Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blueberry Almond Scones (The Chronicles of Home)

Today, our food contributor Jennifer is sharing a healthy recipe for blueberry almond scones.  I really want to try these because my son loves blueberries!

I can't even tell you how much I look forward to Jennifer's recipe posts.  You may know Jennifer from her decor and DIY blog, The Chronicles of Home.  If you haven't visited or aren't a follower, I'm sure she'd love to have you!



Blueberry Almond Scones

For the most part, I'm a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast.  Weekday mornings my daughters and I usually eat one of three things - (1) smoothies and whole grain toast with peanut butter, (2) egg on whole grain toast with fresh fruit, or (3) whole grain hot cereal with dried fruit.  And, honestly, I'm okay with this routine.  All of those things work for me on harried weekday mornings and I feel good about eating them and feeding them to my daughters as often as I do.  

Then the weekends roll around and the last thing I want are any of these things since I've just spent five days in a row eating them!  That's where the more "special" breakfast dishes come in, like multigrain pancakes or sweet potato hash.  Scones are another of my weekend favorites and I've been tinkering with my recipe lately to try to make it a little healthier.

In this version I used a double shot of blueberries - both fresh and dried - to get a variation in flavor and texture and to double down on all the antioxidant goodness.  I added sliced almonds for some crunch and protein.  I often use half whole wheat and half white flour in baking recipes to get some whole grain worked in without totally sacrificing the light texture of white flour.

I also played with coconut oil here in place of the typical butter in scones.  Here's my take on coconut oil, and keep in mind that I'm not a nutritionist, just a health-minded home cook who's done a little research.  Coconut oil is a heavily saturated fat just like butter.  There's some research that suggests the kind of saturated fat in coconut oil may be better for those with cholesterol issues than butter.  But for me, there are a lot of "may be's" in the research that's out there and in the end I think it's best to use some moderation in your consumption of coconut oil just like you would with butter.

I liked the use of coconut oil in this recipe because it added a very light, subtle undertone of coconut flavor to the scones and still gave them the flakiness of a regular scone made with butter.  These scones will be heartier and a bit more dense than one you might get at your local Starbucks, but I've found I actually like the healthy-indulgent version better!


Ingredients
3/4 c. white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. refined coconut oil (butter can be substituted)
1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1/4 c. dried wild blueberries
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400º.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut coconut oil in with a pastry cutter until it's the consistency of coarse sand.

Gently stir in fresh blueberries, dried blueberries, and almonds.

In a small bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla to blend.  Pour over dry ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Drop batter in 8 mounds onto prepared baking sheet (about 1/2 c. of batter each).

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.


Thank you Jennifer!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blue Monday Be Gone

I'm happy to report that I completed week 10 of the Live Fit Challenge last week, which means I only have two weeks to go to finish it.  Some people have asked what I plan to do after that, and honestly, I'm not sure.   Lately, our weather has been beautiful, which makes me want to run outside more.

via
In these next two weeks, I'm going to watch my diet extra close during the week so I can finish strong! How are your workouts going?  I learned that Monday, January 21 was "Blue Monday" the day when, among other reasons, people are depressed at failing in their new years resolutions.  I say, forget that! If you fall down, just dust yourself off and get back up! My 2-year old does that 10 times a day!

I'm not sure I shared my 2013 goals here . . .


I'm doing terrible in the coffee/tea department, but all-in-all, I would say I'm making a valiant effort at the rest.  A work in progress.

Be back tomorrow with a few of my favorite HEALTHY cookbooks.  

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs (via The Chronicles of Home)

I'm all about breakfast for dinner, so I'm excited about Jennifer's (The Chronicles of Home) recipe for this week, Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs!




Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs – serves 4

When it comes to breakfast-for-dinner I'm definitely more a fan of egg dishes than pancakes or waffles.  This hash is so flavorful and satisfying it almost makes me forget that it's more of a traditional breakfast dish than a "real" dinner. 

Using sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes does change the texture of the hash.  It won't be crispy like a potato hash made with white potatoes but I actually really love the softer, creamier texture.  And the flavor of the sweet potatoes is a great balance to the salty ham.

I use a nitrate-free Canadian bacon, which is a great staple to keep in your fridge.  It's a lean meat, already cooked, and can be chopped up and thrown into any number of dishes or just warmed and served alongside some pancakes.

A fried egg on top with a soft yolk and crispy edges is the perfect finishing touch.  You may find yourself making this for breakfast and for dinner!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 ½ c. peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½” cubes
6 oz. Canadian bacon, diced
1 c. chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. horseradish
2 c. arugula
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 eggs
1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks

Directions

Heat grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add sweet potatoes, cover, and cook 5 minutes.  

Stir in Canadian bacon, onion, mustard, and horseradish.  Cover and cook until the sweet potato is tender and the bottom turns golden, about 8-10 minutes.  

Flip sections of the hash and press down with a spatula.  Cook uncovered  another 8-10 minutes, flipping sections occasionally so hash browns evenly.  Stir in arugula and cook a few minutes until it wilts.

Meanwhile heat olive oil in another nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add eggs and cook until whites are set but yolks are soft.

Divide hash among four plates.  Top each with ¼ of the avocado and 1 fried egg.  Serve immediately.



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For more recipes from Jennifer, and to see glimpses into her home and fabulous DIY projects, click the banner below.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Live Fit Supplements

I've gotten some questions about the supplements I take on the Live Fit program, and I've been following what the program recommends-  a daily multivitamin, daily Flaxseed or Fish Oil, branched chain amino acid (BCAA), and protein shake.  

Multivitamin- According to Dr. Oz, a multivitamin fulfills your daily nutritional needs for the day.  He recommends taking half in the morning and half at night to maximize absorption.  One of my gummy multivitamins is half a dose, so that works perfect for me to take one in the morning and one at night.  



Fish Oil- I posted the information on Fish Oil from Dr. Oz' website below:

1. Although the recent analysis of 20 studies done since 1989 (out of over 3,600 studies performed!) showed that the 10% reduction in cardiac death was not statistically significant, the chance that it might help, in my opinion, outweighs the risk of taking it (basically, no risk!).

2. The studies performed from 1989 to 1998 more routinely showed significant benefit compared to the later studies. The possible reason for the change: Statin drugs have become the standard of care in patients with cardiovascular disease since 1998. With such powerful drugs on board, it may be very difficult to see an added benefit of fish oil.

3. Omega-3 fats are essential fats. That means our body needs them to function, but we can't make them on our own. We must get them from our diets. Unfortunately, most of us don't eat enough fish, or the fish we're eating may not be great sources of these necessary fats (often due to the type of fish or the farming practices). Plant-based sources of omega-3's (like walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds) are great sources of one type of EPA omega-3, but not the other, DHA. You need to eat good sources of fish (wild salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, herring and mackerel), or algae (as in sushi), or take supplements in order to get the DHA.

4. Omega-3's have been found to be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis, reduction in breast cancer risk, reduction in ulcerative colitis risk, prevention of weight loss during chemotherapy, prevention of age-related macular degeneration, decreased symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, and schizophrenia, decrease in premature births, and age-related cognitive decline.

We have a ways to go before the scientists have proven, without a doubt, all the benefits of taking omega-3 supplements, but for now, it makes sense to take at least 600mg/day of DHA as insurance against low dietary intakes, given the minimal risk (other than the cost of the pills or the risk of reaction in patients with severe fish allergy).


BCAA-  Branched Chain Amino Acids may help promote workout recovery, encourage muscle growth, and support strength.  I got mine through the Bodybuilding.com website.  I add 3 tablespoons to my water bottle and drink it while I workout.  Mine is orange flavored so it just tastes like orange-flavored water.  I like the taste. 



Protein Powder- I try to drink a shake after each workout.  Right now, I'm making it with one packet of Lean Body for Her powder plus 8 ounces of water and a few ice cubes.  It tastes like a chocolate milk shake. 




Do you take any supplements?  Vitamins?

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Live Fit (Week 9) Recap

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!"

I had hoped to bring you my Live Fit Week 9 recap last week, but a lingering cold made it difficult to complete it in time.  It seems all of America is getting the flu lately.  A couple of days I went to the gym, but only walked on the treadmill instead of doing that days' weight training workout.  Phase 3 of Live Fit is difficult because the workouts keep your heart rate up the whole time, no rests!  In between sets, you do "active rests" like jump rope for a minute, jog/sprint, do step-ups, or abs.  I used to hate jumping rope (I couldn't do it, kept messing up, and felt super self-conscious), but now I'm getting pretty good at it and think it's FUN! :) 

After I recovered from my cold, I kicked butt in the gym!  Seriously, we all have stresses in our lives and taking your emotions out on those weights at the gym can be a life saver.  Put on your iPod, play your rock-out music, and GO!  You will feel so much better after a hard, sweaty workout, I promise.  

DAY 57: LEGS



DAY 58: BACK/BICEPS


DAY 59: CHEST/SHOULDERS



DAY 60:  HAMSTRINGS/GLUTES/CALVES


DAY 61:  BACK/BICEPS/ABS/SPRINTS


DAY 62: SHOULDERS/TRICEPS/CALVES



I did pretty good completing the workouts as designated, but did not follow the eating plan exactly, which calls for calorie counting in Phase 3.  Because I'm already pretty lean, I just eat like I normally do, something like this:

7:30 a.m.  Coffee with creamer, oatmeal with raisins/almonds/cinnamon/skim milk

10:00 a.m.  Protein bar (ideally this should be a meal, but I was on the go this week so just grabbed a bar from my purse)

12:00 p.m.  Grilled chicken pasta salad

3:00 p.m.  Extra lean turkey chili

5:00 p.m. Post-workout protein shake

6:00 p.m.  Extra lean turkey chili

9:00 p.m. Cereal (this isn't recommended, but honestly what I ate this week)

I also had a few hot cocoas (with skim milk) and popped into Starbuck's for a tall, nonfat, no whip white mocha.  I told you it's not perfect!

So, at the end of Week 9, my arms are getting a little more muscular and so are my legs/glutes- yay!  Also, I'm finally noticing that my abs are tighter.  

My favorite body parts to work out are shoulders and legs, I don't like doing biceps/triceps, but I can tell the results are worth it.


Here's a comparison from where I started to now.  Probably the biggest difference that I'm most thrilled about is my shrinking belly.  I know it's difficult to tell because I'm not showing my stomach, but you can kind of see in the first shot where my little "pooch" was, and now it's disappearing.  



You can read about the Live Fit Program (and my progress) by going HERE.   Three more weeks to go.  I will definitely be ready for bikini season this year!  Start NOW, so you will be ready too.  Come summertime, you'll wish you started today.  

I've got my eye on these . . . 



Who's starting TODAY??

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Greek Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken

Hi all!  Thank you so much for reading and commenting on Jenna's weight-loss success story.  I knew she would inspire you and I'm so happy she agreed to let me feature her here.  I'd love to feature YOU too, just email me at: honeywerehealthyblog@gmail.com and we'll chat!

I made a Greek pasta salad with grilled chicken the other night for dinner and thought you might like to try this recipe with your family.  It's classic Greek ingredients - tomato, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese with whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken, and a homemade vinaigrette dressing.


I actually prefer this salad cold, but you can eat it warm also. I used penne pasta, but sometimes I use spirals.  For busy weeknights, I like meals like this that I can just throw together.  Of course, it's nice to have left-overs for lunch later in the week too.

Ingredients (Salad)
Serves about 6

Tomato- 3 small diced
Cucumber- 1 large diced
Olives- 1/4 cup sliced
Red onion- 1/2 cup
Feta cheese- 3/4 cup crumbled
Whole wheat pasta- about 2 cups cooked
Grilled chicken- about 4 large boneless, skinless breasts
(fresh basil would be good in this salad but I didn't have any on hand)

Ingredients (Vinaigrette)

Whole Grain Mustard- 3-4 teaspoons
White wine vinegar- 1/8 cup
Dried basil- 1 teaspoon
Salt- dash
Pepper- dash
Olive oil-1/4 cup

  • Combine all the ingredients together except the olive oil and stir.  Then whisk in the olive oil.  
  • You can adjust the ingredients depending on your taste preferences.

Directions

  • Boil the pasta according to package directions.
  • Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and cook the chicken until done.  Then cut into cubes.
  • Add the diced tomato, cucumber, olives, onion, and cheese with the pasta and chicken.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss it all together. 


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Before & After Success Story (Jenna of Small Fry Blog)

I've been pestering my friend Jenna (of Small Fry Blog) to allow me to post about her weight loss and fit-lifestyle gain for awhile now and she finally gave in!  She's a mom to two precious boys and looks younger than ever.  I'm so proud of her and thrilled that she is allowing me to share her story with you all here.

Not only does she look amazing, Jenna feels better than ever after making some serious changes to her diet and embracing a lifestyle of exercise.  I think there is nothing better than REAL LIFE examples of regular women who are committed to changing their health for the better and then get to show off their results as a testimony to the sweat and hard work it took to get there.

I'm motivated and encouraged by her and I hope you will be too.

Here are Jenna's BEFORE & AFTER photos and her story in her own words below.  



I've always been "fit." As in, I've always worked out at the gym & felt guilty when I ate a whole plate of brownies. I never would have considered myself overweight but just your average size 8-10 girl, 5'5, 145 pounds

I got pregnant with my first son Quinn, and after a miscarriage and some bed rest issues, I found I had gained a solid 45 pounds. No worries though because 'nursing will FOR SURE take it all off! Lies! (At least for me.) I discovered that my body more easily wanted to hang on to the weight than lose it while I was nursing. I was ravenously hungry and filling myself with anything I could find to stay full and happy! I worked out occasionally, tormented myself with P90X, and wished to be skinnier. I lost everything but 10 pounds by the time another baby was to come two years later.

Pregnant with my second boy Jude, with a bit more experience under my belt, I tried a little bit harder. I definitely was more conscious, and knew that the weight wouldn't just miraculously fall off after his birth. I only gained 30 lbs but with the additional 10 I had held on to previously, I was sitting on a lot of extra weight, and a lot of bad habits. The second he was born I knew it was time to change. 

Initially I signed up for Weight Watchers because they have a nursing program and I actually REALLY loved this program. It was perfect for me, and I got enough food to keep my supply up for my baby but at the same time was conscious of portion control. It was the beginning for me, at the age of 27, of finally being conscious and present in what I'm eating. I had never known before this program how much of my eating was out of boredom. At this time I was also working out at the gym quite regularly, doing pump classes or running. 

At four months post partum I weighed 153 lbs and was 26% body fat. At this point I was introduced to the world & culture of Crossfit. As much as it is a trend now, when I started I was one of the only women I knew of my friends who did it, and it was terrifying. I had never put any weight (literally) in strength training & all the olympic style heavy lifts were very intimidating for me. I remember sitting in my car before class, and giving myself a pep talk to go inside. Which is so not like me as I'm a very social person, but like I said this atmosphere was so foreign and new to me at first - and completely terrifying! It took one week for me to fall in love with Crossfit, one month to become obsessed, and a couple months to see the difference in my body. I'd lost 12 additional pounds and weighed 141 & was comfortably a size 6. I ran a half marathon, excelled in crossfit and generally just felt alive again! 

It was ineviteble for me to be introduced to the world of Paleo shortly after the world of Crossfitting. But of course I was working out harder than I ever had in my life so surely I did not need to adjust my eating :) I was definitely making better choices; oatmeal, whole grain toast and salads but there was something about this challenge I wanted to take on. So I started. The withdrawals were outrageous, and I found myself declining lunch dates with friends because I knew full well I couldn't control myself there. It was a whole new world of lean meats, sweet potatoes, fish, and considering pineapple a dessert. This was when the most change happened, in my opinion. While I only lost 10 pounds in 60 days of being 100% paleo, I lost 5% more body fat taking me down to 16% and lost over 10 inches taking me down to a size 4. I learned to take my focus off the scale, its results could never compare to the leaps and bounds I was making in body fat and inches. I've never felt better than when I'm following the guidelines of Paleo. It's not for everyone, and I now follow the 85/15 rule to allow for some fun every now and then. To me living 85% paleo isn't so much a diet as it is a lifestyle. 

Besides the fact that I feel great in my clothes, (although I'm always wanting and challenging myself for more body change. I don't think I'll ever be an "after", I'll never stop looking for ways to challenge myself and improve my health!), I've found that a healthy lifestyle has made me a better person, wife, and mother. I'm happier, more energetic, excited about life, and confident! All these changes result in a happier, healthier home for our family. 

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It can be scary to share yourself so openly in such a public format.  If her story resonated with or encouraged you, please leave a comment so that she knows she has helped someone. - Megan

If YOU have a BEFORE & AFTER success story you are willing to share, please send it my way.  I'd love to feature you here!

You can email me at:  honeywerehealthyblog@gmail.com



Monday, January 7, 2013

Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins (Yummy Mummy)

Marina of Yummy Mummy blog is one of my favorite food and photography bloggers.  She is such a genuine person and creates beautifully healthy and seasonal food.  She recently posted her healthy banana blueberry muffins and I can't wait to make them.  My son and I both love blueberry muffins and these have only 206 calories and 7 fat grams per serving.  Go HERE for the full post and recipe.


I really think you'll enjoy her recipes.  Let me know if you visit!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Proscribe Nutrition at Small Fry Blog

My friend Jenna (who helped redesign my home blog, Honey We're Home) is a real inspiration.  She committed last year to losing weight and is now 40 pounds down and looking and feeling great!  She has teamed up with a couple other gals and has a children's lifestyle blog called Small Fry.

They are giving away a 15-day online course to Proscribe Nutrition (a $149 value), a class to help you make healthy changes, kick unhealthy habits and provide you meal plans- go here for a sample post of sample meals.

To enter the giveaway, visit Small Fry blog.  The giveaway ends Sunday!



Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arugula Salad with Apples, Almonds, & Honey Roasted Onions


Arugula Salad with Apples, Marcona Almonds, and Honey Roasted Cipollini Onions


I'm sure many of us are starting the new year with fresh resolve to eat well and make positive changes to better our health.  In some ways, the holiday sweets are a blessing because I always feel a little in need of sugar detox by January 1st!  You know you need more vegetables when you start craving them and all I could think about when we got back from our holiday travels was a big fresh salad.

I tossed this together with mostly things I had on hand, though I did have to run out for the cipollini onions and some fresh arugula after being away for the past week.  You can be chopping the apples while the onions are roasting and preparing other parts of your meal if you serve this as a side dish.  We had it with a roasted salmon fillet but it would be great with grilled or roasted chicken as well.  It's also got enough going on that it would make a great light supper or a lunch salad.

I'm not a fan of raw onions and have always found the flavor too harsh.  Roasting onions completely changes their taste and you get a golden, complexly sweet little burst of flavor instead.  This is a great way to add the flavor of onions to a salad without feeling like you need to chew a pack of gum afterwards!



Ingredients - makes 4 side salads
12 cipollini onions, ends removed and peeled
2 tbsp. honey
½ tsp. dried thyme
4 handfuls of arugula
1 pink lady apple, cored and cut into thin slices or 1” chunks
¼ c. salted marcona almonds
¼ c. dried cranberries
¼ c. crumbled feta cheese
Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 375º.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small, ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk 3 tbsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add onions and toss to coat. 

Add onions and sauce to hot pan and cook about 1 minute.  Place pan in the oven and roast the onions until they’re soft and golden, about 15 minutes.

Place a handful of arugula on each of four salad plates.  Divide the remaining ingredients among the four plates.  Top each salad with three roasted onions.  Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Cider Vinaigrette

This is one of my favorite vinaigrette recipes for a salad that includes fruit, especially apples or pears.  If you can’t get apple cider, substitute apple juice.  I’ll often double the recipe and keep the dressing in the fridge for a few weeks so I can pull it out whenever I want it!

Ingredients
¾ c. cup apple cider or apple juice 
2 tbsp. cider vinegar 
2 tbsp. minced shallots 
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ c. extra virgin olive oil

Combine the apple cider, cider vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about ¼ cup. Off the heat, whisk in the dijon, olive oil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp.pepper.


*This post was brought to you by contributing author Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home.  Thank you for this recipe Jen- I'm excited to try the salad with the salmon or chicken like you suggested.

To visit Jen's home decor and DIY website, go HERE or click the picture below.


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Workout at Home (Fitness DVDs)

Although I prefer to workout at the gym or go for a jog in the park, I know many people like to work out at home or have no other option.  When I announced I was starting a fitness blog on Honey We're Home, lots of you wrote in and told me about your at-home workouts that you enjoyed and saw results with.

Since I haven't done any fitness DVD's, I can't give a personal review, but I was hoping that you could share in the comments section what DVD's you like and what you had good experiences with.  I think other people could benefit from your knowledge.

Please share!





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