a pretty little salad

has this chilly weather made anyone else feel sluggish and lazy lately? i know that i’m definitely guilty of being less productive in cold weather and i tend to cook less too. i’ve been eating pasta and butter for the past few nights which i usually never do. i decided to make this salad on a whim today and it turned out so amazing i thought i would share it with you all! nothing like a good salad to get you back on track!

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  • arugula
  • strawberries
  • half of an orange
  • quarter of a pomegranate
  • mini cucumber
  • pepitas (mine were roasted)

just combine all into one big bowl and enjoy! i didn’t toss mine with anything because i like when the citrus fruit makes its own sort of dressing but i assume that some balsamic vinegar or lime juice would pair wonderfully with this.

also a tip on how to actually get the seeds out of a pomegranate!! cut off the top and the bottom pieces and set aside. cut into quarters where the natural white part of the pomegranate divides the little sections of seeds. working with one quarter at a time, place into a bowl with water and pull back on the skin like you’re cracking it. this frees the seeds and also avoids the juice from squirting everywhere!! the seeds will sink to the bottom and the white part will float along the top. skim out the white part and toss, then drain the seeds into a strainer. easy!

xo, Samantha

cheesy broccoli chicken rice bowls

hello bloggers!

after a whirlwind weekend that was certainly one of the best in awhile (boyfriend, football, movies, cookies), i was left yesterday feeling exhausted. but today i’m back with a recipe (!) of something incredibly delicious that i’ve had for the past two days. yes, in a row. it is so good and so easy and can be adapted so many different ways. i made mine with chicken but i’m sure shrimp would be just as yummy, or you can go completely meat free and not sacrifice any taste at all!

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cheesy broccoli rice bowls
serves 1

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 chicken breast (or anything or no meat!)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (i used colby jack on sunday and cheddar yesterday, both awesome)

1. boil water for your rice and broccoli. heat oil in a small skillet for the chicken and cut into bite sized pieces.

2. prepare the rice and steam broccoli for about five minutes or until bright green and tender. cook the chicken all the way through.

3. drain broccoli and then return to pan, add in chicken and your cheese, stir and then place the cover on the pan for about a minute. add in the rice and stir again, covering the pan for another minute.

4. serve into bowls and top with a little cheese, enjoy!

the quality of the photo is bad and i am totally to blame for that. once 7:00 rolls around i’m no hope for having patience to take a picture and not eat! i loved this meal and it is definitely going to be a weekly one because it is so filling and warm on the cold nights we’ve been having! i hope you enjoy!!

xo, Samantha

loving yourself.

everywhere around me i’m surrounded by people promoting fitness and health and stressing the fact that you need to love yourself for you. in the past year, i have learned that the actual key to happiness does lie within loving yourself wholeheartedly for everything that you are. from being involved with CHAARG to my classes in my major, this seems to be the overall theme everywhere i look. and guess what? it is 100% true.

i can fully attest to the fact that last year during winter break i did not love my body. i was no longer the high school athlete that didn’t need to go to the gym to workout. it was a struggle for me – and a lot of twentysomethings i’m sure – to find a routine that i actually liked. by the time spring break rolled around, i felt like a new person and it felt awesome. i love being in control of my life and i love how positive it makes me feel.

dear september 2012 self:

find something you love. i gave up running and i couldn’t be happier. in all truthfulness, i despise running. to me it is the most boring thing in the world. enter cycling. give me twenty minutes on a bike and i get the same type of runner’s high. i throw on a show on netflix for 45 minutes and just cycle. other things i love? yoga & barre.

let go of the stress. this might be the most important thing on this list. once you learn to let go of people and situations that cause you unnecessary stress, your whole world is brighter. that person that makes you feel awful? don’t see them as much. love to cram and pull an all-nighter before a big exam? space out your studying so the night before is a big review.

do what you love. okay, this is the most important. last year i changed my major from biology to nutrition and i could not be more happy. i had this wild dream of becoming a doctor and then i took chemistry. and then i wanted to be a psychologist and took psych classes. and then i wanted to be a journalist and took writing classes. i changed my major five times. sometimes you have to take a step back and reevaluate and make a change and i promise that it is okay. in five years i see myself helping others to make a healthy change in my life and i know for a fact that it is where i want to be.

stop driving everywhere. SERIOUSLY. i’m in college. i don’t need a car. this year i traded the car for a bike and a pair of sneakers and i already love the exercise i get just walking to class and back.

say no. we are a generation of yes. want to get coffee? yes. want to go out tonight? yes. want to meet me to study? yes. if you’ve had a long week and just want time to yourself, just say no. i’m not saying to say no to everything but chances are, you aren’t going to miss out on anything if you skip the party or don’t get a coffee once in awhile.

create “you” time. find a passion, watch some netflix, read a book, go for a walk, try a new recipe. it doesn’t matter what you do, sometimes you just need time to yourself to do what you really want to do and it is so important to make that time so you don’t feel burnt out.

eat the french fries. as a nutrition major i have learned one thing to be the number one rule: eat anything, in moderation. yes, you can have those french fries and yes, you can eat that chocolate ice cream. just don’t do it every day.

shop the perimeter. want to save money on groceries every week? shop the perimeter of the store. opt for fruits and veggies over the chips in aisle 12, they will fill you up without needing to eat the entire bag. and a little secret? go for whole grains, in the calorie department it might be higher but in the overall net gain it takes way more effort to digest whole grains over anything else.

get a support system. this is huge. i do not know where i’d be without my friends and boyfriend that constantly listen to me talk about how much i love to exercise, how stressed out i am, or how i just found pb2 at the grocery store. to them: THANK YOU.

set goals and buy a journal. i food journaled for a long time last year not to count calories but to keep myself accountable for what i’m eating. i’m a lot less likely to eat an entire bag of popcorn if i don’t have to see it in writing. set a goal. lose five pounds? buy yourself a new workout tank. my current goal? complete the fit plan and buy myself the lululemon yoga mat i’m lusting over.

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i love who i am and i’m so happy that i made a healthy change in my life. i’m so thankful for all of my friends and family and the opportunities that i have to better myself every single day. it is never too late to make a healthy change, go out there and just do it.

xo, Samantha

zucchini chips

i love snacking. i could do it all day and i definitely do so it’s also a good thing that i love healthy food more than anything else. but sometimes you just need those crunchy, salty chips and there’s where fruit and veggies don’t cut it.

i made these zucchini chips the other day and they were absolutely perfect. they were crunchy and cheesy and salty and i didn’t feel guilty about maybe eating the entire cookie sheet full of them. and the best part? you know exactly what goes into them, so no more ingredients you can’t pronounce!!

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zucchini chips

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk, i used skim
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees and either spray your cookie sheet with pam or cover with parchment paper.

2. cut your zucchini into thin slices, i used my chopper so they were perfect, a little larger than the thickness of a quarter.

3. measure your cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper into a small bowl, pour the milk into a separate bowl.

4. dunk each slice of zucchini into the milk and then lightly coat with the bread crumb mixture. be sure that your cookie sheet is properly prepared – these babies stick!

5. pop in the oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. keep a close eye because they burn quickly!

enjoy your mindless snacking!

xo, Samantha

orzo stuffed peppers

happy monday!

i hope you all had a great weekend filled with college & NFL (go pats!) football and good friends. some crazy things happened over the weekend but finally being with all my friends in one place made it all worthwhile. i have been cooking up a storm so there will be a few awesome recipes coming your way this week!

on another note – hello NYFW! i don’t know about you guys but i love seeing some of my favorite new york based bloggers post gorgeous fashion week pictures. here is some of what i’m loving, all photos via glitter guide:

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so it is obviously no secret that i heart kate spade ny. the bright colors and soft girly-ness and the stripes (!!) have totally sucked me in. here’s to spring 2014!

but back to the post, i promised stuffed peppers and clean eats and all that jazz and here you have it! as a side note: everyone run to your nearest tj maxx/homegoods/marshalls and buy yourself a chopper, they’re a real game-changer.

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orzo stuffed peppers
serves 4

  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, cored & halved
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees and chop all veggies.

2. cook orzo until al dente, according to package directions.

3. heat olive oil in a skillet (i used a wok) over medium heat. add the onion, zucchini, tomato, and black olives, stirring occasionally until tender, about three minutes. season with salt and pepper, stir, and remove from heat.

4. stir in the orzo and divide mixture among the four peppers. arrange on a cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

5. enjoy!! both hot out of the oven and refrigerated are delicious.

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[convinced yet?]

this recipe was inspired by the cutest cookbook, cook yourself thin, and then slightly altered by me!

xo, Samantha

parmesan basil quinoa

happy tuesday!!

i hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! between football games and olympics and a greek festival, i had an amazing weekend back here in ohio. it would be absolutely perfect if the weather would stay at this lovely 75 degrees for more than a day.

i spent my labor day playing catch up with homework and lying on the couch watching greek (a 2007 favorite). however, i did motivate myself enough to grab a bunch of ingredients and make a deliciously cheesy, basil-y, quinoa for dinner. if you’re a mac and cheese addict like me, you’ll LOVE this. i promise.

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parmesan basil quinoa
serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • basil, i used two leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated + some for garnish

1. use a large saucepan and heat your olive oil over medium-high heat, then add in your onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they are translucent. add in your garlic and cook for another minute.

2. rinse your quinoa and add to the saucepan along with the water. let the quinoa cook all the way through, about 15 minutes.

3. add in your salt, peppers, basil, and cheese. mix throughly and i suggest covering the pan and letting it sit for just a minute so the cheese gets a chance to melt.

4. serve hot and garnish with the parmesan! enjoy!

this was absolutely delicious and i didn’t even miss the macaroni! it was creamy and cheese-y and healthy. i could eat this everyday for the rest of the week, that good.

let me know what you think!!

xo, Samantha

dinner in twenty (really, i promise)

okay so i’m about to share my absolute favorite dish to make. it’s a one pot wonder so for those of you that like cooking and hate cleaning, listen up. it also takes about twenty minutes start to finish and most of it you don’t even need to monitor. it’s hard not to love this dish because it is so flavorful and easy, yet pretty darn healthy if you don’t end up eating the entire meal yourself.

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chicken asparagus pasta
(2 servings, super easy to adjust to however many servings you need)

  • 1/2 pound of chicken breast or tenderloins, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound of pasta. my favorites are the spinach pasta or the gluten free pasta from whole foods
  • 1/2 box of organic chicken broth. I use low sodium, it still tastes awesome
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into three pieces each. use as much or as little as you like, i LOVE asparagus
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1. heat the olive oil and garlic in a decent sized pan, remember everything is going to go into this pan at the end so have enough room for your pasta.

2. add in the chicken and cook until brown, then set aside. try not to drain all of the oil and garlic from the pan, i usually just fish out the chicken with a spoon.

3. add the chicken broth to the pan and let boil, then add in your pasta.

4. cook pasta until it’s just about al dente and then add in your asparagus and chicken and cover, let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5. remove from heat and serve!! parmesan cheese and a crusty french bread complement it perfectly.

xo, Samantha