Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short, Effective Workouts

A lot of us don't have time to workout an hour or even a half hour every day. The solution is interval training, also called high intensity interval training (HIIT). The goal is to get your heart rate pumping! HIIT is very effective for fat loss as well. You burn up to 9x as much fat doing HIIT cardio as opposed to long, steady state cardio. Interval training also spikes your metabolism and burns fat for hours after your workout. I've also found that it improves my overall cardiovascular endurance. You can do HIIT on the treadmill, running outside, biking, or on the elliptical. Personally, I've been doing it by running outside because it is easier to throw Elliott in the jogging stroller and quickly do a 15 minute HIIT run.

For starters, do 30 second sprints followed by 1 minute recovery. Your workout would look like this:
3 minute warm up
30 second sprint
1 minute walk
30 second sprint
1 minute walk
30 second sprint
1 minute walk
30 second sprint
2 minute walking cool down
Total time = 15 minutes

For more advanced, do the following:
3 minute warm up
1 minute sprint
2 minute light jog
1 minute sprint
2 minute light jog
1 minute sprint
2 minute light jog
1 minute sprint
2 minute light jog cool down
Total time = 15 minutes

Always stretch out your legs when you are done!

As usual, everything comes down to diet. You won't see results by exercise alone. But interval training is a great way to save time and to spike your metabolism for all day fat burning.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Word!

He's getting so big. He gives kisses, hugs, high fives and mimics sounds now! It's so much fun!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuna Casserole

I've been experimenting for awhile to find a good tuna casserole recipe that didn't have cream of mushroom soup! They never turned out that great and were always lacking the creamy-ness that you get when you use the canned soup. But the other day I found the solution...make your own cream soup! I made the tuna casserole yesterday and it was just what I've been looking for. Zach loved it too. I bummed I didn't think to take a picture though. Anyway, here is the recipe for making your own cream soup.

2 Tbsp. butter (I use real butter. The only ingredients being cream and salt. And I also get the unsalted version which makes it have hardly any salt. I used to get fat-free margarines, but have you tried reading the ingredients?!?!)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
2 cups of milk (use less if you want it thicker. I used whole milk)

-Heat butter and oil then add flour and salt. For cream of mushroom soup, add 12 fresh mushrooms, chopped. To make cream of celery soup, add celery. For cream of chicken soup, add 1 tsp chicken base (like bouillon) and substitute half the milk for chicken broth. Mix together for about a minute on low heat. Add milk and stir until thickened. This equals two 10 oz. cans cream soup. 

Next time I'm going to make a big batch of this and try freezing it in individual baggies so I won't have to make the soup each time. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuna Casserole

Whole wheat pasta (I used half a box of wheat rotini pasta, but just use whatever you have) 
About a cup of veggies (I used frozen peas and carrots)
2 cans of cream soup (The recipe above. I didn't make it with mushrooms or celery or chicken broth since I didn't have any of those! It still turned out great)
2 cans of tuna packed in water (Rinse it first to get rid of excess salt)
Dill (Not sure on the measurement. Just mixed it in until it looked/smelled good)
Onion (I used about a 1/2 cup of a frozen white, yellow and green onion mix we have)
Whole wheat breadcrumbs
Parmesan cheese (optional)

-Cook the pasta. In a large bowl, mix together pasta, veggies, soup, tuna, dill, and onion. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Random Fact

I learned something new today. Peanuts are not nuts. They should change the name because I would think a peanut is a nut! They are actually legumes. Weird!

On another note, I tried another healthier cookie recipe today and it was flop. I'm determined to build up my dessert recipes though. Back to the drawing board...or should I say, cutting board?

I'm also needing new ideas for a natural shampoo and conditioner. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Coffee Cake

Here is a healthier dessert recipe. While there's no such thing as a healthy dessert, dessert made with clean, real ingredients instead of refined sugars, margarine, or processed, packaged box mixes is a much better alternative. Unfortunately, I've found that a lot of these desserts don't taste right. They have that "healthy" or dry or bland taste. I've been trying lots of different recipes since I have a crazy sweet tooth! This one was delicious!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup natural sweetener (we use coconut palm sugar. It tastes like brown sugar, can be used in baking equal to the measurement they list for sugar, low carb, unrefined, and is low on the GI index)
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 cup nuts (if desired. Look below for a recipe for making candied nuts)
1 cup plain yogurt

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar; cut in the coconut oil until crumbly. Add cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt; mix well. Make a well in the center; pour in the yogurt and stir until moistened. Transfer to a greased 8 x8 baking pan and sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Candied Nuts

1 egg white
1Tbsp water
1 pound nuts (I used walnuts)
1/3 cup sweetener (I used 100% maple syrup for this one)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Beat egg white and water until stiff and fluffy. Fold in the sweetener, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Add nuts and toss to coat. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, rotating every 15 minutes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Milestone

Just as I lose four teeth, Elliott gets his first tooth! It's so cute. (I know, only a mom would think a tooth is cute. lol) Here is the happy little boy with his cracker, homemade...recipe coming soon!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wisdom Teeth

My wisdom teeth are finally out! All four were impacted. I've needed to get them out for awhile, but I definitely wasn't looking forward to it and a lot of other things kept coming up.

There were a couple of extra risks I had. First off, there was a nerve that ran right through one of the teeth and they weren't sure if when they pulled it that my whole lower lip could go numb for a day, or weeks or even months! The second problem was that one tooth was sitting on my jaw line and I happen to have a thinner jaw than most people. That put me at a higher risk for my jaw breaking when they pulled it. But, praise the Lord, there were no complications!

I was knocked out for the whole thing which is nice! I honestly don't even remember falling asleep. I had the mask with the laughing gas on my face for a bit and then the doctor came in and started the IV. I remember thinking, "No! Don't start yet! I'm still awake and can feel everything!", but what felt like a second later, I woke up to Zach carrying me up our stairs. haha.

I kept ice on it pretty much the entire first day, as everyone kept telling me to make sure I did. Today the swelling isn't too bad and I don't feel any pain yet, it's just sore to the touch. I'm so so glad to finally have it over with though!

I got this meal replacement shake to have since I can't really eat anything and living off milkshakes definitely won't give me any nutrition! I have to say though, this stuff is really good. I think I'll keep it on hand on a regular basis!

Now it's pretty low in calories (90 calories) and you should have about 300 calories at each meal. But I add lots of stuff to it like yogurt, peanut butter, coconut oil, fruit, etc.

I'm so thankful that Zach has been able to have two days off. He keeps telling me to lay down, take a nap, and take it easy while he cleans up the house and takes care of Elliott and Max. All in all, it's been a nice little break so far and I'm glad it's done with!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Let's Bake!

I love baking. I've always like baking more than cooking. Baking tastes yummier, smells amazinggg, and I get so much more of a sense of accomplishment after baking and icing a beautiful cake or setting out a plate of cookies than a chicken dish or a casserole. But once you try eating healthier and eating clean and realize how bad a lot of those baking ingredients are for you, it reallyyyy limits your options. I've been experimenting with lots of different desserts. I will certainly post them once I've found a good one, but a lot of them end up tasting bland!

A simple no-bake recipe that is perfect for my killer sweet tooth are Protein Balls.
You'll need:
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (we just get the EAS protein powder from Sam's club. I could still have it while I was pregnant and now while I'm breastfeeding too)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
Mix all ingredients together and roll into small balls. Place in the fridge for an hour or so and they are ready to eat! I have a hard time not eating the whole batch!

Zach found this recipe and it tasted amazing!! You'll need an ice cream maker though.
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup honey
1 egg + 1 egg white
(Get organic, free range eggs. Those kinds are okay to eat raw. I'm not too sure about the ones in the store)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
(Don't put more than this in. It'll make it taste too bitter. That was our mistake at first)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

In food processor, add eggs, honey and cocoa powder.
Bring almond milk to a boil in saucepan.
Add 1/2 cup of the boiling almond milk to the mixture in the food processor and mix.
Add that mixture into the saucepan with the remaining almond milk.
Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens.
Put saucepan in the refrigerator until cool.
Pour this into your ice cream maker until it is the consistency of frozen yogurt. (This took about 30 minutes for me) 

Doesn't it look pretty? And it tasted just like any frozen yogurt you'd go get somewhere!

Another staple food you should make yourself is granola. Granola and protein bars are two healthy foods, but if you read the labels, they both actually have A TON of sugar. I'm still experimenting with protein bars (I'm actually making another batch right now), but here is a great granola recipe that my friend, Emily, gave me.

7-8 cups of rolled oats (It makes a big batch of granola!)
1 cup water
1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil
These measurements will stay the same. But the great thing with granola is that you can make it how you like it. Here are some options:
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
I'm not sure on the exact measurements for the other ones, but I just put enough in until it looks how I want my granola to look!
Cocoa powder
Dried blackberries
Little bit of Stevia and cinnamon
Another granola recipe I have calls for:
Dried cranberries
Banana chips
Apple chips
Sunflower seeds
Carob chips
So you get the idea. Just add in whatever you want!
Heat the water in a saucepan. Add the honey and oil. Mix the dry ingredients in separate bowl. If you're using any dried fruit, leave those out until the end. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry. Mix together. Spread out on two cookie sheets. Bake at 275 degrees, stirring every 15-20 minutes for a total of 1- 1 1/2 hours. Add the dried fruit and cool. 

And finally, I have one more recipe to post for today. Pancakes!!!!

Whole Wheat Pancakes:
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups milk
3 T olive oil
2 egg whites
Mix everything together. Mix eggs in separate bowl until peaks form. Cook and enjoy!

Dessert Pancakes:
1/3 cup rolled oats
4 egg whites
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp cinnamon
Little bit of Stevia
Mix everything together and cook!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm So Blessed

I had a wonderful first Mother's day being loved by, spoiled by, and getting to spend all day with my two most favorite people. Aren't they so handsome!?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Food Pantry Makeover

Eating clean does not mean that the food budget has to go up. You can make small, simple changes that are better for you and doesn't cost more than what you are buying now. At Walmart, a box of pasta is $1. Whether it's white or wheat, it doesn't make a difference. They both are $1. So why continue buying the white pasta? A loaf of white bread and wheat bread are side by side in the grocery store for $3 (well, $2.88 if you want to be exact). You can easily switch to wheat for both of these options without spending 1 cent more than you usually would.

Let me also tell you why whole wheat is better. The wheat grain has three parts- the bran, germ, and endosperm. White pasta is so processed that it is heated until nothing is left but the endosperm (the same applies to white flour too). The end result? A longer shelf life and it becomes more bug resistant. The bran and germ are good for you though! They have fiber, vitamin E, B6, zinc, and folic acid. Fiber is super important because fiber helps you feel full after a meal. White, processed pasta, flour or bread, doesn't have this and can lead to overeating on calories and carbs with little to no nutritional value.

Rice is another staple in our house. Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and vitamins B1, B2, B3,& B6. White rice has the same calories, carbs, and protein as brown rice, but just without all the vitamins and minerals. White rice is stripped of these things so it can cook faster and have a longer self life. You can buy a bag of white rice or brown rice for under $1. Pick the brown rice!!!

Making simple snack swaps that are healthier doesn't have to cost more either. Instead of packaged "fruit" snacks, buy fresh fruit! Instead of so called "healthy" granola bars which are full of sugar and include ingredients you can't pronounce, make a big batch of your own granola bars (recipes coming soon!). Instead of a bag of crackers which have little to no nutritional value, you can't pronounce the ingredients, and are basically all carbs, buy a huge bag of trail mix at Costco or Sam's and divide them into 1/2 cup or 1 cup serving sizes in small baggies. The healthy fats will fill you up, give you energy and tons of nutrients and vitamins, and includes protein.

Switching your vegetable or canola oil for olive oil is another easy swap. We buy cold pressed extra virgin olive oil which is definitely better than "regular" olive oil, but it does cost a little more. Regular olive oil is still way better for you than vegetable or canola oil though and costs exactly the same!

So make those changes to your food pantry. They won't cost you anything extra and you will be getting so much more nutritional value from your foods!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Makeover dinners

-Find a healthy marinara sauce. A healthy sauce means one where you can pronounce all the ingredients and one that is low in sugar. Personally, we use the Walmart brand "pasta sauce." It is the lowest in sugar and all ingredients that are real foods. You can easily make your own with crushed tomatoes, garlic, pepper, basil, etc. I've been just getting the jar sauce cause it's easier and faster. :P
-Brown some ground turkey, pour on the marinara sauce, and serve over whole wheat spaghetti pasta. Super easy and good for you!

-Whole wheat lasagna noodles
-16oz package of fat-free or 2% cottage cheese
-Part skim Parmesan cheese
-Part skim mozzarella cheese
-Ground turkey
-1 egg
-1 can of no salt added diced tomatoes
-1 can of no salt added tomato sauce
Cook the pasta. In a separate bowl, mix Parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, egg, onion, garlic, oregano, and basil. Brown the turkey and pour the tomatoes and tomato sauce over it.
In a 9x13 dish, layer the pasta first, 1/3 of the cheese mixture, and 1/3 of the turkey mixture. Repeat layers 3 times. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Two healthy dessert options:

Strawberry Shortcake


-1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
-1 t. baking powder
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup honey
-1/3 cup oil (I used olive oil, but you could also use coconut oil)
-1 t. vanilla extract
-1/2 cup milk
-Sliced strawberries....as many as you want!
-Heavy whipping cream (whip until soft peaks form. Add some honey and/or stevia for sweetness)
Mix together flour and baking powder.  Add in eggs, honey, oil, vanilla and milk. Mix with hand mixer until smooth.  Pour into well greased 8×8 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
Cool completely.  Top with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Honey Bars 
-1 cup natural peanut butter
-1/2 cup honey
-1 egg
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-1/8 cup sesame seeds (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. Put into a 8x8 dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serve!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Way We Eat

If you ask us what we eat, we will tell you we eat clean foods. What is clean eating? Clean eating is eating food as close to it's natural state as possible. Clean eating is eating whole, unprocessed foods. Here is a basic list so you get the idea.

Protein choices: a serving size is 3 oz (think, a deck of cards or the palm of your hand)
Tuna (packed in water)
Fish (best kinds are salmon, halibut, mahi mahi & shrimp)
Lean cuts of red meat (have in moderation)
Protein powder (look for ones with low sugar)
Low or Non-fat Cottage Cheese
Ricotta Cheese
Low or Non-fat Plain Yogurt (Greek yogurt is a great choice!)
Beans & Lentils

Complex carb choices: serving size is about a 1/2 cup (your cupped hand)
Oatmeal (steel cut or rolled)
Sweet Potatoes/Yams (serving size is the size of a computer mouse)
Brown rice
Whole wheat breads, pastas, & tortillas

Healthy fats:
Natural peanut butter (we currently get Smuckers crunchy peanut butter and a serving size is 2 Tablespoons. The only ingredients are peanuts and salt)
Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil (about 1 tsp is a serving size)
Nuts (serving size is about 1 oz. That's about the palm of your hand)

All fruits and vegetables and seasonings/spices.

This list may look like you can only eat boring foods, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I love experimenting with clean, healthy recipes. I'll be posting them soon!

You don't have to stop and check the fat or calorie content of these foods like you would for processed, packaged foods. You don't have to read the label for most of these, because there is no label! They are simple, basic, whole foods.

And when you eat clean, you don't have to diet or count calories. You don't count carbohydrates, fats, or proteins. Zach and I eat 5-6 clean meals each day. Our breakfast consists of eggs (protein) cooked in coconut oil (healthy fat) and a small bowl of oatmeal (carbs). Our next meal would be 3 hours later and maybe an apple (carb) with walnuts (fat & protein) and almonds (fat & protein). Meal #3 might look like chicken (protein), rice (carb), and broccoli (fibrous carb) drizzled with olive oil (fat). Our next meal would be 2-3 hours later and be a protein shake with fruit (carbs + protein). I definitely have to have my late afternoon chocolate protein shake because I get the worst sweet tooth around 3 PM or 4 PM. Sometimes I'll throw in a tablespoon of peanut butter (healthy fat) and it totally takes care of any bad craving I'm having. Meal #5 would be a chicken (protein) stir fry (fat + fibrous carbs) and that's usually it for me. Sometimes Zach will add a potato to meal 5 and also have another meal like a protein shake with whole milk or eggs or a peanut butter sandwich.

Clean eating is giving your body real food and real ingredients that are free of man-made sugars, fats, synthesized preservatives, and additives. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

Why did I not know about this wonderful food earlier?!?! Spaghetti squash can be used just as it sounds...as spaghetti pasta. Pierce holes throughout the sides of the squash before cooking so it doesn't explode. Cook in oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour or boil for about a half hour. You also could microwave it for 10-12 minutes. (I tend to avoid the microwave, but I'll go into that more later). You'll know it's done when you can poke a fork it in and it feels soft. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before cutting open though because it will be crazy hot! Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and it'll look like this.
Using a fork, scrap out your "noodles". Use in place of any pasta.
One cup is just 42 calories whereas one cup of whole wheat pasta is 140 calories!!!
So yummy :)