Kale Chips | Easiest Recipe. Ever. {Giveaway Reminder}

I am really enjoying your responses to yesterday’s post regarding a SlimKicker challenge you could see yourself participating in. Remember, each challenge comment on that post earns you an entry for an awesome giveaway. SlimKicker is giving one of my lucky readers a 7-Quart Oval Manual, Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Read yesterday’s post to learn about SlimKicker and to find out how to enter. There’s still time! Giveaway closes on Monday, May 28th at 11:59. Here is, once again, a look at the prize:

In other news, do you ever get the late-night munchies? I certainly do. Healthy options can be hard to think of when you want something quick and simple. When I get the munchies, I tend to want something crunchy to snack on. I usually gravitate toward plain popcorn, sprinkled with cinnamon or the kettle corn variety. (I have quite the sweet tooth!)

Last night, the munchies hit me, big time. I looked in my pantry, hoping to find some popcorn. But the only kind I was the butter flavor (and I don’t know how that ended up there because I don’t like the butter and salt flavor.) So, I decided I’d make up a batch of Kale Chips. My recipe is extremely easy, only 2 ingredients, and NO salt or oil.

 “Cheesey” Kale Chips

(No cheese is actually used, only nutritional yeast that gives a great cheese flavor. Perfect for vegans, vegetarians or flexitarians, like myself.)
Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch Kale (I had about 3 loose cups worth)
  • 2 tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast (I use Bragg)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.Tear kale into bite sized pieces, wash, shake dry and place in a bowl.

3. Place kale on baking sheet and sprinkle with nutritional yeast

4. Place in oven and bake 4-5 minutes, turn over and bake for another 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and Enjoy!

Nutrition Info: Calories: 139, Total Fat 0g, Sat. Fat 0g, Cholest. 0mg, Sodium, 87mg, Carb. 23g, Fiber 5g, Sugars 0g, Protein 10g
 A couple of things to note:
  • Make sure you dry your Kale really well after washing. Leaving too much moisture may result in a chewy kale chip, which I don’t enjoy.
  • Keep an eye on your Kale as it is cooking. Oven temperatures do vary and kale can quickly burn if kept in the oven too long.
  • I enjoy these right out of the oven, still warm. But you can also enjoy these for a couple of days by putting them in an air tight container.

Again, don’t forget to enter to win SlimKicker’s giveaway! Wishing you all the best! katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s your favorite healthy late night snack?
Have you entered to win SlimKicker’s Giveaway? Find out more by reading yesterday’s post.

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Workouts Reviewed and SlimKicker {Giveaway}

There’s a giveaway involved in today’s post, so keep reading…but first, let me recap yesterday’s workouts. Monday, my first day on my new workout schedule, was a major success! I designed my strength session to be a total body workout with extra emphasis on the upper body. Simply knowing that I wanted to push my upper body made me concentrate on that muscle group more with each exercise. Just like yoga where the instructor emphasizes the importance of feeling every vertebrae, I focused on every muscle being used.

I also went to Zumba after work. Now that I view Zumba as a fun activity and not a workout for me personally, I let loose, had a blast, and actually seemed to have more energy to dance. I focused on twisting and turning, engaging my core, and putting more of myself into each move rather than just go through the motions.

You know I like apps and tools that help you live a healthy, balanced life. In previous posts, I’ve mentioned several tools I use daily to help hold me accountable toward achieving my overall health goals. Have you heard of SlimKicker? It’s a great online tool and iPhone app that helps motivate you to get fit by turning your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game. You earn points by participating in healthy eating and fitness challenges.

Examples of SlimKicker challenges include: quitting soda for a week, giving up processed meats for two weeks and committing to 100 planks over the course of a week. Some challenges give you the opportunity to win giveaways if, of course, you successfully complete them. Participate in one or several. Enjoy the many challenges offered to help you stay health-focused for life! SlimKicker also features useful tools such as a calorie counter, a fitness tracker, and a community with other similar-minded people.

One feature I particularly like about SlimKicker is the collection of recipes SlimKicker has online, each arranged by particular diet plans you may follow. Some of these diet plans include the 17 Day Diet, P90X diet plan, or the Dukan Diet…and to make some of those healthy recipes, you may need a slow cooker, right? How would you like to win this slow cooker? You can!

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel  *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only.* 

GIVEAWAY: The great people of SlimKicker want to give you, my dear reader, a chance to score this fantastic 7-Quart Oval Manual, Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. You can make some easy-to-prepare, easy-to-cook recipes (like my Mexican Salsa Chicken) in this slow cooker. Interested in winning? It’s easy. Here’s how enter this giveaway:

Mandatory: Leave a comment on a creative diet and/or fitness challenge idea that you would want to participate in, like quitting soda for a week or doing 100 plank week challenge, running 1 mile a day for 10 days, etc. The key is to be creative on the challenge! What type of fun SlimKicker challenge would you want to participate in? (Please note that this is mandatory in order to be entered into the giveaway!)

Optional: After you leave the above comment, follow me on twitter. Let your friends know about SlimKicker and this giveaway by tweeting:
“I just entered to win a 7-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in the @wishandwhimsy @SlimKicker Giveaway http://wp.me/pHJIG-kP”

I will be collecting entries until 11:59pm on Monday, May 28, 2012 and the winner will be announced shortly after. The SlimKicker team will pick their favorite challenge idea submitted by you, use it on their site, and give the winner the slow cooker. *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only. 

Interested in joining SlimKicker? You can visit their website, or download their iPhone app. Wishing you all the best and the best of luck on this awesome giveaway. katie

***EDITED: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.***
(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, FacebookPinterest and more.) 

Neapolitan Green Protein Smoothie.

I’m thrilled to share a new smoothie recipe with you. I mixed things up this week, and while it was hard not adding peanut butter to my smoothie, I think I created another fabulous protein smoothie. Here’s the refreshing beauty:

I’ve named this the Neapolitan Green Protein Smoothie because the ingredients reminded me of a neapolitan ice cream sandwich. Also, it is a green smoothie because I’ve added spinach. If you can’t get past the color of traditional Green Monster Smoothies, this may be a great introduction to adding greens. This does NOT turn out green. Instead it’s a pretty, light pink color.

Neapolitan Green Protein Smoothie

Ingredients
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup of strawberries (I used fresh, but frozen are perfectly fine)
1/2 cup of light vanilla soy milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1 ounce of fresh organic spinach
2 ounces plain greek yogurt
3 grams of dark chocolate chips (I used 60%)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (for thickening)
6-8 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients and enjoy! I decided to add a dash of cinnamon to the top of my smoothie.

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 315, Total Fat: 4.5g, Sat. Fat 1.8g, Cholest. 53.3mg, Sodium 215.1mg, Carb. 32.7g, Fiber 6.5g, Sugars 17.6g, Protein 36.5g.
 

I hope you give this smoothie a try. It’s a delicious treat/post workout/replacement meal.  I’m off to start my work day. Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Do you have a favorite protein smoothie recipe? Please do share!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Easy Mexican Salsa Chicken Recipe & Meal Planning.

Last night’s little dinner party was a great success. I loved hosting some friends for a get together…makes me feel like a grown up. I decided to make I used my crock pot and made Mexican Salsa Chicken, loosely adapted from the Gooseberry Patch recipe I mentioned yesterday. While I like starting with recipes, I like to create my own meal.

Crock pots are amazing and I don’t use mine nearly as often as I should. You can just throw basically anything into the crock pot and let it cook all day. Then all you do is scoop out its contents and you have a tasty meal! Here’s just a little trick my mom introduced me to: use crock pot liners. They make clean up a breeze so you’re not scrubbing food residue off the bottom of the pot when you’re finished. Without further delay, here’s what I put in to the crock pot:

Mexican Salsa Chicken
Serves about 6 

Ingredients:
3 frozen boneless skinless whole chicken breasts
1 Can of black beans, drained and rinsed to remove excess water and sodium
5 Tablespoons of medium salsa
2/3 Cup of frozen crinkle carrots
1/2 frozen cut leaf spinach
1/8 Cup of Vidalia Onion
3 Fresh Sweet Basil leaves

I set this on a low setting and cooked it for about 8 hours. Around hour 6, I took a fork to the chicken to shred it so that smaller pieces would soak up the mix a bit more.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 190, Total Fat: 2.7g, Sat. Fat .7g, Cholest. 36.7mg, Sodium 661.8mg, Carb. 20.9g, Fiber 8g, Sugars 5.9g, Protein 20.2g.

While I’m not much of a chicken person, this dish did come out delicious. If you’re thinking about making this, consider using this as recipe to make burritos and have whole wheat tortilla’s on hand. I had a tiny serving of this easy crock pot dish, paired it with some fresh veggies and a simple spinach, cucumber and hard-boiled egg salad.

On to today’s plans…As I discussed on my last Friday Refine, I’m really focusing on a strict grocery budget. This means taking stock of the things I do have on hand and only purchasing things necessary to make complete meals. Because it’s a brand new week, this is the perfect day to start my budget and meal planning. I’ve gone through my pantry, fridge and freezer to take note of what I have and what I need for a week’s worth of food. I’ve also thumbed through some coupons to use for the items I need in order to stick to my strict budget. For accountability toward my goal, I’ll report back to you my receipt total in tomorrow’s post.

While I keep my exercise calendar online with my email account, I’m going to keep my meal plan calendar on a hard copy calendar in my kitchen. This way it doesn’t “clutter” up my online calendar. This also would allow me to be flexible in case something comes up in the week where I need to adjust my meal plan, though I’m going to try my hardest to stick to it. I just don’t want to compromise opportunities to spend time with friends over a meal should that come up unexpectedly. I’m sure I’ll have to refine my meal planning system, but I decided I needed to simply start implementing this and improving my system as I go along. Remember my one of my favorite motivation quotes is this: “If you wait for the perfect conditions to start something, you’ll be waiting forever.” Don’t wait any longer. Just do.

Well, I’m eat my breakfast, head to church and grocery shop. I may swing by a store on the way home to look for some new work clothes. Since hitting my weight loss goal, things are starting to look a little frumpy on me and it’s time to update my look with the new me. I’ll be looking for good deals.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you plan your meals? If so, what’s your meal planning system?
Do you stick to a strict grocery budget? How do you ensure you stay within budget?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

 

Smoothies & Dinner Parties.

It’s Saturday! Time to sit back, relax and sleep in…except I don’t sleep in. I’m an early bird even when I don’t have to be. I don’t have plans until 10:30AM and yet I’ve been up since 6AM. I was hoping to open the windows and watch the sunrise, but Lexington is having thunder and lightning storms right now– which to me is equally amazing as a sunrise. I read a little bit from The Daily Fix, and finally decided to get out of bed around 7AM. I had one meal on my mind for breakfast…a green protein smoothie!

I jumped out of bed and started gathering the ingredients to make my refreshing green smoothie, perfect for a warm morning like today. BUT I discovered I was completely out of my MOST favorite peanut butter in the world, Krema Peanut Butter! I thought I had another jar of this in my pantry, but now I’ve learned this will be the very first thing to pick up when I go to the grocery. So, what to do? Last time I was grocery shopping, I picked up a packet of Justin’s Nut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut to be exact.

It seems everyone in the health & food blogger world raves about this all of the time, so I decided to give it a go. I added half of a packet to the blender and was curious to find out how this would change the overall flavor. I definitely could tell a difference, and it added a good, flavorful variety to my green smoothie. It tasted a bit “nuttier” than when I use Krema peanut butter, but I think I’ll have to try it again to know which I prefer. I liked the added chocolate flavor, too. But the thing I really like about Krema is that the peanut butter has only one ingredient: peanuts. This little packet had a few more ingredients on the list:

Organic or not, Justin’s still has added sugar and salt. I measured out the rest of my ingredients using my favorite kitchen tool, my scale, and blended away. With the exception of the peanut butter, I used this recipe for my refreshing green protein smoothie this morning. I poured this into my recycled salsa jar and enjoyed this at my dining room table and sipped on it as I watched the rain through my window.

Today is a bittersweet. I’m meeting one of my best friends for brunch at 10:30AM, kind of an early lunch for me since I will have been up for a while. She’s moving away tomorrow to begin a new chapter of her life. I’m thrilled to see how her dreams are becoming a reality, but I’m a little sad for me because I selfishly want her to stay. She is an exceptional friend, knows me better than I know myself. I’m blessed to even simply know her. So, we decided to have a final coffee date before she heads out-of-town.

Tonight, I’m hosting a little dinner party for some fairly new friends. And while I haven’t known them long, I feel like I’ve known them forever. They’re a very special couple that I love being around. Every time I’m with them I’m both inspired and challenged to become a better person. I know they enjoy chicken and I have some chicken in the freezer that I can’t seem to use up because I know I’m not going to eat much of it. Because it’s Cinco de Mayo, I thought I’d make a little Salsa Chicken in the crock pot and throw in some black beans and other veggies. I’m feeling a bit inspired by this Gooseberry Patch recipe, sans the tortillas.

This “flexitarian” will make sure there’s a salad or steamed vegetables to enjoy. I’m still a little unsure about what to make for dessert, but that will come together. I’ll let you know what I’m inspired to make later.

I hope you’re all in for a great day ahead. Anyone watching the Derby?

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What’s your favorite peanut butter / nut butter brand?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Friday Refine | Food.

It’s Friday! Our office is having a little Cinco de Mayo potluck party today, so I offered to bring a baked good. Confession whenever we have potlucks, I use these times as an opportunity to get rid of some unhealthy foods that have somehow made their way into my apartment. I hate throwing food away, so I decided to make up the package of break-and-bake chocolate chip cookies that have been teasing me in my fridge for a while now. They’re teasing me this morning, too. You just can’t beat that fresh out of the oven smell that cookies always create…

What a tease early in the morning. But I’ve resisted!

I can’t believe it’s been an entire week since I post about refining my goals. To refresh, there are four areas in my life I’d really like refine, refocus and reevaluate in order to make sure I’m continually making positive strides in healthy living. These include fitness, food, finances and love. This Friday I’m taking a look at the category of Food – where I’ve been, and where I need to take it for even better health.

In the past six months, I’ve really reshaped the way I eat.  I’ve made great strides in this area of my life by focusing on mindful eating, taking note of the nutrients my body is taking in or lacking, and I’m cutting out processed foods by choosing foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. I’m eating as many home cooked meals as possible so I can control portion sizes. More importantly, home cooked meals allows me to control each ingredient that goes into a recipe. I’ve also learned that I’m a Flexitarian. A Flexitarian is a semi-vegetarian– a person who eats a vegetarian diet much of the time, but will include animal foods in the diet when convenient or because she enjoys these foods occasionally. And by occasionally, I mean rarely, except in the form of tuna or salmon or eggs.

These are all great things I’ve focused on. Making smarter food choices has improved the way I feel, improved my mood, given me more energy and keeps me focused. I have come to a place where I can say “no” to refined carbs (free breadsticks or rolls at restaurants, cupcakes at the office, sugary cereals, etc.) and I’ve also found the powerful benefits of adding high protein foods to my diet, especially on workout days.

While I’m happy about where I’ve come from and what I’m currently doing to live healthfully in the area of Food,  there’s always room for improvement. Here’s how I’d like to refine the area of food:

1.) I’d like to incorporate food challenges into my diet and blog. Earlier this week, I, for the first time, baked tofu using a personally created recipe: Salsa Lime Tofu. It was delicious and the leftovers offered me healthy lunch options throughout my work week. I used to be so intimidated about making this food, but I challenged myself and the results turned out amazing. Food challenges would help me incorporate a variety of health and super foods into my every day diet as well as allow me to get creative in the kitchen. Some foods I’m going to challenge myself to make include:

  • Quinoa
  • Homemade Larabars
  • Steel Cut Oats / Overnight Oats
  • Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Be on the look out for Food Challenges where I’ll get creative in the kitchen and offer you healthy recipes.

First Food Challenge | Salsa Lime Tofu

2.) I’d like to review restaurants, cafes, grocery or food specialty stores once a month. Similar to reviewing The Corner Cafe, this will allow me to get to know what health gems that Lexington offers. Be looking for more “Lex Eats” reviews and recommendations.

3.) I’d like to continue logging on Lose It. This truly is a supportive online community. It’s also an amazing health tracker. You easily log what you eat every day and you can run nutrition reports on any given day. You can evaluate your day or overall week. It’s very insightful, especially on days when I’m working out and need more protein.

4) I’m going to focus on drinking 8 glasses of water and aiming for 90g to 100g of protein everyday. Being almost vegetarian, I have to work hard to ensure that I’m getting enough protein for someone who works out almost every day. I feel best overall when I am on a high protein, lower carb diet and I need to be more mindful of my carb intake by limiting refined carbs, not eliminating my carbs.

5) I am going to stick to a strict grocery budget of under $35 per week. This is plenty for a girl living alone and it restricts impulse buys, which are usually unhealthy choices. I need to make better use of coupons for items I use weekly, too. For the sake of transparency among my readers and for accountability for me, I hope to report my weekly grocery receipt total to you each week.

And finally….

6.) I’m going to begin meal planning at the start of each week instead of prepping everything the night before. This gives me better control of my health choices for the week ahead, and it will reduce stress when I’m in a time crunch. Having a meal plan will help me know what I need to purchase at the grocery by forcing me to take stock of what I currently have in my fridge/freezer/pantry versus what I need to put a meal together, ultimately saving money.

Those are a few realistic aims I’ll be working on in the coming weeks. I’ll let you know how I progress. When I get to work this morning, I’m going to print off this list and hang it on my fridge later to serve as a visual reminder of my goals. Next Friday, I’ll take a look at a different area I’d like to refine.

On a side note, this is what I’ve been enjoying this morning for breakfast:

This morning’s breakfast included a simple egg white omelet with kale, fresh sweet basil, crushed red pepper, Roma tomatoes and Vidalia onions. Because the Derby is tomorrow, I’m also enjoying some chocolate truffle coffee in my Kentucky mug. I’m probably going to have a little greek yogurt before I head to work, too.

I hope you have an amazing Friday. Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What choices can you make to live a more healthy life when it comes to the topic of Food?
Do you have any suggestions for a girl on a budget?
What foods would you like to see featured in a Food Challenge? 

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Tofu Take 2, AM Workouts & Table Sitting.

This weekend was just what I needed. After my work event on Saturday morning, I simply relaxed the weekend away. With the exception of grocery shopping and church, I really didn’t leave my apartment. While it’s been a great April, it’s been a very busy month with travel and planning a couple of large events. It’s been nice to relax.

Last night’s dinner was amazing. Since I had some leftover tofu, I decided to mix it up a bit. I cut up piece of the Salsa Lime Tofu into a few slices and put it on a frying pan to heat up and crisp the edges. Meanwhile, I prepped a half of a whole wheat pita pocket with a fried egg, Roma tomato and kale. Then I stuffed it with the tofu “scramble”. On the side, I had some cucumber and roasted red pepper hummus. Friends, this meal was mighty delicious.

Even though this dinner was solo, I sat at my dining room table to enjoy my meal. I realized that it’s a shame I don’t use my table as often because I have a fabulous view from my floor to ceiling windows in my “dining room”. (It’s not technically a dining room, because my apartment is tiny. But it’s a nice sunroom that I’ve designated as my dining room.) Sitting there without the tv on, without distraction other than the nature outside allowed me to slow down and enjoy my meal — the art of mindful eating. After finishing my meal, I realized that I want to incorporate this practice more often. Growing up, our family always made time to sit together at the table. And while I’ve always known I wanted to carry on that tradition if I ever have a family if my own, I think I want to start that tradition now…even if it’s just me.

Since my department is going out for lunch today, I decided to get up extra early and workout. Monday’s are usually my heavier workout days, but since I won’t make it to the gym during my lunch hour, I needed to get my fitness in this morning. I usually have Zumba after work, but I have an appointment this afternoon and won’t be able to make that either. (More on that “appointment” later this week. Stay tuned, Lexington.) If I want to make fitness a priority, I have to find the time. So, it meant me getting up a little earlier than normal. My workout consisted of a total body strength workout.
3 sets of 12 reps of the following:

  • Sumo squats with 10lb. dumbbell
  • Hammer curl to press
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Single-arm, neutral-grip dumbbell row and rotation
  • Dumbbell pullover

Breakfast had to be put together in a flash and thanks to planning ahead last night, I knew exactly what I was going to make this morning. I’m currently chowing down on an egg white omelet with kale, Vidalia onions, Roma tomatoes, crushed red pepper and FRESH SWEET BASIL! My plant that I bought on Earth Day has finally matured enough to pick a few leaves from the plant and place in this omelet. The fresh basil adds so much more flavor than the dried version in my pantry.

Well, I’m off to start another week of work. There are a lot of fun things planned this week and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Where do you eat your meals? At the table, in the car, on the floor infront of the T.V.?

Food Challenge | Salsa Lime Tofu Recipe.

Happy Sunday to all! I hope you have a restful and relaxing day ahead of you. I’m excited to share a new recipe today, so if you are looking to try something new for dinner this week, this delicious and nutritious dinner recipe might be just the thing for you! But before I get into dinner, let me show you what I’m enjoying right now for Sunday breakfast:

I know what you’re thinking, “where’s your typical egg white omelet?” Frankly, I woke up with a couple of things on my mind: banana bread oatmeal (Quaker Weight Control) and peanut butter (Krema simply the best). I like my oatmeal on the dry side because I think it tastes like you’re eating a cookie. Strange, right? I also had vanilla greek yogurt for some protein. (I took frozen blueberries, no sugar added, heated them in the microwave for a few seconds and put the yogurt on top. The warm and cold created a delicious morning treat!) I also opted for no coffee now because there will be some available when I go to church in just a bit. I didn’t want have caffeine overload and be jittery during service.

Without further delay, I’m really pumped to share with a new recipe created by yours truly. Here’s a sneak peek:

Food Challenge: I decided to challenge myself to create a new recipe using an ingredient I was intimidated by…Tofu. Because it receives mix reviews (some people love it, some people can’t stand it) I was determined to make a healthy recipe. I consider myself 99.9% vegetarian, so I’m always looking to up my daily intake of protein. I’ve been told that Tofu is an excellent way to do that. While I’ve, on limited occasions, had tofu at restaurants, I wasn’t sure I could use it in a recipe at home. That’s why I’ve never purchased it at the grocery until now. I was amazed to find that the tofu I purchased was pretty inexpensive.

The full recipe is at the bottom of this post, but I first wanted to walk you through my first tofu cooking experience. I have read that tofu is fairly bland on its own but will take on the flavors you pair with it. I decided to create my own simple marinade. I took the photo below to give you a visual ingredient guide, but since I was creating a marinade from scratch, I added an additional ingredient not photographed: a bit of Vidalia onions.

It's a simple yet tasty marinade, sans the Vidalia onion.

For fellow tofu chef newbies, you first drain the water from the tofu block. Then cut the block of tofu in shapes/pieces and sizes you want. I placed these pieces in a Tupperware container so I could marinade them after I created the mix.

Simple marinade consisting of medium salsa, spicy mustard, vidalia onion, dried sweet basil and limeI

I covered the tofu with this marinade and left it in the fridge for a couple of hours to soak up the flavors. I prepped a baking sheet for the oven and placed the tofu pieces on a lightly greased sheet. I cooked the tofu at 375 for 40 minutes. This marinade really made my apartment smell delicious and I was ready to eat it when it came out of the oven.

I decided to plate the tofu with some simple steamed vegetables: cauliflower and carrots. This really turned out to be a delicious dinner. It was just enough without making me feel too full. It left me with plenty of leftovers. I think that this would be great cut up and tossed in a green salad, in a breakfast scramble, or in a sandwich/pita. I’m realizing that the options for tofu really are endless.

Before I share the recipe I created I wanted to share some after thoughts. Now that I’ve created a basic recipe to use for the future, there are a few things I’d add to this recipe. First, I’d add some diced Roma tomatoes. Maybe this is because I love Roma tomatoes, but I think they’re flavor could add a lot to the recipe. Second, I’d add a dark green like Kale or Spinach for some texture and to add some green to the plate. And finally, I’d bake it for another 10 or so minutes to make the edges more crisp. Other than that, I truly think that this was a tofu success and I’m already looking forward to stepping up my tofu game next time. As promised, here’s my full recipe with the nutrition breakdown:

Salsa Lime Tofu
Makes 6 slices

Ingredients:

1 package of firm tofu
5 tablespoons of medium salsa
2 teaspoons of spicy brown mustard
1 lime
1/8 cup of  Vidalia onion
1 teaspoon dried ground basil
Cooking Spray

Drain block of tofu. Slice block into 6 pieces. Mix marinade ingredients and pour over tofu slices. Marinate for at least 1 hour, longer for stronger flavor. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare baking sheet with canola oil spray. Place slices on baking sheet and cook for about an hour. Enjoy warm!

Nutrition Information Per Slice:
Calories: 122, Total Fat: 5.8g, Sat. Fat .7g, Cholest. 0mg, Sodium 284.1mg, Carb. 8.3g, Fiber 3.5g, Sugars 1.9g, Protein 10g.
 

I had a great time challenging myself in the kitchen yesterday. I’m looking forward to incorporating more tofu in my everyday diet. I’m strongly considering making healthy, fun food challenges like this part of my “food goals” as I continue refining my Fitness, Food, Love and Finance goals.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you like Tofu? Do you have a favorite tofu recipe? Please share!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Refreshing Smoothie and Healthy Munchies.

So. Good. Period.

I have a new, refreshing Green Protein Smoothie to share with you. It’s not too sweet, not too mild. It’s simply a perfect balance. The flavors blend very well together, nothing overpowering, and the drink provides a refreshing energy boost.

Ingredients:
1/2 Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder
2oz of Fage, 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2C Vanilla Soy Milk
1T Krema Peanut Butter (You can use any kind of Peanut Butter you prefer, but my favorite is Krema. No salt, no sugar, just straight up creamy peanuts!)
1C Organic Spinach
1/2 Frozen Banana
1/4T Xanthan Gum (Used for thickening. I use Bob’s Red Mill which I found at Kroger.)
3g  Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips, 60% (Why not enjoy tiny bits of dark chocolate in the mix? Plus, this only equals 4 chocolate chips when measured on the kitchen scale.)

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 327, Total Fat: 12.7g, Sat. Fat 1.9g, Cholest. 25mg, Sodium 152.6mg, Carb. 27.6g, Fiber 5.8g, Sugars 14g, Protein 29.5g.

This smoothie is so refreshing and I am confident you will enjoy it. I tried so hard to scrape out every last taste in the my jar/glass! For additional protein packed smoothie recipes, visit my Recipe page.

Last night I was feeling a bit munchy, but I wanted to eat healthy. Days I work out harder make me really focused on making the right choices. I think this “being focused” mentality is created because I know I worked hard to maintain and progress my overall fitness and I don’t want to waste the effort I exerted.

I was looking for high protein, lower calorie snacks. Something that would satisfy me for the evening. I also wanted something crunchy, but not carb loaded. So I had a dilemma. I had to get creative.

While watching American Idol, I decided on 1 container of vanilla greek yogurt (Kroger brand) topped with 1/4C of bran flakes with just a dash of cinnamon. This gave me about 15 grams of protein and about the same carbs. I’ll take that all for under 135 calories.

I have a busy day ahead trying to wrap up some last-minute details for a work event happening this Saturday. So, I’m running out the door as soon as I finish my energy boosting breakfast, coffee included of course! Here’s a look at what I’m currently chowing down on for breakfast. I was going to add in some fresh basil, but I thought I’d let my plant mature for a few more days.

My morning 3 Egg White Omelet, loaded with veggies, spinach and tuna.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What are your favorite high protein or healthy late night snacks?
Who are you cheering on for American Idol? 

Sweet Basil & A Healthy Tuna Salad.

Before I get into today’s thoughts, let me share with you what I’m thoroughly enjoying for breakfast right now:

This is a real winner on a chilly morning like today.

Breakfast includes Maple Brown Sugar & Pecan Oatmeal with Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cinnamon (an excellent pantry staple item), Vanilla Greek yogurt with a dash of Cinnamon, and amazingly smooth Chocolate Truffle Coffee.

On a side note, the Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie that I enjoyed for yesterday’s breakfast was delicious. It was a bit sweet, but it tasted so much like dessert. It was thick and filling. I couldn’t finish it all. It also kept me full of energy all morning long.

How did you spend your Earth Day 2012?

I had grand plans for a nice picnic in the lawn, with the sunshine on my shoulders and a good book in hand. Didn’t happen. WAY too cold for me. So instead, after church I went to the grocery to restock my fridge for the week. On my way home, stopped by this cute little nursery called Sunshine Growers to pick up a Sweet Basil plant so I can have fresh herbs when I cook. The gentleman there was very nice, helping me pick out just the right plant and offering growing tips.

Do you see all of those UK flags? GO CATS!!!

On my way home, I put the small basil plant in my car’s cup holder next to my coffee cup for safe transportation.

Basil Car Seat

A car seat for my new basil plant. This herb made my car smell amazing.

Reusing a planter I had on hand, I quickly potted my new Sweet Basil plant and it’s now enjoying some sunlight in my sun room.  That’s one way to celebrate Earth Day 2012, right? One thing I love about Basil is that it’s truly a great plant for those of us who have apartments. They don’t need to be outside. Just simply some sunlight and water.

I can't get enough of this beauty.

Last night I played around in the kitchen and came up with a delicious and nutritious Tuna Salad recipe. It was SO good. It made 5 servings so I’ll be having this for lunch throughout the week. How about I share my recipe with you?

Tuna Salad – Makes 5, 4 oz servings

Ingredients:
2 cans of chunk light tuna
1/2 cup Fage 0% PLAIN Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup cucumber slices
1/4 cup Vidalia onion
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all together and refrigerate. Even more flavorful the next day. I added this to a whole wheat pita pocket and topped with 3 slices of Roma tomatoes. The Nutrition Information below is for the Tuna Salad only, per 4oz serving.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 89, Total Fat: 2.6g, Sat. Fat .7, Cholest.92.8mg, Sodium 178.4mg, Carb. 2.3g, Fiber .2g, Sugars 1.6g, Protein 13.9g.

I’m excited to let you know that I  am having a guest post on the blog tomorrow. For all you single ladies out there, he’s really cute and a real gentleman. (I can plug him because I’m his sister.)
Some exciting news, my Green Monster Smoothie was featured on TUiN as a Dinner Idea. Thanks for the feature, TUiN!

Wishing you all the best. Katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
How did you celebrate Earth Day 2012? 

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