Cookin’ in the Kitchen: Gadgets and a Salad How-to

I got a GREAT question on my WIAW this past week and I thought I’d address it as I know a lot of you have been wondering the same thing….what goes into my EPIC lunch salads! :) At least they’re epic to me!

It’s no secret that everyday for lunch I have a huge salad, a bowl of soup, and some sort of sandwich/wrap/cracker combo! But I never really shared exactly how I make those delicious salads! I always make some sort of saute to go on top of mixed greens or romaine and although the process isn’t an exact formula, it always results in a delicious meal! So here is the method to my madness!


1. Grab a saute/frying pan and spray it with some non- stick cooking spray: This is the easy part, no explaination really needed! I would use a medium to large saute pan as a opposed to a smaller one. For me personally I like big salads, so I always need a lot of room to saute up my veggies!

2.Pick your veggies: I usually have two different combinations I choose from, cabbage/onion/celery/peas/tomatoes or zucchini/mushrooms/celery/onion/tomato. But depending on what I have on hand it can vary from day-to-day. I also may add some greens like spinach or kale!

3. Add your flavorings and spices: I love using a mix of balsamic vinegar and tomato puree. My favorite spices to add are Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash, dried basil, and dried chili flakes! Sometimes I add a few spoonfuls of humus or bean dip as well!

4. Pump up the protein: Canned tuna, canned salmon, chopped turkey burger, or shredded deli turkey are what I usually go for in terms of meat. For non-meat options I love adding beans, homemade baked beans, TVP, sprouted lentils, or tofu.

5. Finish with eggs: Here’s the ‘secret’ to my saute salads! Once everything is almost cooked through and combined I add a beaten whole egg or some liquid egg whites to finish everything off. It makes everything stick together better and of course, adds great texture! I love eggs, so incorporating them into my lunch everyday is a given!

6. Plate and put on your final toppings: Once your eggs are fully cooked through in the veggie mixture, remove your pan from the heat, and place your mixture on a bed of mixed greens, romaine, or raw kale! Top with any other toppings or flavorings you like! I love topping a hot salad with cold salsa….great mix of tastes and textures!

So there ya have it! The secrets behind my legendary lunch salads!

And while I’m on the subject of cooking…I thought I’d share some of the kitchen gadgets I’ve recently acquired that I’ve absolutely been loving!


Taylor Digital Food Scale: I don’t measure or weigh my food, but I use my digital food scale ALL THE TIME for baking! When you bake with protein a lot and work with small batches, like I often do, it is so important to make sure you’re getting the right proportions of your ingredients. Also, when writing recipes and testing new combinations out for the blog I want to make sure I am coming up with quality recipes that actually work and turn out well for you all! So, the food scale definitely helps with that! I will admit I weighed my normal serving of kabocha out once, just for kicks, and it turns out I usually eat over 500g of the stuff at a time! Clearly I’m obsessed.

Cookina Reusable Cooking Sheets and Oven Protectors:  I received these from Cookina to test out and as someone who uses the oven a lot for baking and roasting, these are AWESOME! The oven guard is perfect for when I’m testing out new recipes and don’t know if they’re going to work out. It protects the bottom of your oven from messy spills or cooking mishaps and makes clean up SO easy. The cooking sheets are amazingly high quality in their non-stick capabilities and they are such a great, eco-friendly alternative to using parchment paper or other disposable cooking sheet options. I love that they’re reusable and clean up is so minimal! Just a quick rinse and you’re good to go for your next cooking endeavor. I’ve tried them with baked goods as well as roasted veggies and have had great results each time. Baked goods cook evenly and don’t stick to the pan and roasted veggies crisp up very nicely! I also like that they come in a big size and can be cut and sized to fit your pans and cooking sheets more appropriately.


Milk Frother: For some reason I can’t remember what brand this one is, but I picked it up from Target! It’s great for making tea-lattes with nicely frothed almond milk and is also handy for mixing small batches of dips or sauces (like my thai peanut dip or healthy chocolate sauce!). You can make Starbucks quality drinks at home!

So tell me…

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets as of late?

Is there a type of food or food combo you eat on a regular basis?

What’s your go-to salad topper?

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 Todays’s Healthy Help: Gave someone directions on my run home from the gym! 

Never too early to start Lending a {Healthy} Hand for next week’s round-up! Tell me what you’ve done to help someone else lately!


WIAW: eMeals

[Reminder: THIS IS THE LAST WEEK I will be accepting 'corrected' fitspo pictures for my #CHANGEOURFITSPIRATION contest! Email me your pic at for a chance to win an amazing prize and be featured on my blog sidebar!! Check HERE and HERE for more details!]

Hi friends! Glad to see how excited you all are about the Stella and Dot giveaway! My sister really appreciates the enthusiasm!!

Like every Wednesday, today is all about food….specifically a new meal program I was able to test out over the last few weeks! I was given a year-long subscription to eMeals, a site that offers over 50 meal planning programs for creating menus for you and your family each week.

It was actually perfect timing with Thanksgiving and everything because in preparing for the holiday the last thing my mom and I wanted to worry about was figuring out dinners for the week! Here’s a little bit about the program
Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 4.04.19 PM The website is really easy to navigate and everything is laid out really nicely so you can see exactly what type of plans are available: Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 4.03.52 PM I signed up for the clean eating meal plan as it seemed most similar to the way my family and I eat…and within a few days I received my first email with meal plan for the week! Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 5.35.15 PM From the email I printed out the recipes and got to work deciding on what to make first! Everything sounded delicious and there was a great variety! A few vegetarian meals, some with chicken, some with fish, and some red meat options as well! Great mix of one pot style meals and ones with different side options as well! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Next I printed out the shopping list and got to work on trying out some of the meals! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For my first meal I chose to make the Maple-Dijon Chicken with Acorn Squash! It was super easy, only required a few grocery store purchases (basically just the chicken pieces and the squash!), and tasted delicious!

IMG_2829[served with some leftover kale salad from Thanksgiving!]

Perfect for a healthy, quick weeknight meal! My parents really enjoyed it too! And for my mom who loves planning dinners and doing shopping for the week all in one day, she thinks she’ll get a lot of use out of the E-meal program! It’s nice not to have to dig through cookbooks and magazines to come up with meals….just check your inbox each week for a slew of healthy, delicious meal ideas! Plus, you can’t beat the convenience of the itemized grocery list!

I think eMeals is a great idea for people looking to get more organized and structured with their eating! It can be catered to healthy eaters, traditional eaters, or anyone in between! Definitely worth checking out if you find yourself frazzled on a nightly basis with no plan or direction for what to make for you and your family. Another positive? You’ll save a ton of money (up to 1000 dollars per year!) because you’ll just be buying what you need at the store…not extra ‘on a whim’ purchases because you’re not really sure what you’ll be making. No waste and lots of variety! Win-win! If you want to try eMeals for yourself, they are offering 35% off right now with the code: Cyber35 (<—not an affiliate link or anything, just for your use at checkout!)

And now onto some other eats I’ve been enjoying….

IMG_2772[coconut mighty oats sample from Little Duck Organics with sliced brownie and cocoa powder, veggie Crunchies, and orange slices]

IMG_2776[salmon sushi, roasted veggies, and roasted hubbard/kabocha squash]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[catfish with sauteed veggies, tortilla, Japanese sweet potato, and roasted veggies]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[kelp noodle mac and cheese, sweet potato fries]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[pumpkin pie smoothie]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cocoa powder, and chocolate amazing grass]

IMG_2794[southwest tuna salad, corn tortillas with cheese and guacamole]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[chopped pear with sliced frozen grapes and blueberries, topped with cocoa, chestnut flour, and almond milk]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[turkey and cabbage saute, tortillas with peanut butter and banana]

IMG_2801[cheesy salmon and pumpkin scramble, ezekiel toast with cream cheese, jam and cinnamon]

IMG_2804[a hodge podge baked bean and tofu dish I made to throw on salads for lunches...lots of peppers and fennel in their!]

IMG_2806[grilled cheese with raspberry jam]

IMG_2810[pumpkin-asian pear smoothie with corn puffs, ezekiel cereal, oats, dried fruit, and coconut]

IMG_2812[toasted pita with feta cheese, leftover turkey sautee salad]

IMG_2826[veggie-egg scramble, quinoa, sliced pear, and steamed veggies with black bean-tomato dip]

IMG_2849[TJ's english muffin with peanut butter and black berry jam, orange slices]

And one thing I REGRET eating….
IMG_2783[DO NOT BUY THIS! I had a sample from Expo East and I decided to try it in some almond was like goat cheese milk! YUCK.]

A few people commented on my Thanksgiving recap post and were wondering about a few of the recipes I used! Well the kale dip was not homemade unfortunately….Trader Joes helped me with that one (as well as providing the cheeses!!) and for the Lemon-Miso Glazed Turkey, I used this recipe I found from Eating Well! It turned out amazing! So lemony and fresh! The kale salad was from Oh She Glows…one of the best kale salads I’ve ever had!

Are you a meal planner or a spontaneous cook?

Have you tried a product lately that you thought you’d like but ended up hating?

Who still has leftovers from Thanksgiving? ;) Alton Brown says he keeps his for up to THREE weeks!! Crazy!

For all my fellow students out there, I’ll leave you with THIS…It’s pretty much perfect. Less than two weeks people…WE CAN DO THIS.


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Todays’s Healthy Help: Cleaned up the kitchen at breakfast for my family!

Never too late to start Lending a {Healthy} Hand for this weeks round-up! Tell me what you’ve done to help someone else lately!

[Disclosure: I was given a year subscription to eMeals for free, however all opinions are my own.]