Some of My Favorites

Happy Thursday to you all! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week full of happiness.

A quick rewind to Tuesday evening

I had tacos on my mind. I had some pre-cooked pinto beans in the freezer so I grabbed those, defrosted them, and threw them in a pan with sautéed onions, garlic, red pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I then added a splash of chicken bone broth to the pan and let it cook out; this helps make the beans more saucy (just don’t let them cook too long after the liquid has cooked out or they will start to get too starchy).

I love cooking a huge batch of beans and freezing them so that they are ready for me whenever I need them. I use canned beans on occasion and am sure to rinse them really well to remove some of the sodium, but I prefer dried beans that I cook myself. That way I know exactly what goes into them.

bean tacos

I used lettuce cups as the taco shells then assembled the bean mixture, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and lastly the salsa.

bean tacos

This dinner seriously came together in about 10 minutes and it was SO good as always! Taco night is one of my all-time favorites!

Wednesday

After my Insanity workouts, I often crave a huge fruit and veggie-packed smoothie. Yesterday, I threw together one of my favorites:

  • a large handful of kale
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 scoop of chocolate egg-white protein powder
  • ~1/2-3/4 cup almond milk
  • splash of aloe vera juice

Again, I give full credit to my friend Shannon for this one. I think of her every time I make it. It tastes like a chocolate shake and who doesn’t enjoy a chocolate shake in the morning?! I am totally into it.

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I have some exciting news. When it comes to my coffee I am a coffee with cream kind of gal. I enjoy a smooth creamy mug of coffee and as much as I tried to “wean” myself off of the creamer, I just couldn’t get into it. I tried for a good 5-6 months to go au natural, which I would say was a fair shot, but still no dice.

The main reason I wanted to stop with the creamers is because I was not liking the ingredient labels on some of my favorite creamers, namely hydrogenated oils aka trans fat. Not only that, the ingredient labels were way too long and full of unrecognizable words.

I have been on the prowl for a creamer replacement. I tried coconut milk, almond milk, soy creamer, but nothing was giving my coffee that creaminess that I loved and missed so much.

I made a trip to Whole Foods to browse their milk and cream section and I found something that has made me so extremely happy and makes my coffee blend into creamy just the way I like it…

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SO Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer in hazelnut flavor. That’s the stuff!

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There are a few ingredients that I’m not particularly fond of, but for the most part, I can accept it considering I do a very good job everywhere else in my diet with keeping things clean. What’s great about this creamer is that it’s dairy free and trans fat free!

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Until I find my next creamer replacement, I am very happy with this one. Can you count how many times I said cream or creamer or creamy in that last little coffee bit?! Haha.

Dinner

While I prepared dinner there was some major snackage happening. We have a ginormous bag of carrots because I am a huge carrot eater and lover, so I cracked into that along with some hummus to tide myself over. This has to be up there on the list of my favorite snacks: veggies and hummus. NUM.

snack carrots hummus

Thanks to some food prep earlier in the week, dinner came together in a snap.

In a saucepan I browned up about 1/4 lb of lean ground beef. I then sautéed mushrooms in the same pan as the beef and lastly added no sugar added spaghetti sauce. I let this all blend together, added a few sprinkles of garlic powder and onion powder and let it simmer until everything was cooked and heated through.

In a separate pan I sautéed two minced garlic cloves and then added pre-cooked spaghetti squash. I like to cook the squash in a pan for a little while to help cook out some of the extra liquid and moisture, which helps prevent a super watery plate of spaghetti squash.

Once the squash was heated through I plated it up, ladled on a big scoop of meat sauce, and then sprinkled fresh grated parmesan cheese over the top.

spaghetti squash

Such a comforting and healthy dish, and a very healthy italian dish. Italian food is another one of my favorites!

I’ve had a couple of days of my favorite types of foods. Of course I snacked on some bananas and peanut butter here and there too, so don’t worry, I got those in. That snack is high up there on my favorite foods list. And chocolate. I had to have some dark chocolate. My list of favorite foods is probably a mile long. What can I say? I’m a foodie!

I’m off to take on the day! Go tackle yours too!

What are some of your favorite meal cuisines? Italian? Mexican? American? Etc.

 

Surround Yourself with Positive People


Can I get a “whoop whoop” for Saturday?! It was so nice not waking up to an alarm clock this morning (sigh). I am feelin’ completely rested and ready to go.

I had a fantastic day yesterday. In the morning I had an appointment and then made my way to the gym for a quick sweat sesh. Then off I went to meet up with my friend Courtney at Whole Foods.

Courtney and I were both completed our Dietetic Internships at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. When we were first accepted into the program, we were sent a list of information of all the other interns. Ironically, Courtney lived about 15 minutes from my parent’s place. We met up one time before we moved out to Wisconsin so that we could both have the comfort of knowing at least one person out there. We had the immediate bond of being “Twin City Girls.”

courtney and melanie

Throughout the 11 month internship, our friendship continued to grow. We shared many emotions together and many memories both good and bad. Courtney was my saving grace when I was running a 105°F fever. She picked me up in no time and rushed me to the Urgent Care without hesitation.

We related on so many levels; both having such love for our families and being home. We struggled through the emotions of being away from home and the stress of the internship. We both traveled home quite a bit on the weekends. We shared our dreams, studied vocab terms, and sang at the top of our lungs as we carpooled home.

I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been there. We got through it together and grew as individuals on so many levels throughout the process.

I am so lucky to have her in my life. She is one of the most positive, genuine, selfless people I know. One of my unofficial new year resolutions is to surround myself with more people like her. People who look for the good in others, who imagine positive outcomes, and pour their hearts out for those they love. These are the people that make the world a better place.

We will continue to follow our hearts and reach for our dreams.

I don’t know how to transition into food smoothly after that, so I’m just going to go for it. Lunch was from the Whole Foods salad bar which is a glimpse of heaven for me. The veggie packed salad bars basically having me drooling just thinking about them.

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 I tempted myself by walking through the frozen treats aisle. I mean seriously they have everything I could ever want: Coconut Bliss, Frozen Kefir, Soy Ice Cream…I wanted to try them all! Can you believe I walked out of there without purchasing one? That’s because I forgot.  whole foods
 In the afternoon I completed another session of the 30 Day Abs Challenge. Here is what week 2 workout looks like:
week 2 ab challenge
For dinner I headed over to my brother Kevin’s place for spaghetti with mom and dad.
 I had a gluten-free version with spaghetti squash. The sauce was amazing; full of italian sausage, ground turkey, veggies….YUM. Mom also made her Italian salad which tops Olive Garden salad if you ask me.
SO stinkin’ good and so nice to be with my beautiful fam bam, who are also such positive, genuine, beautiful people.
Being that I forgot to buy a frozen treat for Dana and myself at Whole Foods, I thought it would be a good idea to stop by Cherry Berry on the way home to fulfill my frozen yogurt wishes.
I went easy on the toppings (for once). I chose the non-fat vanilla yogurt with marshmallow sauce, sprinkles, and one mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.
cherry berry frozen yogurt
It was a delicious, warm-hearted, lovely day. I can’t wait to make today just the same. Embrace the day. Spread the love. Surround yourself with positive people. Xoxo.

What has gotten into me lately?

Happy Saturday!

I’m backin’ up the train to Thursday night.

After work Dana and I headed out to run a couple of errands. It was a super gloomy cold day, oh and did I mention it snowed on Thursday?! All I really wanted to do was stay snuggled up in our warm house, but life does go on even when the cold weather strikes…so off we went to get a few things done.

By the time we got home we were both extremely hungry but neither of us were any mood to cook, so I cheated. I opened up a can of fat-free refried beans, heated them up and topped them on a romaine salad along with corn, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, onions, and salsa.

A burrito salad. So simple. So delicious. The only thing missing was avocado which we HAD but wasn’t quite ripe. Womp womp…Aw well, next time.

Now to Friday (yesterday)…

I had the day off and started the day with a little experiment. I wanted to see how my body would react to Greek yogurt for breakfast. This used to be a breakfast staple for me back in the day but this colitis business has been throwing me off a bit.

I dished up a bowl of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana and FAGE Non-Fat Greek Yogurt sweetened with a touch of stevia.

It tasted glorious ANNND my body seemed to accept it just fine. It’s nice to have this as another breakfast option again.

After breakfast and a cup of coffee, I vacuumed the living room to get ready for some yoga. I found yet another OnDemand yoga session that was geared towards athletes. Not to say that I’m an athlete by any means, but I like to be active, so I thought I would give it a go. It turned out to be one of my favorites so far. The instructor explained the moves very well and I really enjoyed how he kept the session flowing with lots of different poses.

After yoga I set out to run a few errands including trying to find the last piece of my Halloween costume for a party we are going to tonight. The store I wanted to go to didn’t open until 10 and I arrived ready to go at 9:40. I’m not one to sit around so I decided to head on over to the local natural food store and see how much money I could spent in 20 minutes. Kidding.

When I walked in the door I was immediately greeted with this sample set up. Angie’s White Chocolatier Peppermint Holidrizzle Kettle Corn. Are you serious?! I sampled two delectable kernels and they rocked my socks off. I have plans to try to recreate this in the future for the holidays, or else just go buy a bag. One or the other.

There were some more errands run…and now we are on to dinner (I skipped ahead a bit).

Earlier in the week I had prepped a spaghetti squash by cooking it, scraping out the spaghetti strands, draining some of the liquids, and freezing it in a Ziploc bag. All I had to do last night was defrost it in the microwave, drain off excess liquid and do whatever I pleased with it.

I sautéed some onion, mushroom, and kale in some olive oil. I seasoned the veggies with oregano and basil. Once the veggies were cooked down, I hollowed out a spot in the pan for the squash. I placed the squash in the center and spread it out like a pancake. I cooked each side for about 1-2 minutes. It “toasts” the spaghetti and I really like it better that way. Plus it helps to rid of any excess liquid.

Next, I plated up the squash with the veggies, topped it with spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese.

Dinner was finished in less than 15 minutes. How about that?

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Now it’s Saturday morning and Dana, Moose and I just got back from a 4-mile run. It felt AMAZING! It was 27 ° F when we headed out this morning so I broke out the long underwear, ear-warmers, and gloves. The sun was out so that helped to keep us warm. I felt like I could keep running and running and running. What has gotten into me lately? I am loving it.

Off to tackle a few projects including appetizer prep for the Halloween party tonight, and finding the last piece of my costume. I always thought I wasn’t a procrastinator, but now I’m starting to wonder. I think I’m just really picky or have something envisioned in my head, so it takes me a long time to find the perfect piece that fits that vision. Yea, we’re going to go with that.

Have a splendid Saturday! Excited to catch up with you all again!

A Dietitian’s Grocery List & Giveaway Winner

Happy Thursday to all! As you’re all aware, if today’s Thursday, that means tomorrow’s FRIDAY! The best day of the week.

Before I get into the business of today’s post, I wanted to share with you an excellent dinner I made on Tuesday night:

Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce, roasted garlic broccoli and parmesan cheese. Holy cow. A pretty awesome combo and very satisfying.

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I am all about the squash lately: acorn, butternut, and spaghetti. Every Saturday we’ve been going to the local Farmer’s Market and stocking up. LOOOVEE.

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My Grocery List

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How would you like to see what a dietitian has on her grocery list? I compiled two lists: the 1st is a list of items I buy on a weekly or biweekly basis, and the 2nd is a list of items that I almost always have on hand. This list changes depending on if I’m following SCD or not, but for the most part, this is what you will find in my house at any given time!

Weekly or Biweekly Grocery List

  • Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
  • Cheese: Mild Cheddar Block
  • Almond Milk
  • Greek Yogurt (if not following SCD)
  • Raw almonds: We roast them ourselves as use them for snacks, in energy bites, in salads, and almond butter
  • Eggs
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Salsa
  • Fresh garlic
  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Dark green lettuce
  • Other seasonal veggies: squash, asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, etc.
  • Cilantro
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Seasonal fruits: berries, grapes, peaches

 

Always on Hand

  • Frozen veggies: usually peas, corn, edamame or mukimame
  • Frozen tilapia
  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Veggie burgers: usually Morningstar Garden Veggie
  • Almonds
  • Almond flour
  • Spices and dried herbs
  • Pasta sauce: no added sugar
  • Chicken broth: low sodium
  • Dried or canned beans
  • Pickles
  • Green olives
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • BBQ (when not following SCD)
  • Heinz Ketchup (when not following SCD)
  • Dressing for salads: love my Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard (when not following SCD)
  • Lean ground turkey or ground beef
  • Lean turkey bacon
  • Frozen berries: blueberries, strawberries, cherries
  • LARABARS
  • Quinoa

It looks like a lot, but once you stock up, it doesn’t take much to restock and keep it up. These are all great staples to have on hand which help me to build meals throughout the week. So there you have it!

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Now, for the grand finale…

The LARABAR Giveaway Winner!

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The winner of the caddy of 16 different LARABAR flavors has been chosen at random, and the winner is (drum roll)…

 Tara!!! “I love Chocolate Peanut Butter. I liked you on Facebook too!”

Congrats, Tara! Please email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com with your shipping address and we will get those shipped to you! WOOO!!

Thank you to all who participated. I wish I were the LARABAR fairy and could send some to each and every one of you…but of course I’m not. A girl can dream though.

Have a GREAT day everybody. XOXO

P.S. I had such a fun workout last night…excited to fill you in on that soon!

Girl’s Day and Pad Thai SCD

 

Yesterday was mom and Melanie day. We had been planning this day for about two months but hadn’t made definite plans as to how we were going to spend our day together. We wanted it to be a relaxing day, so this is why we kept it sans-itinerary style.

 

We began our day with (much-needed) manicures and pedicures.

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The last time we were at this salon was almost a year ago when I came in with mom, Betsy, and Kate the day before the wedding! The ladies at the salon were so sweet to us and served us champagne and everything. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already! Dana and I have some fun plans to celebrate…

bets and i kate mom and i

No champagne for mom and I yesterday however, but this is a good thing because I think we both would have fallen asleep in the chairs.

The nail esthetician complimented me on my shiny nails. She actually asked me if I had clear polish on. I told her it must be all of the fruits and veggies I eat. Winking smile I decided to splurge and get the gel polish on my hands because it lasts for a good month or so. I have a wedding to go to in a couple of weeks so it will be nice to have good-looking nails for that.

Before:                                                                After:

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My feet were ridiculous walking into the salon. I tweeted the before picture of them yesterday only to slightly regret it because they were so nasty. Both of my 2nd toenails were injured in the half marathon in June. They have regrown, but it is a slow process and they don’t look quite “normal” yet. Chalk off the fact that I hadn’t had a pedicure in a year and you can do the math as to how unpretty they were looking.

Now they’re pretty! I went with a dark plum color. I forgot to jot down the name of it but I may need to do set out on a scavenger hunt to find it. It’s very fitting for fall.

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For lunch we headed over to a local market in the area and dug into their salad bar. I also bought a huge bag of Cortland apples that were on sale for $0.99/lb. Guess what I’m making?? More on that in a couple of days.

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We headed over to the mall to check out one particular store that I really enjoy. I am in search of  a dress to wear to that wedding I mentioned. I found one I liked but I wanted to try on in a different size and of course they were out of that size. I could order it online and give it a whirl but I wasn’t sure how much I liked it. It is very different from any dress I own. It’a an orange-peach color, long-sleeved…I should probably just show you it.

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Like I said it’s different for me. It doesn’t hug my body every where, it just kind of hangs, but I know that is the style. It is SO comfortable and really is beautiful. Any opinions??! My biggest hangup is that I would have to order it in the other size that I was unable to try on assuming I would fit into that size. The second hangup is I’m afraid I’m going to snag the dress because of the material. Hmm…

After the mall mom and I were in need of a couple of pick-me-ups. We went home and made a pot of hazelnut flavored coffee and drank our coffee out on the deck in the sun.

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Once we were revved up, we headed out for our 2nd pick-me-up; a walk with Abbie. We made our way three miles through the neighborhood and enjoyed the perfect fall day. The weather was perfect, the company was even better.

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It was the perfect way for us to spend our girl’s day together. Nails, healthy lunch, a little shopping (I can’t handle a lot of shopping especially trying on clothes), relaxing with coffee, and a walk with our little baby girl Abbie May. We say this all of the time but seriously, we HAVE to make time to do this more often. It was such an amazing day!

P.S. Their neighbors have a Yorkie Pom Poo. Are you kidding me? The most ridiculously adorable dog (right after Moose and Abbie of course). I wanted to steal her. Just kidding….not really. 😉

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Pad Thai SCD

Back at home I got to work on dinner for Dana and I. The inspiration came from Tina of Carrots’nCake. She made a Paleo Pad Thai that looked insanely delicious, so I went off of that but did my own thing with it.

And here’s what we came up with!

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This is a forewarning that the ingredient list on this recipe looks atrocious but I promise you it really isn’t so bad! We REALLY enjoyed this dish. Please give it a shot!

Pad Thai SCD Style (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Sauce:
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Veggies:
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp. sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap pea, chopped on a diagonal
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. basil, chopped

Directions

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place squash cut side down in microwave safe dish and line bottom of dish with 3/4 inch of water. Microwave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in food processor mix all sauce ingredients except milk until smooth. Then add milk and process until combined.
  3. Remove squash from microwave and carefully scoop out the seeds. Use a fork to scrape out spaghetti threads. Place in colander in sink. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. On the stove top, sauté onions and sugar snap peas in sunflower oil. After 3 minutes, add spaghetti squash to pan. Sprinkle with salt. Stir to combine and to heat squash through. Add sauce to pan and heat through.
  5. Plate squash onto plate and sprinkle with carrots, cilantro, and basil.

SCD Pad Thai! We have such a fun day ahead of us. Off to tackle a run first! Catch up with you all later. Hope you have a super Saturday!