Well, here we are. A chapter closed and a blank slate of a year in front of us. As I said goodbye to 2012 last night I couldn’t help but look around and smile. There I was all dressed up in my own apartment surrounded by the ones I love the most and what more could I ask for then that? Don’t get me wrong, this past year has been a hell of a rollercoaster but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned more about myself in 2012 then I have in the past 5 years. I’m stronger then I give myself credit for, capable of things I never dreamed and I’m proud of where I’ve ended up. My only hope is I can continue to be so lucky in 2013. Give me what you’ve got world, I’m ready.

Now, I keep promising you guy’s recipes and have yet to post any! (Forgive me? Please? Ok good) So before I dive right in I’ll give you a little background on my cooking style. Everything I make I adapt off of recipes I’ve made before, seen in other cookbooks, or are old time family favorites. General theme amongst my food is clean and delicious. I focus on using fresh veggies and giving a balance of lean protein, carbs (veggies, fruits, whole grains) and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, oils). I recently started using the zone diet as a way to plan out my meals and fuel myself correctly for the gruelling workouts Crossfit has in store for me. I have some seriously delicious cheat meals, which I’ll post too, but I try to incorporate a healthier spin on those as well.

On Saturday the girls and I decided we were going to get ready for our New Years extravaganza by not doing a darn thing. So I decided to cook dinner and we watched one of our favorite movies “Love Actually.” Talk about a seriously girly night. It was fantastic. For dinner I made walnut crusted chicken on a bed of bacon and onion sweet potato mash. The recipe below feeds four.

For the chicken:

4 thin cut chicken breasts

1 egg

1 cup of crusted walnuts

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp pepper

Salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Scramble the egg and in a bowl and pour out onto a plate. On a second plate, combine your walnuts and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Coat both sides of the chicken with the egg wash and then coat both sides with the walnut mixture. Place the chicken in a pyrex dish and bake for 15-20.

For the sweet potato mash:

6 strips of center cut bacon (less fat, but if you have regular that’s fine too)

1 small onion, finely diced

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 (for the sake of this recipe I kept my oven at 375 so I could bake the chicken simultaneously, but you’ll have to keep them in for a little longer). Poke holes in your sweet potatoes and wrap them in aluminium foil. Place them in a baking dish and into the oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size and desired done-ness (did I mention I make up words?). The baking dish underneath helps to catch any juices that may escape from the sweet potatoes because it can be a pain to scrape off the bottom of the oven. While your potatoes are cooking away, cook your bacon. Place the bacon on a couple paper towels for the excess grease to get soaked up then chop up the strips into small pieces. Reserve a little bit of your bacon grease and cook your onions until they are translucent. Put the bacon and onions to the side. Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking, open up the aluminium foil and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Cut the potatoes in half and dump the flesh into a mixing bowl. Add your salt, pepper, bacon and onions and mash. Done!

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Girls night is never complete without dessert and I made berry parfaits! I found the below recipe (feeds four) on the Fit Men Cook instagram and it was a huge hit! Clean eats and a nice sweet ending.

3 cups mixed berries (I used blackberries and sliced strawberries)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup of quick cook oats

6 oz container plain greek yogurt

In a medium skillet, melt your coconut oil over medium heat. Place your berries in the skillet and mix them around. Cover the pan and let them simmer for 8-10 minutes until they make a compote or sorts. Let the layering begin! Start with 1/8 cup of quick cook oats at the bottom of a small glass add a ladle full of the berries (the warm fruit will actually cook the oats!) then a dollop of greek yogurt. Repeat. Presto! Delicious and nutritious. (In the photo below I also have a paleo chocolate chip cookie on the side, but I’ll post that another day)

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Hope you all enjoy the good eats posted today! Let me know how the recipes turn out and if you have any tips or tricks you stumbled upon while making them.

Happy New Year!

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