Saturday, January 7, 2012

Party It Up the Healthy Way!

I am very lucky to have an amazing group of girls that inspire and motivate me to live a more healthy lifestyle. We make an effort once a month to have a pot luck/go out night.

As the time draws near for us to be heading to Super Bowl parties or hosting some winter house parties ourselves (Go Ravens!), there IS a way for us to party it up in 2012 the right way!

Millions of us make that vow on December 31st to lose weight or get more healthy, but a lot of people will flake out by February. Eating at home can help this downfall, but doing a little planning can go a long way.

Benefits to dining in rather than out:
  • Cheaper! When you add the cost of a restaurant, taxes, tip, and even gas (Damn you $3.30 gas prices!) it can be a burden our your wallet, especially right after the holidays!
  • No hidden surprises! You have complete control over your ingredients when you eat from home. You know exactly what is going into each dish so there isn't a secret salt or sweetener stash somewhere that you don't know about!
  • Great opportunity to catch up with friends! You can help each other eat more healthy, exchange recipes, or gossip while you all are cooking together!

You Are Who You Eat With??

According to a study, women who eat in large groups consumed, on average, 100-150 calories MORE than those who ate in smaller ones! (Ok ok ok so there are about 10 of us in our group...We love each other too much and we are too good of cooks to dwindle down now!) Also, women who dined with men, on average, ate 100 FEWER calories! Try to keep your party to three or four to avoid overeating! Evidence:

This was our Friendsgiving spread! Ahhh SO much food!

Our Christmas party spread half gone- again, SO much food!

Social groups can influence the eating patterns of others. If you make a healthy decision while out or going to a party, you are likely to be a positive influence for the others involved! Who wouldn't want to take the time to cook healthy for the ones you love??

Our wonderful Thanksgiving recipes!

Exchanging recipes at our Christmas party!

FUN FACT: Those who did not eat food from a window were more successful at losing weight than those who ate from fast food restaurants twice a week or more!

Blame It on the A-A-A-A-A-Alcohol!

Ok ok we indulged a little bit...

Alcohol can contain about 75 calories per ounce, yet it is usually the highlight of every adult party. It promotes fat storage by not allowing your body to burn fat as a fuel. Want some tips?

Spa Water Slice a lemon, cucumber, and an orange and place into a large glass pitcher. Fill with water and let chill overnight in the refrigerator. Calories per drink? 0

White Wine Spritzer with Grape Cubes Wash and freeze a handful of green grapes. Place several of the frozen grapes in a tumbler with ice. Mix a half cup of white wine (My favorite is Riesling) with a half cup of seltzer and pour over the ice and grapes. Calories per drink? 104

Ok so now that you want to be a positive influence for your friends and for your party, what should you bring??

Here are some great ideas for meals that can feed many yet still remain healthy:

Appetizer: Butternut Squash: This winter treat is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that work together to promote healthy eyes, teeth, and bones, as well as boost your immune system, and help with a healthy circulatory system.

Curry and Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
4 cups water
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbl. fresh ginger (about 2" long), grated
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place face down in a baking pan with water. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Let squash cool and save the water the squash was cooked in.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add onions and garlic and saute until golden. Stir in curry powder, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer on low for a few minutes.

3. Pour the water the squash was cooked in into the skillet and hear. When squash has cooled, scoop out the flesh, leaving the skin, and add to the skillet. Remove from heat and let cool. When room temperature, puree the vegetable and spice mixture in a blender or food processor with the broth. Serve.

125 calories per serving, 26 mg sodium, 3g protein

Pear and Brie Bites

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creation
1 pear, peeled and finely chopped*
1 Tbl. packed dark brown sugar
1 sage leaf, finely chopped
8 oz. Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into squares
2 Tbl. walnuts, chopped

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or spray 12 mini muffin cups. Unroll dough onto work surface. Using a small circle, cut out 12 circles. Gently press into mini muffins.

2. In a small bowl, mix pear, sage, and brown sugar. Place 1 cheese cube in each cup. Top with pear mixture. Sprinkle with walnuts.

3. Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Cook 5 minutes and remove from muffin cups.

*Can substitute dried cranberries for nuts or replace pear with grapes and sage with rosemary.

-Thanks Lauren for this recipe!


Chicken Florentine

1 tsp olive oil
4 x 4oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 4oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbl. fresh basil
10 oz. fresh spinach
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbl. freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil and cook chicken until lightly browned on each side (approx. 6 min).

2. Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomatoes, oregano, and basil. Place spinach on top of the chicken and cover tightly.

3. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through (approx. 15 minutes). Stir in salt and pepper and top with cheese.

260 calories per serving, 320 mg sodium, 3g fiber, 40g protein, 3mg iron

NOTE: Spinach is very high in iron. Iron works to deliver oxygen to your muscles which increases your ability to exercise harder and burn more fat.

Quinoa A L'Orange Salad

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup diced celery
2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1/4 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper to taste

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa. Return to a boil and simmer until water is absorbed (approx. 15 min.) Remove from heat and place in a large mixing bowl to cool.

2. Add tomatoes, celery, and parsley to the bowl. Mix together with quinoa.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients to make dressing. Pour over salad and toss well to combine. Serve with Chicken Florentine.

200 calories per serving, 161mg sodium, 4g fiber, 7g protein

NOTE: Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids which is linked to tissue repair and growth.

Stuffed Peppers

3 large green peppers (hollowed and halved)
1/2 lb/1 pack sausage (chorizo or turkey sausage)
1 can corn (Del Monte Summer Crisp)
1 egg
1 onion (chopped)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4-1/2 cup salsa
2 Tbl. olive oil (divided)
1 cup cheddar cheese (divided)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 1 Tbl. in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan and arrange halved pepper on it facing upward. Drizzle 1 Tbl. olive oil in a large pan and saute onions and sausage until sausage is cooked through and browning.

2. In a large bowl, combine sausage mix, egg, corn, salsa, breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup cheese then season with salt and pepper. Spoon an equal amount into each hollowed pepper.

3. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top of each pepper. Bake for 1 hour until peppers are tender/al dente and cheese begins to brown.

-Thanks Kate for the recipe!


Mini Chocolate Souffles

Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 Tbl. white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup low fat milk
6 Tbl. honey, divided
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray the bottoms of 4 single serve ramekins.

2. In a heavy saucepan, combine cocoa and flour. Add milk and 3 Tbl. honey and whisk until smooth.

3. Cook, stirring, over medium low heat until thick (approx. 2 min). Stir in vanilla and set aside to cool slightly.

4. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a small mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining honey and continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks form.

5. Fold 1/4 cup egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in remaining whites. Divide mixture evenly into the prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, or until puffy and set. Serve immediately.

140 calories per serving, 37mg sodium, 2g fiber, 4g protein

NOTE: Egg whites are a great protein source that are low in calories and fat free. With only 16 calories and 4g of protein a piece, they are a great addition to any recipe.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

1 4oz. bar of your favorite milk or dark chocolate
Your favorite peanut butter
Chocolate chips (optional)
Peanut butter chips (optional)
cinnamon (optional)

1. Prepare about 10 tiny muffin cups to spoon mixture into. Melt about 2 squares less than half of your chocolate bar with about 1 Tbl. peanut butter. Spoon this mixture into the bottom of the cup. Let the first layer set in the freezer.

2. Remove cups in the freezer. Melt 2 Tbl. of peanut butter and spoon in small amount in the middle of chocolate. Let sit in the freezer and repeat for as much peanut butter as you want. Be sure to freeze in between each layer setting.

3. Melt the rest of your chocolate with another Tbl. of peanut butter. Spoon on top of peanut butter layers in cups. If desired, add chocolate/peanut butter chips. Allow to sit in the freezer.

4. Melt a small amount of peanut butter to drizzle over top of cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let sit in the freezer and keep cool until ready to serve.

-Thanks Brittany for the recipe!  
-Thanks Oxygen for some of the recipes!

We get excited for Molly's desserts aka Pie/Cake Pops!

Ok, we get REALLY excited about Molly's desserts...

So now you are ready for that house party with your girlfriends. You can still have a great time but do it in a healthy way!

Don't forget if you participate in my Jog for January Challenge, you have the chance to win a GoSport ID at the end of the month! Just make sure to use the hashtag #jogforjanuary and LINK UP to my blog every MONDAY! :)

Now is your chance to "wow" your friends with your party hosting skills and they will be amazed that you did it...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers....

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered your blog! You had me at homemade peanut butter cups! Everything looks delicious!