Category Archives: get healthy

Potato mozzarella spinach bake

It’s a healthy casserole! Of course I still did use extra-virgin olive oil and mozzarella cheese so it’s not vegan but it’s vegetarian and it’s totally delicious.

Ingredients:

8 potatoes diced and boiled
1/2 frozen block chopped spinach (or one bag if using fresh)
5 cloves roasted garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2/3 ball mozzarella
14 organic baby tomatoes
One handful basil
Oregano, salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast garlic and keep aside
  2. Boil potatoes for 15 minutes, add frozen spinach last five minutes of cooking, drain, add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and stir
  3. Greased casserole dish, are used olive oil, add half the potatoes and spinach mixture, add roasted garlic, half of mozzarella slices and half of fresh basil
  4. Top with remaining potato mixture, top with sliced baby tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Top with the rest of mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil
  5. Bake, covered, in a 400° oven for 25 minutes, then another five minutes uncovered

Damn homie. In high school you was the maaaaann homie. If you got the rap throwback let me know in the comments!

So how do you roast garlic, you may ask? Well keep the skin on the garlic cloves and put them in a pan with olive oil and swirl it around for about 5 to 8 minutes under medium low heat. Then fish out the garlic and let it cool. The olive oil in the pan will be scented with garlic. After the cloves are cool they will pop out of their skins like butter. I chopped the soft garlic and added it to a layer of the bake.


I love having a fresh basil plant in the house! I bought one a few weeks ago and love having fresh basil on hand whenever I need.


The mozzarella ball I bought looked like this:

The assembly before the oven:

And of course I added hot sauce. Sometimes I wonder if the reason I make these types of dishes are so that I can add Tabasco. Tabasco is hands down my favorite hot sauce ever :)))))) I should own shares in the company.

With starchy foods like pasta or potatoes a few drops of Tabasco highlights the food and takes it up a notch. And it was so good with this casserole.


This dish was delicious and I will definitely make it again or a version of it again. Highly recommend! It can be used as a side dish, or just a delicious dinner on it’s own!

xxSerena

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Are mini salads the start to significant weight loss? 

It’s happened to all of us I think, whether work gets too busy so you decrease your workouts, maybe the birth of his child leads you to sleep less so work out less, or you put on those “I’m in love” pounds. 

However we get there, all of a sudden we realize we’re suddenly five or 10 pounds overweight!

I think the real success is the realization that you did gain five or 10 pounds. Because at that point, it’s doable.  It can be caught and tended to. 

One thing I did was start eating one small salad, extra, a day. And what I did was a few things: regulated my taste buds, made me crave less sugar fat or salt, added fiber to my diet so I felt more full, and reminded me that I needed to watch what I was eating. The salad looked a little something like this:


I think the trick is to make it small, very easy to make, very minimal ingredients, so that you can make it fast and it’s not a huge thing. 

All I did was chop up half a head of romaine and a quarter of a pepper.


And then I made the dressing: Half a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, dried Greek seasoning, a teaspoon of fresh salsa, and a quarter teaspoon of turmeric/salt.

That’s it! 

I found a little container that keeps the dressing separate from the salad and keeps the salad cool. It’s good I like it for a small salad, but any container will do.


Would you add a small salad to your diet every day for a week? Have you before? Do you think it’s a good idea or not?

xxSerena

The joys of running

I’ve been running lately, thanks to that group of dear friends you know who you are, who are challenging me to Fitbit challenges. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with running, I hate it in every which way but loves the happiness it gives me, how it makes me feel about myself and I love how my body responds to the work.


Here are 5 joys running has given me this month:

  1. It makes my sleep AMAZZZINGGG… I dream well, I sleep soundly and I fall asleep fast! Sometimes, as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out. A massage therapist once told me once about the pineal gland, and how if you clean it out with a short juice fast you begin to dream better.. which leads me to my next point …
  2. My dreams are as interesting and vivid as good movies. Perhaps the fact that I’m running and pushing my body to metabolize quickly; push blood through my body faster, process oxygen quicker, make my heart step out of its box, etc. is in a way cleansing my body, battling against dull/slow/groggy movement of blood? Maybe my pineal gland, some say responsible for vivid dreams, is getting cleaned out in the process? I don’t know, but I like it.
  3. It reminds me I’m strong. The strength the body feels when it’s pushing to the limits reminds me of my inner strength. It reminds me I can do anything I put my mind to.
  4. It makes me very sharp. My brain, my eyesight, my speed .. all is quicker, it’s “revving” like an engine of a sports car or something. I feel as though I can do something quickly, with a good quality, I’m “all there” .. as opposed to groggy or slow … which brings me to my last point …
  5. It keeps me in the moment. Running forces me to stay in the present moment. I’m focused on the step of that very second, so even though thoughts can come into my mind during my run, I practice, successfully, how to stay in the moment, and enjoy the health I have today.


Do you run? What’s been your experiences with running?

 

xxSerena

Turkey muffins

With less than 8% fat, about 22g of protein in a serving of 100g, for my macros, turkey muffins were a perfect lunch idea.

When I made them yesterday I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the aroma was steaming out of the oven. I ate this over spinach and with roasted sweet potato.

Ingredients:

500g (1 package) extra lean ground turkey
1 red bell pepper chopped into tiny squares
1/2 red onion also chopped into tiny squares
1 egg
2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce for chicken
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Maille Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° before preparation
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  3. Drop turkey mixture into silicone molds
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let muffins set for an additional 20 minutes in warm oven.
  5. Serve with steamed vegetables, spinach, sweet potato or rice.


I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed these muffins! Finally, delicious turkey that was moist, flavorful  and a great lean protein that goes with other healthy options.

I will definitely be making these many more times again this year! How do you cook with ground turkey or chicken?

xxserena

Vegan meat and potato dinner

I made seitan from scratch the other day. I had watched the documentary called “Cowspiracy” and thought it was so motivating! 

So here’s my recipe for chunky potatoes with meat n onions; vegan style! 

Boil diced potatoes and add spinach: 


I wanted Asian flavours so I added Braggs amino acids (soya sauce), rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce and a splash of apple cider vinegar.


I cooked that together covered for about 10 minutes under low heat.


Then I fried my seitan, diced, with diced onions and some all of oil and water. 

The “meat” has a spicy flavor, good meaty consistency and goes well with the potatoes and onions and spinach.

It might not look like much but I’m proud of myself for making it and truly enjoying it! 


I made my meat from scratch! 

Have you ever tried seitan? Do you think you would like it? 

xxSerena 

How to make seitan and what is it? 

Seitan is a popular meat substitute that you can make easily in your own kitchen. Why would you want to? Because eating meat is taxing on the environment. 

It’s popular with vegans, delicious, and super high in protein. Basically seitan is vital wheat gluten. So it’s all gluten! And what is gluten? It’s flour with all the starch removed. Gluten free flour? It’s flour with only starch and all the protein removed.

It is very low in fat, about 1.9 g per 100 g serving. It is very high in protein, about 75 g out of 100 g serving.

So it has the same make up as a lean protein except meat protein has L lysine and seitan does not. So it’s not considered a complete protein. But no worries. You can get L lysine from a number of different sources, including plant-based sources. Mung bean sprouts and most fruits and vegetables have lots.

How do you make seitan? 

Ingredients: 

1 cup vital gluten flour

1 cup vegetable broth 

2 tablespoons Herbs and spices 

Directions: 

  1. Mix flour with broth. Add herbs. Knead for two minutes. Dough should be puffy and stringy.
  2. Pull apart into three equal sized pieces and flatten out into round patties.
  3. Bring to boil in vegetable broth and herbs. Turn heat down to lowest setting. Cover. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Freeze unused cooled portions in broth for up to six months.
  5. Fry seitan in some oil with onions and use in a recipe as you would meat.

See the next blog on how to eat in a recipe! 

xxSerena 

Flat abs in 5! 

I like this sequence since it’s short and effective. But remember – consistency is key. So this is not a workout to do one time for five minutes.

Try adding this onto your regular work out every day or do this every day for five minutes and feel yourself get stronger as you move through the week!


Will you be trying this today?

xxSerena 

How to lose your love handles fast!

There’s no such thing a spot training-training one part of your body to lose fat in a particular area. But you can strengthen certain muscles. 

So in addition to regular cardio exercise and flexibility training, here are some great muscle conditioning exercises to target your midsection, namely your love handles!


Have you tried these exercises before ? 

xxSerena 

Loving the vegetable pho soup 

It’s filling, gluten free, vegetarian and tastes fresh! It’s vegetable pho and it’s important that you find one that you like. 

Since good authentic pho isn’t easy to make, (often broth takes hours to make and the consistency of noodles can be finicky) I think it is important for you to find a good vegetable broth from a restaurant that you love!

I am so happy to say that I have found one. Other restaurants had broth with too much weird stuff in it, there was salad and cucumbers in my noodle soup, totally unacceptable!

But not this one.


And, did I mention that this restaurant is close to my house?

The broth was clear, delicious and fresh. Vegetables perfectly cooked. Very fresh. And a great selection. I got carrots, onion, broccoli, cabbage, Red peppers, celery … And the noodles were awesome.


Vegetables are nutrient dense foods, this soup filled me up. it was totally satisfying. And the best part? This huge bowl of soup has 300 to 400 cal in total!

What is your favorite dish to order in a Vietnamese restaurant?

xxSerena

Marinated chicken with potatoes 

In accordance with my marination series I will now announce my second marinade! 

It is garlic herb seasoning and extra virgin olive oil. 


It wasn’t bad. I could definitely taste the marinade because I left it on overnight and it was very garlicky.

This time I decided to boil some diced red potatoes to eat with the chicken.


I decided to cook some diced onions, add the chicken and then eat over the boiled potatoes. I did need to add some mustard and sweet chili sauce for chicken. 

I diced the chicken too: 


Turned out pretty good. In the middle of my cooking, I got a very exciting package from FedEx, delivered priority overnight:


But that’s a tale for another day. Let’s get back to that chicken, shall we?!?


So filling. Totally boring compared with all the yummy stuff out there but it’s lean, helps muscle growth and aids fat loss! 

xxSerena