Sunday, December 16, 2012

Feliz Navidad!

I had a craving for enchiladas this week!!  Now, I know this dish may not seem like the healthiest in the world, however, there are some ways to make it more nutritiously satisfying.

Start guessed it...vegetables!

Soften some chopped onions, green/red peppers, spinach, and mushrooms in a skillet.  Cook brown or white rice and add this to the softened veggies with some nice spice (cumin, red pepper, garlic, other spicy stuff) for a healthy filler.  If you want, add some cooked chicken, beef or pork.

No enchilada dish is complete without the sauce!  Grab a can of cream of mushroom soup (I used the low sodium variety), enchilada sauce (find it with the salsa), 1/2 jar of your favorite salsa, and about a cup of milk.  Blend these ingredients in your blender until smooth.

Prepare the dish (9.5x11, or something smaller if you are making a smaller amount) by covering the bottom with a thin layer of the sauce.

Next, grab a package of your favorite tortillas.  I do my best to avoid the ones with lard and trans fat (this is hard to do once you start reading food labels!!).  For this batch of enchiladas, I even used whole wheat tortillas which were a healthier option without sacrificing taste.

Before you stuff and roll the tortillas, microwave each tortilla for 15 seconds.  This makes it easier to handle and roll.  Put about 1/3 cup of rice/veggie/meat filler into the tortilla, sprinkle with taco cheese, roll it up tight, and lay it in the bottom of the dish.  Repeat this process until the dish is full.  Pour more sauce over and around the tortillas.  Sprinkle the top with cheese and crushed tortilla chips, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Mmm...warm, gooey enchiladas!!!!  Serve with fresh guacamole and enjoy!

Combine with a partner walk outside.  It is so important to get natural Vitamin D this time of year to chase the winter blues away.  Wear sunscreen if you have sensitive skin!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cold dinner in cold weather!

Tuesdays....better than Mondays but still so far away from Friday!

After a lengthy workout at the gym, I enlisted Mr. PT to whip us up a smoothie for dinner!

Try as I might with the blender, Mr. PT's smoothies are always much tastier than mine.  For this smoothie, he blended:

-low fat vanilla yogurt
-skim milk
-frozen strawberries
-4-5 baby carrots
-2 bananas
-1/4 cup oatmeal
-1 tsp cinnamon

Yum!  Don't be afraid to smoothie it up for dinner once or twice a week!

Combine with a cardio/strength workout at the gym.  It's getting cold outside so your gym membership will really come in handy now.  Spend 15-20 minutes on a cardio machine and 15-20 minutes with free weights and resistance machines.  Don't be afraid to ask how a machine works if you don't know!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Green and Leafy

Not diggin the sauteed kale?

Try it in a quiche!

Saute your chopped onions, mushrooms, and peppers in olive oil until soft.  Add stripped, rinsed kale leaves and cook until wilted.  Throw your veggies in with 5-6 whisked eggs, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, and some seasonings (I used fresh rosemary, salt and pepper).

Line a pie dish with a pie crust and pour the egg mixture in.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until slightly crispy and the crust begins to brown.

You can also make an oldie but a goodie...kale chips!

Strip the kale leaves from their stalks and rinse them.  Swirl them in a salad spinner to get the moisture off.  Line them on a sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt/pepper and bake at 400 for 5-6 minutes.  Make sure they don't burn!

There are endless ways to eat those green leafy things!

Combine with fast-paced 20 minute strength workout, followed by a 10 minute stretch session.  Ahhh...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spaghetti time!

It's been a while since I've made homemade spaghetti sauce.  On Sunday, I was craving everything spaghetti.  Pasta, cheese, chunky all sounded delicious.  So Mr. PT and I took a Sunday drive to Kroger!

Once you make your own homemade spaghetti sauce, you'll never do Prego again.  The homemade variety is much lighter on your stomach, but heartier in your belly, if that makes sense.  And it really is not that hard!  Prep time is 45 minutes max, although you'll want the sauce to simmer on low for a while to allow the sauce to season.

You will need:

-1 lb lean ground beef
-1-3 bell peppers, depending on size (I used green, red and 1/4 yellow)
-1 medium sweet onion
-3-4 mushrooms (optional)
-1 large can crushed tomatoes
-1 medium can tomato paste
-2 cloves garlic
-Italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, etc)

Start by browning off your meat in a medium sized pot.

this brand had an enticing label!

Once thoroughly cooked, strain and rinse the fat off.  This sauce is hearty enough without it!

In the same pot you used before, heat some olive oil (about 1 tbs).  Saute chopped (as finely as you prefer) onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  Once the veggies are soft, add the meat back in and add crushed/diced garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add both cans of tomatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, and other Italian spices.  If it's too thick, add some water, just be sure to season accordingly.  Let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes.

About 5 minutes before serving, add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the sauce.  

Serve over whole wheat noodles and you have the perfect Sunday night for a personal trainer.

Combine with 30 minutes of exercise a day.  Don't make excuses.  There will always be an excuse.  Have kids?  Take them with you.  Work late?  Walk at lunch.  Sore knees?  Get in the pool.  The best way to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight is to change your eating habits and move.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kale season!

I stink at posting!  I apologize for my absence.  I will be better.  I promise!

It is time to buy kale!!  Flat kale, curly kale, sweet kale, hearty kale...whatever kale you like.  Buy it now when it's time to build up your iron to prepare for the cold winter ahead.

Here are 2 ways to eat kale as a side dish or main dish.  Both recipes start with stripping the kale from it's thick stem, rinsing it under water, boiling it for about one minute, then returning it to the colander to be rinsed again with cold water.

Now you are ready!

This first dish starts with olive oil, sweet onions, and mushrooms softening in a medium-high skillet with lots of garlic (1-3 cloves, depending on how much you like the stuff).

Next, throw in your boiled kale.  Let the kale soak up some of the oil and keep this simmering on medium heat.  Meanwhile, boil some more water and throw in your favorite diced potatoes.  Sweet, red, purple...whatever is available.  I opted for white sweet potatoes!

Once the sweet potatoes are tender (not too soft), throw them in with the kale and other veggies.  Let all of these ingredients simmer on medium for at least 15-20 minutes so all the flavors can combine.  Right before serving, toss in your favorite cheese.  I had some manchego, a nice dry Spanish cheese, on hand so I diced it and tossed it in.  Serve warm!


The next dish is similar but with a few different flavors.  Prepare the kale with boiling water as mentioned above.  Meanwhile, heat a skillet with garlic only.  Once the garlic has seasoned the oil, throw in a hefty handful of spinach leaves.  Allow some time for them to cook down before throwing in the softened kale.  Add a touch more olive oil if necessary.  Add about 1/3 cup of chicken broth.  It will seem soupy, but if you give it enough time, the broth will cook down and flavor the greens nicely.

Meanwhile, boil some...are you ready?...purple sweet potatoes!  That's right!  Dark purple sweet potatoes.  Talk about picking the darker, healthier veggies.  Slice them thinly with the skins left on (make sure you scrub them clean first).  Boil the potatoes until they are, again, tender but not too mushy.  Once soft, throw them in the skillet with the greens and garlic.  There should still be broth to help finish cooking the potatoes.  Allow these ingredients to cook down until they just start to get crispy.  Remove, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and you've got dinner.

Kale is so good for you and very filling!  I encourage you to get out of your vegetable and salad box and try some cooked kale.  You will instantly be hooked.

Combine with standing leg exercises.  Use a resistance band around your ankles and do forward, side, and back leg lifts, as well as walking shuffles.  Your rear will feel the burn!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What's in your pot?

Tired of those old-fashioned American style soups, heavy with cream and cheese?

Try a vegetable miso soup!

I got this idea after I picked up my vegetable share today.  My bag was full of collards, leeks, and daikon radishes.  I also had mushrooms and carrots leftover from last week!

Start with a big pot of chicken broth...I used the biggest stock-pot I had!  Bring the broth to a boil and add thinly sliced radishes, carrots, mushrooms, and leeks.  Pull chard leaves away from stems, rinse, and cut into 1 inch strips.  Add to broth.

Season with fresh rosemary, dill, salt/pepper.  Simmer for 1-2 hours.

I added about 1/4 box of whole-wheat spaghetti about 10 minutes before serving to add a little extra filler.

Enjoy with some crusty bread dipped into this wonderfully flavored broth!  The vegetables may look icky and crunchy at first, but give them some time to season the soup.  You will also feel the house get warmer and cozier the longer this soup simmers on your stove.

Combine with a long walk...for exercise and release of the stress from a long day at work!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Soup Season

This is a repeat.

But it is so worth it!

This time I used acorn squash and another un-named winter squash.  It might have been a pumpkin, not sure.

See the original recipe here!!

Combine with 10 minutes of pilates followed by 30 minutes of yoga...hummmm...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Balancing the perfect meal

I have said it before and I will say it again.

The best way to eat healthier, lose unwanted weight, and feel to spend more time with your food.

It sounds simple.  However, I know this can be difficult for busy people grown accustomed to frozen dinners and take-out.  It can be overwhelming and frustrating.

I hear you!  But you have to start simple, even if this means you only cook dinner twice a week.  And you don't have to be Martha Stewart!!  Dinner, afterall, should not be a huge meal.  If you eat a decent breakfast and lunch with healthy snacks in-between, you should not be famished come 6:00.

You'll notice my meals aren't restaurant quality, but I don't shoot for that!  That's why we enjoy restaurants!

So don't overcomplicate things.  Just try to get a veggie, fruit, and carb on your plate.  Season it with your favorite seasonings.  Heck, throw in a little salt and pepper if that helps.  And please, finish with a little piece of chocolate.  Everyone will be happier for it.

Steam wax beans, green beans and chopped apples for 10-15 minutes.  Dress with butter and salt as desired.

Acorn squash:
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Drop in about a tbs. butter and 1 tsp brown sugar.  Place on baking sheet with water (so they don't dry out) and bake at 400 for an hour or until soft.

Fingerling potatoes:
Slice in half and boil until tender.  Toss with olive oil and chopped dill and bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.

Combine with a playground workout.  Head to the jungle gym, wrap some resistance bands around a tree and work all muscle groups.  Finish with 50  walking lunges.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Scrambled deliciousness and Roasted roots

Welcome autumn!

Mr. PT and I joined a friend for a 5 mile trail run this morning, enjoying the crisp fall air and the last of the green leaves.  Autumn is Roanoke is breathtaking!

We worked up quite the appetite, so after picking up some of our favorite bread, we enjoyed some vegetable scrambled eggs.

Have people always told you eggs are too fatty and loaded with cholesterol?  Not if you eat them in moderation (we eat eggs about once a week) and pair them with vitamin-rich vegetables.  For this scrambled mix, I whisked 2 eggs with chopped pepper, onion, tomato, grated cheese, and fresh dill.  YUM.

People might also tell you potatoes are too starchy and loaded with carbs.  Again, eat them in moderation (once a week or so) and be sure to include some other greens with your carbs.  Earlier this week, to empty out the crisper, I sliced my potatoes and tossed them with sliced radishes, sliced green peppers, olive oil, fresh dill, salt/pepper, and lemon juice.  I then roasted this mix on a baking sheet at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until they were cooked and crispy.  

Again, YUM.

Don't be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  If a friend calls you up to climb a mountain, don't automatically assume you can't do it.  Forewarn your friend you might be slow and get out there and try.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A day in Charlottesville

Yesterday was quite the adventure!

Mr. PT and I hopped in the car (once again) and drove north to Charlottesville for the day.  We met my sister at Monticello for their annual Harvest Festival.  We got to sample some pretty amazing pork, goat cheese, and lavender lemonade.  We also got to tour the grounds of Jefferson's amazing estate!  If you are in the area next summer, you should definitely check it out!

After we had our fill of the festival, we headed towards UVA campus and stumbled on a unique place to eat!  Boylan Heights, a college bar/amazing restaurant, is known for it's decadent burgers made from local, organic beef or turkey.  They also have a fantastic beer menu sporting local brews.  I enjoyed an out-of-this-world veggie burger made with quinoa, zucchini, and peppers.  

 I topped it with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and grilled onions.  It was deliciously paired with lightly dressed cole slaw!

My sister enjoyed a chicken sandwich with the always satisfying sweet potato fries!

Fun times in Virginia for us!  Not so much for the football fans!

Combine with a pre-travel workout.  Going somewhere for the day and unable to get a workout in?  Get 20 minutes of cardio in with a run before you hit the road.  You'll have more energy for the day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Peaches galore!

 Mr. PT and I had big plans this Labor Day weekend!

Make a peach a peach cobbler.

We considered sharing, but we never got around to it.

Okay, okay.  We didn't just sit around and eat, I promise!  Scatter in some bike riding and running up Mill Mountain, a walk on the Greenway, and 4 hours of kayaking on the James River and you'll get a better picture of our 3 day weekend.  We are a household with a personal trainer, after all!

Peaches are peaking!  Now is the time to buy them in crates, barrels, buckets, whatever you can find to haul these golden delights home in.  Pair them with ice cream, cereal yogurt, peanut butter, or munch on them solo.

And if you have an extra hour on your hands, or a few helping hands, make this fantastic peach cobbler.

You will need:
-4 cups sliced peaches (7-8)
-1 tbs lemon juice
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tbs tapioca
-2 tbs melted butter, plus 1/4 cup chilled
-1 cup flour, sifted
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 tbs sugar for batter, plus 1 tsp for top
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 egg, beaten to a froth
-1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 12x8x2 pan.

Combine peaches, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca, and melted butter.

 Sift flour for a second time with baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Work butter into flour mix with pastry cutter to consistently like cornmeal. 

 With a fork, stir in combined egg and milk.  Spread evenly over peaches.

Bake until crust is golden brown and peaches are bubbling (40-45 min).

*for extra flavor, add 1/4 tsp almond extract and a pinch of cinnamon and cloves to the peaches!

Enjoy this heavenly seasonal fruit paired with outdoor exercise while you still can!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Make way for more vegetables!

It's Monday!

Time to clean out the fridge and make way for more vegetables from our farm share!

Hm.  What to do when you have a bunch of vegetables you don't know what to do with.

Or, if you are not participating in a farm share but want more vegetables on your plate, what comes to mind?


Chop some tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro.  Toss with corn, beans, lime/lemon juice and spicy spices (cumin, cayenne, chipotle...the works).

How about stuffed baked summer squash?

From the Good Food Good People family...
  •  2 tablespoons butter
  •  1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 
  •  2 garlic cloves, minced
  •  3/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • About 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 delicata squash (about 2 lbs. total), halved lengthwise and seeded
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine eggs and parmesan. Stir in nut mixture. Divide stuffing among squash halves, sprinkle with more parmesan, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 45 minutes.  Pair with green beans and corn salad.

Or maybe a sandwich?  Toast your bread with havarti cheese, spinach leaves, onions, and mushrooms then slap on a fried egg!

Eggs aren't your thing?  Replace with tomato and pepperoni!

When all else fails, throw a bunch of chopped vegetables tossed with olive oil and salt into a 450 oven for 20 minutes.  Toss with spinach leaves, chopped cabbage, your favorite herbs, balsamic vinegar, and a snazzy cheese for a hearty salad.

This mix comprised of cubed potatoes, squash, onions, mushrooms, corn, peppers, and carrots.  That will clean your fridge out!

Okay, if you are looking at these options and thinking, NO WAY, do what my preggo sister does.  Throw some spinach leaves in a tasty fruit smoothy as this fellow blogger does (yes, her pictures are much fancier than mine...I'm dealing with it).

I know you think Mr. PT and I are veggie freaks, but trust me.  If you start eating more vegetables, you will start enjoying them more.  I promise your body will thank you.

Combine with...exercise.  Try not to get overwhelmed with the plethora of information on the best way to exercise.  Just get out there and move.  Do it consistently.  Push yourself.  You'll feel a difference.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Oh my, we have a lot of potatoes.

Red, white, purple...they are stacking up in my pantry!!

I love roasted potatoes with veggies and herbs, but the other night, I had a hankering for mashed potatoes.  But I didn't have any butter or cream in the house.

Luckily, I found this recipe to help me out!

I did not have parsnips or blue cheese, so I used sliced peppers and cheddar cheese instead.

I know what you are thinking...delicious, but not exactly nutritious, right??

Wrong!  In small servings, I (and Mr. PT) consider this to be a rather healthy entree.  Like I mentioned before, there is not butter or milk, unlike most mashed potatoes.  There are no preservatives, like most instant brands.  And the silky potatoes are laced with freshly sauteed vegetables.  Did we go overboard on the cheese?  Nope.  Did we pair it with fresh fruit? Yes!

This dish also survived two days of packed lunches!  I love that!

Combine with a jump in the pool.  Need a routine?
-10 laps warm up
-5 laps kickboard
-5 laps freestyle
-5 laps pull
-10 laps medly/choice (4 free, 3 back, 3 breast)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our last night of true freedom


Alas, it is the last official night of summer.  Tomorrow, Mr. PT and I will wake up at the ungodly hour of 6:00am, put our work clothes on, and head to our respective schools to teach the youth of America.


We had a fantastic final weekend.  Yesterday, we enjoyed a quiet Saturday morning with toast and coffee, then rode our bikes to the gym for a quick strength workout (but long enough to make me incredibly sore today).  We then hit up the local farmer's market for fresh bread and finally landed at Big Al's Healthy Stuff where we got to sit on the front porch, feel the cool breeze, and listen to our buddies play jazz tunes.

But the fun didn't stop there!

After getting munched on by mosquitoes doing yard work, Mr. PT and I had a quick shower/shave and headed to our friends Liz and Andy's house for a lovely home-cooked meal.  Now, when I say home-cooked, I mean seriously home cooking!  Liz and Andy have the most impressive garden I've ever seen.  Actually, they kind of have three gardens.  Actually, their whole back yard is pretty much a garden.  It's amazing.  Herbs, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, artichokes, melons, zucchinis, name it, they grow it.  

Their goal was to prepare a meal using ingredients grown within a 100 mile radius.  So we enjoyed kebobs with fresh veggies, local meats, pickled squash, local bread, and peach AND rhubarb strawberry pie with fresh crust.

Holy mackeral, it was fantastic.

The best part was that we all filled our bellies and felt light and airy as we walked to our cars to leave.  That is the the glory of eating fresh.

Anywho, this morning we awoke to a lovely rain that Roanoke desperately needed.  After the rain stopped, the air remained a cool 65 degrees all day.  I got my 4 mile run in this morning, while Mr. PT hit the trails this evening.  While he was gone, I prepared my own 100 mile radius meal using the assorted fruits and vegetables I continue to get from my farm share.

It's chilly in our little house!  So I baked up some summer squash and topped toasty bread with warm, softened vegetables tossed in balsamic.  We enjoyed some fresh watermelon and plums for dessert (Mr. PT sneaked ice cream later!).

This squash, called delicata squash, is similar to acorn squash.  My farm share people instructed me to do this with it:

You will need:
  • 2 delicata squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (I used lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the squash cut side down into a baking dish. Pour water into the dish to about 1/4 inch deep.
  2. Bake in preheated oven until the squash pierces easily with a fork, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, blend the butter with the lime juice and chili powder in a small bowl. Mix in the lime zest, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the butter mixture into the cooked squash, and serve immediately.
For the vegetables, just toss red onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes with olive oil, and a pinch of salt/pepper.  When soft, turn off heat and add about 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar.  Serve warm over bread.

Although it is sad to see summer vacation end, Mr. PT and I had a lovely summer filled with friends, family, and fantastic fresh food.  Mr. PT and I have goals for the upcoming 9 months, both personal and professional, which is both exciting and scary!

Combine with a run in the rain.  It's still warm, so you can enjoy the feeling of getting soaked and not freezing cold!  Make sure you wear a hat to keep the water out of your eyes and protect your phone/ipod if you carry one!  Beware of thunder/lightning and have fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Farm fresh foods

Mr. PT and I continue to enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs we are receiving through our farm share this summer.  Recently, we have been getting some amazing melons, tomatoes, potatoes, and corn. 

I sliced into my watermelon tonight for dinner and was surprised to find it was...


It was slightly sweeter and less acidic...perfectly paired with fresh blueberries.

Our amazing farm share companions also shared a delicious sounding recipe for our white, red, and purple potatoes.  It reminded me of my grandma's traditional German potato salad...without the bacon grease.  I made a few changes (you will see in parentheses).

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. small red Idaho (and purple and white) potatoes – quartered or cut into 6th’s if large
  • 1 – red bell pepper – seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • fresh corn kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 4 oz. uncooked pancetta (or 3 slices of turkey bacon) cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (or diced havarti cheese)
  • 2 scallions, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (optional) (or chopped red onion)
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray. Dump cut potatoes on sheet pan and spread out into a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place in the oven and set timer for 15 minutes.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, combine the vinegars , mustard a large pinch of salt, pepper, and olive oil and whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  5. After potatoes have been in the oven for 15 minutes, add the red bell peppers and the pancetta (turkey bacon). Cook for another 10 minutes and then add the corn.
  6. Cook for an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender and vegetables have caramelized.
  7. Remove pan from oven and drizzle the dressing all over. Using a spatula or a couple of spoons toss the potatoes, corn, peppers and pancetta (bacon) so that they are evenly coated with the dressing. Sprinkle with the crumbled blue (havarti) cheese and the scallions (red onion). 
This was a winner winner chicken dinner for us!  Very flavorful and much lighter than most store-bought potato salads.
The other day, Mr. PT and I did not get around to eating dinner until 9:00pm.  We were hungry, but not exactly craving a belly-buster meal.  Our farm share continues to deliver large amounts of cherry tomatoes, so I whipped up a salsa-type dish with leftover shredded chicken.

I chopped the tomatoes and added freshly chopped basil, parsley, red onion, orange and yellow pepper, and chicken and seasoned it with lemon juice and salsa spices (cumin, garlic, oregano, cayenne pepper, etc).

Grab a hold of as many fresh items as you can and start throwing them together for your next meal!  If you are feeling overwhelmed with how to start, remember that vegetables are usually better softened, seasoned, and mixed with a grain or starch.  Ok...go!

Combine with a long walk.  Listen to your body.  If you are feeling fatigued after several consecutive days of exercise, give your body a break.  You won't gain 5 pounds of fat or lose 10 pounds of muscle in 24 hours.  However, a little bit of movement everyday is a good thing, so grab your a friend, partner, or iPod and walk the neighborhood.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What about wheatberries?

Tired of rice and whole wheat pasta?

Try wheatberries!

They are loaded with fiber, protein and iron because they have undergone almost no processing.  They are the entire whole wheat kernel!  Pretty neat!

When boiled for about an hour, they have a slight crunch and a delicious nutty flavor.  As you will see, they can be paired with just about anything!

My first wheatberry dish was a vegetable stir-fry, of course!

I sauteed corn, green pepper, onions, kale, and cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt/pepper, tossing in the cooked wheatberries.  Yum!

Next, I threw them in with black bean bruschetta, following this recipe, replacing the chickpeas with black beans and using shredded colby jack instead of gorgonzola.

Not the best picture, but still, YUM.

Finally, I followed an Ina Garten recipe for a wheatberry salad, minus the carrots.

Served with fresh fruit salad (yellow watermelon, peach, nectarine, cucumber, and blackberries) and steamed broad beans.  This recipe proves once again that balsamic vinegar can make any dish.

I ran out of wheatberries before I could try them cooked with milk, cinnamon and oatmeal!

Oh well!  I challenge you to find some new recipes for this grain that is truly whole!

Combine with a long, long workout on a day when schedules do not exist.  Push yourself and see where your endurance really takes you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fun food in Asheville

Don't you love exploring new cities?

Traveling is great because you get the opportunity to observe different lifestyles, fashions, land formations, and people.

Not to mention the fantastic food you just have to try while traversing the streets.

When Mr. PT and I traveled around Europe last summer, I had a great time sharing our unique eating experiences with readers.  If you missed that entry, see it here!

Well, last Thursday, I hopped in the car to meet up with my mother and 2 sisters in Asheville, NC for a girls only weekend!  We had such a great time seeing the sights and spending time with one another.  

And, oh my goodness, did we eat some fantastic food!  A lot of my pictures did not turn out as well as I had hoped, so I'll give you the cream of the crop.

The first restaurant we checked out was called Bistro 1896.  We sat outside on the front patio and enjoyed people watching and local street performers.  The food was incredibly fresh with delicious flavors and textures.  I was not too hungry, so I ordered an appetizer as a meal.  Thank goodness I did because the Bistro Bruschetta was out of this world!

 Bistro Bruchetta
        Tomato, basil, red onion, fresh mozzarella & Asiago cheeses, balsamic reduction          

My sister enjoyed this delicious dish:

 Chicken Salad Sandwich
Grapes, walnuts and Dill-Havarti cheese with field greens on toasted whole wheat

The next day, the group was hungry for brunch.  The women in my family all have a special place in our hearts (and stomachs) for Latin food.  If it's spicy, cheesy, and tossed with salsa and avocado, bring it on!  

So you can imagine our excitement when we stumbled upon Chorizo!  Everything on their menu sounded so delicious, it was difficult to order just one dish.  However, in my opinion, I ordered the most delicious item on the menu.

Latin Nachos
 chicken, black beans, goat cheese, salsa, avocado, ranchero
sauce, topped with one fried egg

Words cannot describe how delicious this was.  I was convinced with black beans, avocado, and goat cheese in a crispy shell.  But to top it all off with a fried egg??  Brilliant!!

This restaurant was so awesome we decided to return the following night for dinner.  Although I don't have an image, you can picture Anaheim chile pepper stuffed with spinach-goat cheese, served alongside green beans, roasted pepper, olive, eggplant, artichoke, and yucca.


We also had a wonderful dinner of tapas at Curate.  Again, no pictures, but if you decide to check it out, I encourage you to dive into the berenjenas la taberna (fried eggplant drizzled with honey and rosemary), escalivada (roasted red pepper, onion, and eggplant drenched in a sherry vinegar dressing served on crusty bread) and pan con tomate (crusty bread with fresh tomato, olive oil, and manchego cheese).

So if you find yourself near Asheville, NC, check out these delicious stops along the way!

Combine with vacation exercise...formal workouts can be difficult when you are exploring new territory in your street clothes.  Instead of feeling the need to run a 5k, squeeze in mini-workouts throughout the day.  Park the car a decent distance from the car, take the stairs instead of the elevator to your hotel room, and haul your shopping bags around with pride!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Salsa, Salad, Bruschetta...all in one!

I made the most delicious, yummy, tasty, dish the other day.

I got the idea from this fellow blogger, whose pictures make basically any dish look amazing!

I love how this dish has chickpeas!  I'll admit, I sometimes get tired of hummus, but I adore these little legumes!

Instead of a poblano, I used whatever pepper was in my fridge (green, yellow).  I also cut out the mint and added chopped zucchini.  Instead of roasting in the oven, I softened my veggies in the skillet like a stir-fry.  

Onions, peppers, corn, tomatoes, chickpeas...seasoned with basil, parsley, and cilantro?  Not to mention olive oil, red-wine vinegar, and tangy gorgonzola cheese?

Did I mention this was seriously delicious??

Vegetables softening in the skillet with olive oil

The great thing about this dish is that you can eat it with corn chips as a salsa.

You can put it on crusty bread as bruschetta.

Heck, you can eat it plain as a salad!

Please make this and eat it.  You won't regret it.

Combine with a personal trainer's 3 sets of 8 minute of strength exercises.  Mr. PT and I circulated 3 arm and abdominal exercises for eat set.  For example:

Set 1:                                                                      Set 2:                                                      Set 3:
rows                                                                        push-ups                                                 flys
abdominal twists                                                    quick jumps                                            biceps
triceps                                                                    sit-ups                                                     reverse flys

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bananas for Breakfast

Is anyone else having trouble keeping up with their bananas these days?

I normally have the occasional banana that browns before I can eat it.  It ends up in the freezer patiently awaiting its day to become banana bread.

However, recently, with all this hot weather, my bananas have had much more success than me with brown skin!

Thanks to this fellow blogger, I have a new recipe to use my mushy bananas with!

I love how this recipe uses raw oatmeal!

Use the link to check out the recipe!  

I changed a few things...I used only 1/2 cup of sugar and regular vanilla yogurt instead.

I also think I will throw in some cinnamon next time!

These muffins are delicious with a light spreading of butter, jam, cream cheese, or just plain!  We had guests on Saturday morning, so they paired deliciously with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and veggies, portobello and onion bread toast, turkey bacon, and coffee, of course!

Mmm...doesn't get much better!

Combine with a morning run, walk, or run/walk.  Beat the heat and get out there before the sun does!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cucumber Delight

It is officially the dog days of summer!  If your summer rolls like mine, your refrigerator is probably cooling your abundance of zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cucumbers!  Now is the time for these veggies to shine!

It is supposed to be a whopping 97 degrees tomorrow here in Roanoke, and Mr. PT does not favor air conditioning.  It's a long story, something about not being in touch with the outside air??

Who knows.  All I know is it's HOT, and cucumber salad is a wonderful way to cool down.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to add fresh grape tomatoes.  Without even prompting him, Mr. PT's comment after his first bite was...

"Wow, nice and cool!"

You will need:

-1-2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
-4-5 grape tomatoes, sliced
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1-2 tbs fresh dill
-2 tsp honey
-2 tsp lemon juice
-salt and pepper to taste

 Combine vinegar, dill, honey and lemon juice separately.  Add to cucumbers and tomatoes in a medium sixed bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

I paired this with whole wheat linguini tossed with onions, peppers, kale, olive oil, fresh basil, and pepper.

Too hot to move fast?  Combine with a nice long stretch.  Try to hit at least 10 muscle groups.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Italian Duo

What could be better than an 8 mile hike rewarded with a fantastic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Nothing, right?

Except, perhaps, an amazing dinner paired with delicious wine and great friends!

My cousin-in-law Noah started us off with some crusty bread dipped in garlic and herb infused olive oil.

He then took some whole wheat linguini and tossed it with basil pesto, chunks of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. 

Then I roasted some vegetables in the idea I got from this blog! I made my own bread crumbs using garlic ciabatta in the food processor and used goat cheese instead of romano.  Mmm....

After a long day of hiking, this meal was exactly what we needed.  Fresh ingredients, not too filling...we called it our post-workout carb load!

Combine with an outdoor hike...your glutes and quads will thank you the next day!