WIAW #11: Butternut Squash Chili

Time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of photos this time around…it’s all the same, right?



Scrambled eggs with more roasted breakfast “potatoes”. This time, the mix included sweet potatoes and turnips….I never thought I would like turnips, but they are quite tasty!

I also grabbed a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte (that’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) on the way to work. I stayed pretty full until lunch, but also grabbed a small handful of trail mix mid-morning.



I went to lunch with some co-workers and my boss at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, where I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, sans rice…along with a few tortilla chips.  It was really good but a little heavy on the beans and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting. No pics this time. Didn’t want to freak my co-workers out. 🙂


Dinner was the highlight of my day. I found this recipe for Paleo Butternut Squash Chili and had to give it a try, especially since we are dealing with yet another snow day around here….is it spring yet?!


Paired with a kale salad, it was a delicious meal…oh, and a piece (ok, two) of THIS deliciousness. Ohmygoodnessgracious this stuff is no joke. Sorry for the blurred pic. I blame the chocolate.


I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe, but here’s how I made the chili!


  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, diced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Texas chili powder (recipe calls for Chipotle but I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt- the recipe doesn’t call for it but I added some to my bowl (I’m a salt lover and my husband, not so much ;))


Chop all vegetables. Brown meat in a skillet for about 5 minutes, add vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked about halfway.  If your roasted red peppers aren’t already diced, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until diced (do not drain). Add the remainder of ingredients and meat/veggie mixture into a pot and simmer for 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

Again, I do not always post every single thing I eat throughout the day, just the noteworthy meals.  I don’t want to bore you too much to death… 😉


Make it a great day!


WIAW #10: Putting That Meal Prep to Work!

It’s been a while since I have posted my daily eats as a part of What I Ate Wednesday, and today I wanted to feature the benefits of my weekly meal prep. In order to keep myself sane, I have to make the extra effort on Sundays to make some of the food I know I will use during the week in advance.  Less cooking during the week = a much less-stressed Christa.  Trust me, it’s better for everyone involved.

As always, I post most of what I eat throughout the day…aka it doesn’t include the random handfuls of trail mix, extra bites of this or that, and the ever present chocolate. 🙂


Thanks to Jenn for hosting!


Meal Prep #1: Breakfast “Potatoes”

For the past couple of weeks, breakfast “potatoes” have been #1 on my list of meal prep items. I’ve been trying to change up my breakfasts from the standard eggs and fruit or smoothie to something a little more hearty, yet still healthy. Usually, I make some kind of combination of sweet potatoes, butternut squash, turnips or parsnips.  Today, it was just butternut squash. Chop ’em up, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roast them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Then you have an easy and healthy option to heat up quickly in the morning.

DSC01947Of course, I love my coffee and almond milk in the morning; can’t leave the house without it! Target came out with a new flavor that is a MUST try.

DSC01942Paired with my new favorite mug (love the vintage Tiger) and a little vacay reminiscing, and the morning wasn’t allll bad. 😉


Do I even have to say it? Apple and almond butter, naturally.  Have you tried Justin’s almond butter yet? Delish!


Meal Prep #2: Crock-pot chicken

On Sundays, I make chicken for the week in a crock pot. It literally could not be easier…7 frozen chicken breasts, cook on low for 6-7 hours and then shred. Sometimes I add in salsa or just olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s so nice to have chicken already made for both Matt and I for the week.

Today added the chicken to a salad and topped it with chickpeas, carrots, zucchini, chopped almonds and chicken.  Dressing was homemade and simple – olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and stevia.

DSC01951I also had a few of these. Trader Joe’s for the win, always!


Meal Prep #3: Protein Bars

I’ve changed my usual recipe up, eliminating the oats and experimenting with more of a paleo-esque  approach. I’m still making tweaks, so I’ll share the recipe when I think it’s worthy. 🙂


Mahi Mahi with roasted broccoli and topped with avocado. Avocado is a great healthy fat that I’m going to try and incorporate into my meals a little more. It’s so good!



That’s it for today! Have a great one!

WIAW #6: Designer Whey & Spicy Pretzel Recipe

I think it’s about time that I had another What I Ate Wednesday post, so let’s get to it!  Here’s what my day looked like on Tuesday…



As you might already know, I’m pretty pumped about my recent giveaway winnings so of course I had to try out one of the new products asap.  I was in a hurry, so I grabbed a Designer Whey Triple Chocolate Crunch protein bar, but of course I also had juuust enough time to stop for a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte.  Yumm. 🙂  The protein bar was really good!  It wasn’t chalky like some protein bars can be and lots of chocolate, just the way I like it.


With 160 calories and 10g of protein, the protein bar was enough to hold me over until it was time for a snack.  Tuesday it was nothing out of the ordinary.  An apple with unsalted peanut butter, shocker.  I did mix the peanut butter with a little dark chocolate almond butter though.  Look out, things are gettin crazy!


I did change it up a bit for lunch, with some Trader Joe’s lentil soup and an open-face sandwich with low-sodium ham and reduced fat cheese on sprouted wheat bread.  As you know, I’ve taken bread (almost) out of my diet but when I do have it, I try to only buy sprouted wheat.  Trader Joe’s has a good brand and Ezekiel is also really good!  With fall here in full force, I’ve been making this lentil soup a lot more.  Mainly because it’s almost too easy just to open the can and heat it over the stove, but lentils also provide extra protein that you don’t always find in soup.

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I tried out yet another new protein product a few hours after lunch- Protein 2Go.  Just mix it with a bottle of water and you get 10g of protein with only 50 calories.

IMAG0182When I got home, I snacked on a few homemade spicy pretzels and Trader Joe’s Cilantro & Jalapeno hummus while I made dinner.  I made the pretzels for a get together with friends this weekend and everyone seemed to like them.  They are dangerously good and just as easy to make!

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I found the original recipe for the spicy pretzels here.


  • 1 packet dry ranch mix
  • 1/2-1 bag pretzels
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more, depending on how much of a kick you want)

Mix olive oil, ranch mix and spices in a mixing bowl, then add pretzels and toss until coated.  Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees, tossing every 20 minutes.


Since I try to not have pasta on a regular basis, I’ve found that spaghetti squash can sometimes be a good substitute.  This time I prepared it just like spaghetti, with ground turkey and organic marinara sauce.  It’s not the real deal, but it’ll do. 🙂

To cook my spaghetti squash, I usually cut it longways and place the inside side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes (give or take) at 450 degrees.  Once it is cooked, you can scrape out the seeds with a spoon and then the “noodles” with a fork.





Pinterest Fail…Almost

My day yesterday started early…another 5:30am-er at the gym.  I found this workout on another blog I follow (along with about a billion other readers).  If you haven’t checked out the Peanut Butter Fingers blog, I highly suggest you do!  This “All Over the Place” workout was just that- all over the place, just how I like my workouts. 🙂  It was a great way to jump start my day!

IMG_20130725_070020I spent a little more time at the gym than I thought I would.  And by that, I mean I hit the snooze button one too many times….either way I was running late, per usual, so I didn’t have time to eat breakfast at home.  I grabbed a Greek yogurt and headed out the door.  I keep a variety of snacks in my desk at work, and luckily that includes ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, and chopped walnuts.  Sounds really random, I know, but I eat yogurt A LOT and prefer mine with some added crunch, so I make sure to have at least one of these on hand at all times.  Those three additions, along with a few blueberries, made for a delicious breakfast.  I also ended up having half of a homemade protein bar (I ate the other half before my workout) because the yogurt wasn’t extremely filling.


Now let’s talk about dinner.  Dinner was almost a Pinterest FAIL.  Almost.  You’ve seen those photos, right?

Like this one:

pinterest-fail-penguin-cake-pops-640x883And this one:

pinterest-fail-bunny-rolls-600x600Seriously, they get me every time. 🙂  Pinterestfail.com has some good ones too, if you’re ever in need of a good laugh.  Anyway, back to MY almost-fail experience.  I’ve seen recipes for Squash Croquettes on Pinterest and my mom recently sent me one she saw on Facebook.  I believe the source is here.

Well, they were supposed to look like this:


And turned out more like this…at first.  Whoopsie!


Luckily, I got the hang of it…kind of.  They don’t look too appetizing, but I have to say, they were really tasty.  Even Matt loved them!  Not to toot my own horn, but, beep beep. 😉  I’ll be honest, I think the problem was that I tried a little too hard to make them even healthier.  I used olive oil, not vegetable oil.  Normally, this probably wouldn’t make a difference, but I didn’t put 1/2in in the pan like the recipe says to.  I mean 1/2 in of oil, who needs that?!  Annd, I might have also replaced the all purpose flour with almond flour.  Hey, I tried.  I also made homemade black bean turkey burgers and then roasted some broccoli as a back up plan.  Always good to have a plan B when you are taking on a Pinterest project. 🙂

Turkey Burger

Black Bean Turkey Burgers  (original recipe can be found here)


1 15 oz can black beans

1Tbsp dried green onions (I didn’t have this, so I used chopped red onion)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 lb 99/1 ground turkey breast


1. Blend first 6 ingredients in food processor .
2. Mix turkey into ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Form the mixture into patties and grill in a skillet on the stove for about 5-6 minutes, or until fully cooked.
This recipe makes 18 mini burgers, but I chose to make bigger patties, so I came out with around 7 or 8.  I topped mine with light ranch and chipotle mustard, but I told Matt we should have added some pepper jack cheese or salsa and avocado.  That’s the great thing about a burger, you can get creative with the toppings, especially when they are low-cal like these are!
Squash Croquettes
2 cups yellow squash, finely chopped (I actually used zucchini and I don’t think it makes a difference)
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp all purpose flour (I used almond flour)
vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

1. In a large bowl, combine squash, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in flour.
2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
3. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil.
4. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown, turning once.
5. Drain croquettes on paper towels.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories – 100, Total Fat – 5.5g, Sodium – 15mg, Total Carbohydrates – 11.1g, Protein – 2.7g