Friday, October 10, 2014

Spinach Carbonara Featuring Brown Rice Pasta

This is one of my family's favorite meals. It is an updated, fresh version of the classic carbonara.   I add spinach to the egg sauce and substitute ham for the bacon. This is a good meal for when your body is in need of some carbs (because I eat carbs..I don't care what anybody says) or you just want a nice filling dinner that everyone in the house will love. This is also a great 'cheat meal' for people who do watch their carbs.

My pasta of choice is Tinkyada brown rice pasta. We really enjoy the flavor and the texture of it. We are not a gluten free family, we just really really like the mouth feel of this pasta. 

The ingredients are pretty simple:
1 Package of Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Shells
1 8 oz Package of Spinach
2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 lean ham steak, cubed
Black Pepper to taste

Boil pasta according to the directions.  While pasta is cooking, saute the spinach and garlic in a small amount of olive or coconut oil until the spinach is wilted.   Turn off heat. When the spinach has cooled, add it to a blender with the milk, eggs, and cheese.  Blend until smooth.

In the same pan, brown the ham.  Turn down the heat to low and slowly add the spinach mixture to the ham so that the eggs do not cook like scrambled eggs.  Cook on medium -low while stirring until the mixture thickens.  Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir until coated.  Add black pepper to taste.  I usually don't feel like it needs any extra sauce since the ham adds enough salt to the whole dish.
Hope that your family enjoys this dish as much as we do.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Last school year I did a blog post on school lunches your kids can pack themselves.  This started out great. The kids loved making choices and I loved that, except for a sandwich, I didn't have to 'make' lunches.  After awhile, I discovered a few problems with our system.  1) The kids got bored with the choices. 2) Buying pre-packaged snacks got pricey and wasteful. 3) I always felt guilty that they were not eating enough fresh foods in their lunches.  A few months into this system, I went to bento box type lunches for the kids. They loved them, but it was very time consuming each night.

This year I'm changing things up a bit. It's basically the same idea I posted last year, but with fresh choices. This takes a little more prep time (about an hour), but it's worth it knowing my kids are eating healthier options that they like.

I am still using lunch bins that they can choose from. I take them out every morning and choose what they want from each bin.
Main Course (Bin 1)
This week, for the "main course" I made wraps and froze them.  I pop one in each lunch box before school, and by lunchtime, they are thawed.  I have 3 kids so I made 15 wraps.

For other main courses I plan on making a variety of sandwiches and subs, pasta salads with added protein, chicken salad, and sometimes dinner leftovers of their favorite dinners.
I bought these containers on Amazon for $13.99 for 40 for non-sandwich items.  They are 8 oz deli containers. Perfect size for a lunch.  I like these because they are re-usable, but if a kid accidentally throws one away, it's not that big of a deal.



Fruits and Veggies (Bin 2)
I make them choose 2 out of this bin.  This week I have cut broccoli, mini-carrots, strawberries, apple slices, and yogurt.  To keep the apples fresh, I soak them in pineapple juice before bagging them.  This tastes better than lemon juice. The yogurt can be used as a dip for the fruit.

Other items I plan on putting in this bin are : string cheese, various berries, orange slices, grapes, melons, sliced peppers, sugar snap peas, and celery.
 I made veggie dip out of Greek yogurt and used smaller containers that I also purchased on Amazon. I have to tell them to take only one because my daughter would take SIX.

Treat Bin (Bin 3)
This last bin contains treats that they like. This week they have mini-cheddar rice cakes, peanut butter filled pretzels, whole wheat fig newtons, and fudge stripe cookies. I have them take only one of these, because they would take ALL of them.  I know I would. My lunch would be all Fudge Stripes.

My other plans for this bin include: beef jerky, trail mix, cookies, yogurt covered raisins, dried fruit, brownies, tortilla chips and salsa, etc...

I make only 15 of the main course.The other two bins will have extras so they can have a snack for sports and other after school activities.  The kids really enjoy choosing their own lunches and I feel better about giving them healthier choices.  If you have some ideas I could add to my bins, please let me know in the comments.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Wake Up Early for a Workout

In the past, I tried to save my workouts for the evenings.   My day would be packed with work, errands, kids' practices, and rehearsals and I would put everyone else and their needs before mine. All day long I would tell myself over and over "I'll workout tonight. I'll workout tonight". Evening would roll around and there would be dinner, homework, clean-up, and getting ready for the next busy day.  By the time all of the kids were in bed I was too exhausted to work out and I'd tell myself "I'll do it tomorrow night", but of course I never did.
I decided that if I wanted to exercise, I would have to start getting up early. I'd sacrifice some sleep to make room for something I love.
It's not always easy to lose some of that delicious sleep, but here are some things I do to get my butt out the door:

1) Prep the night before. The night before I will lay out all of my workout clothes, socks, and shoes. I will fill my water bottle and put it in my gym bag with all of my other needs and put my gym bag right by the front door.  Lastly, I will set the coffee pot and lay out my breakfast so it's all ready to go when my feet hit the floor.

2) Put your alarm clock/phone across the room. If I have to walk across the room to shut it off, then I am less likely to hit snooze.  I put mine right next to my gym clothes as a reminder of why I am up so dang early.

3) Go to sleep early. It's hard to stop everything and go to sleep earlier at first, but after a few mornings of waking up early, your body will naturally want to sleep earlier.  Avoid having electronics on for at least 30 minutes before bed. I also avoid caffeine or exercise after 4 pm.

4) Be accountable. Set up a date with a friend to work out.  If I know someone is counting on me, I won't leave them hanging. I have made a lot of friends at my gym. When someone who comes regularly, we notice and make sure they know we missed them.

5) Do something you LOVE! Make sure you pick an activity that you love. If you don't love running, then you sure aren't going to get out of bed early to do it. I LOVE my current training schedule or Krav Maga classes and conditioning for KM, so I get excited about getting up to do it.  Find what you love and schedule time for that!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Easy Weeknight Curry Recipe

You know those nights that you have nothing planned for dinner and you don't feel like cooking? You are tired, you have nothing thawed from the freezer, and if your anything like me, you stall until a kid complains that they are "soooooooooo hungry". Then you panic a little and consider feeding them pancakes for dinner...again. 
I have been working hard at coming up with some very easy, but still healthy recipes for nights like this.

My family loves this brand of Curry Powder. They also love coconut milk, so I threw together this easy and somewhat healthy recipe that everyone enjoyed.
I cook large portions so that we have them for lunch during the week instead of grabbing something less healthy. Go ahead and cut the recipe in half if you need to.

Ingredients:

 2 lbs ground turkey or lean ground beef
-1 large chopped apple
1 medium chopped onion
1 14 oz bag of frozen peas
salt and pepper

Sauce:
1 can coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
cilantro (optional)
2 tablespoons curry powder (adjust for your taste)


In a large pan, brown the ground meat. Drain if you need to. Add apple, onions, peas, salt, and pepper.  Cook until onions are soft. The apples should still be a bit crisp.
Add the coconut milk, lime, cilantro, and curry powder.  Stir together and bring to a simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Serve over rice, brown rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain.

This is very quick and easy. If you cook this for your family, I'd love to hear back from you in the comments.
Enjoy!

 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Try Airrosti? {Part One}

     I was plagued with chronic and sometimes debilitating neck pain for most of my adult years.  There were times that I could not lift myself out of bed and each step I took resulted in a painful shock throughout my entire body. I saw chiropractors, doctors, Emergency Rooms...I was treated with neck braces, electric pulses, and neck braces. These treatments would temporarily ease the pain, but the pain always returned as soon as any stress entered my life. I was sick of it. Sick of the pain. Sick of missing work. Sick of the feeling that the pain killers gave me. Sick of not being able to play with my kids or work out.  Sick of it all.
     Since I was part of a large fitness community, I had heard over and over again about Airrosti.  Friends kept telling me how it helped them.  I was doubtful.  Like most of you, I am a pretty simple girl. Airrosti sounded like a fancy schmancy new gimmick to me. I don't do fancy schmancy. I was also doubtful that my insurance would cover it since it covered so little of my chiropractic care. I filed the idea of Airrosti away in the back of my mind.
     One morning, during my husbands deployment, I woke up and found that I couldn't move.  I could not get out of bed. Just breathing hurt my neck and upper back. Once I had my children help me out of bed, I made my way to the chiropractor where I learned that I would need to come for 5 visits a week, for 6 weeks, at $70 per visit....with my 3 children in tow!!! That was not going to work for me.
     I called Airrosti Rehab Centers and was able to get in that same day.  After getting my info, the very helpful service person on the phone told me that most people in my same situation felt better after just 3 visits.  Better yet, my insurance covered it and all I had to pay was my regular co-pay.
    The appointments are broken up into two parts. For the first 30 minutes, the patient meets with the doctor. S/he will discuss the  issue and then a soft tissue/skeletal muscle manipulation is applied.  I compare it to a deep tissue massage, but with a lot more pressure. After the doctor is seen, the patient works with the physical therapist to perform easy exercises to manage and prevent pain. Finally, they might apply the kinesiology tape that has quickly become my best friend when I have a sports related injury.  It is a huge help!

Both the doctor and the therapist try their best to make sure they educate their patient.  After my visits for my neck, I went home with tools and exercises to prevent that pain from happening again.  I can happily say that I have not had that type of neck pain in years. When I feel twinges of it start to creep up on me, I use what I was taught during my treatment and it goes away.  I feel that the doctors there honestly want to help you with your issues and do their best to treat your issue and not just temporarily cover up your symptoms.
     So...now that I went through all of that, you might still be wondering: What the heck is Airrosti???
In my words it is a way to fix and heal skeletal muscles and connective tissue using deep tissue manipulation followed by a short and easy physical therapy.

"But I'm not an athlete! I don't work out.  Isn't Airrosti only for athletes?"

No way.  Airrosti is helpful with many issues people face daily. I have been for neck pain (that had nothing to do with my workouts), tennis elbow, and a sprained ankle.

" Is it expensive? "

 Airrost has saved me tons of money.  I only pay a regular co-pay per visit compared to all the money I was spending on my neck pain in the past. It may possibly help you avoid any unnecessary surgery that might be recommended by other types of interventions.

 
If you are suffering with physical pain, I would recommend Airrosti a thousand times.  If they can't fix you, they work hard to find someone who can.  Tomorrow I will post about my visit to the very cool Airrosti headquarters and the exercises that I learned to help with lower back pain that plagues many people.   

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Healthy Traveling Snacks



It's that time of year again...time to hit the road.  That time of year when families  travel to great destinations to spend some quality time together. The beach, the forest, the mountains, campfires,  Disney, "Are we there yet", "I have to go potty", "You're stuff is on MY side", "QUIT looking at me" and the never ending "Mom, I'm hungry" (insert whine).

Most gas stations carry things like pork rinds, chips, cookies, and candy.  That's fun, at first, but after awhile my stomach starts to rumble with queasiness and I can feel the pimples growing on my face.

Here is a list of some of my favorite foods for the car:

Proteins:
beef/turkey jerky
cheese cubes
pumpkin seeds
almonds
nut butter on crackers
hummus
protein bars
turkey and cheese roll ups
hard boiled eggs (but they make the car smell...gross)
trail mix

Fruits/Veggies:
grapes
apple slices with peanut butter
berries
bananas
cherry tomatoes
baby carrots
sliced cucumbers
sliced bell peppers
sugar snap peas
sliced zucchini
orange slices

Grains:
mini-bagles
whole grain crackers
banana or zucchini bread
any of those rolled, no bake energy balls

Most importantly,  stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water!

Have fun on you vacations and stay safe.  I'll be back in a few days with workouts you can do on the road using just your body weight.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's time to get DIRRRTY...(Dirty Girl Mud Run)

I LOVE all kinds of races and physical events...endurance races, road races, mud runs, yoga workshops, zumba marathons...I love them all. One of my favorite non-competitive events is the DIRTY GIRL Mud Run. I am happy to announce that I am one of the many blog ambassadors for the Dirty Girl this year! Yay!!!! Not only does the Dirty Girl support women with cancer, but it is a fun an fulfilling event. There is no competition..just fun, sisterhood and support.  I wrote about my experience with my team last year.


I highly encourage every woman to participate.  All of the women there are encouraging and help each other through the obstacles.  If you don't want to do a certain obstacle, no problem...go around it. If you can't run, walk and enjoy it with your friends.  You will leave feeling accomplished, empowered, and loved.

I know you want to do it. What's stopping you??? To sweeten your temptation to join in the fun, I have a discount code for you!!! Sign up here and use the code: DGSANANTONIO  I really hope I see you there.  If you see me, come introduce yourself to me and give me a hug! Can't wait to meet you!