Do you know when you have food in your house and you need to think of a way to use it up? Well, I had a random sweet potato and wondered how I could make use of it instead of the go-to roasted sweet potato. I stumbled upon a brownie recipe that seemed like the ideal solution to using it up.
I actually love trying out recipes that contain atypical ingredients. One time for National Nutrition Month I made a chocolate cake and had the hospital staff try to guess the secret ingredients. Not one person guessed the cauliflower and only one person guessed the avocado in the frosting. It was hilarious to watch people be SO certain the secret ingredients were things like apple sauce or spinach. Nope!
Well lets go ahead and get to this lovely recipe. I omitted one ingredient from the original recipe and loved the change. If you are a thick, gooey and rich brownie type of person than this recipe is for you.
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of flour (can be substituted with oat or gluten free product)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 pureed sweet potatoes (I cooked and then put them in my processor)
- 1 cup peanut butter or nut butter or your choice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (plus more to top if you really love chocolate) - for vegan choose a vegan type of chocolate chip (Simple Truth and Enjoy Life make them)
- 2/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute of your choice
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Mix all the dry ingredients until well blended.
- Heat the peanut butter to where it is easy to stir.
- Add in sweet potato puree and vanilla.
- Pour dry ingredients into sweet potato mixture and stir well.
- Stir in chocolate chips until well blended.
- Pour and smooth into a 8x8 inch pan lined with parchment (or have it greased).
- Cook for 20-25 minutes (I cooked for 20 minutes in conventional setting).
- Remove and allow to cool. If you want a bit more firm than stick in the fridge (I stuck mine in the freezer because I didn't have patience).
Another year is fast approaching and with that comes goal setting. It is time for a fresh start and this is the year we will achieve our goals. Have you said that to yourself this previous year or maybe in years past and come up short? If so, you aren’t alone. I know this because I am someone who has! Below are a couple of goals I have heard over the years:
1. Get healthy.
2. Exercise more.
3. Lose weight.
Have you found yourself setting such goals? While these are great things to aspire towards there is a tiny problem. They are kind of vague. That brings me to my main topic and how we can be successful with our goals. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. goals! So what is S.M.A.R.T. Lets take a look:
S: Specific M: Measurable A: Attainable (who really likes to fail right?) R: Realistic T: Timely
Now lets take a look at a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
- Specific : I will lose 10 pounds.
- Measurable: I will weight myself on Saturday morning first thing (after bathroom of course) to measure my weight loss.
- Attainable: I will walk or jog 4 miles five times per week (~100 calories/mile for 150# person so 2000 calories savings/week). I will cut out one soda/day (~140 per soda so 980 calories savings/week). I will switch out my 2 cups of 2% milk with 2 cups of skim milk in the morning ( 560 calorie savings/week). Total: 3540 calorie savings/week.
- Realistic: These are small changes that are realistic for me.
- Timely: I will lose 10 pounds in ~ 2.5 months. This is about 1 pound a week which also realistic and healthy for me.
By really narrowing down on our goals and being specific in what we WANT we are more apt to attain these goals. Most importantly, make goals for yourself that you truly want and are willing to work for! By being realistic and willing to do these work we are more likely to turn these new habits into lifelong habits.
So tell me… what is YOUR S.M.A.R.T. goal?
You woke up numerous times to complete those tempo runs while the rest of the world slept. You trialed numerous versions of the adult version of baby food that no normal, sane person would consider trying (hello ooey gooey gel). You made sacrifices to get you to that starting line with the ultimate goal on the horizon. Two words. Boston Marathon.
As you were running your race you start to click off one mile after another. Before you know it you start calculating the final mile paces you need to get that goal. When your legs felt as though they had been set on fire another fire was burning within in (okay, I know that sounds sappy, but bare with me). The one which told you your goal was achievable and by golly, you were going to get there if you had to crawl over the finish line. As the line approaches you give everything you have left and cross that line with a feeling I think only those who have finished a marathon can explain. Feelings of, oh my gosh, my legs are locked up. My body feels like death. I want to sit, but fear I won’t be able to get up, and oh…. I just finished a stinken marathon and I am GOING TO BOSTON BABY!
Once you come out of “la la la I am going to Boston” land the planning starts. Tickets. Lodging. Race strategies. Below are a few tips I hope can help make your Boston Marathon experience the ultimate experience!
1. If you haven’t booked a room yet, and have your tribe coming I would highly recommend looking into Airbnb or Vrbo type of lodging. We found an awesome apartment in Cambridge in walking distance to the MBTA (T route) which took me right to Bus area.
2. If you are afraid of getting lost in the subway system do not worry. There are runners EVERYWHERE who will help lead the way. Coming from back west where subways do not exist, even I didn’t get lost. Runners also get to ride for free on race day! I found this out after I paid of course.
3. Now is the time to really consider if you want to race, race/enjoy or simply enjoy the race. I made the decision to fully take in the experience, cheer and slap hands vs. try to run a PR type of race. I had zero regrets on this decision. By all means though – enjoy it regardless of how you decide to run that day!
4. My biggest recommendation is to purchase meclizine or another OTC anti-nausea pill if you get sick on bus rides. The ride to the start is LONG and not smooth. I ended up puking on the bus! Don’t worry, I was super discreet and no one knew except the kind runner (who happened to be a nurse) sitting next to me. She even gave me her extra plastic bag to use. Super embarrassing, but a lesson well learned.
5. Things are busy and hopping in Boston. Its Marathon week! If you want to do a nice dinner the night before either consider the dinner they have available or make a reservation. We kept it low-key and had some pizza in the comfort of our apartment.
6. Before the race if it is warm consider taking some throw away pants. You may end up spending a lot of time in the running tent and those pants will convert to a nice make-shift seat on the grass for you.
7. If you have family with you make sure to know what side they will be cheering for you on! I completely missed my family because I was on the far right, and they were on the left. The crowds are so awesome and loud that trust me, you won’t hear them screaming for you if you are on the other side.
8. Finally, have fun! Smile and wave like a rock star for those cameras. If this is a time to buy pictures, do it! This is a memory you deserve to celebrate and remember!
Congratulations! You put in the work and you made it. Now go out there and get your new title.. Boston Marathoner
Do you have those days where you really don’t want to cook dinner? Or you have no idea what to even cook for dinner? This recipe helps take the edge off of having to cook because it is so dang simple and can be used in a variety of ways. I hate reading blogs that feel like a chapter book so let’s get to the ingredients:
- 1.5 pounds chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes 1/2 cup flour of your choice
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder (more or less depending on your spice level – this was definitely my threshold)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
- Optional: olive oil depending on pan
1. Mix flour cumin and chili powder together until well blended.
2. Mix in chicken until well coated.
3. Add to pan (my husband bought me Swiss Diamond pans for our anniversary which don’t require oil, but you can spray your pan with olive oil depending on your pan) and cook until well browned and cooked through. 4. Once fully cooked turn off stove and stir in buffalo wing sauce.
5. Enjoy! Add to a wrap, place over a salad, make tacos, eat alone with a side of celery and carrot sticks, etc. Now I’m off to some other adventure. When I say that it will probably entail washing clothes or something cleaning related.
At least once a week I try to incorporate a new recipe into my weekly menu. This usually consists of me perusing instagram, pinterest or just google itself. As mentioned on a previous instagram post, by planning and making a grocery list for the a week I end up saving time, money and reducing my stress level when I don’t know what to prepare for dinner. A lot of patients I have worked with in the past say they simply don’t have time to make a list and my question is, “Do you watch tv?” Most answer “yes.” Then you have time to make a list and if you don’t want to miss your show than use the commercials as a time to make the list. If it is a priority you will make time for it. As some wise man or women once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So let’s get to this recipe already. Who knows, it may end up on your weekly menu.
Ingredients for Chicken Souvlaki Kabobs
- About 1.5 pounds of chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh, minced parsley
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Mix all of the ingredients except the chicken and place in a seal-able bag. Add chicken pieces and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Place on kabobs (I used wooden kabobs so I soaked them in water a few hours before placing the chicken on them). Place on a sheet lined with foil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then set broiler to on and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until done, rotating half way through. I broiled mine for about 14 minutes to get that harder texture on the outside of the chicken.
Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 medium cucumber grated and squeezed of as much water as possible (you can use cheesecloth or if willing a handful of paper towels)
- 2 cups of Chobani Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt (or similar Greek Yogurt of you choice)
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your spice level)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons minced dill leaves (fresh)
- 2 tablespoons of minced mint (fresh)
Directions: Mix all of the ingredients except the cucumber well. After well mixed fold in cucumber.
Serve with chicken souvlaki and your choice of pita bread, rice, purple onions, lettuce or tomato. Enjoy!
All you need are three ingredients and a few minutes to whip up this easy treat. When I say a few minutes it’s because the ingredients are an apple, peanut butter and Greek yogurt of your choice. I personally am not a fan of the tart, plain Greek yogurt taste. If you are someone who is or you are reaching for the ultimate healthy treat than you can substitute. My yogurt of choice is the Greeks God Vanilla Yogurt. It is the ultimate creamy treat, and my way of being human and opting out of fat-free, plain Greek yogurt. I’m human! So let’s get to the recipe and recipe substitute for you out there who aren’t picky and like plain Greek yogurt.
Apple and Peanut Butter Dip
A twist on the classic Apples and Peanut Butter
- 1 Apple
- 1/3 cup Greek God Vanilla Yogurt (or other preference)
- 1 tspn Peanut Butter
Mix Yogurt and Peanut Butter well. Dunk in apple or fruit of choice and enjoy!
This provides approximately 290 calories, 30 g carbohydrates and 8 g protein. You can choose to substitute with a yogurt such as Chobani Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt which will provide you with 250 calories, 26 g carbohydrates and 19 g protein. This is a great snack to act as a “bridge” to your next meal, runners needing a post recovery snack or those with Diabetes looking for a healthy snack. Not to mention it pairs well with other fruit. Enjoy friends!
A while back I was able to teach a class dealing with something I am sure we have all experienced. Attending a social event where dozens upon dozens of appetizers line the tables and everything is calling out to you. For me personally, I feel like a child in a candy store. You aren’t at a restaurant where you are analyzing prices and trying to decide between this or that. At these events you can have it all… but should you? Below are a couple tips to help you enjoy these social events without the guilt.
1. Just as dietitians tell you not to go grocery shopping hungry (hello big bill), you don’t want to go to these functions starving. When you are starving you are more apt to make poor food choices and go for a lot of foods you probably wouldn’t otherwise. Think of a snack beforehand that is still small, but filling. An apple with peanut butter or half a sandwich for example.
2. Before going crazy and picking up one of everything look at all the options there are. I know I have started loading up my plate only to realize something better was down the line. Take a moment to really look at what foods actually are worth it to you.
3. Take small servings of appetizers. That way if you don’t like it you don’t have to worry about having half a plate you feel obliged to eat because your co-worker made it. Yep. I have been that person.
4. Make sure you are staying hydrated. When I say hydrated I mean with water. If you are having alcohol make sure you are drinking water between drinks. Also make sure you are well hydrated prior to going. We may think our body is telling us we are hungry when it is really saying, “water me!” These are a few tips that have helped me and I hope can help you.
To end this topic I am sharing with you one of my favorite party appetizers that does require being moderate in consumption, but is a good spin off of your normal cheese and crackers appetizer.
- Plain Triscuits
- Mascarpone Cheese
- Strawberries (sliced)
- Fresh Basil
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
Instructions: Add approximately 1 tsp. of the mascarpone cheese to the cracker. Top with strawberry slice and fresh basil. Drizzle with vinaigrette and enjoy!
These are so many different topping ideas when it comes to crackers! This is only one. Tell me, what are your favorites?