Monday, April 30

Recipe: Healthy Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

Happy Monday!! A little bit of a weekend recap...Friday was a super chill night and I caught up on some much needed sleep. Saturday morning was spent scouring the house in prep for Saturday night, which made me feel super productive by afternoon time. I hosted a Pampered Chef Party that night for the first time ever. Actually, I've never hosted any kind of party like that before. Although I was apprehensive, it was fun and I really do like a lot of the Pampered Chef products. One of my favorites is the Microwave Chip Maker for only $26.50! So worth it, in my opinion. It would be even more worth it (if that's possible) if my microwave wasn't a piece. I shouldn't say that.... it's not a piece, it's just not as nice as the one I'm currently not able to use since this one was already included in our rental. I digress.....

Before and after pics of my Healthy Microwave Sweet Potato Chips:

Yumm-o! 


I salted the ones on the right with sea salt, and the ones on the left are seasoned with Emeril's seasoning, hence why they look burnt. I promise they're not! :) However, I will say that I much preferred the sea salt version to the seasoned version. Sometimes less is more... ya know!?

If you purchase this from Pampered Chef it comes with a cooking guide. Normally these bad boys would only take 4-5 minutes, but in my awesome micro they took about 8 minutes. They came out super crispy and needless to say I'm glad I only made a small amount. 

You can buy the Microwave Chip Maker online from Pampered Chef. I also recommend getting the simple slicer so your chips are cut to the perfect thickness. I'm all about making cooking easy! I'm planning on trying out Yucca and giving apples another try on the Chip Maker, too. I didn't have much luck with getting the apples crispy, but maybe I'll be able to perfect it soon.

AND GUESS WHAT? 

Yesterday the hubs and I had a beautiful day full of sun and healthy tanning (that's a lie... I definitely got a little pink) at the beach. Afterwards we made a Publix trip for some din din. I used to buy this Twinings cold brew green tea with mint that I became addicted to last summer when I would drink it in the morning rather than coffee. I hadn't been able to find it in a while and yesterday I FOUND IT! I bought two boxes, 40 tea bags, although I wanted to buy all of them! I have faith that I will be able to find it again though, but I'm crossing my fingers for sure. The mint in this tea makes green tea so enjoyable for me. Not to mention, green tea has great health benefits due to its antioxidants.



Hope everyone has a happy Monday! 

- Lauren


 



 

Thursday, April 26

I Got New Shoes! + Why I Love Cats!

Wow! I haven't blogged in a while. Not. OK. at. all. I'm still working on balancing my full-time job, my client, my personal workouts, time with my amazing hubby and my 2 pups and a cat. Clearly I have a little more work to be done on that front. However, I'm learning that I am a person who needs to plan. Every Sunday moving forward will be my planning day for the week. I just do much better if I have an idea of what my workouts will look like and my meals planned, too. It will at least act as a guide. Sometimes you gotta go with the flow ya know?!!

This past weekend my hubby and I ventured out on a rainy Saturday to the outlet malls near where we live. We VERY RARELY go shopping, much less together, so it was really a nice time. We went just for fun, but Cory had hopes of finding some Under Armour shoes he's had his eye on. Well.... he didn't find his shoes... but I found a new pair of shoes! :) What's new right?

I picked up these bad boys for a steal of $59.99 at the New Balance outlet store. Holla!!!!!!! These are normally $100! Woohooo! This girl loves a good deal!


Let. Me. Just. Tell. You.

These shoes are the BOMB DIGGITY! I've been wearing Vibram Five Fingers for a few years now and I heart them still, don't get me wrong. However, there's something to be said about having your toesies a little more protected. For instance, you know that moment when you're running down the road (hopefully against traffic like a smart runner) and some a-hole is screaming toward you. You're pretty certain that the driver has no idea you're ahead of them, so you gradually make your way off the road and your run turns into an "off road" run for about 8 seconds or so. Of course every time this happens to me I end up running in a foot of weeds to avoid getting hit by said car. Don't get me wrong... I'm not hating on the weeds, however, when I wear my five fingers, I end up spending the next minute after the car passes digging the weeds out from between my toes.

With these new puppies, the New Balance Minimus, I no longer have to pick the weeds out from between my toes. And I'm still supporting my original minimalist shoe company Vibram, because the Minimus are equipped with a Vibram sole. :) Happiness all around.

Do you run in minimalist shoes? If so, which ones do you prefer?

Why do I love cats you may ask?

Many reasons.... of which you will find out more as I venture along in this blog. (P.S. I love dogs too!) But today it's because they understand the importance of reusable shopping bags just like we do. :)

Behold... 

The star of the show... my kitty, Kita in my new Earth Day bag courtesy of Publix.

 


Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren




Sunday, April 1

It's Grillin' Time! + Fresh Kale Salad Recipe

We finally bought a new grill folks! Yep! And it's BALLERRRR! We cooked out first meal on it tonight and it was nothing short of fabulous. I have been missing the flavor of grilled foods for so long since ours stopped working. We decided to cook sirloin steaks, sweet corn on the cob (in the husk) and peppers and onions. I totally didn't think about getting a picture until corn husks were littering my plate and the other half of my steak had been transferred to my hubby's plate to finish off. Bummer right?! That's what happens when you go for a 3 mile run, then come home and vacuum the whole house after you just trimmed the bushes in the front yard and took out all the trash/recycling. I was ready for some healthy, post-run/chores fuel that's for sure. I promise I am trying to get better at the picture thing! Soon Soon!

Anywho, dinner was delish and healthy, oh and did I mention my husband manned the grill and cooked the whole meal for us! WOOOOOHOOOOOO! It was soooo nice. Aside from the few minutes it took me to cut a green pepper and an onion, he did everything else. Such a treat and did I mention it was delicious? :) He cooked the corn in the husks for about 12-15 minutes, turning them a couple of times. It was my favorite part of the whole meal. It was still crunchy and tasted so fresh. Since it's so sweet, it was a nice way to finish off dinner...  a sort of healthy dessert you could say.

When I went to Birmingham a couple weekends ago for my YogaFit level II training we went to the Cheesecake Factory for my sister and mom's birthday dinner. For an appetizer, my sister and I shared this Fresh Kale Salad that sounded amazing. Well let me tell you, it WAS amazing! I'll be honest, I've never used kale for a salad before, I've only cooked with it. Mainly, I add kale to my egg scrambles along with other veggies and a little cheese. YUM. I decided to recreate the Kale Salad for my lunch Monday. The awesome thing about kale is that you can buy a HUGE bag for about $3 most places. My husband even said it looked good and asked me to make him one for lunch. It's exciting to share healthy meals with him! Especially when they're meals that are a little out of the ordinary.

Fresh Kale Salad (Cheesecake Factory Recipe)

A couple handfuls Fresh Kale cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 granny smith apple cut into bite-size pieces
Small handful of dried cranberries
Small handful of almonds (slivered or chopped)
Black Pepper Dressing
Big handful of green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!


The restaurant salad includes Marcona Almonds, but I just used regular almonds. For the dressing, I picked out a lower fat (4g per 2 Tablespoons) organic ranch dressing and added a boat load of fresh ground pepper to it. I hardly ever use ranch dressing, for 1 because I don't care for the ranch taste, and for 2 because it's not all that good for you. However, the one I chose wasn't too bad, so until I can come up with a better alternative (or my own recipe) the ranch will do.

HEALTHY TIP: Measure out a minimal amount of dressing (1-2 T) and toss your salad in a bowl with the dressing. This will save loads of calories rather than pouring your dressing over your salad. Plus, every bite will be coated in dressing. :)

I haven't trained my client in a week so I'm excited to get it going again with her! :) We're starting week 8 now! Time is flying!

Hope everyone has a happy, healthy Monday!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren 




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