Thai Peanut Chicken bowl

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Wellness Tip-Worried about going up for seconds for dinner? Leave your serving dishes on the stove so you have to get up to get seconds. It makes it more of an effort rather than just scooping it from the table.

Growing up, we mostly got Chinese food as take out. It wasn’t until college that I first tasted Thai food. It’s no coincidence that I love it based on my love for peanut butter. Lately, this is has been my go to meal if I’m not sure what to make. It gives you a good amount of protein, carbs, and vegetables. Feel free to adjust the amount of water in the peanut sauce based on how think you want it.

Picture courtesy of iowagirleats.com

Servings– 2

Cooking Time– 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup dry brown rice
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 cup frozen edamame
  • 1 handful shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 small lime

Directions

  1. Boil 1 cup of water. Once it is boiling, pour in rice, turn heat down to low, cover the rice, and cook for 25 minutes
  2. Cook the chicken breast. You can grill, bake it, or pan fry it. I personally grill it using my George Foreman grill
  3. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and about 2 tablespoons of warm water (more or less based on how thick you want the sauce).
  4. Cook the broccoli and edamame. I steamed the broccoli for 7 minutes in a pot, and cooked the frozen edamame in the microwave for 5 minutes.
  5. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, mix, and top with peanuts.

Quick and Easy Balsamic Chicken

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Wellness tip-Get up and moving! It is easy to lose track of time at work and wind up sitting down for 8 hours straight. Set an alarm or reminder on your calendar/clock to get up and stretch every hour to avoid cramps and pain.

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Hello friends! While I can write about peanut butter and breakfast recipes for days, I’ll switch things up and give you a quick and easy balsamic chicken recipe that requires minimal hands on preparation. I’ve adapted this recipe from a few different balsamic chicken recipes I’ve used. You can service this chicken with pasta, brown rice, or potatoes.

Serves 2

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or oregano and basil if you don’t have rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the ingredients (not including the chicken) in a small bowl
  3. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray with PAM (or similar cooking spray)
  4. Place the chicken on the baking sheet
  5. Cover both sides of the chicken with the mixture. Let it marinade for 10 minutes
  6. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes (or longer depending on the thickness of the chicken
  7. Serve with sides such as broccoli, rice, pasta, or whatever you choose

 

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal

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Wellness Tip- not all fats are bad fats! Food with healthy fat like avocado, olive oil, and nuts raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and are heart healthy!

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Fall is in the air! Pretty soon the leaves will be turning orange and red, and quarter zips will be broken out of the closet. My favorite part of Fall is all of the pumpkin, butternut squash, cinnamon, and other heavenly smells. This week I’m posting one of my favorite oatmeal recipes that will be made many times this Fall. It is a healthy breakfast that will keep you full until lunch. Enjoy!

Serves 1

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or one apple diced into small pieces)

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

1/4 cup crushed pecans, walnuts, or almonds

1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)

Directions

1. Bring almond milk to a boil in a small pot

2. Reduce heat to low and add all of the ingredients

3. Stir and cook for 10 minutes

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

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Wellness tip- Add colors to your dishes. While it’s great to eat your greens, you want to mix it up and add other colored vegetables like orange (carrots), red (beets, peppers, red cabbage), and yellow (peppers, squash). This ensures you are receiving a good balance of the nutrition you need!

 

As I mentioned in my last post, early Fall is my favorite time of the year. With early Fall comes NFL games, tailgating, my new job as a teacher, and much much more. After a long day of work, I usually head straight to the fridge for a snack. Just a little something to hold me over until dinner. Lately, I’ve been making a Peanut Butter Fruit Dip for apples, bananas or berries. The combination of the fiber from the fruit and protein from the Greek yogurt and peanut butter keep me full until dinner. I’ve also brought this dip to BBQs, which has been a big hit. It’s something I can easily whip up to bring over to a friend’s house to watch football.

This recipe and pictures are courtesy of cookingclassy.com

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Ingredients: 

1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter

2 (5.3 oz) containers of plain Greek yogurt (or 1 cup if you use a large container)

1 Tablespoon of honey

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Serve with fruit such as bananas, apples, raspberries, or strawberries. Store in the refrigerator.

 

 

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

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Wellness tips for eating out at restaurants- Eating at home gives you more control over what and how much you eat. However, there are occasions where it’s best to go out to dinner with loved ones or friends. Follow these tips to help you eat healthy when at a restaurant: request dressing and sauce on the side, look for items that are broiled, grilled or baked, research the menu beforehand to avoid bad choices, avoid picking at chips and bread before the meal, eat your veggies first, order soups to fill you up, cut your meal in half when you first get it to take half home.

Early Fall is my favorite time of the year. Growing up on the east coast, it’s tough to beat the early Fall foliage and pumpkin flavored everything. Fall also means watching football! I don’t like going to a friend’s place empty handed, so this is a low card, healthy dish that still packs the buffalo flavor! The photographs are courtesy of galonamission.com

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Ingredients 

  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite buffalo or bbq sauce (I used Dinosaur bbq sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Line the baking pan with foil to minimize clean up
  2. Cut off the cauliflower stem. Break up the cauliflower head into individual florets (bite sized pieces)
  3. Mix the cauliflower and sauce in a ziploc bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating
  4. Place the cauliflower onto the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

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Wellness tip- Have you committed yourself to going to the gym, but can never find the time? Do you constantly have things come up so you can’t go? If you have the time, morning workouts should solve your problems! It makes getting into a routine so much easier, considering there aren’t many things that pop up before work or school. You can even sleep in your workout clothes so you can roll out of bed in the morning!

 

A few weeks ago, I posted about my new fascination for overnight oats. I love how you can prepare the night before, roll out of bed, and enjoy breakfast. However, my inspiration for oatmeal breakfast recipes started with this classic peanut butter banana hot oatmeal. It only takes about 10 minutes, and tastes much better than traditional microwaved oatmeal. I enjoy the creaminess that the peanut butter and milk provide. I used to make the mistake of making oatmeal with water. It make a HUGE difference when using non-dairy milks like almond milk or soy milk. This oatmeal recipe should give you the kickstart to your day, and keep you full until lunch!

This recipe and picture is courtesy of Minimalist Baker

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Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 large very ripe banana, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2-1 tsp chia seed (or ground flax)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • toppings choices: heaping 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, nuts, cinnamon, pure maple syrup

1. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, cook the banana oil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Stir in 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, and add the oats, chia, milk, and spices. Whisk well until combined.

3. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. It is important to bring to a low boil so the oatmeal won’t stick to your pot!

4. Scoop into a bowl and top with peanut butter, nuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

Smoothies in Paradise

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Wellness Tip- Looking for something to replace soda in your diet? Not satisfied with just drinking water? Go for flavored  seltzers or fruit infused waters! Most seltzers are calorie free, contain only carbonated water and natural flavoring (check the label), and offer mild flavors that can be refreshing on a hot summer day! Seltzers also make a great alternative for mixers instead of sugary sodas. You can also buy a fruit infused water bottle or jug, and add fruits or herbs such as grapefruit, basil, and lemon.

 

Some of my friends know I am not the biggest bachelor in paradise fan. I have a tough time sitting through 2 hour TV shows, let alone with a plot like the bachelor HOWEVER, I do enjoy match making when it comes to smoothies. I have recently been on a mission to put on muscle by working out and eating right. I follow up each workout with a protein shake, but you can easily just make a smoothie if you’re looking for a treat or way to sneak in your fruits and veggies. I use one of the individual smoothie makers, (similar to this one), which makes for easy clean up. Below are my favorite smoothie combinations that I’ve made recently. If you make these, post which ones is your favorite combination! As far as measuring, I typically put 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (you can use your milk of choice), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and a handful or 2 of the fruits and veggies. I also loving using frozen fruit so I don’t have to add ice to the mixture. Feel free to also add chia seeds (the superfood I previously mentioned, which gives you fiber, protein, and omega 3s). Pictures courtesy of amazinggrass.com and withrawintentions.com

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Spinach, plain greek yogurt, almond milk, banana, peanut butter (can add vanilla  or chocolate protein powder)

Almond milk, kale, banana, blueberries, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (Can add vanilla protein powder)

(My personal favorite) Peanut butter, banana, almond milk, chocolate protein powder, spinach

Spinach, kale, banana, mango, almond milk, vanilla protein powder

Kale or spinach, berries, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, almond milk, vanilla protein powder

 

Cranberry-Almond Broccoli slaw

Broccoli Salad

Wellness tip- When baking, substitute a 1:1 ratio of avocado instead of butter. Avocado is a healthy fat and can dramatically improve the nutritional content, without sacrificing the flavor.

 

Are you going to a BBQ or pot luck soon? Sometimes it can be tough to eat healthy at a BBQ, which is why I usually bring some type of veggie plate. This cranberry-almond broccoli slaw avoids the big globs of mayo, and replaces most of it with high protein greek yogurt. Add in some chopped up almonds and broccoli, and you have a sneakily healthy dish that people will love. This recipe is courtesy of myrecipe.com Photo courtesy of Iain Bagwell Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Cooking Light: May: Amazing Recipe Makeover
Broccoli Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
3 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 bunch)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Instructions:

1. Soak red onion in cold water for 5 minutes; drain.

2. Combine mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients (through pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Stir in red onion, broccoli, and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill 25 minutes before serving.

Well Balanced “Buddha” Bowl

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Wellness Tip- Don’t forgo the yolks! While many studies have said that egg yolks aren’t good for you, they actually contain most of the nutrients that eggs provide. Whole eggs are a nearly perfect food, with almost every essential vitamin and mineral our bodies need to function. It is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D and contains 7 grams of high-quality protein. Whole eggs are also full of omega-3 fatty acids and deliver many of the B vitamins and nutrients. When you eat only the egg whites, you’re missing out on all of these nutritional benefits and are getting only 3.5 grams, or half, of the protein. (Jillian Michaels – http://www.jillianmichaels.com/fit/lose-weight/myth-eggs)

Bowls like “Buddha” bowls have been my go to dinner when cooking for my wife or company. There are so many varieties between the different sauces and ingredients. The staples of Buddha bowls are the incredibly healthy chick peas, avocado, rice or quinoa, and whatever veggies you like! I’m also a big sauce person, so any time I can use whole ingredients to make a sauce, I jump on it! This bowl is very well balanced, hence the “Buddha” name. This recipe is courtesy of wellandfull.com

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Serves 2

Quinoa
  • 1 Cup Quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 Cups Water
Chickpeas
  • 1½ Cups Cooked Chickpeas
  • Drizzle Olive Oil (or other neutral oil)
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • ⅛ Tsp Turmeric (or some kind of curry powder)
  • ½ Tsp Oregano
Red Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil (or other neutral oil)
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • ½ Tsp Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Paprika
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro
Everything Else
  • Mixed Greens
  • An Avocado

 

  1. Start by cooking the quinoa. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, then add quinoa. Simmer for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. When done, remove from heat and keep covered for about 10 minutes so quinoa can absorb any excess water.
  2. Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl, toss chickpeas, oil, and spices until chickpeas are evenly coated. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake chickpeas for 15 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool.
  3. To make red pepper dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Finally, assemble the buddha bowls. In two bowls, add quinoa, mixed greens, avocado, and chickpeas. Drizzle everything with red pepper sauce

 

Southwestern Quinoa to Spice Up Your Weeknight!

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Wellness tip- Have you recently caught yourself mindlessly munching on a snack while watching TV? I used to do that, and by the end of the show, I’d mindlessly finish the entire bag! Do yourself a favor and pour our a healthy portion of the snack into the bowl so you can limit yourself on what you eat.

 

I’ve focused on recipes that are quick, healthy and use household ingredients. I’m going to throw another benefit at you in this recipe. When I cook during the week, my wife is gracious enough to clean up the cooking dishes afterwards. She not only loved this recipe for the taste, but it cooks in only one pan, making cleanup a breeze! One pan recipes take advantage of merging different flavors together as it cooks.This recipe and pictures are courtesy of merchant baker.

Side note, if you’re wondering where I find most of my recipes, I subscribe to the Greatist, which is a life changing blog that has fueled my passion for cooking. I also subscribe to Buzz feed food which has cool lists of recipes, like one pan recipes and ways to spice up your chicken dishes.

I especially like this dish because it is extremely versatile, where you can spice to your liking. The quinoa is great because of it’s high fiber and protein content. You can add chicken or ground beef/turkey as well.

Servings– 4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

 Optional Ingredients

  • 1 jalapeno, minced (the more seeds you leave in the jalapeno, the hotter it is)
  • 1 cup corn kernels, I used frozen and did not thaw

 

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and jalapeno (if you are using one) and lightly saute on low heat for a minute. Stir in spices, salt and pepper and allow to cook for another minute, watching your heat so that the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Stir in vegetable broth, tomatoes, quinoa, beans, and corn (if being used). Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir the quinoa then add in avocado, lime juice and cilantro. Serve immediately.