Avocado, Garlic,and Zucchini Pasta!

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Yeah its been a long time, sorry lol… life happens.

Been craving pasta like a mofo so I made this and decided to share it with yall! YAY FOOD!

completely clean and simple long with all from natural sources. (Another thing I’m looking forward to doing and getting more into again … Holistic Nutrition! … Having our own house will help too!! – yes I have a lot of catching up to do lol… )

So if you only want the recipe, scroll below to see its amazingness! … but this Thanksgiving Evan and I got ENGAGED! .. Not that it was due time, I never have been the type of girl to ever pressure him either, not my style. Knowing that he’s my person and it will happen when its time to happen kind of thing =) Plus, I thought we were on mission get a house!! lol……

PS!! So excited for my own kitchen and to have a garden!

With the recent events that happened before, I completely have a rather simple perspective on life now. Not that life is simple for me, hell buying a house, planning a wedding, planning on going back to school and looking at a personal trainer certification…not to mention supporting Evan in his goals and life, and just juggling the day in general… things aren’t exactly what some would say would be “simple” … but the more I just let go of things I cannot change, the easier and “simpler” it gets!

So yes! I have A lot ahead of me, but I’m excited to take it on, to embrace it and truly go after what I want in life, everything from the career, love, education down to just having Netflix night with my soon to be HUSBAND.. ( wow that seems strange saying lol….) Bring it All on!

The reverse diet update is that I’m officially up to 1800 calories, losing weight with more food added into my life, I even got to introduce a small amount of dairy back in and I’m not dying!! That’s exciting right there! .. So looks like the metabolism is naturally and slowly fixing itself which gives me more excitement towards these next few years before I decide to have kiddos… ( yea.. I’m almost 27, in one week actually) and.. well I want babies! lol.

so anywho1 that’s what’s new and happening. Like I promised before, the recipe below!

ENGOY 😉

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What yore gonna need yo!

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/8 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 5-6 zucchini or yellow squash ( I’m sure cucumber would be amazing too!!! – just saying )
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • splash of water
  • 5-8 baby heirloom tomatoes (cut in half)
  • fresh basil leafs
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 lime

How to:

  1. start your steamer and begin to spiralize your zucchinis, making “noodles”. put “noodles” into the steamer.
  2. in a food processor, ( I actually used my small 1 serving blender , took a little longer but it worked lol) place avocado, 1/4 of lime ( squeezed, obviously) a few basil leafs, garlic, onion, and water. the more water the more “liquid-y” it will be lol, I left mine pretty thick. =)
  3. Place some noodles on a plate, add a 1/4 of the avocado sauce into the noodles, mix in tomatoes, more basil leafs if you’d like and salt and pepper! Add in come lean chicken breast, shrimp, or any other protein .. or just eat it like it is!!
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Garlic Chicken Pasta w/ Spinach, tomatoes and chives!

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SOOO Good! Made this the other night and everyone in the family liked it!!

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You’ll Need:

1 box Whole Wheat or gluten free linguini.

3 large skinless chicken breasts (cut into chunks, or you can buy the already cut up kind)

1 small container of mushrooms

3 cups baby spinach

8 small cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 small can sliced black olives

3 chives (chopped)

For the sauce – You’ll need:

2 tbsp. butter ( I used Earth Balance Brand)

4 Garlic cloves (mined)

4 tbsp. Whole-wheat flour or Gluten free flour.

1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth ( I used chicken this time) -LOOK for LOW SODIUM!!

1 1/2 cups Almond milk, or low-fat milk will work too.

3 teaspoons Parsley flakes

2/3 cup graded parmesan or mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste.

HOW TO:

  • In large skillet, season chicken to taste with some chicken seasoning (I like Ms. Dash) and place in skillet. Add about 1/2 cup water and cover. (My mother taught me this trick when cooking chicken so it doesn’t dry out! =) …)

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  • Meanwhile, in another med-large skillet, put in butter and garlic cloves till butter is melted and garlic is starting to break down. Cook for around 1 min. (this will be your sauce pan)
  • Start noodles according to package in large pot. And drain when does cooking. Set aside.

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  • Go back to sauce pan, add flour and cook for 1 min, stirring so all the flour is dissolved evenly.  After, add broth and almond milk, stirring occasionally till sauce thickens and boils. Then add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese into sauce and cook till cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Turn to simmer-low until ready to serve.

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  • Meanwhile, to keep from burning your chicken, you can always add a little more water to pan and let simmer covered. Cook chicken till done (no pink in middle of the chunks) And when chicken is done, place in bowl and set aside to chop up. In same pan (leaving some of the chicken juices), put in a little olive oil, add spinach, tomatoes, chives, mushrooms and olives into the pan and sauté.

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  • Cut cooked chicken on cutting board into bit size pieces and add to veggie mix.

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Once everything is done, pile noodles on place, add as much veggie/chicken mix as desired and top with a little sauce … YUMM!!

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My Everyday Grocery List!

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So I get a lot of questions on what to buy at the store. How do I know how to pick out produce, and such. So without further ado.. Here is my “everyday grocery shopping list”.

  • Most of the things like condiments I already have stocked up so you’ll only have to buy things like that every so often.
  • Also when buying produce keep in mind that this stuff goes bad fast, so only buy what you think your going to eat within that week. (Learned that lesion the hard way!)

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VEGGIES – feel free to add other favorites!

  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Any other “salad” Mixes you’d like
  • Baby carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes (baby ones, and big ones)
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green, and Orange)
  • Radishes
  • Green Beans
  • Chives and Onions
  • Corn
  • Asparagus

Fruits -Feel free to add other favorites!

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Lemons (for cooking with and water)

Lean Meats and Protien  ***grass-fed and hormone-free is ideal**

  • Shrimp
  • Tuna (in water)
  • Skin-less Chicken Breasts
  • Ground Turkey
  • Low- Sodium Lunchmeat
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Salmon (wild caught)
  • Lean Beef
  • Eggs and Egg Whites
  • Other fish is good too.
  • *** Any kind of Game meat is awesome for you as well because its in its natural environment and its “grass-fed”. (Antelope, Deer, Bison, Elk, Pheasant etc. )

Carbs

  • Brown Rice
  • Baby red Potatoes
  • Quinoa ( this also comes in a noodle form-by far the best gluten-free choices)
  • Whole-wheat Bread (or Gluten-free)
  • Yams
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • OLD-Fashion Oats
  • Low-Sugar and Low-Carb Cereals

Dairy

  • Skim or Low-Fat Milk
  • Almond or Coconut Milk (Dairy Free)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Cheese (string cheese options are available in this too)
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Healthy Fats!

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado
  • Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews and Pistachios

Condiments

  • Stevia (liquid and sugar form )
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Salsa
  • Balsamic Vinegar (almost any “clear” type of dressing is better than the creamy kind)
  • Mustard
  • Agave Nectar
  • Flax-Seed Meal (to put in oatmeal and any baking goods)

Drinks

  • Water (obviously) -try to get a BPA free glass container then your saving the environment too!
  • Coffee
  • Green tea (not pre-made, but the tea bags)

Olive Garden Healthy Options

So.. I love me some Olive Garden. And its safe to say that its one of my fav’s and I almost ALWAYS get a gift card to that place from a family member for Christmas or my birthday. So needless to say its a known fact that I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN! haha

But not everything there is healthy either. Just like other restaurants, they have good healthy options, and … eh, lets just go with the fact that they have poor decisions as well…So.. which do you choose? How do you know what’s a “healthy” option without bombarding the waitress about all the nutritional information and looking like a crazed, obsessed dieter.

And that my dear friends, is why  I’m here!

AMANDA to the RESCUE!!!

So being the salad and breadstick lover I am, I’m sad to say that one serving of their delicious salad (that’s drenched in awesome dressing I might add) and one breadstick is a whopping 500 calories alone. Sad, but true. And don’t go and try to blame the breadstick either! ok. One breadstick is around 150 calories, so most of the issue is actually coming from the drenched salad… ironically. So, quick fix, as for the dressing on the side! YAY! (don’t drench it when you get it on the side either- that’s defeating the purpose) Instead, dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing and, then, get a fork full of salad. Tastes the same, saves some un-needed calories.

  • Next .. say you want an Appetizer.

Stuffed mushrooms is probably your best option – 280 cal.

Mussels de Napoli which is 180 calories but extremely high in sodium so … only have a few.

Unlike the Lasagna Fritta that’s around 1,030…HOLY SMOKES!

  • Next, the main meal!

Soups and salads are always a better choice (usually) depending on where you go….

Now I know I just bashed the famous Olive Garden salad, bit its not that bad, if its your main course, just go light on the dressing.

Best Soup option – Pasta e fagioli  (it has the lowest amount of sodium)

Other options include

  • Cheese ravioli with marinara sause
  • Linguine alla Marinara
  • Parmesan Crusted tilapia
  • Plain ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Herbed Grilled Salmon
  • Apricot Chicken
  • Ravioli Portobello
  • Chicken marsalla (kind of high in sodium , so if you cut in half, that would be ideal)

And as good as that Tour of Italy dish looks , its almost your entire days worth of calories along in that one dish! oh my.. – 1.450 calories and 3,800mg of sodium. WOW

To make your dish even healthier .. you can always ask for Whole grain or Gluten free noodles. Regular linguini and penne are the other two better options.

And choose marinara over any white cream sauce.

Also – here is the link to Olive Gardens Menu and Nutritional Information if you want to look for yourself. https://www.olivegarden.com/Menu/Nutrition/

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