Oh Hey Remember Me???

Rule #1 of blogging……..BLOG!

Yeah I’m pretty sure I’ve failed miserably with that lately.  It’s clearly no surprise that I haven’t posted in oh say….5 MONTHS (eeeek), but no worries I’m definitely not deceased (yes I actually received emails asking  me this….) nor have I given up with blogging completely.  As a lot of you already know, I recently got engaged and as most of the women reading this can relate, I became utterly obsessed with every single detail got a little caught up in the planning process.  Sooo with that said, I decided to take a little break and just enjoy everything as well as take some time for myself.  I definitely did not anticipate taking an entire 5 month hiatus, but I guess I had a little TOO much fun.  Now it’s time to dive back into what I love most and that is cooking and creating recipes!!

I’ve actually been working all week on trying out some new summer recipes, especially since we recently purchased a brand new grill, so I have lots to share with you before fall approaches!!  But before I share with you all that deliciousness, I just have to show you a little sneak peek of our gorgeous engagement shoot that took place in Charlottesville last month.  Our photographer Jodi Miller and her hubby Kurt are absolutely amazing to work with and ladies getting married I highly recommend hiring a husband and wife couple!!  They make the whole shoot so comfortable and even show you how to pose because let’s face it, I’ve never been a model nor will I ever BE one.  I must say though, I can take a pretty sweet #selfie from time to time.

I’m really looking forward to sharing the rest of these photos with you once they are received!

engagement shoot

Swoon, right???

Roasted Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Kale Salad

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Soo one week from today I’ll be in Vegas seeing Ms. Spears!  Can we just talk about how exciting this is??  I’ve discussed my crazy, unhealthy, infatuation obsession with Brit Brit many times on the blog (probably too much) and honestly have never missed one of her concerts to date, so you can bet I wasn’t missing her Vegas tour!  I planned this trip with two of my sorority sisters along with their hubbies for four full days of living it up in Sin City.  It’s also been WAY too long since I’ve had a vacation so this was much-needed.  Like her or not, I think everyone is in agreement that Britney can certainly entertain – her show looks amazing!

Oh yeah and I’m also looking forward to warmer weather…..what is up with this snow lately?  Sigh.

Anyway, now that I got my Britney excitement out of the way, here’s a new favorite salad of mine that I just LOVE.  Sweet potatoes are incredibly good for you and I try to incorporate them into my diet every week, but let’s face it, some people are just die hard russet potato fans and simply can’t force themselves to make the change!  My soon-to-be-hubs is one of them and so I was on a mission to find a way for him to not just enjoy sweet potatoes, but actually look forward to eating them!

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Luckily I found a solution.

Roasting might be the easiest way to cook anything and for us, sweet potatoes roasted beautifully.  All you do is chop up two medium sweet potatoes into cubes (the smaller you make them the more crispy they’ll be) and tossed them with a little olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and chipotle chili powder.  Now I’m pretty heavy handed and love my spice, but you can add as much or as little as you want.  Roast these for about 30 minutes and prepare to be amazed.  This may change the way you eat sweet potatoes, I’m just that confident!

So since we love eating sweet potatoes this way, I thought it’d be fun to add them to a salad.  I’ve seen many recipes add sweet potato and quinoa with kale such as THIS recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod as well as THIS one from The Bojon Gourmet.  Boy was I glad I tried this!  I tossed everything with a simple red wine vinaigrette which coated the kale and the quinoa perfectly, but the real flavor came from the spices from the sweet potatoes!  It was a beautiful marriage made in heaven…er I mean my kitchen… and has the perfect balance of greens, protein and starches.  Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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Roasted Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Kale Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Recipe inspired by Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups kale or mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and peel sweet potatoes, chopping them into 1/4 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and chipotle chili powder until completely coated. Spread sweet potatoes out on prepared baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping them once.
  3. While sweet potatoes are roasting, using a mesh strainer, thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Add a 1/2 cup of water to a small saucepan and add rinsed quinoa. Bring quinoa to a boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer for about 13 minutes. Remove from heat, keeping quinoa covered, and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes then fluff quinoa with a fork.
  4. Combine kale, quinoa and cranberries in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Fold in roasted sweet potatoes, serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 cup • Calories: 204 • Fat: 7.6 g • Carbs: 31.4 g • Fiber: 3.3 g • Protein: 3.8 g • WW Points+: 5 pts

http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2014/02/roasted-sweet-potato-quinoa-and-kale-salad.html

Also did anyone else watch the Biggest Loser finale last night??  How amazing was everyone’s transformation?!  This show is always so inspiring to me.  I must say I was actually shocked by how thin the winner Rachel was (and I think by the look on Jillian and Bob’s faces, they were too!), but as competitive as she was the entire show, it didn’t really surprise me that she would push her body that far.  Hopefully she did it the healthy way, she sure looked super pretty!  Still 260 to 105 pounds is BIG difference!

I’d love to hear your thoughts though, was she TOO thin??

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Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

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Soo now you know why I posted my salsa recipe FIRST!  Yes, you’re welcome.

When it comes to meal planning for the week, THIS is my absolute favorite thing to make!  Salsa is extremely low in calories and is a great way to get those veggies in your diet without even trying.  It also just so happens to perfectly coat your chicken in the crock pot making it moist and flavorful while giving you TONS to enjoy all week!

Personally I like to eat my chicken over a salad because the salsa acts as a great dressing, but you could eat this mixed with brown rice, on a whole wheat bun as a sandwich or even on its own with some veggies.  Any salsa will work too, just use your favorite!  THIS recipe just happens to be mine and the one I always use when making shredded chicken.  I love making my own at home because there is nothing more tasty then fresh salsa, but if you are looking for something quick, store-bought works just fine.

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Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in your crock post and cover completely with salsa. Set crock pot on the low setting and cook for 4 1/2 hours.
  2. Place chicken in a bowl and strain out just the salsa, not the juice. Shred chicken using two forks and mix in strained salsa. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1/2 cup • Calories: 138 • Fat: 2.5 g • Carbs: 4.6 g • Fiber: 1.4 g • Protein: 22.1 g • WW Points+: 3 pts

http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2014/02/crock-pot-salsa-chicken.html

Just a quick reminder that I’ve FINALLY figured out how to update the new feed, so if you’d like to start receiving all my recipes via e-mail just click HERE and fill in your information!  Sadly I had over 15,000+ subscribers that either need to re-subscribe or I need to add in manually – my apologies for all the technical issues!

Hope you had a fabulous weekend!

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