Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and were able to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.  If you're like most Americans, you probably also overdid it with the Thanksgiving goodies.  Did you know that to burn off the calories from the average Thanksgiving dinner you have to walk, jog, or run a full-length marathon?  That's 26.2 miles!  Even scarier . . . the left-overs!  Many of you will eat that same meal again tomorrow and the next day.  Unless you're one of those wild and crazy ultra-marathoners (and I know a few of my followers are), I hope you will try to find some balance this weekend . . . a few less left-over Thanksgiving calories and a little more exercise.

The Infographic below breaks Thanksgiving dinner down by calories and by the miles of walking, running or jogging required to burn it off.
If you can't read the print, you can click the image for a larger view of the graphic or press Ctrl and + at the same time on your keyboard to enlarge everything on your screen. (Pressing Ctrl and - at the same time will decrease the size when you are done.)

A Thanksgiving Milestone for Me

I thought I'd also share a healthy little milestone that I celebrated today.  Today was the 22nd anniversary of the day I became a vegetarian.  That's 21 years meat free . . . no red-meat, no poultry, no pork, no seafood.  I chose Thanksgiving to officially go vegetarian because there are so many great meat-less side-dishes on Thanksgiving, I figured I would never miss the turkey.  I didn't miss it way back then and I never have since.

T-Rex Hates Push-ups!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I just came across this on Pinterest and I had to share:

Pin It

Meatless Monday: Stuffed Peppers

Monday, August 15, 2011

My husband whipped these up for us last week and they were so delicious!  I could eat them every week! They  tasted great reheated over the next couple days for lunches too. They are without a doubt the best vegetarian stuffed peppers I have ever had!
Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Recipe
Makes 8 Stuffed Peppers

4 Large Green Bell Peppers
15 MorningStar Farms Veggie Sausage Patties
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Crushed Red Peppers (Optional)
1 tsp of Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Cloves of fresh Garlic (Minced)
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
¼ C of Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 C Marinara Sauce

Wash the peppers and remove their stems. Cut them in half from top to bottom and remove their seeds and veins. Boil the peppers in a large pot for 7-10 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove from the pot and drain. Microwave the sausage patties for 1 minute on each side. Then run the patties through a food processor to form a consistency similar to ground beef. In a large skillet, add 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil and sauté the garlic. Add the crumbled sausage patties and toss. After a couple of minutes, add the Italian Seasoning, Red Pepper, and Salt. Continue to sauté for a few minutes. Add the Parmesan Cheese and toss for a minute. Add 1 Cup of the Mozzarella Cheese and toss until the cheese has melted. Add the Marinara sauce and cook for another minute, then remove the skillet from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350. On a baking sheet, greased with Olive Oil, arrange the Peppers with the open side up, creating small bowls. Stuff the sausage mixture into each of the peppers. Top each evenly with the remaining 1 Cup of Mozzarella. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Muffin Tin Monday

Monday, August 8, 2011

Have you tried Muffin Tin Meals for your little ones yet?  I've seen lots of posts about them all around Blog Land, but hadn't tried them until recently.  I only had full-size muffin tins (with 12 cups), so I purchase four 6-cups muffin tins at The Dollar Tree especially for muffin tin meals.  The cups in the tins are regular size, but the tins themselves are small (just six cups).  At first it was a little bit of a challenge for me to come up with six healthy, balanced servings of kid-friendly foods, but it gets easier and my girls really love them!

Here are a few of the combinations we've tried so far:
1. Morning Star Farms Chik'n Nuggets
2. Carrots
3. Raisins
5.Keebler Club Minis Multi-Grain Crackers
6. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1. Annie's Bunny Grahams Friends
2. Blackberries
3. Chobani Blueberry 0% Greek Yogurt
4. Nature's Promise Organic Unsweetened Applesauce
5. Strawberries
6. Plain Quaker Oatmeal w/Raisins Added

1. Mashed Potatoes
2. Snaps Peas
3. Watermelon
4. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
5. Baby Carrots
6. Mozzarella String Cheese

1. Chobani Blueberry 0% Greek Yogurt
2. Post Banana Nut Crunch Cereal and Milk
3. Grapes
4. Banana
5. Raspberry
6. Craisins

And here's my youngest daughter cheesing like a crazy baby in anticipation of her muffin tin breakfast:
Can you tell she loves them?

Diet Soda Linked to Poor Health

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pass it on: A new study links the consumption of diet soda to poorer health

I've never been much soda drinker and especially not diet soda except for an occasional Fresca.  Over the years, I've watched clients time and time again drink calorie free soft drinks and struggle to lose or maintain weight as much as they would as much as if they were gulping down regular sugary drinks.  I never knew why it worked like this or really had any science to back it up. I just figured soda is full of unnatural chemicals so you can't expect your body to react in a natural way to something that is unnatural.

Two new studies on the topic of diet cola were presented June 25th 2011 at the meeting of the American Diabetes Association. Both studies have linked drinking diet soda to poorer health compared with those who don't drink the beverage. People who said they drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced waist size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn't drink diet soda, according to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

A second study that found the sweetener aspartame raised blood sugar levels in diabetes-prone mice."Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised," said study researcher Helen P. Hazuda, professor and at the university's school of medicine. "They may be free of calories, but not of consequences."

The human study was based on data from 474 participants in a larger, ongoing study called the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. In that study, the participants were followed for nearly 10 years. Diet soft drink drinkers, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with those who don't drink diet soda. Abdominal fat is a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic conditions, the researchers said.

In the mouse study, researchers fed aspartame, a calorie-free sweetener used in some diet sodas, to diabetes-prone mice. One group of mice ate chow to which both aspartame and corn oil were added; another other group ate chow with only corn oil added.

After three months, the mice that ate aspartame showed elevated blood sugar levels.
"These results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure might potentially directly contribute to increased blood glucose levels, and thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans," said study researcher Gabriel Fernandes, professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology at the university.

 Source: My Health News Daily

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Burritos

Monday, June 20, 2011

This recipe is quick, delicious, and very versatile. There are many substitutions or add-ons that can boost flavor, add certain nutrients, or strip it down to an even healthier version. This meal should take about 20-25 minutes to prepare and cook and is simple to clean up after as everything is thrown into one skillet.
Vegetarian Burritos with a side of Vegetarian Refried Beans and Sour Cream


  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Onion (Diced)
  • 1 Can of Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes (Slightly Drained)
  • 10 oz. Vegetable Crumbles (We used Morning Star Farms brand.)
  • 1 Pkg Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 C Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • Burrito Sized Tortillas
  • Sour Cream (Optional)
  • Guacamole (Optional)
  • Salsa (Optional)
  • Lettuce (Optional)
  • Tomato (Optional)

In a large skillet heat the oil. Add the onions to sauté for 3-5 minutes on medium to medium high heat. Stir in the canned tomatoes and continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes. Stir in the Vegetable Crumbles and the taco seasoning. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 5 more minutes.

As this simmers, begin to warm the tortillas by first sprinkling with water and then placing them between two paper towels. Microwave the tortillas for 20-25 seconds. The tortillas should be very soft and pliable.

Add the cheese to the veggie mix and stir it in until melted. Spoon about 3/4 of a Cup of the mixture into the center of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla at both ends and then roll it closed. Garnish with Salsa, Sour Cream, Lettuce, and/or Tomatoes.

* Other options to add variety to this meal include stuffing the burritos with Spanish Rice and/or Refried or Black Beans along with the ingredients listed above.

** For a spicier flavor, use Zesty Jalapeno Diced Tomatoes, add Jalapenos to the veggie mixture, or add Tabasco.

*** You can really cut out some calories, fat, sodium and add nutrients by using: Reduced Fat Sour Cream; Reduced Fat Cheese; Reduced Sodium Taco Seasoning, and Whole Grain Tortillas.

Here's what the filling inside looks like right before you fold it up.

A Healthy Last Minute Father's Day Gift -- Only $7

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking for a last minute gift for your dad or husband? Give him a one-year subscription to Men's Health this Father's Day! Pay just $7 using promo code DAD to get expert advice on family life, fitness, fashion, and more ($24.94 value)! The Save can even be used to renew an existing subscription as long as same address is used for renewal.

The Dirty Dozen for 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is your produce coated in pesticide? The Environmental Working Group released their 2011 list today of the best and worst fruits and vegetables when it comes to pesticide contamination. You can use this list to spend your money for organic foods most effectively.  Print this list and take it to the supermarket with you!

"Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce."

EWG's 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Dirty Dozen
Buy these organic
– imported
Grapes – imported
Red Pepper
Sweet bell peppers
– domestic
Kale/collard greens
Clean 15
Lowest in Pesticide
Sweet Corn
Sweet Corn
Sweet peas
- domestic
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes

4615 Dump Trucks Full of Easter Candy

Monday, April 18, 2011

This year American will buy an estimated 120 million pounds of Easter candy . . . 90 Million Chocolate Bunnies, 4 Million Peeps, 16 Billion Jelly Beans -- the equivalent of 4615 dump trucks full of candy!!! I can't even begin to calculate how many zillion calories are in all that candy!
Easter by the Numbers [infographic]

Think Twice

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

. . . before you pop that candy into your mouth!  With Easter fast approaching, you're probably already tempted by all that Easter candy. It's everywhere!  But think twice before you pop even one little piece into your mouth!  The vast majority of people when asked to estimate their caloric intake (how many calories they ate) versus how many calories they burned off through physical exertion missed by nearly 50% on both, underestimating the calories they were taking in by about 50% and overestimating the calories they burned from exercise or physical activity by almost 50%.  

Here's an example to help give you some perspective: The average person has to walk the full length of a football field to burn off the calories in just ONE M&M. On average there are 50-55 M&M's in a small bag.  Unless you are planning to spend your day parading up a down a football field, those extra calories are going to end up stored as fat some place where you don't want them.  Treat yourself to a small bag of M&Ms or it's caloric equivalent in peanut butter eggs, chocolate bunny ears, jelly beans, peeps, etc everyday and you could gain an extra 24 pounds this year!!!

Backwards is Best!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Riding rear-facing is safest! One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child(ren) safe.  Automobile crashes are the number one cause of death for children under fourteen.  This makes car safety especially important. Parents often ask, "How soon can I turn my child to face forward?" The universally accepted response is to keep your child rear-facing until AT LEAST one year of age AND 20 pounds in weight.  This is the minimum. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other Child Passenger Safety organizations strongly recommend that you to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, and that may mean up to 35 or 40 pounds for most convertible car seats.

  • Rear-facing is safest for both adults and children, but especially for babies, who would face a greater risk of spinal cord injury in a front-facing carseat during a frontal crash.
  • Rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a child's back, head and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash.
  • Rear-facing carseats may not be quite as effective in a rear end crash, but severe frontal and frontal offset crashes are far more frequent and far more severe than severe rear end crashes.
  • Rear-facing carseats are NOT a safety risk just because a child's legs are bent at the knees or because they can touch/kick the vehicle seat.
  • Rear-facing as long as possible is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and can reduce injuries and deaths.   

Gross Shopping Cart News

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fuel for my Germaphobia  . . . from MSNBC.com:

"Every day, parents blithely drop their toddlers into the baskets of shopping carts, never giving a moment’s thought to who might have had their hands on the handle last. Preliminary results from a new study show that may be a mistake.
Researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed shopping cart handles in four states looking for bacterial contamination. Of the 85 carts examined, 72 percent turned out to have a marker for fecal bacteria.
The researchers took a closer look at the samples from 36 carts and discovered Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, on 50 percent of them — along with a host of other types of bacteria.
The study’s results may explain earlier research that found that kids who rode in shopping carts were more likely than others to develop infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter, Gerba said.“That’s more than you find in a supermarket’s restroom,” said Charles Gerba, the lead researcher on the study and a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. “That’s because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts.”
Shopping cart handles aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when you go to the local supermarket, Gerba added. In other research, he’s found that reusable shopping bags that aren’t regularly washed turn into bacterial swamps. “It’s like wearing the same underwear every day,” Gerba said."
I alway try to use disinfecting wipes or a shopping cart cover and diligently wash my both cart covers and my reusable bags.  This article made me feel less like I'm being obsessive and more like I'm being proactive and smart!

Meatless Monday -- Black Bean Lasagna

Monday, February 21, 2011

Years ago, my good friend Michelle made this hearty Mexican-flavored lasagna for me and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. Even your most dedicated carnivores will love it! It reheats well, and in my opinion tastes even better then next day!

Black Bean Lasagna
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can chopped green chilies
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 c. chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. fat-free sour cream
8 oz. Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
Large bottle thick and chunky salsa
12 Oven-Ready, No Boil Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles
Non-stick cooking spray

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sautee the onion and garlic for a couple minutes, then add the beans, green chilies, red pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, and coriander, and simmer for ~15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set bean mixture aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray lasagna pan with cooking spray. Spread 2 to 4 Tbsp salsa in bottom of pan. Layer four lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping. Spread 1/2 bean mixture over noodles, and top with enough salsa to spread an even layer and 1/2 of the sour cream. Top sour cream with 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Repeat noodle layer, bean mixture, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. Finish with one more layer of noodles, salsa, and remaining cheese. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is browned on top (~7 to 10 minutes). Let stand 10 minutes before serving (If you don't it will be OK, just liquidy). Enjoy!

50 Ways To Burn 100 Calories

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Only 26 More to Go!
Did you know that you have to burn off and/or cut your caloric intake by 3500 calories to lose one pound? That means if you'd like to lose one pound a week you have to work on reducing your intake or burning off 500 calories a day.  This can be accomplished by eating sensibly and doing 30-45 minute cardiovascular workout or you could try some of these amusing methods recommended by Women's Health. Do any five of these to burn an extra 500 calories a day:

  1. Slather on lip balm 765 times.
  2. Relive the '80s: Lip-synch George Michael's "Faith" 16 times.
  3. DVR an episode of "30 Rock" and watch it commercial free.(Laughing for 10 minutes straight can burn 40 calories -- no joke.)
  4. Watch a documentary like "Food Inc.," "The Cove" or "An Inconvenient Truth." (Serious stuff doesn't scorch as many calories.)
  5. Wiggle while you watch TV for 40 minutes: Fidgeters burn up to 350 more calories a day than couch potatoes.
  6. Get off your butt 33 times to change the channel.
  7. Use the remote to channel surf for 68 minutes.
  8. Surf for real for 34 minutes.
  9. Fly a kite for 20 minutes.
  10. Play beach volleyball for 13 minutes.
  11. Bounce a volleyball on your knee 600 times.
  12. Spend 17 minutes wrestling a beach ball away from your boyfriend.
  13. Carry a cooler stocked with three bottles of water, a six-pack, four PB&Js, two oranges, a bag of tortilla chips and 12 servings of salsa for 22 minutes.
  14. Find the perfect teeny-weeny polka-dot bikini: Try on 16 suits (one every three minutes).
  15. Polka for real for 23 minutes.
  16. Do the horizontal polka missionary style for one hour and seven minutes.
  17. Spice things up with 35 minutes of foreplay and 45 minutes of sex in different positions.
  18. Ride him like a cowgirl for 26 minutes (straddling requires more calorie-burning leg work).
  19. Swing a lasso over your head 375 times.
  20. Milk a cow for 34 minutes.
  21. Shear three sheep (six minutes per sheep).
  22. Fish for 41 minutes.
  23. Make like a fish and swim at a leisurely pace for 17 minutes.
  24. Do 250 breaststrokes (about 10 minutes).
  25. Indulge your inner dork and do 27 underwater handstands.
  26. Dog-paddle for 17 minutes.
  27. Walk a toy poodle for 41 minutes (at 2 miles per hour).
  28. Let a Great Dane walk you for 13 minutes (5 mph).
  29. Learn to "walk the dog": Yo-yo for 25 minutes.
  30. Alternate between cat pose, cow pose and downward dog 13 times, holding each for 30 seconds.
  31. Walk up 33 flights of stairs.
  32. Strap on four-inch stilettos and you only have to climb up 25 flights.
  33. Hit the stair climber for 11 minutes.
  34. Push a grocery cart for 45 minutes.
  35. Put a 42-pound 4-year-old in the cart's child seat and push it for half an hour.
  36. Opt for self-checkout: Wait in line for seven minutes, ring yourself up for another 10, bag your own grub and load up the car.
  37. Carry five grocery bags from the car to the kitchen and put the food away, take out the trash, wash the dishes, and wipe down the kitchen counter.
  38. Eat chili for a couple of days: Research shows that chili peppers boost your metabolic rate, burning 50 more calories a day.
  39. Chew calorie-free gum for nine hours.
  40. Wash, halve and seed two acorn squash, then watch them bake for 30 minutes.
  41. Play squash for eight minutes.
  42. Play "Chopsticks" on the piano incessantly for 41 minutes.
  43. Eat four meals with chopsticks instead of a fork: Slowing down can help you consume about 25 fewer calories per meal.
  44. Lift and lower a soy sauce bottle 170 times with your right hand and a wok 170 times with your left.
  45. Take a leisurely walk in the park for 51 minutes.
  46. Walk backward in the park for 43 minutes.
  47. Walk with hiking poles for 22 minutes -- you'll burn 20 percent more calories.
  48. Pole-vault for 17 minutes.
  49. Sing the "Grease" original soundtrack from start to finish.
  50. Degrease by scrubbing in the shower for 15 minutes, then spend seven minutes shaving, three minutes toweling off, four minutes moisturizing, and 20 minutes blow-drying and styling your hair.
Source: Women's Health

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