Perfect Healthy Banana Pumpkin Bread for the Fall

With the holidays quickly approaching, many of us are starting to have to attend pot lucks at work or dinners with family and friends. While we enjoy this special time of the year and definitely appreciate the cuisine, we can all agree that the holiday food is the number one reason why most people using make exercise as one of the top goals on our New Year’s resolutions list. To help alleviate the madness of all of the calories of these delicious foods, I’m sharing this healthy banana pumpkin bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 mashed ripped bananas
  • 2 cups of ground oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter
  • 1/2  cup of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Nutmeg, all spice, vanilla extract to taste
  • Zest of one lime

In a bowl soften the butter along with the bananas and the brown sugar with the help of a mixer. When the mixture is well incorporated but not smooth, slowly add in the pumpkin spice cookie butter. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (ground oatmeal, salt, baking soda, zest of lime, nutmeg, all spice). Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and rum and lastly the combined dried ingredients. Once all of the ingredients are incorporated, pour into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until you insert a fork in the center and it comes out clean.

This light bread can easily been enjoyed with coffee or tea in the morning as part of a breakfast or simply as a guilt-free dessert. Enjoy it warm or straight from the fridge! You can throw in some of your favorite nuts to increase its nutrition value or remove or alter any of the ingredients.

I hope you will enjoy this simple recipe and enjoy the pumpkin season!

Reese

Advertisements

Easy Tuna Salad

Are you having a hectic week but are looking for a healthy and quick food option that will also keep you full? Tuna not only is a healthy source of protein but it also contains high levels of B vitamins and omega-3. In addition to being quick, filling, and healthy, tuna is a very versatile ingredient and can be mixed with a wide variety of ingredients and help complete any meal. I’m sharing below my favorite tuna salad recipe. It’s easy to make, does not require heat and is ready to eat in less than 15 minutes!

Ingredients:
– 1 can of your favorite tuna
– 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
– 1 ½ Tablespoon of relish
– Diced onions
– Mustard
– Hot sauce
– Seasoning salt
– Garlic powder
– Ground pepper (black or white)

Open the can of tuna, drain the liquid and pour into a bowl. Add your seasoning salt, garlic powder, ground pepper, mustard and hot sauce. Add your diced onions (you may grate the onion if you rather only have the flavor and not the crunch and bite of the raw onion. Add the relish and the Greek yogurt in last place. You may add more of any of the ingredients to taste and finally refrigerate for best taste.

My favorite pairings with this salad are toast or crackers. For an appetizer for your summer party, simply spread a small dollop of the tuna salad onto your favorite crackers and decorate with either slices of green olives, sprig of dill or curly parsley. Your guests are sure to enjoy this delicious treat!

For some further readings on the benefits of tuna, you may enjoy the following links:
http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/health-benefits-of-tuna/
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-tuna-5596.html

I hope this quick recipe will help you find a new way to enjoy tuna. Please remember that while it is one of the healthiest foods, high consumption of tuna can be harmful and always speak to your doctor about any changes you may consider making in your diet.

Enjoy!

Reese

Healthy Quinoa Salad

Many times when we are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, we go and purchase a lot of the alternative foods that are making all the waves in healthy magazines and cooking shows. However once purchased, we are not quite sure on how to cook them or what to pair them with. One of my favorite alternatives to rice is quinoa and I’ll admit that it took a lot of research before I realized how to cook this ingredient. Below I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to quickly make a tasty meal out of quinoa:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of red or white quinoa (for white quinoa- be sure to wash it under water before cooking. This will avoid the bloating feeling you may usually get from consuming white quinoa)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Diced red onions to taste
  • Diced tomato to taste
  • ½ can of whole kernel corn
  • Parsley or Cilantro to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 table spoon of olive oil
  • Cumin to taste
  • Seasoning salt to taste
  • Juice of half of a lime

In a pot, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Rinse the quinoa using a fine strainer to prevent the quinoa going into the drain. Once the water gets to a boil, add the quinoa and when the quinoa starts to absorb the water, reduce the fire to low and cover the pot for approximately 15 minutes. Once the time elapses, fluff the quinoa and taste for consistency. If it is no longer crunchy, remove from heat and drain the excess water and pour into a bowl. Flash rinse in some water to cool the quinoa or simply let it rest until it cools. Mix in the red onions, tomato, chopped parsley or cilantro. Add the mixed vinegar and olive oil and the lime juice and the cumin and seasoning salt to taste. Refrigerate until cool or until ready to consume. This dish goes well with seafood or chicken breast and is perfect for a quick dinner after a long day of work or lunch on a weekend day.

Check out a list of 5 common mistakes when consuming quinoa for some more tips on this healthy rice alternative: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/5-most-common-mistakes-when-cooking-quinoa

Stay healthy!

Reese

Quick and Healthy Burger Meal

As many of us are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, we have had to make many cuts in our eating habits and consequently now start to salivate at the sight of a lot of fast foods such as a good burger, French fries, lasagna, cakes etc. At the beginning of the year, a group of my closest girls (including my sister and cousins) and I decided that we would adopt a new eating habit for the New Year. I’m happy to say that six months in, we are still going strong! What has made us successful thus far is 1) the fact that we have a group chat for motivation and sharing ideas and 2) we have continually been sharing alternatives to popular foods that are usually rich in carbs and sugar. Today, I’m sharing my alternative to the typical burger and fries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground turkey ( I like to get the one from the meat department at Whole Foods)
  • Seasoning salt
  • Black pepper
  • Yellow mustard
  • Homemade Marinade (for recipe, see my DIY article here: http://wp.me/p5DKT0-1G)
  • Egg
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Red pepper flakes or Cayenne Pepper or any other hot sauce

Using a large bowl, pour a couple of tablespoons of the homemade marinade on the defrosted ground turkey. Add in the seasoning salt, the Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of mustard, and black pepper and pepper flakes (or substitute) to taste. Add the egg as a binding agent to ensure that your burger will not crumble. Form 4 oz patties and fry in a hot pan coated with a tablespoon of olive oil.

As an alternative to a burger bun, I use a naan flatbread and as a cheese option, I use smoked provolone (my weakness) and substitute the traditional French fries for baked sweet potato fries. To create a steakhouse burger option, I added sautéed Portobello mushrooms with red onions and some mixed greens. Instead of the traditional condiments, I made a glaze with a habanero gold and apricot jam (purchased at the local farmer’s market), some honey and a tad of yellow mustard.

The first time I made this burger, it was a hit with my friends! This recipe is not a definite low calorie one however, the ingredients have higher value in the calories such as higher protein, less fat etc. (The picture attached to this blog is an actual picture of my meal)

Overall, when adopting a healthier diet, the key is to increase the amount of your meals are homemade as it provides you with the opportunity of controlling exactly what goes into your food. Have fun with learning new recipes and Pinterest is your best friend! You may also consider the following websites: allrecipes.com, foodnetwork.com, and myfitnesspal.com.

Enjoy!

Reese

Sticking to your diet!

Summer is fast approaching and we are all planning on heading on vacation and for most of us, our destination will most likely include a pool or a beach and this means a bikini ready body! So in order to prepare for our beach or pool days, many of us have started watching our weight or heading back to the gym. While the intention is always there, for many of us, the motivation dies quickly after about a week. Since I’ve also been in this situation many times, I’m going to share with you four tips that really helped me tick to the plan. Whether you are choosing to diet or simply make regular trips to gym, these tips will apply:
– Have a piece of clothing as motivation. Is there one particular outfit that used to be your go to for a boost of confidence? Maybe lately, it’s not fitting quite the same? Then put that dress on display in your closet and make it your goal to get back into that outfit!
– Get a work out partner/coach that will motivate you or a diet buddy. Sometimes the intention to go to the gym is there, however, after a long day of work, you simply want to leisure walk on the treadmill to fulfill the “working out” requirement. However, we all know that leisure walking on the treadmill while it will still help your heart, will not get you any closer to shedding the pounds! Find a workout partner who is just as serious about losing weight or getting in shape and be each other’s motivator. You must establish trust between the two of you because there are days that there will be some yelling involved and you will need to remember that it is out of love lol. If you decide to go on a diet, find someone to do it with you and be each other’s motivator, share recipes or have meals together to keep each other on the right path.
– Find alternative recipes. Whether you are simply working out or have chosen to maintain a different diet as well, alternative recipes to mainstream foods rich in carbs and fat will be beneficial. Today there are so many alternative recipes that are so tasty, you will never want to go to the less healthy version! (Look for my alternative to the regular burger in the Beauty & Health section http://wp.me/p5DKT0-2B).
– Set a goal date. Whether it is the beginning of summer, maybe your birthday, or better yet an event to attend, set your goal date and keep working towards your goal and do your very best to achieve it! Keep the calendar handy and you will feel the pressure (and motivation) build as the date approaches.
At the beginning of the year, I had set a goal to get my stomach as flat as possible for a wedding on Memorial Day weekend. I purchased a dress that I know would require the type of stomach that I wanted to achieve (as the material was spandex), and made sure that my trainer knew my goal. With her help, I cut out many of my favorite carbs or found better alternatives, did boot camp style workouts three times a week and for the last month I also went walking for 45 minutes on my off days. While I did not gain a six pack yet, I was happy that I wore my dress and no Spanx were required!!! Furthermore, there is a feeling that you get once you start seeing results that just makes you even more motivated to continue with your workouts or your diet. I hope that my suggestions will help you as well and remember that the most important goal is to feel good in your body and to be healthy!
Have fun!
Reese

Make your pantry practical for your on the go lifestyle!

Are you always on the go? If you are a working adult or even a college student, then your answer is most likely yes! While we try to balance our busy schedules, the first thing that we tend to cross out of our list is cooking. However, after about a week, not only will your wallet start to really take a hit but your waistline will soon follow. So over the past year, I’ve started to make changes to how I do my grocery shopping to incorporate quick ingredients that will make creating a meal faster. Today, we have to learn to make everything in our lives practical and the kitchen pantry is possibly one of the most important areas we can tailor to our lifestyles.  Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, having these ingredients will shorten your time in the kitchen and allow for you to focus on other tasks:

  • Eggs – this great source of protein pretty much is a must staple in any refrigerator! Whether boiled or fried, eggs do not take long to make and will help you stay full.
  • Pasta – whether it is spaghetti or macaroni, pasta does not take long to cook and is filling. If you are watching your weight, switch to whole wheat pasta or even a quinoa or brown rice pasta.
  • Cereal – a cereal that is high in fiber is not only rich in nutrients and filling but is probably the quickest meal you can get.
  • Potatoes – cut into cubes, sprinkle some salt and seasonings, place it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes and you have a great accompaniment for your protein for dinner. For a healthier version, use sweet potatoes.
  • Milk – a great source of calcium, milk will come in handy for eating cereal or making a quick smoothie. If you have lactose intolerance or prefer an alternative, rice, almond, or soy milk are also great to have in stock and last longer.
  • Salad – it will not require you to use the stove and if it is already in a bag, you will simply need a bowl to enjoy. Add in a protein to help make it a more hearty meal.
  • Seafood – shrimp and fish are my favorites! Not only are they great sources of protein but neither take a long time to cook or to season. Just be sure to take it out of the freezer in the morning so it may defrost and be ready to cook upon your return home.
  • Fruits – they will keep you healthier, are great as snacks and when frozen can be blended into a smoothie. Add some dry oats in the smoothie for more consistency.
  • Nut butters – peanut, cashew, or almond, any of these nut butters will not only provide you with a great source of protein (especially if you do not eat meat) but they are also filling and can be used as dipping for some of your fruits or vegetables.

There are tons of other ingredients that you can keep in your kitchen that will help you reduce your time preparing meals but the above are suggestions based on what I keep in my kitchen and I hope they will give you an idea of what to keep in your kitchen to help make planning your meals a little less stressful.

Stay healthy!

Reese

Common kitchen items, quick remedies

Living a healthy lifestyle has become a very big rave! And if you live in South Florida like I do, the amount of juice bars that you see will make your head spin! While these places offer very healthy options, they can quickly run you a pretty penny. So to help you reduce your spending, I’m sharing how a few common items from your kitchen that can be used to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle:

– Ginger – known for its distinctive spicy taste and strong aroma, ginger is commonly used in many desserts and in many Asian cultures, it is a staple in savory dishes. However, most people do not realize that ginger is also a very good natural remedy for fighting a cold, a sore throat, menstrual cramps, nausea, certain inflammations (colon) amongst other issues. And to make it easy on us, ginger tastes great! There is nothing better to me than a medication that is 1) not a pill, 2) affordable, and 3) has a great taste! The best thing about ginger is that even when used as a remedy you can ingest in various ways. Those who are brave may simply cut a piece and chew it, others may infuse it into a tea or if you grew up with creative grandmothers as I did, you might have eaten a ginger brittle to fight off a bad cold! For more information on the great benefits of ginger, please visit http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-ginger.aspx?activeingredientid=961&activeingredientname=ginger

– Lemon/ Lime – with its antiviral and immune boosting qualities, growing up limes (in my case) were a constant in my mother’s kitchen! It can be used a quick high dose of vitamin C to help boost your immune system during cold/flu season whether it is in a juice or just a wedge squeezed and mixed with some honey to help calm a cough, lime (or lemon) is one of the best remedies to have around! It can also be beneficial with an occasional upset stomach. For a quick list of various remedies that you can create with lemons (or limes), check out Natural News’ article on 100 remedies: http://www.naturalnews.com/036663_home_remedies_lemons_health.html

– Mint – Not only does it smell delicious, but mint can also do wonders for your health! From nausea to indigestion, a sprig of mint in some water can help your body feel much better. Rich with antioxidants, mint can be of relief with the most common allergies and with common colds especially as a decongestant. One of my personal favorite uses for mint is as a skin refresher. Whether it is to calm a headache or to cool down a fever or simply as a scalp relief, mint is a very inexpensive and quick remedy. Want to find out some more benefits of mint? You can visit the Medical News Today’s article http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275944.php

While there are great benefits to these every day ingredients, please remember to pay close attention to your body for any abnormal reactions and to consult your physician if you have any concerns. I have been incorporating natural remedies in my regimen when I am sick and have found that they have helped me recover with less side effects and at times much quicker. Just be sure to do your research.

I wish you great health!