Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not Enough Hours In My Day....

I wish I had unlimited time to write and blog. Way too much to communicate and way too little time.
Finished my three hour training stint....uphill treadmill, followed by boot camp, and then personal training session.  Was tortured at physical therapy, then home to soak for a bit.  Now I'm laying in my adjustable Sleep Number bed, Giada on in the background, and I want to share a serious comfort food I made last week, but healthy version of course. It is a combination of a recipes from The Chew and Ellie Krieger.  It is Bomb!!

Mac and Cheese
Cook 2 boxes of whole wheat pasta or your choice
Place 2 10oz boxes of frozen pureed squash in sauce pan over medium heat with 2 c. 1% milk (or unsweetened almond, soy, coconut or cashew) til defrosted. Turn off heat and add....
4 oz. extra sharp cheddar, 2 oz. pepper jack, 1/2 cup 0% greek yogurt, 1 t. salt, mustard powder and a shake or two of cayenne pepper.  Bring to a soft boil.

Complete Sauce

Drained Pasta

Mix together and place into baking pan.  Top with mixture of 2 T. whole wheat bread crumbs and 2T. parm.  Sprinkle over the pasta. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and brown on top.
Finished Mac and Cheese

That is all she wrote for now. Serve with bbq chicken and big tomato salad.  And enjoy leftovers for days. Off to fuel the body and get ready for swim session.  Gina

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Food Prep....

Food prep is the new fad. As a fitness professional for over 25 years, I have seen dozens of fads come and go. While this one is not hurtful like so many before, it tends to be extreme and BORING!! I know plenty of my fit friends who do this for convenience, so that they can just grab and go for meals and stay on their eating plan. I often see pics posted of their food, usually grilled meats, roasted veggies, etc. My "meal prep" happens before each meal, thankfully, because I have the time to do so. I don't want the slab o' protein and my pile of veggies, I want a plate that not only looks phenomenal, but is nutritious, and while it does take a bit more time, I feel like it's worth it. I love food, but mostly, I love nutrient rich food, and as I will continue to tell you, I believe in CARBS. I eat 55-65% of my daily intake of carbohydrates, that for the most part are exclusively whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables. I have been on a NO DESSERT phase for three months straight now, simply as part of my spartan training game plan, being in control, but also just for the detox from white flour and refined sugars, not that I had that often. On Saturday, August 15, after a four hour plus Spartan Beast race, I will be having my OWN slice of mudd pie, and I can't wait. After that, while I do have a sweet tooth, my desserts which are typically had on the weekends, will mostly include only whole grains and fruits and dairy and nuts, so stay tuned.

After 3 plus hours of exercise today, I was beat tonight. So after bailing on a yoga class, I set to prep dinner before a tub soak and short nap(I was out late night, not my normal MO). I bought whole wheat orzo when I was up in the Bay area a few weeks ago, so I knew I wanted a salad of sorts with it. I always google for my recipes, and look for those with lots of rating and 5 stars. And there was Giada's recipe for Orzo Salad. The only modifications I made, which I always make, was to remove her 1 cup of EVOO and only used 1 T. Huge modification at that!! Oh and I did use a pint of tomatoes. I always up the veggies. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/orzo-salad-recipe.html

Next, chicken was on my mind, so found a organic whole chicken on sale at Ralphs and used one of my fav recipes, also from Giada. Only modification came from omitting the EVOO in the recipe. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/garlic-and-citrus-chicken-recipe.html

I must admit I am not a great whole chicken roaster, it seems it is never cooked in the time frame I am prepared to give it, so today, I left mine in for an hour and 25 minutes. It was probably a little longer than needed, but it was cooked and I didn't have to deal with carving the chicken, seeing pink and being forced to throw it back in the oven. As you can see from the pics, it turned out beautifully.

As the chicken rested before carving, I took the pan drippings, hence the reason I didn't need extra oil, and make the sauce. It was bomb. You can throw shredded chicken over the orzo, on a bed of arugula, and add top with a little sauce, or better yet, some steamed then sauted broccolini would have been a great addition as well. Enjoy!!


I decided to go back to blogging on this site. I have so much to say, and when I get texts and messages that my words are motivating you to make changes in your lives, it drives my desire to continue to share. If you don't know my mantra yet, you will soon know that I love CARBS and that I am fueled by carbs at each and every meal!! I'm not talking about the white, refined versions of carbs, but the whole grainy, comes in it's natural package, non-processed kind. Now do remember the name of this blog is "Moderation for Life", which means anything goes, but most of the time, I am fueling my body with nutrient rich food. That being said, lets get to this afternoon's recipes....

6:30am wake up call after being out late with a new group of momma friends, we are all parents of LGBT children. I toasted my whole wheat english muffin, topped with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, no sugar added, and a tablespoon of all fruit blueberry jelly. After a brutal morning of workouts, 30 minutes on stairmaster alternating hands free intervals with holding intervals, I was dripping sweat. I then did my loop run, which was the first time I made decision to run after another workout. Ran my fastest mile!! Then to boot camp for a sweat sesh, followed by personal training with Samm Johnson. Lots to love about Samm Johnson, just her wonderment for life, but the way she challenges me based on my personal needs and always changing it up, makes me super proud to call her my friend as well. Downed my cup of cashew milk mixed with a cup of dark chocolate almond milk, and headed to physical therapy next, where Belinda literally ripped the fascia from my scar tissue around my implants, no bueno. And when heating my back and chest, she developed a new torture device for me, having someone poke my rehabbing foot with the dull and pokey side of a paperclip, in an attempt to de-sensitive the area. Fun and games, and to think, I pay for all this torture!!

During PT all I could think about was my lunch. And after Samm shared that she had nachos yesterday at Active Culture, I knew what I would be preparing as soon as I got home.

First I threw down a nectarine. Then I took two recipes and mixed them together. While I love avocado, it is highly calorie, so I always dumb it down with veggies. My fav two recipes are the California Pizza Kitchen Guac copy cat recipe, http://lifeyourway.net/california-pizza-kitchen-guacamole-copycat-recipe/ and this Fresh Veggie Chopped Salad,http://moderation4life.blogspot.com/2012/02/fresh-veggie-chopped-salad.html, both of which I use for appetizers with tortilla chips.

I just meshed the ingredients, lots of chopping for this impatient rumbling stomach, but within 30 minutes, I was chowing down.

I weighed out two servings of blue chips, and layered them with the salad, followed by grilled jalapenos and homemade tomatillo salsa. Yum!! Let me know what you think....

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I am back to blogging....

It's funny, I recently turned 51, and while I don't feel "OLD" by any stretch of the imagination, I am very aware of the limited time I have remaining in my earthly life. I have definitely felt a shift in myself, knowing that I can't accomplish everything I would have liked to and need to adjust my expectations. I will not be able to start a new career, though knowing what I know now, I wish I could have been a nurse, a doula, a midwife, a therapist, and wished I would have finished my schooling with my registered dietitian licensing to just have been able to boost my credibility (though I feel I still can provide much expertise in this area with my B.S. in dietetics and 25 plus years as fitness professional). And I know some of you are saying you can still do these things if you want, but I also know I have other things in my future that are higher on my priority list, like my husband, children, future grandchildren and traveling the world. I don't want to have "to do" anything because I have to, i.e. have a job where I work for someone with set hours and the like. We are looking toward retirement, where we dictate how much we work, no longer having to work because we have to, because my husband and I actually planned our retirement starting in our twenties. We will talk about finances in a future blog, because I definitely have thoughts and advice in this area, but today we talk about food.

In a recent blood test, my cholesterol was higher than it should be, and I was shocked due to my healthy eating program and how diligent I am with it. It does make sense in a way, as there is some family history with high cholesterol from my dad's side. He had his first stroke in his early 60s and this was only the start of his health issues. This in a man who exercised most of his life, and certainly all of my childhood and thru his 80s, going to the YMCA every day of the week playing handball and doing his cardio/strength training. Not to mention the Mediterranean diet that we followed as devout Italians, with vegetables and fruit grown in our own backyard and limited processed food. So, in an effort to help myself naturally, and the fact that there is little I can change in my already excellent diet, I have taken to adding oats to my diet. I HATE oatmeal fyi. And I would not hate it if I could eat it with all kinds of yummy add ons like nuts and dried fruit, but one must keep calories in mind and realize that a half cup of old fashioned oats, one measly tablespoon of walnuts, and an addition of some fresh or dried fruit, maxs out my 350 calorie breakfast allotment (there are many more meals to be eaten throughout the day where my calories need to go), and I am always hungry before lunch time when I eat oatmeal. Not so with my other breakfast choices of cereal, soy milk, and fruit, or my toast, nut butter, and all fruit jelly. I have tried more recipes than I care to share over the last few months, but finally, I think I found the muffin that may do the trick for me. I need a few grab and go breakfast options, in addition to my latest balls of health that I keep frozen, so these muffins should fit the bill.

All the credit goes to Monique at http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/ for her recipe that I tweaked a bit. I love that it has very little added sugar and you can choose to omit the added chocolate chips and add dried fruit instead. I always add them, but use mini chips as they disperse better throughout recipes. I also use whole wheat pastry flour in all my baking and NEVER EVER white flour.

Low-fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Blended my oats in my go-to Vitamix. Could not live without it. A blender or food processor will work.
I've got everything I need in within my reach....

Ready to eat or freeze. As you can see I have portioned out the rest of my pumpkin in 1 cup increments to freeze for my next batch.

I would like to see if we can work on commenting right on this blog. Things like "if you like recipe", "what tweaks you made", "what you didn't like", "what you need help with", etc. You will need to register to comment. It will allow me to know you are reading and trying, in turn this will help me want to blog more. I also plan to share my healthy eating philosophy, which includes a large percentage of complex carbohydrates. "Complex carbohydrates are those carbohydrates that are made of three or more sugar molecules linked together. These carbohydrates are found vegetables, nuts, fruits, seeds and grains. They differ from simple carbohydrates, like sugar, that are made of only one or two linked sugar molecules. Complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to break down than simple ones, which helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level."

Glad to be back. Gina

Friday, September 28, 2012

Panzanella AKA Bread Salad

Panzanella is a salad of bread and tomatoes. You can add a lot of variations to this to personalize it. I was watching Ina Garten on Food Network this afternoon and when I saw her make a grilled version of this salad, I paused the show and headed to the store to get the necessary ingredients. 

Slice up red and yellow bell peppers, as well as a red onion. Brush with olive oil and grill. (You can totally do this outdoors OR indoors!) While these were grilling, I cut up a tomato into small cubes. Ina's recipe called for a hothouse cucumber and capers, as well. I don't love cucumber so I skipped this, and I  was too impatient to look for the capers. Geez! She also added some chopped basil to this mixture - my grocery store was out of this. 

Flip the vegetables to grill both sides. Once done, add the onions to the tomato/cucumber mixture, and place the bell pepper on a cutting board to cut into smaller pieces. Then add to the salad. After that, slice a baguette on the diagonal and lightly oil - grill up. Once grilled to perfection, add to the salad.

You will top all of this with a homemade vinaigrette. Mix, and serve warm. Yum! 

I think the salad would look 10x better with the specks of green from the basil. But let them assure you that even with some modifications, this salad was delicious!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Balls O' Health

Do you buy "sport's bars"?? If so, you might be surprised to see the ridiculous number of ingredients and those that you cannot possible pronounce. I for one cannot in good conscience buy another one. My goal this year is to stay away from all processed food items and what I have learned is that I can make my own, which end up tasting better, and have to certainly be better for us.
The other day I made the mistake with a quick purchase at Costco and look at the rating these two got on my iphone app. Never again!!

You can rate your food too by scanning the bar code, download the "Fooducate" app on your smartphone. You will be surprised as I was at "grade" some of my "go to" purchases got. Needless to say, I won't be buying them any longer.

I follow many food blogs, all that propose healthy eating, and this recipe taken from one, with a few tweaks of my own, has become a favorite for Derek and I, along with the boys and girls polo teams. (Alaina refuses to try it.) My hope is to share some of our favorites and that they become yours too.


•1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
• 2 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds
• 2 Tbsp flaxseed, cracked
• ¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
• ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
• Pinch sea salt
• 1 cup all-natural peanut or nut butter, sugar and salt free
• 2 Tbsp brown-rice syrup or honey

Combine oats, hemp seeds, salt, nut butter and syrup or honey.
In food processor, combine cranberries and whole flaxseeds. Run for a bit to chop cranberries and more importantly, crack the flaxseed. I only have whole flax or ground and I want the crunch from the seed, but without breaking it, we cannot utilize it's nutrients.

Combine all ingredients and mix. I use my hands, much easier to incorporate all.

I use a small ice cream scoop to form uniform balls. I throw in ziplock in freezer and pull them as we need. They make great healthful snack, pre or post meal option.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tortilla Breakfast Cups

I have seen tortilla breakfast cups featured on different cooking shows and in magazines over the past few months. A couple weeks ago I had a little extra time and thought it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with these little babies. What I really love about them is that you can get really creative with these. I think they would be really fun at a brunch - you could have a whole bunch of fillings prepared and let everyone 'design' their own cups.

Let's get to the making....

My pictures of this process are not very detailed. However, this is very simple to execute. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, grab some tortillas and heat them in the microwave. Warm tortillas are less likely to crack. (We actually whipped up some homemade flour tortillas for this!) Definitely opt for whole wheat hear to get the added benefit of fiber with the more filling whole wheat carbs. Grab a muffin pan and spray with cooking spray. Gently place each tortilla into a muffin cup, and press it ion to form to the cup. 

Now it's time for the fillings. There are two schools of thought here. The first is that you get a bowl, and crack an egg into it. Then scramble the egg - mix your toppings into the scrambled egg and then pour the mix into the formed tortilla. The other school of thought, which is what we did here, is to just fill up the tortilla with your toppings and then crack an egg on top. Top with cheese as desired. Oh and I always season with salt and pepper!

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked.

 Here's a shot from the inside. This wasn't really a planned making of breakfast cups so I used what I had on hand - pinto beans, cut up (nitrate-free!) turkey slices, and diced onion.

A few topping ideas are bacon, ham or sausage, spinach, tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, mushrooms, etc! Get creative and have fun with this! This is a very customizable recipe, and a fun change from the ordinary.