Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Southwestern Two Bean Chicken (Slow Cooker)

4 raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz. each)
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans (rinsed and drained) or 1 1/3 cup home cooked beans
1 (15 oz.) can black beans (rinsed and drained) or 1 1/3 cup home cooked beans
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice, low sodium is best
1 lb. frozen and thawed organic corn (organic to avoid GMO corn)
1 (12 oz.) jar of your favorite salsa, no sugar added

Step 1 – Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes and salsa over that and then layer on the beans and corn.
Step 2 – Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until the chicken easily falls apart when the pot is stirred.
Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content:
1 serving = 1 cup
NOTE: This data does not include salsa. Also, this was figured using home cooked beans without salt. Be careful when purchasing salsa and canned beans as the sodium content can really add up.
Calories: 292
Total Fat: 5 gm
Saturated Fats: 1 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 42 mg
Sodium: 54 mg
Carbohydrates: 33 gm
Dietary fiber: 9 gm
Sugars: 3 gm
Protein: 30 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 12

Nutritional Information estimated at Nutritiondata.com. Data may not be accurate.

Source: thegraciouspantry.com via Brea on Pinterest

Monday, April 29, 2013

Maintaining Weight Loss Tip #6

Take Notes. As you plan your eating and activity strategies, keep records. What types of foods are you eating? How do the calories add up? How much are you moving? As you lose weight, record what works for you and what doesn't. Review your notes so you can change strategies if needed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Strawberry-Spinach Salad

4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
Warm Citrus Dressing
6 cups torn fresh spinach and/or watercress
2 cups halved strawberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


1. Sprinkle the chicken breast halves with pepper and salt. Pour chicken broth into a large skillet. Bring broth to boiling. Add chicken; reduce heat. Cover and simmer chicken for 12 to 14 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, turning chicken once halfway through cooking time. Remove chicken from broth with a slotted spoon; discard broth. Meanwhile, prepare the Warm Citrus Dressing.
2. Thinly slice cooked chicken breast. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, strawberries, and chicken.
3. To serve, drizzle warm dressing over salad. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately.
4. Warm Citrus Dressing: In a blender container or food processor bowl combine 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/3 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional), 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover; blend or process until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring just to boiling. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warm until needed. Makes 3/4 cup dressing.

Nutritional Information:
Per serving: Calories 320, Total Fat 14 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 8 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 83 mg, Sodium 394 mg, Carbohydrate 13 g, Total Sugar 8 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 36 g. Daily Values: Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 135%, Calcium 8%, Iron 16%. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Source: recipe.com via Diamond on Pinterest

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Maintaining Weight Loss Tip #5

Shop Smart. Start your food control at the grocery store. Shop on a full stomach, use a list, read the labels on every food you buy, and skip any food that is not part of your chosen eating plan.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Asian Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple

2 lb raw lean pork tenderloin (two 16 oz tenderloins)
6 oz canned pineapple juice
3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled cubed (1-inch pieces)
8 medium wooden or metal skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before use to prevent burning)

Place pork tenderloins in a large resealable plastic bag; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, salt, cumin, chili powder and pepper; pour over pork. Seal bag; refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinate, or up to 24 hours to enhance flavor.
Preheat grill to medium-hot.
When ready to grill, remove pork from marinade and discard marinade. Grill pork, covered, until a thermometer inserted in center of tenderloin reaches 145°F, about 10 minutes per side, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
Meanwhile, thread 1/4 cup pineapple chunks on each skewer; place on grill during the last 6 minutes of pork grilling time and cook, turning once after 3 minutes.
To serve, slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices (medallions) and serve with grilled pineapple.
Serving Size: 3 oz cooked pork tenderloin and 2 to 3 slices of pineapple per skewer

Source: weightwatchers.com via Jessica on Pinterest

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Maintaining Weight Loss Tip #4

Step Up to the Challenge. Strap on a pedometer and find out how many steps you take each day. Gradually add just 250 steps per day averaged out over the week. That will give you a good start on a healthy routine of physical activity. Most sedentary adults take only 2,500 to 3,500 steps a day. Aim to add between 4,000 to 6,000 to whatever you are doing now, for a total of 10,000 or more each day. The more steps you take, the better.
Source: American Heart Association

Monday, April 22, 2013

Farfalle with Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta


8 ounces farfalle pasta
1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups watercress leaves (from 2 small bunches)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Place the cheese in a large bowl; top with the watercress. Before draining the pasta, take 1/4 cup of the cooking water from the pot and pour it over the watercress. (Watercress will wilt slightly and cheese will get soft.) Place the tomatoes in a colander. Drain the pasta over the tomatoes for a super-quick blanch. Toss with the watercress and cheese; sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Source: fitnessmagazine.com via Macie on Pinterest

Friday, April 19, 2013

Maintaining Weight Loss Tip #3

Stay Balanced. To maintain your weight, you must balance your intake of calories with the energy you burn. Just the difference of one 12-ounce soda (150 calories) versus at least 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days can add or subtract about 10 pounds to your weight each year!
Source: American Heart Association

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Basil and Tomato

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For The Stuffing:
12 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Butterfly chicken breasts: Put halves on a cutting board, smooth sides down, with the pointed ends facing you. Starting on one long side, cut breasts almost in half horizontally (stop about 1/2 inch before reaching the opposite side). Open cut breasts like a book. Sprinkle each piece all over with 1/8 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Transfer to a plate, and coat both sides with garlic and oil. Let stand 30 minutes.

Heat a grill or grill pan until medium-hot. Place 3 basil leaves on the bottom half of each opened chicken breast; top each with 2 slices tomato. Fold over other half of chicken breast, and secure with two toothpicks or short skewers.

Grill chicken breasts, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes. Place on a clean serving platter; garnish with basil. If desired, remove toothpicks or skewers before serving.

Before grilling, soak the toothpicks or skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. Butterflying the chicken -- splitting each piece in half and fanning it open like a book -- creates two layers. They make tasty "sandwiches" with tomato and basil.

Source: wholeliving.com via Cecilia on Pinterest

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Maintaining Weight Loss Tip #2

Get Real. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a realistic goal. Don’t burden yourself with unrealistic expectations. Talk with your healthcare professional to determine a healthy goal weight.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Honey Glazed Chicken Sandwich

Boneless chicken breast, olive oil, salt and black pepper
1/2 tbsp honey per chicken breast
Pinch of cayenne pepper for spicy version (optional)

1. Pour a little olive oil into a pan, and add in boneless chicken breast pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat.
2. When chicken is just about done (should take about 7 minutes per side), drizzle honey on top of the chicken, flip it over, and turn the heat up. Add remaining honey to the other side of the chicken.
3. As the honey caramelizes, keep sliding (and flipping occasionally) the chicken around the pan to absorb all the syrup. You may need to add a little water if syrup becomes too thick. When the color of the chicken is a mix of golden and dark syrup, turn heat off and remove from pan.
4. Make a simple sandwich of honey-glazed chicken with tomato and lettuce. Use remaining honey syrup in pan as a sauce for the sandwich (if sauce is too thick to pour, add a little water and heat up again).

Source: blog.seasonwithspice.com via Dylaina on Pinterest

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maintaining Weight Loss Tip #1

Get your head working and the middle will take care of itself!

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to understand what really motivates you. Once you’ve felt the initial excitement of losing the first few pounds, you must find a way to turn that enthusiasm into the willpower to stick with your eating plan. You will encounter both ups and downs as you learn to maintain your weight. To help you through the downs, you need coping strategies. Think about what you really want to achieve. That desire will help you turn your eating and exercise strategies into a lifestyle that leads to lifelong weight control.

  • Ask Questions. What gives you the strength to resist temptation? Can you form new habits that you can live with forever? What are the rewards of weight loss for you? How much do you want those rewards?
Source: American Heart Association

Friday, April 12, 2013

Healthy Weight Tips #4

Eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you’re full
  • Sit at a table to eat.
  • Slow down! Eating slowly lets you enjoy your food and gives your brain a chance to figure out when you’re full.
  • Put your fork down between most bites to help you slow down.
  • Pay attention to portion size.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Healthy Weight Tips #3

Get rid of guilt.
  • Feeling guilty about eating a “bad” food or eating too much isn’t helpful.
  • Guilt is a type of negative thinking, and you can overcome it!
  • Instead, make a list of the foods that you feel most guilty about eating, and replace them with healthier foods or eat them less often and in smaller amounts.
  • Stop buying the foods that make you feel guilty. You can’t eat them if you don’t have them in the house.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Measuring Success

At the beginning of the contest we discussed how measuring inches lost or gained can be another way to measure success during your weight loss journey. Take some time now to measure yourself again and see what areas you have improved in. You might be surprised with the improvements you have made even if you haven't lost the number of lbs. you had hoped you would during the contest.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Healthy Weight Tips #2

Don’t skip meals
  • Skipping meals does not help you lose weight!
  • Your body needs a certain number of calories every day.
  • If you skip a meal, you will probably snack or eat more later.
  • Try to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Healthy Weight Tips #1

Avoid emotional eating.
  • Don’t let strong feelings turn into weight gain.
  • Figure out what your eating triggers are.
  • Pay attention to how much and what you are eating.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Carrot Slaw with Cranberries, Toasted Walnuts & Citrus Vinaigrette

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 pound grated carrots, or 1-1/3 pounds carrots, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from one lemon
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, from one orange
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Set oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on baking sheet and bake until toasted and fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, honey or more citrus. Toss in walnuts and serve.

Serving Size: 4-6

Source: onceuponachef.com via laura on Pinterest

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Healthy Meal Tips

10 tips for healthy meals

A healthy meal starts with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein and grains. Think about how you can adjust the portions on your plate to get more of what you need without too many calories. And don’t forget dairy—make it the beverage with your meal or add fat-free or low-fat dairy products to your plate.
  1. Make half your plate veggies and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and may help to promote good health. Choose red, orange, and darkgreen vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
  2. Add lean protein. Choose protein foods, such as lean beef and pork, or chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
  3. Include whole grains. Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.
  4. Don’t forget the dairy. Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk (soy beverage) as your beverage or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.
  5. Avoid extra fat. Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example, steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
  6. Take your time. Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much. 
  7. Use a smaller plate. Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
  8. Take control of your food. Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the nutrition information. Choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.
  9. Try new foods. Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, lentils, or kale. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.
  10. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Vegan Black Garbanzo Bean Curry - Slow Cooker Recipe

1 1/2 cups dried black garbanzo beans (or use regular garbanzo beans, but they will require a few hours longer to cook)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato (I used cherry tomatoes)
2 tsp. minced ginger root
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. and it was very hot so I'm not sure I'd recommend using the full amount unless  you really like it spicy!)
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. salt (or less)
1 can petite dice tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (optional)
3-4 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

Pick over the garbanzo beans, removing any broken ones or debris found in the beans, and wash beans if needed.

Using a food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender, puree together the onion, fresh tomatoes, minced ginger, minced garlic, cayenne, cumin seeds, turmeric, chile powder, and salt.  Put the paste mixture in the slow cooker with the beans and 4 cups of water and cook on high for about 9 hours, or until beans are soft.  (They will still be slightly chewy when they're done.  I would start to check after about 6 hours and see if you want to add more water.)

When beans are done, taste for seasoning.  You can eat the curry at this point, but it was too spicy for me so I added the can of tomatoes and sliced green onions and cooked for about 1 hour more on high.  When it's done to your liking, stir in the chopped cilantro and lemon juice.  Serve hot, over brown rice if desired.

(Makes 4-6 servings, depending on what else you eat it with.  Recipe adapted from The Indian Slow Cooker.) Used a 3.5 quart slow cooker for this recipe, and it could have been slightly smaller.

Source: kalynskitchen.com via Carrie on Pinterest

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A bit of Motivation!

"I'm Done With You!" - Leave Your Old Self Behind.
Remember you are in control and you have the power and the ability to keep going with your healthy lifestyle and weight loss goals. Now is a good time to recommit yourself to work a little harder, and try a little more. You can do this - just take one step at a time!

Back to the Basics of Healthy Weight Loss Part 3

Balance Food and Physical Activity

What you eat is just one part of the energy balance equation. The other is your physical activity. Most of us take in more calories than we spend on our daily activities.

Finding a healthier balance means fitting more activity into your day. The minimum for good health is 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. To reach a healthy weight, you may need to be physically active longer (60 minutes a day) or participate in more intense activities. How much activity do you usually get now? If it's only 15 minutes, try adding a 15- or 20-minute walk during your lunch break.

American Dietetic Association

Monday, April 1, 2013

Salt and Sodium Tips

10 tips to help you cut back on the Salt/Sodium

It’s clear that Americans have a taste for salt, but salt plays a role in high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should further reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.
  1. Think fresh. Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/ luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli, and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium. 
  2. Enjoy home-prepared foods. Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them. 
  3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
  4. Choose dairy and protein foods that are lower in sodium. Choose more fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt in place of cheese, which is higher in sodium. Choose fresh beef, pork, poultry, and seafood, rather than those with salt added. Deli or luncheon meats, sausages, and canned products like corned beef are higher in sodium. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds.
  5. Adjust your taste buds. Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time.
  6. Skip the salt. Skip adding salt when cooking. Keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table. Use spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar, or lemon juice to season foods or use no-salt seasoning mixes. Try black or red pepper, basil, curry, ginger, or rosemary.
  7. Read the label. Read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients statement to find packaged and canned foods lower in sodium. Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
  8. Ask for low-sodium foods when you eat out. Restaurants may prepare lower sodium foods at your request and will serve sauces and salad dressings on the side so you can use less. 
  9. Pay attention to condiments. Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressings, and seasoning packets are high in sodium. Choose low-sodium soy sauce and ketchup. Have a carrot or celery stick instead of olives or pickles. Use only a sprinkling of flavoring packets instead of the entire packet.
  10. Boost your potassium intake. Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice, and milk.