Viewing posts from: July 2015

Creativity with Cauliflower + Recipes

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

For many years I overlooked, ignored & completely neglected the amazing vegetable known as cauliflower. At first glance this boringly white & oddly shaped cruciferous veggie seemed to simply be a garnish added to a cheap vegetable tray. Nothing like cold, raw cauliflower to turn most people off adding it to the grocery cart. However over the past year I have found it to be one of the most versatile veggies, boasting a tons of unknown health benefits.

A Closer Look at Cauliflower Nutrition:

  • Nutrition Stats: 1 cup cooked = 29 calories.
  • Vitamin & Mineral Content: a serving contains 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
  • Brain Benefits: a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development.
  • Detox Properties: includes antioxidant nutrients to boost Phase 1 detoxification activities and sulfur-containing nutrients to boost Phase 2 activities.
  • Digestive Support: contains 9 grams of fiber for every 100 calories.
  • Additional Health Links: includes anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting & cardiovascular improving properties.
Recipes to Try:
  • Mashed Cauliflower: I love mashed cauliflower as a creamy side dish to any main meal. We use this basic method & mix it up by adding different herbs, cheeses & additional seasonings for any occasion.
florets

Step 1: Cut head of cauliflower into florets.

Step 2: Add to boiling, salted water.

Step 2: Add to boiling, salted water.

Step 3: Cook until fork tender, 5-7 minutes. Drain & add to bowl.

Step 3: Cook until fork tender, 5-7 minutes.

Step 4: Blend in bowl w/ immersion blender. Add salt, pepper & additional ingredients to taste. (we love garlic, parmesan or goat cheese)

Step 4: Blend in bowl w/ immersion blender. Add salt, pepper & additional ingredients to taste. We love garlic or goat cheese!

mashedplated

Step 5: Enjoy! We ate this goat cheese mashed cauliflower w/ pork tenderloin & green beans.

  • Shepherd's Pie: We use this mashed cauliflower dish to top a basic shepherd's pie recipe, which is posted here. It's a great way to lighten up a heavy dish plus add additional vegetables to your day.
Shepherd's Pie - 1/2 with cheese, 1/2 without.

Shepherd's Pie - 1/2 with cheese, 1/2 without.

Sherperd's Pie served with sauteed kale. My fav!

Sherperd's Pie served with sauteed kale. My fav!

  • Cauliflower Rice/Cous Cous: This is another fun way to cook cauliflower that takes a short amount of time to throw together. I love this method as it can easily be seasoned to go with any flavor profile you are aiming for.

Here is our basic how to:

Step 1: Chop head of cauliflower into florets.

Step 1: Chop head of cauliflower into florets.

Step 2: Add florets to food processor.

Step 2: Add florets to food processor.

Step 3: Process into rice sized pieces. Tip: don't over process, as it's good to have the texture.

Step 3: Process into rice sized pieces. Tip: don't over process, as it's good to have the texture.

Step 4: Heat up a saute pan over medium heat & add riced cauliflower. Cook for 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness. We usually saute onion & garlic before adding cauliflower. Add salt & pepper to taste & serve!

Step 4: Heat up a saute pan over medium heat & add riced cauliflower. Cook for 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness. We usually saute onion & garlic before adding cauliflower. Add salt & pepper to taste & serve!

~ Additional cauliflower rice flavor combos to try out:

Lemon & Garlic: Lemon adds a fresh punch to any recipe. This paired amazingly with simple grilled chicken & sauteed asparagus.

Spanish Rice: Looking to lighten up a mexican meal at home? Give this a try! We served a side with steak fajitas & the must have homemade guacamole.

Fried Rice: Making an asian style stir fry but want to skip the rice or increase the vegetables on the plate? Sub in this fried rice style cauliflower to round out the meal.

  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust: We made the infamous low-carb pizza crust a couple of times & really enjoyed the final product. We followed the recipe here & added our own his & her topping combos of preference. Cooking tips: Get as much moisture out of the riced cauliflower as possible & go light on the toppings. Too much cheese & heavy toppings will weigh down the delicate crust.
His & her toppings of 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 sausage & peppers.

His & her toppings of 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 sausage & peppers.

  • More Fun Way to Enjoy Cauliflower:

Cracklin Cauliflower: a flavorful curried version, roasted with tons of taste.

Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup: a great way to warm you up in the winter months.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: a fun way to entertain a crowd with a healthy twist.

Cauliflower Steak w/ Chimichurri: an eye catching dish that pleases a dinner party.

 Question: Any favorite ways you have enjoyed getting creative with cauliflower?

Weekly Recap – Food, Fitness & New Goals!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Recap Uncategorized

The past week has certainly been a busy one with some definite highlights & challenges. I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite weekly recipes, workouts & just daily happenings. Here is a peak into my weekly routine:Meal Plan: We always put together a weekly meal plan prior to going grocery shopping. This has become a standard part of our Sunday routine, which I kind of adore. We have fun with it looking through recipes, magazines & cookbooks. At least when we have the time & feel like doing so. We usually stick to it fairly closely but life happens so we adjust where needed.1509797_511151369038122_993562066922873960_nNotable Eats:

Sweet Potato Bowl: This is one of my favorite combinations I make on a regular basis. No matter how many times I've had it I always find myself saying "yum" with each bite. I chop & roast sweet potato in delicious coconut oil. Saute some kale, throw in a bowl w/ sweet potato & crumbled goat cheese. Then simply top it with a sunny side up egg & it's a bowl full of happiness.

sweetpotatobowlimage1Fish Tacos: We stuck to the menu on Sunday & threw together some easy but tasty tacos. We used frozen cod that we simply seasoned & tossed in the oven. I also made quick pickled red onions & jalapenos from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine. These turned out great & I used them for multiple meals throughout the week. Love that magazine! We topped the tacos w/ the pickled veg, avocado, tomato & a spicy yogurt sauce (frank's hot + plain greek). On the side we enjoyed a cabbage lime slaw which is oh so easy. Recipe to come!

fish tacosimage1Good Ole Turkey Sandwich: Yes I know, why is a turkey sandwich notable eats? For me, I eliminated gluten from my diet a few years ago due to digestive issues. I initially ate a good bit of gluten free replacements but soon realized they were often less healthy then the original & not very good. Therefore sandwiches don't happen much in my world. I truly don't miss them but every once in a while the craving hits. So in my post-workout window I grabbed some gf bread, applegate turkey, kerrygold cheese & lots of dijon for a much enjoyed sandwich. Plus a salad for extra veg.

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Workouts:

Sunday - Power Yoga Basics Class: I have been making it a priority to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine. I'll be honest, this doesn't always happen. I am hit or miss on my love for yoga & usually choose a lifting session or run over sweating it out on the mat. However I never regret going & have to remind myself how good the stretch feels afterward. Yay for making it this week, my body & brain was appreciative.2015-06-07 11.32.51Monday: Leg Day - I try to start my week off with my more challenging workouts. The reason being I have more energy early in the week as opposed to on a Thursday afternoon. I find that quite common with clients as well so I front load my workouts to leave me room for flexibility based on energy as the week wanes on. Something you might consider! This workout included movements such as barbell squats, lying leg curls, hyper extensions, leg press, bulgarian split squats & a little core. Tough!

Tuesday: Run + Upper Body - I woke up super early with time to kill so squeezed in a 2 mile run before training clients. I want to work on increasing my running endurance again but I'm starting off slow. That afternoon I took a break from work to lift some heavy weights & set them back down. My fav! This compound day included pull ups, push ups, bench press, barbell rows, farmer's walk & a few other movements thrown in the mix. I'm having shoulder issues so having to be cautious which makes me less then enthusiastic on these days. I love training shoulder..boo!runimage1

Wednesday: Cardio Intervals + Arms - I was able to hop right out of bed & hit the gym, my preferred method of training. I did 30 minutes of intervals on the step machine which I find quite boring but cardio accomplished. I then hit some bicep & tricep action via dumbbells before heading home for a long puppy walk. Nothing too strenuous, as every day doesn't need to be full throttle fitness.

Thursday: Leg Day 2 - I am working hard on my legs so today was round 2 for the week. I used some of those booty moves I posted in a previous blog along with paused squats, deadlifts, lunges & more core action. I felt a bit tired today as per usual on a Thursday so kept the weights lighter but higher rep. Love leg days even when I am tired!2015-06-11 16.21.20-6

Friday: HIIT - I did a 25 minute circuit that was quite challenging. It included sprints, dumbbells & a lot of body weight moves such as burpees & lunges. I was huffing & puffing throughout but tried to limit my rest time as much as possible. These workouts should not be done everyday & it's important to work yourself up to higher intensity levels. However they can be an awesome addition to any program & are a great way to get in a time efficient workout. Plus they keep me from getting bored which is always a plus.

Saturday: OUT OF TOWN - We went to Knoxville for a good friends wedding this weekend. I didn't worry about any formal workout but we did walk a LOT. My favorite way to stay active & see a new city while on vacation. I also knew we had rock climbing & a hike on the agenda for the next day so extra rest was just what my body needed.

Plus as always I enjoyed lots of walks with my partner in crime throughout the week. Obsessed..2015-06-17 08.41.08-2Travel + 4th of July: As mentioned we enjoyed a lovely weekend in Knoxville Tennessee to celebrate a friend's wedding. I haven't been to the Knoxville area since I was a kid but had heard great things about the food & outdoor scene. I love searching out new restaurants while traveling & seek a menu that is unique. We do our best to avoid any chain restaurants because what' the fun in that. Although yes I do fall victim to the road trip Chick-fil-a in a pinch. I like their new grilled nuggets as a dipping device for the array of tasty yet less than healthy sauces.

11054399_962367262056_5865018844922753982_nThe wedding itself was beautiful & we had a blast celebrating the occasion. I have to get better at taking a few worthy foodie photos while traveling, as we enjoyed a few notable meals. We also greatly enjoyed the dinner at the wedding which included a delicious fruit & cheese table during the cocktail hour. I loved the soft brie & could have easily enjoyed just a plate of cheese for dinner. However I did take full advantage of the delicious dinner buffet filled with colorful roasted veggies, potatoes, green salad, lime chicken & steak. Not bad options in terms of staying fairly healthy right?

2014-09-20 08.16.21The whole wedding weekend made me feel quite nostalgic & I couldn't help but reminisce about my wedding, which is coming up on a 1 year anniversary. It blows my mind how time flies as I feel like I just met this guy, much less have already been married a year. <3

Back Home + July-August Goals:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past month of travels, celebrations & special occasions. That's what summer is for right? However I  have to admit to being ready to get back to my routine. A few too many meals out, extra glasses of wine & skipped workouts leaves me feeling a little less than on top of my game. Everything goes through seasons & I am ramping up for a back on track late summer session.

Training: I'm planning on starting a new training program focused primarily on building strength in my squat. While I exercise for a wide range of reasons I like setting a goal to train for. It drives my motivation to put in the hard work & seeing results feels worth every early workout session. This months goals are specific & I am excited to check them off my weekly list to stay accountable:

- 2x per week squat focused workouts. (heavy, light, back & front squats are all tools)

- 2x per week outdoor runs. (I have missed running & want to ease back into it for fun!)

- Stretch for 10 minutes a day, my hardest habit to maintain!

you-are-what-you-eatNutrition: I have no proclamations of doing a diet, detox or any other temporary quick fix plan. I simply want to focus on being mindful, adding food back in that make me feel good & getting creative in the kitchen. Nutrition goals this month include:

- Try one new recipe based on an in season ingredient every week.

- Save wine for the weekends, aiming for 2-3 glasses total each week.

- Make 1/2 my plate non-starchy vegetables at 2 meals per day. Love those greens!

I plan to check back in next month on how I did with these goals, how I tracked them & set new ones. Anyone else care to join the monthly goal challenge?

What are your goals nutrition & fitness goals this month?

5 Tips for 4th of July Healthy Eating + Flavorful Recipes

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Mindset Nutrition Recipes

Designs-by-Serendipity-Fourth-of-July-Poster-Image-2Fireworks, sunshine & finger food galore! Time flies & somehow the 4th of July weekend is only a few days away. I personally love this holiday, as it's a wonderful time in history to celebrate & a great reason to throw a backyard bash! This means firing up the grill or bringing over a dish to mingle with friends over a large buffet of food & drinks.These types of weekends use to bring me major anxiety! Anytime I was working hard to stick to a healthy eating goal I would stress about what to eat & how I could avoid going overboard. As much self control as I thought I had acquired, there is always the table with 10 different desserts. How do you pick just one? Plus after a fruity cocktail or two my "oh well" attitude would slide in & my choices usually went downhill from there.

(Backyard Bliss)

(Backyard Bliss)

Now that's not to say there is anything wrong with indulging a bit on a holiday weekend. To me it's all about who are you & what are your goals! How does that type of gathering effect your psychologically?- If you enjoy 2 slices of cake are you guilt ridden the next day or do you shrug it off & get back to your green smoothie for breakfast?- Are you at a healthy weight, active & just trying to maintain? Then maybe it's not something to even worry about. As you shouldn't go around feeling stressed about food choices if you already have healthy habits 85% of the time.- However if you are working towards a goal to lose weight for health reasons or really struggle with binge eating to the point of discomfort, then it's far more important to have some strategies going in.SMART-goalsAgain it's about what unique goals you have, not one size fits all. For me personally I don't mind an extra treat or two as long as I really enjoy them. I strive to eat mindfully & I not overdue it to the point of feeling sick. As we have all had that long lasting belly ache from ignoring our hunger cues & stuffing down an extra scoop of ice cream or two...oops!4th of July

1. Have a Plan: I don't mean you need to plan ahead every bite you are going to eat. Just having some goals going into the event will give you some parameters to work within. For myself, I may have the goal of sticking with 2 drinks while having a glass of water in between. I often share that goal with my husband to help hold me accountable. This at least helps to keep me mindful of my choices, slow down & enjoy what I am actually consuming. Other great goals may be to skip the one dish you know triggers less than healthy choices, only eat one carby side dish or choose one dessert. Even if your Make a Plangoal is to simply be mindful of when you are full, that may be a victory you will feel proud of!

2. Bring a Dish: I don't enjoy being stuck at a BBQ with all fried foods, mac & cheese or mayo filled potato salads. While some of those may be enjoyed, I do prefer having a fresh salad, veggies or fruit to snack on along the day. My solution? Bring what you enjoy eating! No one is going to complain about an extra dish on the table & often times the lighter fair becomes the hit of the party on a hot day. Choose a recipe you are excited to eat & not just another bland veggie tray. This will make you more likely to fill up on the good stuff & steer clear of foods that don't fit your goals.

3. Indulge in the Homemade: This is always a factor in my decision making process when I hit an event. There is a major flavor difference between the store bought 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies & that made from scratch delicious dessert. Why waste it on the foods you can grab from the store any day of the week? I am much more likely to sample a dish I know is phenomenal which I don't get the opportunity to eat often, versus the slightly stale cookie cake that's always available. In short...be picky!!!

(Look for a local race!)

(Look for a local race!)

4. Start the Day with a Workout: The reason I recommend starting the day with a workout is not about trying to burn off the extra calories you are planning to consume. As I'm not a big fan of working out to negate overdoing the eating. Guess what..that doesn't work! However the reason I love working out on a day I have a social gathering is I typically make better decisions. After a good workout in the morning I am more likely to focus on refueling my body for recovery & getting myself ready for the next. Therefore I naturally lean towards a few less drinks & a bit more healthy protein throughout the day. Plus I typically feel a bit better in the outfit I plan to wear after a good sweat session;)

5. Relax: We often get so wrapped up being afraid we might fail, that we set ourselves up for disaster. All that pressure is giving WAY too much control to the food around us. Look at your motivation, goals, have a plan & enjoy the experience. These events are about the people, fun & memories made along the way. Let the food stress take a backseat where it belongs!

The good news? Fourth of July grilling can be both incredibly tasty & super nutritious! Why settle for one with you can have both. Check out a few of my favorite simple meal ideas plus recipes from around the web:hummus-stuffed-strawberries-Healthy-4th-of-July-Recipes-Your-Family-will-LoveCelebrate the 4th - Healthy Recipes:

Lettuce Wrap Burger: Enjoy all the goodness of a burger, just lighten it up by skipping the bun. Either grab a fork & go at it or stuff it in a crunchy lettuce wrap. Choose toppings like tomato, pickles, caramelized onions, mustard & a touch of ketchup to add tons of flavors without too much extra unhealthy fat.

Lettuce Burger w/ Grilled Asparagus

Lettuce Burger w/ Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Romaine Salad: Cut a whole romaine lettuce heart in half & toss on the grill flat side down. Get a quick char & top with fresh parmesan cheese plus a light drizzle of healthy caesar, balsamic or favorite salad dressing for a fun twist on a summer salad.

Chunky Greek Salad: I love this cool salad during the hot summer month. It has tons of flavor & textures that always makes it a huge party hit. I chop up chunky cucumber, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, chunky feta, kalamata olives & an olives oil dressing with red wine vinegar. Salt & pepper to taste & you are ready to serve.

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Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

Fresh Cut Fruit + Yogurt Dip: Everyone wants a sweet treat so if you are trying to skip the heavy desserts, this is for you. Choose whatever fruit is in season (berries are my favorite) & serve with a side of vanilla greek yogurt. I love making my own dip by using plain greek yogurt & adding fun mix ins such as peanut flour, vanilla/almond extract & cocoa powder.

Lightened Up Mojito: I have a weakness for a fruity summer cocktail, especially the delicious mint mojito. The way I enjoy a lighter version is muddling mint, raspberries & stevia. Then adding club soda & vodka for a flavorful mixed drink that is a MUCH better choice than the high calorie super sugary margarita. PS mixed drinks can be anywhere from 300-800 calories PER DRINK. Don't waste all your hard work on one beverage.

From the Web:

Potato Recipes:

- Potato Salad with Herbs & Summer Squash

- Quick & Easy Mustard Potato Salad

- Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

- Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Entree Ideas:

- Simple Grilled Lemon Chicken

- Chili Lime Turkey Burgers

- Grilled Balsamic Pork Chops

- Foil Packet Grilled Fish

(Greek Broccoli Salad - From Cookie & Kate)

(Greek Broccoli Salad - From Cookie & Kate)

Healthy Salads, Sides & Such:

- Greek 7 Layer Dip

- Strawberry & Avocado Spinach Salad

- Coleslaw with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

- Greek Broccoli Salad

Skinny Margarita (from Robb Wolf)

Skinny Margarita (from Robb Wolf)

Desserts & Beverages:

- Patriotic Parfait

- Grilled Peaches

- Norcal Margarita

- Lightened Up Mojito

Your turn! What's your favorite summer gathering dish?