Double Chocolate Protein Brownies

Yes, protein brownies.  Why?  Why not! Sure, you can save these for dessert just because, but won’t you feel a little less guilty knowing they have a healthy dose of protein and veggies? Oh, wait.  I forgot to mention the veggies part. Please keep reading. I hope I didn’t scare you away.  The batter alone is worth sticking around for–I promise!

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I made this on Saturday night for two reasons: 1. I wanted dessert BADLY. 2. My kids were sleeping so I could eat said dessert peacefully.  Moms, you know what I mean.  There is nothing like hiding by the garbage can or–true confession here–sneaking into the bathroom just to eat a cookie or spoonful of Nutella in hopes of snagging a sweet snack without your kids being aware.  They are always aware.  They will always find you. They will always throw an accusatory “What are you doing?” at you that makes you choke on your secret treat and to simply reply with a grumbly, mouth-full, “Nothing!” that sounds more guilty than your toddler does when you actually see him punch his sister. So alas, when my husband arrived back home on Saturday night from his quick kids-are-in-bed trip to Dunkin Donuts for our coffees (see, Dads hide treats, too!), he was surprised to find me mixing up some brownies. He was even more surprised to see half a zucchini on the counter.

Don’t be alarmed. These are good. Plus, they are dairy- and gluten-free and flourless.  I did use peanut butter, but if allergens are an issue, you can easily sub in sunflower seed butter.  You could also throw in the nut of your choice if you are a nutty-brownie kind of family.  We aren’t, so I left these to their fudgey goodness on their own.  You can hardly detect, let alone taste, the zucchini in the final product.

I did make it up to my kids, though. On a Sunday morning, I served these as breakfast.  Can you say #momguilt? But really, it was the only way I could keep from eating them all myself! Besides, there is no better way to treat yourself and your family than to a yummy, warm, wholesome breakfast on a Sunday.  I served them with some watermelon, scrambled eggs (for the kids–not me!), and yogurt.  Bed-and-breakfast worthy, if I do say so myself.

I have to give a shout-out to Cleanfoodcrush.com for this recipe idea.  I made some changes to better fit my family’s needs and also to fit the ingredients I had on hand and the end result was so yummy, I just had to share!

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Double Chocolate Protein Brownies

  • Servings: 9-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fudgey, healthy treat good enough for breakfast!

I adapted this recipe from Cleanfoodcrush.com to fit my family’s needs.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/4 pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup all-natural unsweetened applesauce (I made my own.)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder (I used vegan chocolate Shakeology)
  • 1/2 cup certified gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (do not drain/remove excess water)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, reserving half (I use Enjoy Life brand, which are dairy- and soy-free)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray 8×8 glass baking dish or brownie pan with non-stick coconut oil spray.
  2. In your blender or food processor, blend rolled oats until a fine powder forms.  Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, use a mixer to blend together peanut butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, extract, and protein powder. Gently stir in remaining ingredients, minus half of the chocolate chips. (Don’t forget to add the oat powder–I almost did!)
  4. Add to the baking dish, spreading batter evenly.  Top with remaining chocolate chips.  Slivered almonds would also be delicious across the top!
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Lick the spoon and the bowl and everything in between.
  6. Allow to cool, then cut into squares and enjoy.

Please let me know how these taste!  If you want to give these a try but don’t have protein powder on hand, contact me as well and I will send you a serving size perfect for this recipe!

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Eat that Frog with Me!

SUMMER HAS KILLED MY PRODUCTIVITY

I may be a teacher and a coach, but it is my love of learning that makes me, me.  I am a student at heart.  I love to read and, most currently, to listen to podcasts relevant to my current areas of interest.  And what is my current area of interest? Productivity.

Many of you would have guessed it was fitness or nutrition.  Those are ever important to me and I am ever looking for ways to enhance both of those aspects within my day-to-day. Productivity, along with cutting down on procrastination, is the area in my life that needs work the most, however.

I’ve always loved planners and calendars.  I get into major color-coding moods and reorganizing moods and new-app moods within which I purchase, implement, and soon forget about one or more methods of keeping track and getting ish done. I most recently fell in love with Wunderlist–a simple app for list-creating–and have also been using Chalene Johnson’s PUSH planner. I love the way it is both specific and open at the same time, but I have not been as intentional and consistent with it as I’d hoped.  I don’t believe it is a lack of resources that plagues me.  How about you?  For me, it is a lack of implementable strategies.

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I’ve been attempting some time-efficiency strategies over the last few months.  The one that works best has been meal prepping.  By planning and prepping our meals ahead of time, I save time with my family and save the aggravation of paniced dinner making.  I also save money by minimizing on dining out.  Another habit that worked wonders–and I mean that in the past tense–was waking up early.  I began waking up early to workout and/or get some work done before my family woke up each day and it was a true game-changer.  I move through each day with a sense of accomplishment and a level of energy unmatched before.  This habit is no longer a habit, though.  I’ve allows the summer to slow me down and make my mornings lazy.  NO MORE!

I am committed to getting back in gear before the summer fades and the new school year dawns. Meal planning can’t be my only effective tool! I am committing myself to an August geared towards getting my mind and habits as strong as my body has already become.

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOU?

If so, you must join my next online challenge group, 21 Days to Strong! We will work on the wellness trifecta:

  • strong bodies
  • strong habits
  • strong minds

We often go through phases in life in which we work towards better health.  We begin exercising and eating better.  We make sure we are drinking water.  We get to bed at a decent hour.  That is all well and good; these are phases that jump-start wellness.  But they usually only impact our bodies.  In order for these physical or health changes to truly resonate and for our choices to become a lifestyle, we need our habits and our minds to become stronger as well.

Over this 21 day challenge, we will explore how our bodies can become stronger or leaner or more fit by following a trusted fitness program.  We will improve our nutritional habits with guidance, portion control, and clean eating education.  We will transform our minds by combating the procrastination and inefficiency that gets in the way of keeping the other two parts of this trio inline.  Our group will be reading and discussing Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. We will use the tools and strategies within the book to not only create a common language and nuanced focal-point for our wellness, but we will be able to motivate one another beyond getting through a set of burpees or reaching a goal weight.  This type of motivation will remain well beyond our 21-day challenge.

HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL WELLNESS?

Join me!  Leave your information below and I will be in touch with all the details. Together, we will decide which fitness program best fits your goals and abilities.  I will then enroll you in an online accountability group.  This is a private Facebook community through which I will motivate, coach, and teach you at every step of the way.  And, if you are new to my program and purchase for the first time, I will send you the personal development text we will be following, Eat that Frog!, for FREE as my thank you! 

Don’t procrastinate! 😉 Join today!

The groundwork of all happiness is health. 

The Beetle Parable, or Why the World Needs Love

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Kayden, me, & Paxton,  June 2016

My kids “saved” a beetle today. Why? Because they are kids.

We went for a walk semi-early in an attempt to get ahead of the heatwave.  We were only one door down when my middle son, Paxton–who blog readers know feels deeply, his compassion and heartbreak eternal–squealed with dismay. Oh no!, he kept saying, until Kayden and I and the stroller made our way back to him. He was crouched down, sullen, staring a belly-up beetle in the…well, in the something. Fix him, Mommy!, Kayden yelled. She had joined Paxton’s sense of urgency as soon as she realized the beetle’s legs were moving and he was, in fact, alive but stranded mid-sidewalk. Together, we found a leaf and carefully turned him back onto his legs. Paxton then decided to shade him with the leaf and insisted we check on him when we finished our walk.

Twenty minutes later as we rounded the corner back to our house, the kids ran ahead to check on their friend, now named Jason (of all things!). And there was Jason, back on his back, still on the sidewalk. Mommy! MOMMY! Both kids were distraught now at the thought of this beetle unable to get to shelter and unable to cool down. I picked up the leaf and gentle lifted him to my neighbor’s yard.  We placed him in a shady spot both under a tree and near my neighbor’s irrigation system.  We agreed the damp, cool place would help him thrive.

Fast forward to after lunch.  I needed a few kitchen staples–and an iced coffee–so I shuttled the three littles to Whole Foods.  Somehow, Jason came up in conversation while we were gone, so the second we returned home, the kids ran to our neighbor’s yard and found him, on his back again.  Before I could finish putting the groceries away, Kayden and Paxton made a little eco-system out of an old Tupperware container: they stuffed it with small twigs and leaves and grass and dirt, they poured a little water in the bottom, and they gently placed Jason inside using a sand shovel. He’s our pet! We will protect him and take care of him!, they proclaimed.  I did not, still do not, have the heart to tell them that Jason, their beloved pet beetle, is already gone, that his legs haven’t wiggled since we placed him under that tree.  They saw this creature, no bigger than a peanut and something that would have startled them if they found it in the house, and they cared for it.  They nurtured it.  They loved it, instinctively.

Kids default to love; we model hate.  This is nothing new.  Countless bloggers and authors have explored this very subject.  But today, the day after learning of the terrible tragedy in Nice, I was overcome with this notion as I watched my kids react, feel, and love.

I have no intention of getting soap-boxey or political.  I have no intention of changing your belief system or of persuading you to seek a way to save the world.  The world, unfortunately, cannot be saved.  Our kids, though, we can save.  We cannot save them from harm or from tragedy or from reality. So much is out of our control.  We can save them from their own hate. Model love for your kids.  Model positivity. Model coming to the rescue. Model forgiveness.  If these become our default reactions, our instincts, they just may remain the traits our kids bring into adulthood, too.

And, when you really don’t know what else to do, when the world and people’s actions stop making sense, let your kids house and feed a pet beetle named Jason that never really had a chance in the first place.

Saturday Morning Quickie: Weekend Travel Essentials

‘Tis the season for weekend getaways, family vacations, and road trips.  Often times, we hit one or more snags in our travels, we leave one or more necessities at home, or we spend one or more percent over our budget–either because we throw inhibition to the wind, eat out more than we expected, or because we have to make up for things left behind. I am heading to a weekend at the beach with some girlfriends and thought I’d pass along the essentials I am bringing along so that I can stay on track and on budget! I will keep this quick and to-the-point.  Please Pin or share with someone who could use these reminders!

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  1. Protein bars: I am packing some Lara bars and some Luna bars–my snack/protein bars of choice–so that I always have a healthy and protein-based option available.  We will be dining out for most meals and though I plan on picking the healthiest menu options I can find, I want to make sure I reach my protein goals.  I also know that since we are dining as a group and celebrating with friends, our meals will be scheduled later than normal.  I also will be taking the Cape May-Lewes ferry for the first time and want to have a healthy snack on hand in case my ferry is delayed or travel hits a snag.
  2. Nuts: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, and other nuts will energize, satisfy that salty-food craving, and pack a protein punch in a pinch.  I try to have a snack baggie of one or more of these in my bag at all times.  I will also stash some in my overnight bag.
  3. Fruit and Veggies: I have some baby carrots and apples stowed away in my suitcase so that I can get my crunch on after I do some crunches. 😉  Healthy snacks that allow me to reach my nutrition goals will make indulging on an adult beverage or a greasy appetizer a little less guilt-riddening.  Plus, since my entire family will be traveling this weekend, packing these perishable items to take along allows for minimal waste. That is a win-win in deed!
  4. Sunscreen: Pack sunscreen.  No matter what!  It is always more expensive when you are in touristy locations.  A travel sized bottle can tuck away nicely even in the slimmest of Michael Kors cross body bags. And don’t forget to protect your lips!  Chapstick or lip balm with an SPF is a must–even if only under your favorite lip gloss.
  5. Protein powder, mixers: This may be just me, but as I’ve shared with you before, I have found such health and balance thanks to incorporating Shakeology into my diet.  I don’t want to let that slide while away.  Whatever powder you choose, bring some along! I have some packets packed along with a non-refrigerated carton of almond milk (my liquid of choice), some bananas, and my Shakeology tumbler.  If there isn’t a blender in our rental, I’ll nix the banana and just give the rest a good shake, most likely for breakfast!
  6. Medicine–prescribed and OTC: Don’t forget your meds!  That’s it.  No reason besides you need them! 🙂
  7. One extra set of clothes: This is mostly important if you are traveling far.  If transportation gets too delayed, unexpected weather strikes, or you decide on an unplanned detour, having an extra set of clean emergency clothes is never a bad idea.  A basic tee or tank and a pair of jeans can easily fit most occasions you did not expect!
  8. Your workout essentials: I plan on going for a run each morning and, hopefully, getting in a BOD workout as well.  I am packing sneakers and socks and sweat gear so I am more likely to make it happen! Tuck your socks and even a set of yoga pants into your sneakers if you need to save room in your overnight bag.
  9. An extra book: I love to read, but I have been slacking on it the last few months. I am making myself the promise that I will read throughout both ferry rides and while lounging on the beach tomorrow.  I am going to pack an extra book just in case I get through one.  I don’t want to break my own promise!
  10. An extra charger: If you lose one, you won’t be sorry. If you don’t, I am sure one of your travel companions will need to borrow one at some point. It never hurts!
  11. Earbuds: I will hold myself to my morning runs if I have earbuds.  I will be able to catch up with my kids bright and early without waking the other ladies on my trip if I have earbuds.  I will be able to listen to podcasts and music if I have earbuds. I will survive almost anything with earbuds.

Oh, yeah. Sunglasses.  How can I forget my fave no-makeup but who knows accessory? 😉

What essentials make your must-pack list?  Let me know below!

Saturday Morning Quickie: Beach and Pool Tips

This July, I am going to try a series called “Saturday Morning Quickie.” I’ll make it worth it in a short amount of time.  Today, in honor of 4th of July, I am sharing some tips for beach and pool safety and fun!

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This weekend allows us to enjoy time with friends and family and to indulge in time by the pool and at the beach. We must keep some tips in mind to make sure we stay healthy while enjoying ourselves!

1. SUNSCREEN! No one is too-cool for sunscreen. Sun burn and skin damage–not to mention melanoma–are not to be overlooked.  Apply sunscreen while putting on your suit and reapply often. No need to use anything higher than 30 if you are sure to reapply!  If yoy plan on going for a hike or doing yardwork, please use sunscreen as well.  And always wear sun glasses and/or a hat to protect your eyes and face. I promise you that even on an overcast day you can get a sun burn!

2. HYDRATE! Water intake is extra important when we spend time outdoors on a hot and sunny day. We should all aim to drink half our body weight in ounces of water every day.  Add to this when you are outdoors or exerting yourself.

3. GET MOVING! At the beach?  Take a walk!  Build a huge sand castle.  Boogie board!  Get a game of volleyball going. At the pool?  Swim some laps!  Do water aerobics!  Laying out and getting a tan–which really defeats the purpose of tip number 1–or reading a book under an umbrella is relaxing and deserved. Just be sure you add some physical activity.  It will keep you alert and keep your body from getting too stiff.

4. BRING FOOD! Whether you are attending a BBQ or spending the day at the beach, bringing foods your family and you can enjoy will save you money and will save your waistline. I can recommend many healthy options.  Just ask in the comments below!

5. TIME IT! Hit the beach early in the morning or the pool later in the day.  Avoiding midday will let you beat the crowds and the hottest sun. This will keep everyone from experiencing sun stroke or from getting overheated. Plus, if you are one of the first ones on the beach, you’ll get the best spot and be home by nap time.

Have kids?  Here are some suggestions for making their time at the beach or pool easier on you!

What are favorite tips for staying healthy and having fun at the pool?  Leave me a comment below and I’ll post some of the best!

I am a Boy Mom Raising a Daughter

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This realization hit me while enjoying a family afternoon at the pool. I was sitting in the shallowest of water bouncing a giddy Kellen on my knee. Mike was standing in the waste-deep water watching our big kids run and splash with friends. All was right with the world: the kids were engaged and happy and behaving.  I was getting some vitamin D and cooing at the baby. Mike was chatting with a fellow dad in the pool and not home mowing the lawn.  Then it hit me.  It wasn’t an epiphany or a light bulb or an “aha moment”, unfortunately; it was a large splash of water right to my face.

“I am so, so sorry,” came a hurried and apologetic voice.  I shook the water from my eyes, checked a giggling Kellen, and looked up to see an adorable pool mom–you know the type: perfectly-placed messy bun, classic solid-print bikini (not from Target!), a smidge of red lip gloss, JLo-worthy sunglasses, and just effortlessly chic while I was effortlessly unchic–quickly squatted down and scooped up her even more adorable daughter. “Lily!  No splashing!  No, no, no!” she crooned in a voice as soft and wispy as the toddler’s top knot.

“It is really no big deal. I have three kids.  I get splashed all the time!” I offered.

“Three kids? Well then, you must be Super Mom!” she said, with a kind smile and genuine shake of the shoulders.

I told her that was hardly the case, that I am just surviving like everyone else, and we continued to chit chat over names and ages and the amazingness of this pool and weather for a few polite minutes. During this time, I complimented her on her daughter’s fashionable hair style (She loves when I do her hair!), on Lily’s matching swim suit and sun shirt (Gymboree has GREAT sales!), and on their matching pedicures (We get our nails done every Sunday!). Each compliment and cheery response led me to reconsider my own mothering.  There was Kayden, running after her friends with unbrushed hair, chipped nail polish, and a few fading temporary tattoos.  I then looked down at my own at-home pedicure–easily two weeks old–and self consciously pressed my bare lips together to make them pinker. My new “mom friend” was sweet as can be and did not give off the hint of judginess, yet, in that moment I, became very judgy of myself anyway.  Our mommy banter eventually ran its course and as she and her 20-month old daughter retreated back to their lounge chairs, I caught one last glimpse of the pair.  It was then that I finally had the aha-moment you expected in the first paragraph.  I am a Boy Mom–and I am raising a daughter.

Before I ever had kids–before I was even married, perhaps–I can recall a night when my best friend, Lindsey, and her mom, Diane, were over my parents’ house for a girls night of hot tea, Diane’s peach pie, and gossip.  Lindsey encouraged us to do some needle test: essentially an urban legend in which you rotate a needle on thread over the palm of your hand and the direction and amount of rotation indicate the number of children you will have and the sex of those children. “All boys–what I’ve always imagined!” my mom cried after it was my turn. “Really?” I remember asking. “Yes, I just picture you with all boys. I don’t know why.”

She never really elaborated and I was too offended by the idea of this to ask her to go deeper. But she is right.  I am a mom made for boys.  I do not think to go to Gymboree or wherever else to buy the perfect outfit for Kayden for the perfect occasion–say, her graduation or a concert–until it is either too late or she reminds me. I hardly do my own hair, so braiding or, true confession, often brushing her hair isn’t at the forefront of my thoughts. I am just not a girly-girl.  I would rather play tennis or catch or ride bikes with the kids than sit and have a tea party or play house.  Yes, as a young girl I played school and Barbies non-stop.   Non-stop.  And I will happily play them now.  But I want to get up and move–to be outside with my kids.

Don’t get me wrong–I love my daughter just as much as I love my sons.  This confession is not an excuse for being a lazy parent, either.  I am just not innately a mom in-tuned to the needs or desires of a little girl.  I will be buckling Paxton into his car seat and glimpse at Kayden sitting on her booster in the back row of the van and think Damn it, I should have done her hair.  We will be at a family party and she’ll look adorable in her dress, but I will think to myself Why didn’t you get her shoes for that outfit?! These thoughts are irrational and have nothing to do with how much my heart bursts for her. And I will say it again: this has nothing to do with me being a lazy mom or even a too-busy mom.  This simply comes down to the mom-of-daughter things not crossing my mind. If my kids are dressed with little-to-no battle and everyone has eaten some semblance of a healthy breakfast before we get out the door, I am doing my job. If my daughter is wearing mismatched clothes but feels confident that she could get herself dressed, I am doing my job.  If my son wants to wear brown tube socks with his sneakers and mesh shorts because they are his favorite, I am doing my job.  I am letting my kids be themselves–girl, boy, what have you.

When Kayden was a newborn, she slept in a pink room full of flowers and butterflies.  She had a closet full of beautiful girly clothes. I’d push her around the mall or through the park in her pink convertible stroller. But any stranger who saw her would inevitably ask, How cute! How old is he? And every time I would reply that she is a girl and she’s however many months old, I would get the same response: Well, where is her bow? Her bow! Damn it!  I never remembered the damn bow.  Or the frilly socks. Or the blinking marquee sign hanging from the stroller flashing BOY MOM DOING HER BEST!

Emotionally, Kayden baffles me.  When she has a melt down, I just don’t get it and I really don’t know how to respond effectively.  When Paxton has a meltdown, though, I can usually tie his emotions to something physiological: he’s obviously hungry, so I’ll grab him a snack or he’s over-tired so I’ll give him his blanket and some alone time on the couch.  If either of these fail, a cuddle and a kiss do the trick. With Kayden, I try my best to figure her out, to offer possible causes and solutions, and nothing works.  I am the husband to her wife.  I am the yin to her yang. And that is because we are the exact same person.  We are introverted extroverts.  We are alpha females who panic over making little decisions. We remember everything anyone has said or done or indicated–small, big, or imagined–and take so much to heart.  You would think that being that way I would know how to react. I don’t, though. If I did, I’d write a book about the secret sauce to cracking my code. Instead, I’ll just write a blog confessing my motherly short falls.

Kayden and I butt heads regularly.  I know it is going to be a long summer.  She is getting closer and closer to turning 6 and she is getting closer and closer to running the world. She needs me to find the perfect blend of boy mom and girl mom and, essentially, just let her be herself in the process. She needs me to praise her but not too much. She needs me to take time to paint her nails and to get her the matchy-matchy shoes for her favorite summer dress and then to not get mad when she wears them to play tag with the neighbors and cakes them with mud. She needs me to brush and braid her hair just so she knows I set her apart from her brothers.  She is unique, and not simply because she is my only daughter. She is unique because her mind is deep and her thoughts are real and she isn’t a toddler anymore.  She is a young lady who needs her boy mom to be open to mothering her however a budding feminist and future leader and confident young lady requires. I can’t expect, nor should I desire for, Kayden to alter her personality and her “girlness” to suit me.

To be even more honest, I am happy I am not the adorable girl mom from the pool.  Please know I mean this with no criticism.  I applaud her for being so on-top of her own femininity and for showing her daughter the importance of poise and grace and softness. I believe I model that, too, but in my own way. I would be putting on airs if I was to get dolled up before heading to the pool.  I would not be being myself if I was wearing a cute sun dress right now as I type this in the lobby of the car dealership while getting an oil change and not the comfy shorts, sports bra, and white tee I am wearing.  Yes, I washed my hair and have on some eye-liner and mascara, but my lips are bare and my legs aren’t freshly shaven and I am totally comfortable being me that way. Maybe that makes me a boy mom.  Maybe that makes me low maintenance.  Maybe it just makes me me. My daughter will know that women can be strong and opinionated and makeup-free.   A woman, like a man, can be whatever the individual wants to be or pursue or feel.

Super Mom I am not.  I never will be.  I am a boy mom raising a daughter.  I am a mom, though, with a daughter who–in this day and age of gender stereotyping and sensitivity–will not be pigeon-holed by the bow on her head. Even if that is because I forgot to put it on her head in the first place.

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21 Day Fix Fish Tacos

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I really, truly love sea food–especially white fish. And I have come to love fish even more in recent months because it can be quite healthful. The right fish can be a perfect form of protein and many varieties contain an ideal amount of healthy fats. Fish can be rather lean and can often be doctored up much like chicken without being as filling. I often like a light her meal at dinner time, especially as the weather gets hotter and hotter, so fish is perfect.

At least once a week, I stop at Whole Foods on my way home from school and see my pal Dan, the fish monger. I always have a seafood meal listed on my weekly plan–such my honey orange salmon or BBQ shrimp–but if Dan has a better suggestion or if a certain cut or type of sea food is on sale, I am always open to a new option. Last night, this happened. I planned on making fish tostadas using tilapia and Ezekiel wraps. By the time I got to the store, though, I was already prepared to make a change. First off, I overextended my yellow containers at school (I blame my Relay for Life hangover! More on that in a later post!), and since it was only day 1 of my 21 Day Fix, I knew I needed to make up for an earlier splurge. Secondly, Whole Foods did not have any fresh tilapia. What Dan did have, though, were individually portioned Chilean sea bass fillets. I’ve never cooked sea bass before, but, in full disclosure, before my foray into clean eating this January, I hadn’t made many diverse foods.  I’m a cooking work-in-progress. Dan assured me that I could grill these much like I would a steak, so I bought two and made quick mental calculations as to how I could plan the rest of the meal around this unexpected purchase.

I grabbed a few avocados, a head of butter leaf lettuce, and went to the checkout–knowing full well that some of my clean staples already in my pantry and fridge would cap off a sure-to-be successful dinner.

I was right.

I am not a taco lover. Well, that’s isn’t a fair statement. I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten a taco. So I guess I am a taco-averse person?! I also don’t entirely love hot food–like steamy, right-out-of-the-oven food. Except cookies. 😉 I often let my meal sit for a bit before I eat it just so it cools off and I never reheat my lunch. Never. But turn a taco shell into a veggie and the ground beef into a delicious white fish while deducting a ton of the physical heat–but still leaving the spice, of course–and I am all in.

This dinner was light and full of flavor. My mom and kids all approved–though my kids deconstructed theirs.

Side note/rhetorical question to parents: am I the only one with kids who LOVE to eat with their hands when not appropriate (i.e. Spaghetti or pancakes or apple sauce–spoons are for babies!) but refuse to eat with their hands when a meal actual calls for it? My 3 1/2 year-old had a near meltdown after his first bite of taco when 1 minuscule drip of salsa touched his palm. Okay, not a near melt down. A full on cry. Like a “you broke my Lego castle!” cry. Or a “You deleted all the Odd Squads!” cry. So I quickly cut up both kids’ tacos and got on with a more peaceful dinner.

I have discovered that jarred salsa is my go-to ingredient. When in doubt or playing around with a new possible recipe, I often lean on a jar or half jar of salsa to add a kick or moisture or texture. The right brand and the right variety–I love Paul Newman’s Mango or Pineapple Salsa in particular–add just the right something. I even add salsa to my turkey burgers!

After I grilled the sea bass, I layered it on a butter lettuce leaf with a slice of avocado and tablespoon of salsa. I then sprinkled a bit of Mexican cheese blend on top and served it with fresh pineapple. My mom and I felt like we were vacationing in the Caribbean with each bite. Plus, one taco was filling enough on a day in which I hit my yellow containers early and needed a light yet balanced dinner.

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Here’s the game plan! Give it a try with any white fish you’d like!

21 Day Fix Fish Tacos

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh, light, Caribbean-inspired taco recipe using a lettuce wrap--perfect for a summer night!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Chilean sea bass fillet per person (1 red container)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika (smoked would be best!)
  • 1 tbsp salsa of choice per person: I used 365 brand Mango and Peach salsa (1/4 purple container)
  • 1/4 avocado per person, sliced thin (1 blue container)
  • 1 butter lettuce leaf per person (1/2 green)
  • optional sprinkle of Mexican blend cheese
  • optional tsp of nonfat Greek yogurt (in lieu of sour cream–plus it adds protein!)

Directions

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.
  2. Drizzle sea bass with olive oil and spread to coat both sides. Sprinkle seasoning on top. (I only add seasoning on one side so I can still enjoy the flavor of the fish.)
  3. Grill sea bass for approximately 5-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  4. Place avocado and salsa in a lettuce leaf. Add 1/2 sea bass filet. Top with cheese and/or Greek yogurt, roll up the sides, get messy, and enjoy!

**21 Day Fix Containers, per my own unofficial deductions: 1 red, 1 green (lettuce and salsa, though you may choose to count salsa in the purple container), 1 blue.  Non-Fixers can go all-out and add the cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt.

I’d love to get more lettuce wrap or fish taco recipes that are tried and true!  Feel free to leave one below!  Or, let me know if you would like to enroll in my next Clean Eating Group: Quick-N-Clean 15 minute meals!  I’m enrolling now!  I will provide 7 days of clean eating meals for both dinner and breakfast that can be on the table in 15 minutes or less.  This group is FREE, but space is limited! Don’t delay!