21 Day Fix: Homemade Taco Seasoning

I have such an array of spices in my cabinet that I thought – why go out and buy pre-made taco seasoning, with god-knows-what ingredients when I could take 5 minutes and make my own? And of course it is 21 Day Fix-approved!

This seasoning mix is SO easy and you can make it as spicy or mild as you want. For me, the spicy-er the better! I used 2 teaspoons of this seasoning on 1lb of ground turkey that I sauteed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with one diced onion. It makes a ton so I was able to eat it throughout the week. I want to make this again to use for turkey tacos in lettuce wraps.

Once the turkey was fully cooked I portioned out 3/4 cup (1 red) of the turkey mixture and combined it with 1 cup (1 yellow) of cooked whole grain pasta shells, 1 teaspoon of plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup (1 blue) of cheddar cheese and used a little bit of the pastas cooking water to help melt the cheese. Feel free to add in more of the taco seasoning to your finished dish if needed. I served this alongside 1 cup (1 green) of steamed broccoli with lemon juice to get my last veggie container in for the day. I counted my oil as 0.5 teaspoons (1/2 spoon) for those of you following the 21 Day Fix meal plan.

SO YUMMY!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Dash of cayenne to your preferred level of heat

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bottle or jar. Stir or cover and shake to combine.

Use on any and all recipes!

21 Day Fix: Poached Eggs over Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms and Spinach

 I have been slacking…

However, the slacking in blog posting is due to a brand new job I started back in November!

I am now the Event Marketing Manager for CLEAResult and I manage the entire event experience at all of our trade shows, conferences, client events and summits. My office is out of my house in Boston but CLEAResult is headquarter in Austin, TX. I will be visiting Austin a lot over the next year and I am looking forward to getting to know the city really well – it has been on my list to visit for quite some time now! I will also be traveling to some amazing cities to be on site for our events – Portland, Chicago and Orlando are up next!

I love working from home because I am able to do my workouts in the morning and cook all my meals for myself. Although I have been slacking in the blog world I have been working out daily and still following my 21 Day Fix meal plan and of course drinking my Shakeolgoy!

I am currently down 14.7lbs and 12.5 inches and most of my clothes are now fitting much better or are too big! My goal is to be over the 20lbs lost mark before I leave for Luke Bryan‘s “Crash My Playa” concert vacation in Mexico with my sister and our friends at the end of January.

To help get me to my goals I have incorporated another Beachbody program into my routine – PiYo!

I got the deluxe version that comes with the addtional strength and hardcore on the floor DVDs along with the strength slides.

PiYo is low impact, high intensity workout that incorporates pilates and yoga inspired moves and constant movement to help sculpt long, lean muscles and burn fat. There are no weights and no jumps and it is great for all fitness levels! Some of the other coaches on my team have completed this program and got amazing results so I cannot see where I am at once the 60 days is up!

So far I have only been doing the PiYo workouts for a week but they are HARD – I am drenched with sweat by the end so I know the results are going to be good. I love that it helps improve my flexibility as well.

PiYo

Poached eggs are one of my favorite lunches because they are packed full of protein and keep my full and energized throughout the day. I have been eating them over a variety of meats and veggies but recently I stumbled upon al fresco chicken sausages and they are my new favorite! I have tried the roasted garlic and sweet apple with pure vermont maple syrup.

If you haven’t tried these yet grab some next time you are at the grocery store – they are sooooo yummy!

Poached Eggs3

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1/2 teaspoons of coconut oil   0.5 spoons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 al fresco sweet apple chicken sausage, sliced  1 Red
  • 1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced   0.5 Green
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach   1 Green
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2 fresh eggs, cracked into individual bowls   1 Red
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of paprika

Fill a shallow fry or saute pan (preferably metal, not non-stick) with 1.5-2″ of water and bring to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium and add the sliced mushrooms and chicken sausage. Saute until both are golden brown – the sausage will get a little crispiness to them!

Once the water for your eggs begins to boil reduce to very low simmer. Add 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

Crack your eggs one at a time into a small bowl and gently slide them into the simmering water. Use a spoon to gently nudge the egg whites back towards the yolk.You want a simmer where you see a bubble pop up to the surface every now and then so raise the heat slighted if you need to.

As soon as your eggs are in add 1 cup of spinach and pinch of garlic powder to the veggie skillet. Mix in until the spinach begins to wilt and is warmed through.

Let your eggs cook for 3 – 3.5 minutes until the whites are cooked through but the yolk is still runny.

Transfer your veggie mixture to a clean plate and set aside. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Place the eggs over the veggie mixture and top with freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of paprika.

Enjoy!

Poached Eggs2

Poached Eggs

Backyard Farms and Nebo Fall-Fresco Luncheon

This past Friday I was invited by Backyard Farms to a special luncheon at NEBO featuring dishes from NEBO‘s new fall menu and featuring Backyard Farms brand new Somerset Pink Tomato.

Backyard Farms is a 42 acre farm located in Madison, ME committed to growing fresh, ripened-on-the-vine tomatoes all year round. They are the largest grower of year-round tomatoes in New England. All tomatoes are picked and shipped within one day to local markets in the Northeast. You can find their flavor packed tomatoes as local Whole Foods and Hannafords and see them at many of Boston’s local food festivals and events throughout the year. Now you can get fresh, local tomatoes YEAR ROUND instead of product that is imported from Mexico. Talk about tasty!! Backyard Farms was also the recipient of Whole Foods 2014 North Atlantic Produce Supplier of the Year.

NEBO, one of Backyard Farms Chef Partners, is located on Atlantic Ave in Downtown Boston and owned by sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta. Former hairdressers and spa owners these sisters decided to leave the beauty business behind in 2005 and opened the original NEBO in Boston’s North End. The name of the restaurant even comes from that original location (NEBO = North End Boston)! Here you will find authentic Italian cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere reminiscent of their mothers kitchen they grew up in. In the spring of 2013 NEBO moved into the sisters dream location at Atlantic Wharf featuring a stunning open kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, and of course hand-rolled pastas made in house.

I was SO excited for this luncheon. I had eaten at NEBO once before and it was fantastic and I am a huge tomato fan so this was a match made in heaven.

When I arrived I glanced over the menu and boy did it look good :)

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First we got to hear about Backyard Farms and meet some of their team members. I loved hearing about their new Somerset Pink tomato which is full-flavored beefsteak tomato that took many years to perfect and requires very specific growing conditions. It has a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity due to its higher sugar content and is just as tasty eaten as is as well as incorporated into a recipe.

Next we got to meet sister Chefs Carla and Christine Pallotta and learned all about their childhood growing up in the North End and what brought them to leave the hair salon business behind and open up the super successful NEBO with no prior restaurant training. I loved the stories they told about the dishes their mother would cook them each and every night, some you can even find on their menu to this day!

Then came the first course – Backyard Farms Someset Pink Tomato with Burrata, Saba and EVOO.

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Backyard Farms Someset Pink Tomato with Burrata, Saba and EVOO

How beautiful are these tomatoes?

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Backyard Farms Someset Pink Tomato with Burrata, Saba and EVOO

The saba had hints of cinnamon and ginger and really took this dish to the next level.

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Backyard Farms Someset Pink Tomato with Burrata, Saba and EVOO

I loved how in between each course Chefs Carla and Christine came out and explained each dish and told us all about the local North End vendors they get they fresh products from. We had the opportunity to ask the chefs questions and hear more of their personal stories. It made for a really intimate dining experience!

While we listened we got to snack on a beautiful charcuterie board featuring prosciutto, mortadella, finocchiona salami, coppa, speck and served with Backyard Farms Vine Ripe Tomato Jam and bruschetta aglio e olio.

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Prosciutto, Mortadella, Finocchiona Salami, Coppa, Speck with Backyard Farms Vine Ripe Tomato Jam and Bruschetta Aglio E Olio

First of all, tomato jam is UNREAL! It had a flavor I wasn’t expecting and much similar to a jam you would make from a grape or berry.

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Backyard Farms Vine Ripe Tomato Jam

The bruschetta was a potato based bread that has been in the chefs family over 100 years. It is starchier than most bruschettas because of the potato and held up really nicely topped with all of the charcuterie ingredients.

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Bruschetta Aglio E Olio

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Prosciutto, Mortadella, Finocchiona Salami, Coppa, Speck with Backyard Farms Vine Ripe Tomato Jam and Bruschetta Aglio E Olio

I was already getting stuffed but could not wait to try the spaghettini with Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes, capers, olives and EVOO. Nothing beats hand-made pasta and the cocktail tomatoes added such a pop of flavor. I am usually not a fan of olives, especially in warm dishes, but these olives were outta this world. They were meatier than any I have ever tried and had a nice deep almost spicy flavor to them that paired really well with the acid from the tomatoes and capers.

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Spaghettini with Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes, Capers, Olives and EVOO

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Spaghettini with Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes, Capers, Olives and EVOO

Next came this beautiful dish of baby clams, finicchiona salami, ceci and Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes. The clams are imported from Italy and the crusty bread topped with aioli was the perfect vehicle to sop up all of the flavorful broth and top with the tomatoes.

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Baby Clams, Finicchiona Salami, Ceci and Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes

Last but very not least was this beauty of a pizza. Backyard Farms Beefsteak Tomato, prosciutto cotto, ricotta, mozzarella, arugula and parmigiano.

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Backyard Farms Beefsteak Tomato, Prosciutto Cotto, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Arugula and Pamigiano

Put ricotta on any pizza and I’m all over it. So freakin good!

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Backyard Farms Beefsteak Tomato, Prosciutto Cotto, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Arugula and Pamigiano

Each luncheon guest got a gift bag. I was so excited to open it up and see I got my very own Backyard Farms Somerset Pinks and Cocktail Tomatoes along with an adorable cutting board and tomato knife.

Get ready for some recipes featuring these beauties in the next week!

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I want to thank Backyard Farms and NEBO for inviting me to this tasty and informative luncheon. I had so much fun learning all about the Somerset Pink tomato, meeting the team as well as Chefs Carla and Christine and getting to try these amazing dishes!

Now I’m ready for the Whole Foods to open on the Ink Block so I can get these tomatoes any time :)

Backyard Farms
River Rd.
Madison, ME 04950

207.696.5300

NEBO
520 Atlantic Ave.
Boston, MA 04950

617.723.6326

21 Day Fix: Chicken Mac and Cheese

So I am one week into round 3 of the 21 Day Fix and could not be happier with my results:

11.7lbs down and 12″ gone

Holy crap. I only just started this journey on September 2nd!! I was so excited when I saw those numbers!

The week prior was crazy busy with a lot of meals out so I really stepped it up this past week by following the meal plan to a T, portioning out my food using the 21 Day Fix containers, and got in some double sessions with Autumn’s DVDs in the morning and classes at my gym at night.

I did still squeeze in some time for fun and went out with friends on Friday and Saturday night but I stuck to vodka sodas and made sure to sneak in a few waters here and there. We gotta have some fun right?

I am currently in the second week of co-hosting my own 21 Day Fix challenge group on Facebook and it is SO much fun! Some of the challengers are brand new to the 21 Day Fix while others are well into their multiple rounds. It is so inspiring to hear my challengers success stories, amazing results, delicious recipes and see how they motivate each other each and every day! It is also a great place to get that extra push I need on those days I am struggling to press play on my workouts.

If you want to join in on the challenge group fun I will be co-hosting another round starting on November 3rd. This rounds theme will be “Healthy for the Holidays!“. Leave a comment on this post and I will get you all of the details!

Healthy for the Holidays

As the days are starting to get shorter and colder it makes me really want some comfort food and what is more comforting than mac and cheese? However, comfort food does not have to blow your waistline and make you feel bloated after eating it! This recipe for chicken mac and cheese has no butter, no salt and no creamWHAT??

I usually poach and shred my chicken in large batches so I can use it in meals and salads throughout the week so feel free to increase the quantities listed in the recipe and make a lot at once :)

Do you have any good shredded chicken recipes?

Chicken Mac and Cheese

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 small chicken breast (will portion out to 1 red)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup whole grain pasta shells  2 yellow
  • 1 cup baby spinach  1 green
  • 1/4 cup cheddar and american cheese, mixed  1 blue
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of onion powder
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Squirt of lemon juice

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken breast and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Transfer to a cutting board or plate and shred. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika. Portion out 3/4 cup (1 red) and set aside.

Bring another pot of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of whole grain pasta shells (2 yellow) and cook according to the package direction. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Add the cooked pasta back to the warm pan along with 3/4 cup of shredded chicken (1 red), 1 cup of baby spinach (1 green) and 1/4 cup (1 blue) of cheddar and american cheese, mixed. Add in the reserved pasta water as needed to help wilt the spinach and melt the cheese.

Season with a pinch of garlic and onion powder, freshly cracked black pepper and a squirt of lemon juice to taste and enjoy!

Chicken Mac and Cheese

BAM!!!

Who said you can’t have comfort food on the 21 Day Fix?Chicken Mac and CheeseChicken Mac and Cheese