Five on Friday {3.11.16}

Good morning! TGIF 🙂 I know everyone has been talking about the weather, but I mean, seriously?! I have 3 words for you: Soak. It. In! I hope you’ve all had a great week- mine has been fairly quiet… and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I even had a day where I had nothing planned after work, which hasn’t happened in MONTHS (literally). It was so nice to be able to run some errands and still get home at a reasonable hour.

Let’s talk Friday things, though 🙂

  • Bagged kale- Kale is a serious staple at our house. Both of us eat a ridiculous amount of it, and while it’s easy to cook (we just season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and EVOO and then bake it), we both HATE preparing it when it comes to de-stemming it and washing it. I found this bag of organic pre-washed & cut kale at Whole Foods and decided to try it out. While I still had to pick through the kale pieces to remove stem pieces, I found the whole experience to still be faster than the traditional way and about the same price. Totally loving it!

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  • Veggie Teriyaki Stir FryHummusapien has done it again! I whipped up a batch of her Veggie Teriyaki Stir Fry since we had cooked brown rice (I accidentally ordered it when we ordered sushi last week) and other veggies on hand and, per usual, it’s a huge hit. RM went back for seconds and thirds and couldn’t stop raving about it! We’ve eaten it plain, served over kale and shredded brussels sprouts and beneath an over-easy egg. There’s really no wrong way to eat it. GO MAKE IT!

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  • Box FIIT Certification– I am slowly but surely making my way through this certification. It’s proving to be a much bigger commitment than I really needed to be doing at this point in my life (with wedding planning and a new class on my schedule and everything else), but I’m really learning SO MUCH and am totally enjoying it. I just wish I was able to make more time for it so I could get it done quicker, but I still want to keep blogging and having some time to relax at night so I’m taking it slow.

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  • {Potential Spoiler Alert!!}Breaking Bad– Ok, I know we are WAY late to the party, but we have been plugging away at these episodes and seasons and it gets crazier and crazier. For those of you who watch it, am I the only one who doesn’t like Walt?! We just finished Episode 7 of Season 5 where he killed Mike, who I loved! I was seriously so sad 😦 and he was so mean to Jesse, who I also love. UGH!
  • Soaking up the sun– Wednesday’s weather was just TOO GOOD to not soak up, so instead of running after work/before teaching, I laced up and hit the pavement during my lunch break. I surprised myself with sub 8-minute miles and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the run… it felt so liberating to run in just a tank after so many layered clothing runs!

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And that does it! As for weekend plans, I’m getting together with my SMC girlfriends tonight, teaching tomorrow and then shopping all day with RM. I’m heading home on Sunday to do some serious wedding stuff with my parents.

Questions for you: How has your week been? What do you have planned this weekend? Did you get outside to enjoy the weather this week? Have you found any good new recipes lately? What’s a show you’re loving these days?

Weekending: Drinks, Booty By Brabants Class, Christmas Partying & Home to Maine

Good morning! Is it just me or are the weekends/December FLYING by?! This weekend was no different… except for the fact I’m in the office today instead of working from home 😦 Oh well- I’m traveling to South Carolina for a few days this week so it’s not a big deal! Let’s recap the weekend, though 🙂

Friday

After work on Friday, I went to the Legal C Bar at the M Street shops with a work friend. We had a blast chatting and sipping on some vino. Once we parted ways, I headed home and realized that RM would not be around for dinner. I was in no mood to stay in by myself- and we had no food- so I walked over to Social Restaurant for dinner and drinks… by myself! It was actually nice- I ordered a pizza, kale and bubbly. Always bubbly. And, since I posted a photo on Instagram, the manager gave me another free drink. I’ll take it!

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RM and his cousin ended up joining me and then our friends Bob and Kristen randomly popped in, too! Kristen and I have recently connected through blogging and it’s been so fun. She writes an awesome blog highlighting on restaurants and travel and her posts are so beautifully written and have really nice photos. You need to check it out!

Saturday

Rm and I took our time getting up and then puttered around the house and took a walk before I headed into the city for a Booty By Brabants class at the BFX Studio. I had heard so much about Kelly’s class and about the BFX studio so I was pumped to get invited to check both out! BFX is a beautiful studio with nice locker rooms and class space and Kelly’s class was FULL of energy, smiles, sexy dancing and sweat! Remember how I talked about getting out of your comfort zone and getting comfortable being uncomfortable? This class was a great example of doing this! I want to do a full review of the class in a separate post so I’ll leave it at that. Such a fun Saturday!

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After the class we had a chance to try out juices and smoothies from Nourish Your Soul and paleo meals from Paleo Life. The juices & smoothies were fantastic and I was so excited when the founder of Nourish Your Soul gave me a free smoothie to take home. It was the perfect post workout treat. I also really enjoyed the food items that I sampled from Paleo Life. If you’ve never heard of it, Paleo Life is a healthy meal planning & delivery service which is great for those who are “too busy” to eat healthy. They seem pretty affordable and deliver to all around Boston so if it’s something you’d be interested in, check them out!

After the event, I did some Christmas shopping and then baked a batch of the most delicious Hidden Avocado Brownies from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen to take to Jessi and Chuck’s party. It’s the second time I’ve made them and I’m totally obsessed. Not only are they easy, but they taste so rich & moist you’d never know there was an avocado in them!

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The party was a blast! It’s always so fun getting dressed up, laughing and chatting with friends, drinking wine & eating fun party food. Thanks for hosting such a fun party guys!

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Sunday

I woke up on Sunday and packed up to head to Maine for the day. I hadn’t been up there for a long time and was in need of a little quiet time with my parents. I stopped at Kittery for a little shopping before meeting my mom for lunch at the Springvale Publick House. I enjoyed a locally brewed beer and homemade turkey chili. Both were unbelievable!

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Once I got home, I helped my parents bring in and decorate the tree, squeezed in a workout and relaxed with some vino and blogging. It was such a nice Sunday!

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For dinner, we had Pork Tenderloin Medallions, baked sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli and everything was great!

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One last thing before I sign off for the day… my friend Kelly works for a company called Schoola which collects & resells gently used clothes to help provide schools with funds for various things. Right now, they have an incredible sale going on where you can buy BRAND NEW Athleta clothing for super discounted prices and the best part is that a huge portion of the proceeds go to the Mala Fund. I recently requested a bag so that I could send them some clothes I no longer wear. You can use that same link if you’re looking for a good place to donate your gently used clothes! And, if you want to shop some brand new Athleta clothes for a great discount, check out this link. I just bought the black sweater!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Did you have any holiday parties? Have you ever grabbed dinner at a local bar by yourself?

Tastes of Fall: Chicken, Quinoa, Kale & Goat Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Good morning! I’ve got a delicious- and easy-  recipe for you today. Anyone else like to cook according to the season and, well, what’s in season? I love seeing all of the pumpkin, squash, and apple recipes floating around the blogisphere these days. Athena posted this delicious looking Autumn Kale Salad recipe last week, Alexis posted this Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta recipe that I’m dying to make and Lexi posted these fantastic Pumpkin Sticky Bun Muffins that I actually made last weekend!

I could literally go on and on, but today I want to share a fall recipe that I made the other week. I based it off of this recipe that I made last year, which was basically identical to the meal we had at The Local in Newton. Regardless, I realized that I hadn’t actually POSTED a recipe for this meal so I figured today was as good a time as any 🙂

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All you need for this recipe is an acorn squash, kale (or spinach), chicken (or shrimp or steak), quinoa (or rice or a blend) and goat cheese (or feta or none)… as you can see, you can really do what you want to make this recipe your own!

Ingredients (use as a guide, but feel free to substitute as you see fit!)

  • 1 medium acorn squash, baked
  • 3-4 chicken thighs, baked
  • small bunch of kale, de-stemmed, rinsed & baked
  • Quinoa or rice or a blend (I had a medley on hand so I used that)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of goat cheese
  • dash of cinnamon (for acorn squash)
  • EVOO (for kale  & chicken)
  • Coconut oil
  • salt & pepper & garlic powder

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425*, cut your acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Coat the flesh of the acorn squash with coconut oil and place face down in a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Once it’s soft, remove from the oven and sprinkle some cinnamon on the flesh. Set aside.
  2. While the squash is cooking, cook your quinoa or rice according to the directions on the back of the package.
  3. While the squash and quinoa are cooking, prepare your kale by washing it, de-stemming it and placing it in a baking dish. Coat with salt, pepper, garlic powder & plenty of EVOO. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it has wilted.
  4. Once you’ve gotten a handle of the foods in steps 1-3, prepare your chicken. I cut mine into cubes, coated with EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic powder and sautéed in a skillet until it was cooked through.
  5. At this point, everything should be cooked and it’s time to assemble everything. I combined the kale, quinoa and chicken in a small bowl and then stuffed the acorn squash halves with that mixture. Finally, I topped each stuffed half with a sprinkling of goat cheese and broiled for a few minutes until the cheese started to brown.

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What I loved about these was that even though it was a lot of separate things to cook, they could pretty much all be done simultaneously since the squash takes some time to bake and the quinoa and kale don’t need tending to once they’re cooking.

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All of the flavors in this dish really complimented each other and left me “mmm’ing” after each bite. The savory flavor from the kale mixed with the sweetness from the squash was on point!

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These also reheated really well and sine the squash was cooked enough that it was soft it was easy to peel away from the skin. You could eat the skin if you wanted lots of extra fiber, but I opted to take the skin off 😉

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Like stuffed peppers, I call this a one stop dinner dish since you’ve got veggies, protein and healthy fats all in one place! This is a great fall recipe- let me know if you try it 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your favorite fall recipe? Are you a pumpkin lover? What’s your favorite kind of squash? Do you prefer kale or spinach?

 

 

Brussels Sprouts w/Broccoli, Onions & Slivered Almonds

You guys… This side dish I whipped up the other night was absolutely delicious! It’s probably no surprise that I love Brussels Sprouts, and this dish was no exception. I had been wanting to cook them a different way besides just roasting them and I definitely achieved that with this recipe. And, the beauty of it is that I can see us making different variations of it and pairing it with lots of different meals in the future. YES!

Another beauty about this recipe? Super easy to throw together. I think chopping the veggies was the most time consuming part- big deal, right? With a glass of wine as my kitchen partner, it was actually quite therapeutic.

Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Brussels Sprouts, ends cut off and chopped into 4 sections
  • 1.5 cups chopped broccoli
  • 3/4-1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup slivered or chopped almonds
  • 2-4 tbsp of white wine (optional, but what isn’t better with a little vino?!)
  • EVOO to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Coconut Crusted Healthified Chicken Tenders {gluten free & dairy free}

Did I have you at “coconut encrusted”?? 🙂 RM has been getting creative in the kitchen and this was a meal that I couldn’t not share with you. Not only was it super easy to put together, it makes you feel like you’re indulging but without the guilt. These are gluten free, dairy free, packed with protein and other super foods and taste delicious. Win, win, win!

Coconut crusted chicken tenders

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