Healthy Meals To Help Shed The Holiday Pounds

Healthy Meals To Help Shed The Holiday Pounds

Healthy can be delicious.
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In my article, "Perfection Doesn’t Exist But We Should Always Work On Bettering Ourselves," I mentioned that my main goal for self-improvement is my fitness level. Well, to be truly fit and healthy you must eat right. With Thanksgiving now behind us and Christmas around the corner eating healthy can be a challenge. Take on the added cravings from looking for the perfect holiday meal and desserts, plus all the parties you will undoubtedly be attending, you’re more than likely going to gain a couple pounds. It’s inevitable and the rest of society will be right there with you.

Now because of this, you, myself, and everyone else included will be making New Year’s Resolutions to lose the holiday weight through exercise and healthy eating. Since I have started this new year resolution early and have so far been pretty successful, I’d like to share with you some of my new found favorite healthy recipes to help shed the pounds and keep them off.

Below is a list of ten of my favorite healthy recipes! Those which I have taken from another source and adapted in some way you can find at the links provided.

1. Chicken Soup

The cold weather is here which, for my family, means we will be having a lot of soup as a result of my constant freezing. I typically make my chicken soup in a pressure cooker because it is so fast and simple. The first thing I do is take a couple chicken breasts and cook them in the pressure cooker on the chicken setting in some chicken broth with an array of seasonings. My go-to chicken soup seasonings are Nature’s Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Accent, and Tony’s. The chicken takes about 20 minutes to cook and then you simply take a fork and shred away. The next step is to add the chicken, more broth, cream of chicken soup, your desired veggies (frozen or fresh), cauliflower rice, lemon juice, and seasonings into the pressure cooker on the soup/stew setting and you’re ready to go!

2. Pancakes

I know what you’re thinking: “There’s no way pancakes can be healthy!” Well, I recently shattered that illusion that I held for the longest time. There are so many variations to make pancakes healthy. Some use almond or coconut flour and cream cheese as the main ingredients and others use banana and egg. Both are absolutely delicious, but I’ve found that when I’m in a pinch in the morning and need to make a quick breakfast I go for the banana nut pancakes. The original recipe I found on the SkinnyTaste site contains banana, egg, oats, and pecans. To add my variations include either vanilla extract, cinnamon, or protein powder. If you want to be a little more festive you can add a combo of two or three of my added ingredients. https://www.skinnytaste.com/4-ingredient-flourless...

3. Sheet Pan Fajitas

So darn easy to make and has the added bonus of an easy cleanup! When making fajitas I typically use chicken but you can, of course, use steak if you so desire. Step one is to cut the meat into strips and then cut your onion and peppers into strips as well. For the seasoning you can go either use a fajita seasoning packet that you can pick up at any grocery store or you can simply toss some oil on the meat and veggies and then your specific desired seasonings such as chili powder, paprika, chipotle pepper, red pepper, cumin, nature’s seasoning, and garlic salt. Coat meat and veggies thoroughly. Once cooked you can add a little fresh lime juice on top. To make the tortillas warm and crispy wrap in foil and place in the oven for about five minutes. Place the meat, veggies, and fajita toppings such as cheese, sour cream and salsa on top, wrap in your tortilla and you’re good to go! https://www.cookingclassy.com/sheet-pan-chicken-fa...

4. Honey Salmon With Citrus Salsa

This one is another super easy recipe! To cook the fillets sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, rub some honey and flour on each side and then sear each side for 2 minutes. Once seared place the fillets in the oven for 7-10 minutes. To make the salsa simply dice an avocado, a bit of onion, and an orange. Then add some zest, lime juice, minced garlic and cilantro to your diced fruit and mix with a spoon. If you don’t have cilantro it’s no problem! You can substitute in some parsley and coriander instead. I also opted to have my salmon and citrus salsa over a bed of cauliflower rice which I also added some lime juice, parsley, and coriander to. https://www.cookingclassy.com/honey-glazed-salmon-...

5. Grilled Cheese

A recipe that comes in so many forms! To make my grilled cheese a bit healthier I add some avocado, tomato, and chicken. To give it a bit more flavor or zest I add a bit of ranch, and I nix the oil. http://www.navywifecook.com/2013/08/avocado-mozzar...

6. Salad

We all think salad is typically pretty healthy as long as it's not drenched in dressing. Well, this is true if you use a veggie other than lettuce because sadly lettuce actually contains little nutritional value. For this reason, I typically have spinach or cucumber salads. My cucumber salad consists of half a cucumber, celery, bell pepper, carrots, cheese, chicken, cherry tomatoes, almond slices, dried cranberries and occasionally a bit of onion.

7. Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Peppers

This is literally so yummy! Start by washing all the veggies. Then cut your peppers in half and dice the onion. Saute the onion and spinach until caramelized with a bit of seasoning. The recipe calls for salt and pepper but I put nature’s seasoning and garlic salt on everything so that's obviously what I used instead. While the spinach and onion are cooking you can mix the ricotta and parmesan cheeses. Once the spinach and onion are caramelized add to the cheese mixture and stuff your peppers. Sprinkle some more cheese and seasonings on top. Place in a casserole dish and add some cherry tomatoes. Serve over cauliflower rice! https://lilluna.com/spinach-ricotta-stuffed-pepper...

8. Balsamic Chicken

Another quick picker-upper! First, cook your chicken in a skillet with a little olive oil. While the chicken is cooking you can prep your veggies (washing, drying, cutting or snapping). Once the chicken is cooked add half of the balsamic mixture and then transfer to a platter. Next, cook the veggies in the same pan you cooked the chicken in using the rest of the balsamic mixture. Enjoy! The only variation I made to this dish is that I did not use any honey in the sauce. However, my friend Blair has made this dish with beef instead. http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chicken/balsamic-chicken...

9. Fajita Alfredo Spaghetti Squash

I love pasta! And if taking a pasta dish and making it healthy by using veggie noodles instead of regular noodles that are full of carbs is what I have to do so I can enjoy my comfort food, then by golly, I’m gonna do it. The first thing you need to know about spaghetti squash is that it can be a pain in the butt to cut open. In order to make this less of an ordeal, I recommend poking some holes in your squash lengthwise (along the cut line) and microwaving it for about five minutes before cutting. Once you cut it open, scrape out the seeds (I find it's easiest if you use an ice cream scooper), sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and massage it into the flesh, add a dash of salt and pepper and cook flesh side down for about a half hour. While that is cooking, you can saute your chicken breast and veggies in a skillet with olive oil and your fajita seasonings. I used cumin, paprika, chili powder, chipotle pepper, nature’s seasoning, and garlic salt. Once cooked thoroughly, you can make your alfredo sauce using heavy cream and parmesan cheese. When the squash is done cooking shred it with a fork and add it to the skillet to mix with the chicken, veggies, and sauce. Enjoy! http://www.plainchicken.com/2016/09/chicken-fajita...

10. Stir-fry

Anyone who knows me knows I love Chinese food, but I don’t have the money or the metabolism to constantly eat takeout. By making a homemade stir fry dish that is full of veggies and a lot of protein I can stay home in my PJs, turn on one of my favorite movies, and enjoy a glass of wine all by my lonesome. This dish is full of options. You can use chicken or beef, shrimp, whatever your heart desires. Same goes for the veggies. I typically use chicken, bell pepper, onion, and broccoli. Occasionally I’ll also add some spinach. To add some flavor to my stir fry I’ll season my chicken with adobo and then when I add the veggies to the pan I add nature’s seasoning and garlic salt. For the sauce, you can use a store-bought sauce like sweet n’ sour, orange, or soy sauce. If you want to go a different route you can make a homemade sauce that consists of soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes. To knock carbs out of the way I use cauliflower rice instead of white, brown, or jasmine rice.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:” Line Matters,

I want to start off by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can’t afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you’re just lazy and you “don’t feel like it”? Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you’re unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the US Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck.” stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:” line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can’t seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to ten people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!”

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the seventeen other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there’s a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 dollar bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of ten times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession - whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food, and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a forty dollar bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes - as if you’re better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you’ll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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14 Facebook Users Roast IHOB—The International House Of BURGERS

From customers to employees, everyone has an opinion.

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I have always loved IHOP. It's been my go-to place for breakfast with family, a meal by myself, or a birthday brunch with friends. At any given moment, I am likely to be craving IHOP. In fact, I even worked there for a summer. In my experiences as both a customer and an employee, I can tell you that burgers are not on people's minds when they walk into an IHOP. Seldom did I see someone flip past the pancakes and omelettes to the seemingly out of place lunch food section of the menu. I have never even tried a burger from IHOP. It just never seemed necessary.

On June 4, IHOP announced that they would be changing their name to IHOB. They would reveal what the B stands for on June 11. In the meantime, people speculated that it could be 'breakfast' or 'bacon.' You could imagine their shock when IHOP announced that the B stands for burgers. While some people were dumbfounded, others were enraged. Some people came to IHOP's defense by stating that they had tried the new burgers and enjoyed them. While browsing the comments on IHOP's Facebook page, I found some interesting responses.

Just a Month

Facebook

Marketing Ploy

Facebook

Burgers and Breakfast

Facebook

Promotional Gig

Facebook

Patties and Pancakes

Facebook

Too Many Burgers

Facebook

IHOP Plus Burgers

Facebook

Breakfast Food

Facebook

April Fool's Day

Facebook

New Customer Base

Facebook

Relax

Facebook

IHOB

Facebook

Pancake Burgers

Facebook

IHOP(atties)

Facebook

While I believe that burgers should be left to Red Robin, I wouldn't mind trying one of IHOP's new burgers...as long as you don't make me say IHOB. My computer even wants to correct IHOB to IHOP. If you're curious what burgers IHOP has to offer, head on over to their website. For as little as $7, you can get a burger, drink, and unlimited fries. You may notice that their burgers are listed under 'limited edition.' Hmm, I wonder what that could mean. Here's to hoping that their burgers are at least somewhat as good as their pancakes.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IHOP,_Poughkeepsie.jpg

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