Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Turkey Meatballs

Last night was a rainy one here in Orlando.  I don’t know what it is about rainy weather, but it seems to always call for comfort food!  To me, Italian = ultimate comfort food.  I decided to make classic spaghetti and meatballs, using my recipe for Turkey Meatballs to lighten it up.

Turkey Meatballs

Servings: 4 (3 meatballs each)

Ingredients: 

1.3 lbs. ground turkey meat

1 tablespoon capers

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon of:

garlic powder

salt

pepper

red pepper flakes

basil

oregano

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, add all of the above ingredients.

Use your hand to combine all the ingredients with the turkey.

Working with approximately 2 oz. portions, roll the meat in between your hands until you form a perfect ball.  Lay them on a nonstick cookie sheet, and pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti with your favorite marinara sauce.

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Other meals of the day…

Breakfast

Fage 0% Greek Yogurt topped with fresh strawberries.

Lunch

Organic Girl 50/50! topped with tuna salad (made with 1 tablespoon Light Mayo, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard), garbanzo beans and Organicville Sesame Goddess Dressing.

Workout

After taking a week off from BodyPump, I was definitely ready to get back to lifting weights.  I went to the gym ahead of the scheduled class time so I could get in some cardio beforehand.  I did 25 minutes on the elliptical before Pumping it up 🙂 .

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Leftover Salad

Breakfast

The yogurt bowl is ruling my life these days.  I’m trying to keep carbs to a minimum during the week, just for the next few months, in an effort to look bueno in my wedding dress.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  All this really means is that instead of having a carb-heavy breakfast, followed by a sandwich for lunch and something carb-y with dinner, I’m trying to stick with yogurt-centered breakfasts and salad-heavy lunches.

I filled a bowl with Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, topped with a handful of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, for some crunch.

Lunch

Corey and I were talking last night about our favorite lunches.  He asked me what I would eat for lunch if I could pick anything to make at home every day.  I said, “Honestly, I just like leftover dinner on top of lettuce!”

Anytime we have a little leftover chicken, fish, or even burgers, with some steamed or roasted veggies on the side, I love to chop up some Romaine lettuce and throw the leftovers on top (heated, of course).  I just add a few other salad toppin’s and my favorite dressing, and lunch is ready to go.

Yesterday’s creation was a small leftover turkey burger and steamed brussel sprouts with a sprinkle of 2% cheddar cheese and Naturally Fresh Ginger Dressing, on top of a bed of Romaine.

Workout 

I put off my workout for as long as possible yesterday.  Generally, I really prefer to wake up in the morning and get my workout over with.  It’s a great feeling to be finished and know that you can spend the rest of the day doing other things.  If I don’t, the thought of having to workout later looms over my head all day.  Yesterday was one of those days.

I loaded up my iPod with all kinds of new songs (basically 3 new Nicki Minaj jams, duh), and headed out the door around 4:00PM for a run.  Well, that didn’t last long, thanks to some shooting leg pains and a severe thunderstorm over my head.  I made it for about 10 minutes before coming inside to complete a treadmill workout for 35 minutes.

Dinner

Corey and I needed to make a grocery store run, so we decided to eat dinner first at one of my favorite places- Green Lemon Cafe.  I ordered my go-to salad- Tuna with Balsamic dressing.

Afterwards, we decided to venture over to Whole Foods next door.  After realizing that we could barely afford a lemon in that place, we started to make our way out the door.  And then, the bakery caught my eye.  Everything looked so great!  I picked out a Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie that was size of my face for us to share.

Corey also picked up a treat.

His version of the word “treat” and my version are clearly very different 🙂 .

What is your favorite leftover meal? 

Nothing to Do

For the first time in a full year, I officially have absolutely nothing to do.

I am not complaining!

I’ve spent the last year working my butt off trying to finish my nursing pre-requisite classes, working different jobs, and dealing with lots of stress.  I honestly couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but now, I’m finished!

On Friday, I finished my last day of a week-long training course to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  Now that I’m done with that, I just have to wait for a letter telling me when and where I can take the state board examination.  I will have to take a written exam, and then complete 3 different nursing skills that a supervisor will choose at random.  Once I pass, I can start applying to jobs!  Fortunately, there are a lot of places hiring CNA’s right now, so getting hired shouldn’t be a problem.  I cannot even express how excited I am at the thought of finally having a job- and not just any job, a nursing job!  I hope that letter gets here SOON.

For now, I’m definitely savoring every precious moment of down time that I have, because I know my schedule will be back to crazy in no time- especially when I add wedding planning and nursing school to the mix!

Breakfast

I made a delicious yogurt bowl yesterday, made with a cup of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, a handful of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, sliced strawberries and a drizzle of honey.

I’ve decided that honey + Greek yogurt is the ultimate combo.

Lunch

Yesterday’s lunch was something a little different, and totally inspired by Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers!

I made one of her “Cheese and Jelly Bagelwiches”, served with a side of baby carrots.

I spread a toasted whole wheat bagel thin with a little strawberry preserves, and melted a slice of Meunster cheese on top.  Delish!

Dinner

When Corey got home from work, we tossed around some dinner ideas before deciding that turkey burgers sounded perfect.  Corey seasoned the meat with garlic powder and a little BBQ sauce, and then I made the patties and popped them under the broiler for 10 minutes.

We served our burgers with steamed broccoli, brussel sprouts, and some Sante Fe rice.

A few weeks ago, Corey bought a Groupon for $40 to Funky Monkey Wine Company in Downtown Orlando.  Don’t let the name deceive you- it’s a fancy shmancy place!

We attempted to use our Groupon last week, but the restaurant wasn’t taking it until the following day, which was quite a wallet stinger for us.  However, we were determined to get our money’s worth, so we made reservations for Friday night.

Before dinner, we decided to stop by Hot Olives for a happy hour drink and an appetizer.

We ordered the calamari to share, which turned out to be delicious.

The calamari was freshly made and came with a great wasabi dipping sauce that we both enjoyed.

When we arrived at Funky Monkey, we were greeted by our waiter and given a complimentary bowl of edamame.

I wish every restaurant would catch on to this trend- soy beans are much better than a big basket of bread!

Thanks to our last visit, we knew better than to waste our precious Groupon dollars on their very expensive wine list, so we stuck with what we know- beer!

I sipped on a Sierra Nevada while browsing the menu.  Thanks to our waiter’s recommendation, we decided to start with the Stuffed Avocado appetizer.

My only complaint about this is that I wish there were multiple avocados on the plate!  The avocado was filled with Ahi tuna mixed in eel sauce and spicy mayo, served on a bed of sushi rice.  We inhaled it!

For our meal, we decided to share the Drunken Sea Scallops.

I love scallops, so this was an easy choice.  They were perfectly seared, served with lobster mashed potatoes (yes, LOBSTER mashed potatoes!) and big asparagus spears, all swimming in a rich sauce.  Corey may or may not have attempted to drink the sauce off his plate when he was finished.

We enjoyed everything about our date at Funky Monkey Wine Company.  If you’re in the Orlando area and looking for real gourmet food, that’s the place to go!

Workout Motivation

Sometimes, the thought of working out sounds about as appealing as doing yard work on a Saturday at noon in Florida in the middle of August (if you live here, you know what I mean.)

This week I’ve been extremely busy- the same day that I finished my last nursing pre-requisite course, I went straight to my first day of training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  I have to wake up really early to leave for class, so my morning workout routine has been a no-go.  Luckily, it’s just for this week (which is almost over- hallelujah!).

Anyways, I ended up skipping Monday and Tuesday’s workouts, and yesterday, I still didn’t feel like working out.  I was on the computer doing some browsing on SHAPE Magazine’s website, when I came across a series of “Behind-the-Scenes” videos of celebrities shooting their SHAPE covers.  Let’s just say that after hearing Kourtney Kardashian, Marisa Miller and Brooke Burke talk about their workouts, I basically bolted off the couch and went straight to the gym.

"I would still look like this even if I didn't work out."

Now, don’t get me wrong- my days of pouring over gossip magazines and taping pictures to my fridge are long gone.  I do not condone staring at celebrities and envying their bodies, because, let’s face it, that won’t do anything positive for anyone.  However, I think that reading or listening to someone talk about fitness and health is a great way to get motivated for your own workouts- and if it happens to be coming out of the mouth of a gorgeous celebrity who is living proof that it works, then, hey, we better listen!

What motivates you to work out? 

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Breakfast

I started the day with a toasted whole wheat sandwich thin, spread with a little peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.

I could’ve really used a banana on top, but clearly, we didn’t quite make it to the grocery store this week.  I also enjoyed a glass of almond milk on the side.

Lunch

Lunch was a random mix of small snacks that went undocumented, but it included baby carrot sticks, an apple and a turkey sandwich.

Dinner

When Corey got home from work, he fired up the grill at threw on two Top Sirloin Filets that I had marinating in the fridge with olive oil, soy sauce and garlic.

On the side, we had some steamed broccoli and Steamfresh Lightly Sauced Roasted Potatoes in Chive Butter.


Stuffed Poblano Peppers

On Saturday, Corey went up to Jacksonville to help his brother, Drew, move into a new apartment before his classes started back at UNF.  Since I had two huge final exams on Monday, I decided to stay behind so I could study.

I knew Corey and his parents would be exhausted after moving all day, so I thought it would be nice to make them a good dinner for when they arrived home.

I picked up some big poblano peppers earlier in the week, and since I got four of them, I thought this would be the perfect chance to use them up!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 large poblano peppers (sometimes they’re really small)

4 chicken cutlets, chopped into bite-size pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup 2% shredded cheese (I used Mexican Blend)

3 wedges Laughing Cow Queso Fresco Cheese (if you decide to skip

this ingredient, just add 1/4 cup more of the shredded cheese)

non-stick spray

1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

*You will also need a plastic bag*

Directions:

Pre-heat broiler.

Place washed and dried peppers in a baking dish and put them under the broiler.

Keep them under until they are blackened and blistered.

Use tongs to flip each pepper onto the other side, and put them back under the broiler until that side is also black and blistered.  Note: Don’t be afraid to keep them under “too long”…all of the skin needs to be blackened so that the next steps will work.  It should take 10-15 minutes total.

Remove the dish from the oven and use the tongs to place each pepper inside the plastic bag.  Tie the bag shut tightly.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Allow the peppers to steam in the bag while you do the next steps.

Place a skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes before adding the mushrooms.

Cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken.

Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Add the tomatoes after the chicken is no longer pink.

Let these cook for 2 minutes, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Stir in the Laughing Cow wedges, followed by the shredded cheese.

Mix until creamy and well combined and set aside.  Open the plastic bag with the peppers inside.  Use your fingers to peel the blistered skin away from the rest of the pepper (it should come off easily).

This is what they should look like when you finish peeling:

Next, you will need to remove the seeds and ribs of the inside of the pepper (also known as the spicy part!).  To do this, use a knife to gently make a slit down one side of the pepper.

Carefully grab the bunch of seeds at the top and pull downwards- this will loosen the roots that the seeds are attached by.  Use running water to help rid the inside of seeds.

When the peppers are all cleaned out, lay them back in the baking dish going opposite ways, with the slit facing up.

Use a spoon to carefully fill the peppers with your prepared mixture.

After each pepper is stuffed, sprinkle a little more cheese on top of each one, and place in the 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, you will have beautiful, cheesy-yet-healthy, stuffed poblano peppers!

Coming up with healthy and quick lunch ideas can sometimes be a pain in the butt.  After my new pledge to incorporate more raw foods into my meals, I decided that the best option for lunches is an obvious one: salads!

However, I am almost always on the go around lunch time, and salads aren’t exactly the simplest thing to whip up when you’re in a hurry.  There’s way too much chopping involved!  Not to mention, how am I supposed to know what to put in it?

Problem solved, friends!

Most people do their grocery shopping on Sunday.  If you do, then this will work out perfectly for ya!  If you don’t, try to make a trip before the busy week begins, just to pick up essential produce items.

Step 1: Choose a base.

-This could be Romaine, Spring Mix, Butter Lettuce, or shredded cabbage…it’s up to you!

Step 2: Choose your veggies.

-I like carrots, green pepper, tomatoes, and celery

Step 3: Choose a protein.

-Sometimes I don’t want meat on my salads, so I like to add garbanzo beans or hardboiled eggwhites.  If you’re a meat-lover, grilled chicken, shredded pork, or deli turkey are all great options.  If you wanna get really fancy, add some grilled or baked salmon on top!

Step 4: Choose a healthy fat.

-A dressing made with olive oil is a great choice, but avocado slices add great texture and flavor!  Cheese doesn’t really count as a “healthy fat”, but a little feta cheese can make a world of difference in a salad.

-Don’t forget that your dressing also counts as a fat (unless you use pure vinegar), so don’t go overboard with this step!

Step 5: Choose a dressing.

-You could choose a homemade mix of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar, or go the store-bought route.  Remember to check the ingredients (the fewer, the better) and the fat and calories per serving.  I like to choose one that has less than 90 calories per 2 tablespoons.

-Try organic!  When I think “organic” I think “expensive”- but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that organic salad dressings at my store were only 40 cents more than the normal kind that I would usually buy.  It’s worth the switch to get rid of all of the processed and “foreign” things they throw in there.  Yuck!

Step 6: Chop, chop, chop!

-After you shop, immediately wash your lettuce and veggies, and get to choppin’!  Prepare enough to fill at least 5 sandwich baggies (or tupperware) per produce item.

Step 7: Grab and go!

-Before you leave for work or class, just grab a clean tupperware with a lid, and fill with a handful or two of your base, and a handful of each of your other items from their baggies.  Pour a little dressing in a smaller container, and your lunch is ready to go!

I’ve been using this lunch idea for the last week, and it is such a time saver.  Not to mention, it takes out the guess work of “how am I going to eat healthy for lunch today?”, which can sometimes frustrate people and force them to make an unhealthy decision.  With pre-made salad fixin’s at your disposal, there’s nothing to think about- just grab and go!

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