Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for Dinner…who doesn’t love it? A second chance in the day to eat some of the best foods life has to offer. The only problem is, unless I’m chowing down on a stack of pancakes, a lot of breakfast foods just aren’t enough to fill me up after a busy day (an egg white omelet is just not gonna cut it). That’s why this scrambled egg quinoa and veggie recipe is the perfect breakfast for dinner option. Pair it with a colorful fruit salad or a side of home fries, and you will never go back to regular dinner!

Scrambled Eggs with Quinoa and Veggies

INGREDIENTS:

Olive Oil 1 tsp. garlic minced

2 eggs

Spinach (as much as your heart desires, spinach shrinks on the pan)

3-4 mushrooms, chopped

¼ medium onion, diced

1 roma tomato, diced

¼ cup of quinoa

Pepper and other spices to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring ¼ cup of quinoa and ½ cup of water to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until all water is absorbed
  2. Heat olive oil in pan and sauté onion, garlic, mushroom, and spinach
  3. Add eggs to pan and scramble
  4. Add tomato and quinoa to pan
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Photo of vegetables on pan photo of scrambled eggs with quinoa and veggies photo of scrambled eggs and quinoa with veggies

A New Kind of Pasta Night

Okay, so I might have bent the truth just a little bit when I told you taco night was my favorite as a child. Tacos were definitely a close second, but the best of all nights in the Murray household was always pasta night. My mom made pasta a couple times a week, and every time my brother and I smelled those noodles in boiling water, you would have thought it was Christmas.

As I’ve grown, I have learned that eating two huge plates of pasta twice a week is probably not the best decision for my nutrition and health. However, recently I was introduced to a new kind of pasta that brought me right back to chowing down on big plates of my favorite food. Enter…Black Bean Pasta. The only ingredients in this pasta are organic black beans and water! It is cooked just like traditional pasta and tastes delicious with all of your favorite sauces!

I have made this pasta several times for dinner and each time, have topped it off with a different sauce. So far, my favorite has been this tomato bruschetta sauce. No matter what you top it with, black bean pasta is a fantastic, healthy alternative to traditional pasta. My inner-child rejoices…pasta nights are back!!

 

Black Bean Pasta with Bruschetta Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

For Bruschetta Sauce:

3 Roma Tomatoes, chopped

½ tsp. Minced Garlic

6-7 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pepper

 

Black Bean Pasta

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all bruschetta ingredients, stir, and cover. Let sit for at least an hour (I had to leave my apartment and run errands or else I would have eaten it too soon!)
  2. Bring water to a boil and add as much pasta as desired. Cook for about 8 minutes and drain in cold water.
  3. Top pasta off with bruschetta sauce and enjoy!

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What does pasta night look like in your home?

 

 

In Transition

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IMG_5355I think we can all agree that September brings about some of the most beautiful weather of the year. Nothing feels better than sunshine and a cool breeze to guide us through our days. The only problem about this gorgeous weather is that it is also extremely confusing. It’s too hot for jeans and sweaters, but it feels wrong to prance around mid-September in a floral sundress. And there is always the lingering question: When is it acceptable to break out my flannel collection??

It’s important to remember that September is a time of transition. The mentality we take to our new classes, new jobs, new houses, and new cities can also be taken with our closets. Surviving a transition is all about blending the old and the new in a way that is comfortable, and in this case, stylish.

This outfit was one of my solutions to the “September Problem.” This maxi skirt is a great transitional piece because it is light and breezy, but also acts almost as a blanket if the air gets a little too chilly.

 What are your favorite transitional outfits?

Maxi Skirt (similar)/Forever 21 V-Neck Tee

Fall To-Do List

Fall To-Do List logo

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I may be biased (I’m an October baby), but I think there is such a special feeling in the air during autumn. I start craving everything pumpkin flavored, boots are all I want to wear, and the crunching leaves and crisp air make me feel so warm and fuzzy 🙂

There are so many things to do during the fall season (and I am not just talking about the long list of assignments and exams on my course syllabi…) so I decided to make a short list to make sure I live this season to the fullest!

I consider myself a queen of to-do lists (I have an entire notebook dedicated to daily and weekly lists), but with a fun list like this one, I have found that it is really important to keep it short and sweet. Let the lists in the other areas of your life be long and tedious, but keep this one fun and very do-able!

  1. Enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Some of you may be wondering why this is even on my list…isn’t it just a given that fall=pumpkin spice lattes? Maybe for some, but I just can’t get over the 300+ calorie stamp on each of these drinks and the fact that Starbucks prices are not exactly “college student friendly.” But calories and cash aside…I love pumpkin spice lattes. So this fall, I am going to treat myself and enjoy (at least) one of these bad boys.

  1. Go for a walk around Philly on a crisp fall morning or afternoon

My boyfriend recently moved into his apartment in Philadelphia, which means I will now be spending a lot of time in the city. Fall is one of the best seasons to go for a stroll; it’s not too hot, not too cold, and there is something in the air that just makes me smile. I can’t wait to explore Philly through crunching leaves and maybe even with a Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand 😉

  1. Carve pumpkins!

I haven’t done this for years. Carving pumpkins used to be a tradition in my family that I looked forward to all year. It was messy, it was difficult (I always ended up calling upon my parents to help me finish cutting out my design), but it was always a blast.

  1. Visit Linvilla Orchards

Linvilla Orchards is easily one of my favorite places in the area. Only a short drive from my university, it is a must-visit for everyone in the Philadelphia area. Linvilla has something for everyone, but my favorite things to do there are apple picking, finding my way through the corn maze, and enjoying pumpkin-flavored ice cream and apple cider donuts.

I don’t just make lists for fun…check up on me on Instagram to make sure I get it all done! Share your Fall To-Do lists with me in the comment section below! image via Anna Armona

Curried Cauliflower

I really only cook healthy food. Do I only eat healthy food? Of course, not! I love chocolate, ice cream, and french fries way too much to be a 24/7 health-nut! But in my kitchen, I really strive to only put healthy, clean and green ingredients into my recipes. This is great when I’m only cooking for myself, but gets a little more challenging when cooking for others.

Salt and butter are primary ingredients in many of the foods our society eats and loves (and are the reason our favorite foods taste so good!), but I don’t keep either in my kitchen. I have to make up for the absence of salt and butter in my recipes, or my meals will end up lacking flavor and taste. Thankfully, there are many ways to add flavor to a meal without also adding unwanted calories, fat, and sodium. One of my favorite ways to accomplish fantastic flavor is by using curry powder.

Curry powder is made of a super spice called turmeric, meaning it contains powerful antioxidants that help protect our bodies from heart disease and cancer. Any fans of Indian food (me! me! me!) know and love curry, as it is found in many delicious Indian dishes. Trust me, no one will be reaching for the salt shaker or wishing this dish was filled with butter after they take a bite. Warning: Taste isn’t the only sense curry is strong in! Your home will probably smell like curry even after the dishes are done and put away (but, I’m not complaining!)

This recipe was adapted from Naturally Ella (check out her other recipes, they are incredible!)

Curried Cauliflower (makes 2 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion, diced

1 head of cauliflower, cut in bite-sized pieces

1 cup of vegetable broth

½ cup of almond milk

Olive Oil

Curry Powder (the original recipe calls for 2-3 tbps, but I just generously sprinkled it)

½ cup of quinoa

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in pan and sauté onion until soft
  2. Add cauliflower and curry and sauté for 1 minute
  3. Add vegetable broth and almond milk and bring to boil
  4. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, adding curry as needed (cauliflower should be tender)
  5. While this is cooking, bring ½ cup of quinoa and 1 cup of water to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed
  6. When both cauliflower and quinoa are ready, combine and enjoy!

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Are you crazy about curry, too? Share your curry-filled recipes with me in the comment section below!

Post-Summer Fitness Motivation

Summer has come to an end, which means it’s time to start putting away swimsuits, crop tops, and sundresses until next year (wah 😦 ). For many, summer is a huge motivator for working out, but dedication to fitness and the well-being of our bodies should not disappear along with swimsuit season. Being fit is so much more than just looking good on the beach; it is a lifestyle.

With that being said, it often is hard to find the motivation to work out when you don’t have an immediate goal (e.g. rocking a crop top) to focus on. One thing that really motivates me is getting involved in a fitness program, routine, or community. When I wake up and know exactly what my workout plan is for the day, instead of just going to the gym and winging it, my motivation soars!

Here are four of my favorite fitness programs. Find the one that works best for you!

1. For the girl who finds it hard to stay on track…Tone it Up.

toneitup

Photo Credit: laurenconrad.com

Karena and Katrina are your fearless fitness leaders! They post weekly and monthly fitness calendars complete with workout videos that are easy and fun to follow. You can even join the Tone it Up (TIU) community on Instagram by posting your healthy meals, workouts, and fitness progress. The TIU community is a great support system and is sure to keep you motivated even on those tough days.

2. For the girl who dreams of having a personal trainer…Nike Training Club.

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Photo Credit: freshjuice.ca

NTC is a free app for the iPhone and Android with over 100 full-body workouts created by fitness experts. You can start a program to “Get Lean,” “Get Toned,” or “Get Strong,” or choose between dozens of 15-60 minute workouts that target different areas of fitness. I love using this app at the gym, because it’s like having a virtual personal trainer! A fitness expert talks you through every exercise and when you’re unsure of how to perform a certain move, a video is right there to show you how it’s done.

3. For the busy gals and guys…Fitness Blender.

Photo Credit: quoteko.com

Fitness Blender is a website with hundreds of totally free workout videos. Video lengths range from 5 minutes to over an hour and a half and target all areas of fitness (HIIT, toning, strength training, yoga, and more). The workouts require zero to minimal equipment and are great to do at home.

4. For those who want to take their fitness to the next level…Insanity.

Insanity-workout

Photo Credit: ballardadventure.com

I completed the Insanity program in July of 2013 and let me tell you…it was absolutely insane, and I loved it. Insanity is an intense, high-impact workout program that will have you sweating buckets during the warm up (yes…during the warm-up). I bled, I sweat more than I ever have in my life, and I even cried during a few of the workouts, but I’ve never experienced a better post-workout feeling . I highly recommend this program to those who are really serious about improving their physical fitness and are willing to put time, money, and a LOT of energy into it.

 

What fitness motivation tips do you have? Share them in the comment section below!

Summer’s Swan Song

IMG_5224IMG_5220 IMG_5221 Labor Day Weekend: The last hurrah of summer! Time to fire up the grill one last time, wear your favorite summer outfit, and get your last fix of sunshine and long nights before the season comes to an end. I spent the holiday weekend in Queens, New York visiting my boyfriend and his family. The weekend consisted of eating a lot of great food, exploring, shopping, and relaxing. My boyfriend and I spent a night enjoying Williamsburg (if you aren’t familiar with this area of Brooklyn, it is basically the hipster capital of America). In Willamsburg, I scored a gorgeous BCBG Maxaria dress from a thrift store called Buffalo Exchange for only $30, we ate an incredible meal at Sea, the trendiest Thai restaurant I have ever been to, and we finished off the night enjoying our last scoops of ice cream for the season at the Williamsburg Creamery. We spent another portion of the long weekend walking around my boyfriend’s neighborhood. I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is just about the farthest thing from Queens, so whenever I visit, I love exploring and getting to know the area better (I am finally starting to understand the public transportation system in New York!!). Since Labor Day Weekend signals the end of one fantastic season (and the start of another great one!), I chose to wear one of my favorite sundresses before I had to put it away for the year. This blue and white floral dress from Urban Outfitters (similar style) is cute, super comfortable, and even has pockets (Game. Changer.).

I hope you all had incredible weekends and are feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle all that fall has to offer!

Dress (similar style), Bag (similar), Sunglasses (similar)