Amy is Cooking!

Part of my new year’s outlook is eating better for my gut, my teeth, & my family! I signed up for a new program and with it came a fantastic recipe book and access to hundreds more online. These recipes are specially curated to increase nutrition while decreasing sugars, simple carbs, etc. I wanted to share my recent posts here and remind you to follow me on Instagram for more as they come out! And don’t hesitate to reach out for more info on how you can improve your health and kick off a healthy journey for 2020.

Preparation is the Battle

As Autumn Calabrese says, “Preparation isn’t half the battle, it is the battle!” And that means planning for what you’re going to eat as much as it is about what you’re not going to eat. It also means thinking about where you typically go wrong so you can prevent yourself from stumbling and feeling like you’re not making progress.

This weekend I took advantage of the extra time and grocery prepped, shopped, meal prepped, and cooked. It wasn’t the easiest trip to Winco, but coming home with all this healthy food made me feel great!

Most of this weekend’s grocery haul. I sat and just looked at this for many minutes… 🙂

On Sunday I spent time chopping & prepping! I portioned things out so that (1) my groceries went as far as they were supposed to (no inadvertent waste), and (2) I could stick to my Ultimate Portion Fix portion plan better. I cut up a ton of salad so it would be easy to eat greens this week. I made sure as much of the next two nights’ dinners was ready to go, so that time of day wasn’t as stressful. I did whatever I could to think about where I usually go wrong (not “what could go wrong” — that’s different), then put steps in place to help future Amy do better.

While I was prepping, I had this fun recipe in the oven: Baked Oatmeal Cups from Beachbody. Because my husband has been doing an awesome job tackling his diabetes, I substituted Truvia nectar for honey (it still has a *little* honey in it) so ours would be minimal sugar added. They’re still delicious and a fantastic way to get more fruit into your oatmeal AND have it on the go! Every time I’ve tried a Fixate or Beachbody muffin recipe, it’s been a hit in my house, so I’m not stopping now.

I saved my raspberries & blackberries for yogurt, but the blueberries came in handy to top these delicious health-packed on-the-go snacks!

More on Ultimate Portion Fix:

If you missed my Instagram posts at the beginning of the year, I’m starting a new nutrition plan to really get my food under control. I have a strong addiction to candy and it’s done a number on my teeth, my sugar craving tolerance, and my overall health. I’m not happy with where I am, but I know this decision about my food will help me be where I want to be. And the best thing is that it isn’t a diet. It’s not a way to lose weight quickly and then be done. It’s an actual lifestyle change that will benefit myself, my family, and my friends. If you want to know more about this or other nutrition programs, just let me know!

Bataille de Macaron, Tour 1: St. Honoré v. Nuvrei

Welcome to Round 1/Tour 1 of my “Bataille de Macaron” — a head to head comparison of two patisseries’ French signature cookie, le macaron. Today, it’s two west side staples: St. Honoré and Nuvrei.

St. Honoré

They’re first because that’s the first place I went. They’re known for their macarons and they have multiple locations in the Portland area. For both macarons I went to their SW Portland location.

Lemon & Cassis

I started with lemon because it’s generally a favorite flavor of mine, and it’s easy to tell if I’m going to like a place based on their lemon choices. I’m happy to report that St. Honoré’s lemon macaron did not disappoint. The cookies had a great crunchy shell but were chewy inside. And the filling was light, tart, and crisp. A perfect lemon depiction.

The cassis macaron was not as great, though it was delicious. It has a black currant flavor, which isn’t precisely like anything else, so it can’t be a bit confusing. The cookies themselves weren’t as flavorful but as an entire bite, it was great.

Overall: I loved the lemon. Probably a perfect lemon macaron. But the cassis didn’t live up to my hopes and ultimately I wish they had more selection. Absolutely acceptable macaron-craving stop.

St. Honoré gets 4/5 “ouis”👩🏻‍🍳👩🏻‍🍳👩🏻‍🍳👩🏻‍🍳

Nuvrei

I tried Nuvrei on recommendation from a coworker who is known as a great reference for good & drink in Portland. It’s in the Pearl and it was an easy streetcar ride from my office.

Lemon & Blueberry

I decided I needed to get a lemon macaron at every location if I was going to provide some sort of real comparison between stores. Unfortunately Nuvrei’s lemon was soft, sweet, and more akin to a sugary lemonade than a tart meringue. It was still a pleasure to eat — the cookies were crispy and chewy in the right ways — but it was the inferior lemon of today’s post.

The blueberry was slightly better and slightly worse — the cookie crumbled in my hand while I was biting, so it was a mess to eat. And the filling itself was more jelly like than cream, so I think it possibly soaked into the cookie (that, or it just wasn’t that much filling). All that being said — pretty good blueberry flavor, tbh.

Overall: Definitely didn’t live up to my expectations. I bought my coworker a box for his birthday and I think I’m jealous of his flavors over the ones I chose. But this is acceptable to eat if at a party or a group dessert.

Nuvrei gets 3.5/5 “ouis” 👩🏻‍🍳👩🏻‍🍳👩🏻‍🍳

Fave Pasta: Chicken Bacon Linguini w/ Cherry Tomatoes

I stumbled on to this pasta when I had noodles and tomatoes but no sauce. Turns out, making your own sauce is easy-peasy and my spin on this simple pasta dish is a hit with my little family. No long story, straight to the recipe…

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb thick cut bacon, chopped in 1/2 inch strips
  • 6-8 oz cherry tomatoes
  • Whole wheat linguini
  • 1 cup pasta water (from cooking linguini)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Grill chicken breasts in cast iron pan, seasoning with salt & pepper, some garlic powder, to taste. Be sure to sear both sides.
  2. While you’re working on the chicken, cook the linguini al dente, drain, reserving at least a cup of the pasta water, and set aside.
  3. When the chicken reaches 365°F, pull and set aside to rest. Pour any liquid from the pan into the container you’re keeping the pasta water.
  4. Add chopped bacon to cast iron pan, stirring to pick up any chicken or seasoning residue. Let the bacon cooked stirring occasionally. Once cooked but not crispy, add tomatoes and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Stir and cook, letting the tomatoes blister and the bacon to start crisping.
  5. Once the tomatoes and bacon are at your desired doneness, add the linguini and the pasta water to the pan, stirring to incorporate everything. Let cook together for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve in shallow bowls with sliced chicken breast and topped with shredded parmesan cheese.

Delicious local tomatoes from our very own neighbors! Couldn’t wait to use these.

Spice Up Your November with Safeway Deals!

Only a week and a half until one of my favorite holidays – Thanksgiving! I love the food, I love the leaves, I love the cold, I love fall! So you can imagine my excitement on getting my turkey early this year (well, early for our family) and scoring a $0.69/lb deal when pairing it with a $35 purchase at Safeway today. I was able to get some other great deals (check out KCL’s Safeway matchups for some great scores).

Wonderful saffron for over $12 in savings!
Wonderful saffron for over $12 in savings!

But what kind of Thanksgiving would I have if I didn’t have the right seasonings and spices? Enter the Safeway just for U coupon program! I’m sure all of my oh amy, dear readers already know that you never go shopping without a savings card loaded with that store’s deals, but did you know that November just happens to one of the best times of year to use that card? I have been stocking up on baking supplies and filling my spice shelf with some fantastic deals, and I can’t wait to share these two with you!

On my Safeway card, I was able to add two spice deals a couple weeks ago, both of which are good until 12/2/14 (over 2 more weeks of savings left). Here are the ones I’ve been using:

  • $1.47 for ANY (1) Safeway Kitchens A-Z Spices, 0.12-5.75 oz
  • $3.59 for ANY (1) McCormick Gourmet Seasoning, 0.06-2.75 oz

These coupons have unlimited use, but you can only redeem it once per day. So, each time I go shopping, I pick up two spices. So far, I’ve restocked on my Italian spices, scored some delicious Spanish Saffron (can’t wait to make some rice with this!), grabbed a bottle of Madagascar vanilla bean, and more! I can’t promise that you’ll have these deals on your card, but you won’t get it if you don’t check.

Click the image to get these great coupons!
Click the image to get these great coupons!

So what are you waiting for? Load these to your card now!