Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mango Quinoa Salad

I love mango. I love quinoa. I love spicy food. This salad has it all! The amount of dressing makes it very wet so it is perfect to have over a big bed of greens. Filling, nutritious, and delicious!

2 cups red quinoa
1 cup chopped mango
1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion finely chopped (soaked in ice water for ~ 15 min, it takes away some of the "bite")
1 cup of black beans (no salt added, rinsed and drained)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

calories: 208
carbohydrates: 43
fat: 3
protein: 7
sodium: 8
sugar: 19

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 an orange
1/2 a lime
1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (I put the whole pepper right out of the can. If you don't like a lot of spice, you can rinse the sauce off and/or split the pepper and take the seeds out)

I put all of the ingredients in my Vitamix and blended until it was completely smooth and liquid. You should be able to use any blender to achieve the same results. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly.

calories: 139
carbs: 5
fat: 14
protein: 0
sodium: 71
sugar: 19

Weight Watchers Points Plus Value = 7 PP for the salad and the dressing

I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Green Salad Staples

A member of my Facebook accountability/support group recently asked what salad staples I keep on hand so I can throw something together quickly. I gave her a list off of the top of my head but I've spent a little more time thinking about it and came up with this:

Black beans no salt added
Mandarin oranges in their own juice (no sugar added)
Roasted peppers
Artichoke hearts in water
Sundried tomatoes in a bag, not packed in oil
Water chestnuts
Dried cranberries ***
Dried cherries ***
Balsamic Vinegar
Rice Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil ***
Olives *** my family especially loves Kalamata

Healthy dressings-- I tend to go as natural as possible even if it means higher fat and calories. I don't want a bunch of chemicals on my healthy food. Just use it sparingly. You'll find that you don't need as much if you add a lot of other fun stuff to your salad.


Here is some fordhook chard growing in my garden

Greens I try for a variety of pre-  washed mixes, baby spinach, and any that are growing in my garden
Green onions this one is usually dependent on my plans the rest of the day!

Avocados ***

Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Canned tuna
Lean ground turkey

Nuts/Seeds***: I like to toast them a bit first (thanks for the tip, Mom!)
Sunflower seeds

Cheese *** is also great in salads. I can't have dairy anymore so cheese is no longer in my staples but a little goat cheese added to a salad can be heaven!

***Be careful with these additions as they are calorie-dense so they can rack up the calories or Points Plus Values very quickly. They can make a "good" salad into a sabotage salad in seconds.

I shop a lot at Trader Joe's and Sprouts but most of these items can be found at any grocery store.

What do you love to add to your green salads?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stretch Video

This video is a stretch segment I've used in both my Boogie Body and Strength and Stretch classes. You can use a yoga strap or necktie for the stretches that require assistance. Please be sure you warm up your muscles before doing a static stretch routine like the one I've posted.

I hope you enjoy it! Click here to view

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Big Green Salad #1

Many of us struggle with an issue we've "solved" in the past only to find ourselves in the same predicament again. I've been struggling with a little extra padding that is making me uncomfortable in my clothes. I eat very healthy foods . . . I just eat too much. I know I need to eat less, but over the last few months, every time I've tried to reduce the amount of food I'm eating, I end up ravenous and cranky! I've been very frustrated trying to figure out a plan of attack and then I finally realized that I already knew what to do. In the past, every time I've been successful at losing weight or maintaining it, I've eaten a lot of green salads -- low-calorie, high-volume, nutrient-dense green salads! So my challenge for this week has been to eat a green salad every day. So far it has gone well, even though I have been very busy with my work and the fun summer activities I've been doing with the kids. Eating the salads has helped me reduce the number of Points Plus I'm eating each day to a range that should end up with some weight loss and I have not felt shaky, cranky or homicidal at all!

I made this salad for my lunch the last two days. Both days I knew I was going to be away from home at lunch and my only options were to bring food with me or to eat fast food. The salad was satisfying and kept Points Plus low enough that I could still eat later in the day. Both times people made comments about how delicious it looked :)

I pre-cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the Crock Pot the other night so I'd have them ready (just seasoned with some salt and pepper). I also buy the pre-washed greens for my salads. The same night, I washed, tore and put some fordhook chard from my garden in a bag and cut up the artichoke hearts and tomatoes, storing them in containers in the fridge. When I do this, I can throw a salad together in a matter of minutes.  I saw a great idea related to this on pinterest: you use a mason jar and fill it up with the dressing on the bottom, the denser veggies next, then the greens on top. It's a great way to make the salad the night before and transport it safely wherever you're going. Because the dressing is on the bottom, the greens won't get soggy. And it looks so pretty in the jar!

I measured the foods that contribute to the Points Plus values in grams just because I find it easier to enter.

Baby spinach (about 2 cups)
Spring mix lettuce (about 1 cup)
Fordhook chard (about 1 cup)
87 grams chicken breast
68 grams of raw avocado (sliced or cubed)
a couple of tomatoes
half a can of artichoke hearts (canned in water)
about 1/2 a cup of roasted red peppers from a jar
14 grams of sundried tomatoes from a bag (not in oil)

I happened to have some Fig Balsamic Vinegar and Strawberry Champagne Culinary Sauce in my pantry which were both low in calories and didn't have any weird preservatives in them. I mixed about 1 Tbs of each together and added a little salt and pepper. It wasn't too exciting but it was less than one Point Plus. It "wet" the salad and didn't compete with the flavors of the other ingredients so I was happy. I am going to spend some time researching dressing recipes and experimenting so hopefully I'll have some good ones soon!

The Weight Watchers Points Plus value of this salad came out to 8 PP which is great for such a huge amount of food! The protein from the chicken and the fat from the avocado kept me satisfied for a few hours.

So tell me, what do you put in your salads?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mom's Summer Quinoa Salad

My mom, Wendy, is an amazing cook. This recipe is remarkable not only because it is so tasty and healthy, but also because she actually wrote it down! She is very creative in the kitchen and cooks by instinct so it's not often that a recipe can be duplicated, even by her :)

My mom recently decided to cut some foods out of her diet to see if it would help with some of her health issues. Many of you know that I have cut gluten, eggs, and dairy out of my diet and that it has made a tremendous impact on my health and well-being. I am also on the path to cutting out corn and soy to see if it can alleviate some of my general symptoms further, as well as help stave off the development of my auto-immune disorder. If you are allergic to nuts you can always leave them out, but other than that, this is a very friendly recipe for anyone dealing with food sensitivites/allergies.

Thanks for the recipe Mom!

1 cup pineapple chunks (save 1/4 cup of juice)
2 large skinless, boneless  chicken breasts cooked, then chopped in 1/2" chunks
1 cup of cooked red quinoa (you can use any quinoa)
3 cups of brown rice or brown and wild rice mixed
1 cup sliced or matchstick almonds, toasted
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
1/2 cup caramelized onions, chopped

Mix ingredients together then toss with dressing before serving

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 cup olive oil
1/2 - 1 minced shallot
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Whisk ingredients together then mix with salad

I am not sure what the nutrition values or Weight Watchers Points Plus values are yet. When I make it myself I will figure them out and post them (unless someone beats me to it, hint, hint) ;)