These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Part 2

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fun & food-filled 4th of July weekend! I sure did. I tried a few of the recipes I shared in my last post and I’m happy to report that they turned out great! Before I get into my favorite things, I’ll show you a few pictures of my July 4th concoctions. They both turned out super tasty and I had fun making some new things! The bean dip looked pretty spectacular if I do say so myself, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the fruit pizza. It kinda looks like a child decorated it, but it was delicious nonetheless. 😉 Both got devoured at my 4th of July gathering so I would consider that a success! I definitely made a dent in both. : ) #nomnom

Southwestern Black Bean Dip
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This recipe did require quite a bit of manual labor with chopping up all the vegetables, but if you have some time to spare, it’s worth it! I enjoyed doing it – besides the onions! :’-(

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I think this might be my go-to for parties now! It is pretty, fresh, and healthy – the perfect party dip!

{4th of July} Healthy Fruit Pizza

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I could not believe the crust was made up of ONLY graham crackers and a mashed up banana! It was so easy and seriously delish. And the frosting is just Greek yogurt and lite cool whip mixed together! Topped with some tasty fresh fruit, the entire thing is so guilt free!
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Just pop this baby in the oven for a few minutes to get a nice golden brown crust.
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Use the leftover frosting as a light fruit dip! Or just take spoonfuls of it. I won’t judge. ; )


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Voila! Close enough. Go America.
One of my friends brought the skinny funfetti dip [see previous post for recipe] to the party and oh my gosh, it was also to die for. I’d say all my recipe finds were successful!! It’s not too late to try them out! 🙂

Okay – now on to Part 2 of “My Favorite Things”. The last time I shared a few of my favorite things was one of the first posts on this blog. I feel like it has come a long way since then! Thank you all for continuing to read it and for reaching out to me with all of your kind comments. 🙂 I love any feedback and will respond to any questions/comments!
Just to recap, my first list of “faves” included:
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  1. PB2
  2. Egg Beaters
  3. Light & Fit Greek Yogurt
  4. Edamame
  5. Laughing Cow Cheese
Those 5 things are some staples in my diet. I know what I like and I stick to it, so I eat a lot of the same things on a very regular basis. But that’s not to say I don’t love trying new, exciting things too! Having this blog has definitely sparked my already-huge passion for food and my desire to try new recipes so I can share them with you all. My family and I have definitely reaped the benefits of that. 🙂 I’m so enjoying cooking and adding new recipes to my collection!
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Today I am sharing a few more of my favorite things with you to give you an idea of some more items I love to eat, especially when life gets a little crazy. In a perfect world, we would all buy, cook and eat fresh, unpackaged and unprocessed foods. Even as a dietitian, this doesn’t happen every single time I sit down to eat something. I understand that life gets busy, and we get lazy and sometimes we want food and we want it now; cooking from scratch isn’t always an option. However, you can make some better choices than others when you purchase convenience items at the store.
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Okay, here we go.

1) Fusia Asian Inspiration Stir Fry (found in frozen section at Aldi)
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Why? Because they are fast, easy, delicious and healthy. Quadruple threat. You can whip up this dish in about 15 minutes and it’s essentially effortless. Dump the veggies and sauce in a large stir-fry pan, stir it a bit, cover it, and let steam do its thing. Grill some chicken on the side to toss into the mix and you’ve got just about everything you could possibly want/need. With the oriental stir-fry, I cook up some brown rice on the side so I can get some complex carbs in there. The teriyaki stir-fry already has noodles, so I don’t need rice. But I add grilled chicken to both for some extra bulk and of course lean protein. This dish will fill you up for SO FEW calories and NO fat! And the sodium amount is totally reasonable. So much better for you than the vast majority of the dishes you’ll find at Chinese take out restaurants!
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Portion Size Calories Fat Sodium Protein
FUSIA Oriental Stir Fry 1 cup 60 0 g 230 mg 3 g
FUSIA Teriyaki Stir Fry 1 cup 90 0 g 250 mg 4 g
PF Chang’s Coconut Curry Vegetables 1 dish 1050 77 g 1220 mg 43 g

As you can see above, PF Chang’s Coconut Curry Vegetables has 77 G OF FAT!! And 24 G of SATURATED FAT! Plus HALF of the sodium you need in an ENTIRE day! That shouldn’t even be legal.

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One of the FUSIA stir fry dishes. You can see I added some grilled chicken and of course brown rice on the side.
2. Mixed Nuts (This particular mix also found at Aldi)
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Simple. Portable. Filling. Nuts are a perfect snack. They are filled with heart healthy unsaturated fats and they really help get you through the between-meal hunger pains. I always munch on mixed nuts between lunch and dinner to hold me over. BUT keep in mind, nuts are high in calories, so control your portions! Take one big handful and put the jar away so you don’t mindlessly eat 3x more than the serving size! (Which is about 1/4 cup.) Portion it out and then have at it!
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3. Morning Star Garden Veggie Patties 
I love Morning Star products. They are perfect for the meals when you’re honestly too dang lazy to make anything else. You can whip them up in about 2 minutes in the microwave and I’m all about instant gratification when I’m hungry slash borderline hangry. (If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s when you’re so hungry you’re angry. Lemme tell ya, it ain’t pretty.) My favorite products are the Garden Veggie Patties or the Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burgers atop a whole wheat bun with some ultra-thin cheese. Mmmm. And the Chik’n Patties go great with whole wheat pasta, veggies, and marinara sauce! Most of these products are low in fat and calories, and did I mention they are vegetarian? But they taste just like the real thing! So all you veggie heads out there can enjoy these items and get some tasty protein in your diet!
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Note: the Morning Star breaded “chik’n” options can get a little high in the fat and sodium department, so be conscious of this. If you are watching your sodium intake then you may want to opt for the veggie patty/burger options as a lower sodium choice. Alternatively, Boca is another brand that makes products that are almost identical to Morning Star, but tend to be lower in both fat and sodium. For example, the Morning Star Spicy Chik’n Patty has 9 g of fat and 540 mg of sodium, while the Boca Spicy Chik’n Patty has only 4.5 g of fat and 380 mg of sodium. Next time you go to the store, read the labels for each of these products and weigh out your options.
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My favorite item, the Garden Veggie Patty has only 110 calories, 3.5 g of fat (1.5 of which are polyunsaturated and 0.5 are monounsaturated), 350 mg of sodium, and 10 g of protein. Not too shabby for a quick, easy, yummy lunch.
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If you didn’t already know, I really love ketchup. Don’t judge me. This is a Garden Veggie Patty on a whole wheat bun topped with ultra-thin cheese and mixed greens, alongside a baked sweet potato. One of my fav lunches.
4. Sargento Ultra-Thin Cheese
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Who doesn’t love cheese? My boyfriend is basically the King of Cheese, if there is such a thing. As his dietitian girlfriend, I just have to let that go and love him anyway. 😉 Let’s be honest, cheese is delicious on pretty much anything, but unfortunately it’s not always the healthiest add-on. However, this ultra-thin cheese is a great option if you want to use it on your burger, sandwich, with crackers, or if you’re just straight up snacking on cheese slices. (We’ve all done it.) It’s only 40 calories and 3 g of fat (per slice). That’s nothin’ for some added cheesy goodness. And the squares are pretty large- I even use half a piece when I put it on my sandwiches/Morning Star patties and then it’s only 20 calories! How great is that?! And it’s just enough to satisfy that cheesy craving we all inevitably have at least once a day. Stay ultra-thin by choosing ultra-thin cheese! 👍
Calories Fat Sodium Protein
Sargento Ultra-Thin Colby Jack

(1 slice)

40 ~3.3 g 70 mg ~2.3 g
Kraft BIG Slice Colby Jack (1 slice) 90 7 g 150 mg 5 g

The ultra-thin cheese has less than half the calories and fat of the BIG slice Colby Jack cheese!

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5. Quest Bars 
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Disclaimer: I’m not saying that Quest bars are the best “bar” out there, nutritionally that is. BUT I can’t deny they are absolutely delicious and honestly one of my top 5 favorite things ever. Ask anyone close to me; I have a Quest bar on me 99.9% of the time (in case of hunger emergencies, which happens to me quite often). They are a great snack and an even better dessert. They literally all taste like cookies/cookie dough/brownies or any other decadent dessert you could ever want. Heat it up for about 15 seconds in the microwave and you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Most Quest Bars are around 20 g of protein, 17 g of fiber, and 200 ish calories. However, they do have a few grams of saturated fat (around 3 g), but no trans fats. They have around 300 mg of sodium, which is quite high for a bar. My overall diet is pretty low in sodium and I workout every day, so I can justify it that way. ; ) But they may not be appropriate for everyone. Quest bars also contain sugar alcohols (such as erythritol), which are a little controversial. Some sugar alcohols have been shown to cause negative digestive and other health effects; however, erythritol has not been linked to these same issues. And it has way less calories than real sugar.
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Keep in mind that each individual is different and will react differently to certain foods and additives. If you consume something containing sugar substitutes/alcohols and notice that you’re feeling some discomfort, you may not tolerate that specific ingredient. For example, I am sensitive to aspartame, which is reason #1538382 I don’t drink soda, and why I can only drink Crystal Light in moderation. That is why it’s so important to be aware of ingredients in the foods you eat and how your body reacts to them! 
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There ya go – those are a few more of my favorite things. Try some of them out if you’re looking for some new, tasty, easy foods to include in your pantry/fridge at home.

Lastly, I’ll share one of the latest recipes I whipped up in the kitchen (alongside my beautiful mother, who actually found this recipe!) This meal was absolutely amazing and pleased the whole family (which is hard to do) – and required almost NO clean-up! Hallelujah.
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I didn’t know “foil pack” recipes were such a big thing until we made this, but I quickly discovered that they are everywhere! I will definitely have to experiment with more of them since this one was such a success. Mexican recipes just never do me wrong you guys, so I’ll probably keep ’em coming. I hope y’all enjoy this one as much as we did.
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foil pack chicken fajita bake.
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Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash taco seasoning mix
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 1 each green and red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa of your choice
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican shredded cheese
  • 1/2 red onion (optional – we liked the addition!)

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Fold up all sides of each of 4 large sheets of heavy duty foil to form 1-inch rim; spray with cooking spray.
  3. Combine rice, hot water and taco seasoning; spoon onto foil.

IMG_2352IMG_23534. Top with remaining ingredients.

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IMG_23585. Bring up foil sides and fold to make 4 packets. Place in 15x10x1 inch pan.

IMG_23596. Bake 30-35 minutes or until chicken has reached internal temperature of 165 F.

7. Cool 5 minutes. Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening packets.

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ENJOY! 🙂 Have a great rest of the week!
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eat well. live well. be happy. 
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Shanna
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#myfavoritethings #healthy #quick #easy #yummy #fitness #food #eatwell #eattolive #veggies #protein #nuts #fajita #healthyrecipes #wellnessforthewin
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