Saturday, August 25

Time With My Hubby and The Havarti Should Be Illegal....

One of my fav days with my hubby is when he is home from work on a weekday, we take full advantage of that while the kids are in school. Just enjoying some quiet time, hanging out together and we love going for our long hikes. It is great to have him around on those days because we motivate each other to get off our butts and get out. Sure I go on my own walks/runs while he is at work and the kids are in school, but it's just not the same.

I love our talks we have while hiking/walking, I love grabbing his hand and holding it, I love strolling through our cute town and all the shops once we are done and I love to stop at one of the cafes for a quick bite and a cup of coffee. We go early in the morning, so breakfast and coffee is still being served usually.

But some days, we just head back to the house and whip something great and healthy up in the kitchen. As you know I am all about smart shopping and clean eating as much as possible, so I really make it a habit to have as many ingredients in the house as I can, this way getting creative is more fun. Another thing I love is having leftovers to do something with. In this case I had some leftover lean ground turkey mixed with pinto beans and cheese from the night before, as I had made homemade burritos for the kids.

Perfect, the mixture along with some chicken-apple sausage (sliced thin) and an onion, yellow squash, tomato and red bell pepper and mushrooms, along with some fluffy scrambled eggs, made for a perfect post hike "brunch" for both the hubby and I.

Super easy, I just add EVOO to the pan and saute the veggies and throw in the sausage and the left-over turkey mixture. I cook the eggs separately then add them last. I top with chopped fresh chives and melt some Havarti cheese into the mix.






By the way...Havarti cheese should be illegal. We love cheese, and since we enjoy cheese and wine we taste alot of it.   Havarti is not cheese, it is butter, pure soft butter.  It  just melts in your mouth and works it way down the palate and you can't help but think that you have won the golden ticket or have some access to something very special when eating it.  It is that amazing, OR maybe it is just me, either case Love the Havarti.

Thursday, August 23

Can You Say It In 100 Words or Less?

I was so excited when Meli Anna and Kai contacted me from their site http://www.runningonthewall.com/.  I love that this husband and wife team are not only inspirational with their super healthy lifestyles and achievements, but they work together and create some really cool products. 

I of course did not hesitate to take them up on their offer and check out their work.  I love my pink running board although I don't have many "runs" under my belt, I will love being reminded every day as I sit in my office and look up at the wall, to get off my booty and get outside. These boards are personally created for you to choose which ever style, saying and color you want. Along with the hooks you can add your medals or whatever you need to.



Running on the Wall was created by my husband and I. We are both avid runners and our lives are all about running and being healthy. My husband has completed 15 marathons and finished the Boston marathon in a quick 3:08 minutes! We took our inspirations and invented a product that is a new, fashionable way to show off your racing bibs and medals. We design wooden displays for your medals and race bibs that have a great home d├ęcor style. We are happy to share our leading invention with you all runners and athletes.

Our “green” products are made of recycled material as much as possible: water paint, mdf recycle sources wood, non-chemical varnish… My husband and I feel that by making a little difference along with everyone else, it will create the huge difference that we are all waiting for in this world.
We love to play with mantra when we run and know the power of the mind… so we have recently added it to our collection. Enjoy it is really inspiration and motivational!
We enjoy making our products and are very thankful for all of the people that love our displays.


Go check out  http://www.runningonthewall.com/  and purchase two or more signs, you can receive 10% off your order.  What a cool gift it would make for someone who might be really into running OR even someone just starting out and a unique cute way to motivate them.

I had the opportunity to try out the ALO pants from  http://www.activewearusa.com/.  These pants seem to run a tad large so good thing to know when ordering.  But super comfy and great stretch to them.  I love my ALO power pant and have an extra to give away! :)



 
Thanks to http://twodegreesfood.com/mission/ I was able to receive their product.  Gluten free and vegan these not only taste great, the have very low sugar count which I love.  What I love even more is the company's mission and what they stand for.   Check out this link and watch.
 
Here at Two Degrees, we believe that everyday choices can make a big difference. Instead of grabbing just any snack, you can go for one that feeds your hunger and helps do the same for another. That's the power of our one-for-one model: for every Two Degrees bar you buy, we donate a meal to a hungry child.
Our mission is to empower you, the consumer, to help feed 200 million hungry children through just Two Degrees of separation. After all, in today's world, none of us are that far away.
 
  
Will Hauser and Lauren Walters – old friends – decided to start a new kind of food company: one that would make great products and help feed hungry children around the world.
They had similar backgrounds – both were the sons of two doctors and both decided on business careers instead of medicine. Both always believed that business and helping others were completely compatible.
Will, while an undergraduate at Harvard, led Harvard Student Agencies, the largest student-run business in the world, before going to Goldman Sachs. Lauren is an experienced entrepreneur, investor and advisor to companies and non-profits.
Both knew that working to reduce malnutrition would have a lasting impact on the lives of children. While NGOs and generous donors were making a difference, Will and Lauren believed that translating ordinary purchases into specific donations of meals could make an even greater impact on the lives of children.



I tried each bar and love the ingredients.  Located right here in my own back yard (San Francisco) Two Degrees is a must on my list. I am happy to share some with you.
 
 
 
I still have the head band from http://www.sweatybands.com/en .  Still loving my Sweaty Band and I am adding this one to the giveaway.  You know with the holiday season approaching in a few months, these would make great "stocking stuffers".....:)

Wow, what a fun Giveaway.  I am so looking forward to sending this package off to the lucky winner over at www.facebook.com/fitnessmomwinecountry . If you want to win, you need to email me at fitnessmom2895@gmail.com with 100 words or less of how Fitnessmom has been an important part of your journey.

Wednesday, August 22

Summer Skin

I know we are heading into Fall season soon, but Summer is still here and well even with the cloudy, over-cast mornings, we still need to watch and pay attention to our skin.  Now a days there are so many warnings and products and info out there about how to take care of and treat our skin.  Things I wish I would have known and paid more attention to years ago.  Growing up at Lake Tahoe as a kid and spending pretty much every day outdoors, either at the beach, swimming in the lake, playing at the Truckee river, or winter and being on skis all day long.  It just never really dawned on us about the sun and damage it can do. 


Then growing older and those teen years and young adult thinking that no way was the sun going to do anything wrong.  Heck no, we could be outside all day at someones pool, or the ocean, beach, whatever. We were invincible when it came to the sun.   Heck I remember the days of laying poolside with my girlfriends and soaking up the "rays" with Johnson's Baby Oil of all things.  Good lord!

Then I had my own kids and really started to pay attention and started noticing and listening to more stories about the sun and skin cancer.  What?  Oh no, not my babies.  So then I became the mom with every bag having sunscreen packed in it, even the car had sunscreen.  My kids were always wearing it and still do.  Did my mom ever think about sending me to school with sunscreen on?  Why would she?

During my 30's I really started to become more aware of my own skin and face.  But yet still had that "oh I have plenty of time" attitude and randomly just swiped on some sun screen here and there.  Like it was a must for me to take care of my children's faces but not mine.  Well now I am middle 40's and that last few years have really been an "eye opener" for me.  I am constantly looking at my skin and every line or age spot.  Kicking myself for not being concerned earlier on.  Spending time outdoors with hiking and running and still enjoying the pool, I have become an avid sunscreen wearer.  Not only sunscreen, but have now made a point of taking the time to see my aesthetician as often as I can. 

I found that it is NOT too late.  Taking care of my skin is of the utmost importance and since I don't really splurge on many other things, then my skin it is.  Thanks to Amber at http://amberroseskincare.com/ I know that I can take care of my skin at this age and with any season.  Along with using the right products and her knowledge, I can get through summer, fall and winter and still enjoy all my outdoor activities and age gracefully.  Of course it would be nice to stay as young looking as possible. :)

Rhonda Allison is my choice of skin care line and I have never been happier.  Sure I shop and pick up my Neutrogena at the market, or my Oil of Olay because my (beautiful) grandmother, who is now in her 90's always had her bottle of Olay on her vanity and as a young girl I would sit and watch her apply her makeup telling her that "when I grew up I wanted to be a beautiful as her".  But for keeping my skin on a regimen I love my Rhonda Allison products.  http://www.rhondaallison.com/index.html


Of course I have a few of my favs. like the Citrus Gel Cleanser because it is super light and without needing alot of product, it foams up really easy and can clean my entire face.  The Pumpkin cleanser makes me think of the holidays every time I use it and will be heading in to see Amber for my Pumpkin facial come the fall season.  The Amino Peptide Moisturizer is my every day and must, must have and I love the Retinol Supreme I have used for small break outs due to hormones, which has worked wonders within two days.  I love and must have my Brightening Cream, hello the name says it all.

Go check out the links and learn more about Rhonda Allison and her products.  Amber is located here in Sonoma, however she does ship and you can follow her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmberRoseSkinandBody.  It is so important to take care of our skin and there is no time better than now.



Tuesday, August 21

Indian Style ....Winecountry Way

I don't know what it is about Indian-style food that just makes me think "romantic".  Maybe the blending of all the different ingredients, all the colors, and the amazing aroma while cooking it.  That along with a good bottle of wine, and candles lit in every room makes for a great "date night" with the hubby.  Sure we can go out for a dinner downtown or even head somewhere up Napa Valley, but nothing is more fun than either creating an "original" or  re-creating a recipe that I find and we make it our own by tweeking it.


I had happen upon a recipe in one of my food magazines and right away started looking through the cabinets knowing that I must have most if not all the ingredients here at the house, and if not....no worries, I just do what I normally do, I call my hubby and give him the  (please) "pick up needed ingredients" list on the way home from work.  Oh and then while reciting the list, inform him of the cool dinner we are having that night.

Now before I sound like I am home doing nothing but waiting, I am preparing dinner for the kids and getting them fed and cleaning those dishes (you must start a dinner with a clean kitchen you know) and because "date night" dinner means just the two of us, no kids. Although they always giggle and laugh when they know mom and dad are on a date at home.

Indian-style veggie curry is on the menu tonight and when I say winecountry way, it is because we add a bottle of Pinot Grigio to the meal and instead of using basmati rice, we are cooking halibut.

Ingredients for this is are:

2 tbls canola oil
1 large yellow onion (diced)
4 medium cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbls fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
1 tbls ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 tbls tomato paste
2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
sea salt
fresh ground pepper



As luck would have it we have a saffron in the house (imported) this is a very expensive spice, and use it in rare occasions. We replaced the turmeric with the saffron in this recipe.


4 cups of cauliflower florets
1 lb sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed) about 3 cups
2 medium tomatoes (cored and seeded and chopped) bout 1 1/2 cups
2 large carrots (peeled and cut) about 1 cup
1 15 oz can fo chickpeas (rinse and drain)
4 oz fresh baby spinach
2 tbls lime juice
1 tsp lime zest (finely grated)
2 tbls fresh cilantro (chopped)




I don't own a dutch oven but a heavy stock pot works just fine.  This recipe is done in steps and I find that it works well with me reading off the "how to" while sipping my wine and my hubby stirring and watching the boil....:)

Add onion to the oil and cook stirring occasionally until starting to turn brown.  About 3-4 mins. Reduce and cook until browned. Add the garlic, ginger and stir for about a minute to blend the flavors.  Add the coriander, cumin and turmeric (in our case the saffron), stir for 30 seconds to "toast" the spices.  Add the tomato paste and stir again until all is well blended with the aromatics for about a min.
Now I forgot to mention in the intro, that this recipe is one that needs patience and time.  Each step is to be done accordingly and like I said, the aromas are amazing as it comes together.


*Note* I always keep the ginger in the freezer so it is easier to grate and stays fresh longer.


Adding the chicken or veggie broth now, the coconut milk (which by the way if you don't have try  using almond milk as a substitute) add the cinnamon stick, the sea salt and pepper in just a pinch each.  Bring all this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave for about 10 mins.



Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots.  Bring the heat up again to a boil, then reduce it back to a simmer and cover and let cook for about 25 mins until the veggies are tender.  Then discard the cinnamon stick.

Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, lime juice and the lime zest and cook until the spinach has wilted (about 3 mins).  Season with salt if desired.



Normall this meal would go over some rice, however we wanted to add a some protein to the dish so halibut was it.  Of course this is a meal alone with any rice or fish, it's totally up to you.
Season the halibut with garlic, paprika and EVOO.  Cook/sear and finish in the oven.



Once the fish is done, plate and serve all together.


This dinner was a task for sure, but so fun and turned out amazing.  Date night was a success again.  I hope you give it a try and take the time to go through the steps.  Enjoy :)

Tuesday, August 14

I have a Pear and a Plum...Let's have some fun..

So school starts this week and I am in need of a produce and veggie run to the market.  But what I have in the house will have to do, so looking in the drawer of the fridge and the fruit bowl on the counter I asked myself...."what can I do tonight"?  Well the first thing I can do is call my hubby (as usual) at work and let him know that I am in the creative process again and I need some help. Without hesitation, my wonderful hubby put my mind at ease and told me to just relax and wait until he got home (in other words, not to worry). 

I knew once again, we were going to have some fun in the kitchen and I had a plan that would incorporate the one plum and one pear sitting in the fruit bowl.  So with that said, I poured a glass of wine and waited.

This is Chicken With Pear and Plum Chutney....

You will need the following :

*Chicken Breast
*Fresh Rosemary
*Plum
*Pear
*OJ 1/2 cup (just because of the sugar)
*Red Bell Pepper 1/2 chopped
*Grated Fresh Ginger 1 teaspoon (granulated could work if you don't have fresh)
*Garlic minced 1/2 teaspoon (granulated if not fresh)
*Onion yellow 1/2 chopped
*EVOO 2 tablespoons
*White Wine 1/4 cup (whatever you might have open) OR just open a bottle and pour yourself a glass :)
*Cumin 1/2 teaspoon
*Cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon
*Sea Salt to taste



Over medium heat in a saucepan add your EVOO, garlic, onion and bell pepper.  Saute for about 5 - 10 mins.  Then add your plum, pear, OJ, wine and spices.  Bring all this to a boil, then turn down to a summer for about 1/2 hour until mixture becomes soft.  Remove from heat and let cool for a few, then add to your blender and blend for about 30 secs.



While your "Chutney" mixture is simmering for the half hour, sear your chicken breast and season with sea salt, then finish off in the oven still in the pan.  Once the chicken is cooked, sprinkle chopped fresh rosemary on it and drizzle with chutney.  Serve with butternut squash chips and sliced green apples.


Butternut squash chips...slice squash thin and place in bowl with EVOO and sea salt.  Mix and place in baking dish, and cook at 450 degrees for about 30 min.  Take out and let stand to get firm.  These were so sweet and needed nothing on them, they make a great snack to make and place into a container to have as a grab and go.

If you make this or any of the recipes, I would love to hear your feedback and how it turned out. :)




Wednesday, August 8

No Mom, Not the Meatballs.....

I guess I am just "old school" when it comes to comfort dinners.  You know like stew (only I do veggie because we don't eat red meat) OR meatloaf, no NOT the meatloaf that Alice made from the Brady Bunch episodes (remember those)?  But lean turkey meatloaf.  Well not tonight, not meatloaf, but my next fav thing to get creative with are my Turkey Meatballs.  Oh how I love hiding stuff in them and just love the excitement from the kids when I tell them I am making them.  Okay so that is a small exaggeration.  But here is my thought process, they are outside running and playing so hard that they will be hungry enough to eat anything I put in front of them.
 
Wrong!  "No mom, not again".  "Don't put all that stuff in them".  Followed with, "shhhshh, I don't want to hear it", "now go and play until dinner is done".  Time for mom to get to work.  I have come to realize that my turkey meatballs are like snowflakes, no not nearly as pretty or delicate as snowflakes, but in a way that they are never the same twice because I am always coming up with something new and different to do with them.

Turkey Meat Balls (tonight's version)

Lean Ground Turkey
Mushrooms
Onion
Carrots
Fresh Basil
Bulgar
Sea Salt
Low Sodium Beef or Chicken Broth
Panko Bread Crumbs
EVOO



Cut veggies and fresh basil into small chunks and add to food processor with some EVOO. Pulse until desired size (this might take a few steps so not to overload your food processor), also the EVOO is liquid you need to help the processing and flavor.  Add all the veggies to the lean ground turkey and set aside.  Cook about a cup of Bulgar (if cooked in broth you get more flavor).  Add the bulgar to the turkey mixture. Add the Panko bread crumbs.  Make your meatballs.



 Adding mushrooms and bulgar to the meatballs act as a you meaty "glue" so to speak, with these you don't need to add egg or crushed crackers or bread crumbs.  Panko are a Japanesse style breadcrumb with a better texture and no fat or cholesterol and with only 1 gram of sugar per 1/2 cup.  These are always my first choice for cooking.



Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour OR until they reach an internal temp of 165 degrees.



Serve with pasta or just serve with a pesto sauce or marinara sauce.  These are a meal just by themselves.  Enjoy

Tuesday, August 7

Just Ginger

Since I tend to use Ginger alot in my recipes and smoothies, I thought I would give it a shout out.



One of my "must haves" in the house is my  fresh Ginger.  Keeping it in the freezer makes is so much easier to grate when I need it for whatever I am making.  It also keeps it much longer this way.  Just peel the skin off the ginger and use a microplane to grate what you need.

Not only is Ginger good for helping to ease colds and flu symptoms, it is great for nausea, motion sickness and  morning sickness.   Helps relieve muscle aches and pains, helps poor circulation and arthritic pain.  Ginger is an amazing source of nutrients and essential vitamins, along with being a great source of minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and copper.

Red and White Ginger Plants
 

Ginger is known to contain all of the following:

1) Calcium
2) Carbohydrate
3) Dietary Fiber
4) Iron
5) Magnesium
6) Manganese
7) Potassium
8) Protein
9) Selenium
10) Sodium
11) Vitamin C, E and B6

Adding Ginger to rice with some fresh garlic and fresh cilantro is a super easy and quick meal, squeeze some lime ontop.


Most smoothies of mine have some grated Ginger, especially my "orange" colored smoothies. 


Fresh Nectarine
Banana
One Orange
Spoonful of ground flax seed
1/2 cup Almond Milk (0 sugar)
Fresh grated Ginger
Ice
Blend

You can make this to your liking, the serving size I did was enough for one full glass. The 0 sugar almond milk is key, the ingredients in the smoothie make this sweet enough and of course has natural sugar in it.  Enjoy :)