Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

It pains me to admit that I so rarely fiddle around with new recipes in the kitchen. When you’ve got a handful of quick recipes that make everyone happy it’s very easy to fall into a routine of just making the same things over and over again. I was feeling creative last night and with only six ingredients – ingredients that I always have on hand, but have never combined this way – I made a fabulous, healthy, and gorgeous dinner in 30 minutes. Seriously.

Pesto Pepper 2

Now I’m not going to lie to you. I have never had “traditional” stuffed peppers. I love peppers, don’t get me wrong, but I just never found the concept of mushy peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice all that appealing. Sounds pretty bland if you ask me.  This recipe is far from bland and packed with flavor! I also don’t cook the peppers to mush – I like them to have a little texture left to them. But if you like your stuffed peppers that way …

 Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

  • 2 bell peppers, sliced it in half
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts , diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  •  2 tablespoons of good quality, store bought pesto (if you have homemade, even better!)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the peppers, open side up,  and place in the oven. Let cook for about 10 ten minutes.

While the peppers are cooking, cook the chicken breasts in a nonstick skillet sprayed with a little nonstick spray over medium high heat until cooked through – about 7 minutes. Add the spinach and cover with a lid to wilt. Add the cooked quinoa and pesto to the pan. Stir well to combine.

Remove the peppers from the oven and carefully spoon the chicken and quinoa mixture into each pepper cavity. Top each pepper with 1/4 cup the mozzarella. Return to the oven and let cook ten minutes more until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Let cool about 5 minutes before serving!

Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

 

 

It pains me to admit that I so rarely fiddle around with new recipes in the kitchen. When you’ve got a handful of quick recipes that make everyone happy it’s very easy to fall into a routine of just making… Continue Reading

What I Ate Wednesday # 29 – Ain’t Nobody Perfect

 

 So nice of you to drop by!
It’s about dang time I join my favorite link-up again,
brought to you be Jenn at Peas and Crayons
and hosted this week by Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets!
(Bonjour, ladies!)
I’m excited to be back in the WIAW game, so let’s get right to it!

What I Ate Wednesday Button

Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology with skim milk, spinach, 1/2 a banana, and peanut butter after my core workout. Harcore on the Floor is no effing joke. This was a prime reward. For serious.


sweaty me & my shakeo

Snack: Ezekiel toast with avocado, a hard boiled egg, and a sprinkle of Frank’s Red Hot. AKA the best combination of foods on toast ever of all time.

20150421_101521

Lunch: Em and I had matching lunches – which is my favorite kind of lunch!  I know I will still have the weekends for matching lunches with my little bug, but I’m really trying to make the most of this week with her!! She had chicken, sweet potato, and broccoli. I had the same – but my chicken had a wee bit of BBQ sauce, topped with cheddar and green onions. Today was a lunch bust, as I put her in her high chair and she lost her mind. She napped through lunch time. Sigh. Tomorrow is another day.

Em & Mommy lunch

Snack: If you read my meal plan in my last post, you’ll notice this snack was not included. Em was having a pretty nurse-heavy day yesterday and on those days, if I’m hungry, I’m not going to starve myself. I get what I call “the hungry shakes” if I don’t eat enough. Ya know – where you’re so hungry that your hands start shaking and ya get all light headed. Es no bueno! That was about to happen…soooo…insert extra snack.  Ezekiel toast with almond butter, 1/2 a banana, and honey AKA the other best combination of foods put on toast ever of all time. Plus decaf iced coffee with skim milk and a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Not gonna lie – the cocoa powder wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made. I still drank it, obvi, buuuuut I don’t think I’ll be doing that combo again anytime soon.

more toast

Snack Again: It was my last night working in the Kid’s Club at my gym, and I brought a snack and a big ol’ bottle of water to get me by. Yesterday was a bag of snap peas and carrots. Snap peas are my jam lately. I snack on them like it’s my job!

peas and carrots

Dinner: Since about January when I started working every Tuesday night our Tuesday’s officially became Taco Tuesday. It’s so quick to make when I get home after 7:00 PM and I’m starving and the hubs just plain loves tacos. I had pretty much always have a taco salad. This right here is a big bed of romaine, cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, 3 ounces of turkey taco meat, 1 crumbled taco shell, and a tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Johnny left just a tiny little bit of meat left in the pan when he was done with his…so I may have eaten that too…in a taco shell…with some cheese…over the sink. #noshame

20150421_192428

Snack: So after dinner I get Johnny’s food together for work for the following day – like the outstanding wife that I am – and I always make him two peanut butter sandwiches. On a good day, I can control myself and put the peanut butter away untouched. Yesterday was not a good day. I may have had a giant spoon full of peanut butter…sprinkled with chocolate chips. Okay  I may have had FOUR giant spoons of peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips. Ugh!  I can’t be perfect all the time…amiright? Peanut butter is my weakness. It’s a problem. And the first step to having a problem is admitting you have a problem, right? Or something like that.

pb spoon

Seriously though, I love peanut butter…and really should buy this shirt to express it. My birthday is pretty soon…hmmmm…RUN for Peanut Butter Tank

Peace out, girl scouts!

   So nice of you to drop by! It’s about dang time I join my favorite link-up again, brought to you be Jenn at Peas and Crayons and hosted this week by Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets! (Bonjour, ladies!) I’m… Continue Reading

Meal Plan Monday

Hey dudes! I hope you had a nice Monday. :)

I know I did. I got a great workout in this AM, picked up my groceries, and spent some time meal planning.  I’ll get to that in a second, though, fiiiiiiiirst of all I’d like to mention how I think it’s quite amusing how in my last post, I shared with you what a typical day looks like for me. Well, that’s all going to be changing, because I’ve officially accepted a full-time position and I go back to work full-time for the first time since Em has been born a week from today! It’s safe to say that I am a pleasant combination of totally excited and terrified!

Excited by the new opportunity, the fabulous company I’m going to be working for, the work that I will be doing, and wearing more than just yoga pants all week. 😉

The terror is really just that someone who is NOT me will be taking care of my baby cakes. *YIKES*

I’ve met the daycare staff and they are lovely, wonderful women. I’m totally confident in their abilities. I just think the whole nursing-on-demand for 10 months and rarely taking a bottle will be a little rough for the first week. But I know she’s a tough little cookie and we’ll both power through it. Ultimately, I know that this is the right time and opportunity and that it’s what is best for me and my family. I plan to spend the next week snuggling my little munchkin butt as much as she can stand and trying to get into some semblance of a routine to try and make out transition easier. I’d love some tips from any working momma’s out there!

Anywho, as for my meal planning, the PiYo meal plan is fairly straight forward and makes a whole lot of sense to me. Although based on my weight I technically fall into the “Plan A,” because I’m still nursing I get to bump up the the second tier and follow the eating plan for “Plan B” which constitutes 1500-1799 calories a day and is broken down into 5 categories. Thank goodness for that. I am seriously an eating machine. Planning it out really helps to keep in check though. Knowing exactly what I’m going to eat in a day before I eat it is also particularly helpful what with having a baby and all. It means if she’s down for a nap I know precisely what I need to do for my lunch of snack and don’t need to dilly dally thinking about it.  I know that some people find meal planning boring and tedious, but I quite enjoy it. I, personally, have been using a spreadsheet in Google Docs to keep track of everything.  Below is my meal plan for the upcoming week.

  5 Primary Veg  2 Secondary Veg & Grains 2 Fresh Fruit 4 Healthy Fats 5 Lean Protein
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast Shakeology, skim milk Shakeology, skim milk Shakeology, skim milk chocolate protein,
skim milk,

greek yogurt
2 eggs 2 eggs, 2 chicken sausages
blueberries blueberries banana banana cheddar cheese, avocado cheddar cheese
almond butter almond butter almond butter oatmeal Ezekiel toast (2x) potatoes
spinach spinach peanut butter spinach peppers, onions, spinach
Snack string cheese Ezekiel toast (1x) hard boiled egg (2x) grapes grapes grapes
hard boiled egg, chicken sausage avocado
hard boiled egg
Lunch turkey meatballs chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken
broccoli broccoli broccoli avocado black beans avocado
ww pasta sweet potato sweet potato spinach, peppers, tomatoes romaine, peppers, onions, tomatoes spinach, peppers, tomatoes
avocado
Snack chicken peas, carrots hummus hummus chocolate protein,
skim milk
chocolate protein,
skim milk
peas, carrots peas, carrots banana banana
peanut butter peanut butter
spinach spinach
Dinner bbq chicken turkey taco meat chicken asian turkey pepperoni grilled chicken
baked potato romaine, tomatoes, carrots,
peppers, onions, salsa
peppers lettucce, peppers, scallion, snow peas cauliflower, tomatoes grilled peppers and zucchini
cheddar cheese cheddar cheese quinoa edamame, brown rice mozzarella mozzarella
romaine, tomatoes, carrots,
peppers, onions
pesto, mozzarella
Snack banana greek yogurt grapes greek yogurt
peanut butter banana peanut butter
Workout Sweat Hardcore to the Floor Buns Drench Strength Intervals Sweat
TOTALS 5 5 5 5 5 5
  2 2 2 2 2 2
  2 2 2 2 2 2
  4 4 4 4 4 4
  5 5 5 5 5 5

It may seem daunting, but it’s really not. Especially since I eat so many of the same things on different days, I can just copy and paste and calculate.

I plan to go more into detail about PiYo and my experience with it when I finish the program. The week will finish up the first month – I’m down 3 pounds since I started and I definitely notice that I feel stronger doing certain things – particularly triceps push-ups!

That about wraps it up for me tonight, though, with all of the thunder outside it’s about time I shut it down.

Hey dudes! I hope you had a nice Monday. I know I did. I got a great workout in this AM, picked up my groceries, and spent some time meal planning.  I’ll get to that in a second, though, fiiiiiiiirst… Continue Reading

A Day in the Life

There is nothing more irritating when you’re staying home with baby than people asking “What do you do all day?”

Because babies, after all, are like cacti, right? You can just totally forget about them for a month and they’ll be totally fine.

*shakes head*

I assure you, I spend my days doing more than sitting on my fanny eating bon bons or whatever it is the crazies think I do. I know that, ultimately, I plan to return to work soon and Em won’t be a baby forever (no matter how much i wish it :) ) so I take the good with the bad and cherish every moment I have with my little munchkin butt!!

So in true blogger fashion, here is what a pretty typical day looks like for me and my baby bear.

 7:30 AM: I’m usually up by 7:30 each day and yesterday was no exception. Although we put Em to bed alone in her pack and play – as she currently likes it a bit more than her crib – I pretty much always bring her into bed before we wake up in the morning. On a good night, she’ll only wake up to eat twice and the first time I can put her back in her pack and play and she’s totes cool with it. She just had another tooth break through this last week, though, so we haven’t had a good night in a while. Either way, I do love the snuggles and waking up next to this is really a happy start to the day. I let her sleep for a few more minutes while I get my breakfast together and wake her up to join me.

sleepy babe

7:45 AM: Breakfast always consists of tea, please and thank you. I go back and forth lately between oatmeal, eggs, or Shakeology. This is chocolate Shakeology mixed with 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, and 2 teaspoons of almond butter. It was banging. More chocolate for breakfast. Get it together, Jen. Lolz, it’s cool. Shakeology is the best! Emma had some Cheerios and sliced banana. I’m trying her out on grapes this week and so far she’s just tossed them onto the floor. We’ll get there, I’m sure. breakfast time

8:30 AM: Em takes a while to eat, what with being an adorable little baby. Once she’s all done we play. She’s still been a wee bit fussy so sometimes that means I just sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider to her over and over again for 20 minutes because no matter what kind of mood she’s in it always makes her giggle. We nurse for like 5 minutes and eventually I put her down for a nap. She’s been fairly consistent in getting sleeping and needing a nap about 2 hours after she wakes up. This nap lasts for approximately 20 minutes.

9:45 AM: She wakes up and wants to play more, so I plop her down next to me while I do my PiYo of the day – Lower Body. I’m absolutely LOVING these workouts. The longest one is  about 30 minutes and I always break a sweat. I started 3 weeks ago and I’m already down two pounds and a few inches. I can even see my ab muscles peeking through my tummy chub! I’m so excited to finish the whole program!!PiYo

11:00 AM:  I have a quick snack of 2 hard boiled eggs and try to give Em some cheese. She eats about 1/3 of it and gives the rest to Quincy who is waiting patiently underneath her high chair. Smart boy. Then the hubs comes home for lunch. I make him 4 eggs with cheddar cheese and 2 slices of whole wheat toast with strawberry jam. This is a daily ritual that I love.  He doesn’t stay home for long, because work is busy, but I always enjoy it when he pops by. When I go back to work I will miss this. Em decides once Daddy leaves that she’d like to nurse a bit more. Only about 10 minutes this time. It’s super nice out so I decide to take her and Q for a walk! Ugh – that face! We need a bigger hat for her giant dome.
me & the babe

12:30 PM: Time for lunch. I have two pieces of ezekial toast (my latest obsesh) with 3 oz of shredded chicken mixed with 2 tablespoons of mashed avocado, red onion, and baby kale. I also have a side of carrots. For my PiYo meal plan, this covers 2  grain servings, 1 protein, 1 healthy fat, and 2 vegetables. I’m allotted 5 veggies, 2 secondary veggies/grains, 2 fruits, 4 healthy fats, and 5 proteins per day. I won’t lie, I struggle with keeping to 2 secondary veggies/grains. I had 3 on this day – but I try and only go over on days where I get more exercise than just the PiYo workout. Like today, walking a mile carrying an extra 22 pounds, I was like…go ahead and have two slices of bread at lunch. But otherwise I do an excellent job keeping track of and sticking to my meal plan. It’s working out really well so far! Em has a few shreds of chicken and avocado for lunch. She loves chicken! She is her father’s daughter for certain – heh.

lunch sammie

1:20 PM: It’s play time again. This little lady is seriously trying so hard to stand and move all the time. She’s not a crawler. She doesn’t get up on her knees. She squats like a frog and it’s adorable. She also scoots forward on her butt sometimes, too. One of these days she’s just going to get up and start running I swear. Em plays with Grandma for a little while too so I can take a quick shower.caught me trying to stand

2:00 PM: Play time poops her out and it’s time for the biggest nursing sesh of the day. Usually around two or three she’ll – what I like to call – snooze eat – for about 45 minutes. She starts out eating, but then drifts off into a little nap where she’s still sucking and if I try to move her she clings to me for dear life and the process starts over again. I don’t really mind. This is when I’ll usually pop something on Netflix and just hang out with her on me for a little while. As long as she gets some sleep she’s a much happier baby, so I let her.

nom time

3:30 PM: Laundry is probably my most hated household chore. It is never ending. Because even when allllll the dirty laundry is clean, you know that what you’re wearing needs to be washed. Bleh. Emma clearly agrees with me and was not having it.

Em hates laundry

4:00 PM: The hubs is usually home around 5:00 once it gets warmer outside, so knowing that I’ve got sweet potato fries to make and how long they take to get to our desired crisspyness I start dinner around 4:00. I plop the babe on the kitchen floor surrounded by fun stuff and she is WAAAAAAAAY happier than she was at laundry time.
helping in the kitchen

I flipping love my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter. It is absolutely one of the most fantastic kitchen tools I have – particularly for sweet potato fries! It’s great for squash and things that are a little harder to cut into, too, since you can safely use both hands to cut it. I also used it to slice the zucchini I grilled to go along with our turkey burgers for dinner. sweet potato fries5:30 PM: The hubs and I enjoyed dinner outside. I love grilling man. Grilled turkey burgers (he ate his like a normal human on buns) with a wee bit of cheddar, on romaine leaves for me because I would rather eat a ton a sweet potato fries than a burger bun, and grilled balsamic zucchini. Emma napped while we ate dinner. For about 25 minutes this time.

20150416_171432

6:00 PM: Once dinner was done and all cleaned up I had a bit more laundry to do. Emma was much more into it this time. helping with laundry
6:20 PM: So, I’ve been trying for a while now to get Emma to eat yogurt. It’s not that she doesn’t like it. It’s that she doesn’t like for anyone to feed her. She is a very independent 10 month old. Heh. The last few attempts have been pretty futile. Last night before bath time I was like “Alright, today is the day.” So I stripped her down to her adorable little diaper, plopped her in her high chair, and let her have at it. I led the spoon into her mouth a few times while she hung onto it, but we has several successful bites of yogurt. I call this a win! 
Emma vs. Yogurt

7:00 PM: Bath time is literally Emma’s favorite time of the day. I could leave her in there until she becomes a tiny baby prune and she would just splash around with a big ol’ smile on her face. 

tubby time

Ugh – I just can’t. I love her so much. 
silly selfie

7:20 PM: Once we’re dry and in our jammies Em likes to play a bit more. I try to read her a story, but she just wants to chew on the book.  We’ll nurse on and off for like 20 minutes because she’s fussy and sleepy. At 8:00 I put her down to sleep “for real.” I enjoy my snack – vanilla greek yogurt with 1/2 a sliced banana in about 5 seconds flat and peruse my new issue of Cooking Light while the hubs fiddles on the computer. Eventually we settle down together on the couch and watch an episode of 30 Rock on Netflix. We’re currently watching that, and Dr. Who, but we’re nearing the end of Dr. Who and kind of don’t want it to end!!me time9:00 PM: Johnny heads to bed at 9:00 because he’s up at 4:30 to hit the gym before work. I pop on the computer and get a tiny bit of blogging in before Emma wakes up at 9:20. *sigh* I nurse her until 10:00 and put her back down. Every night is a little different. I’m pretty sure she slept in her pack and play until about 1:00 AM before she wanted to eat again. I slept from about 10:30 to 1:00, was up until 3:00, then slept again on and off  until 7:00 when I proceeded to lay in bed and snuggle until about 7:45… then we start all over again!

And not a bon bon was had!

There is nothing more irritating when you’re staying home with baby than people asking “What do you do all day?” Because babies, after all, are like cacti, right? You can just totally forget about them for a month and they’ll… Continue Reading

Chocolate for Breakfast, Please & Thank You

Well hello there!!

What’s it been? 7 months? Yikes!

The hiatus was definitely necessary. Not because I DON’T enjoy blogging.
But because I DO enjoy being a Mom!!
Time has gone by so, insanely fast it’s hard for me to believe!

mom and em

At 10 months old, my sweet little Emma Bear has finally almost fallen into a routine!

HUZZAH!

This means a few things:

  1. With naps a part of the every day I have more me time – for things like exercise and blogging;
  2. Without being latched onto me 24/7, I am finally starting to have the time to experiment with new recipes instead of just making the same old all the time;
  3. Sleeping through the night may not be a thing yet, but we’re getting close! A well rested Mom and Baby are a much happier pair!

There are soooooo many different directions I feel like I could take this post. I could talk about the attempted face-lift I’m giving the blog. (It’s still a work in progress – so please forgive the ever changing layouts as of late. I’ll find something I like soon, I’m sure. You’ll also notice a name change! Twenty-Something & Starving has become Mommy Runs for Food! I’ll explain that later, too!) I could discuss with you adventures in breastfeeding and un-planned bed-sharing. I could talk about my latest workout routine, PiYo, and my conversion to being a team beachbody believer. But for today, I think I will stick with the classic quick and easy recipe!

In a perfect world I would eat chocolate every single day without consequence. (The same goes for peanut butter – but I’ll save that for another day.) There may have even been a time not too long ago when I did, in fact, eat chocolate every day. Ooopsies! Now that I’m really back on board the health train, I limit my chocolate intake to a few days a week and mostly have it in the form of protein, Shakeology, and dark chocolate on occasion. So having chocolate for breakfast is kind of my jam!

Now that it’s finally not freezing outside, overnight oats are a staple breakfast for me. At night, once I put Em down to bed, I usually have some decaf tea and get my hubby’s lunch together for the following day. While my water is coming to a boil, it’s soooo easy to just throw some ingredients into a jar and have breakfast ready and waiting for me in the morning. I’ve been experimenting with a few different recipes for overnight oats – but these ones may be my new favorite. Packed with protein and tons of chocolate flavor for a sweet addict like me – waking up has never tasted so good so fast.

Toasted Almond Chocolate Overnight Oats

In a mason jar or container with a lid, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oats (I used steel cut, but rolled would be great, too!)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Set in the refrigerator and breakfast is waiting for you in the morning!

Serve topped with 1/2 of a sliced banana, a few chocolate chips, and some toasted slivered almonds!

 

toasted almond chocolate overnight oats

 

Well hello there!! What’s it been? 7 months? Yikes! The hiatus was definitely necessary. Not because I DON’T enjoy blogging. But because I DO enjoy being a Mom!! Time has gone by so, insanely fast it’s hard for me to believe!… Continue Reading