Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Veggie All-Star

Casey Farm c. 1750
The holidays are over and it's time to get your kitchen stocked with some fresh vegetables.  If you have access to a local Farmer's Market great!  Fresh vegetables are packed with nutrients, low in sodium, and bursting with flavor.  So get your kitchen organized, grab your recipes together and start your new year by planning to eat clean and train consistently.  I am going to be posting great lean meal ideas to fuel your training for the new year.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sautéed Green Beans
I oven roasted these brussels sprouts @400 degrees (30-40 min) with fresh garlic on a cookie sheet, added a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.   I also sautéed some fresh green beans with a little low sodium chicken broth.  I decided to add them together.  I served them with a roasted turkey breast and baked sweet potatoes.  

Brussels sprouts contain Sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.  They are high in Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Beta-Carotene, and contain Vitamin B6, Thiamine, and Potassium, They also have more protein than most vegetables and are high in fiber and great for the digestive tract and lowering the risk of colon cancer:  1 cup = 6g fiber, 65 calories.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Friends Forever

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tuscan Kale Chips

I finally got a chance to make these Kale chips.  Kale chips are highly nutritious and low in calories they also taste great!  I decided to make them last weekend when I was away on Sunday.  Kale chips are very crispy and light, tasting totally different than eating kale when it is sauteed.  

Start with a bunch of fresh Organic Kale, wash & dry in a salad spinner then with a dish towel (be sure to remove all water).  Then remove stems and center ribs.  You can discard the stems or save them for another recipe like lentil or vegetable soup. 

Coat with a few tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes.  You need to watch them in the oven, do not overcook or they will become bitter.  Do not add salt until they are done baking.  My first batch I salted first and they were soggy.  Add Sea Salt or Kosher Salt after baking is complete. 

Baking Kale brings out a nutty flavor that is addictive, you will love them.  My new favorite healthy snack.  A great snack for your family, try them out!  
Bon Appétit!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K

Today was our annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K located at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY.  In memory of my aunt who was the victim of Triple Negative Breast Cancer on July 29, 2007.  Below are a few photos from our day.

The weather was beautiful, sunny & crisp today.  A perfect fall day!
These are just a few of the photos I didn't get everyone in of course, but I arrived a bit late and some have already started.  

Nearly everyone has been touched by breast cancer in some way, let's hope for a world with less breast cancer.  It's incredible to see so many people involved in this cause.  All this month even watching the NFL  games and to see so many teams supporting this cause is amazing.  

My daughter Brittany has just become a member of the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha who is partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, NFL, SELF Magazine & Yoplait Yogurt to raise awareness through early detection.  It's great to see so many young women team together to raise money to eradicate this dreaded disease.

Trista and I, my partner in crime ; )  It was a great day for fitness and support for a great cause!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chocolate-Coconut Blast

Breakfast in a blender!  Sometimes there isn't enough time to make breakfast or you're not really hungry yet.  As we all know, eating breakfast gets your metabolism revved up and it's not a good idea to skip.  This is just one of my many Protein Smoothie recipes I decided to share.  It tastes incredible and really so easy in your blender. 

If you love Chocolate & Coconut your going to love this one!  I try to add ingredients that compliment each other while keeping it simple, nutritious and tasting delicious.  You can use any protein powder brand you prefer, I am using EAS in this recipe. 

Chocolate-Coconut Blast Protein Shake Recipe

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Handful of Ice

Blend on High, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Start Your Day Right

Summer time is all about being active, spending time outdoors and fun in the sun!  It's important to start your day off right with something fresh and healthy, not something processed.  Here is a simple recipe you might enjoy, a little different than your usual oatmeal, and highly nutritious.

A powerful Breakfast Recipe to start your day!

Toasted Almond Quinoa

1 Cup Organic Qunioa
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup of Fresh Blueberries
1/2 teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon
1/4 cup Toasted Almonds
2-4 teaspoons Honey

Mix Almond Milk, Water and Quinoa and bring to a boil.  Simmer and let sit for 12-15 minutes until the water and milk are absorbed.  Let sit for 5 minutes then add your fresh blueberries. I love my blueberry tree,  I just go outside to pick them!  Finally, sprinkle Cinnamon, add your toasted Almonds & Honey.

Bon Appétit!

If your not already enjoying this superfood, it's time to add it to your diet.  Organic Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, was a staple of the ancient Incas, who called it "the mother grain."  It remains an important staple in South American cuisine, as it contains more protein than most other grains.  It's delicate flavor makes it a great alternative to rice or couscous as a side-dish, and can also be added to vegetables and meat as a main dish.  

 Quinoa cooks to a light, fluffy texture, with a bit of crunch from the grain's external germ.  So versatile, it can be used in soups, salads, breads, puddings or as a breakfast cereal.  I also add it to my chicken soup in place of pasta, and always keep a batch cooked in the fridge when my son is home from college.  A nice switch from brown rice.  

Quinoa is packed with essential amino acids, this whole grain seed is an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and copper.  It's top component is lysine, important for body recovery and repair.

You can purchase Quinoa at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or your local market.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Training Surfside

Most people associate the beach with relaxation, enjoying the sun and just chilling out.  It can also be a great place for some heart pumping training.

Living in the New England area, when summer comes along I want to take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather and take my training outdoors.  Training at the beach can bring variety and fun to your usual workout routine.

In sunny Rhode Island working out at the beach is common practice.   If your a beginning exerciser walking on the soft sand is a great place to start, it's a great workout for your legs and calves.

Walking/Sprinting/Running on the sand is less impact on your joints, but try to be sure to look for the most flat surface possible.  You may want to spend a little more time stretching afterwards, the soft sand puts a bit more stress on the Achilles tendon (back of your lower leg).

Here is one of my Surfside Workouts:

I usually bring my little Gym Boss (perfect for intervals), a Towel and some Water.
High Intensity Intervals
one minute intervals with 10-15 or 30 seconds rest (depending on your fitness level)

Sand Circuit Workout

Lateral Step-Out Squat
repeat 5 rounds or more.

 *Swimming in the ocean is also great!  Try to have a partner when swimming in the ocean, you never know when you are going to get a cramp or get caught in a riptide.  Or see a shark! LOL

Try to keep things new, fresh and challenging.  Put some fun back into your workout, and enjoy the day!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Salad

I usually prepare my meals early in the morning especially when I am hosting fitness guests.   Planning ahead just makes it so much easier.  Today I steamed some fresh vegetables from the farmers market.   I added baby carrots, fresh string beans and some boiled red potatoes.

Eating vegetables often doesn't have to be boring.  I always try to be creative!  So today I threw this together.  You can add any vegetable you like, but I wanted to keep it simple today.  I seasoned with a little sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh garlic, fresh chopped parsley and drizzled it with extra virgin olive oil, served at room temperature.  Be sure not to overcook the vegetables, just until the colors pop, that usually means they are done.

You can enjoy as a vegetarian meal or pair with some fish, chicken or beef. The choice is yours.

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What Should I Eat?

What should I eat?  What do we really know about the links between our diet and our health?  You don't have to be a nutrition expert or scientist to care about what you feed yourself and your family.  As a Fitness Professional, wife and mother I care about what my family & clients are eating.  This book really sums it up, in sixy-four  sensible, simple and easy to follow outlined principles.

Food Rules:  An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan, is a great handbook!  I loved this little book and recommend you to buy it for you and your family to read.  In the age of people following conflicting health advice, celebrity diets, government pyramids, low carb, low fat, etc.  This book is such a simple, uncomplicated understanding of what to eat.  I highly recommend it.

This book is broken down into sixty-four rules and each are accompanied by a paragraph or two of explanation, except for a few that are self-explanatory.  For example, rule number 11 ("Avoid foods you see advertised on television") and rule number 7 ("Avoid food products a third grader cannot pronounce") are both designed to keep more or less the same highly processed foodlike products out of your shopping cart.  Check it out, you can buy it at your local bookstore or at Amazon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Love of Basil

My Basil plant is doing amazing, I love this time of year watching my gardens grow.  Being an Italian-American, Basil is used in my cooking all time. In Italian culture Basil is considered a symbol of "love".

The name "Basil" is derived from the old greek word basilikon, which means "royal".  The scientific name for Basil is "Ocimum Basilicum.  Ancient cultures treated this herb as something very noble and sacred.  Basil is also a relative of peppermint and probably the most popular in Italian cooking.

  It's a fragrant and flavorful herb and also quite nutritious.  Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K, a very good source of Iron, Calcium and Vitamin A, a good source of Fiber, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin C and Potassium.

Basil also offers DNA protection, Plus anti-bacterial Properties, Anti-Inflammatory Effects & contains Nutrients Essential for Cardiovascular Health.

"Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" rates Basil as one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticides. Another reason to grow your own!  I am trying to grow as much of my own fruits, vegetables & herbs as possible this year.  The majority being in containers, so far so good.

Basil makes a great addition to salads, soups and pasta, and most popular Pesto Sauce.

A Great Summer Recipe to share!

Insalata Caprese 
(salad in the style of Capri)

1/2 lb Fresh Mozzarella Sliced 1/4" thick
2 Large Garden Tomatoes
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Serves 4

On a serving platter arrange the sliced mozzarella and sliced tomatoes, layering or alternating.  Place basil leaves around tomatoes & mozzarella, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Perfect summer salad!  Bon Appétit!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grill Wok

I cannot rave enough about this perforated stainless steel Grill Wok!  It is a must have for your summertime outdoor entertaining!  I use this all the time, it's perfect for things like sliced vegetables, mushrooms, prawns, scallops or anything thing you would like to grill without dropping through the grate.

I prepare all my vegetables and season with sea salt, fresh black pepper and extra virgin olive oil, then grill, the flavor is incredible.  This is a must have for the grilling enthusiast/fitness enthusiast.  You can purchase this incredible culinary gadget at Sur la table (stainless steel one).  

I also have a non- stick one.  I have given this gadget as gifts to my clientele.  My five star rating!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kids Love Colorful Fruits & Vegetables

Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Kiwis, Red Raspberries, Tangerines

The month of May's Focus is Children's Health at Foodbuzz.  Creating a spectrum of Fruits & Vegetables on your plate.

It can be a challenging getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.  Think variety, think color, a rainbow on your plate.

I have always found that food shopping and cooking with your children is the answer.  

Including your kids with your meal preparation is essential.  Children are more apt to eat food they shopped for or helped prepare.

You can start by having your children help wash and prep fruits and vegetables together with you.  

Consider visiting a farmer's market that's always fun for the whole family.  I have always included my kids in our family meal preparation.  Enjoying family dinners together is also really important.

 Healthy,  fresh locally grown foods really do taste better. 

Some of my meal ideas from the weekend are posted below.

Red, Orange & Yellow Peppers, Broccoli, Green & Yellow Zucchini, Carrots, Red Onion

White Bean Soup, Chopped Tomato, Celery, Carrots, Onion & Pasta

I actually prepared this for a client yesterday, she was missing some of the ingredients, but it turned out great!  

We also prepared stuffed peppers!

Plain Garden Salad with chopped Tomato.   (yesterday's lunch)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weekend Fitness & Meals Ideas

This weekend Training =  Intervals/Roadwork.    Weekends are officially off from the gym.  The weather here in Rhode Island has been spectacular, too nice to be indoors.

My usual spring-summer route used to be jogging right down scenic 1A, all the way past Narragansett Beach to the end of the pier (around 5 miles).  It's a straight run from my house and the scenery by the water is beautiful.  Five miles is a nice amount for me at a steady jog, and sight seeing.   When I get to the pier I would call home for a pick up.

This Saturday morning I decided on sprint intervals down to URI bay campus, this hill is a killer!  A really steep drop, sprinting up is torture!  Hammies & glutes were on fire!  The water is directly down this hill.

When the weather warms up I am going to start my kayaking along with some sailing in Newport.  I love any type of water sport.  Narragansett Beach also offers Surf lessons daily at the beach.  I'm really looking forward to the summer this year.

I hit the Roch's Fresh Food Market before returning home.  A great market, kinda like a Whole Foods, but on a smaller scale.  Then I started my walk home carrying all my groceries.  What a great way to start the day,  and my weekend grocery shopping was done!

My son was coming by our house to help with our weekend gardening project (that means lunch & dinner), so I basically bribe him with food.  I posted some food photos below.

Fresh homemade Country Wheat Bread!  It was still warm when I got home!  I prepared fresh sliced turkey sandwiches for our lunch.  This bread is so crusty and good!

A little side dish of sun dried tomatoes, shaved parmigiano reggiano and spanish olives.  Small portions, but big on flavor!  A little goes a long way, so delicious!

Dinner was black angus burgers with cheese and grilled seasoned chicken breasts.

I also made a mixed green salad, with the best side ever!  You have to try this recipe for yourself!  So tasty and a little something different than your usual baked sweet potato or brown rice.

My Baked Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes cubed and baked for 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees.  You need to try it!

  • 1 large Butternut Squash pared and cut into 1 inch cubes (remove seeds)
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Light Butter just a few dabs (optional)
*Instead of the brown sugar you can substitute with Organic Molasses (a good source of potassium, calcium & iron)

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    Foodbuzz Health Contributing Editor

    Take a look at my breakfast this morning;

    I had picked up some amazing plum tomatoes yesterday and didn't feel like waiting for lunch time to enjoy them!  I sautéed them in some extra Virgin Olive Oil & some fresh garlic, amazing!
    • Plum Tomatoes
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Sea Salt & Black Ground Pepper
    • Egg Whites
    • Melba Toasts 
    • Fresh Chopped Parsley 
    • 1/3 Cup Oatmeal w/cinnamon (no pic)
    Foodbuzz is launching their new Health Section and has selected Health & Fitness Professionals to write for them!  I was so excited to be selected!  Power Meals is all about Health, Nutrition & Fitness.  I am passionate about sharing my recipes, ideas and inspiring others to eat healthy.

    My Fitness Retreats will be starting soon!  I have some new and exciting recipes and ideas to share.  What a great way to start off the Summer!  Thanks Foodbuzz!