Monthly Archives: November 2015

Holiday Workout Playlist

holiday workout playlist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holiday season is upon us! If you’re like me, you love to listen to Christmas music all season long. There are a lot of Christmas songs that have a great beat for working out. I’ve compiled a playlist of my favorite holiday workout songs to share with you. These are great for getting your heart pumping and keeping you motivated through your workouts all season long!

Holiday Workout Playlist:

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

A Mad Russian’s Christmas – Trans Siberian Orchestra

Siberian Sleigh Ride – Trans Siberian Orchestra

What’s This – Fall Out Boy

Last Christmas – Jimmy Eat World

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Twisted Sister

Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Glee Cast

Christmas, Baby Please Come Home – U2

Run, Run Rudolf – Jimmy Buffet

Deck the Rooftop – Glee Cast

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Jackson 5

Carol of the Bells – Mannheim Steamroller

 

Best Ways to Cook with Garlic

Heart from garlicIt’s safe to say that garlic is by far my most favorite food item in the kitchen. I love the way it smells when it cooks, the perfect bite it gives simple dishes, and the large amount of flavor it has packed into such a little thing. Growing up, the only version I ever saw was in the form of garlic salt my mom used to sprinkle on roasts. The first time I learned what a garlic mincer was, I was well into my twenties. Since then, I have grown to love cooking with fresh garlic, and use it just about every day. Along the way, I’ve learned the best way to prepare it, cook with it, and use it to bring out the best flavors in other food items. Now I’m going to share this wisdom with you.

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, the best way to use garlic is always in its freshest form. You can buy garlic as salt, powder, peeled, minced, or completely fresh. Some people prefer to buy garlic peeled or already minced, but I find this alters the flavor in a way that I don’t like. When you mince the garlic right before you cook with it, the flavor it produces is simply amazing.

Using freshly peeled and minced garlic also helps you avoid smelling like garlic for the next 48 hours. Whenever my husband eats garlic from somewhere else, he smells like garlic for 2 straight days. However, he never has this odor from the garlic that I cook with. I attribute this to the fact that I only use completely fresh garlic, and not the canned kind. The next time your recipe calls for fresh garlic, try peeling and mincing it yourself.

I’ve found the best way to bring out the full flavor of the garlic is by sauteing it for a few minutes before mixing it in with other things. When you cook it with a touch of olive oil, the flavor seems to come out stronger than ever. This works especially well when your recipe asks for you to add the garlic to other things in a pan.

My last word of advice is to be generous when it comes to garlic. If you like the flavor, don’t hesitate to add more than a recipe calls for, or to a recipe that doesn’t call for it at all. Adding flavor with garlic is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to alter a dish.

Holiday Side Dishes with a Punch!

Autumn harvestWhen it’s time to come up with your holiday menu plan, most of the focus tends to navigate towards the turkey, ham, or other main dish, and of course, the decadent dessert. Who really spends much time thinking about the side dishes? Contrary to what you might think, the side dishes are what really make the meal ordinary or spectacular. By choosing side dishes that are full of veggies, and full of a wide array of colors, you not only make your meal more pleasing to the eye, but also more pleasing to the palette. Try to paint the rainbow with your healthy side dishes. Here are a few great options to try.

 

 

If you’re a fan of eggplant, try this sweet roasted eggplant mango salad. This dish includes purple, green and orange and plenty of flavor and texture. It’s also not a side dish one would usually expect to see at a holiday meal.

You  might also like to serve a cranberry broccoli dish that combines crunchy broccoli, sweet cranberries and fresh garlic. This recipe will compliment your turkey and gravy perfectly.

If you need an appetizer, try this roasted pumpkin bruschetta. It will bring a new style to your holiday feast that makes you feel sophisticated and creative.

If you like carrots, we recommend this recipe for honey glazed carrots that includes, purple, orange and yellow carrots glazed with sweet honey, and baked to perfection. Carrots never looked or tasted so good.

Our Favorite Vegetable Side Dishes

Healthy Sauteed Green Beans

This is our last week of the No Exercise November Challenge. We have been sharing our favorite healthy recipes all month long that will work great for your Thanksgiving meal. This week we are focusing on our favorite vegetable side recipes. What are your favorite healthy Thanksgiving vegetable recipes?

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Low Carb Twice Baked Yams

Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic

Roasted Green Beans

Vegan Green Bean Crunchy Casserole

Green Bean Bundles

Sautéed Green Beans, Peppers and Almonds 

Oven Baked Beets and Carrots

A New Look for your Holiday Sweet Potaotes

sweet potato biscuits 3 down-watermarkBefore I say anything else, I want to clarify something important. There is a lot of confusion surrounding sweet potatoes and yams. When most people talk about sweet potatoes, they’re actually referring to yams, which are a dark orange color and quite sweet. On the other hand, sweet potatoes are a more yellow color and are just slightly sweet. Most “sweet potato” recipes are made with yams, so you have to be on the lookout to make sure you use the right ingredients. Although this title refers to “sweet potatoes”, I’m really going to be talking about yams because that’s what most people think about when you say “sweet potatoes.”

You’ve probably had sweet potatoes in several different forms, including baked, fried and candied. But have you ever had them in a biscuit form? I came across a recipe for sweet potato biscuits several years ago and I absolutely love it! My daughter begs me to make them, and every time I do, the entire batch is gone in no time flat. Although they are quite natural and healthy, she eats them like candy.

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to start thinking about which recipes you want to make. This recipe is sure to be a success with all your guests begging for the recipe. These biscuits are the perfect combination of sweet, creamy and flaky all in one. I’ve also modified the recipe to use canned yams to take less time and leave your oven available for other items.

Our Favorite Turkey Recipes

Honey Glazed Turkey

All month long we are focusing on sharing some of our favorite healthy recipes with our No Exercise November Challenge. This week we challenge you to share with us your favorite turkey recipes. Turkey steals the spotlight at Thanksgiving, and there are so many different ways you can cook or season the turkey. Some are healthier than others. Below are some of our favorite ways to cook a turkey, and we hope you will try one of them this year.

For Thanksgiving:

Honey Glazed Turkey

Greek Style Roast Turkey

4 Herb Glazed Turkey

Grilled Sage Turkey

For Turkey Leftovers:

Turkey Salad with Grapes

Pumpkin Bean Soup

Pumpkin Bean Soup

I love easy, fast and healthy meals. I have a butternut squash soup that I make that is divine! It is one of my family’s favorite dinners, but the prep work for that recipe is pretty involved. There are a lot of vegetables that need to be cut up and the butternut squash is a pain to peel and cook. Needless to say, it is a meal saved for an evening when I have a lot of time.

This recipe for Pumpkin Bean Soup  is really similar to the butternut squash soup, but you use canned pumpkin which makes it faster and friendlier for a busy night. You start off chopping up and sautéing an onion which is probably the most time consuming task of the entire recipe. After that you add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for a few minutes. The recipe calls for pureeing the soup, but I wanted to leave the beans whole to make it feel heartier so I opted not to blend it up. I also added some salt to taste.

We love to serve this with toast or a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy!

Stop Mashing Your Potatoes!

potato masherWhy is that every Thanksgiving people tend to take perfectly good potatoes and mash them to bits? With all the variety of potatoes that are available, why do people insist on covering up the naturally amazing taste of potatoes with a ton of butter and cream? The next time you visit the grocery store, spend a little more time in the potato section and you may be surprised to find purple, yellow, and red potatoes, and even miniature tomatoes that are no bigger than your thumb. This year I want to challenge all of you potato mashers to try something new and go with roasted potatoes instead for your holiday gathering. Here are three awesome recipes to choose from:

 

Dill Roasted Potatoes - One of my favorite herbs to use with potatoes is fresh dill weed. This recipe uses olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh dill to bring out all the flavor and sweetness of red potatoes.

 

Spicy Sweet Potatoes - If you’ve never baked your own sweet potato wedges, you’re in for a real treat! This recipe gives sweet potatoes a spicy kick that makes your mouth want to do a dance. Make these as a delicious alternative to traditional mashed potatoes!

 

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes – In my opinion, the creamiest potatoes are the golden ones, which is what makes this recipe so delectable. By roasting these rich potatoes in a balsamic glaze, you get a mouth watering side dish that is sure to please a hungry crowd.

 

 

Our Favorite Healthy Potato Recipes

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes

Last week I shared with you some of our favorite pumpkin recipes on DietTools.com. This week we are still focusing on our No Exercise November Challenge, but we are going to share our favorite healthy potato recipes. Potatoes are a staple item for Thanksgiving dinner, but you may want to try a more healthy spin on them this year instead of traditional mashed potatoes.

Here are a few suggestions:

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes

Dill Roasted Potatoes

Herb Baked Potato

Greek Zesty Lemon Potatoes

What are your favorite healthy potato recipes?

4 Ways to Cook a Turkey

4 Ways to Cook a TurkeyThanksgiving is just around the corner, and everyone is getting things ready to make the perfect holiday meal. Do you use use the same recipe your family has used for generations, or do you like to shake it up and try new things? Growing up I thought there was only one way to cook a turkey, and that was to put it in a pan and cook it in the oven. Little did I know there were several different ways to cook a turkey, each resulting in a very unique flavor. Here are the top 4 most common ways to cook a turkey, and the benefits of each.

 

 

Slower Cooker/Crock Pot

You can ditch the skin so it’s much healthier. No basting necessary, so you don’t have to babysit it all day long. Because all the juices are trapped inside, the meat stays incredibly moist.

Roasted

This is the most common and traditional way of cooking a full turkey. It’s great because you can flavor it just about any way you like and no special equipment is needed; just an oven and roasting pan.

Deep Fried

You can use a traditional deep fryer to fry your turkey, or use one of the new oil-less turkey fryers that use infrared heat to cook the meat. You also don’t have to stuff the turkey with anything, which makes it much more simple.

Smoked

This allows the meat to become more tender, and absorb all the delicious smoky flavor. Most turkeys take around 3 to 3 1/2 hours to fully smoke. By using a smoker outside, your oven is available to cook all the other parts of your holiday meal.