September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Living in Texas the weather does not cool off until the end of Octoberish but I'm so ready for Fall. It's the time of the year I can't get enough of the seasonal treats, especially pumpkin and especially pumpkin pie! I also love this time of year because it brings about the best holidays... speaking of which... I need to start decorating for Halloween and on a more exciting note Starbucks welcomes back their seasonal favorites too.

Ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is saved for special occasions since I can't bring myself to spend $5 on a coffee and with the weather still in the 90s it's hard to justify that price. Starbucks is something I rarely treat myself to so I'm grateful I have a very generous boss who often treats us to Starbucks and I can indulge without the guilt. Of course when I say indulge I mean order a grande nonfat and no whip. Still not the best nutritionally speaking.

Pumpkins are filled with complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin A.

Whip up this pumpkin pie smoothie and enjoy a guilt free treat for breakfast like I did or a grab and go treat. Tastes like the pumpkin pie filling without the crust. Just a heads up I did not add the 1 tsp cinnamon since I did not have it on hand and it ended up being perfectly spiced from the pumpkin pie spice and ginger. The recipe below produces a thick shake, like I'm talking stick to your ribs thick. I prefer a smoothie that I don't have to work so hard to get through a straw looking like a fish. Next time I'll thin it out by adding more almond milk. The best thing about smoothies is that they can be adapted to suit your tastes.

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, canned or freshly cooked
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 -1 cup almond milk, depending on how thick you like it.
  • 1/2 scoop (approximately 2 tsp) vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of ground ginger
And Action:

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

September 29, 2013

Carrot Apple Grape Juice

I have been turned on to juicing since watching the documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Once a week I try to do a one day juice cleanse. Usually on a Monday since Sundays are usually my free day to eat what I want. I can easily justify splurging on items that promote healthy living such as my Breville Juice Fountain.

I feel so good after drinking homemade juices and the taste... oh the taste! So delicious! No additives and all natural. I'm always looking for new flavor combinations to try. After browsing the grocery ads to see what's on sale for the week I'll search the Internet for new recipes or stick to the combinations I already love. My favorite juices tend to contain beets and carrots.

Carrot juice is sweet which is surprising to me because sometimes when I munch on baby carrots they can taste bitter. Carrots are great for your liver, digestive tract and eye sight. One of the richest sources of Vitamin A. It's also concentrated in Vitamins D, C, E, K, B1, and B6.

Apple juice is high in antioxidants and great for your lungs and eye sight. Rich in potassium, improves intestine function, maintains lower levels of cholesterol, and helps to clean the kidneys and liver.

Grape juice is also high in antioxidants and vitamins.

When you need an extra boost of energy consider this instead of a caffeine jolt.

Makes about 30 oz

Stars of the Show:
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 fuji apples
  • 1 cup red grapes
And Action:

Core the apples. Run all of the ingredients through the juicer. Stir and serve over ice or chill in the fridge. 

September 28, 2013

Capellini with Pine Nuts, Sundried Tomatoes, and Chicken

There is no need for a high fat cream or butter sauce with this pasta because it is packed full of flavor from sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil. Your waistline will thank you.

(Photo from Prevention)

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 4 oz whole wheat capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 3 oz sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz chicken breast tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
And Action:

Prepare pasta per package directions without adding salt. 
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat while pasta cooks. Season chicken with salt. Add chicken, garlic, and red-pepper flakes to skillet. Cook, stirring, until garlic turns golden, 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is completely cooked.
Drain pasta, add to skillet, and toss. Add basil and toss. Divide pasta equally among 4 bowls and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. Top with more basil, if desired.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 387
Protein: 22g
Carbohydrates: 36g
Fiber: 6g
Fat: 19g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 33mg
Sodium: 562mg

September 19, 2013

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bars

I've been trying to eat healthy and get myself back on track. This has been a struggle for me the past two years. Yo-yo dieting and not committing to working out. I've turned into that person who makes excuses. Sigh. Who have I become?

A coworker invited me to join her do a half marathon coming up in March. Without hesitation I said, "Of course!" I can't even run a mile without gasping for air. What the hell was I thinking? I could register now and save money but I have anxiety about not being able to finish and haven't fully committed. I have serious commitment issues.

Granola bars are a go to in our household for breakfast. Because I have to juggle many things in the morning opening a wrapper and pouring a glass of milk is a no brainer, however, in the back of my mind I know I'm not providing the best nutrition for my son or myself.

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner... Healthy & Low Calorie posted about Healthy Oatmeal Banana Cookies and I knew I had to give these a try since I had everything on hand. Being in a healthy mindset meant that I had to change the name from cookie to bar because serving a cookie for breakfast doesn't sound right and I have that fear of my son going to school and telling his teacher that mommy feeds him cookies for breakfast.

The base for these bars is made up of two simple ingredients. Oatmeal and bananas. You can get as creative as you'd like with mix ins. I added flaked coconut and raw almonds. The end result tasted just like banana bread. You could also swap pureed pumpkin in place of the banana. This is a breakfast option I felt good about offering to my son. Try these for yourself and taste the difference.

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bars
Makes 6 Bars

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup oatmeal, regular or quick oats
  • 2 bananas
  • mix ins, optional
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mash bananas and stir in oatmeal and optional mix ins. Spoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment  paper. Form the mass into a rectangle about a 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes or until desired crispness. I left mine in for 25 minutes. They will be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

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