Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Beginning Anew

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So it has been almost a year since I have posted. I stopped shortly before returning to college for my senior year, and after a whirlwind, crazy, wonderful year, I have decided to jump back on the bandwagon and start again! I’ve been thinking on it for a few months, and I have truly missed sharing the activities I enjoy with any of you readers out there! (I’m looking at you, mom).

I joined a gym today near my work – Steuben Athletic Club. I am hoping that it is a good fit, so far it seems to be – it was the only option even remotely close to my commute with options for classes (boo, Planet Fitness, for not having an upgradable package that includes group classes!). Bright side, this gym is two blocks from my workplace! ((No Excuses now))

There’s a variety of classes offered, and I am going to pick up the self-defense class, the PiYo class and the Spin class – they meet on random days, at 6:30 am, 12 pm or 5:30 pm. I’ll be sure to post any tips that I gather! Also my fit friend Oorin is sending me Insanity, which I can do on the Squash courts of the gym it seems no one uses.

After registering for the gym, I was feeling particularly health-minded, and as such I stopped at the grocery store with the intention of making dinner for my family. This requires calling every family member to ensure that they come home and aren’t already planning a meal! It is nice to enjoy their company at dinner time – it is a comforting feeling, akin to being an (adorable) kid again.

Stephanie, my beautiful sister, who I am grooming to be as much of a house wifey as I am, was enlisted after coming home from the office to help me prepare dinner. She’s a natural.

Oven-Baked Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Bulgur

accompanied by a lovely homemade pesto sauce made by Stephanie, with basil grown by my dad. Serves 4 – I tend to not measure when cooking – leave that to baking and have fun!

1 ½ pounds of salmon fillets – (I bought 2 pounds, but my mom and I aren’t huge salmon eaters [we’re trying!] so we had a half pound of leftover fillets I didn’t even bother cooking – freezing for another time!)

1 cup of Bulgur – originally I was searching for quinoa pasta – couldn’t find it in the grocery store – so I resorted to quinoa – couldn’t find that – and then said ScReW it and tried this foreign grain – turns out we all love it and were planning what recipes it would be perfect for – healthier addition to meatballs than bread or breadcrumbs, sub for rice in stuffed peppers, etc.)

1 pound of Asparagus Spears

1 Lemon

Olive Oil

Fresh Basil – about 2 cups

Garlic (4 cloves or 1 tsp garlic powder – this amount is reliant upon your love of fresh garlic or the powdered variety – it is only going into pesto)

Pine Nuts (1/4 cup)

Shredded Parmesan Cheese (probably about a quarter of a cup)

Dill and Thyme (Fresh or dried – I use dried, did not measure, just make sure to put enough to satisfactorily season the outside surfaces of the fillets)

Salt and Pepper

Optional: Lemon Balsamic Vinegar from Saratoga Olive Oil Co.

                 Your favorite wine (Our light bodied merlot stood up just fine to the grainy bulgar and the meaty consistency of the salmon)

-Make pesto by combining the garlic, basil, pine nuts, cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor with enough olive oil drizzled in to give a thick, cohesive consistency. Set aside.

-Combine 1 cup bulgur with 2 cups cold water into pot. Bring to boil, once boiling reduce to a simmer (low on our stove), put lid on and set timer for 15 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees

-Wash asparagus and chop off ends – discard. Cut into bite size pieces and place in foil lined baking dish. Drizzle with some olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon balsamic (or lemon juice and a little balsamic vinegar does the same thing). Toss to coat and then toss in oven. (I also put the remnants of lemon in the top of the dish – why not)

-Leave skin on salmon fillets and cut into individual portions if not already done in store. A serving of meat should be around the size of your palm.

-Place salmon fillets in glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, dill and thyme. Toss to coat both flesh side and skin side. (Leaving skin on keeps nutrients – your choice to actually eat the skin or not). Place lemon slices on top of each fish portion and then pop in oven next to asparagus.

-Cook for 14-16 minutes.

-Around this time, bulgur should be finished. Remove lid, turn off heat, fluff with fork, put in a little butter/butter substitute/olive oil/nothing/a light dressing and salt and pepper. Recover and let sit until you’re ready to serve dinner.. it’ll be fine.

          *Directions said to drain any excess water – I did not have any excess)

          *After cooking, I realized that we could have foregone the extra fat from butter by substituting vegetable or chicken broth for the water. It would lend delicious flavor. (we only used 2 pats of butter in the bulgur – half a pat per person and it was rich and smooth)   

-Once time on the oven is up, check to make sure fish is cooked (light pink color and oh so flaky) (if unsure that it is completely cooked, one could heed my sister’s advice that no one cares if it is a little under done .. ‘duh what do you think sushi is?’)

-Serve and enjoy! The pesto originally was meant to go on the salmon, but with the lemon and herbs it did not need it. it was a wonderful, welcome side all on its own – it was good with the quinoa. Save the leftovers and use on a turkey sandwich .. trust Stephanie and I on this one.

-This meal is rich in omega 3 fatty acids from the olive oil and the salmon, antioxidants from the fresh herbs and lemon, and whole grain goodness from the bulgur.

I hope you enjoy this healthy, well rounded meal as much as we did! It’s good to be back.

❤ Jill

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Stuffed Turkey Peppers

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Stuffed bell peppers are BOMB. I made them for my dad and myself for dinner tonight, and it fits into the low carb lifestyle he lives. If you’ve never had them before, or if you’ve had the traditional with ground beef and rice – try mine with ground turkey and sans rice! They are so full of flavor you wouldn’t even know how great they are for you. I made them with my dad’s homemade pasta sauce, which made them even better, however if you use store bought they won’t be worse for the wear. Also, don’t be afraid of different spices – they add a lot of flavor in the absence of fat.

Stuffed Turkey Peppers

Serves 2

1/2 pound ground turkey

7 ladles-full of red sauce

1/2 of  a medium sized zucchini

1/2 of a medium sized yellow squash

2 green bell peppers

3 cups of baby spinach or regular spinach – I used baby because it was what we had

2 tbsp grated part-skim mozzarella

1 tbsp. olive oil

PAM

Sage, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon, Salt, Pepper

Either minced onion and garlic or powdered.

Chopping board, knife, 2 mixing bowls, skillet, spatula, baking dish.

 

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

-Carve tops off of bell peppers and clean seeds out. Make sure the top of the bell peppers are sliced clean off, so that the opening is as big as possible. Reserve edible part of the top and chop it up – put into a bowl.

-Take spinach and chop into small shreds – put into same bowl. Peel zucchini and squash, chop up and put into bowl.

-Put the bell pepper cups in the baking dish, sprayed with PAM. Cover with foil and put into oven to pre-cook for 15/20 minutes.

-Put skillet on medium. Spray with PAM, put turkey in. Work on breaking up with spatula while it cooks, so it is in little crumbles when it is done cooking – about 10 minutes.

-Push turkey into a bowl, in the same skillet put the olive oil, heat up and pour in bowl of veggies.

-Add spices in. I didn’t measure…

-Cook for 5-6 minutes, until it really starts CoOkIn. Put red sauce in skillet, stir it all together. Get it bubbling for a couple of minutes, then put ground turkey back in and stir.

-After a couple minutes all together, when the mixture begins to cook down, take a spoonful and do a taste test. Adjust spicing as needed.

-Take bell peppers out, and ladle the mixture into peppers. Fill to brim, and any extra just pour into the bottom of the baking dish. (*Save this at the end of the meal, if you wish, and have for a brown bag lunch the next day over rice. Yum!)

-Sprinkle a tbsp. of cheese on top of each pepper. Put foil back on top.

-Put into oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.

-Take out, remove foil and enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Stoup

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Not the prettiest thing in the world, but it makes up for it.

I just made such a yummy summer meal and I wanted to share it. I made a lot thinking we could have the leftovers as a side dish tonight for dinner… But I legit just
downed the entire thing! It was that good. I always said I hated zucchini growing
up, and I truthfully had never tried it. I love cooking with it now and making it
as delicious as I can – to make up for lost time.
Summer Vegetable Stoup
Rachael Ray coined this phrase I believe, and I greatly enjoy and support condensing two words into one. Mines more of a liquidy dish though, like it should be eaten with a spork (yes! Another one.) Wanna know my favorite? Legiterally.
Ok here’s the recipe.
Probably feeds 2 people as a meal.. Or if you just had my appetite 1 person, haha.

1 zucchini (peeled or unpeeled, I couldn’t decide so I partially peeled it.)
Half container cherry tomatoes
2 small potatoes, peeled
Some onion – I minced mine but you could leave it in big pieces too – up to you
1 clove garlic, minced
Bay leaf
EV Olive Oil
Water/chicken broth/veggie broth (whatever you have on hand .. broth/water mixture gave great flavor)
Salt, pepper, oregano, really whatever seasoning you like. I used a bunch. We have this delicious steak seasoning that’s kind of all purpose and has a bunch of spices in it already so I put that in about half of every meal I make..addicted.

-Chop potatoes and zucchini into chunks. Set aside.
-Put a little olive oil in skillet on medium. Just enough to cover the bottom.
-Chop up garlic and onion.
-Put them into skillet and cook for a bit.
-Add potatoes and let them chill out for about 5 minutes.
-After this, add zucchini, seasonings, bay leaf
-Pour about a cup of liquid in. Could do more or less depending on whether you’re
looking to eat out of a dish or a bowl. If you use more get a bigger skillet.
-Put top on and simmer on medium for 15 or so minutes..Until everything is cooked thru.
-Pour cherry tomatoes in and disperse thru out.
-Put cover back on for a minute or two, until the tomatoes burst open.
-Remove bay leaf + enjoy!

Easy right? You can add anything in you want! Could make it heartier with sliced
chicken breast..if we had bell peppers or carrots or peas they for sure would’ve
gone in..you can always omit the potatoes if you’re making solely for a side dish.

Eat your veggies!!

Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Wraps

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I made a yummy breakfast wrap this morning, and I got to thinking of how versatile this type of meal can be. A whole wheat wrap would go well with a sweet breakfast, and a spinach wrap would be great with a savory breakfast. I also have a few ideas for yummy lunch wraps. The wraps we have at my house are probably about 7″ diameter, I’m not talking those huge Moes wraps. We also buy ones with lots of fiber, and calorie compare. You could also use pita bread, or spring roll papers.

Thanksgiving Wrap – turkey breast, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes. Gravy if you wish, although it would make this less healthy.

Monkey Wrap – peanut butter smeared on middle of whole wheat wrap, toss in banana slices and raisins. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Could also add granola/Fiber One in.

Middle East Wrap – Plain Greek yogurt [NOT vanilla, the bland stuff] mixed together with lemon juice and some curry powder. Add diced cooked chicken, apples, celery, grapes into the mixture. Put lettuce in wraps, spoon on chicken salad.

*Try Tzatziki on anything.. it isn’t bad for you and it is legit one of my favorite things on this earth. Souvlaki Wrap MMMMMM!!!

Fiesta Breakfast Wrap (what I made this morning) – dice up onion and bell pepper and chunks of ham. Turn skillet on medium/md.low and spray with PAM. Once hot, crack in 1 whole egg, and then crack another egg and add the egg white; dispose of or save the egg yolk in a plastic sealed cup in the fridge for meatballs, etc. (You could also use egg substitute, I use it at school sometimes and it isn’t bad.) Add a couple small splashes of skim milk, then add salt and pepper, and a chili seasoning blend. We have a McCormicks that we use for chili, and I just added a couple of shakes. Once this gets cooking a little, throw in the chopped veggies and ham. While you are cooking these, smushing with a spatula to break up and scramble it, take a wrap and spread it on a plate. Pile a heaping spoon of salsa in the middle, and throw a little bit of shredded cheese on top. Put in microwave for 25 seconds. When you take it out, pile the contents of the skillet into the wrap. (It also makes sense to mix salsa in to the cooked egg mixture, it may make the dish a bit less messy). Fold up the bottom part, then tuck each side in. (Kind of like how you wrap a baby in a blankie, haha.) This would be yummy if you made with turkey sausage too, but that would take a bit more preparation. These would freeze well; just pop one into fridge the night before you want to eat them to defrost, and then microwave in paper towel until hot (probably a minute or so.) They’re actually delicious.

Pizza Wrap – pepperoni, mozzarella/parmesan, marinara sauce. Beef it up with mad veggies like pizza toppings: olives, bell peppers, onions, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, etc.

Veggie Wrap – portobella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, garbanzo beans/hummus/provolone. Thinking of you Jax :*

BLT Wrap – turkey bacon, cherry tomatoes, dark lettuce, avocado slices mushed with a little mayo to make a spread.

Southwest Wrap – Turkey chili, beans, rice. Yum. This would probs be delicious in a lettuce wrap. Butterhead lettuce works best!

I think a wrap with sauteed spinach, pine nuts, garlic, ricotta, salmon would be really yummy also.

Caesar Salad Wraps are great too. You can make buffalo chicken wraps that are healthier with a low fat blue cheese and Frank’s on grilled chicken. Don’t rule out cold cut wraps, as these can be great loaded with veggies, and with mustard instead of mayo. We have this jalapeno mustard at my house right now, and I am not kidding when I say it is [almost] better than mayo. Way more flavor! Speaking of mayo, I don’t rule it out completely..we use Olive Oil Mayo at my house, and it tastes legit exactly the same as regular mayo, at least the Hellmann’s does because I haven’t tried any other ones. It has about half of the fat and calories. However, it has modified starch added in, which isn’t an ingredient in the regular one. Lower the calories of full-fat mayo if you don’t want to give it up by mixing a lesser amount with mustard.

That’s a wrap folks

Healthy Muffins

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First off, this blog instantly reminded me of the FUNNY video Molly, Erin, Jax and I thoroughly enjoy. So I’ll just link to it and get it out of the way! betch.

So I’ve been trying the past few weeks to post a delicious and healthy muffin recipe, and was hoping to post the recipe up here. Problem is, the recipes I have tried so far all aren’t that great. When I do master it, I will share it.

I’ve been substituting white flour for whole wheat flour, and sugar with the brown sugar Splenda variety. I’ve also been substituting the eggs with applesauce, and have been packing in a bunch of fruits and veggies. I also have been trying to incorporate flax seeds. Clearly this is why I am having a little trouble, haha.

My first ones were okay, but not spectacular. I made apple-cranberry-carrot-walnut muffins, and they were great for breakfast, however I found them to be slightly not sweet enough. They rose properly and had the muffin top that looks delicious on food, but decidedly un-delicious on your stomach.

The second ones that I made were great flavor-wise, but I believe my downfall was in not squeezing excess liquid out of the zucchini. I made Carrot-Zucchini-Dark Chocolate Chip muffins, and they didn’t rise properly.

Comment with any ideas for my next attempt, and I promise when I perfect one I will share it!

Victoria’s Secret Models Regimens

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(Jayne’s Idea)

I (and my friends) are like guys when looking through VS catalogs… the clothes don’t catch my attentions first, the drop dead girls do. More specifically, their bodies and STOMACHS. ugh. Anyways, there’s alot about their workout / diet regimens out there, and the girls who have been quoted as saying it is “natural” are stone faced liars. Obviously, they were born with top notch genes, but they have to work every day to look that great. Of course, I’d like to imagine I’d look 10x better with a personal trainer, chef, makeup artist and hairstylist. Make that 40x. *Sigh* Maybe someday! Until then, I can just mimic their daily routines, and by the end of summer I’ll probs look like Adriana Lima.

“I love waking up; I box; I do a lot of resistance…three or four times a week,” Candice, the 21-year-old model from South Africa dished. Alessandra prefers a slower-paced workout. “I’ve been trying pilates now, and I think it’s amazing,” the 28-year-old Brazilian said. “I love yoga,” Miranda, 26, said, agreeing with Alessandra. “I’ve been practicing it now for about 10 years and I love it!”

Miranda:
“For breakfast — yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, apple, lemon after that. Sometimes some wheat-free toast with avocado on top. And then for lunch — some salad, vegetables, grilled fish, steamed vegetables. Almonds or almond butter.”

Her diet…
Miranda Kerr’s trainer encourages her to eat a lot of healthy carbohydrates and lean protein for breakfast – foods like old-fashioned oatmeal, egg whites, veggies, cottage cheese, muesli, yogurt and fruit. Then it’s salads and chicken or fish for lunch, and a combination of fish, turkey, vegetables and chicken for dinner.”

Her celebrity workout…
Miranda Kerr workouts of 3 to 4 times per week for 75 minutes at a time with trainer Justin Gelband.  Kerr tells StyleList she keeps her exercise regime fairly consistent, explaining that it “always involves a mix of yoga, low-impact cardio, resistance and functional exercise, combined with high energy training such as boxing or running.”

Alessandra:
“I like to wake up and have eggs benedict with a cappacino and orange juice. And then for lunch, I’ll have rice, beans and chicken or meat. And salad because I love salad. At nighttime I would have like Japanese food, like sushi, or some Japanese barbeque. And I love chips. Salt and vinegar – ah! I’ll go into the airport and buy like three bags of them. And I can’t help myself!”

Candice:
“I love a good breakfast. I love croissants. Eggs, bacon. I love vegetables, I like omelets. Raisins.”

3 bags of chips my (bigger than yours) ass.

Victorias Secret Models Diet
The girls also have their tricks to look fabulous as nutrition and workout is in fact the key to the Victoria’s Secret models’ diet.

Giselle Bundchen and co-angels, as Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima or Miranda Kerr swear by a complex exercise plan and a balanced nutrition system. This helps them to be constantly in shape. The main aim of the Victoria’s Secret models’ diet is to avoid processed food, instead they pamper their organism with lots of vegetables and fruits. Organic food, in the form of delicious salads is very important to offer hydration to both skin and the whole body.”

victoria's secret models diet

Heidi Klum – after pregnancy, the model adopted the New York Body Plan diet. It promises a radical makeover only in two weeks. Alcohol, bread, dairy products and sweets are totally forbidden. The max intake of calories must not cross the 1200 barrier.
The Victoria’s Secret model’s secret in fact is to have a meal every three hours. Metabolism is this way kept busy, Heidi’s organism is constantly working, as a result it effectively burns the extra fat. Eating after 8 P.M. is a great no-no for the Victoria’s Secret nymph. When it comes of snacks, apples are her favorite, to fight the starvation crises. The protein content of the fruit will keep you stuffed until the next meal. Moreover, you’ll benefit from vitamins and minerals, that act as antioxidants.

Post image for Victoria’s Secret Workout and Diet: Alessandra Ambrosio, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, and Doutzen Kroes

Doutzen Kroes is an avid jump roper, and that is great, great cardio to do!  Here’s a jumping rope workout routine.

I recently read a couple interviews of Justin Gelband who has developed what might be called the Victoria Secret model workout routine.  Justin is a trainer who has helped numerous models get in shape without resorting to over-the-top tactics.  I think a lot of his tips can be used in a good exercise plan for women.  Heck, even men could probably take away a few ideas!

Goal Setting

Justin is very realistic in his approach to training Victoria’s Secret models.  He treats each model uniquely and individually.  There isn’t one workout approach that will be effective for everyone.  He acknowledges that everyone has their own trouble spots and goals to get a near perfect body.  Justin even admits that most Victoria Secret models weren’t necessarily born with ideal bodies.  A lot enjoy eating just as much as the next person and have just as many insecurities as the average person.

Victoria Secret Model Workout Routine

Whether you’re male or female, the key to an effective workout routine is intensity.  In my opinion, the more intense your workout, the better results you’ll get.  Obviously this may result in injury if taken to the extreme, but generally speaking, a short, intense workout will help you burn fat while adding or maintaining muscle.

Some of the key tweaks Justin incorporates into the models’ workout routines are that he focuses on “lengthening and strengthening.”  He doesn’t think the models should bulk up so avoids most direct leg training.  In his opinion, lunges and other exercises involving leg weights have no place in a model’s workout routine.  Even plyometrics and stair running are barred.  Finally, he only allows the girls to use 5lb weights.

With all these limitations, what does a Victoria Secret model workout routine include?  Mainly exercises that feature resistance bands, a Bosu ball, and the occasional boxing workout or Pilates routine.  The goal of these is to “promote balance and stability” while working a variety of muscles that improve posture and core strength.  Generally, the workouts range from 45-75 minutes and are done 3-4 days per week.  The actual exercises are varied often to avoid boredom and focus on toning the hips, inner thighs, and stomach.

 

While it is unrealistic to try and look as great as these girls do, this advice is beneficial for anyone trying their best to look their best 🙂

 

Sites cited:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/403266-a-victorias-secret-models-diet/

http://www.notyouraveragefitnesstips.com/best-workout-routines/exercise-plan-for-women-victoria-secret-model-workout-routine-and-diet

Rabbit Food Yum Yum

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I just made a yummy to-go salad for myself at work.

Fill bowl with red leaf lettuce/Bibb lettuce

    (we had Bibb growing in our garden, and I bought red leaf)

Fresh Oregano leaves, ripped

Strawberry Slices

Thin Cucumber slices (I don’t peel cucumber, just wash.. I like the skin)

Raw Almond Slivers

Bell pepper slices

Reduced fat mozzarella (a chunk the size of a big strawberry)

Balsamic Vinegar (your discretion)

Olive Oil (1-2 tbsp, depending on how much lettuce you use)

Ground Black Pepper

Throw in tupperware, put top on, shake what your mama gave ya

The point is to add whatever you have on hand. If we had dried cranberries, or gorgonzola, or red onions, or blueberries, or walnuts, or baby spinach, or tangerines, or raw sunflower kernels, or cherry tomatoes, or heck even cherries, I’d throw all that deliciousness in. With a dressing as simple as this one, everything tastes great.

The other salad I love to make at school (I just got reminded of it), that my friends like too:

Cherry Tomatoes

Dried Cranberries

Walnuts

Gorgonzola crumbles

any kind of lettuce

Balsamic Grilled Chicken

This salad is best with Jackie’s moms homemade balsamic dressing (she should actually bottle and sell it because it is amazzzinnnnggg)!! Anywho, I throw chicken breasts or tenders in a bag with a little of this balsamic and salt and pepper, coat it (the dressing is thicker than regular balsamic), and grill it on a George Foreman.. or any grill. Slice it, throw it in with the other ingredients, drizzle with balsamic.

Since you don’t have the perk of Jackie’s mom’s dressing, regular balsamic would do just fine, I’d probably just marinate longer. You can also reduce it in a pot on the stove pretty easily.

YUM. If you have good aim, throw the hot chicken on top of the Gorgonzola so it gets alllll mellltttttyyyy

If you aren’t trying to trim up your waist, any of these salads would greatly benefit from Nori/Khloe/My invention of “RanchAlamic” (patented). Mix ranch and balsamic dressing together for a flavor explosion on the buds of taste. Not kidding.. this is made even better if consumed alongside 3 personal bottles of Merlot. We had it on a calamari salad fyi.

One last thing, if you have any fresh herbs, throw them in. They are soo yummy when you get a piece of a leaf and you have a flavor explosion. Make sure you like it first though, because if anyone ever surprised me with a hunk of dill or cilantro I’d have a mental breakdown, they are disgustingggg.