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Archive | August, 2013

Creamy Spinach Avocado Dip

14 Aug

Yes, another avocado recipe! They are so delicious and nutritious, I couldn’t help but continue this week with more recipes.

We all love that creamy spinach and artichoke dip, but our waist doesn’t always agree. That is why avocados are a great way to create a healthier version. Avocados are packed with nutrients to provide a vast amount of nutrition, and with all of it’s healthy fats it contains, it keeps that delicious, creamy taste we all love in the typical unhealthy dip.

As I have said in previous posts, avocados are a perfect seasonal ingredient! Not only are they healthy for you, but the are refreshing and very versatile. You may think of using avocados only in guacamole, but that is certainly not the only possibility with this lovely fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!). Packed with healthy fats, this fruit not only keeps you satisfied longer, but serves as a great substitute for any typical, unhealthy fat in any recipe. If you look back at my last posts, you can see they are even great in desserts!

Missed the benefits of avocado in my last couple posts? Find them below the recipe here!

dip

Creamy Spinach Avocado Dip
-1 ripe Avocado
-1/4 cup Low Fat Mayonaise
-1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
-4 oz. Spinach, cooked and cooled
-1 Garlic Clove, minced
-1 tablespoon Lime Juice
-1/2 teaspoon each: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Honey
-1/4 teaspoon each: Sea Salt, Red Pepper seasoning

Directions: Place all ingredients except spinach in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add in Spinach and blend for a few seconds. Chill covered in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Avocado Benefits:
1) Filled with Monounsaturated Fats: types of fats that help control triglycerides in the bloodstream, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes.
2) By adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients
3) Provides all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, the body readily absorbs avocado protein because avocados also contain fiber.
4) Pack with Folate:  a water-soluble B vitamin that promotes healthy cell and tissue development. According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, “This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.”
5) Contains Lutein: a carotenoid that protects against cataracts and certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk of muscular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. Avocados contain 3 or more times as much lutein as found in other common vegetables and fruits.
6) Rich in Oleic acid and Potassium — Both of these nutrients also help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
7) Good source of fiber

Source: http://www.trueactivist.com/avocado-health-benefits-the-worlds-most-perfect-food/

“I received free samples of California Avocado mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Avocado and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

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Avocado Artichoke Pesto Stuffed Chicken

10 Aug

I don’t know what it is about stuffed chicken recipes, but I love them. And I love creating new ones.

Lately I have been loving avocados. Not only because they are delicious, but because when I’m staying away from the typical unhealthy fats for the most part, I need a lot of good fats!  Along with homemade nut butters, avocados are something I eat daily to get those healthy fats.  They not only have tons of good, healthy fats, but they have many other benefits. This makes them a delicious summer ingredient, and not just in guacamole!

Did you know that avocados have been called “The World’s Most Perfect Food”?? And rightfully so! An avocado contains every single nutrient that a person would need to survive.

Avocados are rich in many vitamins, such as A, C, D, E, K, and all of the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, brain-imaging expert and author of the New York Times bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life counts avocados as one of the top brain-healthy foods that can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.

I became so excited when I heard there was a contest involving avocados, and instantly became motivated to create something delicious. I have a few delicious recipes, but today, it’s all about the stuffed chicken! I love pesto.  I just adore that delicious basil taste. That is why I knew I wanted to incorporate it in this recipe creation. The creamy taste of avocados, the flavor of fresh picked basil..I knew I was heading in the right direction.

This is the perfect summer night meal, as even though it may seem like you are indulging, it was made in a very healthy manner! Protein packed and rich in healthy fats, this delicious meal is sure to keep you satisfied, in both hunger and taste.

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 Avocado Artichoke Creamy Pesto Filling
– 2 avocados, flesh
– 1/2 14oz can artichokes, chopped
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
– 1/4 cup  low fat cottage cheese
-1T lemon juice
-1 teaspoon crushed garlic
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Other:
-4 large Chicken Breasts
-1 T each: dried basil, thyme, onion
-1 tsp each: pepper flakes, garlic powder, sea salt

Directions: In high speed blender or food processor, add all avocado filling ingredients, except artichokes, and blend until smooth. Stir in chopped artichokes. Place in fridge until needed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take out chicken breast, and butterfly with knife (cut breast in half horizontally but not all the way through so that it is still in one piece). Place 1/4 mixture in each breast, and fold back top half of chicken to “close”. In a shallow bowl, mix all the dried seasonings and salt together. Sprinkle rub mixture on each breast on both sides, and place on a cookie pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Avocado Benefits:

1) Filled with Monounsaturated Fats: types of fats that help control triglycerides in the bloodstream, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes.

2) By adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients

3) Provides all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, the body readily absorbs avocado protein because avocados also contain fiber.

4) Pack with Folate:  a water-soluble B vitamin that promotes healthy cell and tissue development. According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, “This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.”

5) Contains Lutein: a carotenoid that protects against cataracts and certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk of muscular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. Avocados contain 3 or more times as much lutein as found in other common vegetables and fruits.

6) Rich in Oleic acid and Potassium — Both of these nutrients also help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

7) Good source of fiber

“I received free samples of California Avocado mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Avocado and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Feature Friday–Top 10

9 Aug

I decided to let my fellow readers know about some other wonderful blogs and posts I have come across in the last week. So for this beautiful Friday as I head back up to college, here they are!

My TOP 10 of the Week

 

1) The Slender Grapefruit and her Clean Whole Wheat Crackers

http://slendergrapefruit.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/clean-whole-wheat-cracker-recipe/

I love my crackers. To me, they are so much better than chips. So when I saw clean crackers, I was instantly attracted!

 

2) Alexis over at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and her Everything Bagel Buns

Not only does this pretty lady have good health tips, but absolutely delicious, gluten free, dairy free, paleo friendly recipe, like these absolutely delicious Everything Buns made of cauliflower that I fell instantly in love with..who doesn’t like everything bagels?!  http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2013/07/30/everything-bagel-cauliflower-rolls/comment-page-1/#comment-844

3) Tina from Carrots n Cake with her delicious looking No Bake Almond Joy Cookies. Come on, just the name grabbed my attention instantly! I will definitely be trying these, along with so many other of her recipes!

https://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1328408975&group=0&frame_type=a&blog=335330&link=aHR0cDovL2NhcnJvdHNuY2FrZS5jb20vMjAxMy8wNy9uby1iYWtlLWFsbW9uZC1qb3ktY29va2llcy5odG1s&frame=1&click=0&user=0

 

4)Embracing Our Hunger by Accidently Delish was a great read!

http://accidentlydelish.com/2013/07/embracing-our-hunger/

 

5) Kasey, over at PowerCakes.net, wrote an amazing article about doing what is best for YOU. I loved the truth within this article and was so happy to see someone sharing what is needed to be heard J

http://www.powercakes.net/checking-myself-before-wrecking-myself-my-honesthour-of-what-kept-me-up-all-night/

 

6) Brittany over at BarrandTable caught my attention with a baked peanut tofu! I have been trying to eat tofu, but everytime I make it, I just don’t really like it. But this looks delicious so I may just have to try it!

http://barrandtable.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/foodie-friday-peanut-chili-baked-tofu/

 

7) Dolly over at dtspersonaltraining deserves some attention after her post on how she has overcome binge eating! That is such a huge accomplishment and it is great seeing her share her personal story to help others

http://dtspersonaltraining.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/liberated-from-binge-eating/

 

8) Reasons Why you Overeat caught my attention over at FitSugar as I tend to do just that at nights!

https://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1360541435&group=0&frame_type=fb&blog=22471&link=aHR0cDovL2ZlZWRwcm94eS5nb29nbGUuY29tL35yL2ZpdHN1Z2FyL34zL2FrbGp0ekJtSWxjL1JlYXNvbnMtWW91LU92ZXJlYXQtMzEwNDI0MzQ&frame=1&click=0&user=0

 

9) I loved the idea of taking one day of rest from The Skinny Confidential as I never allow my body to completely rest 100% any given day of the week. Staying away from every kind of work, computer and all? That sounds liberating.

https://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1360541435&group=0&frame_type=fb&blog=22471&link=aHR0cDovL2ZlZWRwcm94eS5nb29nbGUuY29tL35yL2ZpdHN1Z2FyL34zL2FrbGp0ekJtSWxjL1JlYXNvbnMtWW91LU92ZXJlYXQtMzEwNDI0MzQ&frame=1&click=0&user=0

 

10) And my wonderful best friend, Amy over at FitFunandFantastic.com had a lovely presentation of delicious looking Sweet Potato Nachos! Yum?! http://fitfunandfantastic.com/2013/08/04/sweet-potato-nachos/

Why to Never Skip Breakfast + Carrot Cake Oatmeal

8 Aug

Breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. So often the diet mentality is to put off eating as long as possible after waking. But that is far from the healthy route to take. Why?

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When your body is deprived of food for long periods of time, it goes into a semi-starvation mode and can create a lot of physical, intellectual and behavioral problems. According to WebMD, skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. After much research, it has been found that skipping meals, especially breakfast, very often leads to overeating later in the day or gorging out late at night. These infrequent large meals can lead to weight gain. Not only does it lead to weight gain, but also the accumulation of fat.

What is the solution? Break the last 8-12 hour fast you have currently been on throughout the night with a delicious, healthy breakfast. Great options include high fiber, high protein and low sugar meals. Fiber and protein will keep you satisfied until the next meal, and less sugar will help avoid any spike in blood sugar levels. Oatmeal, fruit and yogurt parfaits and eggs with toast are good healthy choice. Remember, homemade will always be healthier than take out, so strive to plan ahead, even if it means making it the night before! Here is a sinlessly sweet oatmeal recipe to help you get excited for breakfast.

I also created a different overnight oats version of this carrot cake oatmeal recently in an acorn squash, so take a look at this recipe as well for one made a little differently here! This was used the natural sweetness of carrot juice to create a delicious taste, and then I placed it in a cooked squash for a delectable breakfast!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Recipe

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other nondairy milk/water)
1/4 cup cooked carrots
1 tablespoon unsweetened dried coconut
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp coconut extract (or vanilla extract)
A dash of sea salt
Add sweetener to taste (i.e. honey)

Directions: Place oats, milk, and carrots in bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and place into blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in other ingredients. Pour into bowl and top with any desired ingredients.

Tip: This can be made the night before and stored in the fridge until morning.

 

Pina Colada Chia Parfait

6 Aug

Confession: I love coconut. And all that goes into one of those rich and creamy pina colada drinks. Virgin of course :)

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But another thing I love is yogurt! It is such a great thing to have on hand as it is so versatile, I know I use it every day at least once! It is great on its own with fruit, added into smoothies and shakes, or even as a great base for sauces and dips instead of your typical mayonnaise or sour cream!

My favorite way to use it is for breakfast parfaits. I love making delicious layers of whatever I am feeling that day. Today, I was feeling like a refreshing pina colada on this hot, summer day. Not to mention I had some fresh pineapple and banana that needed to be used soon :)

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This is a protein packed and delicious way to start off your morning! And it is so easily tailored to whatever you like. Switch out the fruit for another kind, add in your own spices and extracts, and you could have a whole different breakfast! Certainly a great choice.

And guess what? I even sneaked in some of those wonderfully nutritious little seeds called chia seeds. It is such a great way to make a thick yogurt or pudding consistency! They have so many benefits, but one of the greatest being hydration (read all 10 below recipe!). Haven’t tried chia before? You should give it a try! Very tasteless yet adds a great texture. Plus, you are offering your body amazing nutrition through using them!

photo 2

 

Pina Colada Chia Parfait

-1/2 cup fresh Pineapple, cut into pieces
-1/2 cup puffed rice cereal or 1/4 cup Rolled Oats

Banana Pudding Layer
-1/2 large banana, mashed
-1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
-1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
-Optional: Added sweetener to taste

Coconut Layer
-1/2 cup Greek yogurt
-2 tablespoons Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
-1 tsp Coconut Extract
-1 tablespoon Raw Honey

Directions: Mix all ingredients for banana pudding layer together in small bowl. Set aside in fridge to thicken. Mix together all ingredients for coconut layer together in separate bowl, set aside. In a parfait glass or (or type of cup), Place a layer of pineapple, then banana pudding, then 1/4 cup cereal or 2T oats. Repeat once more. Enjoy!

Coconut Benefits
1)Fights viruses and bacteria growth in body
2)Fights yeast, fungus, and candida
3) Positively affects hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control which leads to increase metabolism, energy and endurance
4)Aids in digestion
5)Absorbs fat soluble vitamins
6)Lowers cholesterol
7)Special fat called medium chain triglycerides (Research shows 2T a day allowed women not only to gain less weight but lower abdominal fat)
doctoroz.com

Raw Honey Benefits
1) Alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, and powerful antioxidants
2)Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fingal properties
3)Promotes body and digestive health
4)Strengthens immune system
5)Eliminates allergies
6)Excellent remedy for skin wounds and infections
7)Stabilizes blood pressure
8)Relieves pain
9)Calm nerves

Chia Seeds
1) Combats Diabetes: with its gelatinous coating it can prevent blood sugar spikes, and is also slow digesting which has lead to it being a possible treatment for diabetes
2) High in fiber: just 1 oz. has 1/3 of daily needed amount
3) Packed with Omega 3 Fatty Acids
4) Supports Bone and Teeth Health: packed with calcium
5) High in Manganese: an essential mineral for your bones
6) Rich in Phosphorous: aids body in synthesizing protein for cell and also maintaining healthy bones
7) High in protein: great source for vegetarians
8) Fights Belly Fat: it’s stabilizing affect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which is tied to an increase of belly fat
9) Contain tryptophan: also found in turkey, it is responsible for regulating appetite and improving sleep
10) Improves heart health

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Substitute

5 Aug

It’s never too early to start using pumpkin in recipes.

Is it just me, or does just thought thought of the holidays and the smell of those fall flavors put a smile on your face? It just makes me so happy!

I use to absolutely love making a pumpkin cream cheese. But see, I had a problem. The low fat version still had a lot of calories for the amount I would go through of it (2 tablespoon serving size?! I think not). But then the fat free version was just filled with all sorts of artificial ingredients and fillers for the lack of fat. So yesterday I came up with a solution for this problem. And the solution was delicious. Low in fat, high in protein, and still that delicious creamy taste of cream cheese!

Did I mention I have been loving cottage cheese lately? :)

pumpkincreamcheese

Whats your favorite holiday flavor?? I guess mine isn’t too hard to guess!

pcc

Pumpkin “Cream Cheese”

-1/4 cup+2T Pumpkin Puree
-1/2 cup Cottage Cheese
-1 packet Stevia or 2T Honey
-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
-1/4 tsp Cinnamon + Nutmeg
Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Keep in jar. Use as a spread on toast, a sweet dip, or even a simple add-in into oatmeal or shakes.

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

Raw Honey Benefits
1) Alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, and powerful antioxidants
2)Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fingal properties
3)Promotes body and digestive health
4)Strengthens immune system
5)Eliminates allergies
6)Excellent remedy for skin wounds and infections
7)Stabilizes blood pressure
8)Relieves pain
9)Calm nerves

Fun Survey and E-Book Release!

4 Aug

I am so excited to finally announce that my friend Amy and I’s E-Book, Healthy Eats: All Day. Every Day. is finally done! It is now available to buy for just 8.99 right on here under the “Buy Ebook” tab! We have worked so hard in creating some deliciously amazing recipes that have been not been posted anywhere before. It was so fun to be in the kitchen almost every single day, experimenting with recipe and recipe! This book includes 35 recipes, from breakfast, snacks and drinks to appetizers, entrees, and desserts! Look under the buy ebook tab for some sneak peaks of the recipes included within!

 

On another note, I found this fun survey from Tina over at Carrot’s n Cake, and decided to take it! Maybe you can get to know me a little bit through it as well :)

 

 

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

My Pumpkin Pie Shake! Such a delicious and quick option, and just the flavor puts me in such a happy mood as I think to the holiday season :)

photo 2

 

2. How much water do you drink a day?

I’m actually really bad about staying hydrated, but I’ve tried to be a lot better! I at least get in 8 cups, but I know it should be way more than that! I also always have a coconut water each day and start my mornings with my delicious green juice most of the time!

 

3. What is your current favorite workout?

After running miles upon miles for the past 5 years as a competitive runner, I have been loving to just 1 to 2 miles runs of alternating comfortable and fast pace. I’ve also turned my focus to more strength work lately. My favorite most definitely is my spur of the moment, made up on the spot, quick 20-30 minute workouts after a little 2 mile run!

 

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

Thankfully I have experienced complete freedom from counting calories, so I really don’t know! I know I listen to my body and eat what my body needs :) I most certainly eat tons of calories in healthy fats like nut butters and avocados (I literally go through a homemade jar a week!)

 

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

I love my snacks. I feel like I am always snacking. Usually its fresh fruits and veggies with some kind of dip like yogurt and cottage cheese for fruit and nut butters and hummus for veggies! Here are some of my favorite dips:

 

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

It depends what my body is craving. I just listen to it! If I know I’ll be away from my house, I usually pack a turkey sandwich on Ezekial or Paleo bread, with hummus, avocado, and lots of veggies, along with some snacks on the side. If I’m home, the sky is the limit of possibilities. Sometimes I am craving a salad, sometimes I am craving breakfast foods like pancakes, and sometimes, I just want a little bit of everything :)

 

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

Legs and abs. I tone my arms, but never do just arm-focused workouts really. I love doing tons of squats, lunges, and other free weight exercises—nothing like that “I can’t even stand” feeling the day after a great leg workout!

 

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Arms. No, I don’t believe that if I do arm workouts I will look like a crazy body builder and that is the reason I don’t work them often. But I never feel too accomplished when just doing arms, so when I do them, I incorporate those type of exercises into a total body workout

 

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

Chocolate and ice cream all the way. I love my chocolate, which killed me on my sugar detox that I just finished up (over a month of no sugar or sweeteners!).  I also can never pass up stopping at one of those delicious frozen yogurt self-serve places where you get to create your own! I really don’t enjoy those typically loved greasy foods, or any fast food, so those don’t even tempt me. I’ve learned to listen to my body, and my body does NOT like the feeling after eating those foods.

 

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Most Certainly! I take my raw women’s multi vitamin, probiotics, fish oil, and sometimes even my delicious gummy vitamins just because I like them :)

11. How often do you eat out?

Not very often. When I’m up at college, I eat at my sorority house every lunch and dinner. I don’t know what that would be considered, but there are always healthy options!

 

12. Do you eat fast food?

Not the typical fast food that offers all that yucky, greasy stuff. I do occasionally like Chick Fil A when I’m out with friends, and I am totally obsessed with Panera Bread!

 

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

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 God is certainly my number one supporter. The one who never fails me. But my other two would be my mom and my boyfriend. My mom has been there from day one and I know I can always come to her about anything; she was my best friend for a lot of my low times throughout high school. My boyfriend couldn’t support or encourage me more! He is absolutely amazing and I consider myself blessed to have him up at college with me, I don’t know what I would do without his love and support. At the very end of a long, hard day, I love knowing I can just come lay, cry, or laugh in his arms.

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14. Do you have a gym membership?

Nope! But when I’m at college we have a huge, very nice gym that is free to us.

 

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Unfortunately usually only like 6-7 hours. My body would love more, but with all that I’m involved in along with school and time spent with my friends and boyfriend, I rarely get much more! I really don’t like sleeping in though even when I can, I just feel like I’m wasting my day away :p

 

16. Do you have a “cheat”day?

I hate that word. I eat what I want, when I want it. I probably cheat every day when it comes down to it. But hey, I eat mostly healthy, and when I want something that could be considered “cheating”, I enjoy it to its fullest!

 

17. Do you drink alcohol?

 

 I do not! Yes I am only 20, but even when I’m 21, I will rarely have a drink. Not because of nutritious reasons, but because I am a firm believer that nothing truly good comes out of it.  Do I think one drink with yours good friends or family is bad? Definitely not. But in the college atmosphere, I desire to live a life that can be a light for Christ, and because of that I have chosen not to drink in that environment J

 

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

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I have a friend that comes with me a couple times, but we usually aren’t too productive together :) My boyfriend comes with me a lot, but we do our separate things! I wish I did though because I feel like I don’t push myself as hard as I could most of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

The best thing that has changed is turning my commitment to a healthy lifestyle into a passion and hobby. God has given me such a love for being in the kitchen, coming up with unique and tasty recipes that make eating nutritious yet still delicious! Whether blogging about it, creating it, or sharing it with friends and family, healthy food has become a great part of my life. I love how I am able to influence others to live a healthy lifestyle as well through sharing my own journey<3

 

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

I started off my morning like every other, reading God’s word with my cup of coffee. That is by far the healthiest thing for my life. Living a healthy life doesn’t always have to do with food, but the Bible is called my “daily bread” for a reason :)