Monday, August 30, 2010

Raspberry Spinach Chiller

Hmm...who would have thought that adding spinach to a smoothie would turn out ok?? This smoothie was alright, not great but definitely not a bad start to my smoothie-making week!  I think my banana should have been a bit more ripe to add some extra sweetness (it was still a little toward the green side). This drink is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, protein, iron (spinach!), fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, potassium, and many other nutrients! It really did keep me full through lunch and I feel like I did have a little extra energy...enough to skip out on my morning coffee!
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey or soy protein powder
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 drizzle of honey
  • a few ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend to desired consistency. Based on my rough estimate of the nutrition info this is approximately 300 calories and about 25gm protein. I'll put it through a nutrition data processor but just wanted to give you a rough idea :) 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Smoothie week!!!

I recently got a new subscription to the magazine Vibrant Life and really enjoy it! They have a ton of great health information and nutrition packed food recipes. The first issue I received had a bunch of great tips for going vegetarian (see my section on my Vegetarian Week!). The second issue was all about smoothies and it really inspired me to come up with my own! It will be my goal this week to come up with a new smoothie for my morning breakfast or a on-the-go meal for my busy afternoons (when I get home from the hospital I have approximately 30 minutes to prepare myself for the restaurant and that doesn't leave me much time for a quality meal!). So with my blender washed and prepped on my kitchen table...I'm set to take on Smoothie Week. :) Look to my Grocery List for this week's prep materials! More info to come on why smoothies can be so good for you (hint: loaded with vitamins and minerals, high in protein, provides you with your fruits and veggies that you need to stay healthy, great taste, fun for kids and adults, etc.)...but here is a sneak peak into what I'm thinking:

  • Raspberry Spinach chiller (YES, I'm taking a risk and adding some greens!)
  • Peaches 'n Cream Dream
  • Cherry Almond Goodness
  • Chocolate-y Peanut Butter Banana
  • Vanilla Blueberry Powerhouse
I'll keep you posted ;) 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gooooood Morning

(this is sleepy me in the morning....eeks!) 

Sigh*...sometimes working 2 jobs really does take a toll on the body. I worked last night at the restaurant along with working a full 8.5hr day at the hospital (16hr day total...) and when I woke up this morning I felt like a train wreck! My feet ache, my muscles are just TIRED and I feel like the only place I can move from my bed to is the that is exactly what I did! Spoke to the mom for a good while and kicked back to some channel flipping (I always go between Bravo, HGTV, Food Network (duh!), and Lifetime). I got sucked into a Winsor Pilates informercial and committed Mari Winsor's new pilates workout to memory for a future Christmas present haha...oh, how I enjoy pilates. After watched the Neelys on FoodNetwork make their pigs-in-a-blanket (yum!) I worked up quite an appetite and moved on to MY breakfast...hopefully a bit healthier than the piggies but also good haha.

I stuck with my multi-grain toast with pumpkin seeds that I got at Trader Joes (LOVE this place!), toasted with some crunchy peanut butter and some antioxidant packed fresh cherries! Cherries are soooo good for you! I know there has been discussion about cherries reducing inflammation in the body, reducing cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cancer, easing the pain of those who have arthritis or gout, helping with sleep, etc...I'm definitely NOT endorsing those effects but not saying that they are not true. It is true that they contain antioxidants, vitamins (good source of vitamin C), fiber (3gm/cup), and are fairly low in calories (a cup of cherries has <100 calories)...but they are so good! You can eat them plain, slice them up and put them in yogurt or top your ice cream/frozen yogurt with them (I love them in my nonfat greek yogurt!), put them in all kinds of desserts (who doesn't love a good cherry pie??), make jams, etc. This is one fruit that I've found that nearly ALL kids love as well! To make them easier to eat I use my cherry pitter...and that also makes them more safe for the kids to reduce their risk of choking on the pit. It only takes a minute or two to pit a cup of cherries and then, voila! a healthy snack or compliment to a meal. LOVE them! 

I also have my Dunkin' Donuts coffee...gotta have my morning cup o' joe with a splash of half 'n half :) I can't do the artificial creams anymore...all those preservatives, sugar, and other ingredients that I can't pronounce...I'll stick to my regular cream and just use a small amount. A tablespoon is really all I need! 

Heading off to a relaxing day by the pool now...gotta love a great day off in August! Good day all! :) 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Simple Stir-Fry

So over the past week I've been creating a few dishes but haven't had time to post! I'll try to catch up now :) Working 2 jobs and trying to make time for working out and having a personal life really takes a toll! Sometimes all I want to do is lay on the couch and watch a movie or TV! But I have been really motivated to create some yummy food this week after my trip to the local Whole Foods (I know it's more expensive but I can walk to it which is a big bonus for me!).

One thing I really enjoy making is a simple vegetable stir fry. I know, sounds plain right? But I think it's easy to make, allows you to get in all the veggies you enjoy and can be fairly low in calories. Plus with the right seasonings and low-cal sauces they can be simply versatile and delicious! Adding a bit of chicken breast, shrimp or lean beef or pork can add some great protein and voila, you have a fast healthy meal!

The other night I had a bunch of peppers, fresh green beans (my favorite!) and some fingerling potatoes. Now, this is the first time I have ever put potatoes in a stir fry but I didn't have a starch (usually I'll pair stir fry with a whole grain rice such as Uncle Ben's 90 second rice in a bag!) and thought it might be a good substitute. After all, I do enjoy home fries or breakfast potatoes! I usually make my veggies with a soy, hoisin, teriyaki or other Asian theme...but today I wanted something a bit different and wanted to go with Italian...


  • 1 cup fingerling potatoes sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh green beans, cleaned
  • 1 belle pepper of your choice (I used a bit of red and orange)
  • 1T chopped garlic
  • 1tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2T olive oil
  • Dash of red pepper flakes for heat
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add diced potatoes and cook until lightly browned (about 3-5 minutes). Once browned add in peppers and beans and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add in garlic and red pepper and mix well. Season with salt (I used Kosher salt) and pepper. Cook until veggies are crisp tender...maybe 3-5 minutes. I served this with a caesar salad and hard boiled egg for protein, but you can add grilled chicken or another meat/seafood to round it out! It was delicious and gave me that garlic-Italian-y taste that I wanted without having a filling meal of  pasta (which I love too btw!). The peppers were sweet, potatoes crisp and beans just so yummy! 

***Make this your own! There are so many veggies you can use and so many seasonings! I've used broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts, onion, snap peas, carrots, etc. To add flavor you can use soy sauce, teriyaki, hoisin, ginger, wasabi, garlic, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, and so much more! Just be sure to watch all of the pre-bottled stir-fry sauces. They are delicious but if you go overboard they can really pack on the calories and sodium! Limit yourself to using just a couple of tablespoons and let the taste of the veggies really come through. 

*From start to finish of this meal, from the chopping of the veggies to creating the salad and cooking the veggies it only took me about 20 minutes to make. So this dish was fast and easy, a great way to get your vitamins and fiber, and did I mention tasty?? ;) Share with me your stir-fry recipes! Show me your creativity!

Green Beans on Foodista

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Garlic & White Wine Shrimp with Gnocchi Fra Diavolo

That is really all I have to say about this meal! It was so great and so easy to make! Seriously, it may need a few tweaks here and there but overall I think if you make this for family and/or friends you'll be very much appreciated :) So the servings I made were for about 2 people, but as in my other dishes you can definitely just double or triple the recipe as needed. I love shrimp, they are low in calories, a great source of those omega-3 fatty acids and are so versatile! You can throw them in a salad, eat them with a whole grain pasta, or just have them plain with cocktail sauce or simply grilled! I love a good white wine garlic sauce (we have a wonderful one at the restaurant...) but it is usually full of butter and high in calories. I wanted a brighter version of the sauce with less calories but not short on flavor. I combined a bit of dry white wine with zesty lemon juice, herbs and garlic and the results= fabulous.

  • About 20 regular shrimp (maybe 10-12 jumbo shrimp could be subbed), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup good white wine (if you wouldn't drink it straight, don't use it for cooking! the flavor just concentrates so you want to use a good wine)
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp tub margarine
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1tsp Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Place cleaned shrimp in a bowl and mix with lemon juice and pepper. Place in fridge to marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal. Heat a saute pan over med-high heat, add olive oil and margarine. Once hot (approximately 1-2 minutes), add garlic and Italian seasoning and stir. Add white wine and bring to a simmer. Let cook approximately 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and lemon juice and season with salt. Cook until shrimp are cooked through (about 2-3 minutes). 

Gnocchi Fra Diavolo
*Note- if you don't like spicy, don't try this! Or you could sub a simple marinara or meat sauce and it would be delicious as well!

  • 1 cup chunky marinara sauce (I combined a jar of prepared marinara with canned crushed tomatoes)
  • Small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 package gnocchi (serves 2-3 people)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
Combine in a small saucepan marinara sauce, basil and red pepper flakes and heat through over medium heat. Cook gnocchi for approximately 2 minutes in boiling water, drain. Toss gnocchi with sauce and parmesan cheese and transfer to small greased baking dish or large ramekin and top with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350degrees.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Busy Life

Wow. Posting has been so hard these past few weeks and my home-cooking has really flown out the window! I need to get myself back on track with making meals at home and avoiding take-out. I've been working non-stop at both jobs, have had visitors to attend to and prepare for, have been attempting to plan some vacations, baby-sat for a co-worker and in between trying to have a little relaxation time and fun time with the friends so I don't go crazy! This week is my week to get myself together...after I work at the restaurant today, go do some birthday shopping for family, and clean the apartment for my parents' arrival tomorrow....yep, getting myself together... ;) More recipes and healthy tips to come...I promise!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Farmer's Market Finds

There are few things I love more than enjoying a relaxing Sunday, starting with the Farmer's Market and coming home with all my seasonal finds to make a bunch of yummy meals for the day and week. I love spending my Sundays watching movies and cooking all day for friends and family, with maybe a good workout thrown in the mix.

So today I'm working on my crab gazpacho with all of the veggies I bought today (grape tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, green onions, garlic, peppers, etc.) and fish packets with sauteed garlic spinach.

Lunch was fairly simple... egg salad prepared with light mayo, farm fresh & spicy pickles from the pickle stand, whole grain crackers and horseradish cheese from a local dairy. To add some more crunch to the meal I toasted up some Kale that I found at the greens stand.  OMG if you haven't had "kale chips" you really need to try them! Such a great low cal way to get that salty crunch you are looking for in potato chips.

Start by washing and drying your kale well. Either tear leaves apart to your desired size or snip with kitchen scissors. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread leaves onto pan. Spray cooking spray lightly over top of kale and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or other seasonings of your choice...they are great with garlic salt and cayenne pepper too!). Place pan into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes or so, tossing once, until crisp. Enjoy for barely ANY calories! :) Also, dark leafy green kale really packs a nutrition punch and is high in Vitamins A, C, & K and also provides a good source of fiber!

Well, back to cooking and the Jane Austin Book Club on Lifetime ;) Because yes, Lifetime is definitely one of my guilty pleasures. More easy recipes to come this week!