Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Sweet Potato Soup





This soup was created through the taste as you go method; 
One of the best ways to cook in my opinion.


And let me tell you this soup is unbelievably good.
No joke. I have witnesses....about 8 who ate it with me with praises to go around.

I've had the idea for a  sweet potato soup since last fall, when all the creamy potato soup recipes popped up, since sweet potatoes have more health benefits such as:

  •  Vitamin A, C, B-6 and potassium, 
  • High fiber 
  • Lower glycemic index
  • Like most vegetables, they're fat-free and relatively low in calories — one-half of a large sweet potato has just 81 calories.   (Mayo Clinic, Live Strong)
Why wait so long to make the soup, you may ask? 
Well I was waiting for an immersion blender to come into my possession, and it did thanks to by brother-in-law Franky for my birthday!
This is a kitchen tool is amazing!!! Seriously. Cream or whip anything in its own container/pot.  Genius!
If you don't have an immersion blender don't worry you can blend this via a normal blender, or food processor. 

Ingredients: 

serves 6-8
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups veggie stock
2 1/2 cups water


Directions: 
Place vegetable stock and water into a pot and bring to boil.
Once boiling, add sweet potatoes and seasonings and Bring to a simmer
Simmer for 15-20 min. Sweet potatoes should be softer at this point.
Use your immersion blender and  begin to cream potatoes. 
It may take a few good pulses with your blender to get the creaminess going.
Once creamed let soup simmer for another 15-20 min. 

Serve warm

*if your using a blender, cook potatoes in stock for 30 min on a simmer. Then let cool for 15 min before transferring to a blender or food processor to cream. Return creamed potatoes to pot and bring back to high temp to server. 


 
ENJOY!!!!

Nutritional Information: 
6 servings
123 cal * 28 carbs * 0g fat * 3g protein* 5g fiber

 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dinner Roll

 




 Why not make your own rolls?


It's seriously so easy, especially if you have a bread machine. 
Plus, it's not full of unpronounceable preservatives and nothing beats homemade bread, am I right? 

These rolls were awesome. Soft and yet hearty enough to hold it's own.  I am not a fan of those sweet or white rolls; they are just not dense enough and immediately turn into sugar when digested. 

So do a favor for your glycemic index and makes these.
Oh and they cost about a dollar to make about 32 rolls so save yourself some money too!


Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbs wheat gluten
3 tsp bread machine yeast
3/4 cup  water
1/4 cup milk
4 tbs coconut oil,
3 tbs honey
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, whisked


Directions:
Place everything in the bread machine according to the manufacture--Mine asks for liquids to be put in first so I put warmed water and milk (see note), whisked egg, and salt in first (placing the salt in the liquid insures the yeast will not activate too fast and die), then flours, and then made indents in the flour to hold the honey, coconut oil, and yeast.

Set the machine to dough cycle.

After about 5-6 min open the machine--it's okay if it is still running, and check the dough. If it looks dry,  clumping into a tight ball, add 1 tbs of milk at a time until it starts to stick to a side of the machine. If it looks too wet, sticking to all sides of the machine, add in 1 tbs of flour until it 
starts to pull away from the wall.

It is very important to check dough as it kneads. Perfect dough takes precision but each machine, and general temperature of the environments vary, so it's up to you to get it just right for your recipe. (mine needed 2 1/2 extra tbs of milk).
Non-stick baking pans of choice: I used a 9x13 and 7x11.

When dough is finished remove from pan and kneed into a ball.

Slice dough in half and then slice those halves in half and continue slicing halves until you get 32 pieces  (Feel free to slice larger rolls if desired).

Roll each piece into a ball and place in prepared pans. (see note)

Cover with a clean towel and let sit for an hour, until dough has doubled in size. 

Preheat oven 350 F.
Remove towel and place in oven to bake for 10-12 min. Until tops are a nice golden brown. 


Remove and brush the tops with butter, if desired. 
Let cool on a rack for 1-2 min before serving. 
ENJOY!!!!
 Notes:
* I microwaved my milk and water together for 1 min.   
* I rolled my balls and then placed them in the fridge to rise slower overnight  and baked them the next day, letting them sit outside the fridge for and hour or two before baking, until doubled in size. 





Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LiveFit Phase 2 Week 6

 

This is the half way mark!

 6 Weeks DONE!
 6 Weeks to Go!

Other than that, honestly, not much. 
 I felt a little drag this week but I kept going. 
I will finish strong. 

The cardio became something I looked forward to and I'm feeling great body-wise. 

Body part of notice: My neck. 
Oddly enough I am gaining muscle there and I think it makes my face look leaner...
...if that is possible. 

Any-who,

Weight Lifting Tip: 
Less weights more reps vs heavier weight less reps.
  •  Truthfully, they work hand in hand if combined in a proper sequence. I have read article after article where these two statements hash it out  ...."lift lighter for more reps for leaner muscle, no, lift heavier for less reps for lean muscle"; but really it's just working your muscle groups in a verity of sequence that will give you the ultimate lean muscles. 
  • Don't be afraid to lift heavy, in fact it stimulates the muscles in a positive way. 
  • With that said, don't over do it. Add a few lighter sets into your workout to work form, and keep your body from over exertion.  


Food Tip: 


More is better. 

  • When I first started my weight loss journey I bought into the lie that I needed to eat less to weight less. It worked for awhile, but then I plateaued, then I had to do some crazy meal shake diet which was all just a temporary fix and I never felt right.  Thankfully,  my knowledge of healthy and wellness expanded and I learned that if I ate more, and more frequently while maintaining a healthy workout regimen I was actually feeling better and loosing weight and keeping it off.  This was huge for me because I LOVE FOOD. Seriously, I love it, which is 80% of the battle; luckily I learned out to use and eat it to help me get healthy. 
Think of it this way.
  •  Food is fuel. Eat often--every 2-3 hours--and you're keeping a full tank, and your body is constantly  working to digest it into energy to keep you moving. Bingo! Weight loss, more efficient digestion, and a more satisfied you. 
  • Eat more--instead of 3 big meals have 3 medium meals and 3 small meals--(notice I am not saying snacks, but meals) to supply your body with the proper nutrients and energy for those workouts you have planed. Our bodies need energy to burn energy so fuel up before and after those workouts, optimizing you body's use of food. 
Here's to 6 more weeks! 

Want to read more and see my progress? 
CLICK HERE and scroll down.  




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Apple Hand Pies


PIE...

The delicious baked dish that can hold in itself a savory meal or a decadent dessert. 

Pies were historically created as an easy storage and carrying method of cooking--The first pies were actually called "coffins" or "coffyns" (the word actually meant a basket or box).--Pie History 


In this case I wanted to make something even more mobile, 
a pie you could hold in your hand, 
something you could easily mingle with, 
something you could pair with a nice cup of tea,
 or a smooth sip of coffee; 

I give you the hand pie.



Recipe adapted from Just a Taste 
Ingredients: 
Dough
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
3/4  cup coconut oil, solid, divided
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

 Apple Filling
2 cups granny smith apples
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs sugar
2tbs flour
2 tsp lemon juice

Egg wash
1 egg  +1 tbs water


Directions:
Pulse flour, salt, baking soda and sugar together. Add coconut oil 4 tbs at a time and pulse until flour starts to crumble. Pulse in cubed butter. Add in greek yogurt 4 tbs at a time and pulse until mixture is wet and quite crumbly .

Dump onto a floured surface. Fraisage the dough together and then kneed 5-8 times. Roll into 8x10in rectangle. Dust top with flour and roll into thirds--like a coil.


Turn 90 degrees and roll out dough again into an 8x10 rectangle

Fold again into thirds and then tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min. (you can store in fridge up to 5 days if making ahead of time)--if you are pressed for time you can refrigerate for 10-15 min, just to get a  solid form.

Preheat oven 425 F.

Once set for 30 min in the fridge, remove from fridge and let sit on counter for  10-15 to soften a bit. Roll out into ~12x12 to 14x14 square.

Using a 3in biscuit/cookie cutter and cut out as many circles as possible; molding and re-rolling out the dough as needed.

Evenly space out dough circles on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Spoon about 1 tbs worth of filling into the center of the circle and top with another circle.



Seal edges with a fork--don't be afraid to push down on the top circle and apply a good amount of pressure to seal because these puff up quite a bit!

Brush each pie with an egg wash, and using a sharp knife slice air vents into the tops of the dough.

Sprinkle with a little sugar, if desired, and bake for 15 min, until tops are a golden brown.

Let cool for 10 min before serving.


ENJOY!!!!






Monday, April 15, 2013

LiveFit Phase 2 Week 5

 




I had a love hate relationship with this first week of phase 2. I LOOOVED the addition of cardio but the longer workouts were not fun.

Seriously,  I am already pressed for time running straight  from work to the gym and having only  about an hour to get it all done. So my rests are shortened, making me more tired.

And, I hate to admit it, but I skipped the last leg workout....Gah I know, but I was so busy this weekend that that 6th workout day was too much.

BUT I WILL KEEP ON! Have you seen my Phase 1 Results? After those, how can I not.


So here we go.

Weight Lifting Tip:

Do not be afraid of free weights in the weights section...yes that section...you know which one I am talking about. 
Machines are great and can really help with form but free weights give you more versatility and  whole body stabilization .   Also, more muscle groups are at work when using free weights giving you a better workout.
Free weights are great alternatives if you don't have a specific machine to work a specific muscle group but use with care and caution, always with proper form, knowledge, and technique. 

Need help figuring out how to start? Bodybuilding.com has a great workout database. If you select a workout it will show you the proper form and technique as well as alternative exercises if applicable. Check it out!


Food Tip:
It is not often we hear healthy and fat in the same sentence. But they excist: healthy fats. 

Some of theses include Almonds, Almond butter, Avocado, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Peanut butter, Walnuts Coconut oil, Sunflower oil, Olive oil, Fish oil, and Flax seed to name a few. 

Our bodies need fat to burn fat so don't  be afraid to eat your healthy fats! 

Want to read more about my progress and the program? 
CLICK HERE and scroll down





 

Friday, April 12, 2013

LiveFit Phase 1 ULTIMATE Results



 

Wow. Wow. Wow. 


4 weeks CAN make a difference. 

First things first: 
PICTURES!!!!


Jamie, along with many health-nuts out there, are right,
 ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN. 
Seriously, we hardly did any abs workouts, but look at that definition!
And of course arms! We do a LOT of those so I'm glad to see some change!
YEAH PROTEIN! 


Now, actual measurements

Chest increased : 34 to 35in
Arms increase:  11.3 to 12in
Hips decrease: 37 to 36.5in
Waist decrease: 34 to 33.5 in
Thighs increase: 21.5 to 22in
Calves decrease: 15 to 14.7in
Forearm increase: 8 to 8.5 in
Shoulders increase 42 to 42.5in

I feel incredible. I am so excited to see what happens in phase 2!!! 



Want read more about the program and get some weight lifting and food tips?
 CLICK HERE and scroll down.



Monday, April 8, 2013

LiveFit Phase 1 Week 4



I MADE IT! Phase 1 of 3 complete!

I am so happy and proud of myself. I made it an entire month with no-cardio, a huge feat for this cardio addict. But I feel amazing. In fact This is the best i've felt, ever!

I'll be posting my results from Phase 1 in different post since I want these posts to be focused on each particular week, just for my personal reference. But stay tuned!


How was week 4? Long.

Seriously, this week dragged on for me; workouts included.
I loved everything we were doing but I felt like it was taking more time to do a set than normal.
But I again, completed every work out and will now enjoy this 2 day break before I began the next phase which includes cardio!


Weight Lifting total: 31,260lbs!!!

Impressive: I know. For this final week I upped my weight sets by 5-10lbs  and even though I was quite sore--a feeling I have a love/hate relationship with--i felt very strong. 

Weight Lifting Tip: Unsure when to up your weight? 

Here is a simple guideline; If you can complete one set of 12 with ease and in perfect form it's time to up your weights. If you do up your weights say from a 15 to a 20, and you are half way through the rep with the 20lb but can no longer complete the rep in proper form, switch back to the lower 15lb weight and finish the rep. It will take your body time to build the strength to hold the 20 for the entire rep but you also don't want to over work your body and hurt yourself. Remember form is everything!

Food wise I felt like I was all over the place. I didn't have a food prep day so I was always running around trying to figure out what to have to equal 6oz of meat. 
I ate 2 meals of Tuna , cooked 4 chickens breasts (for 2 meals) , and cooked some ground turkey which made it into one meal and I have yet to comsume the other. 

Some things I made: Tuna cakes, Tuna sandwich, Chicken salad with rice cakes, Fiesta Chicken salad, Ground turkey with brown rice and broccoli. 

I still have a healthy shake for breakfast, usually a hard boiled egg and a homemade protein bar for snack, lunch, veggies with either hummus or cottage cheese for snack, dinner, and some high protein dessert: protein cake, chocolate protein shake, greek yogurt with cinnamon, vanilla, and banana. Yummy!

Food Tip: Meal prep! 

It's hard, I'm not going to lie, especiallly if you are not a single person becuae I am also trying to figure out what I can make that my husband might want too! But it is key. If any thing get those snack prepped for the week. I hard boil my eggs, make my protein bars, and prep my veggies on Sundays so that during the week I can just grab them and go. 

I am sooo excited, and a littler nervous to start Phase 2. There are some changes in the diet and as mentioned before, in the workout out--cardio! 

I'm looking forward to posting my End of Phase 1 Results. Coming soon! 





Saturday, April 6, 2013

Clean High Protein Meal Ideas

 

Hello there! 


As a participant in the Jamie Eason's 12 week LiveFit trainer program (Read more here) I have to eat a LOT of protein every day: 130-140g.

This almost doubled my previous intake but man do I feel better, fuller, and more energized.

I apologize if you are vegetarian. Most of these wont suit your fancy.
I'm a meatatarian--it's a personal choice--and most of these meals are packed full of the stuff.
But don't shy off yet you veggians I have some awesome snacks and desserts that may suit your fancy.



This week:  

Chicken Stuffed Sweet potato                    Directions:
4 oz chicken breast, shredded         Wash sweet potato and puncture
1 medium sweet potato                    several times with a fork.
1/4 tsp chili powder                         Microwave for 5 min. Then flip
1/4 tsp garlic powder                         and microwave for another 5.
1/4 cup black beans                         Carefully slice potato up and
salt and pepper to taste                    mix up the insides to get them
greek yogurt for garnish                  soft. Toss shredded chicken and black beans in spices  and top over sweet potato. Garnish with a dollop of greek yogurt.
265 cal * 35 carbs * 3g of fat * 28g protein* 8g fiber


Turkey Avo Sandwich             Directions
6 oz of turkey breast                 Toast 2 pieces of whole wheat bread
1/2 avocado                               meanwhile, mix avo, garlic powder,
1/4 tps garlic power                  pepper, salt, onion flakes, and lemon
1/8 tsp pepper                           in a small bowl. adjust flavor as
1/8tsp salt                                 desired. Fold in chopped tomatoes.
1/2 tsp onion flakes                  When bread is toasted, smear avo mi
1/4 tsp lemon juice                   evenly on slices. Layer turkey breast
                                                      3 grape tomato, chopped          and close.
                                                      2 slices whole wheat toast
421 cal * 31 carbs* 14g fat * 49g protein * 9g fiber




Mug Protein Cake              Directions:
3 tbs egg whites                   Blend oats in a blender until a powder.
1/4 cup oats (blended)         Thoroughly mix oat flour, egg whites,
1 truvia packet                     truvia packet, flaxseed and cocoa
1/2 tbs ground flaxseed        powder in a large mug. Microwave
2 tsp cocoa powder              for ~1 min until cooked.
1/4 cup greed yogurt            Mix greek yogurt, vanilla, truvia, and
1/2 tsp vanilla                      cinnamon in a small bowl.
1 truvia packet                     Remove cake from mug and lay on the
cinnamon to taste                 bed of greek yogurt. Garnish with
                                                      chopped banana                   sliced banana and extra cinnamon.
222 cal * 31 carbs * 5g fat * 18g fat * 6 fiber*


Cottage Cheese and Veggies
1/2 cup cottage cheese
veggies of choice; my favorite are:
sweet peppers, carrots, cherry tomato,
celery, and cucumber.

nutritional value will vary on the amount of veggies and the type of cottage cheese you use: 4%-fat free ,small curd to large curd.  But 1/2 a cup will have ~12g protein!!! 


ENJOY!!!

All nutritional information provided is for reference purposes only. Nutritional value may very based on the ingredients used

I'll be posting a few of these protein loaded meals, snacks, and dessert so stay tuned!

*Update* For my next list of Clean High Protein Foods 
Click {HERE}

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mug Chocolate Protein Cake



The post-workout dessert is my favorite. 


I have to workout after work which puts my dinner and/or my 6th meal( snack) after the fact.
Now, I am trying my best to stick the the rule of "no starchy carbs after 7 pm" ~3 hours before I go to bed,  and it's hard, until I found this! 

Packed full of protein, I can now have my cake and eat it too!!! 

Chocolate cake, on a bed of greek yogurt surrounded by sweet slices of banana. Yummy. 

Oh and bonus, it only takes about 2 minutes to make. 

Adapted from Sprint to the Table
Ingredients: 
3 tbs egg whites
1/4 cup oats (blended)*
1 truvia packet
1/2 tbs ground flaxseed
2 tsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup greed yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 truvia packet
cinnamon to taste
chopped banana

*I took 1/4 cup rolled oats and pulse blended them until they became a powder.

Directions: 
Thoroughly mix blended oats, flaxseed, egg whites, truvia packet, and cocoa powder in a mug.

Microwave for ~1 min until cooked. 

Stir together greek yogurt, vanilla, truvia, and cinnamon in a small bowl . 
Gently remove cake from mug and place on top of greek yogurt. garnish with chopped banana. 

ENJOY!!!!
Nutritional Information:
222 cal * 31 carbs * 5g fat * 18g protein* 6 fiber*

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lemon Zucchini Chicken



I am not one who can have the same meals every single day.


 My husband sure can, but not me. 

I love variety, I love texture, I love taste, I LOVE FOOD. 

So this dish came out of my desire for a quick, protein packed lunch with a kick.


I really love the taste of lemon and chicken. One of my all time favorite Italian dishes is chicken piccata where it is infused with wine, lemon, and capers. 


However, this dish may not have battered chicken in a wine sauce but it does have quinoa--a new staple to my diet-- lemon, zucchini, and sauteed onions. 

So if your looking for a quick, clean eating, and filling dish give this a try 


Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry
Ingredients: 
5-6 oz chicken breast, cooked
1tbs  olive oil 
1/4 onion, chopped
2 tbs lemon juice 
1 zucchini, chopped 
1-2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste 
1/4 quinoa, cooked

Directions: 

Heat a skillet with oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2-3 min, until onions start to turn clear. Add in chopped Zucchini and cook for 1 min, until tender.
Add in chicken and stir in seasoning. 
Add lemon juice and let cook for 2 min until everything is well heated and juices are combined. 

Remove from heat. 
Scoop out lemon chicken mixture and top over a bed of quinoa. 


 
ENJOY!!!!

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