Monday, January 16, 2012

Recipe of the Week- Granola Bars

Last week I went on a wild crazy baking frenzy and posted a picture of everything I baked on Facebook.  Everyone asked for my granola bar recipe, so here it is as promised.  I used this recipe in my Vitamix blender, but if you don't have a Vitamix, you could just leave the oats whole, and use almond meal instead of whole almonds, just skip the first step where you would grind the oats and nuts in the blender.

1/2 cup (60 g) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (28 g) wheat germ
1/2 cup (70 g) raw almonds
1 cup (155 g) oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup (244 g) unsweetened applesauce
1. Place flour, wheat germ, almonds and oats into the Vitamix dry blade container and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and slowly increase to speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 40 seconds. Turn machine off. Pour out into bowl. 
5. Add salt, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, cranberries and applesauce to mixture.
11. Stir by hand until moistened. Spread into greased 8x8 pan.
12. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350F (180C) oven.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Recipe of the Week- Sugar Cookies

I'm sure that some of you may be surprised to see this post from me- I usually keep the recipes pretty clean and healthy for this blog.  But life is all about finding balance, right?  I firmly believe that you can give yourself occassional treats if you have earned them.  One of the things I will not ever give up is making sugar cookies for Christmas with my girls.  My mom made them with me, I make them with my girls, and let's hope someday I can make them with my grandchildren :)  I love MAKING them, but try to have a few rules when EATING them.  I only eat them when I am sitting down at the table with a glass of milk- not standing in the kitchen, not standing at the table, not walking around the house.  So here is my favorite recipe for sugar cookies.  Whatever your indulgences may be this holiday season, I hope you enjoy them!  And then get your booty to class to work them off.

Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 t. baking powder
2 1/2 c. flour

- Mix sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Pour in the butter.  Add baking powder and flour and stir until smooth.
- Chill 1 hour, or freeze about 20 minutes.
- Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with your favorite cookie cutters.
- Bake 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees, until edges just start to brown.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Body Back Journey by Libby- final installment!

Wednesday 11/9 10pm
I watched everything I ate today, only healthy things and a lot of water! I wish I did that every day as I felt so much better. I was worried I was going to be disappointed in my weight loss which I was a little, but again I didn’t give this 100% the last few weeks. Although I now fit in my pre-maternity pants which is something in itself! So I know the weight will come in time and wearing my regular clothes will help me get there!
A few weeks ago Jackie asked us to give up a bad habit. My bad habit is drinking soda. I drink about 1 a day. Somehow I stuck to it and kicked the soda everyday and now have about 1 soda a week so that was a big accomplishment for me! I’ve drank more water in the past 8 weeks than I ever have and now it’s a habit to fill my water bottle every morning.
The assessment class tonight went a lot better than I expected! I lost a total of 5lbs. As much is this was about weight for me, it was more so about starting new habits and changing my life. I had 10 extra pounds from having 2 kids and I knew this was my chance to get over the hump and once I did, I would be back to an even healthier me.
I can’t do it all in 8 weeks but I feel really good about the path I’m on now. These 8 weeks were about taking time for myself and realizing I needed to make changes in my diet and start exercising on a regular basis even if it was for 15 minutes while my kids played. There is always an excuse, especially with our busy lives and having children but nothing works with an unhappy and unhealthy Mom. I want my children to have healthy lifestyles.
This class taught me a lot. It taught me to start small with exercising, changing what we eat, drinking more water and slowly giving up thinks like sugar and soda of which I love both! I loved the inspiration I got from Jackie and the other Mom’s in class. I think we all need the support in class and outside. I really enjoyed the facebook group as it was encouragement during the week, sometimes when I needed it most.

Sunday 11/13 8pm
Tonight we had a Final results party! It was at the Blue Jean’s Bar. It’s a great store with tons of different types and styles of jeans! A great place to reward yourself for 8 weeks of hard work! It was fun to see everyone in “regular” clothes with makeup on! More importantly it was exciting to see the changes we all made over the past 8 weeks and the support that got us all there! Thanks Jackie and Victoria!
Here I am 8 weeks later….I lost 5 pounds. I lost 2 inches in my waist which I am thrilled about as I knew it was something since I am no longer in my maternity pants! Bye-Bye maternity pants, it was fun! I think the best part for me was seeing the before and after pictures. I look so different! My pushup improvements were 60% but to be honest, I only did 6 the first night of class. I am not a fan of pushups. My plan improved 40% and overall I am very happy with where I am 8 weeks later.
I will miss this group as it really did change my life and how I view exercising. I will miss Jackie saying “Belly buttons in”, as I always need the reminder. I might even miss Friday nights and dreading Saturday mornings. But once I was at class on Saturdays I was so glad I made it and left knowing it was the best way to start the weekend and to remind myself of what to do and what not to do! I will miss Jackie’s upbeat music but I know this is a start to a new me and I don’t want to let myself go back to where I was. I’m so glad I took this class for many different reasons! Jackie, I’ve said it before and will say it again, you are a true inspiration!

My Body Back Journey by Libby

Wednesday 11/2 8pm

I missed class tonight which I was bummed about as it sounded challenging! I guess they did 100 of multiple exercises! I am also missing Saturday’s class so I will have to try and keep myself on track. Tonight I made the Chicken Verde recipe which is one of the recipes in our workout book. I have to say it was super easy to make and delicious and of course healthy! I have a feeling that recipe will be a regular meal in our house.

Sunday 11/6 7pm
We were out of town this weekend so I missed the Saturday class. It’s always difficult when you’re away to watch what you eat especially when you are in the car for a few hours which we were. I felt like I did pretty well and in the back of my mind the reminder of final assessments this week played into helping me control what I ate and drank.

Monday 11/7 9pm
I went to the Monday night class tonight to take “after” pictures. I only see these ladies usually once a week and could tell a difference in each one of them. It gave me motivation for the next two days before it was my turn for assessments, which I was totally dreading! In all honesty, I gave this class about 70%. My 3 month old ended up having surgery in the middle of the 8 weeks and I let things slide a bit.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recipe of the Week- Sweet Potato and Collard Greens Salad

You can tell that I am on a fall and winter veggie kick right now :)  Here's another yummy way to get in some greens- you could substitute swiss chard, kale or spinach for the collards.

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
2 T olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
1 bunch collard greens, chopped (about 4-5 cups)
1/2 c. roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 dried cherries (I used cranberries)
zest and juice of one lemon
1 T. coarse ground mustard
1 T. pumpkin seed oil or olive oil

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and toss collards with sweet potatoes directly on the hot baking sheet, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes until the greens begin to wilt.  Transfer the greens and sweet potatoes to a bowl and mix with pumpkin seeds, dried cherries and lemon zest.  In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard and pumpkin seed oil together, then toss with the salad.  Enjoy at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled. 

From Experience Life Magazine, December 2011.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week- Pumpkin French Toast

Here's a yummy breakfast for Thanksgiving morning!

4 slices whole wheat bread
2 eggs
2 T. pumpkin puree
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
splash of milk

Heat a large skillet or griddle over med-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl.  Add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, whisking until pumpkin breaks.  Add a splash of milk and whisk until smooth.  Dip the bread in, turn to coat and set aside- don't let it sit too long or it will get soggy.  Place the french toast on the skillet and turn when cooked, about 2-3 minutes.  Serve with a sprinkle of fairy dust- also known as powdered sugar.  Our favorite dippers are apple sauce or vanilla greek yogurt, but I supposed syrup would do as well- just make sure it's 100% pure maple syrup to avoid icky additives :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe of the Week- Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is so simple and delicious! I've been having it as an afternoon snack, drinking it in a mug while chasing the girls around.  It would be a great starter to your Thanksgiving meal too.

1 butternut squash
3 T. butter
1 large chopped onion
1 t. dried ginger (or 4 t. fresh)
4 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 c. half and half
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and place cut side down in a roasting pan.  Cook about 40 minutes, or until squash is cooked.
2.  Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Add the onions and ginger and cook 5-8 minutes until tender.
3.  Scoop out the inside of the squash and add to onion mixture.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring to break apart the squash. Simmer 10 minutes.
4.  With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or food processor.
5.  Stir in the half and half and salt to taste.