35 Minute Sheet Pan Lunch

I’ve gotten a ton of great feedback lately asking for quick and easy lunch/dinner recipes. I’ve really tried to brainstorm some new recipes lately so that I can deliver! The minute I threw this together the other night, I knew it would become a weekly staple for me, and it definitely will! It’s quick and easy, the two requirements I have for all things meal prep! So to those of you who have inspired me to start thinking about new lunch/dinner options, thank you!

The prep time is about 5 minutes, the bake time is 30, and in 35 minutes you have a week’s worth of extremely healthy lunches/dinners. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: meal prep doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming! I also happen to think this is delish, so it doesn’t have to be bland or boring either!

Ingredients:
  • 5 chicken sausages (or whatever sausage you like – the chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s is my other favorite!)
  • 3 cups chopped, mini sweet peppers (you could do bell peppers too, whatever you have on hand!)
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dry ranch seasoning
  • salt/pepper to taste
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Chop peppers, cut green beans in half, slice the chicken sausage, and spread evenly on a greased baking sheet. I keep all my items separate on the baking sheet because I’m OCD about things touching, but if it doesn’t bother you, you can mix everything together!
  • Drizzle the olive oil over everything and toss the veggies and sausage to make sure everything gets coated evenly.
  • Season everything with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle ranch seasoning on the green beans.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes!
  • Voila! You’re done! If you’re meal prepping, distribute into 4-5 tupperware containers and store in the refrigerator.

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Strawberry Shortcake Protein Balls

Ingredients:
Directions:

This is where the recipe gets tough – just kidding. All you have to do is mix everything together! There’s no order or specific way to do it, just mix until combined! Once everything is thoroughly combined, roll into balls, or cheat (like me) and use a cookie dough scoop! My mom taught me this and it is one of the greatest protein ball hacks. No messy hands, and you get the perfect sized ball without having to roll them! The recipe should make around 16 balls total!

Trader Joes Must Haves

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Nothing excites me more than the fact that you love Trader Joes as much as I do. This is by far the most requested blog post I’ve ever had! I apologize for those of you who have been asking me about this for months. When you like every single product sold at a grocery store, and you have to compile it into a one page PDF, it presents a challenge.

There are two things I love about Trader Joes. Actually that’s a lie there are a million, but two main reasons I shop there. First, it’s cheap. I’ll be honest, being a food blogger is expensive. You feel the need to try each and every new product you see being pumped on Instagram, and before you know it, you’ve spent your entire paycheck on random stuff at Whole Foods that you’re never actually going to eat/you end up hating.

Trader Joes is not like that. I eat every single thing I buy from there and it’s ridiculously affordable. I’m a teacher, I promise you my definition of affordable is affordable. Produce, pre-packaged foods, everything. I’ve never picked up something there and thought, “this is overpriced”, and put it back. I don’t believe eating healthy has to be expensive, so I love sharing things from here because I know that they’re affordable, good quality products.

The second thing I love about TJ’s is that their food is good quality. That’s truly the bottom line. Their food is made with good for you ingredients (I’m not saying it’s always clean, but definitely better than most store bought products) and I feel good about every thing I eat from there. Except the cookie butter, but that’s due to my own lack of self control.

One thing I want to mention: I do not buy ALL my groceries from Trader Joe’s. There are things I buy from Walmart or Target, strictly because it’s cheaper/not necessary to buy at Trader Joe’s. That’s why you won’t see a ton of produce, chicken, or any other more boring staples. You can definitely get these things at TJ’s, but it is cheaper to buy them in bulk elsewhere.

Okay, anyway, on to why you’re really here! THE LIST. Honestly I know I probably forgot a couple of things, but I tried to remember every last thing I love from Trader Joe’s. The list could go on for years but then it would look like an inventory sheet of every product they’ve ever sold and that’s not helpful. So I tried to narrow it down for you. I hope you love it and find it helpful! Print it, take it with you, screen shot it, whatever you need to do!

If you want to see any of these products/hear about why I love each one of them, they can all be found in my “TJ’s faves” Instagram highlights section! They’re the small, mint green bubbles! Just scroll over until you find the right one! There, I talk about each item, why I love it, and what I use it for!

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I hope you find this helpful the next time you’re at Trader Joe’s! If you use it, I’d love to know, so comment, DM me on Instgram, let me know! Thanks for reading! Enjoy your week!

XO, Aubrey

 

Creamy Mexican Chicken

Creamy Mexican chicken has been a weekly staple of mine for years now. My mom made this for us when I was in high school, so this recipe is actually from her! But it’s stuck around due to the fact that it’s extremely simple, it’s versatile, it requires minimal ingredients, and if I’m being really honest, because it requires little effort from me!

There are so many ways to do instant pot/crock pot chicken, and that’s what I love about recipes like this. They’re so versatile and the flavor can be completely changed just by manipulating a couple of the ingredients! It’s also easy to make big batches of, which is always a plus when meal prepping for the week!

I put this chicken on top of salads, in whole wheat wraps, in homemade burrito bowls, etc. It’s extremely high in protein, and can be used just about any way you can possibly imagine!

Ingredients:
  • 4-6 boneless chicken breasts (thawed)
  • 1 12 oz. block of fat free cream cheese (I actually use Kite Hill this week, which is a DF option!)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 can of low sodium black beans (drained)
  • 1 can of mexicorn (drained)
  • 1 4.5 oz. can of diced green chilis (can be omitted if this isn’t your thing)
Directions
  • Layer the bottom of your pot with the chicken breasts.
  • Throw everything else in on top of the chicken!
  • Cook on “pressure” cook for 20 minutes in the instant pot. Cook on low for 7 hours in a crock pot.
  • Shred the chicken and mix everything together!
  • Refrigerate up to one week.

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Enjoy! Thanks for reading! Have a great #tacotuesday! 😊

XO, A

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

I don’t even know how to describe this banana bread other than it tastes like the most decadent dessert you’ve ever had. Think: the best chocolate cake/cupcake ever, in loaf form. Honestly, better than that probably. It doesn’t taste REMOTELY healthy. Taylor can attest to this because he asks for this banana bread weekly, and he despises (usually in an uber dramatic fashion) anything I make that tastes the slightest bit “healthy”.

I eat this stuff for breakfast, dessert, lunch, dinner, to snack on, etc. Read: any time of day. It is moist, dense, fudgey, and without question, the best banana bread that ever existed. I am banana bread obsessed and haven’t made another version in over a year because of my love for this recipe.

I have adapted this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie who is hands down, my favorite resource when it comes to healthy treats. Any time the baking mood hits me, I look to her blog for new recipes. I have never ever been disappointed in anything I’ve made of hers!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups ripe mashed banana
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (I’ve also used Fairlife Chocolate Milk and it’s even better!)
  • 2/3 cup honey (or maple syrup, whatever you have)
  • 1/8 tsp uncut stevia/Swerve or 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips)
  • extra chips for decorating
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the banana, vanilla, almond milk, and honey.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly.
  • Pour dry into wet, and stir until just evenly combined.
  • Spread batter evenly into the loaf pan. If desired, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top, and press down.
  • Bake 45 minutes, then turn off the oven but don’t open the door! Let sit 10 additional minutes in the closed oven before removing.
  • Let the bread cool. I recommend letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It’s easier to slice and it tastes so much better the next day!
  • Enjoy!

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BioHealth Protein Cheesecakes

These little guys are macro magic! I’ve been using this recipe ever since I was in college and it is fool proof, incredibly easy, and interchangeable with any protein you have! These cheesecakes are packed with protein, and only have 2 grams of sugar, making them totally guilt free, aka: perfect for when that late night sweet tooth strikes!

Recipe for Cheesecake:
  • 12oz cream cheese (I used Kite Hill which is DF, but any will work, including fat free, reduced fat, flavored, etc.)
  • 10oz greek yogurt (I use vanilla but any will work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbsp stevia
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1.5 scoops Biohealth Nutrition protein powder (I used vanilla – “KALE” will save you 20%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • dash of salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Using a mixer, mix together the cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and stevia until smooth.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour evenly into greased cupcake tins.
  5. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes
  6. Turn oven down to 200 and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Refrigerate over night.

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Top 10 On-The-Go Snacks!

I feel like I am on the go 99.99% of the time. I am a busy bee and I love it that way. During slower weeks, I find myself looking for things to keep me busy, and this usually results in me spending money online shopping. So for me, staying busy is a good thing for more reasons than one!

While I love being busy, it also means I have to be more prepared than the average person. I spend a lot of time on the weekend meal prepping my meals and snacks so that I am fully stocked with healthy options when I’m not at home in my own kitchen. However, in addition to preparing meals and snacks, I am always stocked up on items that I can quickly throw in my bag when I leave for school in the morning, keep in my car, or snacks that require no prep work.

I get lots and lots of questions on my favorite snacks and things I like to eat on the go. Life is hectic no matter who you are, so being stocked up on some staple snack items is key to staying on track! Here are my favorites!

Top 10 Healthy Snack Picks:
  • Perfect Bar Minis/Perfect Bars
    • These keep me full for a long, long time. They’re full of protein and they’re made with good for you ingredients!

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  • RX Bars
    • These are my favorite! They’re made with minimal ingredients and the kid’s version are perfect for a pre-workout snack!

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  • Individual hummus conatiners
    • Pack these with your favorite veggie: carrots, celery, broccoli, you name it. The easiest way to getting one extra serving of veggies in is to pack them as a quick snack!

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  • 100 calorie nut packs
    • I love these! Healthy fats keep you full, so a serving of nuts is a great way to curb hunger during the day! These come in tons of fun flavors! Dill pickle cashews take the cake for me.

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  • Turkey jerky
    • Turkey jerky is jam packed with protein and always satisfies my ever present craving for something salty!

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  • String cheese
    • I don’t eat string cheese any more because of my dairy intolerance (I eat yogurt fairly regularly but that’s it!) but these used to be my favorite snack. They’re full of protein and they’re so easy to grab and go!

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  • Travel packets of nut butter
    • These aren’t typically meant to be eaten on their own, however I wont’ say that I’ve never done that … but perfect to pair with a banana or a sliced apple!

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  • Siggis yogurt
    • Yogurt is also packed full of protein and Siggi’s takes the cake for keeping me full the longest. These come in so many great flavors! I highly recommend the triple cream if you’re looking for something a little more indulgent.

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  • Hard boiled egg
    • Eggs are full of healthy fat as well as protein. Obviously they have to be kept cold but I eat one on the way to work every single day!

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  • Mama Lupe’s Low Carb Tortillas (these can also be found at Target, Walmart, and SAM’s club)
    • I am obsessed with these! I go through at least a pack per week, if not more. These are so versatile, you can fill them with anything you want! I use them for pb&j roll ups, turkey roll ups, whatever I have on hand. They’re low carb, but they’re amazing and super easy to throw in a ziplock to take with you!

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How I Meal Prep In Under an Hour!

A meal prep post was my most requested post last month, so I’m here to deliver! Today I’m breaking it down step by step, showing you exactly what I’m eating this week, and how I prep it all! The best part is, this took me less than an hour! So here we go!

How I Start:
  1. I take an inventory of what I have in the fridge.  I check to see if there’s anything I can use for the week whether it’s extra veggies, anything in the freezer that I can whip up for the week, etc. This helps save money, as well as it forces me to use everything I have before I buy new items.
  2. Plan out my meals. I sit down and decide what I want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for the week. I do eat almost the same thing for all five days, which I know doesn’t work for everyone. However, I’m extremely busy, and as much as I’d like to make a new meal every single night for dinner, I just don’t have the time! Eating the same thing also helps cut down on meal prep time! I try to switch up my meals each week so that I don’t get tired of things!
  3. After I plan all my meals and snacks, I make a grocery list of the things I need based on what I’m going to eat for the week. I take into account what I already have as to not duplicate things or buy anything I don’t need. I try REALLY hard to only buy the things I need, and to stick to my list when I’m at the store. This helps save money but it also doesn’t always happen, which is okay!
  4. Once I buy all my groceries, I get them home, and prep them immediately. If I put everything away, the chances of me getting it all back out to prep at one time, are slim.
What I’m Prepping This Week:

Breakfast:

  • pancake bites
  • hard boiled eggs
  • sliced apples

Lunch:

  • stir fry cauli rice
  • honey sesame chicken
  • mini chicken wontons

Dinner:

  • roasted brussel sprouts & sweet potatoes
  • chili lime chicken burgers on sandwich thins
  • Siggis yogurt

Snacks:

  • RX bars
  • Perfect Bars
  • carrots and hummus
How I prep:

Breakfast:

  1. I start by making the pancake bites!
    1. Recipe and steps can be found here!
  2. While pancake bites are baking, I hard boil eggs in the instant pot.
    1. Add a cup of water to instant pot, place metal rack in the bottom, place eggs on rack, and set instant pot to manual for 6 minutes.
  3. While the pancake bites are still baking and eggs are boiling, I wash, slice, and store apples and store them in Tupperware.

Lunch:

  1. I start with the sesame chicken because this takes the longest!
    1. Recipe can be found on my Instagram highlight stories, but it’s super easy. Add 4 large chicken breasts to your instant pot, and season with whatever you like. Set your instant pot on high pressure for 12 minutes, or until chicken is fork tender. You can then shred the chicken with a fork, or you can put it in your KitchenAid mixer and shred with the hook attachment. Then mix the shredded chicken with 1/3 cup of your favorite teriyaki sauce. This is what I use.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, I start my cauli rice.
    1. Saute the cauli rice for 10 mins on medium heat. Add one tablespoon of garlic & one egg!
  3. Last, I microwave my wontons for 2 minutes and stick them in tpperware so they’re ready to go!

Dinner:

  1. Bake chili lime turkey burgers for about 15 minutes if thawed, 25 minutes if frozen.
  2. While the chicken burgers are baking, I chop my veggies and get them ready to roast when the burgers are done!
    1. Recipe can be found here!

Snacks:

  1. The only thing I prep as far as snacks go, are the carrots!
    1. I put a serving of carrots into 5 ziplock bags so they’re ready for me to throw in my lunch box each day!
    2. I also put a serving of hummus into 5 condiment containers so they’re also easy to grab and go in the mornings.

All in all, this prep last week took me exactly an hour. I have been prepping for years now so I would like to think I have it somewhat down to a science, but this is 100% possible for anyone! The biggest reason this meal prep doesn’t take me all day, is because I use shortcuts. You may not agree with prepping this way, but this is what works for me, and it’s also the only reason I’ve been able to continue to meal prep for years.

For example, the chicken burgers can obviously be homemade if that’s what you prefer, but it would also take me 3x the amount of time the premade burgers did. And the honest truth is that the nutritional value would be nearly the same. Another game changer in the meal prep game for me, has been the Instant Pot. I get questions about the Instant Pot every single day, and I could not recommend it more. It has saved me HOURS of time. Normally, I would do the honey sesame chicken in the crock pot, which is a minimum of 4 hours. While obviously I’m not slaving away for four hours, it just draws the prep process out, whereas now I can get the chicken done in 15 minutes and its done!

Another reason meal prep doesn’t take me a crazy amount of time, is because I do eat the same thing every day. I realize this does not work for everyone, and I completely understand that! I do not get home until 7:00 every night, so as much as I wish I could whip up an amazing new recipe each night, I just can’t. If this is something that bothers you, prep a couple different options on the weekend. Make two options for lunch, and two options for dinner throughout the week. Again, do what works for you!

Meal prep should not be a chore, and it shouldn’t take you all day long. I think that’s part of the reason it carries such a negative connotation. Take short cuts if you need to, and make life easier on yourself! Meal prep is the ONLY reason I’m able to stay on track, organized, and sane during the week; if you’ve never tried it, do it! Let me know if you have any questions!

XO, A

February Workout Wednesday

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post about workouts. That’s partly due to my inconsistent and crazy workout schedule lately, and partly due to the fact that I didn’t know so many of you were that interested in workouts! Last week, I did a poll asking what you wanted to see more of on the blog in the next month, and I was shocked at how many of you asked for more posts about fitness. However, I’m thrilled that so many of you share my love to sweat!

I’m posting my exact workout schedule for the week below, and I’m really going to try to post these at least twice a month! That way, you have a better idea of what I’ve been up to in the gym.

As many of you know, my fitness routine is far from rigid. I work my workouts in when I can, but I don’t go off the deep end if there’s no possible way to squeeze a sweat in! I used to wake up on busy work days at 3:50am so that I could work out, shower, get ready, and be at work by 7am, and that just doesn’t happen any more. So that being said, don’t sweat it (see what I did there) if your schedule looks different than mine! This week I’m getting 5 workouts in, next week might be 7, the next week might be 3. That’s okay. This is what works for me, find what works for you.

Workout Schedule: Feb 4 – Feb 11

Sunday: Triceps
  • 15 minute staimaster warm up
  • Overhead tricep extension w/ dumbbell (3 sets of 12)
  • Bench dips (3 sets of 12)
  • Cable pushdown w/ rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
  • Skull crushers w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
  • Single arm kickback w/ dumbbell (3 sets of 12, each arm)
  • Single arm cable pushdown (3 sets of 12, each arm)
Monday: Back & Biceps
  • 15 minute staimaster warm up
  • Bicep curl w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
  • Seated cable rows (3 sets of 12)
  • Hammer curls w/ dumbbells (3 sets of 12, each arm)
  • Lat pulldown (3 sets of 12)
  • Single arm bicep curl on cable machine (3 sets of 12, each arm)
  • bicep curl w/ 25 lb plate (3 sets of 15)
Tuesday:
  • BBG Legs
Wednesday: Legs
  • 15 minute staimaster warm up
  • Walking lunges w/ barbell (3 sets of 24)
  • Bodyweight jump squats (3 sets of 12)
  • Plie squat w/ dumbbell (3 sets of 12)
  • Step ups w/ dumbbells (3 sets of 12, each leg)
  • Single leg lunge on bench w/ dumbbells (3 sets of 12, each leg)
  • Straight leg deadlifts w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
    • extra burnout: bodyweight walking lunges for 4 minutes, no rest
Thursday: Shoulders
  • 15 minute staimaster warm up
  • front raise with barbell (3 sets of 12)
  • upright row w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
  • lateral raise w/ dumbbells (3 sets of 12)
  • shoulder press w/ dumbells (3 sets of 12)
  • upright row w/ rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
  • shoulder press machine (3 sets of 12)
    • extra burnout: plank shoulder taps until failure
Friday:
Saturday:
  • STL Mardi Gras, all the walking around counts as a workout right?!

Please let me know if you try any of the workouts! I’d love to hear your thoughts, even if you hate me afterwards! I’m also working on a week’s worth of at home workouts because I know not all of you have access to a gym/love to work out at a gym, so it’s in the works! Happy hump day friends!

XO

PBfit Blossoms

I’m sure you could figure this out within two seconds of looking at my Instagram, but for those of you who don’t know this about me, I am a peanut butter holic. To the extreme. I could eat it all day every day! It doesn’t matter what kind, what brand, chunky, smooth, salted, unsalted, literally any and every form of peanut butter, I love.  To be completely honest, sometimes when I’m brainstorming new blog content, it’s just a brainstorm session of new things I can put peanut butter on.

When Better Body Foods reached out to me to see if I would whip something up using their infamous PBfit for National Peanut Butter Day, I jumped at the opportunity. While I don’t eat a lot of PBfit in its regular form, (mixing it with water as a peanut butter substitute) it is amazing to bake with! For those of you who have never had it, it’s also great in smoothies!

I’m going to keep it short and sweet and leave you with the recipe, because that’s why you’re really here isn’t it!? These cookies are a healthier spin on the peanut butter kiss cookies we all know and love. And if you don’t, who are you?!

While I still used regular peanut butter in addition to the PBfit, the PBfit definitely helped cut down on the fat content of these guys, which is always a plus because trust me when I say, you’re not going to want to stop at one! I hope you love them! Also, just between you and me, there are no raw eggs in this dough, so if you’re in a pinch and don’t have enough time to bake them in the oven, I won’t tell 😉

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1.5 cups Kodiak Cakes mix (I used the crunchy peanut butter mix, but any will work!)
  • 1/2 cup PBfit (I used the regular version, but chocolate would be amazing too!)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 24 Hershey kisses
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degress
  2. Cream together the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk with a mixer
  3. Slowly add in the Kodiak Cakes mix, and the PBfit until fully combined
  4. Form dough into one inch balls and place on a baking sheet
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes
  6. Press a Hershey Kiss into each cookie and let cool for 10 minutes
  7. Enjoy!
Macros:

As you can tell, these cookies are fairly light as opposed to the original version. They’re not exactly what I would consider a “healthy” snack, but if you need something sweet at night, or just a sugar fix every now and then, they’re an awesome alternative! And they have 5 grams of protein, so you can’t beat that!

I calculated the macros for both with and without the Hershey Kiss, because it’s definitely not absolutely necessary if you’re not a chocolate person, or just want to save a few grams of carbs/sugar.

Macros without Hershey Kiss:
  • Protein: 5g
  • Carbs: 13g
  • Fat: 5g
Macros with Hershey Kiss:
  • Protein: 5g
  • Carbs: 15g
  • Fat: 6g

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