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Monday, July 23, 2012

Fire Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Those of you that follow me on Facebook know that we had a TON of tomatoes from our garden this weekend. To make good use of them, we made an AWESOME salsa that I want to share with you. It's a bit spicy so if you prefer a more mild salsa, you may want to cut down on the peppers a bit! :)


20-25 Roma tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves
2 ears of corn

1 large lime
1/2 cup of dried black beans
1 Habanero pepper (finely chopped)
2 cayenne pepper (finely chopped)
1 Anaheim wax (or pepper of your choice-finely chopped)
1/4 tsp of each cumin, ground pepper and chili powder

1/2 tsp salt
small handful of basil and parsley or cilantro (finely chopped)

To prepare:
soak the black beans overnight to be prepared the following day (can also use canned)
cook black beans per instructions with water for about 45 mins or until done. (save the cooking water from the beans until the end).
peel and fire roast the 2 ears of corn on the grill and remove from the cob and set aside. 
fire roast the tomatoes and garlic on the grill (we use a grill pan from bed bath and beyond).
Combine the tomatoes, garlic, cumin, ground pepper, chili powder and salt in a saucepan over medium heat to stew for approx. 1 hour.
pour tomato mixture into the blender and blend to your desired consistency. We blend it smooth since the corn and beans add most of the texture.
Put blended tomato mixture back in the pan and add the chopped peppers, corn, beans and lime zest.
stew for an additional 20 mins.
At the end of the stewing, add the juice of the lime, basil, parsley and ½ cup of the cooking water from beans.
Enjoy with your favorite chips or over salad, chicken or other meal.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Something for Everyone

My husband and child both wanted to make pizza since we had so many ripe tomatoes growing in the garden. Since I of course choose not to eat pizza, I had to come up with a create way to still enjoy what they were eating while keeping it clean. My solution, use a chicken breast as my "crust" and fat free feta (with a little part skim mozzarella) as my cheese. I must say, this was yummy. Almost like a skinny chicken parm.

My husband made the sauce so I don't know that I have the recipe for that as he just makes it to taste but here are the basic ingredients:

15 ripe roma tomatoes (fire roasted on the grill)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of tomato paste
salt to taste
a handful of fresh basil, thyme and rosemary (chopped) and added at the end.

For the "skinny chicken parm" I just split the chicken breast and baked it until it was almost done.
Then add the sauce and cheese and bake again until done (about 5-7 mins).

The boys bought raw whole wheat pizza dough and made the pizza with that. They each got to put their favorite topping on their half.

This was fun and everyone got what they wanted for dinner with minimal effort put into making separate meals!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chocolate Protein Froyo Pops!!

Just came up with some pretty yummy chocolate protein froyo pops so I thought I'd share the recipe with you guys!!

1/2 of the large 32 oz container of Chobani plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (could also use almond milk)
3 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder

Combine soy milk and unsweetened cocoa powder in a bowl with a whisk until it becomes a "sauce".
Then mix in the whey protein until it's a thin paste consistency. It should almost look like chocolate fondue at this point.
Mix this "paste" into the greek yogurt until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into your favorite popsicle molds and freeze for approximately 2 hours.
Makes 4 pops (give or take depending on your mold size)
Enjoy :)

Nutrition facts (will vary based on your protein powder, etc.)

122 Calories (per Popsicle)
Protein: 19 grams
Carbs: 8 grams
Sugar: 5 grams
Fat: .75 grams

Fitbit Review

As many of you know, I got my fitbit last week. I've been wearing it for about a week now and I must say that I LOVE it. I've worn other pedometer's in the past and they are usually bigger and don't track nearly as much as the fitbit does. The fitbit tracks how many steps you take, floors you climb, calories you burn (based on the # of steps) as well as how many times you wake up in the middle of the night. It's small and flat so it doesn't stick out like many other pedometers. You can also sync your fitbit to your myfitnesspal account and it will adjust the # of calories on myfitnesspal based on how much activity is logged on your fitbit. So far I really like it, gives me a new perspective on things. The only downfall is that the fitbit doesn't know how you are getting your steps so if you're running or doing something that burns a lot of calories, that won't be reflected in your calories burned. Other than that, I'm really happy with it!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How much protein should I eat??

This a very controversial question and one I see lots of debates about. Many say you should consume 1 gram per pound of body weight while the "standard" recommendation is .8 grams for every kilo or 2.2 lbs of body weight. I personally think that everyone should experiment with this and do what works best for them. There are many sites and apps out there that calculate your calorie needs based on your activity level and break it down by macro nutrients (fats, carbs and protein). Just because the app or site tells you your total macro nutrients should be broken down a certain way, doesn't mean you have to follow it to the T. I do think you need to stick with something for a few weeks to determine if it "works" for you or not, don't just throw the towel in after a week and say, oh that didn't work!! :)

A couple of Apps to try:
My fitness Pal
Calorie & Macronutrient calculator

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Types of workout sets

So, there are many workout techniques out there when it comes to weight lifting and I wanted to go over the differences and benefits of each:

Super Sets: The idea is to limit rest time. Typically you alternate muscle groups (chest and back, for example) to limit the amount of time you are idle. This does a few things, it shortens your workout time which is great if you don't have an hour to spend in the gym. Secondly, it keeps your heart rate up so you have some what of a cardio affect during your weight training and therefore burn more calories. Because your are switching back and forth between muscles, one muscle group gets to rest while your work the other.

Drop Sets (strip sets): 3-4 consecutive sets continually decreasing the weight until you fatigue the muscle. The idea behind drops sets is that you again eliminate rest in between sets so you can get your workout done faster. Because you are eliminating rest, your muscles will fatigue faster and you will get a great post workout pump. Drop sets should not be used for every exercise but can be a great addition at the end of a workout.

Standard sets (rest in between): Standard sets are great if you are working on one specific muscle group and have time to allow your muscle to rest in between sets. The rest period allows the muscle to recover so you can complete the next set. Rest periods vary based on your goals but for the average person working out each day, you should generally rest for about 30-60 seconds. Rest time for strength athletes should be longer to allow ATP to restore.

As you can see, there are various ways to structure your workout and you can certainly change it up every few weeks to keep your muscles guessing. Super sets are great for a cardio affect and assist with fat burning and your other sets are great if you are looking to build some muscle. You can certainly still build muscle doing super sets but get that fat burn affect in addtion!!

Happy lifting :)

What is "eating clean"?

This is a pretty sensitive topic for me so I'm going to apologize in advance if I go off on a rant here! I meet people all the time that claim to eat clean or eat healthy and when I go to their house or have discussions about what they eat, most of it is processed junk. I know it's hard to get away from all of the junk when just about every food manufacturer pumps all of the food you find in the grocery store with processed crap like hydrogenated oil, HFCS, trans fat, etc. Everything claims to be healthy, get your fiber here, made with whole grains, fortified with vitamins, full serving of fruits. It makes me sick to read labels on food claiming to be healthy only to find that it's not. HFCS is in just about everything on the shelves these days. So how does one eat healthy? The obvious answer is to shop the outer area of the store and stay away from the inner isles. Or shop at a store like whole foods that doesn't carry anything made with those ingredients. Now, just because you buy something at whole foods, doesn't mean it's "good for you", it just means it's less processed. Bottom line is, read the labels!!! If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. And as far as meat and produce are concerned, you really should try to stay away from your big names like Purdue and Tyson that pump their birds full of antibiotics. Again, read the package and if it doesn't say "raised w/out antibiotics" you can be sure they are in there. And produce, if it's not organic, it was likely grown with pesticides so try to avoid non-organic if you can, especially apples as they are grown with the most.

To sum up "clean eating" I would recommend you eat foods similar to what is listed below and limit your intake of anything else:

Veggies (lots of them)
Fruits (1-2 per day)
Lean meat (4-6 oz at every meal - fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef)
Dairy (unsweetened soy milk, non-fat milk, plain non fat greek yogurt)
Other protein sources (eggs, beans, etc.)
Good fats (olive oil, raw nuts, avocados, fresh ground or natural PB<peanuts being the only ingredient>)
Whole Grains (old fashioned oatmeal, steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta)
packaged snack options: reduced sodium turkey jerky, tuna in water, low sugar protein bars like quest or think thin.

Water (drink at least 8 glasses per day)

Keep in mind "limit" your intake doesn't mean you can't ever eat anything else, it just means it should be done in moderation and remember that eating poorly will keep you one step further away from your goals.

I'm sure I have forgotten to put some great foods on this list, but you get the idea!! 

Turkey Muffins

1.5 lbs Extra lean ground turkey (read the label)
Seasoning of your choice (Ms. Dash or other favorite)
non-stick spray

Preheat the oven to 375
Spray a muffin tin with the non-stick spray
Mix the turkey meat and seasioning together
Make 12 equal balls (approx. 2 oz each)
place each ball in the muffin tins
back 20-25 mins or until they reach an internal temp of 160.

Chocolate Protein Bars w/ PB2 "icing"

Nutrition will vary based on your protein powder, etc.
Calories: 96
Fat: 1.4 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Protein: 10 grams


1 cup Oat Flour (you can also do 1/2 oat flour and 1/2 soy flour)
4 Egg Whites
2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (you can also use soy or casein protein)
1/4 cup Splenda, Truvia, or Ideal
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
8oz unsweetened apple sauce
3 tbsp Baking Cocoa
4oz Water

To make the "icing", just mix up the PB2 powder with water and put over your bars!
You can buy PB2 at select supplement and health food stores (Whole foods, some GNC's)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (oat flour, vanilla whey protein, baking soda, salt, baking cocoa) together in a large bowl.
3. Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, Splenda, Truvia, or Ideal, apple sauce, Water) together in a medium sized bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
5. Spray cooking dish with a non stick butter spray and add batter to dish.
6. Bake 20-30 minutes in oven (or until solid in the middle).

Makes 16 squares, serving size=2 bars.