Monday, March 25, 2013

Your Top Questions About Cooking, Weight Loss & Fitness Answered!

Hey everyone! Since today is my one-year “bloggerversary” I’ve decided to feature a unique post, answering the most common questions I’ve received about cooking, weight loss, fitness, and everything in-between! If you’ve contacted me before, you know that I love hearing from you. If you haven’t, don’t be a stranger – I love hearing from you guys!

Question #1:
How did you learn how to make comfort food healthy?

After reaching 251 pounds, I realized I had to make a huge lifestyle change. I knew that I would NEVER be the girl who loved eating the stereotypical “health” foods, so I knew to be successful in my weight loss, I had to find a way to healthify all of my unhealthy favorites: Trial and error is my best friend! At first, I started with simple substitutions (Egg Beaters® instead of regular eggs, Splenda® instead of Sugar, etc.) but once I got comfortable with the idea of cooking, I got a bit more adventurous! The most important advice I can give is to not be afraid of food/ingredient combinations – once you give in to the idea of being open, everything else is easy-peasy!

Question #2:
Do you still struggle with your weight?

Every single day! Sure, there are days where I’d love to hit up every fast food restaurant I drive by, but I don’t; and not because the food isn’t tasty, but because it really doesn’t do much for me. For example, I could go to Taco Bell and scarf down 1500 calories, but I’d be hungry again in a few hours, and I’d feel miserable. Instead, I’ll whip up an awesome Taco casserole that I’ve healthified, and feel full all night for a fraction of the calories! I may even have room for dessert ;)

Question #3:
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their weight loss journey?

Take it slow. This isn’t a race, this is your life. Whether you’re a size 12 or a size 20, you’re not going to reach your goal weight by the end of the week – or even the end of the month! So, why kill yourself at the gym or deprive yourself in the kitchen? All you’ll do is get burnt out and revert back to your old ways. Here’s what you need to do: make a plan (a realistic plan) and stick with it! I love 10-day goals. Here’s an example: In the next 10 days, I’ll work out 5 times, have no more than 3 cheat meals, and try 2 new recipes. Give that a shot, and you’re much more likely to succeed!

Question #4:
What’s the best substitute for heavy cream?

Greek yogurt and seasonings! I’d be lying if I said that plain Greek yogurt was delicious – it’s not. When I’m making Alfredo sauce or any other cream based dish, I always turn to Greek yogurt, but I add my own signature mixture of spices to give it awesome flavor.

Question #5:
I do fine with meals, but I snack all day – how do I get that under control?

Who said snacking was a problem?! It isn’t! Eating the right snacks does great things for your body, including giving you a metabolism boost. I’m not saying you should much on Cheetos and Twinkies all day, but keeping a stash of almonds, fruit, or raw veggies around will only help you on your weight loss journey. Keep that in mind the next time you shame yourself for snacking!

Question #6:
Where do you find cooking inspiration?

99.9% of my recipes come from Pinterest! What can I say, I’m pin-happy. In addition to recipes, I also find workouts and fitness tips on there too. If you haven’t started following me yet, you’re missing out!

Question #7:
I know I should eat healthy, but what about beverages? I get tired of drinking water with everything.

I do too! I drink apple flavored green tea almost every morning, and I love it. Plus, it’s a natural antioxidant and energy booster! Try it!

Many Thanks
It’s been a year, and I’ve fallen in love with blogging. I love the support that I’ve gotten from my family, friends, and followers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much!

Chicken Florentine - Skinny Style

It's no secret that I love pasta bakes and Italian food! What I don't love are the calories and fats that come along with it... A few weeks ago, I got to thinking about one of my favorite dishes, Chicken Florentine, and ways to make it healthy. Here's what I came up with:

PS: This dish ROCKS! You're welcome ;)

Here's What You'll Need:
  • 16 oz. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (Low Fat & Low Sodium Canned Chicken Works too!)
  • 6 oz. Frozen Spinach, Thawed - Be Sure to Squeeze the Spinach to Remove as Much Liquid as Possible.
  • 2-3 Large Cloves of Garlic, Minced 
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 14.5 oz. Can of Salt-Free & Low Fat Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tsp. Nutmeg
  • 2 Tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 6 oz. Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 8oz. Whole Grain Pasta - Spirals are my Fave, but Bow Tie Pasta Works Great too!
 Here's What You'll Do:

  • To begin, cube up your chicken breast into bite sized pieces (skip this step if you opted for canned chicken). Once cubed to perfection, cook the chicken in a skillet. While you’re doing that, cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
  • In a separate bowl, you’ll combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and spinach. Mix everything up until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add whole wheat flour to pot, and whisk for 30-seconds.
  • After whisking, add in your chicken broth, and stir until thickened – usually between 2-3 minutes. Then, you can add in your lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings (nutmeg, pepper, Italian seasoning, and oregano). Bring mixture to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat, then add the blended cheese mixture from step 2, as well as the cooked and cubed chicken, and boiled pasta.
  • Stir everything to ensure the noodles and chicken are evenly coated.
  • Transfer everything to a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Enjoy!!
Craving More?
Find more healthy recipes, workouts, and fun fitness tips on my Nutrish & Delish Pinterest board!

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