I need some help over here.

Maybe it has something to do with the pollo fundido entree I ordered last night, complete with fried tortillas stuffed with chicken and cheese, then topped with sour cream and more (you guessed it) cheese, which followed three baskets of chips and salsa.

Pollo fundido indeed.


I kind of think I’m having a heart attack.

Not even joking.

I was about to post my third bacon-infused recipe this week when it hit me that I’ve been a little too friendly with the pork lately. Didn’t think it was possible? Me either. My jeans say otherwise. Ho.Ly. Cow.

I just can’t do it.

Hallllllp me.

Not that I’d ever envision taking a break from a crispy slice of heaven, but I’m in need of something refreshing today that doesn’t make me feel like a triple stent is in my near future. That dinner did a number on me last night because just the thought of cheese and pork and cheesy pork is sort of making me cry. And while they are mostly tears I’m joy, I’m really just craving a juicy apple.

That never happens. Maybe this is the end of me?

The only options floating around iPhoto include bacon, butter, cake and mass amounts of panko + cheese. No can do today my friends. I need my space. Like an entire couch of space. And some sweat pants. And a sewing kit for my pants. What the hell, I’m going to order some pajama jeans.

While I’m doing that, enjoy some of my favorite lighter fare.

Crunchy Honey Chicken

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

Strawberry Mango Basil Salsa

Healthier Cashew Chicken

Tropical Avocado Smoothie

Cilantro Lime Hummus

Strawberry Yogurt Granitas

Green Bean Fries

Sweet and Spicy Banana Kiwi Salad

Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins

Crispy Shrimp Tacos

Nectarine Mint Milkshakes

Ummm… how did those get in there?


What healthy recipe are your faaaaves right now? I need some lightened up goodness. And please don’t say kale chips or bananas whipped into ice cream. I like those things too, but… enough already people.

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128 Responses to “Lighten Up.”

  1. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — May 20, 2011 @ 7:07 am

    I contemplated ordering pajama jeans the other day too. Mainly because I’m lazy. Right now I’m craving salads. Sorry – I know how you feela bout them, but I really am!!


  2. #
    Nicole @ Making Good Choices — May 20, 2011 @ 7:13 am

    how about a smoothie, with peanut butter? lots of it. does that count as lighter fare, because that’s what I’m having right now…


  3. #
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — May 20, 2011 @ 7:13 am

    I’ve been stuck on roasted sweet potatoes with a side of hummus. A little weird, but it’s delicious! And bonus – it feels semi-healthy. :)

    What is that last picture of? Some kind of dip or pesto?


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 7:20 am

      The second to last picture is the cilantro lime hummus.


  4. #
    CareyP — May 20, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    I’m loving steel cut oats lately. I’ve used them like a grain for a savory side dish, with light cream cheese (lightened from mascarpone) craisins and other yumminess stirred added. Ricotta is a great mix-in, apples, strawberries, pistachios, just about anything works for me. :-)


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 7:20 am

      Oooh I like steel cut oats! Have never done them savory.


  5. #
    Melissa — May 20, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    But what better excuse to buy pajama jeans???

    I made some Mediterranean Tuna Burgers earlier this week that were absolutely incredible. In a pita with homemade tzatziki sauce? Holy yum.


  6. #
    Kay, The Church Cook — May 20, 2011 @ 7:42 am

    These all look fabulous, Jessica! We have been doing a lot quick stir fry at my house! :)


  7. #
    Kim in MD — May 20, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    Pajama jeans…you crack me up! I always wonder how you can eat all of the amazing things you create and not gain weight! ;-) I’ve never met a vegetable I didn’t like (at least as an adult), so when I crave lighter fare I love to eat salads!


  8. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — May 20, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    is it weird that i kind of look forward to the pajama jeans commercials? they’re so bad they’re good! i’m loving pasta salads and whole grain salads right now…they’re hearty and yummy!


  9. #
    cpwalk2 — May 20, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    Look what I found…I’m making this today for a cookout. Never had it, but it is no doubt delicious!



    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:37 am



  10. #
    Erica — May 20, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    hahahhaha :) “enough already”…I agree ;). Couple light but not too light ;)




    Have a good weekend


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:37 am

      Thanks love, you too!


  11. #
    Shugary Sweet — May 20, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    I love Trader Joes Pumpernickel pretzels with hummus. Yum. Is it healthy though to eat an entire bag with a big bowl of hummus? Yeah, I need PJ pants too!


  12. #
    Liz — May 20, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    I do a Watermelon Smoothie…it sounds weird, I know, but good news is that you can do it spiked if you are feeling festive. Just blend chunks of watermelon, fresh lime juice, some mint, and either Diet 7Up or sparking water. Serve in a frosty mug with lime to garnish, or spike it with some Bacardi Limon. I bet you could incorporate mint-infused simple syrup in this too. I used to drink these this past summer when I was pregnant but still wanted to feel like part of the “margarita” crowd. :)


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:36 am

      Um, I LOVE THIS idea! Thanks Liz!


  13. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — May 20, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    I think there’s something about spring that makes me crave lighter fare. Right now, one of my faves is this Quinoa and Chicken Salad with Almonds and Raspberry Vinaigrette – http://wp.me/pSUCS-22E – It’s been in my lunch every day this week!


  14. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — May 20, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    lol i’ve been making huge salads lately for lunch with beans, chick peas, cheese and balsamic dressing… not exciting but good and filling! Any pasta dish loaded with veggies is my go-to healthy dinner:-)


  15. #
    Rachel — May 20, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    I’ve been craving strawberries with angel food cake and gobs and gobs of whipped cream…I just can’t get enough of the stuff! This is consider light, right? ;o)


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:35 am

      I say yes. Maybe that’s a problem.


  16. #
    Riss — May 20, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    You are just precious! I’ve been craving veggie stir-fries… with lots of cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, and mushrooms… with just a splash of sesame oil and soy sauce.

    But my favorite “recovery food” is a big bowl of fruit salad! Or a smoothie. With lots and lots of lemon water to sip on throughout the day.


  17. #
    Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — May 20, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    Step away from the pajama jeans.
    I won’t let you do it! I pledge to be your PJ jeans accountability partner if you will be mine for BANGO. (You know that thing that ENCOURAGES you to cut your own bangs?? Bad idea. Bad.)


  18. #
    Jen @ keepitsimplefoods — May 20, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I do a lot of Greek foods in the summer time- grape leaves, hummus, olives, feta, pickled cabbage over a bed of lettuce (check tomorrow’s post for more!). I also do lighter soups and lots of veggie salads and smoothies too!


  19. #
    Mara @ What's For Dinner? — May 20, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    Here’s a favorite in our house these days: http://www.imadedinner.net/2011/05/18/tale-of-a-tooth/
    They’re Asian-style turkey meatballs. They make a great turkey burger with a little soy mayo and cucumber too :)


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:34 am

      Thanks girl!


  20. #
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — May 20, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    That milkshake looks so refreshing!

    And maybe I should be ashamed to admit this, but I really want a pair of pajama jeans — they feel like pajamas but they look like designer jeans!!!


  21. #
    Kristen@PrettySweet — May 20, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    I know that feeling. I usually start craving a big fruit salad. Not a boring one, though. Apples, pears, bananas, plums maybe, regular or mandarin oranges, fresh pineapple if I have it…It’s the best drizzled with fresh lime juice and tossed with a little sugar. Of course. But just a little. And topped with fat-free Reddi Whip. =)


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:34 am

      Give me some fresh mint in there and I’m in heaven.


      • Kristen@PrettySweet — May 20th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

        MINT! Yes, great idea. And strawberries and maybe blueberries. Not sure how I forgot those.

  22. #
    Leigh — May 20, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    Asian chicken salads around our house lately. Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, lettuce, scallions, carrots, slivered almonds, sesame seeds, grapes or mandarin oranges, grilled chicken, and the DELICIOUS Trader Joe’s spicy peanut dressing. If we’re feeling kinky, some crispy asian noodles on top (like you see at some restaurants). Despite my distaste for chain restaurants, Cheesecake Factory has some amazing salads and this was inspired by theirs.


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:34 am

      I agree – their salads are to die for.


  23. #
    Alexa Ray — May 20, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    I find that when I feel overloaded with grease and cheese I want some light but something that will still fill me up. Try these:

    – Greek yogurt + lots of honey + blueberries + diced strawberries
    – Apples + nutella — big juicy Macintosh apples that squirt at you when you cut them!
    – Whole what bread with smashed avocado and garlic OR goat cheese and roasted red peppers. Sooo good!

    They’re all light but you still get protein + vitamins and on my busiest days I swear I live off these. No cooking involved!


  24. #
    Kelly — May 20, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    I know how you feel. I’m doing smoothies for dinner this week & next. Those chips & salsa get me everytime!


  25. #
    Andrea @ Vegvacious — May 20, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    I’m currently having a similar issue with my pants! The long gray winter and cooking way more than usual for my blog has done a number on my waistline. I’ve been focussing on green smoothies (I can see you cringing from here, but you really can’t taste the greens if you add some fave fruit like bananas & mango :-) and honey teriyaki stirfries. I’ve also been loving anything with asparagus!


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:33 am

      I can handle green smoothies. :)


  26. #
    Debbie — May 20, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Mmmm, lighter fare. I have been dieting to get rid of the winter weight + moved and have no friends depression. One of my favorites: ground turkey mixed with pesto and some feta (just a bit for flavor) grilled up into burgers with a pita and some spring greens. Yum! Or, skip all the effort of making a burger and slather some pesto on a chicken breast and grill. Also Yum!


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:33 am

      I don’t usually like ground turkey but that sounds really good!


  27. #
    Rebecca — May 20, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    There’s a recipe on Tasty Kitchen for “summer bean salad” that we just tried and LOVED. I swear that dressing will show up on everything at our house this summer!


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:33 am

      I will check it out! Thanks Rebecca!


  28. #
    Cookbook Queen — May 20, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    Pajama jeans? Don’t do it, gal. I won’t let you abuse our friendship in this way.

    And what is Pollo Fundido and why haven’t I ever had any? Sounds like the best meal ever.


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:32 am

      Do ya really want to know? It was 2 flour tortillas stuffed with chicken, peppers, onions and cheese, then fried (not technically deep friend, but very crispy), then topped with a gallon of sour cream and cheese. Oh! And don’t forget the 3 cups of rice on the side.


  29. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — May 20, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    I just made these tamari roasted chickpeas (will be on my blog soon!!) that are AMAZING. I literally could not stop eating them straight from the baking sheet.

    And just say no to the pajama jeans. Yes, they are tempting but..just say no!


  30. #
    Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} — May 20, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    I’ve been stuck eating lot’s of egg whites for breakfast. I’m trying to add more muscle to my body. I’ll have to post my egg white French toast (really it didn’t taste like it, no bread just whites). I also just love salads, I can eat salads all day long.
    I thinkg this Pollo Fundido dish is so pretty, love the vibrant colors of your photo’s!


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:31 am

      I’ve made egg white “french toast” without the bread back when I was competing – it is pretty good! Don’t really have the palate for it now but I have been eating egg whites sauteed with tons of mushrooms for a few months. I love that!


  31. #
    Morgan — May 20, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    My mother makes this delicious grilled chicken pasta. It’s so simple! She marinates chicken breasts in garlic, Worcestershire, olive oil, and salt and pepper and then grills it. Then you just cut it into chunks and combine it with penne pasta, sliced grape tomatoes, scallions, olive oil, and shredded Parmesan cheese!


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:30 am

      That sounds fabulous!


  32. #
    Kat — May 20, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    These all look delicious. I really needed that.


  33. #
    Samantha — May 20, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    Youre about as big a lover of cilantro as I am, so I thought this recipe would be perfect. It’s great for a warm day, and it’s healthy!! http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cilantro-lime-chicken-with-avocado-salsa-10000001886432/

    Love love love it. I could eat it every day of the week. Seriously. I’d also be anxious to see if you have any suggestions for it? I love it the way it is, but it’s fun to change things up every once and a while, you know?


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 10:41 am

      Love! Thanks!


  34. #
    Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) — May 20, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    “And please don’t say kale chips or bananas whipped into ice cream. I like those things too, but… enough already people.”-


    I have a spiralized zucchini salad with dill sauce that I think you’d really enjoy and if I can convince Scott that zuke pasta is really pasta, you can convince Mr Sweet (or yourself) that it is! haha! Really it’s light but so good.

    Or just forget light and eat brownies or those cupcakes you baked for your friend!


  35. #
    Maren — May 20, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    I used HEAB’s meatza recipe and made it with ground turkey instead of beef. It was sooooooooo good. And of course the man liked it because the dough was made out of meat. I’m pretty sure Mr. How Sweet would die, too.


  36. #
    Lindsey @ Morningstar Project — May 20, 2011 @ 10:47 am

    Oh I feel you! I try to play off that my jeans are tight because my legs are just getting stronger from running. Umm probably more like I’ve been attending one too many cookouts and drinking my fair share of wine…oops! My no-guilt summer dish right now is Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta:

    But beware because literally the day after I wrote about eating Nutella…from the jar…combined with peanut butter. I can’t give up all my vices!


  37. #
    Salah@myhealthiestlife — May 20, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    all of that looks amazing!! Definitely going to try out some of those recipes!


  38. #
    Naomi — May 20, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    cheese stuffed chicken breast! its my go-to dinner and love it! you just take chicken breast, lightly coat in egg whites, any seasonings and either oatbran, panko or almond meal…stuff it with a mixture or either ricotta or cottage cheese or laughing cow with fresh basil and tomatoes…bake and done! SO GOOD and light! :)


    • sasha — May 20th, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

      that sounds SO good!


  39. #
    Amanda — May 20, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    Try this salad. I know, salad isn’t your favorite, but it has kale, mango, and citrus! It’s so good, quick and easy, too. I’ve made it a bunch of times and I’ve tried different things. Pineapple instead of mango, agave instead of honey, lime instead of lemon… it always comes out great.



  40. #
    Nicole, RD — May 20, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    Coffee smoothies! And salmon!

    Your avocado smoothies are goooooooood :)


  41. #
    shannon — May 20, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    I actually love the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook. A ton of my recipes come from there (or are adapted from there). Not very specific, I know, but if you don’t want to just eat plates of veggies for lighter fare, I recommend it. Real food, not so bad for you.


  42. #
    Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine — May 20, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    Let’s face it Jessica, most of your readers don’t come to your blog looking for healthy food. We come for the bacon, and the sprinkles, and the chocolate. Healthy food is a bonus sure…and is a mini reminder that we all need to lay off the pork and butter… but there are other blogs and places where health is the #1 priority…like the doctor’s office or Curves, but not here. Let’s make this everyone’s Bacon Haven? Yes?

    Happy Friday! Thanks for brightening up my day…always.


  43. #
    marla {family fresh cooking} — May 20, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    Love your lightened up post – but also dig the decadence :)


  44. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 20, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    Haha! Joanna’s comment was too funny and too true! Love your chocolate-dripped, sprinkle-coated, bacon-infused everything. Light is nice, but keep the sinful stuff coming!


  45. #
    Erin — May 20, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    Pollo fundido is one of my favorites to order! Definitely have to unbutton the pants afterwards though. Brent and I try to share when we go out to eat, makes us feel less guilty O:-)


  46. #
    Heather — May 20, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    Nicoise salad…definitely filling and delicious…oh and light!

    Great reference to kale chips and whipped bananas:)


  47. #
    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living — May 20, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    I recently made mango frozen yogurt in an attempt at a lighter dessert, and it fit the bill perfectly! http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/?p=22053


  48. #
    Christine — May 20, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    I tend to do a lot of wraps when I am needing a break. I can jam them full of veggies, beans, tuna, hard boiled eggs, etc with a vinagrette and a bit of avocado for creaminess and feel very virtuous.

    Since you’ve got rice paper wrappers lying around anyway, I love using those to make asian salad wraps too.


  49. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — May 20, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    With summer here (and to my disbelief swim suit season) I have been trying to eat a little bit healthier and lighter. Here are a few recipes I have been obsessed with lately:

    Carrot, Tomato, and Spinach Quinoa Pilaf:

    Couscous Salad with Chickpeas:

    Asparagus with Garlic Vinaigrette:


    • Jessica — May 20th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm



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