Thursday, June 23, 2011

My "Last Supper" BBQ Steak With Portabella's & Onions, Jamaican Black Beans, and Steamed Broccoli


Twas the night before surgery and all through the house not a skillet was empty, not even the BBQ... haha. I don't eat red meat too often so I thought I'd make it worth it tonight.

The steaks were seasoned with good ol' Montreal Steak Seasoning, cayenne pepper and just a little Italian herbs - and BBQ'd them up outside.

Sliced up two large yellow onions, big portabella with a little butter, salt and pepper and sauteed them.

Opened three cans of black beans, sliced up half bunch of cilantro, 2 tb of minced garlic, 2 tb of minced ginger, some more of that Jamaican Jerk seasoning I have used in previous recipes. Little cayenne, salt and pepper - delicious!!


Here is the steaks all done - they were so tender and amazing! The mushrooms and onions on top were so complimentary and amazing! Black beans were I think everyone's favorite part - as well as we had some steamed broccoli on the side that was great mixed in with everything!

I even opened a bottle of wine I have been saving - If you have never heard of them look up Christopher Creek. Some of the best Cab's I have ever had! The wine was perfect with the steak and beans. Limited it to one glass, then drank a ton of water and had a peach for dessert - more water and cut myself at 11:00pm. No food or drink until after surgery tomorrow! Surgery is at 4:00PM wish me luck! :)


As much as I am not excited for surgery thank you everyone for all of your support and I can't wait until I am on the healing side and on my way back to being to 100% health and able to do everything that I love again! Much love to everyone! xo

Tuna Steak Fish Tacos with Black Beans & Pico de Gallo



I know most people use white fishes like tilapia most often in tacos - but we had some Tuna Steaks in the freezer from Trader Joe's to use. So why not?

You need:

-Package of Trader Joe's Frozen Tuna Steaks
-1/2 Onion - diced
-2 cloves garlic diced
-1 Jalapeno - if you like spice!
-1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped 1/4 for Tuna & 1/4 for Beans (or any salsa you like! I bet pineapple salsa would be great!)
-1/4 cup to 1/2 Cup Pico de Gallo
-1 lime - cut in half
- Salt & Pepper
-Can of Black Beans
-Some shredder cabbage
-Avocado
-Pico de Gallo
-Corn Tortillas - optional

I defrost the tuna in room temperature water - not hot water (cooks the fish). While the fish is defrosting I put the chopped onion/garlic & jalapeno if you desire, in a skillet on medium/high heat with a little EVOO and brown it a bit. I chopped up the tuna into big chunks and turned down the heat to medium/low. Add 1/4 cup of pico de gallo in the skillet and squeeze in half of the lime and half of the chopped cilantro. Stir around here and there until tuna is almost cooked all the way through - turn heat on high for just a few minutes to brown everything.

Warm up the tortillas if desired or pile up like a salad - which is what I do. Fish, black beans, cabbage, more pico de gallo, more lime and more cilantro! So refreshing, light and tasty!

Nice thing about this recipe is start to finish it maybe takes 20-30 minutes from chopping to enjoying!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good Breakfast: Quinoa with Fruit, Agave and Almond Milk

Easy Quinoa Breakfast Cereal!

I love Quinoa - such a diverse food. It's the only carb I'll eat with dinner as it's a complete protein ("Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids."). I love it's nutty flavor and similar-to-couscous texture. I use it in place of pasta & rice - two things I try not to eat too frequently.

For this example I had blueberries & peaches in the fridge so I made the quinoa as normal - very similar to rice but takes less time. Note about quinoa is that it is unlike typical breakfast cereals and you don't want to fill your bowl as much as usual. Quinoa is very hearty and honestly if you eat too much you're going to feel that heavy kind of full. I scooped maybe 4 good spoonfuls out into a bowl and placed it in the fridge and went about making coffee and what not. Took it out when it was about room temp, I cut up a juicy peach I had just bought from Whole Foods, put in a small handful of blueberries and topped with a splash of Almond Milk - which in my opinion so far is the best option for a "milk". Stirred it up and usually for me the fruit is sweet enough but I was craving something a tad sweet so I added just a little bit of agave syrup. It was so yummy! And I was full for hours! You can use honey, different fruit, or for you guys that want more protein - add some almonds or even a scoop of your favorite whey protein powder!

A lot of my recipes as you can see are pretty simple - I will post specific recipes too but I remember when I started cooking the joy of creating my own "thing" and that's kind of what I like to encourage! I want you to make it your own! What's your favorite fruit? What's going bad in the fruit basket or maybe you prefer honey? DO IT!

Sesame Chicken, Kidney Bean, Feta Salad & Salad Ideas

Yummy Salads!

At almost all times, I keep romaine and spinach on hand. I love getting the big 6-head pack from Costco. Otherwise, the best way to create a salad is use what you got! Beans? Celery? Carrots? Beets? Lemon juice? Lime juice? Salsa? Turkey? Chicken? Leftovers? :)

The salad I made the other night stood above the rest though:

Sesame Chicken, Kidney Bean & Feta Salad:

-Need a chicken breast
-Either chicken broth cube or EVOO (see previous posts)
-Sesame Seeds (I prefer toasted)
-Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
-Dried or fresh ginger
-Salt & Pepper
-Romaine Lettuce
-Can or homemade Kidney Beans
-Feta Cheese (I buy the low fat version)

I like to rub sesame seeds and ginger on both sides of the chicken first then put it into a small skillet with either the chicken broth or EVOO in it on medium heat. I use just a few drops of toasted sesame oil on both sides of the chicken as well as a little salt and pepper (when you flip it). Sesame oil is good for blood circulation, fatigue, backaches, hair and hair loss. I flip back and forth a few times as I like the outside to get a little brown and crispy. When cooked all the way through - sometimes I'll just cut it in half on the pan - take it off the pan and cut it into bite size pieces. Chop up some romaine - top with your chicken, I put maybe /13 cup on pinto beans then just a little feta on top. Nice thing about feta is a little bit goes a long way. With the tastes of the sesame and ginger, the nuttiness of the beans and taste of the feta you don't need any dressing in my opinion! But if you feel it's needed - an olive oil/lemon juice dressing would be delicious! Picture was taken after the gym, a little beat as you can tell but a great recovery dinner!

This is actually the insides from the Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe - I threw it on top of romaine for a quick lunch and it was great! Again, if you're one of those people that need dressing - this is a great opportunity to use salsa or pico de gallo instead of heavy fattening dressings! As you can see I throw kidney beans on salad a lot. They just compliment salads so well! Great source of protein and fiber too!

This a post I will probably add on to later. Trying to get as much posted before my surgery in two days!


Monday, June 20, 2011

If You're Going to Drink, Drink Smart!


Hope everyone had a great weekend!

It was my roommate & good friend Jenna's birthday and we had a great time, went out for a few drinks to celebrate last night, something I haven't done in quite some time. It was a great night with great friends!

With eating so healthy, working out and obviously not drinking.. I was quite a lightweight. Two Pomegranate Vodka & Soda Water's with Lime and I was quite happy. Like I said, you still need to live life and have fun - just do it smart! Such as...

My drink: Pomegranate Vodka - 69 calories an ounce - a shot is 1 to 1.5 ounces on average.
Soda water has no calories and a slice of lime has 1 calorie. See Nutrition Facts below.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 wedge or slice (1/8 of one 2" dia lime)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 1
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 0.01g0%
Saturated Fat 0.001g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.002g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.001g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 4mg
Total Carbohydrate 0.42g0%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugars 0.07g
Protein 0.03g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 0%Iron 0%

My drink is about 70-105 calories, you really only need one one or two depending on the occasion and basically no carbs! Compared to most of the beers I like are at least 150-200 calories and 20grams of carbs and you usually end up drinking 3-4 of them. Adds up fast!

Basically stay away from the sweet stuff. If you do not like the taste of alcohol and need something to help cover up the taste - there is still smart choices. Such as a mojito, the classic recipe is - white rum, soda water, mint, lime, and sugar or simple syrup BUT you can use agave syrup instead! This is a cool website to check out if you're unfamiliar with the benefits of Agave (http://www.allaboutagave.com/index.php) I get mine at Whole Foods.

Healthier Mojito:

10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 Lime - sliced into 4 wedges
1 tablespoon Agave Syrup, or to taste
1 1/2 Ounces (standard shot) white rum
1/2 cup club soda
1 cup ice

Muddle (smash basically) the mint and one lime slice, add the agave and the other two lime wedges and smash some more. Add the ice, pour the rum over, add soda water - stir, taste, add more agave if need be and garnish with the final lime.

This is just an example... If you still need some juice opt for something that is 100% juice, no added sugars (why do you need sugar with naturally sweet fruit anyway?), and I opt for something like pomegranate, acai, blueberry, cranberry - something that has some antioxidants in it too.

I made a really yummy sesame chicken salad with kidney beans I'll post about it tomorrow. Insomnia is still about the same but alas I must crawl into bed as I have another appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon tomorrow - wish me luck!

Wishing everyone health & happiness!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Stuffed Baked Peppers with Ground Turkey


The Very Versatile & Very Delicious Stuffed Bell Peppers: :)
I did a Spanish Style this time around...

You need:
-Bell Peppers
-Package of Ground Turkey
-Handful of Spinach
-1 Small Onion (I used Yellow)
-2 Garlic Cloves
- About 1/2 Cup Pice de Gallo (I usually use homemade for this I used fresh store bought)
-1 Carrot - shredded
-Chopped Celery if desired
-About 1/3 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)
- (I didn't actually use the beans pictured, but they are always a great addition!)

Spices:
-Chili Powder
-Cumin
-Black Pepper
-Italian Herbs
-Cheyenne Pepper
-Veggie Salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Start with chopping the onion and mincing the garlic - throw in a pan on medium heat, let it brown a little bit and then throw in a big handful of spinach and let it reduce down.

I keep my ground turkey in the freezer as I buy it in bulk usually (I love it!) so I let it defrost overnight - then throw it in with the spinach/garlic/onion mixture.
*Again, experiment! What inspired me was we had some pico de gallo & spinach that needed to be used - use what you have!*

Add in your spices! Sorry I didn't measure, something I need to work on. My mom always taught me "to taste" and that's how I have always been. I put just a light sprinkle of cheyenne, a few teaspoons of cumin, chili powder, crushed some fresh black pepper and italian herbs over and added a little bit of veggie salt.


After the turkey has been mixed and I try to chop it up a bit with a spatula, add in the pico de gallo - and stir well. (Homemade pico de gallo is easy to make- this just needed to be used up).

After adding the pico de gallo, I shredded one carrot over the mixture and let it cook for a few more minutes.

Stuff those peppers! I cut the them in half and take out the seeds and some of the ribs. I kind of cram it in, and even put a little on top. Then sprinkle with a little cheese. I rarely eat dairy but we had some cheese about to go bad and it adds such a nice texture & flavor on top.

I had some leftover as seen here - great to throw in with eggs in the morning, or make a little quinoa or even on a salad!

Place your peppers in the oven and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or 25 to brown the cheese a bit - which I did and it turned out amazing and the peppers were nice and soft.

Let cool for a few minutes and serve! I used a fork & butter knife and it was fine. Also, don't be fooled I was pretty stuffed after just one!

This is a recipe you can play with! Next time I am think I may try a "Greek" version. Chopped up olives, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, basil, spinach, and top with some feta!

Please let me know any questions, suggestions, etc! As always thanks for reading and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quick Tip: White Teeth without the Ouch! And it's Cheap!

So, you're sitting with your girlfriends on the outdoor patio enjoying some lunch & sun and an attractive guy walks by... he catches you checking him out and smiles back at you and BAM! The moment is ruined with his non-pearly yellows staring back at you. Not sure about you, but yellow teeth are a big turn off for me. For me it represents the mouth I may be kissing in the future and usually it's a sign of personal hygiene in general.

Ewwwieeee!

I have sensitive teeth - not as sensitive as some (I can live without Sensodyne toothpaste and I won't die if there is ice in my water) but bleaching trays, white strips and the like usually KILL my teeth. First time I tried bleaching trays I was in terrible pain for several days afterwards. I used white strips here and there but always suffered during & after usage as well. I'm not sure if anyone else gets this but I get terrible sharp pains when using them.

I've cut back but I still love my black coffee. Here and there I drink a glass of red wine - famous for staining teeth.

How do I keep my teeth white? A simple 98 cent bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide!

"But Mikaelaa isn't that was has hurt my teeth in the past?" YES! But in high concentrations. Regular over the counter Hydrogen Peroxide is 3% - compared to the 35% with heat and/or light used at the Dentist.

Over the counter H.P. is great for:
  • Strengthens teeth
  • Fight mouth bacteria
  • Heal canker sores
  • Soak and wash vegetables / fruits in to kill bacteria and neutralize chemicals
  • Brush teeth with for extra protection
  • Soak toothbrush in for a few seconds to disinfect (daily)

Of course your dentist is going to say there are adverse effects but to date none can be proven, and how can 3% have adverse effects when 35% concentrate doesn't? Hmmmm....


1. Gargle for 30secs-1 minute
I gargle twice a day after brushing my teeth or sometimes I wait and gargle after I have had my morning coffee :)


2. Spit out (never swallow it!) and have a bright smile without the pain!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mahi Mahi, Black Beans & Wild Rice with Coconut Water

This is a dish that Greg & I love to make. He made it this night so he deserves all the credit as it was absolutely delicious!

Lime Mahi Mahi, Cilantro Lime Jamaican Jerk Black Beans, Wild Rice With Coconut Water and Steamed Broccoli:

Mahi Mahi:

We get our mahi mahi from Trader Joe's always have loved their fish selection, quality and prices. This is simply pan seared in EVOO with Jamaican Jerk seasoning (from Savory Spices in downtown Santa Rosa), a lot of lime juice and fresh cracked pepper. Just cook flipping hear and there until cooked through.

Black Beans:

We just used Organic Canned black beans with about half a bunch of cilantro, lime juice, and some of the Jamaican Jerk seasoning just cooked on low for a bit. We both agreed this was our favorite part of the meal. Beans are always something fun to experiment with - just stick to whole beans and keep it light on the salt!

Wild Rice with Coconut Water:

We get the wild rice mix from Trader Joe's and although both of us are cutting down on rice, especially late this was a little treat to ourselves. If you're going to do rice this is the way to do it with a brown rice base and some Indian rice as well as wholesome wheat berries for nutrition and amazing texture. He did the standard 2 cups water with 1 cup rice replacing the water with coconut water. The texture, taste, EVERYTHING was amazing! With the black beans it couldn't have been tastier.

Broccoli:

The broccoli was standard steamed broccoli with a little fresh black pepper on it. Mixed in with everything else it was amazing!

Everything with this dinner complimented each other. I know I wasn't too detailed in this blog, so please if you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll ask Greg. :)

Thai Lettuce Wraps - One of my Favs! Healthy and Yummy!

Thai Lettuce Wraps:

What you need:
  • 1 - 2 LB Chicken Breast
  • Teriyaki for Chicken (I love Yoshidas Marinade)
  • 2 Bunches Cilantro
  • 2 Bunches Thai Basil (reg basil is fine!)
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions
  • 1 Bunch Mint
  • 3-4 Limes - I usually use 3 inside then one for garnish
  • 1 cup - 2 cups Sweet Chili Sauce (I usually get Mae Ploy from Food 4 Less- See Below)
  • 2-3 Heads of Romaine Hearts
  • Optional: Chopped Peanuts - 1 Cup Chopped to incorporate into mixture plus 1/2 for garnish. I usually just do some for garnish.
Equipment Needed:
  • Good chopping knife
  • Cutting board(s)
  • Big Bowl
  • 1 Cup Measuring Cup
  • Bowl for Chicken Breast
  • Medium Pot to Cook Chicken
Note: This recipe is easy but requires a lot of chopping! Great if you need to get some aggression out :) Took me about 30-40 to chop but I was also distracted.

Wish my sink always looked like this! Yumm! I love herbs!!

Directions:

I like to marinate the chicken overnight in teriyaki in a ziploc bag, but it's not necessary. Place about an inch of water or so in your medium pot and add the chicken dumping and left over teriyaki in there too. Steam/boil the chicken stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, you want it cooked all the way through but not dry. Turn off let cool a little then place into a bowl and put in the refrigerator to cool. Wash your herbs, as you can see in the picture I kind of keep them separated which isn't necessary but sometimes it makes it easier as they chop differently. I cut the stems off except the basil I just run my hand down the stem to remove the leaves and chop just the leaves. Chop everything up cilantro, basil, green onion, mint, and peanuts if desired.

Pull your chicken out of the fridge and if cool enough chop it up. I usually vary the chopping, some a little smaller pieces some bigger. See picture blow. (The chicken looks really pink but it is actually cooked all the way through - all I have in an iPhone for pictures).

Mix everything together pretty well. Then start with adding your limes - Because bunches of herbs and chicken content can vary I do a lot to taste. I start with 2 limes and 1 cup of sweet chili sauce. Mix well and although the texture won't be the best right now try a bite. I usually add one more like an about 1/2 cup more sweet chili sauce. Thing is, go LIGHT on the sauce because as the herbs and chicken sit together in the ridge they will blend and you don't want to over sauce it.

Let it fridgerate for a few hours. The longer the better - honestly, you can make this a day ahead because in my opinion it's better the second day.
Warning will all the chopping it can make a mess!

Wash and cut the stem off of your romaine - I like to stack them in rows for serving. Cut small pieces of lime for garnish and peanuts if you choose to.


Now put a little of your mixture into a romaine leaf, garnish as you please and enjoy! Greg likes to fill them up, and I like to make them a little lighter and add a bunch of lime.

These are very high in protein, low in fat and carbs. The only bad thing really is the sweet chili sauce but you spread it throughout so many servings that I wouldn't think about it too much. Of course adding the peanuts adds a fair amount of fat and more calories. For me as yummy as it is incorporated into the mixture I think it's better just to garnish with chopped peanuts here and there.

As soon as I get the actual site up: www.mikaelaa.com I will come up with a way to make an easy to print version for anyone that prefers to have a hard copy like me. ( Homemade three ring binder with plastic sleeves is my favorite cookbook!)

More recipes & posts to come! Please comment if you try it, have suggestions, requests, questions or anything else!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to Beat Bad Moods



Good Afternoon Everybody!

We all wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

It's a beautiful sun-shiny day here in Santa Rosa, life is pretty darn good, so why did I wake up in such a terrible mood? I have a few guesses, the biggest one being the pain in my foot made it hard for me to fall asleep until 5:00am. I woke up feeling defeated today. I woke up wanting to give up and not care anymore. I am a very active, fast-paced person (I crutch faster than most people walk hah!) and I think the realization that I won't be able to wakeboard this season and possibly snowboard next really hit me hard. So what did I do?

I won't lie I sat and moped - then I realized that won't get me anywhere and it makes time stop. I slammed down a big glass of water, did 10 push-ups and text a few friends to catch up and say hi. Ate my Greek yogurt with honey - did an ab & oblique workout, more push-ups and some core. Took a shower and here I am! Talked to some friends, made some plans, and doing some more laundry. When you wake up as I did TRUST ME I know how hard it is to rise above it. For me I have made the glass of water kind of my "trigger" to wake-up, to change something about my day, to get going! Remember we ALL have someone that is ALWAYS willing to be there for us! I didn't tell them I was having a bad day.. I asked about THEM. Friends & other people's lives are a great distraction from your own. I did tell my best friend Sophie I was having a rough day, and I think it's alright to vent but don't be the downer on someone's day... Work together and make it better :) Encourage someone, even when you're down, it'll make you feel amazing!

Things that also help is do something that you have been putting off. Yes, the stuff you loathe! Bills, homework, phone calls to chatty relatives (love you guys :), take the trash out, unload the dishwasher... for me it was manage my medical bills. The more you hate it the better you feel when it's DONE! Just get it over with!

Need to get some postings done on Craigslist - trying to sell my Nissan Titan. I LOVE my truck but since I don't do animal rescue anymore, nor will I be driving much with my new downtown home - there is no need. Trying to live a more efficient, "down-sized", greener lifestyle - something I definitely have a lot of learning to do on! Something I hope to start incorporating into this blog as well.

Going to post a great dinner recipe in a few too! Mmm mmm mmmm!

Oh! And.. Greek Yogurt - see how it says 27g of sugar? That's if you use all the honey/berries/etc. Which as you can see in my empty picture you need maybe 10% of what they give you! Don't automatically mix it in. I prefer to buy the big thing of plain greek and use local honey but during the move this was easier :)



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Quick Tips" primarily for Breakfast & Morning time

Good Afternoon! As always.. thanks for tuning in!

Sometimes I don't really have enough for a blog per say, but chatting with different friends these last few days I have been slowly remembering just easy "Quick Tips" for healthy living. I will reiterate I am not a nutritionist, I am not a personal trainer, and these tips may not work for everyone. My goal in all of this is to motivate, push, encourage and hope that in some way I can help inspire you into some form of bettering your life. :) And I hope all of you know I am ALWAYS here for specific tips, questions.. or just support. I never push my beliefs on anyone, but lately I really feel like God is steering me and working directly through me :)

Morning & Breakfast Quick Tip's (Note: I will probably be continually adding to this as I remember as well as learn new great tips!)

  • Very first thing I do when I wake up is chug a big glass of water - sometimes it's tough to do but seriously, just do it. You'll get a bit of a headrush and you can just feel your body waking up. Plus it's a good idea for us coffee drinkers as your body is already dehydrated from sleep & coffee on top of that just makes it worse which can make you fatigued.
  • If you do make a habit of purchasing coffee, don't do the drive through and as painful as it will be without any caffeine intake yet - park as far as you can away and walk. Wake up your body!
  • Say you usually wake up at 7:00 every other week start setting your alarm even 5 minutes earlier so 6:55 then 6:50 and so on. Use that 5 minutes to do something... anything! Walk, do some crunches, have a dvd cued up and just get a little sweat on. It's tough to start but once you do you'll notice how much more positive you are and how much better your day is!
  • Everyone says it and so will I - EAT BREAKFAST especially after you 5+ day kickstart workout! I don't believe in huge drastic changes.. ease into breakfast or a healthier breakfast then you are less likely to give up! You like sweet breakfasts like pastries? Try Greek Yogurt - lots of protein and so yummy! I love plain Greek Yogurt with a little local honey in it. Trade in those sugary cereals for brands like Kashi which are whole grain high in protein & fiber and will keep you full longer and no sugar crash! If you like eggs and not eggs whites what I like to do is one egg and one egg white - I throw in some spinach and mushrooms usually. If you're not a veggie person just start off with a tiny bit of a veggie and if you need to throw in some low fat cheese (or something like feta) and slow up the veggie portion and decrease the cheese!
  • If you like oatmeal one of my favorites is old fashioned oats, scoop of whey protein powder, and raisins with a little cinnamon.
  • I know no carb diets are popular and I limit my carb intake but in my opinion carbs=energy and you need energy in the AM. The thing is you don't want to "sleep on energy/carbs". Again, ease into it but for me no carbs after 5:00pm and I go to bed relatively late. If you want to eat carbs as I always say "Whole grain or bust!". Whole grain has more fiber, is usually more hunger satisfying and has much more nutrients then white flour products. Make a bunch of brown rice and keep it in a tupperware so you don't just eat it at night when you have time to make it (Great in eggs, with lunch). I also space out my carbs - "Ok, I have had a whole wheat english muffin 3 times this week, I'm going to skip it today".
  • Drink lots of water. I know some people hate water and if you need a little help from Crystal Lite.. Then so be it. Keep your body hydrated! Never consume anything with high fructose corn syrup, stay away from drinks branded as energy or sports drinks (gatorade, powerade, even vitamin water [if anything get the zero version] - they have a LOT of sugar! For me as long as I keep a water bottle by me when I'm out & about, on the computer, near my bed - I find myself unconsciously reaching for it and BAM I'm a few bottles down! I like to use reusable aluminum bottles :)
  • Many times when you think you're hungry you're actually thirsty! If it's not necessarily meal time yet and you want to snack try drinking down a big glass of water and wait ten minutes. If you're still hungry - eat! The benefit of doing this anyway is you'll be less likely to over eat now! If I know I'm going to be out and about I'll literally keep a gallon jug of water on me.
More to come! I have many general throughout the day tips that I will post all together in my next blog. If you have more to add or questions - write me or comment! mikaelaacrist@gmail.com

No excuses start incorporating a few tips in every day! Trust me.. eating well and taking care of yourself starts making everything in your life better and goals & dreams seem so much for feasible!

Lots of love...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Turkey Bacon, Sliced Almond Brussel Sprouts MmmMmm

Brussel Sprout Salad? Name ideas? Anyone? Bueller?

Very easy and very yummy - in my opinion. I know many people hate brussel sprouts but I've actually had people try this that don't like brussel sprouts and they enjoyed it! I should have timed it but I think it maybe takes 20 minutes.

You need:

-Brussel Sprouts
- Half Package of Turkey Bacon -preferably NOT Oscar Meyer
-Sliced or slivered almonds
-Chicken stock & olive oil
-Herbs (customize it! I like Italian Herbs then some kind of creole, Morracan, Curry - It's honestly different every time!)
-Fresh cracked pepper (usually salt isn't necessary)

Start with a little chicken broth (see future blogs for the convenient way to do so!), I actually stole some broth from the soup I made yesterday :). If none is available I prefer to steam with a little bit of water in the bottom. Let them steam for a few with a lid on and get to the other ingredients!

Like I said in ingredients don't buy Oscar Meyer brand! Soo salty and higher fat content I realized after purchasing. Anyone ever seen Organic Turkey Bacon? I'd love to find some!

I just barely cut the stems off and half them.. sometimes I quarter them - when you quarter them it makes it more of a "salad".
I maybe had slightly less than a pound of brussel sprouts so I used half the package of turkey bacon, which was more than enough. Slice like the picture shows... have another pan lightly greased with olive oil on high heat and spread the pieces apart with your fingers. Doesn't matter if they stick together a bit. Mix them all around - turn to medium high and add a small handful of almonds. Stir around get the almonds and bacon browned.

When browned add into your pot of steaming brussel sprouts... Stir!

I usually take a brussel sprout or two out to test how done they are, I prefer them a little al dente. At the end I like to turn up the pan to high heat to get a little good brown on the sprouts. Turn off and remove from and...
Yummmm!!!!

Once I made brown rice, added some eggs and baked it all at 350 degrees for maybe 20-25 minutes, made it casserole style! Trying not to eat too much rice these days but just an idea!

Healthy Living, Spray Tans, Eating Good & Feelin' Good!

Feeling grrrrrreeeeaaaat today as Tony the Tiger says - Maybe it's because the sun finally came out YAY!

So, it's a few days later and I'm staying pretty true to my new healthy lifestyle - well, new-old healthy lifestyle. Key word: lifestyle.. NOT diet - well, at least the negative connotation isn't applied here more like.. "Diet: food and drink considered in terms of its qualities,composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet."

I've been sticking to my guns - I know I just started but Sundays are usually my cheat day so I let myself have a beer at the Russian River Brewery and catch up with some friends I don't see too often and also had a little bit of popcorn during the new X-Men which I loved! Otherwise I was a good girl :)

Monday I was bad as I didn't eat until later in the day because as I had a doctor appointment early in the am but when I got home I had some of Greg's crazy Moroccan Concoction Stew. I did make some homemade chicken soup from scratch. Boiled the carcass maybe four hours - cooled, scooped off the fat on top, strained, added lots of yummy veggies, a few chopped up chicken breasts, lots of herbs and a small handful of 100% whole wheat/egg noodles. The carb impact on the huge pot of soup really wasn't a huge deal.. everything in moderation. Also went with Jenna, my roommate, to pick up her boyfriend from SFO.

Today, Tuesday, has been pretty good. I started with plain Greek yogurt with a tiny bit of honey in it. For you that don't like the consistency of regular yogurt try it out, it's thicker and just has a better texture plus more protein!

Came home, ate some of my soup.. felt a bit nauseous from pain so I gave it to Greg. Ran an errand then went and got spray tanned - OHHHH Ya! Let me tell you I am a spray tan ADDICT! So much better for you, and looks great PLUS for people like me it helps hide unseemly scars (see pic below) :) I always always go to Adrenaline Zone on Calistoga Road in Santa Rosa. Bryan, the owner has always treated me like family and does an amazing job! In the years I have been going I have never had lines, streaks or been orange! Hey, body builder friends he has a special double dark for you folks :) Check him out: http://www.yelp.com/biz/adrenaline-zone-sports-santa-rosa

Had a bowl of spinach with a can of tuna on top with some fresh cracked pepper and squeezed a little lemon.. yumm and a "Mik Soda" 85% Seltzer Water (or as my mom and I call it "fizzy water") and 15% juice (usually something with antioxidants - blueberry, pomegranate, acai).

Maybe I'll just have some soup for dinner but I have a frozen fillet of salmon in the freezer and some fresh brussel sprouts purchased yesterday... hmmm.

Not supposed to sweat after getting sprayed so I think I'll put the fan on me and do some core, obliques and push ups today (planks and pushups I just cross my foot over - works for now!)

Mikela dropped me off some Mary Kay stuff I ordered - for those of you who think Mary Kay is old fashioned or for an older generation are very misled.. Their image has drastically changed. I've found some great stuff, my favorite being the mineral foundation for $18 - build-able coverage looks natural and Bare Escentuals is $10 more for 1/3 of the amount! No joke!

Feeling the need for some girls time/girls night soon.. Last one was a riot! Mikela doing makeup, Jenna doing hair, clothing swap, was supposed to have a masseuse but she had family show up.. this time we're thinking making it bigger - basically a fun way to showcase what you do/love.

Excuse my grungy picture - I almost didn't post but again, the purpose of this blog is to be 100% honest and open. So I've been eating pretty good, drinking lots of water and exercising what I can.. still trying to think up some other stuff (anyone have any free weights I could borrow? buy?) Starting to get some definition but of course the spray tan helps too! Also it doesn't come out this orange.. this is the initial spray and I can't shower for a few more hours!


Thought I'd be the not so fun news down here:
Went to the orthopedic surgeon - and looks like I can either go through the painful experience of cortisone shots or get part of a bone in my ankle/foot removed. Still weighing my options... But I never ever never want to feel the pain I felt from that shot again. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and that was excruciating. Just praying to the Lord to let me know what's best and keep my healing! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Timing of eating & a healthy cooking base quick tip


One thing I am horrible at is eating when I am suppose to. I won't eat all day then eat a huge dinner which I know is horrible. I was really good at eating breakfast before - I've always loved Greek yogurt and I used to make a habit of eating my old fashioned oats with a scoop of protein powder and raisins. Lately, I have my cup or moreso cups of coffee and don't eat until late in the afternoon. I have always been a why eat if I'm not hungry person... one of my biggest things to work on.

For breakfast.. well nearly lunch I should say I made:

-2 egg whites, 1 egg
-some little pieces of chicken breast (just pulled some off of a rotisserie chicken Greg has)
-maybe 1/4 cup of sliced mushrooms
-little pepper and veggie salt


Yumm...

I need to remind Greg that once most of the chicken is off the carcass to save it...

Quick Tip: What I love to do is fill a pot up with water and boil the carcass for 3+ hours. Why 3+? To get the bone marrow out which has a lot of healthy antioxidants. I let it cool, scoop off the fat on the top and what I do is pour it into ice cube trays, freeze, then put them all in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Perfect for cooking instead of oil or if you have a recipe that needs a little moisture as well as a quick and easy base for sauces, soup etc! Convenient and much healthier then the alternatives - butter/oil.

Thinking of buying a whole turkey soon and cooking it up and freezing some of it. So much better then icky salty overpriced lunch meat and great to just have on hand for snacks, incorporate into meals... I wonder what's better for you turkey or chicken? Something I have never researched.

Going to do some exercises, finish up some laundry then meeting up with Jessica to go to the Giants game. Think we might take the ferry so I don't have to crutch as far!

I still need to get on the before & after pictures... Not exactly the first thing I want to do but hey, the point of the blog was to motivate myself and others so I need to get on it!

Until next time...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It starts (started) tonight!

So far so good...

Made chicken breasts with veggies (just the costco bag of frozen veggies and chicken but after the move that's what we have right now) - used Jamaican Jerk Seasoning from Savory Seasoning Shop in downtown Santa Rosa (awesome shop if you haven't checked out, great seasonings, very diverse cuisines and recipe ideas! Oh and free samples!)

Very easy just took the frozen breasts put them in a pan of a little evoo - I like to put them in the pan flip them over right after and sprinkle seasonings so they stick nicely. Cook for a few minutes flip them over, sprinkle seasoning on other side cook for a few minutes through the veggies on top and sprinkle seasonings and cover with a lid and let steam until tender. Easy and only one pan to clean!

Greg & I were both happy and filled.

From chatting to friends & family and even remembering my own tips from the past I'm going to try and start writing them down...

Kristen: Eat before you meet up with friends, anywhere you go look for salads, drink liquor without the mixers or her (& one of my favs!) vodka, soda water and lime when drinking alcohol. -All those sweet drinks at up really fast! A long island has 780 calories!

Gina: Eat good fats: Avocado, EVOO, almonds, peanut butter, whey protein, small portions and eat every 3 hours.

I like to stay pretty strict 6 days of the week and have a cheat day, for me usually Sunday - I try not to go too crazy usually but what I did try to do was plan cheat days on friends birthdays, special events etc so that when/if I cheated I didn't feel guilty about it. Thing not to do is cheat then keep say your Sunday cheat day. If I wanted a treat during the week I kept it to something like dark chocolate, oatmeal cookie, 100% juice popsicle - anything under say 200-250 calories.

I think that's it for now... Thinking of maybe doing before & after photos hmmm.

Sleep Sweet.

Motivation...

Well.

Here we go... Again.

What I mean by "again" is as much I try to just maintain a healthy lifestyle it is so easy for the excuses to get in the way of just that... not enough time, I'll do it tomorrow, just this time, moving, convenience and the list goes on. You know what I'm talking about.

As a kid I was strange as I preferred veggies over the fried food, had no desire to eat fast food and a common story my mother loves to tell is how she would pack me with a can of corn when I was going to pizza parties - as I preferred eating that can of corn then icky greasy pizza.

Funny how more than anything our social lives change our eating habits over time. Instead of making that chicken breast and broccoli at home we end up grabbing the burger, fries and beer. At least that's what has happened to me. I won't lie, as much as I love my alone time it seems more and more I crave to be in social settings. My thought is I used to work in social settings aka club scene, bartending even I would say most food industry type jobs are pretty social. I think maybe transitioning into more of a corporate setting and not being basically forced into being social anymore has made me crave company. I laugh at how you can get so burned out working in those scenes and then you crave it when you don't have it.. oh, catch 22's!

For those of you who don't know I've been on crutches since April 27th - I see an orthopedic surgeon on June 7th and will learn more then. So far all I know is I have several fractures in my foot. Before it happened I wasn't consistent in the gym but I was eating well and keeping physically active, mostly riding my beloved bike and always doing home "body weight exercises". I was planning on doing the Tough Mudder in September up in Tahoe - I was feeling motivated and ready to take on any challenge. I have always wanted to do a marathon and was starting to look into training/signing up.. and all that jazz. Yes, I have a broken foot but really it's no excuse for making a habit of eating whatever I want.. nachos, burgers, mac n' cheese, pizza, double helpings, and of course beer; not doing any physical exercise... and somehow it has been my excuse for all of the aforementioned.

I really do need to mention one of the biggest motivators for me (besides the general of feeling of bleh) is www.toneitup.com. Katrina and Karena take a very positive, inspiring, "you-can-do-it" - approach to fitness and just general living. I accidentally found there blog looking at a beachy hair tutorial (http://toneitup.com/blog.php?Beachy-Hair-Tutorial-Bikini-Series-5082) and just started reading and watching their videos.

I started this blog to be brutally honest of my health adventures. So here we go.. I am 5'6" .. ok, ok.. 5'5.5" and currently 131 pounds. I'm not one of those girls saying "omgsh I am soooo fat" but I am NOT in shape and more than anything I am not living to my full potential. I know I have a broken foot but there is still so much I could/should be doing and honestly I feel like a disgrace to myself . "Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you" -Ralph Waldo Emerson "Be proud, but never satisfied"-Unknown. Those are my mottos.

Started this to share recipes, share what motivates me, share the temptations and tips. Thank you friends & family for always being supportive and as always I would love your input :)

Much Love,
Mik