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So You Want to Make A Quick and Healthy Meal? Part 1

12 Jan

Hey guys!

So a little while ago my friend Kevin sent me a message from abroad – Scotland! and asked me which recipes are my go-tos that are pretty quick and healthy for you. I then figured a bunch of you might have the exact same question! So I decided to dedicate a series of posts to it so you guys can benefit, cool? Cool. Thanks!

For those of you who’ve got this down, please share some of your recipes that you love! We all know how hectic schedules can be, and budgets can be tight, so the more recipes and options the better!

With that, here’s four recipes!

1. Veal ParmeseanImageStep 1: Dip each veal cutlet in some milk (this will help keep the breadcrumbs stuck on it).

Step 2-4: Dip each cutlet in the following sequence: flour (use whole wheat for a healthier choice!), egg, then breadcrumbs! (To make your own: take 2 whole wheat slices of bread and tear them into small pieces, then toss them in a food processor until they are a crumb consistency, voila!)ImageImageStep 5: coat the skillet! Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil and turn it to medium heat. Since the veal cutlets will be thin, cook each side for 2 minutes

Step 6: preheat that oven! To about 200 degrees.ImageStep 7: Place each cutlet on a “cookie sheet” or a baking dish. Whatever you’ve got! First put down a little tomato sauce, then the cutlet on top. Place the type of cheese you would like, part-skim mozzarella is recommended, with sauce around the edges where the cheese doesn’t touch. This keeps those parts from burning! Let the cutlets cook until the cheese melts.ImageEnjoy!

Now some of you readers out there may ask, okay so we’ve got the protein and the healthy fat … but where’s the veggies?! Well you’ve got some choices.

1. Steam some broccoli, mixed vegetables, peas, corn, asparagus, cauliflower – your choice! Just make sure you have at least 2 serving portions.Image

2. Sautee your choice vegetables (or just zucchini like my parents do with every italian meal). Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan, turn on medium or medium low heat, and toss is any vegetable you like! If you’re looking for spices to add try: black pepper, salt, oregano, rosemary and basil! My favorite combo 🙂ImageImage3. Have a side salad! If you look back to my post on how to stay healthy over the holidays you’ll see I had a small one at each meal to clock in some more vegetables while I stayed with my parents.Image

2. Easy Chili

I first found this recipe on PB Fingers and decided to make my own version. I must say I’ve always been intimidated by chili, but this recipe was super easy and REALLY delicious. It also gave me leftovers which can be key to have during those busy weeks!ImageImageIf you follow the instructions on her blog page you’ll notice she used can tomatoes – since I didn’t have any, and I like fresh tomatoes, I decided to dice up 2 tomatoes and toss them in.ImageEnjoy!

3. Spaghetti Squash with Vegetables/Chicken

Spaghetti squash is a fantastic vegetable that can be a substitue for pasta! (Just like zucchini! More in a later post 🙂 ) I have used it in a variety of ways: with pasta sauce, with thai peanut sauce, or plain!ImageImageImageHow do you cook the spaghetti squash? Stick it in the microwave for about 8-12 minutes (depending on the size), then slice it down the middle, scoop out the pulp, then take a spoon or fork and go around the inside of the squash. It will come out in spaghetti like strands! Just add it to your pan of vegetables or meat when they’re done cooking for a minute or 2 and you’re good to go!

4. Eggplant CasseroleImageImageThis recipe I found in SELF magazine and everyone I have cooked it for has loved it! It also is so easy!

Step 1. Slice one whole eggplant into 1/2 inch thick pieces (hot dog style)

Step 2. Preheat the oven to 350 and place some oil in a baking dish.

Step 3. Place enough eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Then place mushrooms (I use baby bella) on the eggplant, shredded mozzarella cheese, spinach and some tomato sauce on top.

Step 4. Place another row of eggplant on top of this stack and repeat the process until all the eggplant is used or your pan is full!

Step 5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes and enjoy!

That concludes Part 1 of this series of quick and healthy meals! Please feel free to comment or shoot me an email if there is any suggestions or other types of recipe ideas you guys would like to see!

Readers what are some of your favorite go to healthy recipes?

Until next time, 

Natasha

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Corepower Yoga & Sweet Green

11 Jan

Good rainy afternoon readers!

It’s quickly becoming a mess outside here in the city so I’m trying to soak up as many hours as I can being cozy before tonight’s events: Adrienne’s 21st birthday!

First, I want to share yesterday’s events with all of you because it was a really good one. I think I am now out of my funk :).

For starters, I got to begin my day at work with a nice full jar of Overnight Oats.ImageI was looking forward to it since the night before. It was ultra filling, super delicious and perfectly satisfying. Good start…check!

After clocking in some time in the office, I snacked on some carrots and paella pre-babysitting for lunch then headed over a little early since I was going to have to talk to Max for awhile.ImageImageOnce I got to babysitting, I realized I was super hungry still. So I whipped up a couple snack items.ImageImage
One slice whole wheat toast, honey, half a banana, peanut butter and a clementine with skim milk. Woof, I was packed full after that big snack.

During babysitting I made sure I stay hydrated because that night I was meeting up with my lululemon interviewer for a Yoga Sculpt class at Corepower Yoga in Bethesda!! It was going to be my first ever experience at Corepower AND my first hot yoga class. I was so excited.

To pass the time, and fuel up properly before the 730 class I headed over to Sweet Green!ImageImageThe juice menu caught my eye, but I decided to keep it simple since I would be exercising soon. I made my own salad and it had baby kale, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, cranberries, cucumbers, peppers, avocado and beets in balsamic vinaigrette. I said yes to my slice of bread, but only ended up eating about half of it.ImageImageI enjoyed my salad while I was able to finish The Perks of Being a Wallflower 🙂 ImageI actually enjoyed the ending of the book much more than I thought I would. All in all, I would say the book is a decent read, but it won’t go down as one of my favorites.

At 7 I drove over to Corepower so I could get there early and fill out the new student form. After chatting with Clare we grabbed our mats and headed into the room early.

Holy wow. I have fallen in love with hot yoga. The class was a little less on the intense side that I was anticipating, but it was a still a great slower tempo-ed class. It combines traditional yoga poses with strength exercises that target one muscle group at a time. You have a set of light weights and heavy weights – I chose 3 lbs and 5 lbs. By the end, I was covered in sweat and feeling so cleansed. I felt rejuvenated. And I was hooked. Here’s a brief video on it!

I loved it so much that Clare invited me to meet her in the morning for another Yoga Sculpt class, but this time it would be with the woman who ran the studio. I gladly accepted.

Although my first class was on the company, Corepower is having this awesome deal right now where new students can come in for free for a whole week. I utilized this free week bright and early this morning.

This class was way more intense than last night’s – and I loved it even more!! Seriously you guys have to try it. Their studio is in Bethesda right on Wisconsin Ave at the corner of Bradley. I was literally drenched in sweat after this workout and can definitely feel my body will be on the sore side tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I forgot to eat something small before class so I was starving. I came straight home to shower and make a Sweet Breakfast Scramble and prepared another jar of overnight oats for tomorrow morning! 🙂ImageImagePosting to you guys about all of this is reminding me how hungry I am! Time to go ahead and eat a big healthy meal before tonight!

Any big weekend plans? By the way guys, fingers crossed for me to hear good news from lululemon on Sunday!! 🙂

Until next time,

Natasha

Feeling a Little Blue

9 Jan

Good afternoon readers!

I definitely have fallen off the wagon this week. My week was off to a fantastic start, but Monday afternoon I started feeling incredibly tired and these last couple of days have been very draining on me emotionally. Let’s start with Monday, shall we?

Monday I was up bright and early to get back to work. I started by making myself some Whipped Banana Oatmeal with just banana and PB. Keepin’ it simple.IMG_2061I also realized that my PB jar is getting very close to empty! OVERNIGHT OATS SOON! It’s sad how much I look forward to that breakfast, but it’s hard earned and well enjoyed 🙂 IMG_2064IMG_2065Then I was off to work! I caught up with Katy, ran through some tasks, then had to have a long discussion about the upcoming schedule because…

Monday morning I was offered a job at the running store in Chevy Chase! 🙂 As a way to try and earn some extra income for moving to California and to make health and fitness more of a priority in my life I have been applying to jobs that would help me do just that! It feels good to have one offer already in my toolbox, so now I just have to see how my second interview goes with lululemon tomorrow night and I will go from there.

Around 130ish I was ready for some lunch so I whipped out my salad and my new Klean Kanteen that Kevin’s parents got me for Christmas! They’re so fascinating to me. They’re dual insulated so they keep your beverages ice cold for hours and hours and hours. It was SO thoughtful of them because I got to use them this summer when I visited Kevin’s family on their camping trip. Thanks again! 🙂IMG_2067 IMG_2068A few hours later Katy and I decided to call it a day. I was supposed to meet my friend Mark at the gym for a fitness class, but I was feeling so unbelievably exhausted that I couldn’t even fathom driving myself to the gym let alone doing an entire kettlebell conditioning workout. I felt horrible bailing on him, but I knew this was a funk I had to deal with by resting.

For dinner I kept it simpleIMG_2070 IMG_2071I wanted to give my body a lot of protein for my lack of energy so I whipped up some mac n cheese  then tossed in some ground lean turkey sauteed in pepper, parsley and salt with some edamame. It was a great little twist on some comfort food.

After I finished dinner, Liam led by example.IMG_2076I decided he was right and it was time for bed.

Tuesday

Up early again and back to work, had another whipped banana oatmeal breakfast with cranberries, but alas I gobbled it down too quickly for a picture. I was feeling very unmotivated and had no desire to do any of the things on my schedule for the day – which was no good because Tuesdays are my longest days. At work I spoke with my friend Ryan about it over some lunch which was paella leftovers from Sunday!IMG_2078I also enjoyed my other Klean Kanteen from Kevin’s parents for the day with some iced water and later some hot tea!IMG_2077

After work I stopped at home then was off to babysitting where I did some more work reading on this guy (old photo) and then snacking on some of this:IMG_2081IMG_1763

After babysitting I went off to group therapy at my internship and caught up with my friends in there. It was really good to see them but I was just feeling so tired. They did give me some happy energy which was very useful for my 45 minute drive home.

However, afterwards disaster struck. After feeling so sad all day for one reason and another Liam had, for the third time this week, peed on top of a pile of Kevin’s clothing. I then went over and did the laundry with Kevin, cleaned up the room, the laundry basket, everything. For some reason, it just broke me. I called my mom very upset and talked it out with her about how I felt so guilty burdening other people with a pet that should be my responsibility. We have a bit of a plan moving forward, but it really just further plunged me into my funk.

I had a long talk with Kevin about everything that I’m feeling. As usual, he was extremely supportive and comforting. In an attempt to cheer me up, he had me pick out his outfit and have his roommate finally take our picture in front of our Christmas tree before we took it down. Thanks Kevin 🙂IMG_2085Today

Unfortunately, this morning I am not feeling much better. I was hungry last night, but didn’t really eat dinner because I didn’t feel like it and this morning I took forever to get out of bed and get to work. I have no motivation to do my jobs or anything that I know I enjoy: like exercise or watching Scrubs. I strongly feel that all I want to is absolutely nothing. Just lie in bed and do nothing. Not read, not watch shows, just lay there. While that is not only completely unproductive it is also not going to help me feel any better!

Eventually I made it to work and enjoyed my “breakfast” around noon.IMG_2087loved having the blueberries in there this morning. Well, it’s back to work for me before I am off to babysitting!

I am going to push myself to go on a run while Max is at his activities today instead of sitting in the car. I have to pull myself up if I want to get out of this funk.

What do you guys do to pull yourselves out of a funk when you’re in one?

Until next time,

Natasha

Learning to Appreciate Little Things

9 Jan

Hey everyone!  

Saturday was off to an extremely early start. 730 AM the alarm went off and I was up and awake helping Kevin try to ship a motor scooter. Well, 2.5 hours later not only were we unsuccessful, but Kevin had to get to practice on time and I unfortunately missed my Bosu Body class 😦 By the time I ran to the gym I was exhaustedstarving and in a horribly crabby mood.

However, I did wear the new top my brother got me for Christmas and I loved the way it looked, especially the color!ImageI almost went home, but I decided to do a couple max lifts. I did dumbbell chest press, military press and then back squats. 8, 6, 4, 2 increasing weight each time. Despite how crabby I was, I actually powered through it easily and felt strong throughout.

On my run to the grocery store I realized I had a 50% off coupon for Robek’s! I was SO happy I remembered this! For 3 bucks I got myself an Emperor Acai. It has non-fat greek yogurt, acai berries, blueberries, strawberries and bananaHits the spot everytime.ImageI enjoyed each and every single sip as I made my way through the grocery store. I felt my mood completely changing as the fuel entered my body. I also felt really good being back in my grocery store investing in my health by choosing all my healthy eats for the week.

My mood continued to elevate as I had 3 different interactions at the bus stop and on the bus. I forgot how much I love talking with people I’ve never met before. It’s such a simple pleasure that never fails to bring a small smile to my face 🙂

Once I was home, I unpacked my groceries, loaded the fridge, and headed back over to Kevin’s to try for round 2 on helping out with the scooter. After failing miserably for another 2 hours we called it quits. However, we both agreed that even though it didn’t work out we really enjoyed spending the time together and the experience. Man, talk about appreciating all the little things huh?

After that: salad time.ImageCranberries, spinach, avocado, chickpeas, orange bell pepper, cucumber tomato in a balsamic vinaigrette

Followed by a nap and some Scrubs, it was time to make dinner. I wasn’t too hungry so I went for something small, but Kevin had a much bigger idea in mind.ImageMeet Tom. This is Kevin’s roommate, and a fellow teammate who can eat a ton of food in one sitting. Kevin came up with the idea to challenge Tom. They’ve had this enormous can of Ravioli sitting in the kitchen since May and it was time to get rid of it. Tom’s challenge was to finish the entire can in 30 minutes due to an apparent YouTube video. 

(I don’t endorse eating like this on a regular basis by any means, I’m just sharing this content with you as it was part of my weekend and represents just one of the many perspectives on food people can have.)

I prepped my dinner (edamame, mushrooms with Muenster cheese, chicken nuggets, and half an egg, bacon and strawberry jam sandwich on wheat) while Kevin prepped Tom’s.ImageImageImageImageImageImageHere’s the video for your further enjoyment 😉 Sunday was off to a later start, thank god!, and it was the day for me and Kevin to do a couple special things to honor our year and a half anniversary. We began the day by making Icelandic Pancakes together (not the healthiest, but a family tradition of his that we enjoy doing together)ImageImageImageTo make my breakfast a little healthier, I first snacked on some prunes and then sliced up a pear. I’m sorry I didn’t snap pictures of those 😦 But I did only end up eating about 3 of these pancakes. 

Icelandic Pancakes:

-1 cup flour

-1 cup milke (then a little more)

-1 egg

After breakfast, I went back over to my apartment to shower, get dressed and grab the car. After a short mall excursion together we arrived at Guardado’s. A small and cozy Spanish restaurant in downtown Bethesda that my brother recommended.

We both hadn’t eaten since breakfast so we decided to order 2 small tapas and the paella to share.ImageImage
Absolutely amazing. We ordered the red bell pepper stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and basil then this tortilla con chorizo  which Kevin really wanted to have because he loves this very hard to find in DC sausage (chorizo). We both devoured each of our portions and fully enjoyed every last bite.

The paella we ordered had shrimp, chorizo, chicken, peas, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and rice. We both enjoyed it, but wouldn’t say we loved it. Paella just isn’t our thing. It was a good experience to try it, but we definitely enjoyed the tapas more. ImageImageOn our way out, I also managed to get him to take a picture with me! (a rarity).ImageAfter dinner, we began a new video game together and, to satisfy our sweet tooth’s, baked a red velvet cake together. 🙂ImageImage

Until next time,

Natasha

Friday: Double Rounds of Interviews

6 Jan

Good morning readers!

It’s been a relaxing, yet busy last few days since I’ve been back. Thursday night was spent with Kevin ordering in some chinese food since I was absolutely starving and had no food in my kitchen.ImageImageFriday morning I was up bright and early for two interviews I had scheduled! Does anyone remember how I was waiting to hear back from lululemon awhile ago? Well, I had an interview at the Tyson’s corner store in the morning! I straightened my hair and painted my nails as I went over a couple things.ImageImageImageI was nervous, but actually hit it off very well with everyone in the store. My interviewer even texted me that night a picture of her holding a jar of Cinnamon Swirl PB telling me it was life changing! 🙂 Allison…you’ll appreciate that 🙂

Afterwards, my friend Sarah, who so graciously drove me, and I went to Whole Foods for some grub.ImageImageImageEverything I chose was amazing. They had grilled vegetables out that blew my mind (and are my favorite 🙂 ) I chose eggplant, roasted red bell pepper, and tomatoes. In addition, I tried this unbelieveable apple & butternut squash fritter and also had some collard greens. I didn’t even realize I didn’t have my debit card so although I was supposed to treat Sarah for driving me, she ended up having to treat ME! Ugh. She’s such a generous person, but I will figure out a way to truly thank her soon.

After that it was off to my second interview of the day with Athleta. I decided to walk the entire way home back from Georgetown since it was such a nice day and I enjoyed an apple on the way then some yogurt when I got home.ImageI also pretty much finished up my Chinese Food leftovers. 🙂

Both interviews went very well and I have 2 follow-up interviews scheduled for this week! I’m very excited to see what this new year will hold for me. 

I was actually pretty full around dinner time, but wanted to have something small to keep my metabolism moving so I enjoyed some edamame and sun-dried tomato ravioli.ImageAfter that, I was off to bed early since I was totally wiped out. I’ve been a little stressed with starting to figure out what I am going to do next year and it’s been keeping me up at night. I know I want to move, but figuring out the financial logistics and the actual logistics has been wearing on me a little bit. I need to take a step back and focus on not getting overwhelmed by the big picture. This is something I want for myself and should enjoy planning for it. I have got to figure out how to break it down into smaller pieces that are easier to manage.

Has anyone ever done a big move before? How did you tackle it?

Until next time,

Natasha

Live from Logan Airport – Bringing you Alpacca’s and Key Lime Pie

3 Jan

Morning everyone!

Thanks to the free WiFi here at Logan Airport I am writing to all of you before I hop on my plane back to DC. It is 13 freezing degrees outside, but I’m so toasty in here I have my uggs off my feet and on the floor.

We left off on New Years Day right before I ate dinner with Adrienne, her parents and brother. Lasagna was on the menu and it did not disappoint. I was also ecstatic that they have salad with every meal and a vegetable. WOO! That night’s was broccoliMy favorite 🙂ImageImageI went back for seconds on the salad and the broccoli 🙂 Love my veggies. 

After dinner, I had the chance to try another new food! Key Lime Pie. It’s actually Kevin’s favorite pie, but we’ve never bought it together, in fact I don’t think he’s had it in a long time, so I was excited to try it – even though I’m not a big lemon or lime person.ImageImageI actually enjoyed it! Not one of my favorites and I don’t know that I would go out of my way to buy it, but I did enjoy its taste and flavor more than I originally thought. Branching out twice in one day on the first day of the year? I’m doin pretty well 😉

After dinner Adrienne and I watched The Hunger Games, which is a series we both love. After that, we crashed out. In the morning I helped myself to some Cascadian Farms Hearty Morning Fiber Cereal which is one of my favorites!! I was so happy to see that cereal in their pantry. I topped it with half a banana, then enjoyed the other half with PB.ImageImageQuick, easy, and filling. Up next on our agenda was walking around State St downtown so I could see all the local shops and stores in Newburyport, where Adrienne spent most of her time in high school. 

Around 230ish we returned back to Adrienne’s for some lunch. I was ravenous at this point so I went for a little bit of everything.ImageImageImageImageI had half an egg bagel with 2 slices turkey and 1 slice provolone cheese. Secondly, I cut up an apple and had about half the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB you see here. I then also enjoyed a yogurt that was mango and peach! It was filling and exactly what I needed.

 

Pikka, their dog, really wanted to have some though.ImagePost feast, Adrienne’s mom took their alpacca out of the fence area and I got to meet it! I’ve never been up close and personal with one before so it was quite the experience.ImageImageImageImageAfter my little meet and greet, Adrienne and I snuggled up to watch Casino Royale. I had never seen any of the James Bond movies, I know but I haven’t seen sooo many movies, so I was excited to see what all the hype is about and had a snack on the side.ImageImageA little while after the movie, it was time for dinner! Tonight was Shepard’s Pie. Yet another food I had not tried yet! They made theirs with ground beef, potato, peas, carrots and corn. It was really filling and I definitely want to make some for myself in the future!ImageI enjoyed some salad on the side, then had a very small sliver of leftover Chocolate Pecan Pie with some homemade whipped cream.ImageAfter dinner, I checked into my flight, finished packing and was off to sleep! I’m about to board my plane so I gotta jet. Talk to you all from DC!

Until next time,

Natasha

A New Year, A New Fruit, A Polar Plunge and An Anniversary!

1 Jan

Happy new year readers! Welcome to 2013! (I’m no fan of this odd number business, but looks like we’re stuck with it).

I hope all of you had a wonderful, and safe, evening last night and enjoyed ringing in the new year. Being up here in northern Massachusetts is pretty bone chilling, but Adrienne and I have been having a great time so far. Before I began my trip here yesterday, I packed up and took a couple photos with my parents.ImageImageImageImageAfter these quick moments, we were off to Hartford Train Station to pick up my ticket,Image then we had some time to kill so we went into the Whole Foods.ImageOnce I got traveling, I took a nap, switched buses to take me to Newburyport from Boston and snacked on some sweet potato wedges.ImageWhen Adrienne picked me up I scarfed down an apple (it was around 330) and when I walked into her house I had a PB&J with crunchy peanut butter and fig jam. YUM! We did some catching up, sipping on hot chocolate, then got ready to go to a neighborhood friend’s house for a New Years Eve partayyyy!ImageImageImageI only took a couple photos of my food at the party, but I snacked on some wheat crackers with cheese, some mini meatballs in a delicious yet simple sauce (1 jar of jelly, 1 jar of chili sauce and onions) then had salad after this plate of brisket and rice with vegetables.ImageI also enjoyed some tastes of chocolate pecan piered velvet cheesecake, and pound cake with strawberries, cool whip and melted fudge fondue. All were delicious! We then played a less appropriate game of Apples to Apples called Cards Against Humanity. What’s cool is you print it off the internet onto hard paper, cut up the cards, and play! It’s free too which is another great perk. We played with Adrienne’s parents and other adult neighbors which made it hilariously awkward at times.

Adrienne and I left the party early to come back to her house and watch the ball drop! After that, we were straight off to bed because we could barely stay awake.

The ball dropping was also the signal that today, January 1st, marks the year and a half anniversary of Kevin and my’s relationship! Unfortunately, we are spending it apart, but we are looking forward to celebrating it when we are back together in DC. Happy anniversary Kevin! 🙂IMG_0838Today, we woke up and got bagels from a local bagelry. I went with wheat and topped it with some Cinnamon Swirl PB, a banana and I tried kiwi for the first time! I really liked it 🙂ImageImageImageThen we jumped into the Atlantic ocean in nothing but our bathing suits. Absolutely freezing but really exhilarating. It’s a tradition for Adrienne and her neighborhood and although we missed the dive with everyone, Adrienne and I still got to do one together. The only rules are you have to go in with only a bathing suit and you must put your head underwater. Here’s the en route, before and after the plunge photos for your enjoyment:ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageIMG_1933I was so happy that I got to do this tradition with such a close friend. It was an incredible rush and a cool way to start my new year. Braving cold weather, 34 degrees, freezing cold water temperatures, and diving in head first no matter what. Seems like a great mentality to take into this year 🙂

After we got back and dried off, I buttoned up and went out for a 4 mile run.ImageNow it’s time for a lasagna dinner! 🙂

Happy New Years to everyone, enjoy the rest of the 1st day of the year!

Natasha