Saturday, June 30, 2012

Give your eggs a quick kick!

Some people will say that egg whites on their own have no flavor. Personally, I quite like the taste of egg whites, but I wouldn't want to eat them just on their own. When I make myself egg whites for breakfast, I love to add some veggies to them, but what really kicks them up a notch is the right spices. There's just about no wrong way to spice up your egg whites, but here is my go-to spice blend. Note: there are no measurements because it really depends on your taste buds.

Onion powder, fresh cracked pepper, dehydrated onion flakes, chipotle seasoning, and some red pepper flakes. Yes, it's that simple, and I promise you won't be complaining of flavorless eggs!

Feelin' Frisky? Toast an English muffin or some low carb/high fiber bread, add a slice of fat free cheese and your eggs whites and there you have a delicious and satisfying breakfast! I've been known to frequent this breakfast!

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Friday, June 29, 2012

New Fantastic Fizzy Friends

So, I may have lied in a previous post. Not intentionally, I just hadn't tasted this seltzer before I deemed a competitor as my favorite, but Polar's new flavored seltzers (Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium free!) are incredible! Unlike many other seltzers that don't contain the cancer-causing sweeteners, these seltzers actually have a significant amount of flavor! And the best part? They are constantly rolling out new, unique flavors. Most seltzer brands limit their flavor options to lemon, lime, raspberry, and orange, but Polar has a unique array of flavors including Strawberry, Peach, Granny Smith Apple, and even Vanilla! All of their seltzers are 0 calorie, 0 sodium... basically 0 everything!

While their flavors are all awesome, this post is dedicated to the newest flavors that they've launched-- all of which are completely unique for sparkling water. They now offer options such as Mint Mojito, Pineapple Passionfruit (my mom's fav), Ginger Lemonade, Orange Mango, and, my new favorite seltzer (drumroll please!)- Pina Colada!!!

While it isn't exactly BURSTING with flavor like pina colada sodas, if you're just looking for a hint of flavor and a lot of fizz, you've found your match! Pin It

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fizzy Fun (sans cancer)

While I don't drink sugary sodas, I do love a good carbonated beverage. I've grown up drinking seltzer, but recently, after reading some labels, I learned that all seltzers are not created equal! A lot of the artificially sweetened seltzers are sweetened with Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium- both of which have been proven causes of cancer! Needless to say, there is no reason to drink these toxins, so now, when I buy seltzer, I am always on the lookout for the ones that are made with "natural flavors" (whatever that means :\). I will admit though, the ones with the cancerous sweeteners definitely have a sweeter flavor, but I try to avoid these sweeteners if I can, so for my safety and yours, here are a few of the offending seltzer brands as well as a few safe picks (and a helpful recommendation- my personal fav!)

Safe Picks: Vintage, Polar, Poland Spring, Seagrams, Naturals Seltzer, Canada Dry, Adirondack,

And of course, my personal favorite (*drumroll please*)...

...White Rock Seltzer in Kiwi-Strawberry!

Steer Clear of: Clear American (sold at most Walmart locations), Shoprite brand seltzer, and as a general rule, most store-brand flavored seltzers. Just to be safe, read the labels!

Disclaimer: Almost all plain seltzers are safe. This is really for the flavored seltzers! Pin It

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grindin' Away

Spice grinders might be the best invention since sliced bread (I mean, you can slice your own loaf of bread pretty easily, but crushing the perfect blend of spices together is not that easy!) I'm not going to lie, I have an unhealthy obsession with the spice aisle, and spice blends in particular. I've tried my fair share of recipes for creating my own spice mixes, but let me tell you, sometimes, the grinder is necessary, and when the spices come already assembled in the grinder, I just couldn't think of anything more convenient! Anyway, you gotta love HomeGoods. They have the best gourmet spices (and coffees!), and while I've tried a bunch of different ones, this spice grinder, which I purchased at HomeGoods, has to be my ultimate favorite.

Dean Jacob's Chipotle seasoning is spicy, smokey, and just all around delicious. I grind this stuff on everything like it's going out of style! Seriously though- it's great on amost anything- meat, fish, veggies, eggs, deli meats, etc. (Maybe not ice cream, but I did say almost anything!) And it only takes a few twists to add an insane amount of flavor! If you want to buy this stuff, you can easily find it online, just search Dean Jacob's spice grinders. It is worth every penny! Pin It

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crackin' Out the Fiber

Unbeknownst to me, since I was at school for the year, my boss got rid of the microwave at my job in order to save space. So, in packing lunch for myself, I've had to rely on meals that don't require any cooking whatsoever. Now, those of you who know me know I don't eat cold bread (a weird fun fact- I would rather eat soggy microwaved bread than cold bread- or just skip the bread altogether!), so when I pack my favorite Tofu Salad for lunch, I can't make it on a sandwich, and while it's delicious on its own, I know I need some extra fiber with it to keep me full- and that's where these crackers come in! Now, personally, I'm a huge fan of GG's bran crispbreads, but most people say they taste like cardboard. While I highly suggest you try them before you count them out (they have the most impressive stats of any cracker I know- 12 calories and 5g of fiber per crisp), this post is really dedicated to Fiber Gourmet's Half Calorie crackers.

These crackers come in pre-portioned bags, so even if you eat the entire 1oz serving, you're only eating 70 calories. And the best part?! They have 12g of fiber and 4g of protein per bag! And for those of you who still shy away from anything that tastes whole wheat-y or grainy, these will be PERFECT for you because they taste like regular, white crackers. The company also makes a plain variety and a cinnamon variety. I haven't tried those, since I've been so satisfied with the everything ones, but I can't imagine that the plain ones taste much different than the everything ones (just no sesame/ poppy seeds, etc.), and the cinnamon ones would probably be delicious as well! For those of you who crave an afternoon snack of some crackers and hummus, or like to enjoy cheese and crackers, these are a perfect low-cal, high-fiber option! I take them every day (in addition to my trusty GG bran crisps) with a container of my tofu salad for lunch, and it holds me over without fail from my lunch break to the end of my shift! I usually only need about 1/2 the bag and 2 GG crisps to keep me satisfied, but hey, eat the whole bag- they are totally guilt-free!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Simple Tip: Be prepared!

Trying new restaurants can be fun, but it often provides dieters with at least a little uneasiness because it's something new. While this may seem like a DUH suggestion, some people don't think of it, but if you know you are going somewhere new, look up the menu before you go! The beauty of the internet is a lot of restaurants now have their menus online, so you can check it out before you go! This way, you know exactly what you're getting yourself into, and you won't have to scour the menu when you get there to find something healthy! And if you don't see something that fits for your diet, you have time to plan ahead and call the restaurant to see if they can accomodate you or make alternative arrangements. Keep in mind you can always ask a restaurant to prepare their meat and fish high and dry with sauce on the side (no guarantee they will do it, but you can ask!) Pin It

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beat the Breakfast Bloat

While I am not one to go out for breakfast, I know there are many people who do, and it is WAY too easy to order an unhealthy meal when almost all the options seem to be chocked full of sugar or empty carbs. Luckily, there is one breakfast option that is fairly healthy if prepared properly that most breakfast restaurants will serve- an egg white omelette! Egg whites are chocked full of protein, so at least it will be a filling meal, and if it comes with toast, opt for the whole wheat, in hopes of getting at least a little fiber in there (I would personally skip the toast altogether and pack myself a container of berries for some added fiber, but I recognize not everyone has that option.) Also, very important, ask your waiter to have the chef prepare your eggs with as little butter or oil as possible because sometimes chefs will literally slather that stuff on the grill to keep the egg whites from sticking, and it's generally unnecessary. As usual, it is bound to be healthier if you prepare your own omelette at home, but if you have to eat out, this is the best way to go. And don't forget to load up on the veggies! Onions, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, tomatos, etc. all make great additions to eggs and add some flavor to egg whites instead of the butter the chef may want to use to prepare it. And you can always sprinkle a little fresh pepper on it or dip your eggs in hot sauce! (If you haven't noticed, I love hot sauce on just about anything!) Pin It

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Curry in a Hurry

So I won't lie, I stole the name of this post from a really delicious Indian food restaurant in NYC; however, the recipe I am going to share is actually for a Thai curry- my favorite Thai curry- Massamun Curry! There is the most incredible spice market down the block from my apartment, and after spending about a half an hour just gawking at all the different fresh spice blends, I came across a Massamun curry paste, which I just couldn't leave on the shelf! Massamun curry is just about my favorite Thai dish, but it isn't all that healthy with all the full-fat coconut milk that it is cooked with. I decided to experiment with the paste, and see just how much flavor it has on its own, and let me tell you, it has a LOT, so cooking with it was fairly easy since it didn't require much added to it. All I did was add it to about 1/4 cup of Flax milk to turn it into a marinade and then marinated some chicken breasts in it for about 5 hours, threw it in a tin foil pack with some veggies, and baked it in the oven until the chicken was cooked through and the veggies had softened, and let me tell you, it was INCREDIBLE! My mom actually said it was the best chicken she's ever eaten- something about the paste/Flax milk mixture made the breasts incredibly moist- seriously, it practically melted in your mouth. Not bad for a dish whipped up in less than 10 minutes!

Just a disclaimer: it doesn't look NEARLY as good in this photo as it tasted- bad photography skills on my part, but you'll just have to make it and taste it to get the full effect!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Dreamy Creamy Milky Madness (New Product Alert!)

Growing up, I NEVER drank milk. It was always a struggle to get my calcium because the thought of drinking a glass of milk disgusted me. Even still, I will never go for a glass of milk, and I don't even drink milk in my coffee; however, some of my recipes will occasionally require milk, and while I used to use almond milk, I recently came across a new milk that's low cal, creamy, and perfect for recipes, or even to drink on its own (if you like milk that is!) And it's non-dairy for all you Vegan/non-dairy fans!
This Flax milk is only 25 calories per cup- a serious calorie bargain! I've only tried the unsweetened variety, but it added the perfect amount of creaminess to the recipes I used it in. I imagine it would be great in coffee or in a bowl of cereal as well! I mixed it with my Massamun Curry paste to rehydrate it, and it worked perfectly! The original and vanilla varieties are slightly more caloric, so unless you are drinking this stuff by the glass, there is probably no reason to add the extra calories, since the unsweetened one is creamy on its own! My only downside is that regular milk (or skim, lowfat, etc.) has a fair amount of protein, while flax milk does not. A 1 cup serving does give you 30% of the daily recommended amount of calcium though! So its a tradeoff, I guess! Pin It

Thursday, June 21, 2012

1 Fish, 2 Fish, Onion-Crusted Blue Fish

So if it hasn't already become pretty clear, dehydrated onion flakes are my go-to seasoning when I want a crispy coating on my protein; however, I've yet to share a recipe that utilizes these winners on fish, and I LOVE me a good, fresh piece of fish! The other day, my local super market had a GREAT price on bluefish, so I decided to get some for dinner, and it came out so good, and it was so simple to prepare, that I thought I'd share the recipe!

Super simple Garlic and Onion crusted Blue Fish (or any other variety of fish you may prefer!)

4 oz bluefish
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 of a lemon or a sprinkle of lemon juice
lots of dehydrated onion flakes and garlic flakes

To prepare: preheat your oven to 350 degrees, sprinkle the lemon over your fish, top it with the garlic and onion, pop that sucker in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and cooked through, and eat up!

Feelin' Frisky? Once the fish is cooked through almost entirely, pop it into the broiler for a few seconds to get the crust even crispier! The flakey consistency of the fish paired with the crispy crust is UNREAL! Pin It

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Smokey Mama- New Spice Love

Apparently, Smoked Paprika is now all the rage. To be honest, I didn't know it when I tried it, but the other night, I decided to spice up my usual chicken rub and replace the regular paprika with some smoked paprika, and let me tell you, what a difference! I personally LOVE a smokey flavor, and smoked paprika did not disappoint! This stuff is yet another way to add a lot of flavor without adding a lot of calories to your meal! I don't imagine this stuff is too difficult to get your hands on- just check your local grocery store's spice aisle. I happened to find it digging through my parent's spice cabinet (Let me tell you, they have SO many spices they don't know they have!)

Anyway, I added it to my chicken breast, but I could easily see the smokey flavor pairing well with fish, veal, lamb, etc.

Try it out- let me know what you think! Pin It

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wingin It!

Confession: Buffalo Wings have always been a weakness of mine. When I was little, I could put away an entire order of hot wings from Applebees, TGI Fridays, etc., and the spicier the better in my books! Having not eaten wings for a while, I really didn't miss them, but after seeing a few recipes for hot wings on Pinterest, the craving was established! Luckily, Frank's Buffalo Wing sauce, a cabinet-staple of mine, makes an excellent marinade for hot wings, and is basically calorie-free (less than 5 calories per serving!) Personally, I don't usually eat chicken wings, as it is one of the fattier parts of the chicken, and in my opinion, this chicken recipe totally kicks the wing craving, since the chicken is smothered in Frank's hot sauce and the broiler makes them crispy and delicious! So without further hesitation, here is my hot wing replacement recipe!

1 pack lean chicken tenders
Enough Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce to coat all the chicken
Enough dried Onion and Garlic flakes to create a crispy outer layer around your chicken

To prepare: Preheat your broiler, coat the chicken in the hot sauce, dip the chicken in the mix of garlic and onion flakes (you can add some red pepper flakes or garlic and onion powder if you want an extra kick of flavor), and cook in the broiler until the outside crisps up and the inside of the chicken is cooked through (shouldn't take longer than like 10-15 minutes!)

Seriously, it's THAT easy! And if you're REALLY craving the wings, indulge a little and go for wings instead of tenders. I totally get the whole appeal of the wings, but the tenders kick the craving for me, and they can be eaten with a fork (no more sticky fingers!)

Feelin' Frisky? Serve this chicken with some Walden Farms Ranch Dressing on the side and some cut up celery to cool down the kick! Pin It

Monday, June 18, 2012

Not your usual Father's Day Thai

So it's fairly standard that father's get ties as gifts for father's day; however, my dad doesn't really wear ties, so I decided to take a non-traditional approach to the traditional "tie" gift and prepare my dad one of his all time favorite dishes- Pad Thai! Since my dad doesn't follow a low carb diet, I prepared his dish with regular rice noodles, but to make this a low carb meal, just sub the rice noodles for Shirataki noodles- I've made it before and it tastes great! So, just as a disclaimer, the photograph features your typical Asian rice noodles although the recipe I am going to share with you calls for Shirataki noodles!

But without further hesitation, here is my recipe for a lightened up Pad Thai!- If you're someone who likes a saucier Pad Thai, simply make a double batch of the sauce and cook it on in!

1.5 T fish sauce
1 T plum vinegar
2 1/2 T Water
2 T Stevia (or sugar or any other sugar substitute)
3/4 t chili powder
optional: 1/2 t red pepper flakes, 1/2 t dried ginger

To prepare:
Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and give a good mix.

For the pad thai:

1 package Yam Noodles or Shirataki Noodles- (shape of your choice!)
1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic
4 oz chopped chicken breast (or shrimp or tofu- or both!)
1/4- 1/2 cup of liquid egg whites
a GIANT handful of bean sprouts (unless you don't like these suckers but my dad and I both love them so I threw a lot in there)
a nice sized handful of chopped scallions and chives
1/2 T chopped peanuts (you can optionally add more to garnish!)
a few lime wedges to garnish

To prepare:
Start by getting your Shirataki noodles drained, rinsed, dried, and ready to go. Then spray a wok with some non-stick spray and scramble your egg whites. Put them in a bowl the side, spray the wok again, and add your chopped garlic. Once it browns a bit, add your chicken breasts and cook them until they are almost cooked all the way through (you could steam the chicken first to eliminate this step because without oil it is hard to keep the chicken from sticking to the wok). Then add your shirataki noodles and egg whites, give a good mix, and pour your sauce over everything and stir it around. Lastly, add your bean sprouts, scallions and chives, and chopped peanuts and cook for about another 30 seconds, stirring everything together. Finally, get those noodles into a bowl and garnish with your lime wedges and additional chopped peanuts if you so choose! Pin It

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Livin' the Lobster Life

Usually, my family spends father's day lounging by the pool followed by a gigantic BBQ bonanza, but this year, we decided to change it up and go out for father's day dinner. My extended fam chose a Spanish restaurant, and I'll be honest, I love a good paella as much as the next person, but my tiny tummy does not! The nice thing about restaurants like this one though is they had tons of fish specials, and lucky for me, they happened to have a lobster special- (and for anyone who knows me, I LOVE a good lobster!) And the best part about lobster is it is extremely low cal, high protein, and prepared steamed- no sauce, no oil, no butter. Moral of the story? A steamed lobster is almost always a safe bet when eating out (and if you are able to find a special like I did it won't put as big of a hole in your wallet). And it came with a side of rice, fried potatoes, and steamed string beans (obviously, I opted to eat the string beans!)

Here's our 2.5 pound friend! I should have taken an after-photo because that plate was licked clean of every last bit- This Tiny Tummy doesn't mess around when it comes to a lobster!

And P.S.- for those of you who don't like lobster, any fish special prepared high and dry is an equally safe option- as long as the chef listens and prepares it without any oil or butter! Pin It

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tiny Tummy's Tantalizing Tuna Salads

Very upsetting- the company that makes my favorite tofu salads didn't deliver any of the kind I like to my local health food stores this week, so I've been forced to make alternative lunches! There is no microwave/toaster at my job, and everyone knows I only like my bread toasted, so instead of sandwiches, I am used to packing some high fiber crackers with my tofu salad, but this week, I've decided to replace my tofu salad with homemade tuna salad. Poor tuna has such a bad reputation as one of the unhealthiest sammy options/spreads out there, when really, it's the mayo who's to blame! It's beyond easy to make a healthy tuna salad, as tuna, on its own, is a great, healthy source of lean protein! I thought I'd share a few of my favorite recipes to make a yummy tuna salad, without the fatty mayo that most tuna salads are made with. Let me just start by saying I make every one of my tuna salads with chopped celery and carrots in it- extra fiber and minimal calories! Feel free to add chopped onions, peppers, or any other veggies you like in your tuna salads! I use Starkist Tuna generally, but any light tuna in water will suffice!

Ay Caramba Spicy Tuna (I make this one super spicy, but the less Sriracha you use, the less spicy it will be for those of you who prefer a milder spicy tuna)

1 Can Light Tuna (IN WATER!)
Sriracha and Walden Farms Mayo Spread to taste
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Honey Mustard Tuna Salad

1 Can Light Tuna (IN WATER!)
Walden Farms' Honey Mustard Dressing (If you don't like the taste of

Balsamic Dijon Tuna Salad
1 Can Light Tuna (IN WATER!)
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
Dijon Mustard of your choice to taste (You can even use Dijonnaise!)

Curry in a Hurry Tuna Salad

1 Can Light Tuna (IN WATER!)
1-2 T Walden Farms Mayo
1/4 t Curry Powder
optional: A pinch of tumeric, cumin or coriander based on your tastebuds!

To make any of these salads, just add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix away. Or, if you prefer a blended tuna, add it all to a food processor and blend away! (Though I would mix the veggies in at the very end so they don't get pureed!)

Feelin' Frisky?: If you're not a fan of tuna, you can easily sub the tuna for some diced tofu to make a tofu salad spread, or chicken!

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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Right Stuff: Stuffed Chicken Recipe!

Pinterest can be dangerous sometimes. I have seen countless numbers of recipes for stuffed chicken breasts, but I had never thought to actually try making my own. I always buy the thinly sliced breast or the breast tenderloins, so stuffing isn't usually an option; however, my mom accidentally bought these MONSTER breasts last night, and I decided to make the best of the situation and try out my own take on stuffed chicken breasts, and let me tell you, they were DELISH! And since I remembered to photograph my dinner, you guys get the recipe! Yippee!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts (for 2!)

For the inside:
2 Chicken Breasts sliced in half almost all the way through
1 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge (I used garlic and herb!)
6 slices of Turkey Pepperoni (Give or take a few)
sauteed onions and mushrooms, along with garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, onion and garlic flakes to taste
1/4-1/2 a cup of fresh tomato sauce (or hot sauce if you want to spice it up!)

For the outside:
Lots and lots of spices, or hot sauce, or marinara sauce... basically whatever you see fit! For my breasts, I covered those suckers in tons of garlic and onion flakes and sprinkled some garlic and onion powder on them! Yummy!

To prepare: Preheat your broiler, spread the laughing cow cheese wedge evenly on the inner pockets of both chicken breasts, add your pepperoni, onions mushrooms, sauce and spices, coat those suckers with  whatever spices/sauce you see fit, and cook until well browned (maybe about 15 minutes- possibly longer if your breasts are super thick!) 

Feelin' Frisky? I bet these would be DELICIOUS stuffed with some homemade pesto! And if you're a big cheese fan, a little fat free mozzarella goes a long way- I added some extra to my mom's and she loved it!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Low Carb Pizza

Heads up: You're about to receive an insanely delicious recipe that includes an exciting combination of some of my favorite refrigerator staples as well as a few new food finds! Basically, this post might as well be a diet bible!

First of all, on my break at work today, I was BEYOND excited when I came across these tortillas. I've had the original tortillas from La Tortilla countless times, but when they released the new Garlic and Herb variety, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a pack! Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to find them in the supermarket until today, and let me tell you, I knew I was making something with them for dinner and boy am I glad I did- they are DELICIOUS! I can't wait to toast one up and add my tofu salad (low-carb wrap anyone?!). These delicious tortillas are only 50 calories each and have 5g protein, 6g fiber, and only 4 net carbs- totally guiltless!

Second, this recipe calls for this cheese wedge. Lifetime's cheese products are pretty amazing. They are all fat free, 40 calories per ounce, and have an impressive 8g of protein! For fat free cheese, you really can't beat that! And the best part is, they melt really well, making them an awesome addition to pasta, pizza, sandwiches, etc. I've even been known to shred some of this stuff over my steamed veggies and making that a meal. While this recipe calls for the Mozzarella variety, they make a ton of other funky flavors, such as Garden Vegetable and Jalapeno Jack!

Anyway, onto the recipe! Dinner tonight was low carb pizza- prepared in under 10 minutes! I'll make this super simple and to the point (just like the preparation!)

You will need:
1 La Tortilla Factory Tortilla
1 oz (or more if you like a lot of cheese on your pizza) Lifetime Mozzarella Cheese shredded
1/4- 1/2 a cup of marinara sauce (I use my homemade marinara sauce that I keep in the freezer at all times!)
2 cloves roasted garlic (a fridge staple!)
spices to your liking (I sprinkled some onion, red pepper and garlic flakes along with a little onion and garlic powder!)

To prepare, simply toast your tortilla in a toaster oven or on a baking sheet until it starts to get crispy (5 minutes I'd say), spread the roasted garlic, tomato sauce, cheese and spices onto the tortilla, and return to the oven until the cheese is melted. Told you that was easy!

Feelin' Frisky? Add some slices of fresh tomato, sauteed onions and mushrooms (fridge staple!), turkey pepperoni slices, sauteed spinach, grilled pineapple or any other pizza toppings of your liking!

The nutritional information will depend on what toppings you put on your pizza, but if you make one with just the basics, as listed, the pizza should have less than 150 calories! (If that's lunch or dinner, you better make more than 1!) With all of that fiber and protein, you've got a meal that will fill you up and keep you full for hours! And it's totally low carb and guilt free!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Low Carb Pasta Picks

When I first started following a low carb lifestyle, I thought pasta was something I had given up for good. All of those starchy carbs meant unnecessary calories I did not wish to take in, so I can't tell you how excited I was when I found the following pasta products. All three of these pastas are high in fiber and protein, low carb, and DELICIOUS. Seriously, you wouldn't even know you're eating low carb pasta, and for those of us following a low-carb lifestyle, it certainly satisfies the pasta craving. While the serving size is fairly small (2 oz.), I guarantee it will keep you full, and if you're not pairing it with an additional protein, there's no harm in indulging in more than one serving! Live a little, right?

Anyway, here are my three favorite low carb pasta picks!

Atkin's Penne one is probably my personal favorite. It tastes just like regular penne, and while I actually like a whole grain taste, with pasta, I don't mind the taste of traditional white pasta. And with 140 calories, 11g protein, and a whopping 18g of fiber per 2oz serving, this is a filling dinner in itself, and delicious with a little homemade pesto or homemade marinara sauce! You can order this pasta online, or it's available at some GNC or Vitamin Shop locations!

If fettucini is what you crave, look no further! Carbanada's low-carb, roasted garlic pasta is DELICIOUS! At 140 calories, 6g fiber, and a whopping 12g of protein per 2oz serving, it's super filling, and when paired with the right veggies, it will keep you full for hours! I'm also a huge fan of making a garlic/seafood sauce to pair with this pasta, and just a heads up, it cooks VERY quickly! This stuff is fairly hard to locate, so I suggest ordering it online! It also comes in a variety of different flavored noodles, but I've only tried the roasted garlic since it was soo good! (Why fix what isn't broken, right?!)

When I was little, mac and cheese was my favorite! And as I've grown up, I still love elbow pasta for some reason, so when I came across this high fiber mac and cheese, I figured even if I didn't like the cheese part, the elbows were worth trying, and again, they were quite yummy! The serving size of this stuff is 2.5oz, and contains 160 calories, 7g of protein, and an impressive 18g of fiber! I actually liked the macaroni on its own as well as with the cheese, though I didn't add the recommended milk/butter that the package suggested. I've seen Fiber Gourmet's pastas in some supermarkets, though again, you might have to order it online.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Very Best Veggie Burgers

At this point, I consider myself to be somewhat of a veggie burger connoisseur. I've tried quite a few brands of veggie burgers, and I am constantly trying new ones as I find them. While I have a hard time picking favorites, these are my top five favorite veggie burgers (and I keep at least 2 or 3 of these in my freezer at all times!)

Morningstar Farm Spicy Black Bean Burger (120 calories, 4g fat, 4g fiber, 11g protein)
These frozen patties have chunks of corn and black beans in them, and when paired with some lettuce, tomato, and a little salsa (Trader Joe's peach salsa goes very well!), you have a Mexican/Southwestern-inspired burger meal!

Feelin' Frisky? Add a dollop of guacamole or a few slices of fresh avocado!

Boca Grilled Vegetable Burger (80 calories, 1g fat, 4g fiber, 12g protein)
While these burgers are a bit slimy in texture, they have a cheesy-veggie taste unlike any other burger. If you're not a fan of a cheesy veggie burger, I wouldn't suggest these guys, but if you like a mix of cheese and chopped veggies (think little chunks of corn and peppers) these patties are the way to go! I eat them with a slice of fat free cheese melted, some lettuce, tomato, and my beloved black bean dip.

Boca Original Vegan Burger (70 calories, .5g fat, 4g fiber, 13g protein)
If you're looking for a ground beef burger replacement (with a fraction of the calories and fat!!), this is your burger! I've already reviewed these suckers here, so I won't beat a dead drum!

Health is Wise Chicken-Free Patties (110 calories, 1.5g fat, 2g fiber, 12g protein)
Seriously, think Wendy's chicken sandwich (an old fave of mine). Again, I already reviewed these here, but let's just say these patties+Walden Farms BBQ sauce+lettuce+english muffin=heaven.

Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Veggie Burger (100 Calories, 3g fat, 5g fiber, 5g protein)
While these are similar to the Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers, they have a bit more of a kick. If you're someone who likes spicy (like me!) then I highly recommend these, but no sense in keeping both these and the Morningstar ones stocked at the same time!

I'm constantly trying new burgers, so I will keep you posted as I find any hidden gems! (Next on my list to try are these Sproutburgers)
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Low Carb Lovers- Look Out!

A few of my favorite local health food stores carry a bunch of low carb products by a company called Eat-rite. 

They make pizzas, sandwiches, brownies, etc. all of which claimed to be extremely low in carbs, low-cal, low in fat etc. I always had a hunch they were too good to be true, so whenever my mom would beg me to buy them or give her the okay to buy them, I always said I think we'll pass. I don't know why I was so skeptical, but it's a good thing I was because as it turns out, a recent study was released that their nutrition labels were WAY off! Apparently, their "210 calorie" pizzas actually clock in at over 500 calories! That's more than double! And for dieters going out of their way to try to eat healthy, this is a serious crime in my opinion! If you want to read up further, you can do so here, but my advice is to just avoid these products altogether! Pin It

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rockin' Rice

To this day, I haven't quite mastered the art of making perfect rice on the stovetop. Maybe because I am often cooking single servings, so it doesn't always fill the pan entirely, but I sometimes find the ratio of rice to water isn't quite right, or the rice comes out a bit hard (I like my rice soft, though I know some people don't!), but tonight, I tried something I had read up on that apparently makes rice like the Chinese and Japanese restaurants do (and let's be real, they really make the best rice!), and I have to say, it actually worked! And it couldn't be more simple! All you have to do is soak your rice in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes, drain it, and then cook it as you normally would! I guess something about soaking it removes some of the starch that keeps the rice from softening because the black rice I made tonight was delicious and soft! I can't wait to try it with brown rice and see if I have the same success!

Do you have any tips to make perfect rice?! (Not including using a rice maker of course- I've used them before, but something about making your own rice is more exciting to me, and I find rice maker rice is a bit gummy and tasteless!)
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dreamy Sashimi- Bringing Sashimi to your dinner table!

Sometimes I have cravings I just can't fight, and lately, I've been on a huge sushi kick! The other night, on my way home from work, I must have walked passed about 5 sushi restaurants before I decided I HAD to have it for dinner- I could practically taste the sashimi! I really didn't have time to sit and eat, and while I could have ordered in, I thought it would just be easier to pick up something up on the way. So, I stopped at my local Asian market (which makes beautiful sashimi platters and picked one up.)

Now, as much as I love sashimi, I don't find it filling on its own, so I decided to make myself a side of black rice, which I added mushrooms to and then seasoned with some spices and a little bit of low sodium soy sauce to give it that Japanese flare! Of course I cut some scallions to go with my fish, and while it's not pictured, I had some of my homemade spicy mayo with my sashimi! (Spicy Mayo= Walden Farms Mayo+Sriracha) Needless to say, a DELICIOUS dinner, and I felt like I was eating out! Pin It

Friday, June 8, 2012

Speak Greek to Me

Around the block from my house, there is a Greek festival going on, and let's just say the music is loud enough that you can hear it in my bedroom. Fun at first, but a little annoying after a while!

Anyway, Greek Yogurt has been all the rage lately- and with good reason! If you choose the right one, Greek Yogurt can pack an impressive batch of protein, and when paired with some fresh berries, it's a great fiber-rich and protein-packed meal! When choosing a Greek Yogurt, always look for the Plain, strained yogurt- not the flavored ones which contain a lot of added sugars! To be traditional, Chobani, Okios, and Fage all make quality plain Greek yogurts- and in individually portioned cups to grab breakfast on the go. Depending on your calorie allotment, you can opt for the low fat or full fat varieties, but I stick to the non-fat options! If you're opting for low-fat, I've heard great things about Emmi Roth Swiss Yogurt, though I will say it doesn't pack the same source of protein that it's counterparts does.

Recently, I found a yogurt that not only packs an impressive batch of protein, but also has some added fiber! Our friends at Trader Joe's give us the best of both worlds with a Greek Yogurt that's protein-packed with added fiber, and it rocks! At only 80 calories per container, it's a great breakfast-on-the-go with some fruit, and if you're the type of person who likes something sweet in their yogurt, a little Walden Farms syrup or some straight honey or Agave are all great options!

Feelin' Frisky? For an even greater boost of fiber try our new friends- the Chia Seeds! They are virtually tasteless and a great replacement for the fattening granola that most people put in their yogurt! Pin It

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Super Safe Substitutions

When eating out at restaurants, it's often impossible to determine exactly how your food was prepared unless they are making it in front of you (and let's be real, we can't eat at Benihana every night!) For this reason, it is difficult to tell just how healthy the meal you've ordered will be when it you get it. This is why when eating out, I love getting sushi (well Sashimi) because it's virtually the same every time- there is no cooking involved, and therefore no way for the chefs to add any extra (and often WAY unnecessary) oils or butter, but we can't always go out for sushi either. But, we can follow the guidelines set here- if it's not cooked in any way, it's hard for the chef to mess with it, so instead of a side of "sauteed vegetables" (sauteed in what?!) or rice, we can opt for a side salad, or steamed vegetables prepared DRY (I can't tell you how many times I've ordered steamed vegetables that come soaked in butter!) Regardless, this is a safer bet than ordering something sauteed, pan-fried, or anything to that effect. If you ask for it dry, you can only hope they follow through. And, if steamed veggies are boring for you, ask for a side of hot sauce or balsamic vinegar or any other low-cal sauce to dip in! Moral of the story: choose the uncooked or steamed veggie options when possible- this way, the chef can't mess with it! (Or just go for sushi and order Sashimi!) Pin It

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fun with Fiber

Lately, a diet rich in fiber has become all the rage- and with good reason! Incorporating a good source of fiber into every meal helps you stay full for longer because your body takes longer to break it down (in comparison to empty carbs). In light of the fiber-kick that America has finally embraced, I thought I'd share my top five fav sources of fiber outside of the traditional wholegrain sources that most people think of when they hear the word fiber (though I eat a VERY fiber-rich diet, so picking just five was hard!)

1. Berries- Anyone who knows me knows I don't eat any refined sugar, but I refuse to give up the natural sugars in fruit. Fortunately, berries have a lot less sugar than most others, and I happen to love them! And an added bonus, they are PACKED with fiber! Adding a big handful of berries to your breakfast is a great way to keep you full for hours!

2. Spinach- This leafy green packs an impressive amount of fiber, as well as providing a great source of vitamins to promote healthy skin and nails. Throw a handful on your lunch sandwich instead of the traditional romaine or iceberg you may currently add for a fiber-boost!

3. Squash- Okay, so Butternut Squash is probably my new favorite vegetable- not exaggerating. Roasted in the oven it gets soft and delicious, and almost resembles a sweet potato. And the best part? It packs the fiber! While Acorn squash have a greater amount of fiber, I personally like the Butternut variety better. (Recipes with this puppy to come later on!)

4. Brussels Sprouts- I know these poor ugly veggies have a terrible rep, but they are actually quite delicious. I am a HUGE fan of slicing them in half, skewering them, and throwing them on the grill, but they are just as good plainly steamed, and they are also full of fiber. They make a great side dish to some grilled meat, and are great dipped in hot sauce (call me crazy!)

5. Chia Seeds- Yes, I saved the strangest for last. These teeny seeds are basically straight fiber, and yes, I am talking about the same suckers they use to make Chia Pets! While I wouldn't eat a spoonful of Chia seeds, they add a nice crunch to Greek Yogurt in place of granola, they can add extra fiber to oatmeal for a more filling breakfast, and I decided the next time I make rice, I'm going to try adding some chia seeds. When you mix them with liquid, they develop a really interesting consistency, and honestly don't have much flavor, so they are a great sneaky boost of fiber for any meal! Pin It

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Skinny Sausagefest

New dinner-find alert! Since I'm still working without a stove and microwave, my pink mini George Forman Grill has become my new best friend, and while I was exploring my new local supermarkets the other day, I came across some new chicken sausages that had an impressive 13g of protein per 70 calorie sausage, and they come in a few different funky flavors!

The middle picture was my dinner tonight (Sorry, not the best quality picture), but served over a bed of sauerkraut with some mustard= sausage-y goodness, much healthier than traditional hot dogs! I will say they have a slightly strange texture, but doctored up with the right condiments you don't even taste it! The two other photos are the two flavors I have tried, but they also make a spinach and red onion variety as well as garden vegetable and spicy italian- all of which I plan to try eventually!
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Monday, June 4, 2012

Tray Chic

Not to toot my own horn, but I've become quite the problem solver when it comes to my food dilemmas. I started drinking coffee in college, and not as a study tool but just because it was free in my dining hall and I decided I actually like the way coffee tastes- especially the flavored kind. I refuse to go out to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and pay 5 bucks for a designer coffee though- in my opinion, it's a total waste of money when I can brew my own at home, and it tastes just as good. And, just a little not-so-fun fact, both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks sweeten their iced coffee, so while coffee is usually a virtually calorie-free beverage it's not if you splurge on these novelties!- And don't even get me started on the Frappuccino and other sugar-laden drinks they serve... let's just say I'd rather have a brownie or a cookie for the amount of sugar, fat, and calories in some of those suckers!

Anyway, enough ranting, and back to my problem solving skills. When I used to make my iced coffee, I always found that within a few hours, the ice would melt and my coffee became a watery mess. I like my coffee strong, so the watered-down mess was a serious problem, which sparked a great idea- coffee ice cubes! Now, in my freezer, I keep an ice tray filled with cubes of coffee at all times, and whenever I make myself an iced coffee, those are the cubes I use! Genius in my opinion. I'm sure I'm not the first to have this clever idea, but I figure why not spread the knowledge?! Pin It

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Right Sprite (New Soda Review!)

New Soda Review Alert! I finally got around to trying Zevia's Lemon Lime Soda (naturally sweetened with Stevia as opposed to Aspartame or any of the other Cancer-causing sweeteners), and it tastes just like Sprite! I was generally more of a Coke/Pepsi person than a Sprite person, but I will say that for all of you Sprite lovers out there, Zevia's Lemon Lime will definitely satisfy your craving! And, (brag warning) I got each can for 75 cents, which is pretty cheap for a single can of soda, let alone the ones sweetened with Stevia! 

Take that Bloomberg! Healthier soda in NYC!

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Forbidden Rice

So I'm super bummed because I actually ate something really unique for dinner tonight and I forgot to take a picture to post! Regardless, I can still share my recipe, but the picture will have to wait until the next time I make it. To go with my maple balsamic dijon chicken tonight, I made black rice. No, I don't mean brown rice- black rice! My last trip to my favorite Asian Market in New Jersey brought me to the rice aisle, and considering something about Japanese rice always taste so much better than regular rice (probably the rice vinegar they add to it!), I decided to buy and make some Japanese rice. Black rice is supposed to have certain nutritional benefits as well, and it has a lot of fiber in it, so I figured why not?! I't made the same way as other rice also! At least I think it is, the instructions were in a language I don't understand! Anyway, I threw the rice in a pot with water and added some ginger for flavor, sauteed onions, mushrooms and garlic, and spiced it up with some Thyme, onion and garlic powder and flakes, and left it to simmer. The one thing I will say though is it takes a LOT of water to get the rice soft, but it has a nice, nutty flavor to it! I would definitely recommend trying it if you can get your hands on it!  Pin It

Friday, June 1, 2012

Beet that craving!

Every once in a while I'll crave old fashioned potato chips, but considering they have no real nutritional value, I try not to eat them. Today was once one of those days, I had been given some extra golden beets from my job, so I decided to experiment making chips I had never made before- Beet Chips! 

I had seen many recipes online in the past for beet chips, and they seemed easy enough to make, so I figured why not?! I had made chips from other veggies before in the past (broccoli chips are among my fav- made from the stems of broccoli!), so today was the day to try beet chips. The verdict? Not bad, but I like chips made from other veggies better (turnips, jicama, carrots, broccoli, and butternut squash are among my fav). Regardless, making beet, or any other veggie chips is really simple! Just preheat your oven to 350, slice your veggies super thin (I use my mandolin for this), season as you please, and bake on a sprayed sheet for 20 minutes on each side or until they crisp up! The beet chips were best sprinkled with a little cinnamon on them, but if you want a more savory chip, a little garlic and onion powder goes a long way on broccoli chips or turni-chips!

What's you favorite veggie chip? Pin It