Tuesday, July 31

Summer Soup....

Okay so I know, it is about 90 degrees out and I have soup on the brain.  Maybe because I know that we are heading back to school in about two weeks so I normally think that means Fall is near by.  Only we head back to school in the middle of August, not even close to Fall yet.  But when I have my mind set on something that I am craving, well so be it.

Now I am not an official homemade soup making pro.  That would be my hubby, the ex chef (now working corporate management), he is the master of making the yummiest soups and makes them look so easy.  Those will be on the "must do" list for the Fall and yes, will be sharing. I am the "what do I have in the house", quick fix soup gal.  Well I happen to have some leftover chicken breasts with bone in from the other night (see my post on facebook.com/fitnessmomwinecountry for kid's lunch), so I shredded all I could off of those and used some for lunch and placed the rest in a bowl. 

I guess now is a good time to share the ingredients for the soup.

Yellow Onion 1
Zuch 1
Yellow Squash 1
Brown Rice 1 cup
Pinto Beans 1 cup
Chicken Breast (shredded)
Low Sodium Chicken Broth (1 box)
Granulated Garlic
Carrot 1
Celery about 4 stalks (depending on what you like)
Fresh Spinach Leaves (depending on how much you want)
Sea Salt to taste OR not

Bring a pot of water and 1 box of Low Sodium chicken broth to a boil then add your chicken. This process takes about an hour or so depending on how much flavor you want and how much you want removed from the bone.  Remember, I don't measure anything (those who follow along and know by now) so the ingredients are your call for your needs.  Cut all the veggies and spinach and place in a steamer to steam, while cooking the brown rice.  Most steamers have double use and you can do at one time.  Watch the veggies so not too cook them too soft.  Take them out and place in a bowl.  Let the rice finish cooking.  Rinse beans and set aside. 

Once the stock has been boiled for about an hour.  Strain through your colander and place back on the stove, then pull apart and go through the chicken remaining so to separate from all the carcass and bones.  Add the shredded chicken and the veggies and beans to the stock and bring back to a boil.  By this time your rice should be done.  I made enough extra so I can have the brown rice for the week as I need.  Spoon in the amount of rice you want into the stock blend all together.

You have a great summer lunch or dinner even though it is still hot out.  The veggies make you feel like you are eating light.  Garnish with fresh basil on top and whatever else you like on your soup.  I love fresh ground pepper and just a bit of grated parm cheese.  With this soup, you don't really need a salad on the side, because of all the veggies and protein in this.  It is a full meal, and leave the bread out, we don't need to be eating that.

This is such an easy soup and obviously most anything will work in it.  Just open the fridge and pantry and take a look around. :)

Sunday, July 29

Doing Pizza The Lazy Way...But With A Twist

Okay so it was another full day at the pool and we are all wiped out.  I just remember driving back home, chatting with the hubby about what to do for dinner.  You know, those conversations where you bounce ideas back and forth between the two of you and see what you come up with.  OR the one's where you include the kids and then you are really opening up a can of worms, because when they are involved it ends up being something as simple as tacos (which in our case could be every night if they were in charge) or a full on debate in the back seat with each one throwing out meal ideas as fast as their brains and mouths can formulate, while trying to outdo each other.

Not this time, nope, this time the conversation about dinner is on the "down low" or is it "low down", (I can never remember which way it goes), and my hubby and I are speaking as softly as possible only to hear our words while the kids keep busy with whatever electronic device they are playing with that still has a battery charge.  Oh yeah, that is another story in itself, traveling with electronics and forgetting to charge up first.

Now I know we are always trying to eat as healthy as we can and yes, it is pretty much always about "clean eating" no processed, no pre-packaged.  We do live this pretty much all the time, however there are those days when we are going to find ourselves in a situation where my planning and prepping have not been up to speed.  So in this case how can we come up with something and still keep it as healthy as possible?

Well "healthy pizza" (no not homemade this time) but added a twist.  Whole Foods has a great Greek Pizza with whole wheat-thin crust.  This, added with our special flare made it a great fast and healthy meal without feeling too full. 

Needed for the pizza :
Raw Shrimp (Peeled and devained)
Red Pepper Flakes (if you are into hot) the hubby puts those on his side :)

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together with the EVOO, place on top of the pizza and place the pizza on your pizza brick and cook per instructions. The shrimp will be fine and will cook along with it.  We did not need a salad for this meal because of all the goodies on the Greek pizza.

To make the dinner even easier, the kids opted for Ravioli's and a quick salad on the side.

This was the day that www.facebook.com/fitnessmomwinecountry had reached her 6000 fan and well, that was a reason to celebrate, so while at Whole Foods, we had to pick up a gluten free "Whoopie Pie" and share along with a little bubbly.  Another great day, and managed to pull of a last minute dinner. :)

Thursday, July 26

My New Fav Headband....:)

Thank you to Sweaty Bands for sending me these cute and super comfy head bands. Since I seem to be lacking in the creative hair department, I live in ponytails and headbands.  I have tried my fill of many different brands and styles, and even prices.  From the supermarket to the designer boutique in some cute town. I have even resorted to taking some of our daughter's headbands and tried wearing those. 

I look for and love something that is soft, easy to slip on and mostly, stay on while I am out running.  Also, it doesn't hurt to have it look cute enough to wear out and will be comfortable enough for me to wear with my reading glasses at the same time. 

Normally headbands are too thick around the ear area for my glasses to fit, or they get tight and cause me to get headaches. These Sweaty Bands are my new number one fav and since I am so loving these, I want to share the extra one I have and give it away to a fellow fan of www.facebook.com/fitnessmomwinecountry

I love that I can wear my reading glasses with these

Looks like it is time for my hair appt...:)

SO, since I want to give the other headband away, I will do so to the 6,500 fan on my facebook page.  In the meantime, go check out www.SweatyBands.com

Wednesday, July 25

So This Is What We Did With Those Heirloom Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers

Having a platter of heirloom tomatoes and dark-sweet peppers sitting on the counter was a great excuse to get creative.  Healthy and filling (two of these were plenty) we were able to make stuffed peppers with Quinoa.

Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Feta Cheese
Chicken Breast
Fresh Basil
Heirloom Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers
Stewed Tomatoes

Cut and seed the bell peppers and set aside.  Cook the quinoa in low sodium broth until done. We took the leftover roasted chicken breast from the other night and shredded it, add to the quinoa, spoon in the feta cheese and chopped fresh basil and mix together.  Season with sea salt to taste (if desired).  Spoon the mixture into the halved peppers and place in a baking dish with a marinara sauce (stewed tomatoes) of your choice.  Cover with foil to keep moisture in and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Serve with sliced heirlooms and fresh basil sprig.  We opted to use the leftover chicken, however you can do without.  These were small peppers, but with the filling they made for a great meal.

Monday, July 23

Loving Nature Box...

Look I what I got in the mail....woo hoo!

It's all about the snacks, and I love to snack.  Thanks to Nature Box I have been introduced to not only tasty, but super healthy snacks made from ingredients that I am okay with and they are made right here in the Bay Area.  NatureBox focuses on making it easier to eat healthier for you and your family. They offer a monthly membership that delivers hand picked snack food to your door along with expert tips and tricks to living a healthy life delivered right to your inbox.

Each month, your box will include 15 to 20 servings across 4 to 6 different NatureBox snacks. They take pride in picking the healthiest and most delicious snacks for you to enjoy. You can trust that their products will be made from the most wholesome ingredients and will be minimally processed, if at all. Everything you eat from them will abide by their strict quality standards.

You will NOT find High Fructose Corn Syrup
No Partially Hydrogenated Oils
No Trans Fat
No Artificial Sweetners
No Artificial Colors

Food You Can Trust

Every NatureBox item is carefully sourced and nutritionist approved. Everything inside your NatureBox will be guilt free so that you can feel great about what you’re eating. You can trust that our products will be made from the most wholesome ingredients and will be minimally processed, if at all.

I received a July Box which had the following :

*Zesta Fiesta Mix serving size 1/4 cup with 1 gram of sugar.
*Sunny Trails Trail Mix 1 oz with 16 grams of sugar. 
*Garden Tomato Crunchies 1/4 cup with 2 grams of sugar. 
*Lemon Pucker Pistachios 1 oz with 2 grams of sugar. 
*Southern BBQ Sunflower Kernels 1 oz with 1 gram of sugar.

The sodium count in each bag was suprisingly minimal compared to "snack foods", the highest was 360 mg. with the lowest being 25 mg.

We enjoyed tasting and sharing these snacks the other night amongst friends, they were great conversation as we sat outside on a summer night enjoying the beautiful weather.  They all seemed to be a hit although each had their own opionions of "spicy or not spicy" with the Zesta Fiesta, turns out I am just a pansy.  Oh and the BBQ Seeds, taste exaclty like a chip, only a smaller bite and without all the processed garbage.  Naturebox wasn't kidding about the Lemon Pucker Pistachios, and out of the entire bag only two of them were difficult to open.  Normally when you purhcase a bag of pistachios you come across some diffiuclt ones.

NatureBox also does great for a cause.... For every NatureBox sent out, together we’re helping to feed the hungry. NatureBox donates one meal for every box to feed the over 14 million children in America who go hungry. We believe in doing good and eating well.

NatureBox has a promo offer for first time orders, just enter the Promo code in the box at check out HEALTHY in all caps and you will receive 25% off your first order. 

Thanks Naturebox for the opportunity and sharing such a great product. Enjoy Peeps. 

FitnessmomWinecountry: Preview "Loving Nature Box..."

FitnessmomWinecountry: Preview "Loving Nature Box..."

Monday, July 9

Too Many Peaches and I Don't Bake.....

Okay so if you are a fan and/or follower of fitnessmomwinecountry then you would have known that during my last visit to a local Farmer's Market I could not resist the table with the beautiful yellow peaches.  With such a  great price how could I resist them? After all the only thing going on in my head at the time was how warm it was outside and how tasty and sweet those peaches would be. 

It did not dawn on me until I got home and emptied them into my bowl, did I realize "oh boy", I have alot of peaches and I don't know how quickly we can eat them.  Thinking of what to do, I posted the "Peach Cobbler" challenge on my page, desperately searching for ideas or a great recipe.  This is going to be great, I can't wait to see read all the ideas.  Only one big problem, I Don't Bake!  No, no way, not me, not ever.  Anything that requires measuring and batter, or mixers just do not work with me.  I envy every woman or man out there who can bake and loves to bake.

I stared at that bowl of peaches for two days and kept reading all the ideas and recipes coming in from the loyal and loving fans.  Being so kind to help me with my dilemma, while knowing that deep inside I was actually at a complete state of panic.  I called the hubby at work and notified him of my "game plan" for the peaches.  Yep, we were going to come up with some ideas that were healthy and bake free.  As always my hubby just went along with me (while I'm sure he was doing his eye roll and the "here we go again" thoughts in his head). 

But he did not fail me and we worked together to come up with some tasty recipes...

EVOO 6 Tbls
Sea Salt
Fresh Corn Shucked - 2 Ears *Raw or cooked*
Ripe Heirloom Tomatoes - 4 *variety of colors*
Large Ripe Peaches - 4 *white or yellow*
Red Onion or Shallot 1/2 cup Thinly Sliced
Crumbled Feta  3/4 cup
Fresh Mint

Using a sharp knife, slice your corn kernels off the cob.  We boiled our corn for about 15 minutes, although you can just wash and use raw. 

Core your tomatoes and pit the peaches.  Slice both into wedges.  Place in a large bowl with the onion slivers and corn kernels.  Season to taste with the sea salt. 

Add the 6 tablespoons of Evoo *Extra Virgin Olive Oil*.  Toss together.
Serve and top with crumbled Feta and fresh Mint.

Serves 2

Heirloom Tomato
Peach White or Yellow
Fresh Mozzarella Balls
Fresh Mint Leaves
Fresh Basil Leaves
Apple Cider Vinegar
Curry Powder

Slice your tomato
Slice your Peach
Slice your mozzarella balls
Pull your mint and basil leaves

In separate bowl add your Evoo, Honey, Apple Cider Vinegar and Curry Powder - Set Aside
Start with tomato slice on bottom, next add a slice of mozzarella, next add mint and basil leaves, add your slice of peach and repeat one time to stack.  Drizzle your curry dressing and top with mint.

That Darn "Tummy"

Do you notice that it seems are we always complaining and whining about our "stomachs", or "tummies", "abs","mid-section" whatever name we choose?  It is summer and time to wear and have fun with cute form-fitting t's and tops, bathing suits, even workout wear,  without having the muffin top or the tire just hanging around.  The only place those belong are in a bakery or on a car.   What about all the "belly bling"?  Sure some women are very brave to take that on, but not all of us can pull that off. 

Having children does not always seem to be the "fault" or "blame" of the stomach issue.  Sure having kids can do a major re-construction job on the area, but not true in all cases.  Some just have the problem without having given birth to those sweet blessings. 

Do we exercise? Honestly, are we really putting forth the effort? Well I am not able to speak for all of you, but I know I stay on a regular (okay somewhat regular) workout schedule.  Could I do more, of course.  But what about you?  Is your head saying "why bother", "more crunches", "sit-ups again", OR "I run and workout all the time" but nothing is happening with my mid section. 

 Well I hate to be the bubble burster here, but let's talk REAL.  The fact is very clear and simple.  All the crunches, ab work in the world won't make a difference if we are not living a healthy lifestyle with our DIETS and I mean as in food sense lifestyle, not some crazy "plan" or "pill".   Guess what, there is no magic pill.  Sure you might have a "quick fix" of maybe a day of rid of bloating because you try some crazy product or drank something magical.  But the only "magic" you will find will be by altering your diet and exercise routine together.

Let's cut out Processed Foods....Hellooooooo

Processed foods are the quick route to the "belly fat", the "larger pant or skirt size", the ticket to the "granny panty"....okay so nothing wrong with a granny panty, heck I have a few pair myself, but you get the point.

If we want to really lose some pounds and be serious, the come on we know we have to change our lifestyle, we need to really make that commitment to stop buying the sugars foods, the sodas, chemically altered fats, all processed, packaged, fried and preserved foods.

I know, I know, it is sooo hard to eat healthy, so I have heard.  Well that is a bunch of garbage.  Literally cut out the garbage in our diets and enter the world of whole and fresh food, the world of cleaner eating. Don't get caught up with your head telling you it is "too hard", "there is not enough time", "I can't afford it", "I don't know what to buy",  and on and on. 

Clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle is meant for everyone.  Think foods like:
Green Veggies

Whole Fruit
Lean Meats (we don't eat red meat) but there are plenty of other options
Colorful Veggies
Whole Grains (but in moderation)
Sea Food

Learn to get creative with the food, there are so many sites and place on the Internet to go and explore recipes, tips and options to do with fresh food.  You will get all the nutrients you need for your body to start shedding pounds and get lean.

Then there is exercise. Being consistent with a routine of some sort is better than nothing at all.  We are not going to wish away that stomach and it's extra "stuff" that is in the way.  No, we have to move and I mean get your sweat on move.  Exercise should always be modified for each individual and in cases with health or medical problems, then of course a doctor should be seen.  But in most cases sticking with a 3-5 day a week program will be a great start. Challenge your body as you go forward, keep it guessing after sometime by changing up your routine and the intensity.

Let's stop the complaing, let's stop the hating, let's learn to love our tummies and let's make the change and commitment to do so.