I always have an extraordinarily difficult time deciding what to have for lunch. Breakfast I have no problem with. The day's just starting and I am happy to make an incredibly elaborate meal that will kick start my day. For lunch I literally drag my feet to the kitchen. I'm always trying to find healthy recipes also and I think lunch is a hard one. Everyone is always on the go so you want something quick, something that you can pack for lunch and eat at work the next day. This recipe has that potential. As mentioned before I am a Neiman Marcus fan (notice I never said that I could afford anything there). The place to me is like what Tiffany's was to Holly Golightly. It just seems like nothing bad can happen to you at Neiman Marcus. I am very fortune to live near two. Anyway, back to food- their cafe The Zodiac Room, has several gluten free and "go figure" ( low calorie) meals. So, if you are short on cash or nowhere near a Neiman Marcus I am pleased to present you with my take on their Veggie Wrap.....Not only is this wrap full of flavor from wonderful vegetables but it is roughly 300 calories! Pair it with some salad and fruit and you've got a great, healthy meal.
Ingredients: Grilled Zucchini, Bell Peppers, Baby Bellas, Cucumber, Tomato, Lettuce, Hummus, Wheat tortilla, Dash of salt, pepper and chili powder
I should note that their version has artichokes, and as you can see it is pictured with the other ingredients so I did buy them with the intention of using them in the wrap. Well, I am not an expert at cooking artichokes. Yes, there are several videos and instructions online but by the time the darn things were done boiling ( 40 minutes!!) I had already eaten the wrap. So they were left out. Also, I used the good old original George Forman grill to grill my veggies. As you may know, George Foreman grills can be found for approximately $5 at many second hand stores across the nation. I highly recommend picking one up!
1. Grill zucchini, bell peppers and mushrooms (sautéing them works also!).
2. Spread Hummus on wheat tortilla. Then throw on lettuce, cucumber, tomato and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili powder. I added the chili powder as I have read that it contains capsinoids which burns belly fat!
3. Add grilled veggies and enjoy!
I am tempted to try this wrap with a few shrimp thrown in to get some extra protein. Perhaps tomorrow since I have tons of veggie leftovers!
Unfortunately I will be sans recipe with picture this week. I had every intention of presenting a Mediterranean halibut but ran out of time and was not able to get to it. However, since Mediterranean was the theme of the day, I thought I'd discuss a very effective diet that helped me lose weight sometime ago-the Mediterranean diet. About 3 years ago I was 25 pounds overweight. I exercised regularly but not often enough. Not only that but my body was used to the exercise routine I did week after week. My muscles were not being challenged. To top it off I had the crazy notion that because I exercised I could eat whatever I wanted ( I admit, sometimes this still pops in my head). I was eating tons of meat (pork and ground beef mostly) and little fish and vegetables. Chicken and fruit were in my diet here and there. I strongly believe that a big factor in my being overweight was that I would use butter to cook. I knew that butter was bad in excessive amounts but I did not weigh the risks of using it regularly for cooking. Losing weight is 70 % diet and 30 % exercise. When I discovered this, I knew I had to change the way I ate.
Some of you may have already heard of the Mediterranean diet. If you have, you know that it is very effective and not your average diet. It's not at all like a diet where you are deprived of delicious food and you are torturing yourself the entire time. You don't starve yourself. You simply adopt a daily diet of fruits, vegetables , fish, olive oil and whole grains. This diet is heart healthy and helpful for the skin. This diet is rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids from the fish and veggies. Some studies even show that it is shown to protect against heart attack and help with blood pressure and cholesterol. This diet has always intrigued me. Now, I don't do it all the time (see the several posts previous where I discuss my love affair with cookies and cheeseburgers) but this diet is a good outline for when I get off track and want to start back with healthy habits again.
Here are some of the key points to the Mediterranean diet:
-Eat primarily plant based foods
-Replace butter with olive oil when cooking
-Replace poultry ( ok in moderation) and meat with fish for weekly meals
-Eat dairy products in moderation
Diets can be hard to do. A diet that doesn't feel like a diet is a great way to lose weight. When I took the Mediterranean challenge I lost that 25 pounds and then some. Keep in mind, I also paired it with a more rigorous exercise routine.
Some helpful books and articles:
The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
The Advanced Mediterranean Diet by Steve Parker MD
With summer like weather holding on here in Illinois, I was in the mood again for something light for lunch today. I also had just walked 2 miles so a salad seemed like a refreshing, refueling lunch. Having recently purchased some frozen salmon at Aldi's I was eager for a fish fix. Salmon is by no means my favorite food but the stuff is just so darn good for you, over the years I have forced myself to eat it and have actually come to enjoy it a bit. With the right seasoning, it can be fabulous. Salmon alone never fills me up so I decided to pair it with some veggies ( orange bell pepper and yellow onions), spinach and complete it with a creamy and tangy sauce. Based on some similar recipes online this dish is around 500 calories. Not bad!
Baked Salmon- I seasoned mine with sea salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary , oregano and olive oil. I threw it in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees
Sautéed Bell Peppers and Yellow Onions- After heating some olive oil in a pan, I tossed in the bell peppers and onions. Once they were blackened just a bit, I sprinkled some black pepper on them.
Garlic and Lemon Sauce-you can experiment here with how much of each ingredient you want to use, depending on your taste. This is roughly what I used- 3 tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon thyme, salt and pepper
Top baby spinach with veggies and then salmon. Drizzle with garlic lemon sauce and enjoy!
If you have ever been curious as to what it might be like to take one of my classes, the post below will give you a fairly good idea. I have transcribed exactly what I do in a moderate level interval training session. The routine below works your entire body to give you a stronger, leaner body in a short amount of time.
And I know it seems long but feel free to go at your own pace! Start off with just the warm up, legs and abs, then add the other sections as you see fit. Once you are able to do the entire routine I guarantee your body will thank you! The people who take my interval training class love routines like this and always walk away happy.
I have described some of the lesser known moves as best as I can but you can also find some nice descriptions on sites such as bodybuilding.com.
Equipment- 5 lb weights or whatever weight you are comfortable with
March in place 3 minutes
10 jumping jacks
10 high knee runs
10 squats slow ( without weights)
10 squats fast ( without weights)
10 squats (hold weights)
10 shoulder presses
10 upright rows ( with your arms down and you're holding the grips of the weight, pull the weights straight up to your collarbone)
10 lateral lifts (start with your arms down at your sides. Lift the arms out to the sides, stopping at shoulder level. Slowly lower your arms back down to your sides).
2 sets of 12 bicep curls
2 sets of tricep presses
10 squats with chest raise ( holding the weights, bend your elbows and push your arms out and forward when you squat)
3 sets of 10 reverse flyes ( hold the weights. Extend your arms right in front of you, stopping at chest level. Slightly bend your elbows and move the weights out and away from each other to the side).
1 minute bicycles
1 minute leg drops ( lie on your back with your feet up the air. Keep your legs together. Slowly bring them down about an inch above the ground)
1 minute double crunch ( get into a the same position you would for a crunch. As you raise your shoulders off the floor to do a crunch, raise your tailbone also).
Today I made a great salad, taking inspiration from the Niemen Marcus Grilled Shrimp salad I had some time ago. Their dish consisted of: grilled shrimp, avocado, goat cheese, grapefruit, quinoa, and pomegranate vinaigrette.
The ingredients thrown together seems like such an odd combination but tasted fantastic and delightfully fresh. I had a craving for it today but alas, I had no grapefruits and actually, I wasn't that upset. I know grapefruits are amazingly good for you but I really do not care for the taste ( to be honest when I had the salad at Niemen Marcus, I tossed a few to the side)-so I decided to switch things up and do raspberries instead. The result was one of the best salads I have ever made!
Cooked shrimp- I seasoned my shrimp with pepper, paprika and chili powder. It gives the salad a great kick
Raspberry vinaigrette ( I used Kraft's Raspberry Poppy seed Vinaigrette)
Spring Mix salad
Add quinoa if you like, à la Niemen Marcus . I didn't have enough time to cook quinoa, so it wasn't added. I have to say though, I am very pleased with my concoction. Let me know if you give it a try!
It was a real scorcher here yesterday in Illinois- 97 degrees! Yikes! So I was in the mood for something light and tasty in the morning. Something that wouldn't be too heavy. I had some bananas on hand and decided to concoct a banana parfait. It literally took me 2 minutes to prepare. The result was a fantastically sweet, healthy breakfast that tasted like dessert. Give it a try for breakfast or for a snack!
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup almonds
Coconut shavings and a pinch of brown sugar
I scooped half of the yogurt on the bottom of a wine glass ( I like to be fancy in the morning) and then layered half the banana and some almonds. I then layered the rest of the ingredients and then topped with coconut shavings and brown sugar.
Every once in a while I have waves of dedication and motivation when it comes to exercise and healthy eating. I don't just get by hoping I'll have enough willpower to deny a cookie craving or another few minutes in bed instead of hitting the gym. I use different tools and if you have read my previous posts, you know what some of those are. One of these tools is keeping a food diary. I don't always keep one, but when I do, I notice a dramatic difference in the way that I eat and how much. I wasn't exactly eating horrible but snacks and greasy food would sneak in my daily diet here and there and before I knew it I'd think, " Well, the day's already shot so does it matter if I have a cookie?"
So, a few weeks ago I decided to really buckle down and keep a record of everything I ate. You can see from the first day I didn't do so well- I had a burger and fries for lunch. I'm normally not a calorie counter but I decided to list the calories on my journal and the results were surprising and a bit disconcerting. However, it was fantastic motivation for me to eat better the next day and the next day and the next. Even if you never show your food diary to anyone, writing down you had some cookies or a Big Mac can be, well embarrassing. It gives you an extra push to do better, especially when you see how many calories, sodium, and sugar you are consuming, how little fruit and veggies you are eating, and how you can make better choices. Something you might not be aware of without the food diary. The third day you can see a change in the way I ate-far better choices were made. As each day went on, I noticed that I made healthier choices and snacked less. I was happy and proud of what I ate ,which then helped to motivate me in other areas. I didn't feel sluggish or tired since I had eaten well, so I was able to exercise harder and faster. My mood even improved. It may sound like a fairy tale, but you will be surprised at how much better you will feel when you eat right and a good first step is keeping a food diary.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind with using a food journal:
-Try to write down what you eat every day. Studies show that keeping a diary even just a few days is beneficial, but to do it every day is even better and will help you to lose weight.
-Don't wait until the end of the day to write everything down. You may forget what you had eaten or may put if off to the next day. Before you know it, it's been weeks since you have recorded in your diary.
- There are several good tools online for food diaries. A lot of them record calories, fat, sodium etc but I use a good old fashioned notebook. Although an online tool may seem easier, I find that it is easier for me to whip out a tiny notebook and jot down a few notes instead of hauling out a laptop, booting it up, having to close down Itunes, etc.
-If you think you may be an emotional eater, it may be a good idea to write down why you are eating. Were you upset/ mad/ tired when you ate that piece of cake or did you truly believe you were hungry and that it would be a good choice?
-Also record what you drink. I didn't do that for this diary but many drinks can have a large amount of calories and sugar so it is essential to record this as well.
-Record the size of your portions. You can see from my diary I did not do this on the first few days but as time went on, I did. This gives you a better idea of how much you ate and a more accurate count of your calories.
-The amount of calories you need a day really depends on your height, weight and other factors. I'm 5'1 and we'll leave my weight a mystery for now. But I only need about 2,000 calories a day. You can calculate how many calories you should be eating a day with some nice tools online- I used the one found here: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/bmr/. However, the purpose of your diary should not be based on calorie counting alone-it's also about making better, healthy choices that make you feel great!
I recently picked up an issue of Hello! magazine in my excitement for the arrival of the royal baby. Not only did the magazine have some fantastic pictures of my favorite royal family but it had an excellent and easy recipe for Jambalaya. There's quite a bit of ingredients but luckily I happened to have most of them with the exception of Tabasco sauce. I had never made Jambalaya before but I figured it would be a great way to get my veggie fix for the day. Surprisingly , it is pretty low in calories too. The recipe below did not have a calorie number listed but I compared it to a few online and it's roughly around 300 calories. Not bad! Here is my take on it:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed ( I added one more clove)
1/4 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
1 chopped tomato
6 drops of Tabasco sauce or to taste
1 cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup cooked shrimp ( I tossed the shrimp with some olive oil and paprika)
1/3 cup peas
1/3 cup corn
1/2 cup cooked white rice
Hello's recipe also lists 1 carrot, diced, but I did not have one on hand.
1. Heat oil in a large pan
2. Sauté the onion, pepper and celery for 8 minutes or until soft. ( I did 10 minutes)
3. Add garlic, thyme and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Then add tomatoes and Tabasco sauce. The original recipe says to add uncooked rice here, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes covered. I do not recommend this. The rice was still uncooked and even after waiting 15 minutes more, it still was uncooked. How frustrating! It finally was (somewhat) edible once I let it sit for about 30 minutes more. I recommend cooking the rice on the side and adding it to the mixture. I follow Martha Stewart's instructions on how to cook rice here: http://www.marthastewart.com/347002/perfect-white-rice
4. Add chicken, shrimp, peas and corn. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until everything is hot. Serve with extra Tabasco sauce if you desire more spice. I also added a little bit of cayenne pepper.
Do you ever have one of those days were you know you're not really that hungry but you want to eat? Well, I had one of those days. When this feeling creeps up on me, I try my very best to eat a meal that tastes delicious but is also healthy. Today I decided to tweak my "fancy salad" recipe a bit and make it less spicy. The Fancy salad, mentioned in a previous post, has red pepper and red pepper flakes, so it can be pretty hot depending on how much you put in. This salad was fresh and satisfying. Below is what you need:
1 tomato (I used one from our garden-so good!, you can also use cherry tomatoes)
Mozzarella Cheese, Pepper, Thyme and Olive Oil (to your liking. I like to use lots of olive oil-good for the skin)
Spring mix salad
And there you have it! A great, quick, Summer time salad!
I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend! Here is part 2 in my Ageless Skin post. Below are some things that I have come to rely on to keep my skin looking great.
Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone Eye Cream/Face Cream/Advanced Night Time Repair- I indicated before that I am an Estee Lauder girl. Always will be. All of their products are extremely well made, decently priced and I'm always a sucker for fancy packaging. I have been using their Advanced Night Time Repair serum for some time now. Apparently, a lot of people have, as I have seen countless positive reviews online and in magazines. It works amazingly. My pores disappear and the lines on my face diminish greatly. It also creates a dewy look after I apply my make-up. A lot of people complain that it is expensive- and it is. The Advanced Night Repair Concentrate is $95.00. However, you can do like me and keep your eyes peeled for when they do a gift-with-purchase promotion. They often include an Advanced Night Repair sample. I also listed the Advanced Time Zone Eye Cream & Face Cream. I recently received a sample of these from one of their gift-with-purchase promotions. I instantly fell in love. The creams were so moisturizing, non greasy and the effects were fantastic. For example, I sadly have laugh lines that are severely indented. After using the Advanced Time Zone for about a month I noticed that the lines weren't so noticeable! Another thing I loved about these creams is they did not make my make up slide off but seemed to give it some staying power.
Silk Pillows-I've mentioned in a previous post ( How To Get Glowing Skin) that using silk pillows can be an aide in obtaining blemish free skin. They can also be very beneficial at keeping wrinkles at bay. You see, using cotton pillow cases causes those creases that you wake up with every now and then. They eventually go away, but they are actually causing damage to your precious face. As we get older, our skin becomes more fragile and those temporary creases can become permanent ones. We spend a third of our lives in bed so our sleeping hours are not the time to be lazy when it comes to fighting wrinkles. There are several different kinds of silk pillow cases on the market but my research shows that Mulberry pillowcases are the way to go
Green Tea -Yes!, Pop-No!- we all know that pop or soda is bad for us. Recently, I've been trying to swap out my Diet Coke for green tea. It has numerous health benefits but it is also great for the skin, including protecting the skin against UV damage and also helps in skin cell rejuvenation. My goal is to have 2 cups a day and to gradually weed out the pop ( I'm on day 5 so far!). Another benefit to drinking green tea? It burns up belly fat! Drink up!
Frownies- Frownies are facial patches that reduce wrinkles. Most people wear them while they sleep as you have to keep them on for several hours to be effective. I first read about them in an issue of Bizarre magazine a couple of years ago. They indicated that Frownies were the way to go as an alternative to surgery. This intrigued me as I am terrified at having any type of work done but what also surprised me is that they have been used for 100 years! Impressive. What sealed the deal is that you can find a box on Amazon for roughly $12. $12 to fight wrinkles!! I have been using them for a few years now and I am really happy with the results. There are many other success stories that you can find online. The downfall-they are not fun to wear, not unbearable but not fun either. However, if I had to choose between surgery and these I would choose Frownies hands down. Let me elaborate. Once you apply them they harden. While you sleep, you won't really notice this but if you happen to wake up in the middle of night it can be a bit annoying. I've caught myself several times in a sleepy stupor tear my Frownies off in the middle of the night. This can be slightly painful as they need to be removed with water. All that aside, I highly recommend them. With continued use, anyone should be able to see results.
Omega 3s- The foods you put in your body are going to reflect on your face. That is way you need to load up on lots of Omega 3s. Omega 3s are full of fatty acids that take care of the health of the cell membrane, helping it hold moisture which reveals wrinkle free skin. Inserting Omega 3s into your daily diet is easier than you think. There are lots of different options to choose from. Below is a list of foods that contain Omega 3s.
Salmon, Tuna, Halibut, Chia seeds, Walnuts, Flax seeds, Sardines, Black and Kidney beans
Accept Aging-I used to roll my eyes whenever someone told me this but I've come to understand that it is good advice. Accept that you will age. Come to terms with it. Be ok with it. You cannot stay young forever and you shouldn't want to. Once you stop obsessing over your wrinkles and getting older, your life and your face will benefit.