Archive for January, 2015

CHICKEN SAUSAGE AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH

This is a very flavorful, hearty dish. Perfect for these very cold, winter days!

ingredients (serves 4) l_RU237804

1 1/2 lbs chicken sausage

1 handful sage—2 T finely chopped, 2 T coarsely chopped

1 t fennel seed

¼ t ground cloves or ground allspice

coarsely ground black pepper

1 T olive oil

1 ½ lbs butternut squash, cut into 1” cubes

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

½ – 1 t crushed red pepper

¼ t freshly grated nutmeg

salt to taste

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth

directions

In a medium bowl, mix the sausage, finely chopped sage, fennel seed, cloves and lots of coarsely ground pepper.

In a Dutch oven or a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage mixture and cook, breaking the sausage into large pieces with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.

Add the squash, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, nutmeg and coarsely chopped sage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

(Adapted from a recipe found in “Every Day with Rachael Ray”, January/February, 2015)

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CHICKPEA AND VEGETABLE CURRY

This is a hearty & healthy dish–perfect for cold weather! Love the flavors!

ingredients oh-fall-vegetable-curry-new-x

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

1 cup diced sweet potato

1 cup small cauliflower florets

¼ cup thinly sliced yellow onion

2 t curry powder

½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth

¼ t salt

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

directions

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium. Add the cauliflower, onion, and curry powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring the mixture constantly. Add the broth, salt, chickpeas and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with brown rice.

(Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.myrecipes.com)

 

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BLESS ME, RHONDA, FOR I HAVE SINNED

Sometimes I feel like a priest, as I often hear major confessionconfessions from clients about food. I’ll hear things like,

“OMG, Rhonda, you have NO IDEA how much cake I ate last night.” OR

“You will FLIP OUT when I tell you what I ate for brunch.”

When someone splurges, I always want to know how they physically felt afterwards. If you put fatty, greasy, fried, or heavily sugared food in your body, you are NOT going to feel well. So I am expecting to hear things like,

“I felt stuffed–I had to open my pants.” OR

“I felt so BLOATED.” OR

 “I had horrible heartburn and felt miserable.”

Instead, most often I hear, “I felt really GUILTY afterwards.” GUILTY?!

I think this is indicative of the main problem: We don’t connect the dots and take the time to reflect on how food makes us feel. Food is our fuel that is designed to give us energy. If you’re feeling bloated, gassy, tired and fatigued, your diet could be the culprit.

So skip the guilt and focus on how you’re feeling after you eat. Keep a food journal. Pay attention to the foods that make you feel good and get rid of the foods that weigh you down and make you feel awful.

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MANHATTAN CLAM CHOWDER

I never made Manhattan clam chowder before because it OD-BE939_MEGA_M_M_20150107140042seemed daunting. This recipe popped up in The Wall Street Journal and it’s EASY and DELICIOUS!  It’s origins are from The  Oyster Bar Restaurant in Grand Central Station!

ingredients  (serves 6)

1 T olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

½ cup diced green peppers

24 littleneck clams, well scrubbed

2-3 medium red potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 (28-ounce) can chopped plum tomatoes with juice

½ cup tomato purée

3 cups water

1 cup dry white wine

1 t dried thyme

2 T chopped fresh flat-leap parsley

1 bay leaf

½ t black pepper

1 cup finely crumbled saltines

directions

Heat the oil in a lidded soup pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, celery and green peppers, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the clams, cover the pot and cook until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the clams from the pot, discarding any that did not open. Shuck the clams and set the meat aside: discard the empty shells.

Add the potatoes, tomatoes, tomato purée, 3 cups of water and wine and let simmer until the potatoes start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the clam meat and simmer until the clams are cooked but still soft, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, parsley, bay leaf, pepper and cracker crumbs, and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

(Adapted from a recipe found in the Wall Street Journal, Sat/Sun, January 10-11, 2015)

 

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TAKE CHARGE!

Often, in January, people seek out professionals to help them achieve their lifestyle goals. Folks will turn to personal trainers, nutritionists and/or life coaches for advice. I think it’s wonderful to get help. However, prior to your first appointment, do your homework: Figure out what you want to achieve. If you do this, you will be able guide your professional so that the two of you can work together as a team.

As a trainer and nutritionist, I have people come to me with very ambiguous goals.

“I want to get fit.”

“I want to tone up.”

“I want to eat healthier.”

I can interpret each of these in many different ways. For example, Does eating healthier mean drinking more water? Adding fiber to your diet? Reducing fried food? Eating more fruits and vegetables? Eating breakfast instead of skipping it? Eliminating sugary drinks? What does this mean?

The reality is that showing up for a training session or for imagesnutritional counseling is not enough. You have to be focused, have a goal, and be willing to work towards that goal.

So do your homework. Dig deep, figure out where the weaknesses lie, take charge, and guide your professional. Believe it or not, you have all the answers!

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CRUNCHY BOK CHOY SLAW

This is a perfect side dish for any plate……it has great crunch, IMG_2089colors, and fabulous Asian flavors! If you want to serve it as a larger salad, double the recipe.

ingredients (serves 4)

2 cups thinly sliced bok choy

½ cup grated carrot

½ cup sliced red bell pepper

2 T rice vinegar

1 T dark sesame oil

1 t sriracha (spicy sauce made with red chili and garlic)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

¼ cup unsalted cashews, rough chopped

directions

Place the vegetables in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha. Toss the dressing over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cashews and serve.

(Adapted from a recipe found in Cooking Light, January, 2015)

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE AN EXERCISE-HATER

When it comes to exercise, here’s what I see: images

Some people LOVE to exercise and actually look forward to it.

Some people HATE to exercise but push themselves to do it.

Either way, MOST people love the way they feel when they’re done. However, I’ve stumbled across a few exercise-haters who don’t seem to get the endorphin rush post-exercise. They’re just glad it’s over!

This is a tricky population for me; I can’t sell the “euphoria” that comes when the torture is finally over.

If you’re one of these people, you have to change your approach to exercise. If you’re pushing yourself to lift weights, to do cardio or to take an exercise class, you know that you’re doing it for a good reason—to stay healthy. When it’s over, you must focus on your accomplishment……the fact that you did it!

Often, exercise-haters are inconsistent when it comes to sticking to an exercise regime. This is a huge part of the problem because starting over, after a long hiatus, is the hardest part.  It takes so much MENTAL effort to psych yourself up, and this is EXHAUSTING. And let’s face it…..if you’re inconsistent, there are MANY more episodes of starting over! (No wonder why you hate it so much!)

If you push yourself to be consistent, you might find that you’ll slowly start hating exercise less. AND….. you might even find that you DO enjoy the way you feel when it’s all over. I have seen this myself with a few clients. (Although they’ll never admit it to me!)

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