Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Carly's Black Bean Veggie Burritos'

Last Friday my American Baby’s 'Baby Weight Diet Plan' lunch called for an Amy's Black Bean Vegetable Burrito. Although they are quick, tasty and nutritious I thought - why don't I just make a big batch, freeze them and have my own? - so naturally, that is just what I did!

The result? 'Carly's Black Bean Veggie Burritos' lol

The fresh ones were SOOOO good!
and when re-heated from frozen today they were surprisingly JUST as good!


As for ingredients, you really can't go wrong.
I just used what I had in the fridge; some fresh, some leftovers...

Ingredients:

For filling:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1.5 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 roasted eggplant (which I had leftover from this recipe)
  • Black beans
  • White kidney beans (leftover from this recipe)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Brown basmati rice (leftover from this recipe)
  • Broccoli, steamed and chopped
  • Taco Seasoning (see below for recipe)
  • Nanami Togarashi (assorted chili pepper), this is my go to secret spice when I want to add a little kick to any recipe, it is a traditional Japanese mixed spice but I use it in pretty much anything it is REALLY good it is made up of: chili pepper, orange peel, black sesame, white sesame, ginger, Japanese pepper, and seaweed.

After heating a few turns of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, I added the filling ingredients (in order from 'firmest' to 'softest')


I then laid about 1/2 a cup of the filling on a large whole wheat tortilla along with some 0% fat greek yogurt, homemade guacamole (avocado, lime juice, salsa and salt), salsa and a sprinkle of light shredded mozzarella.




This is what it looked like today when I heated up the frozen one (I didn't put the Greek yogurt or salsa in them before freezing to avoid soggy-ness - instead just topped it with today - delicious!!)




Over the past several months I have started to make my own seasoning mixes, I find not only is it healthier than most of the store bought varieties but it's cheaper and tastes better too!


Here is the recipe for the taco seasoning I keep on hand:


Homemade Taco Seasoning
source: Smells Like Home

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1 week in, 2 lbs down!

One week into my American Baby’s 'Baby Weight Diet Plan' and I've lost 2 lbs!

Here is a glance at my postpartum weight loss so far:


The first week of this program I really didn't work out - I had every intention of doing so but life has been so busy I just wasn't able to squeeze it in. However I did start the workout portion of the program yesterday and boy am I SORE!!!

Here is what I am doing twice a week, plus 4 days of cardio and 2 days of abs.
This program was designed by prenatal/postpartum fitness expert Sara Haley.



Hot quinoa cereal with apples and nuts

Today's breakfast from my American Baby’s 'Baby Weight Diet Plan'
This was a perfect use of leftovers as I had lots of quinoa left from this recipe!


Heat 3/4 cup cooked quinoa mixed with 2/3 cup almond milk, 1/2 of a medium apple, chopped, and 1 tsp maple syrup until hot throughout, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped walnuts or almonds and cinnamon to taste. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Spinach strawberry quinoa salad with tuna



Toss 2 cups of raw baby spinach, with 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 2 tbsp sliced toasted almonds, and 2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese. Top with 3 oz (3/4 of a 5 ounce can, drained) drained canned water-packed tuna mixed with 1 tbsp light mayo and black pepper to taste.  Dress with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar whisked with 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp honey.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Eggplant lasagna pasta


Earlier last week one of the dinners for my American Baby’s 'Baby Weight Diet Plan' was a Simple lasagna pasta bowl. Here is my version, adapted to feed my family and using my homemade sauce rather then a store bought marinara.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
  • 1 can whole tom
  • 1 red and green pepper
  • ¾ pkg sliced mushrooms
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ½ sm onion
  • 2 t oregano
  • 2 t parsley
  • 2 t basil
  • ¼ t chili flakes
  • 2 T olive oil

  • 3/4 eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella
  • 4.5 cups cooked whole wheat penne

Directions:

Start by cooking 1 package of whole wheat penne.

For sauce:
  1. Roughly chop garlic, onion and peppers
  2. Heat olive in large sauce pan
  3. Cook onion and garlic for 2-3 mins
  4. Add peppers and cook for another 2-3 mins
  5. Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 mins
  6. Add tomatoes with liquid
  7. Using a Potato masher press tomatoes in pan until broken up
  8. Add seasoning and cook over low heat until all ingredients are soft
  9. Remove from heat and blend in blender, careful to leave slightly chunky

While sauce is cooking:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice eggplant ¼” thick, lightly brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 10 mins
  3. Remove eggplant from oven and set aside
  4. Saute 6 cups baby spinach until wilted, about 1 minute. 
Once noodles, sauce, eggplant and spinach are prepared:
  1. In an oven-safe bowl layer the following starting from the bottom: 2 cups marinara, 4.5 cups cooked whole wheat penne, 1 cup ricotta cheese, sautéed spinach and eggplant slices, 2 cup marinara, and 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella.
  2. Heat in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes, or until heated through.
Azaria approved! lol



Friday, December 14, 2012

Butter Chickpeas (Vegetarian Butter Chicken)


Dinner last night!
I have been fine tuning this recipe for quite a while... SO good as a vegetarian alternative to butter chicken, and each serving is only about 600 calories! 




Ingredients


  • 1-2 onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 2 t garam masala *if you do not have this on hand see recipe below
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup OR if you have a little more time and want a healthier version I use the following:
    • 1 cups water
    • 2T corn starch
    • 2T butter
    • 1 small can tomato paste
    • season with salt and pepper
    • in a small saucepan, whisk water and cornstarch till well blended
    • heat to a boil (until thick) whisking constantly
    • stir in butter and tomato paste and blend with whisk well
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 can (540 ml or 2 cups) chickpeas
  • 2 cups (about 4 sm/med) cooked potatoes, cubed

Directions
  1. Wash, peel, cube and boil potatoes until medium soft, rinse with cold water and set aside
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas
  3. Chop the onion very finely while the oil heats in a large pan.
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until brown – turn off heat and set aside
  5. Prepare tomato sauce as directed above or if using canned soup, place in small sauce pan
  6. Add almond milk and mix over med-low heat
  7. Stir in the curry powder, garam masala, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin.
  8. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for one to two minutes longer.
  9. Add onions, chickpeas and potatoes simmer for about five minutes at very low heat
  10. Serve over 1/2 cup brown basmati rice

Garam Masala spice recipe (makes ¼ cup):
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 t ground coriander
1 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
2 ground bay leaves
1 1/2 t ground cardamom (not mandatory but nice)




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Egg and hummus sandwich

Here is today's breakfast from my American Baby 'Baby Weight Diet Plan'


Top a whole wheat English muffin with 1 tbsp hummus, 1 cooked egg plus 1 egg white, 1 slice of tomato, and 1/4 of an avocado.  Serve with 1/2 a large orange.

Garlicky beans and greens bowl with vegetarian sausage



Here is one of the dinners from my American Baby 'Baby Weight Diet Plan'

I have adapted this recipe to be vegetarian (the original called for chicken sausage) and added the seasoning, I also modified it to serve my family rather then just 1 serving. So it serves about 3-4.

Ingredients:

For sausage:
  • 1/2 lb. vegetarian sausage, sliced
  • 1 t creole seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 2 t olive oil

  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 2/3 cups white beans
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 sm onion
  • 4 cups of cooked brown rice

Directions
  1. Slice sausage and mix with 2 t oil and seasoning
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 1 T olive oil and cook garlic and onion until golden, add sausage and sauté until hot, about 3 minutes
  3. Add 6 cups kale and additional 1 T olive oil and cook until leaves begin to soften, about 3 minutes. 
  4. Stir in 2/3 cup white beans, 2 T balsamic vinegar, and 2 T warm water
  5. Cook until all ingredients are hot.
  6. Serve over brown rice

Creole Seasoning
2 ½ Tbs. paprika
2 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. black pepper
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 Tbs. cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. dried leaf oregano
1 Tbs. dried Thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container (makes about 2/3 cup)





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American Baby’s 'Baby Weight Diet Plan'

SUPER exciting project in the works!

I have been selected to "test-drive" American Baby’s 'Baby Weight Diet Plan' along with the work out program (designed by Sara Haley).

The 4 week challenge starts TODAY!

Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai


I had a giant spaghetti squash sitting on my counter and tried to think of a good meal to use it in... at first I was going to use it in a frittata then I decided on a pasta but then I saw this recipe and was sold!

This was the best way I've had spaghetti squash yet - SO good!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Ingredients:

For the stir-fry:
  • 1 large spaghetti squash (roast whole squash in oven for 60-80 mins, let cool, scrape out ‘noodles’ and set aside )
  • 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1 cup of carrots (peeled and cut into coins)
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar snap peas (I used snow peas as they didn’t have snap)
  • peanuts (for garnish)

For the sauce:
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup organic ketchup
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar

Directions:
  1. Grease large skillet or wok with oil and place over medium-high heat
  2. Sauté broccoli, carrots and peas until tender crisp, about 4-7 minutes
  3. Prepare the sauce by whisking together hoisin, soy sauce, ketchup, lime juice water and sugar
  4. Add the spaghetti squash “noodles” and sauce to the pan with the vegetables and heat thoroughly
  5. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Parmesan Tilapia with Roasted Savoy Cabbage


Saturday night dinner!

I've been making this Tilapia dish for years now but last night it was the first time I paired it with roasted cabbage - in fact it was the first time I even roasted cabbage lol, the result... YUM!

So I decided to finally post the recipe for the fish as well as the greens, enjoy!

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 rounded tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill
  • 1 pound (or 6 fillets) Tilapia
Directions:
  1. Preheat the broiler and grease cooking pan with butter or oil
  2. In a small bowl mix all of the ingredients well and set aside
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan
  4. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes
  5. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes
  6. Remove fillets from the oven and cover with Parmesan cheese mixture
  7. Return to oven and broil for 2 more minutes (or until top is browned)


Roasted Savoy Cabbage

Ingredients:
  • 1 head savoy cabbage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 475F.
  2. Remove the core from the cabbage and chop into 1" pieces
  3. In a large bowl toss cabbage with olive oil and seasoning
  4. Spread out cabbage in a single layer on a large cooking sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Cook for 8 minutes, then using tongs toss cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes
  6. Sprinkle with cheese
  7. Return to oven for 2 more minutes
I served with brown basmati rice - delicious!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

project 'baby weight be GONE'... RESTART!

Alright today marks 13 weeks POSTPARTUM... man how time flies!

Asher is getting SO big!


20 Days ago we moved and I am thrilled to finally have the house organized and cleaned, it was so much work but I feel so good that it's complete and I can now return to my regular schedule.

My weight loss program took a bit of a backseat during the last 3-4 weeks while we prepared and completed the move but luckily I managed to still shed a couple pounds so that was a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday I restarted project 'baby weight be GONE!'
Same plan just going to start fresh.

I intend on doing the following program 6 days a week:

Arms - 5 mins (about 20 moves with an average of 5 reps each side)
Core - 10 - 15 mins (2 mins of standing abs and 4 minutes of supine movements, roughly 15 moves with an average of 5 reps each side)
Legs - 15 - 20 mins (6 moves with an average of 20-40 reps alternating on each side)

For cardio I am totally into Zumba right now so I am going to try and do at least 20 mins of that after each workout.

Here is Azaria getting ready to dance with me lol


When I first started working out in October I wasn't being to careful with what I ate and the weight really wasn't coming off as I would have liked so I am going to try to pay more attention to eating clean this time around, my weakness is definitely ice cream so I am going to try and cut that out and really minimize all forms of dairy (which is really just cheese and ice cream as we don't drink milk anyways)

Here is a glance of my progress so far:




Thursday, October 25, 2012

African Yam Stew


I made this 'soup' a couple weeks back - I got the recipe from Forks Over Knives.
It was delicious!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

♥ ZUMBA ♥

OMG... just did 30 minutes of Zumba for the first time.

LOVE.



That is all :)



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Soup, soup, soup... oh how I love soup!

I think I am going to start posting a soup per week recipe/review... soup weather is upon on us and boy do I love a good soup.

First up: "Hearty Minestrone Soup"

I made this last week and it was DELICIOUS!

Adapted from this recipe.


Ingredients 
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 - 2 carrots, diced
  • 4small white potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-35 oz. can whole tomatoes, lightly crushed
  • 8-9 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1  bunch swiss chard leaves, thinly sliced (the red ribbed variety)
  • 2 cups short pasta, for serving
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat.  Add onion, celery, fennel, carrots, potatoes and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and their juices, stock and beans; season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in vinegar and swiss chard; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Prepare the pasta to al dente by following the directions included with the pasta.
  5. Divide pasta evenly between bowls.  Ladle soup over the pasta and garnish with cheese.  Serve immediately.

This lasted for days and was incredible!
The swiss chard was SO good in this soup.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Week 3 of project 'baby weight be GONE'...

Check in time!

Today marks the start of week 3 of my post-partum weight loss journey - hooray!
I am going to start a new variety of exercises today, but keep with my program.

This is what I have been up to over the last couple weeks:

On day 1 I attempted to complete a 45 minute strength workout that really focused on the abs but I experienced a lot of pain in a lower abdominal injury I sustained while pregnant – which, as it turns out, has yet to heal :(

So back to the drawing board!

My plan changed – instead I decided to do 30 minutes of high rep, fluid movements using body weight resistance (and 3 lb. weights for arms). That way I would maximize my time by keeping my heart rate elevated which would result in both toning muscle and burning fat at once.

The result was the following program which I managed to complete 4-5 times each week and thankfully without any serious abdominal discomfort.

Arms - 5 mins (about 20 moves with an average of 5 reps each side)
Core - 10 mins (2 mins of standing abs and 4 minutes of supine movements, roughly 15 moves with an average of 5 reps each side)
Legs - 15 - 20 mins (6 moves with an average of 20-40 reps alternating on each side)

When it comes to cardio I am a HUGE fan of rebounding, all you need is a mini trampoline! They are great because they don’t take up much space, are inexpensive and provide a fantastic workout!

I dusted off my mini trampoline and went at it! I managed to complete 10 – 15 minutes each day. Unfortunately after the first week I somehow managed to hurt my back (GRRRR). The pain is in an unusual location and mostly seems aggravated when jumping so for now cardio is out of the plan until that heals.

At least Azaria is making use of my trampoline lol

It will be interesting to see what type of progress I have with no cardio, I am hoping I can get out walking but it's a little difficult to squeeze a couple hrs of walking into the day so we will see.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Pescetarian Thanksgiving...

This past weekend was (Canadian) Thanksgiving!
This was my first thanksgiving as a Vegetarian/Pescetarian and because we were heading out of town to visit family for the holiday and I didn't want to just eat sides lol - I came up with this meal and it was DELICIOUS!!!

The idea started with the fact I had leftover pumpkin puree in my fridge... So I looked for some pumpkin fish recipes, the only thing I found was this recipe for "Pumpkin Butter Salmon", it sounded good but I didn't stop there... I decided to make the pumpkin butter from scratch using this recipe and then topped the salmon with a cranberry, goat cheese and pecan topping.


It was SO good!

To start I made a batch of pumpkin butter (which turned out amazing), I have since used it on various dishes (see bottom for the oatmeal I made this morning)

Pumpkin Butter



Ingredients:

  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Juice of half a lemon

Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin butter glazed salmon with cranberry,goat cheese & pecan topping

Ingredients:
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 4 tbsps pumpkin butter
  • 1/3 cup cranberry sauce
  • goat cheese (to taste/look)
  • crushed pecans
  • 2 tbsps dijon mustard

Directions:
  1. Cover each fillet with 1 tbsps of pumpkin butter (I had a lot of time so I let mine sit in the fridge for a couple of hours)
  2. Mix cranberry sauce, goat cheese and dijon mustard together and set aside.
  3. Broil salmon in oven for 8 minutes (about 8 inches from heat source)
  4. Remove from oven, spread about 1 tbsps of cranberry mixture on each fillet and top with crushed pecans then return to oven and broil for 2-3 more minutes.

The salmon was sooooo good! It will certainly be my thanksgiving main course going forward!

It was also amazing the next day crumbled over some baby spinach and topped with a little extra goat cheese, pecans and cranberry vinaigrette.




... this morning I made this:


Pumpkin Butter Oatmeal

It was really tasty!
I simply stirred in a spoonful of pumpkin butter to some plain oatmeal - YUM!