Zucchini Pasta with Garlic Avocado Sauce

unnamedYou will need:

3 zucchinis

2 avocados

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

10 medium sized fresh basil leaves

Shaved parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend the meat of the avocados, two garlic cloves and basil, slowly adding olive oil and lemon to the mixture. Depending on your size of processor, you may have to do one avocado at a time, put all processed ingredients into a bowl and whip together. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large pan, sauté zucchini noodles in a dash of olive oil for about five minutes on medium heat, or until chewy-not mushy!

Stir the hot zucchini noodles into your avocado sauce.

Pair with my Lemon Parmesan Chicken recipe, add shaved parmesan cheese, and serve!

 

 

Neon Citrus Salad

imageI like to say this is a “neon” salad because of its bright colors. The oranges and beet juice mixed together really do give it a bright pink hue! This is the salad/appetizer you break out to impress guests, and it requires very little time and effort!

If you want to go totally fresh and peel, boil and slice your beets yourself, go right ahead. If you’re looking for a heathy- yet  quick way to make this, then buy canned, sliced beets.

This  doesn’t really require measuring, you simply make what you want to eat. But I’ll list what I get from the store. I normally do an even beet to orange ratio.

 

3 oranges

2 cans of sliced beets

1/4 red onion

Crumbled goat cheese

walnuts

agave nectar or honey

sea salt

olive oil

 

Here we go:

Slice your beets, red onion, and oranges in very thin slices.  Mix together in a bowl, and spoon mixture on to plate. Sprinkle with olive oil, honey or agave, walnuts, and sea salt. (goat cheese optional) Use left over beet juice to drizzle on plate for decoration.

It’s really THAT simple. I just had to post this because sometimes we don’t think things like this will go together until someone like me tries some crazy you-know-what! And you’ll be glad I did- this is DELICIOUS!

 

ENJOY!

 

Photo cred: Instagram.com/mizzhogan

 

 

 

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

image   This dressing is SO fresh and so delicious, I find myself drinking it from the salad bowl once the lettuce is gone! It is seriously bs free, and seriously addicting. I make double batches and put the other half in a glass dressing bottle, stick it in the fridge, and save it for later. Since it has citrus in it, it will last a few days. It’s really good poured over grilled chicken with melted mozzarella cheese, or even over pasta! But in this case, we’ll stick to salad.

 

In a blender (I use the “Ninja”)…

 

Blend:

1/2 a bushel of fresh cilantro, with stems (about 30-40 sprigs)

2 heaping tablespoons of Veganaise (or any mayo you prefer)

the juice of one small lime

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 fresh garlic cloves (peeled)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

cracked black pepper to taste

For a super healthy salad, I love this dressing over fresh-chopped, ice cold romaine lettuce with red onion and cherry tomatoes cut in half. It really doesn’t need anything else! BUT since this falls into the southwestern food vibe, you CAN go crazy with shredded cheese, tortilla strips, shredded chicken seasoned with taco seasoning, avocado, etc.! Go crazy and let me know what you used it on in the comment area below!

 

ENJOY!

 

 

 

Traditional Lemon Pepper Caesar Dressing

unnamed.jpg Here’s a quick kitchen pick-me-up, and a staple every woman needs to have in her back pocket. So simple to make, but impressive to taste! It’s a dressing so creamy and tangy, you’d think you brought it home from a fancy Italian restaurant. Trust me, I am NOT a fan of watery, oily, tasteless dressing. I wouldn’t do that to you! I like creamy and zesty… and this dressing will have you whipping it up every night instead of going for the  salad “you’re just craving” from (insert your go to restaurant here.)

 

Here we go! …And FRESH ingredients make all the difference!

In no particular order…

MIX

-the juice of one lemon (strain seeds out)

-1 tablespoon of classic dijon mustard (makes it creamy)

-2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how oily you want it)

-one smashed and finely minced clove of fresh garlic

-fresh cracked sea salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk with a fork until blended completely. Drizzle over clean, COLD, freshly chopped romaine lettuce.

If you are not on a complete caveman diet, feel free to doctor this bad boy up with grated parmesan cheese, croutons, or capers if you’re daring. But honestly, it’s delicious just how it is!

 

Enjoy!

 

Photo cred: Instagram.com/mizzhogan

Hey guys! I thought I’d post a small daytime makeup tutorial today because fans have asked me if theres a happy medium on makeup. You want to look presentable for work or whatever your day brings, but you want to take care of your skin, let it breathe and not have to be committed to an intense makeup regimen every day. It seems some people get caught up in either wearing no makeup or plastering on waxy hollywood makeup. It’s a viscous circle full of orange stained hand towels, breakouts and makeup remover. I was the same way, until I developed this awesome 10 minute makeup trick. Let’s save the gallons of face wash and keep it simple.

 

I always start with “zit cover up.” Dab on a dot wherever you have a blemish and pat to blend with CLEAN hands. I use Neutrogena Skin Clearing Blemish Concealer in “Buff.”

Next, I cover under eye circles and combat puffiness with Garnier’s  Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller. It’s slightly tinted. I don’t believe it comes in color options unfortunately, but I do believe it is extremely versatile.

After we’ve gotten the imperfections on lock down, I do the “trickiest” part… and it’s actually not that tricky. First, I’ll just say this- all I see on Pinterest and Instagram are girls faces covered in what looks like war paint. Dark brown stripes and white lines that are used for “contouring.” I personally can’t fathom pushing dark brown  thick liquid down into my pores… To me it makes more sense to keep a barrier between my makeup and my skin…so after I lather on my SPF vitamin C day lotion, I only use powder on my face. And yes, I contour with powder too. Just seems like it would sit on top of your face rather than sink in. I may be crazy, but my skin has gotten 100x better from doing this.

QUICK TIP* Make sure your brushes are clean! And spray your powders with alcohol to sanitize. Let them dry before you dive in!

I use two pressed powder foundations by Mineral Fusion: one that matches my skin tone in olive 3, and one slightly lighter in olive 2. I use the lighter one near my eyes, cheek bones, upper lip, and in between my eyebrows. Basically where your face would be lighter… You don’t want a dark upper lip! Then I use the foundation that matches my skin tone everywhere else. Forehead, jaw bone, nose etc.

I contour and highlight with Mineral Fusion’s bronzer duo in “Luster.”

I use MAC’s blush in “Fleur” for the apples of my cheeks.

Mineral Fusion has an amazing three color TINY compact eye shadow in “Fragile.” That I use for my brow bone, crease and lid…and the best part is I use the dark brown to fill in my brows too!

For eye liner I use L’Oreal’s Infallible liner in brown, and use Maybelline’s Define-A-Brow twist up pencil to draw in my brows.

I finish with Cover Girl’s Lash Blast mascara in Very Black.

For lips,  a clear gloss with some shimmer, paired with a nude liner work perfectly.

Have fun!

 

xoxo

Brooke

 

 

 

Somethin’ Outta Nothin’ Pasta

imageI have a tendency to find myself in a certain dinner predicament: Needing to whip up a delicious and healthy meal for me and big Jack… And FAST. He’s a hungry one! Since I totally forgot to hit the grocery store, I had to make “something out of nothing” in a sense. So I dug through my pantry and this is what happened…

What I found in my house:

*two chicken breasts

*Half a tomato(if you have more than that, use it. It just boils down to sauce.)

*half of a red onion

*1 can tomato paste

*1 can Stewed tomatoes (because I didn’t have enough real tomato)

*shaker Parmesan cheese

*olive oil in my pantry

*butter

*soy sauce

*garlic salt/garlic in my fridge door

*a bag of uncooked pasta

side note: cook what you have. Not much of a measuring thing here. You’re hungry, you eat what you got, baby. This is pretty fool proof. 1 tomato? 3? Use whatever tomato you got! And if all else fails, olive oil and garlic makes a mean pasta dressing. Eyeball how much you’ll need for your sauce. 6 real tomatoes makes a good amount of sauce, but what I did here does too. I’ll give you my non emergency home made sauce recipe later. Watch your seasonings of course.

Directions:

-In a large frying pan on low heat pour 1/4 cup olive oil and add 1/4 stick of butter

-add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic or half a teaspoon of garlic powder, and chopped red onion

-Fill a pot halfway with water, bring water to a boil (adding a pinch of salt makes it boil faster. Sodium chloride mixed with the h2o causes a reaction-causing the molecules to move faster, creating friction, equalling HEAT. I’m not a scientist, but I like to think I’m a jack of all trades…)

-whenever that water is boiling, plop your pasta in and follow the directions on the box of whatever pasta you have! If you aren’t sure, 8-12 minutes usually cooks all pasta. Test it CAREFULLY by taking out a piece and letting it cool. Eat it…Obviously. Good for you? Great, me too.

IN THE MEANTIME…

-Cut up whatever tomato, cherry tomatoes, whatever you have tomato wise. Mine came out to about a cup of real tomato. Bring to a medium heat. Cook it down till it’s almost a chunky sauce.

-Add stewed tomatoes and tomato paste

-keep adding olive oil, pepper, Italian seasoning, salt until you like it. Italians TASTE as they go. If you don’t, you may find yourself looking like a puffer fish the next morning from too much salt! Or worse, you may have a really bad case of garlic breath. Let simmer on low. Add olive oil if it starts to dry out.

-while doing all this- cook your chicken quickly like this: put a splash of olive oil and garlic salt in another frying pan. Wash then cut the chicken into 1 inch square chunks with a knife or go straight redneck and cut it with CLEAN scissors over the pan. Cook on medium/high heat for about 10 minutes stirring constantly. It should sizzle the whole time.

-Now this may sound so strange, but it changed the game taste wise and gave the chicken a beautiful golden color: halfway through cooking, surprise your chicken with a SPLASH ( like two teaspoons) of SOY SAUCE. Mind:blown.

-I timed my dinner like this:

Start sauce, keep it simmering the whole time

start to boil water

wash and cut chicken, start that

throw pasta in

finish chicken and sauce

have all your ingredients cut and prepped before you begin

strain pasta, let it sit there for a second while you pour sauce and chicken into the pot you cooked the pasta in. Then put the strained pasta back in.

Stir it all around until it’s mixed up and serve. Sprinkle with cheese and enjoy!!!

TIP: A stocked spice rack will also save your butt in the worst conditions. Most important in my cabinet is basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper, turmeric and cilantro.

Have fun!

Lemon Parmesan Chicken

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 9.05.37 PMIf you could hear the snap-crackle-pop of this chicken, you would run to the store right now and make it immediately. The best part is that its the healthiest version of crunchy, juicy chicken you can find! You can put it over pasta with your favorite sauce, but I prefer it alone..in its natural beauty.

ONE chicken breast will turn into two. It is very important you cut the breasts THIN. (Cut them in half like you would a bagel.)

(coats about 6-8 thin chicken breasts)

In one LARGE bowl DRY MIX:

-One box of plain panko bread crumbs

1 table spoon of each:

(chopped or from a shaker;fresh is always best!)

-oregano

-thyme

-basil

-rosemary

-garlic salt

-In a smaller bowl mix 4 egg yolks. MUST be yolks ONLY!

Set washed and cut chicken breasts on a plate. Reserve another plate for finished, breaded chicken.

TIP: I position my set up like this, from left to right:

~plate of raw chicken/egg yolks/panko/empty plate~

I have found that the messier you get, the bread crumbs get wet, and they lose their “coatablity.” So this method works very well for me: I keep one hand hovering the egg yolks, and one hovering the panko. You do not need to use two hands for both steps, and it saves you from washing your hands after every breast. I use my left hand to dunk the chicken in the egg yolk, pass it to my other hand, and pull excess yolk off the chicken during the pass off. I then use my right hand only to roll the chicken in the panko. (Basically keeping my right hand as dry as possible.) It seems more complicated than it is, but if you can get it down, it makes the process SO much easier.

When coating the chicken with panko, press it into the crumbs. Pressing makes it grab more. More panko=more crunch.

Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. I normally fill the pan until the whole bottom is coated, and then some. I use about 1/4-1/2 cup of olive oil. Seems like a lot, but the chicken needs to bathe in it. I wish I could…it smells so good! Chicken should sizzle-NOT pop-when you put it in the pan.

Reduce to a low heat (mine continues to sizzle even on low heat-so keep the sizzle by all means!)

Cook for about 7-8 minutes, occasionally turning over with tongs.

Remove from oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and sea salt. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the chicken, and serve.

Enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream Breakfast Shake

unnamedLone behold! We’ve done it again! I have concocted a SHAKE-not smoothie (shakes are yummier)- that tastes like something from Sonic. But way better for you. Added bonus if you drink it after a great workout!

First you need to peel and freeze ripe bananas. This is nice because frozen things stay good ’till you want to use them. I hate to see food go to waste, so this works for me!

DIRECTIONS:

Take one of those frozen bananas and plop it into your blender.

ADD:

1 cup vanilla UNSWEETENED almond milk.

a pinch of sea salt (My almond butter isn’t very salty… this gives it more of a peanut butter vibe.)

a fat tablespoon of almond butter

HALF scoop of “Jay Robb’s” egg white vanilla protein (we don’t want to bulk up!)

Then let the magic begin…

LIQUIFY THAT BABY and grab a jumbo straw! This should have the consistency of a real ice cream shake…SO good!

If its too thick and won’t blend, slowly add more almond milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Enjoy!

Photo cred: instagram.com/mizzhogan

Skinny Chocolate Banana Muffins

unnamed Are you ready to have your tastebuds and mind blown? Like I said in my “skinny pina colada” post, I am determined to create good-for-you versions of all the things I love. I have tried every fad diet, and struggled with staying thin my whole life. If I work out too hard, I eat too much and that equals bulky… If I starve myself, I can’t work out because I’m exhausted, and doing nothing is just…nothing. I am not only tall, I love being athletic, but I also love being girly and wearing cute clothes. But then I love to eat. This has always created a problem. Bulky quads don’t always fit into that pair of cute Seven jeans. All that aside, I finally feel like I’ve found the perfect balance: Healthy food substitutes that actually taste just as good as the real thing, paired with cardio and light weights here and there. In my next post, we will get to the workouts, but for now, lets talk about my favorite part…the FOOD.

Now these aren’t just diet muffins, and they aren’t just a slightly healthier version of something thats still “fattening.” Side note: “Oh they’re gluten free!” does NOT mean the calories were removed, people. But THESE are the holy grail of muffins. I have eaten four in a day and felt and looked fine. And the scale agrees! The trick is getting a small amount of bs-free batter to rise like a real muffin…That’s where calorie and yeast free baking soda and apple cider vinegar come in! They do all the heavy lifting here. Thanks, guys. Anyway, these muffins have about 1/8 of a banana and a teaspoon of almond butter in each MUFFIN. You can make them with or without the dark chocolate chips, but I think those make them even more amazing. And the only oil you use is what you spray the muffin tin with. I’m serious, you have to taste these to believe it. So get baking…thank me later.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mash 3 very ripe bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork.

Add 1 cup of almond butter

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of sea salt

4 packets of truvia natural sweetener

(use salt and sweetener to YOUR taste. This is the way I make my muffins, but I like my muffin a bit more salty so the sweetness of the chocolate compliments it. This is something you have to personally test out on your own.)

Spray muffin tin with oil. The better it’s coated, the easier they pop out. Fill each cup with batter about 3/4 full. (They do rise!) drop 3-5 dark chocolate chips on the top of each one (they sink to the bottom).

Bake for 12 minutes.

I’ve noticed these are very hard to burn, so before you dig in, check them once you pull them out of the oven. Stick a fork in one of them and make sure the fork comes out clean. If batter is on the fork, that means they’re still gooey inside. Bake them for about 3 more minutes.

These are very delicate when they are hot. Once they cool, they are a little more sturdy.

Store in an air-tight covered dish in the fridge.

Wha-la! Enjoy!

photo cred: www.bruceamoroso.com

Boxed wine? Yes please!

2012Bota_MosBoxed wine? Thats what I asked myself when my neighbor, Chip brought a Bota Box over. I was of course, very thankful (not many people do the “old school” bring-a-bottle-of-wine-over thing anymore), but very intrigued, and slightly doubtful that this sucker could measure up to my picky palate.

 

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! Not only did Chip bring wine over, but he brought four bottles worth! Yep! This lil thang packs the equivallent of FOUR bottles of wine. And I’m not gonna lie- taste wise, it’s like the wine you would get at a fine steak house. New addiction!

 

Bota Box makes almost every category of wine, and all of them are delicious. This wine erases all previous assumptions of what boxed wine is about. Yes, it is  “cheap” for the amount of wine you’re getting. But the quality will make you wonder why they don’t charge more for it. (Maybe they are just really nice people that just want to give wine away to people like me… Maybe its a hobby…) Probably not, but it sure makes you start thinking things like that. When I drink this wine, I feel a genuine sense of gratitude toward the person behind the operation. THANK YOU for giving me an exceptional product and not ripping me off!

 

I especially adore the packaging because of four attributes:

1. The wine is preserved more than twice the amount of time than a bottle you stick a cork back in. So if its just you nursing it, it will last!

2. It has a tap. They call it a “flex-tap.” Oh, you fancy, huh?

3. Super portable. It even has a little handle! (It’s the small things in life…)

4. Recyclable. They love the earth. ‘Nuff said.

 

Right now I’m sipping on my new obsession: Bota’s Shiraz. Its buttery and rich, while having a snappy, fruity undertone. So nice to end the day with!  Bota Box is changing the way I look at boxed wine. I’m officially in love.

 

xoxo,

Brooke

 

Photo cred: http://www.botabox.com