quick power snack: hand-cut sweet potato fries with carrots

Looking for a quick and delicious boost of healthy disease-fighting beta carotene? We’ve got it covered with another quick power snack idea. These ain’t Ronny Mac’s fries! So grab that bag of sweet potatoes you’ve got hanging around in the kitchen and some baby carrots that haven’t been touched in days in the fridge. (Ok, that’s what I did)

Here’s what you need for 2+ servings:

2 medium sweet potatoes

2 cups baby carrots

EVOO

Herbs/spices for seasoning

Set oven at 400 degrees. Microwave sweet potatoes on high for 2-3 minutes or until slightly soft to make easier for slicing. Grab a large bowl and toss in baby carrots. On a large cutting board, slice sweet potatoes into french-fry width pieces – thickness is up to you!

Add sweet potato fries to carrots in bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons EVOO (you do not need much). Add seasoning of your choice, I used  Tuscan Seasoning which includes garlic, lemon, red peppers, salt. You can also add salt and pepper but I did not since my seasoning already included it. Toss to coat with a large spoon, tongs, or even your hands!

Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray and evenly distribute the sweet potato fries and carrots. Put in the oven and check every 10 minutes or so until crispy and slightly brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, and serve with ketchup.

These will also make a creative side dish, or serve along with crisp cut veggies for an appetizer. Enjoy!


big meal of the weekend: lemon garlic linguine with shrimp

FACT: Shrimp may be small but are a powerhouse of selenium, vitamin D and B12! Not to mention an excellent source of lean protein, just 4oz provides nearly 25g. I’m no mathmetician, but shrimp added to fiber rich whole wheat pasta and some yummy veggies equals a super big meal of the weekend!

Here we go….

1/2 package of whole wheat linguine pasta

1lb uncooked shrimp

1 onion

1 red pepper

6oz asparagus

1 can organic fire roasted tomatos (watch the sodium!)

Fresh garlic, 1 lemon, EVOO

Heat 2 tbs EVOO and lots of garlic (at least 4 cloves chopped) in a large skillet/wok over med-hi heat. Cut pepper, onion, and asparagus into medium sized pieces. Add pepper, onion to skillet, set asparagus aside. Let sautee until onion is soft.

 

Meanwhile, cook whole wheat pasta according to package directions. Peel shrimp, season to taste and pan fry in skillet separate from vegetables. Set aside when fully cooked. Add asparagus to onion and pepper skillet, let cook for 5 minutes

Add pasta to vegetables, toss to mix. Add more EVOO if desired, squeeze with 3 wedges lemon. Let cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Serve with shrimp on top and grated parmesan cheese. Provides 4-5 servings.


big meal of the weekend: turkey chili

Hmm apparently we are obsessed with ground turkey. But that’s ok because it’s a fabulous way to add lean protein to yummy meals!

This weekend we threw together one of our classic favorites: Turkey Chili. We have made so many renditions of this recipe I couldn’t tell you where to find our original inspiration. Chili is a staple and a tasty way to load up on tons of veggies, filling fiber, and muscle building protein. And it’s totally portable and easy to re-heat. That’s what we call a power meal!

Here’s what you need to start!

1lb ground white turkey meat

1 can whole peeled tomatos (the big size)

1 can tomato paste

Veggies – one of each: red, yellow, green, and jalapeno peppers, onion, zuchini, potato (optional if you want to add a little starch)

1 can pinto beans

1 can kidney beans

Minced garlic

1tps cumin

1tsp chili powder

Start by browning the turkey in a large skillet with a splash of EVOO. Meanwhile, warm a large stew pot up on med-hi heat and add garlic and EVOO. Add onion and the rest of the veggies, chopped in stew sized pieces. Cover and let cook for 10 mins. Once turkey is browned, take off heat and set aside.

Once the veggies are heated and cooking, add tomatoes, paste, cumin and chili powder to the stew pot. Add cooked turkey. Stir, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 mins. Then, add drained and rinsed beans. Stir, and let simmer for another 15 mins.

Voila! You are now left with a gorgeous and filling super meal. Enjoy!


big meal of the weekend: turkey stoup

I’m pleased to announce my first official Big Meal of the Weekend: Turkey Stoup

I just gracefully burnt my tongue on this incredibly healthy and satisfying creation. What is stoup do you ask? A hybrid soup/stew. Here’s what you need:

1lb ground turkey

Lots of hearty veggies: 1/2 to 1 cup of the following: onion, green beans, carrots, celeri, spinach, potato

1 jalapeno, diced

1 can pinto beans

Low sodium chicken broth

Can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp diced garlic

Start by browning the ground turkey in a splash of EVOO. Chop all the veggies into stew-sized pieces. In a stew pot, heat a generous amount of EVOO and add garlic, jalapeno, onions, green beans, carrots, potato, celeri. Hold spinach for later.

 

When the turkey is finished browning, put to side. Let the veggies sautee  for about 10 minutes. Then, add 1 cup diced tomatoes and 3 cups broth. Rinse and drain the beans, add. Stir in the cooked turkey and a handful of fresh spinach leaves. Optional: 1 tsp ground cumin. Add sea salt/pepper to taste.


Bring to a boil and let simmer, checking every 10 minutes. Let it cook until the potatoes look soft, but not falling apart like above. Serve alone or with a piece of whole wheat bread. Enjoy!

Find our inspiration here.


what’s the better choice, long grain or whole grain rice?

In the cupboard we have two bags of what appear to be brown rice – one ‘long grain’ and one ‘whole grain.’  My college-educated, smarty pants boyfriend asked a great question: What’s the difference? Which is the better choice?

The short answer is there is no difference. From what I can find, all brown rice is considered ‘whole grain.’ And long grain rice appears to be unique from brown rice in terms of consistency and taste – not nutrition. And it takes up to 50 minutes to cook. I’ve actually done this and you can get by with 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry.

However, what I did discover is if you’re counting calories, your best bet sounds like wild rice. This type also requires a good part of an hour to cook, but boasts a mere 166 calories per cup (vs. 200+ in most brown or long grain varieties). What’s also interesting is that wild rice isn’t even actually rice, but rather marsh grass. Yum!

So I will leave you with way more than you’ve ever wanted to know about wild rice here. I’m off to Whole Foods to stock up!


what fruit curbs appetite & aids weight loss?

For years doctors and researchers have been trying to unlock the mysterious connection between weight maintenance and grapefruits. This vibrant member of the citrus family has a bad rep on the fad diet list, but there may be some actual science to back up weight loss claims when added to a healthy, active lifestyle.

I’m not expert, but what I am an expert on is picking up on anything that can help cut corners in my effort to stay thin and feel great. A number of studies conducted over the years prove the link between 1/2 a grapefruit before every meal and a considerable amount of weight loss. Mind you, the participants were most likely significantly overweight so any change toward a healthier eating regime would show improvement but that’s besides the point. I’m intrigued so I wanted to find out more.

It seems like what’s really going on with our bitter-sweet friend is a property that moderates blood sugar. I have read that when you take the time to meticulously cut out every little piece (and you know you’ll never get it all) before eating a meal, the grapefruit stabilizes your blood sugar level so that whatever you eat after has a lower chance of causing a spike which means a lower chance of fat storage. And 1/2 a fruit boasts a mere 40 calories.

Often times the weekends can be a sabotage to an otherwise great week of eating flawlessly and exercising like a saint. We all know what it’s like to overdo it with a dark chocolate bar. Or go a bit appetizer crazy at Girl’s Night. Or select a seemingly balanced item off the menu only for it to be dripping in butter or oil. It sounds like 1/2 a grapefruit before ingesting a meal that is normally a diet wrecker may mitigate the damage.

I’ve been dabbling with having 1/2 a grapefruit once every couple days. I’m trying to be mindful of making sure to have some before a big eating spree but you really need to plan ahead. I find myself having some before or after dinner on the week nights, where I don’t technically need to block fat but I’ll take it where I can get it. And did I mention they taste WONDERFUL!