Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three Bean Turkey Chili!

Yesterday I didn't know what I wanted to eat so I decided to throw together some chili! Brandy told me how good it smelled while it was in the crock pot -- I knew it was going to be good!  And it's even better today! 

1 can black beans - drained, rinsed
1 can dark red kidney beans - drained, rinsed
1 can chickpeas - drained, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes w/green chiles
1 can tomato paste
1 package lean ground turkey (about a pound), 93/7
2 cups water
Chili Powder
Emeril's Original Essence 

Brown the turkey in a frying pan.  I usually add a little Emeril's Original Essence to the turkey.  Combine all ingredients in the crock pot.  Add Cumin, Chili Powder, & Emeril's Original Essence to taste (I like my chili a little spicy).  Let cook for 3-4 hours.

You can top your bowl of chili with a little reduced fat shredded cheese (which I did in the picture above) - or some fat free sour cream if you like.

1/2 cup serving for only about 200 calories, 13g carbs, 6g fat, & 21g protein!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Skip the fast food line...

I see people try to make healthy choices when they eat fast food.  They get salads.  Sure, it's got some green in there - but unfortunately that doesn't make it a healthy option.  The healthy option is to go home and fix dinner.  Plan that into your schedule and stick to it. Everyone benefits. If you can stop at McDonald's or any other fast food joint, and spend 15 minutes in line after work to get dinner (because we all know those lines are packed after work and that's realistically how long it takes - is it really that fast after all?  I think of it more as 'lazy food')  why couldn't you just go straight home and fix a healthy dinner??

Anyways, here's the nutrition information for some salads from some popular fast food places.  All of this information can be found on their websites, most people just don't care to look.  Some people may see the calories and not think too much of it -- take a look at the sodium & cholesterol!  So scary.  Keep in mind, there is sodium in almost everything we eat, and the recommended daily allowance for sodium is 1500mg!

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad w/Crispy Chicken *Without Dressing*
390 Calories
22g Fat
70mg Cholesterol
870mg Sodium
24g Carbs
4g Fiber
26g Protein

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad w/Grilled Chicken *Without Dressing*
230 Calories
9g Fat
85mg Cholesterol
700mg Sodium
10g Carbs
4g Fiber
30g Protein

Newman's Own Ranch Dressing (1 Pack)
170 Calories
15g Fat
20mg Cholesterol
530mg Sodium
9g Carbs
1g Protein

Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad *Without Dressing*
460 Calories
25g Fat
85mg Cholesterol
1410mg Sodium
27g Carbs
6g Fiber
33g Protein

Lemon Garlic Caesar Dressing (1 Pack)
110 Calories
11g Fat
180mg Sodium
2g Carbs
2g Protein

Chick-N-Strip Salad *Without Dressing*
470 Calories
23g Fat
1340mg Sodium
27g Carbs
41g Protein

Fat Free Honey Mustard Dressing (1 Pack)
60 Calories
5g Fat
210mg Sodium
14g Carbs

Chick-Fil-A Sauce (1 Pack)
140 Calories
13g Fat
170mg Sodium
6g Carbs
0g Protein

Compare this to a salad you could make at home.... 
4oz Skinless Chicken Breast, 2.5cups baby spinach, 1oz shredded carrots, 1cup sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup peas, 1/4 cup onion 
203 Calories
1.52g Fat
70mg Cholesterol
62.3mg Sodium
15.8g Carbs
4g Fiber
30.2g Protein

Add 2Tbsp Fat Free Ranch Dressing (for example) -- and you only add -- 
45 Calories, 0g Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 350mg Sodium, 10g Carbs, 0g Protein

Less than half the sodium, fat, & calories, and close to half the carbs - and considerably less Cholesterol!  And you could fix that salad in 15 minutes - same amount of time you'd spend waiting in line at a fast food joint after work! AND to top it all off - you'll make your own salad for probably less than half the price of the bad for you salad you'll get at a fast food place.

Just something to think about...

Chips & Dip Anyone?

Bean dip... ahh, one of my favorite things EVER! But most of them are so unhealthy!  Then add the chips - even worse.  But don't you sometimes want a snack that seems so indulgent - but that you don't actually have to feel guilty about?!  Well here ya go.... 

1/4 Cup Fat Free Refried Beans
1-2 Tbsp of Salsa (Fat Free)
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle Cheese
14 Chips - Baked Tostitos Scoops

Combine Refried Beans & Wedge of cheese in microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 30 seconds.  Stir so cheese mixes in smoothly.  Add Salsa, heat for another 15-30 seconds.  ENJOY! 

Bean Dip
100 Calories
1.5g Fat
13.5g Carbs
3.5g Fiber
6g Protein

Baked Tostitos Scoops (1 serving = 14 chips)
120 Calories
3g Fat
22g Carbs
2g Fiber
2g Protein

An awesome indulgent snack for under 330 Calories!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mission: Sardine -- Accomplished!

I talked to one of the trainers at my gym (George) - Tony and I got schooled on fish! George said that Sardines & Anchovies are really good for you - but as we all know, they  are an acquired taste.  My mom, brother, and grandmother all like sardines, so I decided I needed to try them too - in the name of good health! ;)

Grandma and my brother said they like the ones in Mustard, and they said they're good on a white cracker.  I'm not a huge fan of mustard though.  Tony got ahead of me and tried them first - he said they were good in Hot Sauce.  So since I had bought a can several days ago (before Tony even tried them) I thought I better go ahead and jump in! 

They looked kind of weird - But I got over that pretty quick.  I tried them with hot sauce and with Pretzel Crisps (like in 'the burbs') -- Tasted kinda like tuna!  I'm thinking could you mash them up and make a 'sardine salad' like tuna salad?
1 serving has 1.0g omega-3 fatty acids - and are a great source of calcium!  Score!

I tried Brunswick (this is by Bumble Bee) in water, no salt added. 

Serving Size - 1 can
140 Caloris
7g Fat
0g Carbs
19g Protein
So I had some for lunch.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three Cheers for Greek Yogurt!

I'm a bit of a late comer to the Greek Yogurt craze..... In fact, I've tried it before but didn't like it.

However, it's so delicious to me now!  And there's good reason to eat it! 

High protein - 2x the protein in regular yogurt!
Lower Sodium - up to 50% less sodium than regular yogurt! 
Less Carbs - 40-50% less carbs than regular yogurt! 
Lactose intolerant?  Try Greek Yogurt - easier to digest than regular yogurt!
Rich, Creamy, Smooth Texture - It's much more filling than regular yogurt too, because it's creamy & thick!
For additional information, check out - http://www.livestrong.com/article/86488-benefits-greek-yogurt/

I've had Chobani Greek Yogurt for breakfast the past two mornings.... Yesterday, I tried the Pomegranate (YUM!) and today I tried the Pineapple (Double Yum!)
I also like to add dry oatmeal to my yogurt.  I just put a couple of tablespoons on top and mix it in.  It's so good - and a great way to get some oats in ya! 

Yogurt & Oats combined - 
207 Calories
30g Carbs
1g Fiber
4g Fat
15g Protein

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chickpeas anyone?

I la la love Chickpeas.  This is a new love for me, but I love them none the less!  I eat beans several times a week now, so I'm always looking for interesting ways to prepare them, besides just throwing them on my salads.  I've made this before and it's so yummy I made it for lunch today and just had to share! 

1/2 cup Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) - canned - drained, rinsed*
1/4 - 1/2 can Diced Tomatoes w/Green Chiles - canned - drained
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle Cheese
Emeril's Original Essence

Add chickpeas to hot frying pan first.... Add some Emeril's Original Essence - I usually add about 1tsp at this point. 
Add tomatoes w/green chiles - Add more Emeril's Original Essence if you like - I usually add another sprinkle (I like a decent amount of spice)
Sautee for a few minutes, stirring often. 
Soften wedge of cheese in microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds.  Add chickpea/tomato combo to the bowl and stir to evenly distribute the cheese.  

179 Calories
25g Carbs
6g Fiber
4g Fat
8g Protein

*I often use canned beans to save time - but I always drain & thoroughly rinse the beans prior to using them to remove extra sodium.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Lovers DREAM!

This is truly a peanut butter lovers dream! 

A friend at the gym recently gave me the idea of freezing protein (Thanks, Tony!) -- one of the best ideas I've heard in a long time! I know I crave sweet stuff at night.... But this is an awesome way to have a sweet treat, loaded with protein (which is awesome for you at night!)
1.5 Scoop Jillian Michael's Natural Whey Protein Powder - Vanilla Cream
1 Tbsp Skippy Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter
1/8 - 1/4 Cup water
1/4 Tbsp Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (optional)

Mix the protein powder with a tiny bit of water - should become a pasty consistency.  Add in the peanut butter and mix until even consistency.  Freeze (deeper bowl, longer you'll need to freeze - for a quick treat - put in bowl where the mixture is very thin in the bottom - then you'll only need to freeze for about 15 minutes).  I topped mine with chocolate syrup tonight (Reese's cup anyone?!) but it's amazing on it's own - especially if you love peanut butter! 

255 Calories
21g Carbs
4.5g Fiber
8g Fat
27g Protein

Tropical Fruit Smoothie Goodness

I love smoothies!!  I don't care where you buy them - they are typically loaded with calories - well over 200 calories minimum usually.... And way more expensive $5-$6 a pop!  But I like my home versions even better! (save calories AND money) This is the second time I've made this and it's so delicious!

Say hello to Tropical Fruit Smoothie Goodness!
3/4 to 1 Cup Tropical Fruit Blend (Frozen Peach, Mango, Pineapple, Banana) - I like Market Pantry - available at Target
1-2 ice cubes
1/2 scoop Jillian Michael's Natural Whey Protein Powder - Vanilla Cream
4oz Motts for Tots Apple Juice
1/4 cup skim milk
1/3 cup water

Combine all items in blender and let the blender do the work!

All for under 200 Calories! (about 30g carbs, 1g fat, 11g protein!!)
*I'm sure you could substitute almond or soy milk if you like, I just used what I had.

Monday, August 22, 2011

You should start a VLOG!

So my friend, Brandy, has been telling me that I should start a blog about the food I cook for a while.... I thought 'that's not for me'.  She kept encouraging me - partly because we live together and I'm always cooking around her.

My grandmother, who doesn't even really know what a blog is, and sometimes calls it a 'vlog' has been telling me that I should be keeping a journal of my experiences.  I've never been a journal kind of person.  Then again, I was never a gym person either. 

This year has been full of change for me... so why not start a blog?
I started my journey to health & fitness almost 9 months ago.  I've never been into working out, athletics, or eating particularly healthy.  But on New Years Day I woke up and said I think I'm going to do Weight Watchers.  So I did.  I had not planned on making a resolution - I never do.   I joined the gym towards the end of January.  Who knew by March I'd be taking Kickboxing.... In April I got a second trainer.... and here I am not even the end of August, almost 70 pounds down - and happier than ever!  The gym is the highlight of my day now.  I have met a lot of great people there. Because I was always overweight, I just knew I wouldn't fit in there.... But I was wrong.  I was wrong about a lot of things.  I amaze myself almost every day at the gym because I am doing things I never thought I could or would do! 

I've begun to enjoy cooking.... I enjoy grocery shopping (my mother & my grandmother HATE the grocery store - I can't quite figure out why).  My mom says I'm the only person she knows who takes pictures of her food.  That can't be true.  But anyway.... I plan to share some of my creations from the kitchen.... and probably more.... 

Let the cooking begin....