Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Clean Eating Success Story

So, do you see a difference since you started to {eat clean}???

I actually get asked that quite often. The short answer is, YES! (the long answer, well...that's why you follow my blog)


I have seen a big difference in my health and my family's health since starting the {eat clean} lifestyle.  Last winter was terrible, we were in and out of doctor's offices every week the whole season.  We started the {eat clean} journey in September of 2010 and I am shocked to report that not one person in my family was sick the whole season.  A miracle?  Maybe. Or maybe it does have something to do with {clean eating}.


I stumbled upon this amazing story of success with {clean eating} on their website: www.cleancuisineandmore.com


Our Story


Photo: Debby Gans Photography
We’ve actually known each other since Ivy was in 8th grade and Andy was a junior in high school. We met at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, FL when Andy was assigned to be Ivy’s math tutor. We had a lot in common (a good dose of chemistry didn’t hurt!) and we became good friends from the start. We stayed in close contact when Andy went away to college and we maintained our friendship while Andy went to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.
In the summer of 1998, almost ten years after we first met, Andy was finishing med school and Ivy had just graduated from college when a major health crisis brought us together. Ivy was working at a hospital wellness center when she began experiencing a series of bizarre symptoms. What initially began as three bladder infections a month escalated to severe bladder urgency and frequency; Ivy was going to the bathroom every 15 to 30 minutes in the middle of the day and waking up six and seven times in the middle of the night. She then developed severe incontinence. Ivy started making the rounds to the local urologists and every visit turned out to be a dead end. The doctors were stumped. They became even more baffled when she began having numbness and tingling in her leg. Ivy then developed intense muscle spasms and a very strange weakness in her right leg (primarily in her right hip flexor) that made simple tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs a challenge. The strange symptoms persisted for about three months and Ivy spent the entire summer trekking from physician’s office to physician’s office… and getting nowhere fast.

A Shocking Diagnosis

Ivy’s medical ordeal came to a head one night when she thought she was getting another bladder infection and drank nearly four cups of watered down cranberry juice to “flush” the infection away. After force-drinking the fluid Ivy headed to the movie The Horse Whisperer. Barely making it through the first scene, she had to go to the bathroom almost immediately.  When Ivy got to the ladies room she couldn’t go a single drop. She rushed to the emergency room and the E.R. doctor told her he thought the urinary retention was a sign of something serious. Ivy left the E.R. wearing a catheter and headed down to see a urologist at the University of Miami. After extensive urological exams the urologist said he thought the problem was neurological. Ivy was referred to neurologist Dr. William Sheremata who did a neurological exam and sent her for an MRI of her brain and spinal cord that evening.

Ivy was then given the shocking diagnosis of being in the early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS). She was given three options; 1) begin one of the disease-modifying medications, 2) enter a study group for a trial drug or 3) revamp her diet. The idea of being a “guinea pig” and entering a study for a drug that hadn’t yet been FDA approved didn’t appeal to Ivy one bit so that option was out from the get-go. At first going the mainstream medication route seemed the most appealing and logical choice. However, after learning the disease-modifying medications (administered by injection) are contraindicated during pregnancy and can cause very severe negative side-effects, including suicidal ideation, Ivy began to have serious second thoughts. Although Ivy knew very little about nutrition, changing her diet was becoming more and more of an option to consider. Although a dietary change seemed appealing, Ivy was not 100% confident something as simple as nutrition could impact a disease as serious as MS. She then contacted Andy who was finishing med school at the University of Pennsylvania (consistently ranked among the one of the top three medical schools in the country) and asked for his help.
Ivy’s diagnosis of MS came as a huge shock to Andy, but the recommendation she change her diet as a form of treatment came as even more of a shock. Andy was highly skeptical dietary therapy could impact the disease in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, he was very impressed with the credentials of the neurologist making the recommendation as Dr. Sheremata was a full professor at the University of Miami and had published over sixty high-quality peer-reviewed research articles. Andy ended up spending hours at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical library reading all of the available literature relating to diet and MS and only then, to his surprise, was he able to confirm research did in fact support dietary therapy as an effective way to treat the disease.  Andy then flew down to Florida to personally meet with Dr. Sheremata at the University of Miami. After the meeting and after doing a lot more research on his own, Andy was convinced a healthy diet based on “eating clean” could indeed help Ivy improve her quality of life. Most importantly, the dietary change wouldn’t have any negative side effects. And, if need be, Ivy could always add the medication later.
So, it was with Andy’s support Ivy decided to makeover her diet and to learn as much as she possibly could about nutrition. At that point in our lives, both of us had a tremendous amount to learn regarding what constituted a healthy diet, but we poured ourselves into the medical dietary research and soon began to understand the sweeping benefits of nutrition for a plethora of conditions way beyond MS. We learned the healthiest diet in the world was based on “eating clean” and consuming a nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory “whole foods” diet. We also learned such a diet would benefit anyone suffering from any inflammatory condition (such as arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, etc), obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure. We pretty much stumbled onto a “one size fits all” diet.

We got Married…and Had a Baby!


Along the way the spark and the chemistry we had back in high school was reignited. We soon became more than “just friends” and were married March 11, 2000. We moved to “Philly” (Philadelphia) while Andy finished his internship at Pennsylvania Hospital and then we moved to New Jersey. Ivy was pregnant three months after our wedding and our son, Blake, was born one year and three days after our first anniversary. Ivy had a great pregnancy (with the exception of morning sickness), gained a healthy 25 pounds and never experienced any of the post-pregnancy exacerbations so common among women with MS. Blake was 7 pounds 15 ounces when he was born and from day one he has been incredibly healthy. Ivy nursed Blake exclusively for the first six months and then started him on the same nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory “whole foods” diet she followed —which, by this time Andy had also adopted (as a side note: Blake is now nine years old and he’s been on antibiotics just once in his life, he’s never had an ear infection, he doesn’t have allergies, he doesn’t suffer from asthma, he rarely gets sick and with the exception of his regular scheduled check-ups, he doesn’t need to visit his pediatrician.)That’s a photo of our little guy in the photo below =)



Bringing our Program to the Public

With our whole family eating clean  on the “MS diet” and Ivy’s health regained (Andy even reaped benefits of following the diet with a ten pound weight loss, lowered blood pressure and a new surge of energy) plus mounds of research to back up our dietary recommendations, we set out to write a book. From all the research we had done we realized the “MS diet” Ivy was following could also help improve the quality of life for people suffering from a wide range of conditions from high cholesterol to asthma, allergies to arthritis, fibromyalgia, obesity, type 2 diabetes and much, much more. Ivy’s “MS diet” combated inflammation and poor nutrition, two culprits that we knew caused and exacerbated numerous diseases common in modern society. We knew the diet program Ivy followed could help millions of people if we could get the information published in a book. But first we knew we had to put other people on our program and collect real-life testimonials in order to get a publisher interested. Getting the people together was easier said than done thought! At this point Andy wasn’t even a practicing surgeon, he was still in surgical residency and we were going back and forth to New Jersey (for his general surgery and vascular training), New York (to Sloan Kettering for his oncology training) and Philadelphia (to University of Pennsylvania for his trauma training). Life was not easy as Andy was clocking in over 100 hours a week at the hospital (he basically lived there and spent almost every other night at the hospital), we had a baby in tow with no close-by family members to help out, a very limited budget and one car. Things could have been better! Nevertheless, we managed to get a group of twenty-two people together at the prestigious Atlantic Club in Red Bank, New Jersey (in large part thanks to fitness director and our now good friend Erin Glynn—thank you Erin!) to test our program for five weeks.  The class was advertised as a “5-Week Health and Body Makeover Program” for club members who had health problems ranging from high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels to asthma, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, obesity, MS and arthritis.
While we were confident we could help the people on our program we weren’t sure we could obtain measurable results for such a wide variety of conditions in just five weeks! As part of our first class we performed extensive testing on every client, including complete cholesterol profile, blood pressure, triglyceride testing, waist and hip measurements, body weight and body fat analysis. For five weeks the class met three times a week for one hour. We spent half-hour on nutrition and Ivy used her exercise background to develop a “Fitter, Firmer, Faster” 30-minute workout program she taught for the second part of the class.

Results from Our First Health and Body Makeover Program

The results were nothing less than astonishing: In as little as five weeks every client saw measurable improvements not only in their health but also in their appearance. The number one “side benefit” people experienced following our program was hunger-free weight loss (this is especially important because we didn’t encourage people to count calories, carbs or fat grams and everyone exercised the “Fitter, Firmer, Faster” way just 30-minutes, 3 days a week). Every single person lost weight, regardless of whether they started the program for weight loss, and every single person decreased their body fat percentage and lost inches from their waist. Every person who had high triglycerides saw a decrease; every person who suffered from an inflammation-mediated condition such as asthma, allergies, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia enjoyed a marked improvement in their symptoms; and every person except for one saw improvements in their total cholesterol level and their overall cholesterol profile.

A Few Real-Life Testimonials from Our Very First Atlantic Club “5-Week Health and Body Makeover Program”

  • A fibromyalgia patient enjoyed significant improvement in her energy levels, sleep quality and relief from pain and stiffness associated with her disease; her total cholesterol decreased from 208 to 179; she lost 2 inches from her waist and hips.
  • A middle-aged woman decreased her cholesterol from 252 to 213 and lost 4 inches from her waist and hips.
  • A woman with MS who had been unable to walk on the beach for years due to the weakness in her legs was walking on the beach at the end of our 5-week program.
  • A fairly healthy fifty-five year-old man joined the program hoping to reduce his high cholesterol level. Not only did his total cholesterol drop from 304 to 245, his “bad” LDL cholesterol dropped from 229 to 187 and he decreased his body fat from an already fit 17.2 percent to an even leaner 15 percent.
  • A fifty-nine year old man lowered his body fat from 29.5 percent to 26 percent and lost 4 pounds. He lost 4 1/2 inches from his waist and hips, lowered his cholesterol from 250 to 196 and lowered his triglycerides from 87 to 70.
  • A nurse who directed a prominent cardiac rehabilitation center joined the program hoping to improve her severe arthritis symptoms. She’d been unable to cross her legs for years due to the pain in her knees and she couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs or bend down to pick something off the floor. Our initial blood work revealed a cholesterol level of 259 and a “bad” LDL of 179. Within 5-weeks on our program her lipid profile had improved significantly and her total cholesterol dropped to 169 and LDL went to 113. She lost 7 pounds and decreased her body fat percentage from 33 percent to 28.5 percent. Her arthritis pain decreased so significantly that she was able to comfortably cross her legs, climb a flight of stairs and even walk for miles around the streets of Manhattan!
** We have since repeated our Health and Body Makeover Programs numerous times—check out the Testimonials section of this site to read the results

Getting the Contract for our First Book, The Gold Coast Cure

We took the results of our very first “Health and Body Makeover Program” to editor Allison Janse at HCI Books and we soon got a contract for our first book! In 2005 HCI Books published our Gold Coast Cure. It was a huge success as an Amazon.com #1 bestselling diet book. We followed up with our second book, The Gold Coast Cure’s Fitter, Firmer, Faster Program in 2006. Andy then wrote a third book titled Chicken Soup for the Healthy Living Soul: Weight Loss and our Whole Foods Diet Cookbook was published in 2009. Long story short, we’ve been walking the talk, eating, cooking, and writing about whole foods for over a decade now. We’ve also had a lot of fun along the way!! We are continuously trying to spread the word…it’s a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding on many levels.

We’d Like to Think We’d Be ”Eating Clean” Today …

Although we’d like to say we’d have eventually adopted our whole foods diet and “eat clean” way of eating regardless of whether Ivy had been diagnosed with MS, we can’t say with absolute confidence this would have ever happened. For one, we can’t imagine why we would have ever taken the time to research and sort through the ever-shifting, conflicting, and completely contradictory dietary advice that has filtered its way into the media over the past ten to twenty years. Would we have happened to stumble upon an appealing, science-based natural-foods diet book? Maybe. But, probably not. To be honest, we’re not sure the natural-foods stuff would have been attractive to us anyway. Back then the natural-foods world seemed too “fringe element” to be appealing.
Luckily, times are slowly changing. In fact, over the past decade we’ve noticed an increasing number of people going out of their way to buy “all-natural” foods. The reality is that we are now just on the brink of a whole foods revolution as more and more people flock to natural foods stores and begin to stock up on items such as sushi-grade tuna, gourmet blends of wild rice, flaxseed, artichokes, edamame beans, and “designer” greens.
Gone are the days when a twenty-ounce porterhouse steak is considered the ultimate in dining luxury. Today, an increasing number of people are demanding healthful, better-balanced, whole foods meals. They are also seeking an exotic adventurous style of cuisine offering international flavors, all with the added stipulation it will help them stay fit and trim. Eating Clean Cuisine is becoming more and more popular by the month. And it’s about time!

We’re Learning More about ”Eating Clean” Every Day!

While we thought we were the ultimate healthy living experts back in 2005 when we published our first book we now realize there’s always more to learn! We are constantly reading and educating ourselves on the very latest as it applies to nutrition, exercise, supplements and healthy living. Our goal with this site is to keep you updated on what we’re eating, what we’re cooking, what exercises we’re doing and what healthy living items we’re buying. Healthy living is a day to day journey but it can be fun and exciting. We’ll show you how…

{in a pinch} BLACK BEAN & CORN CHILI

Vegetarian chili is so simple, budget friendly, and healthy to make.  This recipe came to be from lack of time and groceries one night. (sound familiar anyone??) 

 Organic black beans and organic canned tomatoes are two go to items I like to have on hand at all times in the pantry.  Being unprepared at dinner time can throw a wrench into the {clean eating} lifestyle.  If you find yourself {in a pinch} for dinner, reach for this recipe.  

{in a pinch} black bean and corn chili has approximately 200 calories(without toppings) and 10 grams of protein per cup. That makes it an ideal quick lunch or dinner meal that will help keep you feeling full longer. 


{in a pinch} BLACK BEAN & CORN CHILI

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans {organic} black beans (rinsed)
  • 2 cans {organic no salt added} diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 scallions (minced) or 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 2-3 Tbps chili powder
  • 1 Tbps cumin powder
  • 1 c {low sodium} chicken stock
  • 1 Tbps olive oil
  • 2 Tbps ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 tsp sea or kosher salt
1)  Heat oil in pan to medium heat, add onion and garlic. Saute for a minute or two.
2) Add tomatoes, corn, beans, chili powder, cumin, chicken stock, flaxseed and salt to pan. 
3) Mix and heat to a boil, then reduce and simmer.

NOTE:  Top with low fat sour cream or plain yogurt, cilantro, and/or cheese. I add flaxseed almost every chance I get to soups, sauce, etc. You can omit it if you wish. Check out this blog entry to learn more about the benefits of flaxseed: Flaxseed

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

I love Kung Pao Chicken but had never made it myself until starting this journey. It took me a couple of times to master one I liked and thought was blog worthy. It's finally here. It's still not as good as the PF Chang's I love, but it will do for now.

Kung Pao Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1-2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp {low sodium} soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili paste
  • 1/2 c unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 c {low sodium} chicken stock + 3 Tbsp
  • 1/2 c sherry wine
  • 3 green onions (chopped)
  • 1 small red pepper (sliced thin)
1)  Add sesame oil to hot pan.
2)  Cut chicken in one inch pieces and toss with cornstarch.  Place in hot pan.
3)  Cook approx 4 minutes on high before flipping chicken over.  Flip and cook an addition 4 minutes or untill chicken is no longer pink.  Transfer chicken to serving dish.
4)  Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, chili paste, chicken stock, garlic and sherry to a bowl. Stir and sit aside.
5)  Add half of green onions, red peppers, peanuts and 3 Tbsp chicken stock to hot pan and saute for a few minutes.
6) Add chicken back to pan and pour sauce in pan. Reduce heat and simmer for approx 5 minutes.
7)  Pour over brown rice, top with remaining green onions and serve.

KID APPROVED??? not sure

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Turkey Wontons with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce

I had no idea making my own wontons would be so simple. These are baked, instead of fried, which cuts down on the fat and calories of the recipe. Also, I used the super lean turkey breast. My fave! These would make a fantastic appetizer to bring to a party if you are wanting to bring something healthy. 

Turkey Wontons w/ Ginger-Soy Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1.25 lbs {extra lean} turkey breast
  • 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp {low sodium} soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp  sherry
  • 2 Tbps water
  • 1 Tbps sesame oil
  • 1 Tbps honey
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 shallots (diced)
  • 3 Tbsp {low sodium} chicken stock
  • 1 package of {all natural} wonton wrappers
1)  Add turkey, 3 Tbps chicken stock, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook until turkey is no longer pink. (make sure to chop the turkey into small pieces as it cooks)
2) Mix hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sherry, water, oil, honey, garlic, and ginger in a bowl.
3) Turn off heat and pour sauce over turkey and allow to sit for a few minutes. This is your mixture.
4) Scoop a small amount of mixture onto wonton wrapper, brush edges with water, fold and seal edges.
5) Lightly spray an oven-safe pan with oil and place potstickers on pan.
6)  Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.


NOTE:  I think next time I make this I will run the turkey mixture thru the processor to make a smooth texture.  Also, I made 24 wontons this time around and had about half of the mixture left. I easily could have made all 48 that came in the package. I used Nasoya wonton wrappers  found at my Kroger in the Organic section.


Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce


Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbps water
  • 2 Tbps {low sodium} soy sauce
  • 2 Tbps rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbps honey
  • 1/4 tps ground ginger
1) Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.  

NOTE: Feel free to add fresh garlic to this as well, I ran out! Or even a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for heat. 

{clean} KIDS

If there's one thing I am passionate about, it's getting healthy for my kids. But, equally important is teaching them the importance of overall good health. They are my world and I want to be around for decades to enjoy them to the fullest!  I wish I would have gotten on this {eating clean} bandwagon years ago.  

I have seen both of my parents struggle with their weight and weight related health issues.  In my opinion, taking care of our own bodies is one gift we can give those we love most. And more importantly, educating future generations to make healthy choices that will impact their health in decades to come.

I recently checked out The Eat Clean Diet: Expanded Version from our public library and there was a whole chapter called EAT-CLEAN KIDS and I felt compelled to blog about it.  I can't stress enough the importance of teaching our children about what is going into their bodies at an early age and how it will impact their future.  I wish I had been educated more when I was young about what really goes into the foods I am eating.  


FACT: For the first time in history children may not live the long, healthy lives their parents did, thanks to poor nutritional habits.  

I can assure you that once your child has lived the {eat clean} lifestyle for awhile they will be able to taste the difference between clean and dirty foods and often times choosing the clean alternatives.  I'm not saying that you can't give your kids dirty foods ever again, but I just think it's important that they realize there is a difference.  

And just to educate some of you adults out there that aren't in the habit of reading labels or digging deep into those favorites treats your are serving up, here's some insight.

TWINKIE

Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Reduced Iron, B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Whole Eggs, Dextrose. Contains 2% or Less of: Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sweet Dairy Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Yellow 5, Red 40.

And if Twinkies are one of your guilty pleasures then you might want to read this: 
Gulp! Take a gander at a Twinkie's 37 or so ingredients


FRUIT SNACKS
Corn SyrupSugarFruit Juice From ConcentratePear(s) JuiceApple(s) Juice,GelatinSorbitolMalic AcidFlavoring NaturalFlavor(s) ArtificialSodium Citrate,Ascorbic AcidMineral OilCorn Oil,Tocopherol AcetateCarnauba WaxVitamin A (Retinol Palmitate)Red 40Blue 1Yellow 6Yellow 5

If fruit snacks are on your grocery list often here is an article to educate you further: 

Whats-So-Bad-About-Gummy-Fruit-Snacks?



PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS

Enriched Flour , (Wheat Flour , Niacin , Reduced Iron , Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) , Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) , Folic Acid) , Peanut Butter , Sugar , High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Malted Barley Flour, Leavening, (Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate), Soy Lecithin , Cornstarch , Yellow #6, Cheddar Cheese, (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt , Enzymes), Whey, Buttermilk, Disodium Phosphate, Red Pepper


For more information on what snacks rank the worst, read Top 10 Most Unhealthy Snacks for Kids


Often times it's hard enough to get ourselves eating healthy that we don't put much emphasis on the kids doing the same.  I challenge you all to take a look at what snacks your kids (or yourself) are consuming.  Stay tuned for {clean} snack ideas.





Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{clean} RED ENCHILADA SAUCE

Ingredients:
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c {low sodium} chicken stock
  • 2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce (low sodium)
  •  2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1)  Add water, tomato sauce, and spices to pan and bring to boil.
2)  Mix cornstarch and a small amount of water(1 tbsp or so) in a bowl until dissolved.
3)  Once dissolved add to boiling mixture and stir.
4)  Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it thickens.




Monday, March 21, 2011

GARLICKY BAKED WEDGES



I had the BEST fries from Scotty's Lakehouse the other day and can't stop thinking about them. They were da bomb! If you haven't tried them and live in the area you should give Scotty's Lakehouse a try.  We don't eat out very often these days but this place has moved to the top of my places to dine when we do. I'm a bigger fan knowing they are 100% certified local, fresh, and organic.  It is definitely reflected in the food. (oh and I should mention we did carry-out and they were still {that} good after travel)

As I said, I couldn't stop thinking about these fries so I began to search the internet for something new to try at home that could {maybe} be comparable.  I came across this recipe. It was good, but nothing compared to Scotty's.  Next time I have them I will pay closer attention to their taste and appearance instead of wolfing them down like a girl that hasn't eaten for days. 

These wedges are crispy on the outside,soft on the inside, and packed with flavor.

Garlicky Baked Wedges


Adapted from:  www.purplefoodie.com

Ingredients:

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (i suggest using less if you don't want them spicy)


  1. Preheat oven to 440° F.
  2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking dish, coating it well.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.
  5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.
  6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Serve with {all natural} ketchup, {all natural} honey mustard, or make an unique dip.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

If you know me, you know I love Mexican food.  Mexican was one of the first things I started to make {clean}. This enchilada recipe is lower in fat than the traditional enchiladas you get at a restaurant. Cheese loves out there:  I promise I will post another recipe later with more cheese and creaminess, but for now I'm on a weight loss mission!  These enchiladas satisfy my Mexican cravings (which are about every day) and keep me on track with my goals. 


Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas


Ingredients:
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs of boneless chicken breast
  • 1 can {organic} black beans (mashed)  
  • 1 can {organic} no salt added diced tomatoes (drained)
  • small sweet onion (sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 oz shredded cheese (i used half Monterey Jack and half Mild Cheddar)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 small red chili pepper (chopped), or whatever pepper you have on hand
  • 8 large whole wheat tortillas
  • {clean} Red Enchilada Sauce
1)  Combine chicken, tomatoes, onion, salt, garlic, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and paprika into crockpot.  Cook for approx 2 hours on high or low for 6 hours. Once cooked, shred with fork and add to large mixing bowl.
2)  With chicken, add mashed black beans, cilantro, red chili pepper. Stir.  
3)  Lay out 8 flour tortilla on counter and evenly scoop mixture on to tortillas.
4)  Even distribute the cheese on top of the mixture.
5)  Pour enough enchilada sauce on bottom of baking dish to cover (to avoid them sticking)
6)  Roll each enchilada and place fold side down into the pan.
7) Top with remaining sauce.
8)  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until warm.

Topping suggestions: Shredded lettuce, black olives, light sour cream, cilantro...you get the point.

NOTE: When cooking with a crockpot, if you are to cook on low heat the crockpot on high for 30 minutes before.  I'll post the enchilada recipe soon. And if you aren't watching your calories feel free to up the cheese to 6 or 8 ounces.




Tosca’s Keep-It-Tight Tilapia

I made this recipe the other day and wasn't really impressed (I guess I like the Jerk-Spiced Tilapia better) I figured I wouldn't even blog about it, but then my friend and husband said they really enjoyed it. So here ya go.  

Tosca’s Keep-It-Tight Tilapia





Recipe from www.eatcleandiet.com

Ingredients
• 1/4 cup / 60 ml best-quality olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
• 1 tsp / 5 ml paprika
• 1 tsp / 5 ml ginger
• 1 tsp / 5 ml fresh ground black pepper
• 1 tsp / 5 ml dried mustard
• 1 tsp / 5 ml oregano
• 1 tsp / 5 ml chili powder
• 1 pinch cayenne pepper
• 4 tilapia filets, thawed
Preparation
  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF/ 205ºC. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine olive oil, garlic and seasonings.
  3. Dip each filet into the seasoning and place it on the baking sheet.
  4. Pour any remaining seasoning over the filets on the sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
NOTE: I grilled this on the outdoor grill.  And I brush each filet with olive oil then sprinkled them with the mix. I used less olive oil that way.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ANNIE'S NATURALS: Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

I am always looking for a good bargain and when I saw that Kroger had Annie's Naturals dressing $2.00 off I had to give one a try (typically they run close to $4 a bottle).  This time I tried Annie's Naturals: Roasted Red Pepper dressing and I must say, I am impressed 
enough to share with you all. I think I might have to run in and 
get some more before the sale ends.


Here's the Nutrition facts for you:


NOTE: This dressing is in the organic section at my local Kroger. You can also find Annie's at Wal-mart, Meijer, and a few others.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grilled Apple Stack

I seriously could grill everything outside now that the weather has improved in Indiana.  If you haven't tried grilling your fruit, you should! You can adjust this recipe depending on how many apples you use.  

Grilled Apple Stack

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples, cut in 1/2 inch circles and cored. (I used Gala)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (depending on how much you like it)
1) Mix maple syrup, olive oil, and cinnamon in a small dish, this will be your mixture.
2) Heat grill to approx 350-400 degrees.
3) Coat one side of apples with the mixture and put mixture side down on the grill. Cook 6-8 minutes.
4) Coat other side of the apples. Flip and cook an additional 6-8 minutes.

Serve with {all-natural} vanilla ice cream. 

NOTE: Please keep in mind all grills are different so keep an eye on them the first time you make them. I don't own a corer so I cut the circles and then used my round 1/2 tsp measuring spoon.  Of course you can cut your apples any way you choose.

UPDATE: I would use Barlean's Organic Coconut oil instead of Olive Oil now. 

KID APPROVED??? YES! 

JERK-SPICED TILAPIA


This recipe is FANTASTIC! First and foremost, it's fantastic because I didn't have to make it up and secondly, it tastes great! I made no changes to the recipe. If you aren't typically a fish eater you should give tilapia a try. I can't wait to make this again using chicken.


Jerk-Spiced Tilapia
Picture from www.eatcleandiet.com


Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp thyme (I used ground thyme on hand) 
  • 1 tsp chili powder 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped 
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
  • Pinch of sea salt 
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 4 tilapia fillets, approx. 5 oz each
1)  Combine herbs and spices in a small bowl and mix well.
2)  Coat tilapia fillets with olive oil. Pat both sides with spices.
3)  Sauté each fillet until just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.

NOTE:  I grilled these on the outdoor grill. You can use this recipe on chicken as well. Simply cut up breasts and marinade in ziplock bag with all of the ingredients for at least 30 minutes. Sauté the meat until cooked all the way through.


KID APPROVED??? I didn't even share to find out. Maybe next time kids.

PIZZA PASTA

What better way to use up all the leftover pizza toppings than to make PIZZA PASTA. It's super simple and yumm-o!

Pizza Pasta


Ingredients:

  • Leftover vegetables from pizza night (I used red peppers, mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes, green olives, and sliced turkey pepperoni)
  • Fresh Mozzarella cheese (sliced)
  • Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Leftover Mama's Pizza Sauce (if you didn't use fresh basil, I suggest adding some to the pasta)
  • one box of Whole Grain Pasta 
  • Olive Oil


1)  Saute the leftover vegetables until tender in approx. 1 Tbps of olive oil.
2)  Mix vegetables, olives, sliced pepperoni, sauce, and cooked pasta together.
3)  Transfer to a baking dish, add mozzarella cheese. Stir.
4)  Cover and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until heated thru.
5)  Top with grated cheese.

NOTE: I usually use regular pepperoni on my pizzas now (and just add a small amount), but I thought I would add turkey pepperoni to the pasta dish to cut down on calories. It seemed to work well. If you aren't watching your calories, I say go for the real deal. It's soooo good! And you can even get the cute little bite size pepperonis. And, for those of you wondering, pepperoni probably doesn't fall into the {clean} food group but we all can't be perfect! Moderation people. 

KID APPROVED??? yes, but they had a separate batch with just cheese and pepperoni. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

YOU are what YOU eat!

So...what is your favorite place to eat? What's your favorite meal out?  Do you know how many calories are in that favorite dish?  Fat grams? Sodium?  Well, you should.  Eating out can really make or break your diet or desire to live a healthy life and maintain weight loss.


Prior to this {eat clean} journey we would eat out maybe once or twice a week (heck, that's not even counting a quick snack here and there). I decided to share the information I gathered with you. Below you will see a few menu items I would have ordered when dining out before going {clean} and wouldn't have thought twice about what's in the food.  We currently curbed our eating out to 2-3 times a month.  I personally don't worry about what I am ordering when eating out now since it's now limited to 2-3 times a month. But, with that said, I have a better understanding about what's going into my body and have become more choosy on where we dine out.

Qdoba:3 Cheese Chicken Nachos
Calories:     1295
Fat:          68
Sodium:       2390 
Cholesterol:  200       


Moe's Southwest Grill:Billy Barou Chicken Nachos
Calories:     1439
Fat:          76
Sodium:       3008
Cholesterol:  189

McDonald's:2 Cheeseburgers with Medium Fries
Calories:     980
Fat:          43
Sodium:       1770
Cholesterol:  80

O'Charley's:Better Cheddar Bacon Burger with Fries
Calories:     1380
Fat:          81
Sodium:       2470
Cholesterol:  180

Red Robin:Fajita Fiesta Pollo Salad
Calories:     959
Fat:          54
Sodium:       1579

Panera Bread:Turkey Artichoke Hot Panini with Panera Chips
Calories:     910
Fat:          32
Sodium:       2550
Cholesterol:  85



Donatos: 1/4 Large Pepperoni Pizza with 1 Breadstick with Cheese 
Calories:     826
Fat:          45
Sodium:       1987
Cholesterol:  110

Outback: Small Order of Aussie Cheese Fries
Calories:     1213.7
Fat:          89.8
Sodium:       1572
Cholesterol:  139.4



Ok, that was rough wasn't it?  

CALORIES:  You may be wondering how much is too much in a day? Well, that's a bit harder to calculate for you all as a group.  There are many great tools on the internet and apps you can add to your phones to help you determine how many calories you should be consuming on a given day. Here's one that I found: http://www.acaloriecalculator.com/

FAT:  This too will depend how much you have to lose and how much you currently weigh. I, personally, need to stay under 50g fat a day from what I've read.

SODIUM:  It is recommended that a HEALTHY person doesn't consume more than 2300mg of sodium a day(and the lower the better). If you are someone with high blood pressure, are African American, and/or middle aged(over 40) you should consume 1500mg or less a day. 

CHOLESTEROL:  The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that your daily consumption of cholesterol should not exceed 200 mg a day.  

I challenge you to get online and see if your favorite restaurant has it's nutritional info posted and get the facts about what's going into your body. If you are someone that can  afford to eat out more often then it might be time to find some new "favorites" to consume while eating out that won't take your healthy train off the tracks.