A Quick Weekend Lunch

While pretty much the entire population of New York City was in Central Park yesterday, I was at home taking care of a sick boyfriend. Feeling particularly lazy and not up for ordering in, I decided to search the fridge for something to whip up for lunch. What I came up with was surprisingly satisfying.
Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
Ingredients:
1 large cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes
1 apple, cored and diced
1 tbs of poppy seeds
2 tbs of mayonnaise
1 tsp of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small handful of slivered almonds
1 small handful of dried cranberries
Instructions:
Mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss with chicken, almonds, apple, poppy seeds and cranberries. That’s it! A quick and easy lunch for when you’re feeling lazy. Recipe serves two.

Zeroing in on Our April Goal

For our goal this month, Alycia and I decided that we will refocus on health. First, I would like to share a lovely smoothie recipe from Linda Wagner. Linda is participating in a 10 day raw food cleanse, and this yummy treat was the kickoff recipe. Alycia and I are planning to try a similar raw food cleanse at some point this month. (OK, maybe we’re going to actually mirror Linda’s…we’ll see!). Here is the smoothie:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen mangoes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups Almond Milk Kefir – love this stuff and what it’s done for my body and well being!! I can’t make a green smoothie without it!
  • 2 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia
Blend in a high speed blender until smooth. This recipe makes about 64 ounces so should be enough for two large servings. If you don’t want that much, simply cut the recipe in half.
 
Image courtesy of LindaWagner.net
Now I would like to share what triggered my need to refocus on health this month. This post is a little dense, but completely necessary to create a baseline for my goal.  I personally was disappointed with myself in March, and in dire need of motivation. At the end of March (almost 3 weeks ago) I attended a medical conference in Chicago, and got the push that I needed. The conference had those machines that calculate your weight, blood pressure, BMI, body fat percentage, etc. Let me tell you – the numbers that I saw did not make me happy. My weight was actually the EXACT number that I’ve deemed my tipping point. This is the weight where I stop allowing myself to make excuses, and I get serious about what I eat and how much I exercise.
 
Since that dreadful day I have lost five pounds and my body fat content has gone down a decent amount, mostly due to diet. In the last few weeks I’ve made a point of bringing lunch to work instead of buying, and I’ve started cooking healthier dinners and making my own juices again. I usually only make it to the gym about two times per week, and that didn’t change much in the past few weeks, but I’ve added more weights and more running to my workouts.
 
I would like to lose a total of 15-20 pounds from the number at my ‘bad’ weigh-in. To accomplish this I’ve finally ponied up the money to hire a personal trainer. I know that I don’t self-motivate well, and I’ve worked with great trainers in the past that have gotten me in tip top shape for bikini season. I had my first session today and I am so incredibly pumped. I aim to train twice per week, and go to the gym twice on my  own, which will double my days in the gym.
 
I’ll be sure to check in every couple of weeks and share my progress, along with some healthy, yummy recipes that Alycia and I discover when we try our raw food cleanse. 
 
Do you have any healthy goals this month? 

Mionetto Mixology Masters Challenge: Vote for WhiteTea Bulger

A colleague of mine recently entered the Mionetto Mixology Masters Challengein hopes of winning a VIP trip to Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit, a Private VIP Tour at the Mionetto Winery in Italy, and most importantly, bragging rights.

Sounds pretty sweet right? Well you could winthat trip to Vegas Uncork’d too, just by voting. And what better beverage to vote for than the WhiteTea Bulger: a combination of sweetened white tea, Jameson Irish whiskey (my fav!) and prosecco?
I pose two challenges to you lovely readers:
  1. Go vote for the WhiteTea Bulger, and pass it on to anyone you know who likes a good drink.
  2. Try the recipe out this weekend!
 
 I love this recipe for a few reasons:
  • The ingredients are simple and easy to find. No funky purees, beverage “flakes” (what is that?!), or rare liqueurs. The white tea and Jameson are actually already in my kitchen.
  • The procedure is also simple, making it easy to concoct while entertaining – there are just 5 quick steps to prepare.
  • The flavor combination sounds natural and enticing. The tea and whiskey make it the perfect beverage to kick-off a night out, but the prosecco screams, “Hey! Forget the mimosa at brunch and drink me!”
  • The name is clever. Here is the “inspiration” for the drink, courtesy of mionettomixology.com:
Whitey Bulger, one of America’s most wanted for decades was the inspiration for this Boston-born cocktail. As the city’s most notorious crime boss, his spirited 20+ year run from the law took him around the world. Borrowing from the locations of Whitey’s many known hideouts; the “WhiteTea Bulger” marries the effervescent sweetness of Italian Moinetto Prosecco and the naturally sweet and slightly malty flavors of white tea with Whitey’s hometown favorite – Irish whiskey. Together, they combine to create a delicious and easy-drinking cocktail that packs an Irish punch.
WhiteTea Bulger
Photo courtesy of mionettomixology.com
INGREDIENTS:
– 1.5 oz – Prosecco
– 1.5 oz – Sweetened White Tea
– 0.5 oz – Jameson Irish Whiskey (or Irish whiskey of choice)
– Slice of lime
PROCEEDURE:
– Combine sweetened white tea with Irish whiskey in ice-filled    shaker.
– Shake well
– Pour into martini glass
– Top with Prosecco
– Squeeze lime slice and garnish glass

Product Review: Stash Herbal Iced Tea and Truvia Natural Sweetner

I am having the most wonderfully lazy Saturday. I am not ashamed to admit that it is 3 p.m. and I am still cozy in my pajamas (I also swear that I am showering and getting myself together right after this blog post)!

For a lazy day, I have done a lot. I cooked an amazing breakfast for the boyfriend, cleaned up the kitchen, created a Feel Good Foodies Facebook page, and made two liters of delicious herbal iced tea. I’m a member of Influenster, an online community where trendsetters can provide feedback on products. They essentially send me products that I can review and share with you readers! This week they sent me a box that included Stash Premium Tea and Truvia natural sweetener – the perfect start to a whole lotta iced-tea-goodness.
Since my juicer has been broken, I haven’t been getting nearly as much fluid or nutrients compared to what my body is used to. Herbal tea is a great way to stay hydrated. I made two different iced teas: Wild Raspberry Hibiscus, and Mango Passionfruit. I learned in my three years as a Starbucks barista to double brew iced beverages – this basically means that since you will add ice, which will melt to water, you should brew your beverages with twice as much coffee or tea, and no additional water. This method prevents your drink from getting a watered down taste. 
So for each tea I used:
  • Two herbal tea bags (this will work with any flavor you prefer)
  • One packet of Truvia (I like my iced tea sweet, but not too sweet)
  • A few slices of lemon (I used 3 per liter, and squeezed a little extra lemon juice in at the end

Put teabags and sweetener in a glass/jar/whatever you want to brew your tea in. Heat water in a teapot, and once boiling fill jars (or whatever you’re brewing in) with water, about halfway so that the teabags are just submerged in the water. Add your lemons and let sit for 4-6 minutes, then fill the rest of the jar with room temperature or cold water.  If you desire more lemon juice, go ahead and squeeze it into the jars, and then refrigerate and enjoy! I like my tea strong, so I left the teabags in for about 10 more minutes while cooling in the fridge, but the 4-6 minutes should do the trick. 

I usually use TAZO teas, and the Stash tea was just as good, and definitely less expensive! I can’t wait to try the other flavors from the sampler box. I was already a big Truvia fan prior to receiving the samples. Truvia boasts that unlike most stevia-based sweeteners, which are typically a mixture of many components from the stevia leaf, Truvia natural sweetener is made from Truvia stevia leaf extract, the best tasting part of the stevia leaf. I’ve tried other stevia sweeteners, and I really do like Truvia’s taste the best. 

A Homemade Birthday Dinner

This weekend, my boyfriend Jamie and I packed up our things and ventured down to South Jersey for his mother’s birthday. Her birthday wish? A home-cooked meal. I quickly volunteered to create the side-dishes, knowing I had a few crowd-pleasing recipes up my sleeve: roasted cauliflower with cherry peppers, and our feel-good favorite, kale salad. I was excited to accomplish our goal of eating seasonably only four days into the month of March!


Here we are, chopping away
The entrée was salmon, which we broiled, and Jamie was brave and made Sauce Verte for the fish – which came out incredibly well! I don’t have the exact recipe for the sauce verte, but similar can be found here
Roasted Cauliflower with Hot Cherry Peppers and Breadcrumbs
(recipe courtesy of The Meatball Shop)

THE RECIPE:

Ingredients: 1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into large florets, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup finely sliced hot cherry peppers (stems and seeds removed), 2 tablespoons pickling juice from the hot cherry peppers, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup crushed garlic croutons
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Place cauliflower florets in a 9×13 baking dish. Add the olive oil and salt and toss, making sure the cauliflower is well coated
  • Roast until the edges of the cauliflower beging to brown (about 15 minutes). Toss the cauliflower and continue to roast, tossing every 5 minutes , until tender but firm and well browned all over (about 10 minutes)
  • Remove cauliflower from the oven, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cherry peppers, pepper juice and parsley and toss to throughly combine. Sprinkle with the crushed croutons just before serving to ensure that they stay crispy.
Kale Salad
sauce verte
final product

And what good is a birthday without some birthday cake?

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Green Lemonade

Alycia has me on a juicing frenzy! I don’t think I’m quite ready for a BluePrint cleanse or anything like that, but I am definitely utilizing my juicer to its full extent. I’ve been looking up a lot of good recipe ideas, and especially love Green Lemonade, courtesy of Linda Wagner.
 
 
Here’s the recipe from Linda’s blog:

Green Lemonade

  •  2 cucumbers
  • 4 med size apples – I used fuji
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  •  2 small lemons
Run all ingredients through a juicer and enjoy! (Makes 32oz)
This is by far my favorite juice that I’ve tried! I’ve been enjoying Alycia’s Glowing Green recipe after the gym all week, but the Green Lemonade is my weekend guilt-free treat. What’s your favorite juice recipe?
Christina 

Sausage and Kale Pasta

I have a new favorite four –letter word (and a new favorite food too)! K-A-L-E. I have been using kale in EVERYTHING this week! I just finished a lovely kale and apple salad, I’ve been drinking green juice with kale almost every morning, I made kale chips, I’ve incorporated it into my dinners…I’m an all-around kaleaholic.
We’ll get to all of the delicious items I just listed out eventually, but today I would like to tell you about the sausage and kale pasta I made for dinner Monday night (and then lunch on Tuesday AND Wednesday).
Monday was one of those days where I came home from work and my boyfriend had defrosted meat with no thought of the full “dinner” it would be a part of; that detail was obviously up to me. The meat of choice on this particular night was hot Italian sausage. Usually we sauté the meat with green onions or mozzarella cheese and make Italian sandwiches which is delicious, but not the healthiest option. Not to mention it would have also required another trip to the grocery store.
Not wanting to climb back down the five flights of stairs (I know, I know…LAZY), I decided to concoct something out of the food in my kitchen. You’ve done this too, I’m sure. I pulled an inventory of what was in my fridge and decided I couldn’t resist incorporating kale into the meal. Thus, my sausage and kale pasta was born!
Sausage and Kale Pasta
 
Ingredients:
  • 4  Italian Sausages (casing Removed)
  • Olive Oil
  •  Lemon Juice
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese
1. In a large saucepan, chop up and sauté sausage until cooked, and set aside.
1b. At the same time, boil water for pasta, and add the pasta when water comes to a boil. I like any tube-shaped pasta for this dish. I went with ziti.
2. In the same pan, add a bit more oil and the garlic, sautéing until garlic is brown.
3. Add kale and saute about 8 minutes – it will take on the spicy meaty flavor of the sausage and the garlic – your taste buds are not ready for this!
3b. Drain pasta when ready (use the time instructions on the box!)
When kale is finished cooking, add sausage and drained pasta into pan, sauté for a minute or two, and spritz with lemon. Add salt, pepper and parmesan cheese if desired and enjoy!
I loved this so much that I sautéed up some extra kale and packed two days of lunches with the leftovers!