Farmers Market First Timer

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Have you visited your local Farmer’s Market? Have you hesitated because you thought it was only for people who ate organic? Or thought the prices would be too high?

Today, I want to ask you to give your local Farmer’s Market at chance. Just once.

I have a local Farmer’s Market that is within 5 miles of my home. For months I have said I wanted to go check it out, but never actually made a visit until this weekend. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, I thought there would be more vendors. I learned, however, that more vendors gather at the mid-week Farmer’s Market.

Nevertheless, I walked away with two big bags full of purchases!

Check out my video with my haul from my first trip to the Farmer’s Market – and make sure to let me know what you like about YOUR local market!

(I’m working on my video skills! LOL!)

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NotSo30’s Cheddar-Stuffed Perfect Burgers

Being that it is Memorial Day weekend, barbecues around the country are making countless burgers and hot dogs. Why not make yours a little bit more exceptional than the norm?

Today I prepared Cheddar-Stuffed Burgers. They are easy, delicious, and can be customized an endless number of ways. The best part is HOW I prepare my burger patties in the perfect shape every time!

What You Will Need:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 2″ Wide Block of Cheddar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Baking Sheet
  • Aluminum Foil
  • 2 Cup Measuring Cup
  • Cutting board or mat
  • Paper towels

Notes:

  • I used 85% Beef/15% Fat ground meat. I usually stick to this or 90% Beef/10% Fat ground meat. If you go with a higher fat percentage your burgers will be too greasy, and any lower than this fat percentage your burgers will be very dry.
  • I used a 2 cup measuring cup, as it is what I had handy that was circular. Feel free to use the small round take-out containers you find at your local deli. Basically, you want something with about a 4″ diameter.
  • Do not pre-mix your ground meat with seasonings. Hand mixing the ground beef results in a chewier and dried burger. This is due to the heat in your hand melts and emulsifies the fat in the ground meat.

Instructions:

  1. Cover your baking sheet in aluminum foil. Try to make the foil as flat on the sheet as possible. It won’t be perfect, but smooth it out as much as you can before you wrap the foil around the edges of the sheet.
  2. Salt and Pepper the foil. Yea. You read that right. You will understand this step later. Make it look something like this. IMG_8679
  3. Slice your block of cheddar cheese. Keep your slices to 1/4″ or less. Set aside.
  4. Place 2 paper towels (stacked) on top of a cutting board or mat. Set aside.
  5. Grab golf ball-sized amount of meat and GENTLY press it down into the bottom of your measuring cup. Try to have as little hands-on time as possible. I use the back of my fingers to gently press the meat down.  If you need to add a little more meat, go ahead. You want a layer at the bottom of the cup, and not so thin as it will crumble apart when you try to take out the patty later.
  6. Place one (or two if you are feel crazy) slice of cheddar in the middle of your patty. (Warning: If you decide to go crazy and add two slices, you will need extra meat to cover the cheese and it may result in an over-sized burger patty that may not cook as evenly.) I gently press the cheese into the patty, just to slightly wedge it in place. Your patty should now look like this. You should have no holes on the lower portion of the patty. IMG_8681
  7. Grab another golf ball-sized piece of meat and place it on top of the meat. Now, gently press the meat down and out towards the edge of the measuring cup.
  8. Once you have an even top layer of your patty, and can not see the cheese, prepare for war! I mean, to knock the patty out of the cup.
  9. While holding both side of the measuring cup, turn over the cup and give it a few solid WHACKS on the cutting board (on top of the paper towels) to knock the patty out of place.
  10. Lift the patty up and place it on top of your seasoned aluminum foil. (Voila! The bottom of your burger is now seasoned!) IMG_8680
  11. Repeat steps 5 – 10 with the rest of your ground meat and cheese.
  12. Once all of your patties are ready, season the top with salt and pepper.
  13. You are now ready for the grill! ENJOY!

    I experimented with two different sized measuring cups here. Unless you want a hockey puck, stick with the larger 2 cup measuring cup

    I experimented with two different sized measuring cups here. Unless you want a hockey puck, stick with the larger 2 cup measuring cup

21 Day Fix: Mind Blown

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If there was one thing that blew my mind about 21 Day Fix, it was HOW MUCH FOOD the plan had me eating! I always thought eating “healthy” meant eating almost nothing. 21 Day Fix taught me how wrong I was… Here I have 5 lunches portioned out per the 21 Day Fix containers, and I KNOW I won’t be able to get through all of this during lunch.

What did I make? I’ll call it “Angie’s Little Bit of Everything”…
Onions, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, peas, tomatoes and chicken… All seasoned with FlavorGod Garlic Lover’s Seasoning and on multigrain spaghetti.

TONS of veggies, TONS of flavor!!!

Tomorrow is Day 1 of 21 Day Fix!!! Woot Woot!!!

#LUNCH!

I know I haven’t posted much lately… Oops! But no excuses.

NotSo30s - Lunch Salad

Today I am excited to share my lunch. Yes, I know that too many people post random pictures of their food, but I am sharing mine for a reason. Within one mile of my office I have a KFC, Burger King, McDonalds, Chipotle and more quick-lunch options. I also have a Giardino Salads. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve fallen to temptation. Not today though. I craaaaved this. I call this salad “The Mely”. I customized my salad based on a salad my friend made me MONTHS ago. It was so good back then that I still try to replicate it now. Here we have baby greens, strawberries, mandarins, dried cranberries (only a little), fresh mozzarella and a small scoop of roasted skinless chicken breast. The dressing is on the side so I can control the amount. What I love about this salad is that the juicy strawberries and mandarins reduce the need for much dressing! I had a ton of options for lunch today, but this was a WIN!

Now tell me… What did YOU have for lunch today that was a healthy WIN? – COMMENT BELOW!

 

Please feel free to contact me at NotSo30s@gmail.com

Making those HEALTHY Choices

If you are like me, you looooove delicious food. Sweets, comfort food, ethnic food… All of it. This love of food is 75% of the reason why I am overweight. EVERY DAY is a struggle with choices. Fast food is on every block. Many foods are highly processed to help taste better and drive sales. And growing up eating Cuban food doesn’t help when it comes to choosing a salad over white rice and beans.

When I walk into a grocery store I go in with the BEST of intentions! Yet, sometimes walking by one of my favorite treats is far too tempting for me to say NO. Yesterday, I decided to help myself make better choices by placing myself in an environment more encouraging of a healthier lifestyle.

After work yesterday I took a trip for my local Fresh Market. My shopping list was small, but I was curious about the healthy alternatives the store had to offer. After picking up my antibiotic-free ground turkey, ground beef and chicken breasts, I decided to go for a stroll aisle-by-aisle through the store. I skipped the produce section, since I was already stocked up at home… But from what I saw, the colors were brighter and the produce just looked fresher… (Not to far-fetched to figure out how the store got its name!)

I must say, I can definitely see myself shopping at Fresh Market more often. I enjoyed being surrounded by SO many healthy options. It just helped me feel a million times better about my food options.

So here is part of my food haul… As you can see, I’m experimenting with Kale Chips, so I bought a variety. All the items that I purchased scanned ‘A’ on Fooducate!

NotSo30s - Fresh Market

Do I think that I am now invincible to temptation? No. Do I think that I am now going to become this super healthy foodie? No. What I am becoming is someone who is wiser about her food choices. I am becoming someone who wants a healthier future. I want to be able to live a healthier lifestyle with my fiance.

So here’s to making those HEALTHY choices… The small, daily ones… That add up and trim down!

Heavenly Aromatics

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You might be in the pool or at the beach… I’m making this a “get sh!t done” weekend! With that being said, I’m making one of my favorite healthy dishes (details on that in a future post), and the recipe calls for making my own chicken broth. The chicken used in the broth eventually becomes part of the dish. One of the unintended perks of the cooking process is the heavenly scent floating around my home. Aromatics not only give flavor to food, but they can make your home smell amazing! Making chicken stock is one of the EASIEST things you can do!

So while I multi-task (load of laundry going, getting some online work done, and simmering the chicken stock), I get to be wrapped by the delicious scent.

Mini Personal Victory

Not So 30s Mini Personal Victory 1

This simple meal right above has a lot of meaning for me.

Yea. You read that line, looked at the picture, realized it was just eggs, then rolled your eyes…

But I mean it.

This simple meal is a mini personal victory. It shows me that I CAN make good choices. That I CAN say ‘no’ to temptation. That I CAN reach my goals. That I CAN do what every I want.

So… Since when did breakfast become so deeply meaningful? (I laughed as I wrote that…) Well! Last night we had some plumbing issues at home. Our kitchen sink is out of commission until the plumber comes today. What I didn’t realize last night was that my blender was in the sink. Dirty. (Cue: “Ewwwwwww”). Yea. EWW! I don’t wake up super early in the morning to have all this time before work. I have a routine. Get up. Get ready. Make my Shakeology shake. Hit the road.

As I was getting ready I was trying to think of WHAT I could have for breakfast that was 21 Day Fix-friendly and a HEALTHY choice. (Come on, I get married in just over 5 months. That dress isn’t sitting in the closet EXPANDING.) Starbucks crossed my mind. A latte crossed my mind. A venti mocha latte (no whip!) crossed my mind. Then it kind of riverdanced all over my brain. A venti mocha latte (no whip) is SOOOO not Fix-friendly. Time was winding down. I COULD have taken the EASY way out and stopped by Starbucks, but I didn’t. I grabbed a pan and threw together an egg, egg whites and ham.  BOOM. Breakfast. No guilt. A lot of pride.

Happy Thursday Everyone. Here’s to YOUR mini personal victories today!

21 Day Fix Recipe – Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip

21DFwAngie

 

 

As promised, here is my FIRST installment in my 21 Day Fix Memorial Day Survival Guide…

GREEK YOGURT SPINACH DIP!

This is GREAT with celery sticks, baby carrots or carrot “chips”. (My local grocery store sells fresh carrots sliced diagonally to look like chips.) You can store this in a Tupperware and take with you to the beach, to the pool, or your family’s BBQ!

So. What will you need to make some of this deliciousness?

Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • Green Onions
  • 1 Small Can of Sliced Water Chestnuts in Water
  • 1 Package of Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (about 16 ounce container)
  • Shredded Carrots (missing from the picture) – about 3/4 cup
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Pepper
  • Powdered Onion
  • Paprika
  • Sea Salt

 

Step One: Defrost the spinach and drain thoroughly. Upset about something? Take it out on the spinach and SQUEEEEEZE all of the water out of it. Set aside.

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Step Two: Chop up your water chestnuts and green onions.

Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip 2

Step Three: With a fork, separate the spinach and add in the water chestnuts/green onions. Mix well.

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Step Four: Add in 2.5 RED 21 DAY FIX containers of Greek yogurt. Mix, mix, mix!

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Step Five: Now, chop up those shredded carrots! This should be easy peasy! The hard part is already done for you!

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Step Six: Get spicy! Add you carrots to the bowl and start seasoning! I can’t give you an exact amount. Start with some of the sea salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Don’t go overboard. Mix in your spices and give it a taste. Keep seasoning until you find that PERFECT taste. Careful with the salt!

Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip 8

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Step Seven: Sprinkle on 2 BLUE 21 DAY FIX containers of shredded parmesan cheese and stir.

Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip 10

Step Eight. ENJOY!!

The TOTAL container count for this recipe:

  • 3 Green Containers
  • 2.5 Red Containers
  • 2 Blue Containers

You can EASILY split this recipe into 6 Servings, possibly 8!

Let me know how YOUR Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip came out! Have any suggestions? Questions? Feel free to post them or email me!

 

Preparing for 21 Day Fix – Grocery Shopping!

21DFwAngie

HAPPY MONDAY to everyone! I hope everyone is having a great start to the week.

Until common convention, I am not starting my next round of 21 Day Fix on a Monday. My very first (kick butt) round started on a Wednesday, and I want to repeat the awesome success of that round. I took advantage of this weekend to ENJOY my time, go house hunting, and prepare some ideas for this round of 21 Day Fix.

This round is a little different… Why? Because Memorial Day Weekend is smack in the middle of the first week of this round. Talk about a test of will. Instead of just winging a typical beach/pool/bbq weekend, I decided to PLAN for my SUCCESS! I will be meal prepping for Wednesday – Saturday (being that my fiance works Saturdays, I will treat it as part of the work week), and I have researched some PERFECT Memorial Day 21 Day Fix-friendly recipes. Stay tuned for those recipes to be posted this week. Make sure to FOLLOW MY BLOG so that you don’t miss them!

For my meal prep during the work week I will be making some “sautéed” mixed veggies, greek yogurt spinach dip, grilled chicken, zucchini boats, salads and sandwiches…

Here is my shopping list for the week. Keep in mind, I am NOTORIOUS for forgetting an item or two when planning my grocery shopping list. Also, a few of these items will last until next week. There are also items I already have in my pantry (such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.) that I do not list…  I  did, however, want to share this list with you to show that 21 Day Fix isn’t an extremely restrictive diet! The point is to teach you PORTION CONTROL and CLEAN EATING.

21 Day Fix Week 1 Grocery Shopping List

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If you have ANY questions about my grocery list, don’t hesitate to ask! Feel free to write a comment or email me directly at notso30s@gmail.com

I’m SO EXCITED about this round of 21 Day Fix. I have a great group of people joining me this round and I can’t wait to show the before/after pics when we are done!

How to 21 Day Fix at Starbucks

21 Day Fix Starbucks

Today I just couldn’t get motivated to get out of bed. It didn’t help that BeBe (my 10-year-old, 80 pound puppy) decided that 4:40am was the appropriate time to wake up and have breakfast. So I relied on my tried and true method of getting myself out of bed for work… I began listing all of my bills.

Car Insurance, Gas, Groceries, Cell Phone, Rent, Student Loans, Credit Cards. Yup. That does the trick.

The problem with this morning was that I was running  a little late and ran out of the house (okay, I walked out of the house) without preparing any of today’s food. At work I keep fruit on hand for snacks, but I needed something for breakfast.

HELLOOOOO STARBUCKS.

I know, I know. Starbucks is a high-calorie TRAP.

But not if you are SMART about it!

So how exactly can you go to Starbucks all while sticking to the 21 Day Fix eating plan? Tea and the Starbucks Protein box will become your best friends!

I don’t eat the bread, since I’m not a fan of it. The bread alone is a yellow container, which I prefer to save for another meal. Also, I avoid the peanut butter. Although the peanut butter is good, it represents 3 teaspoons on the plan. I tend to save the peanut butter and eat half of it later for a snack.

The best part of the protein box are the apple slices, grapes, hard-boiled egg and cheese. (Throw out the salt!)

The fruit count for about 1 to 1.5 purple containers (depending on the apple slices and grape count). The hard-boiled egg is half a red container and the cheese counts as a blue!

With patience and smart choices, you too can 21 Day Fix on the go!