Thursday, November 1, 2012

Healthy Delicious Spinach Dip

Sometimes you just need spinach dip. And if you are trying to eat clean, this can be a real challenge. So what do you replace that traditional cream cheese, mayo and parmasean base with? Red pepper hummus! It was a spark of an idea I had a few weeks ago and finally tested it out on hubby. So super yummy!

So when we were invited over for a dinner party, I knew I had to make this dip again. And once again, it was a huge hit! So much so, that the 7 of us finished it in one sitting.....oops!


Ingredients

1 pack chopped frozen spinach
1 large tub of Red Pepper Hummus (Cedars makes the cleanest brand)
1 pack of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Shreds (can forgo for Vegan recipe)
1/2 cup Original Vegenaise
1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 medium red onion
1 large red pepper
salt & pepper
chili powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 420F. Defrost spinach in microwave, drain and press to remove most of the water. Chop onion and red pepper. Place in large bowl. Add defrosted spinach, hummus, Vegenaise, nutritional yeast, and 1/4 cup Cabot shreds. Add 1 tsp salt and pepper, and lightly sprinkle the chili powder (about 1/4 tsp should do.) Mix well. Place in oven safe dish, casserole dish works great. Spread mixture evenly. Sprinkle remaining Cabot shreds over the top evenly. Bake for 15-20 mins, until the cheese has melted. Serve hot and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes

Since the first time I saw the movie, I wanted to make these. And it just so happens that when I popped into the farm yesterday, they had green tomatoes! So I grabbed 2, not knowing if I'd even like them. Brought them home, rinsed, sliced, fried, and enjoyed! So damn good! Definitely worth a try. Super sweet, and crispy as hell.


Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients

1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 green tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Oil should be about 1/2" deep. Let sit for 10 mins to be sure oil is hot. Slice tomatoes 1/4" thick. Beat eggs in bowl until well mixed. Dip tomato slices in egg, then move right to the bowl of bread crumbs. Coat each side thoroughly.

I prepped all my tomato slices ahead of time to make cooking easier. Do as you like.

Place coated tomato slices in oil. Let fry for 3-5 mins each side until evenly browned. Flip, and let cook for 2-3 mins. Let brown evenly. Transfer slices to paper towel lined plate.

Serve hot with a side of crushed tomatoes for dipping. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

End of Summer Mixed Berry Pie


It may be the end of the Summer and the beginning of Fall, but sometimes you just need a berry pie. It's sort of a last hoorah. Never mind the fact that it's super easy to make and tastes amazing. So here it is.

Ingredients

1 pack of pie crusts (2 inside)
3-4 cups mixed berries
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons blue agave

Directions

Preheat oven to 420F. Let pie crust warm to room temperature. Let the berries do the same, or pop them in the micro until they are defrosted. 

Roll out 1 pie crust onto 9" pie plate. Mix in separate bowl berries, corn starch and agave. Mix well. Pour onto pie crust. 

Top with the 2nd pie crust. Roll up the edges in whatever fashion you prefer. Make a couple cuts in the top crust to let air seep. 

Bake for 30-40 mins, or until crust begins to brown all over. Mine took about 35 mins.


 Enjoy!





Thursday, September 20, 2012

Losing Weight.....the Old Fashioned Way

I fight the fat gene. No seriously, I do. My body loves to store everything I eat. (I apparently have a difficult time parting with my food.) With that said, I am attempting, (for the second time), to lose 20 lbs . Why do I say the second time? Well, almost 3 years ago I drastically changed my diet to vegan. I had issues with my stomach and intestines that no doctor could figure out. I was tested for Celiac Disease, negative. But just because a test comes back negative, doesn't mean you don't have a sensitivity to it. My doctor recommended cutting out gluten and dairy (I knew I was lactose intolerant).

So I did.

And it helped.

But I continued to always have that sick to my stomach feeling, swelling all the time, bloated, you know the drill. So I started reading up on the vegan diet. I began with The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone, and followed that up with Brendan Brazier's Thrive. Both from completely different points of view, different recipes and different thoughts on being vegan. So there I was, 30 lbs over weight, feeling sick all the time, in desperate need of a change....so I sucked it up and went cold turkey. Just like that. No meat. No dairy. No gluten.

I didn't feel amazing right away. It took a good week or two to notice the change that was happening. I slowly started to realize that my energy levels were increasing, my appetite was more controlled, and my stomach pain was disappearing. And the weight, well that was melting off, almost immediately.

In the short span of 3 months, I went from weighing 167 (yikes)
 to 138.

The amazing thing was, I didn't even realize the weight had gone. I was working out 5 days a week, mixing it up between weights, cardio, yoga, Zumba, anything that held my interest, which is not an easy accomplishment.


After 1 year of maintaining that weight and diet, something changed. I had just gone through my first round of IVF, first miscarriage, and one failed frozen IVF cycle. I was sad depressed. We found a new doctor, a new technique for trying to get pregnant. But it would all start with surgery. I was immediately inundated with fear. The fear of knowing how hard I had worked, how much weight I had lost, and knowing I would not be able to work out for about a month.

I was not happy.

But if this was going to help us get pregnant, I would try it.

After surgery, I grew more depressed. I convinced myself that I could start incorporating dairy and fish into my diet, and it would be fine.

It wasn't.

I didn't devote nearly as much time to my health, I stopped working out all together. And guess what happened? Yup, all that weight came fleeting back. Over the past year, I've gained, and lost, and gained and lost anywhere around 20-30 lbs, depending on the time of year.

So here I sit, 155 154lbs. heavy. (Lost 1 lb last week! Hey, it's a start!)

Four weeks ago, I had that light bulb moment again. I can't live like this. I hate looking at pictures of myself and always feel self conscious about how I appear. Never mind, always feeling sick. So I've made a promise to myself:

No cold turkey this time. I am simply making small changes to a healthier life. Goal weight: 135

1. I started taking Bikram Yoga 2-3 times a week, now up to 3-4 times a week. It's 90 mins of insanity and burns between 700-1000 calories per class. And I love it! The heat helps to relax my mind and calm my nerves.

2. I started tracking my calorie intake on AnytimeHealth.com. It's a free website if you are a member of Anytime Fitness. You type in what you've eaten, it calculates your calories for you. You can set weight loss goals, and it will adjust your calorie intake. It also lets you put in your physical activities so that your calories can adjust. It's been a huge help in understanding what I am eating and where I should be at to reach my goals.

3. I try to do something physical every day. Whether it be for 30 mins or 120 mins. Seeing as I sit at a desk all day, I need to make sure I am being active everyday. And I'm not referring to just going to the gym, or going for a run. I mean doing anything physical. Like cleaning our home, putting my new loom together (yay!), anything....

Anyone else trying to live a healthier life? What changes have you made?



Friday, September 14, 2012

Butternut Squash & Sage Pizza

Um, where did the week go? How is it Friday already? I've been severely lacking on the whole posting thing. I'm going to attempt to do a little make up right now. Here goes.....

Tuesday Night: Butternut Squash & Sage Pizza  



Ingredients

1 Pizza crust
1 small butternut squash
12 leaves of sage
1 small pack of goat cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
salt
pepper


Directions

Preheat your oven to 440F. Roll out your dough. Let sit. Slice butternut squash into 1/4" thick slices. Bake each side for 7 mins. Thinly slice the goat cheese and equally spread throughout the pizza dough. Layer butternut squash slices over goat cheese. Sprinkle diced sage, salt and pepper over entire pizza. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over everything. Bake for 15-20 mins.



So yummy, but very filling!

Wednesday Night: Take out.....oops!

I was not up for cooking and needed some good R&R. So I called in some Chinese food and parked myself on the sofa while hubby was out to a movie.

Thursday Night: Avocado & Egg Flatbread


Ingredients

1 wrap
6-8 grape tomatoes
2 eggs
1 avocado
salt
pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 440. Slice and mash the avocado in a separate dish. Spread over the flat wrap. Slice grape tomatoes in half and spread evenly over avocado. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop in the oven until edges begin to brown, aprox. 7 mins. In a frying pan, cook 2 eggs sunny side up or over easy. Make sure the yolks remain runny. Once the wrap has cooked, place the cooked eggs on top. Rip those yolks open and let run over entire wrap. 

I know, this looks nothing like tofu stir fry. I didn't get home from Bikram until 730, quickly showered, ran to the pharmacy and came home to whip something up. So needless to say, I needed something that cooked quickly. And I must say, this is going to be a new go to meal! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Super Easy Layered Eggplant & Fingerling Potatoes

This is one of the easiest meals to make. I try to save it for nights I have minimal time but want something homemade. Once everything is sliced and the eggplant has been pre-heated, it sits in the oven. Super easy, super yummy! Very filling! It may look like a small portion on your plate, but trust me, you will be full.


Layered Eggplant

3 mini eggplants, or 1 large eggplant
1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced and diced
1 large tomato, preferably farm fresh
goat cheese, approximately 8 tablespoons
cheddar cheese, 8 thin slices
rosemary, 1 tsp

Preheat oven to 440F. Slice the eggplant into 1/4-1/8" slices. On a baking sheet, cover with wax paper. Lay eggplant slices on the baking sheet individually. Bake for 5 mins each side. Eggplant will begin to brown. Remove eggplant from baking sheet.

I made 4 individual stacks/servings. Layer 3 small slices of eggplant (or one large), then tomato, onion, sprinkle some rosemary, then goat cheese. I used about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese. Repeat your stacking until all your ingredients have been used. Top the stacks with a couple slices of cheddar cheese.

Pop back in the over for 10-15 mins. Serve hot and let your taste buds do the talking.


Fingerling Potatoes

10-12 fingerling potatoes
1/4 yellow onion
olive oil
salt
pepper
rosemary

These little guys can cook right along side the eggplant. (Preheat oven to 440F.) Slice potatoes into quarters. Place in cast iron pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Thinly slice onions and sprinkle over potatoes. Chop up 1 tsp of fresh rosemary and spread over potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven for 15 mins. Stir/mix up the potatoes after 15 mins, cook for 10 more mins. Serve hot and enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal Planning for the Week

I'm awful at planning out meals. I know, me! I plan everything. But I've never planned out a weekly menu for Hubby and I, ever. So this week, I thought it might be nice. Mostly because I'm going grocery shopping and don't want to buy all the extra crap I usually end up buying. Here's what I've mapped out for the week:

Monday

Eggplant Rolatini
Eggplant Rolatini with Spinach & Goat Cheese

Tuesday

Butternut Squash and Crispy Sage Pizza
Butternut Squash Sage Goat Cheese GF Pizza

Wednesday

Eggplant pasta
GF Pasta Eggplant, Artichoke, Spinach & Kidney Beans

Thursday

Tofu Stir Fry

Friday

Buffalo Tempeh with Sweet Potato Fries and Green Beans

Check back for recipes, tips and photos!