My wedding “diet”

Our wedding in Punta Cana was the best day of my life so far! I have never had so much fun and I got to come home married to the best guy I’ve ever known.

Like any bride, I stressed and wanted to make sure I looked my best and felt good about myself for the big day. I wanted to look back on our pictures with confidence and reflect how happy I am. I think a huge fear was that I would see pictures of myself and focus on my insecurities and wish I had tried harder to become my healthiest self. I knew I had the skill to create great recipes, I knew I had the determination and drive to get to the gym, but who doesn’t want a glass of wine or 2 at the end of the day?

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a glass of wine while I cook! Who doesn’t want to skip a day or 2 at the gym during the week? I do, and I did! Let me also just say, I am NOT a gym rat! I go to the gym on a regular basis about 3-4 times a week, max. I take Body Pump, which is a Les Mills program and also do the stair master for cardio. I like to sweat, it makes me feel productive.

I ate really well before the wedding, but got creative and looked forward to making these dishes because they were full of flavor. I discovered how to eat healthy food high in fiber and protein and low in sugar, salt and fat WHILE making sure I was full and satisfied. I did drink wine. Not every single day, but I did. I ate dessert, but it was usually a cup of Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax granola or a protein mini muffin and a cup of sleepy-time tea as opposed to something more fattening.

I will post as many recipes as I can and will happily answer ANY questions you have! I’ll try to give you any advice I can and tell you what worked/didn’t work for me. Just ask!

Roasted Chicken and Heirloom Carrots

  • 3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Purple Carrot
  • 1 Parsnip
  • 1/3 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 3 Large sweet potatoes
  • Rubbed Sage
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Salt
  • 21 Seasoning Salute (Trader Joe’s seasoning)
  • Dried Parsley
  • 3 Tbs. Olive Oil (I used Grapeseed oil)

Wash and trim chicken breasts and place in baking dish. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into large cubes and add to chicken with the onion. Peel and cut carrots and parsnip into long pieces and add them as well. Pour the oil over everything and cover all ingredients evenly with all seasonings. Bake at 350 for one hour, mixing after 30 min. Serve with a green vegetable:)

 

Don’t have all the ingredients??

I know there have been times when I’ve followed a recipe and realized I didn’t have one ingredient…OR I’ve been at the grocery store looking at the bag of raw pumpkin seeds and didn’t want to pay $5.99 for them when I don’t know when or IF I’ll ever use them again! Chances are, this has happened to you too, and here’s my solution: You might actually have this item already and don’t even know it OR you have something very similar that can be substituted and it makes such a minor difference, you could never tell!

More likely than not, those pumpkin seeds for the garnish are in your trail mix!! Need 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins? I bet they’re in there too! Need a pinch of cloves for that stew? If you threw in a bay leaf and some Thyme instead of buying that $5.00 tiny box, you’d save a trip and no one would know the difference!! Check your cabinet, smell your seasonings, taste them! Need a spoonful of Agave nectar? A spoonful of that little bear of honey will suffice!

Sometimes I worry so much about what people will think, especially when I’m bringing a side dish to a friends’ party, that I overdo it…for instance, I’ll add extra chicken to a buffalo dip because I don’t want it to seem like I didn’t try hard enough, or like I’m being “stingy”. Well, I made one for one of my husband’s work parties and added the extra chicken. Turns out, I added too much and he came home with half the crockpot still full because I made WAY too much and there was NO way we could finish it. He actually said “everyone loved it, but I think there was too much chicken, it was more like a meal than a dip”!

Finding ways to save on some cash can be stressful, so my advice here is: don’t worry! Don’t overdo it and use what you got, girl!

Almond Meal “Chicken Tenders”

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Do you find yourself craving chicken tenders? The salt really calls to me sometimes, too! I cut 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast into “tender” sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 400, line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with any cooking spray (I used Trader Joe’s Olive Oil Spray, just be careful under ingredient list if you have any allergies)

Pour some almond meal (another Trader Joe’s purchase) in one bowl and an egg in another. Wash and dip each chicken tender in the egg and then roll in the almond meal until completely coated. Lay each piece on the baking sheet and spray again with the cooking spray (so the tops get a little crispy).

Sprinkle with salt (and pepper, if you like) to taste and bake for 20 min.

For the guacamole dip, I just crushed up 1 avocado, poured about 1 Tbs lemon juice and 1 Tbs lime juice, 1/2 plum tomato (cut into little pieces), about 1/4 cup chopped purple onion, 1 diced garlic clove, some salt to taste and fresh cilantro. (I LOVE cilantro, so I put a lot, but you can add as much as you like! I chop up to get the flavors going and mix it all in!) *You can also use a honey mustard or buffalo sauce as dippers too!

You can make these “Buffalo” style simply by rolling them (once cooked) in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I recommend this instead of other “Buffalo” sauces because they tend to add butter. Frank’s Red Hot has very minimal ingredients and adds LOTS of flavor! I serve with celery and carrots, add some ranch dressing if you’re feeling frisky!