Who Says Soup Is Only For Winter?

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Most people associate soup with cuddling in a warm blanket by the fire, while snow is falling outside. However, soups are not just for winter! Not only are soups easy to make, especially during busy summer months, but summer is the time of fresh vegetables meaning that there are so many delicious soups to be enjoyed. Try some of my favorite healthy summer soups below:

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Zucchini & Yellow Squash Soup with Rosemary & Parmesan

The Beautiful Balance: Smoky Roasted Corn Chowder

Petit World Citizen: Two Melons Soup

Kitchen Treaty: Spicy Chili Verde with White Beans

Kitchn: Summer Vegetable Soup with Rice

Skinny Summer Cocktails

A photo by Jez Timms. unsplash.com/photos/b8se0pUeaA0

Whether lounging by the pool or socializing at a summer BBQ, it’s not truly summer unless you have an ice cold beverage in your hand. However, with the average serving of alcohol containing 115 calories before the mixers are added, your calories can add up quickly. You could think well I’ll just drink fewer cocktails, but make them stronger. While that is a sly idea, the higher the proof, the greater the calories. But don’t fret, try some of Skinnygirl‘s guilt-free yet still delicious, skinny summer cocktails all under 150 calories per drink:

Sea Breeze

1 3/4 oz Skinnygirl bare naked vodka
3 oz cranberry juice
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 slice of grapefruit, to garnish

Golden Mountain Sangria

1 bottle Skinnygirl sangria
2 apples, sliced into wedges
3/4 C blackberries

Sunrise

1 oz Skinnygirl island coconut vodka
1 oz strawberry Schapps
1 strawberry, thinly sliced
1 splash seltzer
1 pineapple slice, to garnish

Keystone Belle

1 oz Skinnygirl Piña Colada
1 oz Skinnygirl margarita
1 oz apple juice
1 apple wedge, to garnish

Cucumber Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Skinnygirl cucumber vodka
3 oz soda water

 

Food is Medicine

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Our taste buds often guide us when choosing the foods we eat. However, food is more than tasty; it is medicine. Food scientists have proven that there are a variety of medicinal benefits to certain foods. Certain foods can work to improve almost every disease. Check out some of them below:

 

Cancer Risk Reduction

  • Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts) reduce the risk of several types of cancers
  • Tomato products may reduce the risk for prostate, ovarian, gastric, and pancreatic cancers
  • Citrus fruits may reduce the risk of stomach cancer

Heart Health

  • Dark chocolate reduce high blood pressure
  • Tree nuts (i.e. cashews, almonds, pecans) and peanuts reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death

Intestinal Health Maintenance

  • Fermented dairy products (i.e. kefir, yogurt, cheese) may reduce irritable bowel syndrome symptoms

Urinary Tract Function

  • Cranberry juice reduces bacterial concentrations in the urine

No Flour Black Bean Brownies

Happy #tastythursday! Today, I wanted to highlight my favorite dessert guru, Chocolate Covered Katie. She has been named the Queen of Healthy Desserts by Glamour Magazine for her delicious yet healthy sweet creations.

One of my favorite recipes is her favorite black bean brownies! It sounds weird at first, but trust me when I say they are absolutely amazing! Enjoy!

No Flour Black Bean Brownies

Servings: 9-12 brownies

black-bean-brownie

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup – 2/3 cup chocolate chips, depending on taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan.
  5. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will firm up.

From Waste to Taste

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Stalks, stems, and peels often do not get the love they desire. However these “scraps” are not meant for the garbage can, as they are packed with nutrients and flavor. Try some of the creative ways below to utilize these often wasted items to create tasty creations:

  • Broccoli Stalks – shred into salad or slaw, puree into soup or sauce, roast or steam for a side dish, or toss into stock
  • Carrot & Fennel Fronds – ground with nuts, garlic, and cheese or olive oil to make pesto
  • Celery Leaves – use in soups and salads
  • Citrus Peels – zest them to season sweet or savory dishes, candy them to create a fruity treat, dry the peels for tea, or steep fresh peels into sprits
  • Kale Stems – blanch and sauté in stir-fry
  • Leeks Tops – julienne and sauté for a topping to salads and soups or add to stock
  • Watermelon Rinds – pickle them to create a delicious snack

Are Your Food Choices Affecting Your Workout?

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No matter how much you exercise, your food choices affect your performance and overall health. Your body needs the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fluid to fuel your workout. Carbohydrates increase your energy level, while protein rebuilds and repairs muscle cells. While specific nutrient needs and caloric amounts are dependent on the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workout, everyone can follow the basic formula below to be nutrient ready for your workout.

 

Pre-Workout 

30 minutes to 1 hour before your workout, eat a small snack rich in carbs to supply the energy for your exercise. Try one of the options below:

  • Fruit
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Whole wheat toast & peanut butter
  • Oatmeal with raisins & nuts

 

During Your Workout

While working out, the most important thing to do is to remain hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water or G2.

 

Post-Workout

After exercising, eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein to replenish energy stores and repair & rebuild muscles. Try some of my favorite combinations below:

  • Apple & string cheese
  • Banana & peanut butter
  • Yogurt & granola
  • Hummus & pita
  • Protein shake
  • Bagel thin & low-fat cream cheese

Make Your Own Healthy Salad Dressing

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There are hundreds of salad dressings that you can put on top of your salad. Unfortunately, most salad dressings are high in fat, sugar, and calories making your once healthy salad unhealthy. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your salad. You just need to watch what you put on it.

Chef Jerry Pellegrino partnered with Women’s Health Magazine to help create 10 delicious, quick, and healthy salad dressings you can make at home. Try them out below and let us know which is your favorite!

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