Archive for the ‘nutrition’ Category

I seriously cannot say “chocolate milk has muscle,” without wanting to strike a bodybuilder pose.

Go ahead, laugh. I am.

I meant to add this to my 10k training update post, but … I forgot. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. In fact, I went to the grocery store this week to get chocolate milk – it was one of only TWO thins on my list – and I forgot it. And then almost forgot it on the second trip.

Yeah, I need help.

So, anyway, why the post on chocolate milk?

Cause the kind PR people for The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board offered up some free T-shirts for three of my fabulous readers. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

So, in honor of chocolate milk, I made a super yummy smoothie after my run. It’s high in protein – which I’ve heard is helpful for recovering after a workout.

chocolate strawberry smoothie

1 cup chocolate milk
1/2 cup Oiko’s vanilla greek yogurt
handful of frozen strawberries
1/2 banana

Optional ingredients:
protein powder (I like Amazing Meal from Amazing Grass)
ice or chia seeds (if you want it thicker)

Blend and enjoy! Just be sure to enjoy it before it gets knocked over by a mischievous cat.


How to enter the giveaway:

Leave me a comment telling me why you love chocolate milk. Be sure to include your e-mail (which won’t be published, but how I’ll notify winners). I’ll pick a winners on Nov. 18!


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Fresh ginger tea

If you like Asian cuisine, you’re familiar with ginger as an ingredient. And most people know that ginger ale will help settle an upset stomach, but did you also know that ginger can help ease menstrual cramps and provide migraine relief?

If you do any kind of Google search on the benefits of ginger, you’ll find it can be used for a variety of ailments:

  • Nausea – from motion sickness, pregnancy or chemotherapy
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Inflammation of joints from arthritis
  • Relieving gas
  • Cold and flu
  • Sore throat

There have even been studies on how ginger affects cancer. One study suggests that ginger actually causes ovarian cancer cells to die off. With history of ovarian cancer in my family, I’m hoping this one is true.

So, it seems ginger is good for darn near everything. But, how should you take it?

You could take a ginger supplement, but the easiest (and most fun) way is to use raw ginger root in recipes. Simply slice or grate into stir fries, add to a salad or dressings, sauté with fresh vegetables (think broccoli!), use as in a glaze for fish, or even bake into cookies or muffins. You can even add it to fresh juice for a nice spicy kick & warming quality. Even nibbling on the candied ginger can help ward off nausea.

But one of the simplest ways to enjoy ginger is in tea – add 4-6 slices of raw ginger to cup and cover with boiling water.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Add honey and lemon (or lime) if desired.

ginger tea - perfect for cool fall days

Ginger tea not only help digestion, it just tastes good! Try it the next time you feel a cold or sore throat coming on.

What are your favorite ways to use ginger?

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Lentils & ground beef

I just made the most rediculously delicious meal. Shockingly, I didn’t even have a recipe! I was just stealing ideas from a few different places.

This is a super simple recipe that makes quite a bit. You probably have everything on hand for it, too. This is a great way to stretch ground beef if you’re on a budget – you could easily use 1/2 a pound or add more lentils – and an excellent way to sneak in some nutrient-dense lentils. You could even use soy crumbles if you’re a vegetarian. This is a pretty versatile dish. (I know it’s not the prettiest dish, but trust me, it’s good)

lentils & ground beef

Lentils & ground beef
Makes about 6 servings

1 cup dry lentils
1 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. dry onion flakes (you could probably use an onion, chopped too)
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup pasta sauce (or ketchup – but I had pasta sauce leftover)


1. Cook lentils according to package. Mine took about 20 minutes.
2. Brown ground beef and drain. Add lentils to pan and mix gently. Add spices and pasta sauce or ketchup and mix. (You can add more or less sauce/ketchup depending on how dry you want it to be. I just added what was leftover in the jar and it worked well.)

You can serve this as a taco filling or eat it in a bowl like chili topped with some cheese & sour cream. Or, put it on top of chips for nachos. Yum! Or, if you added a bit more sauce, you could eat like a sloppy joe.

Best part about this dish – each serving has 11 g of fiber (source).

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This is probably the best bowl of oatmeal I’ve ever eaten. Well, except for that one topped with Baileys – holy wow.  But this one ranks right up there.

I love steel-cut oats – if I could eat them every morning, I would. Thing is, sometimes they take a little while to make. They’re well worth the effort in my opinion, but sometimes I just want something a little faster. So, when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, I figured it was worth trying out.

I topped this one with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon (a classic combo) a dash of nutmeg and half a banana. I also stirred in some chia seeds for added Omega 3.

The cinnamon I used was Spice Inc’s Saigon Cinnamon and I also used Spice Inc’s nutmeg powder. These two items are just fantastic. The cinnamon is so fragrant! I’m currently searching for a good cinnamon bun recipe to really try out this cinnamon. (PSST: Be sure to check back Wednesday for a Spice Inc review & surprise – *ahem* giveaway!)

Overnight multi-grain cereal

Overnight multi-grain oatmeal
adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1/3  cup  steel-cut oats (such as McCann’s)
  • 2  tablespoons  uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 1/4  cups  water
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  chia seeds
  • 1/2 banana, sliced

1. Combine oats, barley, and 1 1/4 cups water in a microwave-safe 4-cup bowl. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

2. Pour mix into pan, stir in salt and cook on stove top for about 10 minutes. Add toppings (sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and banana) and serve.


2. Uncover bowl, and stir in salt. Microwave, uncovered, at HIGH for 6 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring well after 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Top with almonds and honey.

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Ever since I made Ina Garten’s buternut squash risotto, I’ve been hooked on the simple rice dish. So when I saw this recipe using steel-cut oats, my favorite breakfast food, I knew I had to try it out and see if it really works.

It does. Oh, my gosh, it works. SO well.

The oats turn nice and creamy and have a fantastic flavor with the chicken broth. The red peppers give it a nice pop of color – and they stay on the crunchy side – and the cheese, well, that just adds to the deliciousness. This is a great way to get in a whole grain and feel like you’re “cheating.”

Steel-cut oat risotto with chicken, red peppers and mozzarella

I know it may not be the prettiest dish, but trust me, the flavors are incredible. This (and the roasted cauliflower) have been the only dishes that actually TASTE good to me lately.

Steel-cut risotto with chicken, red peppers and mozzarella
From Myrecipes.com/Cooking Light

  • 2  (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 3/4  cup  finely chopped onion
  • 1  large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/4  cups  steel-cut oats
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1  cup  chopped cooked dark meat chicken (I used both white and dark meat from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Manchego cheese (I used mozzarella since I couldn’t find Manchego)
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm.

Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add oats; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes). Stir in chicken, cheese, rosemary, and salt.

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OK people, this is seriously the BEST way to eat cauliflower – hands down. I literally ate the entire head of cauliflower I prepared – BY MYSELF. Yes, it is that good.

roasted cauliflower

Super simple roasted cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper

Toss florets with olive oil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, tossing after 15 minutes.

Remove from oven & eat warm or at room temp. Warm is best, and in all honesty, after you have a few, they might not last long enough to cool to room temp.

Seriously, THAT easy.  I highly suggest doubling or tripling recipe if you plan on sharing. Or even if you don’t – it’s not like there’s anything bad for you here.

Look at all the caramelized goodness

Some health benefits from eating cauliflower:
(from WHfoods.com)

  • Cauliflower and other vegetables in the cruciferous family, including cabbage, contain compounds that may help prevent cancer
  • It’s an excellent source of Vitamin C
  • It’s thought to be a liver detoxifier
  • Contains vital phytonutrients that help increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification
  • It’s high vitamin C content can help those with rhumatoid arthritis
  • Can help to lower cholesterol

Not too shabby, huh? And, when it tastes as good as it does when it’s roasted, there’s no reason NOT to eat it!

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t make anything without a recipe because it usually turns into a disaster. Which makes this “recipe” pretty much a miracle.

refrigerator soup

It’s so simple … I used up whatever veggies I had, added some stock and simmered for about 20 minutes. Easy peasy. And shockingly delicious. 🙂 Serve with a piece of bread & you’re good to go! This made about 3 LARGE servings.

My refrigerator soup included:

  • sauteing a 1/4 of a red onion and 2 cloves of garlic in a bit of olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a carrot, chopped
  • 4 button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small yellow squash, cut in 1/2 moon shapes
  • 1 small zucchini, cut in 1/2 moon shapes
  • 2 cups spinach
  • few leftover steamed cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chicken stock base (I use Penzeys) – use vegetable stock if you want in vegetarian.
  • about 4 cups of water
  • dash of Yah’s Best spice mix – you could use any kind of spices you want
  • bay leaf

Sometimes, the best foods are the ones with the simplest ingredients.

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