Friday Food Find: StayFit Salad Kit

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Happy Friday everyone – congrats on making it through another week! Today I wanted to share a recent purchase I made from Amazon. I decided a couple of months ago that I really needed more salads in my life. I had been buying the pre-packaged kind you get from the grocery store until I realized how much money (and calories) I could save by making the salads myself. So, I did what any reasonable person would do and searched the internet for the best salad bowls I could find. That’s when I came across the StayFit Deluxe Salad Kit.

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What I love about this product is that it comes with 3 compartments: one for the lettuce, one for toppings and another for dressing. Gone are the days of wilted lettuce or making huge messes by attempting to put dressing in a Ziploc (which I’ve definitely done before). On top of that, the toppings compartment doubles as a freezer tray keeping everything cool! Basically there’s not enough good things I can say about this salad kit. It’s BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and makes eating salads so much easier, especially since it’s perfect to bring to work!

On a side note: I’ve finally seen the light on how much better salad tastes when you shake it as opposed to just pouring the dressing on top. Since the lid snaps on, you can shake up all the ingredients together, allowing you to use less dressing while coating all of the salad evenly, and what’s better than that?

So that you too can bask in all the glory of a tasty salad, I decided to share the salad I had for lunch today.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls of romaine hearts
  • 1 serving (about a cup) of roasted veggies
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar (use Organic if possible – it tastes so much better!)
  • 1/4 lemon

If you didn’t see my last post, I made some delicious oven-roasted veggies which I’ve thrown into this salad. Once you’ve roasted your veggies, mix them in with your romaine lettuce, top with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and squirt with the juice from 1/4 lemon. Shake up your salad and it’s ready to eat!

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I love using balsamic vinegar and lemon as a salad dressing because its so light, low in calories, and adds a fresh, tangy flavor to everything! Wishing you all a happy weekend and happy eating!

-SkinnyGirl

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Friday Food Find: Flour With Power

This Friday I’m introducing you to an awesome new whole grain flour that I recently came across at the grocery store. I’m constantly looking for substitutions to make baked goods a little healthier & this is THE PERFECT way to do so.

Ultragrain Flour

Meet Ultragrain. Here’s why it’s got the power:

  • it’s a blend of white & ultragrain flours, meaning it has the taste of a white flour with the health benefits of a whole wheat blend
  • 9 g of whole grain per serving
  • 2x the fiber of other all-purpose flour
  • lower starch content
  • increased essential minerals + vitamins
  • increased antioxidants
  • it’s NOT expensive!!

I was amazed by the taste of this stuff. You really cannot tell a difference between this & white flour in baking – I will never go back! Also, unlike other health-friendly flours, Ultragrain isn’t ridiculously expensive. When I tried some brown rice whole wheat flour for a recipe it was about $8 for a little tiny bag! I’m pretty sure that I only paid around $2.50 for this one.

In my opinion, this is the kind of health-conscience change that EVERYONE can & should make. There’s no difference in taste & a very minimal difference in price. Now you can feel a little less guilty about baking those cupcakes you’ve been craving ūüėČ

As always, the nutrition facts – if interested you can also take a peek at the nutrition facts for another all-purpose flour to compare. Put Ultragrain to the test in your own kitchen & let me know what you think in the comments below! If you have another go-to flour I’d love to hear about it! Thanks for stopping by & be sure to subscribe for more tips if you haven’t already! Happy baking!

-SkinnyGirl

SkinnyGirl

A Culinary Experience at Américas

A few nights ago I was lucky enough to dine at an amazing restaurant in Houston called Am√©ricas. My boyfriend & I had never been before so his parents decided to take us since we’re both huge fans of South/Central American food. Two summers ago I lived in Buenos Aires so I was pretty excited to eat some of the Argentinean dishes I knew and loved.

Everything about our experience at Américas exceeded my expectations.

The restaurant d√©cor definitely grabs your attention as soon as you walk in – it’s sort of indescribable. The style is very modernist and funky, you feel as if you’re walking into another universe when you pass through the front door.

This is a picture I snagged of the bathroom, “eye” couldn’t resist:

Américas

To start, our wonderful waitress Amy brought us some delicious fried plantains with a Mexican salsa, Peruvian huanca√≠na sauce, and Argentinean chimichurri. I’ve never had plantains that were so thin and crispy – they were amazing! (Plus plantains are low in fat & cholesterol ūüėČ ) The huanca√≠na was probably my favorite – I ate a ton of the stuff in Argentina since it was one of the only spicy things I could get my hands on! The Am√©rica’s huanca√≠na was definitely not very spicy, but still thoroughly delicious.

Next we ordered “The Flight of the Ceviches” which came out beautifully and tasted so fresh – great ceviche is truly a rare gem.

Ceviche

The ceviches were so well balanced, all flavored with just the right amount of tang. We decided that our favorite was probably the Ahi tuna variation because of the hint of hoisin sauce.

After we took our happy time eating up all the plantains & ceviche it was time to order so I decided on the “Lomo y Mar”. Although it’s not the healthiest choice on the menu, when I go out to eat I like to order steak because it’s something I don’t get a lot of at home. Even though beef often gets a bad rap for being high in calories, if you’re a 20-something woman like myself who doesn’t eat it very often, you might be a little iron deficient. No need to go overboard on the red meats, but eating beef 1-3 times a week is the best way to get more iron in your diet, which gives you more energy! When you’re cooking at home also be sure to choose grass-fed beef as it is the healthiest choice.

Lomo y Mar

Each bite of the Lomo y Mar was like a little piece of heaven. I ordered my steak medium-well and it was perfect, as was the shrimp. I was amazed by the how delicious the mascarpone mashed potatoes were – who would have thought to combine those two ingredients?

We were also served a group vegetable plate complete with grilled zucchini, broccoli and even yucca! Yum!

Vegetable Platter

And even after all that food we decided to get more. When you go out to a restaurant as good as this one it’s hard to say no. We ordered the “delirio de chocolate” and “tres leches” both of which were fantastic. Ruben, the manager, recommended the tequila bread pudding that we ended up trying as well! It was very clear that he genuinely cares about his customers and he was kind enough to offer me a little advice on running a restaurant (a long-term dream of mine)! I’ve never been one to like bread pudding, but the cinnamon and tequila base made it truly one-of-a-kind, I loved it! I was also happy to find out that with the cappuccino I ordered came with one of my favorite treats – alfajores.

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Now I’m sure many of you are thinking – with that much food how can you NOT gain weight? In my opinion, eating out, especially at upscale restaurants like this one is a treat & should be treated as such. You don’t need to eat out all the time, but when you do, enjoy it! Our table shared dessert between four people as opposed to eating a whole one by ourselves and we took leftovers home! You can still eat out enjoyably by ordering protein, veggies and steering clear of items with lots of dairy or carbs. I was pleased to find that Americas even offered a few dishes with quinoa! Have a few tastes of dessert – just don’t go overboard! My easiest tip: ALWAYS order water as opposed to soda (even if it’s diet) which is consuming empty calories.

Overall I’d say that Am√©ricas has earned its way to the top of my favorite Houston restaurant list and furthermore it has inspired me. Look out for an upcoming post of some clean-eating & low-fat South American recipes so that you can enjoy these dishes too, even if you’re not in the Houston area! Check back soon ūüôā

-SkinnyGirl

Friday Food Find: When Life Gives You Lemons…

I’ll admit I’ve gotten a lot of ‘lemons’ from life lately – nothing to REALLY complain about, just that I’ve been more busy than I could ever imagine with classes. I also got a bit dehydrated in this hot hot Texas sun and went through a whole ‘hmmm what is wrong with me?’ freakout at the doctor’s office. Luckily nothing is seriously wrong – I just had an infection which dehydration made much worse, and was forced to temporarily lay off the caffeine, alcohol and sugar (yes, everything good in life). I was also told to drink as much water as is humanly possible.

The thing is, I’m just not a huge H20 drinker – normally I’ll have maybe a glass or two a day (I know, that’s horrible). Regardless, I’ve been forced to change my ways. I’ve been drinking about 8-9 glass daily now, and after going on an “all water” beverage diet, I was looking for something else to drink…which is when I discovered this wonderful lemonade!

Let’s be honest, the bottle is definitely what caught my eye. ¬†I picked up the diet version wondering (and hoping) that it was made with Stevia as opposed to Aspartame or some other artificial sweetener and to my surprise it was! I was pleased to find that there was only one ingredient on the list that I was unfamiliar with – erythritol, which I later read occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods so I figured it can’t be that bad right?

The lemonade is super refreshing and delicious – and only 20 calories a bottle! Another thing I liked about it was the fact that I could see bits of pulp from the lemon juice floating around the bottom of the bottle, which in my mind showed that it was REAL lemonade. I think this would make for a wonderful cocktail mixer as well as just being an awesome drink on it’s own!

lemonade2

I for one agree with the bottle caps – Hubert’s Lemonade causes joy (for me at least) so try it out!

Drink up & enjoy!

Friday Food Find! Chocolove

Every skinnygirl needs to eat a bar of chocolate every once in a while – we can’t be perfect all the time! But hey, when you’re going to indulge you might as well do so in a way that really isn’t all that unhealthy. I’ve recently fallen in LOVE with these chocolate bars by Chocolove, they come in a TON of flavors and are made with high percentages of cocoa meaning they aren’t all that bad for you!

Chocolove

Chocolove

Both of these flavors are fantastic! The Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate has ground espresso beans in it for added crunch and the Currents & Almonds flavor is organic & 73% Cocoa – dark chocolate lovers rejoice!

Not only do these taste amazing but they are also incredibly cute…each chocolate bar has a love poem inside. (Is this what people mean by eat your feelings? – if so I’m ok with it)

chocolove

nutrition facts for Coffee Crunch

As you can see, the nutrition facts really aren’t that bad either – a third of the Coffee Crunch bar is only 145 calories. All I can say is yum. This stuff is delicious and believe it or not, chocolate has health benefits. Dark chocolate (50-70% cocoa), like these, is full of antioxident flavonoids, which can improve cardiovascular health.

So enjoy your Friday you chocoholics! Go out & try some Chocolove! xoxo

-SkinnyGirl

Friday Food Find: Pacific Foods Soup

Although this isn’t exactly a new food find, I decided to share one of my favorite soups. I’m not much of a soup person in general (I consider it to be more of an appetizer than meal – there’s a reason it’s called skinny girl BIG APPETITE) but¬†I love these. They have an amazing flavor and are heartier than most soups in my opinion.

So enough suspense – the brand is called Pacific Natural Foods¬†and most of their soups are organic. They make for a good,¬†but lower calorie meal. ¬†Plus there are a TON of flavors you can choose from. The great thing is that the price isn’t organic at all – I swear HEB always has a coupon for it.

Poblano Pepper and Corn Chowder

Poblano Pepper and Corn Chowder

Poblano Pepper and Corn Chowder is one of my favorites. I also like to buy the Pacific Foods low sodium chicken broth for cooking. Try it out for yourself, this stuff is delicious! And perfect for that rare occasion when you don’t feel like cooking (*gasp* I actually said it)! Enjoy

-SkinnyGirl

Friday Food Find! New Favorite Chips

When I think of summertime snacks there are three things that come to mind: watermelon, pico de gallo, and guacamole. There’s nothing I love more than some fresh pico or guac – that said, I could eat the whole container of them by myself. So, in an attempt to make my guacamole obsession a little healthier I tried to find some healthy chips.

ImageThese chips are not only healthy, but incredibly tasty – I was thrilled to find something that’s good for me, delicious, & cheap! I got the flavor ‘Original’ which is made with black beans, so it’s high in protein AND gluten-free. Essentially this chip is for everyone, check it out:

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It has a great flavor, and was suprisingly crispy – which I love! It also is lightly salted with sea salt so you can definitely say that I’ve found a new favorite chip to my dip. As always, the nutrition facts:

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What I like about this is that there’s no trans fat, there’s potassium, protein and these chips are high in fiber meaning that they fill you up. One of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight/losing weight is eating a high-fiber and high-protein diet, because then you don’t get hungry when you shouldn’t be.

Overall I give these 5/5 stars – so go try them out for yourself!

-SkinnyGirl