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Homemade Almond Granola

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Why do nuts get such a bad rap in the media. All we hear is they are fattening, and fat is bad. So what do people do? They won’t touch those nasty fattening nuts, but they will go through the drive thru at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s or any other fattening fast food joint you can name. We all need some fat in our diets. It is what keeps you feeling satisfied, and keeps your insulin levels from spiking and plummeting. So what does society do? They give up healthy nuts and opt for fast food that satisfies them at that moment and an hour later they are looking for something else. It is a vicious cycle, and as the appetite for greasy foods grows so does the waistline.

Let’s break that cycle and bring some healthy fat into our diets. I have a homemade Almond Granola recipe that you can eat plain, add to your yogurt or pour a little milk over and have your own cereal.

The base of the granola is made up of oats and nuts.

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You need:

4 Cups Old Fashion Whole Oats
2 Cups Chopped Almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and toast oats on cookie sheet for 6 minutes and almonds on another cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. They should be a little brown, but not burnt. Remove from oven and place in metal mixing bowl. At this point, turn oven temperature back to 325 degrees.

While they are toasting whisk  the following ingredients in a bowl.

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1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract, (I make my own with Vanilla Beans and Vodka)
1/2 Cup Oil, (I use Coconut Oil)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups of Dried Fruit, (not pictured – my family doesn’t like dried fruit)

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Pour the liquid mixture over the warm oats and almonds and stir until thoroughly combined. Take a parchment lined cookie sheet and press the mixture onto the parchment paper.

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Place in the 325 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. (It takes 40 minutes in my oven.)
Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheet for 10 minutes.

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Once the granola is cool, break into pieces and store in an air tight container or ziplock bags. This is where you would add the dried fruit.

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Enjoy,

Michele

 

 

Beefy Enchilada Recipe

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Enchiladas! What’s not to love. My family loves these and it would cost me a fortune to feed three hungry teenagers if I had to take them out to a restaurant to buy them. So I figured out how to make them, and the bonus is they are dairy free so I can eat them too. They do add cheese to theirs when they plate them. I just don’t mix it in with the meat or sprinkle it on top.

The ingredients necessary for the filling are below.

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1 lb Ground Beef, I use 85/15
(Because I am going to cook it in a little water and the onions and then strain it.)
1 Medium Onion, diced
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sour Cream, I used my Tofutti Dairy Free so that I could have it
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Parsley, chopped or 1 Tablespoon dried
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese, (NOT PICTURED, OPTIONAL)

Cook the beef, 1/2 cup Water and Onion in a skillet over medium heat. When cooked through, strain the liquid out of pan. Add in sour cream, parsley, pepper and cheese (if you are using it.) Set aside and make the sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce are pictured below.

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2/3 Cup Bell Pepper, diced
1 1/3 Cup Water
2 – 15 oz cans Tomato Sauce
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
2 Serrano Peppers, diced (You can add more depending on how hot you like it.)
2 Jalapeno Peppers, diced (You can add more depending on how hot you like it.)
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
Corn or Flour Tortillas (10″ in diameter)
Shredded Cheese, lettuce, sour cream & extra chopped onions (Optional)

Heat all these ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes. IMG_2920

Prepare a large pan with aluminum foil (easy clean up). Spray with a little cooking spray. Dip each tortilla in the sauce and coat it front and back. Lay in the pan, and take a large spoonful of filling (about 1/4 cup) into the tortilla. Roll it up and place it seam side down in the pan. Continue until you have them all rolled.

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Take the remaining sauce and ladle it over top of the tortillas. At this point you can sprinkle with extra cheese.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with diced onions, sour cream, shredded lettuce and cheese.

Enjoy,

Michele

 

Garden Fresh Salsa Recipe

We love fresh salsa. It can add flavor to just about any meal. Have you tried it on scrambled eggs? Maybe you should. I am going to share my salsa recipe with you, and then I want you to tell me what you put your salsa on.

The base of the Salsa is tomatoes. Now, I am not a tomato person, so picking fresh tomatoes is so difficult for me.  I don’t know which are best for the season, or if it is not the season how are they going to taste. I like canned tomatoes as my base because it never changes the flavor of the salsa. So below is a picture of all the ingredients you will need to make my salsa.

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3 – 28 oz. cans Diced Tomatoes, drained
3 Cloves Garlic, diced
1 Onion, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and diced
3 Serrano Peppers, seeded and diced
1 can Ro-Tel diced Tomatoes with Chilies, drained
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Place the tomatoes in a strainer and sprinkle them with some Kosher Salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon). This helps the tomatoes render their liquids. Your salsa will not be so watery if you do this step.

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Allow this to sit while you chop the onions, garlic and peppers. I am not too particular about the size because I am going to process it in my food processor. If you aren’t, you can chop them a little finer.

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When they are all chopped add them to the salsa.

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Now you can stop here if you don’t have a food processor. My family does not like chunky salsa, so this is where I mix everything together and place in a food processor to grind. I must do this in waves. It usually takes about 4 waves to get the entire batch of salsa processed.

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As I do a batch, I place the part I have processed back into the strainer to drain some more. After it is all processed, let it sit in the strainer and begin to chop Cilantro.

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I use about half the batch of Cilantro. I pull the leaves off the stems. The stems can have a bitter taste, so I only chop the leaves. Once it is chopped, place the salsa in a metal mixing bowl and toss the cilantro, sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt in and stir to combine.

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This is what my finished Salsa looks like.  You can have it as smooth or chunky as you like.

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Enjoy,

Michele

 

 

The BOSU Ball HIIT Workout

I had a request the other day to use the BOSU Ball for an entire workout. I stepped up and came up with what I think is a tough lower body and cardio workout. All we used was the BOSU Ball and 1 weight of your choice. Now if you don’t have a BOSU Ball no worries. This entire workout can be done on the floor or even a box or bench. Some of the hops might be a little more challenging if the bench or box is high. Just remember to work at your fitness level, and take breaks when you need to. The workout breakdown is below.

Part 1: Set timer for 15/45 4 rounds

1. Plank Frog Hop to BOSU/Hop on top to squat & hold/Hop back down and into plank
2. BOSU Behind – Squat down and lower back onto BOSU/Roll back then forward and Up to stand/Press weight overhead
3. (Top of BOSU) Right Foot Squat out to Side then knee up & back to Reverse Lunge knee up
4. Plant Right Foot on BOSU – Left Knee up & hop/Lunge Back Right Leg & touch hand to BOSU
5. (Top of BOSU) Left Foot Squat out to Side then knee up & back to Reverse Lunge knee up
6. Plank Left Foot on BOSU – Right Knee up & hop/Lunge Back Left Leg & touch hand to BOSU
7. BOSU Frog Hop Burpee (Pick up BOSU & hop into air)
8. Top of BOSU – Alternate Squat hop over with knee lift/10x Alternate hop side to side touch BOSU
9. Squat Jump onto BOSU /Squat Jump back to floor (stay low)
10. Flip BOSU over – Balance on BOSU – Low Squat

Bonus: Arms & Abs 5/25 9 rounds for each triplet set

1a. Overhead Tricep Extension (Up 2/Down 2)
1b. Kickbacks
1c. Overhead Tricep Extension (Single time down/up)

2a. Right Leg Straight out – Lift up 2/down 2
2b. Single Time – Right Leg lift w/upper body lift
2c. Plank on BOSU – Pull Right knee under chest & kick back to plank

3a. Dips (down 2/up 2)
3b. Overhead Extension (down 2/up 2)
3c. Elbow Plank Up/Down

4a. Left Leg Straight out – lift up 2/down 2
4b. Single Time – Left Leg lift w/upper body lift
4c. Plank on BOSU – Pull Left knee under chest & kick back to plank

5a. Bicep Curl (Up 2/Down 2)
5b. Curl up then out to side
5c. Curl & tap end of dumbbell to opposite shoulder

6a. Competition Sit-up (Legs over BOSU/reach dumbbell for feet)
6b. Butterfly Sit-up (Upper & Lower crunch together)
6c. Shoot legs & arms straight out then crunch in

7a. Squat Position – Right Bicep Concentration Curl
7b. Squat Position – Left Bicep Concentration Curl
7c. Squat Position – Bicep Curl both

Enjoy,

Michele

Healthy Crab Cake Recipe

I found a great Crab Cake Recipe in a fitness magazine. I had to modify it because of my dairy allergy. Instead of using flour, I used Panko Crumbs. These crab cakes are not fried in heavy oil, and they have fresh red bell pepper and scallions chopped up and mixed in.

First the crab meat. Not everyone can get fresh crab meat so canned Premium Lump Crab Meat works well.

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I could not get lump crab meat and had to go with just the fancy white. It is a little shredded. I prefer the Lump Crab Meat when it is available.

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The ingredients you will need for the crab cakes are as follows:

1 – 4 oz can Premium Lump Crab Meat, or fresh
1/3 to 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Scallions, chopped fine
1/4 Cup Red Pepper, chopped fine
1 teaspoons Lemon Juice, Fresh Squeezed and strained (if possible)
1 egg
2 teaspoons Mayo
1/4 teaspoon Dry Yellow Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Flour for Dusting
(These ingredients will make 3 nice sized Crab Cakes)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until combined and sticky, but no real wet. If they are too wet, add a little more Panko Crumbs or flour.

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It should look like the picture above. Now place some flour onto a cookie sheet.

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Have an extra sheet nearby for the formed crab cakes. Lightly flour your hands and take a tennis ball size of the mixture. Pack it together and press it into the shape of a disc. Lightly powder both side of the crab cake with flour and place on the extra cookie sheet.

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(I made a double batch. If you use the ingredients above the way I have them listed, it will only make three crab cakes. One of the boys friends showed up and was staying for dinner. I ended up making a double batch.)

Now for the cooking oil. I use Coconut Oil. It does not have a heavy coconut flavor, or smell for that matter.

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Take a spoonful of coconut oil and place into a non stick skillet over medium heat. When it has turned to liquid, gently lift your crab cakes off the cookie sheet and place them into the skillet. I use a spatula for this, and they slide right off and into the pan. Cook the crab cakes on the first side for 4 to 5 minutes.

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Flip them over, and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes, or until cooked. Keep a close eye on them. They could cook a little quicker.

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Once they are cooked, make the sauce for the crab cakes. This sauce is a little spicy by itself, but goes well on the crab cake. You can serve it on the side for individual taste.

Sauce:
1 1/2 Tablespoons Mayo
3/4 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder

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You can serve them with any side you would like. We like to do a salad before hand and then the crab cakes.

Enjoy,

Michele