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 😉

Chicken Enchiladas.

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We’re back!

I took a bit of time to step away for some self-growth work through reading, education, and movement and girl, do I feel good now. It also might be these amazing chicken enchiladas recipe I enjoyed over the weekend. Let’s make this one simple so you can get right into the beef (or chicken) of this post.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • 4 cups cooked + shredded Chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) can red Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Taco Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, diced +sauteed
  • 1 (7.5 ounce) can diced Green Chilies

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Mix chicken, sauteed onion, seasoning, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and 1 cup cheese. Add enchilada sauce.
  • Spoon mixture into tortillas, dividing evenly throughout the 8. Roll up tortillas and place in pan seam side down.
  • In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour, and cook for one minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly; stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in greek yogurt, 1 cup cheese, and chilies. Do not bring to boil; you do not want the yogurt to curdle. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 24 minutes and broil for final 3 minutes or until cheese on top begins to brown.
  • Enjoy!

You might be thinking… this doesn’t sound very healthy? And it isn’t, but it’s delicious and sometimes that’s all that matters!

Mediterranean Chicken Couscous.

How many times have I shared this dish on my Instagram? Way too many, that’s for sure. So it’s about time I give more details on how to make it since I’m so obsessed. It started with a Hello Fresh meal which I have a tendency to start up when I’m going through a slump with new cooking ideas. This recipe just stuck, clearly. 

The Mediterranean Chicken Couscous dish is very filling with refreshing, nuritioning ingredients. It’s a meal I have about once a week if I know I have a big day the next day and will need to feel energized. It also makes good left-overs if you eat within the following 2-3 days.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Chicken breast
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Zatar Seasoning
  • 2/3 cup Coucous
  • Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • Feta Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Directions: 

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees
  • Line a pan with a piece of foil, slice tomatoes in half, place in pan topped with olive oil, garlic, and half the dill. Cook in the oven for ~15 minutes.
  • While roasting tomatoes, boil chicken in a medium pot on high on top of the stove. 
  • In another medium pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil on high. Once hot, pour in coucous and let cook until browned. Boil with 1 1/2 cups of water until couscous is thoroughly cooked. 
  • Once chicken is thoroughly cooked through, take out of the pot and shredded. Pour out water and rinse pan. Place shredded chicken back in the pot cook on medium for 4-5 more minutes with balsamic vinegar and zatar seasoning. 
  • In a small bowl, combine greek yogurt, 1 tsp water, remaining dill, and lemon juice. Stir until consitency is creamy. 
  • Place cooked couscous, chicken, and tomatoes in bowl and top with feta cheese and yogurt creama. 
  • Enjoy! 

Blueberry “Cinnamon Roll” Breakfast Bars.

I’m a sucker for quick + simple recipes that call for items I already have around my place. So when I came across 2 ingredient Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls on Instagram last week, I knew I needed to try it out. Disclaimer: this recipe always had more than 2 ingredient – they aren’t tricking anyone. 

I attempt the baking exactly as the recipe directed yesterday and than did my small tweaks today to test making it more to my own preferences. The original recipe calls for you to roll out the dough, add the blueberries and cinnamon, and then roll up the dough to create “cinnamon rolls”. This did not work for me, so instead I place the mixture directly into the pan and bake as bars. Below, I write out the original recipe as is and then I explain what I’ve changed to the recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Cinnamon 

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a glass 8×8 pan. 
  • Mix first three dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add in yogurt and mix, creating a dough. Mix in blueberries and cinnamon.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until dough is thoroughly cooked through. 

The first attempt tasted too bitter to me so this morning I switched out the plain greek yogurt with Two Goods brand Vanilla yogurt. Since it calls for a cup, all you need to buy at the store for 1 batch is two small individual vanilla yogurt cups. I’m not a fan of having a lot of excess ingredients left over so this worked out perfectly. 

I also added about 3 teaspoons of brown sugar and a splash of vanilla extract to the dough to provide a bit more flavor. Then to top it off, I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Whip Cream as an icing alternative. 

This was definitely a winner in my book. It’s simple and doesn’t provide too much of a sweet taste early in the morning. I love me some french toast or a good decadent muffin but if an item is too sweet it normally leaves my stomach not so happy (cue the sugar gram counting). Also, if you noticed, we don’t add any sugar or sugar alternative (except the brown sugar) so if you stick with the original recipe than you’re still on track for the added-sugar detox!

Let me know if you try this one out and of course, enjoy!!