My Top 5 Kitchen Staples

Yesterday I thought I had a fun idea to share my top 5 convenience foods that we keep around like the frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s. Ever had them? They’re pretty tasty, only 100 cals for 2 meatballs, and were only $2.99 for about 6 servings. It’s nice to have that kind of stuff around the house for an easy protein to throw into a salad or on a sandwich. Unfortunately for my list, I realized that it really stopped there, probably because I do have the time to make extras for leftovers! It’s true, I’d rather have my own homemade turkey meatballs or veggie burgers in the freezer 🙂

Rather than sharing my favorite convenience foods, I thought I’d share the top 5 staples in my kitchen. Not a week goes by that these things aren’t purchased and often not a day goes by that I don’t use them!

  1. Eggs
    Eggs
    Between Nathan and I, we go through about 3 dozen eggs per week. Not ridiculous at all, right? Sometimes it’s less, but I guess this could also go under convenience. Don’t have another protein for your meal? Throw an egg on it! Or if you’re like me, throw an egg on your other protein anyway 😉
  2. Peanut Flour
    Protein Plus Peanut Flour
    Protein Plus is my favorite brand of peanut flour and I honestly use it all the time [when I’m not using nut butters]. I mix it with a little water and stevia to make a dip for apples, drizzle on pancakes, and lately drizzle on popcorn too! Yesterday I made a ridiculously tasty peanut butter protein pizza for breakfast and added extra on top! You can get it from iHerb.com and if you use the code ZAF482 at checkout, you can get up to $10 off of your order.
  3. Leafy Greens
    Spinach Salad Cauliflower Crust PizzaThese days the leaf of choice is spinach. I go through my phases where all I want is kale but since I’m not in that phase right now and Nathan actually eats spinach, we stock up. Two big containers a week? No problem!
  4. Chicken
    Beer Citrus Glazed Chicken How Sweet It Is

    Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken – How Sweet It Is

    Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan Iowa Girl Eats

    Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan – Iowa Girl Eats

    Half Baked Harvest Jerk Chicken Fried Plantains Coconut Quinoa Macadamia Nuts

    Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Fried Plantain and Coconut Fried Quinoa with Macadamia Nuts – Half Baked Harvest

    Roast Chicken

    Nathan’s famous roast chicken

    You can always count on at least 2-3 chicken dinners per week at home. It’s one of the cheapest [meat] protein options out there and it’s so versatile. I’ve been having fun experimenting with all of the different recipes to change it up lately since Nathan is the chicken king. Boy could eat chicken all day, everyday!

  5. Hot Sauce
    Sriracha
    You realized that when I said hot sauce, I really meant Sriracha, right? I was never a big hot saucer growing up, other than Tiger Sauce, but within the past year, I’ve really grown to love Sriracha and it is often on the table with dinner [and lunch]. Nathan is also a Crystal man for his breakfasts so those are the 2 staples, but he likes to try all different kinds of hot sauces, just like I like to try all kinds of nut butters. To each his own 😉
  6. BONUS! Crate & Barrel Glass Nesting Bowl Set
    Crate Barrel Glass Nesting Bowl Set
    Ok, so it’s not a super exciting bonus, but I LOVEEEEE these bowls! I got them as an engagement gift and I use at least 2 of the bowls per day. I think yesterday I used 4 or 5 haha. I also use one of the bigger bowls for my monster salads.

There are definitely other things that I use on a daily basis, but if you spend any time at home with me, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see these things pop up.

Food for Thought

What are your top kitchen staples?
Do you stock up on convenience foods too?

Pork Bowl Win

Guys. I did it. I made a grilled pork vermicelli bowl at home and it was awesome! So awesome that I had to share it with you [almost] immediately because it was the perfect combination of recipes. Check it out!

Vietnamese Vermicelli Grilled Pork Bowl Fried Egg

So much goodness and a fried egg to boot!

I originally found this recipe from A Spicy Perspective for the bowl but Nathan and I both prefer the “red” grilled pork like this. So I went on a mission to find the perfect grilled pork recipe and stumbled upon this one. So far so good! Finally, I decided to look around for the right way to pickle the carrots and mung beans [next time I’m adding daikon too!]. I found a bunch of simple recipes and threw it together. The result was an amazing pork bowl and Nathan is psyched to use the leftover pork for banh mi sandwiches! And here’s a wrap up of the recipes.. it may look like a lot going on, but it’s actually really easy and totally worth it.

Ingredients

Serves 2 [with leftover pork!]
Adapted from A Spicy Perspective

For the Pork
– 2 lb pork shoulder
– 8 cloves garlic; minced
– 5 tbsp fish sauce
– 4 tbsp sugar
– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
– 1/2 cup beer [optional]

For the Carrots, Daikon, & Mung Beans
– 1 cup shredded carrots
– 1 cup shredded daikon
– 1 cup mung bean sprouts
– 1-2 cups rice wine vinegar [enough to cover everything]
– 2-3 tbsp sugar
– 1 tbsp salt

For the Nuoc Cham Dressing
– 1/2 cup warm water
– 3 tbsp sugar
– 1/2 cup rice vinegar
– 1 tbsp fish sauce
– 1 clove garlic; minced
– 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/8 cup shredded carrots

For the Bowl
– 1/4 package thin rice noodles
– 1/2 english cucumber; sliced
– 1/4 cup peanuts; chopped
– 1/4 cup green onion; chopped
– 2 eggs [optional]
– Sesame seeds [optional]

Directions

Place pork in the freezer for 45-60 minutes; this will make it easier to slice. Mix up the rest of the ingredients except for the beer in a large ziploc bag. Remove pork from the freezer, slice thinly, and add to the bag. Marinate 8 hours or overnight.

In another large ziploc bag, add all of your ingredients for the carrots, daikon, & mung beans. Marinate 4-6 hours.

When you’re ready to start cooking, follow the instructions and cook the vermicelli noodles according to the packaging. Mix the ingredients for the nuoc cham dressing and set aside.

For the pork, preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. You want to cook in several batches, so spray the pan with cooking spray and lay out your first batch of pork into the pan. When the first side is charred, throw a splash of beer in to the pan, let sit for a minute, and flip. When the other side is charred, remove from the pan. Repeat for the rest of the pork.

When you put the second to last batch of pork in, heat up a small pan over medium heat for your eggs. Cook your eggs to your liking; I do mine over medium. When all of the pork is finished cooking, load up your bowl with vermicelli noodles, veggies, pork, and top with green onion, peanuts, sesame seeds, & nuoc cham. ENJOY!

Vietnamese Vermicelli Grilled Pork Bowl

Money shot.

This is going to be a staple in our house, I can just tell! And because I think you all need to see this on Thursday..

Jilly Bean

The little bean!

Happy almost Friday! 😉

Food for Thought

Have you ever tried to make one of your favorite “going out dishes” at home?

A Whirlwind Weekend

Today is the last day to enter my thinkThin giveaway!

I’ve been trying to write this post for a little while now, but to be completely honest, I’m exhausted! This past weekend was planned to be a little crazy and as each minute passed and plans began to crumble, it took a turn for the crazier. Though that’s not to say it didn’t end up being great.

Friday was a bit rough; work was absolutely nuts and I was less than thrilled when Nathan called to tell me I had a screw in one of the tires on my car. Of course, we just sold his car on Tuesday. New tire it is! I could not have been looking forward to getting home Friday night for my big date with my kitchen. Sunday was my sister-in-law’s baby shower and I was in charge of food. With a day chock-full of plans on Saturday, Friday was my night to get it done! Until I was at work until almost 11. Strike 1.

Saturday was one for celebrations. Lunch and wine plans with the bride-to-be, the moms, and 2 other bridesmaids, followed by Jessie and Adam’s engagement party that night meant I was up bright and at 7am to bake! I made it through almost all of the baking, had just enough time to sit down for breakfast, and was finished getting ready when Nathan told me that I had a flat tire. The new tire. On our only car. Not to mention, when we were changing the flat tire to the spare, the jack bent. AAA to the rescue! And strikes 2 and 3.

Eggs Yolk Brussels Sprouts Mushrooms Sriracha

I think it’s time I share some good food.. Breakfast #1: mushrooms, leftover brussels sprouts, eggs, and sriracha.

But we weren’t giving up! Luckily for me, I have the most marvelous husband. He dropped me off to have lunch and wine with the girls while he took care of the car. We met at Golden West Cafe and they were only serving their brunch menu.. looks like it’s time for more eggs!

Golden West Cafe Mushroom Omelette Zekes Coffee

Wild mushroom omelette with corn tortillas. More eggs? Why not!

And then it was time for wine.. after driving in circles for 30 minutes trying to find a place that was 1. open and 2. not having a special event. Basignani it is!

basignani

Well I must have been happy! [I swear we didn’t drink that much..]

I made it back home not long before Nathan [with our perfectly fixed car] and with just enough time to finish my baking for the shower before we headed out to celebrate these cute kids.

Cheers!

Sunday was game-time. I was up early again to get in a quick workout, enjoy a marvelous breakfast thanks to a LOVE drop from Love Grown Foods, and head to my parents house to get ready for the baby shower!

Love Grown Foods Super Oats

Love Grown Foods Super Oats. My new fave!

There was a little bit more baking to do once I arrived and some other food to assemble but my mom and I knocked it out pretty quickly. Within a few hours, we had enough food to feed an army and the house was transformed into a Mad Hatter tea party! The shower went off without a hitch and we couldn’t have been more excited.

Caprese Bites Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodle Biscotti New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies M&Ms

Speaking of feeding an army, check out that cute little army of caprese bites!

It was my first time being in charge of so much food [I didn’t even get pictures of all of it!] and I was really pleased with the way everything turned out. Maybe it’s something I should make more of a habit? 😉

I can’t believe it’s already Monday. The weekend absolutely flew by with everything we had going on, but like I said, it ended up being a good one! This week is for resting up, resetting, and getting ready for a big weekend ahead.. full of packing!

Food for Thought

How was your weekend? Did you have any big plans?

Have you ever been in charge of food for a party?

Foodie Friday: Cinnamon Raisin Eggy Oats

TGIF! Wait.. do I always start my Friday posts like that? Whoops.. but this is an extra awesome Friday because Nathan and I are celebrating! I know it seems silly to celebrate a dating anniversary after you’re married, but we’ve officially been dating for 10 years. HOLY CRAP! Keep in mind we’ve only been married for 5 months now. I’m super excited for an awesome dinner tonight at Birrotecca and can’t wait to share that with you. I’ve heard such great things about this restaurant.

At my brother’s wedding.. and we’d already been dating for 4 years!

Until then, I’m going share with you a #StrangeButGood breakfast that I’ve been eating this week. In an effort to increase my healthy fats [thank you, Lindsay], I decided to play with some of my favorite breakfast items and I’m loving it this creation!

Sprint 2 the Table

Cinnamon Raisin Eggy Oats

Serves 1

Cinnamon Raisin Eggy Oats

Ingredients
– 1/2 banana; mashed
– Ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1/2 tbsp raisins
– 1 tbsp Sunbutter [or your favorite nut/seed butter!]
– 1 tsp coconut oil
– 1 whole egg
– 2 egg whites

Directions
Place a small pot over high heat and add the 1/2 banana, a sprinkling of cinnamon, almond milk, and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the oats and raisins and cook until desired consistency. Pour the oats into a bowl and top with the nut or seed butter.

Melt the coconut oil in the pot and add the eggs. Sprinkle the eggs with a little cinnamon and cook about 1-3 minutes per side, depending on how runny you like your yolks. When the eggs are finished cooking, slide on top of the oats, sprinkle a little more cinnamon and dive in!

Cinnamon Raisin Eggy Oats

Oh, and don’t forget to post a pic to Instagram, obviously 😉

The runny yolk with the Sunbutter and creamy oats is an unbeatable combination and it’s been a great post-workout breakfast!

Nutritional Information
Per serving with Sunbutter

480 Calories / 22g Fat / 51g Carbs / 9g Fiber / 16g Sugar / 24g Protein

Food for Thought

Have you ever tried sweet eggs?

What I Ate Wednesday #27 – A Day of Rest

I’m extending my Just My Imagination giveaway! You now have until Thursday, 12/20 at 11:59 PM EST to enter! Get your entries in 🙂

Who’da thunk running around non-stop for 2 weeks would completely wear you out? It just doesn’t make sense, right?!

Sunday was the first time we actually had a chance to rest and even though we planned on going to the outlets (the week before Christmas, no less) we never made it out of our PJs. I have no idea the last time this happened but there were no complaints! And I’m not sure I even realized that we literally did nothing all day until I went to lock the door before bed and it was still locked from the night before.

I happily laid around on Sunday and made some delicious meals. But before sharing them with you, I have to congratulate Jenn for celebrating her 100th WIAW “birthday!” And thanks for including everyone in your fun parties 🙂

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas and Crayons Carrots N Cake Sweet Breakfast Scramble Baked Eggs Kale Spinach Delicata Squash Chicken Cacciatore[Breakfast]
I just can’t stop! The Sweet Breakfast Scramble is a habit hard to break.

[Lunch]
Kale & quinoa salad with a baked omelette on top! For whatever reason, I was in an egg kinda mood, so I decided to try and recreate a baked HUMONGOUS omelette I had in Florida. Unfortunately, it was not even close to as fluffy and large as the one I had before, but it was still delicious.. filled to the brim with sauteed broccoli and feta cheese. Yum!

[Dinner]
Another kale salad! This time topped with roasted delicata squash and a lightened up version of chicken cacciatore. I started with a Martha Stewart recipe and added tons of extra red bell pepper, red onion, and a splash of white wine. It was full of flavor and so easy.. definitely recommend trying this recipe!

[Snacks]
Clementines, celery, peanut butter, dried figs, and dried apricots were consumed over the course of the day. I could eat those things all day long!

As this week continues, I find myself hoping for another Sunday in my PJs. Oh how I love the holiday season 😉

Food for Thought

Have you been running around like crazy lately or have you found yourself with time to relax?

What I Ate Wednesday #18 – FitBloggin’ Eats!

This past weekend was spent at FitBloggin’ and it was a weekend full of fun workouts and delicious food. So delicious that I was often going back for seconds. But that’s ok because of all of the workouts, right? Right!

And you bet I tasted everything on the menu!

Weight Watchers Quinoa Strawberry Muesli Fruit Chicken Bean Salad Turkey Sandwich Pear Celery Root Puree PopChips Oatmeal Granola Salmon FitBloggin 2012 Baltimore Maryland MD

[Breakfast]

Friday – Sponsored by Weight Watchers Cheese

  • Hot breakfast quinoa
  • Cheese-stuffed turkey breakfast sausage
  • Cheesy quinoa frittata
  • Strawberry whipped cream cheese muesli [big time fave! I’ll be creating this one at home!]
  • Fresh fruit
  • Coffee

Saturday

  • Oatmeal and quinoa bar with fruit fixins
  • Hardboiled Egglands Best eggs
  • Coffee

[Lunch]

Friday

  • Puree of Celery Root Soup With Apple Mascarpone and Chive Oil
  • Mixed Green Salad With Sliced Almonds, Cranberries and Pears in a Lemon-Champagne Dressing
  • Five-Bean Salad With Chickpeas, Soybeans, Kidney Beans, Black Beans and Crisp Green Beans With Red Onion and Tomato in a Sherry Vinegar Dressing
  • 15-Spice Slow-Roasted Chicken
  • Prairie Grain Baguette with Roasted Turkey, Gouda, Butter Lettuce and Dill Aoli

Saturday

  • Mushroom Tea Soup
  • Local Greens With Shaved Fennel, Radish, Tomato Confit and Basil Dressing
  • Quinoa Salad With Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Red Onion and Cilantro
  • Broiled Salmon With Wilted Greens
  • Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables on Focaccia With Hummus and Sprouts

[Snacks]

There were so many snacks in between sessions and after workouts that I couldn’t keep track. But they were all delicious and included some of the following:

  • Hardboiled Egglands Best eggs
  • Bagel thins with The Laughing Cow cream cheeses [Cinnamon cream cheese people! I need to find it!]
  • SoyJoy bars
  • Popchips! Soooo many popchips!

[Dinner]

We were on our own for dinner, so Friday night I met up with Nathan and we headed over to our favorite bar, Max’s, for German Beer Fest (so FitBloggin’-appropriate, right?!) I essentially had a liter of beer for dinner because I didn’t like the way the food menu looked. NBD.

Maxs Taphouse Broadway Baltimore Maryland MD

P.S. Nathan did get another liter after his baby beer 😉

Saturday I went with a bunch of the lovely bloggers over to Blue Agave, a local restaurant with a Mexican-inspired flare, and had a house salad and a skinny girl margarita. Or 3. That gathering was followed by the FitBloggin’ reception, sponsored by Unilever. They passed some delicious bites, but my favorite was the orange-glazed turkey meatballs. They will definitely be making an appearance in my kitchen soon!

FitBloggin Baltimore Maryland MD Blue Agave Blogger Dinner Gathering

[Goals]
While my past few weeks goals have been fitness-oriented in pushing myself for a better time in future 5K races, this week I want to concentrate on food. I’ve definitely found myself falling off the healthy-eating wagon over the weekends (see the liter of beer for dinner above!), so I want to challenge everyone to a healthy weekend ahead! That’s not to say I won’t have a few drinks over the course of the weekend, but like the Tone It Up girls say, weekends make up almost half of the month. That’s a lot to fall off of the wagon! So let’s do this 🙂

Speak Up!

What are your goals this week? Do you have trouble staying on track over the weekends?

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Spice Latte Proatmeal

Lately I’ve been noticing one or two pumpkin recipes popping up on Pinterest. And by one or two, I mean approximately 500. I guess that means fall is here so I’ll just on the bandwagon and embrace the delicious pumpkin-ness that is happening all around me.

Of course, one of my favorite pumpkin treats is the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, though I have yet to get one this season as this is the first week out of the 90° temps yet! But when I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte oatmeal, I knew I had to try it because, as clearly stated in my last post, I’m oatmeal obsessed.

I put my own spin on the recipe and made it into a protein oatmeal, known, from here on out, as proatmeal. Learn it. Love it. Eat it.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Proatmeal

Serves 1
Adapted from The Oatmeal Artist

Barr & Table Pumpkin Spice Latte PSL Protein Oatmeal Proatmeal Oatmeal Artist Coach's Oats

Ingredients
3 egg whites
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Almond Breeze)
1/2 banana, mashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup oatmeal (I use Coach’s Oats)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Optional Toppings
Sliced almonds
Walnuts
Nut butter (Earth Balance Chunky Coconut Peanut Spread is my favorite!)
Cinnamon
Pumpkin pie spice

Directions
Scramble your 3 egg whites over medium-high heat and put into a bowl off to the side. Add your coffee, almond milk, mashed banana, cinnamon, and oatmeal to the pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the oats have absorbed almost all of the liquid.

Once your oats are at that point, add the egg whites back in, along with the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix everything to combine and let the oats finish cooking to your desired thickness.

Top with your favorite add-ins and enjoy!

Nutritional Stats
Per serving

316 Calories  /  5g Fat  /  50g Carbs  /  11g Fiber  /  10g Sugar  /  20g Protein

Foodie Friday Fun!

Foodie Friday is my way of sharing some of my favorite recipes from the week for those of you that want to try them out over the weekend and I want you to share yours too! Post your favorite recipe that you made this week and share it with me! Click the link below to add yours.

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Protein Oats

I already have my breakfast planned for tomorrow.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and while this week I’ve been on a protein pancake kick, I’m ready to start the weekend with my favorite breakfast; chocolate protein oats.

Barr & Table Chocolate Protein Coach's Oats Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Fig Tone It Up TIU Bombshell Spell

More specifically, Coach’s Oats. I’ve recently been introduced to these little lovely bites and don’t ever want to go back to regular oats again. These oats aren’t rolled, but they aren’t steel cut either. They do, however, have that same texture and bite as steel cut oats, which is my favorite, but cook in no time like rolled oats!

Coach’s Oats are prepared in an entirely new way. The groats are toasted to bring the natural sugars to the surface of the oat, then cracked into small pieces. This patented Cracked n’ Toasted™ process means that Coach’s Oats are never mushy, always naturally delicious and cook in just 3 to 5 minutes on a stovetop or in the microwave.

Chocolate Protein Oats

Serves 1

Ingredients
3 egg whites
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk (Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla is my favorite!)
1/2 banana, mashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup oats (Coach’s Oats are my favorite, of course!)

Optional Toppings
1/2 tbsp nut butter (I love Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread)
Fruit – figs, banana, strawberries, blueberries, etc
1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
Sprinkling of ground cinnamon

Directions
Heat a small pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add your 3 egg whites and cook through, mashing into small pieces. Once cooked, put the egg whites in a bowl off to the side.

Turn heat to high and add water, almond milk, mashed banana, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and oats to the pot. Stir to incorporate everything and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the head to low and stir until everything has just about come together. For the last minute of cooking, add your egg whites back in and stir well.

Pour everything into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

I immediately top mine with peanut butter.. I truly believe melty peanut butter is the best thing in the world.

Barr & Table Chocolate Protein Coach's Oats Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Fig

Speak Up!

What are your favorite oatmeal toppings? Do you change them up or always reach for the same thing?