Work Foods – Chickpea Salad

I have been looking for higher protein low calorie food to take to work for lunch as work tends to be one of my bad eating areas (I can do so well at home but at work in front of a computer all day I seem to be always hungry).

This fresh salad has all of the great veggies that are delicious plus some great protein to keep me more full throughout the day. And its meatless to boot!

This recipe is definitely easy to reduce if needed, which I plan on doing this weekend (I am not sure i can eat it every day!)

Here are the ingredients for a six serving lunch:

1  19oz can of chickpeas (drained)

1/4 of a cup of sliced red onion

2 cups of grape tomoatoes

2 cups of diced cucumber

3/4 cup of a bell pepper – I love red and orange, but green is totally fine as well 🙂

1 avocado

Lemon juice (to keep avocado fresh)

For the dressing:

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

Directions:

Place chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, diced cucumbers and peppers into a bowl.

Cut avocado into cubes and squeeze lemon juice over it to keep from turning.

Refrigerate, and enjoy whenever.

 

Nutrition information: 240 calories per serving (this is an estimate and will vary based on brands of ingredients used)

Fast Food that’s Actually Healthy! – McDonald’s Asian Salad.

mcdssalad
McDonald’s Asian Inspired Salad

McDonald’s is trying to get into the swing of things in terms of the healthy lifestyles. No longer just a budget burger joint; its evolving salad lineup is really taking off. The Asian-inspired salad is currently my go-to at work, because it’s got almost 30 grams of protein from the grilled chicken(do not get the fried) and edamame, 5 grams of fiber from all the veggies(bell peppers, Kale, onions), plus healthy fats from the crunchy nuts. I try to use only ½ of a packet of dressing. This salad is relatively low in sodium and carbs, and tastes great! It’s the perfect fusion of Asian and deliciousness 🙂

Nutrition Breakdown:

Asian Sesame Fusion Grilled Chicken With Only Half a Packet of Dressing
Calories: 315
Fat: 14.5 grams
Carbs: 19 grams
Protein: 26 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Sodium: 470 milligrams

Quick Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Who loves making something healthy and fast after a long day?  In less than 20 minutes, you’ll be eating a healthy meal all in 2 pots. Clean up is a breeze with this meal.

beef2
Makes: 4 servings
Ready in: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon coconut oil, divided into ½ and ½
1 pound boneless round flank steak, cut into thin 3-inch long strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 head of broccoli, florets only chopped
1 medium yellow onion sliced
Brown rice cooked

SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add steak and sauté for 3-5 minutes until no longer pink. Take out of skillet.

  1. In the same pan, add garlic, broccoli, and onion, and the remaining oil, and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the beef back into the pan.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the sauce and pour into pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until everything is fully combined and the mixture is warm.
  4. Serve hot over brown rice.

Chocolate Lava Cake in the Slowcooker

OK, so this isn’t necessarily a “healthy” recipe but I love Chocolate, and cannot pass up an opportunity to try this out for a future pot luck (Making this on On Monday)

Chocolate Lava Cake
Serving of Chocolate Lava Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 package devil’s food cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-2/3 cups water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups cold 2% milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, water, eggs and canola oil. Beat on low speed for combine then on medium for about 2 minutes until well mixed. Add to a greased slow cooker.

In separate bowl whisk pudding mix and milk. Let set for approximately 2 minutes to it starts to set, then spoon this onto the cake mix.

chocolate lava cake prep

Sprinkle with Chocolate chips.

Cover and cook on high for 3 or 4 hours or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve Warm and Enjoy!

 

12 servings

Nutritional Facts

3/4 cup: 215 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated fat), 28mg cholesterol, 254mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.

How To Avoid Unnecessary Stress

If you’ve ever been under stress, you know that uncomfortable feeling that comes along with it. That feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach comes along with stress every time. If you ever want to stop having that feeling, you’re going to have to learn to deal with stress. Here are a few ways to do that.

Try your hardest to keep your stress levels to a minimum. High stress levels are related to many health problems including cardiac problems, hypertension, ulcers, depression and even physical pain. Getting adequate sleep will minimize stress and can even reduce the possibility of getting sick.

Meditation can be a great way for you to relieve stress. Try meditating each night before you go to bed. Turn off anything around you, close your eyes, and clear out your mind. Don’t think about things you need to get done or problems that you need to solve. Just let your mind relax for a little while and focus on each breath. If your mind starts wondering, just bring it back to your breath. Shutting off your brain takes practice, but each practice session is working off your stress.

To help cut down on your stresses, just say no! If you try to do everything that is asked of you, it will quickly cause stress in your life. Set limits and be clear, you cannot please everyone all the time, so stop trying or your stress will continue.

A great tip that can help you keep your stress levels down is to stop procrastinating. If you have projects that need to be completed, you should make sure you finish them on time. Procrastinating might feel comfortable at first, but it will ultimately lead to a lot of stress.

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to help them when they are feeling stressed. When the way someone feels about their life turns entirely negative, substance abuse offers an escape from the pain. Drugs, which include alcohol, are not a solution. Not only does partaking in these substances not help, they can make your life even more complicated – meaning they are not the solution to your problems with stress.

If you feel like you are chronically stressed out or upset than you should consider introducing exercise into your routine. Many people swear by running for stress relief but any kind of heavy exercise will help you to free your mind and will also increase your fitness level at the same time!

Although it seems unimaginable, cutting the stress out of your life is a goal you can achieve. The key to achieving this is making an effort to find out what actually causes stress when it occurs. If you learn your triggers or reasoning, you can adapt and find a solution at the root.

Try giving a friend a call when you’re feeling stressed out. Even if you don’t talk about what’s bothering you, just chatting with a friend for a little while can really relax you. It can rejuvenate you and give you the energy you need to tackle your problems with a clear head.

Spearmint oil is a good stress reliever. Anytime you feel stress settling in, put a bit on your neck and temples. Doing small things such as this can provide a great deal of improvement in your overall mood, so give it a chance!

A great way to help you fight stress is to substitute walking for driving whenever you can. Everyone knows that driving can be a highly stressful activity. You can bypass all of that by simply walking to where you need to go instead. You’ll feel much better and your stress will go down.

A great tip that can help you keep your stress levels down is to stop relying on your alarm clock to wake up in the morning. Waking up to an alarm clock can make you very stressed out. Learning to wake up naturally is a much better alternative to an alarm clock.

To deal with very stressful situations, it can really help to give yourself some distance. See if you can get away for a day or two and go somewhere calm so that you can think about the problem objectively. Being stuck in the thick of a situation makes it difficult to see what a disconnected observer might find obvious.

Make sure that you practice proper money management so that you do not find yourself in a hole when it comes time to pay your bills. Do not spend money on unnecessary items, which will leave you cutting it very close at the end of the month. Proper money management is important to reduce tension and pressures.

If in any way possible, take a short nap during the day when you are feeling stressed. If your body is exhausted, you are sure to feel more susceptible to stress. During sleep, your conscious mind will rest and your unconscious mind can find the solutions to the situations that are causing the stress.

Listening to music can help to reduce the amount of stress that you are feeling. When you feel stressed out, pop your favorite track on, and sit back and focus on the music. This will allow you to break from what you have been focusing on, or what had been stressing you out.

Work Stress

Since work can be such a major source of day-to-day stress, develop your own techniques in order to leave that work stress at the office and out of your home. Whether it’s stopping on the way home to hit a few golf balls, cranking up your favorite music on the radio, or calling a trusted friend or family member, coming up with a method to tackle stress from work will keep your job obligations from invading your home.

Use these tips as a starting point; use them to start dealing with stress in a way that is healthy and positive. By handling stress this way, you’ll be able to lessen the effect stress has on you, including that sinking feeling. Take control of yourself and stress will diminish.

May Challenge – Drink More Water!

Hello Everyone! For May’s challenge I wanted to do something a little differently. While this challenge is not exercised based, I still think it will be quite hard to complete!

drink water

Those who have documented their 30 day challenge noted that they were feeling a little nauseous if they drank too much at once(especially at first), and that their skin within the first few days began to break out due to the water pushing toxins out of their body. But by the second week they began to feel more energy and less bloated from drinking the water. Then on week 3 people actually had a craving for water, so consuming a gallon didn’t seem like a challenge at all.

The major takeaways from this challenge that I have read was, by many, that by the end their skin complexion had improved, they had more energy, and slept better at night. Some also stated that they experienced less headaches and weight loss due to filling up with water every day.

 

Drinking too much water? From Webmd.com-

“In rare cases, drinking an extreme amount in a short time can be dangerous. It can cause the level of salt, or sodium, in your blood to drop too low. That’s a condition called hyponatremia.It’s very serious, and can be fatal. You may hear it called water intoxication.

How much would you have to drink? An enormous amount. Gallons and gallons of water.”

So don’t go overboard!

Print out this list to help you meet your goals!

water challange 2

Simple Cooking Tips And Tricks For Meals That Impress

No one likes the idea of preparing a meal that turns out to be a flop! Everyone needs a little help now and then. So, before you head to the kitchen, read up on some tips that will help you cook food that is not only edible, but spectacularly awesome. Follow these tips to impress your family and guests!!

Season meats evenly. It is important to season all of the meats you are going to be cooking evenly. Sprinkle the seasoning lightly over the meat like it was snowing down on it. This will keep the seasoning even and prevent clumping. The taste will be more consistent all through it.

Did you know that eggplant genders differ in taste? Know the gender of your eggplant! There are both male and female eggplants, and it pays to know the difference. The seeds of an eggplant can be very bitter. A female eggplant’s seeds have a tendency to be more bitter than those of a male eggplant. You can identify a male eggplant by its base – it will be smooth and round, whereas the female base is more oval in shape and deeply indented.

While making sunny side up eggs, try this tip for a new culinary experience. Simply deglaze the pan you prepared the eggs in with a sherry vinegar. Then drizzle the sauce made from the sherry vinegar over the sunny side up eggs. Doing this will make the eggs more rich and flavorful and they will taste better than ever before.

If you are stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner during the week, consider building your meals around themes. “Mexican Monday” could mean burritos or a nice taco salad. How about “Tuscan Tuesday” featuring spaghetti and meatballs or maybe meatball subs? And “Fish Friday” offers lots of options for shrimp, salmon or even tuna. Bring the whole family into the fun by letting the kids pick a theme and help plan the meal that day.

You can avoid sticky rice by removing the starch. To do just that wash the rice several times until the water coming from the rice is crystal clear. Remove all the water, and let the rice sit for 20 minutes. Adding a few drops of lemon to the water before cooking also helps to separate the grains.

When cooking with a saute pan, turn the handle of it in the opposite direction of you. Keeping the handle facing you increases the chance of bumping into and spilling your food. This is also a safety concern because you can burn yourself if the pan tips or falls over.

It is important to buy new spices at least every six months. When spices sit around for too long, they tend to lose flavor, which can lessen the tastiness of your meal. If you know you will not use the whole spice bottle, give some of it to someone you know.

If you find yourself with part of a loaf of stale bread, don’t throw it away or feed it to the birds. Instead, turn it into croutons for a soup or salad by tossing cubes of bread with oil and seasonings and baking them until crispy. You can also turn stale bread into breadcrumbs for many recipes.

Read the recipe fully before you begin any cooking endeavor! Just reading the list of ingredients does not ensure that you are fully prepared to complete the meal. There are many different techniques and tools that may be required so do not be too ambitious when tackling a new recipe.

To sear a rib-eye, T-bone, strip or other steak to perfection even when you can’t fire up the outdoor grill, flip a cast-iron skillet over and broil the steak in your oven. Heat the skillet in a hot oven prior to placing the steak on its surface, and cook to your preferred level of doneness.

You can cut the fat in your cooking by following a few simple steps. You should invest in good nonstick cook ware so you do not have to use as much shortening or oil when you are cooking in the pans. Also measure the shortening that you are going to use, people tend to use too much.

Freeze some ice tea and other cold drinks up in ice cube trays. You can use the frozen drink cubes as ice on those particularly hot days. That way, your drink won’t be diluted by the quickly melting ice cubes. It makes for a nice change, not having to run back and forth to the refrigerator, just to top off your drink glass.

Add a cast iron skillet to your kitchen if you do not already have one. These multipurpose pans can sear, fry, roast, bake a cake, broil a steak and more, making them essential cooking gear staples. Cast iron heats evenly and holds heat well, allowing you to use a lower burner temperature. When seasoned well, cast iron cures into a nonstick surface, too.

Never wash chicken or other poultry. Washing it with water doesn’t eliminate the bacteria; washing merely spreads the bacteria around to your sink, utensils, and countertop. To kill any bacteria in the chicken and ensure that it is safe to eat, cook it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now that you have read these great cooking tips, you can go into the kitchen armed with the knowledge that whatever dish you cook, you will impress your friends, family, and guests the way you want to! So, head over to the kitchen and get cracking!

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Makes 12

OMG these are so good! I made them over the last week.

This recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients, they are quick and easy to prepare, and taste amazing!

While most recipes rely on heavy cream or butter, these truffles get their creaminess from a ripe avocado. If you don’t care for the flavor of avocado, don’t worry– all you’ll taste is the chocolate! Depending on your sweet tooth and dietary needs, this recipe is completely adaptable to your tastes. I used NESTLÉ dark chocolate chips, which creates a very dark, bittersweet truffle, but if you’d prefer something a little sweeter, you can always use semi-sweet chocolate chips, instead. You can even make them sugar-free by using unsweetened baking chocolate, and adding stevia to taste.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup mashed avocado (about 1 small avocado)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, for rolling (optional)

Directions:

Combine the chocolate, vanilla extract and pinch of salt over a double boiler, and melt until completely smooth. Mash the avocado with a fork until smooth, then stir it into the melted chocolate mixture until smooth and thickened. Place in the fridge to set for 20 to 30 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch.

Once the mixture has been chilled and is slightly firm, use a tablespoon to scoop the chocolate and roll between the palms of your hand to create a ball. Just an FYI that this can get messy! Set on parchment paper.

SONY DSC
 photo courtesy of detoxinista.com

Place the 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in small bowl, and roll each truffle into the cocoa to coat.

truffles
photo courtesy of detoxinista.com 

 

Serve at room temperature, but store in the fridge for a lasting shelf life.

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins

  • Makes: 6 servings (4 muffins per serving)
  • Prep: 30 mins   Start to Finish: 50 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cooking until the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, oregano, sugar, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir milk, feta, egg, tomato paste and olives into the onion mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full.
  5. Bake the muffins until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. MAKE AHEAD TIP: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat at 350 degrees F.
  7. Equipment: Mini-muffin pan with 24 (2-tablespoon) muffin cups.

Nutrition Information

Servings Per Recipe: 6
PER SERVING: 39 cal., 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 11 mg chol., 106 mg sodium, 4 g carb. 1 g pro.

Pork Egg Roll Noodle Bowl Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES: 4 servings

An easy way to may a deconstructed pork egg roll. No fuss and all the yums! So simple and delicious! Substituted are also listed below for vegan and other good things to add to this simple and healthy recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups shredded cabbage (about 1 small head) OR pre-packaged coleslaw mix
  • 1 large carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces rice noodles
  • 3 green stick onions, thinly sliced
  • Optional – scrambled egg, pan fried tofu

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook and crumble pork until browned, 4-6 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, garlic and seasonings. Add cabbage and carrots; cook 4-6 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Cook rice noodles according to package directions; drain and immediately add to pork mixture, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with green stick onions. If desired, serve with additional soy sauce, but watch the sodium!

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1-1/2 cups: 302 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 38mg cholesterol, 652mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 4g fiber), 14g protein.