Fit Friday: 7-18-14

Oy. That’s basically all I can say for the past workout week, or should I say lack of working out week? It feels like life just got in the way this week and I could not make it to my workout classes. I know that sounds like a very poor excuse but sometimes it happens.  I think I’m at the point where I need to suck it up and if I have something after work I need to wake up in the morning to workout, which I have yet to be successful at. I don’t know if it’s just me or not but when that alarm goes off at 5:00am I always choose sleep and then regret it later on when I’m tired anyways.  I wasn’t completely lethargic though, which is better than nothing. I walk the 1.5 miles to and from the train every morning, a few times I even ran it (not on purpose I was just late haha).

This week I’m not going to make a schedule I’m just going to say that I will workout three times this week. Maybe with a little less pressure I will actually do it and can make ya’ll proud! Am I allowed to say ya’ll even if I’m not from the south?

If you’re like me and having trouble getting started here’s a great workout from Fit Sugar’s 21-Day Flat Belly Challenge. In place of jumping rope you can do any heart pumping exercise, such as running in place, jumping jacks, high-knees, toe taps, ect. Good luck!

How are you guys doing with your workout commitments? Do you find it’s harder to workout when you have a set schedule or when you just say I want to work out 3-4-5 times this week? Have you found any great new workouts lately or any new moves you’re finding to be effective? 

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Mango & Avocado Salsa!

Mango & Avocado Salsa

This weekend Bill and I went to a BBQ at our friend’s house, so naturally I wanted to bring something with us (you taught me well mom). The only issue was that we were all going to the beach first and then to the BBQ, stopping at a grocery store in between though thankfully.  This eliminated many, many options of things to bring with me. I obviously couldn’t bring something to the beach since it would be sitting in the hot sun all day (ew).  I also couldn’t bring anything that was too time consuming because I couldn’t make it before hand.

After countless searches I finally came upon this Mango & Avocado Salsa that I used for the base idea of the salsa. I left out a few of the ingredients but overall it was the perfect easy, yet cool and refreshing dish to serve as an appetizer. With some help from Bill (thanks bubs!), I was able to chop up all of the ingredients pretty fast and join everyone outside before all of the other appetizers were gone!

Ingredients:

-1 mango, peeled and diced (One of my friends showed me this great tip on how to cut mangos, click here to see a youtube video with the same tip. I recommend skipping to 0:45 seconds and then watching the two different ways)

-1 avocado, peeled and diced

-1 plum tomato, diced

-1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

-2 tbsp fresh lime juice

-1/4 cup chopped red onion

-1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and serve! Feel free to let it sit in the fridge and marinate for a half hour first.

Introducing: Cheap, Chic..and Healthy!

I’ve really been enjoying looking up recipes and trying to recreate them in my kitchen, however I feel like a lot of the time I see a recipe that looks delicious and then realize how expensive it will be for me. I’m still in that phase in my life where cereal for dinner happens and every deal is a huge plus. That’s why I decided to add a section to my blog that compiles all of my “Cheap, Chic and…Healthy” recipes, as well as anything else I can pass onto you guys. The recipes will also be organized in the Recipes section, but these special inexpensive recipes deserve their own space.

For most people this meal will seem like common sense, but for someone like me who is a complete kitchen amateur I was pretty proud of myself for cooking this without a recipe.

This meal came to me for many reasons. For starters, I wanted a meal that was easy, yet healthy and cheap. Living in NYC I am lucky enough to have little fruit and vegetable stands every few blocks that sell fresh produce for much less than the grocery stores.  I knew if I used veggies for a big chunk of the meal I could manage to keep the cost down, plus I have been meaning to eat more veggies anyways. Lastly, I I wanted to take the plunge with mushrooms. I know I know, you’re probably thinking “seriously, this girl has never had mushrooms?!” Well, I’ve tried them before but I convinced myself I did not like them. The texture was weird and they smelt like dirty feet to me, which if you know me you know I very much dislike feet. But they have sooo many health benefits! Some of which include: a good source of lean protein since they have no cholesterol or fat and are very low carbohydrates, a great source of iron (perfect for people who suffer from anemia), rich source of calcium, and they help with nutrient absorption. For more health benefits of mushrooms click here.

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, what is this exciting recipe that I’m going to share with you?!

Pasta with roasted veggies! Yup, that’s my recipe.  Something that people have been doing for years but is new and exciting for me. Hopefully there is someone else out there who will read this and it will help them, for everyone else, thanks for just reading this far (I’m thanking you now since I know you’ll stop reading since you already know how to roast veggies haha).

Ingredients:

-1 cup whole wheat pasta

-sauce of your choosing (I used tomato sauce)

-assorted veggies minced (I used mushrooms, red pepper, white onions, parsley, and carrots.)

-half of lemon

-olive oil

-salt

-crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. If you haven’t already done it, cut up all of your veggies into small pieces, aka mince them.Chopped veggies
  2. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
  3. Pour enough oil into a skillet until the bottom is coated and heat until you start to see the smallest amount of smoke. Put the half of the lemon face down in the pan, throw the veggies into the oil (be careful!), put salt and crushed red pepper to taste. Cover the pan and cook on high for around 2 minutes. You’re cooking it on high in order to get the veggies a little charred.Oil in panveggies in panveggies in covered pan
  4. I know it’s tough but don’t open it yet, wait the full two minutes.
  5. After two minutes you can take the top off and stir/flip the veggies. Cover and let them cook for another two minutes.
  6. Add the sauce and veggies to the drained pasta.pasta sauce and veggies
  7. Voila! A simple, healthy and cheap!                                           finished product

Fit Friday!

Happy Fit Friday everyone! As promised I said I would keep up my half of the bargain and keep track of what I did last week and declare what I planned to do in the week to come.  Then, your half is to comment with what you did or what you plan to do. Heck, you could comment anything and I’d be happy haha! Exercise questions, comments on my workouts (it’s okay, you can tell me if I’m not working hard enough!), or just to even say hi!

So for this week it went like this:

Friday: it was the 4th so nothing, sorry America

Saturday: Relaxed

Sunday: Relaxed

Monday: I was supposed to do the arms, abs and assets class but it was full! I worked out on my own instead but I forget exactly what I did. I’ll keep better track from now on in order to give everyone ideas for their own workouts, plus it’ll make me work harder if I have to post it…hopefully.

Tuesday: this was my designated rest day

Wednesday: I took the Fluidity class again and I’m still really enjoying it. The teacher is awesome and it reminds me so much of the things we used to do during my dance classes.

Thursday: I did the half hour with the trainer (the one that came with signing up for the gym). I felt it was a great workout and he really showed me what I needed to work on; cardio, my arms, and my outer thigh. I’ll have to find classes that work these parts more!

Two exercises I really enjoyed with the trainer:

1) The only way I can describe it is as toe taps on the bosu ball, you know one of those half balls? It felt like I did it forever but I think it was 30 seconds of alternating tapping my toes on the ball, then rest, X4 times. Majorrrrr cardio workout, but yet it was still entertaining and wasn’t just running on the treadmill. Nothing against people who love that, but I get wayyyy too bored. I blame my undiagnosed ADD on that. Or maybe my impatient-ness.

2) This is a good partner exercise but it can also be modified to do it alone. I held a 6lb medicine ball and stood with my legs past hip distance apart, or in ballet as they would call second position. The trainer would throw me the medicine ball and I would have to squat, come back up and throw it back to him.  The squats were wide leg squats, or sumo squats, in order to work the outer thigh (aka the area he said was my fault area. Thank god for honest people). If you don’t have someone to workout with you can squat and then extend your arms straight out so you can still get the arm workout as well. Or you can just use the medicine ball as extra weight for your squat. Or if you’re still new to working out body weight squats are still so beneficial!

Now my plan for next week:

Friday: on my way to Bill while writing this…so no workout

Saturday: rest

Sunday: I plan to do body weight exercises as a small workout, I’ll let you guys know what I do!

Monday: rest

Tuesday: I want to find a new class to take so I’ll keep you updated on this! I’m looking to take some sort of high cardio class because I know I need it.

Wednesday: Fluidity! Woohoo!

Thursday: Ditto to the finding a new class!

I hope everyone has a fun and healthy weekend!

What were your workouts this week? Did you try any new classes or exercises? Do you have any fun weekend plans?

Tuna Tuesday: Canned Tuna Ceviche

I love tuna, I really, really do. I’m not sure what I love more about it though, the taste or how inexpensive it is.  Or how well it pairs with so many different things. Or how easy it is to make. I could continue but I think we all get what I’m saying.

So knowing this little secret about my tuna love, you can only imagine how excited I get when I find new ways to use canned tuna fish. You didn’t think I meant the fresh and fancy type of tuna? Oh no no no. I love cannnnnnned tuna fish.  Well, while I was browsing Skinny Taste the other day I came across this “Poor man’s ceviche” recipe.  It seemed perfect for what I was looking for; a healthy, simple and wallet friendly meal!

Ingredients:

-2 tbsp minced red onion

-1 to 1 ½ limes

-kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed

-1 tsp olive oil

-1 (7 oz) can chunk albacore tuna packed in water (drained)

-1 medium seeded plum tomato, finely diced

-2 tbsp chopped cilantro

-2 oz sliced avocado (about a half of avocado) * I would have used this but I forgot my avocado. I can imagine it could only have made it even better though, since avocado is the best*

Then she also recommended two other ingredients that I didn’t use (by choice this time):

-1 jalapeno, minced (Keep seeds for spicy) or you can use pickled

-3 drops Tabasco sauce

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the red onion, pinch of kosher salt, juice of one lime and olive oilphoto 3
  2. Mix in the chopped cilantro, jalapeno, drained tuna, tomato, and Tabasco.photo 2
  3.  Taste for salt and lime and adjust as needed
  4. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes in order to let the flavors blend. I made mine the night before and I’m not sure if it was because I let it sit for so long or if I used too much cilantro but I tasted a lot of that so just be careful!photo 1
  5. Top with your fresh avocado, serve over a bed of spinach and enjoy!                   photo (1)

How many of you love tuna as much as I do? Or avocado?What inexpensive recipes have you tried recently? 

Banish the Weekend Bloat

If your holiday weekend was anything like mine then you ate (and drank) wayyyy more than you should have, but hey we’re only human. You probably have a double case of the Monday’s today since not only are you back at work but you also feel bloated and maybe even a bit guilty for over indulging this weekend. That’s okay though because here are some tips on what to eat and drink this week to beat the bloat:

  1. Drink warm water with lemon in the mornings to help wake up your digestive system and get things moving.
  2. Avoid dairy in the morning (or even for a few days) since most people tend to feel slightly bloated after eating and/or drinking it.
  3. Make sure to eat breakfast though! You might still be feeling full from the weekend but not eating is much worse for you.  Choose a breakfast instead that is high in fiber and lean protein, such as low-fat cottage cheese and tomato on a whole wheat English muffin.
  4. Eat pineapple as an afternoon snack since the bromelain enzyme in it helps to banish belly bloat by breaking down protein and aiding in digestion.
  5. Drink lots and lots of water in order to flush out bad toxins and extra salt that may have been consumed (chips anyone?).
  6. Eat quinoa for lunch or dinner since the fiber and potassium in the superfood are important if you would like to feel less bloated.
  7. Can I mention eating fiber again? Some foods that are rich in fiber: avocado, raspberries, chia seeds, broccoli, ect.
  8. For dinner, incorporate asparagus into your meal since it encourages healthy digestion by aiding in the growth of healthy bacteria in your body.
  9. Resist the urge to drink with diner! One glass of wine max if you’ve really had a bad day but no more than that.
  10. Lastly, get plenty of sleep! Sleep helps to regulate your metabolism so getting the recommended 7 hours a night will help debloat you in no time!

Hopefully these tips help and you feel better in no time!

Do you guys have any helpful tips to add to this list? What about suggestions of foods to avoid? 

Fourth of July Festivities!

I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July, I know I did! Yesterday, even with all of the rain, was a relaxing and fun day/night. The morning was spent watching the World Cup games on my couch and eating a whole wheat bagel with tofu vegetable cream cheese. Yes you read that correctly, it was tofu and in my opinion tasted just like regular cream cheese.  You will obviously have to try it for yourself but I think I’ve found my new bagel topping, which is very exciting since I have such dairy issues (not that it normally stops me haha).

Then, for the nighttime Bill and I went to my parents and spent the night at their house.  I took this opportunity of three willing taste-testing participants to make some healthy appetizers and sides to go along with the steak my dad was going to grill.  I was pleasantly pleased with how they turned out and everyone loved them, which is obviously the best part! All of the dishes were relatively simple to make yet full of flavor and healthy! Also, I apologize for the photos, I need to work on my “working” photos so for this post I just have the end product.

Before 4th

(The “before” photo haha)

Appetizers: Red & Blue (berry) Salsa:

This first recipe I found on the blog All Through The Year Cheer and thought it was perfect because it was so different from anything I would ever have chosen to make in the past and the name was too cute to resist.  It was very simple to make but also very time consuming with all of the chopping so I would just make sure to give yourself enough time to get it all done. The blogger shows the salsa as a topping to chicken or fish which is definitely how I would like to try it next time.

Ingredients:

-1/2 Cup fresh blueberries, chopped

-1/2 Cup fresh whole blueberries

-1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (I didn’t use a full half because it seemed like more pepper than I wanted so just play around with the amount)

-1/4 red onion, diced -3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (once again I didn’t use this full amount, I only used 2 TB’s but add as much as you feel is right for you)

-1 tablespoon lemon juice

I left out the two optional additions but here they are in case you would like to add them:

-1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

-2 tablespoons fresh minced mint

Directions: In a bowl, stir together all ingredients for the salsa and refrigerate until ready to use and voila you are all done!

Kickoff Pepper Dip

The next recipe came from this site that I receive recipe emails from called Recipe.com that compiles recipes based on a theme from many different recipe sites. This particular one was from Diabeticliving.com. One tip for this recipe is to actually follow the direction of letting the dip chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  I only left mine for about an hour since I did not realize this, however it still tasted good but I can see it being better when it was colder

Ingredients:

-4 large red, green, yellow, or orange sweet peppers, seeded and cut up

-1 small onion, cut up -1/4 cup water

– 1-8 ounce package of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

-1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise dressing or light salad dressing (I used the mayo dressing)

-2 tablespoons lemon juice

-2 teaspoons olive oil

-1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

-1/4 teaspoon salt -3 small red, yellow, and/or green sweet peppers, tops and seeds removed (optional, but I thought it really added to the dish displaying the dip in the peppers)

-assorted veggies for dipping

Directions:

  1. In a blender or large food processor, combine 1/3 of the cut up sweet peppers, the onion, and the water. Cover and blend or process until smooth.  Add the remaining cut up peppers and blend till smooth
  2.  Place pureed vegetable mixture in a fine sieve; press mixture gently to drain off excess liquid. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, lime juice, oil, horseradish, & salt. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in pureed vegetable mixture. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
  4. Spoon dip into remaining sweet peppers and service with fresh veggies!

4th appetizers

Sides:

Pasta Spinach Salad

This pasta salad was also from one of the emails I receive from Recipe.com.

Ingredients:

-6 ounces dried whole wheat penne

-2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (put more in a bowl so people can add more if they would like)

-1/3 cup bottled Italian dressing

– 6 cups torn fresh spinach (I used baby spinach)

-2 tablespoons sliced, pitted ripe olives (I put these on the side so people could choose if they wanted to add them)

Then the last ingredient I didn’t use but here they are in case you would like to:

-1/4 cup sliced green onion

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and put in the fridge to chill ahead of time.
  2. When you’re ready to serve, combine pasta, tomatoes, feta cheese, salad dressing, green onions, and olives.
  3.  If you need to, everything can be made ahead of time and put into the fridge to all chill together, just make sure to rinse the pasta with cold water first so that it is not still hot.
  4. To serve, arrange spinach on a large serving platter, spoon pasta mixture over spinach.

Fresh Corn, Avocado and Quinoa Salad

This salad I found on the blog Eating Bird Food and the author says it can also be used as a dip but I used it as a salad.

Ingredients

-4 ears (about 3 cups) fresh, uncooked sweet corn

-1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 ½ cups)

-1/2 cup red onion, diced

-2 large avocados, diced -lime juice (1 lime or about 2 TB’s)

-1 teaspoon sea salt -1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (The store was out of basil so I didn’t add this, but it still tasted good)

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to the package directions. Place in a bowl and put in the fridge to cool. This step can also be done the day before or hours in advance.
  2. Husk and cut the corn from the cob.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and either serve immediately or let sit for a few hours to marinate before serving.

4th dinnermy plate

What did everyone else do for the 4th? Try any new recipes? Any good 4th of July party ideas?