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Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad and my First Encounter with Feta

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A couple of days ago, I showed you this tasty picture without giving you a recipe or even telling you what it was!

This meal of Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad is a fabulous week night dinner that is tasty enough to be impressive, yet simple enough that it can be whipped up in no time.

When I headed to the grocery store last weekend, feta cheese sounded delicious.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use the feta in during the week, but I knew it sounded great so I tossed some into the cart.

Whenever I think of feta cheese, I can’t help but think of my first encounter with feta.  When I was in high school, one of my best friends was very Greek.  On one occasion when me and our other friends were at her house hanging out, we were hungry and wanted something to snack on.  Upon opening the fridge, I saw a giant white tub with a clear lid full of some sort of giant white block.  I had no idea what it was, but I knew that I was not going to eat whatever that mystery block was.

The tub looked much like this, but with a clear lid.

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When I questioned what the tub was full of…FETA was the answer.  At that moment I simply knew that I did not like feta and I never would.  Well, I was wrong.  Because after actually tasting the salty, crumbly cheese I realized I couldn’t get enough of it!

So, after throwing the feta into my cart last weekend, I needed to figure out a meal to pair this delicious cheese with.  Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad fit the bill.

Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Yields: 2 servings of Chicken, and 2-3 servings of salad, can easily be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Greek salad dressing, can be purchased OR recipe follows
  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomato, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Coat the chicken breasts with half of the Greek dressing while poking holes into the chicken with a fork to get some of the dressing inside.  Place in the baking dish and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the quinoa salad.  The quinoa can be prepared at an earlier date or right before serving this meal, allowing that it has time to cool.  Prepare the quinoa according to package directions by placing 1/2 cup of the uncooked quinoa into a sauce pan along with 1 cup of water.  Cover the quinoa.  Allow the quinoa to come to a boil and turn the heat down to low for 12-15 minutes, or until the water is gone.

If preparing the quinoa right before the meal, stick it in the freezer to allow it to cool while the chicken is cooking.

Chop the tomato, onion, and cucumber.  Place in a large bowl with the spinach, feta, and the remaining Greek dressing.  Once the quinoa is cool, combine the quinoa into the feta and Greek dressing mixture.

Remove the chicken from the oven, serve along side the quinoa salad and enjoy!

Homemade Greek Dressing:

  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp evoo
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix until combined, and serve over salads or use as a marinade.

ENJOY!

*This recipe is being entered into the Mr. Food Ultimate Weeknight Meal Contest.  Keep your eyes peeled for voting opportunities!

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Happy Birthday Mom!

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Today is my Mom’s birthday!

 

I wish I could take the day off work to just hang out with her all day!  My mom and I have a great relationship, and I love talking with  her spending time with her, joking with her, cooking with her, walking with her, working out with her, and just about doing anything with her!

 

We love you so much, Mom!  Have a happy Birthday!!

 

 

A Dirty Trick and Delicious Egg Salad

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Yesterday, Brian, Kate (a good friend from Butler), and I all pulled a dirty trick on someone.

We told one of our dear friend’s, Caitlin who just graduated from pharmacy school, that we would not be able to make it to her graduation party in Chicago.

That was a lie.

Kate drove up from Louisville to meet us in Indy so that we could all drive up to Chicago together to surprise her.

We needed a little fuel for the three hour drive, a mocha light frappacino fit the bill for me!

Once we arrived, we had to take cover and hide so that as soon as she came into the kitchen we could jump out and yell “SURPRISE!”

We got her good!

She was so surprised to have us there, and I am so glad that we were able to make the trip.

She then spent a little time opening some gifts.  Of course, Brian and I wanted to get her the best gift possible.  So, we got her a car. A Mini Cooper to be exact….a mini Mini Cooper 🙂  The doors open, and it moves when you pull it back on a flat surface.  She will definitely get some good times out of that little gem.

We then spent the evening drinking wine, visiting, and just hanging out.  It was a perfect night, and I am so glad we were all there together to celebrate Caitlin’s hard work.

Congrats Caitlin!

We stayed the night at Caitlin’s then woke up bright and early to get back to Indianapolis today.

Lunch

When we arrived home, it was about lunch time.  I was pretty hungry and egg salad sounded delicious to me!  I honestly can’t even tell you the last time that I had egg salad, so I had to text my mom to double check on the ingredients that I wanted to use.



I remember my mom making egg salad sandwiches when I was little, and I absolutely loved the tanginess of the mustard with the creaminess of the egg.  So delish!

Delicious Egg Salad

Yields: 2 Servings

Nutrition Information:  Calories 119.8  Fat:  4.3g  Carbs:  4.5g  Protein:  16.9g

Ingredients

  • 4  hard boiled egg whites
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard

Directions:

Begin by hard boiling your eggs.  I used the good old Krups egg cooker, but you could do it the old fashioned way by boiling the eggs in a pot of water.

I then peeled all of the eggs, and removed some of the egg yolks.  I combined all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mashed it together with the back of a fork until it was my desired consistency.

Then, you are able to serve the salad any way you like!  It would be great as a sandwich or a wrap, great to eat on it’s own.  I served mine up with a big bowl of spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  So summery and soooo good!

The salad was completely delicious, and tasted exactly as I remembered it tasting even though I subbed some Greek yogurt for the mayo.  I know that sometimes subbing Greek yogurt for the real deal mayo sounds great but can end up tasting not so good, but honestly this recipe is perfect for subbing.  You will not miss the fat, you will not miss the flavor, and you will not miss the calories or extra protein 🙂  This swap is totally worth it.

Question of the Afternoon:

  • What childhood meal have you been wanting to recreate recently??

My New Favorite: Frozen Cherries!

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Last night was a pretty simple and great night.

After arriving home from work, I immediately changed my clothes so that I could get between 7 and 8 miles in on my running log.  My time wasn’t that great, there were lots of stops and starts due to stop lights, but I logged 7.5 miles.

Due to a kind of wacko schedule, I have been completing my long runs in Friday evenings after work.  When it comes to working out, it is ALWAYS easier for me to do in the wee hours of the morning…so running after a full day of work is tough for me.

In order to prepare for my long run during the day yesterday, I made sure to do a couple of things thanks to some comments on a post on the Fitfluential Running Board:

  • Eat well throughout the day. (I packed extra snacks so there was no chance that I would be hungry or lacking energy)
  • Drink plenty of water. (I tried to drink a full large Tervis of water every hour!! Boy did I go to the bathroom a lot!)
  • Get up and move around. (I tried to get up and move around when I filled my bottle each hour.)

I think all of those tips were great, and I felt much better than last week when I went for my evening run.

After the run it was time for dinner (gotta refuel!) and grocery shopping.  It was just a quick trip to the store to purchase some veggies, cheese, eggs, and Greek yogurt.

 

Then, it was time to relax…such a nice, stress free evening!

Breakfast

While at the grocery store yesterday, I had the urge to purchase something new.  Frozen cherries.  I have seen them in the stores many times, but I never thought that I would like them so I never purchased them.  Well, I saw a little recipe that Runner’s World tweeted yesterday that called for frozen cherries.  The recipe sounded delicious…so I bought some, and boy am I glad that I did!

Seriously, those little gems taste like sweet sweet candy and I could probably eat the entire bag in one sitting!! Yum!

I made sure to incorporate them into my smoothie this morning:

 

  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk
  • 3/4 scoop protein powder of choice
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 packet Truvia
  • ice cubes for thickness

The cherries gave the smoothie a creamy milkshake-like texture and it was OH SO GOOD!  I just kept mmm…mmm…mmm..ing my way through it 🙂  Thank goodness Brian wasn’t awake so I didn’t have to share with anyone 😉

Workout and Afternoon Plans

Now, I am off to practice Body Pump then teach it.  Then, Brian and I are headed out for a super secret surprise trip…don’t worry, I will tell you tomorrow!

Have a great Saturday!

What New Foods Have You Fallen In Love With Lately???

  • Frozen cherries!!

Simple Things A to Z

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Last night, Brian and I met with the planner at our wedding reception venue.

Right from the get-go she took us upstairs, offered us some wine and cheese and said let’s get to business.  She is my kind of girl!

The meeting was everything I needed.  Basically, we were just touching base to make sure that we were all on the same page since we made these arrangements over a year ago.  She told us we were ahead of schedule, and made me feel like we really had a handle on things!  Thank goodness!

Breakfast

I knew exactly what I was having for breakfast this morning when I woke up.

Yesterday, there were little scrapings of peanut butter in the jar, so I immediately made myself a batch of overnight oats in a jar to eat this morning.  My oats were then topped with blackberries and strawberries and totally hit the spot.  Yum!

Friday

Ok, so it is Friday, and I really don’t feel like sitting at a desk all day and doing “work” stuff…but I gotta!  So, In order to make Friday fun, I found this little survey to share the simple things that make me tick.  You can see Julie’s survey on Peanut Butter Fingers, Chelsey’s survey on Clean Eating Chelsey, or Dory’s survey on Living with Healthy Hunger.  Enjoy!

The Simple Things: A to Z

A – Almond butter.  I have to restrain myself around the stuff, because it is just so. darn. good.  My favorite varieties are homemade, Justin’s, and Maranatha

B – Brian, my fiancé.  He is my best friend, and I can’t wait to marry him!

C – Christmas. I absolutely LOVE the holidays, especially Christmas.  I love the feel in the air, the traditions, and being close with my family and friends.  Needless to say, I can’t wait for the winter season to roll around.

D – Down time.  I need to work on taking advantage of it more often.

E – Exercise.  Moving, being active, and challenging my body is something that I do, and love to do most days of the week.

F – Friends and family.  Mine are pretty awesome, and I can’t live without them!

G – Grocery shopping day.  I love to go the grocery store,  slowly go through the aisles, and pick the perfect ingredients for every meal coming in the next week.

H – Help.  I love to help out when I can and feel like I have a job and I am needed.  I also welcome help when I need it! 😉

I – Ireland.  Brian is Irish, and his family has remained in close contact with his relatives there.  I can’t wait to meet them someday!

J – Jewelry.  I love accessories and I feel that jewelry totally makes an outfit.  It doesn’t have to be the fanciest or most expensive, just something that puts a little flair of “you” in whatever you are wearing.

K – Kangaroos.  Australia was one of my favorite places to visit while I was working on a cruise ship.  I was lucky enough to feed some, pet some, and get very up close and personal!

L – Love…

M – My Mom. She just gets me when no one else does, she is a great listener, and love how our relationship has developed into my adult life.

N – Nuts.  They say you are what you eat…well, I eat a lot of nuts. 😉

O – Oatmeal.  One of my favorite breakfasts whether it is hot, overnight, in a jar, I love it all the same!

P – Planning.  I have to have my planner with me, and I love trying to schedule everything…even though that is impossible!

Q – Quiet time.  Typically I love to be loud, and around people, but I need that time to myself where I just think.  It’s nice.

R – Running. I love it because all I truly need to complete a run is me, myself, and I …and my running shoes.

S – Strawberries.  They are my absolute favorite fruit. Growing up, we would go strawberry picking each year and I would eat so many that my tummy would hurt…every single time!

T – Traveling. I love experiencing different cultures, different traditions, and just seeing how other people live!

U – Upcoming events.  I love putting things on the planner so that I can look forward to it all the way until it gets here!

V – Vegetables!  I love them so much, and they make me feel so good J  I love them raw, roasted, steamed, baked, any way you make them… I will eat them.

W – Weddings. This summer, Brian and I have attended more weddings then I think I have in my life. I love being a part of the celebration and being able to celebrate this special day in the newly weds’ life.

X – X rays…ummm…Xcellent food! (that was a STRETCH!)

Y – Yoga.  I never had a true appreciation for yoga until I began taking it in order to prepare myself to teach it on the cruise ship.  I haven’t kept up with it as much as I should, but I love the completely relaxed, loose, and free feeling I have after a great yoga session.

Z – ZZZZs… I love getting my Z’s in 🙂

What are some of the simple things in your life?

What is Paleo…Have You Tried it?

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I tried something new this morning.

I had seen Clare from Fitting it all In try these a couple of days ago, and love trying new things and I was running out of eggs  to make for breakfast so I made myself a bowl of Oatless Oats.

They were surprisingly simple to make and really tasty.  In the picture above, they are just plain, but when I ate them for breakfast this morning I topped them with a bit of peanut butter, strawberries, and blackberries…oh so good!  I will be promptly adding this little meal to my list of “regulars.”

How to Make Oatless “Oatmeal” (original recipe from Fitting it all In)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 mashed banana (I took a frozen banana and thawed in the microwave so it was nice and mushy)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • shake of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax meal

Directions

Mash the banana in a bowl.  After the banana is mashed, combine all ingredients in the bowl until mixed will.  Then, simply place in a saucepan and heat until the texture of the mixture becomes creamy.  When you get that creamy texture, you are finished!  Simply place in a bowl and serve with your favorite toppings (nuts, nut butter, berries, fruit, or plain!)

**I made mine the night before and ate them cold in the morning…they were delish!  Highly recommended!

Why Oatless and What is Paleo?

Some of you are probably wondering why anyone would want to eat oats without the oats.  One huge reason is because the “Paleo” or “Paleolithic” diet cuts out all grains.

Now, I am very new to this whole Paleo way of eating (you may have heard of it referred to as the “caveman diet”), so I have been doing a lot of reading on it lately, and I find it very interesting!

Basically, anyone following the Paleo way of eating guidelines eats anything that would have been available to a caveman and nothing more.  So, grains really aren’t an option.  The main foods that are eaten following this lifestyle are:

  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats, Eggs, and Fish

Things to avoid are sugar, legumes (beans), and basically anything that is processed and packaged, because that’s not what the cavemen ate!  There are many web sites outlining various details and health benefits of the diet.  To me, it all makes sense and sounds like a great plan to follow for some.  I completely believe that every person has different needs and will find a different eating plan and lifestyle that just works.  So, while I think that this whole “Paleo” thing is interesting, I don’t think it is something that I want to try full-out…but I will still sample a few of the Paleo recipes here and there!

Dinner

Moving on from the Paleo diet…(that was a smooth transition…)

I made a DELICIOUS meal last night, and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you.  Unfortunately, all I can offer you right now is a little tease:

 

It was as delicious as it is pretty 😉

Workout

As for my workout today, this is my last Cardio Intervals class of the summer.  In honor of the last class, I will be doing another mixed bag workout much like last week.  Also, to show my class their appreciation I made them some little goodies.

 

The special gift is a colorful workout towel with some homemade “Luna” Bars.   Next week, I will be starting a new boot camp class!

Wedding Update!

It has been a while since I have posted anything about the wedding, but never fear…it is still on!  Brian and I are meeting with the reception venue contact tonight.  I can’t wait!

Question of the Morning:

  • Have you tried a Paleo recipe?  What is your favorite?

This is my first Paleo recipe, but I plan on trying more in the near future!

*PS.  One of my co-workers owns a photography business called EBT Photography.  Recently, he has been nominated to win the Wedding Industry Experts Best Indianapolis Photographer Award for 2012.  So, share the love and click this link to vote for his company!

 

My Favorite Running Gadgets

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Good morning!

Before heading to the gym to teach my final Yoga Sculpt class and do a bit of running, I started with a delicious bowl of berries, bananas, almond milk, a little bit of protein powder, cinnamon, and a teaspoon of peanut butter.  Seriously, this little bowl was so delicious, I wish it was bigger!  It was just the thing I needed to give me some fuel before my morning workouts.

Half Marathon

Recently, I mentioned that I was resuming my half marathon training.  I must say that I am a little bit nervous about this one because I had to take a break due to a lack of hours in the day, and I am coming back to training still searching for the time to run.  What I am trying to do is squeeze runs in anywhere I can, so I am going to do a short run at the gym before I teach today to focus a bit on speed, and I will complete my long run of 7 miles on Friday.

The race is September 28, and I know that if I stick with my plan and just keep logging miles I will be fine….but I am still nervous!

In the spirit of my half marathon training, I thought I would share some of my favorite running gadgets that help me plug through those 13.1 miles:

 

Garmin 305

I must say that I LOVE my Garmin Forerunner 305.  When I ran my last half marathon, I did not have a watch that logged miles for training and solely relied on pre-mapping my trails online.  With the Garmin, I feel that I have the freedom to explore somewhat new places, I love that I can keep track of my pace which allows me to be more competitive, and I can see my overall time as well.

All in all, I don’t know what I did without it!

 

Road ID Bracelet

Mom got me this Road ID bracelet for Christmas because I on the cruise ship, I would frequently go running when we stopped in various ports, and didn’t have a simple way to carry any sort of identification.  I love this bracelet because it is lightweight, simple, PINK, and it has my name, my parents information, and Brian’s information.  You can even put an inspirational saying on the bracelet 🙂  Needless to say, I no longer run without it.

Nathan Handheld Water Bottle

I love this little guy!  If it weren’t for this Nathan handheld water bottle, I would be dying of thirst on my runs over 5 miles.  It is great because it literally straps to your hand, does not leak, and is easy to just put to your lips and get some water out without making a mess or having to stop running.  Seriously, it is awesome and I highly recommend it…especially in the summer!

Spi Belt

My mom also got me this little gem.  I was having trouble when running because when I would go long distances, I didn’t have anywhere to put my phone, car key, or any other random little tid bit that may be floating around and need a place to go.  The Spi Belt is great because it easily fits my phone (which is a rather large iPhone in a big case), and even includes a waterproof pouch so that things don’t get ruined by the sweat.  It simply straps around the waist and can hold almost anything you need it to.

 

Body Glide

Last, but not least, the beloved Body Glide.  During the training for my first half marathon, I started to have some trouble with chafing during my longer runs right under my armpits and a little where my shorts would rub between my legs.   In order to prevent this, someone recommended that I use Body Glide.  It is honestly like chapstick that you put on your skin, and I was a little skeptical as to how well it would work…but believe me, it works wonders!  Now, I don’t even risk it and I always wear it!  And that little stick of body balm will last you forever.  Seriously, a great investment.

 

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Now, that you know some of my favorite running tools…I’ve gotta run!  Literally 😉  Have a happy Wednesday!

Question of the Morning:

  • What are some of your favorite pieces of running gear?  Favorite shoes, running top, watches, headbands, anything?!