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

image **Excuse the quality of this picture…the steam got in the way 😉

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 🙂

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A Healthy Alternative to a Dinnertime Classic

Tonight I was in a bit of a food rut. I purposely ran my stock low since I was supposed to begin the Whole 30 Diet this week. However, with an upcoming road trip to Philadelphia I decided to postpone the diet by one week. That, combined with the neverending snow (resulting in my inability to get to my favorite supermarket), has my stockpile running crazy low. I got tired of soup and carb-heavy dishes so I walked up to my local supermarket with a mission to find a protein. Since they are a neighborhood store they tend to be overpriced but I figured at the very least I could always just get a rotisserie chicken and use leftovers for lunch and whatnot. Boy was I surprised at what I found. Turkey cutlets…for a good price! Turkey cutlets are RARELY inexpensive so I tend to not buy them as often as I would like but I definitely lucked out tonight. I got a pack, which was about a pound, for only $2.99! I usually grill my cutlets but tonight I wanted them breaded so I came up with a healthier alternative to a fried classic. Instead of drowning the cutlets in oil, I only drizzled enough to barely coat the pan. I did have to drizzle the pan twice, since the cutlets had to be cooked in batches however, it was still a very small amount and significantly less than what you would normally use for cutlets. I also cut down some calories by only using an egg white rather than the whole egg. The result was a lighter, very tasty dinner. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my latest culinary creation….Enjoy! 🙂

Turkey Cutlets

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  • One pack of turkey cutlets
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • ground sage
  • black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • paprika
  • olive oil

-Lightly whisk one egg white in a bowl. On a separate plate, mix together all dry ingredients. Set both aside.

-Drizzle olive oil in a grill pan and set heat to medium high.

-While pan heats, begin dredging the cutlets in egg wash and breadcrumbs. Once coated, place the cutlets in the grill pan. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side.

Serve alongside your favorite veggies or with a salad. I served mine with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and string beans. Super simple, super fast, and best of all…healthy! Bon Appetit everyone 🙂

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Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Healthy & Hearty Italian Dinner

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Ladies and gentlemen….tonight’s dinner 🙌

In under 30 minutes you have a super easy, delicious, and healthy dinner! Here’s the recipe:

Pasta Primavera (serves one)
1 cup of whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
1 cup of frozen zucchini (this was the Shoprite brand, which is already cut)
A handful of frozen pepper strips
A handful of mushrooms (sliced or chopped)
Diced tomatoes (approx 1 cup)
A drizzle of olive oil
Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-Boil water for pasta in small pot. Once water is boiling, dump the cup of pasta in. Stir until water boils again. While that’s working, grab a small pan and put all ingredients (besides the mushrooms) in.
-Wait about 5 minutes, then mix mushrooms into pan. Cook pasta for about 10 minutes, or until tender.
-Drain pasta, leaving a tiny bit of water in the pot. Return to stove and remove veggie mix from heat. Mix the veggies with the pasta and serve in a small bowl. Enjoy 💖
*I topped mine with a little cheese (as all good Italians should 💁) before eating…feel free to do the same!

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. This whole meal costs under $5 and took about 15 minutes to cook. You can adjust the amount of ingredients based on the number of people you are serving. Feed your body well and you will notice how amazing you feel.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Butternut Squash Soup

With the holidays upon us, I thought I would give you this quick and easy recipe to add to your holiday spread. This soup is meant to be a light, healthy starter to your feast. Initially I thought of providing a recipe for a turkey and sweet potato dish but most people have that stuff covered. Besides, it’s been so cold lately, why not warm everyone up when they walk in with this delicious soup?!

This is the time of year when people tend to really go overboard and wreck their diet. To me, Thanksgiving can actually be pretty healthy. Think about it…it’s turkey and sweet potatoes! Of course there are lots of other delicious options and that’s when people run into trouble. My advice is to just to practice moderation and enjoy everything within reason. Ignore the food noise–rather than wasting time agonizing over food and calories, enjoy that precious time with your loved ones. Count your blessings and be thankful for all that you have in your life – Don’t lose sight of what’s most important at this magical time of year.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Butternut Squash Soup

 

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (I use a small one for myself and it makes enough for two bowls. Use your judgement for the amount of people you will be serving)
  • 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch of ginger powder
  • Pinch of parsley (optional)
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)
Directions:
1. Cut squash length-wise and remove seeds. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. On a baking sheet, lay the two halves. Drizzle olive oil on top and add the salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fork-tender.
3. Remove from oven and cool. Once squash is cool enough to handle, peel skin off and cube.
4. Place cubed squash and coconut milk into blender. Blend until smooth.
5. In a saucepan, add puréed mixture. Place on medium heat and add ginger powder. Stir to combine.

6. Once warm, remove from pot and serve. Add the parsley and nutmeg.

Enjoy! 🙂

Quick & Easy Clean Eating

My apologies on the delay of this—looks like I’m going to need to get a new computer sooner rather than later. Anyway, as promised, I’ve decided to share some recipes along with some daily staples of my own diet.

Thanks to Rachael Ray and her 30-minutes of fabulous creations, I love to cook. That woman really taught me wonders. While I don’t follow her recipes, I do get inspired by them and I have adapted her techniques to cook everything in 30 minutes or less. Now I can transform all of my favorite dishes and make them healthy with minimal time and effort – It really is genius.

Here is my daily breakdown:

Breakfast:  I never ate breakfast growing up. I was never hungry and would give my mom a really hard time each morning before school. As an adult, I realize how important breakfast is and it’s become my favorite meal of the day. Weekday mornings there isn’t a lot of time to prepare amazing things so I eat oatmeal. I portion the oats out by scooping a ½ cup into a Tupperware container. I then sprinkle about a ½ tsp of cinnamon on top. For variety, I like to add a half banana (which I slice), some blueberries, flax seeds, or some almonds.  This is a healthy, fast breakfast on-the-go for work days.  On weekends, there’s no time constraint so I get creative. I almost always incorporate egg whites but what I do with them varies. Sometimes it’s just egg whites scrambled, sometimes it’s a frittata. If I feel like having oatmeal on a weekend, I will sometimes add in a scoop of protein powder to make a sweeter variety on my every day breakfast.

Coffee: This gets its own category. Anyone who knows me knows just how important coffee is and how seriously I take it. I drink iced coffee and I typically make a whole pot and have that ready for each morning. Now I’m not lactose-intolerant as I can consume dairy products such as cheese, ice cream, yogurt and others without a hitch but I cannot have straight milk in anything—especially not in coffee. That’s just a recipe for a really bad day in stomach land. So I opt to use coffee creamer. I know some people use almond milk or coconut milk but to me it just doesn’t taste as good in coffee and then I have to add sweeteners to the mix. I prefer the creamer, which may not be so great but I don’t have to add anything else to the coffee. Weekends I tend to get my coffee outside. I was treating myself to turbo iced coffees at Dunkin (which are loaded with tons of unnecessary sugar and calories thanks to the flavors I add) until I discovered the beauty and magic that is a “blendicano” from Starbucks. So my weekends now begin with a venti double blended Americano. I read that people add sugar free flavors to it. Most of the time those have a weird taste to me but the sugar free mocha is amazing and doesn’t have that chemical taste to it. I still have the turbo iced coffee from time to time but I prefer the blendicano.

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My lunch and dinner varies each day. As a rule for myself, I try to not eat any carbs after I leave work. Occasionally I may have a banana post-workout or something like that but my dinner almost always only consists of protein and vegetables. This helps in reducing bloating and keeps your stomach flat.

Here is one of my favorite dinner ideas. I got the initial idea from my mom, as she used to make this for me years ago. My own version is slightly modified, eliminating onions and cutting down the serving size to just feed one. I use frozen zucchini and frozen pepper strips and fresh mushrooms. This dish is super easy to make and typically takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare.

Italian Stir-fry

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  • 1 chicken breast
  • Olive Oil (approx. 1 tbsp)
  • Diced tomatoes (about ½ 14 oz. can)
  • Mushrooms
  • Pepper strips
  • Zucchini
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  • Begin by lightly coating the bottom of your pan with olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper; Heat the oil on medium heat then place the chicken into the pan. Season the other side of your chicken and flip.
  • Remove cooked chicken from heat and let rest.
  • Using the same pan, lightly coat that with more olive oil. Place zucchini, peppers, and diced tomatoes in pan; Season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and salt/black pepper.
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables soften.
  • Slice rested chicken; add chicken and mushrooms into vegetable mixture.
  • Cook together for another 5 minutes, serve (by itself or over brown rice) and enjoy!

If you have any questions about this recipe or suggestions for others you would like to see in future posts, feel free to email me.  A healthy lifestyle can be difficult to maintain but being able to transform some of your favorite dishes into a healthier version, it becomes a little less stressful. Always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Cinco de Mayo Clean Eats

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Everyone who knows me knows how much I look forward to this day every year. I love my Mexican food…and I definitely love my SkinnyGirl margaritas. With my 4-Weeks to Fit challenge in place, I can’t have those delicious things and expect to achieve my mission: hot body.

I improvised today so that I could still enjoy the day and not have to pay with so many calories. To be honest, I didn’t even miss having the crazy day I usually have. As I said last week, I’m missing my sweets much more than any food or drink these days. Here’s what I did to keep up with my clean eating and still celebrate in my own way today:

The festivities didn’t begin until midday. Some co-workers and I ate lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. I know that fajitas are always a good option since it’s grilled meat and peppers. So I got the chicken fajitas…asked for lettuce instead of tortillas and no beans. I mixed a little of the spicy salsa verde (which was put on the table for the chips) into it and had a makeshift salad. I ate 3 forkfuls of rice but that was it. As far as a drink, I had a glass of ice water with limes.

For dinner I made a tilapia “taco” (pictured below.) I took the spicy tilapia filet, cut it in half and laid it on top of romaine lettuce (used in place of a tortilla or taco shell.) I then sprinkled a little reduced fat Mexican blend cheese and drizzled a little of the leftover salsa verde from lunch on top. My side dish was asparagus and mushrooms and I drank a glass of seltzer with limes.

Overall, my day had minimal calories and maximum flavor. It ended up being much easier and much more enjoyable than I thought! Olè!

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

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Super Bowl Survival Guide

The big game is almost here and with that comes a lot of temptation. There goes your diet and all of your hard work, right? WRONG! It’s not realistic to think you will never see…or eat… fattening foods again. There will be many parties and events throughout the year that could break your new healthy lifestyle…if you let them. Here are some tips to help get you through any party:

Moderation is Key: There is nothing wrong with tasting a little bit of each of your favorite foods. You can have a few wings, a few nachos, a light beer – and not ruin your diet. Just don’t overdo it. Remember what you’re working for and what your end goal is. Keeping that goal in mind will help with your self-control and allow you to “taste everything, eat nothing.”

Bring Healthy Snacks: If you know you will absolutely not be able to control your portions, pack some healthy snacks for yourself or make a healthy dish to share with your family and friends. Below you will find my recipe for a healthy and easy turkey chili. Your friends and family will welcome a light, healthy dish amidst all of the heavy, greasy foods on the table.

Avoid Sugary Drinks: Chances are you will be packing in enough calories with all of the delicious food. You should avoid the extra sugar and calories that most soda and alcoholic drinks bring. Stick to water and seltzer for most of the game. If you are going to have alcohol, I suggest SkinnyGirl cocktails (particularly the SkinnyGirl Margarita) or a light beer. Generally these drinks will pack in only 100 calories per glass/bottle, so as long as you drink responsibly it won’t be a diet disaster.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up: If these tips don’t work and you end up pigging out, RELAX. It’s one day. Ignore the “food noise” in your head.  You should be able live your life without worrying about every bite you take.  If you do overdo it on Sunday, make it your business to hit the gym HARD on Monday and go back to your normal healthy eating. One day of bad eating won’t undo all of your hard work—as long as you keep your end goal in mind.

Whatever your plans are, have fun and enjoy the time with your friends and family.

Until next week, stay in the fight and stay strong!

-Gina

Turkey Chili

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey (any LEAN ground turkey meat will work)
  • Olive oil (just enough to go once around the pan)
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • ½ can, or 7 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Rice
  • Small Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
  • Pinch of parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)

Directions

  • Heat oil on medium-high heat. Add in ground turkey. Cook through, about 25 minutes.
  • Add dry seasonings, jalapeno, and diced tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for about 15 min.
  • Serve over your favorite rice and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese.

**For any questions, including this recipe, email me: thefight2befit@gmail.com