pumpkin-bars

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bars

I don’t wanna come off as super basic but… I’m pretty basic. I love all things fall: apples, baking, my flannel shirts, LL Bean boots, bonfires, football, and seasonal beers. Notice how pumpkin spice is not on that list?

Growing up, I never had pumpkin anything in my house, aside from the Jack-o-Lanterns we carved every year. It was never apart of our meals so I was never exposed to the (wonderful) gourd. My first taste of pumpkin and pumpkin spice was a pumpkin spice latte and I gotta say… not a fan. Gimme a skinny peppermint mocha and I’ll be a happy chick but if you order me a PSL – prepare to die.

So I avoided pumpkin for years after that. That is, until today. Today I bring you my first attempt at Pumpkin Bars with a cream cheese frosting. Everybody and their mother goes crazy for pumpkin come October 1 so I figured I’d try baking with it. I must say, I really outdid myself.

I used my banana bread recipe and just replaced the mushed bananas with a can of pumpkin puree and what followed was Heaven in my mouth. The bars are spongy and flavorful, but not overpowering. And the addition of the cream cheese frosting is a bonus (though, not a must!).

I ended up with 24 bars and if left unfrosted, they’re only 75 calories each! Perfect for dessert and way better for you than those sweet “coffee” drinks that are so popular right now.

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Print Recipe
Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bars
Moist & flavorful pumpkin bars - made with Greek yogurt!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
For the frosting:
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
For the frosting:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (eggs, maple syrup, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and pumpkin puree) and brown sugar
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (add in small batches)
  5. Mix until creamy and then pour into oven-safe dish and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven
Frosting:
  1. With softened cream cheese and butter, mix all ingredients until blended
Recipe Notes

Let pumpkin bars cool for 20-30 minutes before frosting them. If it's too hot, the frosting won't hold!

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Crockpot Turkey Chili

Hello & HAPPY MONDAY. I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend and you’re off to a good start this week. If not, I hope the week gets better for you!

I spent the whole weekend doing next-to-nothing. It was cold and rainy so I didn’t want to leave the house if I didn’t have to. Sunday afternoon cleared up a bit so Matt and I went to an early dinner down in Evanston and afterwards, I met up with my mom for a 90-minute (SO LONG) yoga class. It was quite the experience!

So with fall in full swing, my laziness when it comes to cooking came creeping back. Well, I think I’m always lazy. I have bursts of renewed energy when it comes to the kitchen but that doesn’t last too long; between grocery shopping, actually cooking, and then the clean-up, I don’t like to do anything too elaborate. And that is why I LOVE crockpot meals: perfect for any season and you can create wholesome, hearty meals with barely any preparation! Over the weekend, I threw together some of my favorite combinations for a healthy Crockpot Turkey Chili.

This version of chili is slightly healthier than most because it incorporates lean turkey meat and chopped vegetables. And best of all: leftovers for DAYS.

I am now off to Dunkin for a mid-day coffee! I promised myself that after a new post + several job applications that I could get one. Have a good Monday!

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Print Recipe
Crockpot Turkey Chili
A hearty turkey chili - perfect for cooler fall or winter evenings!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 5+ hours
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 5+ hours
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown turkey on stovetop then transfer over to your crockpot
  2. Add EVERYTHING + 1/2 of seasonings (not cheese, not avocado)
  3. Mix well
  4. Add rest of seasonings
  5. Cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 5-6. The longer, the better.
  6. Serve over rice with shredded cheese and avocado
Recipe Notes
  • Vegetarians/vegans: omit turkey completely (black beans would be a tasty addition), substitute vegetable broth in place of chicken stock
  • Spices heavily encouraged! Add whatever YOU think would be tasty
  • The longer you leave it in the crockpot, the better it turns out
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Football Friday: Light(er) Buffalo Chicken Dip

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My love for tailgating began before college and even before high school, when my dad took my sisters and I to a Northwestern game. The school put on a huge event for their MBA students: we’re talking hot dogs, hamburgers, all the snacks, face-painting for kids, balloons, games, and I think I remember a bouncy house? Aside from the actual game being one of the best College Football games in history (it’s true – 2000 Northwestern v. Michigan), the tailgate part was SO MUCH FUN.

And from there, a love was born.

Tailgating is a rich tradition that anyone can partake in. Even if you HATE the sport, you probably love to tailgate. You can tailgate almost anything: football games, baseball games, even concerts! I’m, of course, partial to college football tailgates. There’s nothing better than a bunch of people setting up their spread of meats, chips, dips, drinks, and activities in the parking lot outside the stadium on a sunny, fall day.

Of course, all of that food and drink can wreak havoc on your body. Waking up Saturday evening (after your post-game nap, of course) only to feel sick to your stomach is not a pleasant feeling. So I’m here to help you create some snacks that’ll be a little bit less terrible on the body.

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So with that said, I’m here with a Light(er) Buffalo Chicken Dip just in time for Friday Night Lights.

Light(er) Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4oz fat free or low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 cup hot sauce – I used Frank’s
  • 1/4 cup Bleu cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella
  • 1 Ranch seasoning packet
  • 5oz shredded chicken

Directions:

  • Mix everything together in a bowl
  • Oven (350*F): Fill a baking dish with the mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes, until top starts to get brown
  • Grill or stove-top(medium heat): Fill a grill-safe pot or pan with mixture and cook for 25-30 minutes, until top starts to get brown
  • Crockpot (low): Fill crockpot and cook on low for approximately 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with carrots, celery, tortilla chips, or (my favorite) pretzel thins! 474746

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Meez Meals: A Meal Delivery Review

Edit: I received these meals for free. Meez is not paying me nor did they ask me to review their meals. After trying them out, I sent a message to their CEO letting them know I’d be writing about my experience and he sent me a promo code. I am not receiving any commission off the sales from my promo code.

Hi everyone!

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to try out a healthy meal deal service and wanted to share my experience with you. The past week, I’ve made three meals from Chicago-based Meez Meals and with the promo code “mwfitnessfoodie” you can get $30 off your first order.

So first things first – like many meal delivery services, you will have to create an account and log in. From there, you can view the menu and order for the next week. In order to get your meals for Monday, you will need to get your order in by Friday at 12pm CST. While placing your order, you can select a delivery time and no, you do not need to be home for your delivery! Meez will pack up your foods and place in a cooler with several ice packs so that if you’re not home, the food will stay cold for several hours.

Once you get your delivery, you’ll open up your cooler and notice that all of your meals are neatly organized into their own bags. So if you order a taco meal, all of your prepped goodies will be in one bag while your other meals will be in their own respective bags.

One of the really cool things about Meez is that it is the only certified DIY Meal Kits Green Restaurant in the nation. They use local, fresh ingredients, reusable delivery bags (and ice packs), and they do all their own composting. Another bonus is that nearly all of their meals can be made gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and vegan-friendly. If you have other allergies or food preferences, be sure to specify and their team will work with you to create an amazing experience.

Okay now on to my own meals. I received all of these meals courtesy of Meez. Above I said I had three meals but I only got photos for two. (I had to quickly cook the third and eat it at work!) For all of the meals, I ordered two servings and it was more than enough for two people to eat.

Meal 1: Sweet potato, kale, and rice bowl with peanut sauce.

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Here are all of my prepared ingredients: the chopped kale, peeled & diced sweet potato, the amount of rice needed, the tofu and (not pictured) the peanut sauce. Along with the ingredients, you’ll receive a recipe card. The recipe card includes how to actually cook the meal (including time from start to finish and ease of preparation) along with a nutrition snapshot, modifications you can make to the meal (like adding meat, omitting rice, etc).

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This picture does not do this meal justice. I never thought I was a tofu-fan but this meal definitely turned me into one. This meal was delicious both with and without the peanut sauce. All in all, it took me 40 minutes from start to finish but only 20 minutes were spent “hands on.” 2016-04-05 19.22.132016-04-05 19.42.05

Meal 2: Balsamic Glazed Caprese Chicken Pasta. It was… amazing. It tasted like I spent hours on it when in reality, I spent under 30 minutes from start to finish. The pesto was rich and the cooking instructions for the meat left me with juicy, tender chicken.

Meal 3 was by far my favorite (because I love Mexican-American food): a steak and rice taco bowl. All of the components were perfectly executed. The seasoning provided for the steak had just enough flavor without a lot of spice (though you could definitely add some, if you wish!), there was more than enough steak for 2 servings, and the salsa was fresh and zesty, even though it had been sitting in the fridge for a few days. All I did to make it my own was serve it on top of some greens and sprinkled some shredded cheese and voila! I had a healthy, delicious taco bowl.

Should you get confused or have questions throughout your cooking process, Meez is standing by on their Dinner Hotline. Their customer service is fantastic: they answered any and all questions very quickly and they even send follow up emails! And because the meals were so delicious, I have kept all of the recipe cards to attempt on my own 🙂

Interested in trying Meez for yourself? Check out their delivery area by entering your zip code on this page and clicking on “Where We Deliver.” If they deliver to your area, use the code MWFITNESSFOODIE for $30 your first order.

Let me know what you think!

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Thanksgiving in March & HM Training

Where, oh where should I begin? Should I talk about the amazing Thanksgiving brinner I made last week or training first? I’m gonna go with training because then we can get to the good stuff.

Training Recap:

In the past 2 weeks, I’ve done two long runs and a handful of smaller, quicker runs. Last weekend I completed, what felt like, an easy 7 miles (actually more! closer to 7 1/2) throughout my neighborhood(s). The shorter runs were fairly routine: 4 miles here and there. Today though. Today was tough. I had an 8 miler scheduled so I went to one of the local forest preserves to do it. I don’t have a lot to add about it except it was really difficult. There was no walking but I stopped to tie my shoes around mile 6 1/2 and when I got up, I had a really bad stomach cramp. Like, bad. Was I dehydrated? Probably. Did I fuel properly? Maybe, maybe not. But did I do it? Yes.

Now let’s get to the good stuff… a Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet. It’s loaded with fall/winter veggies that make a great breakfast all year long. As you’ll see below, the picture quality is terrible but pictures wouldn’t do this meal justice! The apples with the sausage and sweet potatoes are AMAZING. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped small
  • Brussels sprouts, quartered (as much/little as you want)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Gala apples, chopped small (approx. same size as potatoes)
  • 6oz (uncooked) turkey sausage
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves or seasoning
  • 4-6 eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400* – while preheating, mix olive oil + sweet potatoes in a bowl and lay flat on baking sheet. Do the same for brussels sprouts.
  • Bake sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, throw around a bit midway. Do the same for brussels sprouts but cook for 15 minutes.
  • While sweet potatoes + brussels sprouts are baking, saute onion while browning turkey sausage.
  • Once turkey sausage is browned, add in apples & cook up until slightly mushy and brown in color.
  • After all is done – throw everything into a large mixing bowl and then back into a large oven-safe skillet.
  • Crack 4-6 eggs throughout and bake until eggs are desired doneness.
  • Season with salt + pepper as needed.
  • Eat.

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