Archive for September, 2011
September 20, 2011
I had a request to share a low-cal, low-carb tomato soup, so I was on a mission to find one. Before anywhere else, I looked in my favorite new cook book Cooking to Conceive, and found this great recipe right here at home. I remember seeing it when I bought the cookbook, because it was one of the recipes I was anxious to try. Mission complete! This soup turned out GREAT and I paired it with a cool cucumber salad as a great lunch or dinner combo.
Since the soup was my focus, you’ll see the salad recipe second.
This simple low-cal soup is a great way to enjoy an alternative to thetraditional cream-based tomato soup. The whole-grain croutons dissolve into the chunky, rich soup, giving it texture.
3 1/2 pounds of slicing tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 slices crusty whole-grain bread, toasted and torn into chunks
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for garnishing
cook time: 35-40 minutes
To cook soup: Core tomatoes and cut in half crosswise.
Gently squeeze over a large bowl to catch juices.
Coarsely chop tomatoes and add to bowl.
Chop the garlic, and measure out basil leaves.
The recipe doesn’t call for cutting the basil leaves, but I opted to slice them up so there would be smaller pieces in the soup. Either way, you will still have the basil taste in the soup.
Measure out the rest of the ingredients and heat the oil only in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the tomatoes and the broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook 10 to 15 minutes to blend flavors.
While the soup is simmering, toast your whole-grain bread.
*TIP: to quickly toast, put the slices of bread in the oven and set it on the BROIL setting on HI. It will toast before you know it, and leave you plenty of time to finish the croutons before the soup is done simmering.
Tear toast up into thick, crouton like chunks and put aside.
After 10-15 minutes of the soup simmering, stir in basil and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into bowls and top each with croutons and about 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. *NOTE: I did not add Parmesan into my recipe, but it would be a great addition for any of you trying this recipe.
Scott and I are huge fans of soup & salad combos and frequent Panera Bread for their “you pick two” for lunch, or even dinner at times. The soup looked great, but I felt like I needed to pair it with something to complete the meal. I found a simple cucumber salad recipe to serve with the soup and the “two” I picked turned out to be a great combo.
I found this salad recipe on my SparkRecipes app and tweaked it a little to make the perfect pairing.
The original recipe I found didn’t include lettuce, but I enjoyed the extra greens. I wanted to keep the salad simple, since you’re getting enough tomatoes in the soup.
1/3 head lettuce
1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp (or 1 packet) of sugar or artificial sweetener
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
pepper, to taste
*Serves 2 – use a little over half a head of lettuce and add an extra tbsp of oil & vinegar to serve 4.
cook time: 15 minutes
To make salad: Peel and cut the cucumber and onion.
In a large bowl, combine cucumber slices and onion slices; set aside. If serving right away, add the lettuce now. If not, save the lettuce to add in right before serving.
In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients. Instead of regular sugar, I added my favorite calorie-free sweetener, truvia.
Add oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to cucumber and onion; toss well. If you want to prepare the salad before you make the soup, cover it without the lettuce and refrigerate up to 2 hours.
When ready, simply add the lettuce into the bowl and toss it with all of the refrigerated ingredients.
If you enjoy a great soup & salad combo, let me know how you like this one. Feel free to share your own favorite combos and let me know how this one worked out for you!
September 19, 2011
My first tip for Fitness? DO CARDIO!
When I was at my fittest, I somehow squeezed cardio into my daily routine – no matter what. I’ve been known to go for a run in the morning and then taking a spinning class followed by a weight training class after work when I’m getting ready for a photo shoot. I’m not saying you should do this…because overdoing it can cause too much wear and tear on your joints. What I would recommend to everyone is to fit a healthy cardio regime into your weekly workout routine.
Not the biggest fan of running on a treadmill? Do you live in Florida (like me) and think it’s too hot to run outside all the time? There’s tons of different ways to get cardio, but for this workout I’m going to give you two different versions of an interval running workout that will spice up your boring running routine, and help you trim that waistline in no time…
*TIP: Always do a quick stretch before a running workout targeting your legs, calves, back and arms. I also encourage equipping yourself up with music, or watching television if you’re inside of a gym equipped with one. There’s nothing worse than being bored during a workout. Distracting yourself with some kind of entertainment will help you to stare at the clock as a time reference, not to count down time remaining in your workout.
Minute On, Minute Off Intervals
You can use this workout on or off the treadmill, as long as you have a clock or stopwatch with you.
workout time: 35 minutes
if you’re on a treadmill:
Start your minute on-minute off workouts with a warm up walk for 2 minutes, at a 3.5mph speed. Every treadmill is different, so if you’re not sure about how fast you should be going, it should feel like you are power walking, or taking a brisk walk.
When you hit the 2 minute mark, up the speed to 5.0mph and increase your speed by 0.5 mph at each minute mark, until you hit 10 minutes. For example: at 3 minutes you will run at 5.5, at 4 minutes you will run at 6, at 5 minutes you will run at 6.5 and so on, until you get to the 10 minute mark.
The 10-minute mark will start intervals, with the 10-11 minute being used as your first “minute off” rest time. Do this by splitting your feet on the sides of the treadmill, removing them from the belt. Use the handlebars of the treadmill for support, and place your feet on the sidebars. Literally, take a minute “off” of the treadmill to rest before you start your first interval run.
*NOTE: some treadmills don’t allow you to do this and will shut off with inactivity on the belt. If this happens, you can either carefully place your foot on the belt every now and then or change the running speed from 5.5 down to walking (around 3mph) every minute.
When you get to the 11 minute mark it is time to kick it up a notch by increasing your incline. Again, it depends on the treadmill (some go up to 10, some go up to 20 or higher), but I go up to a level 5 on mine.
|This is actually a maximum incline, to show you what I’m talking about.|
It should be high enough that it’s a challenge for you to get through a minute of running, but not impossible. Run at at incline of let’s say 5 at a speed of 5.5mph. If at any time you feel your incline level is too high, decrease it. You should at least aim for the 5.5mph speed, and adjust your incline level accordingly, after your speed is set.
Run at your preferred incline for a “minute on”, meaning for one minute from the 11-12 minute mark. When you get to 12:00, it’s time for your second “minute off” and repeat placing your feet on the sidebars of the treadmill. Get ready for your next “minute on” at 13:00 and do your 2nd interval at the 13-14 minute mark. When you get to the 14:00, take your next “minute off”, and repeat the cycle until you get to 10 intervals.
If you complete all 10 intervals, you will end your last one at the 30 minute mark. Take your “minute off” at 30 minutes, but as soon as you can, lower the incline back to 0, and walk at your warm up speed at 3.5mph. Cool down by walking at this pace for 3-4 minutes and take your last minute of this workout slowly lowering the speed from 3.5mph to 0.
- Start your minute on-minute off workouts with a warm up walk for 2 minutes at a power walk speed.
- At 2 minutes, get to a steady jog and keep that pace until you hit the 10 minute mark.
- At 10 minutes start intervals, with the 10-11 minute being used as your first “minute off” rest time. Slow down to a normal (not power) walking speed for a minute.
- At 11 minutes increase your speed to a full on sprint. Since you’re not on a treadmill and don’t have the incline to challenge you, it’s important to make it hard by going has hard as you can for a full minute.
- At 12 minutes take your 2nd “minute off” walk and repeat this cycle until you do 10 intervals. For example: do your next “minute on” sprint at the 13-14, do your next “minute off” walk at the 14-15, and so on.
- If you complete all 10 intervals, you will end your last one at the 30 minute mark.
- Use the last 5 minutes of your cardio time to cool down by walking back to your home, your car, or wherever you need to go.
Interval workouts have been a key to keeping my cardio routine challenging. I prefer this type of running over a steady 30 minute run, and research shows that interval training burns more fat and calories than steady paced runs or jogs.
Counting your calories? Since there’s so many different variables in counting calories for this workout (inclines, speeds, running on a treadmill vs. running outside) I can’t tell you how many calories you will burn, but I can share a great running calories burned calculator:
|Estimate the calories you burned running:|
September 16, 2011
Since we’ve gotten married and equipped with some great new additions for our kitchen cook & bakeware, both Scott and I have been dabbling in the kitchen and trying out new recipes.
From breakfast food to dinner dishes I’ve come to realize that I love to dress my recipes up with veggies. If it’s pizza, my motto for vegetables is the more the merrier. I’ve been known to order a veggie pizza or pasta and add meat into it for the protein. Even if you’re watching your weight, there’s no reason anyone can’t have a bowl of meaty marinara every once in a while.
This week, I channeled my inner Betty Crocker and created my own healthy version of one of my favorites – spaghetti bolognese.
It’s pretty simple make a few easy, healthier substitutions in order to still be able to eat the foods you love.
Just keep in mind: when you replace any ingredients to make healthier choices it isn’t going to taste exactly like what you’re expecting…but it can come pretty darn close!
Skinny Pasta Pizzaiola
1/4 tsp. of oregano
1/4 tsp. of basil
1/4 tsp. of garlic salt (optional)
1 lb. of ground chicken or turkey sausage
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 white onion, diced
3/4 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 can of your choice of tomato/marinara sauce
1/2 box of whole wheat angel hair pasta
cook time: 30-35 minutes
servings: 2 – double ingredients for 4.
Adding veggies to any pizza or pasta sauce is a great way to sneak in the daily servings you need. Also, the more veggies you have in the sauce, the less marinara (or for pizza, cheese) you will need for substance. Veggies enhance the nutritional value of your meal, and can also change your once heavier sauces into tasty, lighter ones.
Cut up the pepper, onion and mushrooms. You can make the chunks as small or big as you’d like, but I prefer a chunkier chop.
I used white ground turkey meat, but I have also used chicken sausage or extra lean ground beef as the protein for sauces.
Ground the sausage in a medium sized skillet. It doesn’t take that long for meat to brown, and when it is cooked all the way through add the vegetables straight into the ground meat to warm and soften them.
Saute the vegetables with the meat, and while you are doing so pour your can of tomato sauce into a large sized skillet or sauce pan on another burner. When you see the vegetables change to a slightly darker hue, they should be warmed up enough to add everything into the tomato sauce. Get a large serving spoon and transfer the meat and veggies into the tomato sauce.
Mix the sauce, meat and veggies together and warm the sauce.
Add the oregano, basil and garlic salt and keep stirring sauce until it’s well blended.
Reduce heat to low (or simmer) and cover.
In a large sized pot, heat water for the noodles and add them in as soon as it starts to boil. Cook for the amount of time directed on the box of noodles (usually 8-10 minutes) and test to make sure they’re soft enough to serve.
Drain noodles, uncover the skinny pizzaiola sauce and plate up!
I’m hoping to keep the creative juices flowing and have more HB original meals coming your way.
Feel free to comment and share what you like to substitute in your sauces.
September 14, 2011
|Right before Scott’s proposal.|