Posts in Food

The Mixing Bowl Salad // How To Make A Delicious Salad You’ll Actually Want To Eat

February 8th, 2017 Posted by Food, Live, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “The Mixing Bowl Salad // How To Make A Delicious Salad You’ll Actually Want To Eat”

I love ordering salads at restaurants. Restaurants have all these ingredients to mix together into tasty entre salads. I’d order a salad and wish I could come up with a way to make them as tasty at home.

Turns out I can. And it’s not as hard as it looks or require as many ingredients as I thought. Certain ingredients morph well and let you make a variety of salad options.

Before we get started on the ingredients, I must share two tools I use: a large mixing bowl and a salad chopper.

Why a mixing bowl? When I eat salad for a meal, I want it to be a MEAL. Not some little side salad (side salads are fine, as long as I’m serving it along side something else). To make these salads as big and a protein packed as possible, I make them in a mixing bow. The mixing bowl gives me lots of room to mix up my ingredients, too.

To get my greens finely chopped, I use a chopper. Do you need this? No. You can shred up your greens with your hands if you like or use some other tool. But this tool isn’t that expensive, I use it all the time, and it doesn’t take up that much room.

Okay, let’s get mixing!

Ingredients:

+Some sort of greens. I like spinach (I chop it up using the chopper), and I also love this “slaw” I get at the grocery. It’s broccoli and carrot slaw, and I love the texture in my salads. I don’t like taking a giant bite of lettuce. Chopped up spinach and the slaw give a nice crunch and bite.

+Some type of seasonal vegetable. Lately I’ve been using butternut squash since it’s in season and easy to get. I buy the pre-chunked cubes at grocery and roast them (Coat the cubes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until fork tender). I’ve also used sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, etc… (mostly roasted or pan sauted). Mix, match, or just use one.

+Some sort of grain. You can leave this out if grains are not your thing. I like to make a batch of quinoa and toss a little in my salad. I like the texture it adds. You could do tabbouleh, couscous, rice, etc… Remember, these are starchy, so if your goal is fat loss, omit or just use a small amount for that texture fix.

+Add some crunch. I like pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, etc… A little bit goes a long way.

+Hummus (or tzatziki). I prefer hummus, and I buy it from the store. This takes the place of salad dressing. You can also do hummus and tzatziki.

+Some good cheese. I mean good cheese. Something with a strong taste like feta, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, etc… If you go bland (like American cheese), you will need a lot more to get a good taste. If you use a good quality cheese, a little will do you.

+Some protein. I love meat, so I do meat. If you don’t like/don’t do meat, pick your favorite vegetarian option with some protein. I like to add bacon, chicken sausage, ham cubes, shredded chicken, etc….

+Additional items: chopped up apples, a few dates, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, grapes, avocado, etc…

It took me some trial and error to find my favorite combinations. But I made a vow to not eat any more tasteless salads (or food!) without compromising my healthy habits, and this mixing bowl salad does just that. I am super full after this salad (I pile on the greens and make the greens the biggest helping), and I feel satisfied from all the protein and rich sources of good fat. I think the “secret” is just adding a little bit of some of those other ingredients (like the quinoa) to beef up your salad without compromising your goals.

One other note: I prep the pieces at the beginning of the week. That way, when it’s time for lunch, I just dump it all in.

What do you like in you salads? How can you adapt a less healthy salad to make it work for you?

Could Not Be Easier Crock Pot Meatballs

April 13th, 2016 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “Could Not Be Easier Crock Pot Meatballs”

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crock-pot-meatballs

You know what I don’t make? Meatballs.

You know what Wegmans makes really well? Meatballs.

I love myself store bought meatballs. I’ve tried meatballs from Trader Joes and Costco, too. All good. All delicious.

To make my crock pot meatballs, I simply pour marinara sauce into the crock pot, toss in the meatballs, and sometimes top with a mix of Parmesan, mozzarella, and provolone cheese. Cover and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Ta da! Delicious meatballs!

You can serve these plain (I usually just spoon them out and top with cheese) or toss with noodles or get some crusty bread and make meatball subs.

If I’m feeling particularly fancy, I’ll make a side salad. A super simple side salad. Are you ready for this? Here it is: spring mix, salt, pepper, feta cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Boom! Done!

Everyone in our family eats this up. Even the kids. Especially the kids.

I plan this type of meal for nights when Kate has swimming lessons or soccer. I know we won’t be home until after 6 p.m., and I’ll need to get three kids bathed, in their pajamas, and at the table to eat dinner. So I most definitely won’t have time to make anything. That’s when I lean on this type of meal to save the day. It’s like a high-five from your past self to your future self.

Okay, you tell me. What’s your super favorite, super easy crock pot recipe? The fewer ingredients, the better!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

March 2nd, 2016 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “Crock Pot Chicken Tacos”

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We are all about Mexican food in this family. I dare say it might be our favorite. We haven’t met an enchilada or taco we didn’t like. Even the kids love burritos.

As much as I love taco night, it can feel like lots of effort because there’s a lot ingredients to get together. I can’t babysit anything on the stove because while I’m doing that, Michael is surely electrocuting himself or jumping off of the second story landing.

I remembered I’d seen lots of pins on Pinterest featuring crock pot tacos with various methods, the most common recipe using salsa. I’m picky about my salsa, so I wasn’t sure I would like that recipe. But with the addition of Thomas, I needed more crock pot recipes in my arsenal, so I decided to test out some salsas and see if I could make something work.

I found two options that I like at Wegmans. One being Wegman’s fresh salsa (the one they make fresh daily) and the other being Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa in Sweet Onion. Dan doesn’t love these (he thinks they’re too sweet), but I love them, and, most importantly, the kids love them, so a four out of five win is good enough for me.

This recipe could not be easier. Here’s what I do:

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Bagley Family Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

+Salsa of your choice (You need a good size container – or maybe even two containers.)

+Chicken breasts (We use two big ones.)

+1 can of black beans

+1 bag frozen corn

+About 1 cup of chicken stock (I just make sure the chicken is covered so it doesn’t burn, but you don’t need much.)

+Whatever you need to serve your tacos. Hard shells, soft shells, tortilla taco boats (my kids LOVE these), chips, etc…

+Shredded Mexican cheese

+Your choice of additional toppings such as avocado, sour cream, lettuce, etc…

Directions:

Place your chicken in the crock pot. Dump in your salsa, black beans, and corn. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover. Place lid and cook for four hours on high or eight hours on low.

After cooking is complete, shred your chicken and put it back into the crock pot. Mix and serve!

My kids gobble this up. And it makes for great leftovers.

Do you have a crock pot taco recipe? How do you make it?

For the Love of My Vitamix (And My Go-To Green Smoothie)

February 3rd, 2016 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “For the Love of My Vitamix (And My Go-To Green Smoothie)”

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I’ve been begging Dan for a Vitamix for years. “But we already have a blender,” he’d say.

True. We have a blender. But it’s just not high-powered enough for this smoothie-loving girl. I’d have to turn it on and shake it violently from side to side to get all the contents to mix. And it never really got the right texture. Ice chunks and pieces of banana wouldn’t quite blend.

Two Christmases ago I told Dan all I wanted was that blender. It’s a high-price item. And the only thing I wanted.

Being the good deal catcher that is he, he found a good price via Slick Deals and surprised me with the Vitamix for Christmas.

After spending years Googling “is the Vitamix worth it?” I can 100% say, “Yes.”

This thing is crazy high powered. I’m pretty sure it could blend a brick. When I make my smoothies, they always come out smooth. No matter how many ice cubes or chunks of frozen fruit.

There are a TON of things you can make with this thing. Everything from smoothies to ice cream to soup to dips. So far, I’ve only made smoothies and that frozen banana ice cream that’s all the rage on Pinterest.

My favorite, go-to smoothie recipe is perfect for breakfast (I especially love it after a good, sweaty workout) or an afternoon pick me up.

Sarah’s Go-To Green Smoothie

+handful of spinach (you won’t taste this, so really, make it a good handful)

+ice (this adds volume, so as much as you like)

+almond milk (I do enough to cover the ice)

+1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter

+1 tablespoon flax

+1 tablespoon chia seeds

+1 banana

+a good shake of cinnamon

Blend away and enjoy!

And clean up is a dream! After I pour out my smoothie, I fill up the container half way with water, add a drop of dish soap, and run it on the 10 setting for about a minute. Then all I have to do is rinse! Clean!

Do you have a Vitamix? What’s your favorite thing to make? I’d like to try a soup and hummus. Yum!

Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries

January 27th, 2016 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries”

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Ever since my pal, Kim, told me about her spiralizer, I was intrigued. But then I thought, ugh, another kitchen gadget?! Do we really need that?!

But then I remembered how, so often, I think I don’t like a certain food, but it’s not that I don’t like it. It’s that I don’t like the way it’s prepared. Like Brussels sprouts. I don’t like them steamed. But sauteed? Roasted? YOU BET!

And changing up how I prepare things ensures I get my kids to eat it. We have our own fair share of problems (re: sleep!). But my kids LOVE to eat. Like, all day. And they like new foods and new ways of preparing old favorites, so I figured they’d enjoy some spiralized veggies.

(This proved to provide major entertainment value.)

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Also, this thing is $30, so while not the cheapest, definitely not a break-the-bank experiment.

So I ordered my spiralizer and that same day bought a giant bag of sweet potatoes at Costco. I love sweet potatoes, but those suckers take forever to bake. But according to the recipes I researched, sweet potatoes spiralized take a fraction of the time. Also, I love sweet potato fries over regular fries anytime (although you will note regular potatoes in these pictures because some people prefer those), and I was itching to make a healthy version.

And that’s how sweet potatoes came to be my first victims.

Let’s get into it!

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Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

+Sweet potato (or a few of them if you’re feeding more than one person)

+Salt

+Pepper

+Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Peel your sweet potatoes. Cut the ends off the sweet potato, taking care to make the ends as flat as possible. Cut your sweet potato in half, taking care to make the cut even and flat. I find cutting the sweet potato in half makes spiralizing easier.

Get your sweet potato into position and spiralize according to the directions on your spiralizer. We used the blade that made the smallest sweet potato strings.

Toss your sweet potato strings in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just eye-ball it.

Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Put sweet potatoes on baking sheet, trying to get them on one, even layer.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. You might need to give them a toss half-way through baking.

Remove from oven and enjoy! So easy, so yum!

Do you have a spiralizer?! What do you spiralize?! I can’t wait to try some other things like apples and squash.

Balsamic and Parmesan Corn

August 12th, 2015 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “Balsamic and Parmesan Corn”

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We are obsessed with corn this summer. I think we’ve had grilled corn with our dinner at least three times a week. We love it plain, just grilled. But then we saw this recipe in The Washington Post for corn dipped in balsamic and Parmesan cheese. When I initially thought about corn and cheese, I was kind of “meh” about it. Could that really be good? But I love balsamic. And I love Parmesan cheese as a rule. So I figured it was worth a try.

The verdict?

SO GOOD! The best!

Simply prepare your corn using your favorite method (we wrap ours in foil and grill it) then dip the corn in balsamic (being sure to fully coat the entire piece) and then roll the corn in Parmesan cheese (use grated rather than shredded). And ta da! A gourmet-looking corn that took about two minutes to make.

Are you all about corn this summer? How do you like to prepare it? I’m all ears! (See what I did there?! HA!)

My Single Girl Chicken Taco Soup // Redux

March 4th, 2015 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “My Single Girl Chicken Taco Soup // Redux”

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I’m one of those people who can eat the same thing, day in, day out. I’ll happily eat the same breakfast of scrambled eggs with spinach, ham, and tomatoes. A lunch of my single gal chicken taco soup. And then chicken taco soup again for dinner.

I’ll go in these spurts where I’ll eat the same thing for weeks. Then swap it out with something else. And eat that for weeks.

My health and fitness is super important to me. Not that I never indulge. Of course I do! You’ll never hear me turn down cake slathered in frosting! But I feel best and perform my best when I’m eating well. I’m not big on diets or counting anything (those NEVER work for me and leave me paranoid, anxious, and crazy!). Instead, I prefer to eat as much as I want, of all the good stuff.

And this chicken taco soup is good stuff!

(Okay, so you’re probably looking at this picture and thinking…all I see is…cheese…and tortilla chips… I promise there’s soup under there! Part of my 80/20 lifestyle of 80% only good stuff and 20% not as great stuff includes a small handful of tortilla chips on my soup with a little bit of cheese.)

Ooookay, now onto the soup!

I’ve shared this recipe before, but I made some tweaks that I think take it up a notch. BAM! Like my pal, Emerald would say.

Single Gal Chicken Taco Soup, Redux

Ingredients for the Soup:

+1 jar tomato sauce. I always read the label. I don’t buy jarred sauce with weird stuff added or added sugar. I’m sure homemade sauce tastes way better…but I’ve never had any luck with that.

+1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (can be frozen)

+2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

+2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained

+1 bag of roasted corn (I picked mine up in the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s. SO GOOD! If you can’t find frozen roasted corn, canned will do.)

+1 container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half (I’ve made this soup with canned tomatoes. And it’s good. But fresh grape tomatoes take the taste way up!)

+1 container of chicken broth

+Salt, pepper, chipotle, red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like your soup. Maybe add just a bit, taste it when it’s almost done and see if you need more)

Toppings:

You can top this soup with absolutely nothing. Or top it with everything! Or whatever! I find that about 5 tortilla chips and a small handful of cheddar cheese topped with avocado is perfect for me I like:

+cheddar cheese

+tortilla chips

+avocado

Instructions:

Toss everything into your crock pot! Turn it on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours). When I’m using frozen chicken breasts, I always use the low setting for 8 hours. When the soup has about an hour left, remove the chicken and shred it with two forks. Put the chicken back into the crock pot and cook for the last hour. Serve!

I love making a huge batch of this (often doubling this recipe) and eating it for lunches the whole week. I find I’m most successful with healthy eating when I don’t have to think about it. I know I’ve got a filling and hearty lunch waiting for me that will leave me satisfied and not rooting around for chips later.

Enjoy! If you make this, let me know what you think!

My Most Pinned Pin // Mini Omelets

September 11th, 2014 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “My Most Pinned Pin // Mini Omelets”

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This is my most pinned image.  And for good reason.  These mini omelets are the best.  So delicious, so filling, so perfect because now that school’s in session I spend every morning running around earning steps on my FitBit trying to get this family out the door.

Here’s my recipe.

For this batch above I did red bell pepper, spinach, broccoli, and ham.  With a side of dark, black coffee, and you’re good to go!

Nut granola with dried cherries

August 6th, 2014 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “Nut granola with dried cherries”

When I was in college I ate a flip ton of granola.  Because that’s healthy for you, right?

No!  That stuff’s nothing but a vehicle for sugar (At least the kind that was served in the dining hall, and if you read the ingredients list on most granola at the grocery store, same thing.).

Not that all granola is bad.  But I tend to avoid the packaged granola from the grocery because it’s often full of added sugar and sugar-sweetened dried fruit.  As a general rule, I stay away from sugar.  Yes, I love frosting.  And yes, I do allow myself occasional dessert (ice cream is my favorite) that are, yes, full of sugar.  In general, I subscribe to the 80-20 philosophy.  I’m strict 80% of the time.  So that 20% of the time I can enjoy less healthier options, especially when such occasions involve birthday cake.

But, back to the granola.

I love making nut granola at home because 1) it’s grain-free, 2) I control the sugar (and thus my granola is sugar free), and 3) it’s crazy easy.

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Sarah’s Sugar-Free Nut Granola

+1 package of walnuts (I’m talking about the 16 oz variety for all nuts)

+1 package of almonds

+1 package of pecans

+3/4 cup melted coconut oil

+good sprinkle of cinnamon (I like it spicy!  So I add a lot.)

+1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

+1 package of dried cherries (Or dried fruit of your choice.  Remember, read the labels if avoiding sugar is important to you.  I picked up sugar-free dried cherries from Trader Joe’s.)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Pour the nuts into a bowl and add the melted coconut oil.  Sprinkle on the cinnamon and pour in vanilla.  Mix all the ingredients together.  Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the nut mixture onto the baking sheet, making sure to spread it around so it’s on one, even layer.  Once the oven is ready, bake for about 10 minutes.  When you start to smell the nuts, get them out!  No one likes burnt nuts.  #haha #yuck

After the granola has cooled, transfer it to a bowl and mix in your dried fruit.  Store the granola in an air tight container or ziplock bag.  I usually put mine in the fridge but if you eat it pretty quick, it’s probably okay in a cool, dry place.

Yum!  Enjoy!  This is a great breakfast or snack or dessert.  I eat mine with almond milk.  Really, a little bit of this stuff goes a long way.  I only eat 1/4 – 1/2 a cup a sitting.

How do you make granola?  I’m open to using oats, too.  Any good sugar-free recipes?

My single girl chicken taco soup

July 23rd, 2014 Posted by Food, Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “My single girl chicken taco soup”

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When Dan goes out of town, I always fall back into my single-girl habits.  Well, as much as I can while parenting my small people.  Does anyone else do this?  I tend to get out my nail polish, give myself a manicure/pedicure, watch hours of YouTube Beauty Gurus, give myself a face mask.  And, most importantly, eat my Chicken Taco Soup.

Dan isn’t a huge fan of this soup.  So the only great thing about him being on a business trip is that I make a huge vat of this soup and proceed to eat it for every lunch and dinner.

If I don’t prepare something like this for myself when Dan’s out of town, I won’t have anything for lunches or dinners, and I find myself trolling around the kitchen after the kids have gone to bed, realizing I haven’t eaten anything substantial all day and feeling super grouchy.  And then reaching for something devoid of nutritional value.

So, I plan ahead so that doesn’t happen.

And my favorite (And super, B+ way) to plan ahead is with this chicken taco soup.  It’s my favorite form of cooking: dump everything into a crock pot and 8 hours later, you’re meal is ready!  Is that even cooking?  I’m saying, yes!  It is!

Sarah’s Single Girl Chicken Taco Soup

Ingredients:

+1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I get the ones from Costco.  You can put the chicken in frozen, no need to defrost.)

+1 12 oz. can corn, rinsed

+1 12 oz. can black beans, rinsed

+1 12 oz can chick peas, rinsed

+2 12 oz can petite diced tomatoes (If you like, you can get the kind with garlic, onion, peppers, whatever.  I usually do just diced tomatoes because I’m kind of whimpy when it comes to spiciness.  But, do yourself a favor and get PETITE DICED.  I got regular diced one time and it was a bit too chunky for my taste.)

+2 jars of the tomato sauce of your choice (If you are sugar conscious, read the labels.  I always buy sauce that’s just tomatoes, olive oil, spices, etc…  I don’t buy kinds with sugar, etc…  I suppose I could make my own tomato sauce…  But that’s too much for me at this moment.  But if you’re into that, do it!)

+small sprinkle of salt

+small sprinkle of red pepper flakes, cilantro, whatever sort of taco spices you like

Dump all ingredients into a crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  About an hour before serving, remove the chicken breasts (they should be cooked through), and use two forks to shred them.  Then replace the chicken.  When you’re ready to serve, I like to top my soup with a small handful of tortilla chips (I like the Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips) and a small sprinkle of cheese (Cheddar, Mexican blend, something like that).  And if you’re feeling really gourmet, sliced avocado on top.

I love, love, love this soup.  And I eat it year round.  It’s so filling.  And I love that it’s good for me.  All whole foods, nothing processed (Well, okay, the chips I guess, but I probably put like 5 on top.  Pick your nutritional battles!).

(Psst…here’s another dish I like to make on my single-girl nights: chicken, Brussels sprouts, and red pepper on skillet meal.)

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