Sunday, March 27, 2011

Recipe: The Yummiest Spinach Feta Lasagna

Lasagna is another one of those things that I have never quite been fond of. But, it's mainly due to the fact that most lasagnas have Ricotta cheese in it, which is...gross. So, with that said, this is the BEST lasagna ever :) It's based on the recipe from The Grit.   The hubby loves it too and we actually finished the whole thing about 2 days because we ate the leftovers for lunch, etc. The best part is that it's really simple! Again, I used what I had so I'll add notes showing what ingredients I changed.



Ingredients:
-8 oz lasagna noodles (I prepared the whole box and used all that I could)
-4 qts water
-1/2 15 oz block firm tofu, crumbled
-1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
-1/2 tsp dry mustard
-1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
-1.5 cups crumbled reduced fat feta cheese (I used the package of feta I had, 3.5 oz Athenos)
-1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and drained
-4 cups marinara (I just used the jar of marinara I had, Publix Mushroom)
-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used probably 2 cups)
-3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't use this...I used about a cup of cheddar instead)
-2 tsp mixture of dried parsley, oregano and basil

Preparation:
-Preheat oven to 350
-Oil a 9x13 inch baking dish 
-Boil lasagna noodles in 4 quarts water until barely tender. Drain and separate the noodles; set aside
-Combine tofu, soy sauce, mustard, pepper, feta cheese, and spinach in a large mixing bowl.
-Lightly coat bottom of prepared pan with marinara 
-Cover the sauce with a layer of pasta running the length of the pan and overlapping the noodles by ½ inch. Spread with ½ of the spinach-feta mixture, ⅓ of the marinara, and ½ of the mozzarella. 
-Cover with a second equal layer of all ingredients, but with the second layer of noodles laying perpendicular to the first. 
-Cover with a third layer of noodles running the length of the pan and top with remaining marinara. 
-Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (or cheddar) and parsley
-Bake for 40-50 minutes or until well browned.


 Serve and enjoy!

As always, questions or comments please!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recipe: Baked Tofu

Well, after all the craziness today I decided that cooking should help take my mind off of things until the hubby is home and safe. Tonight I made a simple baked tofu. You don't have to use tofu though, you can use this marinade with anything you like (chicken, seafood, etc.). You can also adjust it! 

Ingredients:
-1 package Lite Firm Tofu
-3 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
-3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
-1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ~1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
-1/2 Tablespoon Mustard Powder
-1 tsp Black Pepper
-1 tsp Dry Ginger
-Sesame Seeds (optional)

Preparation:
-Turn oven to 400F
-Drain tofu of any water and press as much excess water out as you can; 
(if you have the time, set the tofu block wrapped in a paper towel between two heavy objects, such as a book or a pot and the countertop, for ~10 minutes or more to get rid of more water)
-Slice to tofu into rectangle blocks. I like mine to be more thin 
-Mix all ingredients, apart from the tofu, together in a bowl



-Place tofu into mixture, be sure to coat all pieces
-You can either cook right away or allow the tofu to marinate. Tofu will absorb flavors that it is in contact with, so it's good to let it marinate 



-Place tofu and all excess marinade into baking dish and bake for 40 minutes
(the marinade is probably going to burn, but cooking at this time and temperature makes a more 'crisp' tofu and less gooey)

I served this with steamed broccoli and whole grain cous cous:

Yum Yum

Let me know if you have any questions! :)

Thoughtful: ACCPD Officers shot and killed/injured

Before I make any posts tonight I just wanted to ask everyone to keep the families of the the police officer shot and killed and the officer who was shot and injured in their thoughts and prayers tonight. 



I think often times people do not realize how dangerous it is to be a police officer and that their job is to protect the public. Most people are not appreciative of this fact and I think more appreciation for men and women who serve should be given. My husband is a police officer also and he is working tonight, so please keep those who are still out there in your prayers as well.

"Pray for the Men in Blue"
It takes a very special person to wear the blue.
Most people do not understand what we do
We made a commitment to protect and serve.
We work hard to provide the safety you deserve.
No normal shifts, not nine to five.
We work 24/7 to keep you alive.
Holidays and weekends don’t mean a thing.
We work night and day, just give us a ring.
Our loved ones and children pray every night.
That we will return at the break of daylight.
We carry guns and wear vests to help us get through.
You couldn’t imagine some of the things we must do.
We see accidents and blood and small children crying.
We also see death and it’s not just old people dying.
Abusive spouses and parents that don’t seem to care.
These are just a few of the things, to make you aware.
Drug dealers and drunks are a regular sight.
We go to the bars for fight after fight.
Responding to calls day after day.
Not allowing our personal lives to get in the way.
You complain all the time when you see us on a break.
We just drive around in cars and oh, the money we make.
Stop for a second and try to assess
Who’s always there to clean up the mess.
We do all we can to help and provide.
To make you feel safe and secure inside.
Please remember all of the things that we must do.
And next time you pray, include the men in blue.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recipe: SB 'Meat'loaf

Don't tell the hubby, but I just used all of the ketchup...oops. But, it was worth it because I made one of my favorite recipes! It's another one from the Skinny B Cookbook. I have never really been a fan of meatloaf because I have this weird thing with substances and I don't do 'gooey.' This 'meat'loaf however, has a neat texture due to the walnuts and the veggies. So, I personally like it better!

Ingredients:
-Oil for the pan (I used Pam)
-1 carrot, cut into 1/4 inch dice (I did a rondelle/round cut)
-1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4 inch dice
-3 ounces cremini, shitake or portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch dice (I used white mushrooms, geez, do I ever follow the recipe?)
-2 gloves garlic, minced
-2 teaspoons sea salt
-1 teaspoon pepper
-2 slices wheat bread
-1 cup toasted walnuts (I only used 1/2 cup...)
-2 (14 oz) packages of vegan ground beef 
(I used the frozen Boca brand and I only used one bag, I don't think two bags would be necessary, but I also like a higher proportion of veggies)
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2 cup ketchup
-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 375F
-Oil a 10x4x3 inch loaf pan
-In an 8 to 10 inch skillet, over medium heat, add the oil
-Add the carrot and celery, cook ~2 minutes, stirring occasionally
-Add onion and cook ~3 minutes



-Add mushrooms, garlic, pepper and salt. Cook until vegetables are crisp/tender and there is no longer liquid from the mushrooms,  ~2 minutes


-Remove from heat and allow to cook slightly
-In a food processor, combine bread and walnuts, pulse into a coarse meal



-Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the 'beef,' oats, ketchup, parsley and the vegetable mixture
-Use your hands (ha, yeah right. no thank you) to mix well
-Transfer the loaf mixture to the prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer



-Bake 45 minutes, until tip of the knife inserted into the center comes out piping hot
-Let loaf sit ~5 minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate
-Cut into slices and serve!



Nutritional Information:
-Serving size: 1/6 of loaf
-Calories: 216
-Fat: 6.8 g
-Sodium: 648 mg
-Carbs: 26.1 g
-Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
-Protein: 16.5 g

The cookbook pairs this with Mashed Potatoes. I personally don't like mashed potatoes too often because they are so heavy on the stomach. However, feel free to add whatever sides you like!

Hope you enjoy it and let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipe: Cheesy Broccoli Soup & Ted Bread

Tonight I made Cheesy Broccoli Soup and Ted Bread. The soup recipe is from a cookbook called Skinny B***h in the Kitch. It really is a great cookbook, just ignore the name, haha. All of their recipes are vegan, but know that you can substitute whatever you want. Because let's face it, vegan cheese tastes like utter crap. 

Ingredients:
-1 Tablespoon oil (I used EVVO)
-1 onion, diced
-4 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets (I used frozen)
-2 teaspoons salt (optional)
-1 teaspoon pepper
-1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
-4 cups soy, rice or almond milk
-1/4 cup arrowroot (or 5 Tbs cornstarch) dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
-6 ounces of cheese (I used a Mexican cheese mix)

Preparation:
-Heat the oil in a 4-to 6-quart stockpot over medium heat
-Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes



-Add the broccoli, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, ~4 minutes

-Stir in the vegetable broth, increase to a boil, then reduce back to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender
-Remove from heat and add 1 cup of soy/rice/almond milk
-Transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth
-Transfer back to pot, return to medium high heat and stir in remaining milk


-When soup begins to simmer, add the arrowroot/cornstarch mixture and cheese, stir until cheese melts

And let's face it, broccoli soup isn't exactly pretty and I'm not a photographer, but here is the final product!

I added more pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and some garlic powder and I think it gave it the little 'kick' it needed! 

For the Ted Bread: What is Ted Bread you ask? Well, it is the bread that The Grit uses for toast, their 'Smelt' sandwich, etc. Ted is one of the owners/authors of the cookbook, hence the name. 



Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups very warm (max 105F) water
-1 Tablespoon fast-rising dry yeast
-1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar/splenda
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1/4 cup soybean oil
-2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used 4 1/4 cups Lily White Bread Flour)

Preparation:
-2 options: 
-1) I am using my breadmaker because I LOVE it! Best.purchase.ever.
-2) Here are the regular directions:

-In mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar and salt. 
-Stir and allow to sit 5-10 minutes
-Blend in oil, then flours
-Stir together well and kneed for at least 3 minutes in bread mixer or by hand on floured surface
-Place in bowl covered loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until nearly doubled in size, ~40 minutes
-Preaheat oven to 375F. 
-Grease an 8-1/2 X 4-1/2 inch (6 cup) loaf pan
-Punch down dough and form into a rounded loaf shape, gently tuck dough towards center of bottom, slightly stretching top to a smooth tightness
-Place in prepared pan and allow to rise 5 minutes in warm place
-Bake on middle oven rack for ~35 minutes until nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped on bottom
-Cool for 10 minutes in pan; then remove bread to a wire rack to cool completely

~10 servings

I hope you enjoy these two recipes! Let me know if you have any questions! 



Recipe: Breakfast Smoothie

You guys know how I feel about breakfast. For me, it's the most important meal of the day and I couldn't function without it! I just wanted to share with you one of my 'go-to' breakfast options, especially if I'm in a hurry (which, let's face it, is 99.9% of the time).






I have done several variations of this and with the exception of the banana, you can substitute any fruit you want!

Ingredients:
-1 FROZEN banana
-Optional fruit (I like frozen 1/4 mango. Strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
- ~1 cup Almond Milk Original
- ~1/2 Tablespoon milled flaxseed
- ~1/2 Tablespoon peanut butter
- Optional: A squirt of sugar free chocolate syrup...yummm

Preparation:
-Put in blender, blend, and go!

There are so many different options for smoothies, which is why I love them. You can adjust this anyway you like. I like to incorporate the peanut butter because the combination of fat and protein tend to help keep me full longer. The banana is best frozen because this eliminates the need for ice, which tends to be chunky. A frozen banana makes the smoothie creamy. The milled flaxseed may have a strange texture for some, but it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Let me know in the comments if you have any great smoothie combos!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thoughtful: To Eat Out or Not to Eat Out

This seems to be one of the more difficult things for people who are trying to eat healthy. I thought I would just give my thoughts on it a bit. (A bit? Who am I kidding? I could go on forever and ever and ever..)



I don't think there is anything wrong with eating out occasionally. What is 'occasionally' you ask? Well, to me that would be maybe 1 dinner out and maybe 1 lunch out a week, at the most. Not only will you save calories, but you will also save so much money!

I know for some people their strategy is to eat less on the day that they are planning to go out for dinner, etc. And for some people that works. However, I am definitely not one of them. I get hungry every 3-4 hours like clockwork. So, if I were to go all day without eating much, then that night at dinner I would be STARVING and devour everything in sight. Then I would essentially be eating way more calories than I would normally. 

So what is my strategy? I don't really have one, per se. If I know that I am going to be going to dinner at night, then I eat pretty normally, starting out with breakfast. I ALWAYS eat breakfast. I never, ever, ever skip it; and you shouldn't either! It is definitely the most important meal and preferably the biggest. For me, I usually have ~300-400 calories for breakfast and I try to make it protein dense (eggs, etc.). Then for lunch I would have a typical size (~300 calories) and then a small snack in the afternoon (~100-200 calories), depending on how active I have been that day. 

But, the best 'tip', I think, is to actually eat the small snack an hour or so before going to dinner and drink plenty of fluids. This way when you get there you won't try to eat an entire basket of bread/rolls like a crazy starving person. 


Other tips? (most of these are going to be obvious, but hey, it may not be that way for everyone!)

-Order water; Don't like water? Try adding a lemon or a lime; If not, then do unsweetened tea
-Order the salad dressing on the side. Dip the FORK into the dressing, not the salad :)
-Avoid or limit white bread, pasta, etc.
-Avoid 'white,' 'creamy,' 'cheesy,' etc. sauces
-Eat half the entree and put the other half in the to-go box BEFORE you start eating
-Don't eat your significant-other's fries...


-Most restaurants have their nutrition information online. Google the restaurant before leaving, look at their menu and nutrition and choose your meal based off of this
-Above all else, LISTEN to your body. It will tell you when it is 'full,' but try not to get to this point. Try to be 3/4 full, not completely full.

These are just things that I have found helpful over time. I wouldn't suggest trying all of these at once if it's drastically different than what you are used to. Small changes over time would be better :)

If you have any questions or tips you want to share, please let me know in the comments!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Fitness: Tricep Tweak

Wow, finding pictures to go along with what I am trying to explain isn't easy! I may have to start taking my own pictures! lol. 
At the RIPPED workshop this past weekend I got a pretty cool tip about tricep kickbacks. In most of my classes, when we do this move we take the weight all the way back and all the way forward. In this case it would truly be considered a 'compound' move because not only are we using our triceps, but also our biceps. 

Like so:


This is fine if that is what you want to accomplish. However, if you want to challenge yourself or simply change it up, then try this little tweak.

(www.womenshealth.com)
 
If you'll notice here, she is not bringing the weight up and incorporating the bicep. So by using a smaller range of motion she is truly focusing all the work on the tricep. 

The tip we would use in class would be to say: 

Feet shoulder width apart, bending at the hips with your knees soft. Push the elbows back and keep them stationary. Push the weight back with the hand. Now when you bring it forward, stop along where the seam of your pants is/would be.

This seems like a simple little change, but I promise you should feel the difference! 

So go try it out!

Recipe: Ginger Gems

These cookies were SO delicious! Especially if you are a fan of ginger! They are good plain, but the icing just gives them that little extra 'oomph' that puts them over the top. I used Splenda instead of sugar and less oil than what is called for and they turned out fine while saving us some calories!
(Recipe courtesy of Vegetarian Times)

Delish!
Ingredients:
-3/4 cup sugar (or substitute Splenda)
-1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
-1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used less)
-1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
-1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
-1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
-2 cups whole-wheat flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup finely chopped walnuts
-4 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
-3 cups confectioners sugar (you can always use less..)

Prepartion:
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
-Coat baking sheets with cooking spray
-Whisk together sugar/splenda, margarine, oil, ginger, molasses, vanilla and 1/4 cup warm water
-Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl
-Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture
-Fold in walnuts
-Drop spoonfuls of dough 1 inch apart onto prepared baking sheets
-Bake 10-12 minutes
-Cool 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
-Whisk lime juice and sugar until smooth
-Dip cookies in glaze (I poured the glaze over each cookie using a spoon)
-Let glaze harden, then store in airtight container

Nutritional Information:
-Calories: 134
-Protein: 1g
-Total fat: 5g
-Sat fat: 1g
-Carbs: 22g
-Sodium: 78 mg
-Fiber: 1g
-Sugars: 15g (unless you used Splenda!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recipe: Sweet & Sour Tofu and Vegetables

One week I literally planned all of our dinners using the Grit cookbook (http://thegrit.com/). Here is another one of those recipes. I personally really like tofu, but you could definitely sub chicken with this. Again, you don't have to have every single ingredient. The hubby doesn't really like bell peppers so I omitted them from our recipe. Just make adjustments according to what suits YOU. You'll enjoy it much more!

So yummy
Ingredients:
Sauce-
-1/2 cup honey
-1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple or 1 cup crushed canned pineapple, in juice
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/2 cup cider vinegar
-6 Tablespoons ketchup
-4 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar (probably the best thing ever!)
-3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1 cup water
-2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Tofu & Vegetables:
-2 (15 oz) blocks firm tofu
-Vegetable oil
-Soy sauce
-2 carrots, peeled and thinly julienned
-1 broccoli crown, broken or cut into small florets
-1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
-1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
-1 small or 1/2 large onion, finely minced or cut into thin crescents
-16 oz dried Asian egg noodles, fresh cooked; or 2 cups rice, steamed

To prepare sauce:
-Combine all ingredients except water and cornstarch in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Blend water and cornstarch , then stir into boiling sauce. Cook until thickened slightly and remove from heat.

To prepare Tofu and Vegetables:
-Slice each tofu block in half to yield 4 broad, flat slabs
-Press tofu slabs between 2 flat pans and place a heavy object on top of the pan (this is to squeeze all excess water out so that the yummy flavors can go in!)
-Leave for 15-20 minutes until all liquid is removed, then drain and discard liquid
-Slice tofu into pieces approximately 2 x 1/2 inches. 
-In a non-stick skillet or wok with a minimal amount of vegetable oil, light sauté tofu over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce as tofu cooks. Brown lightly; set aside
-Sauté vegetables, peppers, and onion in the same manner, using minimal oil and sprinkling lightly with soy sauce, over enough heat to tenderize and somewhat sear vegetable without making them soggy; about 3 minutes
-Return tofu to skillet or wok and stir to mix with vegetables, then add sauce and toss to cover completely
-Serve over noodles or rice
-VOILA!

Recipe: The Grit's Black Bean Chili

I'm on a roll today with these posts. Don't worry, it won't be like this everyday. Probably. Maybe. 

I wanted to share an awesome chili recipe I used a lot when the weather was much colder and we had about 50 feet of snow outside. It's from one of my favorite restaurants, The Grit. If you've never eaten there you should definitely check it out. The cookbook is rather awesome as well and I use it a good bit.


(Bear in mind that these photos are not going to be beautiful since I made this a while back and the picture was really just to show the hubby what was waiting for him at home, lol)

Chili..for when it's...chilly

*I obviously cooked this in my awesome new crockpot and you are more than welcome to do this. It will definitely save you time.*
 
Ingredients
-1 quart dried black beans, sorted and rinsed (I used canned black beans, rinsed)
-Water to cook and soak the beans
-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-2 Tbs minced fresh garlic
-3 Tablespoons dark chili powder
-2 teaspoons cumin powder
-2 Tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
-1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
-1/3 to 1/2 bunch celery, with leaves removed and finely chopped
-1/2 small or 1/4 large yellow onion, minced
-Vegetable oil
-1 cup fresh or frozen corn
-1 cup shredded carrots
-2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
-2/3 cup # bulgur wheat
-1 Tablespoon plus 2 tsp salt

Prepartion
-Soak beans overnight (or open can), for at least 6 hours, in water to cover. You could also boil the beans for 2 minutes in water to cover and set aside, covered, to soak for 2 hours. 
-Drain and rinse beans and place in a large cooking pot with finely chopped medium onion, garlic, and dry spices. 
-Add enough water to cover, plus 1-1/2 inches.
-Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, 1 hour or more. Add water if necessary to avoid burning.
-When beans are done and still very hot, combine all ingredients in a large bowl or pot and blend well. Allow flavors to marry for at least an hour. Serve hot and Enjoy! 

Fitness: Tapless Step

I taught step tonight for the first time in a while. Step is my first love when it comes to fitness classes. It's just so much fun to me! It seems to be a 'dying breed' of class though and I really wish it could get hyped up again. 

Also, I burned over 500 calories in my one hour step and sculpt class tonight according to my heart rate monitor, so it's great exercise! 

I went to a 'tapless step' certification a few years ago (has it really been that long?!) and found the old video on youtube tonight. I'm in the left corner behind the purple 'skort' if you're interested. Do I mess up some? You bet. That choreography was fun, but also pretty darn hard!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Skillet Gnocchi

This recipe has become somewhat of a staple in our house. The hubby actually requested it last night. We often don't agree on food...obviously, since he can (and does) eat WHATEVER he wants with no consequences whatsoever. I, on the other hand, have to watch what I eat and I WANT to eat healthier options. Plus, there's the whole meat issue. I was a strict vegetarian for almost 3 years, but have let it go for the most part, sadly, due to convenience. (Don't judge me!).

Anywho, Skillet Gnocchi:


mmmm...so good


Now, there is a legit recipe for this yumminess and that's what I am going to give you here. However, do know that I hardly ever stick to a recipe. Why? Because I am rebel, that's why. 
Okay fine, I'm not. But, I don't always have the exact ingredients or maybe I'm just not in the mood for a certain ingredient.

  Ingredients:
(compliments of Eatingwell.com)
-1 Tbs plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
-1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi 
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup water
-6 cups chopped chard leaves or spinach
-1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
-1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
-1/4 tsp freshly ground peper
-1/2 cup shredded cheese (any kind)
-1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preparation
1. Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and beginning to brown. ~5-7 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
2. Add remaining 1 tsp oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4-6 minutes. Add chard or spinach and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt. ~1-2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with cheese and Parmesan. Cover and cook until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. ~3 minutes.

Nutrition
Per serving: 325 calories; 7 g fat; 2 g sat; 3 mono; 8 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 6 g fiber; 616 mg sodium; 360 mg potassium


Now, do I always follow this recipe? Of course not! The picture is actually from last night when I obviously did not follow the recipe. Last night was, 'Hey I'm in a hurry and need a fast and easy dinner because I have 38923985 things to do.' 

So, I used: Gnocchi, diced tomatoes, onion, garlic powder, basil, oregano, pepper, chickpeas and mexican cheese. Was it still good? You're darn skippy it was.

Fitness: "R-I-P-P-E-D. From B3!! We're gonna get you Ripped!"



This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a great certification for a class known as RIPPED. What is RIPPED you ask? Well, let me tell you! It stands for Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance and Diet. And let me just say, it was AWESOME! I have been teaching fitness classes for 4 years and I have only done free-style classes, which I still love. However, I figured it was time to switch it up and try a pre-choreographed class. I got an email about RIPPED and it just seemed perfect to me. It has everything you could want in a workout and in a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, you get the most bang for your buck! I hope that we will be able to launch this class in the Fall (or maybe Summer?) and hopefully get more people involved! The class is just so much fun and has great energy and music. And the best part is that ANYONE can do it! It is athletic based so there isn't any 'fancy' choreography and it can be adapted to any fitness level! 

Seriously, check it out: www.rippedusa.com!

My first blog post!

So, I have always wanted to do a blog, but I was afraid that I wouldn't have time to keep it up to date, etc. That may be the case, but I figured I would at least try!  First off, you have no idea how hard it is to think of a 'cool' name for a blog. Seriously, it's ridiculous. Eventually, I asked my very creative cousin (Hi Megan!) to help me out. We came up with some that we thought were pretty awesome, such as, runningwithaspoon.com, cyclingwithafork.com, but they either weren't available or just didn't seem 'right.' But, Fitness with a Fork seemed to encompass everything that I am trying to focus on here without singling out one specific type of exercise.

My hope for this blog is that it not only inspires at least one person who may stumble upon it, but that it will help inspire me as well. I think as a fitness instructor and someone who is studying nutrition, we tend to get caught up in the whole bad v. good thing. But, I just want this to be FUN! Cooking should be fun! Exercising should be fun! We shouldn't dread these things or see them as wrong or right. We should simply focus on the fact that in the end, it makes us feel better and essentially BE better.