Monthly Archives: June 2016

28Jun/16
Med Zucchini Noodles w Chicken1

The CCQs Episode 2…

This week, despite a small turnout, a few of us got together for a healthy lunch. Collectively we decided on a Mediterranean theme.  This meal was a big hit with all.  It was very delicious and something I would absolutely make again.  Check out our video and the recipe below:

Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles w/Greek Chicken

Zucchini Noodles:
3 zucchini, spiralized
olive oil
garlic, finely minced
4-5 tomatoes, chopped
2 plum tomatoes chopped and blended with a little water and spices
dried oregano
cinnamon
coriander
can of artichokes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
red pepper flakes
fresh lemon juice
pepper, to taste
thinly sliced basil leaves
feta cheese

Greek Marinated Chicken:
1 cup+ plain Greek yogurt
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
dried oregano
cumin
dash of paprika
lemon
black pepper
fresh parsley
3.5 lbs chicken breasts cut into tenders or tenders

  1.  Make the marinade for chicken: combine yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, oregano, cumin, and pepper in a bowl.  Add some lemon zest and juice from the lemon.  Stir to combine.  Stir in some chopped parsley.
  2.  Add the chicken pieces to a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Top with marinade.  Zip tight, getting as much air out as possible.  Massage bag to cover chicken.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3.  Spiralize the zucchini into a bowl.
  4.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add in garlic and saute about a minute.  Add in the chopped tomatoes.  Cook until tomatoes start to soften.
  5.  Add the remaining ingredients, except for the feta and basil and simmer for a bit.
  6. Grill the chicken (can use a grill pan as well).  When cooked through, remove and dice up.
  7. In bowls, divide up the zucchini noodles.  Top with a scoop of the sauce, chicken, feta cheese, basil.
  8. Enjoy!
27Jun/16
Energy Balls

Have You Ever Read A Label…

Have you ever picked up an item in the grocery store and carefully read the ingredients and nutrition label?  If not, I strongly suggest you do, as you will be absolutely amazed at what is in some of the products.  I’m not just talking about what the items listed are (many of which you cannot say or recognize), but I’m talking about the sheer amount of unnecessary items listed.  Why do there need to be 15 items listed on a carton of almond milk, when I can make the same thing with 4-5 ingredients, and enjoy the flavor much more.  And the best part of it all, you have the leftover meal to dry out and grind up as almond flour, which can then be used to bake up all kinds of healthy, gluten free treats.   So, not only does it taste better, but I am saving money as well.  Unfortunately, there are occasions where I do not have the time or energy to make my own, and when that is the case, I look for the brand with the fewest ingredients on the label.  They say that you should do most of your shopping in the outskirts of the grocery store, as that is where the least processed foods can be found.  If you think about it, isn’t that where all of your fruits and vegetables are located?  Have you also ever noticed that once you delve into the depths of the aisles, some of the worst items are those located right at your eye level.  It’s like they are targeting you to buy the bad stuff. Oftentimes you have to really search hard to find something that is somewhat okay to eat. A few months ago, I needed to buy some pasta sauce.  Not all grocery stores have the same options, but most tend to have a wide variety of some sort.  I probably looked like I had been shopping for the first time (luckily, not many people were around).  If someone would have been there watching me, as I stood in the same spot for 15 minutes (or at least it felt like that), repeatedly picking up and putting down jars of sauce as I carefully studied the ingredients, they probably would felt the need to offer me some help.  I was trying hard to find one with minimal ingredients that shouldn’t be there, but mostly no added sugar.  Every one I picked up had some added sugar, so then the task became to see which one was the lesser of two evils.  Once again, I picked up all the ones that were still in the hunt, to then compare and finally decide on one that wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but was the closest to what I was willing to deal with for that night.  If I would have just made my own, I would not have been faced with such a dilemma.  So, I am going to encourage you to think a little harder about what you are buying at the store.  Take the time to read the labels; I read the labels on every item I pick up to buy. See what ingredients are actually in the product, many of which do not really need to be there.  Check how much unnecessary sugar and sodium is in the food; you will be shocked by how much of these two items you consume daily without even knowing.  Ask yourself,  is this something that I can make on my own with a little time and effort? Or, another really great option is to frequent a local farmer’s market, where you will be able to find all kinds of great, fresh products, and support your local farmers and community at the same time.  Check out some great items below that I have made from scratch with fresh ingredients.  Meals from fresh ingredients not only taste great, but are better for you.  You will feel so accomplished after you make a fresh, healthy meal or snack, and the best part is, you then get to enjoy the great flavor of all your hard work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

22Jun/16

A Little Food For Thought…

Over the past few weeks, I have cooked up some delicious meals, and wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.  As I have mentioned in the past, I do not really follow recipes, but I can tell you what is in each, and then you can experiment with it on your own.  Enjoy!!

 

16Jun/16

Your Body Is A Temple…

Everyone always thinks that professional athletes have the best diets or that they workout enough where what they put into their bodies isn’t all that important.  However, as an athlete, our bodies are our vessels.  Our livelihood depends on our ‘temple’ being able to perform at its peak.  Therefore, doesn’t it only make the most sense to think long and hard about what your are fueling your body with to allow it to perform at its best?  I am such a firm believer of eating a healthy diet that will help me not only feel great, but also allow me to perform at my best each and every day.  It shouldn’t matter if you are an athlete or not, wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to be able to feel alert, sharp, focused and more each day?  And not only that, but more importantly, fuel your body with healthy foods that will allow you to be your best in whatever you may be doing? It always amazes me how we often opt for the easiest and most cost-friendly options when it comes to food, but we will spend top dollar on electronics and more.  Or how as kids, our parents allowed us to eat whatever we wanted, especially on soccer trips. Now, looking back even just to college, and comparing my diet then to now, it is amazing how much it has changed, and how much of a difference it makes in the way I feel today.  I know it isn’t always cheap or easy, but for me, eating a clean, healthy, minimally processed diet is what I have come to know, and I don’t want to go back to the old ways. A really good friend of mine recently wrote a phenomenal article about how food and diet has greatly impacted her and her family. I highly suggest reading this article.  It will really make you think a little harder about foods and the effect they can have on you, in ways you probably never even imagined. Your body is a temple, so why not treat it that way?

 

 

 

12Jun/16

The Cultivating Cooking Queens…

Ilike challenges.  I also love to teach.  When several members of my team decided they would enjoy and greatly benefit from learning to cook, I decided this would be a very fun activity to do together.  And from this, my FCKC Cooking Club was born. After just one meeting, it did not disappoint one bit, and I am anxiously awaiting our next cooking date.  I’m not saying that it all went smoothly, but we had such a great time, and in the end made one very delicious meal.  Let me break it down for you…

Cultivating:

  • to prepare and use land for crops or gardening…that’s somewhere on the right track.
  • to try and acquire or develop a quality, sentiment or skill…that’s probably a bit closer.

Cooking:

  • the practice or skill of preparing food by combining, mixing, and heating ingredients…yup, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Queens:

  • a woman or thing regarded as excellent or outstanding of it’s kind…we are working on this part.

And from all of this was formed, ‘The Cultivating Cooking Queens’.  The name itself was an unplanned happening, where in a moment under pressure, some words that sounded great together became our group text name, and before we knew it, this was how we started to refer to ourselves.   Only a little later did we actually learn that the group namer (she shall not be named to protect her identity) actually had no idea what all the words really meant.  Somehow, it all worked out in the end, and this catchy name will be with us forever.

Meet The Queens (in no particular order):

  • Alex – organizer/very eager learner
  • Des- very determined/excited to learn
  • Katelyn – pure entertainment/sad to see her go
  • Shea – videographer/eager learner
  • Mandy – a late addition.  She couldn’t take all the hype and insisted on joining after our first meeting.
  • Myself – I am Chef B.  The leader of the pack.

Some key moments:

  • Alex got a cucumber instead of a zucchini.  She claims a zucchini could not be found, and just assumed that a cucumber was similar.
  • Katelyn lost a bet and had to take a bite out of an onion.
  • Katelyn claiming to not like what we were actually making, only to find out she had it confused with a completely different food.  And in the end enjoyed it so much she had seconds.
  • All kinds of antics going on around me and I had no idea until I actually watched the video.

During our first meeting, we made a delicious Thai Green Curry dish.  It was filled with great flavor, and lots of fresh, crispy veggies, all served over some brown rice.  It was quite a success and hit with the group.  We decided to video our adventure.  To see our first Episode, please check out my YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe for future postings.  A big thanks to Shea for editing the piece. Stay tuned for future episodes.  As always…eat well and be merry!!

 


02Jun/16

You Are What You Eat…

I LOVE FOOD!! There, I’ve said it, and there is no hiding this fact, but it’s something you should know about me from the start. I don’t just love eating, but I’m passionate about preparing and cooking my own food. In my mind, cooking is an art, and I’m very much an artist at heart. There are many reasons I love to cook my own food, and I will get into them shortly, but I want to make it very clear that I am in no way an expert in food, nutrition, cooking or anything to do with any of these areas. Yes, I have read many books, spent countless hours watching cooking shows, and I am obsessed with cookbooks, but by no means do I have any kind of background, education or degree in this field. Everything I am going to share with you is what I believe in and what works for me. No two people are alike, and everybody needs to find out what works best for himself/herself.
I have been told by so many people that I should start a food blog. Now that I’m finally starting my own website, I figured this would be a great thing to tie in with it, because I believe that food, nutrition and sport all go hand in hand. This may not be like most blogs that you read or follow, but then again, I’m probably not like most other people. Here are a few very important things you need to know about me: I don’t like sweets. I don’t like chocolate. I try to avoid added sugar and processed foods as much as possible. I have never actually been tested or diagnosed with celiac disease, but I have been eating gluten free for over 3 years now, and in that time I have felt so many positive changes from this diet. I have many personal reasons for why I started eating sans gluten, and have been extremely amazed at how much better I’ve felt since doing so. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it is difficult, especially when constantly traveling and on the road, but in reality it’s also the way I like to eat – lots of fresh fruit, produce, meats, etc. all made with minimal other ingredients. I’m sure you are asking how can this possibly taste good? Just because food doesn’t have a lot of ingredients doesn’t mean it can’t have a lot of flavor, and I’ve cooked for many people who can attest to that fact.
I’m going to use this blog as an opportunity to share my thoughts, meals, etc. I truly believe that you should carefully consider what you are putting into your body, and one of the best ways to control that is to prepare your own food from fresh ingredients. I love to frequent farmer’s markets and eat what is in season, and I try my best to know every ingredient that is in my meal and I’m putting into my body. I don’t really follow recipes. A lot of times I may use one as a guideline, but that is all. I rarely measure. I love to adapt and be creative in the moment, and I love to try and take normal foods and create a healthy, gluten free version. The only downside to cooking like this is that you never ever get the same exact flavor twice:) But who says that is a bad thing? I hope that you continue to follow me on this blog as I share foods I like, recipes, meals, and more. Enjoy the journey and remember, you are what you eat, so choose wisely.