Saturday, June 23, 2012

Circuit Motivation

I found this awesome idea on Pinterest and knew I needed to share it with everybody. If anyone is like me, it is hard to motivate myself to go workout. This would definitely make it easier and is also a little fun.
Photo from Pinterest.
Here's what you do:
Get 2 cups and a handful of popsicle sticks (they can be purchased in a craft aisle). On one cup write "Daily Workout" and on the other write "Done!" Write different workouts on the popsicle sticks and stick them into the "Daily Workout" cup. When the time comes to do a circuit, grab 10 or so popsicle sticks and do what's written on them! Put them into the "Done!" cup when you've completed it. This keeps things fun because you rarely do the same thing twice! That way you'll be sure to work different muscles and you won't get bored of your workout.

Some Ideas:
50 Crunches
50 Jumping Jacks
25 Leg lifts
15 Push-ups
30 Weight-less squats
15 Chair dips
40 Side bends (20 on each side)
30 Lunges (15 on each leg)
50 Sit-ups
30 Bicycles

These are just a few circuit things that I do at home. If you google circuits for more ideas you will find TONS of workouts!
What circuits do you do? What motivates you to work out??

Dark Chocolate-Banana Greek Yogurt Combo

Last night I had a dream that completely revolved around bagels. Yes, bagels. In my dream I was out to dinner (?) with my family and was helping my grandmother (LaLa) pick out her bagel and cream cheese. Because, apparently, this restaurant was full of such a variety of bagels that she just couldn't decide alone. I woke up and immediately wanted to go buy bagels but told myself I wasn't going to make a meal out of bread and to go find something I already had in the kitchen. What a fantastic idea because what I came up with was delicious! 

I combined vanilla non-fat Chobani Greek yogurt, mini dark chocolate chips, a sliced banana, and I crumbled a Nature Valley "oats 'n dark chocolate" granola bar. What a great decision. Packed with protein, potassium, and antioxidants - I am sure to be full long beyond lunch. 
I mean... breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Might as well make it delicious!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Spinach and Feta Crescent Rolls

Happy Father's Day! I'm sad I couldn't be home to be with my Dad on this special day, lots and lots of studying to do up here in Tuscaloosa :( I wish I could've been with my family at the beach, I am so jealous they got to have such a fun day! I hope everyone had a great Father's day, love you Dad!!
I had a roll of Pillsbury crescent lefts over from my Nutella pillows and decided I needed to put them to use! I spotted a recipe for these spinach and feta rolls and looked into my fridge. What did I have? Spinach and feta. What needed to get eaten ASAP? Spinach and feta. Cha Chinggg! These are super easy and tasted amazing!

Here's what you need:
chopped baby spinach
feta cheese
mozzarella cheese

Here's what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I used about 1/2 cup of each ingredient and mixed them into a large bowl.
2. Place small spoonfuls onto the crescents and roll up the dough.
3. Place onto greased cookie sheet and cook for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
I made a dinner out of them but they would make such a great party appetizer!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nutella Cookies

My sister must have read my mind yesterday because, as I was starting to make my nutella pillows, she texted me about her Nutella cookies. They looked amazing!! Ek was very proud and wanted me to share her fantastic cookies with everyone else! She was a smarty and realized the Nutella had enough sugar so she didn't need to add the sugar that the original recipe recommended.

Here's what you need:
1 cup Nutella
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg

Here's what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together and form mixture into balls.
2. Place onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes.
3. Let cool and enjoy!
Too bad I'm not at home or we would have a kitchen full of Nutella goodies!!
... my love for Nutella is getting a little out of hand.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cinnamon Dusted Nutella Pillows

I discovered this recipe this morning and whipped these together tonight. My love for Nutella has definitely been shining through lately. I've written about so many recipes with Nutella that it probably looks like the only I eat!! These delicious rolls can be for both breakfast and dessert. I made only 8, but made certain there were some left for the morning. They were super easy to make and only require 3 ingredients!

Here's what you need:
Pillsbury reduced-fat crescent rolls
Cinnamon sugar

Here's what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Unroll the crescent dough and spoon 1 tablespoon of Nutella onto the dough.

2. Roll the dough up, making sure all edges are closed. Cover rolls in cinnamon sugar.
3. Place onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes.
 Nutrition facts:
190 calories
9.5 g fat

greek yogurt substitutions

After deciding to major in Food and Nutrition it has become my mission find ways to make my favorite goodies healthier but still tasty. I found this awesome "cheat sheet" on Pinterest this morning and just had to share it! Substituting Greek yogurt into your recipes in place of fattier ingredients can help lower the calorie and fat intake. I had never even thought about using greek yogurt before! After seeing the difference, I'll definitely have to start using this with my recipes.
How does it measure up?
1 stick of butter = 810 calories & 91.65 g fat

1 cup vegetable oil = 1,927 calories & 218.0 g fat

1 cup olive oil = 1,909 calories & 216.0 g fat

1 cup reuced-fat sour cream = 326 calories & 29 g fat

1 cup mayonnaise = 916 calories & 78.49 g fat

1 cup cream cheese = 810 calories & 80.9 g fat

1 cup buttermilk = 98 calories & 2.16 g fat

1 cup Chobani [plain non-fat] Greek yogurt = 140 calories & 0 g fat

Chobani did a great job with this chart and I can't wait to use it with my next recipes!
Do you use any substitutions in your kitchen?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

how to pick 'em - Summertime

My lovely friend at The Corner Apartment is full of beautiful ideas and suggested I write something about how to pick the best produce at the grocery store. I hadn't even thought of it before, but there are times when I am shopping and don't know if something is ripe! Since it is summer, I'll start with those fruits and vegetables. The general key is to look for bright coloring and to avoid bruises, blemishes, and cuts.
Apples: When shopping for apples, watch for soft spots and discoloration. Opt for the roundest apple, these will typically have more flavor than elongated ones. 
Avocado: The perfect avocado is black with a firm body and a slightly soft end. A soft avocado is already bruised. Only refrigerate ripe avocados.
Berries: Search the berries for any signs of bruising and aging. Darker berries will have more flavor, but if you plan to keep them for more than a few days then pick the lighter colored ones.
Carrots: A good carrot has a smooth texture and bright orange color. The leaves at the ends should be bright green. Avoid bruises and cracks, wilting greens, and a rough texture.
Cherries: Good cherries are round and firm but give a little when poked. Avoid mushy and discolored cherries.
Melons: Avoid melons that are soft, bruised, pitted, shriveled, punctured, or have cracked rinds. Look for watermelons and honeydew melons that are symmetrical and heavy for their size. A good cantaloupe has a tan or yellow rind.
Peaches: Smell the peach and make sure you observe a strong peachy scent. The skin should be smooth, have a fuzzy coating, and be clear of bruises.
Tomatoes: The best tomatoes are firm, bright in color, and free of blemishes and bruises.
Zucchini: Look for a zucchini that is between 6-8 inches long. The best zucchinis are firm and free of cuts and bruising.

Make sure to wash all produce after purchase! Remember: it is always best to shop seasonally and the best produce will be found at your local farmer's market!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Peanut Butter and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies [Sugar-Free & Egg-Free]

Rainy days make for a perfect afternoon of baking! I found this recipe a few weeks ago and decided today was the day to try it out. When I see recipes for sweets that are a little healthier, I'm always anxious to give them a try! Being such a sucker for sweets, making cookies healthier validates eating a dozen (or two).

Here's what you need:
3 large bananas
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats (to make the recipe gluten-free, opt for gluten-free oats)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2-1 cup dark chocolate chips

Here's what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine mashed bananas, peanut butter, olive oil, and vanilla is a large bowl.
2. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes.

The original recipe called for all-natural creamy peanut butter, but I used crunchy and it turned out fine! The cookies were really good and tasted almost like huge granola bites. They weren't as sweet as cookies, but that means I didn't feel guilty eating them either! All-in-all the cookies were a perfect addition to my rainy day and I will definitely be making them again!

Friday, June 8, 2012

French Toast

French toast is one of the easiest things to make. Essentially all you need is a slice of toast, some eggs, and a stove. After my run this morning, I decided I needed a few slices before starting my day! I had to be a little creative since I didn't have many toppings (or even any syrup). Even without these traditional staples, the toast was a great way to start the day.

Here's what you do:
1. Whisk 2-3 eggs in a bowl. I added a splash of water into the bowl so the eggs whisk a little better.
2. Dip a slice of bread into the liquid, one side at a time.
3. Cook the bread on a greased skilled until brown on each side.

Super easy, right?
Since I didn't have any syrup, I used my homemade jelly instead! I was surprised by how great the jelly went on the toast, definitely a new favorite. I also scrabbled the remaining eggs from the bowl. Another idea I want to try out is to sprinkle the toast with cinnamon sugar and to actually use syrup! Yum.

Make it healthier: ditch the egg yolks and use whole wheat bread!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 6, 2012 - National Running Day

Tomorrow is National Running Day!! Being a rather dedicated runner, I'll be sure to fit a jog in at some point tomorrow. To celebrate be sure to grab a friend, walk out the door, and get running. Even if it is only for a few minutes! Come on, its a holiday... you must celebrate somehow! Check out the website: and see if you can answer the question of "why do you run?"

Maybe these can help you get inspired:
Go lace up those shoes and get out the door! Get running!!
Oh, and Happy National Running Day! :)

Ham and Feta Croissants

In my apartment we are very big fans of feta cheese. My roommate, Carlyn, and I have managed to eat it for the past few days on just about anything. We also like things if they take minimal time and effort (especially with our heavy summer course loads!). So when my roommate decided to cook tonight I was pretty surprised. This recipe only takes about 25 minutes total, didn't cost much money, and has FETA! Carlyn decided to make some delightful "pinwheels." The pinwheels weren't working out so great, so she decided to make stuffed croissants. Lesson learned: it's near impossible to cook when your air conditioning isn't working. Yes... our AC went out... in June... in Alabama. No worries though, it should be fixed tomorrow! Without it, the dough became very sticky and hard to work with the longer it sat in the room. Carlyn is a trooper though and the croissants turned out great!

Here's what you need:
1. Croissant dough (we used Pillsbury)
2. Deli ham
3. Feta cheese
4. Olive oil

Here's what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the dough and spread olive oil onto the surface. Sprinkle feta cheese across the dough. Layer a few slices of ham on top of the feta and roll up the dough.

The croissants that were attempted pinwheels were cut into rolls before being placed onto a cooking sheet.

2. Place rolls/croissants onto a greased cookie sheet and cook for 12 minutes.
This super easy recipe takes no time at all and is good for any time of day! Enjoy!
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