Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week 30 - Feeling Good

We are on our final week of the 21 day Fix eating and fitness program.  I feel really strong and better than I have in a long time.  This week we are doubling up on the workouts and continuing to follow the nutrition guidelines (many of those recipes with be posted on here).  I have felt full and satisfied the entire time, and if anything, don't eat as much as the program requires.  My husband has more energy than he has had in years.  I'll be posted a follow-up to this as our 21 days wraps up on Monday.

In the meantime, we are continuing to eat clean, which is really something we did 75% of the time before this program started.  Below you will find this week's meal plan and a link to week 30 from the Healthy Home Revolution 2013.  Have a fantastic week!

Happy Cooking!

Week 30 - July 27, 2014

Sunday:  Buffalo Chicken Tenders with Blue Cheese Celery Salad and corn on the cob

Monday:  Mexican Shrimp Cobb Salad

Tuesday:  Crockpot Carnitas

Wednesday:  Caprese grilled Chicken, grilled eggplant, sauteed greens

Thursday:  leftovers (John working late)

Friday:  take-out (going to visit friends in Maine)

Saturday:  Thai Salad with Grilled Steak Tips

Beet Salad with Mint, Dill and Feta

Here's another quick and easy salad for you beet lovers out there!  Never had beets or not sure if you like them?  Here are SIX reasons why you should give beets a chance:

1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.3
The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
2. Boost Your Stamina
If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.4 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
3. Fight Inflammation
Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.5 As reported by the World's Healthiest Foods:6
"[Betaine's]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems."
4. Anti-Cancer Properties
The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.7
5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
6. Detoxification Support
The betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Want to read more?  Check this out: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

So back to the salad...my husband and I love beets.  We put them on any salad, in a smoothie, and sometimes I just eat them.  I roast them myself and sometimes I buy them already roasted (prepackaged in the produce section).  This particular salad is a play on the popularity of beet salads on restaurant menus.  Most of these pair beets with goat cheese, which I love!  However, this version was created for my mom who hates goat cheese (she thinks it tastes like a farm).  I've combined another soft cheese, feta, with some of my favorite herbs.  I also used a little help from the store with a store-bought yogurt dressing.  Feel free to use your favorite dressing or give this one a try.

Happy Cooking!
Beet Salad with Mint, Dill, and Feta
4 medium sized beets, peeled and roasted (I bought mine pre-packaged and already roasted for me)
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
3 T fresh mint, chopped
4 cups of chopped romaine hearts
4 T of dill and feta yogurt dressing (I bought Oikos brand but you can use your favorite low-fat, low-sugar dressing.)
2 T crumbled feta cheese

First marinade the beets.  Cut each beet into 4-6 wedges and place in a small bowl.  Add the white wine vinegar, olive oil, and mint.  Toss until well combined and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  Once marinated, toss the romaine hearts and dressing together in a large bowl.  Divide the lettuce onto two plates (this recipe serves 2), top with half of the marinated beets, and half of the feta cheese.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tenders with Blue Cheese Celery Salad

Growing up in upstate New York, I'm a HUGE fan of buffalo chicken wings!  HUGE!!!  However, we all know that they are one of the worst things you could eat...loaded in saturated fat with little meat to be found.  So why not lighten up the recipe and make it into a fantastic summer meal?

Thank you to the CHEW for this idea...Clinton Kelly cooked a version of this but with using chicken pieces and he was saying that one piece of this chicken, (such as a thigh with bone-in and skin on), was the calorie equivalent of 2 single wings!!!  Crazy!  I decided to take it up a notch and make it with boneless, skinless, chicken tenders cutting the fat and calories even more.  This delicious chicken, with all the flavors of my favorite comfort food, is served with a crispy, refreshing version of celery and blue cheese (the traditional buffalo wing accompaniments).  I served mine with some farm-fresh corn on the cob...nothing better than corn on the cob when its in season!  I had to have a bite of the celery salad with eat bite of chicken...my husband too.  And we both put extra hot sauce on our chicken.

Next time, I will baste the chicken with more hot sauce while it cooked and serve it with extra on the side.  Is there ever enough sauce???  Besides, this sauce has no butter added to it...its just straight up hot sauce.  I recommend a bran called Red Fork, Windy City Wings Seasoning Sauce.  Good old Frank's Hot Sauce works too, but this sauce made by Red Fork is all natural and I could identify every single ingredient in it.  I would qualify it more along the lines of clean eating.

Either way, now I'm hungry again.  I can't wait to eat some more of this!

Happy Cooking!

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tenders with Blue Cheese Celery Salad
Sarah's version was inspired by http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/grilled-buffalo-chicken-with-crunchy-celery-salad-clinton-kelly

1 lb of chicken tenders
1/2 cup of of your favorite hot sauce for marinading
1/4 cup of the same favorite hot sauce for basting (optional - I did not do this in the pictures provided)
1/4 cup of same hot sauce for dipping

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 english cucumber, thinly sliced
1 celery heart, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 T red wine vinegar
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken tenders into a zip top bag and add the hot sauce.  Allow this to marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to overnight.  (I marinaded mine for about 5 hours).

Before you preheat the grill, compose the blue cheese and celery salad.  In a large bowl, combine the red onion, cucumber, celery , red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add the blue cheese and lightly toss.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Now time for the chicken...preheat the grill to medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken tenders for about 5 minutes per side, basting with more hot sauce while it cooks.  Cook it until 165 degrees.  You can always use a meat thermometer.  Serve along side the blue cheese celery salad with some extra hot sauce.  Enjoy!

Honey, Mustard, and Lemon Braised Chicken

This is another one of those super simple baked chicken recipes.  This recipe was introduced to our family by friends at a Sunday afternoon play date.  We couldn't get enough!  It was so yummy I just had to ask for the recipe.  And please don't judge by these pictures...the pictures just don't do the chicken justice.  So today I'm grateful for friends who cook delicious things because now I can share it with you all!  So enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Honey, Mustard, and Lemon Braised Chicken
recipe from a friend
6 chicken quarters (bone-in, without the skin)
equal parts honey, lemon juice, and dijon mustard
(I used 1/2 cup of each...you can use more or less but it MUST be EQUAL PARTS)

Preheat your oven to 350ยบF.  Place the chicken in a large oven safe dish with a lid, such as a dutch oven.  Mix all three ingredients together and pour it on the chicken.
Bake for about 45 minutes with lid, and additional 15 minutes without lid (depending on the oven).  The chicken should be falling off the bone.  Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side.  I like mine with some roasted potatoes and a big green salad.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Asian Quinoa

Fresh, crunchy veggies, with protein packed edamame and quinoa make for a delicious side dish or healthy vegetarian main dish.  This salad is served cold and is a perfect combination of all the tastiest Asian flavors.  I took some help from the store and bought a lot of the ingredients pre-shredded, but that is all up to you.  It comes together quickly and the leftovers are even more delicious!  It is a winner, my friends!  I served it with a teriyaki grilled salmon for a light and refreshing summer meal. Take it to your next summer BBQ and be the hot of the party!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Happy Cooking!

Asian Quinoa
recipe adapted from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/asian-quinoa-salad/

1 cup quinoa
2 cups of water
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 cup of shelled and cooked edamame
1 re bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced cucumber
2 T chopped green onion

1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/8 tsp reed pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by adding the quinoa, water, and slat to a medium saucepan and bring up ta boil.  Boil for 5 min then reduce the heat to simmer.  Continue to simmer for 15min, or until all the water is absorbed.   Remove it from the heat and fluff it with a fork.  Set aside for it to cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, prep all the veggies and make the dressing.  In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, ginger, and red pepper flakes.   Once the quinoa has cooked, combine the veggies. quinoa, and dressing together until well combined.  Serve it cold or at room temperature.  Yummy!

Clean Eating Tuna Salad

I love tuna salad, I always have.  I've eaten it my whole life, while pregnant, and now my kids love it and request it for lunch!   Tuna has always been my "go to" at any sub shop or diner.  I have a thing against lunch meat (aka cold cuts) and tuna is one of the alternatives out there.  The only problem is that I love the tuna made with my favorite mayonnaise (it rhymes with Shmellmens).   Most tuna salads are loaded with fat and calories from the mayonnaise.  I've always been curious about alternatives, but been too afraid to try, thinking I would totally hate it.  Well I'm here to say that this was amazingly delicious!  I did not miss my mayo...it was yummy!  I had it three days in a row!!!  And my hubby loves it too...it's on the lunch menu again this week.  So if you are looking for a healthier and delicious alternative to the typical tuna, you have to give this a try!

Happy Cooking!

Clean Eating Tuna Salad
Sarah's version was inspired by http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-tuna-salad/

3 cans of water packed albacore tuna, drained
1/2 cup nonfat Green yogurt
2 T lemon juice
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped dill pickle (with juices)
1/2 small sweet onion, minced
1 hard boiled egg, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the shredded carrot, dill pickle, egg, onion and tuna.
Mix until well combined. Taste to check for seasoning and add more salt & pepper if needed. Serve with multigrain crackers, on a salad, or on your favorite whole grain bread or wrap. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Salad

I love salmon...I mean I love lots of different types of seafood, but lately, I've been a a huge salmon kick.  Since it's summer outside and I hate turning on the oven to roast my salmon, I've been grilling it.

There are many ways to grill fish and some fish really require grilling in a foil packet.  But salmon is hearty and can easily be placed right one the hot grill.  The trick is to not touch it...just place it on the grill over medium heat, close the lid and walk away.  Don't move it around unless your grill goes berserk, starts shooting flames, and sets the fish on fire (yes, this has happened to me, well actually my husband).  It usually takes about 12-15 minutes, depending on whether you are cooking a single filet or a larger piece (such as 4-6 servings, not pre-portioned).  And I really like doing it this way because the skin burns to a crisp and easily comes off (I HATE eating the skin and prefer to not remove it myself when raw...actually this would make it quite the disaster on the grill unless you cook it on foil).

So anyway, there are lots of good tips out there on grilling seafood and salmon in particular.  This cucumber salad is the perfect summer accompaniment.  Its light, refreshing, and the cucumber adds great texture to the dish.  Its great for entertaining or just for a quick weeknight meal.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Happy Cooking!

Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Salad
an original recipe from Sarah that serves 4

1.5 lbs of wild-caught, or responsibly farm raised, Salmon
seasonings of your choice, but minimally salt and pepper (I typically use my favorite terriyaki or just some onion and garlic powder)

1/2 english cucumber, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/2 medium sized sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 T Greek yogurt
1 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Season the salmon to your liking, or marinade for 30 minutes before grilling.  In the meantime, make the cucumber salad.   Start with whisking together the yogurt, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl.  Add the cucumber and onion and stir until well combined.  Allow the salad to sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes in order for the flavors to meld.

And now for the salmon...Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.   (I know I probably don't have to say this, but make sure your grill is clean to prevent the salmon from sticking).   Reduce the heat to medium, place the salmon on the grill, skin side down and close the lid.  Now walk away.  You can check on it every 3-5 minutes, but don't move it unless you absolutely have to.  Just let it cook and remove once the fish easily flakes, usually 12-15 minutes, depending on size and thickness.  Remove the salmon from the grill with a large spatula.  Feel free to remove the skin now, before serving,  or serve it as is with a HUGE scoop of the cucumber salad.  Delicious!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 29 - getting in a groove

I love summer in New England!  If living in a big city like Boston isn't great enough, there are so many amazing towns, beaches, and beautiful scenery to enjoy within an hour or two from my home.  This means day trips and memories made to last a lifetime.   Like our day trip yesterday to Gooseberry Beach in Newport, Rhode Island to play with our cousins.  So fun and captured everything great about summer!  What fun things are you doing this summer?

As I wrote about last week, we've (my husband and I) been kicking things up a notch with a new program, called 21 day fix, in an attempt to support my husband in his weight loss goals.  My weekly meal plan is based on the nutritional guidelines of this program, but its essentially a clean eating program that anyone could use.   We are half way through our second week and going strong.  My husband has commented on how much more energy he has since he's changed his diet and started exercising daily (at least 30 min).  As I've always said, it's about making a lifestyle switch and a permanent change...it just takes a different form for every person.  My husband needed this structure to jump start his lifestyle change, but it could be something different for you or your loved ones.  Find out what it is and stop making excuses!  You only have one body, so take good care of it.    It may have happened almost 1.5 yrs after I started my own journey, but we have another mini-revolution happening here!!!  So excited and happy!  I want to hear your Healthy Home stories!!!

All of the recipes ideas below are based on clean eating and 21 day fix friendly..  I will be posting pictures and recipes as the week goes on (and time permits...its so much harder to find time to Blog over the summer).  On that note, have a great week!

Happy Cooking,

Week 29 - July 20, 2014

Sunday:  date night (cheat meal)

Monday:  lemon balsamic grilled shrimp, grilled vegetable and quinoa salad with arugula

Tuesday:  grilled chicken with chopped salad

Wednesday:  grilled spinach and feta chicken sausage, grilled eggplant and yellow squash, Greek salad

Thursday:  book club dinner (eating clean at the restaurant)

Friday:  Homemade healthy pizza and salad

Saturday:  crockpot pork carnitas tacos, green beans

Week 29 of 2013, Healthy Home Revolution

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weeks 26, 27, and 28 - family vacation and sumer lovin'

I hope you are having a fabulous summer!  We had a great trip to visit family in Rochester and we've been busy settling into our summer schedule.   I think it's an adjustment for all of us...but it also means it's harder to get things done around the house, including posting on this beloved blog of mine.

I also decided that it might not be the best idea to post that I'm going to go on a trip...especially in this day and age with all your info out there on the internet.  We don't need people to know that we won't be home, right?

So, where am I now?  Well, I'm getting organized, unpacked, and enjoying the summer with the kiddos.  We've been visiting different splash parks, swimming in the neighborhood pool, meeting new friends, and splashing in puddles.  The laundry and cleaning can wait...I'm making some memories.

This week is a unique eating week.  My husband is starting the 21 Day Fix by Beachbody and I'm joining him in support of his efforts.  It entails a lot of planning, but it's essentially consistent workouts and healthy, clean eating.  I will be posting more details about this later.

Below you will find our meal plan for the week (it is 21 day fix approved) along with week 26, 27 and 28 from 2013 Healthy Home Revolution.  Many of these recipes can easily be made into "fix-friendly" recipes.

Have a great week and enjoy every moment!
Happy Cooking!
Week 28 - July13, 2014
Sunday - just getting back into town...Pizza night!

Monday - Mixed green salad with grilled chicken

Tuesday - grilled salmon with cucumber and dill salad, lentils with arugula

Wednesday- crockpot shredded chicken tacos with onions, peppers, and spinach

Thursday - marinated grilled pork tenderloin with quinoa salad and broccoli

Friday - homemade pizza with turkey meatballs, peppers, spinach, and mushrooms

Saturday - date night

Week 26 from 2013:  http://deliciouslydomesticdining.blogspot.com/2013/06/week-26-4th-of-july.html

Week 27 from 2013:  http://deliciouslydomesticdining.blogspot.com/2013/07/week-27-too-much-family-fun.html

Week 29 from 2013: http://deliciouslydomesticdining.blogspot.com/2013/07/week-28-another-heat-wave.html