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 🙂 

 

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!

Mother’s Day: A Weekend Guide to the Hills.

Was it even really Spring and how are we already almost in the heat of Summer? This quarantine life definitely changes the sense of time. Since the only people I’ve really interacted with is my immediate family, I decided to head out of Colorado for a bit and spend Mother’s Day up in Rapid City, SD where my mother lives.

It was a beautiful weather and a relaxing weekend spent with family. Some restrictions are slightly lifted so we decided to safely venture out a bit around the area. Here are a few of our favorite things to do around the Hills [Yes, it of course includes plenty of wine]. This post mainly focuses on Hill City hot spots but stay tuned for more Rapid City favorites in future posts.

On Friday evening after work wrapped up, my mother had an appointment downtown so my sister grabbed her camera and we had a little impromptu photo shoot around downtown Rapid City. After all the hard work, we stopped into Que Pasa for some happy hour margaritas and chips & salsa. 

Friday & Saturday were my splurge days from the no-sugar challenge, so I definitely indulged in a Marg. Then we went home for some pizza.

I was planning to drive back to Colorado on Sunday so we celebrated Mother’s Day on Saturday. We started the morning off with a live stream Barre class and breakfast at home. Then we all piled in the car and headed up to Hill City [about an hours drive from Rapid]. First stop was Alpine Inn for lunch. This place is known for excellent German food during the lunch hour and a special steak plate for dinner. I ordered the Pear & Fig Salad – bonus, it had almond brickle. I would have never thought of almond brickle for a salad ingredient, but let me tell you – I wasn’t complaining! 

It’s a holiday weekend so of course we had to have lunch dessert! Alpine Inn never disappoints with the dessert options so we went with two – An apple tart over caramel and ice cream and the bread pudding. Both were AMAZING!

Next stop [and as most would know, my local favorite] was Firehouse Winery. There are two locations, one in Hill City and one downtown Rapid City. We frequent the RC location most of the time and you’ll more than likely find us enjoying some Margarita pizza and a bottle of Sauv Blanc on a warm afternoon. But the Hill City location as an equally warm environment. We stopped here for a quick tasting & to catch up with a couple of the wine-tenders. 

Last stop before heading home was Prairie Berry Winery. If you are more of a sweeter wine fan than this is your place in the Hills. The tasting room is gorgeous and spacious. They also have a small kitchen that you can order appetizer or small plates from. My favorite in the summer time is the open-face salmon sandwich. If you have the time, stop here to sit out on the lawn, take in the view, enjoy some yard games & a bottle of wine. 

We headed home and I will say, one of my most enjoyable activities is just simply driving around and taking in the views.  The scenery of the hills and the greenery will take your breath away. Another highly recommended item to check off your list if you visit the area. 

The afternoon was spent enjoying a simple meal of chicken wings and watching Outer Banks [anyone else binging?]. The next morning we got up early to sweat it out through another Barre class and then enjoyed a homemade brunch before I hit the road. It was a simple weekend in quarantine but was nice to get out just a bit to feel a little normal again. 

If you ever find yourself heading to the Hills area or swinging through on a road trip, be sure to hit me up for more recommendations of my favorite spots! 

 

No Sugar May.

Do you struggle with bloating, inflammation, or trouble sleeping? Or maybe you wake up most mornings to stare in the mirror with a puffy face and dry eyes? Or maybe you are victim to the afternoon slump most days?

If none of these things resonates with you then congratulations! But this is the definition of my life when my diet contains too much added sugar. Which is why I attempt* a monthly detox a few times a year. 

*Attempt is the key word because our lives still need indulgences. 

Added sugar is a variety of caloric sweeteners or sugar carbohydrates added to food and beverages during their production. This type of sugar is chemically indistinguishable from naturally occurring sugar that we would find in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Added sugars have no nutritional value and are “empty calories”. 

These sugars can cause the body to become inflamed, gain weight, higher blood pressure and can even increase risk for heart attack and stroke. These little punk ingredients aren’t only bad for us but are just as addictive as alcohol, caffeine, gambling, etc. Our bodies become dependent on the need for sugar that we are consistently craving to fill the desire to consume more sugar. This desire than results in withdraw when we detox our body from them. Symptoms of withdrawal are headaches, increased cravings, and mood swings that can result in feelings of anxiety and sadness. The good thing is most withdraw symptoms only occur for a few days or a week. 

You might be thinking, why would I give up added-sugar then? Well, the rewards extremely outweigh the work. All those questions at the beginning of this post… ya, let’s get rid of those!

Cutting out (or for the most part) added sugar from your diet will likely decrease inflammation, boost your energy levels, and improve your ability to focus. You might even lose weight or see more definition around muscles. A low sugar diet also has been known to help with diabetes, heart disease, brain health, mood levels, and even improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. 

An informed diet does take work though. The food industry has a long history of sneaking in these ingredients in ways that do not have to be stated in the nutrition chart as actually added sugar. That means even if you see 0g added sugar, you still need to review the list of ingredients to actually be sure. For example: 

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown Rice syrup
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane Juice crystals
  • Cane Sugar
  • Caramel
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Golden Sugar
  • Grape Sugar
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado Sugar
  • Panela Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Refiner’s Syrup
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Yellow Sugar

The sad part is this isn’t even close to all of the sneaky ingredients the food industry shoves into food. The most effective way to reduce your sugar intake is to eat mostly whole and unprocessed foods. You might be thinking that is way too hard – I thought the same thing the first time I did an added sugar detox. But once you get into a routine of what to eat that is good for you, not too mention how good you’ll be feeling, it becomes a lifestyle that you don’t want to quit. 

If you would like to join me for the month of May, I’ll be sharing tips for shopping, meal planning, and yummy dish ideas here as well as on my Insta account (@ashraeeining). Having a tribe to go through this together, ask questions, and share ideas makes it WAYYYY more enjoyable (yes, it can be enjoyable!)

Like I said earlier, indulgences are still part of life – so have that donut or 3 scoops of ice cream. I know I sure do! Enjoy that margarita on a nice day and the cheesy enchiladas at your favorite Mexican restaurant. But making sure we are monitoring these indulgences so they don’t become a habit is when we start to take control over our health so we can feel all the benefits I stated above. 

So if you would like to join me on this journey for the month of May (or at least attempt* it) then stick around and follow me over on Instagram as well. I like to share some esthetically pleasing, highly edited photos of meals, snacks, and drinks (you can even follow just to creep the photos).  

Let’s get to feeling & living a healthier life!

 

 

 

What I Eat In A Day: Weekend.

On weekends, I typically stick to around 2 larger meals and a few snacks in between.

I’ll wake up around mid-morning and usually hit up a work out class. Depending on how I feel, I’ll either have coffee or pre-workout as well as a small snack like a banana or apple a few hours before class.

After class I’ll make sure I get in protein right away with a protein smoothie or a small bar.

Once I get home, I love whipping up a large breakfast. I’ve been really into egg & veggie scrambles or if I need to get in some carbs I’ll make a batch of protein pancakes (I’m obsessed with Kodak Cakes) with a banana and berries blended in. I’m super basic and love a good blended latte but not super into spending $5 on coffee so I’ll blend up my own concoction of ice, vanilla protein powder, almond milk, & espresso.

If I get hungry later in the day, I’ll snack on hummus and pretzel chips or chips and salsa.

Once dinner rolls around, I’m pulling out fish from the freezer because Spring always gets me in a Seafood mood. I’m been pairing my Dijon Mustard Salmon with sautéed veggies and homemade ranch.

Later in the evening, I’ll indulge in either a homemade protein bar or some fruit with sugar free whip cream (also maybe a glass of good red wine ;)).

Ciao.

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup.

This recent snowy weather has put me in the mood for my favorite soup; Chicken Tortilla. Not only is the recipe delicious and pretty healthy but it also can be whipped up in the crockpot in just a few hours. The only work is shredding the chicken!

I was raised in a household that loved soup and my dad could throw together some of the best variations so it is always been a favorite meal of mine and additional bonus; great leftovers!

Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Diced Onions
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Diced Peppers
  •  1 tsp Cumin Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder Seasoning
  • ~3 Cups of Broth (I go between Vegetable and Chicken broth – whichever I have on hand)

Topping Ingredients:

  • Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese

Directions:

  • Place all Soup Ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high heat for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Remove Chicken and shred into pieces and place back into the pot.
  • Cook on low heat for another 3 hours.
  • Dish up into bowls, top with desired toppings, & enjoy!

Namaste.

soup

Cheeseburger Salad.

My new favorite obsessions: The delicious Cheeseburger Salad.

I whipped this bad boy up last night after hot yoga and it was nothing short of heaven. I’m a big fan of ground beef so am always looking for new recipes to incorporate it in to.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Ground Beef
  • 1/4 c. diced peppers
  • 1/4 c. diced onion
  • 1 c. butter lettuce
  • 1/4 c. Mozerella cheese
  • Homemade Ranch to desire (secret tip: I almost always have a jar of this whipped up in my fridge for almost every meal)

Directions:

  • Brown the ground beef in a pan on medium heat. At the same time, in the same pan, sautee peppers and onions. Cook until desired browning of meat.
  • Top cooked ingredients in a bowl with lettuce, cheese, and ranch.
  • That’s it!

No wonder I am so obsessed with this recipe right now.

Namaste.

Typical Workday Meal Plan.

Hey loves!

I just got done filming this week’s episode of Wine Down Wednesday that will be posted later today. We’re covering some barre moves that really target the lower body and the booooootay.

I’ve also been dealing with a mild case of tendonitis on the top of my right foot that I believe might have set in from driving. Reminder: I didn’t have a car while living in San Francisco and depended on public transportation or walking. Now that I am in Colorado, I have my car back (hallelujah!) but I’m thinking the tendons that keep your right foot flexed while driving might be a bit strained. If anyone has dealt with tendonitis of the tendons that attach to the 4 smaller toes, I’d love to hear your insights into how to recover quickly (seriously, seriously).

Anyways, onto the real point of this post: I wanted to share a typical day of meals and snacks with you all. I’ve been giving a brief glimpse into this on my Instagram stories lately but thought I would go a little more in-depth with a series of posts.

I’m starting this first one out with a typical workday. I have an 8-5 desk at a Digital Advertising agency where I work as a Digital Strategist. I do my best to always pack my lunches and mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. I find if I don’t eat healthy snacks throughout the day, in between meals, I have a higher risk of binge eating at the end of the day.

Also, it’s important to note that everyone is totally different. You should eat when you are hungry! I do not recommend you following my meal plan exactly unless that works for your body. Make yourself and your tummy happy!

Ight, let’s go:

Morning

I’ll normally get up in the morning and chug water. Seriously. I work out quite a bit so I find I am the most dehydrated after a night’s rest.

I’ll probably get about 8 oz of water in within the first 10 minutes I am up. If I am feeling bloated, I will heat water in my electric kettle and mix in a few tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Then I’ll make some coffee. I always put a scoop of collagen into my coffee because within out, my nails and hair are pretty weak so it works miracles for me. (If you’re interested in collagen, I can recommend a few of my favorite brands.)  Lately, I’ve been testing out how I do with more protein in the morning to see if that keeps me fueler throughout the day and cuts down on sweet cravings. I’ve been lovvvving the KITU Super Protein Creamer. It is about 17 calories per tbsp with less than 1g of sugar. If I’m making sure I stay fuel for a while, I’ll use a Premier Protein (I prefer the caramel flavor) with ice in my coffee.

Mid-morning hits and I’ll either have a banana, a couple clementines, or a Luna Bar.

Lunch

I like super quick and easy meals for lunch that aren’t going to weigh me down for the afternoon. I have to eat light for lunch! Anything too heavy and I am worthless for the afternoon.

Lately, I’ve been heating mozzarella cheese on a tortilla and top it with a packet of tuna (in water). Super feeling, super delicious, and way lighter than a normal tuna melt.

Mid-afternoon comes around and I’ll enjoy one of my homemade protein bars (recipe to come soon) or an RX bar.

Dinner

My favorite meal of the day!!

This is very I really like to indulge because it is normally after my daily workout. I will try to get this meal in between 6:30-8PM in order to not eat too late.

If I am starving I will increase my carbs by having pasta but if I am pretty full from the day I will whip up a salad or a heavy veggie stirfry.

Dessert

Sometimes it just has to happen!

If I need a little something sweet, I will reach for a mini dark chocolate dove. If I am still really hungry, I’ll whip up my new obsession: Chocolate Protein Frosty Knock-off. So yummmmmmy!

This fake frosty contains one avocado or banana, a handful of ice, a scoop of cocoa powder, vanilla protein to your desire, and almond milk. I have tried with both an avocado and a banana and both ways are uber delicious.

What are you guy’s favorite workday meals? Let me know if you enjoyed this post and if I should continue to share more in this format 🙂

Namaste.