Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Salsa Chicken Quinoa Casserole

I am starting to finally use my crock pot more. My goal is once a week. It really makes for an easy after work meal with no stress and rushing around. I walk in the house after getting my son at school and it smells amazing, all my worries about what's for dinner are gone and I can concentrate on quality family time. 

This healthy recipe didn't disappoint. I look forward to eating leftovers for lunch today. :)

The recipe calls for:

3 chicken breasts
8 oz quinoa
2 cups salsa
1 can black beans
1 can corn
2 cups water
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can green chiles
5 ounces queso fresco
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Optional toppings:

avocado, tomatoes, greek yogurt, olives, extra salsa or cheese

In my opinion next time I think I will skip the queso inside the crockpot and only have my husband use it as a topping. There's so many other flavors that to me it was just added calories to the mixture. 

-- Put the chicken in the crock pot. I used frozen chicken because it was easier but you can use thawed.
-- Rinse and drain the beans and drain the corn. Keep the liquid from the green chiles. 
-- Add all ingredients to the crock pot except water and 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Once all other ingredients are added, top the mixture with the water and remainder of the cheese. You can also use chicke broth instead of water. 
-- Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
-- Serve with toppings of your choice. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lasagna Stuffed Peppers

Lasagna with no pasta, super low carb! It's a simple recipe and delicious. The peppers bring a great taste to the dish. I will definitely be making this again. 

The recipe calls for:
4 large peppers (we used red)
2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
ground meat
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup part skin mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmasean cheese
italian seasoning 

-- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put foil on a baking pan. 
-- Slice the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds, etc. Place them on the baking dish and cook for 20 minutes. 
-- Cook and brown up the meat in a pan. We used lean ground turkey. Add the sauce to the pan once the meat is fully cooked. 
-- Layer the peppers with the meat/sauce mixture, then ricotta, more meat sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. 
-- Bake on the middle rack for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and top with parmasean cheese and italian seasoning. 
-- Bake for 5 more minutes on the top rack. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pancake Muffins

I posted a picture of the pancake muffins I made on the Passion N Beauty Facebook page and someone wanted the recipe so I thought I would share.

The recipe calls for:

pancake mix (I used Kodiak Cakes which is an all natural brand that has different kinds. This one was whole wheat, oat and honey)
water, amount as directed on pancake mix 
1 egg
mini dark chocolate chips (optional)

-- Mix all the ingredients and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Simple! Delicious! And most importantly for me toddler approved! :) This is perfect for moms on the go, quick to make and great to have a snack on the go. 

Good vibes,


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Energy Bites!

Super easy recipe!

- 2 cups oats
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 2 ripes bananas
- mini dark chocolate chips 
- cinnamon

I just winged it with the chocolate chips and cinnamon, amount wise. 

Mix all together, roll into balls and refrigerate for 2 hours. Although I tasted it right out of the bowl and it was amazing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

I feel good...dananananana

Lately I've been realizing how I'm becoming more of who I want to be. An example, feeling good about myself, happier, content, enjoying more, wanting to do and be more. It's really a great feeling. 

Here are some highlights from the past few months, healthy living & bettering me. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Challenge Yourself

My best friend is running a series of work out challenges to get your body summer ready. The first one was all about the lower body and consisted of squats, squats and more squats. I did a total of 2,405 squats in 29 days. That challenge made me a lover of squats. I truly didn't think this was possible, but it happened! I now do them every day, multiple times a day and with ease. I not only feel a difference but I actually see a difference. My legs and butt have definitely transformed into something I am proud of and all it took was a month. Can't beat results like that! I will still work my glutes and quads but I am happy with what I accomplished in the challenge. 

Today started the second challenge which is all about abs. I'm excited! We have such a great group of motivational supportive women. I am glad this one has begun! There are rest days and the first one is on Saturday. I will rest my abs like I need to but I still wanted to challenge myself in some way. I have decided to do a water challenge.

1 gallon of water drank in one day!

Goodbye toxins!

Who wants in?

If you are interested in joining my friends challenge groups, they are all happening on Instagram. 
Follow: @barbells_babymonitors

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Frozen Greek Yogurt

Three things!

1.) I LOVE ice cream. It's one food I could eat daily if it wasn't a million calories in each pint.
2.) I HATE wasting food. It's like throwing money in the garbage. And I am a penny pincher! 
3.) It's getting warmer out!!! 

Those three things inspired THIS:

Last night my son had a greek yogurt with his dinner. He liked it but ate all his pasta first so he was full and didn't finish the yogurt. I didn't want to throw out the rest and covering it with foil is pointless because it usually just ends up in the trash anyways. I've wanted to freeze greek yogurt for awhile now to enjoy like I would ice cream so what better time. 

I put the rest in two cupcake liners, topped with some dark chocolate chips because my "ice cream" flavors always need some sort of chocolate in them and put them in a baggie in the freezer. 

When we got home from school/work I took them out and they looked great! The liners came off fine and they smelled amazing, I used coconut yogurt. I let them sit in a bowl for a little so they weren't as hard. 

Perfect snack for me and my son. They are toddler approved! Can't wait to make different kinds as the weather gets warmer and warmer. My new ice cream substitute! Yum. 

I think I will get small containers for the freezer and make this in bigger batches. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

21 Day Fix Approved Buffalo Pizza

The recipe calls for:

whole wheat pizza dough
2 chicken breasts
1 cup hot sauce 
chili powder
garlic powder 
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

-- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
-- Season chicken with garlic powder  and chili powder. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
-- While the chicken is cooking, season the dough with some garlic powder and oregano. Add the sauce. 
-- When the chicken is done, cut into pieces and mix in hot sauce. Add the chicken to the pizza and top with cheese. 
-- Cook in the oven for about 8-10 more minutes. 

Feel free to add other toppings too like spinach or onion. The original recipe called for those two toppings but I didn't use them. 


Friday, February 26, 2016

I Love Plating

Eating healthy isn't always expensive or difficult to make. I forgot to put out turkey burgers for dinner one day this week so I whipped this up real quick. Easy and delicious! 

Like the title says, I love plating food. It's like an art and matches well with my love of photography. Take pride in what you cook. Enjoy not just the food but the act of what you're making and the beauty of what you put on the plate for your family or yourself. I feel like I eat slower this way too. Cherishing every bite. Yum. 

Good vibes,


Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I am slowly realizing, it’s not all about the number on the scale.  I have always had that number define my entire day.  I am still one of those people who get on the scale every single morning and if I forget I get upset.  I am fully aware that the scale fluctuates, that not drinking enough water one day could affect it in a negative way or that you may just need to go to the bathroom.  But for some reason it has always made me either very happy or very sad.  Every.  Single.  Day.  For as long as I can remember that is what I did every morning.  Something I want to work on along with everything else I am working on is only getting on the scale once a week.  This will be a personal challenge of mine.  Doing something for years on end isn’t something easy to stop.  It’s a habit.  A bad habit though and one I will learn to break.

I have lost 11 pounds.  I want to lose more, gain more muscle and I have a ways to go but I won’t let that put down all I have done.  My mind, body and soul have truly changed and I know that means something.  That loss was SOMETHING.  I earned it.  I worked for it.  I am going to feel good about that instead of only concentrating on all the weight I have left to lose.
The number on the scale doesn’t change how I feel.  I need to tell myself that and keep on trucking along with my journey.  It’s been a great one.

This goes for sizes of clothes too.  If a shirt or pair of pants fit great on me, looked good, but were a certain size I couldn’t even purchase it.  My mother knows more than anybody that clothes shopping with me has never been fun.  I have always been insecure of my body even when there was no reason to be.  I don’t feel as insecure now than I used to.  That’s crazy to think about because now is when I weigh the most.  But again, that just shows that numbers don’t mean a thing.  It’s all about how you feel and loving yourself, however that may be. 

Now as a 30 year old woman I am realizing, “Why should I be insecure?” this is YOU.  Be proud of you.  You had a baby, you gained weight, you have stretch marks…who cares!  Just work on changing what you don’t like and be happy.  So that’s where I am at.  Being happy…

Whether it’s something as small as a number to negative people in your life, it’s all unnecessary.  Remove it!  It will be liberating.  Trust me.

Good vibes,


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Balance, Portions & Movement

It's near impossible to not treat yourself, go out to eat or have a piece of chocolate. Right?

It's all about balance. 

I used to have a cheat day. An entire day every week to eat whatever I wanted. That was my first mistake. It caused me to get off track, go overboard and in all honesty just feel like complete crap. I now let myself one cheat meal a week. Without this I know I would feel deprived and all of the above things would happen. Allowing myself one meal won't kill me, it won't ruin all my hard work the rest of the week or be terrible for me. The one meal could be a date night out, pizza night with my family or a day at a bbq. Even with having that one meal to cheat though doesn't mean I need to go crazy or even have to in order to enjoy what I am eating. So for example, last night was pizza night in my house. Instead of getting the typical pizzeria pizza we decided to get pizza to go at my husbands restaurant job. This pizza has less carbs because it's flat bread, they are smaller and I got the margarita pizza so less cheese/oil. I could've easily eaten the whole pie, like I said it wasn't very big. My husband finished his. Instead though I got a big side salad to fill me up. Got my vegetable portion in and ate less pizza. Win win! There isn't anything wrong with getting pizzeria pizza from time to time though. It's a must in most people's lives. It's delicious afterall. With that though I would again accompany it with a big salad and eat one slice but cut it into two so it feels like I'm eating more.

This is called balance. 

Now portions, the amount of pizza I ate was a good portion. Making a cheat meal a whole pie or having pizza and a bowl of ice cream isn't just one meal. Pick what you really crave that day, one or the other. 

Another thing that is great for your body is smaller portions spread throughout the day. It speeds your metabolism up, keeps you full so your body doesn't starve and you cave and eat poorly. Eating throughout the day helps me also stay hydrated too and get my daily water amount in each day. This also helps me stay full longer.

The second mistake I used to make was skip breakfast and have just coffee. Not good. One, skipping breakfast is a big no no and two coffee will just dehydrate me so that solely as my breakfast isn't helping my body. I now have breakfast every single day. A good portion size breakfast, nothing crazy big, but something to get my metabolism going. Portions is important. And with smaller portions I get to eat more through out the day which makes me happy because I love food. Too big of portions of bad food puts you in a food coma. If you feel like your always in a food coma you're probably eating too much and too much of the wrong foods. I love quinoa, whole grains, etc. They fill me up and also fuels me for the day instead of being in a food coma. 

Pick good foods, with better portions. Doing this will change how you feel. Trust me. 

Lastly with no explanation needed just move MORE. Get off the couch and do more. Whether it be a short workout, a walk or running after your kids. Don't just sit on the side lines. You will miss out on having the body and life you want. I finally took control of my body after having my son and it's been great.

Good vibes,


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Why do we only eat pumpkin in the fall?

I get why pumpkin is huge in the fall, makes sense. But when baking canned pumpkin is usually always used and that may not be in your front display now but it's still sold in the baking aisle.

I LOVE pumpkin and decided I couldn't wait until fall. I found this recipe and it sure was a delicious breakfast. 

The recipe calls for:

1 cup pumpkin purée
2 1/4 cup oatmeal or steal cut oats***
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 tbsp coconut butter
1/2 cups + 2 tbs organic maple syrup
1 tbsp pure vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 

-- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-- Line or spray the muffin pan with baking oil. 
-- Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor or blender.
-- Fold in the chocolate chips or use them to top each muffin.
-- Fill the muffin tin 3/4 of the way.
-- Bake in the oven for 22-24 minutes and let cool.

*** So I didn't use oatmeal because the recipe I found said "rolled oats" which I now know just means oatmeal. Instead I bought steel cut oats which I've never had before but knew they were very healthy for you. Because of this I'm sure my muffins are a different texture then the recipe I saw but I like it. Makes the muffins hearty and fills you. 

One batch I only topped the muffins with some chocolate chips and the second batch I mixed them in the batter. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Product of the Week

No explanation needed, just buy it! This can be found in your grocery store either in the organic aisle or by the peanut butter. 

I finally got this over the weekend and love it in my shakes now! I always hated getting the natural peanut butter stuck to the sides of the blender so there was always less peanut butter flavor in my shake but this doesn't stick to the sides. It mixes well just like shakeology or protein powder.

I can't wait to see what else I can do with it!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Quinoa Porridge

The recipe calls for:

coconut milk
greek yogurt
nuts/mini chocolate chips
natural peanut butter 

-- Cook the quinoa with coconut milk instead of water.
-- Add all the toppings, mix and enjoy!

Some substitute options:

almond butter instead of peanut butter 
jelly instead of yogurt 
fruit instead of nuts and chocolate chips
almonds instead of peanuts/peacans
almond milk instead of coconut 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Start Each Day With Gratitude

5 things to think about each morning...

1.) Smile, because you're alive and living is what you are meant to do.

2.) Begin your routine. Routines aren't boring, they keep you organized and sane. Follow your morning routine daily. It will make all the difference in your week. It will make you feel productive, keep you on time and keep stress away. Everyone's routine is different but everyone needs that structure if you have a busy life or family. One thing I am trying to add to my routine is emptying the dish washer. It's helpful to have that done already when I get home from a long day. Have a night time routine too that you follow daily. Pick up the toys in the living room, prep lunches, pick out clothes for the next day, etc.  

3.) Keep the tv off. Tv is simply a distraction, unnecessary and will get you out of your routine in the morning. Instead turn on some tunes to get you moving! If you don't want to wake the kids, just enjoy the silence. Collect your thoughts. 

4.) Again, get moving! If your time is limited then dance to those tunes or better yet wake up a little earlier so exercise can happen. You may not think it but exercise gives you more energy. During that chug some water. It will awaken you! 

5.) Enjoy something every morning before starting your busy work day or hectic mom life at home. It could be a cup of coffee with an adult coloring book, putting smiles on your kids face by making a yummy breakfast for them or  listen to an old cd while reminiscing in traffic. Not everyone has a lot of time before heading out for the day so this enjoyment for YOU could also be done on your lunch break or during nap time.

Another week at work, for most of us, completed now it's time to enjoy the weekend. I was off the past two days with my sick son so needless to say I am exhausted. Looking forward to the next two days!

Good vibes,