Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Low-Cal Pumpkin Spice Muffins: Only TWO Ingredients

Hi Everyone,

I made low calorie pumpkin spice muffins yesterday and got great reviews from my husband and his friends! The recipe is simple, and only calls for two ingredients. I have been seeing this posted all over Pinterest so I decided to give it a try. 

These muffins are delicious, and only have 180 calories each. This recipe makes 12 muffins. To give you a comparison a Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Muffin has 600 calories. Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffin has 420 calories and Panera Bread Pumpkin Muffins have 590 calories. 

You can use a different flavor of cake mix if you prefer. Next time I may use Devil's Food Cake, because I think it will be delicious. 


1 Box of Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines Spice Cake)
1 15 oz Can Pure Pumpkin

Pre-heat over to 350 Degrees

Combine Ingredients in a bowl. 

Stir/Beat until well combined. The mix will be nice and thick. 

I use re-useable cupcake/muffin liners when I bake, and no butter or spray coating is necessary. Fill Muffin cups about 3/4 as pictured. For smaller muffins use less mix. 

Bake 20-25 Minutes at 350 Degrees. Remove from oven when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Enjoy! These are delicious hot or cold. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sculpt Your Body Home Workout: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone,

This was my workout today. I went through the entire routine 3 times. I didn't time the first one because I was doing it on video, and taking my time explaining the movements. My second time through it took me 14 minutes and 49 seconds. My third time through was actually the fastest at 13 minutes and 23 seconds. 

I focused on moving as quickly as I could from each exercise to the next while maintaining proper form. By the time I got through all three rounds I felt like I had gone for a hard run. I was covered in sweat, and I felt like I got a nice intense workout. 

I also did a bonus round as soon as I was done filming this workout. Check that out here: Bonus Round

I am trying out some new healthy recipes tonight so be sure to check back for that as well. 

Enjoy the workout!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Table Crunch (right)
2. Table Crunch (left)
3. Lunge Lift (right)
4. Lunge Lift (left)
5. Frog Pushup
6. Leg Lift/Hip Lift/V-Up
7. Super Swim
8. Side Plank Drop (right)
9. Side Plank Drop (left)
10. Squat Jump

Bonus Round Dip Station and Weights: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone! 

I did a great full body workout today. This is the bonus round of the workout. This one uses some weights, and my dip station. There is a list to the right side of this page that says "Equipment I May Use" that has links to products like the dip station on amazon for those of you who are interested. 

I went through this portion of the workout once. I will be repeating this one two more times this evening before my shower. I like to do any workouts with weights while someone else is around in case I were to have some type of an issue and need help. Jesse headed out for his run immediately after filming me, and I went through the additional rounds of my workout. 

Enjoy the workout. This was the main portion of my workout: Sculpt Your Body Home Workout


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Tick Tock Abs
2. Split Squat (right)
3. Split Squat (left)
4. Reverse Pushup with Kick
5. Weighted Squat

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tough Body Toning Workout Real Time: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone,

I did this workout last night. It is a tough full body workout. I was sweating like crazy, but I woke up feeling great this morning. 

The entire workout took me 24 minutes to complete. I went through it one time and then went for a 4.75 mile run at an easy pace with Jesse. If you don't want to run you can always substitute any of the cardio workouts. Or you can go through the entire workout a second time. 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the weekend!

I will see you later,

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Jumping Jacks
2. V-Up Burpee
3. Squat Jacks
4. Mountain Climber
5. Lunge Reach (right)
6. Lunge Reach )left)
7. Moon Goddess
8. 3 Part Abs
9. Leg Lift Abs with Hand Press
10. Warrior Deadlift (right) (I used 75 pounds)
11. Warrior Deadlift (left)
12. Weighted Squat
13. Decline Pushup with Knee
14. Jump Kick (right)
15. Jump Kick (left)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Easy Run Day/Jesse in the Hall of Fame

Hi Everyone, 

This video is actually from two days ago! I went to charge my camera for today's workout and realized that I hadn't uploaded this. 

If you follow me on my facebook page or twitter you probably already know this, but I am super excited so I am going to share this again! 

Jesse got a call on Wednesday from a representative from Point Park University to let him know that he is being inducted into Point Park's hall of fame for all of his running accomplishments. He was the captain of the cross country team and set many running records. 

This is a picture of Jesse winning a race in college. As you can see no one else was even close to him. The picture below is of Jesse winning a race when we were on vacation last summer. He is an inspiration to me, and his accomplishments are a great motivator for me to keep working on my running and fitness. 

There will be a brand new workout video later today so check back!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Easy No-Bake Energy Ball

Hi Everyone,

This is a super simple recipe that I found on pinterest. You can check out the original recipe here: Riches To Rags by Dori Of course I modified it a bit (I haven't met a recipe yet that I haven't altered), but it's delicious and quick. I have made these three times, and each time I have done it a little bit differently based on what I have in my kitchen at the time. 

Jesse has been obsessed with these, and they are a great energy snack pre or post run. I made them today to share with my yoga class, and I thought it would be nice to share on my blog as well. 

There will be a new workout later this evening. So be sure to check back. In the mean time enjoy!


Ingredients (makes 20 balls):
  • 1 Cup Dry Old Fashioned Oatmeal
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries or other dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips ( I actually used about 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, a tablespoon of sesame seeds, and the rest trail mix for this batch)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I combined all of the dry ingredients, then added the peanut butter and stirred. Add the honey, continue stirring. Add the vanilla and stir until all of the ingredients are coated. 

Chill for 20-30 Minutes, roll into balls, and serve or store in an air tight container. 

I actually rolled the balls before chilling them, but that was much more difficult (and messy). Enjoy! These make a really delicious snack!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fat Burn Body Sculpt

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout from last night. It is a super sweaty workout, that mixes cardio with body shaping. I alternated 20 reps of 5 different exercises with 1 mile on the treadmill. If you don't have a treadmill you can do this workout as your cardio: 8 Minute Cardio Fat Stripper or you can jump rope, speed walk, or do high knees. 

As I mentioned in my post Running Made Me Cry...How I Became a Runner I want to improve my 5K time so I am running some extra miles and adding in some quicker paces. 

I really enjoyed this workout. It was a nice challenge, that got me super sweaty. It was a nice challenge. 

I hope you guys have a great day!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Step Up (right)
2. Step Up (left)
3. Hip Lift
4. V-Up
5. Cheek to Cheek Plank

Run 1 Mile or 8 Minute Cardio Fat Stripper

1. Hydrant (right)
2. Hydrant (left)
3. Squat
4. Bicycle
5. Walking Pushups

Run 1 Mile or Cardio

1. Standing Side Crunch (right)
2. Standing Side Crunch (left)
3. Tricep Dip
4. Superman Twist
5. Forward Fold Lift

Run 1 Mile or Cardio

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Apple Omelet: Healthy and Delicious!

Hi Everyone, 

This omelet is amazing!!! Jesse came up with this delicious concoction, and it was the best omelet I have ever had. I never would have thought to put apple's in an omelet, but you should try it. :) 

Nutrition Info (One Omelet as prepared in the picture above):
Calories: 293
Carbs: 12 g.
Fat: 17 g. 
Protein: 24 g. 
Fiber: 2 g. 

You can make this recipe lower calorie by substituting egg whites. 

3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Raw Baby Spinach
1/4 Granny Smith Apple Sliced
Happy Farms 25 Calorie Light Spreadable Cheese wedge (or cream cheese/other cheese of choice)
1 Tablespoon Milk of choice
2 capfuls of Lemon Juice
Pepper (if desired)

Pre-heat your non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Lightly whisk together eggs, milk, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into pre-heated pan. 

Cook eggs through, flipping once. 

Add all of the other ingredients across the center of the eggs. Jesse cut up the cheese and put that in first so it would melt a bit. 

Use your spatula to fold over one side of the omelet, and close the fillings inside. Transfer onto your plate, and garnish with apple slices. 

This is delicious! I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Monday, July 23, 2012

23 Minute Yoga Fitness Flow

Hi Everyone, 

This was my workout for the evening. I did a slow long run with Jesse this morning (six miles). If you haven't read about my running progression yet check it out: Running Made Me Cry...How I Became a Runner In that post I also shared my running schedule from last week. 

I also posted a new recipe for Summer Squash Whole Wheat Pasta which I have been completely obsessed with lately! It's so delicious, and full of veggies. 

Tonight's video is a quick yoga flow that will stretch and work your whole body. I paid a bit of extra attention to hip flexor stretches in this video. Tight hip flexors can cause a whole host of problems, including improper alignment of your back, which leads to that lower tummy pouch so many women are fighting against. 

Problems related to tight hip flexors aren't just cosmetic. It can cause low back pain and hip injuries. 

Enjoy the video and the yoga flow. I will see you tomorrow with a new video. 

Summer Squash Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

Hi Everyone,

I have been obsessed with this pasta. I ate it for breakfast yesterday, and as a snack just now. I like it hot or cold. It's delicious, flavorful, and healthy. Squash has a ton of health benefits, and is low in calories. It also helps you to feel full longer due to it's high water content. 

This recipe has squash, zucchini, and spinach, so it's loaded in vegetables. You can keep it meat free and have a healthy vegetarian meal, or you can add chicken. I stopped at my local farmers market to get some local produce at great prices. 

This meal is simple, healthy and quick, my favorite combination!


Nutrition Info (based on 5 servings without chicken):
Calories: 312
Carbs: 57
Fat: 6 grams
Protein: 10 grams 
Fiber: 9 grams

Ingredients (Serves 5-6):
1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Minced Garlic
Italian Seasoning
1 small to medium Zucchini
1 small to medium yellow Squash
2 1/2 cups of Spinach
1 Jar Sauce of your Choice (I used Grandessa Tomato Basil Sauce)
4 Cups of Whole Wheat Pasta of your Choice (I mixed bow tie and rotini)
Optional: cooked chicken, cut into small strips or cubes

As you cook the sauce, boil water, and cook the pasta at the same time. By the time the pasta is ready the sauce and vegetables will be done. 

Warm olive oil in pan, add a touch of minced garlic, squash and zucchini. Sprinkle a bit of Italian Seasoning over your vegetables. Cook over medium heat until vegetables start to soften. 

Add sauce to the vegetables and continue to cook on low, allowing the vegetables to soften further. 

Add Spinach and continue to cook on low until spinach wilts. To speed up this process you can cover the pan. Be sure to stir to ensure sauce is heated evenly. You can add cooked chicken at this point if you desire. 

Follow the cooking directions for your pasta, and strain when ready. Add pasta to the sauce and vegetable mixture. Stir until pasta is evenly coated. 

Serve and enjoy! 

P.S. Squash is easy to grow! If you enjoy it you should consider planting some. :)

Running Made Me Cry....How I became a Runner

When I first started running it really did make me cry. And whine. And complain. And shoot threatening looks at Jesse when he made me run up long hills. And tell him he was evil. 

When I first started running I thought it was going to be easy. I had run casually in high school. I had been the captain/member of a dance team for five years. I was "fit." When I started running again I was working as a Flight Attendant. I had stopped dancing about 8 months earlier because my schedule was impossible to maintain with performances. 

So when I stepped out the door, and decided to do a three mile run I expected to do that without any problems. Oh boy, was I in for a shocker! I made it approximately 4 blocks before I took a walking break. I ran/walked for 2 miles, and I was absolutely irate that I couldn't complete the run the way I expected to. 

My husband, Jesse, is a runner. He can run an 8K in the same time I can run a 5K. He set all of the running records at the university where we got our undergrad degrees, and they have a giant picture of him hanging up in the lobby (see picture below). He get's embarrassed when I tell people that, but I'm proud of him. He is in our University's Athletic Hall of Fame for his running accomplishments. 

To be honest, pure stubbornness got me through the initial start of running. I set lots of mini goals along the way. My first goal was to get 1 block further before I had to walk, with my "long term" goal being able to go one mile without walking. I kept using the same running route so I could clearly see my progress. Every time I got an extra block without walking I felt successful. It didn't take long until I was able to make it one mile without stopping. 

My second goal was to be able to run for 20 minutes without walking. Once I accomplished that I built up to running 30 minutes without stopping. These mini goals made me feel like a successful runner. I didn't need to compare myself to anyone else. I just had to focus on improving my own performance. 

Now I have run three 5K races, won one trophy and placed in the top four female finishers overall at a race. I went out yesterday and ran 7 miles, and felt like I could do 7 more without a problem. Did I become a runner over night? No. It took a lot of hard work and building. Running started as something I dreaded, and only did because I was unwilling to accept that I "couldn't" do it. Somewhere in the process it became something that I enjoy. It relieves stress, and I want to get better at it. Up to this point I have not done any speed work, because I enjoy running at a comfortable pace, for a long period of time. Running fast hasn't really been my thing. I want to improve my 5K time, so that is going to change. 

This was my running schedule last week:

Saturday 7/14: 5K Race 23 minutes and 55 seconds.

Sunday 7/15: Treadmill 5K 23 minutes and 29 seconds. Followed by a running/walking cool down for another 1.7 miles. 

Monday: 3.5 Mile easy run at a light pace for 34 minutes. 

Tuesday: Threshold run. 3.5 Miles alternating 5 minutes at light pace, with 5 minutes at moderate pace for 30 Minutes and 49 seconds. 

Wednesday: 3.2 Mile easy run at a light pace, 30 minutes. 

Thursday: Off. 

Friday: 6 Mile Run at an easy pace for 55 minutes. 

Saturday: Off.

Sunday: 7 Mile Run at an easy pace for 62 minutes, and 6 seconds. 

I am building my mileage, and will be adding some speed work in the hopes of improving my 5K time. Jesse says that at my current level of fitness I should be able to do 21 minute 5Ks. Thus far I have been completely content to find a comfortable pace and stick to it. If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you, so it's time for a change and a new challenge. 

If you have any tried and true techniques for improving your 5K time feel free to share them! 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Green Smoothie: She Hulk Style!

Hi Everyone,

Jesse and I just had a delicious, healthy smoothie for a snack. It's green so I called mine the She Hulk Smoothie, and Jesse got a Green Lantern Smoothie (as you can see by his cup below). 

So does it have enough nutrients for a superhero?

Per Serving (recipe makes 2):
Calories: 186
Carbs: 26 g.
Fat: 7 g. 
Protein: 10 g. 
Fiber: 5 g. 

If you are really thirsty you can drink the entire thing by yourself, and get double the protein and nutrients. 

1 Whole Peeled/Sliced Frozen Banana
4 Cups of Raw Fresh Baby Spinach
1 Tablespoon Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter (I used Creamy)
1/2 cup 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Almond Milk (I used the 40 calorie unsweetened original, vanilla would be good too)
1 Kiwi Peeled and Sliced

I added one packet of Stevia in the Raw to Jesse's smoothie, but I liked mine without the extra sweetener. To make it a bit sweeter you can use Vanilla yogurt and/or vanilla almond milk. 

Add all of the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beginner Full Body Toning

Hi Everyone,

Marie joined me for a workout today. This is a beginner workout, that will work your entire body. Marie is going to do a run this evening to add some cardio to this workout. 

I also included some pictures of Marie's progression. These are her before and after photos. 

The photo in the black shirt is from December (about 10 days after she had her baby), the photo with the baby is from February when she did a workout with me, and the photo in the pink is from today. Marie has gotten much stronger. 

This is actually the fourth video Marie has done with me. To see some more beginner workouts with Marie you can check out the "Guest Star" tab above, or click on these links:

I hope you all enjoy the workout, and seeing Marie's progress!


Beginner: 10 reps, 30 seconds timed exercises
Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds
Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds

1. Mountain Climbers (timed)
2. Warrior 3 Squat
3. Pendulum Plank (right) (timed or reps)
4. Pendulum Plank (left) (timed or reps)
5. High Knees (timed)
6. Spiderman Pushup
7. Bridge Squeeze (timed)
8. Plie Jump
9. Side Plank (right)
10. Side Plank (left)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dripping with Sweat Full Body Workout Real Time: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone, 

Tonight's workout is finally up! It was a tough one (as I am sure you can tell by how sweaty I am in the photo and the video!) Jesse went through the workout as soon as I was done. He's an endurance athlete and the muscles of his abs and butt were quivering after this workout. 

Prior to this workout I had yoga class, which made some of the exercises focusing on my thighs a little extra difficult. 

This workout combines interval training, and repetitions. It took me about 23 minutes to complete the entire workout. This one is definitely full body, with plenty of cardio. It's a fat burning, body shaping workout, and one of my tougher ones. 

As with all workouts (but especially interval style workouts) form is incredibly important. Using correct form, and modifying movements as necessary for your current level is the key to maintaining your health and strength. 

I hope everyone has a great night!
See you tomorrow,

Interval: max reps during each 60 second interval, with 10 seconds of rest between exercises. 

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Exercises 1-5: Timed Intervals

1. High Knees
2. Ninja Jump
3. Side Squat Hop
4. Frog Jump
5. Mountain Jump

Exercises 6-10: Reps

6. V-Up
7. Side Crunch (right)
8. Side Crunch (left)
9. Superman
10. Leg Lift with Heel Taps

Exercises 11-15: Timed Interval

11. Jumping Jacks
12. Burpees
13. Lunge Jumps
14. Romanian Deadlift (form is the number one focus!)
15. Elevated Jump Ups

Exercises 16-20: Reps

16. Angel Abs
17. Side Plank Hip Drop with Elbow Tap (right)
18. Side Plank Hip Drop with Elbow Tap (left)
19. Down Dog Leg Lift (right)
20. Down Dog Leg Lift (left)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Plank Your Way to Sexy Abs in 13 Minutes Real Time

Hi Everyone!

This is my workout for the day. I created this workout to focus on building core strength, but it's still a full body workout. It was challenging! If you're up to it you can repeat it a second time thorough. 

The great thing about plank poses is that they utilize your entire core, strengthening you abs, obliques (love handles), and back. At the same time you are strengthening your arms, wrists and shoulders, as well as the muscles that support your vertebrae. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome you should avoid plank pose and any variations of plank. In addition, the variations that I included work your butt! 

If you are just starting out with plank pose start out slowly and work your way up to the full minute. 20-30 seconds is a great starting point for plank pose. In yoga, plank pose also prepares you for more advanced poses that require arm strength and balance. 

I hope you guys enjoy today's workout. Jesse is creating a running schedule for me so I will be sharing that on my blog as well. 

See you soon!

Complete as many reps as possible during each 60 second interval. I had 10 seconds in between each exercise to rest/prepare for the next move. In any interval workout listen to your body, push yourself, but rest as necessary. You should only compete with yourself. Find your starting point, and then repeat on a different day and try to improve your reps.

1. High Knees
2. Heel Tap Plank
3. Tricep Leg Lift Plank
4. Russian Kicks
5. Prisoner Squat
6. Mountain Climber
7. Pendulum Plank (right)
8. Pendulum Plank (left)
9. Chair Pulse
10. Side Plank Hip Drop (right)
11. Side Plank Hip Drop (left)
12. Reverse Plank
13. High Knees

Monday, July 16, 2012

5 Minute Fitness Challenge

Hi Everyone,

This workout video is actually from last night. Yesterday morning I did a treadmill workout. I did a treadmill 5K in 23 minutes and 29 seconds, and then alternated walking and running as a cool down for 11 1/2 minutes. My total distance was 4.81 miles, and I kept moving for 45 minutes. 

In the evening I decided to do an exercise challenge. I like exercise challenges because they give you an idea of your fitness level, and you can re-do them later to see how much you're improved. 

This challenge is only 5 minutes long, but you want to do the maximum number of reps in each 5 minute time period. In a couple of weeks, or a month, it's a good idea to complete this challenge again and compare your results. So be sure to write down the number of reps you did!

See you all later, 

1. Chair Squat Leg Swing
2. Plank Pose
3. Leg Lift/Hip Lift
4. Dive Bomber
5. Lunge Jump

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tone it Up! Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone!

Today was a busy and productive day! Jesse and I started out bright and early with a 5K. I haven't been doing as much running lately as I would like so I was a little bit nervous about how I would do. This was only my third 5K, but I did my first ever race on this course last year. My goal wasn't to beat my Personal Record (PR), but to beat my time from last year. I finished the course in 23 minutes and 55 seconds. That time put me 7th in the 20-29 age bracket (out of 81). There were 559 total runners in the race. 

Last August I was able to take 4th place for women overall in a 5K, so I have some work to do and some mileage to build back up if I want to increase my time. Of course Jesse placed, there's a picture of him wearing his medal below. He always finishes the race, rests (he has plenty of time!), and then runs back to cheer me on and get me to kick up my pace at the end of my race. 

It rained on us for a while before the race, but during the race it stayed dry. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and a great motivator! I can run long distances, but I never do anything to work on my speed, so it's an area that I want to improve. That means some more full length high intensity interval workouts will be coming soon. :)

Tonight's workout is fun. I focused on some overall body shaping moves, with a focus on abs and booty. I also shared a great recipe from my mom so check that out too!  Mama's Healthy Vegetable Medley Pasta

See you guys tomorrow!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Curtsy Lunge (alternating sides)
2. Leg Series (right)
3. Leg Series (left)
4. Incline Plank Crunch (right)
5. Incline Plank Crunch (left)
6. Toe Touch Situps
7. Side Plank Inner Leg Lift (right)
8. Side Plank Inner Leg Lift (left)
9. Quadruped Leg Series (right)
10. Quadruped Leg Series (left)
11. Walking Squat

Mama's Healthy Vegetable Pasta Medley Recipe

This recipe comes from my Mom. She is a phenomenal cook, and raised us eating delicious and healthy meals. I don't know if there is a vegetable my sisters and I don't like. I am sure this is in large part due to my mother's kitchen skills. This delicious recipe can be served with whole wheat pasta or vegetable pasta. 

Olive oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
Half medium Onion
Red/Green/Yellow Peppers
sprinkle Adobo seasoning and Red Pepper Flakes
Baby Spinach- two handfuls ripped
Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half
2 oz spaghetti sauce

Mix all of the ingredients and simmer in a pan as pictured above. 

Mix with either vegetable pasta or whole wheat pasta. Delicious. Healthy. Enjoy. The cayenne red pepper gives it a kick...add to taste.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Melissa Bender's Grocery List

Hi Everyone,

I was recently asked if I could share my grocery list. I have mentioned before that I try to keep healthy foods on hand at my house, because it makes eating well much easier! As graduate students Jesse and I have also had to keep foods that are both easy/quick to make, and affordable. 

Eating healthy on a budget can be a challenge, but I think Jesse and I manage to do pretty well. Of course I switch things up sometimes, but I am going to share the basic items I try to keep my house stocked with. 

I do want to say that eating organic and fresh is an excellent option, but as of right now that's not always realistic or affordable for us. I am sharing the foods that have gotten us through school, on a budget. 

I used to have a vegetable garden that I miss dearly (eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, fresh deliciousness!) Now that we are finished with grad school I look forward to planting again, and eating more fresh foods (Hello Farmer's Markets!!!)

Always in Our House:

Fresh Baby Spinach leaves
Small Granny Smith Apples
Red or Purple Grapes
Broccoli (fresh or frozen steamable)
Frozen Mixed Veggies (I like the Healthy Colors Market Blend Veggies)
Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts and/or Chicken Tenders
Frozen Salmon (we also get Tilapia sometimes)
Frozen Shrimp
Cooked Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
Vanilla Soy Milk
Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk (35-40 calories)
Coconut Almond Milk Unsweetened
French Vanilla Coffee Creamer (I know, not the healthiest, but I love it)
0% Plain Greek Yogurt
Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
Tuna Fish (I ussually get the pouches because they are easy to pack/bring along for lunch in a sandwich or salad)
Organic Natural Peanut Butter
Organic Almond Butter
Whole Wheat Bread (Loving Ezekial Bread lately!)
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
Cereal (Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Fiber One cereals, many kinds)
Instant Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Pasta (rotini, penne, and thin spaghetti)
Marinara Sauce or Tomato Basil Sauce
Canned Sliced Mushrooms
Protein Bars (Fit and Active)
Wheat Thins
Oatmeal (Steel Cut, and Quick Cook)
Stevia in the Raw
Various Green Teas
Cocoa Powder
Dark Chocolate Chips
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Chicken Broth
Nuts (almond, cashew, peanuts, pistachios)

Frequently In Our House

Fresh and Frozen Strawberries
Frozen Blueberries
Various Fresh Fruits (depending on sales, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
Squash (various types: acorn, spaghetti, butternut)
Feta Cheese
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Bagel Thins (whole wheat)
Cherry Tomatoes
Whole Tomatoes
Baby Carrots
Black Olives
Various Frozen Veggies (brussel sprouts, asparagus, green beans, mixed veg: good things to keep on hand so you have quick options and don't have to resort to fast food when you're in a hurry!)
Cheese (Brie, brick cheese, light spreadable cheese wedges, whipped cream cheese)
Almonds (used to always be in the house, but Jesse got sick after eating too many!)
Quick Cook Meals (IE frozen veggie stir-fries that we can add whatever we want to)
Canned Coconut Milk (I like to make fresh green curry stir-fries with this)
Artichoke Hearts
Whole Grain Tortilla Chips
Whole Wheat Wraps
Unsweetened Apple Sauce

We do buy other things, but these are the things that can be found most frequently in my kitchen. I try to keep healthy options on hand. Below are pictures of very typical meals in our home. We also do a lot of snacking. Cereal, peanut butter bread (with a touch of honey if I am craving sweets), and peanut butter greek yogurt (in my recipes section) are typical snacks for me. I do enjoy baking, and I try to make healthier versions of traditional baked goods like Fat Free Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins (made with greek yogurt and applesauce). All of the recipes that I have shared are things we would typically eat at home. 

If you guys have any delicious recipes or ideas that you use at home, please feel free to share!


PS I do most of my shopping at Aldi's because they have really great prices, and lots of options. 

Plain Tuna with Cheese Spread, and fresh Spinach on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin with a side of Fresh Pineapple

Balsamic and Honey Grilled Eggplant with fresh Spinach and Hummus on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin with Red Grapes

Grilled Chicken with Steamed Broccoli, and homemade green tea with a frozen fresh fruit skewer (pineapple, blueberries, and red grapes)

Grilled or Baked Salmon over fresh Spinach with red Grapes and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fresh Spinach with Market Fresh Steamed Veggies and Sun Dried Tomatos (Listed in my recipes, and super quick/easy)

Grilled Salmon with Mixed Veggies and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Baked Chicken with Steamed Broccoli

Baked Eggplant with fresh Spinach and Tomato Basil Sauce

Salmon with Brie Cheese, fresh Spinach and Green beans (seasoned with some old bay and lemon pepper)

Green Curry Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-fry over Brown Rice

Veggie Stuffed Omelette with 1 egg and 3 egg whites. Stuffed with Spinach, Mushrooms, diced Tomatoes, and Veggie Slice Pepper Jack Cheese.

I really LOVE sushi. This is a mixed plate (Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, California Roll)
Fresh Spinach, avocado, red grapes, sliced chicken. (I didn't use dressing, but if I did it would be plain balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon)
Whole Wheat Wrap, Spinach, Feta, and Chicken

Whole Wheat Wrap, Spinach, Chicken, Avocado and Red Grapes