Quick and Easy Quiche Recipe

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – I really have zero excuse besides the fact that I’m exhausted after work! Waking up at 4:30 AM every morning, driving an hour, working for 8.5 hrs, driving an hour (+) home and not getting back until 4-4:30 PM takes a lot out of me! I’ve also been trying to get out and run 3-4 days a week depending on the weather and my schedule. ANDD to add to the puzzle, I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night for me to function which means I need to go to bed at 9:30 at the absolute latest.

That’s where my super easy recipes come into play. I’m usually finished exercising around 5:30 PM and the last thing I want to do is spend all night meal prepping and cooking.

Last week I made a crustless quiche and served it with fresh home fries. Voila! I give you a protein and veggie packed dinner in 30 minutes. While I was cooking it, I realized how versatile quiches are! I used roasted peppers and onions from Trader Joes as my veggie but this could be one of those dishes where cleaning out the fridge would work too! The base for whatever quiche you want to make is only a few simple ingredients eggs, a bit of milk, cheese, veggies and (maybe) some meat for even more protein. Another upside for this recipe is how readily available all of those ingredients are – who doesn’t have most of those ingredients in their fridge right now??

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My recipes for both the quiche is posted below, but I’ve listed a few other combinations that could be added to a quiche base:

  • spinach and (Al Fresco) chicken bacon
  • asparagus and mushrooms
  • spinach and roasted red peppers
  • grilled zucchini and summer squash
  • broccoli
  • goat cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomato
  • roasted bell peppers, onions, and (Nature’s Promise) chicken sausage

 

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I’ve recently started making a quiche at the beginning of the week and using it for a breakfast protein most days. The eggs give protein, with a vegetable (less than a serving but hey at least I’m getting some veggies in for breakfast), and fat from the cheese, paired with a slice of whole wheat toast I’ve got a complete and balanced breakfast!

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Enjoy!!

Carly

 

 

 

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Chicken Parm Zucchini Boats

One of the biggest issues I have when I plan meals is trying to find something that both Brian and I will like and that’s healthy at the same time. I have to give him props for being open to trying new things (his favorite is spaghetti squash) but something tells me he wouldn’t be happy eating veggie burgers and a side salad all week. These zucchini boats were a happy medium between the chicken parm that he loves and my veggies on veggies idea.

The whole process was pretty easy too. I cooked the ground chicken in a skillet with the salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. When it was no longer pink I added some fresh garlic and onion and allowed the mixture to cook for about a minute. Then I added the tomato sauce. The tomato sauce below is one of my favorites.

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Trader Joes uses organic tomatoes and doesn’t add sugar to this sauce. Tomato containing products are something I always try to buy organic. Tomato plants are frequently treated with pesticides in order to better preserve the crop from insects and weeds. It’s on the dirty dozen list of produce with the most pesticide residue. I also like to look for no added sugar. Popular brands tend to have upwards of 3 teaspoons of added sugar to sweeten the sauce. Look for a label like this with minimal ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, and spices.

While the chicken was cooking, Cut the ends off of each zucchini and then cut the zucchini in half. I scraped out the seeds to make a reservoir for the chicken to go. When the chicken was finished I added that to each zucchini boat and topped with a sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

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The final product was delicious! It gave me a good amount of veggies and protein that I wanted and the heartiness that Brian likes. He gave it a two thumbs up! 🙂

Enjoy!

-Carly
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Guilt Free Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

This weekend called for some baking – instead of having cookies lying around that I would be tempted to eat, I decided to try something a little healthier. I have been seeing a lot of muffins made with yogurt and wanted to give them a shot! After making these I definitely want to make some more. The recipe is pretty versatile so I think whatever frozen fruit you have would work with the batter.

So what makes these muffins a better option than a muffin you could just pick up at a bakery or coffee shop? Well to start take a look at the size of them. Portion size is key. A bakery muffin can be upwards of 500 calories, 40 grams of sugar and 60 grams of cholesterol! For only 117 calories you can get the taste of a muffin but with a fraction

I’m going to pull the real food card again. I know exactly what went into the recipe. I also know how to pronounce everything. This recipe on the other hand….

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The oats are a source of whole grain and the honey, yogurt, and berries provide little sugar. I’ve been bringing these to work for a mid morning snack and it’s been perfect! I’ll either pair one with a hard-boiled egg, yogurt or cottage cheese for a yummy carb/protein combo.

Despite what the directions look like below, this recipe was pretty easy to make. I think the biggest issue is not over mixing. Over mixing of muffins can lead to dense muffins with tunneling. (Pay no attention to the excessive moisture on the pan.. I had some issues with my avocado oil spray.)

And the end product is cute little muffins that look like these!

Enjoy!

– Carly

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What’s in my Kitchen?

Ever wonder what’s in a dietitian’s kitchen? A recent appointment I had with a client inspired this post! She asked “can I just come to your house and see what’s in your cabinet and fridge?” Well for anyone else who is wondering what a dietitian has in her house this is the post for you!

1. Fresh/Frozen Veggies: I’m sure you were all expecting to see these on the list! I pick up a big assortment of fresh veggies every week. Most of them go towards mealtimes but extras get used for snacks. I like to chop up some extra bell peppers, carrots, celery, and broccoli and put them into small plastic containers with hummus for a quick snack. Frozen veggies are always in my freezer as a backup. Look for choices that are frozen without seasonings or sauces.

2. Fresh/Frozen Fruit: I love fruit and have no problem getting in my 2-3 servings per day. Apples, oranges, and bananas are great for on the go breakfasts and snacks (paired with a protein of course!). Frozen fruit is great to stock up on, especially during the winter months when blueberries and strawberries are hard to come by. I love using them to add some flavor into smoothies and yogurt.

 

IMG_4505.PNG3Siggi’s Yogurt: My favorite yogurt for so many reasons. One being it has far less sugar than other yogurt options (9-10 g per serving compared to 20+g). That being said it also has a lot less crap (for lack of a better word) that other low-calorie yogurt tends to have. The yogurts come in low-fat and whole-milk options as well as drinkable versions. I love pairing a vanilla 1% yogurt with 2 tbsp of granola and some frozen blueberries.

4. Purely Elizabeth Granola: The perfect topper to my yogurt in the morning – I love the blueberry hemp ancient grains. It has all recognizable ingredients including several ancient grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth and chia! There’s only 7 grams of sugar but it’s a delicious combo of sweet and salty.

5. RxBar: One of my favorite whole food bars. Egg whites, almonds, cashews, and dates are the core ingredients to all of the bars. With 12 grams of protein, healthy fats and no added sugar, they’re perfect to keep in a desk drawer or purse for snack time.

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6. Vital Proteins Collagen Whey Protein Powder: Another favorite with recognizable ingredients! I like to blend 2 scoops of this with 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon of flax meal, and 1/2 cup frozen fruit for a quick and balanced breakfast smoothie.

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7. Avocado Oil: This has recently replaced olive oil in my pantry. It’s a great source of mono and poly unsaturated fats (the good fats) just like olive oil. I like the taste of this a little better – it tastes fresher than olive oil does. It also has a higher smoke point at 500 degrees compared to 250 degrees that olive oil has.

IMG_4507.PNG8. Brown Rice: This is another pantry essential of mine. On days when I get home late and don’t feel like putting together anything special for dinner this is an easy side to a piece of grilled chicken or fish and veggies. Choose brown rice over white rice – it’s a source of whole grains and provides more fiber than its white counterpart.

9. Individually Wrapped Chicken Breasts: Perfect source of protein for those nights requiring an easy but healthy meal. I also like to cook a few extra so I can put it on top of a salad or into a wrap the next day.

I’m going to try to post a little bit more frequently than I have been. Between a new job and moving into a new apartment with my boyfriend I haven’t had a chance to post! Have suggestions for me? Click the contact me button on my homepage! 🙂

– Carly

Easy Chicken Fajitas

So I’m officially out of my family home and living on my own in an apartment. Which means that I’m responsible for cooking all of my meals now! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook but I was used to being in charge of 1-2 meals per week if that at home – not a week’s worth!

Anyways… with a full-time job it’s easy to throw my hands up after a long day at work and say let’s just go out to eat. I love going out to eat every once in a while but my bank account and waistline can only handle about that much. This week has been a week of organizing my recipes and figuring out which ones would be best for a weeknight. I wanted to add to the collection of recipes I’ve already shared and share the chicken fajita recipe I tried. It’s an oven baked recipe which made it easy to walk away and do a couple of chores around the apartment while it was cooking.

I took a few more steps to make it equally as delicious but just a bit easier. Instead of using fresh peppers I used a frozen mix of red, green and yellow. We had chicken in another recipe the night before so while I was cutting the chicken then, I also did the portion I would need for this recipe. I just put the chicken pieces in a Tupperware container and into the fridge. The only real prep I needed to do that day was chop an onion!

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The fajitas came out great! We served them on whole wheat flour tortillas with plain greek yogurt (in replace of sour cream) and salsa. Other toppings could include freshly chopped lettuce, low-fat cheese, avocado, or guacamole.

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The best part was, as a household of two, we had plenty of leftovers to bring to work for lunches the next day!

Enjoy!

– Carly

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Juicy Turkey Burger Recipe

I was craving burgers the other night but instead of using red meat I decided to try ground turkey instead. I’m not going to lie, I would still pick a real burger any day but this was still delicious! We had all of the fixings so it felt like we were eating something from a restaurant. I made roasted sweet potato wedges and side salads to go with them.

Everytime I’ve made turkey burgers or veggie burgers they’ve always come out dry. I thought it was just because they weren’t made with ground beef. I was wrong! It was freezing the other night and I had no desire to go outside and grill. The electric skillet came in handy and I used that to cook the patties. It worked really well! The burgers came out very juicy and didn’t fall apart when I tried to flip them. It also helped that I didn’t try to press them to get them to cook faster. The juices stayed inside the burger making it the perfect consistency.

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The sweet potato wedges were very easy to make. I preheated the oven and a baking sheet to 450 degrees while I sliced the sweet potatoes. I cut the potatoes into small wedges, drizzled them with avocado oil, salt and pepper. I baked them for 25-30 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally. The pan I used was insulated and lighter in color so the wedges didn’t come out as crispy as I wanted them to. I would suggest using a basic black baking sheet to see if that helps at all.

I’m used to seeing orange sweet potatoes but I found these “pale” sweet potatoes at the store and decided to try them. They were a little more bland compared to the others I’m used to – they might be a good transition potato if you’re looking to upgrade from regular potatoes.

Enjoy!

– Carly

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How to Make the Perfect Mason Jar Salad

Mason jar salads are a great way to pack a healthy, quick and easy meal. These salads can be made in a variety of ways with different types of vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and grains. The idea is pretty simple, starting with your salad dressing and working your way up with salad items based on their “likeliness to get soggy”. The hardy veggies like peppers, onions and broccoli would go towards the bottom while your mixed salad greens would go towards the top.

Towards the end of the week when veggies are on their way out, this is the perfect lunch. You can even make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to a week! The best part is, because everything goes into the same container you don’t have to be plowing through the tupperware cabinet looking for a small enough container (and lid) for dressing. When you’re ready to eat it just shake, unscrew the cap, and eat out of the jar or dump onto a plate.

ingredients 2.jpgAs you can tell by this picture, I threw almost every left over vegetable in my fridge into this salad. Dressing..red and green peppers…summer squash and zucchini…tomatoes…mushrooms…avocado… egg… and finally mixed greens.

mjsalad-2I like to give the jar a little shake before I dump it onto the plate just to get the dressing moving a little. And voila! A perfectly dressed salad for lunch!

salad-2My next mason jar salad is going to be when all of the summer fruits make their appearance. I’m thinking a colorful fruit salad with some cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast??  Stay tuned!

– Carly

Rethink Your Drink: Is your favorite beverage sabotaging your weight loss?

The general key to weight loss and weight maintenance is a balance of calories in vs. calories out. When trying to lose weight, we tend to focus on food calories rather than beverage calories. Some people don’t even realize just how many calories their beverage choices are contributing to their daily intake and oftentimes this oversight can sabotage weight loss efforts.

Read nutrition facts carefully: Luckily, packaging of food products is changing and will now include the number of calories in the entire package rather than calories in the recommended portion size. However, there may be some snacks and drinks that still have the old packaging. When looking at a food label, be sure to check the servings per container. If there is more than one serving per container, multiply the number of servings by the number of calories listed. For example, if the recommended serving size of  8 oz. of soda contains 100 calories, but there are 2.5 servings in the whole bottle multiply 100 x 2.5. That entire bottle of soda contains 250 calories!

Besides the grocery store, there are also other places where we are consuming extra calories from drinks. Coffee shops, smoothie shops, and restaurants all have specialty drinks that are delicious but contain a lot of calories and sugar. Here are a few tips for ordering:

  1. Ask for the smallest size possible
  2. The more basic the better – plain coffee rather than a Frappucino, plain iced tea rather than strawberry lemonade
  3. Check out the nutrition facts on their website before hand – a lot of sites will let you modify recipes to see the new calorie information

One of my favorite presentations during my dietetic internship was my “Rethink your Drink” poster I presented at a health fair with my friend Courtney. We had a blast showing families how much sugar was in their favorite beverages. It really is amazing to see something rather than a number to put it into perspective.

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Courtney and I made this poster board to show how much sugar is in each beverage!  Hint:1 sugar cube = 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams of sugar

It may not seem like it but calories and sugar from the beverages we drink can really add up and sabotage your weight loss. There are plenty of low-calorie options out there to replace your full calorie beverages.

  1. Choose water – make it more tasty by adding slices of lemon, lime or cucumber
  2. Try naturally flavored sparkling water – you could even add a SPLASH of 100% juice to liven it up
  3. Keep sugar-sweetened beverages out of the house – keep bottles of cold water readily available instead.
  4. Instead of sweetened iced teas try putting lemon in freshly brewed iced tea
  5. Switch from whole milk to skim milk in your coffee. Avoid sugary syrups and try to cut back on the number of sugar packets you use

Check out my post from Monday to see the benefits of water!

– Carly

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a great way to get all of your food groups into one easy meal! I also like them because they’re a sneaky way to get veggies into picky eaters ;). The quinoa and ground beef in this recipe makes it a very filling and protein packed meal.

For those of you that haven’t tried quinoa before, it is a (very trendy) grain that can be found in the organic section or rice section of most supermarkets. It comes in white and red varieties. It is cooked similar to how rice is cooked and can be incorporated into a variety of breakfast, lunch or dinner recipes. What makes this grain unique from other grains is its protein content. Quinoa contains all essential amino acids – making it a complete protein.

Although you can cut your peppers however you would like for this recipe, I chose to cut them in half lengthwise rather than cutting the top off like traditional stuffed peppers. The other way always seems like an exceptionally big serving to me.

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We liked this recipe! Overall it was pretty easy to make and only took about 45 minutes. We were also saying how we could adapt this recipe to be more of an Italian flavor rather than Southwest. Switching out the chili powder, cumin, and paprika for 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, using tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes, and Italian cheese rather than Mexican would be pretty simple substitutes for an equally delicious and healthy dinner.

Enjoy!

– Carly

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7 Benefits of Water and Why You Should be Drinking it!

Is anyone else besides me terrible at drinking water? I have no idea why it’s so difficult for me to get my daily dose in but one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to improve my water intake. But what’s so important about staying hydrated?

Water makes up about 60% of our bodies and is one of the most essential nutrients needed for our survival. Below are just some of its functions:

  1. Carries nutrients and waste products throughout the body
  2. Helps metabolize minerals, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates
  3. Acts as a lubricant and cushion around joints, inside of eyes, and spinal cord
  4. Regulates our body temperature
  5. Maintains blood pressure
  6. Aids in digestion – preventing constipation (especially if you consume a lot of fiber)
  7. Helps with daily tasks involving concentration, alertness and short-term memory

Because we excrete about 2.5 liters per day of water through urine, sweat, breath, and feces, our body relies on the fluids we get from water, other beverages, and even foods in order to replenish itself. If the fluids consumed are too little compared to the fluids excreted, the water balance is thrown off and dehydration can occur.

How much should you drink? The recommendation is about 8-12 cups of water per day. Exercise will put you at the higher end of this recommendation depending on how much you sweat.

Before you go chug a gallon of water…believe it or not, there is such think as water intoxication too. Excessive water intake (10-20 liters) within a few hours can dilute the sodium concentration of your blood  – this will lead to confusion, convulsions, and even death in some cases.

So what signs should you look for when assessing hydration status? Well we all know the basic fact that pee should be light yellow to clear. Bright yellow and orange urine is a general sign that you should be drinking more fluids. Other symptoms  of dehydration include general thirst, weakness, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. For those athletes out there, dehydration can also put a damper on your workout.

Like I said, I am nowhere near close to a good water drinker but the more I drink the better I feel. My workouts and digestion have improved and so haven’t my dizzy spells. I thought it was normal to see stars when I stood up quickly. (it’s not)

Here are a couple of tips I have found to help me improve my water intake:

  1. Keep a water bottle with you at all times – the constant reminder is helpful
  2. Flavor your water – lemon, lime, strawberries, blueberries and other fruits are great infused into water to get some flavor
  3. Set a timer – I’ve even tried some of the water timer apps for my phone

Start improving your intake and I’m sure you will feel A LOT better!

– Carly