Valentine’s Day for All

Ahhhh….Valentine’s Day.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t put a lot of attention on this day as it’s totally over-commercialized for the marketing industry but I do like to have some fun and just enjoy some extra special time with my hubby no matter what! (always a good thing, right?)

But what I realize is that this day is spent worrying about buying flowers; buying chocolates; buying expensive jewelry and gifts; spending a fortune on a dinner reservation…etc. That’s really not how I would describe “true love”…haha 😀 This can also bring about stresses about our current programs for following a healthier lifestyle and dealing with the decadent temptations that surround this day. Candy, chocolate, desserts, OH MY!!!

I thought I’d share with you a typical and fun plan you can enjoy EVERY day of the year…even today! ❤

—> If you need a healthy meal plan option that I recommend to follow for best results, here’s a plan that I have set up for weeks when I just need to get back to basics: FREE Slim Down Meal Plan

So for a fun breakfast idea with your love, I am loving:

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Banana French Toast (you can choose to add strawberries for Valentine’s Day)

Serves: 4
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tsp pure maple syrup, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk (preferably 1%)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced (or 2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries)
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • Olive oil cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, 1 tsp maple syrup and cinnamon until smooth and creamy. Spread 2 1/2 tbsp cream cheese mixture onto each of 4 bread slices. Top with remaining 4 bread slices; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites, egg, milk and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, toss bananas with orange juice and zest; set aside.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan on medium-high. Mist with cooking spray. Immediately dip 1 sandwich in egg mixture, coating both sides, and place in pan. Repeat, cooking 2 sandwiches in pan at once. Brown sandwiches, about 1 minute per side. Remove and top with banana mixture and remaining 2 tsp maple syrup, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.

Nutrients per serving (1 sandwich and 1/2 cup banana mixture): Calories: 332, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 45 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 15 g, Protein: 16 g, Sodium: 366 mg, Cholesterol: 61 mg

 

Not too bad for breakfast, right?

About 2-3 hours later, I’ll have my Shakeology and on a day that is known for pink hearts, strawberries and anything red…I chose Strawberry flavor today and made it with 1 cup water, 1 cup ice and 5 pecans. (ya, it’s silly to count only 5 but I like the nutty flavor and this gives me a small amount of calories for a big flavor boost!)

My sweetie and I then enjoy a fun lunch. We prefer to go out at this time of the day instead of fighting the night crowds but it’s also special to just stay in and cook together. Seems like he’s always more eager to cook with me than me asking him to make something on his own. (try it, it works!)

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But asking him to take a selfie with me is usually out of the question!! (see here)

I don’t know what it is about salmon, but making it at home still seems like a restaurant style pleasure. We usually make a fun salmon recipe at least once a week for dinners but for a special occasion, we are known to add it into a midday meal too! Here’s a really fun and tasty way to get it made right!

  • Salmon & Bok Choy with your love ❤ 
  • 2 fillets salmon (6 to 8 ounces each), without skin
  • 2 tablesoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 large bok choy, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil and place skin side down in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Brush with teriyaki sauce and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place skillet in oven for 15 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, steam or boil bok choy until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 mintues. Add bok choy and veggie stock. Cook until soft. Add peas, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until stock has mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove salmon from oven and cover skillet with aluminum foil. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. (This allows juices to distribute throughout salmon.)
  6. Serve salmon atop bok choy.

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Pretty awesome, right????

For my next snack, (cuz I’m all about lifestyle goals and sticking to my 2-3 hour marker of eating a meal or snack is a non-negotiable for my success!) I’ll have about 1/3 cup of oatmeal soaked in 1/3 cup of almond milk in the fridge for about 20 minutes or more; and then I’ll add 1/2-3/4 cup greek yogurt (Fage only for me!) and 1 tsp PB and a few drops of stevia. I mix it all up and it’s freaking awesome creaminess goodness. (I know that last sentence made no sense but I don’t really care cuz it’s that good to not care!)

And finally, onto the final meal of the day…DINNER!! Or is it ‘supper’?? 🙂 I know my hubby loves his specialty type sandwiches (he actually watches the food network and searches out nearby eateries that are recommended for this reason). So I am sharing a favorite of his and even though I technically steer away from sandwiches due to the higher carb count…this one only gives about 350 calories for the serving. So I figure on a special occasion, it’s definitely an “all go”!!!

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Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) boneless beef sirloin steak (about 1 inch thick), trimmed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
2 tablespoons refrigerated pesto sauce
1 (12-ounce) piece white or whole-grain baguette, split in half horizontally
1 cup packed baby arugula (about 1 ounce)
3 (1/8-inch-thick) red onion slices
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Add steak to pan, and cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove the steak from pan, and let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across grain into thin slices.

Combine mayonnaise and pesto, stirring until well blended. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over cut sides of bread. Layer bottom half of bread with arugula, red onion, steak, and tomato; top with top half of bread. Cut sandwich diagonally into 4 equal pieces.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4|  Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Per serving: Calories: 358; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 45mg; Sodium: 674mg; Carbohydrate: 39g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 25g

Not too shabby, right? And pair it with a nice side salad with balsamic vinaigrette or other homemade favorite dressing…you can light up some candles and throw on some mood inducing music to create the romantic atmosphere, right? No need to throw down $100 for a night of eating.

And if you know anything about me, you know I cannot pass up the chance for a decadent and chocolatey dessert!! 🙂 (and I’ve trained my family to enjoy these too! lol)

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I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Chocolate Covered Katie but her website of recipes are to DIE FOR!!! No kidding at all! Please go check it out for yourself! ❤ Here is a favorite of mine that I got from her recipe book and I can guarantee you’ll love it too!!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spelt or ww pastry flour
  • 6 tbsp cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp each: baking soda and salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar of choice or xylitol
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
  • 1/4 cup yogurt of choice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond butter, peanut butter or any nut butter of choice
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 8-in square or round pan.

Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, optional chips, and sweetener, and stir very well. (If your nut butter is not stir-able, gently heat it until stir-able.)

In a new bowl, whisk together the nut butter, yogurt, water, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined (don’t over-mix), then pour into the greased pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until batter has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.

(I like to take it out when it’s still a little undercooked, let it cool, and then set in the fridge overnight. This prevents overcooking, and the cake will still firm up nicely as it sits.)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or find a healthy frosting recipe to top it off with…don’t forget the strawberries and sprinkles to celebrate the end of this romantic day!

 

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