Saturday, September 24, 2016

Eggplant Pizza Bites


These eggplant pizza bites are a great way to get the kids some extra veggies in the form of something we all know and love – PIZZA!
What You Need:
Ingredients for the sauce:
2-3 tsp EVOO
1/2 lb extra lean ground turkey
3 large finely choppe garlic cloves,
16 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Directions:
1. Cut the eggplant in slices about 3/4 inch thick.
2. Lay the eggplant slices on paper towels and salt generously to draw out the water. This removes excess water. This is crucial to the recipe.
3. While the eggplant sits, make the sauce.  Start by cooking a generous amount of garlic in olive oil.
4. Then add fresh diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and oregano.
5.  Let sauce simmer, adding a tablespoon or two of water whenever it seems dry.
6. While sauce is simmering, brown 1/2 lb of extra lean ground turkey.
7. Once browned, drain any excess liquid and add half of the turkey to the sauce.
8.  After 30 minutes, blot eggplant dry with paper towels & wipe off excess salt.
9.  Brush the eggplant with oil, sprinkle with dried herbs, and roast at 375F/190C for about 25 minutes.
10.  Then divide the sauce mixture among the eggplant pieces, top with the cheese then top with ground turkey.
11. Put pizzas under the broiler just until the cheese is melted and serve warm. These are easy to store, reheat and even freeze so what isn't finished doesn't go to waste!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Low Carb Spaghetti & Meatballs....YES There IS Such a Thing!


Spaghetti Squash

Here is a video link to it if you prefer ==>>> Spaghetti Squash Video

1.  Cut a medium to large spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds. Cutting it is honestly the hardest part! 


2.  Very lightly coat the inside with olive oil.  
3.  Sprinkle some of your favorite no salt italian seasoning on top.



4. Place it face down (skin side up) on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees skin side up for about 45 minutes (60 minutes if it's a large one). 
5.  Use a fork to shred "spaghetti" out of the skin, then blend it together to spread the olive oil and seasoning. 
6.  Eat it alone or add marinara and meatballs to it!

Meatballs
Option A (easiest)
Buy frozen turkey or beef meatballs and heat them up.  This is easier if you're a working parent that gets home late, has to take the kids to and from activities, etc.  There are many healthy versions out there. My favorites are from Costco. 


Option B 
Make your own out of ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning. When I make them, I make a lot at once and freeze them using 
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
1 egg
Seasoning of your choice

1.  Blend the ground turkey with breadcrumbs, seasoning and egg.  
2.  Form into balls and either bake them or cook them in a sauce pan until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.


Sauce
I always have sauce pre-made that I freeze and defrost as needed. You can either buy your favorite sauce in a jar (which is totally fine if you're in a pinch) or make your own.  There are plenty of healthy varieties without added sugars.  I love pretty much every sauce that Trader Joe's sells but sometimes I buy others as well. What I like to do is personalize my marinara sauce.  I add browned garlic, onions, diced tomatoes, seasoning, browned ground turkey and sometimes diced bell peppers too.  It's delicious and gives it a really good taste.  

When we have dinner, we always like to have some greens too! I usually just make a basic, easy Greek salad to go with it out of romaine, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes & feta cheese. I add a little olive oil,  balsamic and seasoning and that's it. Super easy too!



Greek Salad


Friday, September 16, 2016

What Should I Eat Before I Workout?

The answer depends on two factors: your overall diet and how intense your workout is. If you eat small, balanced meals every few hours while you’re awake, you don’t really need a preworkout meal strategy. Your body should have ample fuel to get you through any workout around an hour or less (longer workouts have specific needs).
However, if you go longer than 3 hours without eating, you should determine your needs based on a few things. First, how hard is your workout? Easy aerobics and other work where your heart rate doesn’t exceed 140/150 bpm (easy yoga, slow jogging, cycling, hiking, etc.) don’t use a lot of fuel (blood sugar and its back-up, glycogen) and can be done effectively on a fairly empty tank. Good hydration (water only) should be all the fuel you need.
Harder workouts, like INSANITYP90X, or really anything in the Beachbody line that is hard for you, all have an anaerobic interval component which burns your limited stores of glycogen. Your body stores glycogen until you need it, but when your diet is very lean, like most Beachbody diet plans are, you will almost certainly deplete these stores before the end of your workout if you haven’t eaten in a while. This condition, called “bonking,” causes your performance to instantaneously plummet.
Here are some general rules to avoid the dreaded “bonk.” We’re not suggesting you eat 3 separate meals in the hours leading up to exercise. Rather, pick the one that best suits your day.
NOTE: If you work out first thing in the morning, check out this article.
3 hours prior to a workout: Eat a well-rounded, light meal. As long as it’s not too many calories (more than 500-ish), most of it will be turned into fuel by the time you begin. Almost any meal in any Beachbody diet plan fits this mold, as you have ample time to digest.
2 hours prior: Eat a light snack that’s mainly carbohydrates. Something that’s 4 parts carbs to 1 part protein with little fat will ensure there’s time to convert it into glycogen. “Energy foods,” something like granola with yogurt and fruit, is ideal.
1 hour prior: Eat very light, no more than 200 or so calories at around a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. Low-fat, plain yogurt with a little fresh fruit thrown in is ideal. Any extra protein and fat will hinder your workout. It’s similar to the 2 hours prior snack, but since your body can only convert 200 to 300 calories into energy in a given hour you’ll want to keep the portions smaller.
Less than 1 hour: Try not to eat during the last hour before your workout. If you haven’t eaten in hours, liquid fuels, like juice, or easily digestible carbs, like half of a banana, will digest fast enough to help you during the later stages of the workout when your glycogen would otherwise run out. This is also a good time for targeting caffeine intake for ergogenic benefit. Better still, Beachbody Performance Energize includes low-dose caffeine with beta-alanine and quercetin. It also contains 15-30 carb calories, depending on your dosage.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

HOME
1. Non-Toxic Cleaner:
It’s no secret that vinegar is an excellent household cleaner. What some people don’t know is that raw, unfiltered vinegar contains all the bacteria fighting benefits that some commercial vinegars lack. To make your own cleaning solution, simply mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar, plus a little elbow grease, to get your home free of dirt, bacteria, and toxins cleaners. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell goes away as it dries.
2. Weed Killer:
A friendly neighbor turned me on to vinegar as weed killing alternative years ago and it’s even more effective than dangerous glyphosate.  Just mix 1/2 gallon apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/2 teaspoon dish soap. It will effectively kill any plant you spray it on, so make sure you avoid the flowers and other plants you want to keep.
3. Odor Neutralizer:
Is your home filled with an unpleasant odor that just won’t go away? Place some apple cider vinegar in a dish and leave near the offensive odor to help get rid of it quicker.
HEALTH
4. Diabetes Prevention:
Multiple studies have shown a correlation between apple cider vinegar and lower blood sugar levels. In one study participants took two tablespoons of ACV before bed and saw their blood sugar 4 to 6 percent by the time they woke. The antiglycemic effect of the acid in apple cider vinegar is what helps with insulin sensitivity.
Consuming apple cider vinegar can help you feel more full, which can help you eat less. A study has also shown acetic acid, found in ACV, to slow fat accumulation. If the flavor is too strong for you to sip on it’s own, try adding apple cider vinegar to juices, salad dressing, and even water to incorporate it into your diet.
6. Lower Cholesterol:
In addition to lowered blood sugar and weight loss, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed interesting findings regarding apple cider vinegar and cholesterol.  Lowered VLDL levels and lowered triglycerides were discovered in lab rats who were given apple cider vinegar alongside a high cholesterol diet. The rat who were not given ACV did not see the same drop in cholesterol.
7. Detox:
Apple cider vinegar can help detox your home, but it can also detox your body. It can help promote circulation and detoxify the liver. The acid in ACV can also bind to toxins which can assist in removing toxins from the body. Apple cider vinegar’s potassium content helps to break up mucus in the body and clearing the lymph nodes. This also aids in the removal of toxins. Add apple cider into your diet and check out these other ways to detox.
8.Clear Sinuses:
Since breaking up mucus is one of apple cider vinegar’s many talents, it also helps clear out the sinuses. Since it’s antibacterial, it can also prevent a sinus infection or cold as well. Sip some water and apple cider vinegar to breathe a little easier.
9. Sore Throat:
The bacteria fighting properties of apple cider vinegar work just about anywhere. Gargle equal parts warm water and apple cider vinegar at the first sign of a sore throat to keep it at bay and repeat every hour as needed.
10. Digestive Aid:
Having tummy troubles or know you’re going to eat something that you might regret later? Sip diluted apple cider vinegar (mixed in water or juice) to help settle that stomach. It’s the antibiotic properties and bacteria fighting power of ACV that help. Some say thepectin in apple cider vinegar also helps with intestinal spasms.
11. Itchy or Sunburned Skin:
I know this is one of my favorite uses for apple cider vinegar. Just apply right to the itchy area for some relief. It also works for itches caused by bug bites, poison ivy, or a jellyfish stingAs for sunburned skin, soak in a bath with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to help ease the pain.
12.Wart Remover:
Over the counter wart removers are anything but natural. A trip to the doctor to remove it can be scary, painful, and leave a scar. Instead, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and cover the wart. Leave it covered overnight (I use a a bandaid or medical tape) and repeat every night until the wart falls right off.
13. Energy Boost:
Don’t reach for an chemical filled energy drink if you’re feeling tired. Instead, grab a bottle of apple cider vinegar for an energy boost. The potassium and and enzymes in apple cider vinegar help to give you a pick me up. Just add some ACV to a glass of water. I like adding it to my water during a workout to prevent fatigue. The amino acids in apple cider vinegar combat lactic acid build up that can happen after exercise.
BEAUTY/HYGIENE 
14. Shiny, Flake Free Hair:
Apple cider vinegar is an excellent weekly hair rinse. It leaves hair looking shiny and soft. The acid in ACV helps to remove product build up. It also helps to balance your scalp’s pH level. Mix 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar into 4 cups water and rinse the hair after shampooing, then rinse with cold water. If you are having issues with dandruff, twice a week try spraying your scalp with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Place a towel around your head and leave wrapped for up to an hour. Wash your hair as you usually would.
15. Facial Toner/Cleanser:
Thanks to the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar, it’s great for cleaning most everything, even your face. It can even help prevent break outs. Just like with you scalp, it can help balance your skin’s pH levels. Dilute some apple cider vinegar with water and apply to a cotton ball to use as a toner or on blemishes.
16. Deodorant:
Many deodorants are harmful to your health. Apple cider vinegar will help fight the odor causing bacteria without the cancer causing toxins. Just apply a little ACV under your arms. You won’t be left smelling like vinegar once it dries.
17. Fade Bruises:
Coming from a long line of klutzes, this was a use of apple cider vinegar I was happy about. After a bump or the appearance of a bruise dab on some apple cider vinegar. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and will help to ease the discoloration.
18. Whiten Teeth:
Make those teeth sparkle after swishing around some apple cider vinegar diluted with two parts water. Then brush as usual. The bacteria fighting power of ACV is an added bonus too.
19. Eliminate Bad Breath:
Use apple cider vinegar as a mouth wash and gargle to help eliminate objectionable mouth odor. It kills the bacteria that causes bad breath.
20. Stop Smelly Feet:
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, apple cider vinegar helps get rid of bad smells, wherever they may be. If that just so happens to be on your feet, try this remedy. Wipe your feet down with a paper towel soaked in ACV to control odor. The ability of apple cider vinegar to balance the pH of your feet and eliminate odor causing bacteria is what makes it a great natural remedy.
21. Juice: 
Consuming organic raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can assist in many of the health benefits I listed above. Try adding it to juices or smoothies if the taste is too pungent for you on it’s own.
22. Baking:
Fluff up your baked good by adding apple cider vinegar. It adds lift to cookies, cakes, and other concoctions and you won’t taste it in the final product.
23. Sauces:
I use apple cider vinegar for my barbecue sauce and it’s perfect for that tangy but sweet flavor. Try it in your favorite marinades or mix it into condiments that are too thick.
24. Soups:
Still need more ways to get apple cider vinegar into your diet? Try adding it to soups. It can add a bit of brightness and flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t end up tasting like vinegar.
25. Salads:

I think this one goes without saying, but it certainly needed to make the list. I almost never buy salad dressings. Whisk together some apple cider vinegar and olive oil and your favorite additions (garlic, mustard, citrus, honey, etc) for a delicious drizzle over your organic greens. It’s even great in salad recipes especially!
For more tips and tricks to improve your overall health, lower blood sugar, improve digestion and lose weight if necessary, join me for my next clean eating boot camp by submitting your information here or visit my website Fitfluentialmom