I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't share a secret recipe that I use every single day to stay healthy-ish and feel awesome. The recipe is simple - a big glass of water and three vitamins. I know what you're thinking, "Hey Katie - stop trying to be a nutritionist and go back to re-posting other people's recipes." But this combination of vitamins has really made a difference in the way I feel everyday, so I want you to know about it.
A few months back I was choking down a Woman's One-a-Day multi-vitamin every morning - and about 5 seconds after I took it - I'd feel incredibly awful....and then, I'd feel...nothing. Total waste of time - so I decided to do some reading on vitamins that really make a difference in how much energy I'd have, how I sleep at night, improve concentration and promote overall awesomeness (oh yeah and if my hair happened to get more shiny, so be it).
So without further adieu, the results of my research (note: this is my obligatory reminder that I am not Dr. Safrey. I don't know the inner scientific workings of these vitamins, but I do know they work for me. I'm also not re-inventing the wheel here, turns out, many doctors recommend this combination of vitamins):
1. Multi-vitamin: For woman especially, we need to take a multi-vitamin everyday to supplement the foods that we're eating. Basically, most of us aren't getting enough of the good stuff and this vitamin helps round it out. Make sure you get one that doesn't contain too much iron. I look for something with a lot of vitamin C. Doctors also say to find on that has vitamins D and B, but read on for why vitamin B doesn't matter so much to me in a multi-vitamin. I'd steer clear of the One-a-Day brand - because apparently it has a reputation for making people not feel awesome after they take it.
2. Omega-3: If you take no other vitamin, take Omega-3. Take it twice a day (with meals - I do one with breakfast and one with dinner). This vitamin is a game-changer. Not only is it good for your heart, but it helps with stress and anxiety, makes your skin look great, and improves energy levels. Go get some Omega-3, and you can thank me in 2 weeks.
3. B-Complex: This is a vitamin that combines all the B vitamins into one super-pill. Vitamin B supports digestion, energy production and your nervous system. I take one of these a day - take it for two weeks, and again - the difference is noticeable.
These vitamins falls into the Healthy-ish philosophy because I believe that when you feel good (physically and mentally) you make better choices about food and exercise. I take vitamins to set myself up for success - if I feel sluggish and tired, I'm more likely to reach for junk foods that won't help the situation. So my advice is to do whatever it takes to make yourself feel great everyday.
PS....is all of this vitamin talk boring you? Well, tomorrow I'm teaming up with Jared and a mystery guest to review and rate light beers for you. Get amped!
Have a great weekend - eat well and have fun!
Did you know that our girl Rachael Ray has a magazine? Did you know it's bright and shiny and contains hundreds of fattening recipes? It's cool though - we're down with indulging sometimes. I don't normally adapt recipes to make them healthier - generally I either eat healthy, or I don't. I trust the experts to write their own recipes.
However - the other night, I took a risk. I came across a RR recipe for Sour Cream Strawberry Custard, and I thought, "I must have this!" And then I looked at the ingredients and I thought, "WOWZERS! I do not require this much cream and sugar" So what do we do in life when something needs to change to be a success? We adapt.
Normally I hate using Splenda as a sugar substitute in recipes - I find that it has a really chemical aftertaste. The Splenda worked in this recipe because the sour cream took the edge off. I was also EXTREMELY nervous about the fat-free half and half substitution (because let's get real - fat free half and half makes absolutely no sense) - but to my surprise this whole thing came together really well.
The sour cream really gave this custard a tang that balanced out the sweetness of the strawberries. I loved how creamy this was - and it was super easy - I'd make it again in a heartbeat.
A few tips: 1. use good balsamic vinegar 2. don't use too much basil (consider using mint instead) 3. remember, this makes 4 servings (so keep yourself honest)
Now go whip this up, because it's cool, fresh and easy - and DAMN it's hot out there.
Sour Cream Strawberry Custard (adapted from Everyday With Rachael Ray Magazine)
In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin onto 2 1/2 tablespoons cold water. In another bowl, toss together 2 cups sliced strawberries, 3 tablespoons Splenda and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; let sit. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat 1 cup fat-free half and half with 6 tablespoons of Splenda over medium heat, stirring until sugar has melted. Whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the softened gelatin, then whisk in 1 cup of fat free sour cream. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Top with the strawberries in balsamic syrup and a few fresh basil leaves.
look at the quality of this picture - yup, new camera
Let me paint a picture of the temperature in NYC right now - in a word - HOT. And my apartment? Basically it's a torture box. This weather makes me feel exhausted (and the fact that a woman on the INCREDIBLY hot subway this morning assembled and then consumed an egg salad sandwich in said heat, certainly didn't help the situation).
So at around 7pm (and after a very busy day at work) I called Jared and played a little game that I like to call "Let's Make a Deal" - the deal was he would clean the dishes that had amassed in the sink, and I would food shop and cook dinner. This is what I call a good deal (and frankly there were so many dishes it frightened me). So off I went to shop for the ingredients for Ellie Krieger's Fettucine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce.
I'm going to be honest here and tell you that Ellie is one of my least favorite Food Network personalities (she's just not for me) - but her recipes are always pretty good. This particular recipe was tasty - but it was just missing something. So when faced with the problem of a "pretty good" meal - we have no choice but to take it from "good" to "great."
The next time I make this recipe - I'm going to add some chicken sausage or grilled chicken breast. I think a protein would've really tied this together. Don't get me wrong - this recipe is worth making and the sauce was good (loved the way the feta and peppers tasted together) - but chicken sausage would turn this pasta dish into more creative play on sausage and peppers. I also added about a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes - because I like everything will a little kick.
That said - this is a quick dinner with a gorgeous color that is fresh and healthy.
And now a note from your blogger on how to eat pasta and stay healthy-ish.....remove the 'leftovers' before you serve. So if the recipe says it serves 6, and you are cooking for 2 - immediately remove 4 servings as leftovers and put them in the fridge. I'm telling you - it'll keep you honest.
Fettucine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor with stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce, adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among pasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.
the white light in the lower right is a halo
Last night I was so excited to tell you about this recipe. Then tonight, I got even more excited when I tasted the leftovers (after a day of relaxation in the fridge). So without further adieu...I give you....
A recipe from Rick Bayless for Beef and Potato Salad with Smoky Chipotle. Before I get into how delicious this recipe is, and how amazingly easy it was to prepare - I have to ask, Rick Bayless will you marry me? Seriously, this recipe is that good.
Once the warm beef hit the potatoes and mixed with the chipotles and a dash of vinegar and salt - the result was incredible. Once the creamy avocado was mixed it - it was literally perfect. This dish was so simple - simple preparation, easy to find whole ingredients. It's the healthy-ish definition of meat and potatoes.
can I eat this right now?
This recipe is listed on Rick's website as an appetizer that serves as a topping for tostadas. Since it was Sunday (our big supper day) we spooned this on to soft warm corn tortillas, with a small side of spanish rice. For tonight's dinner, I slimmed this down a bit by eating it as a cold potato salad right out of the fridge. I HIGHLY recommend the latter. Once the tortillas were gone I could really taste the flavors. I also cut the rice because it's Monday (no need to carbo-load two nights in a row). To keep this healthy-ish, be sure to portion this for 4 (although it's tempting to do 3). There is 3/4 of a lb of beef and 3 potatoes in this recipe - if you are cooking for two, you will have the perfect amount for leftovers.
In other news - this went really well with Corona Light (add a pinch of salt and a lime and you won't miss the calories).
So make this - seriously, go make this. And happy Monday - eat well and enjoy your week!
Beef and Potato Salad with Smoky Chipotle (Salpiccon de Res al Chipotle)
3/4 pound stewing beef (preferably from the chuck), cut into 1-inch cubes
3 (about 3/4 pounds) medium-size boiling potatoes, cut into roughly 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1 medium, ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Scoop the beef into a medium saucepan, cover it generously with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and set over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim off the grayish foam that rises during the first few minutes of simmering. Partially cover and simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a plate to cool. Scoop the potatoes into the meat broth (if there isn't enough to cover the potatoes, add water) and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.
Use the slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes into a medium bowl, sprinkle with vinegar. Break the up the meat into coarse shreds and stir it into the potatoes, along with the chipotles, onion and olive oil. Let cool completely, then taste and season with salt if you think necessary. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
Just before serving, scoop the mixture into a wide serving bowl and mix in the avocado.
Part of my healthy-ish philosophy is that there is no food that is 100% off limits. Being healthy is about knowing your body and making the best decisions you can. And a decision that I make once in awhile is to eat potato chips. But if I'm going to eat potato chips, I hold them to two very important criteria: 1. they must have a 'normal' texture (if you've ever forced down Baked Lays, you know what I'm talking about) 2. they must not be a diet-food. I'd also prefer for my potato chips to have some kind of nutritional value. Sounds like high standards, right?
There are two brands of chip that I highly recommend. The first is Cape Cod's 40% Reduced Fat Chips. These chips are kettle cooked with the perfect amount of salt - they are fairly thick cut and sooo crunchy. You'd have absolutely no idea that you are eating something that isn't full fat. In terms of calories you are looking at about 130ish calories for 24 chips - not bad, not bad.
My most recent chip discovery is Avocado Oil Potato Chips from Good Health Natural Foods. I LOVE THESE CHIPS. They are absolutely delicious, with just enough sea salt - and no grease at all. I also like the health benefits of avocado oil (avocados have been called the world's most nutritious fruit). These are great on their own, but don't overwhelm the sandwich you're eating either. In fact, I think they'd go great with a GuS Dry Cola. These also weigh in at a little over 100 calories per serving, and cost about $3.00 a bag (well worth the price).
What kind of chips are you eating lately? When it comes to chips - do you go diet, or just indulge your cravings?
Fresh avocado salad
For me, the weekends are the best time to really dig in and cook. I have more time, I feel relaxed and I can sip a glass of wine and just enjoy the entire process. Sunday night dinners are a big deal for my boyfriend and I, and I tend to favor slow-cooked meals to comfort that oh-god-its-Sunday-I-cant-believe-how-fast-the-weekend-went feeling (I know I can't be the only one that sometimes gets the dreads on Sunday night).
So if Sunday is for slow-cooking, then Saturday night is for a meal that's involved but doesn't need to cook all day (I tend to spend Saturdays doing errands and running around all over the place). Well, it just so happens to be Saturday, and I just so happen to have the perfect recipe for you to make tonight.: Chicken Enchiladas w/ Salsa Verde and Tomato Avocado Salad.
These Chicken Enchiladas are fantastic (and lightened up - no cheese, no heavy sauces). The recipe calls for store-bought salsa verde but if you make your own, by all means use it (and send me your recipe!). I normally don't care for the store-bought stuff but blending in onion, garlic and fresh cilantro really improved the consistency. The recipe also calls for 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. I poached two medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts and then shredded them with forks. What I loved most about this recipe is that it reminded me of eating at a Mexican restaurant, but without the bill and while watching a movie on my couch (does it get any better than that?).
Finally I accompanied this dinner with my very own deconstructed guacamole salad. This salad is so simple and perfect for the summer time. I add a little balsamic vinegar right at the end to brighten the whole thing up - and it's absolutely delicious and fresh tasting. You can literally whip this salad together all summer (or anytime you come across ripe avocados at the grocery store).
So happy Saturday my healthy-ish friends - enjoy your day and evening:
Katie's Deconstructed Guacamole Salad (serves 2):
1 ripe avocado diced
1 medium sized tomato diced
1/2 of a red onion thinly sliced
! tablespoon olive oil
Fresh cilantro to taste (hate cilantro? use parsley)
Dash of balsamic vinegar
Fresh lime juice from 1/2 a lime
1 clove garlic chopped
1 oz. queso fresco
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Combine tomatoes, onion, avocado and garlic in a bowl. Add the olive oil, lime juice and balsamic vinegar and give it a stir. Add cilantro, salt and pepper. Give it a gentle toss (every time you stir be gentle so that the avocados don't get mashed). Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with queso fresco. Serve.
Chicken Enchiladas w/ Salsa Verde (from Cooking Light) - Serves 4
note: this recipe is health-ish only if you stick with the serving size, which is 2 enchiladas
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup salsa mixture. Reserve remaining salsa mixture.
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium skillet. Working with one tortilla at a time, add tortilla to pan; cook 20 seconds or until moist, turning once. Remove tortilla; drain on paper towels. Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place tortilla, seam-side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, broth, and chicken mixture.
Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle evenly with queso fresco and chili powder. Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
size medium = indulgent but healthy-ish
Have you ever heard of the restaurant chain Pret A Manger? If your answer is no, that's totally fine because I am about to give you a recipe for their Malaysian Chicken Soup - a soup that is going to blow your mind, and not blow a rip in your jeans (as long as you aren't eating quarts of it).
If you HAVE heard of Pret, and if you happen to have one near you - then I suggest you head on over and pick up a medium sized cup of this soup for lunch tomorrow. The soup is creamy, with a hint of coconut and chili peppers with big chunks of white meat chicken. It's a good comforting lunch for the middle of the week when work is stressing you out.
I eat this soup as frequently as I can - and for months I thought to myself - "I wish I had the recipe so I could make gallons of this at home to save money. Well, my friends - as I mentioned above - that day is upon us.
So here's the recipe - make it, love it.
Note: I find that the version in the store needs salt (about a teaspoon or so) - so you'll want to taste this as you go and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Pret-A-Manger Malaysian Chicken Soup (serves 4, not 2 - remember, we're trying to be healthy)
1/2 teaspoon of dried, red chilli flakes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A 2cm square block of galangal
(aromatic fresh ginger), finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
2 medium sized red chillies (seeds removed)
and finely chopped
1 stick of lemon grass, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 litre chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
2 large, boneless chicken thighs cut
200ml coconut cream
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut roughly
2 tablespoons of fish sauce (you can vary this
amount to taste)
3 spring onions, sliced
Juice of a fresh lime
MAKING THE PASTE
1. Scatter the red chilli flakes into a large saucepan
with 2 tablespoons of water and simmer for about
5 minutes making sure the water doesn’t dry up.
2. Add the garlic, galangal, turmeric, red chillies,
lemon grass, shallots and vegetable oil and gently
fry for about 20 minutes, stirring now and again.
MAKING THE SOUP
1. Pour the chicken stock onto the paste and add
2. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20
minutes (or until the potatoes are soft) and
3. Add the sweet potato, coconut cream and
chicken and then simmer until the sweet potato
is cooked (around 10 minutes).
4. Add the fish sauce, spring onion and lime juice
and the soup is ready to serve
Do you love this soup? Let me know in the comments.
If the rumors (aka scientific studies) are true - then soda is going to kill us. It's going to rot our teeth, give us cancer and eat through our intestines. But honestly, you can't deny it - soda is refreshing and delicious. So we have to make choices, and obviously we choose diet soda (less calories, less sugar etc. etc.). Good choice? Wellll, here's where I tell you my cautionary tale.
A few months ago I was drinking about 2 liters of Diet Coke a day (gross, but true). When I decided to cut back I worried about the caffeine withdrawl, but what I actually dealt with was aspartame withdrawl. You guys, it wasn't pretty. Think headaches, nausea and aches. So if you are currently consuming aspartame on a regular basis - heed my warning. The stuff is NOT good for you. Want proof? Check it out here
So what do healthy-ish people do when they want delicious, carbonated diet coke but DO NOT want to put weird chemicals in their body? They find alternatives. Lately I taste-tested two diet coke alternatives, and here are my findings:
Don't Drink Me
First up: Jones Sugar-Free Cola. Guys, this stuff is gross. Yes, it has zero calories - and yes, it is sweetened with Splenda, but it's overly sweetened, not fizzy enough and 100% not worth drinking. Also the flavor wasn't crisp and clean, it left an after taste - and it definitely doesn't pair with food (the sugar just overpowers everything). Personally, I really respect Jones as a brand and they should stick with what they do best - making delicious natural sodas with cane sugar. Leave the diet stuff to the other guys.
Drink Me Instead
Next up was GuS Grown-up Soda in Dry Cola flavor. This is one of the best diet sodas I have ever had. It's so dry, crisp and light. It's perfectly carbonated with a subtle lightly sweet flavor. Yes, it is better than diet coke. But there's a catch...and that catch is that this is not a diet drink, it's a natural drink (which means, and don't panic...it has calories). In fact it has 95 calories per bottle. Worth it? I say yes, and here's why....
Calorie-free doesn't always mean healthy - in fact, many times it means "filled with chemicals". For 95 calories you can put something natural and satisfying into your body. So do that...and don't drive yourself insane. Just don't drink them all day everyday (I personally like to have one as a snack everyday at around 4pm). Now go forth, break free from the shackles of aspartame. It's a new, healthy-ish day my friends!
Have any recommendations for diet , sugar-free or low-calorie sodas for me to try?
Shoot me an email: email@example.com
Rachael Ray, where should I begin? Well, I'll begin by being honest - 90% of her recipes don't even come close to being healthy-ish. In fact, most of her recipes are just layer after layer of comforting flavors and textures (cheese, pasta, tortilla chips...name a comforting, yet fattening item - and you'll find it in one of her recipes). I'm not going to hate on that (how could anyone hate on that?), I'm just not going to eat it everyday.
A few months ago I discovered Rachael Ray's book Yum-O which is her cookbook for families. It seems that these recipes are a bit more figure friendly, often making the chicken for beef swap - or adding extra veggies. Needless to say, it's still my girl Rachael (lots of layers, lots of seasoning, lots of real ingredients) but with less fat. I'm into it.
Her recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chili is one of my go-to meals on a busy weeknight. I got home at 8pm, and dinner was on the table by 8:45...not bad for a full-flavored chili. This recipe is healthy-ish because, let's not lie to ourselves, there is really no need to treat yourself to plate of buffalo wings for no reason on a Monday night. You get all of the flavors of a plate of buffalo wings with no deep fryer and 100% white meat chicken. Plus, in my opinion Frank's Red Hot is a gift from God - seriously it's my crack, I eat it on celery sticks when the wings are gone, writing about it right now only makes me want some.
You can make this recipe extra healthy-ish by using baked chips (my opinion on those = gross, not worth it) and reduced fat cheese (my opinion on that = good swap for this recipe).
Make it tonight, it's delicious and healthy-ish (not to mention super-fast):
Rachael Ray's Buffalo Chicken Chili
Preheat oven to 375°F or broiler to medium
Place a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and the butter. Once the butter has melted and the pot is hot, add the ground chicken. Brown it, using the back of a wooden spoon to break it up in to small pieces, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the hot sauce, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 8-10 minutes to let the flavors come together.
While the chili is simmering, spread the yellow and blue corn chips out on a cookie sheet. Top with the crumbled blue cheese and transfer to the oven to melt the cheese, about 4-5 minutes. If using the broiler, 2-3 minutes should do the trick. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Top each serving of buffalo chicken chili with a few blue cheese-topped corn chips.