Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Tilapia

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IMG_20150304_212057_118     This amazingly simple, healthy and nutritious dish was originally put together as a dipping salsa. However, when it came time for dinner, it was warmed and served as a bed for grilled tilapia.

The ingredients were 1 can black beans (rinsed), 1 can corn (drained), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1/4 Lg onion diced, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, and a dash or two of lime juice.

I threw all of this together and let it chill in the fridge. It definitely was not one of my most thought inspired dishes but it turned out very nice.

In fitness, Bob

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Feel the Burn

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Typically, when someone is talking about , ‘Feeling the burn’, they are referring to the euphoric high of an intense workout. The one that makes each breath of oxygen fuel your muscles, so that you can continue to get in one more set, one more rep, or maybe just one more step. The burn is the production and build up of lactic acid.

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High intensity exercise can cause an endorphin rush much like the intake of Capsaicin, which is an active component in chilie peppers and is said to promote weight loss. It is also an anti fungal.

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I am known as a chili head. I enjoy the burn of hot peppers, sauces, seasonings and all things chili. I have been busy grinding dried Mulato, Ancho, Ghost, New Mex., Chococlate Habanero, and Fatali chilies. I mix this with a few seasonings and use it as a topical addition for eggs, soups, meats, you name it.

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These Fatali peppers are one of my favorites for their citrus like flavor. I am wearing gloves due to the oils that are present on these chilies. The vast majority of the heat is not in the seeds, as some people think, but in the membrane or placenta, that holds the seeds.

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I recently took a stab at making my own pepper sauce. It turned out rather well. I made my first batch with Jalapenos and Poblanos. These were fermented in a brine solution with yogurt culture to help create the process. After about six weeks, I added vinegar, a few final seasonings, ran half the batch through a berry strainer, and my first bottle of hot sauce was born.

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There was a point where we had to vacate the premises and air it out, due to the overwhelming fumes. This gave us ample time for some great Mexican food at my favorite restaurant.

Whether you choose to explore the use of capsaicin as a topical for pain relief, the ingestion of more spice for health reasons, (circulation), or just grab a bottle of chipotle sauce for flavor, I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I have enjoyed sharing mine with you.

Feel the Burn!

In fitness, Bob

Oven Roasted Spicy Chickpeas

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This recipe is a great, healthy snack. Chickpeas, or Garbanzo beans, are a fantastic source of protein. Those of you with dairy (whey), or soy allergies, or anyone wanting an alternative to animal based protein may want to consider pea protein. It contains a well balanced profile of all the essential amino acids, particularly; arginine, lysine, and phenylalanine.

Chickpeas can be made into hummus, added to salads, mixed with vegetables or purchased as a protein powder and mixed into smoothies. The two brands I use for shakes are Now Sports or Truenutrition. These mix well and are less gritty than most. Pea protein digests well and leaves you without the ‘bloated‘ feeling that some lactose or gluten based proteins may cause. If you are looking for a fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free or vegan freindly substitute, this may be for you. IMG_20141014_102719_309

For this recipe I used (1) 29 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and gently patted dry                                                                         2Tbs olive oil                                                                                      1tsp ground cumin                                                                             1tsp chili powder                                                                                  1/2tsp ancho powder (or substitute cayenne)                             1/2tsp sea salt

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Heat oven to 400F and place rack in the middle. put chickpeas in mixing bowl and gently toss with all remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a cookie sheet and bake until crisp, about 40 minutes, depending on desired crispness. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Experiment with different variations. My next batch will be Ginger/Wasabi. From there I think I’ll try brown sugar and mustard, smoked paprika and chipotle….ah the joys of a large spice variety.

In fitness, Bob

Sweet Potato Fries

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My family and friends thoroughly enjoy this blend of spices and the healthy benefit of using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Not only is this a fantastic side dish, but a wonderful,IMG_20140721_193255_164 fitness food that you can snack on raw.

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes

1/4 cup olive or coconut oil (coconut gives this an amazing flavor)

1/2 Tbsp dried Rosemary (crushed fine)

1/4 tsp Sea salt

1/2 tsp Sage

1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes (optional for spicy heat)

1/4 tsp Chipotle flakes (optional for smoky spiciness)  I use both when I make this.

Large mixing bowl, nonstick or lined cookie sheet, measuring cup

A ‘do ahead tip’ would be to mix all the spices into the oil and let sit for an hour.

Wash the sweet potatoes and pat dry. Trim the ends, but do not skin the potato. Cut into 1/4″ slices, then cut into strips. Place strips into mixing bowl.

Combine all spices with the oil, mix together and pour over the strips.

 

Using gloves to protect yourself from the peppers; use a spoon, spatula, or utensil of your choice to toss strips until thoroughly  coated with oil mixture. Place strips on cookie sheet.

{ It is at this point that I sample many of the strips }

Preheat oven to 350 and bake on middle rack for 30 minutes. Check for desired tenderness. I then place under broiler for about 5 minutes to brown the edges.

Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients. Explore your taste buds! Enjoy!

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In fitness, Bob

Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Eggs; Spiced and Smoked

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IMG_20140710_083331_603 (1)This is a quick, simple and easy recipe to make. The sweet and smoky flavors mingle well together. Using sweet potato and coconut oil, add to the health benefits.

You will need 1 medium sweet potato, shredded (about 2 cups)    2 fresh eggs (You may substitute egg whites or low cholesterol egg substitute)    1 Tbs virgin coconut oil     Smoked paprika    Chipotle flakes or powder (optional if you like heat)   Sea salt (sprinkle sparingly to your preference)

Wash sweet potato, trim ends and pat dry, then shred. (I leave the skin on)  Heat oil in 9″ skillet over a medium low heat. Spread sweet potato across bottom of pan. When edges begin to brown, (about 5 minutes), turn hash browns.   Start your eggs in a separate pan. The hash browns and eggs should finish at about the same time.

Sprinkle the smoked paprika, chipotle and a dash of salt across the top, serve , and enjoy!

The smoked paprika has no heat or spice, yet lends a beautiful smoky flavor. The only spicy heat comes from the chipotle. This also adds to the smokiness.

I am a chili head and have to be cautious when making this. I like the burn!

In fitness, Bob