Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Pancakes

I loved it when I would be in the kitchen with my Mom early on Sunday mornings to her make a big breakfast that could have two or three days-worth of leftovers. While I’m sure you can create pancake batter from scratch (which is something I think I might try someday 🙂 ), I like to use Log Cabin’s ready-to-mix dry batter. I prefer this brand because they use simple ingredients and never have more than 10 ingredients (including NO PRESERVATIVES!!) in their mixes.

As I mentioned in my post about French toast, we can use the carbohydrate content in our foods to our advantage given you want to educate yourself about the different kinds of carbohydrates and your willingness to experiment with them.

Here’s my basic pancake recipe I use regularly that is under 400 calories (which includes ¼ cup of syrup!) and keeps me full for about 3 hours.

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Log Cabin pancake mix
  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon & 2 tsp of ginger
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Combine pancake mix, egg, oil, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl
  2. Warm medium sized pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray (to prevent the pancakes from sticking, let the cooking spray warm up with the pan until it turns clear)
  3. Spritz a small of water into the pan to make sure it’s evenly heated (the water droplets should boil instantly)
  4. Pour pancake mix and cook on medium heat
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Greek Yogurt is a FANTASTIC substitute for fatty oils and butter!

chobani-conversion-chart_web_final1A few weeks ago, I was watching Dr. Oz and he was discussing how Greek yogurt is the best kind of yogurt you can include in your diet. It’s got a taste and texture that will take a while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll never want to eat any other kind of yogurt!

Towards the end of the show, Dr. Oz had a guest explain how she substituted oils and fats in her favorite foods to make it healthier and much more flavorful. She had recipes for some of my favorite indulgences like  chicken alfredo and brownies.

A special thank you to Allyson for the neat conversion chart!

I can’t wait to try this in some of my favorite recipes!

Honey is a Natural and POWERFUL anti-bacterial agent!

HoneyAbout a year ago, I started drinking tea on a regular basis and I used to put so many packets of artificial sweetener in my tea, it was ridiculous!! Every sip I took, I thought, “Oh! There’s a new cavity…”

My mom suggested I start putting honey in to replace the sugar in my tea and I was flabbergasted by what I noticed after doing that consistently. Not only did I drastically reduce the need for the sweeteners, I noticed that I wouldn’t sniffle as much. Honey.com confirmed my good results.

In addition to that, when I have honey in my tea regularly I don’t have that nasty stuff that builds up around my eyes as I’m sleeping.

One last thing I’ve noticed about honey is how moisturizing it is! When I have leftover oatmeal, I mix ¼ cup of honey with 4tsp of oats and spread it on my skin. I leave it on anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and as soon as I wash the mixture off, my redness is greatly reduced and my skin is incredibly soft!

Give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂

The 3-1-2-1 Diet

3-1-2-1-diet

A couple of weeks ago I tuned into Bethenny and I was intrigued by her “Diet Debate” segment. She had invited Dolvett Quince from The Biggest Loser to talk about his program, the 3-1-2-1 Diet.

3-1-2-1 is a nice twist on the principle that any changes you make to the way you eat shouldn’t be temporary – 3-1-2-1 adds up to seven (it took me a few minutes to figure that out because I missed the beginning of the segment where he explained the title 🙂 ), but I digress.

Dolvett’s new method reveals how we can eat and cheat our way to lose excess weight (10 pounds in 3 weeks!). It’s a simple principle of body confusion when we reduce our caloric intake. As we all know, the first few weeks of a new diet are fantastic because we are dedicated and we’re seeing results quickly. After a few months, the exasperating plateaus start to kick in and make most of us give up.

This diet is amazing because it borrows from the principle workout rule: you have to constantly change up how you work out to keep seeing results. Our metabolisms are the same way. When we eat the same things over and over and over again, our bodies get used to breaking down those foods and go out of whack when we give ourselves a break and indulge. Dolvett recommends that you eat the “clean” foods like greens, lean meats, or legumes and indulge for:3 days (clean), 1 day (indulge), 2 days (clean), 1 day (indulge). At the beginning Dolvett stresses the importance of counting all of your calories.

Bethenny instantly challenged him by saying that the constant counting will drive a person insane and that we need to escape from that prison. However, when Dolvett agreed that the constant counting is infuriating and explained that the emphasis on counting was just a tool to help you build a solid foundation of what good calories and dense calories are, Bethenny lit up with excitement. Good calories include lean chicken breasts, fish, veggies, egg whites, and so on. Dense calories simply refers to eating foods like spinach because you can eat 2 cups of spinach and use less than 100 of your allotted calories for the day and spinach is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and minerals that will make you healthier long after you finish your meal.

I wholeheartedly agree with Dolvett’s assertion that calorie counting is a great foundation builder, but I’d also add that you should find an accountability partner that you can talk to. This partner can call you out (lovingly!) when the tool is becoming an obsession.

I should point out that Dolvett also included a workout routine to compliment his diet advice, but I didn’t really care for the exercises he recommends.

Tacos

two-grilled-tacos

As a kid, I remember being addicted to fast food joints like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. One of my favorite things from Taco Bell was their beef tacos. Now that I’m almost 30, I want to pass on healthier recipes to my friends and family.

This is my basic taco recipe, but you can make enchiladas, empanadas, etc. the same way!

Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Ground beef, chicken, shrimp, lobster, scallops or tofu
  • Tortillas (multi-grain or whole wheat)
  • Shredded cheese (I like Sargento’s Pepper Jack)
  • Green, red, yellow peppers (diced)
  • White, red, yellow onions (diced)

Directions:

  1. Brown your meat or meat substitute in a saute pan on medium heat (add adobo for seasoning)
  2. Warm up the tortillas in a 2nd saute pan → put water in the pan, place it on a low simmer and let the tortilla sit in the warm water.
  3. After the ground beef is done, saute the peppers and onions
  4. Plate up the tortillas, veggies, and ground beef and ENJOY!!!

Spinach Salad

chicken-bacon-pomegranate-spinach-salad

Like many kids, I absolutely detested vegetables. Even when my mom would say I could have dessert if I ate my vegetables, I found a way to worm my way out of eating them.

Fast forward to my early 20s… after coming home after graduation, I resolved to get more greens my diet. For the first three months, I made good on my promise, but I forgot the wise, old saying goes: “Variety is the spice of life.” I only bought spinach and would incorporate a plain chicken breast to get protein and I drowned it in Caesar dressing to hide the bitter taste of the spinach.

This is my go-to spinach salad recipe. The inclusion of a little bit of feta cheese eliminates my need for dressing and when all is said and done, this meal is about 300 calories and fuels me for the rest of the day!

Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of feta cheese
  • 1 cups of spinach
  • 1 Purdue Perfect Portion chicken breast (Italian Style) or 1 scallop

Directions:

  1. Place chicken breast in greased pan burning on medium heat and cook thoroughly, then cut into small pieces
  2. Cut 1 ounce block of feta into desired chunk size
  3. Place spinach in a large bowl
  4. Add cheese and chicken to spinach

Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza

When I was younger, my mom and dad worked really hard to give me the best life possible and sometimes they needed a break. Especially my mom (from the kitchen) – I think she dropped the ball completely by going to SUNY Oneonta and majoring in Economics. She should have opened a restaurant and gone to culinary school!

To take a break from the kitchen, my mom would order Pizza Hut every Friday night. I remember her ordering two or three large pepperoni pizzas because I used to eat three slices in one sitting – EEK!

Now that I know I never have to give up my favorite foods, I started trying different kinds of pizza. Recently, I ordered a Greek pizza and I cannot describe how AWESOMELY DELECTABLE it was! It was a white pizza with Feta, roasted red peppers tomatoes and olives… MMM MMM! Since I don’t want to order out every other night, I came up with this recipe I can make at home whenever I crave some pizza.

Greek Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Feta cheese

  • Red peppers

  • Shredded cheese

  • Pizza dough

  • Thinly sliced tomatoes

  • Spinach

Directions:

  1. Cut the feta cheese into medium sized blocks

  2. Cut the red pepper into medium sized strips

  3. Flatten pizza dough an place on pan lightly greased with cooking spray

  4. Place shredded cheese, feta cheese, red peppers, spinach and tomatoes on pizza dough

  5. Bake pizza at 275°F for 30-45 minutes

When I was younger, my mom and dad worked really hard to give me the best life possible and sometimes they needed a break. Especially my mom (from the kitchen) – I think she dropped the ball completely by going to SUNY Oneonta and majoring in Economics. She should have opened a restaurant and gone to culinary school!

To take a break from the kitchen, my mom would order Pizza Hut every Friday night. I remember her ordering two or three large pepperoni pizzas because I used to eat three slices in one sitting – EEK!

Now that I know I never have to give up my favorite foods, I started trying different kinds of pizza. Recently, I ordered a Greek pizza and I cannot describe how AWESOMELY DELECTABLE it was! It was a white pizza with Feta, roasted red peppers tomatoes and olives… MMM MMM! Since I don’t want to order out every other night, I came up with this recipe I can make at home whenever I crave some pizza.

Greek Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Feta cheese

  • Red peppers

  • Shredded cheese

  • Pizza dough

  • Thinly sliced tomatoes

  • Spinach

Directions:

  1. Cut the feta cheese into medium sized blocks

  2. Cut the red pepper into medium sized strips

  3. Flatten pizza dough an place on pan lightly greased with cooking spray

  4. Place shredded cheese, feta cheese, red peppers, spinach and tomatoes on pizza dough

  5. Bake pizza at 275°F for 30-45 minutes