Monday, September 30, 2013

Free Ultimate Smoothie Recipe Book

Download this comprehensive Ebook of smoothie recipes that covers every smoothie you would ever want to make, as well as some you never even thought to make absolutely free!

Causes Of Stretch Marks and How to Get Rid of Them!

Stretch marks are fine lines of thin stretched tissue that may appear on the body, often during rapid weight gain or pregnancy. Naturally, our skin is very flexible. However, during rapid growth, the production of collagen is disrupted (collagen is a protein found in our skin that makes up most of the connective tissue giving it a smooth texture). This leads to reddish lines on your skin with a rough texture that will eventually turn grayish or white before fading. Stretch marks can affect both men and women, however, they are more prevalent in women, especially during pregnancy.

Apart from pregnancy, often times people who are obese, people how have excess amounts of body fat, or even body builders can both develop stretch marks as a result of the rapid bodily changes that occur. Heredity can also play a role in the development of stretch marks. Some people are naturally born with dry skin that is less elastic than that of other people. In these instances, it will require less body change in a short period of time to develop stretch marks. Also, many steroids which are taken through contact with the skin can cause stretch marks in oneís body.

Stretch marks will eventually fade over time, although they will never naturally be removed from your skin. There are a few medical operations and products that you can use to help remove the stretch marks from your body, ranging from surgery to a variety of creams available which claim to help remove stretch marks. These operations and creams are very expensive and most of them are not very good or dangerous, so it is best to help reduce your chances of developing stretch marks in the first place.

This can be done by insuring that you are drinking a sufficient amount of water daily. It is also important not too drink excessive amounts of caffeine found in coffee, soda, and other drinks, as caffeine will help weaken the dermis, the layer of skin which gives it elasticity. Research has also shown that a healthy balanced diet helps reduce the chances of stretch marks.

Make sure that your diet includes protein rich food such as eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products. Zinc rich foods such as fish, as well as foods rich in vitamins will also help. A proper intake of fruits, vegetables, dairy and grain foods can all help reduce your chances of developing stretch marks.

Stretch Marks are a truly unfortunate condition. It is best that you make all attempts at avoiding them if possible. Try to be sure to maintain a healthy balanced diet and have a sufficient intake of water. There are certain times in your life where the chances of stretch marks are high and it is not feasible to avoid these because of circumstances, such as pregnancy. In these cases talk to a dermatologist (skin doctor) to determine what treatment is best for you if they do develop on your skin.

A Pyramid Routine to Blow the Lid Off of Plateaus

A common problem among many people looking to shed fat and lean out is hitting a plateau.  Hitting a plateau can leave most feeling stressed, defeated and ready to give up.  There's nothing worse than working hard and eating well only to see all of the progress and results come to a screeching halt.  Hitting a plateau is common, but people giving up on their routine once they hit a plateau is even more common.  It's sad, but true.

There are a few things you can do to bust through a plateau and jumpstart your fat loss results once more.  The most important factor in shattering plateaus is change.  Your workout routine must be changed every 4-6 weeks for optimal results.  You can change your workout intensity, set or rep range, amount of weight lifted or your entire weight lifting method.  One method you can start using is called a pyramid routine.

A pyramid routine is a method of weight training that uses varying reps and weights.  There must be at least 3 sets in a pyramid routine, but typically there are 5.  The rep range begins at a higher rep range and lighter weight.  As the reps decrease the weight size increases.  The middle set marks the top of the pyramid, or the lowest rep range at the highest weight.  All sets done after the middle set begin to reverse the pattern.  Reps begin to increase and weights begin to decrease.

It sounds a bit complicated, but it's really simple to get the hang of it.  Here is a quick sample.  I am going to use a 5 set pyramid routine for a bicep curl.  There is a 1 minute rest in between each set.

- 12 reps at 25 pounds

- 1 minute rest

- 10 reps at 30 pounds

- 1 minute rest

- 8 reps at 35 pounds

- 1 minute rest

- 10 reps at 30 pounds

- 1 minute rest

- 12 reps at 25 pounds

- 1 minute rest

- Move on to next exercise

As you can see the pattern of reps and weight size have a peak position in the middle set.  This resembles the top or peak of the pyramid.  The pyramid routine is well-known to experienced lifters and athletes.  Many others are finding it to be the secret to blowing the lid off of plateaus.

In addition to switching to the pyramid routine, try using these simple tools to shatter your own plateau.

1) Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day.  Each meal should be 2-3 hours apart.  Each meal should contain one protein and one carb.  The first meal should be eaten within an hour after waking.

2) Drink a cup of water at each meal.

3) Rest properly.  This means taking at least 48 hours between strength training the same muscles, and it also means getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  Lastly, it means taking 1-2 days off from exercising per week.

4) Cardio. This should be done at different intensity levels and different session lengths.  Consider doing a low intensity/long session, a high intensity/short session and a few medium intensity/medium length sessions.

All of the above things combined will help bust through a plateau.  Just remember to change something about your program.  Should you ever find your results stopping and your fat loss coming to a halt the intensity, weight, or training method are the easiest factors to change.  Above all do not give up and do not quit.  Hitting a plateau is something that happens to everyone.  How you shatter and overcome a plateau defines your resolve and dedication.

5 health benefits of skipping

Want to get ship-shape? Get a jump rope today, for skipping is said to fortify the cardiovascular system, tone up muscles, improve agility. And it’s free so you can do it where and when you want to!
Here’s more on its benefits
  • A great fat-buster: Skipping can help you shed up to 450 calories in just 30 minutes.
  • It promotes cardio-vascular activity: Each session leads to better cardio-respiratory improvements, making the heart stronger and allowing it to pump more blood, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
  • Fights osteoporosis: Since skipping is weight bearing, it boosts a person’s bone density, helping to keep off osteoporosis. A site mentions how The Osteoporosis Society recommends two to five minutes of a physical activity like skipping every day to help prevent osteoporosis.
  • Increases focus: Skipping also helps you gain better concentration.
  • Zero-cost workout: It costs nothing, so it’s for anyone and at anytime.

Autumn Brittle Recipe


1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Cashews
3/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
2/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
2 and 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar 
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup Water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat the sugar, honey, water and salt in a large pot over a low-medium flame. Use a pot that is larger than you would think necessary because when the mixture begins to boil it will foam up and increase in size. Stir every five minutes or so. Using a candy thermometer, continue to heat the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 310 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very important because this is the temperature at which sugar hardens into a rock-like state after it cools. It can take up to an hour for the mixture to reach that high of a temperature, so don't get too worried if 15 minutes go by and the thermometer is still at 175.

Immediately pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it out into a large rectangle using a rubber spatula. Try to keep the surface relatively even and about 1 inch in height. Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow the brittle to cool for one hour. Once it has finished cooling, remove the sheet of brittle from the parchment paper and break the brittle into pieces using a meat tenderizer or clean hammer. Arrange the pieces on a serving platter and serve. Store excess brittle in a cool dry place.

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100-Calorie Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/2 cup ice, 1/2 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt, 1 tsp. honey, 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (add half a banana if you’d like). mmmm bring on fall!

Tone your total body—fast—with this at-home kettlebell routine

Snatch Pull & Push-Press
Snatch Pull & Push-Press
Works shoulders, back, arms, hips, glutes, and hamstrings

Grab a kettlebell and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees. Place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Stand up and lift the weight to chest height. Grab the sides of the handle and push the kettlebell straight overhead. Lower it to your chest and assume the original grip before returning to start. That's 1 rep; do 10.
MOVE 2Swing
Works shoulders, back, hips, glutes, inner thighs, and hamstrings

Grab a kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Then immediately stand back up, swinging the kettlebell out and up until it's at shoulder height. As the kettlebell begins to arc back down, bend your knees and squat, swinging the kettlebell between your legs. That's 1 rep; continue swinging for 10.
MOVE 3Deadlift
Works abs, hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings

Grab a kettlebell and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees. Place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Squat down and grab the handle with an overhand grip. Push your heels firmly into the floor and stand up, keeping your arms extended. That's 1 rep; do 10.
MOVE 4Windmill
Works shoulders, abs, back, and hips

Grab a kettlebell with your right hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out. Bend your right elbow to raise the kettlebell so it's next to your right shoulder, then press it overhead. Pause, look up, bend to the left, and try to touch your left toes as you slightly rotate your chest toward the ceiling. Pause, then come back up, keeping your right arm extended. Do 5 reps before lowering the kettlebell, then repeat on the other side. 

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites (I’ve used EggBeaters)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
raisins or nuts (optional but I haven’t used either yet)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Soak the oats in milk for an hour. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray. Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients (except the cinnamon and sugar) together. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired. Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. These can also be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Top 20 Natural Painkillers List

Ginger (add to 1-2 teaspoons daily to diet for general muscle pain)
Cloves (chewed gently for toothache / gum inflammation)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1tbsp mixed with water before meals for heartburn)
Garlic (made into a special oil for earache – recipe at the original article)
Cherries (joint pain, headaches – 1 bowl per day)
Oily fish (Salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring – intestinal inflammation – 18oz per week)
Yogurt (PMS – 2 cups per day)
Turmeric (chronic pain – 1/4 teaspoon per day)
Oats (endometrial pain – they are gluten free)
Salt (hot, salty foot baths for ingrown toenails – 1tsp per cup of water – 20 mins twice daily)
Pineapple (stomach bloating, gas – 1 cup of fresh pineapple)
Peppermint (add a few drops of the essential oil to bath for sore muscles)
Grapes (back pain – 1 heaping cup per day)
Water (general injury pain, helps wash away the pain-triggering histamine – 8 x 8 ounce glasses per day)
Horseradish (sinus pain – 1 teaspoon twice daily)
Blueberries (bladder / urinary tract infections – 1 cup daily)
Raw Honey (topical application 4 times daily for cold sores / canker sores) (see also our special report on raw honey)
Flax (breast pain – 3 tablespoons daily – must be ground or seeds will pass right through!)
Coffee (migraines – caffeine stimulates the stomach to absorb pain meds better)
Tomato Juice (leg cramps – tomato juice is rich in potassium – 10oz daily)

How to Run a Faster Mile!

  1. Warm up.

    Warming up is important with any exercise, but it’s especially important when you’re doing high-intensity and speed training. Make sure you spend 5 – 15 minutes warming up: you can even do a 1 mile warm-up at a relaxed pace.
  2. Go for endurance.

    To increase the speed you run 1 mile, aim to do 2 – 3 mile runs at a straight pace. E.g. if you currently do 1 mile at 10 minutes, aim to do 2 miles at 10 minutes a mile – so the total would be 20 minutes. This will build up your endurance, so you can focus on adding speed to your 1 mile.
  3. Hill runs.

    Hill, stair (run up, walk down) and sand runs are a fantastic way to develop strength and endurance. You can start with sprints lasting 20 seconds, walk down as your rest, then build up to 40 second sprints. Work up to 10 of those, two times a week and you will see a huge improvement in your strength and endurance.
  4. Hit the treadmill.

    The treadmill, love it or hate it, has a few benefits: weather-proof, accuracy for pace training, keeps you at a steady pace, can do inclines and offers a lot of training variety. So don’t worry if you can’t hit the Great Outdoors, the treadmill is fine.
  5. Just HIIT it.

    HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING is a great way to improve your speed as well as maximize fat loss. You can do 200m – 400m intervals: e.g running 200m at a sprint and then jogging 200m to recover – rinse and repeat 8 times. Or you can try out FARTLEKS (I know. It’s Swedish.) orLADDERS – both are forms of of HIIT.

Excuses Don't Burn Calories

Bulking Bad

Safe Weight Loss Part 1

Safe weight loss is about maintaining health whilst losing weight, it is not about losing weight rapidly; this has never worked and never will. This article is to be published in two parts over two days and will be stored in our news blogs archives for future viewing. 

Aim for one pound (450 grams) each week because this level of weight loss is sustainable and you will not regain the weight later providing you adjust to your new healthier lifestyle. 

Slow weight loss is the safest and most effective approach. A good weight-loss program helps you to lose weight gradually -- about one-half to one pound per week initially and improving to one pound each week. Gradual weight loss promotes long-term loss of body fat, not just water weight that can be quickly regained. 

Diets are only half of the program because no program works without sufficient light exercise. 

Most people leading moderately active lives need about 15 calories per pound to maintain their weight. For example, a 200-pound person would have to eat foods containing no more than 3,000 calories each day to maintain his or her weight.

To lose one pound, a person must burn 3,500 calories more than consumed. For example, reducing calories by 300 per day and increasing daily activity to burn off an additional 200 calories should result in a weight loss of one pound per week. 

A Good Balance 

When limiting calories, you still need to satisfy basic nutritional needs. Eat a variety of foods every day. Choose from each of the five food groups - dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables and breads - and allow for an occasional treat. Balanced food plans encourage making wise choices about everyday food; choices you can make to achieve and stay at your proper weight for life. 

Evaluate Your Eating Pattern 

You should also evaluate your eating patterns. Sometimes six small meals a day can help you control your hunger. If you prefer to stay with eating three main meals, always plan for some low-calorie between-meal snacks like an apple or a carrot to satisfy hunger between meals. 
All foods and beverages can be consumed in moderation. Try to cut down on foods high in fat and sugar, or substitute with low calorie and low fat foods and beverages. 

The choice is always yours. 

Most successful weight-loss plans call for a reduction in both calories and the amount of fat eaten. 


Determine what type of physical activity best suits your lifestyle. You should work your way up to regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming, since it is a key factor in achieving permanent weight loss and improving health.

Aerobic exercise works the body's large muscles, such as the heart, and should be moderately vigorous, but not exhausting, to be most effective. For maximum benefits, most health experts recommend exercising 30 minutes or more on most, preferably all, days of the week. I disagree with this because as you exercise and become fitter the amount of exercise that you do will become inadequate compared to your fitness level. My weight loss program recommends three sessions of ten minutes each week to start.

Try to incorporate some simple calorie-burners into your everyday routine. Even the most basic activities (such as taking an after-dinner walk, using the stairs at the mall instead of taking an escalator, or parking farther away so you have a longer walk) can get you prepared for more aerobic activities. 

Part 2 of this article will follow.

How to: Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals

The problem with people who want to lose weight is that they're overly ambitious. This desire to lose a massive amount of weight can only lead to quitting early and big disappointments.

When it comes to creating weight loss goals, start first by creating a long term goal. Each goal you set should have mini-goals within it. This will keep you motivated and will serve as a barometer to your progress.

Here's an example weight loss goal chart. The main goal can be divided into smaller goals, and then once again into even smaller goals which are descriptive and easy to accomplish.

More free weight loss tips can be at the Free Weight Loss Guide.

Main Goal: Lose enough weight so I can fit into my old pants within the next 6 months.

Goal #1. Reduce the amount of food I eat.

Goal #1a. Decrease the amount of junk food I eat. Don't super-size it anymore. Order the small fries instead of the large fries. Order the smaller burger and chew it slowly.
Goal #1b. Order water, lemonade or Sprite instead of Pepsi.
Goal #1c. When going to a restaurant, eat only until I'm no longer hungry, and take the rest home to eat the next day.

Goal #2. Learn to exercise more.

Goal #2a. Take the steps at a mall or to my work, instead of taking the elevator all the time.
Goal #2b. Park a few parking spots further away when going to the grocery store.
Goal #2c. Whenever I get out of bed or from lying down on a couch, do 2-3 mini sit-ups to lift myself upwards.

Goal #3. Watch what I eat.

Goal #3a. Begin counting the total calories I take in by writing the totals in a weight loss diary.
Goal #3b. Assure that I reduce my total fat or cholesterol intake to not exceed the amount listed in the nutritional facts on the side of every food product.

Quick but Effective Workout Exercises

Most people think that for a workout to be successful, it has to be lengthy and tiresome. People often struggle to spend two hours or more in the gym in the notion that the more time spent exercising would translate into more gains (in muscle) or more losses (in fat). While such feats may be worthy of a round of applause, they are often counterproductive. There will always come a point where you would get tired of going to the gym, and even dread the several hours you spend there. Soon, you might stop working out and put all the efforts you exerted to waste.

However such should not be always the case. If you want to be able to keep with your fitness regime for long, you might want to try to make use of quick workout exercises that will allow you to spend less time in the gym, but still motivate you to continue working out in long terms. While quick workout exercises may not give you results as fast as you want, they will allow you to maintain your ideal body type that will remain with you in the long run. It is important to keep things simple so that you would not find things too tiring and dreadful, eventually you can add some more exercises to spice things up and keep you motivated.

Here are simple workout exercises you can do in the gym or at home. The workouts can be done in less than 30 minutes, which allows you to enjoy more time for other things.

Strength Exercises

For the shoulders ñ get two heavy dumbbells or any two equally-weighing objects for each of your hands. Lift the weights suspended in your arms using your shoulders and hold for three to five seconds, then relax again. Repeat this step for 8 to 12 times depending on the weight you are using. Do up to three of this set.

For the chest ñ lie on your back on a bench press or any similar sturdy flat surface. Before doing the normal bench press, warm up first by doing a set of 8 to 12 repetitions using a third of the weight you normally can lift. After the warm up, do three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of your normal bench press routine. Just keep in mind to avoid arching your back as you lift the weights.

For the biceps ñ lie on an inclined bench with both hands carrying dumbbells of equal weights. Lift the right arm for two counts and return for three counts, do the same with the left arm. Repeat for 8 to 12 times. Do three sets of this exercise.

For the thighs and buttocks ñ with heavy dumbbells on each hand, gently squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then stand upright again. Repeat for 8 to 12 times. Do two to three sets of this exercise.

For the calves ñ stand upright with heavy dumbbells on each hand. Gently tip your toes as high as you can without wobbling or getting imbalanced. Repeat for 8 to 12 times and do up to two sets.
The workout exercises above are indeed quite simple and easy that you might think that they would not work. However such a simple regiment would be easy to maintain, and the results will come in time and last for you to enjoy your body. You may alternate the above exercise with a 30 to 45 minute cardiovascular exercise, so that you would also be able to shed off fat as you gain muscle.

To get fit, you do not need to spend hours in the gym. You just need to maintain a fitness routine and make it a lifestyle. Of course you should have a balanced diet and do everything in moderation. In time you and other people would see the results. Soon you will have the body you would want.

5 Power Snacks to Get You Through the Day

Do you start to drag in the middle of the day, or need a snack to get you through the evening? Try these power snacks for a quick pick me up, that's good for you, too.

Mixed Nuts
Nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is good news for your heart. They are high in good fats that offer a great boost of energy. Just be careful not to eat too many, as they are high in calories, too. Aim for about a º cup.

Raisins are cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and totally fat-free. They provide many necessary vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, and certain B vitamins. They are a good source of fiber and rich in antioxidants. They are also easily digested, for quick energy. A º cup of sun dried raisins is about 130 calories, and the perfects portion for a snack. Try mixing raisins, mixed nuts, and a few other foods such as cheerios for a great take-along.

Milk contains 9 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamins A, D, and B12, protein, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and phosphorus. This powerful package of nutrients does more than just build strong bones. 8 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk will give you the sugar you need for energy, and the protein to sustain it.

Yogurt is an outstanding source of protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins B6, B12, niacin, and folic acid. It contains just as much potassium as a banana does. This special dairy product contains a lot of friendly bacteria that benefit your health tremendously.

Go for fruits that are high in natural sugar, without the fat. Grapes, bananas, cantaloupe, and watermelon are all good choices. These fruits supply the burst of energy you need without the fat you don't need. Cut up some pieces of fruit to add to your yogurt for a nutritiously packed afternoon goody.

Mix up your snacks a bit, so that you never get bored. Try new fruits, yogurts, and nuts often. Try out different power snacks together to reap the benefits of a diverse diet. You can truly treat yourself without feeling sinful!

Under 300 Calories - Asparagus-and-Ham Casserole

  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread $
  • 3 3/4 cups uncooked extra-broad egg noodles $
  • 2 1/2 cups (1 1/2-inch) sliced asparagus
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion $
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed ham (about 8 ounces) $
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1/2 cup.
Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus; cook 1 minute. Drain.

Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion; saute 4 minutes. Add milk mixture; cook until thick (about 4 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in juice. Combine the pasta mixture, milk mixture, ham, and parsley in large bowl; spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.

Frozen Nutty Banana Nibblers

  • 5 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp. all natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 oz. nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt


Peel one banana and mash it with the peanut butter and yogurt. Set aside.

Peel the other four bananas. Slice into half-inch thick slices. Smear the banana, peanut butter, and yogurt mixture on half the banana slices and top with the other halves, making banana sandwiches. Place on a wooden cutting board or a plate and freeze for at least two hours.

Makes four servings (about seven pieces).

Healthy Mocha Pudding Cake

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1∕2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, divided
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray four 1/2-cup custard cups with cooking spray. 
2. In a bowl, whisk together egg, cooled melted butter, and milk. In another bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt. 
3. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in egg mixture. Stir until just combined and flour is no longer visible. Evenly divide batter into prepared custard cups. 
4. In a small bowl, combine espresso and remaining 2 tablespoons each brown sugar and cocoa. Add boiling water and stir until all ingredients have dissolved. Evenly pour hot espresso mixture over batter (about 3 tablespoons per cup). Place cups on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until espresso is just absorbed and cakes are set. 
5. Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool for about 15 to 30 minutes. Top each pudding cake with a spoonful of frozen yogurt and raspberries.

Crispy Quinoa Bites

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • ½ cup uncooked black rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Vidalia onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dairy-free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 chives, finely chopped, for garnish
  • 2 cups of homemade tomato sauce, for serving

  1. Cook quinoa and rice according to package directions. Prepare muffin pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa and rice with remaining ingredients, except chives and pasta sauce; mix well to combine.
  4. Transfer quinoa and rice mixture to prepared muffin pan. Using a tablespoon, fill each muffin cup to the top, then using a spatula, press down on the mixture to create a flat surface.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Using a teaspoon, gently remove rice and quinoa snacks from the muffin cups.
  6. Transfer to a serving platter; serve with a sprinkle of fresh chives and a side of tomato sauce for dipping.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pineapple Avocado Smoothies

This quick smoothie could not be easier. With just two ingredients (not counting the ice) it takes two minutes to whiz up in the blender, and its pale green hue makes it perfect for St. Patrick’s day. With the fiber and other nutrients that come from the whole fruit, and heart-healthy fats provided by a fresh, ripe avocado, it makes a great breakfast, lunch or after-school treat, and a creamy, sweet-tart alternative to green beer for the kids (and grown-ups).

Pineapple Avocado Smoothies

  • 1 fully ripened avocado from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 2 cups ice


In blender container, combine avocado, pineapple plus its juice and ice; whirl until smooth.

Add sweetener of choice if desired. Serves 4.

Healthy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • 2 c whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt
  • 1 lb carrots, grated
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • 4 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 c confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and canola oil for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in yogurt, carrots, and raisins. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.

3. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

4. Using an electric mixer, whip cream cheese and sugar. Spread over each cupcake. Top with walnuts, if desired.

Makes 18. Per cupcake: 220 cal, 5 g fat (0.5 sat fat), 41 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 260 mg sodium, 5 g protein

Zucchini Cakes

  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Adobo spices
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated


Remove excess liquid from freshly grated zucchini by placing them between paper towels and squeezing. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Heat a large pan on medium, and spray with Pam. Shape spoonfuls of the zucchini batter into 2-in. (diameter) patties, and drop onto the sizzling pan. Cook each side for about a minute and a half, or until the outside is golden brown. Finish the cakes off in the oven. Stick them on a baking pan and broil them for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot, alone or with ranch dressing.

Makes about 12 cakes.

Easy Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, cut in half
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place the chicken breast halves in a baking dish, and drizzle evenly with honey and mustard. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
  3. Bake chicken 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Top each breast half with 2 bacon slice halves, and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear, bacon is crisp, and cheese is bubbly.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Italian Seasoning, divided
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning in small bowl. Set aside. Cut up any large broccoli or cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with crumb mixture.

3. Bake 40 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.

Broccoli and cheese Stuffed tilapia

 4-ouncefresh or frozen skinless sole, flounder, or other fish fillets, about 1/4 inch thick 1 cupfrozen cut broccoli, thawed 1 beaten egg 1 8-ounce containersoft-style cream cheese with chives and onion 1/4 cupgrated Parmesan cheese 3/4 cupherb-seasoned stuffing mix 2 tablespoonsmilk 2 tablespoonsdry white wine

Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken, garlic and ginger. Fry 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is brown.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of the broth, the soy sauce and sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring twice.
  3. Add broccoli. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink in center and broccoli are crisp-tender.
  4. Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup broth; stir into chicken mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened.

Healthy Baked Parmesan Paprika Chicken

use coconut flour.1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons paprika 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 egg, beaten 2 tablespoons milk 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1/4 cup butter, melted

Spinach and Feta stuffed Chicken

Combine: 3/4 cup crumbled feta, 1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach, 3 tbsp. cream cheese, 1/4 cup scallions, 2 cloves garlic minced. Slice a pocket along the chicken, season and stuff the mixture inside. Heat 3 tbs EVOO on skillet on medium high about 4 min each side. Put in oven and bake 5-7 minutes.

Quinoa Pilaf with Corn and Jalapeños

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1 onion, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and dried on a towel
  • 1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 tomato, cored, seeded and chopped small
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the corn and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining teaspoon oil, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the quinoa. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the quinoa is lightly toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and jalapeños and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer until the quinoa is transparent and tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and lay a clean folded kitchen towel underneath the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the cooked corn, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Nutritional Facts

Servings: 7 (1 serving = 3/4 cup)

Calories: 190g
Total Fat: 4.5g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 220mg
Total Carbohydrate: 32g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Protein: 7g