fitmommy

Shannon's health and fitness blog

Melt in your mouth Lasagna

go-ahead-its-gluten-freeHere it is-the gluten free, dairy free, soy free lasagna recipe I’ve been dying to try. I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised, I was shocked, at how good this lasagna turned out.  I think it even gave the lasagna at True Food restaurant a run for its money 🙂  If you would like to make this dish vegan and egg free, just leave out the sausage and use an egg replacer.  This is definitely one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.

1  1/4 cups whole coconut milk, stirred well before pouring to prevent separation

2  14 oz. cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained on a paper towel

1 tsp sea salt, divided: 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp

1 small clove garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large eggs

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 Tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, minced

11 brown rice lasagna noodles (Tinkyada brand worked well)

1  1/2 lb uncooked sweet Italian chicken sausage

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil

3  15 oz. cans tomato sauce

1  6 oz. can tomato paste

1/3 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Into a blender or food processor, pour the milk and 1/2 of garbanzo beans.  Blend or process until beans are roughly ground.  Add the remaining beans and blend again until creamy.  Scrape sides of blender as needed.  Add 1/2 tsp of salt, small garlic clove or garlic powder, eggs, and xanthan gum.  Blend for 20 seconds.  Stir in parsley and set aside.

Use a wide pan (12″ wide is best) to par-cook the lasagna noodles.  Fill half full with water, bring water to a boil, and cook 1/2 the noodles at a time.  Boil noodles gently only 6-7 minutes, or they will tear and be hard to work with.  Drain and place noodles on wax paper to dry.

Meanwhile, pour the oil into a 6 qt. pot.  Squeeze the sausage meat from casings into the pot and cook on medium-high, stirring to crumble meat and cook it evenly.  Continue stirring and cooking until the meat is done.  Drain excess liquid.  Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, 3 cloves minced garlic, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Into a 9×13 baking dish, spoon a small amount of sauce without sausage meat, just enough to cover the bottom.  Lay 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and “patch” in the area needing noodles by cutting sections from extra noodles to fill in.  Spoon 1/3 of garbanzo mixture over the noodles.  Ladle 1/3 of the sauce with sausage over that.  Repeat these steps 2 more times, beginning with noodles and ending with the sauce.  Bake in oven uncovered 40-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to set 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Serves 8

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February 20, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Do you really understand what we’re dealing with here?

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , | Leave a comment

Health Benefits of Meditation by Shirley Archer JD, MA

MeditationA growing body of research evidence is supporting the claim thatmeditation is good for our health. With benefits ranging from fewer colds to pain management, meditation seems to allow people to cultivate a sense of clarity and calm that can permeate all aspects of life and that improves with practice.

Here are some of the many beneficial effects that scientists have identified in studies:

  • Stronger immune system. Meditators experienced fewer wintercolds and flus (Barrett et al. 2012) and produced more antibodies in response to a flu vaccine (Davidson et al. 2003) than those who did not meditate.
  • Enhanced attention. After 3 months of meditation training, subjects had better attention and used their resources more efficiently (Slagter et al. 2007).
  • Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease.Transcendental meditation lowered blood pressure among African Americans with heart disease and was associated with a 43% reduction in risk of death, heart attack and stroke (Schneider et al. 2009).
  • Less anxiety and depression. A research review found that both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy had broad applications for people with depression and anxiety (Marchand 2012).
  • Increased feelings of compassion and empathy. Mindfulness training helped to increase self-compassion and empathy in people with mood disorders (Farb, Anderson & Segal 2012).
  • Fewer binge episodes. A group of women who practiced mindfulness meditation for 6 weeks cut their binge eating episodes by half after experiencing meditation (Kristiller & Hallett 1999).
  • Lower blood sugar. Patients with metabolic syndrome lowered blood pressure and blood sugar and improved insulin regulation after practicing transcendental meditation for 16 weeks (Paul-Labrador et al. 2006).
  • Improved sleep. A literature review found that consistent meditators using a variety of meditation styles experienced better sleep quality than people who did not meditate (Nagendra, Maruthai & Kutty 2012).
  • Better pain management. The same literature review showed that both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Zen meditation helped people with pain management (Nagendra, Maruthai & Kutty 2012). In another study, expert meditators experienced the same intensity of pain as novices, but felt less unpleasantness (Lutz et al. 2012).

Changes in the Brain

Researchers are using modern technology to explore how meditation is able to provide these (and other) benefits. Findings confirm that meditation practice creates structural changes in the brain, which is significant, because neuroscientists used to think the brain’s development reached a peak in adulthood and then declined with age. Research is now showing that how we use the brain impacts its development and function (just as how we use the body affects its health and function).

The structural changes in the brain that occur with meditation are associated with improved functionality: enhanced concentration, better ability to learn and remember, more ability to tolerate pain and less emotional reactivity toward external stimuli. In multiple studies, people who meditate have better attention, concentration, emotion regulation, pain tolerance and memory than those who do not.

Note: See www.ideafit.com/meditation-brain for specific research findings on how meditation changes the brain.

The Fountain of Youth?

New lines of research show that meditation may lead to biological changes that decrease the inflammation response of the immune system on a cellular level and can contribute to looking and feeling younger. Two separate studies of meditation, one involving the practice of a Kirtan Kriya meditation from kundalini yoga and the other involving qigong practice, a moving meditation, both identified improved telomerase activity, which is linked to cellular health (Black et al. 2012; Ho et al. 2012).

“Telomerase is an important enzyme that protects us from aging by guarding the shortening of telomeres during cell division,” said study author Rainbow T. Ho, director of the Centre on Behavioral Health at the University of Hong Kong. This reduction in inflammation may be related to optimizing health and slowing damage from the aging process.

For more information on meditation, plus a full list of references, please see “Meditation: Push-Ups for the Brain” in the online IDEA Library or in the January 2013 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.

For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, “Like” IDEA on Facebook here.

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

IDEA Author/Presenter
Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA’s mind-bo… more
IDEA Fit Tips, Volume 11, Number 2
February 2013

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Health, Mind-body awareness | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harbaugh Meatloaf

Ok, so that’s not really what it’s called, but this meatloaf was still a winner regardless of which team won the Superbowl, lol…

This gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and corn free dish is actually called Dixie Party Meatloaf, and it is delicious! It serves 8-10 people and is a crowd pleaser.  And now you can guess which commercial was my fave 🙂

2 lb. ground turkey

3/4 cup onion chopped (I used one whole onion)budweiser-clyesdale

1 cup red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped

3/4 tsp dried oregano leaves

1 6oz. can tomato paste

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1/2 cup brown rice flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush the bottom of a 9×13 casserole or roasting pan with grapeseed oil.  In a large glass or metal bowl, mix all ingredients with a large spoon.  Turn onto casserole or pan, and form into a loaf.  Bake uncovered 45-50 minutes until center is no longer pink ( I had to bake for 1 1/2 hours).

Serve and enjoy!

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delicious Balsamic Chicken

I made this one tonight and my daughter said it’s now her second favorite dish (not sure anything will ever make her happier than steak). I got this from skinnyms. once again.  The only changes I made was to use 4 fresh tomatoes rather than canned, and to serve it over brown rice instead of pasta.  Quinoa would probably work too.   It is super easy and incredibly good!  Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
Yields 10 Cups | Serving size: 1 Cup | Calories: 190 | Previous Points: 4 | Points Plus: 4 | Fat: 6g | Saturated fat: 1 g | Trans fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 53 mg | Sodium: 121 mg | Carbohydrate: 5 g | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 3 g | Protein 26 g

Ingredients

Directions

Pour the olive oil on bottom of slow cooker, add chicken breasts, salt and pepper each breast, put sliced onion on top of chicken then put in all the dried herbs and garlic cloves. Pour in vinegar and top with tomatoes.

Cook on high 4 hours, serve over angel hair pasta.

November 15, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health, Weight loss | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate chip quinoa cookies

I know I’ve been on a recipe kick lately, but i just had to share this one.  I got this recipe from my good friend, Lamar Jefferson, who gave me a cookie, then handed me the recipe.  These cookies are sooo good and jam-packed with protein, fiber, and stress busting B vitamins.  They are gluten free and will kick your cravings to the curb!  Enjoy these little pieces of heaven 🙂

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes (or gluten free oatmeal flakes)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 4 large VERY RIPE bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (be aware that this will add dairy to this recipe, unless you can find the rare dairy free chips)
  • Pinch sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas in bowl with a fork and add vanilla, almond butter, and coconut sugar.  Add quinoa, oatmeal, coconut, and pinch of salt.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and drop batter on to  cooking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Serving size:

Makes about 25 cookies that look more like muffin tops and are chewy.

October 18, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake-YUM!

Stay full longer with this satisfying protein shake! Easy to make and convenient for when you’re on-the-go.
Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein Shake Mix
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Protein Shake Mix
  • 7 oz. water
  • 4-6 ice cubes
  • Âľ cup pumpkin puree
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • Dairy, soy, and gluten free, as always!

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health, Holidays, Weight loss | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bringing the islands to your slow cooker

I’ve had a slow cooker for a number of years now and rarely use it.  I have such a difficult time finding recipes that I think are healthy enough for my family.  Well here’s one that I found at skinny Ms. that we loved-Polynesian Chicken!  As far as the recipe goes, I did substitute Coconut Liquid Aminos for the Braggs that the recipe suggests.  I also recommend cooking this for only 4 hours.  If you have a corn allergy, just substitute potato starch for corn starch.  This is a great dairy free, gluten free meal!

http://skinnyms.ziplist.com/recipes/626343-Slow_Cooker_Polynesian_Chicken?return_to=%2Frecipes%2Fbox

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Childhood Obesity

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are overweight, and it’s estimated that obesity results in $14 billion per year in direct health care costs.  The U.S. is doing its part to raise awareness of the obesity issue, and has provided a downloadable toolkit full of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month resources.  For more info, visit http://www.COAM-month.org.

September 10, 2012 Posted by | Children, Exercise, Food, Health, Weight loss | , | 1 Comment

The Tower Garden

Tower Garden® is a state-of-the-art vertical aeroponic growing system, now being offered by Juice Plus+. It’s perfect for rooftops, patios, balconies, terraces—just about any relatively sunny place outside.  Using aeroponics and a specially formulated Tower Tonic plant food, it grows almost any vegetable, herb, or flower—and many fruits—in less time than it takes in soil.

Technology. Vision. Passion. It took all three—and more than 5 years—to fully develop Tower Garden. Tim Blank was Greenhouse Manager for Epcot’s cutting-edge agricultural display until 2005. He left and founded Future Growing with the dream that someday everybody on the planet would have access to healthy food in their own home and local community.

With vine-ripened produce right outside your back door, Tower Garden makes it convenient to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Not only that, because Tower Garden produce is better tasting, better looking—even better smelling—you and your family will likely find yourselves wanting to eat more fruits and vegetables.  So you’ll reap additional nutritional benefits as well.   You can grow up to 20 plants with your standard Tower Garden, and you can grow a wide variety of what you and your family like to eat, from gourmet lettuces and leafy greens to luscious tomatoes, strawberries, and melons.

Each Tower Garden holds 20 plants and can grow anything from gourmet lettuces and herbs to beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes.  Best of all, because of the patented aeroponic growing system, the plants will grow in less time than it would normally take in the soil.

When you purchase Tower Garden, you’ll have a full range of customer support to help ensure a successful growing experience, including their online Resource Center.

Tower Garden’s key advantages to traditional gardening

  • Comes with everything you need to start growing
  • Compact design fits almost anywhere, including patios, decks, porches, balconies, terraces, or rooftop gardens
  • Soil-free system means there is no weeding, tilling, kneeling, or getting dirty
  • No gardening experience is necessary
  • Grows many fruits and almost any vegetable, herb, or flower—faster than in soil
  • Uses less than 10% of the water and land involved in traditional gardening
  • Reduces the need for pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides
  • Fewer issues with climate, such as heat, cold, drought
  • Help is just a call or click away

Because it utilizes aeroponics, Tower Garden’s closed-system technology recycles 100% of its nutrients and water. Plants therefore use less than 10% of both the water and the land that are commonly used in conventional and organic farming.*

Plus, the aeroponic growing system reduces the need for pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. That’s because the all-natural earth minerals found in Tower Tonic® produce strong, healthy plants that can better protect themselves from plant pests and disease, and because the soil-less system is not subject to ground pests. So Tower Garden allows you to decide whether to use any chemicals

What Can You Grow?

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Amaranth (vegetable type)
  • Arugula
  • Bayam
  • Beans: Lima, bush, pole, shell, fava, green
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage and Chinese cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard, all types
  • Chicory
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Cress
  • Dandelion, Italian
  • Eggplant, European and Asian
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Gourds, edible and ornamental
  • Kale
  • Kinh gioi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Komatsuna
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce, all types
  • Mesclun Varieties
  • Melons, all types
  • Misome
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens
  • Ngo Gai
  • Okra
  • Pak Choy
  • Perilla
  • Peas, all types
  • Peppers, all types
  • Radicchio
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Squash, all types
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes, all types

Herbs

  • Angelica
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Basil, all types
  • Bee Balm
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Catmint
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro (Coriander) and Culantro
  • Citrus Basil
  • Cumin
  • Cutting Celery
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Echinacea (Coneflower)
  • Epazote
  • Feverfew
  • Flax
  • Garlic Chives
  • Goldenseal
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender
  • Leaf Fennel
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Grass
  • Lovage
  • Marjoram
  • Mexican Mint Marigold
  • Milk Thistle
  • Mint, all varieties
  • Nettle
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (leafy types only)
  • Passion Flower
  • Pleurisy Root
  • Pyrethrum
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Salad Burnet
  • Saltwort
  • Savory
  • Shiso
  • Stevia
  • Thyme
  • Valerian
  • Wormwood
  • Mibura

Flowers

Edible Flowers include:

  • Calendula
  • Carthamus
  • Dianthus
  • Hyacinth Bean
  • Marigolds
  • Monarda
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies
  • Salvia
  • Scarlet Runner Bean
  • Sunflowers (dwarf varieties only)
  • Violas

Ornamental Flowers include:

  • Ageratum
  • Agrostemma
  • Ammi
  • Amaranth, Globe
  • Amaranthus
  • Artemisia
  • Aster
  • Bells of Ireland
  • Bupleurum
  • Cardoon
  • Safflower
  • Centaurea
  • Celosia
  • Coleus
  • Cosmos
  • Craspedia
  • Datura
  • Delphinium
  • Digitalis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Euphorbia
  • Forget-me-not
  • Hibiscus
  • Impatiens
  • Kale, ornamental
  • Morning Glory
  • Nigella
  • Petunia
  • Phlox
  • Poppy
  • Polygonum
  • Ptilotus
  • Salpiglossis
  • Rudbeckia
  • Sanvitalia
  • Scabiosa
  • Snapdragon
  • Statice
  • Stock
  • Strawflower
  • Sweet Peas
  • Thunbergia
  • Verbena
  • Yarrow
  • Zinnia

April 10, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , | Leave a comment