Smoked Salmon

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I LOVE Applebee’s savory smoked chicken, so I decided to make up my own copy cat recipe. It was still missing something- like perhaps a marinade? Nonetheless, it was still really good. I ways love an extra lemon wedge with my fish :)
I made my smoke chips “bowl” first. I soaked a hand full of hickory smoked wood chips and a cedar plank for 30 minutes. Using foil as my bowl, I folded them all up in the foil and poked holes for the smoke to escape.
For the salmon, I sprinkled garlic powder, salt and pepper on my filets then placed them diagonally on my cedar board. I put the salmon on the unlit side of the grill and the foil pack on the lit side. I grilled them, rotating half way through, for 30 minutes. It seemed as thought they took forever to cook.
Try it out! Smoked salmon is very very good!!

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Meal Prep – Chicken Breasts, Leeks & Zucchini

I can’t express how important meal prep is in order to keep me an my family on track. It doesn’t take long, and makes my lunches or dinners a breeze. In case you haven’t noticed, when I meal prep I always keep everything BASIC and practically raw. That way I can easily change it up, all while keeping my meals healthy and tasty!

Meal Prep Made Easy! I hate eating the same thing everyday, so this is perfect for me!

This week I prepped grilled chicken breasts with leeks and zucchini plus broccoli and hard boil eggs.

Meal Prep Made Easy! I hate eating the same thing everyday, so this is perfect for me!

 

How much chicken do you need? Well I only wanted 5 meals and each meal needed 4 oz. That meant 20 oz was all I needed. I ended up grilling all the chicken I had and froze what what left over.

Grill the chicken – I drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil over all my chicken breasts. Then I lightly sprinkled some fresh cracked pepper, a little salt and some garlic powder on each breast then flipped them over and did the same thing. I grilled them on each side for about 6 minutes each side. My breasts were cut perfectly – not to thick or too thin. Make sure you cook your chicken all the way aka WELL DONE.

While the chicken was on the grill, I washed and cut up 3 leeks, and 5 small zucchini. I divided them up equally and put into tupperware containers. It was basically 1 cup of zucchini and 1 cup of leeks in each container. Then I weighed out 4 oz of chicken breasts for each container.

The snacks I wanted this week were so simple. Just a boiled egg and some raw chopped broccoli. I chopped three small heads of broccoli and divided them into 5 containers; roughly 1/2 cup of broccoli went into each container.

How to boil eggs – It’s so simple! Put your eggs in a pot. Fill the pot with water until the water completely covers the eggs but 1/2 an inch. Bring the pot of eggs and water to a boil. Once the pot comes to a rolling boil, turn the heat off and let it sit for 10-20 minutes. It makes perfect eggs every time!

Here are some of the meals I made with my basic meal prep this week:

Bacon & Mini Bell Pepper Saute

Meal Prep Made Easy! I don't like to eat the same thing everyday, so this is perfect! Meal Prep Made Easy! I hate eating the same thing everyday, so this is perfect for me! Meal Prep Made Easy! I hate eating the same thing everyday, so this is perfect for me!

Cut up one piece of raw bacon into little bits. Cook in a saute pan on med-high heat until just crispy. Add one mini bell pepper, cook for a minute and then add your meal prep. After everything is reduced and almost done, add a slice of tomato or some small cherry tomatoes for juices. Heat for one minute then serve it hot. Enjoy!

Cheddar & Onions Fajitas

Meal Prep Made Easy! I don't like to eat the same thing everyday, so this is perfect!

I was really craving a fajita with some sour cream! After I made my fajita, I went to grab the sour cream and it was GONE!  Oh, well.

Heat your skillet on medium-high. Slice a mini bell pepper and 1/4 of a yellow onion into strips. Add a teaspoon of canola oil to the pan and saute the onions and peppers for a couple minutes till translucent. Add your meal prep and a dash or two of cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Serve on whole wheat tortilla(s) and some extra sharp cheddar!

Side of Bacon Spinach

Meal Prep Made Easy! I don't like to eat the same thing everyday, so this is perfect!

This side is so easy. If you aren’t wanting a salad try this side instead.

Cut up one piece of bacon into small bits. Fry in a pan until golden brown. Drain most of the fat. Add spinach and toss until wilted. In another pan saute your meal prep.

Garlic Parmesan Meal Prep

Meal Prep Made Easy! I don't like to eat the same thing everyday, so this is perfect!

Saute your meal prep on medium/high heat. Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and a handful of spinach. Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese on top.

Southwestern Chicken Meal Prep

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Fail to plan – plan to fail!

I live by that phrase.
When I don’t’ meal prep, my family just grabs food and gobbles it down. Order and structure is a must in my home. One of my favorite meal prep solutions is to cook a huge batch of chicken. Each week I prep a different flavor chicken or other meat.
This week my chicken is southwestern chicken bites.

Southwest Chicken
3 lb chicken
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp chili powder
Salt/Pepper optional
1 large onion
1 red bell pepper
2 jalapeños, seeds included

I take 3 lbs of raw chicken breasts and dice them into little 1″x1″ cubes. I put them in a bowl, add cumin, coriander, and chili powder then toss it all coating well.
In a sauté pan, I heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium/high heat then sauté onion, bell peppers, and jalapeños until half way cooked. When half way cooked, I add the chicken and cook 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked completely. Make sure you cook your chicken all the way!
Let the chicken and veggies cool, then refrigerate!
Toss on salads, make a cheesy southwestern pasta bake, or just eat it with some steamed veggies and rice! The possibilities are endless!

How important is breakfast?

Start your day out right.

Are you eating breakfast?  Find out why this meal is definitely not the one to skip! hhmomma.com

Too often I get asked why breakfast is important. I know that some people really just aren’t hungry in the mornings so they feel like they don’t need to eat.

Children Breakfast Idea - berries & oatmeal with brown sugar and cranberries... Are you eating breakfast?  Find out why this meal is definitely not the one to skip! hhmomma.com

But listen, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! I’m not talking about donuts or sugar cereals. I’m talking about HEALTHY breakfasts.

Berry walnut protein oatmeal - Are you eating breakfast?  Find out why this meal is definitely not the one to skip! hhmomma.com

1. It stops your body from breaking down muscle for energy. You won’t be lethargic. Eating breakfast will give you the physical strength you need to move around through out the day. Too tired to have sex at night? Try eating breakfast. (…or make your partner eat breakfast. It could be our little science project.)

2. Breakfasts controls your appetite so you don’t crash diet and eat too much at lunch time and through out the rest of the day.

3. You will perform better at work or in college. Concentrations is improved. Same goes for children. They perform better in the classrooms and recreation areas.

4. Studies have proved that those who eat breakfast weigh less than those who do not. See #2.

5. It will lower your cholesterol. We all have seen the oatmeal and Cheerio’s commercials…

6. Skipping breakfast, or any meal, makes it hard for you to actually intake the daily recommend vitamins and minerals.

Don’t tell me you don’t have time to eat breakfast; it is a lazy man’s excuse. It’s not hard to pre-plan. You can make different meals the night before like overnight oats, chia pudding, peanut butter on toast, make granola & yogurt cups, or even pack a protein shake like Shakeology or Herbalife. Grab a banana if all else fails! If you really are short on time, wake up earlier! 10-15 min is all you need. Eggs literally take a minute and a half to cook.

How to make eggs in the microwave! Are you eating breakfast?  Find out why this meal is definitely not the one to skip! hhmomma.com

You can scramble two eggs in a coffee mug, nuke for one minute then top with some cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms or what ever you like. Nuke it again for thirty seconds and voila. Eggs in less than two minutes. Grab an orange and your out the door with a healthy meal.

So, to make today short & sweet, Remember to feed your family and your body breakfast.

Why am I so sore after working out?

Sticking to a workout plan is hard, but we can make it easier with more and more support!

There are so many people out there with good intentions, but fail to follow through for many reasons. We need to realize that we can’t control life sometimes. Stuff happens and we have to work around it. No body is perfect.

catwoman

I can’t shake this headache – so I’m going to have to start using myfitnesspal, again. I’ve been drinking tons of water! I think I might need to increase my calories even more than I did yesterday! I’m not complaining – 1800 cals is awesome.

what is lactic acid build up

Before class today, I packed my Shakeology shake in my camera bag, AND LEFT IT AT HOME! So I had to grab something in town before I went to the grocery store. I can’t go to the store hungry – not just because I’ll drool the whole time or buy unhealthy foods, but because I buy too much of the healthy foods, then they go bad or forgotten about. I grabbed a six piece grilled nuggets and fruit bowl plus tons of water.

peanut butter toast

I really do have peanut butter everyday…

As for my workout, today is my rest day. I’m resting my sore body, but honestly it feels better to move around.

Why do I get sore after working out?

When you work out, sometimes your muscles use a process called the anaerobic process. It means that your cells gets the energy it needs from glucose instead of the usual aerobic method with oxygen. When glucose is broken down anaerobically, it goes through a process called glycolysis where glucose is broken down in to a substance called pyruvate. When oxygen is low, pyruvate is converted into lactate for a short time. Lactate is sometimes called lactic acid because high levels of lactate increase the acidity of muscle cells. Now it isn’t the lactic acid that causes the soreness after working out vigorously, instead its the process of producing lactate and other byproducts and metabolic reactions that create the burning sensation. So in other words – if you are sore after working out, you know  you are burning fat!

Now, I am so sore! I really worked out really hard the past two days & used muscles I forgot I had. TurboFire is so different than running or doing weights.

why am I so sore after working out

I’m not a huge fan of hummus, but I decided to give it another try. Jicama [hick-a-ma] with my roasted red pepper hummus was a great combination. Jicama is naturally sweet, and the hummus had a little spice to it, so the combination of the two was great! My daughter thinks jicama tastes like an apple.

I had planned to make grilled chicken salads for dinner, but my husband told me he was sick of chicken… This happens pretty often. He works construction and usually eats around 4-5000 calories a day! He’s 6’3″…

Anyways, on his way home he begged me to let him pick up bean & cheese quesadilla meals. Marriage is all about comprimising, so compromising we did. We melded our two ideas together!

how to stay motivated

I turned this – plain beans & rice…

semi homemade salad

…into this!

how to get perfect grill marks

Check out my grill marks! How did I do that? To get perfect grill marks, oil up your indoor grill pan, heat to med-high heat, grill thin chicken breasts on one side for 6 minutes, rotate 90-70 degree, cook for another 5-6 minutes, then flip and repeat!

REMEMBER: Follow my instagram for daily photos! @hhmommablog

How To Plan Your Weekly Menu

The Dinner Jar

how to plan dinner menu

So, I love the idea of those magnetic weekly menus, where all you do is go through a handful of printed-food-items then clip them by the day you decide to cook it. But, I love my notebook. My dinner jar is like a guessing game.

First, I downloaded a jar-label-print-out. Then I typed up all our favorite dinners on scrapbook paper, then printed them out! I ended up having fifty- or so of  them…

making a dinner menu

…I just punched them out with a paper punch, some I even cut out with scissors. Then I hot glued a little twine around the jar and declared it my new best friend (when it comes to meal planning).

menu planning made easy

I just shake-shake-shake and pull out meals one by one. If you aren’t jonesing for what you pulled out, leave it out and pull out a different one! Super easy, huh!

Breakfast, Lunch and Dessert jar anyone??

For more info, check out How I Meal Plan

Meal Plans for WIC Mothers

meal plans for wic

I want to tell the story of my dear friend, Natalie Calastro.
Natalie is a caring mother of 5 and the most loving wife I have ever seen. She is a huge inspiration to me. Her patience is unlimited. Her morals are strong and firm. Her children look up to her as she is all they have.
9 months ago, Natalie lost her husband to a texting 17 year old driver. It left her & her children alone and unprepared.

“I urge all families, young and old – large and small families, to prepare for the worst. Grow a food storage, increase investments and savings, and ideally have life insurance.” – Natalie Calastro

Unprepared Natalie had to give up their dream 4 bedroom home, 2011 minivan, flat screen tv’s, computer, and 401k & retirement plans. She had to start over all while mourning her loss.

“The only thing that kept me going and still keeps my hopes up, is the love my family was built on. My family isn’t the only ones who have lost someone to distracted drivers, drunk drivers, or and kind of driving accident, but we are one of the few who didn’t have a back up plan. Because of that, I had to teach my ‘spoiled’ children how to cope with the morning of their father along with the feeling of being ‘deprived’ of the life they knew. I tried to hide it the best I could, but they knew we were struggling.” -Natalie Calastro

At rock bottom, Natalie had to start somewhere in order to build her family’s life back together. In order to get out of debt, she got a full time job, moved in with her mother, sold everything she owned, and walked into the Women Infants & Children program’s office.

“I was very fortunate to have my mother. When I got my full time job, she was more than willing to commit to my children’s full time nanny. I love my mother for all that she is.” -Natalie Calastro

When Natalie got home from the grocery store with three bags of food her children would have to eat for two weeks, she bawled. Overwhelmed, she called me for help. She had no idea how to meal plan, let alone meal plan with the allowed WIC foods. Together we came up with a menu she could easily be comfortable with.

“I want all mothers on WIC to feel good about the foods they feed their family. It’s hard but it is do able. We need to always remember that.
Share my meal plans and my story so that mothers all around know there is hope in all things, that together we can do it!” -Natalie Calastro

WIC foods are very healthy. Healthier than 90% of SAD (Standard American Diet) foods, which makes it a hard transition for some. The concept is basically a whole foods diet.

Foods that are allowed:

whole wheat bread
whole wheat tortillas
oatmeal & cereals
juice
rice
beans
milk
eggs
cheese
tuna
peanut butter
fruits & vegetables

When broken down, meals are very easily created. When I went to her mother’s house to help her create a menu, we included her children. I believe that when we include our children in making their meals, they are more positive about becoming healthy and also more WILLING to actually eat it.

Breakfasts
Natalie’s children love oatmeal, so it helped make things easy for her. The cereals in her brochure didn’t appeal to her children as much as oatmeal did. But they did want more options rather than just oatmeal every morning.
Their Breakfast Choices:
oatmeal fruit smoothies
mini wheat cereal
peanut butter toast
oatmeal
eggs and toast

Lunches
Lunches were easy to plan as well. Her children already went to school with a sack lunch everyday. Packing their lunches were simple since she only had to change up a few ingredients.
Their Lunch Choices:
peanut butter sandwich
cheese & tomato sandwich
peanut butter & tortilla roll up
tuna sandwiches
“chips & dip” homemade chips and peanut butter/apple dip
*all with carrots & celery plus some fruit and their water bottles
-sometimes Natalie will add cheese cubes on the side, jelly or mayo to the sandwiches, or even do turkey sandwiches when she can find ingredients on sale. As WIC does not provide jellies, jams, or luncheon meats

Dinners
Dinners are pretty versatile because she has to buy other meats like chicken and discounted roasts. Her meats are usually the only extra items she has to purchase. Monday’s & Thursdays she try’s to do meatless dinners.
Their Dinner Choices:
Meatless choices:
vegetable bean soup
bean and cheese burritos
grilled cheese sandwiches
BLT minus the B sandwiches
rice and veggie stir fry
green salad with boiled eggs and cheese
pizza toast
Other dinners:
She bakes or roasts a meat and serves with:

bean and rice
green salads
fruit salads
steamed veggies/frozen bags
She’s made my cheesy tuna rice casserole and her children adore it!

Desserts
They don’t really have a lot of desserts in their home anymore. But when they want a little something sweet, they have some oatmeal with added sugar and raisins, apples and peanut butter, more smoothies, and sometimes Natalie can afford some butter and brown sugar for cookies. She doesn’t deprive her children. She gives them what is needed and has to limit the expensive sugary packaged foods. She eats just as they do, no exceptions.

Telling her story and scrutinizing over her meal plan has really made me fortunate for my life and is another reason why I’ll never take the foods I eat for granted. Children are really starving, families truly need help sometimes. The next time you are line behind a WIC mother or family, help them out by having more patience, help them organize their coupons and foods, or just simply smile and tell them they are amazing. We don’t know their story.
We should always be giving back and helping our neighbors and friends. They aren’t asking for it. And that’s exactly why we should help them.

If you are interested in the WIC program, here is the link to take you to their website.

Weekly Menu & Store List

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Did I deliver, or did I deliver? lol
Next weeks menu & store list is up & running.
Smoothies: recipes to come, but as you know I live an HerbaLIFE- meaning my smoothies have Herbalife formula one as a base. You could just use yogurt or protein powder as your base if you don’t want to go the Herbalife (although, I strongly advise you do use it since it seriously is so good for you.) Message me for more details if you are interested in trying Herbalife out.
Some of my snacks are from naturebox but keep in mind you can adapt the menu into your own personal liking. I love naturebox because they are organic & vegan! Use me as a reference and get $10 off your next box! I got my first box for only $1.97 on Black Friday.
My kids eat the same snacks as I do so I just buy enough for both of us. My husband doesn’t snack (whaa! I know) he loves some of the same healthy foods I do, but generally he’s pickier than I am so most of the time he gets extra potatoes and meat. Bah, men…
If you haven’t noticed, I created a page off the menu called Go To Menus and Store Lists for quick & easy, grab & go!
Print the pages out – Set your printer settings to 2 pages per page or even 4 pages per page. Save a tree!

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