Thursday, January 29, 2015

Clean Eating Buffalo Chicken Tenders


If you have a man in your life chances are they love things like wings, beer and pizza.  While some things can be made a little healthier something cannot, so on Super Bowl Sunday I usually make up a few healthy dishes and let the guys still have their beer.  Seems like a wise compromise, right??  I think so!

Well, if you're like me you've had a new recipe just bomb.  Like it was just bad and your whole family refuses to eat it, so I know better now and try out any new recipe well in advance of a big party or get-together like the Super Bowl.

Enter my Clean Eating Buffalo Chicken Tenders!  I made these about three weeks ago on a test run and sure enough, they were a hit.  Jeff was eating them, loved the kick of heat in the sauce and said these were a new favorite!  Well, here's the recipe that will surely please your football crowd this weekend.



Clean Eating Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:
-2lbs chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts cut into strips
-1tbsp olive oil
-1tsp paprika
-1tsp garlic powder
-1tsp chili powder
-1/2tsp black pepper
-1 bottle Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
-sliced carrots & celery, optional

Skinny Blue Cheese Dressing (for dipping, optional)
-1/2c. 0% plain greek yogurt
-splash of white vinegar
-pinch of sea salt
-pinch of garlic powder
-squeeze of fresh lemon
-1tbsp blue cheese crumbles

Directions:

Combine olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and black pepper in a medium bowl. Season chicken with spices and toss to evenly coat the chicken.

Heat a griddle or large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add half the chicken and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes, turn chicken and cook until center is no longer pink. Set aside; repeat with remaining chicken strips.

Pour about 1/2 of the bottle of Frank's Red Hot Buffalo sauce into a medium bowl.

Place cooked chicken strips into the hot sauce and evenly toss to coat entire strip.  Place on a platter to cool.  Serve with celery sticks & carrots, plus skinny blue cheese dressing if desired.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Clean Eating French Dip Sandwiches

It is not always easy as a mom and wife to please both your children and your husband, but these simple sandwiches deliver.  This hearty, healthy and warm sandwich will be a hit in your home on a chilly winter evening.  Serve with a side salad or fresh fruit and you have got a great meal the whole family can dig into!

Clean Eating French Dip Sandwiches

Ingredients

For the beef:
3-4lbs top round roast
2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1tsp garlic powder
1tbsp Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning
bit of sea salt
bit of black pepper
beef broth

For the onions & peppers:
extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions
2 green bell peppers

For sandwich prep:
1 loaf of sourdough bread
provolone cheese
au jus from the crockpot, add additional worcestershire and sea salt as needed

Directions

First up, haul out your crockpot and turn it on to the warm setting.  Place your roast in the crockpot, top roast with garlic powder, no salt seasoning, sea salt & black pepper.  Add in beef broth to come up both sides of the roast.  Add in 2tbsp worcestershire sauce to the broth. Slice up 1/2 onion and layer on top of the roast.  Let cook on low for 6+ hours.  Beef will be very tender!!  Remove the beef roast from the crockpot and slice the meat.  Now you're ready to make the sandwiches.
                                                     

My favorite bread for a sandwich is sourdough and Boudin's Sourdough, which you can buy at Costco is the best!  No weird ingredients and it toasts fabulous too.  You could use a more traditional french loaf for this recipe as well.

Once you have your toast toasting sauté your onions and peppers in a pan with olive oil.  Cook until tender.
 

Assemble your sandwiches!  Once my bread was slightly toasted, I measured up my 21 Day Fix red container with meat (my protein), topped it with lots of veggies, 1 slice of provolone and the last piece of bread.  I served it with a side of au jus from the crockpot!!


Heaven on sourdough!!

21 Day Fix/Portion Fix Exchange
1 slice sourdough = 1 yellow container
beef roast = 1 red container
onions & peppers = 1/2 green container
1 slice provolone cheese = 1 blue container
olive oil = 1/2 tsp


Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Favorite Soup

In winter in Michigan soup just seems like the perfect comfort food.  It's hearty, it can be healthy and warm.  I always get one complaint from my husband though... soup isn't a filling meal, I am always hungry an hour later.  So I knew I had my work cut out for me.  I was going to have to find and make some soups that nourish even the hungriest guy, my husband.  Oh and of course at my house it's always a bonus if it is a kid-pleaser too.  My girls are picky on occasion, but after one bite they were singing the praises of this soup as well.

Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup

For the Meatballs:
  • 1 package 93% ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • kosher salt to taste

For the Soup:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic
  • 1 carton (4 cups) chicken broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 9 oz refrigerated Butioni spinach cheese tortellini
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • fresh Parmesan sprinkled on top

Combine the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, spinach, garlic, salt and parmesan cheese. Using your hands, gently mix all the ingredients well until everything is combined. Form small meatballs, about 1 tbsp each or so, you'll get about 20.

In a large nonstick pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat add in olive oil, then add the celery, onion, carrot & garlic. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.

Add the chicken broth and increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. When broth boils, season with black pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and gently drop in the meatballs. Cook about 4 minutes.

Add the tortellini and simmer until cooked according to package directions, about 7 minutes.  Once cooked add the baby spinach. Stir to combine and serve topped with fresh Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serves 8.  We had this for dinner one night and the leftovers the second night.

Portion Fix Exchange:
1 red container (I measured out my meatballs)
1 yellow containers (I measured out my tortellini)
1 green container
1 blue container
then poured in desired amount of broth

Friday, January 9, 2015

My $23,000 Week, Pinch Me

Seven years ago I made just over $23,000 a year working in marketing and advertising.  My work was fun, but the hours were long and the pay was not good.  There were 200 people who wanted my job. I was replaceable.  Well, after the birth of our first daughter, Audrey, my husband and I took a huge leap of faith and I quit that marketing job to stay home and raise our baby girl.  I was excited, but scared.

I soon learned that motherhood was one of the most rewarding and most thankless jobs out there.  I was so blessed to never miss a moment as Audrey grew up, but this thought lingered in my head... would I someday have to go back to work??  And it scared me.  So in the meantime I dabbled in little projects.  I did some floral design on the side.  I wrote a blog.  I sewed and designed a line of infant & toddler sized hooded towels that were sold in local boutiques.  In a way, I realized a little entrepreneurial spirit was brewing inside of me, but I had no real money to make a go at any of them.

A little over two years later we found out, SURPRISE, we were pregnant with baby #2.  At this point, I almost did not feel ready to be pregnant again.  I felt I was starting this pregnancy at an unhealthy weight.  Were we ready to be a family of 4?  Would this change everything?  Could we afford another baby?

Well, sure enough Finley was born and she was perfect and completed our family.  And once home and happy and healthy I knew it was time to focus a bit on me.  When Finley was 6 months old and a new year had rolled around I officially committed to my own health & fitness journey.  It was time for this mama to do something for herself.  I ordered ChaLEAN Extreme, eventually Shakeology and about five weeks later signed up as a Beachbody Coach.  At the time I had only lost maybe 7 or 8 pounds, but I felt great, more confident than ever before and there was this little voice inside my head saying, "Do it!  Pay it forward!  What's the worst that could happen?  You'd get a discount, help a few friends and hopefully make $100 per week!"

We were a family that was just like so many other American family out there.  We were living paycheck to paycheck.  I sold things on Ebay and Craigslist to pay for Christmas.  We had credit card debt, a student loan, cars that were 10 years old and always needing repairs, and a mortgage that was underwater due to the tanking housing market.  With only my husband working and me staying home with our girls how was I going to help?  Was I going to go back to work full-time?  And when?  Now or once my girls were in school full-time a few years down the road?  All of those thoughts just turned in my head night after night.

So... I went for it!  What did I have to lose?  I was going to become a Beachbody Coach and I was determined to make this work.  If it had changed my life, it could surely help others too.

And well, nearly 4 years later with a team of 4,000 coaches, hundreds of transformation stories, and an income that has created true freedom for my family I guess you could say that one little decision was life changing.

I don't really believe in luck.  I didn't get here by luck.  I got here by hardwork, determination, perseverance and a belief that I could do more & be more.  And along the way I found my faith and I met God.  I never would have believed you if you had said my destiny in life was to be a top Beachbody Coach and help others change their lives, but the way God led me down this path is truly remarkable.  He gave me the light and in turn, helped me SHINE.




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Puerto Rican Daydreamin


It was 1 degree here this morning.  And it felt like -27, so I think it is safe to say I am daydreaming about our upcoming Puerto Rican vacation.  We have fallen in love with Puerto Rico.  It's a quick escape... you can easily fly there from the states and there is no delay in customs, since Puerto Rico is a US territory.

           

We have stayed at a resort once.  We rented a condo on our 2nd trip this past summer and in January we've rented a house!  I think we will eventually buy a place in Puerto Rico, so we've been slowly working our way around the island deciding which spot we love best!  This is a good problem to have!  

And the final bonus, I can run my home-based Beachbody business from Puerto Rico, so I get warm winters in the sunshine and awesome Michigan summers when I return home.  It sounds like the best of both worlds to me.

                                 

Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Puerto Rico:


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Double-Chocolate Black Bean Brownies, oh my

I am not sure I love anything more than I love a chocolate brownie or cake or cookie.  I am human and I am a woman and at this point in my life I refuse to live life depriving myself of certain foods I like.  So... in comes the flour-less double chocolate black bean brownie and yes, they are amazing!!

Here's how to make a pan of your own that the whole family will want to devour too.

                

Ingredients:
  • 1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup stevia or xylitol
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground coffee
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, divided


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a nonstick 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Blend the black beans, eggs, cocoa powder, stevia, coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder and ground coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl. Fold in 1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips until combined.  Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies. 

Bake the brownies for approximately 30 to 32 minutes.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.

Makes 12 squares. Top with berries for a delightful dessert!!

If you are following the 21 Day Fix or the Portion Fix the exchange is:
1 serving yellow
1/2 serving purple (for the berries)

ENJOY!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Making time for me

As moms I think we're all guilty.  The kids come first.  Our husbands come first.  Dinner comes first.  Dishes come first.  Laundry comes first.  Cleaning the house comes first.  And basically at the end of the day we realize everything else came first, but us and we are left feeling spent with nothing left for ourselves.  It is a bad position to be in.

So for 2015 I decided I would make a lot more pro-me choices!  My time spent reading, working out or hanging with my family was going to come first.  I've worked really hard on building a business from home over the last 3.5 years and I feel like now I get to make more pro-me choices than ever before.  I've created freedom for my family and this gives us the option to choose more down time, to hire a cleaning person to come more, and for me to stress less.  
                            

I've also committed to reading more in 2015.  It is something I often put on the back burner last year, because I was so busy.  I realize now that's not a very pro-me decision.  And that's not good.  So I am digging into 26 new books this year.  So here's book #2.  I can't wait to "master the money game" for me, my family, my team and my business!

                                                 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This week's meal plan

Each week I work on making a meal plan that works for me and my family.  I've learned over time that a few things might change here or there... in life I have to be flexible, but I do so much better with a plan, don't you?   I know what to buy, I've got some ideas down for my meals, and one of my goals this year was to try at least one new recipe a week, so you'll notice a few on here!!  I follow the Portion Fix/21 Day Fix meal plan, so you'll find a lot of these recipes very easy to measure with your containers and plug into your 21 Day Fix app.




So this Sunday evening (not shown above) I decided to make something different.  My husband was planning to watch the Lions game and these Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips sounded FAB.  Audrey and Finley were begging for leftover spaghetti, so I knew it was the perfect opportunity to try something a bit more spicy for Jeff and I.  And..... they were a hit!

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips:  Recipe here on SkinnyTaste


Well if you're anything like my family, tomorrow it's back to the real world.  Hubby off to work, children off to school and me... back to working from home with a bit more of a schedule than I've had these past 2 weeks.  Christmas break was fabulous, but I'm ready to get back to some normalcy around here.  Enjoy your first official full-week in the New Year, make it healthy!!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gratitude and a little pale pink

I know it is easy to get so caught up in the busyness of life that we often forget the good or amazing when something negative happens.  I found this little journal at TJ Maxx yesterday and I plan to use it to record something I am grateful for each day.  It has 365 entries and today I am already onto day 3.  I think this will be an amazing memento to look back at when 2015 is over.


In other news I am kind of obsessed with light pink right now.  I was getting dressed for our date night last night and I could not help but pair up everything pale pink in my closet with my skinny jeans.  

Here's how to get the look...
Pale pink scarf: similar HERE, pale pink lace top: DKNY, similar HERE & HERE, faux-fur brown boots, BareTracks, rose gold necklace: Mythologie, similar HERE

And a few beauty faves shown:  
Vinylux nail polish in Grapefruit Sparkle
Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara:  Ulta
Oh My Gorgeous rollerball perfume: Soma
Urban Decay Naked Ulta Nourishing lip gloss in Naked:  Ulta

Today I am grateful for my new little book, pale pink, getting glam & date nights.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fitness & Fashion

I'd like to think fitness & fashion go together like milk & cookies.  Or like weights & cardio.  Or Chanel & fabulous.  But seriously, when I'm working out hard on my fitness goals part of me is thinking, "I'm doing this to feel great in anything I want to wear!" and the other part of me is thinking about the goal, "Leslie, when you hit that fitness or health goal, get those shoes girl!"

I mean, wouldn't you work a little harder if you could reward yourself with something pretty?!  Maybe it's just me, but I've learned I'll work harder for a new handbag than for a cookie any day.

Here are a few outfits on my fitness wish list....


Funky workout leggings: San Diego Fit, similar HERE

 Printed workout tanks: Blogilates & Etsy, similar HERE & HERE

Cozy hoodies with attitude: Etsy, similar HERE, Nike Pro Shorts: HERE 


Shoes that make you think, "Let's go workout!" Nike
My favorite place to shop for discounted or last season Nikes??  6PM

It's true!!

So go on... set a fitness goal and a fashion reward to match.  I can't wait to hear how you work harder to make it happen.