Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Xtend Barre Stick Class

My lovely friend, Erika, is an instructor for the Xtend Barre West Palm Beach studio. She invited me this past weekend to try a new class the studio is offering called Xtend Barre Stick.

 Xtend Barre Stick  is a 55 minute workout that utilizes a Pilates Stick attached to the ballet barre to add resistance. This class has a cardio component to build endurance and develops upper body strength and core stability.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage

In October I had posted on the Facebook page that I was trying out stuffed cabbage. I did like what I came up with the first time, but the process was very tedious. I followed The Joy of Cooking's method to prep the cabbage. I placed the whole head of cabbage with core removed into boiling water. Every 5 minutes I would remove the HOT cabbage and peel away a few tender leaves and repeat. This was so tedious and my poor fingers were burned. I wised up the second time! This time to prep the cabbage I made a cut with a pairing knife at the base of each leave and gently pulled it off. I steamed the loose cabbage leaves in a steam basket until tender about 10 or so minutes. This method was a tremendous time AND finger saver.

1 green cabbage with leaves removed in tack and steamed until tender (see above)
1 lbs of lean ground beef or turkey meat
1/2 cup of blanched almond flour
1 egg
1 grated carrot
1 minced garlic clove
1 small onion chopped
1 tsp of dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
28 ounces of tomato puree or sauce
Water (if needed) to cover cabbage rolls

1. Set aside steamed cabbage leaves to cool. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine meat, almond flour, egg, carrot, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Combine thoroughly.
3. To fill and roll cabbage rolls. Place a cooled cabbage leave on cutting board with the stem facing you and outer part of the leaf flat on the cutting board. Place a rounded dinner spoonful of meat mixture 1/4 inch away from the stem. Fold the sides in then starting from the stem roll the cabbage leaf up jelly roll style.
4. Place cabbage roll in baking dish seam side down. Repeat until all the leaves are filled. Cover with tomato puree. Add an additional water to baking dish if needed to cover stuffed cabbage leaves.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until cooked through.

*Note you may sub in 1/2 cup of brown rice instead of almond flour though you will need to add 1/2 cup of water to meat mixture and you will need to bake cabbage rolls for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why I kissed Paleo Goodbye

I divulged in this post that I was experimenting with the Paleo Diet. For the past month I have cut out peanut butter (sigh), all legumes, all my gluten free flours, all gluten free grains including quinoa, rice, and teff. I started listening to all sorts of Paleo health and nutrition podcasts on my commute to and from work. I skimmed Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint. I started to believe that all grains were "evil" and destructive. I didn't buy into the whole Paleo philosophy.  I've been following the Paleo principles for almost a month and I am done. I don't feel any healthier. In fact I have felt lethargic. I have three days of HIIT cardio in my training plan and did not have the energy to do anything more than weight train. I am hanging up my Paleo apron. 

This is what I took away from this little experiment.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fitness is Practice not Protocol

Hey there the first month of 2013 is almost gone; can you believe it? Me neither! It was four years ago I stumbled upon Tosca Reno on the February 2009 Oxygen Cover. I bought it immediately. She was the inspiration I was looking for. Super fit, toned, and healthy.
I never would have guessed that magazine four years ago would have brought me to where I am today. Eating whole foods, working out consistently, and enjoying life more fully. If A+B=C this magazine  was a catalyst to this very blog. 

 I would be delusional to say it is all roses and sunshine. I will be the first to raise my hand and say I am my own worst critic. I cringe during this time of the year. Goal setting and carryout is not my forte. It is one of my biggest struggles. It is much easier to exist day to day and go about life fulfilling daily obligations. I am driving down this highway called life. My eyes shut tightly my foot glued to the accelerator of the vehicle called my fitness journey. I didn't just eat that or skip this workout; did I?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Low-Sugar No-Cook Strawberry Jam

It is January. While it may be freezing and snowing up north; you have my sympathies if you live there; it is warm and sunny in Florida. This time of year  means strawberry season is in full swing for the sunshine state! I was able to get a great deal on 1lbs of Florida Strawberries at a local green market this past week. It was buy 2lbs at 1.99 each get 1lbs free. I knew we would not eat three pounds of berries before they turned so I decided to test drive a new type of pectin I had purchased at my natural health food store Pomona's Universal Pectin. 
What first drew me in was the natural aspect of this product. The pectin is made from citrus peel. The recipes allow for use of honey, sugar, or a sugar alternative to make your jelly or jam and most recipes only call for 1 cup of sweetener.  A traditional strawberry jam recipe can require 7 cups of sugar; yikes! My mom has always made homemade strawberry freezer jelly and it is tradition I (and Rich) want to continue sans massive amounts of white sugar.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Breakfast Frittata

Have you seen the movie, Morning Glory, starring Harrison Ford? No?! It is a cute chick flick movie for a rainy Saturday afternoon. I was making frittatas long before I watched this movie. My mind often wanders back to this seen when I make this for breakfast.

The beauty of the frittata is it has no rules. You can use any combo of veggies, lean proteins,  and spices with your eggs. Lately I have been tossing avocado to garnish and finish off this great dish. The ingredients in this recipe are my favorite to use.

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Top 5 Gym Accessories

Over the past three years I've acquired a lot of gym stuff. I have a small arsenal of home gym equipment for when I just can't make it to the actual gym. Some, like my Pilate's reformer, take up a bunch of wasted space while my dip machine and dumbbells are items I use often. 
Today I'm bringing you my top 5 favorite things I take to the gym to help me get in effective workouts.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Turkey Ratatouille

This week has been insane! I am in the middle of my nine day work week stretch and trying to get it together. I have been working on my time management schedule by following tips outlined in Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews. It is going and progress is SLOW,but progress none the less. I am still tweaking my  weekly schedule which is difficult due to my  three week rotating schedule. Putting a weekly schedule to better manage my time is a goal of mine for 2013. I also have been striving to adhere to a grocery budget and coming up with some type of menu planning strategy.
I am fly by the seat of my pants gal when it comes to creating a menu for the week. This is what I came up with a chalk board with all my fresh ingredients for weekly meals.

As items get used they are crossed off or the quantity is changed. So far this has been working really well! I am planning on also doing an inventory for all my dry pantry goods too. Putting the chalk board strategy in action on Monday night I made a stir fry with the shrimp, snap peas, peppers, & onion. I used the cauliflower to make a curry cauliflower rice. I didn't snap photos of the curry cauliflower, but will be making it again in the future to share with you all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup

Check out my new photo formatting doesn't it scream "Pin Me Baby!"

I created this recipe over a week ago. I really was thinking about making a lentil vegetable soup, but since adopting a Paleo Diet, legumes are not on my list of things to eat.  I was craving a warm thick comforting soup and this recipe fit the bill. 
I started reading Practical Paleo over the Christmas holiday. As a result I have ditched all grains, dairy, and legumes. It has been a revolutionary change. I have found that my appetite is changing along with my energy levels. I am eating more protein and healthy fats. I  feel more well rested and nourished.  Instead of eating quinoa, rice, and other gluten free grains I replaced these items with starchy veggies. Paleo is definitely not for the faint of heart nor is it the right nutrition plan for everyone. So far I have responded positively to this way of eating and will be continuing to learn more about the Paleo lifestyle.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes Part Deux (Paleo Inspired)

There have been a lot of breakfast posts lately on this blog. Rosemary & Maple Turkey Patties, Paleo Pancakes and the like. One would think that I consume breakfast for all three meals a day. I don't, but who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?! During finals week of my undergraduate years at Palm Beach Atlantic University the faculty and staff would host a "It is Midnight Somewhere Breakfast." The dinning hall would open around 9 pm to serve carb-craving, stressed out students delicious breakfast food. I remember piling my plate high with sausages, pancakes, and eggs all the while feverishly talking with my peers as to their predictions for the Microbiology final. Belly full I would then scurry back to  my dorm to study. The midnight breakfast was a chance to break from all the cramming and take comfort in my favorite breakfast foods.

This will be the second pumpkin pancake recipe on the Lean Gourmet Kitchen. I found a great deal for organic canned pumpkin on Vitacost last week and couldn't wait to cook with it.
 So eat up cause it is midnight somewhere.

Pumpkin Pancakes Part Deux (Paleo Inspired)

4 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin
5 TBS of coconut flour
1/4 cup of coconut milk
3 TBS of organic butter melted or coconut butter
2 TBS of raw honey
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp of baking powder

Heat griddle on medium low heat and melt 1 TBS of butter or coconut oil to coat griddle. Place eggs, pumpkin,coconut flour, milk, 2 TBS of melted butter or coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, pie spice, and baking powder into a blender and puree until batter is smooth. Pour batter into silver dollar sized circles and cook until the edges are set and pancake is bubbling. Flip pancakes and cook remaining side. Top with maple syrup, coconut butter, almond butter, or to your liking.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mashed Cauliflower

I believe Dr. Oz first introduced me to mashed cauliflower. I would watch Dr. Oz everyday while on maternity leave three years ago. I've had this recipe tucked back in the corners of my mind for quit some time. The idea of faux mashed potatoes repulsed Rich so I never made them. At the farmers market this past week there was a great deal on a head of cauliflower. I made this recipe and won Rich over. He loved it and requested me to make it again in the near future. By no means am I bailing on delicious real mashed potatoes; rather I'm just changing things up a bit.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower chopped into 2 inch pieces with core and stem removed
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp of ground black pepper
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of dried oregano

Steam cauliflower until tender and soft. Drain and place in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rosemary & Maple Turkey Patties

I went into this New Year with such hope, joy, and anticipation. Then my dishwasher broke on January 1,2013. The joys of home ownership just keep multiplying!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Make Mine Paleo Pancakes

I am not a registered dietitian nor am I dispensing medical advice in this post. I am merely disguising some dietary changes I am making in my own diet based on my own personal research and dietary needs. Please consult a medical professional before making any diet or medical changes of your own.

I ordered Practical Paleo from Amazon two weeks ago and have been gobbling it up. 

          Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle (affiliate link)

If you have been following along my journey on this blog it is no secret that my recipes and foods I consume model the "eat clean diet" and are "whole foods" based. I really hate saying I follow any set diet or mantra when it comes to my eating; you may as well paste "groupie" on my forehead. Instead I strive to create recipes and eat foods that are minimally processed and natural.