Friday Favorites

Welcome to round two of Friday Favorites! How was your week? I just watched the Republican Debate and now I feel angry. So lets focus on some positive news instead!

Feel Good Friday

Curvy Barbie is here! She’s not all that curvy, but at least it’s a step in the right direction…

barbie_2016fashion_2661746a

You Do Not Need to “Deserve” the Cake A must read if you’ve ever struggled with negative thoughts surrounding food.

Are you having a hard time finding healthy and budget friendly meals? Here are Five Healthy Meals Cheaper than Fast Food.

Still watching the Biggest Loser? I hope you reconsider after hearing how the contestants are actually treated. Not to mention it gives viewers completely unrealistic weight loss goals. The Brutal Secrets Behind the Biggest Loser. 

Good Eats

How amazing do these Smoothie Bowls look? Eating with a spoon versus sipping with a straw wins every time.

Smoothie-Bowls-4-640x960

Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes. Yum! Love pancakes, but I’m usually left feeling somewhat unsatisfied after devouring a carb fest. These high protein pancakes solve that problem!

Peanut-Butter-Protein-Pancakes-2.1

Snack time! Super Bowl is just around the corner and I’m definitely making these Pretzel Nuggets!

Hot-Pretzel-Nuggets-with-Cheese-Sauce-5

I recently discovered PB and J chocolate bars at TJ’s. So good! Now I have to try this homemade version of Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups.

pbcupsLast but not least Citrus Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing. Because we all need more salad in our lives. And I have a lot of oranges from a friend’s tree to use up!

Citrus-Salad-with-Orange-Poppy-Seed-Dressing_AFarmgirlsDabbles_AFD-31

Have a great weekend friends! Any fun plans? Feel free to share some of your best blog finds from this week in the comments!

Friday Favorites

friday

Hi Friends! On Fridays I’m going to be rounding up some of my favorite foodie finds from the week. Also some non-foodie things because sometimes we (me!) need a break from that! How was your week? My week has been a little more hectic than usual, but definitely in a good and exciting way! I’m on a seemingly never ending quest to be fluent in Spanish, so I’m waking up early to Skype with a Spanish teacher in Nicaragua before work. Every morning we have a nice little chat about nutrition, culture, and our mutual disgust for Donald trump. I also have a few new career opportunities on the horizon so we will see how that pans on. But first, some blog lovin!

Good Reads

Fat Doesn’t Make you Fat (And neither do carbs…)

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Sugar From one of my favorite Canadian, tell it like it is dietitians.

Take Your F*ckin Lunch Break! It’s good advice. And while you’re at it, don’t go to work when you are sick either!!

How to Stop Grazing on Snacks throughout the Day. Grazing on snacks has never really been my issue, but I know that it is for many of my clients. Here’s how to nip that habit in the butt!

Good Eats

Coconut Kale and Blueberry Smoothie by Danielle Omar at the Healthy Aperture Blog

blueberry_smoothie2

Roasted Artichokes with Black Truffle Aioli Love me some artichokes, I usually boil them, but I’m definitely going to try this roasting method! artichoke

Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Pancakes. Yes please! My family has determined that pancakes made with almond milk are the absolute best, and bonus these are filled with lots of other nutritious ingredients as well! panc

Crunchy Lentil Tacos You might think you’re taco needs meat, believe me, it doesn’t. Give these a try. taco

Chipotle Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. A whole meal in a sweet potato, why didn’t I think of that?pot

French Onion Soup As fancy as this soup looks, it’s actually quite simple and has a short ingredient list!French-Onion-Soup-4-678x1024

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting. For the plant based chocolate lover in your life. vegan chocolate cake

Feel Good Friday (News to make you happy!)

Have you seen this girl perform her perfect routine with one leg? AMAZING!  As a former gymnast I can tell you that just walking on the balance beam is hard enough.

Just in case we needed another reason to save the polar bears…

Kathryn Smith is the first full time female coach in the NFL. You go girl!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Pesto Avocado Pizza

Pesto avocado pizza www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Hi friends, as promised, I’m posting my perfect pesto pizza today! A tad late, but better late than never, right? Last week I went to dinner with some friends at Stonefire Grill and ordered Stonefire’s Favorite pizza. Oh my gosh, so soo good. As soon as I had it I knew I had to recreate it at home, so I could eat it all day, every day. Just kidding (kind of). The ticket to this pizza perfection is the pesto sauce and red onion. I recommend using my 5 minute pesto sauce, but store but will do in a pinch. That flavor combo is a winner for sure. Topped off with a little salty feta and creamy avocado, it doesn’t get much better than that. If you think avo on your pizza is weird, I dare you to try it. You won’t regret it!

I used whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joes, making this pizza slightly more nutritious. Their wheat crust is actually really good and not grainy at all. It’s by no means diet food, but two slices paired with a nice green salad would make a balanced meal in my opinion. Notice I didn’t say healthy.  I recently read an interesting article titled “No food is healthy. Not even kale.” The author makes a valid point that the word healthy is bankrupt and really should not be used to describe food at all. A person can be healthy, a food is nutritious. If one were to eat only kale they would become very sick.

pesto pizza
The crust pictured here is actually not the wheat crust but the crust in the final product is. And it is tasty!

pesto pizza

Alright, no more health talk. Go to Trader Joes, buy some pizza dough, and make this pizza. Don’t make it because it is healthy, or even nutritious. Just make it because it’s delicious and also because pizza is really fun to make.

Here’s a tip. If you have leftover pizza and you want to reheat it quickly don’t use the microwave! Come on guys, microwaved pizza is the worst. Stick that slice in the toaster, preferably a toaster oven (to avoid a melty cheese disaster). In college I saw this girl from the Humboldt Rugby team put her leftover pizza in the toaster, genius move. I mean, rugby players are all about drinking beer from a dirty, sweaty used rugby boot, but soggy pizza? No thanks! So much better and crispier from the toaster.

pesto pizza

 

pesto avocado pizza

4.0 from 1 reviews
Pesto Avocado Pizza
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 refrigerated pizza dough (whole wheat or white)
  • Enough pesto sauce to lightly cover pizza
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, or shredded
  • ½ small red onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • A few leaves torn fresh basil or cilantro
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • ½ avocado, diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475.
  2. Roll out pizza dough to 12” round.
  3. Place on pizza stone or baking sheet covered with tin foil (tin foil optional)
  4. Cover lightly with pesto sauce. Leave edge for crust.
  5. Sprinkle shredded or sliced mozzarella over pizza
  6. Add red onion, feta, and basil or cilantro
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden brown
  8. Add diced avocado and fresh ground pepper.
 

5 Minute Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Making pesto is ridiculous easy. And ridiculously delicious (say that five times fast) You don’t even have to mince the garlic. Now that is my kind of recipe! If you have a food processor (and I hope you do) go to the store right now and buy some fresh basil. The one in the 4 ounce plastic container. You probably already have the other ingredients.

There is nothing particularly novel about this pesto recipe. They are all pretty much the same. Except I did use walnuts instead of pine nuts, here’s why 1) I’m really obsessed with walnuts and usually have them in my house 2) walnuts are the highest in heart-healthy omega-3’s of all the nuts 3) Pine nuts really freak me out and remind me of those beige colored worm-bugs you sometimes find crawling in old food. You know the ones I’m talking about…ok, no more bug talk, I promise 🙂

pesto
Step 1: Process the garlic and nuts
basil pesto
Step 2: Add the basil, spices, and drizzle in that oil
basil pesto
Step 3: Process, add the cheese, and enjoy!

pesto

Homemade pesto can pretty much transform any meal from plain Jayne to gourmet Gloria in less than 5 minutes. Now that’s amazing. This pesto adds a wonderful burst of freshness and zing to any meal. It’s great to have with pasta (obvi), as a sandwich spread, on top of fish or chicken, and it can even double as pizza sauce! In fact, it’s perfect on pesto avocado pizza which will be on the blog tomorrow!

5 minute basil pesto www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Have you ever made pesto before? Walnuts or pine nuts??

5.0 from 1 reviews
5 Minute Basil Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 cups fresh basil leaves (4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.
  2. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper.
  3. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
  4. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.
  5. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
 

 

 

Minestrone Soup And Mindfulness

Minestrone Soup www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

I recently read an article that “souping” is the new juicing. I’m not sure if this trend will actually catch on, but I hope it does! Green juice is not my jam, and orange juice is just not that healthy (high in sugar, void of fiber). Soup on the other hand, soup is a winner! Especially in the winter time, who wants a freakin’ cold smoothie or juice when you can have a nice piping hot bowl of soup? Loaded with nutrient dense veggies, beans, and whole wheat pasta you can’t go wrong with this minestrone soup.

MInestrone
If you want your green beans to stay bright green (instead of olive colored), add them at the last 5 minutes of cooking. I wish I had done this!

Another reason soup is better than juice: it forces you to be mindful. You can easily chug a smoothie while driving to work, and then forget that you drank something 2 hours later. Go ahead and try to eat a bowl of soup while driving to work. On second thought, don’t. Although we love to save time and multi-task it is not always the best thing for our health or mental well being. The act of taking a break to eat and enjoy your food is really important, no matter how busy you are!

This soup is adapted from the Food Network Minestrone Soup. I simplified the recipe just a tiny bit and amped up the nutrition by using whole wheat pasta instead of white. I also added pinto beans because I had them leftover from my meal prepping from the weekend. If you are wanting this soup to be low carb you can totally leave the pasta out, but then you have to call it vegetable soup, not minestrone! Either way, give it a try! It makes a fantastic, filling, vegetarian meal. When I made this soup, my Mom and I had both already eaten dinner, but we proceeded to eat soup for dessert because it was so good!

MInestrone Soup

 

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 handfuls green beans, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 28 -ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cartons vegetable broth (should be 8 cups or 64 ounces)
  • 1 15 -ounce can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pinto beans (optional)
  • 1.5 cups mini whole wheat shell or macaroni pasta
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  4. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the green beans, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste; cook 3 more minutes.
  6. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  8. Taste, season with additional salt and pepper if necessary
  9. Top with fresh parsley and grated cheese if desired
 

 

Meal Prepping 101

Easy Vegetarian Meal Prep www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to start meal prepping. Week one was a fail, but week two I’m on it! I’m also committing to making longer pins (supposedly they are more popular on Pinterest) even though I really hate computers and graphic design.  What are your resolutions? If one of them is meal prepping you’re at the right place!

Meal prepping is not about making perfect looking food. As you can see from the picture above, I dug out random scraps of onion and half eaten brown banana from the depths of my refrigerator. Meal prepping is about being prepared when hunger strikes! The reason so many people find it hard to eat healthy is because they don’t have the time or energy to cook when they get home from a hard day of work. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry I can not make a good decision and I just want to eat everything in site. Stale chips on the counter? yes! Leftover Christmas candy? Bring It.

In order to avoid inhaling Doritos one must be prepared with a yummy (yet healthy) snack. If you are new to food prepping I recommend starting out with one healthy snack food, one protein, one whole grain starch, and some type of fruit or veggie (ideally both)! Prepping fruit can be just as simple as washing it ahead of time. Here’s what I made and the order in which I made it.

Sweet Potato Banana Bites from The Lean Green Beansweet-potato-bites-7

Pinto Beans (recipe from the bag )

Homemade Protein Bars from Me!Homemade Protein Bars www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Roasted Vegetables (carrots, daikon, broccoli, red and white onion, garlic) See tips from Real Living Nutritionveg

Quick Cooking Brown Rice from Trader Joe’s

Washed and Sliced Strawberries

This whole shebang took me just under two hours! And I will say, almost everything turned out super great! The veggies are slightly over cooked but have the perfect flavor. The protein bars are the bomb! I’m so happy to eat this snack every single time! My only problem is with the beans. They seem kinda hard. Even though I cooked them over 2 hours, whats up? I’ve always been a canned beans type of person so this is new territory for me. So I lied just a little, everything except the beans were done in under two hours.

Here are just a few tips I learned a long the way…

  1. Please put your hair in a pony tail before you start, or a man bun, whatever suits your fancy. I think years (okay weeks) of wearing a hairnet in commercial kitchens really scared me of stray hairs in my food.
  2. Wear an apron, I know it’s old-school and seem’s kind of Beaver Cleaver (not sure sure if this is the correct reference) but it makes things so much easier! You can wipe your hands on it, you can carry a spoon, all while keeping your shirt clean!
  3. You’re going to need at least 3 timers. Don’t forget to use them! Because burnt food is the pits!
  4. Put on some sweet jams and rock out while you cook/prep.

Vegetarian Meal Prep

If you are one of those people that just really needs meat in your life, here are some more animal protein ideas for meal prep!

Hard Boil Eggs

Simple Shredded Chicken by Mom to Mom Nutrition (Uses a Slow Cooker)

Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs by Your Choice Nutrition

Slow-Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork By Chocolate Slopes

Tell me, do you meal prep? Would you like to see more meal prepping posts? Do you know how to cook beans better than I do? How are your resolutions going so far? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Why I don’t Recommend Drinking Water for Weight Loss

drinking water doesn't help weight loss
Nearly half the people that step into my office tell me their plan is to lose weight by drinking more water. Of course, you should drink water, regardless of your health goals. It’s just the notion that more is better, that I really have an issue with. I have heard water recommendations by “trainers” and other “nutritionists” that are sky high for no apparent reason. It’s even becoming somewhat of a fitness challenge to drink as much water as possible throughout the day. I’m not sure what the prize is? You get to go the bathroom every hour, congratulations! 99% of us do NOT need to drink a gallon of water per day, maybe if you are running a marathon in 90 degree weather you do.water6

There is a paucity of evidence that drinking more water alone will cause weight loss (without other dietary interventions). Why not focus on things that we know produce real results?  Like increasing fruit and vegetable intake, consuming higher protein meals, increasing physical activity, and decreasing sugar sweetened beverage consumption.

Granted, there are times when drinking more water will benefit you. Below are a few examples of times that drinking water is very important and it may help you achieve weight loss.

  1. If you are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is most often seen in athletes, but if you are just a regular gym goer it is possible that you are dehydrated as well. The best and simplest way to determine hydration status is by looking at your urine. If you are peeing the golden arches (dark yellow, low volume) you are dehydrated and should drink more water (or fluids of any type: Gatorade, soup, smoothie, tea, etc.) Your pee does not have to be clear though, that would actually indicate over hydration. As my sports nutrition professor used to say, you want to pee “light lemonade” color. If you really want a quantitative fluid recommendation the Institute of Medicine recommends 2.2 liters per day for women, and 3 liters per day for men. However, individual needs vary based on body composition, exercise, the weather, etc. Just look at your pee! It’s a much better indicator.
  2. If you are guzzling soda or juice. This is where water really does the trick. If you swap two sodas a day for water instead you will be consuming 300 less calories per day (assuming the rest of your diet stays constant). This alone could result in a 30 pound weight loss in a year. However, if you were to switch that soda for plain coffee or tea you would also get the same result.
  3. Drinking two cups of water before meals? There is one published study that had promising results when participants were asked to drink 16 ounces of water before meals. The study claims that the water helped the participants feel more full and satiated before eating, and therefore ate less when it came to meal time. However, other studies have found that water has no affect on satiety.

Can you drink too much water? It’s possible, but you have to try really really hard for it actually to be harmful. At Chico state University a fraternity was banned from binge drinking alcohol due to too many deaths. So what did they do instead? They binged on water, and guess what? More college students died. Drinking extremely large amounts of water can cause hyponatremia (low blood sodium) and death. Although, this is very rare and would not happen under normal circumstances. But, if you are drinking a lot of water just to be cool or to try to “out drink” someone I would not recommend it.

Water is good for you, but MORE water is not necessarily better (and likely won’t help you lose weight). If you are a water hater, try jazzing up your water with one of these simple tricks. In the mean time, why don’t you get to work on some of those other healthy habits mentioned above!

 

 

Tri-Color Zoodles with Cashew Cream Sauce

Noodles with cashew cream sauce www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Zoodles = Zucchini noodles. I’ve seen them around, boasting in their paleo-friendly low-carb glory. I’ve pondered, are they worth the trouble? Can a zucchini noodle actually taste good? The answer is yes, my friends. Especially when accompanied with poodles and swoodles. (potato and sweet potato noodles). If you have also been curious about zoodles, 2016 is the year to stop wondering and start spiralizing.

I received two spiralizers for Christmas, if that wasn’t a sign to blog about zoodles, I don’t know what is. To be honest, the idea of zucchini noodles wasn’t super appealing to me until I found out you can make sweet potato noodles. The first time I saw a recipe with sweet potato, I knew I had to try this veggie pasta phenomenon.

zoodles with cashew cream sauce

These noodles are a combination of zucchini, sweet potato, and purple potato. Go for purple sweet potato if you can find it. With the addition of potato this recipe is no longer low carb, but it is still significantly lower in carbohydrate than regular pasta. You would be amazed by the volume of noodles you get just from one potato. In my opinion, adding three types of veggies makes this meal more filling and nutritionally balanced. Yes, I could eat a plate full of zoodles, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be starving two hours later…

Let’s talk about the sauce. Creamy dreamy dairy-free cashew sauce. It’s every bit as rich and delectable as a heavy alfredo sauce would be, but without all the saturated fat and packed with micronutrients. The sauce may appear just a teeny bit lumpy in the pictures, but that’s because I had to use a blender instead of a food processor. Sad to say my food processor has seen better days, and apparently Santa didn’t know 🙁 If you have a food processor definitely use it, but a high powered blender will work too!

Zoodles with cashew cream sauce

 

zoodles with cashew cream sauce

Recipe inspired by Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles by Pinch of Yum.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Tri-Color Zoodles with Cashew Cream Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
Noodles
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 small purple potatoes
  • 2 small zucchini (or 1 large)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cashew Cream Sauce
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • ¼ cup water or non-dairy milk, plus more as needed to thin sauce
Instructions
  1. Peal, wash and spiralize zucchini and potatoes.
  2. Heat large pan over medium heat. Add oil and veggie noodles. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. For the sauce, soak the cashews in water for at least two hours.
  4. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add enough water or milk to create a creamy sauce.
  5. Heat sauce briefly over low heat on the stove. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Serve over warm veggie noodles.
Notes
The sauce makes 6 or more servings and the noodles about 3. If you would like to use all the sauce double the veggie noodle recipe.