Archive | November, 2013

A Sweet Potato Side Dish Your Dinner Guests Will WANT to Eat

23 Nov

No marshmallows here. We all know how much I adore sweet potatoes. We don’t need to revisit the how’s and why’s. Remember last year’s salt baked sweet taters? This even better. *gasp* I know.

20131123-082217.jpg

It’s easier, too. AND healthy. So healthy. I stumbled upon this recipe from paleoOMG after literally googling “sweet potato crockpot.” The only changes I made? I used homemade chicken stock, instead of vegetable stock, because it was already in my fridge and I’m cheap + 4 cloves of garlic instead of 2. Because the only thing I love more than sweet potatoes is garlic. No worries, my purse is full of gum, mints, and Burberry hand cream.

Behold, your no-work turkey day side dish:

-2 large-ish sweet potatoes, chopped
-1/2 sweet onion, diced
-2-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
-1(14oz) can coconut milk – pick one with no fillers, if you can find it. Ingredients: Coconut, water. Check the Thai isle.
-1Tbs dried basil
-Salt and pepper

Put it all in the crockpot for 3 hours on high.
Make yourself a drink. You work too hard.
After 3 hours, dump the contents (careful! Hot!) into your blender/ninja/food processor/vitamix and purée until smooth.
Eat.

20131123-083524.jpg

Goes great with turkey sandwiches. Weird, huh?

Advertisements

A Mini Scoop on Protein Powders

21 Nov

DISCLAIMER: Let me start by saying, no, you don’t NEED to supplement with protein powder. I do because I lift very heavy and my job is physical. I get the majority of my protein from food and for a long time food-only worked for me. I am at a point now where it is difficult to physically eat the amount of food I would need to in order to reach my protein goals. I feel better when I’m getting (roughly) 1g per 1lb of body-weight. That’s me. I encourage you to play around with your macros (fat/protein/carb ratios) to see what works best for you.

Moving on…

There are a lot of protein powders on the market and they’ve all come a LONG way in taste (hello Fit Frappe and Cake Batter!) and texture over the last 10 years. That being said, taste and texture varies depending on the kind of powder you’re using and the brand. Annoying.

There are two basic kinds of protein supplement powders:

Animal
-whey (isolate, concentrate, hydrolysate)
-egg (whites)

Vegetable
-soy
-pea
-cranberry
-hemp

These all vary in taste an texture as much as powders do brand to brand. For me, taste is important, but its not the be all, end all when picking a powder. There are other things to consider.

  1. Is it heat stable? Can I cook with it? Protein pancakes are amazing. Protein blueberry muffins make my knees weak. Yes, these recipes will be posted very soon.
  2. What are the other ingredients? I don’t like using artificial sweeteners and avoid them as much as possible. HOWEVER the ones with a bit of sucralose or aspartame DO taste better, on average. Since artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than sugar, a fairly insignificant amount is used. All in all, it boils down to personal preference and allergies/sensitivities, of course.
  3. Am I sensitive to dairy? Whey is dairy. Make a note.
  4. What am I using this for? What are my goals? Protein powders and not meal-replacements. Sure, you can make a killer meal-replacement smoothie, but don’t drink 3 a day and think you’re doing your body a favor. Protein powders are to be used as supplements. You need real food. Got it? Good.

These are the 3 I have in my house right now.

20131120-173539.jpg
I primarily use Gold Standard ON – which I can make pancakes and muffins with! It’s pure, bare-bones, nothin’ fancy whey isolates and concentrate. AND MY FAVORITE.

Sunwarrior is good, especially for raw-vegan powders, but I’m not crazy about the chocolate. In fact, anyone who wants the giant tub of chocolate can have it. There’s nothing wrong with it, chocolate powders just aren’t my thing – and I knew that going in. Thanks, PMS. $40 lesson learned. I’m a recent-convert to whey, anyway, and very much not vegan, so if you want it let me know.

Honorable mentions: Trader Joe’s Vanilla Whey and Cellucor anything (seriously, if you’re a flavor junkie start here!)

If you want a more in-depth analysis of protein powders, follow the links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey_protein

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/protein.htm

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/whey-protein

http://www.nutritionexpress.com/article+index/authors/mark+g+taylor+ms/showarticle.aspx?articleid=896

http://www.sunwarrior.com/

Do your own research and find what works for you. A lot of places will offer sample sizes if you ask, so experiment!

Have a favorite of your own? Share it!

Now I have to go make those protein-packed blueberry muffins. I started drooling as soon as I typed it. Happy Friday!

Huge Salads. No Dressing Required.

19 Nov

I eat at least 1 salad a day. At least. I love having a monster bowl of veggies – especially for lunch – so if veggies don’t happen later, it’s not a big deal. The 3 I’ve been scarfing lately are probably the best I’ve ever made/eaten. I know I say that a lot, but I mean it this time. Also note: I rarely use salad dressings. My salads have so much goin’ on, they don’t need it 😉

Lentil and Feta

LENTILFETA

  • field greens
  • steamed (cold) lentils
  • sheep’s milk feta (omg I’m obsessed)
  • tomato
  • avocado
  • bell peppers
  • hummus

Spinach Taco Salad

500

  • Mix of spinach and romaine
  • grilled, taco-seasoned, skinless chicken breast (left over from taco night)
  • organic sweet corn
  • tomato
  • sheep’s milk feta
  • sauteed sweet onion
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • drizzle of salsa or hot sauce

Gorgonzola Pear

537

  • Field greens
  • 1 oz crumbled gorgonzola
  • 2 Tbs chopped cashews
  • 1 Tbs of bacon crumbles – HOT
  • 1/2 d’anjou pear, diced

“Salad Bar At Home”

245

  • Mix of field greens and romaine
  • tomatoes
  • red onion
  • organic sweet corn
  • shredded carrots
  • raw sunflower seeds
  • pickled beets
  • yellow bell pepper rings

Now your salads are no longer drowning in dressing. I know. I love Ranch too. But Ranch is not an everyday food.

**A friendly reminder from your personal trainer: Protein is important! Did you lift heavy today? Burn yourself out with some HIIT? Take a long run? Brutal yoga session? Add some grilled chicken breast or a couple scrambled eggs to turn these salads (with the exception of the spinach taco) into full-for-hours meals.

Post-Workout Example: gorgonzola pear WITH whole-grain Rye toast, scrambled eggs (1 whole, 2 whites)

545Happy Tuesday!

Up next: Protein Powders: How to Choose the Right One for You