Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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I’m in the process of moving (again) so I’ve made it a personal goal to use as many items in the pantry as possible so there isn’t as much to pack. Every little bit counts, right?! As of last Sunday, I had four cans of pumpkin puree. I like pumpkin….what else can I say?

Except for pumpkin pie. Go figure.

So in between the packing, holiday preparations, full-time job, blog upkeep and other daily life activities, I’m drinking pumpkin pie smoothies to get in the Thanksgiving spirit!

pumpkin pie smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


Ingredients
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 oz apple cider
1/2 tsp minced ginger
dash of cinnamon

Directions
1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Optional: add a small amount of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon for more of a pumpkin pie effect :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

6 Easy Travel Snacks

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The holidays are a busy, and sometimes stressful time for many people. All the hustle and bustle and traveling over the river and through the woods can lead to limited and inadequate food options.

You can avoid this predicament by stocking up on these 6 no-hassle travel snacks that leave you feeling cheery rather than dreary!

6 Easy Travel Snacks

1. Kashi Chocolate Chip Chia Seed Crunchy Granola & Seed Bars  Crunchy Granola & Seed BarI tried this crunchy, chocolatey granola bar while at Blog Brûlée and loved it! Many granola bars are overloaded with sugar and just too decadent for my taste, but not this one. Two of these Kashi bars contain 180 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 9 grams of sugar. This is a snack I can feel good about!

2. Fresh Fruit
Nature’s own version of grab + go snacks! Apples, bananas, oranges, clementines, pears, grapes, berries—all are ready to hit the road when you are. Just make sure you rinse your fruit under water before enjoying. Pair your fruit with some protein, like snacks #4 and #5 to help keep you feeling fuller longer.

3. Nourish Snacks
nourish snackBesides loving the variety of Nourish Snacks, part of the reason I’m thrilled about this line of snacks is because it was created by Registered Dietitian, Joy Bauer. Her motto, “Life is hard, food should be easy” comes to life through Nourish Snacks–simple ingredients combined to create a nutrient-dense, on-the-go snack! My favorite so far is Mr. Popular, half-popped corn kernels. Definitely satisfies the need for something crunchy and slightly salty…much better option than potato chips!

4. Skim Mozzarella String Cheese
String cheese is more than just fun to eat! With about 7-8 grams of protein per cheese stick and less than 100 calories, this is the perfect match for fresh fruit or veggies. Just be sure to eat any dairy products within 2 hours of being removed from refrigerator, or keep them in an insulated bag with an ice pack to maintain proper temperature.

5. Peanut Butter packets
These can be a travel lifesaver! Finding quality protein sources at rest stops or gas stations can be next to impossible and that’s where peanut butter packets can save the day. Keep PB packs on hand at home so they’re ready when you are! Peanut butter not your thing? Justin’s offers other nut butters in single-serving packets, too! Keep in mind that nut butters can be high in calories, so keep portions to 2 tablespoons and pair with a fresh fruit for a balanced snack.

6. Cold-Pressed Bottled Juices  juice Nashville

Let’s be honest for a moment. Raise your hand if you eat the appropriate number of servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Now, raise your other hand if you eat MORE of them while traveling? Chances are many of us didn’t raise either hand. Fruit and veggie intake can fall off easily during the holidays, so make it easier on yourself by getting them through cold-pressed juice! I’m a big fan of Nashville’s local juicery, juice.Nashville, but you can also find brands like Evolution juices available nation-wide.

Do you have favorite ready-to-go travel snacks you’d like to share? It’s always great to have new suggestions!

I wish you all safe and healthy travels this holiday season!

Favorite Crock-pot Chili

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I have a confession.

I’m a chili snob.

I blame my mom for my snooty chili attitude. She makes the best chili in my opinion. Way to go, Mom.

I realize that I may be missing out on some decent chili recipes, but it’s just so hard for me to break out of my chili mold. This recipe is based on how my mom prepares hers, which always includes spicy tomato juice and elbow macaroni, and is never thick like some chili.

Elbow macaroni in my chili makes me so happy. Spaghetti in my chili? NO THANK YOU.

Favorite Crock-Pot Chili

I prefer a little heat, so I’ve tweaked Mom’s recipe and added jalapeno and sriracha sauce. If you haven’t tried chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, they lend a smoky flavor to dishes along with a bit of heat, which is why I only used one in this recipe.

I don’t know how I would survive fall/winter without canned tomatoes. My pantry is always stocked with at least one can of diced tomatoes so that I’m always prepared when making soup or chili. Rich in lycopene and vitamin C, tomatoes and tomato products are known for their antioxidant properties and heart-health benefits. You can reap the health benefits year round by making use of canned tomato products when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season.

To help cut the fat and make this an even more heart-friendly recipe, use lean ground beef or ground turkey in your chili. Skip adding additional salt because there will be enough in the tomato juice and canned beans to provide adequate flavor. Top with sliced green onions for extra flavor and color!

Favorite Crock-Pot Chili


Ingredients
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 large finely diced jalapeno, ribs removed (remove seeds if you prefer a less spicy chili)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. 96% lean ground beef
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1-28 oz. can San Marzano diced tomatoes
1-16 oz. can chili beans in mild chili sauce
1-15 oz. can chili hot beans
2 cups spicy tomato juice
1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
Green onions to garnish

Directions
1. In a large skillet, saute onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, chili powder, and cumin to skillet and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir and break up any large pieces of ground beef.
2. While ground beef is cooking, add the diced tomatoes, chili beans, tomato juice, chipotle pepper, and sriarcha to a large crock-pot. Then add cooked ground beef to the pot and cook on low heat for at least 2 hours.
3. Before serving, add elbow macaroni if desired.

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