Moving Forward, Scaling Back

Susanna DeRocco
It’s hard to believe that our ‘Spring Challenge’ has wrapped up and we have landed smack-dab in the middle of the summer! The focus of this challenge was to make planning, eating real food and regular physical activity an integral part of our lives.  Identifying how certain foods may make us feel, practicing self-care and self- compassion while working toward our fitness goals was also top priority.
Though weight loss is an important step on the path towards optimum health, it is only one measure used to gauge overall health (and not always an accurate one–think of  ‘thin’ people you know who may not have the best health behaviors–they are losing out in the long run!).   Gaining strength, energy and making small changes that add up to overall improvements in health and well-being are  what we are after!  Sometimes being preoccupied with a number on the scale actually gets in the way of better health!  In my 20′s the number on the scale could make or break my day.  A pound in either direction could easily shift my daily outlook.  What a waste of energy!  Focus on other factors–how you feel, how your clothes fit, your energy level and digestive health.  If you must weigh yourself, keep it to the same time of day, one time per week.  I no longer own a scale and check in at the gym when I feel I need to, but most of the time I know when I need to make a shift in my exercise or eating habits.   The last thing we want is for anyone to focus so much on the scale number that they forget to recognize the very important changes that they have made along the way.   Take a moment to focus on the healthy lifestyle changes you have made!  You don’t have to lose weight to see benefits! Here are a few:
Eating more real, whole foods.  You are making healthy meals, snacks and treats, eating breakfast, keeping healthy snacks on hand and trying to incorporate vegetables into all three meals.  Incorporating more vegetables and colors into your day means more antioxidants.  More antioxidants means less inflammation, which is the calling card for disease.
Becoming more mindful of what, when and where you are eating.
You are reading ingredient labels. You are creating arsenals of healthy snacks at work. Stress eater? Comfort eater?  Eating in the car?  Take the time to savor and enjoy the healthy food you have worked hard to plan and create!
Eliminating those afternoon/evening sugar cravings. Eliminating refined sugar and reducing the overall sugar in our diets can seem daunting–I can tell that you have felt a difference in your energy levels when the excess sugar has been reduced or eliminated.
Planning- You are looking for AND SHARING healthy recipes, making lists (checking them twice) and sticking to them!  You have snacks at work, you are prepping snacks, you are bringing Nutri-bullets to the beach, you are running down Coastal Highway while on vacation.  You are looking up menus for restaurants and planning meals in advance.  Keep up the planning!  Even if we have to make a shift, the shift will come more easily if you are used to planning.
Going food shopping and preparing quick, simple, and fresh meals–Regardless if you are beginning to cook or comfortable in the kitchen, you have all made incredible steps here.  Keep the momentum going by trying one new, simple recipe per week. The more you can prepare your own food, the better!
Making Choices!  Guess what? We can’t have it all.  And you didn’t. If we want to meet our fitness goals and truly make nourishing ourselves healthfully a way of life, we need to make decisions.  Plan for your treats (notice I didn’t say ‘cheat’). If you really want that cocktail, bypass dessert. If this dessert is something you’ve looked forward to all summer, bypass the cocktails. Choose and plan for your meals and snacks. Each meal/snack is a new opportunity to make a choice.  If you were not happy with your choice at one meal, make choices you will feel good about for the next one!
Keeping a journal. Try to keep this up.  It allows you to see first-hand where you may be struggling, how different foods impact your energy and mood, and really how much or little you are eating.
Drinking more water. You are water-drinking fools! Remember that even being a little dehydrated effects your metabolism and does not allow you to burn calories as efficiently! Being adequately hydrated reduces cravings and helps your body perform on many levels!
Setting goals. Stick with this. Try creating a few goals unrelated to the scale.  For example, count how many push-ups, burpees, squat-jumps,etc. you can do in one minute.  The next time we do an exercise in class, try to beat your number!  Are you doing push-ups on your knees or not lowering all the way down?  Try a few full push-ups. Create a goal (I will do three full push-ups) and work toward that.  Keep on making (and revamping, if necessary) your short and long-term goals.
Calling on your tribe.  We have a great tribe of women here to support us!  During the summer we are often surrounded by friends/family; some of whom may not be as supportive.  They may view our healthy eating habits or our choice to exercise on vacation as being  ‘party-poopers.’  Remember, you are making these changes for you, not for anyone else. If your husband wants to go out for ice-cream you do not have to it eat it! If your mother insists that you eat another brownie,  you do not have to have it!  Create social opportunities that revolve around activity–even on vacation! Yes, it is difficult when the people around you are not supportive, so find a tribe of people who are and do not let anyone stop you from your own, personal journey!
Compassionate self-care.  Talking to yourself differently, moving on from a choice you were not happy with and not throwing in the towel based on one decision. Keep practicing.  We can never be kind enough to ourselves.
 
Think back to four (or maybe eight)  weeks ago–many of these things may have felt foreign to you!  Look at how much you have learned and accomplished! All of these little things add up to a healthier way of being.  Little things that you can continue to do for yourself throughout the following weeks until they become habits.   You are not a number on the scale; you are interesting, dynamic, inspiring women!  Remember the bigger picture!

Fueling yourself well and exercising regularly will:
Keep your stress hormones in check!
Help regulate mood!
Help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol!
Prevent/manage health concerns like type II diabetes, stroke, depression & arthritis!
Promotes better sleep & helps with weight loss and increases in energy!
Take time to really reflect. What about this challenge worked for you? What did not work for you? What can you sustain and where do you need additional support?
Every single day you get another chance to make a change.  You get to decide where you will make that change and how you will implement it.  Will you make your breakfast the night before to insure you don’t skip it and head to the drive-thru?  Will you go to bed a little earlier to get seven hours of sleep?  Will you try full push-ups to increase your strength?  Will you suggest meeting friends to do something active instead of for a cocktail?

 Will you leave the cheese off of your sandwich since you really can’t taste it anyway?  Small things, right?  Trust me. They. Add. Up.
Think of one change you made and how it has impacted your goals.  Would you have been able to do x, y, or z if you had not made that change? Think about it.  Maybe you did not lose any weight but you worked out on your vacation for the first time?  Maybe you maintained your weight on vacation and felt good about the balance you created with treats? Maybe you cooked a meal from scratch for the first time? Maybe you have added another exercise day into your schedule? Maybe your food choices and exercise choices enabled you to manage the stress of summer schedules? Every little bit helps. Small changes absolutely make a difference–they are the building blocks of creating healthy habits.  When planning or exercising or cooking or any one of these things becomes a habit, you are setting yourself up for a life-time of well-being. Being fit is not about the number on the scale.  It is not about deprivation or even ‘getting back to’ a certain preconceived size. Fitness means making a commitment to yourself each day. Believing that you are worth putting yourself first and valuing your health enough to make time to exercise and eat to nourish and fuel your bodies.  You are worth it!
Now, what are you doing every day to reach your goal?  We want to know!

 

Eat This….Not That

Awhile back I copied a quote “Eat to live, not live to eat!” I share it again while we work through this healthy eating challenge to also challenge you to change your thinking. Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, why not try to focus on all the great things you can eat while feeling and looking great! Whether you are participating fully in the challenge or want to start living healthier by making small changes….check out the list below of healthier substitutions for some common foods we all crave. I’m not saying to never enjoy an indulgence from time to time, but if have particular triggers (foods you can’t stop eating with one serving), try some of the foods below to stay in moderation and reach the goal you are working towards.

 

I’ll start with my trigger which is peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter…any type really!

*Peanut butter- replace with PB2 I don’t eat it straight out of the jar, but I add to smooties, yogurt, and Susanna’s muffin in a mug.

*Ice Cream- replace with smoothies- just saw these on Self.com:

Chocolate Banana Smoothie- blend all ingredients in blender

choc smothie

1/2 avocado (or less)

2 T dark cacao powder

1 frozen banana

1/4 cup plain non fat greek yogurt or use soy for non dairy

2 T almond milk (or more to make less thick)

 

Tropical Green Smoothie- tastes like a green pina colada

greensmoothie-14

1 C spinach

1 C frozen pineapple

1 C frozen mango

1 med banana

1 C almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

tsp Stevia (optional)

 

*Take out pizza- replace with quick homemade pizza

1 flax/oatbran wrap, flatbread or Lavash bread- sometimes in lunchmeat section, or bread aisle

olive oil and minced garlic (mix together) 1 T olive oil w/1 tsp garlic

handful light mozzarella and light ricotta

sliced tomatoes

oregano

Fold the wrap in half to make thick crust. Baste the wrap with the olive oil and garlic mix. Top with the cheeses, tomato and oregano. Bake in 350 oven until cheese melted and crust is browned. Can dip into tomato sauce too. (Purchase brand with ingredients that include olive oil, spices, tomato puree.

 

*Salty craving (chips)- replace with air popped popcorn sprinkled with low sodium old bay, parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes w/ sea salt for a buttery like taste or steamed edamame with sea salt

*High fat Cheese and wine- replace with Laughing Cow wedge with a Wasa brand  cracker or Carr’s table water cracker AND add seltzer water to your wine to make a wine spritzer. You can consume two drinks for the calories of  almost one.

*Cookies, Cake, brownies- replace with a Quest Bar your choice of craving flavor. I buy at Vitamin Shop or online. These are not to eat everyday, or as a meal substitute, but they are great to satisfy a craving you can’t get past! (think pms time)

*High sugar, high carb breakfast cereal- replace with peanut butter banana overnight oatmeal

oatmeal

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond mild

1 T chia seeds or ground flax

1/2 ripe banana

2T PB2

Mix ingredients together in small pint glass jar and place in fridge overnight. Stir in am and add more almond milk if too thick. This would be great as a dessert or snack as well!

We all have temptations and cravings, parties to attend, weddings, vacations….etc, etc. There will always be something most weeks that will interfere with strict, clean eating, but having a list of easy, quick substitutions on hand will help you stay on track most of the time. Staying on track MOST (85-90%)of the time, while  exercising regularly, is enough to reach and maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. Do you have a healthy substitution you would like to share? Please add it to the comment section below so we can help each other feel and look our best without depriving ourselves of the foods we love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Challenge! Week 3 Reipes

5 Ingredient Grilled Shrimp

 

grilledshrimp

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail intact
1/4 cup olive oil, I use extra virgin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large garlic clove, minced (or 2 small)
juice of 1 lemon
Method

Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a shallow bowl. Be sure to crush dried oregano in your fingers to release extra flavor. Mix well.
Add shrimp, tossing to coat. Allow to stand 5 minutes.
Heat an oil grill so shrimp do not stick.

Grill 1 ½  minutes per side until opaque. Watch closely!

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

sweetpotatoburgers

 

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped (can use bag of microwaveable sweet potatoes)
1-1 1/2 cups oats (depending on the size of your sweet potato)
2 green onions chopped fine
2 tsp onion powder

2 cloves/garlic

1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T nutritional yeast, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the sweet potato until tender. Mash the cooked sweet potato.  Add the oats and stir in the seasonings.  Form the mixture into patties.  Line or grease a baking sheet with a bit of oil and put the patties on it.  Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the burgers are a bit crispy on the outside.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Frittata

zucchinifritatta

 

Ingredients

2 T  olive oil

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh corn kernels

Coarse salt

8 large eggs

 

Method

Heat broiler. In medium ovenproof skillet (cast iron pan works well), heat oil over medium heat and cook onion, stirring until tender, @ 5 minutes.

Add zucchini and corn and cook until tender.

In a bowl, whisk eggs with ½ tsp salt and pour into skillet with vegetables.  Cook until sides are just beginning to set, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven and broil until just set in the middle and lightly golden @ 2-3 minutes.

 

Wasabi Glazed Salmon

wasabisalmon

 

Ingredients

4 (4-5oz) pieces of salmon

Juice of 1 lemon

11/2 T olive oil

2 T soy sauce

2 tsp wasabi (can use regular wasabi or buy powder to make paste)

 

Method

Clean and oil grill grates, preheat on high.

Place salmon skin side down in shallow bowl

Cover with lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce.
Smear a little bit of wasabi on each piece of salmon.

 

Grill on high heat 7-10 minutes (you do not have to flip the salmon).  Salmon is finished when the skin just begins to separate from the flesh, it flakes easily when poked with a fork, the filet feels slightly firm and spongy, the filet looks opaque.

 

Crock Pot Honey Soy Chicken

crockpothoneychicken

 

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 boneless chicken breasts

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

¼ cup dry white wine

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup chopped green onions

2 T honey (reserved)

 

Place olive oil and garlic on bottom of crock pot; cover with chicken breasts.

Combine next four ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 4 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker and brush with honey.  Top with slow cooker sauce.

 

This is a great meal when you are pressed for time; the vinaigrette comes together easily and you can pick up a rotisserie chicken at just about any grocery store these days.  You can get the greens and peaches from your local farmers’market; stone fruits like plums and nectarines are a great substitute.  Eliminate the chicken for your vegetarian eaters.

 

Roast Chicken Salad w/Peaches & Pecans

Ingredients

peachpecanchickien

Salad

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken .

2-3 heads chopped romaine lettuce (you can add some chopped red cabbage, mix in some spinach, arugula or some mesculun greens—all nice)

2 cups sliced, peeled peaches (about 3 peaches—can use nectarines, plums or grapes, whatever is in season)

½ cup toasted pecans (toast raw pecans in a pan on the stovetop @ 5 minutes on medium heat)

 

Vinaigrette (or dressing of choice)

5 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

3 Tablespoons good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons minced shallot

1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 Tablespoons real maple syrup

1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Method

Whisk together all 8 ingredients for Vinaigrette

**Combine chicken and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve individually and add vinaigrette to taste or pour half of the vinaigrette over the entire salad and serve remaining vinaigrette on the side.

 

**I often put the individual ingredients in separate bowls and let people help themselves accordingly.  Serving the vinaigrette on the side also allows for individual taste preferences.

Spring Challenge! Week 2 Recipes

proteinpancakes1

Protein Powder Pancakes

Ingredients

4 eggs

½ cup rolled oats

1 scoop protein powder

½ cup water reserved (can use unsweetened almond milk)

Fruit of choice (berries, bananas, nectarines, etc)

 

Mix together and let sit overnight. When ready to make, add water/almond milk as needed to loosen batter.

 

Caramelized-Onion-White-Bean-Dip1

Caramelized Onion & Cannellini Bean Dip

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 sweet onion (like Vidalia) sliced

1 sprig fresh rosemary

15oz can/box cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Ground pepper/cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and rosemary sprig; sauté until onions are very soft or caramelized (10-15 minutes). Remove rosemary.

Blend onion and other ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

 

greek chicken

Greek Chicken

Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts, cut into1 inch pieces

Juice of 2 lemons

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt/pepper to taste

 

In large bowl or Ziploc, mix together everything but the chicken. Add chicken & marinate over night or all day (I have done this with only an hour to marinate & it is fine)

 

*To turn this into a salad:

 

Salad (really you can add as many or as little vegetables as you like, barring the olives)

2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped (can add some other greens, too)

¼ cup Kalamata olives (pitted, cut)

2 T red onion, (sometimes I dice a shallot and put it directly into the dressing instead)

1 cucumber, diced

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

 

Dressing

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 cup (good) olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

salt/pepper to taste

 

*You can make the dressing ahead of time and keep in the fridge. Just take out a few minutes before so the olive oil can de-coagulate. It can last up to a week in your fridge—use it on salads, veggies, sandwiches, etc.

 

black-bean-burgers

Quick and Easy Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients

15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp yellow mustard

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

⅓ cup instant oats

 

Method

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside. Add condiments of choice and serve with vegetables or corn on the cob and a side salad.

 

vegetable stiry fry

Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashews

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 cup carrots, (thin coins or matchstick size)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (check the label: no more than 2 grams sugar per serving) or soy/tamari sauce
2 cups sliced bok choy
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup snow peas
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup cashews
Method

Start by preparing and cutting all the vegetables and measuring your ingredients so that they are ready to go. You can chop the day before and store in the fridge. Once you begin stir-frying, it goes very quickly!

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the peppers and onion while stirring constantly. While continuing to stir, add successively the, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and teriyaki sauce. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy, pepper, and salt and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more.

Stir in snow peas and sesame oil and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
Salsa-Chicken2-500x300

Crockpot Salsa Chicken Salad

2 pounds chicken breast

2 jar salsa (your choice)

1 can black beans

1 can corn (optional)

Pour one jar salsa in bottom of crock pot, add black beans and place chicken breasts on top. Pour another jar salsa on top. Cook on low for 6 or 7hours. Shred the chicken with a fork and mix everything together in the crock pot. Serve over green salad with additional ingredients using sauce as dressing.

Salad

Chopped Romaine

Corn

1 Avocado (1/4 avocado per serving)

Grape tomatoes

Cilantro (if you like), chopped

Lime

 

10333394_10152474000654750_3631938399350594716_o

Cannellini Bean Marinara w/Shrimp, Artichoke Hearts, Spinach & Garlic

Ingredients

1 can/jar artichoke hearts in water (drained, save water)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can/box cannellini beans

1 box/can chopped tomatoes

1lb frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted

1/2-1 small box container spinach or other greens (it wilts, so add as much as you like)

red pepper flakes to taste

salt/pepper to taste

 

Method

Pour 2 T of artichoke water into a pan on stove top on medium-high heat

Add chopped garlic and cook for @ 2 minutes

Add 2 T more artichoke water and mix in beans, tomatoes artichoke hearts and shrimp, heat through

If pan seems to be getting dry, add rest of artichoke water

Add spinach until desired wilty-ness

Remove from heat.  Season w/red pepper flakes, salt & pepper (if needed)

 

halibut_170

Halibut over Spinach

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, smashed and cut in half

10 ounces baby spinach (I small bag/box—use the entire thing!)

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for rubbing

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

4 4-ouncehalibut fillets, skin removed (can use any mild white fish like cod, sole, etc.)

1 lemon cut into 8 slices
Method

Heat the oven to 450° F. Rub a sheet pan with the cut side of the garlic (can save garlic and chop if you like). In a large bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and spread evenly on the sheet pan. Season the halibut with the remaining teaspoon of salt and rub with a thin coat of oil. Place on top of the spinach and top each fillet with 2 lemon slices. Bake until the halibut flakes easily, 7-8 minutes.

 

quinoa grape 

Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Grapes and Almonds

Serves 4 to 6 people

 

Ingredients

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/3 cup quinoa

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 ½ tablespoons good olive oil

1 medium shallot, diced (or about 1 T)

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 1/2 cup green or red grapes, quartered

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

 

Method

Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Bring 2 cups stock to a boil. Stir in quinoa and a pinch of salt then reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and set aside to let cool.

 

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper and shallot. Slowly add the oil, whisking well. Add quinoa and toss to combine. Add chicken, grapes and almonds and toss again. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Spring Challenge! Week 1 Recipes

spinachstrawberrysalad

 

Spinach and Strawberry Salad (thanks Jen G.!)

Ingredients

Dressing

2T balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 T extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

6 cup spinach (can add arugula/Romaine if you like)

1 pint fresh strawberries sliced

1/4 cup walnut or almond pieces (lightly toasted)

 

Method

Prepare dressing by whisking balsamic vinegar and mustard together. Slowly whisk in  olive oil until well combined. Combine the salad ingredients and pour dressing over the salad. Toss well to combine- enjoy!! Add any lean protein of your choice to make this salad a meal!  Leftovers (salmon, chicken, shrimp) are a great addition.

bbqpulledchicken

BBQ Pulled Chicken

4 chicken breasts

1 red onion, quartered and then cut in half

1 container low sugar, few ingredient BBQ sauce (Stubbs is one I have used—can certainly use home-made, but this is designed for a quick, easy night)

Place chicken and onions in crock pot.  Pour BBQ sauce over top.  Cook on high 4 hours.

coconutrice

Coconut Rice

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil

*1½ cups uncooked long grain brown rice, rinsed (I use brown basmati rice)

1 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)

1½ cups water

1 cup canned unsweetened light coconut milk

 

Method

Rinse rice. Drizzle the oil in a 1 qt. saucepan and swirl it around until it coats the surface of the pan. Turn burner on high eat and heat until pan is hot.

Add the rice to the hot oil and stir it around until there is a ‘toasted rice’ aroma. Stir in the salt.

Slowly and carefully add the water and coconut milk (it will splatter b/c the pan and ingredients are so hot). Bring to a boil. Stir; reduce heat to low and simmer covered for @ 17 minutes. (Do not stir again).

Remove saucepan from heat. Fluff the rice with a fork. Let stand, covered, for @ 10 minutes before serving.

 

quinoa

 

Easy Quinoa

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

roasted/grilled vegetables (preferably leftovers!)

Chopped spinach

 

Method

Warm oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent @ 3-4 minutes.

Add quinoa, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add stock; cover and simmer 20 minutes (or according to package directions).  Remove from heat; let sit 5 minutes.

Fluff with fork and add vegetables and spinach.

zucchinipasta

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

Adapted from Skinnytaste.com
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 T olive oil

pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 lb peeled and de-veined shrimp

6 cloves garlic, sliced thin and divided

4 medium zucchini, peeled thin with a julienne or regular peeler or spiral cut w/spiralizer

pinch salt and fresh black pepper

1 lemon

1 cup halved grape tomatoes
Method
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 T of the oil and crush red pepper flakes, add the shrimp and season with pinch salt and pepper; cook 2-3 minutes. Add half of the garlic and continue cooking 1 more minute, or until the shrimp is cooked through and opaque. Set aside on a dish.
Add the remaining 1T oil and garlic to the pan, cook 30 seconds then add the zucchini noodles and cook 1 1/2 minutes. Add the shrimp and tomatoes to the pan and squeeze the lemon over the dish. Remove from heat and serve.

 

zucchiniedamameavocado

Zucchini Salad with Avocado and Edamame

Ingredients
1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed off
1/2 lemon
1/2 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt & pepper to taste
2 oz diced avocado (1/2 medium haas)
1/3 cup shelled cooked edamame (can follow directions on bag of frozen)
1 basil leaf, minced
1 tsp minced chive

Method
Use a vegetable peeler (or julienne peeler or spiralizer) and cut the zucchini into thin spaghetti-like strands or thin strips. Trim the strands into bite size lengths, about 8 inches long and place it in a large work bowl. Drizzle the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss.

Dice the avocado into small pieces and add to the bowl along with the edamame, basil and chives. Serve right away and enjoy!

tunawasabi

Tuna with Wasabi (can also use Salmon)

1 ½ lb tuna steaks (or salmon)

2 T soy sauce (tamari-gluten free)

2 T rice vinegar

½ tsp sesame oil

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ cup plain soy yogurt

½ tsp wasabi paste

Mix the soy,vinegar, oil and ginger in a bowl. Add tuna and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes. Mix yogurt and wasabi in bowl and set aside. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and cook tuna for 6 minutes, turning once (medium rare). Serve with wasabi sauce.


asianporknapaslaw

Asian Pork with Napa Slaw (marinate ahead of time)

Pork

2T low sodium soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)

1 T olive oil

1 T sesame oil

1 T rice vinegar

1 clove garlic

1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin

Combine ingredients in large glass bowl/pan or Ziploc bag, cover/seal and refrigerate 8-24 hours

Preheat grill to medium-high heat; grill pork, covered w/grill lid, 20-25 minutes or until done.  Let pork rest 10 minutes before slicing.

mache

Mache Salad with Beets & Pistachios

Ingredients

1 container Mache (can use arugula or Romaine)

1 box steamed, peeled beets (5-6 beets, cut into bite-size pieces)-or canned

2 T shelled pistachios

Dressing

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 T lemon juice

Salt/pepper to taste

3-4 scrapes of onion (scrape on grater and add to dressing)

Method

Mix olive oil, lemon, salt/pepper, & onion in a large bowl

Add mache, beets and pistachios and toss!  Enjoy!

 

tarragonchickensalad

Tarragon Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken

¼ c white wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

2 T fresh Tarragon leaves or 1T dried

Bag of salad greens

Pull chicken off the bone and cut or tear into bit sized pieces. Whisk together vinegar and olive oil in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, celery and tarragon and toss to combine. Serve on a green salad of your choice.

 

Snacks

mugmuffin

Muffin in a Mug

Ingredients

1/4 cup whole ground flaxseed meal (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 large egg white
1 Tbsp 100% real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup.frozen unsweetened blueberries (I like Trader Joe’s Frozen Organic Wild Blueberries)
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Method

Coat inside of an over-sized mug with coconut oil, butter or olive oil spray (I have skipped this step and it is just fine).

Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly in the mug.

Add egg, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon zest and stir until combined

Microwave for 90 seconds.

yogurtprotein

Yogurt Protein Snack

6oz almond milk or soy yogurt

1 T vanilla, strawberry or chocolate protein powder (plant based—whey protein is dairy)

1T nuts

Mix together and enjoy!

Dawn’s Story

 

 

In January, I started doing the spin bootcamp at Fit Mom. The classes were very challenging, but extremely rewarding at the same time. Melanie is a great trainer and really keeps the classes interesting with such variety. Once my session ran out, I knew I needed to keep it up. Four months in, Melanie proposed a nutrition challenge. I was hesitant at first; the thought of altering my diet was scary. However, at the same time, I knew something needed to change; I could not lose weight on my own. I grew up on sugar and have always indulged.

This challenge took me out of my comfort zone. The initial 10 day detox required eliminating dairy, wheat, sugar, alcohol, and processed food. I followed the meal plan and found that I really enjoyed the clean food. In addition, I was not hungry on the plan or bloated anymore. I’m not going to lie, I did cheat occasionally, but this challenge made me take control. I found it very helpful to plan my meals for each day. I wasn’t scrambling at any specific meal time for ideas. I had a plan.

I had immediate results. I lost 6 pounds the first week, and after a month’s time I was down 1o pounds. I felt great and my clothes fit better! By doing this challenge, in conjunction with bootcamp and spin, I am stronger and more confident in my daily routine. Nutrition, meal planning, and a structured exercise program have gotten me back on track. I am so glad that I had this opportunity and am very thankful to Fit Mom/Melanie for helping me accomplish what I was unable to do on my own. My story doesn’t stop here; I need to keep moving forward with all this new knowledge and become even healthier!

Week 4–Now You’re Cooking…Literally!

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Susanna DeRocco

Healthy Bodies, Happy Minds

Now you’re cooking! This is the time to use what you know.  Utilize leftovers to make your life easy!  Take 2-3 recipes and master them; having those 2-3 “go-to” meals saves time and energy and builds confidence in the kitchen!  There are a lot of recipes here; do not feel obligated to use all of them this week. Take the best of what has worked for you these past few weeks and put your mad skillz into action!

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp raw honey

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 breasts), chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)

1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 3/4 cups)

12 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes. Place chicken in a large shallow dish. Pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade and sauté for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add bell peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over brown rice or brown rice noodles for a complete meal.

Spicy Shrimp Soup with Rice Noodles and Greens (15 minutes!)

The trick to this soup is to do a few things simultaneously–defrost the shrimp while bringing the stock to a boil. Chop the leek while soaking the rice noodles. Now you’re getting the hang of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Shrimp Soup is great for sinuses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock,

1 leek, chopped

one package mushrooms

spinach (or bok choy),

dash of soy sauce

1 tsp chili paste

red pepper flake to taste

1 lb frozen shrimp, defrosted

Box of rice noodles

Method

Place stock in a stock pot, bring to a boil; reduce to simmer

While stock is heating, chop leek and soak rice noodles in hot water for 8-10 minutes. ( Can defrost shrimp by placing in a strainer under cold running water at same time)

Add everything else to the simmering stock.

Pour into a bowl and add 6 shrimp and 1/2 cup rice noodles.

Two dinners and one lunch in 15 minutes! Score!

Green Bean, Edamame and Grape Tomato Salad with Shallot Sage Vinaigrette

Ingredients

3lbs. green beans

2 packages shelled edamame

Cherry/grape tomatoes

Salad

Blanche green (about 7 minutes) beans and shock in ice water

Cook edamame per package instructions

Rinse tomatoes

Vinaigrette

½ cup shallot, minced (I have used a little less)

2 Tablespoons sage, minced

2 teaspoons lemon grated peel

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

¾ cup (good) extra virgin olive oil (I have also used less olive oil)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine first 4 ingredients for vinaigrette

Slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture

Season to taste

Combine prepared vegetables and slowly add vinaigrette (add about ¼ cup at a time-I mistakenly added all of the vinaigrette at once the first time I made this and I found it to be too much).

Refrigerate or serve at room temperature

* I have also made this without the green beans!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons raw honey (or regular honey)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (can leave-out/sprinkle on individual plates)

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4), chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (or sliced thinly)

*1 medium yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 small yellow onion

1/2 fresh pineapple cut inot 1-inch cubes (if canned, rinse pineapple first) about 1 3/4 cups

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

* you can add some greens (spinach, broccoli, etc.) instead or in addition

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together first five ingredients (minus the red pepper flakes for sensitive palates).

Place chicken in a large, shallow dish and pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat.  Add chicken and marinade and saute for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Add peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender.  Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over brown rice for a complete meal.  We have also enjoyed adding a handful of cashews!

Recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

- See more at: http://www.healthybodieshappyminds.org/family-friendly-recipes#sthash.5YAt7mzp.dpuf

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons raw honey (or regular honey)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (can leave-out/sprinkle on individual plates)

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4), chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (or sliced thinly)

*1 medium yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 small yellow onion

1/2 fresh pineapple cut inot 1-inch cubes (if canned, rinse pineapple first) about 1 3/4 cups

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

* you can add some greens (spinach, broccoli, etc.) instead or in addition

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together first five ingredients (minus the red pepper flakes for sensitive palates).

Place chicken in a large, shallow dish and pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat.  Add chicken and marinade and saute for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Add peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender.  Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over brown rice for a complete meal.  We have also enjoyed adding a handful of cashews!

Recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

- See more at: http://www.healthybodieshappyminds.org/family-friendly-recipes#sthash.5YAt7mzp.dpuf

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons raw honey (or regular honey)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (can leave-out/sprinkle on individual plates)

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4), chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (or sliced thinly)

*1 medium yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 small yellow onion

1/2 fresh pineapple cut inot 1-inch cubes (if canned, rinse pineapple first) about 1 3/4 cups

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

* you can add some greens (spinach, broccoli, etc.) instead or in addition

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together first five ingredients (minus the red pepper flakes for sensitive palates).

Place chicken in a large, shallow dish and pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat.  Add chicken and marinade and saute for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Add peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender.  Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over brown rice for a complete meal.  We have also enjoyed adding a handful of cashews!

Recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

- See more at: http://www.healthybodieshappyminds.org/family-friendly-recipes#sthash.5YAt7mzp.dpuf

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

 

 

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1-1 1/2 cups oats (depending on the size of your sweet potato)
2 green onions chopped fine
1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp chopped garlic (can be jarred–can use garlic powder in a pinch)

1 T fresh parsley, chopped (I have also used cilantro)
1 T nutritional yeast, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the sweet potato until tender. Mash the cooked sweet potato.  Add the oats and stir in the seasonings.  Form the mixture into patties.  Line or grease a baking sheet with a bit of oil and put the patties on it. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the burgers are a bit crispy on the outside.  Enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons raw honey (or regular honey)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (can leave-out/sprinkle on individual plates)

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4), chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (or sliced thinly)

*1 medium yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 small yellow onion

1/2 fresh pineapple cut inot 1-inch cubes (if canned, rinse pineapple first) about 1 3/4 cups

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

* you can add some greens (spinach, broccoli, etc.) instead or in addition

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together first five ingredients (minus the red pepper flakes for sensitive palates).

Place chicken in a large, shallow dish and pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat.  Add chicken and marinade and saute for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Add peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender.  Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over brown rice for a complete meal.  We have also enjoyed adding a handful of cashews!

Recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

- See more at: http://www.healthybodieshappyminds.org/family-friendly-recipes#sthash.5YAt7mzp.dpuf

 

 

Lemony Shrimp Salad with Couscous(courtesy of Real Simple Magazine July, 2011)

 

 

*If the shrimp sit too long n the lemon juice, they will begin to break down and become mealy.

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

1 cup couscous

1 ½ pounds cooked peeled shrimp (I use frozen)

½ pound snap peas trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

¾ cup torn fresh basil leaves

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and black pepper

 

 

Method

 

 

Place couscous in a large bowl.

Add 1 cup very hot water ¼ teaspoon salt/pepper.Cover and let sit for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, snap peas, basil, scallions, oil, lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste.Serve over couscous.

One Skillet “Spanish” Rice (courtesy of Betsy Moore)

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1lb ground turkey

1 cup brown rice

1 can of tomato sauce

1 can of water/stock

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups of dark leafy greens, cut in thin ribbons (I used swiss chard this time)

Method

Brown ground turkey with onions and green peppers until brown. Add can of tomato sauce plus water. Add brown rice. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about 45 minutes. With a few minutes to go, add the greens. If desired, top w/avocado, scallion, Greek yogurt or Parmesan cheese.Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken (Courtesy of Skinny Ms.)

Ingredients

4-6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 40 ounces)

2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 medium onion thinly sliced (not chopped)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary

1/2 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides.

Pour the olive oil on bottom of slow cooker: add half of the chopped garlic. Place chicken on top of garlic, place sliced onion on top of chicken and add dried herbs and remaining garlic Pour in vinegar and top with tomatoes.

Cook on high 4 hours, serve over brown rice or whole wheat angel hair pasta.

Week 3-Go On With Your Bad Selves!

Grilled Herb Shrimp(courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
Grilled Herb Shrimp
Ingredients
2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 lemon, juiced 

Method

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side. 

*I leave the tails on when I’m peeling the shrimp.

Asian Pork with Napa Slaw (marinate ahead of time)

Pork
2T low sodium soy sauce
1 T olive oil
1 T sesame oil
1 T rice vinegar
1 clove garlic
1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin
Combine ingredients in large glass bowl/pan or Ziploc bag, cover/seal and refrigerate 8-24 hours
Preheat grill to medium-high heat; grill pork, covered w/grill lid, 20-25 minutes or until done.  Let pork rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Slaw
1 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (or @ 3/4 lb)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 shaved carrots
1T low-sodium soy sauce
1T sesame oil
1T rice vinegar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Combine cabbage, onion & carrots in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Add to cabbage and toss to coat. Let flavors marinade for 10 minutes prior to serving.
Springtime Asparagus Soup (Adapted from Whole Foods)
Ingredients
1 T olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (1-pound) bunch asparagus, woody stems snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
*1/3 cup Greek yogurt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Method

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes; season with a pinch of salt. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add asparagus and simmer gently until potatoes and asparagus are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside to let cool slightly.

Use immersion blender (or carefully transfer soup to blender in batches) and purée until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, (*whisk in Greek yogurt if using) and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chives and serve.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad (thanks Jen G.!)
Ingredients
Dressing
2T balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 cup spinach (can add arugula/Romaine if you like)
1 pint fresh strawberries sliced
1/4 cup walnut or almond pieces (lightly toasted)
Method
Prepare dressing by whisking balsamic vinegar and mustard together. Slowly whisk in  the olive oil until well combined. Combine the salad ingredients and pour dressing over the salad. Toss well to combine- enjoy!! Add any lean protein of your choice to make this salad a meal!  Leftovers (salmon, chicken, shrimp) are a great addition.

Curried Chickpea Salad (adapted from the LA Times)

Ingredients

2 cans Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well and drained
1T olive oil
1-2 small onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored/seeded/diced

2  tsp. mild curry powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2-4 T chopped cilantro
1-2 T lime juice (can also use lemon–plus more to brighten the flavor when serving if desired)
sea salt to taste

Method
Drain and rinse chickpeas well.
Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large saute pan, add the onion, and saute until translucent.  Add peppers & stir frequently for @ 5 minutes until peppers are soft.  Stir in the  curry and cayenne & cook 2-3 minutes more.
Add the drained chickpeas and cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring so the spices and onions are well-distributed in the chickpeas.  Then stir in chopped cilantro and lemon juice and cook 3-4 minutes more.  Turn off heat and season to taste with sea salt.
Serve cold or at room temperature
* Add wilted greens if you like!

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

mashed-cauliflowr-recipe-7223.jpg

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons milk of choice (can be almond–just not vanilla!)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
freshly ground black pepper
snipped chives

Method

Separate the cauliflower into florets and chop the core finely. 

Bring about 1 cup of water to a simmer in a pot, then add the cauliflower. Cover and turn the heat to medium. Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender.

Drain and discard all of the water (the drier the cauliflower is, the better) and add the milk, butter, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper and mash with a masher until it looks like “mashed potatoes.” Top with chives.

 

Biggest Loser Turkey Meatloaf is here!

Hoisin Glazed Salmon is here!

Feel free to use any of the recipes from weeks 1-3 as they suit your schedule!

Week 2 Meals–You’re doing it!

Quick and Easy Black Bean Burgers (courtesy of Happy Herbivore)

Ingredients

15 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp yellow mustard

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/3 cup rolled or instant oats

Method

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside.

Greek Salad w/Grillled Chicken

Marinade

*Cut chicken breast into 1-inch pieces (use 4-6 whole breasts) *You can marinate the chicken breasts whole, as well. It is much easier but will not be as flavorful

Juice of 2 lemons

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper

Marinate as long as overnight/all day or as little as 1/2 hour

Grill chicken or bake

Salad

Romaine lettuce

Cucumber (1 choppped)

Tomatoes (can use grape tomatoes & cut in half)

Kalamata olives (3-4 per person, pitted & sliced)

Feta cheese (optional–if using think of it as a ‘garnish’)

Red onion, chopped (I often dice a shallot and add it directly to the dressing instead)

Dressing

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 cup (good) olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

salt/pepper to taste

Slow Cooker Salmon with Shallot & Green Beans

Ingredients

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

3 sprigs tarragon, plus 1 teaspoon minced tarragon leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4-6 ( 5-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

1 pound haricots verts (thin French green beans), trimmed

1 1/2 T olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar (may substitute white wine vinegar)

Method

Combine the water, broth, wine, onion, tarragon sprigs and salt in the slow cooker. Season with pepper to taste. Stir, then cover and cook on LOW for 30 minutes.

Add the salmon fillets. Cover and cook on LOW for 1 hour or until the fish is opaque and tender. Transfer the fish to a platter, discarding the skin. Cover loosely to keep warm. Discard the braising liquid and tarragon sprigs.

While the salmon is cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the green beans and cook (blanch) for about 4 minutes, until crisp-tender. Immediately pour into a colander in the sink and rinse well under cool running water.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and stir to coat; cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the beans and stir to coat and warm through, then add the vinegar and minced tarragon, tossing to incorporate.

Scatter the dressed haricots verts and shallot over and around the salmon fillets. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cannellini Bean Marinara w/Shrimp, Artichoke Hearts, Spinach & Garlic

Ingredients

1 can/jar artichoke hearts in water (drained, save water)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can/box cannellini beans

1 box/can chopped tomatoes

1lb frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted

1/2-1 small box container spinach (it wilts, so add as much as you like)

red pepper flakes to taste

salt/pepper to taste

Method

Pour 2 T of artichoke water into a pan on stove top on medium-high heat

Add chopped garlic and cook for @ 2 minutes

Add 2 T more artichoke water and mix in beans, tomatoes artichoke hearts and shrimp, heat through

If pan seems to be getting dry, add rest of artichoke water

Add spinach until desired wilty-ness

Remove from heat.  Season w/red pepper flakes, salt & pepper (if needed)

Serve up a bowl and enjoy!

Rotisserie Chicken Cucumber Roll-ups

These taste great even without all of the ingredients.  Don’t eat meat?  Leave out the chicken! No dairy?  Leave out the cheese!  You can leave both chicken and cheese out and they are still super tasty.

Ingredients

1-2 English cucumbers

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1 very ripe avocado, mashed

1/3 cup diced sundried tomato

3 oz. goat cheese

S&P to taste

Method

Mash the avocado with shredded chicken. Dice sundried tomatoes and add to chicken mixture. Add additional seasonings if you wish.

Cut a cucumber in half. Peel each of the halves of the cucumber lengthwise with a potato peeler. Discard the first couple of peels as it will be all green or not wide enough.

Salsa Chicken (in crock pot)

2 pounds chicken breast

2 jar salsa (your choice)

1 can black beans

1 can corn (optional)

Pour one jar salsa in bottom of crock pot, add black beans and place chicken breasts on top. Pour another jar salsa on top. Cook on low for 6 or 7hours. Shred the chicken with a fork and mix everything together in the crock pot. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

You can find the Frittata (again, cheese is optional), Lentil Stew, and Buffalo Chopped Chicken Salad here

Smooth Moves!

Susanna DeRocco, Healthy Bodies, Happy Minds

Smoothies are a great way to get all sorts of fruits and vegetables into your day without much effort.  I have my blender on the counter, combine any dry ingredients the night before and have a nice travel tumbler with a straw to make my breakfast portable.  I have to admit, it took me a awhile to get used to having three drinks for breakfast (water, coffee, smoothie) but I noticed I felt much more energetic and was full almost until lunch time (particularly with the Berry Power Protein Smoothie).

Banana Raspberry  Whole-Food Protein Smoothie

1 cup water

½ cup spinach

1 banana(frozen is fine)

1 cup frozen raspberries

1 T almond butter (just almonds)

1T flax meal

2-3 ice cubes (optional)

Combine as listed in a high speed blender; blend until smooth & enjoy!

Creamy Green Smoothie

1 cup water

handful of raw baby spinach

1 T almond butter (just almonds)

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 avocado

1 T flax meal

2-3 ice cubes

Combine as listed in a high speed blender; blend until smooth & enjoy!

Whole-Food Protein Smoothie II

1 cup mixed frozen berries (blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries–whatever you like)

1/2 ripe banana

1 T almond butter

1 T pumpkin seeds

1T chia seeds

1 T hemp seeds (can use hemp hearts or protein powder)

1/4 avocado

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

3-5 ice cubes

Combine as listed in a high speed blender; blend until smooth & enjoy!

Berry Power Protein Smoothie (contains whole-foods based protein powder)

1 cup water

1 cup greens (spinach or baby greens mixture)

1/4 cup frozen cherries

1/2- 1 cup frozen raspberries

5 strawberries (can be frozen)

1 T chia seeds

1 T cocoa powder

1 T oat bran

1 T hemp powder (or hemp hearts or hemp seeds)

1 T vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I use Garden of Life Raw-dairy & gluten free)

Combine as listed in a high speed blender; blend until smooth & enjoy!