Baked Zucchini Fries

This season our garden has given us more zucchini than we know what to do with. Every week we harvest AT LEAST 2-3 large zucchinis and when I say large, I mean the equivalent of 2-3 store bought zucchinis in just one. I have been loving picking my produce from my own backyard but with so much of the same vegetable, I’ve had to think up some creative ways to use it without boring myself. One of the first things I thought to make was zucchini fries. If we’re using the word “fries” in the title, I 1000% expect it to be crispy and to live up to the glory that is potato based french fries. I knew it would take some time to perfect the recipe, but this last batch I made was about as perfect as it could get. Coated in fresh parmesan cheese, crispy panko breadcrumbs, and seasoned with Italian seasonings, these are out of this world incredible. This recipe is very straight-forward and although I am trying to create recipes right now that will allow you to avoid heating up your house with the use of your oven, let me just say that these zucchini fries are worth heating the house up. My last batch was gone in under 15 minutes and that was just between Adrian and myself. Now before we get into the recipe, let’s talk about the nutritional value of our star vegetable–zucchini.

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Crispy Tofu

It’s safe to say that the words delicious or yummy are not usually associated with tofu but today’s recipe should change your mind. Tofu has a negative reputation because most people assume you eat it as is and in its natural state is less than desirable. Tofu is a block of compressed soy beans that have been blended to various textures depending on the type of tofu purchased. Tofu comes in soft (best for smoothies or sauces), firm, or extra firm both of which are ideal for use in stir fries or for replicating a typical animal based protein like chicken. Just like traditional animal proteins, tofu needs to be well seasoned and prepared in order to have a satisfactory end result. Luckily it is easier than you may think to yield a delicious product. Without rambling on too much, I will be showing you today my simple recipe for a delicious and crispy tofu that can be tossed in a stir-fry, substituted in sushi, or simply served alongside some rice and veggies. Before we get into the details of what you will need for this simple recipe, let’s quickly review the nutritional advantages of consuming tofu.

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Easy Roasted Potatoes

One of my favorite foods to have for breakfast is potatoes. I’m not talking about the sweet kind either, I’m talking about the good ol’ golden Yukon potato. For whatever reason, potatoes have gotten a bad reputation over the last decade but I am here to tell you that in this household potatoes are an absolute must and household staple. Russet potatoes, golden Yukon, and red potatoes have just as much nutritional value as sweet potatoes do the only difference being the amount of minerals varies by each variety. Each potato has its appropriate use and for the purpose of roasting at a higher heat, I have found that golden potatoes yield the best results. I am working on a comprehensive blog post to outline each use of different types of potatoes but for now, i’m letting you know that golden yukon and/or red potatoes are the best types for roasting in the oven.

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My Thoughts on the Instant Pot & Oil-Free “Refried” Beans

Back in May, I received an Instant Pot Ultra for my birthday and was so excited to work with it! I posted a picture on my Instagram story when I first got it alluding to future recipes using it but then I didn’t talk about it. I decided to avoid posting recipes utilizing it on the blog because I didn’t want to exclude people who do not have an Instant Pot. While I realize that the Instant Pot is a convenience gadget,  I wanted to mention it now because after using it consistently for the past 3 months I can say it has helped me stay on track of making healthy meals at home. As always, I want to be as transparent as possible on this blog to talk about things relating to health, wellness, and living a fulfilling life and today that means talking about a product that has made my life so much easier. Instead of going through every single thing I have made using the Instant Pot thus far, I’ll highlight the pros and cons from my experience so you can decide if it would be a helpful product to keep you on track of your health and/or fitness goals.

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How to Make a Healthy Choice

 

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Understanding how to read a nutrition label is key to understanding how to make an informed decision about what is a healthy product and what is not. This post will be expanding on my previous post, Decoding the Nutrition Label.  Today, I’ll be breaking down what makes a product healthy or unhealthy.

A healthy choice should be one that has protective factors against chronic diseases like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whereas a not-so-healthy choice will include a greater amount of saturated and trans fats along with added sugars, and salt.

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Decoding the Nutrition Label

 

Within the realm of nutrition and health, there are so many products that claim to be “healthy”. How can you really tell whether or not a product is actually good for you? The answer lies on the box of the product in the format of what is known as the nutrition label. Every item that is sold for consumer consumption is required by law to highlight the nutrient breakdown. In other words, the nutrition label breaks down in detail the amounts of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) within the product. The best way to take charge of your health is to familiarize yourself with reading and understanding the nutrition label. With that being said,  today I’ll be breaking down the information you need to be aware of and what exactly each area means.

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Green Smoothies

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One of the most popular “health” foods are green smoothies. While they may be convenient and quick when on the go, not all green smoothies are all that healthy. In fact, many green smoothies are loaded with sugar to compensate for the added vegetables. Although fruits are a healthy choice, they are naturally high in sugar so just like any other sweets, they should be eaten in moderation. Fruits are usually better as a snack in between meals when paired along with a source of fat and protein. When too much fruit is added to a smoothie, it can spike blood sugar levels which will ultimately make you crash. For that reason, I have created two smoothie options that contain both protein and fat to help counter-balance that blood sugar spike. Whether you like fruity smoothies or creamy smoothies, I’m sure that you will find one of two of these recipes will help to satisfy your craving. Both of these recipes contain spinach which is high in vitamins A, C, K, and the mineral folate. These smoothies are very filling and are best suited for a meal replacement.


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Panko Crusted Cauliflower

 

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Hi guys! So I know it’s been awhile since my last blog post, but thank you for being so patient with me. Today I’ll be sharing with you one of my pride and joys and that is my recipe for panko-crusted cauliflower. Growing up, my mom used to make panko crusted chicken and I was obsessed. But as I got older and became more health conscientious I realized her pan-frying method maybe wasn’t the healthiest approach. But because I loved my mom’s recipe so much I was determined to find a healthier alternative that was as equally delicious. That’s when this recipe was born. This is one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare cauliflower because it is filing and so satisfying. The crunch from the panko makes all the difference and it is truly one to try out. These are amazing tossed in just about any sauce you can imagine and are a lighter option for chicken strips and/or nuggets. The flavor combinations are endless and you can use them to top a salad, add to a wrap, or just eat as finger food. Before we get into the recipe, here’s a little background on the star of the show-cauliflower.

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Health Conscientious or Health Obsessive

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Up to this point, I have given insight into the various source of macronutrients, tips on eating healthy, and provided a recipe idea to help inspire you to live a healthier lifestyle. However, before I go any further I wanted to talk about the fine line that exists between being health conscientious and health obsessive. Someone who is health conscientious realizes the true value of their health and understands that there are certain things their body needs to flourish. With that being said, people who are health conscientious also understand the importance of balance and self-love. Whereas someone who is health obsessive does not and instead demonstrates destructive behaviors all for the sake of perfection. The key to living a healthy lifestyle is not about perfection but rather intention. Every single day you are presented with the opportunity to make choices that will either push you toward or away from your goals but it is all up to you. Down below I have included some behaviors that will help you to determine where you lie on the spectrum of health conscientious or health obsessive.

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Simple Snack Solutions

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Snacking in between meals is extremely important to help maintain a steady flow of energy and to help boost your metabolism. If our blood sugar levels drop too low, we may feel dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed which in turn will cause our bodies to slow our metabolism.  By having “smart snacks” on hand, you can help to boost your dwindling energy levels throughout the day. “Smart snacks” are those that combine a serving of carbs, fat, and protein to help steady our energy levels. Carbohydrates like fruits, veggies, and granola provide the body with a burst of energy. Meanwhile, protein and fat sources like eggs, peanut butter, and hummus help to curb and keep hunger at bay. Down below I’ve included further detail on why these snack options are worth trying out.

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