Friday, May 30, 2008

Chopped Salad with Tuna and White Beans

Leave it to the Italians to create a winning combination like tuna and white beans.  I take this classic one step further by incorporating shredded romaine, arugula, and crunchy veggies.  The flaxseed oil in the vinaigrette dressing adds a great flavor-much like that of pecans.

1/2 cup reduced sodium Chicken Broth
2 Shallots, finely chopped
3 Tbspns chopped flat-leaf Parsley
1 Tbspn Flaxseed Oil
2 Teaspoons Balsamic Vineager
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
3 Cups finely shredded Romaine Lettuce
3 Cups finely shredded Arugula Leaves
3 Plum Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 (6-ounce) cans water packed, solid white Tuna, drained
2 assorted color Bell Peppers, finely chopped
1 Cup canned White Beans, rinsed and drained
1 small Red Onion, finely chopped

Whisk the broth, shallots, parsley, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add the lettuce and remaining ingredients; toss to coat with the dressing.  Serve at once.

makes 4 servings - 214 calories - 7 grams fat - 6 grams fiber - 23 grams protein  4 WW Points

*Imported Italian Tuna packed in olive oil may be used (such as Pastene).

Fresh Tomato Flatbread with Arugula & Prosciutto

This yeastless dough bakes into a flatter, more crisp than traditional pizza crust, but you don't have to plan ahead to enjoy this from-scratch weeknight treat.

Flatbread dough:
1 Cup Bread Flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 Tsp salt
1/3 Cup Warm Water, plus extra if necessary
1 Tsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 lb Fresh Plum Tomatoes, sliced thin
Salt to taste
Fresh Basil 
2 large Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tblsp, plus 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cups washed Arugula
6 Paper- thin  slices Prosciutto
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano shaved with vegetable peeler

*Mix flour & salt in a food processor.  Mix water and oil and pour over flour mixture; form  a soft dough ball.  Process dough until well kneaded, 15 seconds.  (add extra water if needed).  *With floured hands, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into quarters.  Working one quarter at a time, roll dough out to 12 by 4 inch rectangle, dusting with flour as needed.  *Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place 4 flatbreads crosswise on the same sheet.  *Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees.  *Arrange tomatoes over flatbreads, season with salt and garnish with fresh chopped basil.  *In a small bowl, mix garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle over tomatoes.  *Bake until crust is crisp and golden and tomatoes are cooked, 10-12 minutes.  *Toss arugula with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt to taste.  Remove flatbreads from the oven, top with prosciutto slices, arugula and parmesan .  Serve as individual flatbread pizzas.  

*Makes 4 pizzas, 301 calories each.  *You can add some cooked chicken or grilled shrimp on top for extra protein.  You can also add artichoke hearts and other veges to build it up.   A great friday night treat!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wine Biscuits with Cracked Black Pepper

Here's the recipe for those biscuits that sell in specialty shops.  Serve them alone or along side your garden salad.  Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for up to one month.

1/2 Cup dry Red Wine
1 Cup Bread Flour
3 Tblsp.  Sugar
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Minced Fresh Rosemary or Thyme Leaves
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Tblsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

*In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring wine to boil.  Continue to boil until wine is reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.  *Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  *Process flour,  sugar, pepper, rosemary or thyme, salt and baking powder in a food processor to combine.  *Mix wine and oil and add to dry ingredients.  Process until dough just comes together.  Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to a little more than 1/8 inch thick.  Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out dough rounds and place on cookie sheets.  Roll scraps once or twice more to make 3 dozen rounds.  *Bake until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

 Makes 3 dozen servings; 29 calories per biscuit.  The perfect recipe for losing weight and eating great!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Creative Concoctions

Visit the home of any athlete or bodybuilder and you will find something in common; vitamins and protein powders covering the kitchen countertops and spilling out of the cabinets.  Planning, scheduling and eating 5-6 meals a day for you and your active family is not an easy task. It is very time consuming and requires planning.  Here are some creative concoctions I have collected over time.

Crystal Glute (Recovery)

Glutamine is one of the body's most abundant amino acids.  However, heavy training or dieting burns through so much of it, resulting in muscle loss and impaired recovery.  Taking this concoction post-workout will keep your body anabolic!  Mix 3-4 teaspoons glutamine powder with Crystal Light.   

Whey & Oats (Fat Blasting)

This is a perfect pretraining snack for the hardcore bodybuilder/athlete who is trying to drop bodyfat while maintaining muscle.  Prepare 1 cup quick oats mixed with water, add 20 grams whey protein and consume within one hour of your workout!

Omega Joe (Fat Blasting)

Caffeine and omega-3 fatty acids, is an ideal precardio concoction!  Brew 12 ounces black coffee.  Add no creamer and Stevia to sweeten.  Pour into a blender, then add 6-8 ice cubes and 1-2 tablespoons omega-3-rich flaxseed oil.  Blend 20 seconds for rich tasting iced coffee!

Sliced Tea (Fat-Blasting)

Fat burning effects of drinking 3 cups of green tea a day has made it a favorite among dieters.  Here is a souped-up version using MCT's, which are rarely stored as bodyfat, especially when calories and/or carbs are reduced.  With lower calorie dieting they can actually prevent muscle loss!  

Brew 2 quarts of tea using 10 bags of green tea.  Mix with Stevia to sweeten and add 4 tablespoons MCT oil.  Store in the refrigerator  and blend with crushed ice to prepare (this helps keep the oil and tea thoroughly mixed)

Quick Meal Replacement (Muscle Gaining)

Shortcut to a quick meal prepared in a shaker and a great way to get fast-absorbing carbs post-workout:  Gerber baby dry formula cereal and add it to your protein shakes.  The cereal's consistency is so fine, it mixes instantly with water and protein powder.  This is a great bloat-free combo!

Power Pudding (Muscle Gaining)

Prepare sugar-free, fat free pudding using water instead of milk, then add protein powder to it. It takes about a half hour to chill in the fridge.  Prepare according to package directions, mixing 20-40 grams whey protein powder (one or two scoops).  127-227 calories, 20-40 grams protein, 3 grams fat.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Up Close with Katie Brown

Up Close with Katie:  Katie and I have been training for a few years.  Don't let her petite 5' frame fool you. She is definitely a little powerhouse!  Katie's training consists of power type exercises (Bench Press, Barbell Squats, Deadlifts) which she enjoys most.  We also incorporate other exercises like walking lunges, pull-ups, and dips etc.

Katie also incorporates yoga into her training regimen along with playing tennis, paddle and gardening in her English Gardens.  Katie has definitely added lean muscle to her frame with a    perfect balance of strength training and yoga.  She is 61 years old, beaming with tons of energy and has never been stronger!  She is totally an inspiration to others!

Katie is married and has three grown children.  Katie is an entrepreneur, landscape architect/designer, owner of Katie Brown Landscaping Design, Greenwich, CT.  Her home renovations and famous English Gardens have been featured in Renovation Style Magazine!  (I have had the pleasure of a personal tour of her breathtaking home and gardens)  Thanks for the gardening tips!  Stay jacked-up and strong!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nutrition & Your College Student

This is a list I put together when preparing college “care packages” to send my son for his first year at college.

I was able to train with Robert via Internet, sending weekly lifting schedules in addition to his rugby training. I also insured that he was eating properly at the cafeteria and making the best choices (a lot of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins.) In addition to your meal plan, you need to have healthy snacks in your dorm. I have put together a list of foods and snacks I would regularly send. I hope you find this information helpful. Shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or your local market.

-Protein Powder
-Protein Bars
-Multi-Vitamins (Solgar)
-Essential Fatty Acids
-Emergen-C (1,000 mg Vitamin C)

Food List:
-Natural Almond Butter
-Brown Rice Cakes
-Ezekiel Bread
-Brown Rice Bowls Ready Made
-Canned Tuna
-All Natural Granola
-Green/Black Tea
-Oatmeal Packs
-Walnuts and Almonds
-Low Sodium Soups
-All Natural Cookies
-Case of 8 oz. Poland Spring Waters (for on the go)
-Poland Spring Gallons 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pregnancy & Weight Training

Carrie 5 months Pregnant!!  Amazing!

Inspiring MaMa!


Carrie is originally from Maryland and has been a lifelong athlete.  She received a full scholarship to Boston College for Lacrosse and also ran in the Boston Marathon. 

When she became pregnant for the first time, she gained a lot of weight (60 lbs) and rarely worked out.  She started training with me twice a week. She did cardio on her own 2-3 days per week.  And she also started preparing healthy meals. In return  she gained lean muscle and lost fat. 

Carrie is no stranger to strength training and admits the “Power-Rack” was her best friend while training at Boston College.

Carrie became pregnant for the second time and continued lifting 2-3 times a week and also incorporated cardio.  She kept her weight in control this time (25lbs).  She ran the New York Marathon after the birth of her second daughter. She also coaches lacrosse for a private all girls’ school.  She is truly an inspiration to others!

Carrie resides in Westchester, NY with her husband (college sweetheart) and two beautiful daughters.

Sweet-Potato "Fries"

2 pounds large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

These totally addictive baked "fries" are amazing.  Check em out!!

Makes 4 Servings: one cup serving, 234 calories, 4 grams Fat, 6 grams Fiber.  WW points 4.

Preheat the oven to 45o degrees.  Halve the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch wedges.  Toss with the oil, salt & pepper in a medium bowl.

Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.  Bake, turning once, until browned and crisp.  about 35 minutes.

Chicken & Vegetables en Papillote

1 Cup fresh Snow Peas, trimmed
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded & diced
2 Shallots, minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium Chicken Broth
4 (1/4 pound) skinless boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped  fresh Parsley

The french cooking technique en papillote refers to food baked in a wrapping.  I use this low-fat, high moisture method to wrap skinless, boneless chicken breasts, shallots, red bell pepper, and snow peas in heavy-duty foil (or parchment paper).  For extra flavor, add fresh thyme to each package.  

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, over medium heat.  Add the snow peas, bell pepper, shallots and broth; cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables just begin to soften, 2-3 minutes.

Place 4 (12-inch) squares of heavy duty foil or parchment paper on counter.  Place a chicken breast in the center of each square and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with vege mixture, drizzling any pan juices over the the vegetables, and sprinkle with parsley.  Make a packet by bringing the sides of the foil up to meet in the center and folding the edges of the ends together.  Allow room for the packets to expand, crimp edges.

Bake the packets until the chicken is cooked through, about 18 minutes.  Open the packets carefully, steam will escape.

145 Calories, 3 grams Fat, 24 grams Protein, 1 gram Fiber.  3 WW points

*These are great to make on Sunday - during the workweek your protein and carb meal is already prepared for a quick lunch, just reheat!

*I also make this with chicken/broccoli and Soy Vay Marinade.  I skip cooking the veges first, adding everything together and cooking on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes on 350.  Tastes just like chinese take-out minus the fat!  Great served over brown rice.

Individual Ham, Cheese & Vege Frittatas

2 Sprays cooking spray
1 Pound frozen Hash Brown Potoatoes, thawed
4 Large Eggs, beaten (Egg Beaters or Egg Whites may be used)
1 Tbsp Skim Milk
1/8 Tsp table Salt
1/8 Tsp Black Pepper
2 oz Cooked Lean Ham, finely chopped
1/8 Cup Sweet Red Pepper, finely chopped
1/8 Cup Green Pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Onion, finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Low-Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat 8 muffin tin holes with coooking spray.  Spread Potatoes around bottom and press potato up sides of each muffin hole; place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat eggs and milk together in medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.  Add ham, peppers, onion and cheese to bowl; combine.

Remove potatoes from oven (after cooking for 10 minutes) and press potatoes down firmly with a spoon so that they are spread out like mini piecrusts (potatoes should cover bottom and sides of each hole).  Pour about 1/4 cup of egg mixture into the center of each muffin hole.

Return pan to oven and cook until potatoes are crisp and golden, and the egg mixture is set, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.  Yields 1 frittata per serving.  8 Servings,  2 weight watcher points each

These are great to make in advance and microwave on the go!!  The Incredible Edible Egg!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Building a Strong Back

The Back contributes  to the overall shape of your physique ~ A well defined V-shaped back gives a smaller looking waist.  In addition to looking better, the result of training your back also adds strength in lifting for everyday daily activities.  A strong back determines your posture. Your lat muscles keep your shoulders from slumping.  No training program can be complete without a great back workout.

 * Use a comfortable weight to begin and master the exercise. When you have mastered the exercise feel free to jack-up the weight accordingly.  Focus on form, rest 30-60 seconds between sets and feel free to stretch between sets. ~ 3-4 sets of each exercise 8-15 repetitions ~

Bent-Over Barbell Row ~ Start with an overhand grip with a 30lb barbell. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees bent.  Keep your chest lifted, your back straight and your torso at a 45-degree angle.  Keeping abs tight, pull the bar straight up until it touches your rib cage.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

Stiff-legged Deadlift ~ Start with an overhand grip using a barbell or dumbells.  Keep your arms relaxed , your spine straight and your head lifted. Lower the weight toward  your feet and then return to your starting position (great for mid back muscles as well as hips, glutes and hamstrings).

Good Mornings ~ Start with an overhand grip. Hold a barbell across your upper back keeping your feet shoulder width apart, soft knees, abs tight and slowly lower your chest until your torso is parallel to the floor. Return to starting position (great for lower and mid back, as well as the glutes and hamstrings).

Pull-Ups ~ Beginners use assistance (pull-up) machine or a spotter.  Start with a wide overhand grip, cross ankles, pull your chest towards the bar and repeat (pull-ups work the entire back as well as the biceps).

Some other great exercises not mentioned:  Lat Pulldowns, One Arm DB Row, Hyperextensions, Seated Cable Rows, Reverse Flys etc.