Comments Off on Wait! Don’t buy that Halloween Candy yet!

Wait! Don’t buy that Halloween Candy yet!

Category : Healthy Eating

Save your money, save your waist-line…

It’s the first week of October, so of course the stores are well-stocked with trick-or-treat candy, but does that mean you need to stock your pantry?!? Probably not…be realistic, if you buy Halloween candy now will it actually be around on October 31st when the kids come knocking? I doubt it! Instead you or your spouse and/or your kids will have eaten it all up and you will have to go buy more for the trick-or-treaters. 

My advice, leave the candy in the store until just a few days before Halloween otherwise, stepping on the scale might get a little scary! 

Yours in Health & Fitness,
Karin Jennings
XO Fitness
karin@xofitness.com

Comments Off on XO Friday Foodie: Super Simple Salmon Patties (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

XO Friday Foodie: Super Simple Salmon Patties (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

Category : Healthy Eating

Sometimes it’s nice to simplify something already simple.  Too many ingredients and preparation equals a big mess.  With many of our clients trying out our Smart Loss Seminars and learning how to cycle their carbohydrates to break weight loss plateaus, we decided that it was time to simplify our already simple Salmon Patties.   

Low Carb Salmon Pattie
1 pouch (5oz) of Salmon   (See the original recipe
Salmon Pattie with Roasted Cauliflower

Salmon Pattie

if you want to use a larger, less expensive can of salmon)
1eggs
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 pinch of black pepper 
Drain any juice out of the pouch of Salmon and place into the bowl with the egg and all spices.  Mix up with a fork until you have a mixture that is Pattie-worthy.
 
Form into a pattie about the size of your hand.   Some will be able to form into patties and arrange onto a pre-heated, canola or olive oil sprayed pan.  Brown on both sides. 
 
The photo shows our favorite way to make Cauliflower: Roasted! (posted back in March 2012) Easy smeezy.  Slice a rinsed head of Cauliflower and slice it into 3/4″ slices.  It will crumble up a bit, but who cares?  Arrange the slices and pieces of cauliflower onto a cooking sprayed jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with low lip) and season with your favorite seasonings.  We like to flavor with Celery Salt and Pepper but you can season it with darn near everything.  All you do then is pop it in the oven at 375′ and cook until a bit browned.  Serve and be praised!  
 

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Friday Foodie: Blackened Fish Tacos

Category : Healthy Eating

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Our client Anne M recommended these and they are delicious AND easy.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light’s March 2011 issue.  As advertised, when you add the optional sauce, they taste like something right off the food truck!  Gluten free too.
 
Optional Jalapeno sauce
Puree together:
    1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt (or reduced fat Sour Cream)
    2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro
    2 Tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
    1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
Then add but do not blend:
Jalapeno Sauce
Jalapeno-Onion Sauce
     1 cup thinly sliced White Onion
 
 Blackening Spice
Mix together:
    1 1/2 teaspoons Paprika
    1 1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
    1 teaspoon dry Oregano
    3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1/2 teaspoon Salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
    1/4 teaspoon ground Red Pepper (cayenne or chipotle)  (I used 1/8 teaspoon so I wouldn’t freak out the kids)
Note:  You could make double or triple and store the extra in a shaker to make this recipe faster
 
Blacken that Fish!
Spice mixture
Spices
Sprinkle the Blackening Spice to evenly coat:
     1 lb to 1 1/2lbs of Tilapia (defrosted and patted dry with a paper towel)
Next, Heat 1 Tablespoon canola oil on medium -high heat in a frying pan.   Cook the fish for about 3 minutes per side.  Fish should flake when done.
 
Serve immediately with:
Preheated Corn Tortillas
Lime Wedges
Avocado (thinly sliced)
Jalepeno sauce (optional)
 

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Friday Foodie: Eggplant Palooza

Category : Healthy Eating

Our neighbor had a few extra eggplants that they had grown and I happily took them.  I thought I’d make one of my favorite

Eggplants arranged with Daisies

Small Eggplants

eggplant recipes, baba ghanouj (pronounced ga-new), but one of my clients always talks about how good his eggplant Parmesan is, so I made that instead.  The eggplant is baked instead of fried, but it is still breaded which admittedly reduces its diet-worthiness. (My recipe for grill-cooked baba ghanouj is at the bottom of this post).

Eggplant Parmesan  (Adapted from a Meatless Monday recipe)
-1 large eggplant or up to 3 smallish ones (which is what I had)
– 1 cup flour
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup milk
-2 cups italian bread crumbs (or more)
-2 cups of your favorite marinara type spaghetti or pizza sauce
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (optional, omit for lower fat/calorie version)
 
Breaded and Baked Eggplant

Breaded and Baked Eggplant

My client Jim E. says the secret to his Eggplant Parmesan is to remove as much water from the eggplant as possible ahead of time.  He does this by slicing the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick discs, lightly salting them and placing them in a single layer between two kitchen towels for at least 30 minutes.  

Preheat your oven to 400′ and cooking spray two cookie sheets (or ‘grease’ with olive oil). 

Next, put the flour in a bowl and dredge each slice of eggplant until they are coated and set eggplant aside.   Add the Italian bread

crumbs to remaining flour (or dump out the flour, your choice).  Scramble the two eggs and milk together in a bowl.  Dunk a slice of eggplant into the milk and egg mixture and then dredge to coat in the bread crumbs.  Arrange breaded eggplant onto your prepared cookie sheets.  Repeat until all the eggplant is coated, or your hands

Completed Eggplant Parmasan

Eggplant Parmesan

get so disgusting that you decide to throw it all out and go out for dinner (only to remember you left the oven on ;-).

Put the eggplant in the oven for 10 minutes.  Pull it out, flip the eggplant slices and bake again for 10 minutes.  Remove the eggplant from the oven and TURN THE OVEN DOWN to 350′.

Next, put the browned eggplant into a greased 9×13 pan, layer in an overlapped fashion as needed to fit it all in.  Pour the two cups of marinara sauce on top and then sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove your eggplant from the oven and remove the aluminum foil.  (You can add the mozzarella now if desired).   Put it back in the oven and bake uncovered about 10 – 15 minutes until the cheese looks bubbly or slightly browned.  We recommend serving with extra marinara sauce and a gorgeous salad.

Baba Ghanouj (A delicious eggplant dip)
-1 large eggplant
-2 cloves of garlic
-2 Tablespoon lemon juice or juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
-1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or coriander(optional)
-2 Tablespoons Tahini (optional, none for low fat, or up to 4T to taste)
-1 Tablespoon Olive oil (also optional for low fat version)
 

Roast the eggplant until mushy soft.  You can do this several ways and here is a link to a great photo series.  Method one: On the grill, prick the eggplant and wrap in aluminum foil and bake on low heat, rotating 1/4 turn every 8-10 minutes until very soft.  Method two: prick and wrap in aluminum foil as before but bake at 350′ in oven for 45-60 minutes until very soft (use a pan or cookie sheet to catch drips).  Method three: Slice eggplant in half and place face down in greased pan  and put under broiler for 15-30 minutes  until charred and very soft.  Method four: Prick eggplant and place on a couple paper towels or in bowl and microwave on high until it deflates 8-15 minutes depending on size (This last method loses that tasty smokey flavor, but it is the quickest.)

 When cool enough to handle, scoop out the soft insides and put into blender with any captured juices and all other ingredients.  Blend until smooth and enjoy with fresh vegetables or on a sandwich.  Try to avoid using every bread and cracker in the house to scoop it up or you’ll blow this otherwise healthy food!  Enjoy, -XO

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Edamame Falafel w/low fat cumin chipotle sauce

Friday Foodie: Edamame Falafel w/low fat cumin chipotle sauce

Category : Healthy Eating

I found this recipe in the May 2012 edition of Martha Stewart’s “Everyday Food” magazine.  It looked simple and absolutely

Edamame Falafel patties

Edamame Falafel Patties

delicious at first glance, but the calorie count was way too impressive:  a serving had a whopping 600 calories.  Falafel is traditionally fried and in my opinion, despite dripping in oil, usually tastes dry anyway.  Here is my variation that drops the calories to only 240 per serving by baking them instead of deep frying them and serves them with my new favorite low calorie sauces.

Ingredients:
1 cup dry chickpeas (2 cups re-hydrated)
2 cups shelled edamame, frozen.
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
 
Method:  Put the chickpeas in water and leave overnight.  They should double in volume, leaving you with 2 cups uncooked chickpeas.  To hurry this process up, you can boil the chickpeas in the microwave and allow to sit for 2-4 hours.  Drain.
 
Use a food processor or a blender to mince chickpeas and edamame to a coarse mixture that sticks together when squeezed.
Falafel ready to form into balls or patties

Falafel mixture & sauces

 Thoroughly mix or blend in cumin and salt.
 
Form in to patties and place on a greased cookie sheet.  I like to use an ice-cream scoop for this.  Pop in the oven at 375′ until bottom side is browned, flip, and brown the other side. 
 
Serve in whole wheat pita pockets (or whole wheat tortillas) with diced tomatoes, onions and your choice of the following sauces:
 
Chipotle-Cumin ‘Greek God’ dressing: (6oz plain, nonfat greek yogurt with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground chipotle blended together). This ‘sauce’ has no fat, 18 grams of protein and only 100 calories PER CUP!!!  or 7 calories per Tablespoon.  Compare that to cumin-chipotle mayonaise which weighs in with 12g fat and 110 calories per Tablespoon (or 192 grams fat and roughly 1760 calories per cup).  
 
Coriander Tatziki (speedy version):  Peel and cut a cucumber in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and toss into a blender with a 6 oz container of plain, nonfat greek yogurt.  Add 1 teaspoon of ground coriander and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Blend well.  Options:  Blend in fresh dill or add 1 teaspoon of garlic-ginger paste (available at Indian grocery stores).
 
Another healthy sauce is to add a bit of water to store-bought hummus and to use as a dip.  This is really a good idea if you think about all the flavors now available.
 
 

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Friday Foodie: 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Category : Healthy Eating

Two things attracted us to this recipe:

  1. 15 minutes…we love any dinner item that takes only 15 minutes!
  2. Avocado…we love avocado (although it’s really hard to spell!)

We want to give credit where credit is due, so the source of this recipe is  www.ohsheglows.com

Bowtie pasta with creamy avocado sauce

Bowtie pasta with creamy avocado sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish (use caution, it is easy to make this too tart)
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, to taste (we used 3 b/c we love garlic, but if you’re not a big fan use less)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (We like Barilla brand pasta in the yellow box)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice (be careful with the lemon juice…you can always add more, but you can’t take it out…the first time we made this it was WAY TOO TART), and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy. Ryan says next time he would omit the olive oil and just blend up the other sauce ingredients.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.

 

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Crunchy Chickpeas Snack

Friday Foodie: Crunchy Chickpeas Snack

Category : Healthy Eating

One of our clients suggested that we try this super simple savory snack.  Low in fat and high in fiber these are a nicely satisfying snack that ranks high in the nutrition world.

A bowl of crunchy chickpeas

Crunchy Chickpeas

 Each 1/4 cup of crunchy goodness has 120 calories comprised of 2g fat, 6g protein, 20g carbs (including 6g of fiber: that’s a whopping 24% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber).  Omit the salt and use chickpeas made from dry if you are concerned about your sodium intake.

Crunchy Chickpeas (makes 1 3/4 cups):
  • 2 cans (3 1/2 cups cooked) Chickpeas
  • A whimsical mixture of your favorite spices (see suggestions)
  • popcorn salt (for after cooking)
Method: Drain and rinse chickpeas, then pour onto a dish towel and pat dry.  Place into a largish bowl and sprinkle with spice mixture, then stir well.  Pour chickpeas onto a non-stick  jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with low sides) and pop in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.  Bake until mostly crunchy and allow to cool.  Use popcorn salt to adjust saltiness if needed.  Although not required by most recipes I reviewed, I would suggest refrigerating them if you aren’t going to eat them within a few days.
 
I successfully made these on our grill with both burners on their lowest setting so I wouldn’t heat up the house.  I used  a spatula to stir them every 5-10 minutes as the grill
Chickpeas being roasted on the grill instead of the oven.

A grill is your summer oven!


doesn’t cook quite as evenly as an oven.  (Some “extra crispy” chickpeas happened anyway.)
 
Spice suggestions for your signature super simple savory subtly spicy snack*:
  • 1/2 teaspoon of: cumin & 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each coriander and paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon curry, either hot or sweet
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of any premixed seasoning blend, ie: Nature’s seasoning, Pleasonings, Lawry’s etc…
  • Note: Do not use spice mixtures containing sugar as it will burn. 

*Now say “signature super simple savory subtly spicy snack” five times fast!   Enjoy -XO

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Simple Basil Pesto

Friday Foodie: Simple Basil Pesto

Category : Healthy Eating

Keep it simple, right?

This pesto is kept simple with fancy additions later. 

All you need is two large bunches of basil, 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, ½ – ¾ cup olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. You can add parmesan and pine nuts later if you like.

Basil from Farmers Market

Fresh basil is best purchased at the farmer’s market for a fraction of store bought. Karin purchased a plastic shopping nearly full of basil for just $4 (four large bunches).

You only need two bunches for this recipe.

Remove the flowering heads, leaves from the stems and wash the leaves to remove any sand and dirt.

Pat them dry with a towel and coarsely chop them.

 

 

Garlic and oil in blender

 

Pour ½ cup Olive Oil and 2-3 cloves of garlic into a blender and blend well with the cover on (unless you like oil on your ceiling). Add the coarsely chopped basil in bunches, alternately stopping the blender to push the basil down. Patiently continue to do this, adding more olive oil as needed to allow blending.

 Once you have a thick, but coarse paste add ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt to taste. That’s it!!! We like to freeze it in small 4 oz. Glad containers. You can add minced pine nuts (walnuts or raw skinless peanuts also work well) and parmesan cheese to taste when you serve it.

What can you do with pesto?

PestoThere are many uses for pesto, and all of them are delicious. Pesto can be frozen into small plastic containers or even ice-cube trays for handy single serving size cubes.

Make a speedy-quick version of a Caprese Salad: Mix several tablespoons of pesto, halved grape or cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Also, it’s great mixed with pasta and fresh tomatoes, on toasted french bread and pizza!

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Blueberry Health Muffins

Friday Foodie: Blueberry Health Muffins

Category : Healthy Eating

This time of year you can buy blueberries by the quart instead of by the pint. Sometimes we get overzealous at the Farmers Market and have so many we have to start making everything with blueberries! This week we’ve made blueberry pancakes, blueberry smoothies and blueberry muffins.

I tore this recipe out of a Whole Living magazine a few years back. It has become a favorite at our house and I’ve even brought a batch into the studio on occasion to share with clients.

blueberry muffins

Muffin Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (we usually don’t have white flour in the house, so I make it with all whole-wheat flour and it turns out fine)
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • (I also like to add 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Muffin topping ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix dry ingredients. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla; stir until just mixed. Gently fold in blueberries. 
  • Divide evenly among 12 lined muffin cups. We like to use a regular size ice cream scoop for this.
  • Sprinkle tops of muffins with muffin topping.
  • Bake approximately 20 minutes…until a toothpick comes out clean.
blueberry muffin

Full of juicy berries!

Nutrition Information (per muffin)

196 calories; 1 g saturated fat; 5 g unsaturated fat; 36 mg cholesterol;

30 g carb; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber

 

If you want to read all about the benefits of blueberries

in your diet check out The World’s Healthiest Foods

Comments Off on Friday Friday Foodie: Avocado Salsa

Friday Friday Foodie: Avocado Salsa

Category : Healthy Eating

This week’s Friday Foodie is Nicole C. who suggested this most delicious salsa from one of my favorite food websites:

salsa ingredients

Salsa ingredients

www.epicurious.com.   If you haven’t checked epicurious out, you can type in a main ingredient and come up with a list of recipes that incorporate your searched ingredient along with excellent reviews and ratings.  It is an un-abashedly flavor first, damn the calories website, so it is wise to be calorie wary when surfing their delicious recipes.

Simple and delicious, the original recipe adds more olive oil than we would without sacrificing flavor.  That said, we’ve tweaked the recipe with 1/2 the olive oil (subtract roughly 200 calories) and we strongly suspect that 1/4 the olive oil (1T) would be un-noticeable.  Here’s our take:

Avocado Salsa:

  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    Not your typical pico!

    Avocado Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (try 1 tablespoon, it’s probably plenty and you can always add more)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 large jalapeño chilies, seeded but not deveined, minced
  • 1 large avocado, diced

Mix well and serve!  Enjoy with friends to savor the fresh wonder of this simple recipe.  -XO