me tell you guys, I am hooked! I totally understand what everyone is raving about now. It is so simple & easy to make quick yet delicious meals.

I’m a huge fan of home cooking and dabbling with new recipes but can be turned off by the time it takes to make a well thought out meal so the instapot definitely solves that pain point. We threw whipped up some juicy chicken for tacos the other night & I thought I would share. We choose this recipe since all the ingredients are basic that you would more than likely already have on hand (win!). 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken breast
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Taco Seasoning
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 small Yellow Onion
  • Taco Toppings:
    • Flour Tortillas
    • Plain Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
    • Lettuce
    • Shredded Cheese
    • Diced Tomatoes
    • Diced Avocado
    • Additional Salsa

Directions: 

  • Combine all ingredients (minus toppings) in instapot, close lid, and cook for 15 minutes. 
  • Release steam, remove chicken from pot, shred, and return shredded chicken back to pot with the sauce. Can let it sit in the sauce for a bit to absorb or immediately serve.
  • Build tacos or salad bowl and enjoy! 

So simple, am I right! That’s why we’re all such a fan of tacos 🙂 

 

Four Sigmatic Review + Sale!

I’ve talked about this brand a few times but I am a huge fan of Four Sigmatic! A company that started in Finland, which focuses on providing plants and mushrooms through drink form. So you don’t have to go to the forest to consume exotic mushrooms for the health benefits! 

I learned of this brand like I learn about many, through a referral from a friend which is why I wanted to share about them and my favorite items in a post. It’s also perfect timing because they are having one of their (very few) huge sales right now with up to 50% off on some items. 

Here is an explanation of Four Sigmatic in their words: 

“Four Sigmatic foods are the 100 most nutrient dense, most studied foods on the planet. And now they’re easy to add to your daily routines. We’re making these foods as easy as possible to eat and use and talk about. Because the world is asking more of you. Of everyone. We’d all feel a lot better doing that work if we got off the hamster wheel of coffee jitters and hangovers and sugar highs.”

My favorite items:

  • Cacao Mix with Reishi: By far my all-time fav four sig products. Reishi mushroom is meant to relax so it is a perfect before-bed sipper. 
  • Chai Latte Mix w/ Turkey Tail & Reishi: Another great drink for bedtime is the chai latte with reishi and turkey tail, which is a stress-reliever mushroom. If you’re a chai latte fan, it is definitely not as sweet as you’re used to. I like to mix this one with almond or coconut milk. 
  • Mushroom Elixir Mix with Lion’s Mane: Lion’s Mane mushroom will help with focus on the days where your brain just wants to be all over the place. I love this option for a mid-morning pick-me-up before lunchtime hits. 
  • Mushroom Elixir Mix with Chaga: Who doesn’t love a good extra defense for your immune system? The Chaga mushroom helps with overall wellness which makes it a great option for when those sneaky colds start to come up. 
  • Mushroom Elixir Mix with Cordyceps: This mushroom gives a nice little boost for performance without the jitter effects of coffee. Perfect for the afternoon slump at 3PM!

Others I’m ordering: 

If you haven’t tried Four Sigmatic before or are a passionate customer like myself, you definitely need to take advantage of the Summer Sale going on this week only!

P.S. You’ll also receive $15 off through my referral link 😉