Chocolate always first…

…Well, almost always!

I was listeining to KTU this morning..well every morning, but that’s besides the point… and Carolina (whom I LOVE… PS if reading, Cubby, I love you too!!) was talking about eating some dessert before feasting into Thanksgiving dinner.  She was talking about in a joking way, but to me I took it serious, because there was some seriousness to her entertaining on air about how we all do sometimes over eat on Thanksgiving.  If we eat something sweet first, it may take away some of the craving for food later on, is along the lines of what she said.  I automatically texted in saying that she was semi- correct!  Because, she was!!

I won’t go as far as to say “go ahead, eat all the pies and cakes you see on the dessert table, but I will say, if some dark chocolate catches your eye- go for that!  Dark chocolate has waistline benefits- as it will not add to weight gain, and can even help with weight loss! Now, this is NOT the new go to fad diet, nor will it actually make you lose your goal weight of say 5-10 pounds.  But it can help stop you from over eating.

Dark chocolate is loaded with fiber, which will help you feel fuller longer.  Having a bite of a good quality, high percentage, dark chocolate  before hitting the table for dinner will help you stop over eating because you will feel fuller faster with a smaller amount of food because of the fiber in the piece of chocolate.  It also helps reduce stress, which many people face during the holidays.  Eating a small piece of the dark chocolate will help reduce the stress and help those who do happen to stress eat not eat as much as they may have.

Other benefits of dark chocolate include anti inflammatory properties, due to the flavanols found cocoa.  It can help repair cellular damage and prevent future cellular damge to those who suffer from inflammatory diseases. The flavanols can also help lower blood pressure.  It can also boost blood circulation to the brain to help you stay more focused as well as leave you with healthier, smoother skin.

If these aren’t reasons enough, it is also DELISH!!  But remember- look for the ORGANIC DARK chocolate, that is at least 70% dark.

Here are two of my favorite dark chocolates… I would love to hear about your favorites!!

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My favorite, and 10% of proceeds help endangered wildlife.

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Another go-to if I see it.  SO tasy and satisfying.

And remember to always eat for your body, it will thank you.

Have a very happy and thankful Thanksgiving!!  Cheers to the holiday season!

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Steak Fajitas any time of the week

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I love Mexican foods and drinks, and with Cinco de Mayo this past week, I could not have picked a better time to experiment in the kitchen to make something other than the taco seasoning I always seem to fall back to.

I was actually in the mood for fajitas the other night, steak fajitas, so that was what we had with a little help from google and my spice rack, the seasoning came out perfect and this will be another recipe taped to my spice cabinet!

It takes less than 5 minutes to mix together and you have enough for a steak, chicken, or whatever you choose to spice up for this time around and the next time!

Ingredients-

1/4 cup Chili Powder

2 Tablespoons Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons Paprika

1 Tablespoon Onion powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic powder

1 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper (I added a little more just because I like things spicy)

1 Tablespoon Cumin powder

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Mix altogether and store in an airtight container or jar

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Rub  the seasoning on the steak and cook the way you desire- we grilled ours for ten minutes.  While meat is cooking, sauté onions and peppers with a little EVOO until soft. Mix meat with veggies and scoop some onto a fajita wrap and enjoy.

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You can top with salsa, plain greek yogurt (alternative to sour cream), and/or  homemade guacamole.

Enjoy~

Making your own seasonings is beneficial to the body.  You are consuming no additives and less sodium and for that your body will thank you!

Holy Guacamole!

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With yesterday being Cinco de Mayo, I decided to make my go-to Guacamole recipe to include with our dinner and to snack on while dinner was cooking.  Guacamole is a favorite snack of mine, which could have to do with it being made out of avocados- MY FAVORITE!

It is so simple to make, and tastes great, and a perfect plus- it can be added to many different meals, or just be made to have as a snack, or a dip to bring to any summertime BBQ or picnic.

Ingredients-

2 Clove Garlic- minced

2 Avocados- scooped out, but save pits

Half onion- diced

1 Tomato- deseeded and diced

1 Jalapeño pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

*1 teaspoon cumin powder

*1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 lemon

* Optional- Personal preference for spicy foods

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Mash avocado and garlic in bowl.

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Add onion, tomato, and jalapeño pepper. Mix until all combined.

Add salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne. Squeeze lemon juice on top and mix together.

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Add pits from avocados to help keep from guacamole from browning, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve!  Enjoy~

When you make your own foods you will know exactly what you are putting in your body.  It is so easy and simple to make this that you will never need to buy the store bought, sodium filled, made with ingredients you can not pronounce ever again!

Out of hiding with a new topping for my favorite fish!

I am sorry for the long hiatus!  Ten weeks seems like a very long time not to blog, or at least to this blogger! The reason why I have been away for so long is due to the newest love of my life, Wyatt Hudson- born on February 18, 2015.

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But..

It is time to get back to the kitchen trying out new things because I miss my own cooking and with the warmer weather here, it’s time to start whipping up some new summer dishes!

Because I do have a newborn, I do not have as much time to experiment in the kitchen, so I have been adjusting my schedule and coming up with easy to make meals that are done in 20 minutes.  When my husband asked me what I wanted for dinner the other night, I wanted fish- Salmon to be exact!  It is my favorite fish, and now that I am not pregnant anymore, I have been eating it whenever I crave it.

My husband decided to BBQ his chicken which gave me an idea of how I wanted to marinate my Salmon, BBQ flavored.  When I opened my refrigerator, I noticed the pineapple we had, so I decided to spice things up a bit and crush up the pineapple, mix it with the BBQ sauce and brush it onto my fish.  Bake on 400 degrees for 20 minutes, and a delicious dish is ready to serve!

I can not believe I have not done this sooner!  Every bit was refreshing and delish, I will be making it again, and as the summer is quickly approaching I will have to try making it with seasonal fruits I pick up at the Peekskill Farmer’s Market.

Recipe-

1 1/4 pound  Salmon

2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce

2-3 cut cubes fresh pineapple

Preheat over to 400
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Crush pineapple.

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Add BBQ sauce and mix together.

Spread on fish.  Bake in the over for 20 minutes and enjoy!

**Baking time can change depending on size of fish

**Sides can include baked Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus, Broccoli.

Salmon is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids that can help improve cardiovascular health and fight depression.  Salmon is also a great option for those who need to add more Vitamin D to their bodies as well as protect the eyes.

Knowing the benefits of the foods you consume will help your body stay healthier later on.  It will also keep you out of the doctor’s office for longer periods of time, and for that your body will thank you!

Superbowl Brownie Bites!

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As everyone knows, I have had a sweet tooth for the last nine months.  My best friend sent me a link last weekend of healthy brownie bites, and me being the health crazed person I am read the ingredients, health-ified it even more and made them for myself and husband for this week.  OMG- They were delish.

The sweet potato adds a sweetness to it so you do not need as much sugar as you would in normal brownies, and it makes it healthier so you do not have to feel guilty when you eat more than one!

The original recipe can be found here.

My recipe-

  • 1 large sweet potato- I do not recommend microwaving- steam or bake it.  It does take a little bit longer, but it is better for you, and will add to the flavor!
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee- Freshly brewed
  • 1/3 cup mini peanut butter chips to give it a chocolate peanut butter taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil- melted
  • 4 tablespoons of applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar – Brown sugar can be just as bad as white sugar, and coconut sugar can actually keep blood sugar levels stable rather than spike it up which causes you to crash later on
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour- Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350-

Bake Sweet potato until soft.  Scoop out one cup of flesh and put to the side

Pour hot coffee over the peanut butter chips and stir until completely melted in a small bowlIMG_6337

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In a large bowl- combine the  sweet potato, coconut oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Stir to combine. Then add the chocolate coffee mixture to the sweet potato mixture and mix well.

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In a another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Add mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir just to combine.

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Using mini cupcake tin, fill 3/4 and bake for 8 minutes.

I added chocolate chips (Enjoy Life- which are allergy friendly) and peanut butter chips on top before baking to add some flavor!

(I changed the recipe to make it Healthy Living with Alix approved, but the directions have stayed the same from the recipe above)

Enjoy!

This is a perfect dessert for the Super Bowl, or any other winter get together.  Or just a yummy, healthy treat to enjoy during the cold winter months!

 

Twice Baked Cauliflower

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I LOVE cauliflower.  Roasting it, steaming it, whatever it is, I love it!  But I was getting a little bored with the way I make it on a regular basis, so I decided to try something different this week, and it worked to my advantage!  With the weather drastically dropping I really wanted something warm and savory and that’s when I decided to make twice-baked cauliflower.  We have all heard of twice-baked potatoes, so I thought it would be a good experiment since cauliflower can often replace recipes you use potatoes for…And it worked to my advantage! Easy to make, limited ingredients, and DELISH!  This will be made again!

Cauliflower isn’t just a tasty fall vegetable, it is a good source of fiber and vitamin C- which we could all use right now so we don’t get sick.  It is a great source of fiber, and great for the heart!  Cauliflower has also been known to help the brain boost the memory– which is something I need these days because I sure do have a bad case of baby brain!

 

Ingredients-

1 head cauliflower cut into pieces

1 chive chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2 cup greek yogurt- plain

1 tablespoon organic Earth Balance buttery spread, or whatever organic butter of your choice

1 cup organic cheddar cheese

Directions-

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Roast cauliflower on baking sheet until tender- about 10 minutes, but check after 7.

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Once tender, process in food processor until rice like.

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 Add yogurt, butter, chive, and garlic and process until smooth.  Mix in cheese with a spoon. Scoop out cauliflower mixture into four 6-7 inch ramekins.  Place ramekins on a baking sheet (easier to handle) and bake for 15 minutes.  Broil for an addition 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Take out and enjoy!

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Eating foods that benefit different parts of the body will benefit you in the long run.  The more “good foods” we eat now, the healthier our future self will be!

Remember to always eat for your body!!

Indulge this Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  This year I am thankful for my husband, family, friends, and my health!  To stay healthy, I believe it has something to do with the foods I consume on a daily basis, and the fact that I do not deprive myself of foods that my body may be craving and foods that I do not eat on a daily, or even monthly basis.

With this being one of the most feast-ly holidays for people, I want to share some of my go-to tips to have a healthy, yet satisfying Thanksgiving this year.

~When cooking or baking, try using some of these substitutes to keep your foods healthier~

– Plain Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream-  More protein, not as much fat and same consistency!

Veganaise for Mayonaise- You will get pretty much the same flavor but because it is not made with eggs, you will be consuming less cholesterol.

– Coconut oil for butter- coconut oil is just overall great for everything! It may even aid in weight loss.  Find out more next week when I write about the benefits of Coconut Oil!

– If you still want a buttery taste, or using it for something like an apple crisp, try Earth Balance– which is lactose free, gluten free, and a vegan choice.

Coconut Sugar instead of regular sugar or brown sugar-  You won’t be consuming the same amount glucose and fructose as you do with the white and brown sugars and it is natural.     Keep in mind, brown sugar is just as bad as white sugar! (You can also use Agave or Honey)

– Organic Apple Sauce instead of eggs when baking-  Three tablespoons of apples sauce for one egg.  It will help bind whatever it is you’re baking and you will not have the cholesterol from the eggs and it keeps the recipe moist.  Make sure whatever applesauce you are using is organic and you read the ingredients, because many companies sneak things in that you do not want in your body.

– Almond milk in place of regular milk- however, start off with a little less than recipe calls for since Almond Milk can be a little more watery than regular milk.

– Rice Pasta instead of regular pasta- Who needs all that gluten and wheat? Can we say tummy ache and lethargic afterwards?!

These are just some substitutions to start with.  Most people can not even taste a different when switching ingredients around, however when doing this, you do need to go in with an open mind because some things do not taste as heavy or thick as you may be use to.  And don’t tell people, I promise you will still get a great reaction to whatever it is you make, and people will not even know they are eating something so much healthier!!

Now I know you won’t be cooking everything, so when it comes time to eat, be conscious of what your putting in your body.  Start with a salad, and always make sure to have 75% vegetables and 25% of everything else on your plate.  And when it comes time for dessert, I am all for it, but be aware of what you are eating.  Take small bites. Chew slowly. Savor the flavor. And be done with it.  No need to eat three different pieces of of pie, maybe three bites of the three pies you want to taste and call it a day! You do not want to leave with your stomach bulging out of your pants!

When using healthier alternatives and paying attention to what you are eating,  your body will notice the difference and thank you for it!  So not only will your waist be thankful this Thanksgiving for eating more consciously, so will your insides! 

Have a safe, happy, healthy, and warm holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!!