Basil Smoothie

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When I saw this smoothie recipe from Kelly Toups, RD, LDN, I new I had to try it. The refreshing flavor of fresh basil stands on it’s own. Everyone uses mint, and I suppose you could add some to this recipe, but why? Three simple ingredients that are healthy and natural. Give this a try for a refreshing twist.
In fitness, Bob

Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN

Basil Smoothie

My basil smoothie post on Instagram last week prompted several inquiries, so today I’m sharing a full recipe post. Since I’m now the proud owner of an organic basil plant (thanks, Ashley!), this smoothie has been on heavy rotation during the beautiful, 80 degree days we’ve been blessed with in Boston lately. The Sweet Basil Smoothie recipe from my Giada at Home cookbook inspired this recipe, but to add creaminess (and cut the added sugars), I omitted the sugary simple syrup in favor of a frozen banana. Sophisticated, yet unfussy, this 3-ingredient masterpiece is the ultimate warm weather refresher!

Basil Smoothie

Basil Smoothie (inspired by Giada de Laurentiis)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen in chunks
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Method: Add all ingredients to blender and blend until combined.

Nutrition per serving: 180 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated fat), 32g carbohydrates (3g fiber…

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Blueberry, Chia Oatmeal

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IMG_20150505_073411_492      Blueberries were on sale yesterday when I picked up a few things, so I happily grabbed some. My wife wanted oatmeal for breakfast, so instead of her usual brown sugar and sunflower seed that she likes, I asked if she would like blueberry. She of course opted for the switch.

You will need; 3/4 c water, 1/4 c instant steel cut oats, 1/4 c blueberries, and 1 Tbsp chia seed.

I used steel cut oats, since she prefers the texture, and made them per the instructions. 1/4 cup oats and 3/4 cup water. I placed half the berries in the water and gently mashed them with a fork when the water began to boil. I then added the oats and chia seeds, stirred, and reduced to a simmer stirring occasionally until done, about 10 minutes.

When the oats are at your desired consistency, add the remaining blueberries and serve.  You could sweeten this with your choice of sweeteners.

This balanced out at 228 calories, 7g fat, 36g carb, 7g of protein. The use of chia also brings the fiber count to 11g.

In fitness, Bob

Health and Diet Benefits of Asparagus

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IMG_20150408_100933_710    Asparagus is in season right now and I was able to get some for a dollar a pound. This vegetable is very healthy and can be served raw, pickled or cooked. It used primarily in soups, salads, or as a side dish.

Asparagus is considered a bitter food, along with celery and lettuce. So called bitter foods, are regarded as a beneficial addition for weight loss. Asparagus contains the diuretic, asparagine, which is why it helps eliminate water through the kidneys. Bitter foods are also used to detoxify the liver and help expel unwanted moisture from the body. Too much asparagus can irritate the kidneys.

There are numerous vitamins and minerals in asparagus. Vitamin, K, C, E, A, B1, B3, and B6. Minerals are folate, copper, selenium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. It is also a source of fiber, protein and calcium.

My breakfast this morning consisted of scrambled eggs with mushroom ,green chilies, cilantro, and asparagus tips. I had this with a side of curried, steel cut oats.

IMG_20150408_093614_889    I prepared the oats as per the directions and let them cook while I began chopping. The green chilies I had in my freezer since I roast my own. I added those to 2 eggs, 1 portabello mushroom, (diced), about 10 asparagus spears, (snapped at the tip), 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro and whisked everything but the asparagus together. The egg mixture was put in a greased skillet, cooked for about 4 minutes, turned and cooked until done. The tips were placed on top, raw, but could be added to the mixture.

IMG_20150408_084222_194      I do not normally eat my oatmeal with fruit or brown sugar as some folks do, but prefer it as a side like rice or quinoa. Today I seasoned it with turmeric, cinnamon and a little salt.

IMG_20150408_090127_701       Stay healthy, eat well, and enjoy the benefits of fresh produce.

In fitness, Bob

Seaweeds and Eggs

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IMG_20150210_093412_110   Seaweed is actually a sea vegetable. It has been used for thousands of years for it’s ability to prevent disease, prolong life, and for overall health and beauty. In biology and myth, it is the sea that all things begin and return to. We begin life in the womb in a saline solution.

Seaweeds are classed by color. Their particular color depends on the depth at which they grow, the tide, temperature, light exposure and region. They contain up to twenty times more mineral content than land plants, and are a source of vitamins and fiber. Each seaweed has it’s own nutrient profile as well.

Seaweeds are used for lowering cholesterol, reducing fat in the blood, and in weight-loss programs. Other uses include the reduction of inflammation, as a diuretic, and the treatment of cancer and fibroid tumors.

I received Paul Pitchford’s book; Healing with Whole Foods, as a gift from my wife this past Christmas. It is a vast resource of information such as presented here, along with uses and recipes as an addition to whole body health.

Due to the high salt content of seaweed, you may need to rinse or soak, before using it. I have been using the roasted, shredded Nori as an addition to soups and eggs, and enjoy the flavor as a hot tea. Mixed with a little garlic, ginger and cayenne, it is helpful in treating congestion, (Head cold). Nori has the highest protein content and is the most easily digested of the seaweeds.

IMG_20150210_074319_434  I am not sure how the thought popped into my ever wandering mind, but I added some Nori and garlic to scrambled eggs. The flavor was what I would describe as a seafood omelette. Not that it tasted fishy, but the sea salt, roasted flavor was good. An exotic twist to a spinach omelette if you will. Additions to this could easily be any variety of mushroom, chilies, onion, whatever you choose.

IMG_20150210_075230   For one serving, I used 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 t minced garlic, and whisked it together along with approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoon crushed, shredded Nori. The Nori is easily crushed in the palm of your hand, as it is already dried. I only did this step so I did not have longer strands.

I poured the mixture into a skillet with olive oil, and cooked as I normally do my eggs.

IMG_20150209_073234    This was served with fresh tomato and was very good! As I mentioned, you could add many different ingredients and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Try adding some seaweed to an Asian style salad, stir-fry, soup, casserole or recipe of your choice.

In fitness, Bob

Recipe for Exercise

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If you took some commitment, added in some perseverance and sweat, a dash of willingness, and then tossed it gently with your favorite goals, would you be happy with the outcome?

I would like your feedback on exercise. Don’t stop reading yet, I’m not asking for money. I know everyone in the blogging world puts their thoughts and/or ideas out to share, or to invoke an interest. That is what this is for me. This will take no more time than reading and replicating a recipe, so think of this as your recipe for exercise. As with all good recipes, please share this with your friends or reblog if you wish. Not everyone exercises, I get that. If you fall into that category,  please send me your families most guarded recipe. (Lasagna, cookies, pie, soup, you get the picture:)

Being relatively new to blogging and writing exercise prescriptions, I am looking for advice from my fellow bloggers and Facebook followers. What would your ideal recipe for exercise be? A recipe that you would make again, or commit yourself to. I have written a list of questions for my curiosity, but am also open to your personal creativity as well. I will be most grateful for your time and input.

Remember, this does not have to involve a gym or kitchen, you can exercise and cook outside. Just be careful to leave a safety zone around the grill. Of course I’m kidding, but seriously, be safe.

What do you do for exercise? Do you have a favorite routine or piece of equipment that you prefer? Is there an exercise or piece of equipment that you have always wanted to learn but for whatever reason have not? If you hired a Personal Trainer, what would you expect from him/her? Would you incorporate a guideline for your nutrition/eating habits? Would you dedicate a certain amount of time to working out, and if so how often? If you became comfortable with an exercise, would you be willing to try something different? You stayed with me this far, you might as well let me know what you think. Go ahead, I can take it.

Thank you, Bob

You can email your recipe to me at;  bob@guidancefitnesspt.com

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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IMG_20141030_084415_447  Happy Halloween to all! This season is full of the smell of leaves, candy apples, goblin cookies, popcorn balls and yes pumpkin.

We went to the farmer’s market last weekend to brouse through the squash, end of season tomatoes, apples and of course pumpkin. As is tradition, my stepson is allowed to pick the largest pumpkin he can carry, to be carved. This years choice was beautiful.

After the carving was finished, a fine job by the way, I was given the task of preparing the seeds for roasting. After separating the seeds from the pulp, I rinsed and drained them, and then soaked them overnight in salt water.

IMG_20141030_085336_208  This morning I drained them, spread them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with ginger, wasabi powder and a little sugar and gave them a stir to coat evenly. Then into the oven at `200 for at least 2 hours.

IMG_20141030_083914_718  I have got to tell you that the smell of the ginger wafting through the house is fabulous! My father always preferred using Lowery’s Season Salt. Most people prefer just salt, and you can choose what you like. Maybe pumpkin pie spice would be appropriate? Some cinnamon and brown sugar perhaps?

Pumpkin seeds are a source of phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, and copper. There are also small amounts of zinc and iron as well as Vitamin E. Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are also a good source of protein. Nutritionally, seeds are a great addition to the diet.

However you choose to enjoy them, they are a part of the fall season, with a healthy benefit.

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

Chili Cook Off 2014

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IMAG0911As promised, I have an update on the Ohio regional competition that I competed in this past weekend. The event was spread out over three days and included participants from the International Chili Society, non- profits such as the VFW, (who won an award by the way), and an amateur division that I was a entrant in.

IMG_20140826_102037_261Two years ago I first participated in this event sponsored by CaJohn’s Fiery Foods of Westerville, Ohio and took 1st place in the five state regional, amateur division. I had never been in a competition like this before and was unsure of what to expect. It was a fun time and I am met alot of great people. There were vendors of all sorts, a car show, activities for the kids, and of course a huge supply of various types of chili to be sampled. On the first day of this event, I entered a Chili Verde, which is green chili. Judging for the amateur division was done by peoples choice. You would purchase a tasting kit and cast your vote for your favorites. I walked away that day with 1st place! What an experience!

The following year, my step-father was in the hospital and I was unable to attend. I continued to make my chili occasionally for my family and holiday functions. My instructor at Dynamic Self Defense in New Albany, Ohio cannot get enough of this and requests it often, especially for belt testing at Christmas.

When asked if I would be participating in this years event, I said yes. I make a pretty mean red chili that won 1st at a Limited Brands, chili competition a few years ago, but I prefer to make the green for this event. Having lived in the Southwest for many years, I grew very fond of Southwestern food. A good Chili Relleno and Tacos Al Pastor are two of my favorites. By the way, I placed 3rd in the amateur division this year.

As promised, here is my recipe. I have omitted a few ingredients, but this is delicious just the same. I use pork because it is traditional. You may substitute with chicken however.

IMG_20140821_091706_604I begin by removing the outer husk from about 20 Lg. tomatillos, cutting them in half and placing them face down on a cookie sheet in the oven until slightly blackened. Then I put them in the processor and puree, along with the juice. Put the puree in a crock pot or soup pot. Next I roast, peel, and remove the seeds from  20 Poblano peppers and puree them also. Don’t forget to wear gloves. The peppers and tomatillos do not have to be roasted. You can cut them in small pieces and boil the mixture down. Any green chili will work but I prefer the Poblano. Add 1 Qt chicken broth to the puree. Some of the contestants prefer to use homemade chicken stock but I think it overpowers the pork. Bring this to a low boil and then reduce to simmer.

For the meat, I use 5# of pork stew meat that I trim well. Cut the pork into small 1/2 ” cubes, roll in corn flour and brown. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 diced jalapeno’s, 5 cloves diced garlic and 1 chopped Lg. white onion. when the onions have softened, add to the chili.                                                                                                                       Next we add the seasonings. 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander, 1/2 Tbsp ground oregano, 1/2 Tbsp fresh cracked pepper, 1/4 tsp ancho powder, 1/2 tsp chipotle flakes and 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro. If you do not like the slightly sour flavor, try adding some brown sugar. I suggest 1 Tbsp. Add salt to your preference. This needs to cook all day and I let mine simmer for three days before I take it to judging. The flavors change so much over time. It is fun to taste and adjust the finished result. I especially enjoy this over eggs. Huevos Rancheros.

IMG_20140826_075806_491Feel free to use your imagination with this and add additional spice, some serrano for more heat, or even potato. Chili Verde can be a main dish or served as a topping over burritos, eggs, you name it. If you have any questions regarding this recipe or if I have forgotten to explain something, please contact me.

As is most of the food that I eat, this is a healthy recipe that is nutritious!   In fitness, Bob

Soup is Simple

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IMAG0912I received a phone call this morning to inform me that my patio door would be replaced this week. This is great news! The bad news is that I also discovered the manager of the complex I live in is sick today.  She sounded pretty bummed about feeling ill, but looks forward to being a test subject for my recipes. Being the kind of guy that loves to throw stuff together on the fly, I made her a bowl of soup.

I grabbed a small sauce pan and melted a little butter in it, tossed in some fresh minced garlic and onions, and browned them. Next I poured in a cup of low sodium chicken broth and brought it to a boil.

While that continued to simmer, I peeled and cut thin slices of carrot and Chayote squash and added them to the broth. I only used half of the carrot and half of the squash. You can substitute sweet potato for the squash. I then cut a Portabello mushroom and tossed it in. There was some leftover Red Cargo Rice in the refrigerator as well, so I threw in about 1/3 cup.

The seasonings were unmeasured, but were a sprinkle of cumin, coriander, sea salt, thyme and powdered ginger. I contemplated a dash of brown sugar but felt it was not needed. If I had a little chicken leftover, I would have added that also.

She was showing a property when I left it on her desk, but I am confident it will pick up her spirits. Many people overlook the simplicity and speed in making a pot of soup. Don’t be mistaken, I make a chili verde that simmers for three days. Not everything needs to be complex or drawn out.

Just like exercise, begin with a base and build from there. Once you know the basics and begin to gain confidence in your progress, you can add to your routine and increase your self worth. There is no need to make food or exercise any more complex or time consuming than you want it to be.         In fitness, Bob

Chayote Squash

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My interest in Chayote began when I discovered it between the Tatume and Yellow Squash. The price caught my eye since it was less than the Zucchini and I like a bargain. I am also adventurous in my search for tasty, nutritious and healthy food. Did I mention that I like squash? I remember my grandfather telling me that he didn’t care for squash because he ate so much of it during the depression.

Upon researching this “Green Pear”, one of many names as it is called, I discovered that it is nutritious and can be prepared many different ways. Chayote is a source of Vitamin C and amino acids, making it a healthy option. It is common in Mexican and South American culture. Chayote can be eaten raw, in salads and salsas, or cooked and added to many dishes as you would potato or any other root vegetable.

The entire plant is used in cooking, but it is the fruit itself that I am familiar with. From the outside, the shape is like a pear or avocado. The color of the flesh resembles Honeydew and is very firm. The peel can be eaten, although I find it a little tough. When cutting, a substance like Aloe seeps out, so I prefer to peel it under running water. Diced, one Chayote yields about two cups. The flavor reminds me of cucumber or melon, but very light. There is a single, flat seed inside, that I eat as well. It tastes like a fresh shelled pea with a nutty flavor.

This is a great substitute for white potatoes in soups, stews, or cooked as a side dish. I have found that it holds up to all day cooking in the crock pot, as opposed to potatoes. For a breakfast side dish, I dice one up with onion and garlic, and serve with eggs. Topped with tomato, cilantro and a sprinkling of fresh ground, smoked peppercorns,that I purchase from Spices Ltd. I like to mix the port and scotch brined, smoked peppercorns and buy many of my other spices from Spices Ltd. at North Market Spices in Columbus, Ohio.

The next time you see Chayote in the store, grab one and give it a shot.                             Infitness, Bob                              IMG_20140729_080910_607 (1)