Friday, April 22, 2011

Recipe: Sensational Salmon

Well, hello there! I bet you are wondering how I come up with all of these amazing title posts... I'll let you in on my secret method. I sit here and think 'what is the silliest thing that comes to mind?... Okay, that's it!' So do with that valuable bit of information what you will. (yes, I'm making fun of myself).

Now, on to more important things. I made this salmon recipe some time at the beginning of the week and the hubby and I both thought it was really good! It was also nice to have a new option for salmon. I sometimes crave it and I typically make it the same way (bake it). The recipe calls these 'patties,' however, I'm not a good patty maker (sad, I know). So I just made them more or less...nuggets. But, they were still great!

Recipe courtesy of Self Magazine

-1/4 cup fat-free (or light) mayonnaise
-1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp chopped shallots (I used green onions)
-2 tsp Dijon mustard, divided
-1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
-1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice

-1 lb salmon fillet, skin removed and chopped
-2 egg whites (I just used one egg)
-5 tbsp drained capers (I omitted these)
-1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 tsp olive oil


- Combine mayonnaise, 1 tbsp shallots/green onions, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, buttermilk and juice in a bowl; set aside.

-Combine salmon, egg whites, remaining shallots/green onions, capers, breadcrumbs, remaining 1 tsp Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in another bowl; mix well
-IF you are making patties, then shape into 8 3-inch-round patties; If you are not then just leave the salmon as chunks :)
-Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat
-Cook Salmon cakes until bottom is golden, ~6 minutes; flip and cook until golden, ~5 minutes
-Serve salmon with the yummy sauce!

I also served this with baked asparagus and croissant rolls as you can see in the picture. Skinning the salmon was a lot harder than I thought it would be, so if you have any suggestions on how to make it easier please share! :)

Have a great Easter Weekend!!

Nutritional Information:
- ~369 calories per 2 patties
-19 g fat/ 4 g saturated (Salmon has good for you omega-3 fats!)
-19 g carbohydrates
-2 g fiber
-30 g protein

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fitness: Crunches...You're doing it wrong

How many times have you been walking through the gym and you see someone on a mat doing this:

Not only are they doing this improperly, but they are also most likely going ONE THOUSAND MILES AN HOUR. I'm not sure where this notion of 'I need to do as many as I can as fast as I can!' came from...but, they aren't really accomplishing anything. Sad, but true. 

Also, how many times (especially if you are an instructor) have you heard people say, 'I can't do abs for long because it hurts my neck' or 'Why does my neck hurt after doing abs?' Because you're doing it wrong. Haha, don't say that obviously... gotta be about that customer service!

So, what is the correct way? In my classes I always give these cues/tips when we do abs: 
'When we are doing abs, focus on using your abs, never your neck. When we come up you shouldn't be putting any pressure on your head or neck. Focus on pushing your chest to the ceiling while pulling your shoulder blades off of the floor using only your abs.'

Yes it sounds simple, but for some it is...different and somewhat difficult at first if they aren't used to using and focusing on their core muscles.

This is the best picture I could find that demonstrates a proper crunch:

The website with this picture gives a good description as well: Two Hundred Situps
If you are looking for some new ab workouts I suggest checking out websites like SELF (she looks intense doesn't she? lol), Women's Health, and SHAPE.
Keep in mind that this is obviously a very simplistic post about abs. There is so much more information and make sure you are finding reputable sources. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can help! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Recipe: Mini Pineapple Empanadas

Okay guys, I'm supposed to be studying Microbiology, but I figured I could take a break to do a quick post :) I was so excited about making these mini empanadas for our fitness instructor meeting on Sunday night. I went to the grocery store last week and got what I thought I needed and everything. However, there is always that one or two pivotal ingredients that I forget. I can typically find a substitute, but I couldn't justify any subs for this recipe :( So, I made the dough and it will hold in the refrigerator for up to two days so I will make them tomorrow! Until then, I wanted to share the recipe with you guys!

-1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup cornmeal
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel), cut into small pieces
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-4 tablespoons low-fat milk
-1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
-1/3 cup pineapple or apricot preserves (this is what I was missing!)
-2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
Preparation :
-Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. 
-Add cream cheese and oil and blend with your fingers until crumbly. 
-Sprinkle the mixture with milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a fork until the
dough just comes together and the mixture will still be a little crumbly. 
-Knead a few times in the bowl, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times until the dough comes together. 
-Divide in half and shape into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days. 

-Combine pineapple and preserves in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until syrupy, 12 to 15 minutes. 
-Mash the pineapple into smaller chunks with a potato masher or fork.
-Remove from the heat; stir in breadcrumbs and cinnamon. 
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. 
-On a well-floured surface, roll out one disc of dough at a time into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Cut circles of dough using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary, to make 24 circles. 
-Place 1 teaspoon pineapple filling in the center of each circle. Fold in half, press edges together and crimp with a fork. 
-Place on the prepared baking sheet. 
-Bake the mini empanadas until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. 
-Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. 
-Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectionersʼ sugar, if desired.
(Recipe courtesy of Eating Well)

Per empanadita : 64 Calories; 2 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 1 mg Cholesterol; 12 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 84 mg Sodium; 14 mg Potassium  

I can't wait to see how these turn out in the end! I'll be sure to post a pic and an update!

Update: I finished making these tonight and they were SO good! I'm not going to lie, they took a while to make as far as rolling and cutting the dough and then putting the filling in and pressing them, etc. But, they were worth it and it's good if you need a little stress relief and find baking relaxing! I just put on my Adele CD and took my time! :) Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Recipe: Scrumptious Shrimp Pasta (2 ways!)

We love shrimp pasta at our house. We have it once a week and it's typically on Sunday night. I usually do the pasta and the hubby usually does the shrimp. This way not only are we spending time together, but he also cooks shrimp way better than me. He has some special way of making it crispy and the taste is better. I have two main ways that I like to do the pasta and I'm going to post both of them here.

Option 1: Simple Shrimp Pasta


-Whole Wheat pasta (any style, we like basic spaghetti)
-1 can diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano (like this one)
-.5-1 lb fresh shrimp (or you can use frozen shrimp, but fresh obviously tastes better)
-Butter (amount is your discretion)
-Garlic Salt

-Boil water and add pasta; cook as directed on box
-Add whole can of diced tomatoes to a small sauce pan; set on low-medium heat to warm up
-Remove tails from shrimp if they are present
-Add butter to frying pan, enough to cover bottom, on medium heat
-Add shrimp to pan and begin to sauté. 
-Add garlic salt to one side (add to other side when you flip) 
-Let the shrimp cook about 3-4 minutes on each side.
-Add the shrimp and diced tomatoes to the pasta

Option 2: Oil and Vinegar Shrimp Pasta (This is good without the shrimp as well!)
(Based off of a recipe from Kitchen Daily)

-Whole Wheat Pasta (~8 oz)
-2 cups broccoli florets
-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
-2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
-6 Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
-1 clove garlic
-1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
(The rest of these ingredients I usually omit, but you can do whatever you like!)
-8 oz each red and yellow tomatoes, diced
-8 oz mozzarella cheese, diced
-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
-1 cup fresh basil leaves, stacked and cut in narrow strips
-Parmesan cheese, optional

-Boil water and add pasta, cook as directed
-Stir in broccoli for the last minute of cooking time for pasta
-Drain pasta and broccoli, rinse under running cold water until cool and set aside
-Whisk oil, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl
-Add tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olives and shrimp (if using) to cooled pasta
-Toss to mix and coat
-Sprinkle with basil and parmesan

So as usual, adjust these to what you like and what you have available! Most of us don't have much time so that's why I like to take recipes and make them much more simple. Such as the second one, to save even more time I use the frozen broccoli that you steam in the microwave instead of having to chop and boil fresh broccoli. Then I just add the broccoli to the pasta, oil, vinegar and sun dried tomatoes, etc. and you have a meal!

Let me know your thoughts and if you try one of these recipes!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fitness: Shake that Groove Thang!

Music! I believe that music plays a HUGE part in whether or not you enjoy your workout. 

 If only I haz some good musik 2 motivate me

I put a good bit of time and thought into what music I play in all of my fitness classes. You can definitely tell a difference because participants will get into their workout a lot more if they are enjoying the music! I have to use 'fitness' music for my choreographed classes, such as step, bootcamp and kickboxing. But, for cycle I use regular radio music. When I first started teaching cycle I used mostly rock songs because that is what I always used in my personal cardio workouts. Plus, you have to think about your crowd. At the time I was only teaching cycle at the local gym and not the university. Those are two pretty different populations so you have to be considerate of that. 

Anywho, I always ask for suggestions and try to mix up the genres of music so that most everyone will have something that gets them pumped up! And for your personal workouts be sure to mix it up as much as you can so that you don't get bored! Use the genius feature on iTunes, ask your friends what they are listening to, even google can help you find new music!

Here are some songs that I have used:

Fast Cardio:
Bang, Bang by K'naan & Adam Levine
Check it out by and Nicki Minaj
Animal by Neon Trees
Spotlight by Mutemath
Flat on the floor by Nickelback
Liar by Taking Back Sunday
I like it by Enrique Iglesias
Monster by Skillet
Victim by Eighteen Visions

Cardio with more resistance (Hills in cycle)
Time is Running out by Muse
Wait by Earshot
Let me out by Future Leaders of the world
Rolling in the deep by Adele
Rock your body by Justin Timberlake
Rocketeer by Far East Movement

For strength in my personal workouts I always like to use rap/hip hop more since the beats per minute is slower. But, those aren't always family friendly so I'll let you decide which ones work for you :)

For instructors, there are a lot of different websites out there with pre-made fitness music for your choreographed classes. My personal favorites are:

John Sines
Cardio Mixes
Power Music

What kind of music do you like to listen to when working out? Do you workout to the beat of the music or is it there just for background? Let me know your thoughts!