Spicy Chickpeas & Hummus Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • One 14 oz. can chickpeas (preferably not in oil), rinsed and drained
  • Paprika
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

For the hummus:

  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Add chickpeas to a pan and toast on medium heat until liquid dissolves. Do not add oil or anything besides chickpeas to the pan!
  2. Sprinkle paprika to cover the chickpeas. Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  3. Once liquid dissolves, remove chickpeas from heat and let cool.


To make the hummus:

  1. In a blender (or magic bullet) add a tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil.
  2. Add half of the chickpeas (or all if using a blender not bullet), a pinch of salt, and a 3-count of water.
  3. Blend completely.
  4. If using a bullet, add the remaining chickpeas and another 2-count of water. Blend. *NoteYou may want to add a little more salt and red pepper flakes at this point, according to individual taste.*
  5. Sprinkle paprika on top and cover. Refrigerate for 3 hours or more and enjoy!


Happy snacking!!

-Gina

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Summertime Shred Recipes

The first week of my Summertime Shred is in the books!! While I may be loosely following a workout plan from Bodybuilding.com, I decided to create my own meal plan for this 6-week shred. After the last shred I did in 2014, I couldn’t deal with the crazy restrictions. No more poverty macros and minimal calories for this girl! I created a flexible diet plan which is high in protein and doesn’t leave me hungry every night. I’ve also come up with a few amazing recipes that are sure to jazz up even the strictest diet. Whether you are following along with my shred or just looking for some healthy recipes, these will satisfy even your toughest critic. Best of all? You can make them all in 30 minutes or less! Check them out and let me know what you think!

 

Chili-Lime Chicken Burgers

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*This recipe can be used for tilapia as well. Just coat the fish with lime juice first then add seasonings before placing in a grill pan.*

  • 1 pound/package of ground chicken (I use Perdue)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or more if you prefer things spicier)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • parsley, optional
  1. Combine spices and ground chicken together. Divide meat into 4 parts  and create burger patties.
  2. Lightly coat the bottom of a grill pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Place burgers in pan.
  3. Cook each side until brown (approx 5-8 min per side), then lower heat to medium and cover.
  4. Continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
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Chili-Lime Tilapia

Butternut Squash Soup

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*This recipe is for 1 serving…and is absolutely perfect for a quick meal! I roast the squash ahead of time using a little cinnamon and black pepper. I place in a container and portion it out for the week. However, if you used the entire batch, it would serve at least 4. You will have to add more liquid, accordingly.*

  • 1 cup of cut butternut squash (I use Trader Joe’s pre-cut variety)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cashew or coconut milk
  1. In a blender (or magic bullet), combine squash and 1/2 cup of milk. Blend until creamy.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine blended squash with remaining milk. Heat on medium and stir. Continue to cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until heated through.
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Roasted Butternut Squash

 

Turkey Chili

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*I’ve posted this before, but it’s so good that it’s worth posting again 🙂 I serve mine over brown rice but you can enjoy a nice, hearty bowl of this chili without the rice and it will taste just as good!*

  • 1 pound/package of ground turkey
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (approx. 7 oz)
  • 1/4 cup of frozen bell pepper strips
  • chili powder
  • parsley
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  1. In a large saucepan with a little olive oil (to coat the bottom of pan), combine turkey and spices. Cook on medium high heat and brown evenly.
  2. Add diced tomatoes & peppers as well as hot sauce, if you choose. Add a 1/4 cup of water and lower heat to simmer.
  3. Cover & continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes. Serve over brown rice (optional) and top with your favorite cheese.

 

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

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*Serves 1 – to serve more, use additional potatoes.*

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled
  • cinnamon/black pepper, to taste
  1. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut sweet potato length-wise into strips. Place strips on cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on top.
  3. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

 

Have suggestions for what I should cook up next? Email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com and let me know!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

Game Day Essentials

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One of the hardest things about being on a weight loss journey is learning to make healthy choices with food. Whether it’s a simple dinner at a restaurant or a celebration it can be really hard to make smart choices with so many temptations in front of you. It can be especially hard while watching sporting events. I was reminded of just this with the Superbowl this weekend. I read somewhere that the average person consumes 5,000 calories during the big game. 5,000. That’s insane! We are all working way too hard on our fitness and/or health goals for that nonsense. I have come up with several healthy alternatives to typical Superbowl snacks. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Buffalo Chicken:  You can’t really have a Superbowl party or watch any sports without buffalo chicken. The normal version is deep fried chicken wings/tenders. Well…not mine. I have two different ways to give the same feel…with a fraction of the calories.

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For the wings, I marinate the wings in the sauce early in the day. Then about 1-2 hours before kickoff I get them going in an oven on 375. I take care to flip often so they are evenly cooked. Then about 30 minutes before I take them out I turn the oven up to 450 and let them crisp up. The wings pictured are BBQ and Buffalo flavored. I also make boneless version of this. I marinate the chicken in buffalo sauce then using a regular grill pan, I cook the chicken breast on the stove. Once it’s cooked, I pour a little more sauce on top before serving. The key is also to making your own buffalo sauce. Hot sauce contains a lot of sodium so the key is to marinate the chicken and let the excess drip off. I also don’t put a lot of butter in my sauce. This weekend, I used a butter alternative but if that is not available to you, use one pat of the real deal and that’s it. Butter is only used to make the sauce coat the chicken better anyway. Add pepper, parsley, and other seasonings to your taste thereafter.

Mac N Cheese: I LOVE mac n cheese but let’s be honest – it’s not the best for the waistline. Now, all pasta will contain the carbs but I have found a way to make the cheese sauce a lot less fattening.

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I use whole wheat pasta to start then in a separate pot I combine fat free american cheese and a 1/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk. Yes, cashew milk. I have become a HUGE fan of that stuff…it is super creamy and I swear it makes everything taste better. I also mixed in a sprinkle of shredded cheese to thicken it up a bit, rather than using flour, and I added a little black pepper and parsley. The result was incredible!

Dips: This may be one of the biggest killers at a party. You just mindlessly dip the assortment of snacks as you watch the game…ignoring the crazy amount of calories consumed. You can make your own dip by subbing out the sour cream for Greek yogurt…or you can avoid it altogether, as I did. I made hummus and guacamole. Both contain the essential good fat and taste great.

Next time you host a party or attend a sporting event, do your best to make healthy choices. While it’s okay to indulge from time to time, it’s important to not go so far overboard that you ruin all of your hard work. There are always better alternatives available so it’s up to you to be strong and actually take them. Remember your goals and keep your eye on the prize – it will make the decision to be healthy that much easier.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

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I’m not usually into meatless alternatives. I may not eat red meat…but I DO like my poultry and fish. However, this made me a believer!

I was given Textured Soy Protein. I had no idea what that was or what to make with it so I went to Google. When I saw this pop up from AllRecipes.com, I knew I had to give it a try! As per usual with me, I put my own spin on it to adapt to my own liking and health needs. Feel free to do the same – and let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did ❤

Vegan Stuffed Peppers
Serves 1

Ingredients:
2 tbsp brown rice (uncooked)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup soy or vegetable protein
1 bell pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste
**I also topped mine with a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese. To make this totally vegan, use a soy or vegan cheese alternative.

Directions:
1. In a small saucepan, add rice and water on medium heat. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
2. While the rice cooks, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep cookie sheet or baking dish with foil. Seed and cut bell pepper (length-wise.) Place pepper on covered dish/sheet and set aside.
3. In a medium pot add oil, protein, and parsley on medium heat. Stir in tomato sauce. Let simmer.
4. Add semi-cooked rice to protein mixture along with salt & pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Spoon protein/rice mixture into each pepper half. Cover with foil and place in oven for 40 minutes.
6. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top. Cook for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
7. Remove from oven. Serve and enjoy!

Gather ‘Round the Dinner Table

Dinner just may be my favorite meal of the day. There’s so many options and so many different foods to enjoy. Being on the #Whole30 diet hasn’t changed that. In fact, I’m learning to appreciate the beauty in all of the colorful foods that are compliant on this diet 🙂

I try to make enough at dinner to yield me leftovers at lunch. If that isn’t possible, I usually make my lunch while I’m making dinner to save time. Since grains are not allowed and I’ve been eating sweet potatoes earlier in the day, dinner always consists of a protein and vegetables. A lot of vegetables. I have also been on a balsamic kick since starting this diet. I had no idea that you could use it to make SO many things taste amazing!

As with my breakfast plan, these recipes all serve one but I am more than willing to assist you in making these recipes work for you and your family.

Tilapia Bruschetta
1-4 oz. Tilapia filet
1/2 can of diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning
Black pepper
Paprika
Pinch of salt
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic powder
Parsley

  • Begin by drizzling olive oil in a small pan; heat on medium-high
  • Season tilapia with pinch of salt, black pepper (to taste), a drizzle of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of paprika for color.
  • Place in pan.
  • Cook for 5 minutes then flip for another 5.
  • While that cooks, grab a small pot. Place diced tomatoes, pinch of salt, red pepper flakes (to taste), and Italian seasoning in pot and place over medium heat.
  • Remove fish from pan and top with sauce. Serve alongside your favorite veggies and enjoy 🙂
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Tilapia Over Italian Stirfry

*I make this all the time. When I’m not doing the #Whole30 I place fish over brown rice and serve with asparagus.*

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Cutlets
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1- pound (or a package) of chicken cutlets (or a 4 oz. chicken breast)
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt

  • Begin by drizzling olive oil into a grill pan and placing on medium-high heat.
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.
  • Place chicken into pan and season the other side.
  • Cook for about 5-7 minutes (for the cutlets; about 10-15 if it’s a whole breast) and flip. Cook through.
  • Once chicken is just about done, add balsamic vinegar. Flip chicken to completely coat. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and serve over salad or alongside your favorite veggies!

Grilled Eggplant
*this recipe can serve 4…or yields many leftovers!*

1-medium eggplant
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Black pepper, to taste
Pinch of salt

  • Begin by peeling the eggplant and slicing into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • Drizzle olive oil into a grill pan and heat on medium.
  • Season eggplant slices with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Place slices in pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes and flip. Cook through and remove from pan.
  • Continue this until all eggplant slices are cooked.
  • Serve alongside other veggies or as a side dish with chicken. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash:
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1- medium spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste

  • Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees and lining a baking sheet with foil.
  • Slice the squash length-wise; scoop seeds out of middle and discard.
  • drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place both halves cut side down onto baking sheet and place in oven.
  • Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Using a fork, shred the inside of the squash, making “spaghetti”
  • Top with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Sides:

Brussel Sprouts:
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These have a terrible stigma. I saw a bag of frozen sprouts in Trader Joe’s for only $1 so I took a chance….and it changed my life. They are phenomenal! Here’s how I cook mine:

1/2 bag of frozen sprouts
pinch of salt
black pepper
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
drizzle of olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees; cover baking sheet with foil.
  • Place sprouts on sheet; season with salt and pepper and drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Bake sprouts for approximately 20 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  • Remove from tray and serve alongside chicken or other veggies

Kale Chips:
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1/3 bag of kale (I use the one from Trader Joe’s)
Olive oil
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Spread kale onto baking sheet. Drzzle with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Serve as a snack or alongside your favorite protein dish.
    **I tend to use frozen veggies most often but frozen kale WILL NOT work for this. Trust me…its not pretty.**

String Beans: These are an absolute staple for me. Since being on this diet, I’ve eaten them every day for lunch and many times I also eat them for dinner. They are extremely versatile and I prepare them in many different ways. Some examples of this are: balsamic glazed, steamed and seasoned simply, and Italian style (with diced tomatoes). Typically I buy a bag of frozen whole green beans and go from there. They take hardly any time to cook and are delicious!

Italian stir fry: I wrote a blog on this a couple of months ago however it’s worth mentioning. I basically call anything with zucchini and tomatoes my Italian stirfry 🙂 Depending on what I have available, I add things such as peppers, mushrooms, and diced eggplant to that mix. This is a quick and tasty addition to your dinner table.

I hope this has been helpful. I will continue to post new recipes as they come to me. This diet isn’t easy and it may eliminate many of your favorite foods. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate flavor. Spice things up and make them look pretty and you won’t even miss some of that other stuff 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

My Whole30 Breakfast Plan

Breakfast has been one of the bigger struggles for me. I’m used to having oatmeal or a yogurt everyday…and both of these are no-no’s on the Whole30 diet. I’m also used to having coffee creamer or some flavor in my coffee…which is also not allowed. So I’ve had to adapt. Since beginning this diet, I’ve been eating eggs most days. I’m used to only eating egg whites but I’ve had to incorporate the yolk as well to make it more filling. I also have learned that you must incorporate some sort of meat or vegetable into your breakfast or else you will be starving all day.

The best part about these recipes is that they all take 15 minutes or less to prep and cook. I make all of my food the night before so I can grab it and go to work. They can all be easily microwaved and all taste just as great the next morning. All of the recipes seen here serve one, as I cook for myself. However, I can certainly assist you with expanding whichever recipe to feed more.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions or comments. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Scrambled Egg with Sweet Potato Hash

1-large egg

1-small sweet potato

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

  • Begin by grating the sweet potato. Toss shredded potato with black pepper. Take a paper towel and drizzle some olive oil on it; rub oil onto a small pan.
  • Add shredded potato to pan and place on medium heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes then flip. Continue this until cooked through.
  • Crack the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper (I also had a pinch of parsley) as well as a drop of water. Poke the yolk and scramble egg with a fork. Set aside.
  • Remove potato from pan and add egg mixture. Let it set for a bit then flip eggs in pan. Cook for a total of 3 minutes. Lay egg over potato and enjoy 🙂

 

Egg in Avocado

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1-egg

½ avocado

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

Lemon or lime juice (to drizzle over avocado)

  • Begin by preheating an oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice a medium avocado in half. Using the half without the pit, drizzle lemon or lime juice on top. This will help prevent browning. If using a large egg, scoop a little extra avocado out of the center.
  • Place avocado in a baking dish, such as a ramekin. Crack egg into avocado hole. Add salt and pepper.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I don’t like runny eggs so I cook until the yolk is firm, however you can cook for less time if you like it that way).
  • Remove from oven. Serve alongside fruit or sweet potatoes and enjoy 🙂

 

Scrambled eggs with leftover turkey “chili”
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2-eggs (one whole + one egg white)

approximately 1 cup of leftover turkey chili (no sauce)

black pepper, to taste

pinch of salt

pinch of parsley

  • Begin by cracking an egg into a bowl. Take the second egg and separate the white from the yolk; add the whites to the egg in the bowl. Add a drop of water, salt, pepper, and parsley to the bowl; scramble together.
  • Take a paper towel, add a little olive oil and rub onto a small pan. Heat pan on medium and add egg mixture. Cook for a total of approximately 3 minutes, stirring around throughout to cook evenly. Set eggs aside to cool.
  • *When I made turkey chili, I made sure to take about half of the meat and peppers out of the pot before making the sauce for it. I then portioned that half out and used it for two days worth of breakfast.
  • Take your leftover “chili” out of the fridge. Once eggs are completely cool, add to “chili” and place back in fridge for your morning breakfast.
  • **If you are making this to eat right away, reheat meat prior to cooking eggs. Set aside, cook eggs, and pour eggs over the meat.

 

Strawberry Smoothie

*This shouldn’t happen everyday but once in a while it’s a nice addition to break up all of the savory foods.*

approx. 1-cup of frozen strawberries

1/3 cup of light coconut milk

1 tbsp flax seeds.

  • Place all ingredients in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend and enjoy along side a banana.

 

Coffee
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This is where I thought I would struggle most. I love my coffee creamer and sweet flavors from Dunkin and Starbucks. However, I found that canned coconut milk is creamier and slightly sweeter than what I was used to. I add about 1/3 cup of light coconut milk, which is the serving size…and while it sounds like a lot, trust me you will need it! I also add a pinch of cinnamon. Somehow that’s a fake-out to making your mouth think you’re having something sweet. Anyway, this has actually been working really well for me and I don’t really miss the extra sweetness in my cup of Joe. I even found you can alter your favorite Starbucks drink with it! I got a Grande Americano, black then I went home added the coconut milk and blended with some ice. Topped that with the pinch of cinnamon and boom—Coconut Blendicano 🙂

Water: I’m making a point to add this. I have a bad habit of forgetting to drink during the day. I don’t really know why or how it happens but I do. I’ve found that the more water I drink early in the day, the less hungry I am as the day goes on. I didn’t invent that theory but I figured out how true it was when I was starving during the first few days of this diet. So, it may not be the most exciting beverage and you may already know to do this…but be sure to get at least your 8 glasses in while doing this diet.

 

This diet, like everything else on this journey, is extremely hard. Remain focus and remember why you started. It may not get easier but you will feel so much stronger for doing it. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2Befit@gmail.com

Soothe your Soul

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! I am finally starting to feel like myself again, after being out of commission all week with a bad throat infection and a mild case of bronchitis.

I don’t do well with sitting still so I’ve been climbing the walls. Obviously being so sick meant no working out this week…and it also meant no food shopping. My stock was running so low! I finally made it out to Trader Joe’s yesterday and I can FINALLY begin my quest on the Whole 30 diet this week

Anyway, with a low food supply I had to make do with what I had…but I managed to create a healthy, delicious soup…and it may even cure what ails ya! This soup is inexpensive to make and you can make it to your personal preference. For example, I used chicken broth but you can certainly sub that out for vegetable stock if you prefer. Make it for yourself or for a loved one. Enjoy the rest of this 3-day weekend everyone 🙂

Pastina Kale Soup

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Ingredients:
-1 can chicken broth (or 2 cups) (I use Swanson 100% natural)
-1 can (or 2 cups) of water
-1/4 cup pastina (any small pasta will work)
-1/2 cup kale (I used frozen but use what you have!)
-Pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder
-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Directions:
-In a small pot, add chicken broth and water along with seasonings. Bring to a rapid boil.
-Add pastina. Stir until broth boils again. Add kale.
-Cook for approx 6 min. Carefully drain most of the broth into a container. Add the rest along with pastina and kale to a bowl.
-Top with some grated cheese and enjoy 🙂