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Why do we dislike some foods?

16 Nov

I read an interesting article yesterday in the New York Times attempting to explain why some people love cilantro and some people (including me!) absolutely hate it.

Apparently, there is a theory that some people may be genetically predisposed to hate cilantro. I’ve wondered about this phenomenon before. I am not a picky eater. In fact, I am pretty much the exact opposite of a picky eater. Ever since I was a child I have liked most foods and I enjoy intense flavors like onion, olives and anything spicy. But two things that many people really like, cilantro and goat cheese, are on my top hated foods list. I have given both of them a try many times but I find that they both taste completely wretched to me.

So, what do you think of this hypothesis? Could it be possible that some of us are predisposed to dislike certain foods? Or are we just being picky?

Killer Leg Workout

2 Aug

Do you try to integrate a leg workout into your strength training? If you are trying to train for a race increasing leg strength is one of the most important things you can do to improve your performance. Also, many people don’t realize that rather than focusing on a “problem area” and spending all of your time on cardio and toning just that area, it’s best to work on overall fitness, doing exercises that focus on each part of your body at least once a week.

Here is a leg workout I recommend doing 1-2 times a week at the gym:

Squats with bar – 10 to 12 reps, 3 sets

Lunges with bar – 10 to 12 reps on each side, 3 sets

Hamstring curl machine – 10 to 12 reps, 3 sets

Calf extension machine – 10 to 12 reps, 3 sets

Hip abduction machine – 10 to 12 reps, 3 sets

Hip adduction machine – 10 to 12 reps, 3 sets

Leg/quad extension machine – 10 to 12 reps, 3 sets

How to choose a weight: find a weight that you can complete 8-10 reps but feel like you can barely finish the final few reps. You may decide to increase your weight incrementally.

Hint: I do these exercises at a gym which is why many of them are performed on a machine. Some of them, particularly lunges and squats, are easily done at home without the assist of a machine. If you don’t own free weights, try increasing the reps. Doing 25 squats without any weight will still make your legs burn!

Grilled Red Snapper & Heirloom Tomato Sauce

25 Jul

I love grilling in the summer. Nothing compares to the delectable flavor of meats and vegetables grilled over a charcoal fire.

Saturday my husband and I visited a local farmer’s market and picked up a load of fresh produce. We bought brussel’s sprouts, carrots, sweet corn, green beans, zucchini and some absolutely delicious heirloom tomatoes.

On our way home, we stopped at an Asian market where we occasionally buy fish. They sell a variety of whole fish and we picked up a red snapper to take home.

For dinner that night we had the most amazing meal, thanks to those farmer’s and Asian market purchases.

Grilled Whole Red Snapper

Ingredients:

1 whole red snapper

Parsley

Fresh lemon

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Salt & pepper

Prepare your grill. I used a charcoal grill and mesquite coals that gave the fish a great smokey.

Your whole fish will most likely already have been cleaned (unless you caught it yourself!), but you will need to remove the scales. To do this, simply take a knife and brush it against the fish’s scales. They will easily flake off. After it’s been descaled, cut slits in both sides. Now rub the inner cavity with olive oil, parsley and fill with thinly sliced lemon slices and minced garlic. Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil and parsley. Place the fish in a grill basket which you have sprayed with non-stick cooking oil. Top the fish with lemon slices.

Place your grill basket on grill and cook for 10 minutes. Then carefully flip your fish and grill for another 10 minutes. It should be slightly charred on the outside and the fish should flake easily with a fork. If you aren’t sure if it’s done, use a meat thermometer to test its temperature. Fish is cooked at 140 degrees F.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce

3 heirloom tomatoes

1 garlic clove

1 TBS parsley flakes

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and coat generously with olive oil. Chop tomatoes and place in pan. Add minced garlic clove. Allow tomatoes to cook, bubbling, for 15 – 20 minutes until most moisture has cooked off. Add parsley flakes and continue to cook. You can cook the sauce for as long as you would like … it will condense and become even more flavorful the longer it cooks. If it begins to get too thick, add water to reach desired consistency.

Serve this sauce over your cooked fish. Think tomato sauce and fish don’t go together? Think again!

I served some grilled zucchini with it that was simply drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper. To be honest, I almost thought it was more delicious than the fish! The simple joy of veggies.

After a 6 mile run yesterday and a 10 mile run today, I. am. exhausted. Off to lounge on my couch…

Dairy-Free Manicotti

26 Jun

Confession: I love things stuffed with cheese. But while the fast food industry continues its endless quest for new ways to stuff cheese into things, I think we can all agree it’s best to limit one’s consumption of such foods. That’s why when I recently saw a recipe on Eat Live Run for manicotti made with a mixture of tofu, spinach and nutritional yeast instead of ricotta I knew I had to try it. And guess what? It was so good!

To make the “ricotta” filling, you just put a 16 oz. block of tofu that has been drained and patted dry into the bowl of your food processor. Then add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. This is the important part; nutritional yeast has a “cheesy” quality that really makes this dish. If you can’t find nutritional yeast, don’t try this recipe! I was able to find it in the bulk containers at Whole Foods. Then add 2 garlic cloves, a tablespoon of olive oil, 1.5 tablespoons of salt and mix it all together. Add a package of frozen spinach that has been defrosted and drained of most of its moisture. Blend it all together again and your filling is ready!

As I was filling my shells I tasted a bite of the mixture and could not believe it! It tastes so creamy and flavorful. You truly would not believe this is tofu if you didn’t know better. This recipe is great for those watching their waistline or with lactose intolerance.

You can find the whole recipe here at Eat Live Run. Enjoy!

Fit Friday: At Home Workouts

22 Jun

Do you work out at home often or are you more of a gym goer? I belong to a gym that is only a few miles from my house (I actually run there sometimes!) so I normally just go there. But there are times when I have only 30 minutes to spare and that’s when I love finding a great at-home workout. I have very little fitness equipment at my home (literally just a jump rope and a yoga mat) for the time being, so I love workouts that don’t require equipment. This workout has been floating around Pinterest and I love it:

Full disclosure: I am kind of skeptical when it comes to at home workouts. I do cardio and strength training at the gym about 5 times a week and since I use free weights and machines a lot, I tend to be skeptical that exercises using only your body’s own resistance will make you sweat. Boy was I wrong! The first time I did this I was sweating and my thighs were definitely burning from the squats. I also did this workout more than the 3 sets it suggests. Instead I did it repeatedly for about 25 minutes.

So, what do you think about at home workouts? Are you a fan or do you prefer to get your sweat on at the gym?

New (To Me) Foodie App for iPhone

21 Jun

I just heard about and instantly downloaded a free app for my iPhone that looks very cool, especially if you’re a foodie. It’s called Locavore and it uses your location to tell you what vegetables are currently in season, direct you to local farmer’s markets and more! I literally just downloaded it but I think it’s such a cool idea I had to share. I’ll give a full review when I’ve played around with it a bit more.

Do you have this app? Would you try it?

Tomato, Avocado & Golden Beet Salad

20 Jun

It was hot yesterday. Really hot. Grilling seemed like the perfect alternative to spending any time laboring over a hot stove. So we tossed a couple of brats on the grill and I whipped up two cold salads. It was the perfect meal for a crazy hot night.

Plus, I had a beautiful bunch of golden beets in my refrigerator waiting to be used that I turned into this mouthwatering tomato, avocado and golden beet salad.

I have always liked red beets but I didn’t even know golden beets existed until I was at a family picnic a few years ago. A relative had brought a different golden beet salad and it was so delicious! Golden beets have the same distinctive beet flavor but are so, so sweet. In this recipe they mix perfectly with tomato, avocado and red onion. It almost looks too pretty and colorful to eat!

To make this salad, you’ll need:

  • About 4 medium sized golden beets, scrubbed and tops removed. If you can’t find them at your regular grocery store, try a health food store. I found some at Whole Foods.
  • 4 medium tomatoes, any variety. I mixed in a few red and a few yellow tomatoes to add more color.
  • Half a red onion, cut in half and then slivered into thin half moons
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp balsalmic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add your beets and wait for it to return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 25 minutes or until beets can easily be pierced with a knife. When they’re ready, remove them and run cold water over them until they are cool enough to handle. Remove the skins. You can easily remove the skin from the beets with your hands if you’ve let them cool enough. Then cut them into small wedges.

Next just cut up your tomatoes, avocado and red onion and mix it all together in a salad bowl. Finally add the olive oil, balsalmic, salt and pepper and mix it all together again. You’re done! I think most salads are better if they’ve had a little time to marinade and let all the flavors mingle so I would suggest leaving this in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving.

I told my husband we were having beets for dinner and he made a face and said, “Do you even like beets?” But by the time dinner was over he was picking the sweet golden beets out of the salad bowl! This salad is seriously delicious and such a bright colorful addition to any dinner table.

This recipe was adapted from a similar Weight Watchers recipe.