Shakshuka — Savory Poached Eggs

Since I started getting Obsessed, I’ve been really utilizing the Fixate cooking show I get on my streaming workout system and LOVING IT.  They have been releasing some new recipes that work with exactly the portions and macros I need for the program, so that just makes my meal planning even simpler!

When I saw this recipe, I was very skeptical at first–I’m really not a huge egg fan, so I wondered how that would go as a main ingredient.  But, I love olives and I love not having to figure out a meal myself if someone else already did the work.  And I’m glad I tried it because it is SO GOOD.

Since you poach the eggs, you can really decide how runny or not-runny you want them, so just cook them longer if you don’t want runny yolks.  When you’re getting your kalamata olives, be careful to get olives that have already been pitted–I accidentally bought unpitted olives and it was such a nuisance to pit them. The recipe calls for whole wheat pita, but I’ve been eating this with my sprouted grain bread just to save a little money and not buy two different carbs when one would be fine.

The recipe calls for cooking all 8 eggs at once in a large skillet, but the idea of eating leftover eggs is really gross to me, so I cooked the sauce all at once on Sunday afternoon, then measured out the 4 different servings into different containers.  Each night when I was ready for this meal, I heated up 1 serving of sauce until boiling in a small saucepan, and then picked back up with the steps of poaching the eggs–I just used 2 eggs instead of 8.

The second time I made this, I tried to give myself a shortcut with buying a bag of pre-chopped kale, but I actually don’t recommend that because when I bought a bunch of kale and tore it up myself, I was able to get rid of the woody stalks much easier–the chopped bag had a lot of the stalk and it was hard to eat.  Next time I will get baby kale to make it simpler.

I also chopped my olives 10 at a time and kept them in separate containers since I cooked each servings separately.

**I couldn’t find a 35-oz can of crushed tomatoes, so I bought a 28-oz can and a 14-oz can and only used half of the smaller can.

Enjoy!

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Shakshuka (slightly adapted from Fixate)

Makes 4 servings, 1 cup of sauce and 2 eggs each

1 (35-oz.) can crushed tomato

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion (approx. 11⁄3 medium)

6 cloves finely chopped garlic

1½ tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1½ tsp. ground caraway

1 Tbsp. ground smoked paprika

¾ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

2 cups chopped bell pepper (approx. 22⁄3 medium)

1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins removed, chopped

¼ cup water

2 cups coarsely chopped kale

8 large eggs

40 whole kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

4 (4-inch) whole wheat pitas or 4 slices sprouted grain bread

 

1. Place tomatoes in a medium bowl; crush by hand (or pulse in food processor or blender) to achieve slightly chunky consistency. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large skillet (or cast iron pan) over high heat, until fragrant.

3. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium.

4. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, paprika, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.

5. Add bell pepper, jalapeño, and water; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.

6. Add kale and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

7. Use a spoon to make eight small wells in tomato mixture. Crack an egg into each well as you go; gently boil, covered, for 10 to 14 minutes, or until eggs have reached desired doneness. (I prefer mine with runny yokes, so about 10 minutes.) Remove from heat.

8. Garnish with olives and parsley, if desired. Serve with one pita or bread slice.

Container count: 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 tsp

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Sweet Potato and Chicken Filling

I’ve been hunting for some new recipes while I’m doing this new fitness program, and when I first saw this recipe, I was very skeptical.  I don’t typically like mashed sweet potato, and I was a little worried about it being such a big part of this meal.  But, I thought that maybe all the other ingredients would help with my texture issue, so I wanted to give it a try.

You guys, this is SO GOOD.  I could not believe how much I loved it!  The original recipe was written for this filling to be put in a collard green leaf wrap, which I liked a lot, but the second time I made this I ate it as a salad over spinach, which was even better! This is pretty simple to make as a big batch and then eat cold throughout the week.

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Make this recipe, you guys.  It’s gluten free, it’s clean eating, and it might even be Whole30 (just double check the sauce ingredients on that one)!  You’ll love it, too!

Sweet Potato and Chicken Filling (from Fixate on Beachbody On Demand)

Makes 4 servings, 1 1/3 cup each

2 cups mashed sweet potato

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. melted ghee (organic grass-fed, if possible)

3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless **I cooked mine in my CrockPot with some chicken broth then shredded it

1 cup chopped bell peppers (approx. 11⁄3 medium)

½ cup chopped tomato (approx. 1 medium)

½ cup sliced green onions

Combine the sweet potato and ghee until well mixed.  Add in the chicken, bell pepper, tomato, and green onions and stir until well mixed.  Keep refrigerated.

For the sauce:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1½ tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. raw honey

¼ cup fresh basil leaves

½ tsp. + 1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use

½ tsp. + 1 dash ground black pepper, divided use

Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or small food processor.  Keep refrigerated in a small container and top 2 tbsp of sauce on filling just before eating (if eating over spinach).

If you want to make this as a wrap, put 2/3 cup filling in one large collard leaf green and wrap burrito-style–one serving is 2 wraps.  You can put 1 tbsp sauce on the filling before you wrap it, then wrap the wraps (ha!) in plastic wrap (double ha!) and keep in the fridge to hold it all together.

 

Either way you fix it, this meal is one red, one green, one yellow, one orange, and one tsp for my Portion Fix friends.  If you aren’t a Portion Fix friend and want to become one, contact me!  Let’s chat.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles

I’ve been searching for a good pumpkin pancake/waffle recipe, and with the leftover pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge from Thanksgiving, this recipe was perfect for this weekend!  These waffles came out with just the right amount of crunch and pumpkin flavor.  A lot of pumpkin pancake/waffle recipes I’ve tried come out weird and hard, like clay almost–ew.  I was so happy with these!

I didn’t have coconut oil when I made these, so I used ghee instead and they turned out awesome.  I also didn’t have pre-made pumpkin pie spice, so I just threw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ground ginger.  Of course I didn’t measure any of it, but it turned out really well.  They were so good that I just ate one like it was a cookie without any toppings or anything.  I wrapped the rest of them up in plastic wrap and then in a freezer bag.  I’ll be using the toaster to thaw and heat them straight from the freezer!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles (from Fit Foodie Finds)

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Trader Joe’s Brand)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all the wet ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond milk) in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Combine all dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder, and baking soda) in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour the combined wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir to completely mix.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter onto heated waffle iron and cook until waffle is completely cooked through and browned, at least 4 minutes per waffle.  Enjoy with some chocolate chips, some almond butter, and/or some pure maple syrup!

Banana Oat Pancakes (make-ahead and toddler approved!)

I love breakfast, ya’ll.  It’s funny because I normally just have my super shake for my breakfast every day, but I love all things breakfast.  If it’s filling, yummy, healthy, and quick, even better!

These pancakes are so good, really easy to make, and they keep well in the freezer so I can make a big batch over the weekend and eat on them all week long.  You can easily add blueberries or chocolate chips, or just eat them plain with a drizzle of maple syrup.  My son loves these, too!  Win for everyone!

Banana Oat Pancakes (from Fixate)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 large eggs
1 large ripe banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 dash sea salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed and smooth.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  Measure out 1/4 cup pancake batter and pour onto skillet, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the top of the pancake starts to bubble.  Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes until cooked through and golden brown.  Repeat with all remaining batter.

Top with fruit, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and/or pure maple syrup.  If placing in freezer, let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap or put in zipper sandwich baggies, then place in a zipper freezer bag and freeze.

Each serving is 2 pancakes (1 yellow container).

Pre-Workout Comparison–C4 versus Energize

Since most of my workouts happen during the early morning, some kind of pick-me-up is definitely needed to get me going and to help me give my workouts my all.  I work really hard during my workouts, so a little extra umph helps me a lot!

I used to just drink some coffee in the mornings, but drinking a mug of coffee with some coconut milk creamer was a little too heavy on my stomach, and I like to sit quietly and enjoy my coffee, not gulp it down for my workout.  I started using Beachbody Performance Energize and really liked it, but decided to try a different brand to get some comparison and see which I liked better.   I know what you’re thinking–“she probably prefers the Beachbody one, *eyeroll*.”  And you’re right!  But for good reason so keep reading 😉

C4

*This picture is from Google Images*

I used C4 in their Watermelon flavor, which I really liked the taste of! Right off the bat, I didn’t love some of the ingredients–sucralose and artificial colors.  I try to stay away from artificial sweeteners and colors as much as I can, so I didn’t love ingesting them first thing after waking up.  It took about 20 minutes for me to start to feel the energy burst, which for me was a super itchy feeling in my ears–I had expected a tingly feeling, but it was super itchy, which was just kind of annoying.  The itch went away once I started my workout, but it was a little alarming at first because I was afraid I was allergic to something in the pre-workout.  (By the way, itching or tingling is a very normal effect of pre-workouts, so don’t worry if you experience that).  I definitely felt an energy burst with this pre-workout, but it wasn’t as much energy as I was hoping for.  Overall, the flavor was the best part of this pre-workout for me; the energy burst was fine, but wasn’t as much as I wanted.

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*This picture is from Google Images*

 

With Energize, the only flavor option is Lemon, which is just fine, but not my first choice.  Right off the bat with this pre-workout, it has an edge because it does NOT contain artificial sweeteners–it uses stevia leaf extract and beet sugar, which are both plant-based sweeteners and not made in a lab.  It also doesn’t contain artificial colors, so it makes me feel better about what I consume right after waking up.  With Energize, it takes about 10-15 minutes to start to feel the energy burst, which is a tingly feeling in my fingers and sometimes around my jaw line. It was also a little alarming at first (I had the same fear that I was allergic to something), but again, that is very normal for pre-workouts.  The tingle is a much less intense feeling than the itching I have with C4, so I prefer Energize in this category, too.  Finally, the burst of energy I feel is much stronger with Energize than it is with C4–I literally have a bounce in my step when I drink Energize, and that was missing when I drank the C4.  Energize wins out in every one of my categories except for flavor, which honestly is the least important one for me.

Energize also comes with 40 servings instead of C4’s 30 servings, so I like that I can add in a few runs here and there in addition to my regular at-home workouts, still use my pre-workout, and not run out before the month is over.

Do you use a pre-workout?  Which one is your favorite?  I’d love to hear some different perspectives and experiences!

If you want to try out Energize for yourself, you can get 10 packets to see how awesome it is here.

#mySADexperiment

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed me posting about my current health experiment–#mySADexperiement is 11 days in and is going strong!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly it is I’m doing, so I wanted to answer some of those questions here.

First of all, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety, and SAD is something I deal with every single winter.  When the days are shorter and the sun isn’t out as long during the day, we can’t get as much vitamin D, which is so necessary for our bodies and our sanity.  Because of this, a lot of us struggle with our moods, energy, and motivation during the winter months.  The “winter blues” can be mild to severe for different people, and for me it can get pretty intense.  Last year was the toughest winter yet for me, and I’ve been going into this winter with some anxiety.  I want to do whatever I can to alleviate and manage my SAD symptoms and enjoy this season–after all, it’s my favorite time of year!

I’ve done quite a bit of research on nutrition and depression/anxiety, and time and again studies are seeing a connection between what you put in your body and your emotional/mental health.  Now, I’m not saying that changing my diet will prevent or cure anything, but if there is a connection, it can only help, right?

The biggest culprit seems to be sugar.  Studies are showing that sugar is basically the devil–all kinds of negative consequences to our bodies, little to no nutritional benefits.  Too bad this time of year is filled with sugar, sugar EVERYWHERE.  I made chili last night with some Italian pork sausage and found corn syrup (aka sugar) in the ingredients.  WHY???

Which brings me to my experiment: during the 30 days of November, I’m being intentional about fueling my body with what it NEEDS and what will be beneficial for me, not with what I want (you know, all the bread and leftover Halloween candy).  Limiting sugar, staying away from breads and refined grains, and limiting dairy while loading up on fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats.  I’m also committed to working out every single day, since exercise releases endorphins and helps with your mood.  My doctor has told me more than once that the first thing I need to do for my depression is work out, and I’m usually very consistent with my fitness.  During the winter months, however, it gets so easy for me to skip workouts and make excuses–who doesn’t want to stay in bed under the warm covers a little longer when it gets cold outside?

So far, this experiment is going really well!  I’ve gotten a workout in each day, and while I haven’t been perfect with my nutrition, I have been very intentional about what I’m eating and have been great at getting my veggies in–and I’m feeling really great!  I don’t expect to have zero SAD symptoms this winter, but I am determined to avoid the darkness I felt last year.  So far, the difference is night and day between how I’m feeling right now and how I felt in November of last year.

This time of year is notorious for being difficult for people to focus on their health, but I’m determined to be different this year.  I have committed to owning my health this season instead of letting the season own me, and I’m excited about making it happen.  I’ve got the all the tools I need between my streaming workouts and super shake, and putting them to use may not be easy, but it’s definitely simple.

If you want to join me in #mySADexperiment, click here!

Grain-Free Broccoli Crust

I’ve been seeing this particular recipe floating around for about a year, and even though I really wanted to try it, I kept procrastinating.  I knew it would be a more involved recipe, and I also knew that my husband and child probably wouldn’t even try it, so it just seemed like it might not be worth it.  But inspiration finally struck and I am SO GLAD it did!  This broccoli crust is amazing and I am so excited to use it for a pizza alternative for myself.

The original recipe calls for making one larger pizza crust, but since I’m eating it by myself I opted to make two smaller crusts and just put one in the freezer after the initial bake (once it had completely cooled).  I also used half of a 15-oz bag of riced broccoli instead of chopping 3 cups of whole broccoli.

The crust is so much more flavorful than I had anticipated, and it held up really well when I put the toppings on it (I used ricotta, tomato sauce, onions and peppers, and cheese).  It was so good and even my husband commented on how good it looked and smelled!  Maybe next time he’ll actually try a bite 😉

This will definitely be a freezer staple for me–it was simple (even if it was a little involved to make) and it tastes great.  I love being able to have pizza without feeling bloated or having tighter pants the next day!

Broccoli Crust (from Fixate)

3 cups raw broccoli florets (or 1/2 15 oz bag riced broccoli)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (part-skim)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tbsp dried basil

 

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

If using broccoli florets, pulse in food processor until breadcrumb consistency–if using riced broccoli, this step is not necessary.  Steam broccoli for 5-7 minutes in a steamer basket over boiling water (or until tender).  Set aside to let cool completely.  Using a cheesecloth or heavy-duty paper towel, squeeze cooled broccoli to get rid of excess water.

Combine cooled and squeezed broccoli, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, garlic, and basil leaves. Mix well (I got the best results using my hands).

Transfer broccoli mixture to baking sheet (either as one crust or two smaller crusts)–use fingers to spread the mixture into a circle by pressing down and out and leave a “lip” on the crust so your toppings don’t slide off.

Bake crust in pre-heated oven for 18-20 min, until crust is set and lightly browned.

If freezing, let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer zip-close bag. To reheat, bake frozen in a 400 F oven for 10-15 minutes until thawed and proceed to the next step.

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Not the most amazing food photo ever, but it’s the best I can do!

Add toppings for pizza and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let cool 2 minutes before cutting and enjoy!