Vegetarian Gluten-free Chicken Penne

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If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m all about quick, easy, but YUMMY dinners. No one likes to come home from a long, hot sweaty day at work and spend an hour+ slaving away in the kitchen. But I do know one thing… I come home with an enormous appetite. SO, I’ve learned to find a balance between saving time, making dinner easy, and making it yummy and filling!

Here’s one of my favorite dishes to make: Gluten-free penne with Gardein’s Chick’n Scallopini w/ spinach, tomato and vodka sauce.

For the pasta, I prefer Barilla gluten-free penne because it is the absolute best gluten-free pasta I’ve tried yet. The texture isn’t weird, it doesn’t cook weird, and it tastes just like the real gluten-filled yummy stuff!

Boiling Barilla GF pasta in a pot, add olive oil to a frying pan. Add the Chick’n Scallopini to the frying pan, add seasonings, and cover. The seasonings I used were thyme, Italian seasoning, oregano, black pepper and a pinch of salt.

When the Chick’n Scallopini is thawed through the middle, remove and slice into strips. Put back into the frying pan when sliced. Next, add a few handfuls of fresh, rinsed spinach and cook that down until the spinach is dark and shrunken. Finally, add freshly cut roma tomatoes and add more seasonings to taste.

Once I have all that in the frying pan, I like to crank up the heat to get a little sear on my Chick’n and tomatoes!

Add the cooked Chick’n, tomatoes and spinach to the drained, cooked pasta and add vodka sauce. Make sure to check that your vodka sauce is gluten-free! (I use Classico!) If you want to make this dish but VEGAN, choose a different sauce with no animal products. The vodka sauce has milk, but the Chick’n Scallopini is totally vegan!

AND NOW, enjoy with a glass of wine… Or two 😉

To find out where you can pick up some of Gardein’s amazing products, click HERE!

The Barilla GF pasta is at most of the grocery stores around me. Check your local grocery store for their products! If they don’t supply Barilla’s GF pasta, make sure to request it! 🙂

 

Shopping Your Local Farmers Market

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Happy Hump day, y’all! Today I’m talking about FARMERS MARKETS!

I love farmers markets. I love shopping outside in mine and my fiance’s cute little town, meeting the farmers and owners of our local businesses, and I LOVE buying FRESH local produce and knowing exactly where it came from. We go every Tuesday. We have a few local farmstands, bakers, a stand with organic dog treats, healthy local food trucks and more! Yesterday we bought a large bunch of beets, two boxes of fresh-picked cherries, a box of large plums, and a giant green bell pepper for only $14! We both had dinner from our local healthy harvest food truck for $6.50 total. It was $20 well-spent!

The first few times I went, I kept telling myself, “Why don’t I just go to Walmart or Aldi? It’s so much cheaper there…” I was missing the whole point. True, produce from farmers markets can be a little more pricey, but here’s why you should pay the extra few dollars:

  1. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FAMILY FARMERS. Small farms are struggling to survive against large agribusiness. Shopping from them helps families in your own community. You’re not feeding the pockets of the already wealthy, you’re helping a family put food on the table, pay for their son’s soccer shoes or the family’s medical bills.
  2. HELP THE ANIMALS! I’m sure you’ve all seen the awful viral videos of big agribusiness and their treatment of farm animals. When you shop from your local farmers, you can find eggs, milk etc. from animals that have been treated humanely and live a pretty comfortable life! Additionally, if you are big on animal rights like me, this gives you the 1-on-1 opportunity to talk to your local farmers about how they cage, feed, and raise their animals before you buy from them. Many farms also have their own little store that you can visit personally and check out for yourself!
  3. TASTE THE DIFFERENCE. You will notice that your local produce simply tastes ten times better than the mass-produced and shipped all over the country crap that big stores sell.
  4. PROCESSED, PROCESSED, PROCESSED. Not only does the produce taste better, it’s often way better for you. Many farmers that show up to the farmers markets are selling organic produce now! Not to mention, we’ve all heard the horror stories of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, wax and gassing to stimulate ripening, sitting in storage forever… Avoid all this by shopping local.
  5. SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT. Did you know that, in the U.S., your food travels an average of 1500 miles to get to your plate? Think of all the gas used in the shipping, the natural resources just wasted, contributing to our pollution problem. Big agribusiness usually results in harm to the earth just from their farming process! When you buy from your local farmers, you’re only talking about a few miles of traveling from source to plate. Additionally, local farmers and their more-natural and traditional farming processes doesn’t harm the earth the way big ag does. That alone is worth it!

Why do YOU like to shop your local farmers market? Comment below and let’s chat!

As a sidenote: If you read my last post about juicing, you noticed I talked a little bit about locally-produced honey and how it helps with allergies. Your local farmers market is a great place to find it!

On the fashion side of things: Check out my farmers market outfit from yesterday! IMG_6505ed

The dress was a total steal-deal from TJ Maxx ($13!), shoes are old and bag is one of my fav go-to’s from Guess! Faux-leather and goes with everything. Watch is Michael Kors, Sunnies are Steve Madden.

Like the dress? Check your local TJ Maxx or check out this one from LuLu’s! It’s a little pricier but it’s not as casual as mine 🙂

These shoes are SUPER similar to mine and are on sale right now for under $20! Or, snag these shoes from my previous post from Target in Cognac!

Speaking of Cognac, my purse is old, but here’s one ON SALE right now from Guess for $30! They have it in Cognac to match your new shoes 😉

For Michael Kors watches that won’t break your bank, check your local TJ Maxx or Ross! TJ Maxx ALWAYS has them in stock in different styles. Mine is a rose gold tennis with a white face! While you’re there, check out their sunglasses! Ross always has Steve Madden ones on deck 🙂

 

 

 

 

5-Day Juice Cleanse

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Happy Monday everyone!

I’ve been juicing on-and-off at home for a couple months . I bought a cheap juicer to see if, MAYBE, this could be something that works for me. Turns out, it’s the only thing that stuck in regards to living a healthier lifestyle. Since I started my juicing expedition, I’ve done a lot of research on juicers, vegetables and fruits that are best for juicing, what each vegetable and fruit has to offer for your health, and additives for your juices that can make drastic changes in your daily life.

Today I’m starting my very first actual “cleanse” and I’m aiming to make it last five days. That means no food til Saturday, just nutrient-rich juices! I’ve experimented with many recipes and I’ll be using the ones that I like the most (obviously) because it will be easier to stick to. If I can stick to it, I’ll be doing a blog at the end of the week detailing how I felt throughout the five days.

Right now, I’ll be sharing my 4 favorite recipes that I’ll be using each day, Monday through Friday. I will not include amounts for some of the ingredients because each juicer is different and uses different amounts of produce to make a glass of juice.

  1. Breakfast Greens (breakfast) – spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, 1 lemon, 1 orange, locally produced honey, chia seeds, turmeric.
  2. Skinny Jean (lunch) – 2 grapefruits, 2 lemons, 1″ fresh, peeled ginger root, locally produced honey, fresh-picked basil.
  3. Snack juice (snack) – Watermelon & 2 limes
  4. Tomato juice (dinner) – Roma tomatoes, peeled carrots, 1 fresh bell pepper (orange, yellow or red), 1 lemon, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin, thyme.

If I get hungry after dinner, I will be making a variation of the breakfast greens with pineapple for my splash of citrus rather than the orange and lemon.

A few notes on some of my chosen ingredients:

  • Locally produced honey is said to help with seasonal allergies because it contains the local pollens and allergens of your area. One spoonful a day may help your daily struggle! Check your local farmers markets or local farmstands to find some close to your home!
  • Chia seeds are packed with nutrients and are associated with multiple health benefits, including lower cholesterol, stabilized blood sugar levels, improved digestion, higher energy levels, reduced risk for diabetes, increased fiber intake, stronger teeth and bones, improved insulin response, and appetite regulation.
  • Turmeric! My dad calls this one the magic cure-all spice. It contains a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps reduce enzymes in the body responsible for pain and swelling of arthritis. My nifty juicing bible also cites studies that say turmeric may help prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer’s!
  • Ginger, while best-known for its anti-nausea properties, also helps stop the production of free radicals. It also is associated with decreased blood pressure, reduced cancer risk, and relief from arthritis pain.
  • Cayenne pepper is derived from a pepper that is known to contain high levels of Vitamin A. The pepper is also linked to pain reduction and congestion relief.
  • Cumin is a great source for your iron needs, which is essential for your immune system! It has also been linked to improve digestion and prevent cancer.
  • Thyme is a great source for Vitamin K, and has been historically used as a natural remedy for respiratory illness. My nifty book also states that it may also provide antioxidant and antibacterial benefits! Lacking calcium? Thyme is also a great source for it!
  • Basil: my awesome book cites a study where a tea made from basil leaves may have helped shrink tumors in mice. How cool! It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It may also help protect cells from free radical damage.

If you’re thinking about getting into juicing, I highly recommend you snag the book linked above! It’s my go-to for everything juicing! It even breaks down the difference between types of juicers!

As a side note: obviously fruit juices taste better than vegetable juices. The problem with juicing too much fruit is that your juices will be very high in natural sugars and calories! Try to do vegetable juices, but counter the taste with a little citrus, as you’ll see in my juices above.

Comment with any questions you have about juicing!! I’d love to put this knowledge to use outside my own kitchen 😊