I Drank Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington’s Green Smoothies Every Day for a Month. Here’s What Happened.

A little more than a month ago, I was doing my morning scroll through my Instagram feed and stumbled on Reese Witherspoon’s IG Live video detailing how she makes herself a green smoothie every morning.

In her video, Reese explained that when she first met Kerry Washington, she remarked how clear her skin was and asked her for her secret. Kerry told her that she drinks this smoothie every day, and ever since then, Reese has done the same.

Because I was instantly convinced that this was the key to both of their beauty – that, or there is an oil painting of both of them in some dusty attic somewhere that is aging instead of them – and the fact that it seemed SUPER easy to make, I decided to give this a shot too.

The Method

If you’re interested in watching me perform this science experiment, you can watch the first attempt here. Long story short: I definitely didn’t blend it enough and omitted the almond butter. It also confirmed that I don’t enjoy coconut water in ANY capacity, so I switched to water or almond milk for subsequent batches. It also gave me the idea to add collagen powder because it was easier to add to this smoothie than to my coffee like I’d been doing for weeks.

Note: This recipe also makes roughly 60 ounces. I can’t fathom drinking 60 ounces of ANYTHING, so I took Reese’s advice and split it into two and saved the second half for the next day. This can give me middling results because fruit on day two is always a little weird. But re-blending it tends to revive it, and this is the method that I’ve stuck with.

The Results

I’ll be real: I started this because of Reese’s skin claims, but I really wasn’t expecting any eye-popping results in the skin department. Some people just have good genes. But to my surprise, something interesting happened.

About a year ago, a cancer scare convinced me to stop taking hormonal birth control after nearly 20 years, and my skin has been reacting badly ever since. It was like every zit I managed to avoid for 20 years on the pill came back for revenge, all over my chin and neck for 8 straight months, and nothing I did could stop it. Painful red welts every 3 weeks (timed with my cycle) made me super self-conscious. I wasted money on tons of topical treatments that never worked, and I was miserable for most of the last year (on top of being anxious and depressed because of the pandemic).

After less than a week of smoothies, the acne all but disappeared.

I thought I was just having a good skin week at first, and kept an eye on it. But one week went by, then another, and another, and no acne. Yes, I have one or two spots that manage to make their way to the surface, but it is NOTHING like it used to be, and I could cry from happiness.

I also thought this amount of fiber would have… shall we say… explosive results. I’m pleased to report that I have so far suffered NO ill effects. On the flip side, I will say that if I accidentally skip a day or two of the smoothie, I DO start to notice a NEGATIVE difference in my skin and in my stomach. TMI? Maybe. But we keep it real here.

Final Thoughts

Granted, the skin results that I’ve seen cannot be 100% proven by smoothie magic, but the way I see it, there’s no downside to eating all those fruits and veggies each day, right?

After a few tries, my final version of Reese & Kerry’s Smoothie is:

  • 2 heads of Romaine
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2-3 stalks celery
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 6 – 8 ounces almond milk or water
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 4 scoops of Vital Proteins collagen powder

Yes, it’s kind of a pain to always make sure that we have all these fresh fruits and vegetables around. But after having such good results over the last month, I’m willing to keep this concoction in my daily routine as often as I can to keep the good vibes flowing!

UPDATE: One year later, I’m still drinking these smoothies – and still seeing the benefits! Take a look at how it’s going now, with before and after pics and all.

What I Eat in a Day – Part 2

I know it took me months, but after starting with what I eat for breakfast, lunch, and snack time, now I’m taking a look at what I eat for dinner and dessert – and sharing some of my favorite recipes, too.

Dinner

Though the pandemic literally set my mental health journey back about 2 years in the span of just a few months, it did force me to broaden my culinary horizons. Random food shortages thanks to people panic-emptying the grocery store shelves (and fear of even going to the grocery store at first) meant stretching the big shop from our normal one week to last two or even three weeks.

This meant trying recipes with a lot of frozen and canned vegetables and things I could find in bulk like frozen shrimp and quinoa, and I managed to create a handful of dishes that became staples even when things started to calm down. This garlic shrimp dish in particular is still one of my favorites, especially when I pair it with quinoa that I combined with canned roasted tomatoes, corn, canned beans and fresh cilantro. Now, of course, I omit the corn, but it’s still a tasty dish that makes tons of leftovers and can even be a lunch option too.

I also discovered homemade poke bowls, after one of my favorite Bake Off winners, Nadiya Hussain, was given a Netflix show last spring where she shared her favorite quick recipes for lunch and dinner. Sushi-grade tuna was hard to come by the first time we made ours, but I gave the salmon a quick sear in the frying pan and fell in love with this super-fresh, crisp bowl full of veggies and rice and protein. It’s a great option when we’ve got a bunch of stuff in the fridge that’s about to go bad – just whip up some protein and toss that delicious sriracha sauce on it and boom: everyone’s happy.

The crock pot isn’t just for winter cooking in this house, either. I regularly break it out for things like chicken tacos (combine a pack of chicken breasts and a jar of salsa and ta-da) or my favorite ground turkey chili. Other staples include:

  • chicken marsala with brown rice and roasted Brussels sprouts
  • butter chicken with jasmine rice and broccoli
  • Beyond Burgers on gluten free buns
  • tilapia Thai green curry with white rice and veggies
  • Gluten free frozen pizzas (from everywhere, we’ve tried a lot of them and have found plenty we enjoy)

Desserts

Now that we’ve committed to that gluten free life, I’ve become a big fan of baking more at home. But an interesting side effect of that is that I also don’t feel the urge to plow through 5 cookies in one sitting when I’ve baked them myself. Maybe it’s because they take longer to make, butthe flavor is just that much more intense and they’re so much more satisfying one at a time.

Like these snickerdoodles, which I baked for everyone at Christmas, complete with red and gold sprinkles

Some of my favorite recipes – which I simply substitute Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour in – include:

I also can’t quit my favorite Reese’s mini cups, and always have a stash of them on hand at all times. Thanks to my new medication, I’m finding it much easier to avoid eating the entire bag in one sitting and often forget they’re even in the house for a few days at a time now. It’s nice to know they’re there if I need them, though.

Bonus: Beverage Time!

In addition to watching my gluten and corn intake, I’ve also focused on how much alcohol I drink, too. At the start of the pandemic, I fell into the trap of opening a bottle of wine every few days and “treating myself” to a glass or two (or three) after work almost every day, because it was what everyone else seemed to be doing on social media and what else were we doing?

After months of that, I realized I was unhappy – and likely packing on the pounds with each bottle, given that I also wasn’t exercising as much as I used to. So in September I put myself in wine time out and ended up not having a drop until Thanksgiving. And while it was delicious when I finally had some again, I realized that I didn’t need it as much as I used to. I slept better without drinking so much, and my skin and head were more clear without it. So I now have a glass or two maybe every month, with the occasional splurge on a Zoom date with friends.

I also discovered the joy that is Aviation gin, and my eyes have been opened:

Yes, it’s Ryan Reynolds’ gin, and yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that I love it. I’ve tried other alcohols with varying degrees of success but none have checked all the boxes like gin does for me. It takes less gin for me to get a similar buzz to wine, so it’s lower in calories than my usual 2-glasses-of-wine evening, and it doesn’t give me headaches. It’s also given me the opportunity to try other mixers, like flavored sugar-free seltzers and fresh fruit.

Keep in mind, with my new medication, I’m not drinking almost at all – it’s not a bright idea to mix a depressant like alcohol with an anti-depressant, after all – but red wine and gin in moderation are what I go for when I do.

And that about does it! How about you – what go-to’s are on your daily menu? Share your favorites and hook me up with some new things to try!

What I Eat In a Day – Part 1

Now that I’ve gone about 95% gluten- and corn-free, some folks have asked about what I eat in any given day, so here’s a little rundown of my go-to’s! Note: I’m not sponsored by any of these products, nor am I a nutritionist. I’m just trying to eat in a semi-healthy way while still enjoying food, and wanted to share the love in case you’re looking for some breakfast, lunch and snack ideas to switch up your routine.

I’ll go into more detail about dinner and desserts in a Part 2 post later this week.

Breakfast: My go-to is a slice of Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread, with some Smuckers Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter and half cup of blueberries. If I’m not too hungry I’ll omit the peanut butter.

On the weekend, I experiment with gluten free baked goods (in October and November, we were partial to Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Butter but they’re seasonal and I don’t condone spending $18 on off-market pumpkin butter), or will make some scrambled egg whites and turkey bacon.

My favorite part of breakfast, though, is coffee. Hot or cold, I take it black with the tiniest pinch of Stevia (1/8th of a teaspoon maybe? does that make me pretentious??). Not too long ago, I discovered Trader Joe’s Instant Cold Brew. After a brief period where I saw the future because I made it too strong, I figured out the right balance of coffee to water and really enjoy it. If I need to warm up, I’ll have medium roast hot coffee, but will treat myself by adding some Nut Pods, and whip it up with a travel milk frother to turn boring coffee into an at-home latte. Seriously, that frother has changed my life in the most delightful way, get one immediately. And while I’m on Nut Pods, if you’re looking for a dairy-free, gluten free, unsweetened coffee creamer, they have incredible flavors at like 10 calories per tbs. My current favorite is the Peppermint Mocha.

Bonus: Bach’s Rescue Pastilles for natural stress relief. Placebo? Maybe. Tasty? Definitely.

Lunch: Here’s where I say that I batch cook on the weekend for lunches throughout the week. BUT I am human, and lazy, and don’t do that as often as I’d like to. When I DO batch cook, one of my favorite recipes is black bean soup: three cans of black beans (two blended and one whole) mixed with salsa, canned tomatoes and onions, chiles, salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.

I also enjoy the good old Millennial Classic: avocado toast! My cheat version consists of toasted GF white bread topped with Shop Rite deli department guacamole or Wholly Guacamole and a fried egg (or scrambled egg whites) and TJ’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

When I don’t cook, I am a fan of our local Shop Rite’s chicken salad with cranberries and slivered almonds, or will go for roasted or smoked sliced chicken from the deli counter either on a bed of baby spinach or toasted Canyon Bakehouse or Schar Gluten Free White Bread. When it comes to GF bread, those are the two brands we’ve enjoyed the most. Lastly, if I’m pressed for time or we’re out of fresh ingredients, I rely on frozen meals that have a good amount of protein and aren’t TOO heavy on sodium, like Amy’s 3 Cheese and Kale Bake and Healthy Choice Power Bowls.

Snacktime: In 2020 I set out to avoid mindless snacking and have broadly succeeded, focusing instead on snacks that are high in protein and not as many empty calories. I used to be big on snack time, but as I’ve gotten used to working from home throughout the pandemic, I don’t snack as much, but generally always have some cheese, 100-calorie fruit cups in juice, teriyaki turkey jerky, and Trader Joe’s Everything But the Gluten Crackers on hand depending on if I’m feeling sweet or savory.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll go into more detail about dinner and desserts, and include some of my favorite recipes!

Springtime Update!

Oye. I can’t apologize enough for the break in blogging I’ve taken recently – I have good reason though! Work has been gearing up in anticipation of a big product launch and a lot of events that I’m managing, and I also came down with a nasty stomach bug that knocked me out for pretty much the last 4 days. BUT – I have been running, and happy, and all the things that you keep coming here to read about, so let’s recap the past two weeks with a LOT of pictures!

After my hooky day in the city, I had a pretty OK long run that weekend. It was definitely not the great 10 miler I had the week before, but I know exactly why that was the case: I had no water. 
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The time on the watch up there is a lie, because I stopped the watch each time I took a break to heave for breath and work the paste out of my mouth, which was about 4 times after mile 5, when I ran out of agua and the temps soared past 65.

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But, the weather was nice and I was able to finally wear my new Skirt Sports Happy Girl skirt in Psyched – a print that while sufficiently loud for my tastes, matches nearly everything I own!

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Want some Skirt gear of your own? Use code JRH20 at the new SkirtSports.com and get 20% off your order!

After that learning experience, I took on the next week of training with a little less intensity than I wanted. My first run of the week was banging, thanks to Mr. Kenny Loggins here (any Archer fans out there get why I was so stoked when this was the first song of my run??)
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But after that I did some biking on Wednesday to cross train, and Thursday was lost due to it being St. Patrick’s Day. I DO celebrate other high holy days aside from Christmas, you know.

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So does Sammy “I’ll Allow This” Gamgee

I also was super stoked to get my shipment from Swanson Health Products:

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Full disclosure – these folks reached out to offer me a gift card to order whatever I wanted in exchange for a shout out here, but after one order I can honestly say they’re freakin’ awesome!

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This chocolate bar I ordered from them: EVEN MORE awesome.

I’d never heard of them before, but once I took a look at their website I was sold. They’ve got everything you could possibly want: vitamins, snacks, cooking stuff, juices, you name it they’ve got it. And the prices are really more affordable than I expected too. I’m a big fan of the brown rice pasta pictured up there, and of course that amazing chocolate bar (the wrapper of which I had to fish out of the garbage for a picture because I ate it so fast). The Tart Cherry vitamins were also a great find – I’ve been meaning to try them out and thanks to their deal of the day I was able to get two bottles for the price of one! Give them a visit and let them know I sent you 😉

That weekend – yes, after skipping my second run of the week, bad runner – I took on 9 miles. And it was not very good.

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This is another case where the numbers lie – I carried a bottle of water with me and managed to get my hydration situation under control, but the last 4 miles were allll aboard the struggle bus thanks to skipping my second run. I just felt out of shape. You know what I mean. I managed to push through a much slower second half than first half while having flashbacks of horrible race experiences where I burned out too early and vowed to take on the next week with renewed intensity – but not after a pretty awesome weekend filled with hockey, BB-8, and Starbucks (Cherry Blossom Frappuccino, I love you)!

My first run that week was better – my usual 4 miles at a bit slower than I wanted, but still solid pacing. I swam on Wednesday for the first time in a while and remembered just how awesome swimming really is (thanks for coming with me, Kevin!), and then took on another 3 miles on Friday to break in my new Brooks Transcend 3’s.

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Saturday night I went out to a bachelorette party at Pinot’s Palette, where you can bring wine and snacks and paint a masterpiece – which was a stinkin blast!

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I did take it easy on the wine and snacks though, because I had a long run early the next morning before Easter festivities:

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And while the pacing on this looks slower compared to other long runs, I’m actually extremely proud of myself: the first 5 miles were excruciatingly slow thanks to a 2 am bedtime, and yes, SOME wine, at a total of 1:02. I told myself those whole 5 miles as I saw my pace hover around 12:15 that this run was about endurance, not pace. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. But after my gel at mile 5.5? I ran those last 5 miles in 56 minutes, baby! My final mile was even in the 10’s, I almost screamed. It was TOUGH, and took a lot of focus especially in that final mile or two when I just wanted to walk, but I did it and proved to myself that I could come back from a sucky start.

I vowed to look at training not as *just* training but as a way to build my confidence in long distances, and with each long run this cycle I’m learning something new and loving it. Nevermind the fact that I woke up late Sunday/early Monday with the stomach flu to end all stomach flu’s. Seriously, I was curled up on the bathroom floor at one point, crying and begging Jesus to take my pain away. He must have been super surprised to hear from me then, of all times.

BUT the plus side – if there is one – is the 4 days I had to take off to recover gave me time to heal from blisters, calf pain, and general soreness. I’m ready to rock a few miles tonight as a shakeout before Saturday’s 11K down in Atlantic City for the April Fool’s Race Series for sure! This race is about fun – coming off a bad illness like this I know I lost a lot of strength (I broke a sweat taking the stairs at work today), so I’m not going to push myself. It’s not worth it with my goal race coming up in May.

So that about does it for me, kids! How’s your training going? Tell me all about it in the comments!

New Recipe: Shrimp & Avocado Salad

It’s been a while since my last recipe, so let’s take a look at what I had last night for a post-swim dinner: Shrimp & Avocado salad! I know, it’s not a very sexy name (I’m looking for help on giving this a fun name, if you can think of one by all means let me know!) but it is one of the most delicious things I’ve had in a long time. The key is super-fresh shrimp and the just-chopped cilantro.

IMG_6486Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

  • fresh uncooked shrimp, 1 lb
  • 2 medium avocados, diced
  • pico de gallo (I used a store bought container, about 1 pint’s worth, but you can make your own
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Boil the shrimp for 15 minutes or until they’re pink and curled up (and your house smells like delicious seafood and you want to lick the walls. Or is that just me? Sorry.) Rinse in cold water, peel, and de-vein, then set aside in the fridge to chill.

In a large bowl, combine diced avocado, chopped cilantro, salt, and pico de gallo and stir gently with a big spoon to coat. Add shrimp slowly, so you don’t mush up the avocado, top with lime juice, and stir a few more times – and voila, your dinner is ready!

We had ours with baked tortilla chips for some extra crunch, but you can do pretty much anything with this: eat it as a dip, fill tacos with it, serve it over a green salad, etc. Give it a shot and let me know how you like it!

Protein Pancake Recipe

It’s been a while since my last recipe post – probably because training took over my life and I was seriously neglecting the kitchen! But now that things have settled down and I’ve got some extra time on my hands, last night I finally tried out a recipe I’ve been flirting with for months: Protein Pancakes. And it was a mild success! I say “mild” because they weren’t pancakes as much as they were… super-thin, super-soft cookies?… but they were delicious either way and I can’t wait to perfect them!

pancakesProtein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • splashes of water to get the desired consistency
  • sugar-free syrup (optional)

*This recipe makes two servings, so cut in half if you’re just cooking for one.

Directions:

Heat up a non-stick skillet and coat with butter.

In a mixing bowl, combine the powder, eggs, and a splash of water to start the batter. Keep stirring gently to break up any lumps and thin it out. I had to add one or two more splashes of water (I’m sorry I didn’t measure it!) to get the batter pliable enough to pour, but it was easy enough to eyeball and see when it was right.

Note: Not all protein powders are created equal! I used Adaptogen Science Tasty Whey in Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, because I stinking love it. It doesn’t give you that nasty protein powder aftertaste – it really tastes like a milkshake! But depending on what brand you prefer you might need less or more of everything. Keep an eye on it 🙂

Once the skillet is ready, pour the batter in small circles about an inch apart from each other. Let them sit about 2-3 minutes and watch for bubbles to form on the sides. Once the bubbles pop and *no longer close up on their own*, flip your cakes and cook for another minute or so on the other side, then set aside. This recipe makes 4 medium sized pancakes, so once the first two are done you’ll have to do this again with the remaining batter.

After you’re done cooking all of the batter like that, your pancakes are ready!

Another Note: Keep in mind, this was my first attempt at protein powder pancakes – and it shows. They were delicious, don’t get me wrong! But they were denser than normal pancakes and needed something else… although I’m not sure what! I’ve heard of people adding oats and/or mashed banana to the batter, and I’ll definitely try that next. But this is where I turn to you guys for help: What do you use in your protein pancakes? Please share your recipes with me! Let’s spread the love and crowdsource the perfect protein pancake recipe 🙂

Kicking Off Spring in a Healthy Way

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend – I know I did! It was my first weekend without “having to” train, and I lived it up by doing what I wanted and when, and I loved every minute. It started on Thursday afternoon when I followed up my 3×3@3 workout with 40 minutes of cardio hell on the Arc trainer and 40 minutes of Runners Love Yoga‘s new Hip routine.

IMG_4737It’s a great 14 day Instagram program where they post a pose a day that focuses on opening up those tight runners’ hips. I started on Monday and in just 6 days, boy do I feel a difference! Hell – in my run yesterday I was easily able to start right up and fly from the start. I felt loose as a rubber band!

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I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of this program will take me! By the time I got home Thursday night my head started to throb with a migraine – I get one once a month (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) and I ended up having to take off of work on Friday to stay in a dark room and sleep it off. I finally started feeling better after dinner so we went to Shop Rite to restock the kitchen with healthy staples and cook-ahead meal supplies. Once we were done with that, I listened to my body – and my body was screaming “Bedtime at 10pm please!”

I woke up 11 hours later on Saturday, 100% better and ready to run as far as I damn well pleased! It was a gorgeous, sunny morning, and I decided to layer up my Skirt Sports Marathon Girl skirt with a pair of my favorite capris (because this booty + that skirt = a running peep show) and created the perfect spring running combo. PS: they’re having a major Sale on clearance stuff over at Skirt Sports, so go check it out! And if you find any full priced-items you like, be sure to use my discount code SSJRH20 for 20% off (code only applies to full-priced items, not on sale stuff).

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I set out towards the park and just went by feel – and I felt great! The first mile clicked by without me even realizing it, at 10:43 pace, and I ran like I was light as a feather. If only I moved this well a week ago for my race! Ah, such is life.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day down the park, the breeze was light and the sun was shining, and that runners high was in full effect. After a miserable winter like the one we had, I’m truly treating every nice day as a gift and taking full advantage of it by getting outdoors and being active!

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I breezed through the park and back towards home around mile 3.7, and coasted through the next few blocks for 4.05 and walked a nice cool down the rest of the way home.

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The rest of the day was spent helping my mom & dad move furniture and bringing a new mattress set from the store up to their 2nd floor (another workout entirely!), and then we had an awesome seafood dinner at The Barge in Perth Amboy. Highly recommended!

Sunday morning I had a date with my dad to head down to the flea market in Collingwood for some good old-fashioned daddy/daughter treasure hunting!

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We had a blast! My dad has always been super supportive of everything I do, including running, and we spent the whole time wandering the flea market aisles talking about training and sneakers and life and music and everything in between. I even found some awesome treasures too: a shelf-sitting mermaid (who looks like she’s doing a sit-up when you lay her on a flat surface!) and a copy of Circus magazine with my favorite band on the cover: The Smashing Pumpkins! I remember buying two copies of this when it came out in 1996 – one to read and the other to cut up and hang all over my bedroom walls. Today I got to take a trip down memory lane with the same issue for just 50 cents!!

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After that I came home for a nice lunch with hubby, and then we headed out to the park again to take advantage of this still-gorgeous weather! But this time instead of running, I brought out my trusty bike for the first time since last summer!

At first it was cold, but after a mile or so, I warmed up and fell right into the groove again while Mike walked a few laps. The park was packed with people enjoying the weather, so I had to stop a few times to get around large groups (and let’s face it, I had to stop and take pictures of the scenery!), but it was a great ride.

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I was just about to call it at 5 miles, but I couldn’t help it and powered through for another 1.2 to make it an even 10k.

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I had to laugh when I saw my final stats: my 6:49/mile pace is half the speed I ran last week’s race at, and it still wouldn’t be fast enough to keep up with the amazing athletes that led the Boston Marathon. I was cranking as hard as I could. To imagine running that fast? It’s simply unbelievable how speedy those folks are!

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When we got home I started working on dinner (and lunches for the next few days too): Ground turkey, stewed tomatoes, onion and chopped broccoli stir fry over quinoa!

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I even roasted up some chickpeas for snacking in the coming week too. The result of all that cooking meant that the whole house smelled delicious when we woke up today!

And that was it for me! How was your weekend? Did you get outside to enjoy the nice weather? Did you race? Tell me all about it, I want to know!

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Beef & Spinach Stir Fry Recipe

It’s been a while since my last recipe post, so I figured today I’d share my recipe for Beef & Spinach Stir Fry!

This is a dish I like to prepare when I’ve over-indulged and need a filling, healthy meal. It’s only got 4 ingredients, it’ll only take you about a half hour to prep, and you’re going to have a hard time saving any for leftovers, too 😉

89730d742fb811e39de022000a1f8db1_8Beef & Spinach Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of stew beef, trimmed and cubed
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 package of baby spinach

(Note: The measurements here are enough for me and my husband to have 2 healthy servings the first night, and leaves at least 2 more for lunch or dinner the next day. If you’ve got a bigger family – or a bigger appetite! – feel free to adapt this recipe as needed.)

Directions:

Start by browning the sweet potatoes in your skillet over medium heat in a little bit of coconut oil. I like to season them a bit with some salt, but that’s just me. Cover and let them soften up a bit, but keep an eye on them and test to see how soft they are every 5-10 mins.

Once your potatoes are almost done doing their thing, transfer them to a plate and toss your beef in the same skillet to brown it up. This won’t take long.

After the meat is browned and the kitchen smells divine, toss the potatoes back in along with your tomatoes, and add your spinach one or two handfuls at a time. Continuously stir to mix it up nicely, and once the spinach is wilted, serve it up one big heaping spoonful at a time – and enjoy!

Jess Eats Happy: Paleo Crab Cakes

Last year I joined the Whole Life Challenge and had moderate success with it: I dropped about 14 lbs in 8 weeks! It was, however, a very restrictive diet. It was a good short-term kickstart I needed back into healthy eating and, but I prefer an “everything in moderation” diet. I can’t cut things out entirely, or else I feel deprived and end up bingeing.

But while it wasn’t a feasible long term diet for me, it did expose me to a whole new world of food! Having to cook compliant meals with almost no dairy, cheese, carbs, or sugars forced me to find alternative recipes, and also introduced me to some awesome new things that I was afraid to try (hello, almond flour!).

One recipe I discovered was these Paleo Crab Cakes. At first I was scared – I’d never cooked with crab *or* almond flour before. But after a week or two of “meat and sweet potatoes with TONS of veggies” meals, I was desperate for something different. So I snagged a recipe from a friend, adapted it to fit the challenge’s rules, tried it out a few times, and bingo! They’re messy to make, and might take a few tries to get them just right, but trust me when I say: you’re going to love these!

5dd176e82a2b11e3a0a822000a1fbd23_8Paleo Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs minced crab meat (you can get it in cans in your grocery’s seafood dept.)
  • half one small onion, minced
  • 1 small pepper, minced
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Almond flour (or more as needed)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Butter & Olive Oil for cooking

Directions:

In a pan with butter or oil, sautee the onions and pepper and throw in garlic at the end for a few seconds. Remove from heat and put into a bowl.

In another pan, heat up some butter and olive oil on medium heat, let the butter melt.Then add the almond flour a little bit at a time, stirring as you go to make a thick paste.Turn off the heat and let it cool for a bit.

Once it’s cool enough to work with your hands, in the same pan, add a spoonful of Old Bay seasoning to your paste, then slowly add everything else: crab, egg, and your onion/pepper/garlic mix. Mix everything together very well, and form into crab cakes. *This is where it can get messy: to keep things from sticking together and not to your hands, add almond flour as needed.

Once you’ve got some cakes ready, throw some butter or oil into your first pan (where you sauteed the onions and garlic) and set it to medium heat. Once it’s nice and hot, toss your crab cakes in and cook them on both sides, a few minutes on each side until their nice and brown.

They might fall apart, but that’s ok – just cook them to your liking and devour them! I usually serve mine with some arugula and a mustard vinaigrette dressing, but they’re great on their own or even as a side dish. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Jess Eats Happy: Protein Brownies

How could I let another week go by without giving you a new recipe from the Jess Eats Happy Cookbook? In honor of the Super Bowl and all the excess and eating it entails, I’m here with an indulgent but super party-friendly and sneakily healthy dessert recipe for my famous (infamous?) Protein Brownies.

Also known as Black Bean Brownies, these babies have been my go-to treat when the urge to bake (and eat raw brownie batter) knocks on my door. With just two ingredients – seriously – I’m betting that these will become your new favorite too. But here’s a tip: don’t tell anyone how you made them. Just say they’re brownies. Because once you say “beans” and “brownies” in the same sentence, about 85% of the people in the room will not want to eat them on principle alone.

But then again that may work out to your advantage, cause you’re gonna want to eat them all yourself. I guarantee it.

brownies

Protein Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box of brownie mix any flavor (13×9 pan size)
1 can black beans (15.5 oz)

Directions:
1. Strain and rinse beans, put beans back in can and re-fill can with water to top.
2. Pour can of beans and water into blender/food processor (I use the magic bullet) and purée til liquefied.
3. Combine box of brownie mix and puréed beans in a bowl and mix with a spoon til lumps are gone. It’ll take a while. Consider this your arm workout for the day.
4. Bake according to box, checking towards the end. It might take a few minutes longer than it says on the box, but start checking it at the posted time and keep sticking a toothpick in the center – when it comes out clean, it’s brownie time!

And that’s it! I promise you will not be able to taste any beans whatsoever. Just chocolatey goodness. After they cool, I slice them smaller than normal brownie size. They’re more dense than normal brownies; more like fudge really, so a little square will fill you up more than you’d think.

The best part about this recipe is the lack of eggs and oil, meaning you can eat all the batter you want without having to worry about salmonella! So go ahead, lick the bowl (and the spoon and your fingers…) and enjoy!