Latest eats + Costco finds

Hi everyone! Happy August! 

I have been looking forward to this month because 1) it’s my birthday month (cue the free junk food coupons in my inbox from restaurants, haha. Hitting Delete on most of them except Datz Dough in Tampa – their cupcakes are amazing!) and 2) it’s the last month of inferno-like heat in Florida! I always feel like the worst is over when we make it through August. WE CAN DO THIS! #airconditioning #peppermintspray #icewater <– how I survive the summer 😆

On the pregnancy update front, we’re moving right along! Baby is almost 22 weeks now (only 18-ish to go! Sweet!) and I’ve been feeling great except for occasional low back pain when my hips get out of alignment. But I felt like working out today which is a huge win! I mostly used the TRX bands for some push-ups, squats, and rows with jogging in place between sets.

I love looking at bump pictures after baby’s born and 5-6 months old and thinking “How did I stretch like that?!” Haha it never seems that big at the time.

Lunch today was so delicious I wished I made double…yep, that would have been 2 whole sandwiches. But I didn’t, so I’ll make it again for lunch tomorrow. Aldi has organic red peppers now (!!) so I was on them like white on rice and am using them in our meals this week. First up: roasted red pepper sandwich with goat cheese and spinach 😍

Roasting red peppers is simple: preheat oven to Broil, cut peppers in half, clean out seeds/membranes, and place face down on a pan very close to the top of the oven. Broil for 7-9 minutes and flip. Broil for 5-6 more minutes and remove from oven. Slice and they’re ready to go.

I slathered goat cheese on the bread, added spinach and roasted peppers, and added a little butter to a frying pan to give my sandwich the grilled cheese crispy exterior. The only thing I’ll do differently tomorrow is double the goat cheese, haha!

*just realized this is a 100% Aldi meal since the goat cheese, spinach, and bread (all organic, and the bread is sprouted, with minimal ingrediets) is from Aldi, which means it’s basically dirt cheap AND healthy 😉

Costco this weekend was full of yummy organic items! Any other Pink Lady apple lovers out there?! These apples are so tart and sweet. I added a little peanut butter (also from Costco) and leftover chocolate banana smoothie for my afternoon snack today.

These eggs really stole the show, though. I don’t know if this price tag was a misprint or what, but they’re usually $6.99 for 24 organic eggs, and this weekend they were just $4.89! We got 3 containers. No shame! They don’t expire until September something, and I’ll be making a few birthday cakes/cupcakes so I know none of these will be wasted!

I also found Mary’s Gone Crackers (original flavor) at Costco for $5.99 for two big bags. Another favorite for me and Judith to pair with goat cheese! 

Now I just need to finish meal planning for the weekend and let all these goodies shine in the kitchen! If you’ve meal planned already, share your recipes with me in the comments! I love getting new ideas that way!

Gina

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Italian Chicken Burgers

Hello!

Don’t you love when something you’re cooking turns out so much better than you expected?! We were shopping at Costco last weekend and I almost bought a pack of chicken-kale-mozzarella burgers when Garrett reminded me we can make ground chicken with the meat grinder attachment for our stand mixer (I had completely forgotten about it! Saved us $10 right there!).

I figured chicken burgers would be a healthy lunch option that would be easy to make ahead of time on prep day, but I was pleasantly surprised when they also turned out juicy and flavorful! I had goat cheese on hand and I built the recipe around that because I knew it would add a little moisture to the chicken (which is naturally drier/more crumbly than beef). I used one pack of chicken thighs from Costco (a little over a pound) and that made 5 burgers.

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(I’m loving the huge windows in our new house! So much light for picture-taking!)

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb. ground chicken

1 egg, scrambled

2 T. goat cheese

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. oregano

1/8 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. basil

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Form into 5 patties and cook at 350 degrees until edges are done, flip and cook for a few more minutes. I just fried them in a pan with a little coconut oil.

Roasted red peppers, sautéed kale, or a little mashed sweet potato would taste great inside the burgers too!

Potato Leek Soup

Hello friends! Last week we picked up a basket of organic produce from a little market called Lakeland Organic. It was $20 for the basket, and we got TONS of veggies for the price. Other than me forgetting to pick up the potatoes that were part of this week’s basket (#fail), it worked out great! We’ve had more variety in our meals and veggies this week as a result.

Since I saw “1 lb. potatoes” and “leeks” on the list of basket items this week, my mind  immediately went to SOUP! (Since I missed the potatoes in this week’s basket, our friends picked them up on the way over for dinner. They saved our dinner since I didn’t notice I missed the potatoes until I started to make dinner!) I’ll take soup any day of the year, no matter the weather. I pretty much winged it for this recipe, although it’s loosely based on the Bacon Potato Soup recipe that comes in the Vitamix Create cookbook. I wanted to use the Vitamix to make this soup, since it’s so easy and heats the soup too, so I didn’t want to wing it so much that my soup didn’t fit in the Vitamix container 😉

It turned out really good, so I had to share the recipe with you! Everyone at dinner loved it too. If not for them I’d have been left with the entire batch to eat myself since Garrett hates soup in all forms, haha!

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Ingredients

(serves 6)

2 large or 3 medium potatoes, diced

2 c. chicken broth

1/2 leek, sliced in half-moons

1 T. butter for pan

Salt & pepper to taste

3 oz. plain Greek yogurt (I used half of one of those single-serving Fage cups)

2/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Directions
Boil potatoes in chicken broth until soft, about 10 mins. Heat pan to medium-high, add butter and leeks and sauté until leeks are soft. Salt and pepper to taste.

After potatoes are cooked, drain (reserve liquid!) and add 1/2 the potatoes to blender, along with reserved chicken broth, yogurt, cheese, and about 1/3 of the leeks. I used the soup setting on my Vitamix, but if you don’t have that, blend on high until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowls and top with remaining leeks. Croutons and cheese would be some other good toppings. Comment if you try it and let me know what you think!

 

Mango Honey Popsicles

Hello all! I’m in a 12-week fitness challenge right now (and absolutely loving it! It’s keeping my sugar intake down and my veggie intake up) and each day we have a Daily Challenge to complete. One day’s challenge was to drink extra water, today’s is to stretch 10x throughout the day, and yesterday’s was to make a new recipe. I saw a picture of a Popsicle somewhere and decided I’d make a healthier Popsicle for dessert. I was pretty happy with the result (and so was Judith)!

Mango Honey Popsicles (makes 5-6)

• 1 c. frozen mango

• 3/4 c. coconut milk

• 1-2 t. honey

• 2 T. goji berries

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze.

Mine weren’t sweet enough but were still tasty – I would have used orange juice but I’m avoiding fruit juices for my fitness challenge. Feel free to add it for that extra flavor and sweetness.

I used the Zoku Popsicle maker which froze them super quickly (about 5 mins) but we only were able to make 3 Popsicles before it thawed and we had to save the rest for when it was re-frozen.


(Thumb scar courtesy of peeling carrots as a kid. Mom you’ll remember that day I’m sure 😉 )

What’s your favorite cold healthy dessert? Share in the comments!

Back on the Green Wagon

Hi friends!

The weekend lasted longer for us since Garrett got Monday off work and we took a little trip to St. Pete. Mazzaro’s is our fave lunch spot there and we stopped in for a sandwich before our first visit to the Sunken Gardens (basically gardens in a drained pond/sinkhole 15 ft below street level, in the middle of the city. Pretty cool place!)


For a few months, I had fallen off the green smoothie bandwagon, to be honest. I always loved the flavor of greens in my smoothies but just stopped adding them for some reason (oops). Well, with some inspiration from Jen & Jadah I’m definitely back in the swing of things now!

Saturday was grocery day, and when we got home I immediately made a bunch of smoothie and juice preps for the week. I’m starting to realize prepping meals or snacks is the single most important factor for me to eat healthy foods all week. When it’s prepped, I eat it. Simple as that. When it’s not…I get hungry or run out of time to make healthier foods that (sometimes) require more prep time, so I reach for quick food instead (read: grains, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. No bueno!)


This weekend I prepped 6 baggies with green smoothie ingredients (they go in the freezer, and I just add water or milk, and protein powder before blending) and 4 for green juices (fruits & veg chopped into juice-able sizes, stored in the fridge).

Swiss chard was on sale so I stocked up on that plus a big container of organic spinach from Sam’s Club for my preps.

The details:

Juice preps

1/2 cucumber

1/2 apple

1 c. greens

1 carrot

(after juicing, I add 1 drop Ginger essential oil, 1 drop Cinnamon eo, and 1 drop Lemon eo)

Smoothie preps

1/3 banana

1/2 apple

1/4 avocado

1 1/2 c. greens

1 T. ground flaxseed

(I added 1/3 c. pumpkin instead of avocado to a few of them)

Just add 1 – 1 1/2 c. water or milk and blend away! (add greens last to the prep baggies, so if your blender doesn’t handle greens well, you can blend them + liquid first, and there won’t be any leafy bits).

^ for real!

What are your fave food prep recipes? Do you make the same ones every week, or add new ones to the rotation?

Mango Orange Smoothie


Trying to hold on to a little bit of summer!

1 c. frozen mango

1/3 banana, frozen

1 1/2 c. milk of choice

Splash of orange juice

1 scoop pea protein

2 drops orange essential oil
Add all ingredients to blender and mix. Serves 1.