Poolside Yum – Salad Combo Ideas

Looking for a delicious cool salad for the summer? Check out this combo.  It was a direct result of scavenging through the fridge and grabbing what sounded good.  Ironically – every bit of it came from Costco.

Spinach topped with:

  • Costco pre-shredded chicken
  • Apple chips
  • Walnuts
  • Feta
  • Blueberries

Honey mustard dressing (that’s my fave and I use it on everything but poppy seed would have been good too).

It was delicious and I’m definitely adding it to my rotation to break out of my lunch time rut.

I posted about this on my Facebook page and some PowerFull ladies shared their favorite salad combos too.  For a bonus recipe try Paige’s combo.  The beauty of her combo is that the quinoa can be made ahead of time and used throughout the week. This is a great time saving tip!

Quinoa topped with:

  • Feta cheese
  • Olives
  • Balsamic glaze

Hope these ideas help you come up with something equally delicious and satisfying for your summer meals.

Lunch Box Packing for the Week – PLAN AHEAD!

Check it out!  PowerFull Instructor and #specialkindofcrazy mom Leah shares with you her time (and sanity) saving strategy for packing lunches for the WHOLE week.

Packing lunches in advance is a great time saver and helps you make health conscious decisions rather than grabbing something as you rush out the door. Below are a few pointers for packing a week’s worth of kid lunches – plus examples of what I packed my kids this week. The pointers are good for packing a family-worth of meals, or one for yourself. Packing a week’s worth at one time saves time, effort, clean up, and perhaps your sanity! Enjoy!

  1.  Have lots of containers on hand. If you are ok with plastic, these are my top choice.   Plastic is ok here because we’re not putting hot things in it or warming up food in it. If you’d like to stay away from plastic I also like this box (it’s just too costly to have as many as I have)
  2. Plan. Plan. Plan. Don’t be scared! It’s easy – and repetition helps! But think it through…if your kid has a field trip on Wednesday and won’t be eating lunch at their regular time. Or you are packing lunches for you and you’ve got a meeting early afternoon Tuesday – maybe you want a heartier lunch that day. Don’t be afraid to repeat meals. Especially week after week. Wednesdays are pasta for lunch day (I plan lunches at the same time I plan dinners…so no pasta for dinner on Wednesday).
  3. Think about what will last. Strawberries need to be earlier in the week. Grapes and oranges are ok later.
  4. Pack while things cook. I spread out all of my containers and then get prepping anything
    that needs to be cooked. For the examples below I first put the pasta water on to come to a
    boil and got the muffins in the oven. While those two things were cooking I got the rest done.

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Need to Use that Avocado?

fitness tips logo

In this past post we chatted about WHY avocado is such an awesome thing to add to your diet.  But, maybe you need some ideas on HOW to use it.  Well the ladies in my boot camp classes have that for ya!  Check out some of the awesome ways they incorporate this super food into their daily diet.


Aspen:   I love to toast a slice of bread and top with 1/2 an avocado, salt and pepper. Yum.

Stephanie:  Avocado is my everything. I can’t find the recipe I’ve used, but this is similar. http://www.handletheheat.com/no-bake-vegan-gluten-free…/ I really don’t think I used chocolate chips, just cocoa powder. It’s delicious. The crust is really important, so don’t skimp and use store bought.

Stephanie added:   I’ve also been eating a “salad” of chopped avocado, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and cilantro with just a bit of evoo and lemon juice. Super fresh, easy and yum! Add black beans for protein!

Tristan:  I have friends that add avocado to smoothies/protein shakes. It sounds weird, but it makes it creamier and you don’t taste it! That’s a great way to get more healthy fats in your diet if you don’t like actually eating avocado.

Eileen:   I eat half an avocado over a fried egg. Salt and pepper. Super yummy and lots of protein right there! I also make avocado mash..just mush it up and use it like a condiment on a sandwich.

Tristan added how she makes her avocado mash:  Avocado mash, plus some cayenne pepper, salt & pepper & lime juice mixed in with tuna or chicken for tuna salad or chicken salad (instead of mayo)

Laura B says to keep the avocado from turning:  I make a half an avocados worth then save the other half and the unmade chicken separately for the next day.

Another way to sneak in the awesome benefits of avocado is through avocado oil!  Even just putting a bit of avocado oil on your food will get you some of those awesome avocado benefits.  Check this article for 9 ways that using avocado oil can help with your health!  Let’s talk about #8 and stretch marks! What what!!!

Thanks boot camp ladies for sharing your ideas!


Pizza Pops

pizza popWhat’s in our lunch box today? PIZZA POPS! So fun, so easy, and a crowd pleaser. Well Jackson was iffy but he is iffy about everything if it isn’t in a happy meal box so….moving on!  Ha!

  • Here’s what you need:
  • pizza dough
  • pizza sauce
  • cheese and pizza toppings
  • wooden sticks/skewers

That’s it!

Here’s what you do:
1. Get a container of refrigerated pizza dough
2. Break it up into 16 even pieces and roll those into balls
3. Put a wooden stick/skewer into the ball and place on sprayed parchment paper (I used foil b/c we didn’t have parchment.) Once on the pan, press down a bit to flatten.
4. Sprinkle with cheese and any other toppings (pepperoni, spices etc)
5. Bake in a preheated oven according to the dough’s instructions (ours was 12 minutes at 425)
6. Pull out and serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce (which we discovered last night was ranch not pizza sauce).

A fun dish that lets the kids get involved. Plus we have 8 or more left over for lunches the next day or so! Woot woot!

My only “problem” was the sticks I used weren’t super durable so they kinda flipped and flopped when kids were trying to use them. I would recommend a nice sturdy stick here!


Tuna Burgers


I am really working on getting my protein intake up but a girl can only stand so much grilled chicken right? So enter – the tuna burger.  A plus side…I put a slice of cheese on it, put it on top of an English muffin, gave the kiddos some ketchup and they had no idea it wasn’t just a burger burger. Win!

I doubled mine so you can cut this in half if you only want 4 servings.  This way I was able to get 8 so enough for dinner and 2 lunches the following day.  I ate 1.5 burgers to get my protein to 30 grams.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread torn into small pieces (about 70 cal/slice bread)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp water (or liquid from the cans of tuna)
  • 2 tbsp chopped yellow pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A couple squirts of Crystal hot sauce or tabasco
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

To make it simply:

1 Drain the liquid from the tuna cans. If you are using tuna packed in water, reserve a tablespoon of the tuna water for the next step.

2 In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, mustard, torn whole wheat bread, lemon juice, water, and hot sauce. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the mixture before adding the egg to see if it needs more seasoning to your taste. Mix in the egg.

3 Divide the mixture into 4 parts and then each of those into 2 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty. I made mine at lunch time and placed in the fridge- chilling supposedly makes them less crumbly (mine were still a bit crumbly)

4 Heat the olive oil and a little butter (for taste) in a cast iron or stick-free skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan, and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. I did this two ways – some in skillet and some on my foreman. I think the grill ones did less crumbling but either way worked!

I hope yo guys check these out and enjoy them. An easy thing to make in bulk and have all week for lunch if you are looking for high protein, healthy lunches!

The original recipe is here:  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/tuna_patties/#ixzz3xDpuTEWL

Nutrition info/burger

  • 146 calories
  • 19 grams protein
  • 2 grams sugar

IF you have 1.5 patties

  • 219 calories
  • 29 grams protein
  • 3 grams sugar

Busy days call for Lunch Packing Ideas!

Need help with lunch packing? There is just too much going on this season to be worried about what you are going to send to school for everyone’s lunch! Here’s a lunch packing idea sheet – seriously everything is planned for you!

Four columns of things to choose from to make a well balanced lunch in a flash. Choose an item from each column to make an awesome lunch! Plan the week so you fix bulk and use all week.  Many ideasare easy to double or even triple recipes and freeze or use all week for everyone’s lunch! YAY!

Work smarter, not harder friends!

Click the image to download your free copy!Kid's lunch box. Back to school. Healthy food. Selective focus

Easy + Light Summer Pasta Salad

easyandlightsummerpastaI’ve been looking for some easy throw together meals for picnics and pool side dinners. I finally found one that made everyone happy (and it is easily customizable for your family too!)


Here’s what I used:

  • Bow tie pasta
  • Chopped grapes, cucumber and apple
  • Sprinkle of raisins

I added some of that pre-cooked chopped grilled chicken too for the kids but left it out of mine!

I topped it with a poppyseed dressing. I went a little gourmet with this so you could probably find something cheaper and less calories but this was a delicious poppyseed. THe idea is to find a sweet light dressing.
Mix it all up and store in fridge! Yum!

Mango and Black Bean Summer Salad

mangoblackbeansaladIf you are on the lookout for a cool lunch you can take with you poolside or to the park – this is it! Best part? Make it in bulk and have it all week in the fridge.  Work smarter not harder!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium mango chopped (or I used 1 cup frozen mango I had thawed out)
  • 1 medium avocado chopped
  • handful of cherry tomatoes – chopped up
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 12 oz can of corn
  • 15 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped
  • 1-2 dashes of lemon juice (or juice of one lime or lemon)
  • pinch of sea salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Chop all those things up.
  2. Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

Store in fridge!

I served mine today in a whole wheat pita so it would be great that way for the park or pool. You can also do it as its own dish, over spinach, or as a dip!

Salad Rut?

I thought this was a great visual.  It is a fun way to spice up your salads.  I personally am a fan of mixed greens, topped with quinoa, any raw veggies, chicken and feta.  I do like creamier dressings so a Caesar or something similar would be perfect on top.  If I don’t have any carbs alongside (like sandwich or toast) then I will add quinoa right into the salad.  YUMMY!

Hope this helps you come up with an awesome new salad this week!



Quick Sandwich Ideas!

I saw this idea online and wanted to link it back to you!  These are really cute ideas that are quick and easy for on the go lunches!!!!

Check this out!  I want to copy the original content to give them credit!


I love the apple and goat cheese one and the chickpea express!!  And of course the peanut butter strawberry banana is another one of my faves!!!

Hope it helps you when you get in a pbj rut.