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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FIXATE Cookbook Revisions

Long time no post…I know, I know. Bad blogger!

The summer is a crazy time of year, as everyone knows. The kids are home, you sleep in (if you’re lucky), you move at a slower pace and there really isn’t much structure or a schedule to stick to. As a result, I didn’t have much time to write and tried to stayed focused on my nutrition and activity as best I could (I’ll do an post on what I’ve been up to shortly…I promise!)

Today, I wanted to share some revisions to the 21 Day Fix companion cookbook, FIXATE.

Myself, as well as all of my clients were filled with joyed when the announcement for this book was made. I ordered a copy as soon as it was available and I snagged a few copies while I was in Nashville for the annual Beachbody Coach Summit, to pass along to future clients. During the flight home I cracked it open and begin making a list of everything I was going to make when I got home and that’s when I realize something wasn’t right.

If you have been doing 21 Day Fix for awhile and are comfortable with the container system, you can tell by looking at a recipe roughly what the container counts should be and certain recipes just weren’t adding up. Thankfully, Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix) addressed the issue on message boards and they began answer questions regarding the container counts for the recipes in the book. Hence this post featuring FIXATE Cookbook revisions!

Below, is a .PDF revision for the book, so if you own it, be sure to save this, print it out or use it to manually change the container counts/colors in your FIXATE book.

Fixate Revisions

FIXATE Revisions

Another great resource that Autumn supplied to us, was this video which explains WHY certain foods become counted as a purple or orange container, even though the food items is actually on the green or blue container list.

 

 

I hope these revisions and video help you on your 21 Day Fix journey! If you have any other questions about the cookbook and or the 21 Day Fix program, please feel free to ask them below! I have monthly support groups each month and would love to have you join my next one.

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{21 Day Fix} Beach Friendly Snacks

Pool SnacksLet’s talk beach & pool food!

You’re working out hard, doing great with your meals and then your friends or family want to hit the pool or the beach to cool off and enjoy the summer weather. You begin to freak out because this is out of your norm and you don’t want to ruin your progress with the 21 Day Fix or your fitness routine.

Don’t worry! Here are some healthy options to pack and take with you for a little fun in the sun.

21 Day Fix Beach Friendly Snacks:

  • Fruit & veggies teamed up with some hummus, PB, guacamole or yogurt dip are all quick, simple & nutritious option to prepare the night before.
  • Clean out old PB jars or use a mason jar to pack celery, apples it baby carrots with some PB or hummus. (This will also help to reduce getting sand in your food at the beach)
  • Plastic soda cups with lids make awesome salad containers. Just layer your ingredients (put your dressing on the bottom) and stick a fork in the top, for easy grab and go lunch!
  • Wraps are another great option. One of my favorites is nitrate-free turkey or ham with hummus, lettuce, tomato and a little broccoli slaw for crunch. Want something lower carb? Ditch the tortilla and use romaine lettuce as a wrap instead.

All you need is a cooler with some ice-packs, a little prep time the night before or the morning before you leave and you’ll be on track to avoid buying a hot dog, pretzel of other junk options that you typically find at either location.

Do you have a favorite pool or beach snack? If so, please share below!

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Three, 21 Day Fix Questions Answered

Three 21 Day Fix Questions AnsweredRecently I was asked by my friend Coach Eric, to do a LIVE Google Hangout, Q&A session on 21 Day Fix, for his bootcamp. I immediately said yes because of how much I love this program, but then sheer panic set in.

I. DON’T. LIKE. MAKING. VIDEOS.

If you’re a long time follower of my blog or social media channels, you’ve already figured this out. I don’t know why I have such a phobia of video, but I do and it’s been Eric’s mission since I’ve met him to get me over it and in front of the camera. (He’s such a pal. *eye roll*)

transformation TuedsdayThe truth is, I don’t know why I loathe video so much. I share my before & after photos as well as all kinds of glimpses into my life via Instagram, ( <—— see) but video is just weird to me.

Okay…I’m the weird one…FINE! 

Today he won, though. He got me live on a Google Hangout and you know what? I didn’t die doing it. As a matter of fact I felt pretty comfortable doing it!

The topic of our webinar was the 21 Day Fix and his bootcamp participants were able to submit questions that they had about the program. I was then able to read all of the questions and select 3 of them to answer live on air. Pretty cool right?!

Some of the topics we covered were: Incorporating 21 Day Fix approved meals with your family (2:40 mark), How to stay on track with the program while on vacation (6:19 mark), How to overcome a plateau and stay motivated on your fitness journey (9:40 mark). There were also some bonus questions and conversation about salsa, my thoughts on beer and how coaching has helped me with my fitness & nutrition (25:00 mark).

So without further delay, here is the video recording of the webinar for your viewing pleasure. 

So how did I do?! Do you think I should start doing more videos?

For those of you trying to get your children to eat healthier, a great way to get them involved is to try having them make their own Greek yogurt parfaits instead of ice-cream at night. For more recipes and ideas for getting them involved in the kitchen, check out my new Healthy Kids board on Pinterest.

Need more information about staying on track while on vacation? Be sure to check out this post I did about Staying on Track While on Vacation.

Have another question? Feel free to leave it in the comment section below and I’ll answer it as soon as I can for you!

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FIXATE on 21 Day Fix

Fixate

Photo by Team Beachbody

UPDATE: It launches today and can be order by CLICKING HERE!
Want the cookbook plus a set of containers? Click Here!

Yesterday, the creator of the popular 21 Day Fix and 21 Day fix Extreme, announced her new FIXATE cookbook, which will be released this summer. It is going to feature 101 new Fix Approved recipes, complete with container counts.

I can’t tell you how stoked I am about this! If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know how much I have embraced this program and how much I love trying out new recipes!

The demand for 21 Day Fix approved recipes is insane. There are tons of recipes all over Pinterest and chances are, that’s how you found my blog. The program can be a little overwhelming and let’s face it, the first Fix didn’t really offer much in the recipe inspiration department, which can leave people who are not used to cooking feeling very overwhelmed. 

Thankfully help from the creator is on the way!

Fixate will teach you how to make healthy, delicious meals that fit into your busy lifestyle. And every recipe includes container equivalents to use with 21 Day Fix, as well as nutritional information you can use with any Beachbody fitness program.

So what inspired Autumn to assemble this culinary masterpiece? Check out this Beachbody interview with Autumn to find out…

PERSONAL PASSION

Autumn reached into her family history for inspiration. “My family was in the restaurant business, so I basically grew up in the kitchen,” she explains. “I was able to take my family’s recipes and make them healthier.”

“We took our time, tested the recipes and I love every single one of them,” she says with pride. “It’s not fancy cooking; there’s a variety of everyday go-to recipes and special recipes for special occasions.”

How many recipes are in the book, you ask? Try 101. Some were creations of a chef very close to Autumn’s heart: her brother. “That makes it even more sentimental for me,” she says.

Each of the recipes comes complete with detailed instructions, mouthwatering photos, nutritional information and container equivalents. What’s more, Autumn has added icons to each recipe that will let readers know if they are paleo, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian.

TARGET AUDIENCE

“This book is for everybody,” says Autumn. “You don’t have to be graduates of 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme. You also don’t have to be a chef or great in the kitchen. It’s for anyone who wants to make healthier versions of the foods they love.”

According to Autumn, “Everyone will use the book differently. For some, it will become their “go-to” cookbook they use every single day. Others may use it when they’re going to a special event like a barbeque or party.”

And in addition to all the amazing recipes, Autumn has also included a detailed checklist for her absolute must-have kitchen and pantry staples, as well as the basic utensils and tools that every cook needs.

COVER TO COVER

Inside Fixate you’ll find a section for every possible meal you can imagine: simple breakfasts, on-the-go lunches, sit down dinners, soups, salads, as well as healthy snacks like kale chips and protein bars.

Autumn insisted that all the “on-the-go” lunch recipes be easy and fast for working moms. “I based all of the lunches off leftovers from dinner and even breakfast,” she reveals. “I turned them into delicious, easy-to-make lunch recipes.” Autumn adds, “I also included a few of my favorite Shakeology recipes—even some Fix-approved skinny cocktails.”

And then there’s the desserts. “I have a big sweet tooth so I was really pleased with them,” she says. “I especially love the brownies (made with chick peas), peanut butter cookies and cake recipes, and the desserts are all gluten-free so absolutely everyone can enjoy them.”

As you can see, Fixate is going to be a really valuable tool for anyone following the 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme or any other Beachbody program. Heck, the cookbook is going to be an amazing tool for anyone looking to clean up their diet, gain control of their portion sizes and just eat healthier!

Want a sneak peek? Click here to download 5 recipes from the book!

Make sure you keep an eye on this blog for updates about the book (I’ll be snagging an advanced copy of it in July) and you know I’ll be cooking up a storm and sharing my thoughts on it.

If you have been considering the 21 Day Fix, have questions about it and need someone to coach you through it, please feel free to contact me. There are some great specials on it this month and I’d love to help you see if it’s a good fit for you!

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Loaded Sweet Potato Skin

Loaded Sweet Potato BannerQuick. Simple. Easy.

Those are 3 traits I look for in my lunch items and this recipe for Loaded Sweet Potato fits all three….plus it’s 21 Day Fix friendly!

I had picked up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, as part of my meal prep on Sunday. I shredded it up and tossed the dark and white meat into a container to use for lunches during the week. I know, chicken breast is considered the almighty of healthy meats, but I’m a fan of dark meat. It’s moist and has more flavor to me, so I mix it all together to get the best of both worlds.

While searching for new recipes to try, I found this one for Sweet Potato Skins with Chicken and Spinach, which I really wanted to try. I ended up using it as inspiration because a) I didn’t feel like making the whole recipe and b) I like to be a culinary rebel at times.

(Truth is, I was just lazy and didn’t want to look up the recipe so I tried to remember it as best I could and winged it.)

This lunch came together in under 10 minutes and we ridiculously yummy!

Loaded Sweet Potato
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium sweet potato (cut in half)
  2. 3/4 cup of shredded, cooked chicken (1 red container)
  3. 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  4. chili powder, to taste
  5. cumin powder, to taste
  6. garlic powder, to taste
  7. pepper, to taste
  8. avocado, guacamole or greek yogurt, for topping.
Instructions
  1. Microwave your potato until cooked, cut in half and scoop out a small amount of the inside, save for another meal.
  2. While the potato is cooking, place your chicken in a pan over medium-high heat. Add a little water or chicken stock to keep it moist while reheating. Sprinkle with spices to suite your tastes.
  3. Add baby spinach to the pan with the chicken and cook until wilted.
  4. Top potato with chicken & spinach mixture. Top with a dollop or guacamole, slice avocado or a dollop of greek yogurt.
Notes
  1. You could ever use a sprinkle of shredded cheese if you'd like on this, depending on what containers you have for the day.
  2. This recipe (minus topping) equals 1 Yellow, 1 Red and 1 Green container on the 21 Day Fix Program.
Get Fit With Nikki http://www.getfitwithnikki.com/
 The key to simplicity with this recipe is having the cooked chicken on hand. Rotisserie chickens are a really great meal prep item to have on hand, or you could roast one up yourself when they go on sale at the grocery store. They can be used in chicken salad, quesadillas, quick and easy taco’s, wraps and on pizza.

They’re a blank slate and are just begging for a little creativity and seasoning!

Do you use rotisserie chickens or pre-cook chicken to have on hand for quick and simple meals? If so, what is your favorite way to prepare them?

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Savory Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pancake BannerObsessed.

It’s a word you could probably use to describe me when it comes to pancakes. As I’ve mentioned before, I eat them almost every morning and I’m not ashamed of it.

Yesterday, I woke up and saw that we forgot to run the dishwasher. Not thinking, I popped in a detergent tablet and hit start before realizing my griddle pan and both Ninja cups, as well as the blade where in there. That meant no pancakes for breakfast and I almost cried.

I carried on with my coffee and a bowl of banana oatmeal topped with strawberries but it just wasn’t the same.

When lunchtime rolled around, I was still thinking about pancakes (it really is an obsession) but I also wanted something savory. I look in the fridge at what my option where and decided to experiment.

With 3 simple ingredients and my pancake making tools, these 21 Day Fix friendly, Savory Sweet Potato Pancakes were born!

Savory Sweet Potato Pancakes
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato)
  2. 2 eggs
  3. Spice of choice (ie: cinnamon, ginger, Cajun seasoning, etc)
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients into your blender. Blend well.
  2. Preheat your griddle over a medium heat until hot. Spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Spoon 1/4 cup amounts of batter onto griddle to form pancakes.
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes; Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  5. Top as desired.
Get Fit With Nikki http://www.getfitwithnikki.com/
These yielded a much thicker batter than what I am used to, so I had to spoon them into the pan. I probably could have thinned it out a little with some water, but the texture of the final product was spot on.

For those of you doing 21 Day Fix these count as 1 Yellow, 1 Red and if you top it like a veggie like I did, 1 Green.

After digging through my spices, I opted to use some Cajun seasoning in my batter. I then topped them with 1 cup of baby spinach, which I wilted on the griddle as the pancakes were cooking and a drizzle of Sriracha.

I plan on trying these with cinnamon and maple this week, as well as some other variations over the next few weeks. I’ll report back with what works.

Have you ever tried a savory pancakes before? What flavor combinations do you think would work well?

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