Surviving Restaurants: Fast Food

Hey, guys!

So I have decided to start a new mini series called “Surviving Restaurants.” We don’t eat out very often, but I know there are a lot of people who do. One problem I used to always have going out to eat would be what to order. Obviously. It is so super hard to order something healthy when all of these “cheesy” or “fried to a golden brown” entrees are yelling at you. This series will explore different tips and tricks to eating out, from fast food to coffee shops to your typical sit down restaurants.

Since I just had Taco Bell for dinner (when the hubs is away, the wifey will….eat Taco Bell?), it seems fitting that the first part of this series deals with a fast food.

As much as I hate to admit it, fast food is sometimes too convenient to pass up. We really don’t eat it very often, maybe once or twice a month. I try to avoid it, because holy moly fat and sodium. Honestly, sometimes I crave Taco Bell. This was one of those days. I’m only human! One who really loves Taco Bell…

Anyway, here are a few quick and dirty tips for behaving at fast food restaurants.

  1. Suck it up and look at the nutrition information. For me, I can usually be talked out of a bad decision with nutrition information. Most people have smart phones, and can quickly look up calorie and fat content for just about any order on the planet. Seriously. Probably the entire planet.
  2. Remember how food makes you feel. If you’re given the choice between a greasy hamburger and a grilled chicken salad to eat before a race, what should you choose? Obviously the salad. Remember how it makes you feel! Do you want to be able to walk after you eat, or would you rather feel like you’re busting out of your pants? Occasionally, busting out of your pants feels worth it, but is it worth that Big Mac? Honestly, probably not.
  3. Get water. Come on now, ya’ll. This should be a no brainer. I love me some Mountain Dew, but I would much rather devote 250 cals to food that will stay with me a little longer than 25 minutes. Water will also help fill you up so you don’t eat nearly as much. If you feel the need to drink soda, as I occasionally do, get a small and sip slowly. It will be just as satisfying, and you won’t sacrifice as many calories.
  4. Avoid combo meals. Yeah it may be cheaper, but you are most likely ordering way more food than you actually need to. If a combo meal really is the way to go for you, choose a healthier side. Most places offer “healthier” side dishes now, such as apple slices in place of fries. And never, ever super size. You do not need it, I promise you that!

What are some of your tips for healthy eating at restaurants? What else would you like to see in this series? Let me know in the comments below! Check me out on Instagram and Twitter (@lovethekate)

Ulta Trip: Smashbox and NYX

Hey Friends!

I thought I would do something a little different. I am not a beauty or fashion aficionado by any standard, but I still really enjoy shopping for and trying out new makeup or hairstyles.

One of my favorite stores to blow money at is Ulta. Before we (and our bank accounts haha) got married, I was at Ulta every pay day, spending at least a hundred bucks. For the record, I was living at home and had no bills whatsoever. In hind sight, PROBABLY should have saved that money up… Oh well. Hind sight is 20/20, I suppose.

I didn’t spend a whole lot here, I just wanted to pop in and use up a gift card. My rule with gift cards is that you always use it for something fun, or something you don’t really need.

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First, I got the NYX Photo-Loving Primer in Anti-Redness. It’s got a green tint, which will help even out the redness. I tried a little on my wrist, and it went in super quick and felt super smooth. You can pick up that purchase hereBefore you try any new skin care item, please be sure to check the ingredients list for any thing you may allergic to. 

NYX items were buy one get one 1/2 off, so I also picked up a NYX Butter Lip Balm in Parfait. I LOVE this color, but had a hard time actually keeping it on my lips. I’m a lip color newbie, so I think I put way too much on. But again, the color is gorgeous. They have tons of different and beautiful colors. You can check those out here.

Ulta is about to end their 21 days of Beauty sale. They have tons of mini sets for sale right now, so if you are wanting to try out a new brand, now is the time! I have never used Smashbox before (I know, I know), so I chose to get their Minibox Palette. You can purchase that here. 

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On top the top of the picture is (what I believe to be) a full size Full Exposure mascara in jet black. I am a  commitment-phobe when it comes to mascara. I’m excited to try this. The brush is your traditional mascara brush, which is nice. I’m not a huge fan of the fancy silicone brushes. I always feel like they pull out my lashes.

To the right of the picture is a Be Legendary lip gloss in Pink Lady. I’ve always loved lip glosses, and this one is a pretty, nude-pink color. Perfect for every day.

The palette itself comes with 8 eye shadows. I’m trying to get out of my traditional every day look, and these colors are perfect to ease me into it. I’m excited to try these colors! The palette also has an illuminator, bronzer, and a pretty pink blush color. These colors are perfect for spring!

If you’d like to see more of these posts, let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow me on here, Twitter, and Instagram! 

Pesto Flatbread

Hey ya’ll!

I wanted something indulgent for lunch today, all while keeping calories and effort low and flavor high. Pizza sounded delicious (but really, when does it not?), so I decided to make a lightened single serving pizza.

You need a few things for pizza: something to act as the crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings. Duh. I looked through the pantry and fridge for my supplies, and came across flatbread, mozzarella, pesto, and diced tomatoes.

 

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Post-baking. I turned my broiler on at the end of the bake time to get that crispy edge that I love.

Post-baking. I turned my broiler on at the end of the bake time to get that crispy edge that I love.

 

This flatbread is seriously so simple to make, and is perfect for those rare lunches at home. It’s just over 300 calories for the whole thing. What? I know. You could make this into a dinner by adding a side salad. I opted to serve mine with a few strawberries and a glass of cold, unsweetened green tea.

 

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I may or may not have already devoured a couple of pieces….

Pesto Flatbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 flatbread (I used Flat-out brand)
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto (I used Bertolli)
  • 2 tbsp. diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. mozzarella cheese (I used Kroger)

Method:

  • Place flatbread on a cookie sheet and let it preheat with the oven to 350 (this keeps the flatbread from being soggy).
  • Spread the pesto out over the flatbread, leaving a little bit of a border.
  • Sprinkle the tomatoes and cheese.
  • Bake until the cheese is bubbling! If you’d like, you can broil it for a bit to get a nice and super crispy edge.

 

 

What’s your favorite quick weekend lunch? Tell me in the comments below!

I want to hear from YOU. Tell me what kinds of posts, recipes, whatever you’d like to see on the blog! Visit my contacts page to see how to get a hold of me. 

 

CrockPot Roasted Chicken

I love my crockpot. When the weather starts to get a little warmer, I don’t get as much use out of it. It makes me sad.

Anyway, my original dinner plan for Sunday was my mamaw’s steak and gravy. The sirloin tips, however, were NOT on sale and only came packed with at least 1.5 lbs. We did not need that much meat!

So we selected a nice and small, on sale whole chicken to roast. I had to study all day Sunday, and wanted to do it in the crockpot so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. This chicken is super juicy, flavorful, and just a wonderful healthy addition to any meal.

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What is super cool about this recipe is that ya really can use whatever seasonings you have on hand! Next time, I want to make a mesquite chicken.

 

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Hey girl hey.

 

 

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Doesn’t take much time at all!

 

 

 

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Crockpot Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken, giblets cleaned out (make sure this guy will fit in your crockpot!)
  • Copious amounts of seasoning: For this chicken, I used garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper. (Really, you can do whatever. Seriously. )
  • 1-2 lemons, quartered
  • 4 ish garlic cloves (no need to smash these guys)
  • 1 shallot, chopped way rough

Method:

  • In order to keep the chicken off the bottom of the crockpot, I make 4 balls of aluminum foil.
  • After the chicken is cleaned, rub the seasoning mix all over the skin. Be sure to get under the wings and legs! I really mean all over.
  • Put a couple of lemon quarters, garlic cloves, and chopped shallot in the cavity of the chicken. Fold the wings under the chicken and place in the crockpot.
  • I put extra lemon, garlic, and onion in the crockpot to flavor the broth.
  • Cook on high for 4 1/2 hours.
  • I opt to broil the chicken for a few minutes before serving so it gets that gorgeous skin!

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I chose to serve our chicken with smashed red potatoes, seasoned green beans, and BBQ sauce. If you know me, you know I am an absolute BBQ FIEND.

What are your favorite crockpot recipes? Share in the comments below!IMG_0626

Thoughts on Snacking + Broiled Mango

If you know me well, you know that I love to eat.

 

Obviously. Who doesn’t?

 

Needless to say, I am a snacker. I eat all the time. Smoothies, greek yogurt, cheese. Piece of turkey. Whatever. I’m eating every 3 hours. And you know what?

 

That’s my number one weight loss secret.

Eat. All the time.

By eating just about every 3 hours (I get a little hungry about every 3 hours), I keep my metabolism working, and I am rarely starving (which means I don’t go nuts at the next meal or snack). Now “snacks” don’t typically include candy, bread, or an entire meal’s worth of calories. If you snack that way, you will get no where, my friend. That’s not to say you can’t have a piece of whole wheat bread with a snack. Just make smart choices about what goes on it.

Some of my favorite snacks include a serving of cheese (weigh or measure it out!) with a piece of fruit, greek yogurt, avocado toast, or pretzel chips with edamame hummus (yum!). Mix it up! Try broiling a some cheese on wheat, cutting up some fruit, or mixing tuna with an oil based dressing (I love tuna + homemade Italian). Whenever you feel the urge to snack, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I actually hungry? I always drink some water before I snack, just to make sure I am actually hungry. Sometimes you’re just thirsty or bored.
  2. What does my snack include? I typically do some combo of good carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein.
  3. How is my snack going to make me feel? I used to be a run to the pantry and grab PB and saltines. That snack never made me feel good. I love PB as much as the next guy (probably more…) but there are healthier options. You don’t want a snack that is going to make you feel bloated, stuffed, and tired. Pick options that make you feel physically at your best!
  4. Is this a proper portion? For snack time if I have to measure something out, as a general rule I will half it. For example, a typical serving of cheese is about an ounce. For a snack, I would have half an ounce. This tactic won’t necessarily work with everyone, because we all have different bodies and different nutritional needs. While half an ounce of cheese will hold me over to my next meal, it would send hubs running for the fridge in an hour. Just listen to your body, and be mindful of portion sizes.

Speaking of snacks… I got the new Food Network in the mail today! I was way too pumped and immediately started reading. I came across an idea for broiling mango, and decided I needed to immediately do it!

Basically, I cut a mango in half, scored it, sprinkled it with sweetener (sugar, honey, agave, what ev) and broiled it until it began to char. YUM!

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Seriously so good. It satisfied my sweet tooth while remaining healthy! It’s amazing what broiling fruit will do 🙂 Have you ever tried broiling a grapefruit? That’s pretty stellar, too!

What are your favorite healthy snacks? 

Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to follow me on here, Instagram, and Twitter!

Oh Hey…

Hello my friends!

 

I know I have been MIA for quite some time. I’ve been working hard at school, and just struggling with life in general! 🙂 I’ve been working on some updates on the blog, and will start keeping up with it better. I’ve kind of fallen into a groove with nursing school (finally) and have mostly figured my life out. Before I start writing up posts again, I just wanted to give you a heads up 🙂

Please share this blog with your friends, and have them follow! My plan is to get a monthly newsletter going, so keep a look out for that! In the meantime, tell me in the comments below what you want to see on this blog: recipes, thoughts, workouts, anything!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hey guys! I hopefully have a few posts coming your way today! It all really depends on how much work I am getting done 🙂 I am a busy, busy bee right now! Since I’m so busy, I’ve been relying on crock pot meals and super simple and quick recipes. One of my favorite crockpot meals is salsa chicken for tacos! You can find that recipe here. I made the tacos Saturday night. It makes a ton of shredded chicken! Usually, I will just continue to eat tacos throughout the week. This time, I decided to do something a little different!

I threw a bunch of stuff together in a stock pot to make a super simple chicken tortilla soup. If you aren’t using leftover chicken, you can just cook the chicken and then shred it by hand. I would add some salsa and extra taco seasoning to really give this dish a lot of flavor.

Leftover chicken goodness.

Leftover chicken goodness.

Soup is never a pretty process...

Soup is never a pretty process…

Much better.

Much better.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves a bunch 🙂

Ingredients:

  • At lest 2 c. shredded chicken (I prefer the salsa chicken!)
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can Rotel (I used original, we like a little extra kick!)
  • 1 c. frozen corn (no thawing necessary)
  • 1 can or about 1.5 c. cream of chicken soup (I usually make my own, but laziness got the better of me…)
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, sliced avocado, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, olives, etc…Really whatever “taco toppings” you enjoy!

Method:

  1. In a large stock pot over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients, except toppings.
  2. Simmer for at least 45 minutes (I think I ended up with about an hour), gently stir occasionally.
  3. Top with toppings of your choice, and enjoy!

Seriously….It’s that easy. 🙂

I topped mine with tortilla chips and some cheese.

I topped mine with tortilla chips and some cheese.