Kelly’s Soft Batch Crunch Cookies

Valentine's CookiesThese cookies are bad. They have no nutritional value whatsoever.  But they are like heaven in your mouth and too good not to share.  When I eat something “bad” I do it with full knowledge of what I’m putting in my body.  I don’t pretend that it’s ok or try to justify it.  I don’t do it often but when I do I make sure it’s worth every bite and consequence that goes with it.  And that’s all I have to say about that J These are the real deal and I have concocted the perfect combination of flavors for you to enjoy this Valentine’s day. When making these cookies, the recipe for the dough stays the same, however you can mix and match cookie and candy combinations.  Below I will give you a few of my favorites that I gave out as my Valentine’s treats this year… Continue reading

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Shredded BBQ Chicken

BBQ ChickI’ve been craving all things BBQ lately.  But sometimes the weather doesn’t permit sending my husband out to grill me something for dinner.  And with all this rain, the grilling has been minimal.  Grilled meat and chicken is generally my favorite way to eat protein, and BBQ sauce is my version of ketchup.  It wasn’t until my adulthood that I actually started to like ketchup so as a kid I was the one dipping my French fries in BBQ sauce.

There are so many options out there when it comes to BBQ sauce and many of them are loaded with sugar.  As a result, often people monitoring their eating habits, whether it be Paleo, clean eating or flexible dieting will opt to make their own sauce. Continue reading

Roasted Veggie Lasagna

SliceThe Italian girl in me LOVES lasagna.  When I changed my eating habits to paleo years ago, I had to cut out the grains and dairy so lasagna was obviously a big no-no.  Now that I eat flexibly, I allow myself to eat non-paleo foods, however, I still limit them in my food choices.  When I cook at home, my food is pretty damn clean.  I’ve lived so long without things like pasta and sourdough bread that it’s not that big of a deal to continue on that path of a primarily grain-free diet.  Eating out is where I tend to indulge in those kinds of foods that I normally wouldn’t make at home.  And I no longer feel guilty about it.  I know what foods are nutritious and good for my body but when I choose to order lasagna on a special occasion at a restaurant, I do so knowing exactly what I’m doing and what I’m eating.  I don’t pretend that it’s ok to consume 1,000+ calories in a few bites or eat all of that gluten-filled pasta and fatty cheese.  But when I rarely do it, I do so without any regrets.  Sometimes I feel like shit afterward from the gluttony and other times I feel just fine.  The bottom line for me is that I work my ass off to live a healthy lifestyle.  So I’m OK with letting my inner Italian fat girl out on occasion with some non-clean eats.  Moving away from such a rigid diet to a more flexible eating style has eliminated that horrific guilt factor that I associated with eating Paleo for so long.  And even though I can now eat whatever I want, I actually find myself still making the most nutritious choices for my body and my performance.  I just now have a different attitude about food and eating outside of the “lines.” Continue reading

Goosey’s Chicken Parm

IMG_3430Eek.  I’ve totally been on hiatus with the holidays.  I have no idea how many people actually look at my recipes or even care, but I feel bad that i’ve been MIA and unable to provide you with something new to add to your cooking rotation.  I’ve been cooking but keeping things pretty simple and repetitive just because of the chaos.  But I’m coming back in the New Year with a bang.  This is a MUST MAKE RECIPE.  My cousin Christina, aka Goose/Goosey/Godmother Goose/Gigi started the Whole 30 last week which is a very strict 30 day challenge of sorts to detox the body.  The do not eat ingredient list is extensive and limiting.  I support anybody who is trying to enhance their nutrition, whatever the “diet” may be, so I asked her to come over last night for dinner and I promised to make her a bomb ass meal that was Whole 30 friendly.  Mission accomplished.  Pardon my French when I say this was so f*cking good I can’t even stand it.  I had pockets of time throughout the day so I kind of prepped dinner in stages, but the actual “chicken parmesan” itself was pretty quick to prep and bake.  There is no parmesan cheese, no bread crumbs and no frying.  It’s 100% grain and dairy free.  It’s high in protein, basically no carb and the fat content primarily comes from the chicken thigh itself and the almond flour used as breading. Continue reading

Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Soup

Mushroom SoupMy sister in law requests two things when I cook for her.  Chili or soup.  I just made her chili so soup it was last night.  She is also a flexible eater so I wanted something hearty but at the same time macro-friendly.  Things have been so busy with work and the holidays that as much as I like to cook, I’ve been trying to keep things quick and simple.  If I had more time I would have cooked the chicken myself in order to give the soup extra flavor, however, I shredded a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken I had.  Next time I make it I may opt for chicken thighs only and brown them in the dutch oven before sautéing the veggie ingredients.  Regardless of this recipe’s simplicity it was a crowd pleaser.  The whole family randomly got together last night and basically licked the pot clean.  That’s saying a lot when you have two brothers in their Thirties who think soup is chick food and still cringe at the sight of vegetables. Continue reading

Chicken and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Squash SquareThe spaghetti and butternut seem to get all the love when it comes to squashes, however, I believe the acorn squash is being highly underutilized when it comes to fall comfort cooking.  It’s almost like a sweet potato in flavor and texture and often becomes my replacement when I’m looking for a dinner side-dish that’s moderate in carbs. If you’re looking to keep it simple, all you need to do is slice it and roast it with just a little olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and grated parmesan and you’ve got a delicious side that you can eat like vegetable watermelon slices. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Asian Flank Steak

It’s time to get out the crockpot!  People always forget about the crockpot but it’s so great for so many reasons.  One, it’s pretty hard to screw up a crockpot recipe.  Two, there’s usually minimal prep involved.  And three, it’s a great way to cook meat in bulk if you want to have leftovers.  We should all know by know that I love having leftovers in the fridge because I often dine solo or need stuff that I can grab and take when I’m on the go.  I usually lean toward chicken crockpot dishes because they tend to be a little more versatile when it comes to repurposing leftovers, however, once in a while I want a slow-cooked steak dish to top over a big bowl of veggies and cauliflower rice. Continue reading

Ground Chicken Butternut Squash Chili

I’ve been trying to get this recipe up for weeks.  I suck.  I don’t know where my time goes, but it sure hasn’t gone to my blog! Chili With the “holiday season” starting, things have gotten a little hectic and it’s so easy to get side tracked.  We tend to focus more on parties and presents rather than our daily routine, me included.  I’m completely guilty of indulging in every sense of the word when it comes to the holiday season…any holiday for that matter.  I love giving presents and baking and making people feel good and loved.  It makes me beyond happy.  BUT, even though it is the holiday season, we shouldn’t lose sight of our personal goals of fitness and health.  Believe me, I’m going to have my fair share of treats and cheats over this holiday season, but when I do, it will make sure whatever I’m cheating with is worth it and I will feel damn good about doing it because I have stuck to my nutrition and training goals up to that point.  Over the years I’ve learned that you can afford to give yourself a day off here and there and it’s not going to kill your overall fitness, however, allowing yourself to eat like shit for a whole “season” is a different story.  It goes without saying that there are consequences to derailing your nutrition.  Eat shit = feel and look like shit.  Bottom line.  Taking a month or two off from clean eating because it’s the holiday season just doesn’t cut it anymore.  It’s not worth having to start over from square one.  I’ve put a lot of time and energy into my body and health and really have no desire to undo all of that progress.  So for me, it’s about finding balance and clean eating options that are so good that you won’t miss the unhealthy ones.  Again, I’m not going to turn down a nice big piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or clam chowder in a bread bowl on Christmas Eve, however, in between I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing so that my general well-being doesn’t suffer.  My point here is, stick to your nutrition goals despite the craziness.  Keep cooking clean eats.  And plan ahead!  Making healthy food in bulk allows you to have great options ready to go in the fridge when you’re feeling too busy to cook.  And make something that you can eat as is or modify it as the week goes on. Continue reading

PaleOMG Buffalo Chicken Pasta “Simplified and Modified”

I really appreciate paleo cooking and baking.  I do it ALOT.  When you eat clean, you tend to lean toward paleo type dishes just because your trying to stick to as many “real” foods as possible.  I did the strict paleo thing for years, but now I am a flexible eater and allow myself to have oats and dairy in moderation.  My problem sometimes with paleo dishes and baking, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, is that they can be severely lopsided when it comes to carbs, fats and protein.  For my personal goals and my personal diet, I need to keep my fat intake in check.  I allow myself about 61 grams of fat per day, give or take a few grams.  I don’t do it intentionally, but my lunches and dinners tend to be very low in the fat category.  Unless I’ve planned to use a lot of avocado, cheese, oils, or fattier cuts of meat, my cooking simply ends up low fat.  Believe me, I LOVE fats, I just prefer them in snack foods I guess.  Nut butters go good on EVERYTHING…rice cakes, apples, even on top of a chocolate quest bar 🙂  One of my favorite snacks of all time is carrot sticks and sunbutter.  Try it! Continue reading

Ridiculously Clean Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin CookiesI feel bad that I haven’t posted a recipe in a few weeks!  For some reason, life has been so busy.  Actually, I know the reason.  Between my new gym gig, personally coaching clients, nutrition consulting, training for two upcoming crossfit competitions (and I signed up for my first 5K race haha) AND raising my fast-growing almost two year old, I’m finding little time to actually sit down and share my latest food ideas with you all!  I apologize for that!  I’ve got a really great chili recipe coming next week so stay tuned…

One of my gym members requested a pumpkin recipe and I had just the other day experimented with creating a macro-friendly pumpkin “cookie” that was very conservative in each category of macros.  “Real life” treats obviously are on the sweet side so it can make it hard to fit them in my macros without totally depleting my carb grams.  That kind of splurge takes some planning ahead.  When it comes to “clean” baking, depending on your choice of grain-free flour alternatives, you can easily be in the same boat with the carbs, OR you can skyrocket your fat using a nut based meal/flour.  So, I set out to create a pumpkin treat that was pretty even across all three macro groups, and I was pretty successful! Continue reading