Healthy & Delicious Recipes I’ve Been Loving

At the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to start cooking more. I’ve never really been much of a cook. And when I do cook it’s so basic and boring I don’t enjoy it. In 2020 I got into a bad habit of ordering take-out for dinner almost every night. Although I was ordering “healthy” most nights, how healthy is it really? That’s the question I asked myself when I was killing it in the gym and still couldn’t loose weight.

I wanted to take control over all the food I’m eating, be more healthy and loose weight. In the last year and a half I’ve gained about 25 pounds. I can’t stand gaining weight and looking in the mirror and feeling like my body isn’t mine. I didn’t want to do some crazy crash diet. I want to create a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable.

For the last 7 weeks I have cooked healthy and delicious meals. Dinners that are full of flavor that I enjoy eating and look forward to! With the change in cooking my own healthy meals and working out, I have lost 8 pounds. More important than that, I feel so much healthier and stronger!

I want to share a couple of my favorite recipes that I have made. These are recipes that I have sent to my friends and have made multiple times because they are that good! They have tons of flavor, are not boring, and are great left over the next day. I will also share my tweaks and tips that I find helpful for each recipe. If I can make these meals, you can too!

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad

I got this recipe off Eating Bird Food, you can see the entire recipe here. This recipe was a huge surprise to me how amazing it is! When I read the recipe nothing about it seemed like it was be so delicious. But the flavors are all so incredible I enjoy every bite and want to keep eating.

My changes: I always need a protein with every meal. The first time I made this bowl I added steak. The second time I made it I added chicken. Both are equally as delicious. The rest of the recipe I made as is. This recipe is what got me obsessed with roasting my vegetables, especially kale. I now roast kale almost every day and put it with everything. It’s great in a salad to add a crunch.

Avocado Shrimp Quinoa Bowl

This recipe comes from What’s Gaby Cooking. I have been following her on Instagram for years and have baked many of her yummy desserts and they are always so delicious!! (check out her chocolate chip banana bread and snickerdoodle cookies!) This is the first dinner recipe of hers that I have tried and it did not fail me. You can find the recipe here.

My changes: This is the first time I have made shrimp. All I can say is do not be intimidated. It was so simple! The same as grilling chicken. The recipe calls for 1/2 pound of shrimp. I made a whole pound and I was glad I did. The flavor on the shrimp is delicious, but everyone who ate it (except me) said it was a little too spicy. Unless you like very spicy food, I would cut back on the cayenne and chipotle pepper.

The homemade Pico de Gallo is very delicious, but also time consuming. If you are able to make it the day before or earlier in the day it will save a ton of time when cooking dinner. Or if you don’t want to do all that chopping and dicing you can buy one already made at the grocery store.

This dish is incredible left over. I stored all the ingredients separate from each other to keep them fresh. The bowl tasted the same the next day.

Lemon Herb Salmon

I got this recipe from YouTube channel More Seasoning. You can find the recipe here. He shows 3 different versions of how to make salmon, they all look amazing. I have only made the lemon herb salmon and it is delicious!

My changes: I made the salmon just like the recipe and I would not change anything about it. It was so delicious! I absolutely love the tip on how to wrap up each salmon filet individually in foil. It keeps the salmon so tender and there is no mess to clean up.

I made roasted green beans and kale to go with me. As my friend and I ate the salmon and veggies we couldn’t get over the flavor and how good it is! We kept saying it tastes way too good to be completely healthy. And, I made an extra salmon filet and ate it for lunch the next day. So happy I did!

Extra Cooking Tips that Have Helped Me

Make extra of every dinner. My days are very busy and I never want to spend time making lunch. Having healthy leftovers I can grab quickly keeps me on track to being healthy.

Always have cooked chicken in the fridge. I cook chicken 2-3 times a week for dinner. I lightly season it and cook about a pound extra. I cut it up the extra and keep it in my fridge. Chicken is so diverse, I can throw together a salad, mix it with salsa for tacos, etc.

Get a George Forman grill. I purchased one the beginning of January and I use it almost every night!! I purchased this one. It makes grilling soooo quick and easy! Then the grill plates remove and I put them in my dishwasher. I don’t know how I’ve lived without one.

Try new foods, new recipes, don’t be intimidated and have fun! I have began to enjoy cooking and I now look forward to it! I turn on music or my favorite tv show and zone out. It’s also a great time for my kids to come talk to me about their day. And there is great satisfaction in serving my family eating a delicious meal that I cooked!

Diet & Skin Care

When your skin is acting naughty, it’s trying to tell you something.  It’s trying to say you are putting something into your body that isn’t good for you.  I’m sure we have all heard “you are what you eat”, and it’s true.

I recently was reading ‘The Body Book’ by Cameron Diaz and she was talking about how her diet extremely affects her skin.  She ate fast food every day of her teen years and early 20’s.  And guess what?  She had terrible skin!  I’m talking about horrible break outs and bad complexion.  She never thought her diet was bad because she was always naturally thin.  Then in her late 20’s she started researching healthy food.  She changed her diet and within a few months her skin was clear and beautiful.  (I am paraphrasing all of this from her book)

I don’t like being the one to bring the hard truths.  Please think of me as your older sister or bff who is just looking out for you!  I’m telling you this because I really care for you!  Ok, here it goes.  If you are having consistent break outs, start examining your diet.  If your break outs and complexion are because of a poor diet, there is not a skin care product that will fix your skin issues. There may be products that will help a little, but a good diet is how to fix it. I know things would be much easier if you can put a cream on your face to clear everything up, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

Most Dermatologist (not all) will never talk to you about your diet.  They are doctors, they know how to diagnose and give medicine.  A lot of skin related issues can be managed by a good diet.  When changing your diet give it 2-3 months to really start seeing a difference.

What to avoid?  Dairy (loaded with hormones), Simple Carbs (bread, pasta), Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol, anything processed.

I know it’s difficult to avoid all of these.  When I was 19 and heard this list I thought to myself “that’s my entire diet!  what will I eat?”  Take it 1 food at a time, 1 meal at a time.  Try switching out your ego waffle with syrup for a gluten free waffle with natural almond butter.  Similar taste and so much healthier!

What to eat?  Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), Nuts (in raw form, not roasted), Vegetables, Lean Protein (chicken, fish, eggs), Salmon, Avocado, Tomatoes, Garlic, Sweet Potatoes (without all the sugar), Almond Milk or Coconut Milk, Water.

No one can eat a perfect diet all the time.  The important thing is to eat healthy most of the time.    I still eat all my indulgent foods that I love so much, but in moderation.  And never think of it as a diet, it’s a lifestyle.  When you go to the grocery store, shop the outside of the store.  Avoid going up and down any of the aisles.  Just doing this will keep you away from most of the bad stuff.

Whatever your motivation is to eat a healthy diet, it’s worth it.  Put yourself first and take care of you.  Take the time out of the day to make yourself a healthy meal.  When you are healthy and feel great, it is a gift to yourself and everyone around you who loves you.  With a healthy diet you will feel better, look better and live a longer happier life!

guacamole pasta

Last night I tried this new recipe for Guacamole Pasta that I found on the Body Book blog.  It was delicious!  The flavor is very rich, so I would recommend eating it as a side.  It would be perfect on the side of a grilled chicken breast.  Here is the recipe (I doubled it to make enough for my family):

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 cup baby spinach or kale
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 ripe Avocados, pitted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño, seeded to taste

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to directions
  • While pasta cooks, combine garlic, spinach and jalapeño in food processor or blender.  Pulse to mince.
  • Add lime juice, olive oil, avocados and salt and blend until smooth.
  • Combine with cooked pasta, add tomatoes, stir and serve.

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July Favorites

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

1. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, in shade ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Opal’.  For me personally, since my skin is so light, I wear Moonstone more often.  It’s the exact color of my skin, maybe a tiny bit lighter, and looks like I’m glowing from within.  Opal is also gorgeous.  It gives more of a golden glow, almost sun kissed.  If you are any darker than I am I would suggest Opal for you.

2. Fresh Lotus Moisturizer.  This is the perfect summer time moisturizer if you have normal, dry or combination skin.  It’s light weight while still being moisturizing.  I haven’t had any trouble with clogged pores or break outs and I’ve been wearing it all summer.

3. Too Faced Better Than Sex Masacra.  Is it better than sex?  I don’t think any beauty product is, but this mascara is amazing!  It lengthens, volumizing and never flakes.  This has become my favorite mascara.

4. GlamGlow PowerMud Dualcleanse Treatment.  This treatment mask is ah-mazing!!  GlamGlow has out done themselves.  It reaches deep down into the pores, and pulls out all the garbage build up.  Then leaves the skin silky smooth and glowing.

5. Nars Lip Gloss, Turkish Delight.  Nars reformulated their lip glosses and they are so much better!  The horrid smell of the old ones are gone.  And there is a lot more color in the glosses now.  This one gives a great gloss to the lip.  Wear it alone or over a lipstick.

6. Mac Mineralized Blush, New Romance.  I have always loved Mac mineralized blush.  The formula is amazing.  The color ‘new romance’ is awesome!  It’s not to pink, not to peach, not to dark, not too much shimmer.  This is the perfect go to shade for everyone.

7. Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I am obsessed every year about this sale!  Even though it’s been going on for a while now I still go online every day to re-shop to see if there is anything I missed.  This Sunday, August 3rd is the last day to shop the sale.  Don’t miss it!  Click here to see all my favorites of the sale.

8. Whitening Lightning Lip Gloss, Butter Cream.  I only have 1 word for this- Obsessed!!  This is my go to lip for everything lately.  Must Have for every single woman!!  Use code ‘rachel’ for 25% off purchase.

9. Cane & Austin Retexurizing Pads.   These do exactly what the title says, retexurize.  These get rid of texture, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, etc.  I had some nasty break outs a couple months ago and they left brown spots on my face.  I had to cover them every single day.  After just 1 week of using these pads they were gone.

10. Dr Brant Revitalizing Retinol Eye Cream.  The last couple of years I have struggled with dark circles under my eyes.  I thought maybe it was because I’m sleep deprived from having 2 children, or possibly age?  Whatever it’s from, it really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is I don’t like it!  I tried this eye cream and within 1 month my under eye area is noticeable brighter.  Definitely give this a try if you struggle with dark under eye circles.

11. Pureology Shampoo & Conditioner, I use ‘perfect 4 platinum’.  This brand has no sulfates, and has a no fade complex to keep your color longer.  Not to mention my hair feels clean, but not stripped; moisturized, but not heavy.  Awesome!

12. The Body Book.  I just started reading this book last week and I’m already obsessed.  I love how Cameron Diaz writes everything in a way that’s so easy to understand.  I feel so empowered and motivated to live a healthier lifestyle.  If Cameron is giving tips out on how to get her body, I’m listening!

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Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Strawberry Lemon Mint Water

Drinking enough water is so important!  Why not make it fun and luxurious!  Drinking this water makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation.  This Strawberry Lemon Mint Water is so delicious! Plus there are so many health benefits to all the ingredients.
Here are just a few of the health benefits:

Strawberry: detoxifying, boost immune system, vitamin C, helps production of collagen and prevention of wrinkles, reduces inflammation, fights bad cholesterol, boost fiber.

Lemon: maintains pH levels of body, detoxifies, Vitamin C, boosts immune system, prevents acne and wrinkles, weight loss, reduces inflammation and helps with joint pain.

Mint: reduces digestion, nausea, headaches, depression, fatigue, stomach cramps, helps with weight loss, calming to the skin, full of antioxidants.

Recipe
2-3 Cups Strawberries, sliced
2-3 Lemons, sliced
1/2 Cup Mint, chopped
Place all ingredients in a pitcher and fill with water. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Lasts up to 3 days or until the fruit looks mushy or the water is cloudy.  Pour through a strainer if you want to avoid getting any of the “goods” in your glass.
Tip- When the water is all gone, you can refill the pitcher back up several times. The flavor won’t be as strong as the first time, but it’s still delicious!

Enjoy!!!

Pitcher & Shun Classic Utility Knife from Sur La Table.

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Tips & Tricks #7

1. When packing, avoid wrinkled clothing by rolling them or wrapping a plastic dry cleaner bag around them.
2. Adding lemon to your water restores the ph of your body.
3. Flying is very dehydrating, drink plenty of water.
4. Put eyeshadow on top of your eyeliner, it helps keep it in place all day.  I use Sigma brush E30 or E65 to apply the eyeshadow on my eyeliner.  Pictures below, I use E30 (left) for a more blown out, smoky look.  I use E65 (right) for a more defined look.

Sigma Brush E30Sigma Brush E65

5. Last but NOT least, the Jaclyn Hill Sigma Expert Beauty Box is back!!!!!  YEAH!!!!!  You asked, they delivered!  They are back in limited supply.  Once they are gone they are gone!!  So don’t wait, get it NOW!  Click here to purchase and enter SPRING2014 for 10% OFF your entire purchase!

Jaclyn Hill Sigma expert beauty box