An entire week of salads…but these salads will not leave you hungry (and there’s meat for the carnivores). I love salads because there are so many options, and it is minimal work. You can take a day to prep all of your vegetables if you want, and mix and match all week, or you can test out some of these babies. If the thought of making dressings doesn’t do it for you, just use olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and some sea salt.  So, get a couple of more hands to help with the washing and chopping, and don’t turn your oven on for a week.

Monday: Low Carb Pad Thai Salad– You’ll definitely need to multiply this recipe to serve a family. If you don’t have a spiralizer, just use shredded carrots and thin pieces of zucchini. You can leave out the chicken and fish sauce to make this vegan (replace the fish sauce with more soy sauce).

Tuesday: Rainbow Chicken Salad with Almond Honey Mustard Dressing–  This is summer in a bowl, my friends. I’d add some strawberries, but that’s just because I like food that tastes good.  To save time, you could buy a rotisserie chicken.

Wednesday: Ginger roasted Pumpkin Quinoa Salad– Changing it up a little 🙂 It’s not exactly pumpkin weather, so you can use sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Again, you CAN roast this in the oven, but you can also cut whatever you’re using up in small pieces and pan fry. Again, you can multiply this recipe to serve more- and quinoa dishes freeze very well.  ***While you’re making quinoa, make extra for Saturday’s dinner.***

Thursday: Tahini Kale salad with Crispy Chickpeas–  Gluten free and vegan.  Ok, I lied a little….you CAN cook the chickpeas in the oven, but you don’t have to. You can get a similar result from making sure the chickpeas are very dry, and pan frying in a small amount of oil. If you don’t like/can’t find kale, try spinach or romaine lettuce. If you do use kale…make sure you massage it. I know….but, the key to raw kale tasting good it to break down some of it’s fibers. My tip is to take 1tbsp of the oil (that’s meant for the dressing), pour it on the kale, and massage it for a few minutes. Then continue with the recipe.

Friday: Shrimp Cobb Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette– Feel free to leave out the meat/use a different kind of meat. The Emeril’s seasoning is also not imperative- just use something spicy.

Saturday: Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing–  Gluten free and vegan. This just tastes so good, and that’s all I can say. The recipe is written with modifications, so there’s an option for everyone. You could also use this as a side dish, and serve this with grilled chicken or salmon.

Sunday: Lentil Taco Salad– Vegan and Gluten Free…although, you can skip the lentils and use grass-fed ground beef if you prefer. You’ll see how to put the salad together when you scroll down- however it’s for a single salad (why?). So, just use the same ingredients, but multiply for each person being served.

 

This is my last post that will be written in Germany. We head back to America tomorrow morning! My excitement level is akin to a child on Christmas morning, whose birthday is also on Christmas, who knows they’re getting a Power Wheel and a puppy, and that there’s  an ice cream buffet for each meal of the day.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

~Lau Tzu

Just gonna leave you with that for today…

 

Monday: Southwest Pepper Jack Salad with Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing– Naturally gluten free; can be vegan if you substitute the milk for non-dairy milk, and the sour cream with non dairy sour cream/yogurt, tofu, or coconut cream. You can easily add chicken or shrimp to this for added protein. The dressing does have a few ingredients…but just toss it all in a blender, and it’ll be done before you know it.

Tuesday: Crockpot Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls– Crockpot meals are clutch in the summer…you can make a healthy, filling meal without heating up the house. This recipe is gluten free if you use g-free soy sauce, and is dairy free if you replace the greek yogurt for a dairy free version.  ***Make extra quinoa, and use for Friday’s dinner.***

Wednesday: Creamy Chili Sauce with Zucchini and Spinach Pasta– Vegan, use g-free pasta for gluten free. This is not a difficult recipe, but when you look at the actual recipe you’ll see a lot of explanation. That’s good! The author is very thorough. I don’t have cashew milk, so I’ll substitute coconut milk…fingers crossed that it turns out! Of course if you consume dairy- just use the milk you have.

Thursday: Baked Teriyaki Portobellos– This can not get any easier….2 ingredients! I plan to use these whole and make sandwiches with them.

Friday: Banh Mi Bowls– Gluten free and Paleo- Buy shredded carrots instead of DIY’ing it. I’ve never seen lemongrass paste, so just buy fresh or jarred and chop it up as small as you can (it’s not enough to bother with the Vitamix or food processor), if you’re going for a cauliflower rice option- buy it frozen.

Saturday: Cook out!  Throw something on the grill and keep the heat outside. Marinate vegetables, meat, tofu, etc. Be careful that you’re not taking this healthy meal and turning it into a sugar-fest with your marinades. Check out this pack of condiments and dressings that are organic and Whole 30 approved: Tessamae’s Organic Whole 30 Pack. You get 8 bottles for $52. You’ll get 15% off your first purchase, and you can Subscribe and Save, which will also lower the cost.

Sunday: Pulled pork with Green Chile Slaw– Another crockpot recipe. This recipe calls for guajillo peppers. I have no idea what that means. If you do, snaps to you. Just use jalapeno. It’ll be fine. You can lighten the slaw up a bit by using half mayo half yogurt. You can also substitute a few drops of stevia for the honey. This would be great with tortillas, rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, lettuce wraps. Lots of healthy choices.

I work it out

You know what’s really easy to not do? Exercise. And the more you neglect it, the easier it becomes to just forget about its existence and live in a blissful state of ignorance until you put on jeans. Screw you, jeans. You truth-telling ambassadors of Autumn. Anyway. We must participate in some form of exercise, as it really is essential for physical and mental health. There are two keys for being successful in any exercise regimen: enjoyment and time. Both can be a bit tricky, because this can involve trial and error.

Let’s use me as an example. I am inherently lazy. There is nothing I love more than laying around watching Investigation Discovery or The Golden Girls. I could literally do this 16 hours a day. However…I also love food. And I also love wine. Mmmmm, and brownies. And sugar cookies with frosting. Man, those are so good. And, you know, french fries with fry sauce are some next level shizz. So, clearly, something has to give. Thus, I exercise. I didn’t start, “working out,” until my early 20’s…and then I would spend a lot of time on the Elliptical…because? I don’t know why. But I hated it, so it became really easy to just not do. This also led me to the realization that I detest going to the gym. Through lots of trial and error, I have come to find a regimen that works for me. I like to combine walking/hiking, lifting (for my upper body), Pilates, and Yoga. I do not do each one of these every day. But, I do try and do something every day. I enjoy each of these activities, and I feel the best, and feel that I look the best when I am able to maintain my routine. Weekends are not structured, and are definitely lighter…or, nothing at all- which is also essential for muscle recuperation.

Like I said, I do not like going to the gym…and I really don’t like paying for exercise. Years ago I bought a Pilates reformer on Groupon, and it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. Yoga mats- chump change. Shoes to walk in…you need those anyway. The weightlifting  rack…ok, that was in investment. But think of all the gas money saved! And the fact that I know exactly who has sweat on our bench, makes it worth it.

Right now, I’m in a transitional phase, and don’t have access to my usual gear. Weather permitting, I still like to get outside everyday for a walk. On days when that’s not feasible, I like to supplement with this video by Relentless Jake. It’s low impact and only 25 minutes, but you will be sweaty and tired at the end of it. I find Jake to be relatable…he messes up, falls over, gets tired. He’s goofy, but not on an annoying Tony Horton level. I do this workout with 5lb weights…by round three I want to toss them out the window.

YouTube is an incredible resource for Yoga and Pilates. My favorite Yoga channels are Yoga with Adriene and Brett Larkin Yoga. Again, I find Adriene to be relatable. She’s great at explanations for beginners, and not too…yoga-y (you don’t have to imagine yourself as a grain of sand in the bottom of the ocean). She also offers (free) programs like 30 Days of Yoga and Yoga Camp. Now, Brett Larkin Yoga will leave you a sweaty mess. She is no joke. I just signed up for her Chakra Challenge (again, free) that begins on September 12. Sign up and do it with me!!! Another great (free) Yoga series…especially for beginners is 30 Days of Yoga with Erin Motz. Each video is only about 15 minutes, and it’s a great way to see if you actually like yoga. I just started Erin’s Bad Yogi Perfect Body Yoga Program. This one is not free, but it’s a structured 8 week program, and I needed something to keep me in line until my life is once again organized. The “Perfect Body,” refers to creating the healthiest version of the body you already have, fyi. As for Pilates…there are lots of reformer-free workouts available. Fitness Blender has a good video…it’s an hour, though. But, there are so many 30 minute workouts available.

The whole point of this incessant rambling is: You have the time and the resources to exercise. You just have to prioritize! I know that there are tons of obstacles that can get in the way, but you have to figure out a way to get around them. Don’t have 30 minutes? Well, do 10 minutes, pause the video, and come back when you can. This doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are so many options that cost nothing.  You don’t have to kill yourself for hours a day. There are other ways to get in shape besides running and HIIT. If you ever hear me say that I went running or did a burpee, have me committed. Clearly aliens have taken over my body and I am a shell of my former self.

Does this still sound daunting? Well, contact me and I’ll help you through it!

Y’all: It’s July (pretty sure you know how to read a calendar). Let’s get this month started with some healthy meals! Mmmmkay???

Monday: Happy 4th of July! Hopefully you’re enjoying a sun-filled; easy-paced; red, white and blue accessorized day. The cops will be out today making sure that you’re eating something on a bun and having an icy cold beer. It’s mandatory; don’t fight it. If you have the bun, beer, AND some kind of pie- you have reached the Americana Trifecta and will have good luck and fortune all summer long. Looking for some tasty gluten free buns and beer??? I got you. Udi’s is always a great bun option….but don’t forget to toast them! This step is seriously crucial. Canyon Bakehouse is also a great brand (they also have amazing Everything Bagels that freeze very well).  I love beer. So, the past 5 years have been a struggle. Gluten free beer can be so watery and tasteless. But, through lots of tasting…I can share my favorite 3 brands: Omission, Estrella Daura Damm, and Green’s. All of these can be purchased at Total Wine. You can go online, and see what’s available at your Total Wine…they’ll even tell you what aisle it’s in.  Even if you’re not gluten free, buy a 6 pack and keep it in the fridge just in case. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to find out that you can have beer with your friends!

Tuesday: Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles–  Be sure to use g-free soy sauce; the chicken can easily be taken out to make this vegan. Want to reduce the fat and sugar? Sub peanut butter powder (I like Naked PB) for the peanut butter, OR use pb that only contains peanuts, and replace the honey with about 10 drops of pure stevia. To save lot of time, and to prevent the onset of Carpal Tunnel, buy shredded carrots and cabbage (a bag of coleslaw mix would do the trick). You can also buy pre-spiralized zucchini. Obviously you can double this recipe.

Wednesday: Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala– Vegan and gluten free. I know that this has a lot of ingredients- don’t be scared! It’s mainly a lot of spices, and you’ll be happy you used them! They give such a deep, delicious flavor. And if you present this dish in the pineapple? We’ll all be cheering for you.

Thursday: Basil Chicken Salad– Gluten free can be paleo and Whole 30- This can’t get easier…BUT…y’all know I’m not an advocate of low-fat options. You could use all yogurt (dairy or non-dairy), but go for the full fat option. The whole recipe has 3 Tbsp….it’s fine. Sir Kensington’s mayo (they also have a vegan option now) or Primal Kitchen mayo are great. Or, you can make your own: Homemade Paleo/Whole 30 approved mayo. Eat this chicken salad with lettuce wraps to keep it low carb, or use up those leftover buns from Monday.

Friday: Pumpkin, Spinach, & Walnut Pasta: Gluten free and vegan- This recipe actually uses butternut squash, not a pumpkin. I say, cube the whole thing, and use the other half for tomorrow’s dinner. You could also use sweet potato instead. Quinoa could also be used instead of pasta. As for gluten free pasta, my favorite is the Vitacost brand.  The ingredients are brown rice and rice bran. So many g-free pastas have many starches and sugars added. Vitacost.com is my favorite. They have just about everything you’ll ever need. Their brand is always non GMO and BPA free. They have sales all the time.

Saturday: Low Carb Butternut & Nut Butter Curry– Gluten free, vegan, paleo- Use whatever nut butter you have open. I have a bit of cashew butter that needs to be used up, so that’s what I’ll sub. Peanut butter would also work…you really won’t taste it; it’s more for a creamy mouth-feel. PB will undo the paleo-ness, though. Buy frozen cauliflower rice to save time. Or use rice or quinoa if you don’t like cauliflower.

Sunday: Grilled Adobo Chicken Burgers– Gluten free and paleo (with no buns). When I read this recipe I was like, “Where’s the effin’ adobo?!” So, I plan to add 1-2 of the chilies in adobo sauce and some of the adobo sauce to the chicken mixture. Turkey would also be a great alternative here. That’s what I plan to use, as I normally grind up my own chicken (the ground chicken brand that I have access to is…in a word: DISGUSTING), and since all of my kitchen supplies are gone- ground turkey is where it’s at. Also, I plan to make this into a burger bowl. SO, lots of lettuce as a base, with the normal burger toppings. That way we reduce the carbs, allowing you to enjoy some crispy baked fries 🙂 As a reminder: after cutting your potatoes soak them in water (you can even do this overnight) to remove as much starch as possible. Make sure to drain them and dry them thoroughly before baking at 425° for about 40 min. The only oil you need is a teensy bit sprayed on the foil, so they don’t stick.