Pura Vida + Menu

Pura Vida; pure life.

In Costa Rica they have a saying, pura vida. I am sure that if you have scrolled through Facebook you seen the ads for the bracelets that adorn this motto. Maybe that is just my feed, but I would like to think that everyone has seen the handmade bracelets from Costa Rica that donate to charity and help artisans around the world. The saying means pure life. “In Spanish, “pura vida” is more than just a saying. It’s a lifestyle of sorts. One that’s all about enjoying life’s little pleasures, slowing things down and living life to the fullest.” I’ve heard the saying countless times on our honeymoon back in 2014 and now on a trip with my husband.

I feel like this laid back lifestyle is something everyone aspires to have, but can’t seem to obtain. We overload ourselves with activities for the kids and ourselves, social events you feel obligated to attend, physical and mental maintenance, family dinners, things you want to do, and the list goes on. It all is great in theory, but when do you actually have time to devote to yourself and living life to the fullest. Slowing doesn’t have to mean lazy or mean sitting in your house all day. Slowing down to actually enjoy what you are doing, instead of thinking about the next thing to cross of your list.

Costa Rica

I am completely guilty of this. I can be playing with my kids, but my mind is on the pile of laundry I have in the dryer (on high heat for the second time) that needs to be folded or the dishes in the sink that need to go in the dish washer (that is full of clean dishes) or the floors that need to be vacuumed. None of these things will happen on their own. There is no magical laundry basket that cleans the clothes and puts them away. There’s this magical balance between enjoying life and still getting all those “chores” done, without the stress, not letting your social life completely go, and focusing on yourself.

I wish I knew this balance.

I wish I could tell you that it is easy, but it isn’t. I choose to put my family ahead of all things and prioritize around that. I wake up extra early to put dishes away and get my workout in so I don’t have to stress over not being with my children after I get off work. I meal prep and do laundry on Sunday so I am not concerned with that during the week either. Sunday doesn’t work for some people, but it works for us. I try to cook as much as I can before church and do the laundry after Sunday lunch. Pick a day and get all those to-dos done. A few hours of stressing in one day is well worth the easygoing weekdays.

Pura Vida obviously has nothing to do with meal prepping, but meal prepping and waking up at the crack of dawn allow me to enjoy all the little things. Prioritizing all these things that keep you so busy and bogged down, would be my first step in living a more pure life.

What actually matters in the long run and what needs to get done is what I would give my attention to. Do the late nights get in the way of what needs to be done the next day? Do the weekly play dates stress you out more than the children actually enjoy them? Are you spending more time in the kitchen/on the phone/watching tv than on the floor playing with your kids? In the long run that tv show, drink, game, etc. aren’t going to be the memories you look back fondly on. These are just bonus things that don’t really matter but are nice to do.

I always approach things with the attitude of working smarter not harder. Counting macros and meal prepping seems harder to some people, that more than likely haven’t tried it, but from my perspective it’s working smarter. Living a pure life or enjoying your life requires a bit of clarity over what is actually important and the ability to live simplistically.

Our driver on the way to the hotel told us about his culture and one thing he said was that they are not concerned with saving their money for the next new gadget. They preferred to save their money for memorable trips with family and friends. They are not concerned with things but concern themselves with the company they keep. Take a close look around you. Are you surrounding yourself with, be it gadgets or people, things that allow you to live a pure life or are they a distraction from what matters? Evaluate and cut out the unnecessary. It’s that simple.


New Food Review

No new food this week to report on. We were in Costa Rica, so I did not cook last week’s menu. I posted all familiar foods that I would typically cook. I was slightly disappointed that I did not get to try more local food while on vacation. Our resort was 45 minutes away from the next town and had your typical resort food. Rice and beans are a staple in Costa Rica, but those are not anything you haven’t tried before.


M E N U

30 Minute Chicken Roasted Fajitas

Steak + Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Salad

BBQ Sandwich

California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado + Rice Bowls

Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta


30 Minute Chicken Roasted Fajitas

Technically this recipe is for chicken, hence the title, but I am Going to use pork butt and make it into a bowl. I have Done this before and it was DELICIOUS. That word probably gets overused in our house, but it’s just such a great way to describe good food. I love this salsa so much and all the vegetables are a great addition. Always toast more vegetables than what you think, because they really do shrink up small. If you can’t find tomatillos, pick up a good verde and purée some jalapeños and garlic with it.

For the pork butt, I cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard and season with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, let it cool and then separate the meat from the fat. It really does defeat the purpose of healthy tacos and sandwiches if you leave the fat in there.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients:  
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
*pork butt 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit 
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and black pepper
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
6-8 small flour tortillas, warmed
*1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice per bowl 
*limes for topping 
ROASTED PINEAPPLE SALSA VERDE
6 small tomatillos, husked
*salsa verde if no tomatillos
1 jalapeño
4 green onions
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
* add garlic 
1 cup diced pineapple 
*1/2 cup per bowl
 
For the pork butt:  
1 Boston Butt  
Paprika  
Salt  
Pepper 
Yellow Mustard  
Onion Powder  
Chili Powder  
Garlic Powder 

Steak + Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Salad

It’s my birthday week, so a good steak is in order.We just got back from a 5 day trip in Costa Rica, gorgeous, and I am starting back work this week, not gorgeous. I want something good, but easy.

This cauliflower chickpea salad is one of my go-to sides when I am going to a potluck gathering. I usually leave out the quinoa because for some reason people cringe at quinoa the way they do with kale, so I just skip it. There is really no reason to add the oil, unless you like the taste of it. For me it is unnecessary to have all the oil of the fat. I sound like a broken record but I don’t like the invisible fats, I much prefer to taste my fat and have it be actual food like avocado or bacon. I will spray my pan with olive oil but I do not add oil to my dressings. 

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients:
1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
*2 cauliflower heads
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
*zero calorie olive oil spray
1 1/2 cups cooked, patted dry on a clean tea towel
*1 can
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup cooked quinoa
*omit quinoa 
1/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
*omit almonds 
a handful each of fresh mint leaves, flat leaf parsley, coriander (cilantro), roughly torn
jalapeno lime dressing
1-2 pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
*diced pickled jalapeños 2 Tablespoons 
the juice of 2 medium limes
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil 
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
*green onions 
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

BBQ Sandwich 

There is no link for this recipe, because it is so simple that you don’t need anything to guide you. I love being able to get a pork butt cook it one way and make two completely different meals. If you see BBQ sandwich on my menu, pork tacos/bowls will be on the menu as well. 

I cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard and season with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, let it cool and then separate the meat from the fat. It really does defeat the purpose of healthy tacos and sandwiches if you leave the fat in there. Plus it is just gross.

Make sure you weigh out meat for tacos and the sandwiches prior to mixing in the sauce/salsa for each meal. To avoid overeating or coming up short on meat for the second meal, I weigh out the total amount of meat and then separate the meat according to how many meals I need to make.

I do not add the BBQ sauce until I am ready to eat each serving. I make sure to weigh out my sauce for every sandwich before I put on the bun. Simply put the bowl on the scale, weigh out the meat and the sauce in grams or ounces, depending on the nutritional label. Toast your bun, top with the meat, and pickles, and enjoy!

*Changes I make to meet my macros 

Ingredients: 
1 Boston Butt 
Paprika 
Salt 
Pepper
Yellow Mustard 
Onion Powder 
Chili Powder 
Garlic Powder 
Brioche Bun
BBQ Sauce 
Pickles 

California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado + Rice Bowls

I might kick myself putting new food on the menu right after vacation and going back to work this week, but I need something new to add to my list of go-to recipes. This recipe is full of vegetables, yummy avocado, and rice. You really can’t go wrong with that combination.

This meal doesn’t seem very complicated. I don’t plan to grill the chicken, I will just keep it all inside and cook the chicken on the cast iron skillet. I will roast the vegetables in the oven while I get the rest of the food ready for the other dishes. If you aren’t meal prepping this would be a great meal to cook outside if you are still having the cooler summer weather. Since I meal prep, I would prefer to cook everything in the kitchen so I can keep an eye on it.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients: 
CHICKEN
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders
*chicken breast 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*lemon juice 
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
kosher salt and black pepper

THE RICE + VEGGIES + AVOCADO
2 red bell peppers, cut into fourths
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
*2-3 zucchini 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit olive oil 
2 avocados, mashed very well
*3 ounces, less than medium 1 avocado
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
2 cups cooked basmati rice
*jasmine rice or your preference of rice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
*omit walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese
*non-fat feta or goat cheese

Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

I am going to cook additional chicken from the previous recipe and add it to this pasta dish. The great thing about this pasta dish, is there is no cream used. The cream comes from the mashed zucchini, butter, and cheese. Healthy-ish. I will make some adjustments on the amounts that I use and the serving sizes to ensure that we aren’t adding anything unnecessary to our waist lines.

I will do a review on this meal next week!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients: 
1 pound pasta, use your favorite cut
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil
3-4 medium zucchini and or yellow summer squash, chopped
*6-7 depending on size
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt and black pepper 
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated parmesan or manchego cheese
* 3/4 reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
lemon juice, for serving (optional)
*add in cooked cast iron chicken breast

E N J O Y !

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