Whole Foods & Protein Smoothie

Today I had a long workout at the gym.  I pushed myself a little too far working out back and legs.  Now I’m a hungry beast!!! I decided to go to Whole Foods for some grub.  To save money and get a quick eat, I decided to order a pizza. This is pretty rare for me but you can get a good deal on a pizza at Whole Foods.

I ordered a large whole grain pizza with roasted red peppers, spinach, pepperoni and riccota.  The total cost was $14.99!  The pizza was going to take about 20 minutes to bake so I decided to try a new smoothie from their smoothie bar.

My new friend Ashley B helped us decide on an awesome post-workout smoothie.  It has coconut water, whey protein, bananas, strawberry, flaxseed, bluebonnet extreme edge post workout, and vanilla Greek yogurt.  Ashley suggested we try the smoothie with the chocolate whey protein and said it was very good.  She was right!! While we waited, Ashley let us try out her “secret” smoothie called the Blue Moon. It was so delicious!!! I’m ordering it the next time I visit Whole Foods! The Blue Moon has blueberries, bananas, 1/2 a cup of coconut water and unsweetened almond milk and a scoop if coconut oil.  She even gave me a tip on how much liquid to put in a smoothie.  Basically, if your want to make a 16oz smoothie, fill it up half way with the liquids, pour that in the blender and add the other ingredients.    Voilà, you have an awesome smoothie!

Ashley B from Whole Foods at the Domain in Austin, Texas!

Thanks so much Ashley B!!!  I hope to see you the next time we visit Whole Foods!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

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It’s that time of year! The fall season is coming to an end and it is finally cooling down here in Austin, Texas. I love the cool weather as long as it doesn’t ice or snow. (Typical Texan!) I decided to cook up some soup to go along with the amazing weather we have had recently.   Plus, we need to get back to our regular eating habits. I have not been very good at my healthy lifestyle with such a busy schedule the past two weeks. Time to get back to it! No excuses!!

This recipe is very big because everything is big in Texas! It is perfect for a large family or a very hungry husband like mine. The recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken. The easiest, cheapest and less time-consuming option is to buy a cooked rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store. The best, biggest and cheapest we have found is at Costco. Sprouts Farmers Market has some good options as well. Our other grocery store is HEB. Theirs are quite good but are more expensive than the rotisserie chicken at Costco.

Here is the recipe! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

You can cook the soup in a crock-pot for 2 hours or just cook on the stove on high heat in a large pot. You can limit the Serrano peppers and use half the chipotle peppers if you don’t like as much spice in your life. We all need some spice in our lives!

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Ingredients

1 whole rotisserie chicken shredded

2 cartons or 8 cups of chicken stock (I use Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock)

2 cups of chopped cilantro

1 can of chipotle peppers (3.5 oz)

1 can diced green chilies (4 oz)

1 can black beans

1 chopped large tomato or 1 can of diced tomatoes

¼ c chopped white onion

2 finely chopped medium-sized Serrano peppers

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground pepper

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 finely chopped garlic cloves

½ tsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. olive oil

Toppings

Avocado

Mexican blend cheese

crushed Tortilla chips (if that is all you have lying around at home) or tortilla strips

Cilantro

Lime juice

Directions

  • Blend or chop the chipotle peppers if they are not diced. I used a bullet blender.
  • Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, Serrano peppers, garlic, green chilies, and chipotle peppers. Sauté until onion and peppers brown.
  • In the large pot over the stove (or the crock-pot) add the chicken stock, shredded chicken, sautéed onion and pepper mix, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, ground pepper and black beans. Heat on medium-high until the soup begins to boil. Set the temp to low-medium and place a lid on the pot.  Allow the soup to soak in all the flavors for about 10-15 minutes.  If you use a crock-pot, it should be set on high for about 2 hours.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with avocado, Mexican blend cheese, tortilla strips (or crushed tortilla chips), cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae 🙂

Super Easy Paleo Pancakes!

Ingredients:

1 cup milk (I use almond but you can use any paleo milk.)

5 eggs

2 tablespoons coconut oil (I buy mine in bulk at Costco.)

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond flour (I buy mine in bulk at Costco.)

1/2 cup coconut flour (I use a very affordable one from Trader Joe’s.)

1/2 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot (I use Bob’s Red Mill.)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon flaxseed

  • Quickly put all ingredients in a blender on high until creamy. Do not let the ingredients sit too long or else it will cake up.
  • Use coconut oil or coconut spray on a pan. Pour the batter on a pan and cook evenly on both sides.

Feel free to add nuts or your favorite fruit.

You can make the whole batch and freeze the rest separating the pancakes with parchment paper.

Enjoy!

Cheers,

~Nancy Rae

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, chia, and Strawberry Protein Smoothie!

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Mix all ingredients together into a Vitamix or blender for 2 minutes. Enjoy the deliciousness!

1tbsp JustGreatStuff peanut butter (or any other powdered peanut butter)
1/2 tbsp Chia seeds
1 scoop Warrior Blend Protein ( or any other chocolate protein)
1 1/2c milk or water (I use lactose free milk)
4 frozen strawberries (I used fresh strawberries that I froze for smoothies)

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Low-Carb Alfredo “Pasta” and our healthier food journey

I LOVE carbs and pasta! Well, I used to…  I literally cooked pasta about 4 times a week, but that was back in college when I was not as health conscious.  These past three years have been very adventurous for my fiancé and I.  One of the changes we made was trying to eat as healthy as possible without driving our taste buds crazy.  We removed a ton of processed foods, started cooking more at home (well I am the cook) and we only eat at local restaurants with healthy choices.  Our cheat days also turned into a cheat meal and a cheat snack.

We were already pretty healthy but our digestive systems have been changing the older we got and the more fit we became.  We have become sensitive to lactose, wheat and artificial sweeteners.  I became bloated 24/7 and was having trouble digesting food even those gluten-free products.  I also got bored with my normal workout routine and started subscribing to online videos from Barre3 and signed up with a personal trainer (who is also a friend) at X-Train in Austin, TX.  I also track most of my food intake on My Fitness Pal.  One of the most important changes we made was looking at nutrition information and ingredient labels in detail.  Most people don’t pay attention to that and assume “low-fat” and “low-carb” labels are enough… My health has drastically changed since I am paying closer attention to my diet.  I lost some pesky pounds that took me about 4 years to get rid of no matter what I did.  My clothing fits better and I even went down a size or two!  This is a big deal for someone who is 4ft 10in!!  My body is changing and I can see muscles I never knew I had.

We now get discussed by things we used to eat as our cheat meals like pizza, burgers, and some of our favorite brunch meals.  90% of our meals are now made at home and I food prep 1-2 times a week.  My fiancé does not really cook unless it’s eggs or oatmeal so he will eat whatever I make.  In no way did I force anything on him.  He did it all by himself by noticing that he feels much better.  His digestive system has improved and he is more sensitive to artificial foods with additives and preservatives.  He has decreased his sugar intake and is now very serious when it comes to eating out.  I love it!!! He is my best friend and my support machine!  Without him, I would probably cave!  I make some pretty great food so it’s not like we eat like rabbits.  In fact, I can barely eat a salad I make.  I am SO picky about veggies and salad dressings.  Most veggies are disgusting to me if eaten raw.  Oh and I am a BIG fan of sauces, only if they are healthy of course.  If I can eat healthy while being picky, anyone can eat healthy and change their lifestyle.

I have some great suggestions for sauces and using alternatives to carbs.  One of my favorite kitchen toys is the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter.  I discovered it thanks to Pinterest!  It was more expensive than I thought but it is amazing!  I have not purchased any type of pasta in months since we changed our diet so this was a great buy!

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Here is one of my first experiments with the spiral cutter…

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This is my version of low-carb Alfredo pasta.  I used a zucchini and a yellow squash as the alternative for pasta.  You can also use peppers and other veggies that fit in the spiral cutter.
There are various ways to cook the spiral “pasta.”  I steamed mine in a pot.  You can also try boiling or baking the veggies.  I was afraid of the pasta becoming too mushy so steaming it was a better decision.  It came out great!  This also only took about 10 minutes to make!!

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IMG_3678I found this very tasty Alfredo mix at Sprouts for under $2.  There are very few ingredients, it is gluten-free, low-carb and low-fat.  All you have to add is milk.  I would not suggest using soy milk, coconut milk or any flavored milk as you will change the texture and the taste.  Butter is an option but not one for me.

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Apologies for the awful photo…

Not only was this delicious but my fiancé asked me to make some more!   This Alfredo Pasta is now on our “pasta” recipes list.

I hope I inspired at least one person out there to make some changes in their lifestyle.  Like my blog, my posts and send me a message.  I would love to hear from you! 🙂

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Banana Bread Pancakes- Gluten free and Guilt Free

Banana Bread Pancakes

Gluten free and Guilt Free

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. Milled flax seed
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • **Optional** ½ tbsp. organic sugar (also try coconut sugar)
  • **Optional** fresh blue berries

$$ Tip: For the almond flour, use a coffee grinder and grind up almonds.

Mix all ingredients except for the blue berries.  Heat a skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Spoon ¼ c of the batter onto the skillet then spread it a little so it doesn’t stay as a blob.  Add the fresh blue berries and lightly press them down into the pancake.  Allow the pancake to cook for about 3 minutes then turn it over.

Food prep tip: You can double the batch, make all pancakes and then freeze for later.

Mix makes 4 mini pancakes.

Nutrition info per 1 serving – 1/4 c (4 servings total)

  • Calories – 119.5 g
  • Fat – 7.68 g
  • Carbs – 6.35 g
  • Sugar – 2.38 g
  • Potassium – 45.3 g
  • Protein – 5.23 g

Skinny Organic Burrito

When we don’t have time to make lunch or we run out of leftovers , PJs Skinny Organic Burritos are our last resort! These are also low budget!!

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These burritos are amazing and low in calories! As you can see in the ingredient and nutrition info pictures below, the ingredients are organic and a great source of protein. If you are looking for a low carb meal this is not for you unless you are very active. Although, the carbs are not completely awful. They mostly come from the tortilla which is also made from organic ingredients.

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I personally only eat these when I have no time to cook or I am on the run. My body is not quite to the point where it can use bad carbs (flour and other bread products) for fuel. Most of those bad carbs contribute to unwanted bloating in the midsection and weight gain. Yet, I am talking about my body. My fiancé can eat two of these and he is completely fine. He is a very active man with a very high metabolism…. Lucky him!! I WISH I had his metabolism!!!

Back to the point…. You can find an 8 pack of these awesome burritos at wholesale places like Costco for under $11! The website ( PJs Skinny Organic Burritos ) has a variety of fillings you can choose from as well. I may have to order some for my guy!! If you are currently changing your diet from fast food and other junk, try these babies! You will be full and feel much better afterward compared to how you feel after eating a greasy burger and fries.

Tip: Try the PJ organic burrito with 1/2 an avocado and some of your favorite salsa! That’s how I eat mine! 😉

$$ Tip: Purchase healthy foods like these in bulk. They will be cheaper than buying individual packs at the grocery store. They also last a while in your freezer. You will be stocked up and can’t complain you don’t have anything good or healthy to eat!

Cheers!!
~Nancy Rae

Soyrizo!

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This stuff is not quite chorizo (Spanish sausage) but it is still good! I scrambled mine with 3 egg whites and one egg yolk. It needs some salt and pepper and maybe a sprinkle of hot sauce!

I found mine at Sprouts Farmers Market near the tofu and vegan food alternatives in the dairy isle.

Let me know what you think!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Soup for the soul

Well it is nice and chilly out in Austin, Texas! This weather is rare here. Most Texans hate the cold but we love it in our home! Our little pup Bobby despises this weather too…

20131124-210632.jpgHere is the little booger! He refuses to leave our bed…

This warm weather calls for some delicious and healthy soup! My hubby to be loves soup and he loves my Caldo! For those that are unfamiliar with Caldo must try it! It is a Spanish chicken and veggie soup. I make arroz (Spanish rice) on the side and soak it in my bowl of soup.  Hopefully I can write-up a recipe soon! This soup is very easy but it does take some time.  I do not recommend frozen or canned ingredients either.  This soup must be made fresh!  It can be made con pollo (chicken) or de res (with meat).

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Check out those fresh and colorful veggies!!!

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Here is the finished product!!

Stay warm out there friends!!!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae 🙂

Red Chili Pepper Shrimp

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Mmmmmmmmm…..

I love shrimp and I love spice! Why not put them together?
This is one of my favorite dishes.  My fiancé is always asking me to make “that chili pepper shrimp stuff” all the time.

The main ingredient is the red chili pepper.  You can find it in the jelly section at your local grocery store.  I was lucky to find a giant jar for under $10 at Costco!! I highly recommend reading the ingredients to make sure you don’t find any nasty additives.

Here is the recipe!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 3-4 people (depending on how hungry you are!)

Ingredients
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
3 table spoons Red chili pepper
2 dozen shrimp (defrosted)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1) Warm up a frying man on medium heat and coat it with the olive oil.

2)Season the shrimp with a sprinkle of black pepper and cayenne pepper.  The more you coat the shrimp, the spicier it will be!

3) Place shrimp on the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side with a lid on the pan.  The lid will lock in more moisture and steam so the shrimp will cook thoroughly.  No one likes dry shrimp!

4) Once the shrimp cooks on both sides, add 3 tablespoons of the Red Chili Pepper.  Mix the jelly around to coat the shrimp.  Cover the pan again for another 3 minutes or until the jelly has dissolved.

5) Serve over quinoa pasta, your favorite rice or veggies!! Enjoy!

 

**Tip**
You can use the same recipe for fish!! I made mine with Talapia!! Yummmy!!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae