Weekly Menu Planner Series - Memorial Day Edition

It's hard to believe that we are going to kick off summer this weekend in New York when it's cold and rainy today, but I'm still excited to celebrate Memorial Day weekend and share with you some of my favorite recipes to swap out some of the unhealthy options that we tend to have at summer cookouts.

But first I want to acknowledge why we are able to celebrate. I want to thank all of the American service men and women who fought for our country and who didn't make it home. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. 

Here is what was on the menu this week plus some of my favorite summer recipes to give you some inspiration for the long weekend and the remainder of the summer!

Sunday - Grilled Chicken, Caprese Salad, + Corn on the Cob

I marinated the chicken in a little olive oil and garlic and herb seasoning before grilling.

Corn on the cob = summertime, doesn't it? I coat my corn with a little bit of butter and sprinkle sea salt on top. I then wrap in foil and put it on the top part of my grill for 30 minutes (SO good).

For the Caprese salad I used Campari tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. I added a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Meal prep tip: Grill extra chicken so you have it for lunches for the week! 

Monday - Sweet Potato Turkey Tacos + Green Beans

Here's my healthy version of taco night and it's quick and perfect for a weeknight meal. 

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What you'll need:
- Sweet Potatoes (you'll need 1/2 per person)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- Taco Seasoning (I would recommend making your own or opting for an all natural option)
- Tomatoes chopped for topping your tacos
- Spinach also for topping
- Mexican blend shredded cheese (optional)
- Plain 0% Greek Yogurt (optional)
- Salsa (optional)
- Avocado (optional)

Directions:
Bake your sweet potatoes in the oven but if you're short for time throw them in the microwave (make sure to pierce the potatoes with a fork and cook for 5-8 minutes).

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet and add the onion, cook for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the ground turkey and cook until it loses its raw color. Add in the taco seasoning to desired taste.

Top your sweet potato with the ground turkey mixture and desired toppings. I substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream and I can't even tell the difference. 

*I served these with green beans on the side. 

These are quick, easy and my kids love it! 

Tuesday - Baked Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Squash

Follow the Baked Panko Chicken Tenderloin Recipe first (you can find it here).

*I make my Spaghetti Squash in my Instant Pot because it cuts the cooking time in half. If you don't have one you can roast it in the oven for 40-60 minutes face down on a cookie sheet lined with foil (make sure you drizzle olive oil on it before you place them face down). 

After my chicken is done baking I top it with sauce and mozzarella cheese and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes to heat the sauce through and melt the cheese. 

Wednesday - Grilled Teriyaki Salmon with Quinoa Tabouleh Salad

Pictured is grilled chicken but the teriyaki salmon is SO good too! 

Pictured is grilled chicken but the teriyaki salmon is SO good too! 

What You'll Need:
- Wild Atlantic King Salmon (1/2 pound per person). I have them de-bone it
- Teriyaki Marinade
- 1 cup quinoa
- 8 oz grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup chick peas
- 1 Cucumber chopped
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- Fresh Cilantro rougly chopped to taste
- Fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Put you salmon in a large Ziplock bag and add the marinade. Put in the fridge an hour or two before you plan on grilling. 

Prepare your quinoa according to the instructions on the package. 

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. After you let the quinoa cool for a bit add it to your veggies mixture and squeeze juice of a fresh lemon on top. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with your salmon.

Thursday - Turkey Burgers + Baked Zucchini Fries

Click here for my favorite turkey burger recipe. I have mine without a bun and sometimes add a little cheddar cheese. 

These baked zucchini fries are so easy and so so good. 

What You'll Need:
- 3 large zucchini
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup panko break crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
Cut the zucchini length wise into 2 inch pieces. Dip the zucchini into the egg wash and then into the panko and parmesan mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until browned. 

Zucchini Fries.jpg

Friday - Coconut Shrimp + MIxed Green Salad 

This is one of my all time favorite summer dishes! Click here for the recipe and serve with your favorite summer salad. Mashed cauliflower also goes well with this meal as a side dish.

Saturday - Date night dinner out! 

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as my family does! 

Weekly Menu Planner Series - Week 1

Are you overwhelmed by meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking healthy meals for your family that will keep you on track AND stuff that your kids will eat?

I know that all of the above can seem like daunting tasks. I get it...especially when a trip to the grocery store with three kids seems like mission impossible. 

That is why I want to help you as much as I can by sharing our family's weekly dinner menu, share some of my favorite recipes, and tips to keep you on track. This can be a cheat sheet for you that you can follow exactly or something to pull ideas from. 

A little planning goes a long way when it comes to healthy eating. If you wait until 2 p.m. to decide what you're having for dinner after your kids activities, you are guaranteed to make a quick go to (pasta anyone?) or order a pizza. 

And trust me, I've been there.

I will post this weekly on Thursdays so you can get your grocery shopping done over the weekend and you are planned and ready to go for your busy week. I've found that when I plan our healthy meals and go grocery shopping once for the week to get everything I need, I am guaranteed to stay on track...and by committing to share this on my blog, it will force me to do it myself :). 

Here is the menu this week:

Sunday - Turkey Chili + Green Beans 

Ingredients:
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 5 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 tbs tomato paste (the remainder of the 4 oz can will be used as well)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- pinch of red chili pepper flakes (to desired taste)
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 Corona Light beer or other light beer (for taste, alcohol will be cooked off)
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 8 oz of grape tomatoes halved
- Shredded cheese, avocado to top your chili 

Directions:
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and salt and cook for 3 minutes
- Add tbs of tomato paste and red chili flakes and mix to combine
- Add in ground turkey and cook until meat loses its pink color
- Add Corona, bring to a boil and let simmer for 8-10 minutes to let the alcohol cook off (liquid should reduce by half)
- Add tomatoes, kidney beans, and remaining tomato paste. Mix to combine. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Serve and top with avocado/shredded cheese.

*I steam my green beans on the stove or quickly in the microwave while my chili cooks. 

Monday: Grilled Chicken with Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese + Spinach

Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese Recipe:

Ingredients:

- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup of milk of your choice (I used 1%)
- 2 oz low fat cream cheese (cut into smaller pieces)
- 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar (divided 2/3 cup for cheese mixture and 1/3 cup to top casserole)
- Panko bread crumbs to sprinkle on top 

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Steam your cauliflower on the stove in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from stove, dry with paper towels and place in 8x8 casserole dish.
- In a medium sauce pan add cup of milk, 2/3 cup of sharp cheddar, and 2 oz cream cheese. Stir until melted. Pour cheese mixture over cauliflower in casserole dish.
- Top with remaining sharp cheddar and sprinkle panko on top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. 

Tuesday: Shrimp Stir Fry with Quinoa (Click here for the recipe).

Wednesday: Sweet Potato, Asparagus, + Ground Beef Hash

Ingredients:
- 2 sweet potatoes cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
- Place veggies on cookie sheet lined with foil. Drizzle olive oil and coat veggies. Add desired salt and a little pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until done.
- While veggies are in the oven, heat a large skillet on medium high heat with olive oil. Add in onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes. 
- Add in ground beef or turkey. Cook until done. 
- Add in roasted veggies to meat and mix well on low heat. 
- Stir in spices and heat through. 
- Serve immediately and sprinkle a little cheese on top.

Thursday: Instant Pot Salsa Chicken + Brown Rice

Friday: Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Chicken Marsala

Saturday: Eat Out!

This week's tips:
*I try to make a variety of protein each night of the week (chicken usually twice, fish, lean ground beef, ground turkey). 
*I have my usual go-to recipes that I know everyone likes but I try to add in a new recipe each week to keep it fresh. 
*Make quinoa breakfast parfaits with your leftover quinoa from the shrimp stir fry.
*Cut up veggies in advance when you can so you can grab and go to reduce prep time or purchase them frozen (with no additives) or pre chopped (available in most grocery stores but pricey). 
*Have leftovers when possible for lunch the next day to eliminate finding a healthy option for another meal. 
 

Was this helpful? I would love some feedback or anything to further help you plan healthy meals for your entire family! 

I would also appreciate if you share with your friends! 

Running For Two® Capris Review + 30% Off Discount Code

RunningForTwoCapris_2.jpg

One of my favorite parts of my job after helping people reach their health and fitness goals is when I'm given the opportunity to partner with companies that I love to review their new products so I can share them with you. 

I have been an ambassador for the For Two Fitness® brand since my pregnancy with Daniela and I have always LOVED every single piece of clothing I've owned from them, so I jumped at the opportunity to try and review their latest maternity active capris from their Running For Two® line...and of course they did not disappoint.

The fit is fantastic and true to size, and the material really hugs the right places for a flattering fit when we need it most. Most importantly for any pregnant woman, especially in the third trimester, the capris are extremely comfortable...like I don't want to take them off and wear them everyday comfortable :).  They also wash really well. 

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The fabrics are high performance, soft, moisture wicking, and originate from the same mills as the fancy athletic apparel you already wear.  We all know maternity clothes are expensive as it is, so For Two Fitness® works hard to keep these high end, specialty garments affordable.   

My absolute favorite part about these capris that I wasn't expecting is the high level support they give my belly. The fabric fits nice and snug over my stomach (don't worry not too snug where it's uncomfortable), and really helps to support my belly that has gotten very heavy in the past few weeks.  Having proper belly support during an active pregnancy is crucial when running and for HIIT workouts, and these capris are the best I've found for the job. 

One last feature that I love is that these capris also include a little pocket on the inside to carry a key, money, etc. that you can't hold during your workouts.

I can say with confidence that the these new capris from the Running For Two® line have earned my stamp of approval and I look forward to wearing them throughout the rest of my pregnancy and for my postpartum fitness journey!

Head on over to the For Two Fitness® website and use the discount code HOLIDAY30 for 30% off all merchandise (excluding gift cards) for a holiday gift or even a little something for yourself! This discount code is good now through December 18th. 

 

 

*You are dedicated to the health of your pregnancy, and we are dedicated to you.  For Two Fitness® is the premier maternity fitness apparel brand, offering performance apparel that functions and flatters like nothing else. We are committed to celebrate and support moms who are striving for healthy, fit, pregnancies. Discover for yourself why celebrities, professional athletes, and moms everywhere love For Two Fitness® performance apparel!

The anatomy of a highly effective website design!

Hi new friends! My name is Jenn and I'm a graphic designer and business coach over at Self Made from Scratch. First and foremost, WELCOME to JessicaOliva.com. It's beautiful, right? (though I designed it, so I'm only 100% bias). I've been Jessica's designer for years, and she is by far one of the most dedicated, hard-working business owners (and mamas!) that I've ever worked with. I'm so honored that she entrusted me with the responsibility to bring her vision for JessicaOliva.com to LIFE with a killer design that's just as beautiful and powerful as she is! 

To kick off the launch of Jessica's nook of the web, I wanted to give you a little guided tour of the site  *cue elevator music* and provide some tips on design elements you should have on your site if you're thinking of starting your own business!

First, let's take a look at Jessica's homepage. Naturally, this is the most IMPORTANT page of your site because it's the first impression readers have of who you are and what you do. You want to make it a good one! 

Isn't she lovely?

Let's dissect things a little bit more. There are three main elements that you want to be sure you include in your homepage: 

1. ) Have a high-quality photo of yourself

I placed one of Jessica's head-shots smack dab in the forefront of her site because I'm a firm believer that having at least one high quality photo of yourself really helps to engage viewers from the get-go. It makes their experience on your site much more relatable because they can put a face to the brand, which - in turn - helps them to feel like they "know you" (<< so important to building brand loyalty!) 

**budget hack: I totally understand that photographers can be expensive and it may not be realistic financially to hire one. If you have an SLR camera (or one that you can borrow) really all you need to do is enlist your husband / best friend / random neighbor across the street to take one simple photo of you against a plain white wall. You only need one photo to make an impact!

2.) Be sure to include these 3 crucial pieces of information. 

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Why you do it

So looking back at Jessica's homepage as an example, we have a brief bio underneath her cover photo (who she is), her business roles on the right hand site of her cover photo (what she does), and her mission statement on the in the pink circle (why she does it). These three nuggets of info will provide readers with the basics, and make them curious to learn more. 

3.) Implement strategic navigation to the most important pages of your site. 

Underneath Jessica's bio, I created three navigation graphics that will link to the most important pages on her site. This is the KEY to a strategic design plan! You want to make it easy for readers to access the pages that you want them to visit (rather than sending them on a wild goose chase). Your homepage should highlight the 3 most important areas of your site, and allow readers to access them with a simple click.

Next we'll mosey on over to Jessica's Work with Me page:

I wrote a post on my site about how to create a killer "work with me" page, but essentially the secret sauce of any high-impact sales page (as demoed on Jessica's site) is to keep it short, simple, and make it easy for perspective clients to take action ....whether that be by filling out an application, paying you directly, or requesting more information). Jessica's service page provides just the right amount of information for perspective clients (without being overwhelming), and encourages them to take action by clicking on the "register" or "apply" buttons. 

Lastly, the contact page.

Admittedly, there's no mind-blowing strategy here.. but one thing you DO want to do is embed a contact form DIRECTLY IN TO YOUR PAGE rather than providing an e-mail address. I know it sounds silly, but readers are far more likely to contact you if they can do so directly through your site than if they have to copy your email address, open their email account, and then email you from there. Again, I know it's silly - but you want to make everything as easy as possible for your people! 

Now that we've covered the structural elements of an effective design, here are a few quick notes on style:

1. Stick to one or two colors at most. You don't want your website to look like a Lisa Frank advertisment.

2. Make sure your fonts are EASY TO READ. 

3. Optimize white space. I'm a huge fan of sleek, refined websites with ample white space and a splash of fun details. Minimalistic is classic and always in style. 

4. Avoid clutter! Don't pack your sidebar with ads or sponsors. You want your website to promote YOUR business, not an advertisement for puppy chow. 

5. Make sure it's mobile responsive! It's the way of the world, my friends.

And, of course, the #1 thing you NEED to have for a successful website, business, and life in general - is CONFIDENCE in yourself and what you're doing. You were given a very special gift for a very special reason. Use it and let your authentic voice SHINE THROUGH everything that you do. 

**Before wrapping up I also wanted to provide you gorgeous rockstars with an EXCLUSIVE discount code for all of my design services.**

Just click on over here to fill out my project request form, and be sure to mention "Jessica Oliva" in the "How did you hear about me" section. 

Cheers to designing a website and life that you love :)