Monday, December 17, 2012

Healthy Dinner Option

Faster than a soup, but just as comforting, risotto takes only about 20 minutes to come together — a perfect dish for weeknight dinners. Caramelized onions, cauliflower and Parmesan cheese are a wonderful and unexpected combinations.

Cauliflower, Onion and Greens Risotto

4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l.) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) florets
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g.) arborio rice
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) dry white wine
1 bunch beet greens or other greens, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
1 cup (1/4 lb./125 g.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh marjoram
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the broth and 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep the liquid hot.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and saute until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the cauliflower and saute until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and saute until opaque, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add about 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) of the hot broth, reduce the heat so the broth simmers slowly, and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue cooking, adding the broth by about 3/4 cup at a time and stirring frequently until the rice is not quite tender, but still slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

Add the greens and continue cooking, stirring almost constantly, adding the liquid about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) at a time, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the cheese and the marjoram. Season to taste with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and serve right away. Serves 4.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Arthritis Remedy

Drink 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in juice/water at night and in the morning and you should see improvement

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eggplant, Red Pepper Hummus Spectacular

Simple hummus is an amazing source of protein, folate and iron.  When you add in the eggplant and red bell pepper, you are also getting a good dose of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamin A and vitamin B6.

Hummus is incredibly versatile. It can be used as a dip with veggies or pretzels - perfect for after school.  It's also delicious as a spread on sandwiches or pita bread and is a great on-the-go snack.  Hummus will stay fresh in an airtight container, out of refrigeration for about 2 hours.

This recipe is appropriate for babies 10-12 months and up, toddlers, big kids and adults.  Always make sure the consistency of your baby's food is one she can handle. As I experiment with my own little one, its important to make sure all is blended to perfection.

What you'll need:
1 eggplant - washed and cut in half lengthwise
1 red bell pepper - washed, cut in half lengthwise with stem and seeds removed
1 1/2 - 2 cups of cooked chickpeas - if using canned, rinse and drain chickpeas, also be sure the can does not contain BPA

1/2 teaspoon of kosher or coarse sea salt
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste) or extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon) 
2 tablespoons of purified water
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
*Place eggplant and pepper cut side down on the baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, until both are soft and cooked all the way through.
*Scoop eggplant out of the skin and remove as many seeds as you can.  They are in bunches and can be removed fairly easily.  Don't worry if you can't get them all, as the seeds are tender and edible.
*Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spoon or spatula in between pulses and add extra water while processing, if needed to develop a smooth consistency.
*Serve or store
*Hummus can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pumpkin powerfood

An easy way to incorporate the antioxidant rich, vitamin blasted veggie, PUMPKIN, is to make it into a creamy concoction. Get your calcium and your sweet tooth fix with this easy, delish frozen yogurt treat:

Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Toffee Crunch FroYo
1 part pumpkin
1 1/2 cups Fat Free Half and Half
1 1/2 cups Light Cream
tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Crushed Walnuts
2 Tbsp. Fat Free Caramel or Dulce De Leche topping
3 Tbsp. Heath Bar (crushed)
handful of chocolate chips if so desired ;)

Mix, blend, freeze for 2-4 hours pending on consistency you like. and WAHHHllaaaaah. Spoon. Enjoy

Hips AND Thighs Don't Lie

Balancing Squat
Adding a balance challenge to booty-shaping squats will keep your hips, glutes, and abs firing the entire time.

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keeping your chest lifted and maintaining a neutral spine, lower into a deep squat, reaching both arms to the floor (try to tap the ground if you can).

As you press up, shift your weight into your right leg as you bend your left knee and grab onto your shin with your left hand [as shown]. Hold for 1 count, release your leg, and return to start. That's one rep. Do 20 reps total, alternating sides each time.

Side-Stepping Curtsey
This traveling lunge targets your thighs, hips, and glutes, plus the reaching motion adds an extra core challenge.

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, hands clasped behind your head.

Cross your right leg behind your left and lower into a curtsey lunge, reaching your right hand to the floor [as shown]. Quickly stand back up and return to start. That's one rep. Do 20 reps total, alternating sides each time.

Hinging Deadlift
For a head-turning lower body, strengthening your backside is just as, if not more, important than your front. Deadlifts recruit the muscles in your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the weights in front of your thighs, palms facing in. Maintaining a neutral spine, hinge forward from your hips, reaching the dumbbells to the ground, until your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Focus on using your glutes to raise your body halfway back up [as shown] and then return to full forward hinge again. That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times total.

Shifting Side Lunge
What happens when you combine a sumo squat with a side lunge? You get triple the saddlebag-slimming power!

How to do it: Stand with your feet together, holding dumbbells by your sides. Take a wide step out to your right and lower into a side lunge, reaching dumbbells on either side of right leg [as shown]. Bend your left knee and shift your weight into both legs, into a wide squat position, reaching the dumbbells to floor in front of you, then extend your right leg and shift your weight to the left, moving into a side lunge with your left leg.

Push off your left foot to bring your legs together and return to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps total, alternating sides each time.

External Hip Raise
Build strength in your hips from the inside out with this super-effective strength move.

How to do it: Loop a resistance band around your ankles and lie on your right side, supporting your upper body with your right hand and forearm. Extend both legs out, feet flexed. Brace your abs in tight and lift your top leg up to hip height, rotating your leg to turn your toes down to the floor, keeping tension on the band. Lift your leg slightly higher than hip height, pushing against band, with heel rotated up to the ceiling. Return to hip height. Repeat 20 times quickly and then switch sides.
Side-Lying Leg Lift
This move was recently named by the American Council on Exercise as one of the very best thigh toning exercises, but it also engages your abs (you'll feel it the next day!).

How to do it: Loop a resistance band around your ankles and lie on your right side with your right arm extended on the floor, left hand in front of your body for support. Brace your abs in tight, bring your bottom leg slightly in front of your top leg (let the inside of your top foot rest on the ground), and lift your leg up to the ceiling, keeping your hips stacked. Maintain tension on the band at all times and pulse your bottom leg up and down quickly 20 times. Repeat on the other side.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tip Top Toners

Tippy Toes Tone

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes out, hands on hips. Squat until thighs are parallel to floor, then lift both heels (as shown). Lower heels for 1 rep. Repeat.

Rear Raiser
With feet shoulder-width apart, squat all the way down, fingertips on floor slightly in front of feet. Keeping fingertips on floor, lift hips, extending butt toward ceiling with knees slightly bent (as shown). Return to start for 1 rep. Repeat -- works butt, thighs

Side Leg Sculptor
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. Squat, then stand and forcefully bring right leg across and in front of body, leading with heel, as if kicking a ball, left arm swinging in front, right arm behind (as shown). Return to start. Switch sides to complete 1 rep. Repeat.

Bicycle Buffer
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind head. Squat, then stand, lifting left knee across body (as shown) toward right elbow at center. Return to start. Switch sides to complete 1 rep. Repeat.
works butt, thighs, abs, obliques

Lean Lift
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Squat deeply, extending arms behind torso. Stand, then raise left leg and lower chest until parallel to floor, extending arms forward (as shown). Hold for 1 count, then return to start. Switch sides to complete 1 rep. Repeat.
works butt, legs, shoulders, back, abs

Wall Hold Wittering Away
Squat with back to wall, feet together, thighs parallel to floor, hands on hips. Maintain back and butt contact with wall as you lift left knee toward chest (as shown). Return to start. Switch leg to complete 1 rep. Repeat.

Pilates Butt Workout 4 Moves to a Bangin' Behind

Curtsey Lunge
Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a big step back with your right leg bringing it slightly over your left leg as you land. Make sure your left thigh is parallel to the floor in your lunge and your shoulders remain over your hips with your abs tight. Push up from your left heel and return to the starting position. Alternate legs for 30 reps.

Single-Leg Bridge Drops
Lie on your back, knees bent with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Raise your hips off the floor creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Bring one knee into your chest without letting your hips drop and extend that leg straight up to the sky. Keeping your core and glutes engaged, drop that straight leg halfway down so your knees are in line with one another then bring it back to your starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Side Centers
Come onto your elbows and knees keeping them about two feet apart. Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders and your knees are placed under your hips with your abs engaged and your shoulders down. Extend your left leg out strong and straight and lift it up to the sky activating your glutes. Bring the leg as far to the left as you can tapping your toes to the floor while keeping your body stabilized. Bring your left leg back up to the sky with power and do the same movement on the right side. Alternate legs for 30 reps.

Plie Squat
Start with your feet slightly wider than your hips and toes slightly turned out. Bend your knees and lower into a squat making sure your butt never drops below your knees and your shoulders remain over your hips. Make sure to keep the weight in your heels and keep your knees in line with your toes. Return to your starting position giving your butt a good squeeze without locking your knees. Repeat 25 times. Bonus: For an extra burn, do little pulses in your squat at the end of your set.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Fall festive sides with a POM spritzer to bring it all together.

There are many traditions to welcome fall and what better way then to incorporate pumpkin into just about anything. The main ingredient is to combine a squash of sorts into any side dish you so desire. Its the healthy way to gain extra vitamin-C, beta carotene, fiber and many other nutritious antioxidants. Powerhouse food that looks and makes any dish smell like fall.

A Mini Thanksgiving meal:
Roasted  Chipotle Acorn Seeds
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Quinoa with Spinach
Maple Glazed Acorn Squash
Pumpkin Smoked Pulled Pork with Red Peppers
Refreshing Pomegranate Spritzer with Strawberries