Healthy Chicken Fajita Recipe

Chicken Fajitas

Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines. This is a staple in our house! Enjoy!

Healthy Chicken Fajita RecipeServes 4-5

Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 red bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

1 medium onion

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 avocado

Spices: 

1 Tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 tsp granulated garlic

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust if you like more or less heat)

In a bowl, add chopped chicken breast, spices, 1 tablespoon olive oil, sliced bell pepper and onion. If you can, let it marinade in the fridge for a few hours.

In a pan, over medium heat, add everything in the bowl. Cook until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender. Enjoy with sliced avocado on top!

 

How to Make this Thanksgiving Your Healthiest

Simple Ways to Make This Thanksgiving Your Healthiest

Six Tips to Help You This Year
How to Make this Thanksgiving Your Healthiest Let’s face it. Thanksgiving only comes once a year. I don’t think it’s necessary to have to alter your tasty family recipes. Some people have found healthier recipes and truly enjoy them! For me, I only have them a few times a year, so my approach to Thanksgiving is a little different. I’ve found that if I can be strategic for other meals during the day, stay mindful during dinner, and move, I don’t have problems feeling like I’ve fallen off track with my nutrition goals. Plus, I don’t feel guilty for enjoying my dinner!

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Many people will often skip this meal to save calories for the Thanksgiving feast. I’ve found it can increase my food cravings and cause me to overeat.

Action Steps: eat a breakfast filled with protein and vegetables the morning of Thanksgiving. Skip the carbs – you’ll enjoy them at dinner!

My two favorites: a protein shake with sauteed vegetables OR a veggie omelet.

Exercise the Morning of Thanksgiving

It’s simple: eat more, move more. This will help jumpstart your metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day. I love to mix in a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training.

Action Steps: find a way to move. It doesn’t need to be the perfect workout, just move.

Don’t Forget Lunch

Again, it’s best to eat throughout the day to keep our metabolism running. Don’t skip any meals on Turkey day. I know for me, when I skip meals, it usually leads to a disaster of overeating. Also be thinking of how you can keep yourself hydrated. My goal is to drink at least two liters of water before dinner.

Action steps: Drink plenty of water. Choose a lunch filled with protein and vegetables.

My favorites: a salad with tuna or chicken, pickled asparagus wraps with a side salad, or leftovers if available.

For your Thanksgiving meal, choose your favorite carbohydrates

Sweet potato casserole only comes twice a year for me. Therefore, I know I’m going to add that to my plate. However, the dinner roll? It’s more of a filler. Skip the carbs you don’t really love to save on calories. Again, visualize your dinner plate to measure the appropriate amount of carbs to eat. Focus on three to four bites of your favorites, especially if you’ll be enjoying dessert.

My favorites: Sweet potatoes, a few bites of regular potatoes, pretzel salad and stuffing. If I can keep portion sizes small, I get to enjoy the taste without feeling stuffed.

Pre-dinner

  • Create a veggie platter for munchies as you work on food preparation and pre-dinner socializing.
  • Choose to alter your dipping sauce – pick hummus over fattening dips
  • If you catch yourself socializing and eating mindlessly, socialize away from the food. It works!

During Dinner

  • Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes 10-20 minutes for the brain to realize you’re full. If you’re a fast eater especially, wait at least 10 minutes before thinking about wanting seconds.
  • Eat slow and enjoy every bite. This will help recognize you’re full faster. Ask yourself if you can taste all the flavors. To help you eat less, engage in conversation and set down your fork with every bite.

My favorite trick: chew your food thoroughly! I used to chomp, chomp, then swallow. When I took the time to really chew, my eating speed slowed down tremendously.

  • Drink water with your meal.

If you need to take a nap shortly after your Thanksgiving meal, you know you’ve eaten too much.

Choose what tips will work best for you this holiday. I know for me, when I take a step back and pay attention to my eating speed and listening to when I’m satisfied, I eat less. Plus, it helps to start with a smaller serving so I don’t feel uncomfortably full from overeating. Each year I’ve worked on this, I’ve gotten better and better at not overdoing it.

 

Veggie Packed Lasagna

Lasagna can be great comfort food, but it doesn’t always have to be packed with calories and fat. I’m always looking to elevate meals by adding more vegetables. With the added vegetables and controlled amount of cheese and noodles, we have found this recipe to be a hit! Plus, it tastes so fresh and light, versus heavy.

Ingredients

  • 6 brown rice noodles
  • 1/2 container of ricotta cheese (about 8 oz)
  • 3 heaping handfuls of spinach
  • 1 small crown of broccoli
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 2 handfuls of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound ground turkey or grassfed ground beef
  • 1 jar of low sugar marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 can of sliced black olives
  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and saute chopped onion. Once the onion is translucent, add ground turkey or beef and cook through. Add marinara sauce.
  2. In a small bowl, add ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, chopped broccoli, and one egg.
  3. With a mandolin, slice zucchini into long strips, like lasagna noodles.
  4. In a 9×13 pan, cover the pan lightly with the meat sauce. Then, layer 3 brown rice noodles. On top of noodles,  1/2 the ricotta cheese and vegetable mix, 1/2 the meat sauce, 1/2 of the black olives and 1/2 of the zucchini noodles. Top with one handful of mozzarella cheese. Then, add your last three brown rice noodles, the remaining half of the veggie and cheese mix, the remaining half of the meat sauce, the remaining black olives and zucchini noodles. Finish with one more handful of mozzarella.
  5. Cover the pan then bake at 350 for 60 minutes.

 

How to Read a Nutrition Label

The Easiest & Fastest Way to Elevate Your Nutrition

How To Read a Nutrition Label to Improve Your Diet

Learn How to Read a Nutrition LabelThis label is Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats

Look at the ingredient list first

If I were to ask most people what the first thing they look at on a nutrition label, they would say calories. This is important, but not as important as knowing what’s in your food. Sure, it might be 100 calories, but what’s in it?

Two things to think of:

  • Strive for 5 ingredients or less. The best foods have a single ingredient! Vegetables, fruit, raw nuts or seeds, chicken breast, etc. If you’re buying something in a package or bag, strive for five ingredients or less.
  • Be able to pronounce everything. Sometimes a nutrition label will have more than five ingredients, but if you know exactly what everything is, no problem. If you don’t know what it is or can’t pronounce an ingredient, look to leave it at the store.

If you stick to foods with minimal ingredients, you will elevate your nutrition tremendously!

Reduced fat, lower sugar, fat-free products

In pictures below(from left to right): Regular Jif Peanut Butter, Reduced Fat Jif Peanut butter, Adams Natural Peanut Butter

pb3pb2The first thing I do is compare it to the original product. I always like to give the example of original Jif peanut butter. If you compare the regular peanut butter to the reduced fat, you may notice the reduced fat has a much longer ingredient list. Yes, the fat has been reduced, but was has been added to make this lower in fat? Sugar, ingredients, carbohydrates, etc. The best choice of peanut butter is to buy a brand that just says roasted peanuts on the ingredient list. Look for the same thing in dairy products. I always buy the package with minimal ingredients, but I watch portions closely.

Here’s an example of fat-free dressing. It’s a long ingredient list.

fat free dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much sugar?

Strive for five grams or less.

Also, look to see if it has added sugar. Unsweetened dairy products will have natural sugar, but anything flavored has added sugar. Unsweetened dairy is the best choice. Another common healthy food is dried fruit. Read the ingredient list to be sure you aren’t purchasing dried fruit with added sugar. Buy dried fruit that has one ingredient on the label (the fruit itself).

If any food item has added sugar, look to ditch it. 

How much fiber? Protein?

You’ll find most of your fiber from vegetables, fruit and whole grains. When buying whole grains, look to purchase grains that have 3+ grams of fiber. 5 or more is ideal.  I have found if I eat 20 grams of protein with each meal, I stay full for at least three hours and I have minimal cravings.  So, if I choose the Bob’s Red Mill Oats, I’ll stick to the serving size, but add a few eggs to keep the protein high for the total meal.

Sodium

The most sodium packed foods are usually canned goods and processed foods. If you take these out of your grocery cart, you’ll cut down on your salt intake dramatically. I’ll buy chicken, beef or vegetable broth when I’m in a pinch, but I’ll buy low sodium broth.

Serving Size & Servings Per Container

This is an easy one to miss. Think of a serving size of cereal or ice cream. How easy is it to just dump cereal into a bowl or scoop ice cream from the pint? If the serving size isn’t realistic for you, you might want to consider keeping it out of the house until it does become realistic.

 Fat, Cholesterol, Carbohydrates.

 I personally don’t like to buy products that have vegetable oil, canola oil, or partially hydrogenated oils. All of these would be the fat source in the food item.

Carbohydrates will vary from person to person, especially when it’s based off of activity level. For someone who’s looking to lose weight, monitoring carbohydrates per meal works great. 25-30 grams is a good start, then trial and error to find what works best for you.

 Use the % Daily Value as a Quick Reference

 Now, the % Daily Values is based off of a 2,000 calorie diet. Certain individuals need less while others need more. I like to use this as a standard quick guide. 5% is considered low, while anything over 20% is high.

 Don’t be fooled by Smart Marketing

marketingYou’ll see many products that state they are “Natural” or “Whole Grain” but be sure to read your labels first.

Prague

Explore the Jewish Quarter

praguebetterYou can pay for what sites you want to see, but we paid our way into all of the sites. We liked the Jewish cemetery and the Old-New Synagogue best. The buildings in this area were beautiful!

 

 

 

Also, the Castle Quarter

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Our hotel was right next to the Charles Bridge. Our first day, we crossed the bridge and wandered in and out of shops until we arrived to the Castle Quarter. It’s an area that’s walled in and contains a large cathedral, Saint Vitus, a treasury, the Golden Lane, and much more. Our favorite was the Golden Lane that consisted of tiny living quarters for many of the city’s workers. They were lived in until WWII.

Visit the John Lennon Wall 

prague2It’s a memorial to John Lennon and his ideas for peace. It’s also a monument to free speech.

 

 

 

 

Old Town and the Astronomical Clock 

prague4Great food vendors are in the square and people gather round for the clock to go off every hour. You can enjoy the wooden figure apostles, the Astronomical Dial and the Calendar Dial.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Of course, enjoy a walk over the Charles Bridge 

prague5You can shop the vendors and observe artists doing their work.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the local beer and food

20140914_190314_editedczechfoodWhat a treat. We usually started out splitting a beer, but always ended up ordering more. The bread dumplings, pork and sauerkraut were so tasty.

Germany

When I first booked my trip to Germany last year (2014), I was mostly excited for Oktoberfest. So many people have this on their bucket list! I’m happy to say I’ve checked that box, but looking back on the trip, it was actually one of my least favorite memories. We spent the first three nights of our trip in Prague. Read more here. Then, we explored Bavaria.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber – 2 nights 

20140917_113935 (2)This is the best small town I’ve been to in Europe and highly recommend coming here. I loved the buildings, the signs for each shop, walking through the town, and just relaxing! This isn’t a lot to see here, but you will definitely enjoy your time.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the square

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People gather around at the top of the hour to watch a mechanical drinking scene. Back in 1631, the mayor of the city had to drink over three liters of wine in order to save the town. Our hotel was the yellow building and is 600 years old. It was old, but clean and they offered a nice breakfast.

 

 

Walk through the town 

rothenburg2

buildingsThere are so many cute cafes and shops. Like I mentioned above, each building has a unique sign hanging on their building.

 

 

 

Shop at Käthe Wohlfahrt

kathe

There are a few shops around Germany and Rothenburg hosts one of them. To say I love Christmas is an understatement. This holiday shop is incredible and we ended up spending over 300 euro in gifts for ourselves and family. You can’t take pictures inside, so this was the only shot I have from my trip.

 

 

 

Walk the wall and down below the city 

rothenburg

The wall is neat and it closes the city in. There are plaques on the wall that show the names of donors who contributed to the rebuilding of the city. The countryside below the town is quiet and great for enjoying a nice walk.

 

 

 

Take the Nights Watchman Tour 

rothenburg4

For 7 euro a piece, you follow a man dressed as a night’s watchman. This tour went through the entire history of Rothenburg from start until today.

 

 

 

Other highlights:

St. Jakob church

Füssen – 2 nights 

Visit Neuschwanstein Castle

fuessen2I’m pretty sure most people who come here, visit the castle. It’s a nice 30 minute hike up to the castle. Be sure to walk to Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge) and even venture up a little more for a better view of the castle. It almost looks fake as you stare from a far!

 

 

Also Visit Hohenschwangau Castle

It was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. You get to see much more inside compared to the other castle. Look to purchase tickets early in the day if you’re going in peak season.

 

 

 

Enjoy the German food (at Madame Plüsch)

germanfood soupfinalAlways ask the locals for restaurant suggestions. We enjoyed awesome food from this restaurant. It was so good, we learned to make it at home.

 

 

 

Munich – 3 nights 

Day One: It was opening day of Oktoberfest! Munich throws this awesome parade and I’m happy we were able to experience it. The horses were decked out in gear, locals were wearing their best lederhosen or dirndl and everyone was just happy! It ended up being a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to join the fun. After watching the entire parade, we headed to the festival. Little did I know, it was basically a large fair. I always gave the analogy it was the Puyallup fair on steroids. It was huge! Lots of carnival rides, food vendors, games, and of course, the beer tents. We grabbed lunch first, then walked around to the many beer tents. After recognizing our favorite German beer tent, Hacker-Pschorr, we thought it would be best to wait in line to get in. We waited, waited, waited, and waited some more. After waiting nearly three hours to get in, we gave up. We walked around trying to get in to other tents and didn’t have much luck. After our fourth attempt at a tent, we finally got in to one with standing room only. For the other tents, if you didn’t have a seat, you didn’t get a beer. I’ll never forget the staff saying, “No sit, no beer!” Inside the tent was fun, but since it was just the two of us, we were over it in a few hours. After leaving the tent, all we noticed were drunk people passed out on the grass and puke everywhere. My experience of Oktoberfest (patience, party, puke). I would highly recommend NOT attempting Oktoberfest on opening day. We ended up meeting a nice couple and learned they showed up to their tent of choice at 7 AM just to get a table.

munich1

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Day Two: 1/2 day trip to Dachau

dachau1

The original and first concentration camp in Germany. The site includes the original crematorium, a museum, one replica barrack and a few items like shoes, clothing, a desk, plus more.

 

 

 

Other highlights of Munich:

Visit the Hofbräuhaus

steinsfinalThis is what I was expecting from Oktoberfest. It has many floors to listen to music and enjoy a liter of beer. We met two nice couples from the U.S. and listened to music.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy a Bavarian creme donut

jenThere are cafes all around Munich who serve pastries. This one did not disappoint! We split this donut on the first day, but the next day, I needed my own 🙂

Florence

Visit the Statue of David (Galleria dell’Accademia)

IMG_1441This flawless sculpture is something to see with your own eyes. You are not able to take pictures inside so I’ll hold the picture of the statue in my memory forever! Keep in mind, this is a pink statue in courtyard after you exit the museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Gelato in Italy 

IMG_1507There is something about the gelato in Florence! If I hadn’t read that most people think it’s the best in Italy, I would have been saying it to others myself. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo 

IMG_1411You might go up several flights of stairs, but it was one of the best views of Florence.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the view from the Bell Tower (Giotto’s Campanile) 

IMG_1363IMG_1381Back to more stairs! This has great views of the cathedral next door. You’ll also get amazing views of Florence.

 

 

 

 

Visit Duomo 

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This Gothic cathedral was built in the late 1800’s and is covered with pink, green and white Tuscan marble. I enjoy walking through all cathedrals and this one didn’t disappoint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a day trip to Siena 

IMG_1489It has one of the best squares in Italy (II Campo) and an art-packed cathedral with mosaic floors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other highlights: 

Shopping the market.

 

 

Capri, Italy

Naples + Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri

How to Spend Three Nights in Naples

When I thought of visiting Italy, I visualized the major landmarks. Naples showed me what real life looks like. We watched kids play soccer in the streets, dodging cars when needed. We also watched people try to pick pocket others on the train. I wouldn’t come back to stay the night in Naples, but perhaps a day trip. I would recommend staying in Sorrento and taking a day trip to Naples.

Day One: Explore Naples 

Eat at the famous pizzeria (Antica Pizzeria da Michele)

IMG_1107Julia Roberts filmed Eat, Pray, Love here. The pizza was great! You only get two choices of pizza. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico)

Day Two: Day trip to Pompeii/Sorrento 

IMG_1179 IMG_1161 IMG_1162So much history in Pompeii! We were able to get a guided tour (for 10 euro a piece) right at the entrance. We loved our tour guide and he walked us through all the major areas to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1227Sorrento was beautiful. Not a lot to do, but great to relax, people watch, and enjoy some shopping.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Three: Capri 

IMG_1314IMG_1274Capri was a nice getaway, but I felt most people come here to relax & spend a weekend. Spending a day on the island was ok, but I wouldn’t feel like I would need to come back. I did enjoy the gondola ride up to the top of the island. Great views! It’s hard to beat the beautiful blue water!

 

Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona

This was the last stop for our Europe 2013 trip. After spending the first eight days in London and Paris, it was time to relax in Barcelona. This was a great way to end the trip! We felt Barcelona was much more laid back compared to the first two stops of the trip. Plus, the hotel room was huge compared to our boxes in London and Paris.

My favorite memories in Barcelona 

Casa Batlló

Casa Batllo

Since we were trying to stay within our budget, we chose this house of the famous Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces. The inside was underwhelming, but the rooftop was a wow.

 

 

 

 

Park Güell

Park Güell in Barcelona, SpainAnother landmark to visit from Antoni Gaudí’. Lots of great architecture and gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

Boqueria Market

Boqueria Market

I will always remember the bright colors in the market. Whether it’s candy, smoothies, meat or fresh produce, it’s a fun area to walk around.

 

 

 

 

 

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain

The never ending Catholic church? They have been working on this since 1882 and it’s still not finished. When we were there, the line to get in was wrapped down the block and around the corner. We bought tickets online before leaving our trip and walked right in. I highly suggest doing this!

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Stained Glass in Europe?

Sagrada Família stained glass in Barcelona, Spain

The outside might not be the prettiest, but it sure makes up for it inside! It’s the best stained glass I’ve seen in Europe yet.

 

 

 

 

Sagrada Família stained glass in Barcelona, Spain

 

Other highlights:

Enjoy some tapas & sangria! Taller Tapas was recommended to us and it didn’t disappoint.

Day trip out of the city. Sitges was recommended to us.

Tibidabo

Vienna

Vienna was our last stop in our 2015 Europe trip. We spent three nights here and stayed in the city every day/night except 1/2 day trip to Hallstat. Out of all the cities in Europe I’ve been to, this was the most beautiful. The only downfall was booking our trip during the “off season” of the symphony. We went on a guided tour of the Opera House, but I would have loved to experience a show.

My favorite memories in Vienna 

Mozarthaus Concert Venue

vienna concert

This was a great alternative to the symphony. We found out about this private music show through our guidebook and it was such a treat. The room held about 70 people and four musicians played Mozart and Beethoven. I couldn’t stop smiling during the show. You can really feel the emotion of each musician as they played. Their facial expressions would show they were playing a sad part during the song and then you would feel the excitement during other parts of the song. It was by far one of my most treasured memories on this trip. It cost about 50 euro a piece.

 

 

 

The coffee

cafe mozart coffee

I am not a coffee drinker. I’ve always liked the smell, but never the taste….until coming to Vienna. Taber loves his coffee and he kept raving about how much he enjoyed it. So, one morning, I thought I would give it a try. Finally, coffee where I love the smell and taste! I drank my entire French press.

The food and coffee at Cafe Mozart falls into my “It’s Worth It” category. Our two coffees cost more than our breakfast!

 

 

 

 

Schönbrunn Palace

vienna castle

This reminded me of Versailles in Paris. It’s huge! If you’re looking to go, purchase a ticket online. We showed up around 12 PM and had to wait over two hours to tour the palace. Since you have to wait for a self-guided tour, they only offer so many per hour. The gardens are beautiful as well as the large terrace looking down on the palace.

 

Belvedere Palace

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This was more like an art museum versus a walking through an old palace. Still, it was enjoyable!

 

 

 

 

Walking through Kärntner Strasse

This pedestrian only street is filled with shopping and cafes. We stopped by the famous Demel chocolate shop. The chocolate was good, but I wasn’t impressed with the cakes. They were a little dry and I didn’t even finish the dessert. We also walked through St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

 

 

Day Trip to Hallstat

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We hit this on a rainy day, but it was still gorgeous. We wished we would have stayed a few nights here! It’s very small, but has great charm. We took a bus here and we’re allowed two hours in town. Our first stop was up the tram to the top of the town. The view was worth our time!

 

 

Visit the crypts

DSC_0746This was located at the Hallstat’s Catholic church. After burying people here for 12 years, they ended up running out of room. Therefore, many of the bones and skulls were dug up and placed in this chapel. Each skull is decorated differently and represent something specific.

 

 

Other things I would recommend:

Visit the Hofburg Treasury

St. Peter’s Church

Danieli Ristorante

Cafe Sacher