Recipe: Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve gotten in the habit recently of cooking one meal that can get us through a couple of lunches, and a couple of dinners. This is necessary mostly on busy weeks like this one, where if I don’t plan things out, we can easily end up eating out 2 – 3 days per week.

This week I wanted to bust out the slow cooker. In the fall and winter, it’s one of those things I like to do every couple of weeks. Our slow cooker is a total tank and takes up a lot of counter space so I tend not to use it as often as I probably should but unlike other appliances we got for our wedding (I’m looking at you waffle maker that Hubs has used TWICE in the five years since we got it). My favorite slow cooker meal? Chili.

I tried a new recipe, my boss had mentioned a slow cooker pumpkin chili so I took the idea to pinterest for some inspiration. Pinterest never fails, let’s be honest.

slow cooker turkey pumpkin chili

Turkey Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

1 -2 lbs ground turkey
1 bag frozen chopped peppers (or 1 each of red, green and yellow peppers sliced)
1 can (28 oz) Tomato sauce
2 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cans beans (I used 1 each of dark red kidney and black beans) drained
2 T chili powder
1 medium onion diced
8 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic puree or 2 cloves garlic minced

Directions

Brown ground turkey with garlic and onion.
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker (tomatoes & sauce first, beans, veggies, meat mix, pumpkin, spices), stir well.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir.

slow cooker pumpkin chili

I love to eat my chili over either brown rice or a sweet potato, quinoa is another great choice. I top with a little bit of shredded mexican blend cheese (cheddar based) and sour cream. Hubs uses greek yogurt instead of sour cream and loves it – you could use either.

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Healthy Turkey Marinara Meatloaf

I always love when I start the week off right with actually prepping meals. This is even more important because Hubs has class on Monday nights so the urge to drive over to Chick-fil-A and grab dinner for little man and I is all too tempting. Alas, last week, because I was on another five day clean eating challenge last week, I planned out all of my meals for the week and prepped Monday night’s meal on Sunday evening so when I got home with little man, all I had to do was throw it in the oven.

parmesean turkey meatloaf

 

This was an INCREDIBLY easy recipe – although I still need to work on the timing for the oven. Had I done muffins like the recipe that inspired this meal, I would have cut the time in half. But prepping and throwing it in a bread loaf pan was just easier. Ain’t nobody got time for that…

parmesean turkey meatloaf

Mix together little onion, ground meat (the recipe called for chicken, but i used ground lean turkey), an egg and an egg white

Cover with your favorite marinara sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for ~45 minutes. Top with cheese and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Turkey Marinara Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 lbs lean ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
dash of Italian seasoning
dash of oregano
dash of dried basil
dash of salt & pepper
dash of thyme
1 egg
1 egg white
6 T breadcrumbs or panko crumbs

Mix turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, spices, onion and garlic together until well mixed and molds together easily. Form in breadpan. Top with favorite marinara sauce. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Add cheese and heat for an additional 2 – 5 minutes.

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Autumn-y Apple Fritters

I am failing miserably at all of my goals for the month.

But in my defense, I have not bought anything new and we’re 20 days in and we just tried our first new recipe last weekend. We hit up Larriland Farms with some family friends up in Howard County, picked pumpkins, took a hayride and generally enjoyed the season.

 

We also saw cows! Ethan has started mooing which is highly amusing.

We did not pick Apples (that would have been a nightmare with little man) BUT we did buy some fresh picked ones and so Hubs has been in full on apple baking mode. His first mission? Apple fritters. Cue Pinterest. Thank sweet baby jebus for Pinterest.

I’m not a HUGE apple fan but these? Were amazing. I’m not going to post the recipe since it was NOT my own but I am going to link back to it and tell you it was easy (Hubs isn’t the best at following directions and I don’t usually trust him to bake, but he baked these incredibly well without burning anything so huzzah!)

neon

 

{Recipe here}

And no, this recipe does not require a deep fryer. Just a lot of vegetable/canola oil. It was super simple. Not hugely messy and not incredibly time consuming. So huzzah! A+ on all fronts!

apple fritters

He also made apple dumplings but ehhhh I wasn’t so down with those. And not just because half of those pots and pans are STILL in my kitchen sink uncleaned.  BUT, we still have a good 6-8 apples left so we’re trying to figure out what to make next. I may get him to make more apple fritters – those were AMAZING!

What’s your favorite Apple recipe for the fall?

 

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Clean Eating … Part 2

It’s time again my friends for another clean eating week. It’s a recovery week for me after yesterday’s tri/duathlon (thanks corrupt DC Sewage for overflowing into the Potomac) but I’m registering for the Rock Hall Sprint Tri the first weekend of October so I need to keep up with training (I’ll go into that later this week).

So what does this clean eating challenge look like?

9714-cleaneating

 

Shakes for breakfast.
Two Clean snacks each day.
Healthy lunches – mostly soups and salads.
Dinners are going to be tough – Wednesday night with a Junior League event I’m hosting* and Friday night with Hubs and I’s 5 year anniversary. (!!!!)

Last time, I stuck with it about 80%. But I was down 1 lb, and overall lost 4″. This time, coming off a week of serious carbo-loading, I’m up about 2 1/2 lbs from my lowest, and I haven’t even measured my inches. I’m mildly afraid to.

Either way, this week is back at it with two days of PiYo and some swimming, biking and running to get back into it before the Rock Hall Sprint Tri in 4 weeks.

If you’re interested in joining me for a clean eating challenge, the next one will be starting Monday 9/22! Email me if you want more information! 

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Meal Plan Monday: Clean Eating Style

So I’m getting ready to sign up as a Beachbody Coach – a friend of mine has been talking to me about it since we went to our RRCA coaching certification together. She recruited me this week to join her 5 day clean eating challenge. I’ve been a part of this other challenge group off an on but I think there are a few factors that contribute to me not…participating as actively as I should be. But because A is local, she can whoop my butt into gear if I slack. Which is exactly the kind of accountability I need.

Anyhow, I got the meal plan for this five day refresh and I’m kind of excited about it. I made some a few modifications to their plans…certain fruits/nuts/etc…we’re supposed to replace one meal for shakeology – I chose breakfast because it’s usually when I’m in the most rush – PB Banana Chocolate…here we come!

5daycleaneating

 

I’m kind of excited to have everything planned – I know for a fact that planning and prepping is the key for success. I’ll be sharing images over on my instagram throughout the week this week (trying to hold myself more accountable and all that jazz). Not to mention, I also have my workouts planned. The great thing about this menu is that it’s easy. I’ll have leftovers. And I prepped it easily (hello hard boiled eggs, and veggies). FINALLY I’m also using the containers from the 21 day fix to help with portion sizes. Dual purpose my friends.

Saturday I’m doing another 20 mile bike ride, and I’m going paddle boarding on Sunday morning (yay for knocking something off my summer bucket list!!!) so huzzah for activity!

How do YOU set yourself up for success through the week?

 

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A Weight Watchers Recipe Win

Last week, I had  a girls night in with Liz which involved some delicious enchilladas, some wine and a lot of girl talk.

I had originally suggested a weight watchers recipe that I saw on the weight watchers website but she wasn’t feeling pasta so we substituted and the enchilladas were a huge hit!

However, I went back to the pasta dish tonight – because easy dishes on nights when it’s just little man and I are key and this one was a big fat win. Not so much for Ethan but definitely for me. I couldn’t find the recipe so I improvised.

weight watchers spaghetti

Meatless Meat Sauce and Whole Wheat Spaghetti

Ingredients 

1/2 box whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti)
1 jar your favorite sauce (I used organic vodka sauce)
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 T garlic paste)
1 package tempeh – grated
1 T. Olive Oil

Directions

Heat pan with olive oil, garlic and onion for 3-4 minutes. Add tempeh. Stir until coated. Add sauce. Bring to simmer while stirring frequently.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Mix and top with cheese.

Enjoy!

1 serving (~1 c. pasta & 1/2 c. sauce) = 6-8 Points Plus 

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Regaining Sanity

Sometimes, after two long weeks of playing single parent and managing a sick child, you just need an afternoon off. So yesterday,  I took it and got to hang out with some awesome lady pals.

I enjoyed some good beverages.

Some good friends and a fun game.

And enjoyed some DANG good food.

After our #naptownpintbeerclub with said awesome ladies, I got myself a pedicure and then came home for some dinner and relaxing with the husband. I did not go for a run, I used up 3/4 of my activity points for the week in one afternoon with pals and the best part?

I did not feel at all guilty about it.

Sometimes, splurging is necessary. I needed a few hours to turn off parental responsibilities (thanks hubs!), to laugh with friends and not have anyone dependent on me for EVERYTHING for a couple of hours. I hadn’t been out solo sans Ethan in almost two weeks so it was great to get out and relax and talk about something other than Hand Foot and Mouth Disease or Ethan’s pending Ear Tube surgery.

Sanity regained. 80/20 maintained. Back to running tomorrow. Triathlon training starts Monday AM with an early swim!

 

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Meal Planning Monday

With hubs gone, meal planning has been necessary. I’ve been cooking things with leftovers to make it easier to prep Ethan’s lunches (which I usually do the night before).

So I decided to give my hand at sharing my meal planning ventures with y’all because well…why not right? Especially now that I’m really focused on trying to lose weight.

meal planning

 

Last night I prepped the macaroni salad – a recipe I found on weight watchers, 3 pp per serving (1/2 c. is one serving) so even if you go for 1 c. you’re not breaking the points plus bank.

macaroni salad

The recipe was super easy – we’ll see how tasty it is. Will follow up with a full review later this week!

The enchilladas I got last week at a meal swap that my moms group held (miraculously I found the time during Sunday’s nap time to make five dishes of stuffed shells. Yummmm.) and taco salads are an easy go to that give plenty o’ leftovers for both E and I.

I used to over think meal planning – thinking that all recipes that were worth it were complex. But that’s just not true. As a working mama, ain’t nobody got time for that. I like to find healthy recipes that a. don’t require a lot of prep. b. give leftovers (though not required definitely a plus) c. are something that E might eat. Which is sometimes a feat.

Do you plan out your meals each week? What type of recipes are your go-to’s? 

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Recipe: Easy Peasy Taco Bowls

Everything doesn’t have to be so difficult. You don’t need complicated healthy recipes to be healthy. Enjoy the simple and familiar. After a tough day/week so far, I really just wanted something simple.

Tonight’s dinner – Taco Bowls. One of my go to recipes that’s hearty, healthy and a bowl of comfort. Because taco bowls are my favorite.

taco bowls

 

Ingredients
Ground turkey fried up with a chopped red pepper (out of green peppers and my onions went bad 😐 )
Your favorite taco seasoning
Black beans
Brown Rice
Your favorite salsa
Shredded cheese
and a dollop of sour cream

Fry veggies and meat, add seasoning as directed. If you’re lazy like me you can cook rice in the microwave. I know there are people super down on the microwave but listen, if I can cook a full meal in less than 15 minutes with the use of microwave and stove – with minimal pots and pans to be washed then I’m going to use it. Call me lazy, I consider myself just efficient.

Top rice with beans, meat, salsa, cheese and sour cream. Enjoy. Bon Appetite.

ethan approved

Even Ethan Approves – he’s a big of turkey and beans. He had some hummus and pita while I cooked dinner, so you’ll have to excuse the hummus on his eye lashes.

Following bath time, I continued the easy route – I had intended on trying to get a run in tonight, but the weather was ominous so instead we had some play time, dinner, and bath. So, I stuck to the Bikini Body Mommy plan – got my butt whipped in a good 15 minute workout. I’ve been sticking with the plan pretty well but replacing the HIIT workout days with running – at least for the next couple weeks until the Zooma Half.

What are some of your favorite, easy healthy recipes? 

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Four Easy Healthy Recipes for a Mom on the Go

Recently, I realized that I don’t cook much anymore. I mean, I do, but I don’t experiment as much as I used to. There’s just no time, and while that’s sad, that’s kind of life. The one exception, making a delicious quiche for a junior league meeting that I hosted recently. That was a good decision and delicious too.

The reason for this new realization is simple – I’m a working mom, I don’t have time to spend an hour or more slaving over the stove. I get home around 5:30p, Ethan and I often have a bit of play time before dinner, or we go for a walk, and despite my best efforts he’s usually in bed by 7-7:30pm.

Thus – time to cook dinner? Slim.

My top four easy healthy recipes for a mama on the go:

spinach feta and cheese quiche

{Spinach, Tomato & Feta Crustless Quiche}

I actually made some modifications to this, I haven’t ever posted, inspired by the linked recipe, and will definitely become a regular recipe for us. (I should also note that I learned later that a crustless quiche is a fritatta – shows how much I know about breakfast-ish dishes. Still it was delish. Crust or none)

{Spaghetti Squash & Chicken Sausage}

{BBQ Chicken Pizza}

 stuffed peppers

{Quinoa Stuffed Peppers}

Voila  a week’s worth of meals. All cooked in less than 45-60 minutes, minimal preparation, and all are – for the most part – healthy.

Other healthyish options:

What are your favorite on the go healthy dinner options? 

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