Tag Archives: Food

Exercising the Mind Does a Body Good

So last night I hosted our book club meeting.  I feel so lame admitting that I belong to a book club, but it’s a nice way to get together and chat with the girls. I’m surprised they haven’t kicked me out because I’m terrible at finishing the books we pick.  It’s not that they aren’t good, I’m just about the worst procrastinator known to man.  This month we’re reading Pride and Prejudice, which is my ultimate favorite so I’m not too concerned with this one.  Plus, my brother bought me a Kindle for Christmas so I’ll be able to read it on my new technology!

For dinner, I made the Everyday Mac and Cheese recipe that I posted the other day.  I was seriously impressed with how it turned out!  Delicious!  I don’t think I allowed the sauce to thicken enough as it was a little on the soupy side, but still really good!  My husband loved it.  I used the whole wheat noodles and skim milk instead of 2 percent.  The perfect comfort food for a cold, winter day.

Now I just need to figure out what I’m making tonight!  Any suggestions?

 

P90x Update Part 2

So it’s been a while since I posted an update, but after the holidays I decided to sort of start the program over. I had missed too many days and I didn’t feel like I was doing myself any favors by pretending my slacking wouldn’t matter.

This time I’m not using the same recipes that is recommended in the P90x nutrition manual; however, I am cooking healthy meals for myself. I am mainly using my Taste of Home cookbook, which has a whole section dedicated to 30 minute healthy meals. I haven’t had a flop yet and even my husband agrees that they taste delicious. The P90x meal plan was fine, but it required a lot of random ingredients that may only be used for one recipe. Overall though, their nutrition plan is probably good, but I find my healthy cookbooks and allrecipes.com to be my personal favorites.

I’ve been strict on getting my workout in every morning. I’ve noticed that the more I do it, the easier it is to wake up and do it again. My body is sore the next day, but I’m sure that’s because of the long holiday hiatus I embarked upon and will get better as I go.

The good news is I have lost 3-4 pounds and it is staying off. I weigh myself consistently first thing in the morning and before breakfast. This makes it more accurate of a measurement of my progress.

I will post a before and after picture for all in the next couple days!

Black Bean Soup with Sherry

Black Bean Soup...it's what's for dinner 

Black Bean Soup…it’s what’s for dinner

I came across this recipe in Fine Cooking magazine. I’m always looking to try new recipes and this sounded healthy and delicious! It’s relatively quick and easy to make… only 3 real steps.  Definitely a fool proof recipe worth trying!

Ingredients:
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
3 medium garlic cloves
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
Two 15 1/2 oz. cans black beans, including liquid
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup dry sherry, preferably fino but not necessary
Kosher salt and ground pepper

1) Heat the oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy-duty pot over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. *Note: I added potatoes, celery and carrots at this point to make it more hearty*

2) Meanwhile, purée the chicken broth with one can of black beans and bean liquid in a blender.

3) Add the cumin and oregano to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in the black bean purée and the remaining whole beans with their liquid; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the flavors are melded, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry and season to taste with salt and pepper.

*Note I modified this recipe by sprinkling in some cayenne pepper to give it a little more zing.  This is definitely one that you could spice up or down to your liking.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 310; Fat (g): 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): 1.5; Protein (g): 13
See this recipe in Fine Cooking 107, pp. 25
September 2, 2010

A Healthy New Years Snack

For all those who may be having guests over for New Years or are just planning on relaxing at home, here is a yummy spin on dip for your chips that’s EASY and delicious (might I add healthy)!  I must credit a lady I work with for sharing this recipe with me.

Ingredients:

1 jar of salsa (on the chunky side)

1 box Smart Ones Santa Fe Rice and Bean frozen dinner

Directions

Santa Fe Rice and Beans

Santa Fe Rice and Beans

1. Follow the instructions on the Rice and Bean package.  Should just be a matter of microwaving the meal. Once the rice and beans are all cooked, pour into a bowl and mix in about a half a jar of salsa (if you have a med-small jar).  Make sure your salsa is more on the chunky side – I think it’s better for dipping that way.

My Favorite Salsa

My Favorite Salsa

2. After you’ve mixed in your salsa, pop it in the microwave for a minute just to get it nice and warm.  Serve with some baked tortilla chips and you’ve got the best dip ever!

I hope you enjoy!  It’s really very simple and can be modified in many ways.  I plan on making this tonight to tide us all over until midnight.

This is much better than a lot of dips out there in terms of calories and is pretty filling.

Happy New Year all!

What’s Your Beef? A Look Into the Grass Fed Debate.

Grass Fed Beef AdRecently, I did a research paper on the feed lot cattle industry. What spurred my interest was an important movie called Food, Inc. which, for those of you who haven’t seen it, will make anyone question where their food comes from. They dive into more than just the treatment of the animals and find out the overall effects of this type of agriculture (if one can call it that).  I can assure you that this is not an exaggerated issue. I personally have traveled through parts of the state of Wyoming and Nebraska in which the smell from these feedlots is so overwhelmingly intense it makes me nauseous just thinking about it. All I kept thinking while driving past the feedlots was, “That place is so disgusting and we actually eat what they grow, that can’t be good for us”.  And it isn’t.

It all boils down to what the cows are fed.  These days, cows are fed corn, hormones and remains of other cattle.  Why? Because they get fat, fast.  According to Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore’s Dillema, cows 50 years ago took four or five years before they were big enough to slaughter.  Today, we see them growing at enormous rates.  A steer will go from 80 pounds to 1,100 pounds in 14 months. Plus, corn is a cheap feed as is the remains of their fellow species.  In other words, the cattle industry makes a much higher profit at a faster rate.

What you end up with is a cow who is suffering from anything from bloat to acidosis.  Their stomachs are becoming more acidic due to the starchy corn feed.  What happens then is the bacteria in their stomach becomes acid resistant.  So when we eventually eat this cow’s meat, the bacteria that would normally be killed off by our own stomach acids isn’t killed at all.  Hence the E-Coli outbreaks we’ve all heard about.  This spreads very easily when you consider the living conditions of these animals.  Typically, they are overcrowded facilities in which the animals are standing ankle deep in feces.  Yeah…not pretty.

Feeding cows the remains of other cows also yields a problem.  This is helps to spread that lovely little disease known as Mad Cow Disease or Encephalopathy.  The USDA knows of these practices, but has yet to put a strict ban on them.

Feedlot

There is a solution to these issues.  Grass feeding cattle.  It is practical and natural and will reduce the sicknesses in animals by up to 80%.  Cows would no longer be eating corn which causes the acid resistance.  Therefore, E-Coli would be significantly reduced and the need to pump antibiotics in these animals would be eliminated.  Plus, they wouldn’t eat the remains of other cows so the spread of Mad Cow Disease would also be eradicated.  Seems like a fantastic solution to me!

However, the USDA has deemed it unfeasible.  Why? Grass is a renewable resource.  It’s easy to grow.  You can reduce any harm on the environment with cattle rotation (which simulates the way Bison would have roamed years ago). The meat is higher in Omega-3 fats and is more lean than corn fed beef.  Seems feasible to me.

If you want to find grass fed beef in your area, I highly recommend it.  Make sure you read the labels carefully.  You can contact local farmers directly or visit your local farmers market or natural food store.  It may be more expensive, but it tastes good and you’re not filling your body with unhealthy fats, antibiotics and potentially dangerous viruses.
I am posting my full paper online, for more sources check out Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen and Food Matters by Mark Bittman.

What are you thankful for?

This year and every year, I’m thankful for my loving family. I’m grateful to have a bounty of good food to eat and people to share it with. I’m thankful for my new husband and our dog. I’m happy to have a safe place to live. I’m blessed to be going to a nice college and getting good grades. My brother is away for the holidays, but he’s missed and I wish he could be here to celebrate with us.

No health tips today! Instead, readers go ahead and list anything your thankful for this year!

Mango Champagne Spritzers

Not necessarily a “healthy” beverage, but certainly not one that you will be kicking yourself for drinking later.  These are delicious and extremely easy to make.  I’m posting a non-alcoholic spritzer as well.  The sorbet is healthier than ice cream, so that takes away a little bit of the guilt.  These are a BIG hit during the holidays! Just don’t drink a bazillion of these!

Mango Champagne Spritzer

Mango Champagne Spritzer

Mango Champagne Spritzers

Glass of champagne

Haggen Daas Mango Sorbet

OR

Haggen Daas Raspberry Sorbet

Add one scoop to your glass and poor champagne over top.  Delicious!!

Sweet Sorbet Spritzer

Sweet Sorbet Spritzer
SERVES 4

1 cup canned mango nectar, chilled
1 pint mango sorbet
1 pint strawberry sorbet
2 cups ginger ale, chilled

1 Divide mango nectar among 4 chilled glasses.
2 Scoop sorbets into glasses.
3 Slowly pour ginger ale over sorbets.
4 Drink immediately.

Thanks Sandra Lee for this recipe!