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Archive for the ‘Healthy Eating’ Category

My first week of the 10 in 10 Challenge has gone really well.  I successfully worked out 5 days this week with three of them being 5:15am wake-up calls to head to the gym.  I have to attempt the early wake up calls were a little difficult this week due to the cold weather we’ve been having.  On Wednesday morning when I got in my car the temperature was 36!!  That is not normal for South Florida!!  We’ve had a full week of cold weather and today we even had “winter storm” warnings.  Which for us South Floridians we never hear of such warnings. 

Anyways, this week was successful in getting back to a normal workout schedule.  I ran about 15 miles this week too.  All on the treadmill due to the cold weather but it felt good.  Most of my workouts this week consisted of cardio and weights.  Monday – cardio and weights, chest and back.  Tuesday – weights – chest, back, triceps, biceps, legs and abs!  Wednesday – run and abs.  Thursday – day off.  Friday – cross training cardio, 20 minute run and 20 minute elliptical and abs.  Saturday – weights – chest, back, triceps, biceps, legs and abs!

Now to this breakfast cookie!  Since I’ve been getting up so early to head to the gym I wanted to have something quick to grab to give me a little energy before starting my workout.  This delicious cookie has plenty of protein, fiber and complex carbs and perfect not only to start the day but to give me a little something before starting my workout.  For one of my goals, I mentioned clean eating.  I’ll go into this soon but this cookie fits into this category and what’s better is it tastes good!  I hope everyone else’s resolutions, or as I like to call them goals, are going well!  I have a busy week next week so I’m hoping I can stick with everything.  Stay tune….

 

 

Breakfast Cookies

Print Recipe

2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about ¾ cup)

½ cup natural peanut butter (chunky or regular)

½ cup organic honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup ground flaxseed

¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder

¼ tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl stir together banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla.  In a small bowl combine oats, flour, flaxseed, milk powder, cinnamon and baking soda.  Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined. 

Using a quick-release cookie scoop, drop mounds of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.  Carefully flatten and spread each cookie. 

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.  Makes about 12 cookies.

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On the weekends I try to think of ideas for my lunch for the week.  Sometimes this can be difficult and sometimes not at all.  I have to admit I’m that person that is ok with the same thing for lunch several days in a row.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or not?  Anyways, I pack my lunch every day.  Which is great for many reasons, it saves money, and it’s healthier than the alternative of going out to eat.  Which is great for my goals for the 10 in 10 healthy challenge!  So on my weekend runs to Whole Foods I try to plan accordingly.  That means planning for my lunch, the girl’s meals, and of course dinner for the hubby and me.  If I don’t have ideas by the time I get there I usually pick up a rotisserie chicken.  It’s amazing all the things you can do with them!  This wrap came about by accident, but it has since been my favorite lunch time meal.  The homemade pesto is great because it has great flavor and has the added nutrient benefits of the spinach.  The whole wheat wrap/tortilla adds your whole grains and the chicken your protein.   If you want, you can use the many varieties of wraps that are on the market these days too.  It’s amazing how many are out there!  The chicken mixture if easy to mix together and can be stored in the refrigerator until your ready to make your wrap.  So here is one of my lunch time favorites.  What’s yours?

Chicken Tomato Pesto Wrap

Print Recipe

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¾ cup shredded mozzarella

Homemade Pesto (recipe follows)

1 cup fresh baby spinach

4 Whole Wheat Tortillas

Homemade Spinach Sundried Tomato Pesto

2 cups tightly packed baby spinach

1 cup tightly packed fresh basil

1 garlic clove, minced

4 to 5 sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

To Make Pesto:

Place spinach, basil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, and olive oil in food processor.  Pulse until mixture is well combine and resembles a paste texture.

 

To Make Wrap:

In a large bowl mix chicken, tomatoes, cheese, and pesto together until well combined.

Lay one tortilla out and lay some of the baby spinach evenly down the center of the tortilla.  Scoop some of the chicken pesto mixture and place evenly on top of the spinach. Fold the left and right edges of the tortilla over about an inch, towards the center of the tortilla, then starting with the edge of the tortilla closest to you, roll up the tortilla. Cut the wrap in half with a sharp knife, in the center.  Enjoy!!

 

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Our Christmas vacation has started!!  We had the car packed, the dog in the back, the girls in their car seats, and we were off.  As we pulled out of the driveway I thought to myself many things….did I forget anything?…did we set the alarm?…did we grab the dog food?….did we throw out the garbage in the kitchen….and my very last thought was….are we crazy!!??  Then I knew it was too late to turn back we were off for the big adventure and off to colder weather!  The morning had already been filled with adventures as we rushed around the house packing those last minute things and making sure the car was all ready to go.  We also managed to squeeze in a little outdoor playtime for the girls in hopes it would tire them out!  I of course, couldn’t help but to squeeze in some time in the kitchen to make these muffins for our trip.  We had to have snacks right?!  I also had very ripe bananas that had to be used before we headed out the door.  We managed to get everything done and get out the door only 30 minutes behind schedule.  I was only hoping that the girls would take a nap once we were on the road!  When we are home the girls usually take a great afternoon nap of about 2 hours and if we are lucky 2 ½ hours!  Well, today in the car we barely got 1 hour in.  To entertain them, I popped open my laptop and placed their favorite Dora the Explorer DVD in to help pass time.  We made it to our half way point where we planned to stop and stay the night.  Everything was going really well up to this point.  We get to the hotel check in and start to unload everyone.  This is when Parker (our golden retriever) goes crazy.  I don’t know if it was excitement, anxiousness, nerves or what!  Once we get to our room, the girls turn into two little energizer bunnies!  You name it they are into.  The next three hours were quite interesting to say the least.   I won’t go into the details because it was so crazy I care not to remember every detail of it.  Needless to say I’m happy to say our first night of our Christmas vacation has come to an end and we are half way through to our final destination.  I’m only hoping tomorrow’s road trip goes ok.  I know one thing… I will be happy to get there and get settled in.

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

Print Recipe

1 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ canola oil

1 ½ cups sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ cup buttermilk

1 ½ cups ripe banana, mashed

½ cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin tin or two regular muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together the sugar, applesauce and oil on low speed until incorporated.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.

In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and baking soda together and let sit for a minute. 

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredient into the mixing bowl, on low speed.  You will be beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Add half of the buttermilk mixture followed by another 1/3 of dry.  Finish with mixing in the remaining buttermilk mixture and the remaining dry ingredients.  Mix until incorporated.

Stir in mashed banana and pumpkin. Do not over mix.

Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tins.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Update: We made it to Charleston!!  We are here and settled.  Sorry for the delay but I had to run and get a wireless card no service at in-laws!!

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Here is the third of the five holiday food gift ideas.  This one I think might be my favorite!  Homemade Pancake Mix, a great mix to have around on those mornings where you want a few short cuts.  This mix even has whole grains in it so you will feel better making them for the kids (and even you).  You can mix in any favorite ingredients you would like.  Below are a few of my ideas.  I’ve included the basic pancake recipe, blueberry, and pumpkin.  I have a few more I might be trying with my pancake mix soon.  Like gingerbread and banana walnut.  I’ll post those if they are winners.  I usually make the girls pancakes and refrigerate some of them and freeze the rest.  The frozen ones will last up to two months.  Having the frozen pancakes are great when I wake up late and need something quick to make the girls before I have to head to work.  I just place them in the microwave to defrost and top with their toppings and serve….easy!

For the packaging, I found the white food bags from My Own Labels.  I went with the large so I could get more of the mix into the bag.  For the labels, I once again went to Paper-Source where they have a great selection of labels that come with templates.  I then used scrap book paper cut to size to cover the top of the bag and punched holes using a hand hole punch.  Then using natural raffia I put thru holes and tied a bow.

Another great holiday gift idea, or even something you can stock in your own cabinets.  Happy Holidays!!

Homemade Pancake Mix

Print Recipe

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 powdered milk (I used organic nonfat)
1/4 sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
 
Add all ingredients and whisk together.  Store in a airtight container until ready to use.
There are a couple different recipes you can make with this simple mix.  Here are a few that I found delicious.  The great thing about this basic recipe is you can use your imagination to come up with the pancakes your family enjoys the most.
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Pancakes
 
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
In a large bowl, add pancake mix, water, melted butter and egg.  Mix together well. 
 
Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat, Spoon 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake, and cook until small bubbles begin to form on top, 2 to 3 minutes.  You may need to reduce the heat slightly at this point.  Using a spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown and puffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from pan and stack the pancakes, Top with your topping of choice.
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Blueberry Pancakes
 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
 
In a large bowl, add pancake mix, cinnamon, water, melted butter and egg.  Mix together well.  Fold in blueberries. 
 
Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat, Spoon 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake, and cook until small bubbles begin to form on top, 2 to 3 minutes.  You may need to reduce the heat slightly at this point.  Using a spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown and puffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from pan and stack the pancakes, Top with your topping of choice.
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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
 
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
3/4 water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin
 
In a large bowl, add pancake mix, spices, water, melted butter, egg, and pumpkin.  Mix together well. 
 
Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat, Spoon 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake, and cook until small bubbles begin to form on top, 2 to 3 minutes.  You may need to reduce the heat slightly at this point.  Using a spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown and puffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from pan and stack the pancakes, Top with your topping of choice.

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Couscous Salad

 

My mom requested my couscous salad recipe shortly after I started my blog, but as you can tell it took me awhile to post it.  Sorry mom!  I made this salad a lot when I was pregnant with the girls.  Once I found something that I could keep down I would make it all the time until basically I was tired of it.  It’s taken me a long time to eat these “things” that I ate when I was pregnant.  Other examples are peanut butter and cereal.  I have just started to eat those again and it’s been over 2 years now since I was pregnant.  Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to post this mom? 

Couscous makes an excellent salad when tossed with a mixture of vegetables and chicken.  I have made this salad on several occasions for potlucks in the office or for a summer BBQ.  It’s a refreshing salad that can be enjoyed as a side or even as a main dish.  Take it from me because tonight it was my dinner.  It also tells you something when my mom requests a recipe from me!  I do have to warn you it is a lot of chopping of vegetables and chicken but it’s worth it in the end.  For the chicken, I used a rotisserie chicken that happened to be on sale at Whole Foods.  It’s always great when that happens!

 Hopefully you fine this salad as enjoyable as I have!

 

Chicken and Vegetable Couscous Salad

Print Recipe

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • ½ cup thawed, frozen peas
  • ½ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup English cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

Bring the 1 ½ cups of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil.  After bring to a boil remove from the heat and add the 1 cup of couscous.  Cover and let set 5 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ tsp salt, 1 Tbsp water, and a couple grinds of pepper and blend well.

In a large bowl combine the chicken, peas, green onion, red bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, and basil. 

Couscous Chicken Salad

Add dressing and parmesan to mix and toss well.  Then gradually add in the couscous and toss again until well blended.

Serve alone or as a side.  I love it because it’s great to pack for my lunch.  Easy and quick!  Enjoy!

 

couscous veg chik salad

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Baked Turkey Pasta

Ok, I’ve had a lot of baked goods lately so I thought I would post something different today.  You will find during the holidays I prefer baking over anything else.  I think it’s because my mom baked a lot during the holidays as I was growing up.  So in ways maybe it makes me feel like home?  I can’t wait for the day I get to bake with the girls.  They already try to help.  Clair keeps a close eye on the oven as it heats up.  Laine on the other hand just constantly asks for a bite.  I try to tell her it’s not quite ready yet.  So for those of you who prefer baked goodies don’t worry I am working on something in the kitchen tonight that I will post in the coming days that will satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Now onto today’s post…

On weekends and week nights I’m all about easy and quick meals.  It’s an added bonus if the meals make plenty of leftovers.  The first time I made this I would have thought Scott was in heaven.  He kept saying it was the best pasta he has had.  Knowing that we have been to great restaurants and had plenty of pasta dishes, I was convinced he was just really hungry that night.  However, every time I’ve made this dish he seems to love it even more.  Not only does he love it, but the girls do too.  So it’s all the more reasons why I make this dish for my household.  Even our dog Parker waits patiently as the turkey sausage cooks to see if I may drop a bite on the floor for him.    

When I make this dish I try to go the healthy route and use whole wheat pasta and turkey sausage, but please use what you prefer.  Its great heated up as leftovers too.  Just a little hint when heating this up in the microwave; add a tablespoon of water to keep the pasta moist. 

Baked Turkey Sausage, Tomatoes, Spinach and Cheese Pasta

Adapted from Cooking Light

Print Recipe

  • 1 (1 pound) package uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 pound Mild Turkey Sausage links
  • 1 cup onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain pasta, and set aside.

Remove casings from turkey sausage.  Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet oven medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.  Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine cooked pasta, sausage mixture, spinach and basil.

 

pasta mix

Place half of the pasta mixture in a 4-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with half of mozzarella and half parmesan.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!!

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Apple Muffins

 

Fall is here…well it’s arrived everywhere else but South Florida.  I think it almost hit 90 today!  It’s mid-October and it’s 90 degrees with humidity….yuck!!  Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and while growing up in Atlanta I looked forward to the weather cooling off and the leaves changing.  It meant Halloween was on its way and Thanksgiving wasn’t too far behind.  It meant pulling out the sweaters and your jackets.  It also meant that the smell of pumpkin filled the house.  I always miss “home” around this time of the year.  So to help me handle the homesick feeling I’ve had lately I decided to make these Pumpkin Apple Muffins.  I can’t explain it, but baking and cooking is like a calming healing thing for me.  I know very weird, but I guess that’s why I love it.  Ok, back to the muffins…. Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients and honestly I use it year round.  Then there are apples which I love and this time of year they are everywhere.  I had pumpkin puree left over and a lot of apples so I thought I would combine the two and make muffins.  I added a sweet crunchy topping that adds a lot to the muffins.  As usual I added whole grains to these delicious bites.  As I took my first bite of the muffin it made me feel like it was fall outside.  As I’m typing this the weatherman says a cold front is coming in a few days which will bring our highs down to about 82.  Of course when it’s January and cold everywhere else I will then remember why living in South Florida as benefits.  For all of you out there enjoying the fall weather I hope you also find these muffins enjoyable!  Happy Fall and happy baking!

 

Whole Wheat Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Print Recipe

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup sucanat (you can use all light brown sugar if you don’t have sucanat)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (0% or 2%)
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pumpkin

Topping:

  • ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 450. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and applesauce with the sucanat and brown sugar.  Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Mix in the yogurt and pumpkin.  Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple pieces.

To make topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl until well blended.  Stir in the melted butter until the moisture forms large crumbs; stir in the chopped nuts.  Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups and sprinkle the topping over the batter.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 400 and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve warm with butter.

Makes about 12 to 16 muffins

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