Wednesday, April 30, 2014

80--- Easy Watermelon Pico de Gallo

Cinco de Mayo is literally less than a week away.  It's time to get serious.

I have to say that this is the favorite food holiday in my house.  Waaayy better than Christmas, don't ya think?

This delightful pico de gallo will be a lovely addition to those fish tacos, or simply as a chipper dipper.  It doesn't end up being overly sweet- just enough.

Ole.  (Cliché this time of year, I know)

Easy Watermelon Pico de Gallo
Serves 4

2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1/4" cubes
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup: 34 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Monday, April 28, 2014

WOW Workout Of the Week---- Take a Hike

Now that the snow is melting here, I am very anxious to get out on some trails!

Did you know that adding incline to your "walk" will most likely increase your heart rate more than adding speed (ie: running)?  And that incline can add in some more scenic beauty as well, making your workout a bit more enjoyable! 

This workout adds in a bit of resistance training along the way.  Find a hill or trail that matches your ability.

Take A Hike Workout

Minute 0-3:::::: Warm-up walking at a slower pace
Minute 3-6:::::  Speed up your walking
Minute 6-7::::: Uphill walking lunges
Minute 7-10::::: Back to your faster pace walking
Minute 10-11::::: Drop and give me some push-ups!
Minute 11-14::::: Faster pace walking
Minute 14-15::::: Squats
Minute 15-18::::: Faster pace walking
Minute 18-19::::: Uphill walking sideways facing the right
Minute 19-20::::: Uphill waking sideways facing the left
Minute 20-21::::: Walking backwards up the hill
Minute 21-24::::: Faster pace walking
Heading back down
Minute 24-27::::: Fast pace walking
Minute 27-28::::: Jumping jacks
Minute 28-31::::: Fast pace walking
Minute 31-32::::: Push-ups
Minute 32-35::::: Fast pace walking
Minute 35-36::::: Walking lunges back uphill
Minute 36-39::::: Fast pace walking- back down
Minute 39-40::::: Squat jumps
Minute 40-----> Fast pace walking to the bottom

Remember to stretch!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

80(ish)--- Spaghetti Squash and Mushroom Au Gratin

Yep I know. This would have been perfect for your Easter dinner, right?  It was perfect for mine!  Sorry for the delay- Pin It for your next holiday meal!

Why the spaghetti squash substitute for the classic potato? Squash is a lower calorie food with half the carbohydrates, more fiber, more vitamin A, and more calcium.  Are potatoes bad for you? Nope.  Everything in moderation my friend, 80/20.  The texture of  the squash in this dish is fantastic and the creaminess makes it super decadent without being too heavy.

Spaghetti Squash and Mushroom Au Gratin
Serves 7-8

1 spaghetti squash (*cooked in microwave and shredded- see below)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly siced
1 tsp minced garlic
8 oz fresh mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

*To cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, slice off ends, then slice squash in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds and pulp.  Use a sharp knife to piece the outside skin of the squash in several places. Place half of the squash in a microwave-safe baking dish and place 1/2 cup water in the "hole" in the squash.  Place the remaining half of the squash on top, so that the insides are together.  Transfer dish to the microwave and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until flesh is softened.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then use a fork to remove strings of squash.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While spaghetti squash cooks in microwave, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and onions and saute until onions begin to soften, 3-4 minutes.  Add in sliced mushrooms and reduce heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 12-14 minutes. 

Place shredded cooked spaghetti squash onto a sheet of paper towels and use additional paper towels to blot out excess moisture.

In a large bowl, combine sour cream, 1 cup shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Add in spaghetti squash and onion and mushroom mixture.  Toss to mix and coat, then transfer mixture into a 9" x 9" square baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until heated through.  If you desire the cheese on top to be golden brown, place directly until a broiler for 3-4 minutes.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per ~1/2 cup: 125 calories, 7 g fat, 6 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

20--- Grammey's Potato Salad

This is the best potato salad known to man.  And it is my in-law's recipe.  I added some olives and dill, but the rest is all them. It should certainly be a part of your upcoming cookouts.  

The best part about this salad is it's simple and made with fresh ingredients. Don't buy the containers of potato salad. Just don't.

Grammey's Potato Salad
Serves 8-9

7 Yukon Gold potatoes, washed well and quartered
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 Tbsp sweet pickle juice
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp ground black pepper 
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 oz sliced black olives

Boil a large pot of water.  Add in potato quarters and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until soft (but not mushy- test occasionally).  Remove potatoes immediately from water and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Cut cooled potatoes into 1 1/2" cubes (yes, skin too!).  Remove the yolks from half of the hard-boiled eggs and discard.  Chop the remaining yolks and whites into 1" pieces.  Combine potatoes and eggs and chill in refrigerator while dressing is being prepared.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, pickle juice, celery salt, celery seed, and pepper.  Taste dressing and add in additional salt or pepper if desired.  Fold in dill, onions, celery, and black olives.  Spoon dressing onto cooled potato/egg mixture.  Fold gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours prior to serving.

Monday, April 14, 2014

80--- Grilled Vegetable Salad with Warm Balsamic Dressing and Crumbled Goat Cheese

I couldn't help myself.  Yes, it snowed this weekend.  But we are very very close to grilling season.

This warm salad will help you to bridge the gap between snow and sun!

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Warm Balsamic Dressing and Crumbled Goat Cheese
Serves 4

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1 zucchini, stemmed and quartered lengthwise
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced into 3 slices
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
3 tsp olive oil, divided
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup soft (in oil or water) sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 oz crumbled goat cheese

Heat grill to medium heat.  Toss asparagus, zucchini, and red pepper with 2 tsp olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place vegetables onto heated grill and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side (or until lightly charred and softened).  Remove from grill.

Chop grilled vegetables into 1" pieces and place in a medium bowl.  Cover bowl to keep vegetables warm.

Heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and stir continuously until thickened, 7-8 minutes.  Thickened mixture should coat the back of a spoon.

Spoon thickened vinegar over mixed vegetables and toss to coat.  Sprinkle salad with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 119 calories, 6 g fat, 4.5 g protein, 9.5 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Things That I Know--- All about Easter Eggs

1. Eggs used to be one of those foods that individuals with high cholesterol were told to limit or avoid due to their cholesterol content.  But thankfully things have changed! Eggs are a complete protein and great source of vitamins like choline!  Are you an egg white worshiper?  The yolk has MORE valuable protein than the white.  Yes, there is some fat there, but you NEED some fat in your diet!

2. Should you go organic with your eggs?  The choice is yours.  Here's what an article at the Washington Post had to say about it.....

3. Here it annual food dye warning of the year.

If you are wondering why I'm warning you about food dyes, check this out.

And if you're wondering how the heck you're going to color your Easter eggs without those dyes, check this out.

4.  And here's some fun things to do with eggs without the dyes!

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

These are amazing as well!! (however some do require dye)

5. But if you are going to dye eggs, give this tip a try. This is genius!.

6.  Check out these hard-boiled egg tips!

Oven-baked hard-boiled eggs

Easier to peel hard-boiled eggs- also note that fresher eggs are more difficult to peel. Use older eggs first!

How to scramble eggs in their shell

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

80--- Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal Cups

I know that these look like muffins.  But they contain NO flour.  So I am deeming them baked oatmeal.  Yes, those of you who are gluten-intolerant can dive right in (as long as you've tested to oat waters or purchase gluten-free oats if you're concerned).

Oats are loaded with fiber, specifically beta-glucan, which can lower your cholesterol.  They will keep you full long after breakfast to boot!

Now you have THREE reasons to not use "I don't have time to make oatmeal" as your excuse in the morning!

1. Berries and Cream Fridge Oats
2. Overnight Oats


Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal Cups
Makes 6 "muffin-size" servings  (my personal serving is two of these---- because I have to share them with my wee babe who is in love with them)

1/2 cup peanut butter (go natural)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 medium bananas, mashed
1 cup rolled oats
3 Tbsp flax meal
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp almond milk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp crushed walnuts
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place baking liners in 6 cups of your baking tin.

Use a mixer to combine peanut butter, bananas, and maple syrup until smooth in consistency.  Add in oats, flax, milk, and baking powder.  Mix until just combined.

Spoon mixture into muffin cups until nearly full. Sprinkle each with chopped walnuts and brown sugar.

Place tin into the oven and bake for ~20 minutes, or until centers are set (use a toothpick to check).  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to transferring cups to a wire rack to cool.

If you are saving them to eat as a quick breakfast, place them in a Ziploc bag to store in the refrigerator.  Prior to eating, heat in microwave for 10-15 seconds.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 271 calories, 14 g fat, 9 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Monday, April 7, 2014

80--- Lobster Basil Alfredo over Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes you've just got to switch it up.  My belly can't handle much pasta.  But sweet potatoes? Bring it.  And they add so much flavor and fabulous texture to your meal.

You may substitute any shellfish in this meal.  I just happened to have lobster on hand.  Odd.

Lobster Basil Alfredo over Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

2 sweet potatoes, washed well and cubed into 1" cubes
Olive oil spray
Dashes of salt and ground black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
10 fresh basil leaves, finely minced
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
Dash ground black pepper
6 oz lobster tail meat, cooked and chopped (or use shrimp if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet liberally with olive oil spray.  Spread sweet potato cubes evenly and spray with additional olive oil spray.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cubes are soft and lightly browned, tossing halfway though cooking to prevent burning.

While potatoes cook, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and milk.  Stir until mixture comes to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and remaining chicken broth until no lumps remain.  Reduce heat to medium, then add cornstarch mixture and whisk continuously until well mixed.  Continue to mix until mixture returns to a simmer, then add in basil, cheese, salt, and pepper.  Whisk until thickened (to coat the back of a spoon), then add in lobster meat.  Reduce heat to low and heat meat through, 5-7 minutes, stirring continuously, adding in more milk if mixture thickens too much.

To serve: Spoon 3/4 cup alfredo mixture over 3/4 cup sweet potatoes.  Sprinkle with additional cheese, salt and pepper, and basil if desired.

Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 426 calories, 14.5 g fat, 34.5 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Friday, April 4, 2014

80--- Flaxey, Nutty, Oatey Blueberry Pancakes

Because everyone needs a pancake every now and then.

And because walnuts, oats, and blueberries are all AMAZING for you.  Bring on the fiber!

Flaxey, Nutty, Oatey Blueberry Pancakes
Makes 7-8 five inch pancakes

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp flax meal
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh (or frozen defrosted) blueberries

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Whisk in milk and olive oil until just combined.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Drop 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet and allow to cook until bubbles form on the top.  Gently flip with a thin spatula, and cook on the other side for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer pancake to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.  Repeat making pancakes until batter is gone.

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Nutrition Info per two 5-6" pancakes: 327 calories, 15 g fat, 11 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New WOW Workout Of the Week
Are you ready for some INTERVALS?  I am! 

I taught this class TWICE on Monday.  Yep- I was super tired but it's all for the love of group fitness.

Intervals are excellent for calorie burn, and studies have shown increased fat loss from high intensity intervals.


30 seconds with each exercise, give yourself 10 seconds to switch between exercises.  Each set of two exercises is repeated four times before moving onto the next set.  You will need dumbbells and a step (optional).  The entire 7 sets should take you about 45-50 minutes to complete.

1. High knee runs/ Push-ups (challenge yourself!)

2. Squat jump/ Plank row (alternating sides)

3. Burpee + jumping jack/ Weighted squat

4.  Skater jump or step jump (if you have one)/ Shoulder press

5.  Mountain climber/ Bicep curl 

6.  Plank jumping jacks/ Alternating curtsy lunge

7.  Roll to jump up/ Upright row