Monday, June 6, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Healthy Marinated Chicken Breast and Asparagus
*2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*your favorite marinade
*large freezer bag
Serve with a crusty loaf of bread, rice, couscous, or mashed potatoes. For a really fast side, Country Crock mashed potatoes from the refrigerated section of your grocery store are heated in the microwave in 4 minutes. (That's what I used!) They taste great and make for even easier cleanup. Any leftovers can be used the next day in a variety of ways. We had some leftover asparagus, so I saved it to make a delicious omelette the next morning.
I hope this recipe will help make life a little easier and healthier after a long day. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Monday, December 27, 2010
I have found that exercise is the key to weight loss. Anyone who ever told you you could safely lose 50 lbs and keep it off by dieting alone is lying. I try to do intense exercise at least 5 days a week. I am not on a super strict diet. I eat as healthy as I can during the week, and usually splurge a little on the weekend. If I want a bite of something sweet, I have it (just not the entire tub of ice cream...). If I were more strict I might lose weight more quickly, but its all about balance in order to be happy and enjoy life. If you haven't yet made the commitment to get healthy, 2011 is the perfect opportunity. But don't wait til after new years. Start today! Seriously. You only have one body. Even if you don't need to lose weight, its important to make sure that your heart is in good shape. Here are ten tips I have learned, that will hopefully help you as well:
1)Go buy an exercise DVD! I cant afford a gym membership, as I'm sure many of you can't either. Many workout DVDs cost $10-$15 at Walmart. Don't feel like you have to complete the entire workout right off the bat. Do as much as you can without stopping, even if it is only 10 minutes to start with. You will build endurance over time.
2)Exercise at least 5 days a week! Also, make sure that the exercise you are doing is cardio. You should be sweating a lot by the end of your workout! Strength training is important, but cardio burns fat and strengthens your heart. (Jillian Michaels usually incorporates both into her workouts)
3)Measure your food and caloric intake for the first two weeks. This will give you an idea of how much you are actually consuming as opposed to how much you need to eat. Remember, to burn one pound of fat per week, you need a deficit of 3,500 calories per week.
500 calorie daily deficit x 7 days = 3,500 calories (1 lb lost)
Don't know how much your body naturally burns each day? Try this calculator: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-burned.php Take the number it gives you, then subtract 500 calories. This is about how much you should consume per day in order to lose weight at a healthy rate. After a while, you'll be able to eyeball food portions better (besides, measuring food becomes a pain in the ass after two weeks...)
4)After you work out, eat a small amount of protein to help your muscles recover. I usually have a low fat cheese stick or protein shake. Also, drink lots of water!! (the more water you drink, the less you retain. Hence, the less you weigh)
5)Eat small healthy snacks between breakfast and lunch each day to keep your metabolism going. Your metabolism slows in the afternoon and evening, however, so try not to snack after lunch. A cup of black coffee or unsweetened tea in the afternoon can help suppress your appetite.
6)Remember that your body weight will fluctuate due to many things such as water retention and muscle gain. The first several lbs will come off quickly, then the weight loss will slow down. Don't get frustrated if you hit a plateau, or you gain a pound or two back. This is normal. Just keep at it. Weigh yourself often (and naked for your true weight) to keep an eye on any fluctuation. Its a lot easier to take off an extra 2 lbs that you gained back than an extra 10.
7)If you hit a plateau, don't panic or give up! You just need to slightly alter what you are eating and/or your exercise routine. I would recommend extending the time you work out. If you are able to exercise for 20 minutes without stopping, add an extra 5-10 minutes. This will help kick start your body again.
8)Do not reward weight loss goals with food! This is a slippery slope and is often counter productive. Instead, do something else for yourself, such as a manicure, a new clothing item, a long bubble bath with candles, etc.
9)Document your progress in a journal to help you stay on track. It is always rewarding to look back and see how far you have come! Taking pictures along the way can help you see progress made.
10)Ask yourself why you want to lose weight and keep this reason in mind. It's OK to want to lose weight to look good in a bikini, but there are a lot of other really important reasons to keep in mind:
*lower blood pressure
*reduced risk for diabetes and heart disease
*exercise stimulates the release of serotonin, which can help depression and anxiety
*longer, fuller life to spend with the ones you love
Remember, you only have this one body. It is your responsibility to take care of it. It isn't always easy or fun, but the rewards are many! If you love your body, it will love you back. Make 2011 the best year of your life so far. Your time is now. What are you waiting for??
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Hot Rosemary Olive Oil Hair and Facial Treatment
- about 1/2 cup of olive oil
- one sprig of fresh rosemary
- a tea strainer
- a shower cap or plastic walmart sack
- a towel
In the bottom of a measuring cup, crush rosemary leaves with the end of a spoon to release fragrance. pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute. Let steep for about 5 min. Pour through tea strainter to catch all of the roasemary leaves. (You can now transfer into a squirt bottle for easy application, but this is optional. I dont always have one lying around...) Test the oil on your hand to make sure it isnt too hot! Lean your head over the sink or the bathtub and pour the oil a little at a time onto your hair, massaging the scalp. Make sure you get the ends. When your hair is saturated from root to tip, cover with a shower cap or plastic bag, then wrap your head in a towel. You can now use the oil from your hands to massage your face. Gently work in small circles, massaging out and away from the center of your face. After about 5 minutes, rinse your face with warm water and pat dry. You will want to leave the olive oil in your hair for at least 20 minutes. This will allow for full penetration. After the 20 minutes is up, shower as usual. You will probably need to wash your hair twice to make sure you remove all of the excess oil.
Make sure that if you apply the oil in the bathtub, you spray your shower with a degreaser!!! The tub will be VERY slippery after the application as well as after you shower!!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I often use when making bread that works out really well. I turn to my food processor. Yes, you can use the food processor to bring bread dough together! Sounds crazy, but works like a charm and is extremely easy to do. Making homemade bread is such a comforting thing to do on a cold fall weekend. Try this easy recipe and let me know what you think! Happy baking!
Basic White Bread
-½ cup warm water (not too hot!)
-¾ cup cool water
-4½ tsp yeast
-2 tbsp sugar
-2 tsp salt
-¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
-4 cups flour (plus a little extra for a quick kneading)
Stir together sugar, yeast and warm water, set aside to bloom (about 5 min or so). In food processor add flour, salt and melted butter. Pulse a few times. On a low speed, pour in a steady stream of the yeast mixture. Next pour in a steady stream of the cool water. After the dough forms a ball, let processor run for about 30-45 more seconds. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead just a few times, adding a little four if it's too sticky. Heavy kneading is not necessary; just a few turns to make sure the dough is the right consistency. Let rise in a large greased bowl that is covered in plastic until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch down, and reshape into a greased and floured loaf pan. Loosely cover with plastic. Let rise again until doubled in size. (about 1 hour) Bake at 350° for about 30-40 min. (should be light golden brown and sound somewhat hollow when tapped)
*Rising times can vary. On the counter top, it should take about an hour to double. Sometimes, though, I am in a bit of a hurry. You can speed up the process by using warmth from your oven. Set your oven to the lowest setting for a few minutes to warm it up a little then turn it off. (it shouldn't be so hot that you can't touch the rack inside) Place the bowl of dough or loaf pan in the oven. The warmth will help the yeast get excited and you can cut your rising time in half!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
This recipe yields about one dozen muffins. I had a little extra batter, but I think my tins are a little smaller than standard. They tend not to rise much, so its OK to fill the cups pretty full. You could also add dried cranberries or chocolate chips to this if you wanted. I personally like my muffins to be a little less sweet, so next time I might omit the 1/2 cup of white sugar. You could probably bake this batter in a loafpan as well, just increase the cooking time and do the toothpick test. I encourage you to try my recipe and let me know what you think! Happy baking!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
1)If you want a really good pan, go to an antique shop. Megamarts sell cast iron these days that have been preseasoned. I personally prefer to season the pans myself. And besides it's pretty neat to have something with a bit of history behind it.
2) Once you have your pan, its time to prepare it for seasoning. If it is an antique, chances are it will be dirty and possibly have some rust. Take a scouring pad and scrub the pan in warm mild soapy water. After you have given it a good scrub, immediately dry.
3) Now its time to season your pan. This creates a slick non-stick surface and keeps the pan from rusting. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Coat the inside of the pan with shortening, lard or bacon grease. Make sure you get the sides, but there is no need to cover the back side of the pan, just the surface you will be cooking in. Bake for one hour. Remove pan and wipe with a cloth or paper towel to redistribute the fat. Return to oven and bake for another hour. Remove from oven and wipe out any excess fat. This process can be repeated several times to create a stronger bond. Allow to cool completely before storing in a cool dry place.
4) Cleanup is simple but crucial to maintaining your skillet. NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER put your pan in the dishwasher!!!!!!! (Ladies, make sure your husband/boyfriend knows this too in case he wants to try and be sweet by doing the dishes for you, and ends up ruining your pan...or your expensive wood cutting board......love you baby ;-D )This will remove the seasoning bond, and possibly rust out your pan. Some people say to rinse with warm water, but resist the urge to get the pan wet at all. To correctly clean your pan, remove as much food as possible. Then heat on the stove over medium-low, add a small amount of shortening or cooking oil and a good amount of salt. Take some paper towels or a dry washcloth and scrub the salt around to remove the rest of the food bits and create a super slick surface. Heating the pan will open the pores of the metal and help it clean easier. discard salt and wipe the pan out one final time. Allow to cool before storing.
5)Cooking Dos and Don'ts:
*Cast iron is great for frying, searing, sautéing and baking.
*Try to avoid cooking things in it that have a high acidity level, such as tomato sauce and lemon juice. This can break down the pan and possibly cause it to rust.
*Never put really cold liquid in a really hot pan. Not only could it splash up and burn you, but it could put a crack in your beautiful skillet.
*When baking things like cornbread or biscuits, always melt a little butter in the bottom first to make sure it slides out easily. It also makes a yummy crust on the bottom!
*Do not store leftovers in your pan. This can compromise the seasoning
*If possible, try to clean immediately after use. The longer you let a dirty pan sit, the harder it is to clean later! It can also weaken the seasoning
6) A few ideas for using your skillet:
*frying bacon (make sure to place bacon in a cold skillet with no oil to start!)
*searing a roast (before cooking it in a crock pot or dutch oven)
*southern fried chicken
I hope I have encouraged you to adopt and enjoy your very own cast iron skillet! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment. :-)