Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cottage Cheese & Berry Compote

Cottage Cheese Berry Compote

Heaven in my mouth! This recipe is soo good and surprisingly really easy to make. This is a high-protein, low-fat dish that will keep you fuller, longer. We’re using frozen mixed berries, which makes this a convenient breakfast, snack or dessert to make when in a hurry. Sweetened with Splenda, the berry compote goes so well with the cheese; it almost reminds me of candy!

Estimated Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Fat Free Cottage Cheese: 3/4 cup
  • Frozen Mixed Berries: 1/2 cup
  • Splenda: 1 single-serving packet (1 tsp)

Place the frozen mixed berries in a bowl and microwave for 1.5 minutes, or until the frozen berries become warm and juicy. Mix in the Splenda and simply pour the compote over your bowl of cottage cheese. That’s it! Delish!

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 2 points

Asian Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Asian Shrimp Avocado Salad

Here’s another super easy, quick lunch or dinner idea. Mmm avocado, shrimp, bell peppers, crunchy cabbage, green onions, sesame dressing…This Asian shrimp salad is great at home or packed in a to-go container for lunch the next day. I found this delicious Asian Sesame Dressing at Safeway that’s so tasty (boyfriend approved) and naturally low in fat and calories. I’d highly recommend it! Shrimp is such a steal in terms of high protein and low fat content, and avocado is a wonderful compliment.

Estimated time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Raw coleslaw mix: 1.5 cups
  • Chopped Romaine Lettuce: 1.5 cups
  • Chopped Red Bell Peppers: 1/2 cup
  • Raw Shrimp: 10 medium pieces
  • Sliced Avocado: 1/4 medium
  • Chopped Green Onion: 2 tbsp
  • Open Nature Dressing- Asian Sesame Ginger: 2 tbsp

If using fresh shrimp, boil about 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add raw shrimp to the boiling water and cook until the shrimp is pink (about 5 minutes).  Drain and set aside. Of course, you can always use ready-cooked shrimp instead. Mix romaine lettuce with raw coleslaw mix and place into bowl or to-go container. Top the bed of greens with the chopped bell peppers, cooked shrimp and sliced avocado. Toss with the dressing and enjoy.

Tofu Skin & Vegetable Stir Fry

Tofu Skin Stir Fry

In case you were wondering where it was, here’s my Asian authenticity comin’ right at ya: bean curd. Bean curd, also known as tofu skin, tofu curd or yerba has an almost egg-y flavor and comes from the same soy bean family as tofu. Like tofu, it’s high in protein and low in fat. Bean curd is often sold in Asian grocery stores (or Chinatown) and the dried stalks come in a package that you can keep in the cupboard. To use, just soak in water. It will take about an hour (some say a whole day but wait ’til you see my trix) for the tofu skin to soften, after which it cooks up in no time.

If you’re still skeptical of the curd, you can substitute it with regular tofu. Or, substitute with chicken, beef, pork or seafood. Either way, still super nomz.

Estimated Time: 45 minutes to rehydrate; 15 minutes to actually cook

Ingredients (serves 4):

About an hour before you want to start cooking you’ll want to rehydrate the tofu skin: fill a large, microwavable mixing bowl with water and place dried tofu skin in water. Cover with a large plate or plastic wrap and microwave for about 5 minutes. You want the water to get real hot. Let this sit (with the cover on top) for about 30-45 minutes. The steam from the bowl will slowly rehydrate the skins into tender, softened pieces. They say you need to do this at least 8 hours in advance, but I’ve found this method to work pretty well. If you plan to use dried shitake mushrooms, just let those sit in a cup of water for about 10 minutes; that’s all it takes to rehydrate those.  Otherwise, canned shitake mushrooms work too.

Once the tofu skin is soft and spongy, you can begin cooking. First, chop the garlic and trim the green bean ends. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and water together to create a marinade. Spray a large cooking pan or wok with cooking spray and begin cooking the garlic and green beans on medium/high heat. After about 1 minute, add in half of the marinade mixture to the pan. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes and then add in the broccoli and hydrated shitake mushrooms. If you haven’t already done so, drain the tofu skin and chop into small bite-size pieces. Finally, add the tofu skin pieces and second half of the marinade into the stirfry. Continue to cook on low for about 5 more minutes or until the broccoli is cooked and the marinade has made its way across the entire stir fry. This recipe may sound tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy; feel free to comment and ask any questions.

Serve alone or with a side or white rice, brown rice or quinoa.

Weight Watcher Points Plus: 3 points per serving

 

 

Running Up San Francisco’s Hills

Running San Francisco's Hills

THE DAUNTING CLIMB

Running San Francisco's Hills

THE BEAUTIFUL REWARD

Some people love running up ’em, while I personally do not. I’m being totally honest when I tell you that running uphill is my least favorite part of the run. Yet oddly enough, I love love LOVE hiking uphill. And by hiking I mean walking…as in, not running (just to reiterate).

But, the SLO Triathlon has a pretty nice climb at the end of the running portion, so I must train to face my opponent. I frankly do not know much about efficiently running uphill, but I can tell you what has worked for me (though I’d hardly call it fun):

  • Don’t. Look. Up. Just don’t do it. 
  • Focus on driving your knees forward.
  • Pace yourself and preserve your energy; avoid sprinting and wasting all your energy in the first 10 seconds.

Yep, that’s about all I got. Anyone else got any suggestions on how to survive those beasts?

 

 

5 Easy Salmon Recipes

5 Easy Salmon Recipes

While visiting my family in Monterey for Father’s Day this weekend, my dad had the chance to go fishing. It’s one of his favorite hobbies, and so on Father’s Day morning, he took his boat out into the Monterey Bay and crossed his fingers for some good bites. Salmon season in Monterey has been pretty (and by pretty I mean very) weak this year, so he was thrilled to come home with two HUGE fish to share amongst the family. Lucky us! We had originally planned to eat lunch out, but nothing – I mean NOTHING – beats eating salmon the same day it was caught. It is almost sinfully delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted in a restaurant.

There are several ways to cook salmon, but my family likes to bake it in the oven. It arrives so tender, flakey and moist. It’s important to keep a close eye on the oven because you want to take it out right as the color becomes uniform (about 6-10 minutes depending on thickness). Not a second longer! Oven should be around 375 degrees.

Below are 5 easy marinades you can use to prepare your salmon before baking on a greased cookie sheet. Throw fillets in a large ziplock bag with one of the marinates and let sit for about 10-20 minutes before baking. Or for a less intense flavor, simply brush the marinade on the fillet before popping it into the oven.

  1. Teriyaki Sauce: Simply marinate the fillets with pre-made teriyaki sauce in a Ziplock bag for 15 minutes before baking.
  2. Tangy Mustard: Mix three tablespoons of dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Marinate in a Ziplock bag for 15 minutes before baking.
  3. Citrus & Thyme: On a baking sheet, drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice and scatter lemon slices, orange slices and fresh thyme on top of the fillets before baking.
  4. Maple Glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. On a baking sheet, season the fillets with a pinch of salt and pepper, then brush and pour the maple mixture over the fillets before baking.
  5. Salt, Pepper & Dill: The easiest of them all, yet still incredibly delicious. On a baking sheet, brush the fillets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper. Once cooked, sprinkle fresh or dried dill on top.

Try having these fillets over a bed of lettuce, kale, spinach or arugula for a delicious salad or with a side of brown rice, roasted potatoes or quinoa. Grilled zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, broccoli or brussel sprouts would compliment the dish as well. Enjoy!

Orange Pickin’

Orange Health Benefits

Ever get the chance to pick fresh oranges straight from the tree? I had the opportunity this weekend, and it was so fun! Not to mention, tasty!

I’m more of an “apple a day” kind of gal, but I definitely have my citrus orange moments. In particular, I love taking oranges or tangerines on my hikes, as nothing’s more gratifying than a sweet juicy orange after an arduous climb up a mountain. It almost quenches my thirst and for that, I will forever heart the orange.

On top of that, oranges offer plenty of health benefits as well. Like, did you know that they:

  • Prevent cancer:
    A compound found in oranges and other citrus fruits, called D-limonene has been found to be effective in the prevention of some cancers such as, skin cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer and colon cancer.
  • Lower cholesterol:
    One of the most important flavonoids in oranges is hesperidin. Hesperidin and the pectin in oranges have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Lower high blood pressure:
    Studies have shown that a flavonoid called hesperidin and magnesium in oranges can lower high blood pressure.
  • Have cardiovascular benefits:
    Oranges contains dietary fiber, folate, and herperidin, which are directly promotes the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. Eating an orange a day helps to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
  • Treat arthritis:
    Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, oranges help in relieving arthritis pain and stiffness of muscles and joints.
  • Promote proper brain development:
    Oranges are a good source of folate or folic acid which helps in the proper development of brain.
  • Keep sperm healthy:
    Orange contains folate, an essential nutrient for healthy sperm and protects sperm from genetic damage that may cause a birth defect.
  • Strengthen immune system:
    The strong content of vitamin C in orange stimulates the production of white cells in our body, thus improving the immune system.
  • Prevent kidney stones:
    Regular consumption of orange juice can significantly reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Promote weight loss:
    Oranges are extremely low in calories. A medium orange contains just 65 calories, making it a good addition to a healthy diet for weight loss. They also have a high fiber content, which can make you feel full longer, so you eat less.
  • Maintain a healthy skin:
    The antioxidants in orange help protect the skin from free radical damage known to cause signs of aging.
  • Protect against infections:
    Due to the abundance of flavonoid polyphenols, oranges may help protect against viral infections.
  • Maintain bone and teeth health
    Oranges are also rich in calcium, which helps protect and maintain bone as well teeth health.<\li>
  • Prevent ulcers:
    Due to its high fiber content, oranges also can help protect against ulcers. Studies suggest that eating an orange a day may help prevent the formation of stomach ulcer.

There you have it my friends! Get pickin’!

Reference: http://www.healthonlinezine.info

Post-Italy Running: I Feel So GOOD!

Running-SLO-June-14
I’ll be honest. I haven’t gone on a good run in a long time. Like, I haven’t gone since before I left for Italy, which is over a month ago. I’ve been working out, yes, but running? No. What can I say, I’m human. Plus, I just got over being really really really sick with a stomach virus, so its my first time out since getting better. I’m in SLO for the weekend so I thought it’d be a good morning to enjoy the great outdoors.

I was only planning on going on a short 3 mile run as a mental warm-up to get back into triathlon training. However, 3 miles turned into 6 miles, and a fairly decent pace (remember, I’m a slow runner). Even though 9 minutes 30 seconds is considered “slow” to the majority of the running world, I was still proud of myself for my endurance after a long break from it. And as an added bonus, looks like I broke a few personal records on my RunKeeper app. Okay, that’s sort of cheating because I’ve only had the app for about a month and I’ve only used a few times, so really anything I do on it is still considered a “personal best record” but hey I’ll take the positive encouragement!

I just finished a delicious egg white breakfast with fresh grapes and oranges, and I have to say: I just feel really good. Literally, as I type this, I can feel my endorphins going full force, reminding me to be happy, peaceful and thankful for this beautiful life! I truly believe in this blog and when I say, “Healthy=Happy” I really mean it. Being healthy and active is so good for the body, mind and soul. #bexisgettingdeep

Greek Yogurt & Banana Medley

20130612-085328.jpg

Super light, healthy and nutritious breakfast that’s easy to whip up in less than 5 minutes. The creaminess from the bananas and greek yogurt juxtapose the crunchy almond slices are a match made in foodie heaven.

Estimated Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt (plain or any flavor) – single serving container (about 5oz)
  • Banana – 1 medium
  • Sliced Almonds – 1 tbsp

Simply chop up the banana and mix it with the Greek yogurt and almond slices. You’re getting plenty of protein from the Greek yogurt and the banana helps fill you up so that you’re fired and ready to go for the day.

Protein Breakfast Burrito

Protein Breakfast Burrito
This is a healthy alternative to the traditional greasy Mexican breakfast burrito, and my version still maintains delicious hints of Mexican flavor. It’s packed with lean protein and I was able to whip this up in less than 5 minutes.

Estimated Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Egg Whites – 3 items
  • Canned Black Beans – 1/8 cup
  • Premade Pico De Gallo Salsa – 2 tbsp
  • High Fiber Wheat Tortilla (I use La Tortilla Factory – Low Carb, High Fiber) – 1 large tortilla
  • Ground Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Cooking Spray – 1 spray

First, warm up the tortilla in a toaster oven. While it’s warming up, spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and warm up the pan on high heat. Mix three egg whites with the cumin, and when the pan is hot, pour the egg white mixture onto the pan. Since the pan is on high, the egg whites should cook very fast. Pop the black beans in the microwave for thirty seconds. Remove tortilla from the toaster oven and lay down the egg white mixture, black beans and pico de gallo salsa into the tortilla. Wrap and serve immediately. Optional: if you’re a cheese-lover, of course, feel free to add as much cheese as you like into this as well.

Very quickly, I’m going to go on a rant and say that I am a huge fan of La Tortilla Factory’s low carb, high fiber tortillas. It’s the only brand I’ve found that makes HUGE, large tortillas for only 80 calories. Mind you, most large wheat tortillas are normally around 200 calories. And large flour tortillas are even more.

  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Carbs: 18 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Protein: 8 g

That’s 48% of the recommended daily value of fiber! Plus, these tortillas are also low calorie, cholesterol-free, and contain no saturated fats, trans fat or hydrogenated oils. Score.

Quick Asian Vegetable Stir Fry

Asian Vegetable Stir Fry Recipe
GREENS! After all that Italian pasta, pizza and bread – the first thing I wanted when I came home was a plate of fresh asian vegetables. Did you ever notice how many different types of vegetables there are in various Asian dishes? This, I always took for granted.

Here’s a simple, fast and easy recipe for a green vegetable stir fry. This recipe calls for just a spray of olive oil, so you won’t have to worry about it being drenched in grease. This was a main dish for dinner, so the serving size is rather large and filling. If you feel like you need to bulk it up, serve with a side of rice or lean protein.

Estimated Time: 15-20 Minutes

Ingredients (serves 3):

Ingredients -Sauce

  • Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp
  • Chili Garlic Sauce – 1 tbsp
  • Minced Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Water – 2/3 cup

First, mix sauce ingredients together in a cup. Next, chop all vegetables into desired sizes. Spray a large wok or skillet with cooking spray and add half of the sauce mixture to the pan. On medium-high heat, add the green beans and broccoli to the skillet and sauté those two items first for about 3-5 minutes. Since the chinese vegetables cook fairly fast, we’ll add them last. When the green beans and broccoli look half-way done, add the baby bok choy, gai lan and remaining sauce mixture to the pan. Mix and cook for another 5 minutes (approximately) and serve immediately. Healthy, nutritious and low in fat. You can easily add chicken, tofu, shrimp, pork or beef to this recipe as well.