Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Joining Weight Watchers

The commercials got me! I gave in and purchased a subscription to Weight Watchers Online a couple of days ago. To be completely honest, I haven't even taken advantage of what it has to offer. Weight Watchers does have a mobile app for iPhone users, so I downloaded it, and now I can keep track of what I'm eating on-the-go.

With this program I can keep track of my food in-take, activity level, weight, and view my progress. They also provide helpful tips for food and recipes, even budget friendly planning and shopping, cheat sheets for eating out and restaurant tips. Now that I've taken some time to explore the website, I can't wait to get started!

Stay tuned for healthy tips provided by Weight Watchers!

A great way to push through your day!

For my breakfast routine, I usually have a protein shake which keeps me full for a few hours. Lately, I've been getting a little hungry in-between breakfast and lunch. I'm a server at a Cuban restaurant that makes really delicious empanadas, and most days that I work I find myself snacking on...you guessed it- empanadas!

Although they are so yummy, I need to find a substitute for my mid-morning snack. Thanks to Pinterest, I found some really healthy (and yummy looking) Peanut Butter Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies that I can't wait to try!

These morning cookies are flower, sugar, and egg free. While still containing the sweetness through the applesauce and chocolate chips. I'm sure I'll even be finding myself snacking on these as a dessert replacement too!

Revolutionary Freezer to Crock-pot Meals

If you're anything like me, then I'm sure you can relate to just how difficult it can be to be a full-time student, work a full-time job, land an internship, plan a wedding, maintain somewhat of an exercise routine, and keep up with family and friends, and things at home- which is why at this juncture of my life, I couldn't even imagine throwing kids into the routine! I have a hard enough time answering that dreaded question: What's for dinner?

While doing some research and reading up on some blogs for freezer to crock-pot cooking, I stumbled upon Kirstin from kojo-designs which has this really great post that includes a variety of meals, recipes, and grocery lists for freezer to crock-pot cooking to free up some of your time in the evenings, help stay organized, and cross off that daily question "What's for dinner?". I must say, Kirstin sure does have a valid point when she says this freezer to crock-pot dinner plan is "revolutionary"!

Below is a sneak peek to the recipe for orange chicken from Kirstin, that I can not wait to try! They all sound so yummy!

IN THE BAG- 2 cups carrots, 2 cups bell peppers, 1 lb cubed boneless skinless chicken breasts, 3 cloves garlic, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, 8 oz. orange juice concentrate (orange pineapple will work as well)
TO COOK- Cook on low in crock pot, 4 to 6 hours
TO SERVE- Garnish with clementine slices (use 4 clementines) or mandarin oranges (two cans) and green onions (two, chopped). Serve on rice. Stir fried veggies make a great side.
Stay tuned--We'll be starting this week with this line-up of 5 crock-pot dinners: 
  • Coconut Curry Chicken 
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Orange Chicken
  • Lime Salsa Chicken
  • Santa Fe Chicken

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First taste of Fall

Alright, alright...I know it's not quite Fall, yet. As a Florida resident for almost a quarter of a century in November, I'm also fully aware that in Florida we don't really have seasons, but this is week 4 of football season, and according to my planner (which of course is beach themed) the First Day of Autumn is this Saturday! Although I hate to see my beloved summer slipping away from me on the horizon, I do enjoy all the excitement that comes with Fall-decorating, stews, soups, holidays, family, friends...the list could go on! And in my opinion, us Floridians have the best of both worlds because we get to enjoy all the hype of fall, and still get to take beach days until October :)

So for the first taste of Fall I would like to introduce the Fiance's favorite fall dish: vegetable beef pot roast. I have been cooking up this recipe for the past couple of years, and he was asking for it while we were grocery shopping last week.  This dish comes from the collection of my mother's recipes. When I first started making this meal I would strictly follow her measurements and duplicate her exact recipe. To give this meal a healthier twist I added some extra veggies, left out the cream of mushroom soup, and serve it over mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or rice.

What I love so much about this meal is how quick and easy it is to put together. My favorite tool in the kitchen is without a doubt the crock-pot--it saves on so much time, and produces some really great tasting food. This recipe can serve up to 4-5 people, but it was just the two of us so we were able to freeze half of our leftovers for a future dinner, and decided to make pot roast hoagies for lunch over the weekend (delicious!).

 Pot Roast Ingredients:
  • Boneless round roast- 2 lbs
  • Chopped carrots- 2 cups
  • Chopped celery- 1 1/2 cups
  • Baby bella mushrooms- 1 cup
  • French onion dry soup mix- 2 packets
  • Coke- just enough to submerge the roast in
First, place the roast in the crock-pot, and cover the roast with the dry soup mix. Next, chop the veggies and add them in. Then all you do is add the coke, set it and forget it for about 6-8 hours on low. For a shorter cooking time, set it to high for 4-6 hours. Allowing the meat to cook for a longer time will let the meat soak up both the flavor of the french onion and the coke together. This allows the meat to become more tender, and will fall apart easily. Serve over mashed cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower:
  • One head of cauliflower- chopped
  • Olive oil- 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Chopped garlic- 2 tbsp
  • Margarine, melted- 1tbsp
  • Milk (for consistency)
*Note: This was my first attempt to make mashed cauliflower. I've been looking for healthier substitutions to starches, and I am very pleased with my findings for this recipe! 

 Preheat the oven to 350. Begin by chopping the cauliflower into florets, and place them in a shallow baking pan lined with foil. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, and roast for 20 minutes- stirring once after 10 minutes. The cauliflower is done when it can easily be pierced with a fork. Next, combine the cauliflower, salt, pepper, garlic, melted margarine and at first, about 2 tbsp of milk to the food processor. Pulse until blended smoothly. To reach a similar consistency of mashed potatoes, you may have to add more milk as you go.

The best part of this recipe, is when you come home from a long day your house smells amazing!

Serve and enjoy!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh. Hi there!

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today begins my blogging journey of sharing with the online community some of my favorite recipes, nutritional information, and how to keep off the weight and have fun doing it with several exciting workouts. Many recipes I will use come from three generations of my family, I will also be sharing recipes from my childhood (because we all know, no one cooks as good as mom!), and recipes that have been created by my Fiance and I.

In sticking with my personal fitness goals in an attempt to maintain a healthier lifestyle and get ready for my upcoming wedding day, I will do my best to find and create recipes for cooking on the light side. With that being said, from time to time we all need rewards, I am human, and sometimes I crave for the not so healthy; therefore, occasionally I will be doing some cooking for those days I find myself needing some "comfort food".

Not only will I show you which ingredients are interchangeable for a healthier option to the recipes, I will also discuss the health benefits of a variety of foods. After hearing and seeing several commericals about how easy it is to stay on track with your health through this new program Weight Watchers has launched, I've decided to join the wonderful world of Weight Watchers Online to see for myself just how easy it is to stay on track, even for those who are always on-the-go.

For the last month, I have become more serious about running and have devoted most of my mornings training myself to participate in some upcoming 5k runs. Recently, I also purchased a Groupon good for 10 kickboxing classes. In an attempt to get myself excited about working out, from time to time I will post different material pertaining to running and workout routines.

I hope you find my blog to be entertaining, and useful!