Summer Shrimp & Vegetable Sauté

I love picking up seasonal veggies when I'm at the grocery store. They're brighter, tastier, and more likely to be grown locally. I saw a display of baby heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods recently, & couldn't resist. The zucchini was calling my name as well, & I knew I could create an easy fresh dish with these two veggies.

This sauté has amazing bright flavors & pairs so well with the large shrimp. The juices from the tomatoes & zucchini mixed with the olive oil & spices create a delicious light sauce. It's also unbelievably quick to toss together (cooking time is only 5 min!). 

Homemade Coconut Cream Pie Larabars

Larabars have been a favorite go-to snack of mine for years now. They’re super filling, give you natural energy, & are convenient to take on the go when you’re busy. They also, however, are pretty expensive. 

That’s why I like to make my own! It’s cheaper & also allows me to get creative with the flavors. I love making these for friends & family as little gifts too. My boyfriend loves them, and I’ve created a few special flavors just for him (one containing coffee)!

I plan to share more of my Larabar creations later, but for now I’m starting out with my basic "Coconut Cream Pie" recipe-- which I came up with last Christmas as a re-creation of my boyfriend's favorite Larabar. If you’re not a fan of coconut, leave it out & you will have something close to the “Cashew Cookie” flavor.

What I Bought: Trader Joe's

I'm planning to start a series here on my blog: showing you "what I bought". I'd like to keep it open to all sorts of places (Target, Whole Foods, Costco, etc.), so that I can share all of my different finds. Let me know what you guys think, & if there is anywhere in particular you would like me to post about! 

Shopping is a very personal thing, especially when it comes to food choices; so don’t feel obligated to buy all (or any!) of these items—this is just me sharing & hoping to put out some ideas on what to buy/try at different places. :) So, here we go!

When I go out or travel for the weekend, I’m more likely to indulge when it comes to my diet. Therefore, it's important to me to eat clean throughout the week & stick to healthy meals and snacks while I’m at home (and school & work!). I like doing my grocery shopping at the beginning of the week. I stock up on fresh food items that will last me awhile & are easy to prepare, even if I'm busy.

Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to grocery shop. There's one conveniently located down the street from my college campus. I also like that it’s small, offers fair prices, and doesn’t have too large of a selection (which can be overwhelming). 
Here’s what I picked up from my recent trip to Trader Joe’s:

Organic Beef Jerky (Original): This is great as a quick, high protein snack. I usually get about 3 servings out of each small bag. This jerky contains no preservatives, nitrites, or added MSG, and is gluten free.

Fully Cooked Uncured Bacon:  Fully cooked means only 30 seconds from hot, crispy bacon—great for busy mornings. I also chop it up to add to veggies or other recipes. 

Organic Free Range Eggs:  I always have eggs on hand, since I eat them pretty much every morning. I buy extra if I’m planning to make some Italian Style Omelet Muffins!

Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage:  A great all natural protein option for the morning. These have a sweet & savory flavor, and are a breakfast staple for me. They are also fully cooked, which means I can quickly brown one up on the stove or heat it in the microwave.

Organic Free Range Chicken Thighs:  I like chicken breasts too—but the thighs have more flavor & cook very quickly. I love them for kabobs, coconut curry, and stir-fry. I usually separate them into small bags & store some in the freezer.

Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef:  I use it for meat sauce (click here for my recipe!) and burgers (without the bun!). I always look for organic & grass fed when choosing beef. 

Lemon Pepper Salmon Two Ways

I absolutely LOVE salmon. If I didn’t stop myself, I would eat it every single night. My dad & brother made a few salmon-fishing trips to Alaska when I lived at home, so there was always a stockpile of wild salmon in the freezer. One of the best ways my mom prepared it was with lemon pepper. I still love that flavor, but I’ve realized how easy it is to achieve with simple spices & fresh lemon. No premade lemony flavored “stuff”, just real fresh flavors with that same great taste!

Here it is two ways… both with the same simple ingredients. Let me know if you try, and which you like best!

Mocha Berry Mug Cake (Paleo)

Sometimes we all just need a little dessert. Long day, special occasion, sweet-tooth moment; whatever the reason may be. This is what I turn to when I’m craving a little guilt-free (seriously!) indulgence. It’s full of clean & simple ingredients, and just tastes amazing. Sweet, warm, chocolate cake goodness with rich coffee flavor, all in your favorite mug & ready in less than five minutes…. what?!

Favorite Products: Natural Summer Skin & Body

Today I have something a little different to share… skincare products! I have a good little mix here, with items for both the face and body. I have recently become devoted to swapping out as many products possible that touch my body (within reason) to more natural options. 

There are a handful of yucky ingredients I have done my research on & chosen to stay away from for health and wellness reasons, both now & down the road (post on this later?). Skincare products are something I put on my body every single day, twice a day—so I think it’s important that I stick to all natural ingredients that don't risk potential harm or irritation to my sensitive skin. 

Here are a few of my favorites, especially for the warmer summer months….

Italian Style Omelet Muffins (Paleo)

Back to school is here for some, and right around the corner for others. This fall I will be taking on a full load of classes as well as a full time medical internship, which means I will be short on one major thing until Christmas: time. 

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Smoothies are always a go-to for me. They are great as a refreshing treat after a workout, and can even work as a small meal when you are in a pinch. I love that I can indulge in one when an upset stomach keeps me from craving other foods, without feeling guilty. 

As long as you're tossing in the right ingredients, smoothies can pack so much nutrition while tasting like a dessert! Here's a simple blueberry smoothie recipe I love:

A Little Bit About Myself...

I’m Jessie, & I’ve decided to start my very own blog! I wanted to start off with a little intro about myself & why I’m here, so here it goes…

Who am I?
            -I’m just a girl in my early twenties, with lots to share! I love my family, my boyfriend, and my pets. Simple & healthy (yet tasty!) cooking has been a long-time passion of mine. I also have a thing for all things beauty—makeup, hair, skincare, etc. I attend graduate school full time, and am looking for a place to share my hobbies that are non-school related!