Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie The Combination for Inspiration

High Fiber, Healthy & Hearty Meat Sauce

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High Fiber, Healthy & Hearty Meat Sauce

I planned to post this 2 weeks ago when Long Island was hit with that nasty snow storm. It would have been perfect. But, time got away from me and then a week later it was 67 degrees and we were at the beach with our new puppy!

Now that it’s cold again, i decided today would be the best day. A nice, warm, home-cooked meal on a cozy Sunday.

This is my family’s and my favorite tomato sauce for pasta. I originally found it in a Clean Eating Magazine (or maybe it was Oxygen) but it was a clean eating pasta sauce. I had posted it on my Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie Facebook Page  but never got around to making it. My cousin Debbi invited us down for Thanksgiving weekend one year, and was making it!  I was so excited. She said she makes it all the time and her kids love it.  I was equally excited to try it – which we all did and it was indeed delicious.

Since then, I make it, and tell everyone about it. Today I will share the recipe with you.

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This is her original email she sent me almost 7 years ago!  I still have the scrap of paper, although it doesn’t look as shiny & new as this one.

The part that takes me the longest is the chopping up of all the veggies. I don’t have a food processor, and my Mini-Chop it too small. I must admit, the last time I made this, there was a large bag of chopped carrots, celery and onions in the supermarket, just sitting there on the shelf, smiling at me. I did a double take and then snagged the bag off the shelf. It was all there: the 3 ingredients I needed, already chopped and waiting for me. It cut my prep time in half.

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After chopping up all the veggies (or if you’re lucky enough to find a bag like I did) add to a large pot that has olive oil heating up on the bottom of it (I found the cooking spray was too little, but I did use it to coat the entire bottom of the pan, and then added a tiny bit of the olive oil) and then add the turkey breast crumbles. My husband was wary of using turkey chop meat but once he tasted it – with all these wonderful ingredients – he absolutely loved it.

Afterward, I just added the flour, milk, can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water, with all the seasonings, and stirred. That was really it. I let it simmer for at least a half hour. I used such a large pot because I usually double the recipe above. One time I tripled the recipe! (Of course that was the time I didn’t have that nice bag of chopped up veggies. It took me three times as long to make this!)

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Mmmm. Can you smell it! The whole kitchen smells great. Time for a sauce sandwich! (Anyone know what that is?)

After it cools for a bit, I transferred it all to plastic containers and stored it in my freezer. There’s always sauce ready and cooked in my house. One year, when we had a huge veggie garden, my husband used the plum tomatoes from the garden to make sauce. It took forever but was delicious. Unfortunately several of the glass jars cracked and we had to throw it all out! Now we use plastic and make sure we don’t fill it to the top.

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Healthy, hearty, packed with protein, high in fiber from the veggies, and delicious.

What do you think? Do you have any favorite recipes to share?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Healthy (and Delicious) Meal Plans for Weight Loss

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Healthy & Delicious Meal Plans for Weight Loss

I’m often asked: “What do YOU eat every day? What’s a typical day look like in your life?” I decided to take up the task of taking photos of my typical meals. I hope these visuals help you make better choices with your own meals and snacks. I have many people ask me what they need to do to lose weight and when I tell them they grumble. They hope I mention some quick fix. A pill. A fat melter.

Recently, I spent almost 45 minutes giving a coworker advice and examples of some healthy alternatives, even mentioned specific food items that we have in the cafeteria, and then I see her a week later in the cafeteria eating a bacon cheeseburger, french fries, FOUR David’s Cookies and a 20 oz bottle of Coke. I seriously wanted to sit down in front of her with my salad and say “Are you even trying? Thanks for wasting 45 minutes of my time that day.”

I know it’s hard, but when I spend a great deal of my day helping people that I work with (when I should be seeing patients) I expect some degree if “trying.” At least make an attempt, and if you see me in the cafeteria, ask me what would be a good choice. Not say “Screw this, It’s too hard.”

Yes, I’m a tad angry today. Anyway, I am here to show you a few visuals of what I eat and if you have any questions, or suggestions please let me know! 🙂

Breakfast

My standard breakfast when I’m at work is one egg over well, with turkey, tomato, and onions, 8 oz skim milk.

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If I’m off from work, I make a variety of Protein Shakes (Click to see recipes)

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Mid Morning Snack

I’m a creature of habit, and if something works for me, I use it. I’ve tried to just eat a piece or two of fruit, but recently while writing a lecture for COPD patients, I learned certain fruits like apples produce gas, which it turn bloats my stomach and makes it feel like it’s empty and then I just want to eat more! So I stick with my Kashi Go Lean (NOT Crunch) cereal, with 4 oz Skim milk, and some kind of berries: A high-protein, high-fiber snack.

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Lunch

When I’m at work, I usually choose whatever the protein is of the day, with a side salad. If there’s no good protein, I just grab some cold grilled chicken from the salad bar or a hard boiled egg. I drink a large glass of water with it, too. I used to eat that David’s double chocolate cookie every day, but have since given them up. After the holidays, the remodeling of my bathroom, a trip to Disney (with too many desserts) and we just rescued a puppy from a shelter, I am actually sickened by desserts. Yes, me.  I’m not saying I’ll never have them again, but enough was enough. My husband and I came home from Florida and removed the desserts from the house. He’s been eating cereal for breakfast and salads for lunch. Dinner is protein and veggies. He even gave up his rice!

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Dinner

I’m fortunate to have my hubby cook dinner every night and I usually have whatever the meat is, and then add raw fruits or veggies. I don’t eat potatoes, rice, etc, so veggies it usually is.

Salmon and cherry tomatoes:

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Grilled chicken with fresh pears (I split this piece of chicken with my daughter)

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Black Bean Edamame Burger

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Desserts

I havent eaten any desserts since Disney, but before the trip, I tried not to eat anything after dinner, but would occasionally have a small dessert before dinner like a chocolate chip cookie, or something healthier like these desserts (Click link for recipes). Since Disney, I don’t eat desserts at all, and instead I decided to immediately run downstairs to my basement and work out. (Distraction is awesome)! Then I play with the puppy. I take her for a walk around the block when it’s not pouring rain (or a Nor’easter hits us)! When it gets warmer, I plan to go for longer walks and jog with her. I’ve also noticed that since we adopted the puppy, she’s kept us SO busy (just like a toddler) I haven’t had time to even think of eating. Sometimes I just eat a bowl of cereal for dinner!

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That’s usually my day. My breakfast and mid morning snack is point on, my lunch varies since I’m never really sure what they’ll have in the cafeteria, and my dinner is usually healthy and small. In the past, when I went off during lunch because something tempted me, I just had a very small dinner to try to counterbalance it. Since Disney though, I’m sticking to the salads with a protein and I’ve been bringing fruit in for my lunch dessert. (Today I had a clementine and yesterday I had a few mango pieces). If I have tea after lunch I’ve been bringing in a Stevia packet to put in, to save calories (and 1 carb) from the 3 packets of sugar I was using. Like I’ve always said: There comes a point in your life when something just “clicks”, and you get sick of the way you feel, the way you’re eating, the lack of exercise. Luckily that happens often for me. Don’t let the setbacks go on for too long, though.

My gym membership ended on November 30th, and I did not renew since I knew it was going to be a stressful month. I have a full gym in the basement though and have been back to my summer routine down there. My husband even started working out, too! Since I NEEDED to put our puppy on a strict time schedule, I decided to do the same for myself.

Meet Princess Leia!

What new techniques have you been trying since the New Year? Remember, it’s always a work in progress. There will always be ups & downs. Theres will always be obstacles.

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Overcoming Obstacles in Your Fitness Journey

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Overcoming Obstacles

Over the winter, not a day went by that I wasn’t met with some kind of obstacle preventing me from reaching my goals. There always seemed to be some unplanned, unimaginable catastrophe, or a last minute change of plans that somehow burgeoned into a major dilemma that required me to drop everything I was planning to do. Sure, some of it was in my head (I’m exhausted. I need a break. I just want to curl under a blanket and read. It’s too cold. Too hot. Too early. Too late. I have too much to do. Tomorrow. Monday. Next week.)

But other times, there’s situations beyond your control. Just being in a relationship, working full-time, and having kids, can completely blow up all your good intentions. I can’t tell you how many times I drove home from work and cheered myself on the entire way home: “I’m throwing my gym clothes on and immediately going downstairs, turning on the music and working out. No One Will Bother Me! Woo hoo!”

Then you get hit with “I have a science project due tomorrow.” “I had a huge fight with So-n-So in school today.” “The washing machine broke.” “I’m working late, you’ll have to start dinner.” “Can you drive me to my friends house?” The list goes on and on, and I’m sure you have many phrases to add to this list. How are you supposed to keep in shape when things keep popping up?

There is always an alternative plan, another path, another way to fit in what you need to do, but it does take organization and planning. Search through your schedule and see what’s possible. I remember years ago, after my 2nd daughter was born, I NEEDED to get back in shape but with two small kids, there was no time. Back then, I realized that I didn’t need to sit in the cafeteria for an entire hour eating and yacking about drama and gossip, and other negative conversations. I found a local gym less that 10 minutes away and decided to work out on my lunch hour. I had it all planned out. 9 minute drive, 1 minute to change clothes, workout for a half hour, change back into work clothes, 9 minute drive back, 10 minutes to eat my salad. Totally doable and didn’t take away any time from my family or my long to-do list. I found sitting in the cafeteria was actually a waste of a good hour! I did this for over 6 years.

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After many, many years, of running on my lunch hour, I decided to try hitting the gym after work. It worked perfectly in the beginning. I changed into my gym clothes before I left work, drove straight to a gym 10 minutes from my house that was on the way home, worked out for a half hour, and went home. Loved it. I got my workout in before reaching home and dealing with any problems. There’s always a way!

When I started writing my books, the problem was in my head. I loved writing and wanted that more than the gym. It was weird at first because weightlifting was always part of my life – for almost 30 yrs. But I wanted to write more. And let me tell you – I found MANY ways to fit in the writing: very early in the morning, late at night, on my lunch hour, I’d even jot down ideas and scenes while driving, waiting in a Dr’s office, while my children did their homework. Suddenly there was pockets-of-time that were never there before.

This past year though, after publishing my third book, I had enough. Sure, coming up with ideas, characters, and scenes was fun, but everything else was becoming a chore, and my family was being neglected, I was moody & miserable and I hadn’t seen my friends in forever. I wanted my life back but found it harder to get back into it this time. I struggled all winter.

I bought myself a huge DVD exercise set for Christmas that I loved, but when I came home from work on many occasions, my younger daughter was either in the den doing homework with her books spread all over the rug where I needed to work out, or my older daughter brought the kids she babysat for over our house to hang out. My workout room was converted into an instant playroom.

Another time, I came home from work and everyone was actually in their rooms! I tiptoed into my room, threw on comfy clothes and snuck down stairs and saw this:

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My full-gym was converted into some kind of tea party for my daughter’s dolls, and I wasn’t allowed to touch it.

Another time, I decided to do walking lunges around my entire basement which is huge and spans the entire length of my house. As I was well into my set, about 10 reps in, I turned the corner and came in contact with this in my way:

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Apparently, this part of my basement was converted into a classroom.  (As I’m writing this, my husband just called me to tell me our dryer isn’t working! I give up). Which reminded me of the time my dryer broke:

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Anyway. There will always be roadblocks, challenges, obstacles. You HAVE to come up with a new plan. Even if they keep happening (and they will) get to work and devise a new strategy. Grab a pen and paper, a calendar, a scheduler, anything you need and figure it out. It’s better when you write it all down and can see it come together right before your eyes.

I recently switched my workouts to the morning, which is working well. I get up at 6am, which isn’t too bad – everyone is still asleep – workout for a half hour in my basement and jump in the shower. It starts my day on a positive note and keeps my eating on track too.

I mentioned on my Facebook Page a while back that one day when I had a lot to do when I came home, but NEEDED to get my workout in before I seriously lost it, I tried this:

I did one set of tricep dips, then started dinner. Then another set and watered the hanging baskets. Then another set while cleaning up the kitchen and setting the table.
Then I did a set of biceps, cleaned the litter box, then another set, then brought garbage out to street, then another set while straightening up the den.
It felt good. I was getting my workout in and still doing everything I needed to do after work. Instead of resting between sets, I cleaned up.
I woke early this morning and decided to do the same thing again. I did a set of chest presses, then got my clothes, makeup and hair things, ready in the bathroom. Another set and then emptied the dehumidifier, another set and cleaned up the kitchen, a set of pushups and then I packed up my car with everything I needed for work. I just kept doing this until it was time to go in the shower. I only managed 2 sets of back, (I ran out of time) but felt good that I worked out almost my entire upper body AND got things done around the house.
I can’t do it all, but there is always a way out. Always a brand new plan to try. Even if you have a bad day, a bad week (or two) just keep trying.

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I’d like you guys to find a pocket planner that has a time schedule. Look over your day and find certain times of the day, certain hours, where you can squeeze in workouts, runs, gym classes, etc. Then make time on Sunday’s to plan out your week of meals. If that’s too much, plan out your breakfast for the week, and then create healthy snack ideas for the following week. Keep doing this until it becomes a habit and soon you will see it’s doable. You can do something like this: (Whatever works for you).

6:00am – Work out Abs for a half hour

6:30am – Drink 2 glasses of water in bathroom

8:00am – Breakfast: 1 egg, turkey, onion, tomatoes, peppers, with 8oz milk

11:30am – Run up and down stairs at work for 3-4 minutes. Drink 2 cups of water

12:00am – Snack: Kashi Go Lean cereal with 4oz milk, blueberries

2:00pm –  Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, 2 more cups of water

2:45pm – Walk around building before going back into work

7:00pm – Dinner: Salmon with asparagus

7:45pm – Go for a 1 mile jog

You can play around with the schedule and see what would work for your day. Everyone is different. But, sometimes when you write it down, it actually seems possible.

What do you do to overcome your obstacles? Do you schedule things? How do you balance exercise & eating healthy?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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