It’s SHREDDING SEASON: icy pineapple and ginger smoothie

It’s bulking/shredding/toning/slimming season, BRO!!!! Time to eat nothing but meat and salad!!!

..or not.

It’s true, right now is the time that everyone’s looking to start getting in shape for summer bikini season. This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate fruit, grains or anything else enjoyable. I mean, yeah, you DO have to limit yourself on some things. Alcohol, refined sugars and grains, sodas, pastries, pizzas, pasta, etc. All that fun stuff that you already know you should be limiting anyway. And you probably do a great job of it.. until 2 am when the bars close and Manhattan Pizzeria is still open. I think that’s a general struggle we all deal with.

One super common misconception is that eating healthy and getting in shape means eating tasteless food and feeling sore 99% of the time. Honestly, if you have had this experience, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Healthy food (not diet food) tastes fabulous. Ever had chicken cooked in red wine sauce layered on top of garlic oven roasted veggies with a crisp romaine salad dressed with a dijon lemon vinaigrette? Does that sound like diet food? Well it’s not typically what people think of when considering going on a diet. But that’s the type of food you should be eating when trying to lose weight.

And if you’re telling me that you feel sore all the time when you workout then you probably only stuck to a workout plan for a week, maybe two. Because after that initial hump is over and done with, you shouldn’t be getting uncomfortably sore anymore (unless you’re a hardcore athlete trying to do a dynamic workout).

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So here’s a refreshing, tasty and (gasp) fruity smoothie to sip on after a sweaty workout. If you really feel like being adventurous, this is also a really good base for a healthy “daiquiri”. This recipe may sound tasteless and kind of strange, but it’s less than 100 calories and actually insanely delicious. Just give it a shot.

Happy shredding season!

Icy Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

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serves 2

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple cubes

1.5 cups coconut water

1 inch of fresh ginger, skin peeled off and diced super fine

2 handfuls of spinach

1/2 cup ice (optional)

1. Make sure to cut off all of the skin from the ginger and then dice it really fine.  Just for a reference, this is about how big of a piece of ginger you should use:

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2. Blend all of the ingredients (besides the ice) until it is smooth. If you plan on adding ice (which I would recommend if you plan on making a drink out of it), then add the ice after blending the other ingredients until smooth. Blend the ice in until you have your desired consistency!

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I couldn’t help but chug mine. Just try and drink yours like a lady/gentleman. It’s not possible.

** PS, this recipe is really great because it incorporates anti-inflammatory ginger in it’s raw state. Your body is inflamed after a workout, so sipping on this drink will help decrease that inflammation and increase your recovery speed.

Falling in love with fall… quinoa and pine nut stuffed acorn squash

Fall is by far my favorite season. A little biased? Maybe. But some of the tastiest and most complex food comes from this season. The squashes, root veggies and cruciferous plants!! All some of my faves. The common theme between all of these is that they taste absolutely incredible when roasted. Each different veggie has such a unique flavor that develops during the roasting process. Yams become sweeter, cauliflower becomes earthy-er and spaghetti squash becomes.. spaghetti (another post on that later this month)!

Roasting these veggies on their own is good… but stuffing them with some other awesome ingredients… even better!!

Acorn squash has a super ridiculously low glycemic load (4 on a scale that goes up to 250) which is good because it won’t give you high insulin spikes that cause a crash later on. It’s also known to be packed with magnesium, vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium and vitamin C. Plus, only 56 calories for a cup of the stuff.

Quinoa, as we know, is a complete protein which will help make you fuller faster.

This is a great side dish to meat, or a main meal if you pair it with some cooked veggies. Try it out!

 

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Baked quinoa and pine nut stuffed acorn squash

ingredients

1 small acorn squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut the acorn squash in half. Once you’ve cut it in half, take each part and cut about 1/2 inch off of the end so that it can stand up.

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3. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and drizzle the inside of both halves with olive oil. Then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt into both halves as well. Put this into the oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on how big your squash is. Mine was really small so it only took 25 minutes.

4. While the squash cooks, put your quinoa into a pot with 1 cup water. Cover and turn the heat to medium high until it starts to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.

5. When the quinoa is done cooking, sprinkle the garlic powder, remaining salt and butter into the pot with the heat off. Stir to combine.

6. Next, toast the pine nuts. Take a small, dry sauce pan and put it over medium high heat. Pour the pine nuts into the pan and constantly stir the nuts by shaking the pan. These burn VERY quickly so you can’t walk away from them. It should only take about 45 seconds to get properly toasted (if the pan is hot enough when you put them in).

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This is how the pine nuts will look when they are done.

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A shot of how the pine nuts and the acorn squash look when they are both done cooking.

7. Stir the toasted pine nuts into the quinoa.

8. Flip the acorn squash over so that the cut side is now facing up and put it onto your serving plate. Scoop the quinoa out of the pan and equally fill each half of the squash with the quinoa and you are ready to eat!

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**This also tastes great with some finely chopped and sauteed veggies mixed in with the quinoa, like broccoli, zucchini or cauliflower.

**Feel free to add a meat into the quinoa mixture as well. Just make sure it’s already cooked when you add it in and that it is chopped into small pieces!

 

 

Trying something new: Celery Root Fries

Every seen Harry Potter? Do you remember the Mandrake Root? The little plant that when you pulled out of the ground it would scream its head off? Well, celery root almost looks like that. Just in the fact that they both look so gnarly and inedible. It doesn’t scream when pulled out of the ground though, so no need to worry.
Celery root is actually very edible and rather tasty. Plus, with fall approaching, it’ll be in season so you’ll be seeing a lot of it at your grocery store. The first time I cooked with celery root was three years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara with a house full of five other girls. I don’t remember how I came across it or even how I knew what to do with it, but I do remember my roommates acting very intrigued.

“You’re going to EAT that thing?!”

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They all sat around and watched while I removed the outer layer and started slicing the root into fry sizes. Once I had finished cooking them, the little fries were unrecognizable from the original form it took. I offered my roommates to try some. Needless to say, they were a little wary to try it after seeing the original gnarly, root-y shape, but once they got up the courage to try it, they ended up taking seconds, thirds, and fourths!

Try something new this fall and buy a celery root! I swear, it’s waaaay tastier than it looks!

Celery Root Fries

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 celery root (you lose a lot while trimming off the outer edges, so try and get a larger one)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional–for those who like a little spice in their life)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the top of the celery root off. This will be used as your starting point for cutting off the outer edges.

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3. Using a sharp knife, slice off the fibrous-y outer layer until it resembles a peeled potato.

4. Cut the root into thin, french fry shaped strips and put onto a cookie sheet. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until each fry is coated.

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5. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes or until its reached your desired crispiness. Serve with a chicken burger or maybe even a steak! I paired mine with a nice big steak and some green beans 🙂

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Fall time treats: cinnamon apple crisps

Apple pie and fall go hand in hand. Unfortunately, apple pie also goes hand in hand with love handles. Just the thought of the cinnamon-y, apple-y, crispy flavor of apple pie just makes you want to cuddle into a warm blanket by the fire with you’re very own slice while you watch the red and brown leaves fall from the trees outside. As romantic as that sounds, it’s also how you start to gain that winter weight. Now, I’m not trying to take away that sweet, delicious pleasure, but I am going to make it a little more friendly to your figure!

I bring to you, chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps! It only has 4 ingredients and it completely satisfies that apple dessert craving. Plus, it only has 78 calories per serving!!! So crunch away and enjoy your sweater wearing, leave changing, and apple picking season that is fall!

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Chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps
serves 4

ingredients
2 apples
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cut the top part off of the apple and carefully cut thin slices of the apple. When you’re done slicing, cut out the middle core of each apple.
3. Combine the remaining three ingredients by stirring together until it is all combined into a semi liquid form.
4. Put the apple slices on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Gently rub the cinnamon mixture onto each slice using either a knife or a cooking brush.
5. Put into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let the apples sit for 5-10 minutes before eating. The longer they sit after cooking, the crispier they’ll get.

Enjoy your fall treats!!

A recipe that makes being poor taste rich: Beef Stew with red wine

Remember that leftover bagged red wine you have from your last party? Or the cheap cut of beef that you bought because you’re too broke to get the tender cuts? Well, we can make your cheap self appear to have a lot more money than you really do with this flavorful stew!
You can really stretch your dollar when it comes to stew. Cooking meat for a couple of hours causes a tough cheap cut to turn into a tender one. Plus, stew is mostly comprised of items that you already have in your pantry and fridge. So no need to make a huge trip to the grocery store to put together this meal!
This recipe is packed with nutrients from the multitude of vegetables and is naturally low in calories while still being able to enjoy beef and flavor!
Try it out as the beginning of fall starts to sneak in on us. It’s perfect to warm up with on a cold, fall night.

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Beef stew with red wine
serves 2

ingredients
1/2 lb stew meat (if it isn’t already cut, ask your butcher to cut it for you)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (larger chunks)
1 small sweet potato, chopped (large chunks)
3/4 cup butternut squash, chopped (large chunks)
1/2 cup red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)-use a cheap wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried- make sure to crunch it up a little first)
2 sprigs thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
Salt and pepper

1. Pour the olive oil into a large pot and heat to medium high. Put the meat chunks in, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and pepper and brown all sides. This should take 5 minutes or so.
2. Take the meat out and add in the onion, celery and carrot. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt over the veggies. Sauté for 4 minutes and then add the wine. Let the wine cook for about 5 minutes or until reduced in volume by 3/4.

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3. Add the rest of the vegetables and the browned meat back into the pot, along with the chicken broth, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Cover and cook for 2 hours. After the two hours, the stew is done! Make sure to remove the bay leaf before serving. You can save the leftovers for the next day. Stew is even tastier when it’s been sitting.

Labor day plans? Here’s some tips for eating well on the go!

I’m in my last semester of college which means that this weekend is my last Vegas trip as a college student. I’ve been to Vegas and plenty of other mini vacations with frats and friends, and if you have ever been on one of these too… you understand just how difficult it is to eat well while booze cruising. It’s actually especially important to eat healthy the day after drinking a lot because your body goes into repair mode after all of the hurt that you put it through the previous night. If you don’t give it some healthy food to work with, you’ll fall weeks behind in your diet and training schedule and all that working out will be reversed in a matter of days.
Yeah, sounds sh*tty huh? I personally don’t like to keep starting from square one whenever I go on vacation, so I’ve developed some strategies for how to maintain a healthy diet while out drinking for a weekend with your friends. If the de-training doesn’t scare you, then at the very least these are awesome tips for not spending too much money going out to eat while on vacation.

The number one theme you’ll notice throughout these tips is be prepared. When you’re hungover, it’s going to take a lot of effort to just get out of bed, let alone go through the extra effort of finding healthy food. So you have to be prepared to make things as easy as possible for your little hungover future self.

Do this BEFORE you leave…
Buy breakfast and snack items
This is the easiest thing you can do. It’s easier to make healthier choices when you’re out to eat at dinner and lunch because for the most part you’re over your hangover and not craving crappy food anymore. But you MUST have breakfast and snack items that are healthy and readily available so that you don’t opt for that McDonalds Hashbrowns or McFlurry.
Here are some of my favorite items..
Breakfast:
Vigilant Eats Super Food Oat-Based Cereal

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*This is one that I always bring to Vegas. It’s under 400 calories, it fills you up until lunch AND it’s packed with organic, gluten free superfoods. Plus it requires cold water and it has it’s own spoon so that you don’t have to worry about bring your own spoon and heating up water! Plus it tastes great!

Snacks:
-Fruit. Preferably ones that aren’t easily squished.
*I mean apples, oranges and bananas. Don’t even try bringing pears, plums or kiwi. They will get squished and it will be gross and smelly.
-Hummus and baby carrots.
*Super easy. Just buy a pack of baby carrots and hummus and you’ve got yourself a protein and fiber packed snack on the go! You just may want to opt out of the garlic flavored hummus. You are on vacation after all and you won’t want to scare away the other people you’re with.
-Mixed nuts.
*Another great item. You just might want to pre-portion them out into baggies so you don’t go ham stuffing your face with cashews and almonds. Mixed nuts have a lot of great things in them, but you don’t want to accidentally eat 1000 calories of them in one sitting. It’s a lot easier to do than you think.
-Water.
*This is an easy one to forget about. However, you really can’t forget this one. Especially if you’re going to someplace like Vegas. I have one very terrible memory of being a freshman in college and going to Vegas for my first time without my parents. I woke up feeling so ill and dehydrated, like most people do in Vegas and went on a search for water. I didn’t have any cash and the vending machines weren’t accepting my card. It wasn’t until an hour later of excruciating hungover pain that I was finally able to obtain water. And it cost me $6 for a 16 oz bottle. Just bring water. Don’t make that mistake.

**Lastly, bring a cooler. It can either be a throw away plastic one or a legit nice cooler that you borrowed from your parents. Just don’t forget to bring a cooler.

Do this WHEN YOU ARRIVE
If you didn’t bring a cooler, then empty out a clean trash can and use that as one. It may seem gross, but just make sure to use it before anyone has vomited in it and you’ll be fine. If you were prepared enough to bring a cooler then good job-a gold star for you! Either way, fill your cooler/trash can up with ice from your hotels ice machine and put any perishable items and your waters into it. You’ll want cold water when you wake up the next morning with a throbbing head ache. It would be a shame if you went through all the effort of bringing food up if it just went bad by lunch time.

Now you’re all prepared for your holiday weekend. Go enjoy it with your friends and maybe even fit in a workout while you’re there!

Try my 22 minute full body workout that you can do anywhere without any equipment! You could even do it in your hotel room!

Have a fantastic labor day weekend everybody!

Munching this so hard: acai berry bowl

I have a major obsession with acai bowls… Along with everyone else in LA. You can get acai bowls pretty much anywhere now. What sucks is that you think you’re eating a healthy treat that won’t make you feel guilty, but in reality, there’s a ton of added sugar to make you keep coming back for more.
Kind of like the frozen yogurt phase. Everyone believed that since it was yogurt, it’s okay to eat! But always take a look at those sneaky added ingredients… They’ll get ya.
So really with the acai berry bowl, you’re just eating semi frozen guilt with fruit on top.
Plus, most places charge upwards of $6 per bowl for your sugary little monster!
What to do in a world filled with a new craving for acai bowls?
Easy. MUNCH THIS.

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This recipe is great for breakfast or lunch. Very filling, so don’t really expect to need anything else after eating this!

“Chocolate” crunch acai berry bowl
serves 1
ingredients
1 acai packet (you can find these in the freezer section of Whole Foods)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 banana, separate into half
2 tablespoons frozen blueberries
2 frozen strawberries
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
3 fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
1/4 cup granola (preferably one not filled with added sugar)
2 teaspoons cacao nibs
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

1. Blend the acai, almond milk, 1/2 banana, and frozen fruit until smooth. Pour into a bowl.
2. First add the granola to the top of the acai mixture, then sprinkle the blueberries and strawberries. Slice the second half of the banana and add that on top as well. Sprinkle the cacao all over. If you want, drizzle the honey over last.