Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Eggs Galore!


Happy Easter!  This is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  But it is also the day some of us have egg hunts and pig out on jelly beans and peeps.  I admit it.  I had some jelly beans but I only had a few jelly bean since I am committed to being good this year.  This is also the day we look at all of the eggs and say “how are we every going to eat all those?”  As I start pondering about how to use all of our Easter eggs I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you.

Eggs get a bad rap but for many, if not most people, they can be a healthy part of your diet.  Eggs are a great source of protein.  According to one source [WebMD], one egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.  I opt for eating a real, whole egg rather than egg whites and egg substitutes.  I could write a whole page on why I feel this way but that is another blog.  I make eggs most Sundays for breakfast and I usually have a few during the week for snacks or with lunch.  I usually don’t have to figure out how to use 18 eggs but that is what I am faced with this week.

This year we colored our eggs using natural food colorings – red cabbage, cranberries, kale and turmeric.  The red cabbage and the turmeric worked perfectly.  Although the cranberries gave the eggs a marbled look, it wasn’t what we were going for exactly.  I was hoping for red.  The kale gave the eggs a very pale gray-green color.  Interestingly, as soon as we added the vinegar to kale juice the green disappeared but still slightly colored the eggs.  It was a fun experiment with the kids and I felt a lot better about letting my kids eat the eggs this year compared to years when we used artificial coloring.  I had wanted to do this for years and finally decided to do it after seeing my friend’s blog Wandering Working Mom.

OK, so now we have about 18 eggs I have to figure out what to do with them.  This morning for breakfast we off course had hard boiled eggs.  I made some chicken sausage and some whole wheat and flax buttermilk biscuits and served it with sliced hard-boiled eggs and some fruit.  The boys had some juice and I made lattes for me and hubby.  It was a nice, hearty but healthy breakfast.  But we still have quite a few eggs left.

The obvious things to do with them include hard-boiled eggs for snacks (but I do this all the time and quite honestly, I am getting tired of it) and chopped or quartered eggs on salads.  I do this often too and I am getting a bit tired of that as well.  Another obvious use for hard-boiled eggs is in egg salad.  It is easy to make egg salad healthier by swapping the mayo for a little plain low fat yogurt (which I always have because you can use it in so many ways) and a little mustard.  I prefer spicy mustard but yellow works.  Add a little chopped scallions and/or celery and a little salt and pepper.  Spread some on top of some whole grain bread with baby spinach and a slice or two of avocado for a filling, but healthy open faced sandwich.  Yummy.

But these are all recipes I know already.  I’m looking for some new and interesting ones.  I found a really interesting one on Real Simple.  English Muffin Pizzas with sliced hard-boiled eggs.  It is basically English muffins, sliced hard-boiled eggs, sliced tomato, a little mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of oregano and if you like, add some olives.  Toast in the oven until the cheese melts.  I think this is something my kids might enjoy.

I don’t know how healthy it is exactly but a recipe that I remember making after watching a Food Network program a number of years ago was an Egg Curry dish.  It was delicious. 

Martha Steward has a recipe for a Nicoise Salad.  I know this is not really new but I never make it so it might be a nice change from my regular salad topped with an egg.  The Nicoise salad basically consists of sliced hard-boiled eggs, chunks of can tuna, steamed green beans, kalamata olive and roasted plum tomatoes (this sounds awesome) over a bed of lettuce.  The dressing is simple: whisk 2Tbs Dijon mustard, 4Tbs red wine vinegar, 1 small shallot minced, ¼ C olive oil and some salt and pepper.  If you don’t already make your own salad dressing you should really start. It is so easy, less expensive, better for you and really better tasting.
I’ll probably make this one for lunch one day this week.  There are two perks for me.  The first is that I get to eat a healthy delicious meal.  The second is that I will be forced to eat my lunch in the kitchen at work and away from my desk.  Someone in my office has a sever seafood allergy (it is airborne) so the office is seafood free.  However, the kitchen is not, so I will be forced to actually take a lunch!

The last recipe that I think I will try is Tuna, Black-Eyed Peas and Radish Salad that I found on Epicurious.  Hey, another tuna recipe.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat lunch away from my desk two days this week but we’ll see.  Maybe this can be for dinner one night. 

 
 

I’d love to hear if you have any favorite healthy recipes to use all of your colored Easter eggs!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A not so Irish St. Patrick's Day Dinner


I know I am an Irish American but I just couldn’t eat Corned Beef on St. Patrick’s Day.  I made some for my husband and my youngest son had a few bites, but I had to come up with something else for myself and my oldest son.  Hmmm…what to make, what to make.  I flipped open a cookbook that I have from Beachbody and I found Kathy Smith’s Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken.  It looked really good and thought I’d give it a try.  But of course, I never follow a recipe exactly so this is a variation. 

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Cup plain breadcrumbs
1 Tbs Frank’s Hot Sauce
1Tbs Worcestershire sauce
A few turns of fresh ground pepper
Pinch of salt

Just after breakfast, I whisked together the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a glass container.  Don’t worry if you don’t like hot and spicy foods.  The hot sauce just gives it a tang.  I put the chicken in the marinade, covered it and put in the fridge. 

We had been planning on going Maple Sugaring on Sunday but it was really cold.  March 16th -17th and 23rd and 24th are Maple Weekends in New York State so we’ll go next weekend for a tour and a little taste of New York maple syrup!   I didn’t have anything else planned so the rest of that day we listened to Irish Music and did some baking – soda bread and Shakeology cookies. 

As it got closer to dinner time and the Corned Beef in the crock pot was almost done, I pulled the chicken out of the fridge to come closer to room temperature.   I coated the chicken with the breadcrumbs.  No need to dunk the chicken into anything since the marinade helps the breadcrumbs stick.  You can use whatever bread crumbs you normally use but I urge you to read the labels.  There are probably ingredients in there that you can’t pronounce. 

When I realized this I started to make my own breadcrumbs.  Now, I have 2 young boys who are in the “cut the crust off phase.”  So I simply cut the crusts off before making the sandwich.  I throw them in a freezer bag and toss them in the freezer.  I am not a big fan of the ends of a loaf of bread so I tend to throw them in the bag too.  When I have enough I toast them in the over with some Italian seasoning and just a bit of olive oil.  Then I grind them in a food processor.  Voila!  You have yummy, whole wheat breadcrumbs without all the junk.  Simple and saves money too. 

I put the chicken into a preheated oven and baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  This is how I always cook chicken breasts and it is always very juicy.  This chicken was great!!  A crunch coating always is more exciting than plain chicken.  And there was a mouth watering tang! 

I had planned on saving some to put on my salad the next day but my son loved it so much he finished every last piece!  This was a super easy recipe and so tasty.  The cookbook lists this as 300 calories for a 5 oz serving (I usually stick to 3oz).  12 grams of total fat (2g saturated), 20g carbs, 1g fiber and 26g of protein.   
I served it with sautéed cabbage, a baked sweet potato and a small slice of Irish Soda Bread.  Yummy!


 

 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Board Shorts Boot Camp!

Calling all guys!


Join a group of beachbody coaches for Board Shorts Boot Camp!  Commit to 30 days of Shakeology and we'll give you the meal plan and workout!  Plus you'll have access to a group of beachbody coaches and other boot camp participants for motivation!

Email me katsfitnessquest@gmail.com for information!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Bikini Boot Camp

Join me and a group of other Beachbody coaches for Bikini Bootcamp!  It includes:

 • 30 days of meals plans
 • 30 days of workouts
 • Daily motivation
 • Personal one on one help
 • Private support group online

 Requirements:
 • Commit to using Shakeology for 30 days
 • Commit to following the clean eating guide
 • Commit to the workouts and/or your program of choice

 Info:
 • Dates April 1-30
 • Order your Shakeology at www.myshakeology.com/katsquest
 
Be sure to save yourself $10.00 by getting FREE shipping simply by selecting auto shipment. You may delay shipment or cancel it at any time!

 • Last day to order (to guarantee you have it in time) Friday March 22
 
email me at katsfitnessquest@gmail.com if you have questions.  Let's get ready for summer!

Energy Food: Homemade Muesli


Homemade Muesli

I am participating in an online book club with the From Scratch Club on Goodreads.  As the From Scratch Club website says, “We read, we cook, we chat. That is the FSC Book Club.”  I’m really enjoying cooking the recipes from the books and hearing the successes, sometimes failures and tips from other readers/home chefs.   We're currently cooking recipes from Liana Krissoff's Whole Grains for a New Generation.  The recipes in this book have many interesting ways of incorporating whole grain into your meals.  I highly recommend it!  So far I’ve made a few recipes including Roasted Butternut Squash with Sausage; Quinoa Porridge with Vanilla and Almond Milk; Bulgar and Blackbean Burgers with Cilantro Mayo and Warm Spelt and Potato Salad.  All were delicious!  My two boys even agreed and I never thought they’d eat quinoa! 

Last week I made Pure Muesli.  According to some research I’ve done, including an article on livestrong.com, muesli is a good source of dietary fiber and can aid in weight loss since it makes you feel fuller.  Who doesn’t want that?  Muesli is also a good source of B-complex vitamins, which help to break down fat in the body and speed metabolism.

I find that it is a high energy food, which I need to get through the day after doing P90X.  Although I drink Shakeology for breakfast 3 to 4 times per week, I need another breakfast idea that keeps me satisfied and gives me energy.  Muesli is that breakfast. 

Ok, I know what you are saying right now, “Where can I buy some?”  But why buy it when it is a cinch to make.  I made some last week while I was home with both boys on a snow day.  Keep in mind that my boys are 7 and almost 3 and they are full of energy!  I think they were playing Star Wars but I was still able to keep an eye on them and make the Muesli.

Ingredients

2Tbs flax seeds

4 C rolled oats

1/4C pepitas (I did not have any so I used what I had on hand –pecans)

1/4C sliced almonds

2T sesame seeds

2T unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3C dried, diced apricots (I don’t like apricots so I used raisins)

 

First my youngest son helped me coarsely crack the flax seed in a spice grinder (I have a cheap coffee grinder dedicated to spices) and put them in a large bowl.  Next, using my deepest sauté pan, I toasted the oats over a medium heat.  This took longer than I thought but my largest, deepest sauté pan is not that large I guess.  In total I think it took about 10 minutes but that is because I had to turn the heat off and go check out what the chaos was in the living room.  It was just Darth Vader and young Luke battling it out.  Stir the oats often and if you don’t have to stop, it should probably take between 3-8 minutes.  When they are a golden brown, they are done and pour them into the bowl with the flax seed and let cool. 

 

In the same pan I toasted the pecans and almonds and then put them in a smaller bowl to cool.  Next I toasted the sesame seeds.  They don’t take long; not even a minute.  I put them with the nuts to cool.  The last thing I toasted was the coconut.  You need to pay attention here.  This just takes a few seconds.  Don’t get distracted by the delicious aroma as I almost did.  It smells divine!  Once it was a light brown I added it to the smaller bowl with the nuts and seeds.

 

Once again I had my sons help me.  I took about half of the oats/flax seed mixture and I pulsed it in the food processor to break it up a little.  After that I mixed everything together and let it cool completely.  Well, I had to have a little taste.  It is not overly sweet like some granola can be.  It has an earthy and toasty flavor with just a bit of sweetness from the raisins and pecans.  I actually added a little cinnamon to mine.  We love cinnamon in the house (there are health benefits to cinnamon too) and you can even add a little honey or brown sugar to yours as you serve it.  I enjoy mine on top of yogurt or with milk as you would eat cereal.    Liana Krissoff recommends adding either equal parts milk or yogurt to the Muesli and letting it sit in the fridge overnight (the classic Swiss way).   I look forward to trying it that way soon.  As for tonight, I had it as a snack with ½ cup homemade plain yogurt and ¼ cup muesli.  Delicious!
 
 
 

Friday, March 8, 2013

No More Boring Lunches!


Ugh!  It’s that same question again!  “What will I bring for lunch?”  As a busy mom, working outside of the house, it is easy to just throw some leftovers into a pyrex container and call it lunch.  The problem is, with a husband and 2 hungry boys, I never have a complete meal leftover.  It ends up being too many carbs without enough protein or veggies or just the veggie or just the protein.  This leads to me over eating in the afternoon, ya know, like at 3pm when that sweet tooth comes a calling and that apple just won’t do.  At times like that I run downstairs to the Dunkin Donuts or I sneak over to see if any colleagues brought in any sweets.

Lately, I’ve started to bring in a salad, packed with veggies, some kind of protein whether it is turkey or chicken breast or a hardboiled egg, lightly dressed with a homemade salad dressing.  But now, of course, the salad thing is boring.  So, I found myself asking “What will I bring for lunch?”  I looked around the kitchen to see what sparked my interest.  Hmmm….nothing. I looked again….hmmm….  Then I realized I have a box root vegetables from my CSA share or Community Sponsored Agriculture share.  The winter root vegetable share had quite a few carrots.  My boys love to munch on carrots but these are not as sweet as younger carrots and I think they taste better cooked.  I decided to roast some that night so that I could make Carrot Soup. 

Later that night when I was making dinner, I peeled some carrots, rough chopped them, tossed with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  I roasted them in a 400 degree oven until tender.  You don’t have to roast them, you can just cook them up on the stove but there is something special about roasted vegetables.  There is a sweetness that comes out when you caramelize carrots in the oven.   

After my family was done with dinner I prepared the rest of the soup.  That’s how easy it is to make.  I was inspired by all of the different carrot soup recipes I’ve read and made before.  I wasn’t working from a recipe I just added things that felt right and you should feel free to adjust the amounts to taste.  I diced some onion and threw it into a stock pot and cooked in just a little olive oil.  After about 5 minute or so I added ¼ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  I let that cook up a little until I could really smell the spices (yum).  I added the rough chopped roasted carrots and mixed to coat with the spices.  You can use vegetable stock or chicken stock – it is up to you.  I used some homemade chicken stock that I had in the fridge.  It was about 6 cups – just make sure you cover your veggies (I actually had to add a little water).  I added a pinch of salt, a bit of cracked pepper and brought the soup to a boil and then simmered it for about 15-20 minutes.  At this point I shut the heat off and had to put my oldest son to bed.  This was perfect timing because I like to cool the soup a little before pureeing. 

After our night time rituals of bath, teeth brushing and reading, I went downstairs to finish the soup.  I pureed using a hand immersion blender but you can use a food processor or blender.   I added ¼ cup of 2% milk but you can skip it since the soup is velvety smooth without it. 

This made the perfect lunch.  I brought some to work and enjoyed it with a turkey roll-up (using all natural turkey from the deli) and some strawberries!  It makes 6-8 servings so I put some in a mason jar and froze it – this will make a nice quick dinner on nights that we need to run to gymnastics or cub scouts in the evening.  Last night was one of those nights so I had a bowl of soup with a dollop of homemade plain yogurt and 2 slices of smoked salmon on the side.  A little sunshine on a cold and dreary March evening in Upstate, NY!


Carrot Soup

2lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
6 C veggie or chicken stock
Salt and pepper (if you are using store bought stock go easy on the salt)
¼ C 2% milk, optional

Cook carrots in oven or on stovetop with onions until soft.  Add the spices and cook until aromatic.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Then simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Cool slightly and puree.  Add milk, if using, just before serving.  Enjoy!
 
 
For more info on my fitness quest or on how I can help you with your fitness quest leave me a comment or check out my site: www.beachbodycoach.com/katsquest