bucket lists.

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Well it happened. The time finally came when I was asked to completely clean out my childhood bedroom. Though I had moved out of my parents home over a year ago, my bedroom was still filled with odds and ends that needed tending to — for all of you who have moved away from home you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s all the things you have no room [or desire] to have in your new place, but can’t throw it out for the life of you. I’m talking old pictures, ticket stubs, postcards, clothes, electronics, notebooks, books…I could keep going but you get the point. Anyyyy who — while I was going through all these things I came across an old wallet I had in college and guess what was inside- my bucket list.

I can remember exactly when I wrote this.  I was at the campus coffee house waiting for a friend to show up. I had just signed up to go on a Habitat for Humanity trip during Spring Break with a group of people I have never met before and was feeling motivated to continue writing a list of experiences and challenges to work towards.

Reading over what my 19-year-old-self thought were such great bucket list items was laughable. I mean c’mon the whole concept of a bucket list is documenting dream experiences and achievements that want to be accomplished over a span of a lifetime! I don’t think things like “catch a fish or fly a kite” really qu689979bd-ea0d-44ed-8595-133c1cc5bf34alify. However, a lot of these things were great goals created to push me out of my comfort zone, face my fears, and try new things. It was an even cooler experience to go down the list and see that I was able to cross a lot of the items off, the most recent being to see a moose! woo hoo!! (yes that small blurb in the back is a moose).

Seeing all I had accomplished since I wrote this list, the things I still have left to achieve, and what I would like to add to this bucket list put a lot of things in perspective for me. It made me realize how fortunate I am that I had, and still have, the opportunity, support, and the means to reach many of the goals on my list such as traveling, going back to school, and advancing my career. It made me proud that I continued to push myself out of my comfort zone and face challenges head on– like sticking it to my fear of heights by going skydiving, embracing my anxiety of solo ventures to travel alone, and even giving myself a voice by starting a blog! Ultimately, finding my bucket list allowed me to take a step back from the schedule I have become accustomed to and look back fondly on my many accomplishments.

So please, if you have a bucket list- go track it down and do at least one thing on that list. If you don’t have one, go write one! Life goes by fast and it is easy to get set in a routine. Like my list not all items need to be extravagant- just one new thing that you have never done before is all it takes! The sense of pride, inspiration, and accomplishment that comes from achieving a goal is an indescribable and great feeling.

It’s time – stop reading, get out that notepad, and set some goals! The sky’s the limit!

healthy eats. Zucchini Fries

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Who doesn’t love french fries. The warm, crispy, and satisfying taste of this popular side dish has won over the hearts of people all over the world. However, french fries are high in fat, calories, and sodium. Diets high in these three things increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity-related problems.

A healthy alternative to this fan favorite are zucchini fries. Zucchini is low in calories and high in vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals. Zucchini can be eaten both cooked and raw and is a great addition to many meals! Opting for zucchini fries versus the standard potato french fries will give your body the antioxidants it needs to help fight off free radicals, while limiting your fat, sodium, and caloric intake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free breadcrumbs work just as well)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cut the zucchini into 1/2 – inch sticks [approximately the size of a tube of lipstick]
  3. Place the zucchini sticks into a mixing bowl
  4. Add the greek yogurt and panko crumbs into the bowl
  5. Toss the mixture until the zucchini is coated thoroughly
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7.  Place the coated zucchini sticks onto a greased baking sheet
  8. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes, until sticks are nicely browned
  9. enjoy!

healthy eats. Watermelon Radish, Orange, & Goat Cheese Salad

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I want to start off this post by thanking my beautiful friend Linda. She recommended this recipe to me and it’s amazing! so i thank you 🙂

The watermelon radish. While this Chinese root vegetable may look bland on the outside, it is the vibrant interior colors that give this food item its trademark name.  Not only is the watermelon radish, formally known as the Red Meat Radish, bursting with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This vegetable is made up of 90% water and only has 17 calories per cup! What an amazing snack or side salad idea! Fall is the best time to purchase watermelon radishes, so get them before the season ends! This quick, no-cook, healthy salad dish can be prepared and enjoyed anywhere, so give it a try and tell me what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 watermelon radishes
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place the minced shallot, white balsamic vinegar, and salt into a small bowl and set aside
  2. Cut off one end of each of the radishes. Thinly, and carefully, slice the radishes with a sharp knife and place in a large bowl
  3. Season the sliced radishes with a pinch of salt
  4. Cut off the two ends of the oranges.
  5. Squeeze the juice from the orange ends onto the salted radishes
  6. Take the remainder of the orange, remove the peel, and divide into slices
  7. Place the orange slices into the large bowl with the radishes
  8. Scatter the walnuts, goat cheese, and shallot mixture into the large bowl
  9. Add the extra virgin olive oil on last
  10. Let the meal sit for approximately 5 minutes
  11. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook Time: 5 minutes     Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 2-3 people           Calories: 250                       Serving Size: 1 Cup 

Optional Sides:

  • Due to the high acidity content of this recipe it is advised you pair this meal with whatever whole grain starch alternative that you wish.
    • [Sourdough toast with mashed avocado and red pepper flakes is a great option]
  • If you don’t enjoy the taste of goat cheese pair this meal with feta cheese instead! 

healthy eats. Sweet Potato Chili

5391320389_abac107bf3_zSince the first day of autumn is right around the corner I can’t think of a better time to introduce my sweet twist on this classic dish. This hearty, warm, and flavorful meal is the perfect pick-me-up to counteract the bite that is starting to appear in the air. Two of the leading ingredients in this recipe offer an abundance of vitamins and minerals. The sweet potatoes in the chili offer vitamins A, B6 and C, magnesium and potassium, while the beans are a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. This meal can be served immediately or frozen into separate servings to have throughout the week!

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into squares
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can of low sodium chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can of low sodium kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder [dependent on your tolerance for spice]
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the olive oil and sweet potatoes into a large pot over medium-high heat until potatoes are softened
  2. Add the onions and peppers into the pot and stir continuously until soft
  3. Once vegetables are soft, add the remaining ingredients into the pot and boil (Feel free to play around with the amount of spices to make the chili more to your liking)
  4. Once the contents of the pot begin to boil turn heat down to simmer and cover
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes until the chili appears thicker in texture
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook Time: 40 minutes     Total Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6-7 people           Calories: 410

Optional Sides:

  • Cornbread muffins are always a good side, just be aware of the size of the muffin
  • Steamed broccoli is always a great side to pair with chili; steam 2 cups of broccoli florets in water until bright green and soft in texture; drain then serve
  • If you would like additional protein, ground turkey is a great lean protein source. Just cook in a side pan with pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil until the turkey is 80% cooked (when you see very little pink) and then add it into the pot with the chili ingredients

 

healthy eats. Salmon with Pineapple Salsa

8704841865_72327c1366_zThis healthy dinner option combines a mix of flavors into a one-of-a-kind meal for under 400 calories. It is easy to make with limited ingredients, preparation, and dishes to wash!

Salmon, a powerful food known to promote eye and heart health, as well as cognition and memory, is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, protein, vitamin b6, vitamin d, and vitamin b12.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound salmon
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 pineapple, diced into large squares
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farhenheit
  2. Place the salmon into a greased baking dish
  3. Pour the vegetable broth over the salmon and lightly season with salt and pepper
  4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes; the salmon should be a light pink inside and will flake easily with a fork
  5. While salmon is baking, mix together the lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, sugar, diced pineapple, diced tomatoes, and the basil into a bowl and store in the fridge until time to serve
  6. Once salmon is done baking, take out of the oven and discard the vegetable broth
  7. Place the salmon back into the baking dish to be served
  8. Serving size: 4 ounces of salmon with 1/4 cup of pineapple salsa
  • Optional Sides:  
    • Cook 1  cup of brown rice, made with 1/2 cup vegetable broth and 1/2 cup water until absorbed
    • Steam 1 cup of mini carrots with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon until soft

Prep Time: 15 minutes   Cook Time: 30 minutes  Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4 people              Calories: 350