Super Bowl, Super Snacks

 
healthy super bowl snacks

Impress your friends with these guilt-free party snacks! If you prefer the commercials over football,  
I promise these healthy recipes will make watching the game all worth your while!

The Super Bowl has become a favorite American tradition where we gather with friends and family to cheer on our favorite NFL teams. It has also become a traditional "cheat day" where all diets are forgotten and fatty foods reign supreme! A recent study found that the average football fan will gain an extra 10lbs during football season, but I guess it's not that surprising since the Super Bowl ranks as the 2nd largest day for food consumption in the US, right behind Thanksgiving. In just one day, people will eat upwards of 6,000 calories, that's almost 3 days worth of food binging!

I will be the last one to throw my nose in the air because I am 110% guilty of over-indulging in all of the Super Bowl's cheesy-carbo-loading greatness...but not this year! Nope, this time I'm sticking to my guns! So, in an effort to not be the debbie-downer at a friends Super Bowl soiree, I decided to come up with some delicious skinny girl alternatives that have been kid tested and husband approved! Feel free to try them out or share them with friends! I'd love to hear feedback on how they turned out!


black bean nachos

BLACK BEAN AND CORN MACHO-NACHO'S
Just mix together a cup of organic corn, black beans, diced red and green bell peppers, chunks of jicama, one avocado, a dash of cilantro and there you have it! It doesn't get any more macho than that! If you want some spice, feel free to add some jalapeno! I like to use homemade tortilla chips, but any store bought brand will do.

 

*Hummus recipe from the great, Ina Garten

*Hummus recipe from the great, Ina Garten


FIRE-GRILLED VEGGIES & GARLIC HUMMUS
There's really no culinary secret to this one. Next time you visit the local Farmer's Market pick out your favorite veggies. Fire up the grill and let them simmer for a few minutes on each side. If you're looking to keep it simple, try Hope Hummus, or make your own by blending:

- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
- 8 dashes of hot sauce
- 1 pinch of Paprika

bacon avocado chips healthy super bowl snacks


 

LOADED BACON-AVO VEGGIE CHIPS

Let's be serious, anything with bacon is boss-status in my book! This tasty treat only requires three ingredients which includes one bag of my favorite Tera Veggie Chips, two ripe avocados, and [more than a few] bits of BACON! There you have it! Touchdown! This recipe is a sure game winner!

 

Tarragon Shrimp with Risotto

 
 

Whether you're just looking for something new to try, or want to impress a hot date - this dish is a winner! I prefer to pair mine with a glass of Chardonnay, but you can pick your beverage of choice. Bon Appétit!!

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed dried tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter

 

  •  1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup cooked arborio rice
  • 1   14.5-oz can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  • 1 lb fresh large shrimp (deveined)


Start with prepping the shrimp by peeling and deveining them. Rinse, pat dry, and put them in a resealable bag and set in a shallow dish. In a small bowl combine lemon juice, garlic, tarragon, and salt then pour over the shrimp, seal the bag, mix it together and set it aside to marinate for 15-25 minutes. 

For the risotto, heat butter over medium heat in a saucepan until melted. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender then mix in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes then remove from heat and stir in corn. Let stand for a few minutes, until heated through. The rice should be tender but slightly firm and creamy. Stir in the parmesan. Now it's time to cook those shrimpies! You can use a skillet or the grill. Your choice!

-If you use a skillet, heat over medium heat, add shrimp and marinade and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until they are opaque. 
-For the grill, drain shrimp and save the marinade. Place the shrimp on metal skewers and brush them with the remaining marinade. Place the shrimp on the grill rack directly over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turnover then cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. 

40 minutes. 308 calories, 8g fat, 171mg chol., 32g carbs, 2g fiber, 27g protein, 643mg sodium

 
 

30 Day Fitness Tracker Printable

 

Stay on track with your fitness goals by downloading this free 30-day workout printable. I like hanging mine either on my fridge or near my bathroom scale... it's good for those days when I need a little extra motivation - It's like a friendly little accountability nudge. You can download it here, 30-Day Fitness Tracker. Just print it out and check off each circle for every workout you complete. My daughter likes to award me with a sticker for each of my workouts, it's a fun way to get her involved and teach her healthy habits. If you want me to change or customize something specific for you, just comment below with your request.

 

Zucchini Corn Soup with Crispy Bacon

 
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This month, our family decided to do a little home cooking-challenge. For the next 4 weeks, we'll be researching, prepping and taste-testing some new healthy recipes that come highly rated.

I would chalk this first recipe up to a family success! It was easy, fun to make and delicious to eat. Even our 2 year old daughter, Chloe, was able to get in on the action (I think she earned the award for cutest corn husker). 

3 ears of corn (or 1.5 cups frozen corn), 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1.5 tsp. thyme, 1/2 fresh ground black pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 5 cups low sodium chicken broth, 1 bay leaf, two zucchini (quartered, 1/2in. thick), 4 slices of bacon (cooked & crumbled)

Remove husks from ears of corn, clean, and cut kernels from cob. In a 4qt dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, salt, pepper and cook about 5 minutes. Next, stir in thyme and garlic until fragrant then slowly add broth, bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in zucchini and corn kernels and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve soup into bowls and sprinkle the crumbled bacon on the top. 

TIP: for a Veggie option, substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and bacon for kidney beans. Let us know what you think! 

172 Calories, 20g carbs, 3g fiber, 9g protein (no joke!), 35 minutes to make.

 

Banana Apple Muffins

 
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The is one of my favorite healthy recipes for a cozy fall day because not only do they taste amazing, but they will also fill your home with the delicious smells of banana bread, cinnamon spice and apple pie! (Yes, Please!)

It's a 21-Day Fix Approved recipe from Autumn Calabrese's cookbook FIXATE. For those following the program, it translates to 1 purple and 1 blue container per muffin. Please leave a comment below on any additions or suggestions you used when baking your own at home! Enjoy!

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  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 9 muffin cups by lining them or coating them with a spray.
  • Combine 2 large beaten eggs, 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas, and 1 Tbsp of melted grass-fed butter. Mix the ingredients well and set aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of almond flour 3/4 tsp. baking soda, and 1 dash of sea salt. Next, you want to add this almond flour mixture to the egg mixture and blend well.
  • Once the ingredients are blended, fold in 1/2 cup of finely chopped apple (about 3/4 of a medium apple). I decided to add 1 tsp of cinnamon for added flavor, but that's up to you :)
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 9 muffin tins and bake for 16-18 minutes or until they are golden brown and pass the toothpick-test. Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack.
  • Once they've cooled down find a good book, pour a cup of tea and enjoy!

Nutritional Info (per serving/muffin)
Cal: 161, Total Fat: 12g, Sat Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 157mg, Carbs: 11g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, and Protein: 6g


 

Take a Flattering "Before" Picture

 
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Ahhhhh!!! The dreaded body shots -no, not the kind that involves alcohol but some might need a little liquid courage to get through it! I promise it's not as painful as you think- it's just something you have to do.

So your first challenge before starting your program is to snap your "Before" picture and take your body measurements - don't worry, you can bury them in your backyard if you want, but I promise you will wish you had them at the end of your program! I know, I get it, taking a selfie is a challenge for me, let alone taking a picture of my post-baby body (YIKES!) But to be honest my before picture actually became a real motivator for me- cameras don't lie and I was not happy with what I saw so I used my pictures to fuel me.  Anyway, your picture and measurements are for your eyes only, but hopefully you will love your new body so much you might even share them someday to inspire others...you never know!
 

Watch these two videos below to find out how to take your best "Body Selfie" and how to record accurate body measurements. If you have any questions, message me at SandiOhBrien@gmail.com

 

Fitness Tips from Eminem

 
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Love him or hate him - I've always been intrigued by Eminem and his life story, probably because the world he lives in seems so different then mine, but after reading this article I guess we now have at least one thing in common- our "wacky trainers". 

Check out Eminem's interview with Men's Journal on how he got sober and healthy in the comfort of his own home.

"I'm not sure exactly when I finally got it. In the early days, I just went with the flow: If I could hit a gym, I'd hit up a gym. If someone suggested a workout that seemed legit, I might try it, but it wasn't a priority. Everything has to work around the music. Still, I wanted to stay fit even if I never wanted to get big. I worked out with Dre a few times, and I had to lift the kiddie weights. I've always been more into cardio, because when I'm performing I have to keep my wind up. It's never cool to be out of breath — anywhere, doing anything — but especially onstage. So I ran and did regular sit-ups and push-ups. For a while I even got into boxing. 

For close to a year, I worked with the late Emanuel Steward [who'd trained Thomas Hearns, Wladimir Klitschko, and others]. I wasn't doing so hot at the time, drinking a lot and taking pills, and Emanuel offered to come out to the house to train me, to motivate me. What am I going to say — no? He was incredible. He taught me fundamentals, the mechanics of boxing. A lot of basic shit I thought I knew, I didn't know. But I wasn't that motivated; I wasn't taking it too seriously. Once I got sober, that changed. 

Recovery = Running
In 2007, I overdosed on pills, and I went into the hospital. I was close to 230 pounds. I'm not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas. The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I'd been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomach ache, I was constantly eating — and eating badly.

When I got out of rehab, I needed to lose weight, but I also needed to figure out a way to function sober. Unless I was blitzed out of my mind, I had trouble sleeping. So I started running. It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect. It's easy to understand how people replace addiction with exercise. One addiction for another but one that's good for them. I got an addict's brain, and when it came to running, I think I got a little carried away. I became a fucking hamster. Seventeen miles a day on a treadmill. I would get up in the morning, and before I went to the studio, I would run eight and a half miles in about an hour. Then I'd come home and run another eight and a half. I started getting OCD about the calories, making sure I burned 2,000 every day. In the end I got down to about 149 pounds. I ran to the point where I started to get injured. All the constant pounding from the running began to tear up my hip flexors.

Mixing It Up
So when I was starting to dial back on the treadmill, I tried out some of those workout DVDs you do at home. One of the first ones was Shaun T's Insanity workout. I know a lot of these DVD guys are wacky, but I'm alone in my gym; I need someone on the TV yelling to motivate me. Besides, some of this shit is entertaining.

When I first started the Insanity workout, I alternated my routine, running one day and doing the Insanity the other. Then I stopped running altogether because it was too much to do them both. The Insanity won. After a while I started plateauing on that, so I mixed it up. I did the P90X for a little while (and I still do that ab workout because it's the most challenging), but then I moved on to the Beast.

Now every morning before I go to the studio, I do the Body Beast workout with free weights, bench, and pullup bar at home. It's just me, so it helps that the Body Beast dude is over-the-top. The routine is pretty intense, too. The first time I did the legs, I couldn't walk for two days. Now I'm doing arms one day, chest the next day, legs the next, and I'm still functioning throughout the day. And I can finally do it without pausing the DVD.
I still hate pull-ups. They're a motherfucker, but I do them. I even fill out the log afterward. I guess I'm pretty compulsive working out. I feel like if I step away from it for too long, if I have a crazy week and take a five-day break, it'll be like starting over. I'm afraid that if it goes beyond that, I might lose the motivation. Once you're at a place where you've made progress and you've got some time invested in it, you don't wanna quit and give up what you started."

 

Eat to Lose - The Fixate Cookbook

 
Fixate-Cookbook-21DayFix

I'll be the first to admit (and my family can verify) that I am not the most creative in the kitchen and tend to cycle through my "go-to" meals weekly, but I know I am not alone in saying that I am craving a little more variety when it comes to healthy eating options. As a work-at-home mom, I would love to be the Top Chef of my family, but I struggle with finding time to come up with new ideas on my own that everyone will enjoy.

This month I will put Autumn's new FIXATE cookbook in the hot seat by testing out her 21 Day Fix® approved recipes. Join me on my quest to find more affordable healthy, "foodie-quality" meals, that aren't boring. I'll be posting honest feedback about which recipes are a must try, as well as images, tips, and new suggestions. Follow my feedback here, or on Instagram @SandiOhBrien

WHAT IS FIXATE™ ?

21 Day Fix® creator Autumn Calabrese takes her simple color-coded container system for measuring perfect portions and applies it to 101 of her favorite family recipes to give you Fixate, a delicious approach to healthy weight loss. So you're not just eating healthy foods-you're eating just the right amount. Each Fixate recipe lists color-coded container equivalents and nutrition  facts, so you can use Autumn's system for measuring portions and make sure your nutrition is on track when you begin 21 Day Fix®, 21 Day Fix EXTREME®, or any other fitness program.

WHAT DOES FIXATE™ INCLUDE?

  • Easy-to-follow recipes (each marked with their color-coded container equivalents) designed to work with 21 Day Fix®, 21 Day Fix EXTREME®, and Portion Fix™—or use the deliciously nutritious recipes to create balanced meals for any other Beachbody® program.
  • Seven  color-coded containers to help you keep your portions in check and nutrition on track
  • 101 perfectly portioned FIXATE™ RECIPES
  • Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo recipes available.
     

CLICK TO PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY OF FIXATE™:


Enjoy a sneak peak at some recipes included in the FIXATE™ Cookbook (click to enlarge) :

all images and recipes are provided by Autumn Calabrese's FIXATE™ Cookbook and Beachbody®.

 

Earth Day - Why Do We Care?

 
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In a perfect world every day would be Earth Day but I am glad that we take at least one day to reflect on mother nature and all it's greatness. If you're like me you obviously understand that Earth Day is about recognizing our efforts to protect our environment but I have no idea how this day came about or why it's celebrated on April 22nd? So, naturally I decided to consult my trusty 'ol friend Mr. Internet, and here is the cliff note version of what I discovered (pretty interesting):

  • The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
  • With Nelson leading the charge on April 22nd, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies
  • Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
  • In 1990 Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro

With this new found knowledge I felt inspired, I also wanted to do my part to pioneer some change, hummm, but how? Well living near the beach, I often strap my daughter into her radio flyer trike and head to the boardwalk for our daily walk. It's become a fun tradition for us to go 'look for dolphins' while enjoying the feeling of crisp ocean air. but today our walk was a little different. Our goal wasn't to find dolphins, instead it was to observe, appreciate and show gratitude for all of nature -from the trees, flowers and grass we strolled past to the air, water and birds that flew by. We took time to acknowledge each natural element and it's importance and what it would feel like to not have those things. At 12 months, I'm sure she didn't understand all that I was saying, but as her mom, I realized how important it was for me to teach her these things. Not just today -Earth Day, but every day.

So, this "Monthly Challenge" isn't about fitness or dieting (you're off the hook, sort of), this challenge is about showing gratitude for Mother Nature. I challenge you for the next 30 days -hopefully longer- to do something that benefits our environment, whether it's educating yourself, planting a garden, or walking instead of driving. 

Pay It Forward: In honor of Earth Day, thanks to our team members, Hustle & Heart was able to donate to The Nature Conservancy to help tackle critical conservation issues and make a positive impact around the globe.  http://www.nature.org/

 

Superhuman Superfood

 
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You want me to drink WHAT, a meal replacement shake?!!  Ha! There's only one drink I could have regularly and it doesn't involve superfoods or protein. (but if you ask me, I think wine should count -it contains antioxidants, right?)

Clearly I was not 100% on board with the idea of drinking Shakeology, but I signed up for my first Challenge Group and part of the commitment was to drink it daily. I was a little uneasy about agreeing to this because for those who know me, I tend to like variety. It's rare to catch me eating the same thing twice in one week, let alone every day. Well, rules are rules and I was determined to hit my goal weight so I reluctantly placed my order for a variety pack of Shakeology - I figured there had to be a least one flavor I could tolerate. Besides, if Oprah is a fan, I guess it's worth a try. 

A few days after placing an order my program arrived along with my packets of Shakeology. I read the start up guide cover-to-cover, took my before pictures, and on Day 1 of the challenge group it was time to experiment with the different flavors. My husband tested out the Chocolate while I went for the Strawberry... A little Ice, some water, a banana, one packet of Shakeology...and viola! I squinted my nose, tipped my shaker cup back and prepared myself to hate it. But wait, hummm... I better taste it again. Um, maybe one more sip. Before I knew it I had guzzled down my glass. I was totally convinced that it wasn't going to be for me because I had tried a few different protein shakes in the past and didn't care at all for the texture or taste. To my surprise, I actually didn't mind it, and it's a good thing because 3 months after we said "I do" we found out we were pregnant. My happy hour glass of chardonnay was no longer, for the next 9 months I would be chugging back my frothy mug of Strawberry Shakeology. Thanks to this protein-packed superfood superhero, we gave birth to a very healthy 8lb 1oz baby girl. To this day our pediatrician jokes about my "muscle diet" during my pregnancy because she has never seen a baby as strong as Chloe.

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So could you just make smoothies at home and get the same basic thing? Well, you could, if you have the money and time to prep the 70+ fancy-pants ingredients that are included in each Shakeology shake--if you were to purchase all the ingredients and supplements in one packet of Shakeology it would cost around $700-eep! But let’s be honest with ourselves, even if you had the money, who really has the time to find and prepare all those ingredients? Or even the room to store and use those ingredients before they go bad? There’s just no getting around the incredible combination of nutritious ingredients that Beachbody has fine tuned to provide a multi-faceted benefit to your body: 

• proteins, vitamins and minerals: fairly self-explanatory--helps your body function at top-performance, helps reduce hunger and food cravings.
• anti-oxidents and phytonutrients: these help detoxify and protect your body against free radical damage.
• adaptogen herbs: would you know how to get this into a shake at home? Because I sure wouldn’t! ha. These herbs are sometimes called ‘nature’s anti-stress and fatigue fighters.’ They increase your energy and help reduce anxiety, so you feel like the best version of yourself.
• Prebiotics, Probiotics, Fiber, and Digestive Enzymes: Promotes regularity and good digestion. Need I say more?

And the best part?? Shakeology comes in at only $4 a serving -compare that to all those trendy ‘cold-pressed’ juiceries that are selling one glass of juice for a whopping $8! Or worse, think about all those Starbucks latte's you've consumed over the last few months...yikes! (scary, I know) Replacing a meal every day with Shakeology will not only save you money but provide your body with all the daily vitamins and nutrients it needs to increase your energy and boost your metabolism so that you can hit your goal weight without ever feeling rundown. 

If you're interested in reading more about the ingredients and benefits of Shakeology, click here.