Archive for October, 2015

CRISPY TROUT WITH WARM PARSLEY-CAPER VINAIGRETTE

This is one of the easiest fish recipes I’ve ever made! Trout is a very tasty freshwater fish. Delicious!

ingredientscrispy-trout-warm-parsley-caper-vinaigrette-ck

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped

4 (6-ounce) trout fillets

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

4 lemon wedges (optional)

directions

Combine parsley, 1 tablespoon oil, rind, juice, and capers in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Arrange fish, skin side down, in pan; cook 5 minutes. Turn; cook 1 minute or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from pan. Add parsley mixture to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Spoon parsley mixture over fish. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

(recipe found in Cooking Light, July, 2015)

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WHY CAN’T ANY DAY BE MONDAY??

I am extremely fortunate to have a diverse client base. However, when it comes to my clients, who are perpetually watching their weight, I’m seeing very similar behaviors, regardless of how different they are. Here are the top two behaviors that I keep seeing repetitively:

  1. If a “bad” food is eaten, such as a delicious chocolate chip cookie, there is an immediate trigger: The brain says “I blew it ! I might as well just eat whatever I want today and start over again tomorrow.” The reality is, you didn’t blow it. And the only way to realize this is to take a minute to stop, think, and to use logic. One cookie, a piece of cake, or a piece of candy will NOT ruin an entire day of healthy eating. However, eating anything and everything with abandon certainly WILL.
  1. When it comes to being mindful with food, there seems to be something incredibly MjAxNC01MWI4ODExMjZjZTNlZTkyspecial about Monday. Clients who eat poorly on Wednesday or Thursday will wait until Monday to start anew. What’s with Monday? Most people dread Mondays—it’s the end of the weekend and back to work. Why make Mondays even harder? Instead, start thinking that ANY day can be Monday. In fact, your next meal can be Monday!

So if these behaviors are familiar to you, you CAN change them. It won’t be easy but it will be wonderful to drop these typical “dieting” behaviors. We know that diets don’t work and that dieting behaviors are destructive. Think bigger picture—committing to lifestyle changes is the only way to go. This means that one cookie eaten on a Wednesday afternoon won’t sabotage your day or your week. No need to wait until Monday!

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ROMAN-STYLE CHICKEN

I’m finding that I LOVE Giada De Laurentiis’s recipes! This chicken dish is just WONDERFUL!!! A MUST try!

ingredients FN_roman-chicken-011_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs

2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

3 ounces prosciutto, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

½ cup white wine

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves

½ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons capers

¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

directions

Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe found on foodnetwork.com)

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THE FRUSTRATED TRAINER (NOT ME!)

I know a great trainer (let’s call him Tim): he’s knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated to his clients. He also knows a lot about nutrition for exercise and gives his clients sound advice. The other day Tim told me a story about one of his clients, and once he did, I realized that we differ tremendously on our philosophy about weight loss.

Tim had a client who was overweight. He was training with Tim for years and Tim did imgreseverything in his power to motivate and educate his client so that he could lose weight. Nothing worked. The client recently stopped working-out with Tim for several months (he had a personal project to attend to) and when he came back, Tim was shocked: his client had lost 25-pounds.

While Tim was thrilled for his client, he was also very frustrated. He was so annoyed that his client didn’t listen to HIM…..that after all of those years and all of those talks, he never did what Tim said.

Here’s where Tim and I differ: I don’t get frustrated. I’ve come to realize that as a trainer, I have a lot of control over getting someone strong and physically fit. However, when it comes to weight loss, I have no control. Sure, a client and I can talk about good nutrition, eating strategies, how to shop, how to cook, how to plan, how to eat when traveling, how to read food labels, how to fuel prior to exercise and the best way to order in a restaurant. Even armed with all of this, it is still VERY difficult to lose weight. The only way it will happen is when someone is EXTREMELY motivated. The motivation will create focus and with that focus the person will be able to do whatever it takes.They will be unstoppable.

To sum up my feelings about weight loss:

  1. Weight loss CAN happen (you can do it!!) if and only if you are motivated.
  2. Seeing a personal trainer and/or nutritionist is a wonderful first step.
  3. Ultimately, the professional can’t make it happen for you……you have to make it happen for yourself. After all, it’s your life and your journey.

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IS TRADER JOE’S A TRAITOR?

I have a client who loves to shop at Trader Joe’s. If you’re familiar with the store, Trader Joe’s Trader_Joe's
certainly has unique products and  a variety of interesting, HEALTHY food. However, Trader Joe’s also has some UNHEALTHY, interesting food. My client’s problem is that Trader Joe’s has the HALO EFFECT on her. “The halo effect is a term used imarketing to explain the bias shown by customers towards certain products because of a favorable experience with other products made by the same manufacturer or maker.” In her case, those healthy, convenient items have caused a bias to include ALL of Trader Joe’s products.

My client is not alone. Many people also get tripped up when they see products with proclamations  of “high energy”, “high protein” and/or “organic”. Be careful…..these don’t necessary mean HEALTHY.

My advice is to start reading food labels. Please note the following:

  • The ingredient list should be short with names that you understand. (We know “sesame seeds” but what is “butylated hydrozyanisole”?)  Remember, the ingredients are listed in order of quantity. If sugar is the second ingredient on the list, your product probably isn’t the best choice.
  • Check the serving size and calories. I have seen an 8-ounce bag of caramel popcorn with a ¼ cup serving. Seriously, who eats ¼ cup of popcorn?? This will certainly add up IF you consider that 8-ounce bag to be a single serving.
  • Look at the sugar grams and make a quick conversion to teaspoons so you understand how much sugar there is per serving. Simply take the number of sugar grams and divide by 4 to get teaspoons: 8 grams of sugar means 2 teaspoons of sugar. You might be surprised when you’re looking at your healthy breakfast cereal, or your whole wheat bread.
  • Sodium should NEVER be 20% or higher of the “% Daily Value”.
  • Look for fiber. It will not only keep you full, but will keep you regular. A great source of fiber has 5 grams or more per serving.

So, don’t get caught in the Halo Effect or be fooled by all of those wonderful promises on a box. If you’re going to reach for processed food, take a quick look at the label. You might be surprised to find that even Trader Joe’s has a few undesirables!

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CIOPPINO

Cioppino is a fish stew. I always order this when I’m out and never thought I would be able to make this at home. WRONG! This is an easy recipe and just DELICIOUS. Give it a try!

ingredients (serves 6) cq5dam.web.266.200

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

3 large shallots, chopped

½ teaspoons salt

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

¼ cup tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice

1 ½ cups dry white wine

5 cups fish or seafood stock

1 bay leaf

1 pound manila clams, scrubbed

1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 ½ pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks

directions

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ¾ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s found on cookingchanneltv.com)

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CHICKEN MARSALA

It’s now wonderful weather to make this delicious dish. I’ve made chicken marsala before, but this recipe has a nice twist with the added prosciutto!

ingredients FO1D47_24021_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

All-purpose flour, for dredging

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

8 ounces crimini or porcini mushrooms, stemmed and halved

½ cup sweet Marsala wine

½ cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

directions

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.

Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don’t fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the the pan, sauté for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and sauté until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

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

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