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

Advertisements

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

20160223_200320-1.jpg

*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.
img_20160222_224627-1.jpg

Chili-Lime Tilapia

Butternut Squash Soup

20160224_220008.jpg

*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.
20160221_205202.jpg

Roasted Butternut Squash

 

Turkey Chili

photogrid_1456106345568-1.jpg

*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”

20160223_200642-1-1.jpg

*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

image

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.

wp-1454957741622.jpeg

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.

20160207_183743-1.jpg

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

image

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!

#Whole30 Restaurant Tips & Snack Suggestions

Just a few more days and this diet will be a distant memory. It’s been pretty rough on me. The first week I was hungry all the time…so I upped my portion sizes and added more meat to my diet. Then my stomach started to retaliate. Now I’m back to being hungry all the time. Sugar cravings haven’t stopped at all…in fact they’ve only gotten worse with time. To be honest, that’s exactly why I don’t believe in elimination-type diets like this. When you completely eliminate something you love, it will only make you binge on it later. I did this diet as an experiment but it’s failed pretty miserably.

Despite my misery and all of the issues that I’ve experienced, I continued to stick it out. I came up with some snacking suggestions to beat hunger, while staying #whole30 compliant. I also figured out what to eat at certain restaurants…should you be going stir-crazy and want a break from the kitchen.

Now the rules for #Whole30 state you aren’t supposed to snack…but that’s impossible. There is no way you can survive eating just the 3 measily meals..especially if you workout. So, I’ve come up with some suggestions to conquer your hunger and keep you fueled all day long.
image

  • Larabars – these bad boys have saved me. They say to not eat them except for emergencies however if you get the fully compliant ones (cashew cookie is a perfect example) you should have no issues.
  • Monkey salad (comprised of nuts, sliced banana, and coconut chips.) I found that this is perfect to fuel a workout.
    image
  • Frozen blueberries with coconut chips
    image
  • Apple slices with cinnamon
    image
  • Apple slices and frozen blueberries
    image

 

Now, just because you are on this crazy diet doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy life with friends and loved ones. I’ve found that going out breaks up the monotony of what I normally cook and eat…and someone else does the dishes! Below you will find some suggestions I have for eating at restaurants on this diet.

  • Look at the salad options first. More often than not, these are gigantic portions and contain mostly compliant foods. Carefully view the ingredients and after you make your selection, order the salad with oil and vinegar on the side.
    image
  • Turkey burgers (or regular if you can eat them) – order them off the bun (obviously) with a side salad or baked potato. Sweet potato fries may also be okay if you know the restaurant to not deep fry them. If you don’t know, ask!image

image

  • Look for grilled meats and fishes then order a vegetable or sweet potato on the side. Virtually every restaurant under the sun will offer this option. While it may not be the most exciting…it is definitely compliant. Just make sure no butter is used and you should be good to go.
  • Omelettes – This is one of the best options I feel. You can order egg white omelettes and often get just about any vegetable in it. AND they almost always come with home fries. win-win. Just make sure that they don’t use butter or milk in the eggs and you’re in the clear 🙂
  • image

  • Diners seem to offer the easiest solution. They have huge menus with endless possibilities. Be cautious and ask questions
  • Ladies and gentlemen…CHIPOTLE! They offer a glorious salad option – stay away from the cheese and you’re set! Also, you can ask them to add a little extra chicken and they usually will for no extra charge…especially when they see how little is in the bowl.
  • image

    •Last (and most important): No matter which restaurant you choose…always ask your server questions! Their job is to provide a service. You are on a special diet and most times the restaurant will do whatever it takes to accommodate you. You could even call ahead and ask the questions prior to your visit if that makes things easier.

    Whether you’re doing this diet or just trying to eat healthy, give it your all. This diet has been really hard on me physically but I’m not giving up. I promise to write a full review (warning-it won’t be pretty) once it ends later this week. Work hard, lift heavy, and NEVER QUIT! After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

    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

    image

    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”
    image

    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
    image

    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

    Whole30 – Week One Recap

    As of today, week one of this Whole30 experiment is officially in the books! I’m not going to lie…this diet is much harder than I thought it would be.

    image

    I have been really strict with this and really following all of the rules. I thought coffee would be my biggest hurdle..seeing as I can only put coconut milk in it. However, that hasn’t been an issue. My biggest problem at first was with hunger. I’m used to eating small portions multiple times a day. Well I realized with this diet portion sizes go out the window. I can’t speak for everyone on that…but since I am unable eat some of the bigger, more filling foods I have to bulk things up a bit. I started using MyFitnessPal again to track everything and I was horrified to learn I was hovering around 700 calories…by the day’s end! 

    Enough was enough so I decided to play around with adding more protein (ground turkey and chicken) to my breakfast and lunch, respectively. I also bulked up my portion sizes and added more fruit. This seems to have really done the trick…however now I’ve caused another issue. My IBS is on fire! My guess is that it’s being caused by my significant increase of fiber. Either way, this experiment won’t work unless I nip that in the bud.

    Here’s how my diet looked week one:

    Breakfast: egg with avocado (most days, a couple of days were just egg whites), egg with sweet potato hash, strawberry smoothie* and banana, egg white omelette with asparagus and home fries, egg with sweet potato hash and ground turkey. Coffee with coconut milk and pinch of cinnamon.

    image

    Lunch: tuna with avocado, chicken burger with avocado and string beans, string beans and sweet potato, string beans with eggplant, a chicken tender and a small salad, mixed veggies with small salad.

    image

    Dinner: tilapia with veggies, chicken cutlets with warm kale salad, chicken burger with Brussels sprouts and string beans, chicken breast with brussel sprouts and string beans, turkey chili with warm kale salad, chicken with kale chips.

    image

    Snacks: apple with cinnamon, grapes, cantaloupe, banana, almonds, larabar.

    Despite severe sugar cravings and IBS flare-ups, I’ve actually managed to lose weight this week. While that wasn’t my goal…its always nice to see!

    Week two I will be focusing on curing this IBS mess that I created. I will be limiting my intake of high fiber veggies and to continue these new eating pattern. Hopefully with all of this, I will feel better and have more energy to get back to my workout regimen.

    I will be posting some of my recipes later this week. If you are interested in anything you see above or have a request, feel free to let me know 🙂

    Until then…stay strong and stay in the fight!

    -Gina
    TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com