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Get your Body Prepared for the Holiday So It Keeps Working As You Keep Drinking

June 29th, 2015 No Comments

(Photo by Kelly Fajak) 

Holidays seem to be relaxing for our heads, but not really for our bodies. Yes, we decrease the physical exercise, but at the same time we intentionally increase the caloric intake.  Laying out on the beach, we absolutely need a margarita in hand.  The hot weather insists on cold beer.  How could we not eat burgers at a pool party?  And yes, I’d like cheese on that.

So while we’re not holding on to a ton of guilt, we’re demanding our bodies work overtime to allow us to relax.

You might think I’m going to tell you NOT to do any of those things.  You would be wrong.  I’ll be right there with you pouring the tequila and making patties.

So our plan should be to get our metabolism in gear before the festivities begin.

Here is the plan of attack:

1.  HITT – High Intensity Interval Training.

Taking your heart rate to its max and then dropping it down again.  You can do this in so many way: spin class, boot camp, boxing, circuit training, running up a hill, etc.

It’s not easy, but it’s effective in spiking your metabolism.

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2.  Keep Eating!

To prep for days in bathing suits, we usually starve ourself.  Bad idea.  If you stop eating now, your metabolism will slow down.  When it’s hit with the onslaught of goodies, it won’t be prepared.

Keep it moving at regular pace by eating 5 small meals a day.  Each including protein, carbs, and fat.

3.  Drink lots of water.

Sunshine and booze are satisfying and depleting at the same time.  Hydrate your body now!

The additional water will help control your portion control at meals as well.

4.  Plan ahead.

Plan one day when you will exercise.  Make it your favorite workout so you’ll want to do it.  You don’t have to make it a killer workout, just one to keep everything in motion.

I promise you now, you will feel AMAZING after you’re done.

A few of my vacation workouts here:

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Make the best guac ever

June 25th, 2015 No Comments

Mary Rambin Guacamole

Coming from Texas, I hold a very high standard for fresh guacamole.  At this point, I think I’ve perfected my recipe.  Honestly it’s not much of a recipe, but each component is important.

1.  Ripe Avocados

Since avocados ripen from the inside out, you’ll know it’s ready to go when the point farthest from the core is soft.

At home, cut them down the center and cut into cubes.  Do not stir the guac at all until every component is in the bowl.

2.  Cherry Tomatos

Small tomatoes have a lot more flesh and  less liquid and seeds that you would have to clean out of larger tomatoes.

3.  Sweet Onions

Most people use white onions and they dominate the dip.  A milder onion has proven to keep the bite but not distract you from the avocado.

Chop them up small and remember less is more.

4.  Garlic

You don’t need much, just a clove or two depending on how much you’re making.

5.  Cilantro and Lime

Yes, you need them both.  I cut the leaves of the cilantro in half.  Cut the lime in half and just squeeze half.  Add more to taste from there.

4.  Make Your Own Chips

This might be the most important step!

In a large pan, heat up canola or EVOO, to the point that if you splash water on it, the oil sizzles.  While it’s heating, cut up flour and corn tortillas into strips or triangles. Lay out some paper towels and put some sea salt in a bowl.

Fry up the chips, turning them only once so they’re brown on both sides.  Remove from oil and lay them in a single layer on the towels.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Test out one chip from your first batch to make sure they’re fully cooked and not chewy.  When they’re cool, place in separate bowls if you’re doing corn and flour.

Here’s a shot of the last batch I made for fight night at Kitty’s house. Six people ate the whole bowl!

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My granola recipe

June 11th, 2015 No Comments

My granola company never took off, but I’m still cranking out batches of this stuff and people are always wanting the recipe.

It’s a great summer snack to have in the glovebox instead of bars.  With the nuts and oats, after a handful you’re satisfied until you can get some real food in you.

My recommendation is NOT to mix this with yogurt or milk.  In comparison to other granolas, this blend doesn’t have a lot of sugar, so any addition dilutes the barley-there sweetness.

My Famous Granola

Yields about 9 cups or 3 mason jars.

Preheat oven to 325.

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped almonds seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Parchment Paper
  • Big baking pans with sides (Glass is best, but metal will do)

Additions

Don’t add them altogether, use each bullet as one blend.

  • Dried plums chopped
  • Currants (instead of raisins)
  • Dried Apricot + Hazelnuts
  • Dried and flatted bananas – sliced
  • Pistachios (just the meat)
  • Raw cashews
I didn’t measure any additions.  You just have to make sure not to put in too much.

Cooking

Line the pans with parchment paper and make sure you have two sides long enough to grab.

Total cooking time varies on what kind of pan you use (metal or glass), what size each pan is, and how they’re placed in the oven.  In other words, you just have to watch it for about 45 minutes.
Sit by the oven and stir it about every 10 minutes to avoid the bottom burning.
When it turns golden brown, pull out a spoonful, let it cool, and try it.  If it’s still chewy, put it back in the oven.
You’ll know when it’s done.
Take the parchment paper out of the pans and let the granola cool flat on the table.

Gift It

Pack it up in mason jars or cute bags and gift it to friends, co-workers, teachers.  Use it for party favors. People love it!

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Peachy suggestions for your summer table

May 28th, 2015 No Comments


Peaches, my favorite fruit, are back in season! And while I love to just devour them straight from the fridge, we should have a little patience and incorporate them into some dishes.  A few of my favorites along with other ideas below.  The best thing about peaches, they don’t need much!

  

  • Appetizer: served on toast with salty blue cheese
  • Salad: chopped with arugula, avocado, toasted sliced almonds, and a tangy dressing. Protein of your choice!
  • Dinner: Peach chutney over chicken (Recipe is from Cardamon Hill, AMAZING Indian in Atlanta)
  • Dinner: Grilled with grilled shrimp or PORK CHOP!
  • Dinner: Sautéed with my pork tenderloin
  • Side: Grilled or lightly sautéed with green beans, toss with slivered almonds and sherry vinegar (via bon appetite)
  • Dessert: Don’t fuss over cobbler or pie. Roast sliced peaches with butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, and agave. Served with cashew ice cream, sprinkle sea salt. Or with homemade whippedcream. My easy instructions for both here.

 

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Hands down the best yogurt on the shelf

September 11th, 2014 No Comments

Greek Pastures Yogurt

 

Flying through the Whole Foods in NYC, I did a 180 when I spotted my FAVORITE yogurt on the shelf.  “Greek Pastures” used to be “Atlanta Fresh” so to my knowledge it was only sold there.  Until now!!!! Thankfully when I got back to Los Angeles, my little cups of protein were also stocked up in my local Whole Foods.

Besides tasting like dessert, they’re a healthy choice for  snack:

  • Made in small batches from grass-fed cows
  • 130 calories + 15 g of Protein + 11g of sugar per cup
  • The fresh berries are stewed in just a touch of sugar so there’s no “syrup”

I mix in a little plain yogurt so it’s not so sweet and increases protein.  Raw almonds add crunch and good fat.

My favorite of the flavors is the mixed berry.  Port wine and cherries I’ll eat for dessert :)  Unfortunately they no longer seem to be making Vanilla or Plain or Low-Fat….Check out their website for more info and locations.

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The key to the perfect smoothie

September 5th, 2014 No Comments

smoothie with protein

Ideally a smoothie is packed with nutrients, satisfies our hunger, and tastes great.  So…how do we go about making that happen?  Well, taste is a matter of…taste.  I tend to think if you add a little banana it will be manageable.  In this post, I’m focusing on the other two parts.  However, should you make the smoothie above, I can assure you it’s yummy.

As we learned years ago, each meal and snack needs to have the same number of protein, carbs, and fat to fill us up and keep our metabolism in gear.  (Click here to read about figuring out portions) For my body and activity level that’s:

  • 20-30g of protein
  • 25g carbs
  • 7-10 g of fat
  • About 250-300 calories total

After a workout, we need to get this in our body within 45 minutes.  Honestly, the sooner the better.  It’s also important we feed our body with protein it can easily absorb and dispatch to our muscles asap. A smoothie is our best option!

So let’s break down my smoothie:

Protein: Grass-fed organic whey is 20g of protein. If you ‘re dairy free, look for pea protein and avoid soy.

Carbs:  1/3 of a banana (9g carbs and potassium), a few frozen blueberries (10g carbs and antioxidants), and 1/2 pack of sugar-free Acai (superfood with 2g carbs, 2.5g fat).

Fat: 1/5 Avocado is 4g fat.

You need the fat to satiate your hunger.  It also slows down your digestion so your body has time to absorb the nutrients.  Since I’m incorporating two handfuls of spinach (one veggie serving for the day), I use avocado as my fat source.  Besides the fact it makes the drink super smooth, avocado has also been proven to help your body absorb 200-400% more of the nutrients in vegetables.  Another option is a dollop of coconut oil or flax seed oil.  (I try to stay away from nut butters because I eat almond butter and nuts throughout the day.  They’re really hard to digest and high in calories.)

Now that the nutritional portion is taken care of, I can add on things like glutamine or Philosophie  superfood powders which taste so good on their own.

Vega Protein Performance Pack

If I’m on the run and can’t get home to make a smoothie, I take a Vega Sports Protein Performance pack and a bottle and shake it up with cold water.  Don’t worry, it tastes great!

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You don’t need pasta when you can make veggie noodles so easily

August 7th, 2014 No Comments

IMG_1269.JPG

 

Here’s my rule of thumb with pasta:  only eat it when it’s made by hand, that day, in legit Italian restaurants.  In other words, the flour noodle (usually Parpardelle for me) has to be WORTH IT!  Same rule applies for bread. 

Last night, Kitty Ball (yes, that’s a nickname), invited me over for Spaghetti Bolognese.  Since she’s Paleo, I knew dinner would exclude gluten and be totally healthy.  I’ve posted her delicious paleo BBQ sauce in the past.  Everything she makes is hearty so you never realize how healthy it is.

Now, let me back track for a second: A year ago I had dinner party and served Raw Zuchinni Ribbons with Almond Pesto which I make using a mandolin to slice the veggie thin. Kitty was at that dinner party.  Months later, I posted my hand-cut raw zucchini noodle bolognese.

Now, as my BFF, Kitty knows I get kick out of kitchen gadgets.  When she busted out this guy, I flew out of my seat to investigate!

So…if I put two and two together…

That crazy cat just had to one-up my little ribbons with her fun spiral noodles!

Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Noodles

 

Obviously I’m kidding :)

Overall, I don’t know if the spiral noodles are “better,” per se, but I like the presentation.  The thicker spiral noodle  holds up better under the meat sauce.

If you’re asking my first question, “How much is it?” you’ll like the answer: $36 on Amazon.

You need about 3/4 zucchini per person.  I prefer the green ones.  Kitty takes the skin off and sweats them in the oven.  I prefer to leave the nutrient-dense skin on and eat them raw.  They will soften if you put a warm sauce on top.

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If I’m going to eat spinach instead of drink it

July 10th, 2014 No Comments

bon appétit spinach salad

 

These days the only way I’ll take my spinach is in a glass, either as part of a smoothie or juice blend.  Then I ran across this salad recipe in bon appetit.  Now I’m reconsidering and might even be motivated to have a little dinner party.  (If you’ve been gone for a while I’m single and on some sort of cooking strike.)

Spinach Salad with Crispy Onions and Dates

Via bon appétit June 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Fresh spinach
  • bag of dates
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Blend 2 pitted dates, 1/3 cup veggie oil, 1 tsp lime zest, 1/4 cup lime juice in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup veggie oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat and sautee shallots until crispy. About 5-7 min.  Remove from pan and place on a paper towel.
  3. Chop 3/4 cup of dates.
  4. Toss it together!
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