Hot Pepper Jelly Pork Roast

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. Life tossed our family a bunch of curve balls in December and the dust is finally settling, so I thought I would get back to posting here. My goal is to share more recipes here, especially recipes that fit into the 21 Day Fix meal plan. The program has become so popular and the nutrition portion is so important that it’s pretty much taken over Pinterest. These posts may get lost in the 1,000 of other you can find or they may help someone. I don’t know, but I certainly hope that they help!

To kick things off, I want to share a Hot Pepper Jelly Pork Roast recipe that I recently tried. If you have never heard of pepper jelly or tried it, it’s really good stuff. I personally had never tried it before this recipe, but a friend of mine owns her own pepper jelly company, Jennifer’s Kitchen, and was nice enough to hook me up with a jar of her new low sugar line. 

Doing the 21 Day Fix? I used my red container to measure out my portion and topped it with a spoonful of the sauce and some of the onions, counting it as a RED and 2 teaspoons.

Pepper Jelly
This pepper jelly packs a nice punch of sweet heat, which is the perfect pairing for pork or chicken. I happened to snag a pork roast at the grocery store the other day, so that’s what I decided to use for my first pepper jelly experience.

Pepper Jelly Pork Roast
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 lbs boneless pork loin roast
  2. 1 cup white wine
  3. 1 large onion, sliced
  4. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 4 Tbsp pepper jelly
  6. salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an oven proof pan (I used a enamel cast iron pot) heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Season the pork with salt and pepper and brown on all sides.
  4. Add the onion to the pan, stirring so it doesn't burn and begins to cook down.
  5. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, then add 3 tablespoons of your pepper jelly and stir.
  6. Once the pork is browned, spread the last tablespoon of pepper jelly over the top, cover and put into the oven to cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  8. I served mine with cauliflower rice and green beans.
Get Fit With Nikki http://www.getfitwithnikki.com/
 We really enjoyed this recipe a lot. This particular jelly was hot, so if you use a hot pepper jelly and aren’t a huge fan of spice, you may want to cut back on how much you add. 

If you are a fan of pepper jelly, I would LOVE to hear how you like to enjoy it. I’m hoping to try using it for chicken wings next.

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Fitness Finds: The Mills at Jersey Gardens

I am the first to admit that I loathe shopping for clothes. I love jeans and t-shirts, but shopping for them makes me stabby. Dresses and shoes…um….no thank you. Make-up?! Bwahahahahaaa….no way!

So when the opportunity to team up with The Mills at Jersey Gardens presented itself I was hesitant, because as I said, I don’t like clothes shopping and I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. I know nothing about style trends, make-up and the hot color of the season. Why would I do this?!

Well…I do love shopping for new running shoes and workout clothes. This made me think and my hesitation went away as soon as I saw how many athletic stores they had. I then realized that the New Year was almost here and people would be gearing up to get healthy. That’s when excitement set in! I could actually shop and share fitness apparel finds for those who are planning to get started with a health & fitness routine in 2016!

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I thought about getting fancy for this shopping trip and then I realized it just wasn’t me, so I tossed on my jeans, a sweatshirt and a pair of Chucks and headed out to shop with my husband Mike, who happened to be off that day.

You can take a personal trainer out of workout clothes, but don’t mess with her jeans and Chucks!

In all honesty, I had a ton of fun shopping and I ended up shopping for more than just fitness attire. Don’t worry, I don’t see myself becoming a fashionista anytime soon, but I do see myself returning to The Mills at Jersey Gardens again for some holiday shopping!

Want to see some of my recommendations for fitness attire to get your New Year’s Resolutions started off right? Be sure to follow along on Instagram as I take over @MillsAtJersey!

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Holiday Survival: Essential Oils Edition

Essential Oils 2I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have all heard of essential oils or know someone who uses them or is a distributor of them. Being the skeptic that I normally am, I didn’t buy into this hype at first, but I finally caved after ending up in the hospital with terrible headaches last year.

A friend of mine sent me some Young Living essential oils samples, I gave them a try and they worked!

(Note: If you receive samples, be very careful when opening the tiny packets. I was not and spilled Lavender oil EVERYWHERE. It resulted in the entire family having the best night of sleep they’ve every had, so I guess it wasn’t the worst experience ever.)

As we head into the holiday season and the winter, I thought this would be a good topic to cover, so I spoke with some friends who swear by their love of oils and put together a short list of how essential oils can help you to relax, destress and just flat out survive the holidays!

Plus they apparently make good stocking stuffers too!

essential oils stocking stuffers

Lavender: Can be diffused for a calming and comforting scent. You can add a few drops to Epsom salts for a relaxing nighttime bath. They can also be added to lotions or use with a carrier oil to apply to skin to soothe and help promote relaxation before sleep. You can add a few drops to distilled water in a spray bottle and spray on pillows and sheets as a linen spray to promote sleep.

Frankincense: Can be diffused or inhaled directly to increase spirituality and inner strength, lift mood and help balance emotions. I have also heard that when inhaled, it has been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications it does not have negative side effects and does not cause unwanted drowsiness. (This is not proven…just personal accounts from people I have spoken to.)

Peppermint: Peppermint has many uses that can come in handy for the holidays. It can be added to herbal tea to help soothe upset stomach. Some people also use with a carrier oil to rub topically on the stomach for stomach issues or use it topically to help with muscle stiffness and pain caused by shopping marathons again.

While I am not tied to Young Living Essential oils, I know that they can be used in recipes requiring peppermint extract. Substitute 1/8 tsp of Young Living peppermint oil per teaspoon of extract. After that a drop at a time can be added until desired taste. (Note: Check the labels before using other brands of oil for ingestion. Many oils are compromised with synthetic materials and I would not recommend ingesting that.)

Thieves oil:  A proprietary blend developed by Young Living but it has been duplicated and I have seen it elsewhere. Thieves essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the victims of the plague. Amazingly they did not fall ill. Therefore Thieves oil supports healthy immune function.

There are so many oils that I couldn’t possibly cover them all, so I found a neat little chart for you instead!

How to use oils: Apply directly on the desired area according to dilution instructions. Always use a carrier oil, which is a non-essential oil used to dilute the essential oils. This also makes your oils last longer. Some examples of a carrier oil are: coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and olive oil.

-Research has shown that Essential oils quickly penetrate the skin. because of this ability, essential oils can affect the cells of the human body within minutes. Suggested areas for application: feet, behind the ears, wrists on the front of neck, and base of the skull.

Aromatic use: Diffuse oils with an ultrasonic diffuser. Putting a drop in your cupped hand and inhale slowly for 1 minute. Smell it directly from the bottle. Put a couple drops on cotton balls near air vents at home or in the car. Essential Oils containing sesquiterpines have the ability to pass the blood brain barrier making them an effective alternative in enhancing mental clarity and memory, while also promoting calmness and peace of mind.

 So, as you can see, essential oils can allow you to take control of your own health and wellness while keeping your environment free of toxic chemicals. They can help to reduce some stress and take the edge off of the holidays season without turning to nighttime cocktails while wrapping presents or driving from store to store.
 
For more information, contact your local Young Living or other independent essential oils rep and see how they can help you!
 
Already using oils in your daily life? Share your favorite oil and how you use it in the comments below!
 
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**Disclamer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products ideas and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any compensation to write this. They are just my thoughts and opinions.

Oven Fried Chicken {Healthy Comfort Food}

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Forget greasy fried chicken! This oven fried chicken recipe has all of the juiciness and crunch you’d expect from fried chicken, without the added fat and calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup cornflakes, crushed finely
  • 1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces*

* I’m a huge fan of dark meat, so I use boneless skinless chicken thighs. 2 thighs per serving.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, Cajun seasoning, pepper and cayenne pepper together in a medium size bowl. Place buttermilk and corn flake crumbs in 2 separate shallow bowls.
  3. Roll chicken in flour mixture and evenly coat each side. Next dip chicken into buttermilk and then corn flake crumbs.
  4. Place coated chicken on your prepared baking sheet. Spray chicken with a light coating of the cooking spray.
  5. Bake until chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 25 to 30 minutes (there is no need to flip the chicken during baking).
    Makes 4 servings.

For those of you using the 21 Day Fix this is roughly 1 yellow and 1 red.

Once you have your first round of the program under your belt, try not to stress out over your containers. Life should be about balance and making healthier choices to keep yourself headed toward your goals and this recipe does that…even if you don’t have exact container counts.

Anytime you skip the KFC drive-thru, search for a healthier recipe and go to the store to buy the ingredients to make it, you’re on the right track!

What would be your side dish of choice with this chicken? We opted for some zoodles quickly sauteed with garlic.

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Shepherd’s Pie {Healthy Comfort Food}

Healthy Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie and comfort food go hand in hand to me. Mashed potatoes, beef, veggies and a creamy sauce….yuuuuum!!

In this version, I have lightened things up a lot. There is no butter, milk, cream or sour cream to be found, but there is still a lot of comforting flavor!

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Potato Topping:

  • 2 lbs Yukon gold or Russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsps Greek yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste

Meat Filling:

  • 1.5 lbs 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas & carrots
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour, frozen vegetables, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Simmer on medium for about 8-10 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  5. Spread the meat filling on the bottom of 9×13 casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 6 servings.  

 

 

21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme Containers: 1.5 Yellow, 1 Red, 1 Green

For those of you following the 21 Day Fix, you can cut back on your yellow container and tack on an extra green by cutting the amount of potatoes and adding mashed cauliflower. The two mix together wonderfully and you keep the great potato flavor without going over on a yellow container.

Want to cut all of the potato? Top with just mashed cauliflower. Not sure how to make mashed cauliflower? Just steam your cauliflower, toss into a food processor with the Greek yogurt and broth and pulse it all together until creamy. (Reserve a little cooking water or add some more broth if it is too thick.)

You can also substitute mashed sweet potato for your topping!

This is a really a forgiving dish and a great way to use up veggies that you may in the fridge.

I hope you are enjoying this Healthy Comfort Food segment. Don’t forget to share YOUR favorite comfort food with me below, so I can try and share a healthy alternative to it.

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Portuguese Kale Soup {Healthy Comfort Food}

Portuguese-Kale-Soup

Fall is the official beginning of comfort food season. The temperatures drop, we dig out the sweaters and there is something about casseroles, soups and baked pastas that just warms our soul as we kick off fall.

This time of year also tends to be the start of weight gain season for many. The sweaters hide the bulge, the leggings have give and stretch along with us as we indulge in these comfort foods and baking season, which isn’t far behind.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring healthy comfort foods that will help you to combat the cold weather weight gain. These hearty meals will satisfy your cravings while keep your waist line in check. PLUS if you’re doing the 21 Day Fix, they will also be plan approved!

There are so many reasons to love this Portuguese-inspired kale and sausage soup. As with many soups, this recipe tastes even better on the second day. For that reason, this soup is great for meal prep. It makes enough for a whole week of lunches or dinners, and freezes well.

Portuguese Kale Soup

Total Time: 48 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 38 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1¼ cups each

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 medium leeks, chopped, just white and light-green parts
1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded, torn (about 4 cups)
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, no added salt
6 cups low-sodium organic chicken (or vegetable) broth
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add kielbasa; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned.
3. Add garlic, leeks, and kale; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.
4. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, broth, and pepper (if desired). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Nutrition-PortugeseKaleSoup

Doesn’t that look and sound delicious?!

Personally, I think the best part about this recipe is that it is meal prep friendly. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I am big on meal planning and meal prep, especially when doing the 21 Day Fix. It truly is the key to staying on plan and avoiding temptation during the week, when things can get hectic.

If you’re new to the 21 Day Fix, be sure to check out my 21 Day Fix Planning tools.

Been thinking about trying 21 Day Fix but have questions? Feel free to contact me with them! I’d be more than happy to help you figure out if it would be a good fix for you….plus it’s on special this month and I have a new accountability group beginning on October 26th! 

What’s your favorite comfort food once the temps start cooling down? 

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So Long Comfort Zone: Periscoping With Purpose

Hey everyone! Thank you for stopping by blog and for checking out my latest Periscope: So Long Comfort Zone: Periscoping With Purpose. I’m just guessing that there is where you came from since I just finished Scoping about this. While I’m at it, thanks for the heart love…cause you give show me heart love, right?!

As I mentioned in my scope, video is not my thing.

I avoid it like the plague, even though I know that it is a key component to my business and I could help more people by having an active YouTube channel. Typing that out actually just made me feel kinda selfish, because my goal is to help people with their health and fitness goals, but I let my issues with video stand in the way from doing that. Whoa. Sometimes being human totally sucks!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the jail I’ve locked myself in to with all of my fears. It’s not a cool place to hang out at all. Fear keeps me from doing things I would like to do. It keeps me from trying new things and reaching goals that I have set for myself. Now more than ever, I want to break free of fear and see what’s on the other side of my comfort zone. Is this a scary thing, hell yeah! However it is necessary and I know that now.

If you believe in higher powers or the Universe guiding you through life, then we could totally hang out. I’m not a religious person at all, but I do believe that people come into your life and things happen for a reason.

Recently, I had someone come into my life who introduced me to “Ooola Life” via a post on Facebook. Upon some conversation, she told me about their website and I was in love as soon as I checked it out. I even ordered their book and devoured it in about 48 hours. (I’m currently on the worksheet section and feeling more inspired than I have in a long time!)

I began following them on Periscope and something they spoke about struck a cord with me. They spoke about fear and how it’s just a feeling that you need push through. How you need to take a deep breath, process the feeling for 20 seconds and just push forward. This Periscope got me thinking about my fear of video and made me realize that I need to get over it. I began thinking that Periscope was the perfect place to start, despite being a live broadcast with no second chance. The reason why this was appealing to me? It’s not permanent. It’s not up forever for people to see. It’s there for 24 hours and then it’s gone! I like that. I’m not 100% sure why just yet…but I do and I’m going with it.

Fast forward a few hours and I was scrolling around Pinterest when this graphic caught my eye:

Periscope With Purpose

I immediately clicked on it and read what it was all about. Right then, right there, the Universe was guiding me toward what I needed most. A guide to conquer my fear of video. I no longer had the excuse of “I don’t know what to Periscope about”….it was all right in front of me.

With a click of a button and a little bit of typing, I signed up for the challenge and saved the graphic so I would be able to plan out some scopes. Not bad for a first step!

Today is the official kick-off date for the challenge and I’ll be doing a scope shortly, but it’s not my first scope! The other day I couldn’t get the thought of Periscope out of my mind and I had just finished a chapter from the Oola book on fear, so I decided to just hit broadcast and go for it!

It was a terrifying 5 minutes for me, but I am so grateful for the friends who hopped on to the broadcast, showed me some heart love and commented in support of my first scope!

I know this post doesn’t have much to do with health & fitness in the nutrition and exercise sense, but conquering fear is part of mental health and I am ALL for that! As a matter of fact, it’s something I have been really been working on myself and will be posting about more often. But don’t worry, I’ll be sharing lots of recipes, more updates on my journey and other fitness related info soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter. It’s the best way to stay in the loop about new groups coming up and other specials!

Are you on Periscope? If so, please let me know what your username is and I’ll stop by to see your most recent scopes! You can find me here.

Not on Periscope yet? Check it out and maybe join me in 31 days of Scoping! I promise you we will not die from talking on video (even though we might feel like we will). I’m sure I will flub, lose my train of thought or totally bomb on a scope or two, but you know what…it’s okay. It shows that I’m a real person. I’m not perfect, I don’t have my shit together, I have fears, I’m a little weird and I sometimes forget what I was doing and as I watch more scopes I’m realizing I’m not alone!

So head on over to Blog Clarity to sign up for daily reminders and tips to go along with this challenge…then comment below to let me know if you’re in!

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