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Archive for February, 2012

So I am so excited to share this recipe. Even thought it’s cold here in Michigan sometimes you just have to have a smoothie.

Just by looking at this picture, you probably don’t see the green specks of goodness, but this smoothie bowl has not one but two types of greens in it.

Keeping Up with Kale Smoothie

  • 1 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
  • 1 Scoop Protein Powder
  • 1 Handful Kale
  • 1 Handful Spinach
  • 1/2 Frozen Banana (can also use fresh)
  • 1 Handful Frozen Blueberries (can also use fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon Milled Flax seed
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

Side Note: If you use all fresh fruits instead of frozen add an ice-cube or two.

Blend for about a minute and enjoy.

I keep lots of frozen fruits on hand for smoothies. It makes it really convenient to be able to go to the freezer and have a selection of frozen fruits already portioned in snack size bags.

Look at all the specks of goodness. Now I could not taste the kale or spinach, but I felt the texture which I really liked, the flavor that jumped out at me was the nutty flavor from the Organic Milled Flax Seed, it was a perfect addition to this smoothie.

This was my first time adding coconut oil to a smoothie, and it really gave it a silky texture. There are many health benefit’s from coconut oil, but the one that interests me the most is the fact that it is metabolized quickly so it’s used as an energy source rather than being stored as fat. I have also read that it keeps you fuller longer and helps to control sugar cravings. Thanks to my friends over at Swanson Health Products I get to try these items in lots of recipes and explore new flavors.

Rating this smoothie is easy, this is a Keeper. I want to try different fruits next time with the kale and spinach and see if the taste changes.

Question of the day: Greens in your smoothie Yeah or Nay? 

Check Ya later.

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So today I am really excited. I am a Featured  Blogger over at FITBLOGGER. I had a really good time writing this post. I hope you go over there and check it out.

Here’s what’s in today’s bag. Oats in a Jar (OIAJ) and an apple for breakfast. Whole wheat pita and hummus with a hard-boiled egg, string cheese and pretzels for lunch.

Yesterdays overnight oats for breakfast really kept me satisfied straight through lunch so I thought I’d make it again for today’s breakfast.

Today’s OIAJ:

  • 1/2 cup of Oats
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Nut Butter
  • Few shakes of Cinnamon
Here’s whats for dinner.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco’s have become a favorite at my house. How can you beat having something cook for you while you do other things or while you are gone to work. I made this Monday night when I got home from work and by 8pm they were ready. I had to sample one, well I had a 1/2 and my husband had the other half.

With just a few ingredients, you will be surprised at how much flavor it packs.

Place the chicken in the crock pot and cover with the diced tomatoes with or without chilies, or you can use salsa if you prefer. You can also add a few tablespoons of taco seasoning powder. I just added a tablespoon of chili powder.

With about an hour left to cook I added a can of corn and a can of black beans.

Pull out the chicken and shred and then mix well with all the ingredients.

Serve on a tortilla with shredded lettuce and shredded cheese. Or make a big nacho, there’s really no wrong way of serving up this taste meal.

Dinner is done. It’s Taco Tuesday!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco’s

This recipe makes 8 really large taco’s.

  • 1 envelope taco seasoning, or seasoned to your taste
  • 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies or a jar of salsa (16 oz)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can of corn

Dump everything into a crock pot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa or can of tomatoes. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork. During the last hour of cooking add a can of corn and can of black beans.

Question of the day: What’s the last meal you made using a crock pot?

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What do you do with the swirling bits of peanut butter that are left in the jar, well you make Overnight Oats, that’s what.

Overnight Oats or Oats In A Jar are a great way to use up all the peanut butter left in the jar.

Plus it’s an easy on the go meal that you can eat hot or cold. We all know how good oatmeal is for us, so this is a great option that is also super easy to make.

So I grabbed the almost empty jar of The Bee’s Knees’ peanut butter, and added 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of coconut milk and a few shakes of cinnamon and put it in the fridge for an overnight soak.

When you wake up in the morning you have a wonderfully flavored jar of oats that you can add anything and everything you like to it. I like to heat in the microwave for about a minute then top those oats with one, two or three of my favorite toppings. Here are a few suggestions.

Topping Ideas:

  • Nuts
  • Fresh fruits such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries
  • Additional creamy nut butters
  • Ground flax
  • Chia Seeds
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin spice
  • Shelled hemp seeds
  • Granola
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dried fruits
Here’s what I added after I microwaved for 60 seconds.
  • 1 Tablespoon Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • Few shakes of Swanson Organic Cinnamon
  • Banana Slices
I am Seriously in Love with this combo, the Cinnamon from Swanson Health Products had a warm and spicy flavor and it had the most amazing aroma to it. I can not wait to try this cinnamon with a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes, I have a feeling they will be best friends.
Sometimes oatmeal is the best way to kick-start a busy Monday.
Also for anyone interested, go visit a favorite blog of mine Annette at Enjoy Your Healthy Life is having an amazing giveaway on her blog today. ONE lucky winner will get an entire tub of Vega Sport Recovery! Check it out. 
Question of the day: How do you like your oats?
Check Ya Later.

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A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity to do a little “online shopping” which landed me with all of these goodies you see here…

Did I forget to mention that I got all this for free. Yes, for FREE.

I was contacted by Anthony from a company known as Swanson Health Products.  If you haven’t heard of them before, they’re an online company that is:

  • Family owned since 1969
  • Located in Fargo, ND
  • Huge selection of vitamins, supplements, organic foods, natural bath/beauty products, Eco-friendly cleaners, etc (www.swansonvitamins.com)
  • Guaranteed low prices

I really was totally impressed with all the national brands that they carried, but I wanted to review the Swanson brand health products. The website swansonvitamins.com was very easy to order from, and my shipment came very quickly. I still can’t believe just how much product I got for $40.00. Outstanding.

Here’s a breakdown of the Swanson brand health products I received:

Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Milled Flaxseed and Pure Xylitol Powder.

Plus, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Date Sugar and Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Anthony was right, they have really great prices, so I could get a variety of items to try from this Shopping Spree.

Be sure to check out their Face Book page for $5.00 coupon off your next purchase. Be sure to use this offer soon it’s only valid until 4/30/2012.

Now the fun starts, I get to try out some recipes with these products and do a review. My mind is racing with ideas and recipes I want to try. Stay tuned!

Today I treated myself to a Starbucks Chai Soy Latte, it was a perfect treat on a cold Sunday.

Hope everyone had a great week-end!

Check Ya Later.

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Well the walking belt on my treadmill has taken a hit, it has been wearing out for sometime now, but I have been ignoring it, and didn’t realize how damaged it really was. This treadmill is an older model, but the motor works great so I found a replacement belt online and I ordered it, and should expect it in about 3-5 working days. So I will be getting all my cardio via my elliptical rider until then.

Wearing my headphones and rock’in out while power walking, I didn’t really hear the warning noises it was giving off, until the noise got louder than my music.

The last hint was this terrible burning smell that started.

So I jumped off the treadmill and got on my elliptical rider and did a 40 minute resistance workout.

To be honest I’m really getting in a good rhythm on the elliptical lately. Since I started to challenge my self to adding resistance, I cannot believe how fast the workouts have been going by. Plus I can tell my legs have gotten stronger.

After my cardio I got on some circuit training,  I did the following .

LEAN LEG PYRAMID

  • 20 Squats
  • 30 Lunges
  • 40 Toe Touches (head forward, legs straight, bend down & touch your toes)
  • 50 Second wall sit (sit up against a wall, legs at 90 degrees and hold it!)
  • 100 Seconds Jumping Jacks
  • 50 Second Wall Sit
  • 40 Toe Touches
  • 30 Lunges
  • 20 Squats

Next was the LEAN ABS PYRAMID

  • 10 Standing Knee Raises
  • 20 Tummy Tucks
  • 30 Second Plank Jacks (on your hands in a plan, jack your legs out & in)
  • 40 Crunches
  • 50 Bicycle Crunches
  • 40 Crunches
  • 30 Second Plank Jacks (on your hands in a plan, jack your legs out & in)
  • 20 Tummy Tucks
  • 10 Standing Knee Raises
Today I made a Saturday morning favorite, Eggtastic English Muffin.

Using my Pampered Chef measuring/storage jars I microwaved the first egg for a total of 2 minutes, but the problem is if you’re not careful the egg will explode in the microwave, so after 30 seconds I stop the cooking and let it rest and poke the egg. Then continue until it looks firm. The second egg only took a minute and 30 seconds to cook, so the cooking time’s do vary and you really have to watch the egg the entire cook time.

It was eggtastic.

Hope you enjoy your Saturday.

Question of the day: How do you like your eggs?

Check Ya Later.

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We had a side of Kale the other day. I have tried kale raw in salads, added kale to soups, but my favorite is Kale Chips.

I can’t think of an easier side dish.

Kale is naturally high in Vitamin A & C. So it tastes good and is good for you, Bonus!

I’m loving the way they crisp up.

Roasting Kale Chips:

ingredients:

1 bag of Kale, torn and tough stems removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt and or, parmigiano cheese

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Coat kale leaves with olive oil
  3. Place the kale on the baking sheet
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until leaves are crisp. Do not let the leaves turn brown
  5. Season with salt, or shake on parmigiano cheese
Our dinner was these little Perline Prosciutto Pastas from Trader Joe’s.  They boil up in 3 minutes.

Perfect comfort food for a cold Michigan night.

Question of the day: Kale Chips Yeah or Nay?

Check Ya later.

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Spinach and Cannelloni Bean Dip

Have you ever had a recipe you always wanted to make, but just never found an ingredient that the recipe called for. Well I have had one of those recipes on my list. Back in 2008 I saw an episode of Everyday Italian with Giada and printed off  the recipe. The one thing I could never find was Endive.

So when I saw Endive at Trader Joe’s I grabbed it and when I got home I pulled out the recipe.

Giada’s Spinach and Cannelloni Bean Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (6-ounce) bags baby spinach (I used frozen)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 of the spinach and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

Place the remaining olive oil, spinach mixture, cannelloni beans, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.

Please Note: For this recipe, I used frozen spinach. Once I drained all the liquids, I added it to the pan with olive oil and garlic and heated it for about 4 minutes.

Blend until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Serve with endive spears or pita chips.

Red and White Belgian Endives.

Grab your ingredients.

I used my Tofu Press to press out the water from the frozen spinach after it thawed.

Added the mix to a food processor to blend.

Served.

I also sprinkled a little Parmigiano cheese over the top of the dip and dug in. I really loved it. I could taste the smoothness of the white beans, and I’m a sucker for spinach so this recipe was right up my alley. I also really liked the endive it had a nice zesty bite to it. I heard it had a bitter taste to it, but I didn’t get a bitter flavor from it, I think the combo of the spinach, beans and the endive worked well. I was not disappointed.

Question of the day: Have you ever tried endive? 

Check Ya Later.

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Today I wanted to share a recipe that I just love. Yves Meatless Taco Wonton. They are so easy to make, I made these for the first time when I hosted a jewelry party sometime ago, and everyone really loved them, even my husband. So if you have a mini muffin pan, you are ready to make these little taco wontons.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
  • 24 Small Wonton Wrappers
  • 2 tbsp Dry Taco Seasoning
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1/4 Cup Taco Sauce or Salsa
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a bowl combine the taco seasoning mix with the taco sauce.
  • Stir in the crumbled Veggie Ground Round Original and the cheese.
  • Set aside.
  • Coat each side of the wonton wrapper with the cooking spray.
  • Using a mini muffin pan, gently press each wonton into each opening.
  • Fill each skin with ½ ounce (about 1 tbsp.) of the Veggie Ground Round mixture.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until each wonton is crisp.
  • Remove from oven and serve warm.
To top these off, I added black beans and sweet corn to salsa, to give it texture and color.
Get your muffin pan and wraps.

Make the filling.

Assemble the wraps, and fill.

Going into the oven.

15 Minutes later.

Top with salsa and cheese or anything else that sounds good to you.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Question of the day: Do you make any fun dishes with Wonton Wrappers?

Check Ya Later.

 

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Anytime I catch myself saying I can’t, I give my self a challenge. When the weather starts to get cold and during hunting season, I stop walking my hiking trails. I normally do my hikes in the mornings before the temperature and humidity levels get to high and before I go into work. Well in the winter I get lazy and do my workouts after work in my home. The other day I caught myself telling some one that I can’t workout before work.

After I said it, I wondered why can’t I. Well the only answer that I could come up with was that I don’t like to wake up early, and I have convinced myself that I get a better workout after I have worked all day. Well that’s not good enough, that’s a weak excuse. So I challenged myself, to wake up an hour earlier and do my cardio in the morning.

So this morning I woke up an hour early and did a 45 minute power walk on the treadmill. I’m so glad I did, I felt great all day. Now I just have to see if I can keep this up. It’s funny getting up in the spring, summer and fall is not a problem for me, like it is in the winter.

Last night I got to work on my weeks menu. So I decided on Tofu Tuesday.

Is it weird to say that I’m in love with my Tofu Press. Well I am. This little press is magical, it presses out the liquid in the tofu then it lets you marinate right in the container. It has a little lid attached to the bottom that seals it up tight while it marinates.

I combed through my tofu cookbooks for a new recipe, but decided to make my favorite, Roasted Lime Marinated Tofu.

When I got home from work I got my workout cloths on and got on my weights workout. Today is arms/shoulders/chest day and I had a plan ready to go.

Workout:

Set #1 (3 Sets of 10) (5 Pound Hand Weights)

  • Side Shoulder Raises
  • Bicep Curls
  • Hinged Row

Set#2 (3 Sets of 10) (5 Pound Hand Weights)

  • Front Raises
  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Overhead Press
Set#3 (3 Sets of 12) (15 Pound Weight Bar)
  • Behind the Neck Shoulder Press
  • Chest Press
  • Upright Row
This workout got me sweating. I really concentrated on my form and did slow and steady movements. I’m also working on breathing, I noticed that I hold my breath during strenuous lifting. Here’s what the Livestrong Website has to say about breathing during weight lifting.
Breathing is an involuntary act, but when you are lifting weights, you may forget to breathe. Holding the breath, called the Valsalva maneuver after a 17th century Italian physician, is a common reaction to heavy muscular exertion. The Valsalva maneuver can have negative physiological consequences, so even if you aren’t sure if you are breathing correctly, when lifting weights just make sure to breathe.

Rhythm

The fundamental breathing technique during weight-lifting exercises is to inhale on the stretch and exhale on exertion. If you are performing an overhead shoulder press, the exertion phase is when you press the bar overhead. For a bent-over row, the exertion phase is when you are pulling the bar into your upper abs. The stretch phase is the lowering aspect of the movement.

When I got done with my weights I worked on dinner.  Thai noodles are the bomb, and they go great with Tofu. I added a scrambled egg for a protein punch.

I had the Tofu already marinating overnight.

Marinate:

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil, I used an Asian Stir Fry Oil, but Sesame Oil works great also
  • 1/3 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce

After draining the marinating liquids I sliced the tofu into 6 slices and placed them on a cookie sheet. I placed the cauliflower on another cookie sheet and seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Then just roast the cauliflower and the tofu on 450 degrees for 35 minutes, each on their own cookie sheet.

Okay, it was not until I took the final picture of this meal that I realized that all the food was the same color. Not the most lively picture, but it sure did taste good and filled me up.

Some-days I just need a piece of chocolate. So for dessert I had a piece of the Rum Chocolate Turtles that my friend sent me.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite type of chocolate?

Check Ya Later.

 

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Ever have a day when everything you ate was very random and very delicious. I had a day like that today.

Peanut butter on an English muffin with Chia seeds. I really wish I had a banana to top this breakfast off, but I was fresh out. So I had an apple instead.

Lobster bisque soup and a whole wheat roll from Zoup.

I had a half of a bag of Red Skinned potatoes left from a previous meal and was not sure what to make, so I started to cut them up and looked in the fridge for what to add, and that’s when I saw the broccoli and the left over 1/2 can of black beans so I thought why not.  Here’s how it came together.

Chop up the potato.

Mix with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on 450 degrees for 45 minutes.

At the same time I had broccoli roasting with the potatoes on the bottom rack but cut the time down to 25 minutes. About the last 5 minutes I added the broccoli back and also added 1/2 can of black beans.

As soon as it came out of the oven, I topped with a handful of shredded cheese and served. Now that’s a Hot Potato.

We also had a soft shrimp taco with guacamole. I didn’t plan out today’s meals, they just happened. I normally don’t do that I like to plan out my week’s meal ahead of time, but yesterday, when I got home from the Red Wings Game, I had household chores to do and didn’t get a chance to work on a plan, but I’m really happy with today’s menu, I ended up using some leftover ingredients. So it worked out well.

My elliptical workout took me about 36 minutes. I worked on my resistance levels. I did 2-3 minutes at a high resistance, then backed down for 2-3 minutes. I also raised the incline every 6 minutes. When I reached the max incline I worked my way back down. The last 3 minutes I went backwards on the elliptical, it really targets the glutes and the hamstrings.

Today was my leg workout day, so I did the Lean Leg Pyramid Circuit. I really love this workout.

LEAN-LEGS Pyramid

  • 20 Squats
  • 30 Lunges
  • 40 Toe touches (head forward, legs straight, bend down & touch your toes)
  • 50 Second wall sit (sit up against a wall, legs at 90 degrees and hold)
  • 100 Seconds jumping jacks
  • 50 Second wall sit
  • 40 Toe touches
  • 30 Lunges
  • 20 Squats

Dessert was perfect.

Question of the Day? What’s your favorite topping on a hot potato?

Check Ya Later.

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