Sweet Potato Crust Pizza

Sweet Potato Crust Pizza (Gluten Free)

By Gina Howe

sweet potato crust

Ingredients:

  • 5 ½ Cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 ¼ Cup gluten-free oat flour *
  • ¼ Cup Almond meal*
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • I Tea dried basil
  • 1 Tea dried oregano
  • 1 ¼ Tea garlic powder
  • ½ Tea crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Steam sweet potatoes in a microwave steamer for approx. 8 minutes or over the stove top in a steamer basket for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the chia seeds and water to a small bowl, whisk with a fork and let stand for 10 minutes to make a chia egg.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 ͦ
  4. Add steamed potatoes to a food processor. Add in the chia egg, oat flour, almond meal, olive oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper flakes.  Process until combined and sticky dough forms. **
  5. Line a large pan, rectangle or round with parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the parchment paper and use a rolling pin to spread.  Wax paper over the top of the dough will help if dough is sticking to the rolling pin.  Take care to spread the dough to an even thickness to help in bake evenly, approx. ¼ – ½  inch thick.
  6. Bake the crust for approx. 15 minutes. Remove from oven and, carefully, turn over.  I find that a second pan placed over top and flipped is the best way.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  7. Add desired toppings and return to oven for 10 minutes or until toppings are heated and cheese is melted.

The pizza pictured is topped with:

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Capers
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Feta
  • Grilled chicken
  • Diced tomatoes tossed in olive oil
  • Sun dried tomatoes

*You can use store bought oat flour and almond meal or make your own with gluten free oats and raw almonds.  Pulse in a food processor, blender, or coffee mill until a fine, flour-like texture.

** If you do not have a food processor, the potatoes can be mashed in a bowl and all the ingredients combined by hand or hand mixer.  A stand mixer can also be used to combine ingredients.

Eating Clean for Staying Lean

Eating Clean Staying Lean

The first Seminar in our Eating Clean for Staying Lean series. Come and learn just what clean eating is all about………what to eat, what to avoid and WHY.  Snacks will be provided and you will leave with a packet of information, tips, tricks, and recipes!  Missed it the last few times, need a refresher, want a friend to come and hear it? Join us on Fri. Feb. 26th at 6:30 pm. Please share and invite your friends! Please contact us with any questions that you may have. Please RSVP by Wed. Feb. 24th.

Isagenix Open House

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Join us to learn more about this HEALTH/WELLNESS company that creates no-compromise products that provide the nutrients and minerals that our food sources just don’t deliver anymore. When we fuel or bodies properly, they perform miracles!

Isagenix has a solution for you no matter your goal; weight loss, energy and performance, healthy aging, or an additional stream of income.  We hope to see you there.

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans tuna, preferably Albacore
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tea thyme
  • 1 can or package of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 16 ounce package of frozen petite mixed vegetables
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, or volby jack work well)
  • Approx. 6 oz noodle of your choice (egg noodles, penne, macaroni)
  • 1/4 cup toasted Panko
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, ans mushrooms and saute 10 minuets or until soft. Add thyme and stir.
  2. In the meantime, bring pot of water to boil.  Add noodles and cook until tender, but firm.
  3. Add mixed veggies, soup, cream cheese, yogurt and shredded cheddar.  Stir until well incorporated.  Add tuna and stir well.
  4. Add cooked noodles to pan and stir well to coat the noodles.  Cover and allow flavors to meld and noodles to finish cooking, approx 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted panko and Parmesan cheese.

 

Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bake

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ranch dip mix (clean premixed packet or see recipe below)
  • 1 can or package cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups broccoli cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup toasted panko or breadcrumbs
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa, stock, cream of chicken soup and ranch mix in in slow cooker and stir to mix well.
  2. Place chicken breast in and submerge.
  3. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  4. During last half hour, add broccoli.   Cover and continue to cook until broccoli is tender.
  5. To serve, chicken can be removed, shredded and stirred throughout or breast can be served whole on top of quinoa mixture.
  6. Place in 4 bowls and top each with shredded cheddar and toasted panko.

Ranch Dip Mix:

  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt

Stir all ingredients together.

The Risks of Being Overweight

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The risks of being overweight……..you know these right?  Unless you truly have been living under a rock, you have been inundated with information about the health implications of being overweight or obese.  But there really is a overabundance of information and at times it can be overload.  It is easy to just tune it out and move along with life and cake.  Who doesn’t want cake?

However, there really are some important facts that everyone should know. Shedding excess weight has profound, immediate positive effects on your health. So, why shed the pounds?  Here are the top risks associated with being overweight:

  1. Heart Disease & Stroke – Hypertension and very high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) can lead to heart disease and often are linked to being overweight. Being overweight also contributes to angina (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart) and sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs or symptoms.
  2. Diabetes – 
    Overweight people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as people who are not overweight. Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of early death, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness.
  3. Cancer – 
    Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. In women, these include cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon. Overweight men are at greater risk for developing cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate. For some types of cancer, such as colon or breast, it is not clear whether the increased risk is due to the extra weight or consumption of a high-fat and high-calorie diet.
  4. Sleep Apnea – 
    Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is closely associated with being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep and to snore heavily. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and even heart failure. The risk for sleep apnea increases with higher body weights. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
  5. Osteoarthritis – 
    Extra weight appears to increase the risk of osteoarthritis by placing extra pressure on weight-bearing joints and wearing away the cartilage (tissue that cushions the joints) that normally protects them. Weight loss can decrease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back and may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  6. Gallbladder Disease – 
    Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight. Your risk of disease increases as your weight increases. It is not clear how being overweight may cause gallbladder disease.  Weight loss itself, particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight, can actually increase your chances of developing gallstones. Modest, slow weight loss of about one pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.
  7. Fatty Liver Disease – 
    Fatty liver disease occurs when fat builds up in the liver cells and damages the liver. It can lead to liver failure. Fatty liver disease is linked to higher than normal blood glucose levels, which are more common in people who are overweight. Weight loss can help with blood glucose control and reduce the build-up of fat in the liver.  Also, people who have fatty liver disease should avoid alcohol.  **Insel, Paul, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, Melissa Bernstein. Nutrition: Custom Edition, 4th Edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 04/2010. VitalBook file.

    This list should convince you to that weight loss and weight management are important.  That said, beginning to make changes is the tough part.  If you aren’t sure where or how to begin, seeing a Weight Management Specialist, a Nutritionist/Dietitian, or Behavior Change Coach may help.

The most important factor though, is to find your”Why”.  Why do you want to be healthier?

To live a longer life?

To play with your kids?

To see your kids grow and have families of their own?

To walk up the steps without getting winded?

To feel great in your clothes?

To wear a swim suit with confidence on your dream vacation?

your why

Whatever your “why”………embrace it, put it on Post-Its, write it on your vision board, put it in your journal…….make it part of who you are.  If you embrace your why and keep it in your focus, it makes the beginning and staying on the journey so much easier.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients:

10-12 Cups chicken stock

½ pound shredded cooked chicken

½ pound ground beef (can substitute ground chicken, turkey, lamb or pork)

½ Cup whole wheat bread crumbs or Panko

3 eggs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tbs Italian Seasoning (or onion powder, garlic, powder, dried oregano, salt & pepper)

16 oz spinach; fresh chopped or frozen, thawed and drained

1 Cup acini di pepe pasta (can use orzo or other small pasta if needed)

Directions:

  1. First prepare mini meatballs: In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, 1 egg, Panko or crumbs and Italian seasoning. Once well combined, form into very small (bite sized) meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add meatballs. Brown over med heat turning frequently until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, heat stock to a low boil and add pasta. Continue to cook pasta until tender, 8-10 minutes and then reduce heat just a simmer. (I also save my hard ends of parmesan cheese and simmer with my stock.  Discard before serving.)
  4. Once meatballs are done, add meatballs and shredded chicken to stock and pasta.
  5. Lightly beat two eggs in a small bowl.
  6. Begin to stir stock in one direction and continue until soup is flowing in a circular motion. As soup is swirling, gradually drizzle the egg into it so that the egg cooks thin strands.
  7. Add spinach and heat until wilted.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

*I season my stock while it is cooking with the carcass; rosemary, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.  If you uses packaged stock, with the exception of salt, you may want add seasonings to taste in step 3.

 

Turkey White Bean Soup

 

Turkey White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

10 Cups Turkey stock (*see note)

I lb. shredded cooked turkey, dark and white meat

1 Cup cooked Barley

1 Cup Navy Beans, soaked and cooked or 1 can, rinsed

1 28oz Can Diced tomatoes with juice

I bunch Kale, chopped, large veins removed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 stalks Celery, diced

1 large Carrot, diced

½ White Onion, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, dill, oregano

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and sauté until tender.  Add seasonings to desired taste. (*see note).
  2. Meanwhile  in a large stock pot, heat stock.
  3. Add tomatoes with juice to the carrots and celery in pan. Simmer until half of the juice reduces.
  4. Add turkey, beans, and carrots mixture to the stock and allow to lightly simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add cooked barley.  Add chopped kale and heat until softened and withered.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh parsley finely shredded cheddar if desired.

*Chicken stock can be substituted for turkey stock as can the shredded turkey.  I made the stock myself and did most of the seasoning during cooking of the stock in the crock pot.  So, I added very little additional seasoning during preparation of the soup.  If you use pre-prepared stock, you will need to use more seasoning during cooking for flavor.  (approx. ½ tea salt, pepper, and dill; 1 tea rosemary, thyme, and oregano)

 

Can Gratitude Really Change Your Life???

affirmation-gratitude

Gratitude, or the concept of living your life with gratitude, is not new.  The idea of maintaining the mindset of being grateful for what you have has been around for, well, forever.  So why is gratitude such a buzzword as of late?  Perhaps it is the fast pace of life and the stress and anxiety that it causes.  Being grateful for your life, health, family can help keep perspective, or at least, help us feel like all the hard work is worth it.

Maybe in this society of material want, we have come to the realization that the “stuff” is not making us happy.  Do we really need to acquire the newest and best of things to feel like we are fulfilled?  Isn’t a healthier choice to be satisfied with what we have and not live in want?

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Being grateful for your life as it is also keeps you grounded and present in your now.  We are not always thinking about what we need to have in the future, what we missed out on in the past, or how much better our lives would be if only……………………

So, sure, you may agree with all of that.  It all sounds good, right?  But, tough?  You bet!  Our culture is a more, more, more, more, type thing.  We are taught, conditioned to want the newest, best, biggest, fastest of everything.  We want to have the right house, the right car, go to the right vacation spot, wear the right clothes, and have the right bottom line on our bank statement.  But, what happens when we don’t have and can’t get those things?  Chances are we feel bad. We feel bad about ourselves.  Why aren’t we good enough, successful enough, smart enough to have these things that we want?

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Here we are feeling shortchanged and it makes us negative and, most likely, pretty grumpy.  So, we wake every morning with a feeling of deprivation and want.  We move through the day trying to figure out what to do differently to put us where we think we should be.  Or trying to determine where we went wrong.  This negativity and feeling of low self-worth multiplies.  We are giving fuel to the thoughts and the thoughts manifest into our reality.  Okay……so maybe a bit much for you to swallow, but the idea is there.

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Here is the million dollar question………………..how do we get to a place of gratitude?  How do we wake every day and go to bed every night feeling grateful for the abundance of our lives?  Focus and a bit of effort.

There are many paths that you can take.  Some people find that beginning to meditate helps. Or, perhaps yoga will help with the task of learning to stay in the moment.  A great first start is to just set your intention at the beginning of every day.  As soon as you rise, recite a positive mantra.  This can be whatever is important to you.  Some easy examples:

  • I choose joyfulness
  • I am deserving of happiness
  • My life is full and abundant
  • Money comes easily to me
  • I will turn challenges into new successes

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Or instead of a mantra, you could list five things that you are grateful for every day.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Clients (business)
  • The beauty of nature

You get the idea.  Beginning each day with positive vibes can really help to dictate the direction of your day.  Starting a journal and just taking a minute to quickly jot these things down can reinforce the thoughts.  download (2)

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habits. Talk about your joys.” – Unknown

Beginning to be grateful for where we are and what we have, the abundance of our lives, brings us more abundance.  If you have read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne you most likely know the idea here.  Our focus attracts more of the same.  If we are continuously focused on the negative, we are simply attracting more negativity into our lives.

 

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This is something that I say to myself every day, especially when I can feel a bit of stress or anxiety creeping in.  It helps to put things into perspective.

Final thoughts…………….as with any other form of discipline; healthy eating, exercise, this takes a bit of practice and some time to develop the habit.  But, give it a try.  We owe it to ourselves to be happy and live with joy.  Your life is abundant and full……………you just need to remember it and be grateful!

responsible for my own happiness

Get Out There and Eat!!!

Gina and I hear this time and time again.

“I’ve hit a plateau. I was losing weight but I just can’t seem to lose anymore. I’m only eating (X) amount of calories and I’m hitting the gym and doing cardio 5-6 times per week. I’m starving all the time. What am I doing wrong”?

The simple answer many don’t want to believe is they have to eat more to lose weight. Sure you need to be at a deficit in calories to lose weight but not too much a deficit. Your body is an intelligent beast. If it’s not getting enough calories, It will go “starvation mode”. It will basically slow your metabolism down to a crawl. It will start to conserve fat stores and switch to burning muscle for energy. You know what happens when you have less lean mass? Your metabolism slows even further because it takes more energy to burn muscle than fat. Less muscle=lower metabolism.

Throw in the fact that you are starving and you are setting yourself up to succeed at the exact opposite of what you set out to do. Keep this up and you will end up binging. Binging while your body is in this state will pack the pounds back on and probably add a few extra. When this happens, many tend to get depressed as they feel they have failed and have a sense of helplessness about their circumstances. What do we turn to when we are feeling down?

What do we turn to when we’re feeling down? Comfort food. Do healthy fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins come to mind when you think of comfort food? Probably not. How about potato chips, ice cream, candy, cake and other less-than-nutritious food-stuffs? I would guess, yes. What does that lead to? You guessed it. More weight gain!

So if you’re ready to make that journey, come up with a plan first. Make a food log. Find out how many calories you are taking in and how many you need every day just to keep your weight steady. Start to make healthier food choices. Look for fresh fruits and vegetables you enjoy eating. Same with lean proteins. Based on your daily caloric needs, reduce your intake by roughly 20%. Ex: If you need 2000 calories to maintain your current weight, try taking in about 1600 calories for the first week or two. Monitor your progress and adjust your calories accordingly. Just don’t adjust by too much or you could end up in that starvation mode I mentioned above.

Try to add weight bearing exercises as part of your routine. As I said, the more lean mass you have on your body, the higher your metabolism will be. Have a friend who is also looking to lose weight? Do it as a team. Having someone along for the ride will make the journey much easier. Nice to have someone to lean on for support and a little friendly competition never hurt anyone either.

Don’t know where to begin or looking for someone to give you that support. We can help with that. Doesn’t matter if you live close or far away. We can work with you to help set yourself up for success.

Check us out: http://www.core-essentials-fitness.com

 

With a bit of simple prep work, you can set yourself up for looking and feeling better than you ever thought was possible.

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