Tag - healthy living

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Gourmet Eating Experience – in your own home!
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Carnivores Rejoice! Turkey Has Been Saved.
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Hey… Do you want to feel better? Tips for Healthy Living
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Refrigerator Oatmeal
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Homemade Energy Bars
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Lentil Salad: Recipe of the Week

Gourmet Eating Experience – in your own home!

hello fresh

All I can say is holy smokes.  I had no idea that you could have a quick, gourmet meal delivered right to your front door for the price of a night out at an average restaurant.  I was recently introduced to Hello Fresh.  This is an amazing company that delivers all varieties of meals customized to your liking.  These are not frozen dinners from a truck or carry-out meals from the local Chinese restaurant.  These are down-home, healthy, flavorful meals that will blow you away!  I have written a fair amount about having a little swag and at least acting like you know your way around a kitchen (I am talking you men).  This company has your back in the department.  I will give you some details in the next few blogs about the three recipes that graced my kitchen and hope you give them a little love.  This is an introduction to the experience.  The three recipes will soon follow, I promise.

The Plan

hello freshHello Fresh has an online presence that allows you to customize meals based on taste and needs.  They have vegetarian options along with larger serving options.  The site is very easy to navigate and walks you through the menu planning process.  Fast forward a couple days as the package shows up at your house, complete with everything  you need to make the recipe.  The ingredients are fresh, super fresh.  The recipe cards, special offers, and apron (nice touch) are separate from the produce and  greet you as you open the box.

I had some doubts, after all, I like to cook and enjoy making my own meals.  My expectations were obliterated.  These first three recipes I tried were nothing I would have made on my own.  Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Saltimbocca, Curried Jamaican Beef and Collard Greens, and Charred Zucchini & Bean Quesadillas are the tastes that changed my look at food.  I think I did not even realize my rut.  Did I mention they were awesome?

Some Details

Each recipe gives a picture based view of the cooking process which helps so much.  There are little icons that remind you of the time, the difficulty level, the spice level, allergens, and the core ingredient.  The card is very clear and concise.   I have read a fair amount of recipes and rarely dohello fresh I see calorie count, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, and even the tools needed listed as part of the recipe.

Is this more expensive than going to the store, sure.  The question that has to be asked, are you buying this kind of food at the store?  I mean really people, this is more like eating out at a great restaurant.  That is your comparison.  Don’t you dare compare this to some box of stuff and a some frozen beer.  When you match this up against the real target, a meal out, you are actually saving money and looking like a super star at the same time.  Picture this, date night, you cook this meal, pair it with a great wine and some mood music.  You are miles ahead financially than if you went out, got a cab, ordered drinks and food, left a tip for average service and came home broke.  Here is your only action item, planning.  This requires a little planning but please, don’t kid me, I know better.  You know when her birthday is, your anniversary comes up every year on the same day, and you should know when a holiday is coming up.  YOU HAVE A CALENDAR AND KNOW THE WEEKEND IS FEW DAYS AWAY.    These meals were under 12.00 per person.  My son and I ate at a sub shop the other day.  Two subs, chips and soda, 19.00.  Guess what else, it was super average tasting and made completely of salt, sugar, starch, and fat.  Game, set, match.

Final Thoughts

I don’t how to say this any other way.  Try it!  Don’t take my word for it, I am not a reliable source, your palate is.   Click on this link and enter this code – YCKNZUget $40.00 off your first order.  I will put the Curried Jamaican Beef and Collard Greens up against your homemade version any day (no offense but odds are you made ham instead).  People, step out of the routine, you will thank me.

Let’s Go!

Carnivores Rejoice! Turkey Has Been Saved.

Avocado Turkey Feta Burger

Just when you though the health food nuts had met their match…  I have tried and tried but nothing has been able to displace the good old greasy burger.  My parents make Turkey burgers all of the time.  They are good for you and have NO TASTE.  Listen, I am 100% on board with health and treating your body right but, at some point we all must demand flavor.  All of you carnivores are welcomed back at the table for the most flavorful turkey burger you have ever eaten.  I understand it may be the first turkey burger you have ever eaten so you have no frame of reference but, I will take credit for bringing you to the turkey-table regardless. Buckle up kids, here comes the Turkey Burger.

Here Is The Straight Scoop

All you need is a bowl and a bunch of stuff to mix in it.  Get some lean ground turkey.  The one I bought was 1.25 pounds of 94% lean protein.  Grab your sharpest knife and a cutting board.  As always you can mix and match ingredients, but here is what I used.

1/4 cup Feta Cheese (blue cheese would certainly rock)Turkey Burger

1/4 cup Craisins (use cranberries, or anything sweet)

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach

1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper (use something else if you don’t like a little heat)

1 Farm fresh egg (ok, any egg but I sound so hipster when I say farm fresh)

Mix this all together.  The egg will help hold it together since turkey is a little harder to keep in a tight patty, like beef.

Turkey BurgerMake the patties about 5 or 6 inches across and keep them thinner than a normal burger.  These burgers do not shrink down like beef so make them about the size you would prefer.  Exercise a little patience, they need some TLC to form up.

Next take a big drink of beer and wash your hands.  This step is not optional.

Step two is a deceptive little topping.  In a second bowl (and yes, you have to wash two bowls) mix 1/2 ripe avocado with 2 heaping Tbsps of Greek Yogurt.  After that is all mixed up why don’t you go ahead and chop some tomato and add it to the dip.  Toss that dip in the fridge so it is good and set up when you need it.

Heat a skillet to a medium temperature or fire up the grill.  Use a heavy dose of non-stick something since the feta will sear onto the pan or the grill.  I like an olive oil spray since olive oil is…cooler than regular spray, so says science.  It will take about seven minutes per side.  Don’t flip it over and over!  Be patient and try to live with one flip because this bugger can crumble if you are not careful.

Get that hot burger on a bun ASAP.  Smear a healthy pile of avocado topping on the meat and add some fresh veggies for a little crunch.  Be creative with the entire process.  I added some radishes, bell pepper slices, and red onion to the sandwich.  Crunch and zing make the burger all the better.

I know that it seems like a lot of work for a burger but it is really good.  The part that I underestimated as a carnivore was the flexibility that I held in my hand.  Tons of different flavors, dozens and dozens of fillers, and almost any combination of toppings.  I think I am going to fire up some coconut with a pineapple topping next time.   If it is good I will tell you about it.  If it is terrible I will hide in shame.

Get the bread and Let’s Go!

 

 

Hey… Do you want to feel better? Tips for Healthy Living

Health Tips

Health is a massive topic that generates billions of dollars and twice as many so-called experts who “have it all figured out”.  Everyone is searching for an easy answer, but it’s not that simple.

Three Tips for Healthy Living

I am in my late 40’s and in relatively good shape (although my peers have set the bar damn low).  I am not a personal trainer, I am not a nutritional expert, and not the guy that can turn you into a world class athlete.  However, I am someone who can help you get started down the road, point you to resources that can help you grow, and show you that all you have to do is make it part of your day.  Because I have done just that.

TIP NUMBER ONE:  QUIT EATING EVERYTHING

If you do nothing else in the beginning, simply try eating until you are comfortable and not until all of the food is gone.  Try use a smaller plate for starters.  Easy.  We are programmed to fill our plate for some reason and then we are required to finish it.  Our well-intentioned parents said, “Clean your plate, there are starving kids in Africa!”.  While the last part of the statement is true, along with most of the world; cleaning your plate will have zero impact on them and you will get fat.  No problems are solved, but one (it’s called obesity) is created.

TIP NUMBER TWO:  STOP EATING CRAP

Here is a great rule of thumb:  If it comes from the middle aisles of the grocery store it is probably crap.  Exceptions: The things that are not crap (brown rice, couscous, almond milk, etc.).  Spend most of your money on produce and your grocery time shopping the perimeter of the store and you are off and running.

Each week there will be a little more detail and some very tangible examples to drive the point home.  But start with baby steps and start thinking about what you eat and how much goes in the yammering cake hole.

TIP NUMBER THREE:  PLAN FOR SUCCESS

If you want some great focused plans for meal planning stop over and visit Team Beachbody.  They have a cool system to organize quality and quantity (their 21 Day Fix is a GREAT program to get you accustomed to eating right).  If you want a laser-focused plan that is completely scripted I recommend learning about Favao.  We will dive into the merits of each one very soon as well.

Go on now…. Get off the couch and walk down to the grocery store.  You can get some exercise and the bags of produce will be quite light so you can make it back.

Let’s Go!

Refrigerator Oatmeal

Oatmeal3The alarm goes off and it is time to get things done.  Fuel up that body on the way out the door.  I recently saw a recipe for crock pot oatmeal and it looked amazing.

Here is the deal:  Not everyone has a crew to feed.  I mean oatmeal is good, but ten days of leftovers may not be part of your morning vibe.  That’s understandable. Here is a quick – no-cook recipe that tastes fantastic and can be made before bed – not when you are scrambling to get out the door (you’re welcome Mr. Snooze Button).

Grab somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of quick cook oats.  Buy the fancy ones with the dude’s face on the container, something organic, or something generic.  It’s oatmeal – the kind doesn’t really matter.  Then toss in some “stuff“.  I put in about a tablespoon each of almond slivers, brown sugar, and diced green apple.  Cover it with almond milk and put in the fridge.  BAM!  Two minutes and you are ready for tomorrow.

A little editorial note here: I love the marketing description that calls for steel-cut oats.  It is a combine, people. They are made of steel and they drive through a field.  Of course it is steel-cut oats.  So are my whiskers when I shave.

One of my favorite things are recipes you can mess with.  Put whatever strikes your fancy right in the bowl, go on, live a little.  Put in some dates, raisins, pears, kiwi, cinnamon, flax seed, sunflower seeds, protein powder, heck I don’t care, if you like it try it.

Refrigerator OatmealThis little ditty can be made in any quantity, so when you have that morning meeting  with your posse to go over the spreadsheets and crap, fill a cake pan and go for it.  This should go without saying: up the ingredients.  The key is simply covering the ingredients with almond milk.

I realize this is not a glamorous picture but it is OATMEAL.  It’s not the most photogenic food. So give me a break.

 

 

Homemade Energy Bars

Energy Bars

Energy Bars

This recipe is fantastic… and scary!

I think I may have created a false sense of ease with my last post.  I am the guy with very few rules regarding food. I lied.

Homemade energy bars are fantastic, delicious, and so good for you.  However, the planning stage is ridiculous to the point where the recipe is moot.

Homemade Energy Bars

Step One: Get a 13-year-old child to help you.  Right?  I have made these a few times and each time my 13-year-old son has been the catalyst.  Soooo…. you need to really plan ahead.  If you have a kid, wait until they are 13. Simple.  If not, maybe godsmatch or Zoosk or something can assist you. You need to either get knocked up or get someone knocked up.  Then, about 13 years later, make some energy bars.  Seems like a lot of prep, and it is! Now get to work.

Here is his hand – Of Course I will share Yes – have some!

Honey BearOnce that is done, the rest will seem really easy.
Grab a cup of oatmeal and mix it with 2/3 cup of honey. What makes honey awesome, besides the taste, is the cool little plastic bear it comes in.   Fun… really fun. Add a cup of peanut butter. I used Jiff last time for the simple reason that I had some Jiff. Toss in 1/2 cup of flax seed (go ahead and grind it up because that makes you feel organic). I use 1 teaspoons of vanilla and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Can we talk about the chocolate? Purists will tell you to buy semi-sweet. Ha!  Milk chocolate is soooo good. I also like butterscotch chips, which are old-school fantastic.  Here is where you can get it done. Mix-and-match, live on the edge, challenge the status quo, stick it to the man, whatever you like to do… do it now. This is your chance to create magic! (don’t tell anyone, but raisins would probably work too.)

I hear what you’re saying, “Dave, I see sunflower seeds in the picture.”  Yep, I was short a little flax seed and I had those in cupboard.   Get real kids.  This ain’t rocket surgery, so make some damn bars.

The hardest part is the coconut. Spread some on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 for about 10 minutes. You have to watch because this little delight is like my family tree on vacation. One second everything is fluffy and white – the next minute – really burned, like really burned. These puppies go from white to burned in no time, so don’t be lazy.  PAY ATTENTION.

Once it is all mixed, put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes so it can congeal. I just love the word congeal. It is probably not the right word for what is happening now, but it pleases me oh-so-very-much. Press the mix into balls about the size of ping-pong balls.  Gently cup the balls while rolling them in your hands.  Gently, yet firmly.  Wait…wrong blog. Make some balls and you are done.

I recommend these anywhere you go that requires a contribution to the trough. Anywhere you see five or more crock pots on the counter, and especially anywhere where processed liquid cheese is the most common ingredient. I also recommend them anytime you want to eat. They are super-good and good for you.

So, in conclusion: Make some protein balls, impress the ladies, save your life, build some muscle, look cool, eat well, and use the word “balls” enough to create confusion amongst your friends.

Let’s Go!

Lentil Salad: Recipe of the Week

Healthy Lentil Salad - Packed with protein and flavor

My First Recipe.  EVER.

This is the first recipe I’ve developed ever.  EVER.  I think the reason I want to post recipes on my blog is that I have enjoyed food for as long as I remember.  It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.  The dilemma is the super anal-retentive natured people read recipes and expect every little detail to be handed to them in mindless exactitude on a silver platter.  I cannot cook that way.  I could.  I should.  Maybe then my food would be better.  But where is the fun in THAT?  So, I humbly present to you my first recipe.  It’s imperfectly based on a variety of vague ideas and nuance along with a side of what-I-had-in-my-kitchen.  So good luck foodie friends… you can do this!

Lentil Salad

This is a delicious protein-packed salad/dip/snack-for-your-face along with muscles and internal organs.  There are two cool parts to this:  1.  No soaking beans and 2.  About 400 things taste great in it.  You get to decide what to use.

Suggested Ingredients:

Dry Lentil – Tomato – Feta Cheese – Red Onion – Spinach – Bell Pepper – Avocado – Basil – Cilantro – Mint – White Wine Vinegar – Lemon Juice

Directions:

Boil the lentils based on the description that comes with lentils.  They are professionals and surely no better than I at describing a proper lentil.  Drain them, rinse them, stare at them and wonder why you started with three colors of lentils and you end up with brown.

Once you have those bad boys dialed in add some of the other ingredients.  What?  More detail?  OK (go with two cups dry)

Some Feta – part of the onion – pepper for fun color – avocado (go with one that is not so ripe so you don’t get mush) – a fist full of spinach (this will vary based on the size of your fist – this ingredient rocks so put as much you want no matter your fist capacity) – and all the other stuff.

Fresh basil – if you live in the frozen north, regular basil.  Cilantro – this is a cool green thing that adds amazing flavor .  Mint – you make the call, some people hate this.  The point is seasoning does not have to be salt.  NO SALT.

IMG_1750

When you put in the liquids, be sparing.  I would start with a 1/4 cup of vinegar and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.  It is easy to add more, yet tough to go the other way.

Mix it all together with a spatula or a big giant spoon, your clean hand or even a stick.  Just get it mixed up because that is what the man wants us to do.  I cannot believe this step needs to be here.  Who doesn’t know that you need to mix stuff?

Lastly, there are tons ways to adapt this.  Sometimes we see a recipe and pick the one thing we detest and ignore the whole deal and miss out on all the fibery glory.  So, here are some suggestions:

Cucumbers, garlic, pick your favorite bean (ooh… garbanzo is fun to say), mango, pineapple, jalapeno, raisins, try some different liquids, you get the idea.  There is no reason you can’t alter some things and do what I did.  Even pretend you made up the recipe!

Let’s Go!

 

 

 

 

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