7 Tips for Mindful Eating during the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, (Thanksgiving is already next week!)  I’ve put together a list of tips to ease your feasting anxiety. 😉

  1. Don’t let the fear of the Thanksgiving Day feast cause you to start dieting now. Instead of restricting your favorite foods the week before Thanksgiving, practice eating mindfully so that when turkey day comes, you don’t find yourself with the excuse to suddenly binge on anything and everything you find enjoyable. Remember, it’s all about balance. Drastic highs and lows in your diet do not do any good. Learning to eat healthy consistently will be much better for you than extreme dieting, binging, and then dieting again.
  2. Offer to bring a dish (and make sure it’s a healthy one). If you’re not the one hosting Thanksgiving, ask the hostess if you can bring a dish. Having a healthy option can bring you a sense of relief if you’re unsure of what the menu will consist of. Chances are there will be someone else secretly thanking you for bringing something they don’t feel guilty eating. I brought this delicious kale salad to Thanksgiving last year, and it was such a hit..seriously! I even had a guest request the recipe and she’s told me she makes it regularly for her family. Another favorite holiday salad of mine is a spinach salad with roasted strawberries and almonds. The roasted strawberries are warm and gooey when they come out of the oven and provide just the right amount of sweetness. Check out the recipe here. spinach-salad
  3. Schedule your exercise for the day. Plan a hike, walk, or go to your favorite exercise class in the morning. (If you live in the Bay Area, visit us at Studio K-Fit for our annual Pre-Turkey Burn workout! 😉 ) Remember, high intensity exercise allows your body to continue burning calories even after the workout is over. If you can’t get out before dinner, plan to do a walk after. This will help fight that ‘sluggish’ feeling and also help you digest your meal faster than if you took a nap or sat on the couch. If you’ve been inside cooking all day you’ll feel grateful to get out of the house for some fresh air.
  4. Use a plate when nibbling. When you’re at a holiday party, or standing around the kitchen waiting for the roast turkey, be sure to pick up a plate so you’re mindful of what’s going in your mouth. The more steps you take to observe the food that’s in front of you before you eat it, the less likely you’ll overindulge in that cheese dip.
  5. HYDRATE. Instead of grabbing a beer or pouring a glass of wine when you arrive, opt for a glass of water. Drinking an alcoholic beverage while also munching on hors d’oeuvres will most likely cause you to overeat/eat more than you planned. If you opt for a glass of wine at dinner, be sure to follow it up with a glass of water. Drinking water in between courses will not only aid in digestion, but also trigger a cue to your brain letting you know you’re full.
  6. Assess your dinner plate. Does it contain a protein (turkey) and at least 1 serving of vegetables (corn doesn’t count). Instead of grabbing a biscuit, mashed potatoes, AND stuffing – choose 1 or 2 of your favorites. For me, I would choose mashed potatoes because it’s something I never make myself. Bread is easy to come by, so I usually pass up the dinner rolls at Thanksgiving. Be mindful if your veggies are loaded in cheese or a cream sauce. If you were munching on cheese and crackers before dinner, choose to eat more turkey and green beans and/or carrots during your main meal; especially if you have a sweet tooth like me and know you won’t be able to refuse a slice of pie. Remember, you control your food- not the other way around!
  7. Slow down and enjoy the experience. Savor the foods smell and texture. Engage in the dinner table conversation and thank those that helped prepare the meal. You don’t have to refuse Grandma’s pumpkin pie, but take small bites and give yourself time to digest afterwards before helping yourself to seconds.

Having a game plan before going to a party this holiday season will help you to make smarter decisions when temptation comes knocking. Instead of completely eliminating everything you love, choose which vice you would rather indulge in. For example:

“I will drink sparkling water with hors d’oeuvres instead of wine.”

“I will have a glass of wine instead of having a slice of pie for dessert.”

“I will eat the sour cream mashed potatoes at dinner instead of eating these macaroni and cheese bites as an appetizer.”

The holidays don’t have to undo all your hard work from this year. With these mindful tips, you’ll be sure to have a healthy, and happy holiday season 🙂

Cinnamon & Sugar Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

I’ve always loved everything pumpkin…maybe a little bit too much. In high school, I couldn’t wait for the pumpkin spice lattes to make their debut, the Wawa pumpkin muffins, and Dunkin Donuts pumpkin donuts. (For those who don’t know, Wawa is a gas station/convenience store chain on the east coast.)

One Thanksgiving, my family and I traveled to Lewisburg, PA to spend the weekend with our extended family. We stopped at Wawa to grab our favorite treats for the road – pumpkin lattes and a very large pumpkin muffin for me. Everything was fine and dandy until we started driving on some very windy, back roads. I get car sick easily, and suddenly that delicious pumpkin muffin I had enjoyed about an hour earlier was starting to make another appearance. I had my dad pull over and I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

I thought that experience would forever taint my enjoyment for pumpkin flavored things…but I am happy to say that enough time has passed now, that I am no longer scarred.  I’m glad because I really do love pumpkin. 😉

I wanted to enjoy apple season first, before I broke out the canned pumpkin. This weekend felt like an appropriate time to finally make something pumpkin.  I was inspired to make these pumpkin muffins from Hanna, of The Healthiest Me. She made a healthy version using whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of oil. I modified a bit and used white flour instead, because when you’re pregnant, it’s easier for your body to break down white flour instead of whole wheat. Obviously, eating starchy carbs can attribute to faster weight gain, so it’s not recommended that you over-indulge in these foods. But, at the end of the day whether you consume white flour, or whole wheat flour, they both turn to sugar in the body and therefore there’s not much of a difference in choosing the healthier “whole wheat” option.

These were easy to make, and the best part was the delicious cinnamon and sugar glaze I drizzled over them while hot. Ideally, I wanted to do a powdered sugar glaze, but didn’t have any powdered sugar on hand.

Here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon & Sugar Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour (or whichever you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • dash of milk as needed (can also use soy or almond)

Directions:

  1. Beat together the wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla).
  2. Add in the pumpkin spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and 1 cup of flour. Mix together until all flour is incorporated.
  3. Add in the additional 3/4 cup of flour and mix thoroughly.
  4. Throw in a dash of salt and milk.
  5. Scoop batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. **Oven times can vary- I set the timer for 15 minutes first, checked the insides, and cooked for an additional 3 minutes.

For the glaze:

  1. Stir together a mixture of white sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of milk.
  2. Spoon the glaze over the warm muffins. **If you have powdered sugar, you can make a glaze of powdered sugar and water. I do not have exact measurements for this, but you don’t want the glaze to be too runny, so be careful when adding the milk.

 

This recipe makes 14-15 muffins. I suggest storing the muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator once cooled. Since the glaze contains milk, I didn’t want them to get moldy sitting on the counter. When you’re ready to indulge, just pop one in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and enjoy 😉

 

 

 

My favorite Fall dish: Sweet Potato & Quinoa Turkey Chili

Wood-burning stoves, chilly air, falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and everything nice… Fall is here and I couldn’t be more excited! For a majority of my life thus far, Fall meant trading in my flip-flops and sunglasses for backpacks and boots. I cherished those hot, summer days because the east-coast winters were so harsh. Now, living on the west coast, I have a new appreciation for Fall. The months of September and October are actually the most ideal here in the Bay Area…the coast is warm and clear; a welcome relief from the cold fog that covers it during the summer. My first Fall here in California, I didn’t expect the leaves to change like they do on the east coast- so when I started witnessing those red, orange, and yellow leaves covering our streets, I was ecstatic! We truly live in the most perfect climate in all the country- we still get the change of seasons, but we don’t have to deal with those miserable winter mornings scrapping ice off our windshields. Before you start feeling sorry for us missing out on a White Christmas, Lake Tahoe is only 3 hours away…so when we crave the snow, we just head up there.

I have to say my favorite thing about Fall is breaking out my pumpkin candles – they make our little apartment feel so cozy, it makes me want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of warm apple crisp and a good book. My second favorite thing is breaking out my CrockPot again which somehow gets forgotten during the summer months. I made my first batch of chili for the season last night, and wanted to share the love with you!

This is hands down my favorite chili recipe – it’s packed with so much goodness and spice, it’s like Fall in a bowl for me. AND it’s super healthy – I like using ground turkey because it’s lighter than ground beef, but there are so many other ingredients that it’s just as filling as a beef chili.

Ok so have I convinced you to try this yet?? What are you waiting for…time to get cooking! 🙂

chili-with-sweet-potatoes

chili-with-quinoa

chili-cooked

Mrs. K-Fit’s Sweet Potato & Quinoa Turkey Chili

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15oz can black beans
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1lb) peeled and chopped small
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, sour cream or tortilla chips

 

Directions

Add ground turkey and onion to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season liberally with salt and pepper then cook until no longer pink, breaking turkey up as it cooks. Add garlic then cook for 30 more seconds and add to a 6 quart crock pot. Add remaining ingredients, except toppings, into crock pot then cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 5-6 hours, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve with toppings.

 

chili with avocado.JPG

One Pan Mexican Risotto

mexican risotto pinterest

 

mexican risotto 1

This week when I sat down to meal plan, I went with a theme: Mexican. Kendrick and I have become more aware of what we spend at the grocery store, and have been trying to plan better. We have our breakfast routine down…we eat oatmeal everyday, so that makes it easy (and affordable), but when it comes to dinners – I tend to make whatever meal sparks my interest. I love the ease of making chili- everything in one pot, minimal clean-up..and lots of leftovers. But, since winter is over, I didn’t want to make a hearty soup. So, this One Pan Mexican Risotto was the perfect solution!

 
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 of a large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis (I bought the Fire-Roasted Tomatoes from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 cup white rice (NOT minute rice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
  • cilantro, to garnish
  • avocado (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • tortilla chips

 

How to Make:

  1. In a large pan, brown beef.
  2. When beef is lightly browned, add diced onions and peppers.
  3. Cook until beef is fully cooked, onions and peppers are soft.
  4. Add can of tomatoes with green chili- no need to drain.
  5. Add rice, water and broth.
  6. Stir well to combine.
  7. Add in spices and mix, cover.
  8. Bring to a boil.
  9. Once boiling, turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is soft and liquid has cooked off.
  10. Drain and rinse the black beans.
  11. Add in the beans, and top with cheese, stir in until it melts.
  12. Add the juice of half a lime.
  13. Let individuals add their own toppings: fresh cilantro, sour cream and avocado, and serve with tortilla chips.
  14. You can also add this mixture to tortillas and wrap it up like a burrito (this was my husband Kendrick’s preferred method.)

mexican risotto 2

 

Also, completely unrelated to food, I recently finished a great book that a friend of mine lent me called, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Paul was a neurosurgeon around the corner at Stanford, when he became ill with stage IV lung cancer. The book is a beautifully written memoir about his life as a doctor, his reflection on death and the challenges he faced as both doctor and patient in his final years.  It’s not for the faint of heart, so definitely keep your tissues handy!

when breath becomes air

You can purchase the book here.

 

Thanks for reading!

xo

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Is this really gluten-free?? The answer is YES.

Is this healthy?? The answer is debatable…

I need not bore you with the words….just let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

chocolate banana bread with logo

Mmm….look at those melted chocolate chips and gooey chunks of banana.

Make this now:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Baking Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with coconut spray.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Next,  stir in the baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes. (My exact bake time was 43 minutes in my oven.)
  5. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

Crock-Pot Green Chile Chicken Soup

 

Try to say that three times fast…

Lately I’ve been on a Mexican food kick, and it’s kind of surprising me! I didn’t grow up eating a whole lot of Mexican food; my mom would make tacos or enchiladas…but that was pretty much it. I don’t recall eating a lot of beans either, which would shock my husband; since he pretty much lived on rice and beans.

When I moved to California, I was blessed with a plentiful of hole-in-the-wall taquerias and authentic Mexican cuisine. Now I’ve started cooking it at home…and any recipe that contains beans, chicken (or beef) and rice, you can bet I’m pinning it on Pinterest. 

The greatest part of this Green Chile Chicken Soup is that it’s made in the Crock-Pot!! Our Crock-Pot got buried in our kitchen for a while; but since winter began, it’s been resurrected. My husband was skeptical about putting raw meat in there, but when he saw how easily it pulled apart after 4 hours; he dubbed it the most amazing appliance ever.

green chile chicken soup

So…are you ready to make this soup??

You’ll need:

  • About 2 lbs. of chicken breast, fat removed
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans green chiles ( I used the Fire Roasted Diced green chile from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 32 oz container of chicken broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Throw in the chopped onion, and minced garlic in the Crock-Pot.
  2. Top with chicken breast and spices.
  3. Add undrained cans of green chiles and salsa verde
  4. Add the white beans (drained and rinsed) and chicken broth.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours; or on low for 8 hours.
  6. Before serving, pull out the chicken and shred on a plate. Return to Crock-Pot. Squeeze fresh lime and salt to taste.
  7. Serve hot with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and cilantro. (My husband also added avocado on top.)

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below! Be sure to tag your creation on Instagram using the hashtag: #mrskfitinthekitchen. 

Sharing is caring! Tag a friend on Instagram, pin to Pinterest, or share to Facebook.

Happy March 1! : )

Valentine’s Weekend – Part 1. Our Brazilian Dinner

Oi!

That’s Portuguese for “Hi!”

Kendrick was born and raised in Brazil, and as Valentine’s Day started to approach, I realized that I have never cooked him a full Brazilian meal! As I mentioned in my first blog post, Kendrick’s love language is food… so naturally, I knew he would be SO happy if I cooked for him. I decided the menu: Pão de Queijo, Feijoada, and Bolo de Coco.

Feijoada is a very traditional Brazilian dish. Way back in the day, Brazil had the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. The Portuguese who settled in Brazil needed labor to work the large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. The food given to the slaves was restricted to rice and beans; but when times were good or there was a holiday, the slaves would get “scrap meat” aka less-desirable cuts that they added to their beans. By the 19th century, the dish became urbanized and was adopted nationally. That’s the story of how feijoada was born.

Pão de Queijo is a popular, gluten-free cheese bread that most Brazilians enjoy with dinner or as a snack. Bolo de Coco is a coconut cake, topped with warm, chocolate sauce.

Now that you’re salivating…I thought I would share these special recipes with you! I received the Feijoada recipe from my sister-in-law; which was adapted by her from my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law always makes Bolo de Coco when we come to visit, so this recipe was adapted from her as well.

Our Valentine’s weekend started on Friday, when I came home to the biggest bouquet I had ever seen! Kendrick picked lots of coral roses, since coral is my favorite color. The table runner and ribbon banner in the photos are actually leftover decor from our wedding! I made all the runners by hand, so I loved having an excuse to decorate the kitchen pink 🙂

brazilian feijoada.jpg

Easy Brazilian Feijoada

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

6 strips of chopped bacon

3/4 cup chopped onions

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

4 cans black beans

salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 dry bay leaves

2 pkgs Hillshire Smoked Turkey sausage (or sausage of choice)

rice

oranges or orange juice

 

Preparation

Heat the oil in a medium pot and add bacon, onion, and garlic and cook until golden brown.

Add the beans and enough water to keep the beans covered (about 3-4 cups). Add salt, parsley, bay leaves, and thin sliced sausages.

Bring to boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Continue stirring from time to time, adding water as necessary.

Serve with white rice and sliced oranges.

bolo de coco

For Cake:

Ingredients

Pillsbury or Duncan Hines Golden Butter Cake

Chocolate Sprinkles

Coconut Extract

Unsweetened Coconut flakes

 

Preparation

Follow cake instructions on the box. Add a handful of chocolate sprinkles (I usually just eyeball it). Add 1/2 tsp of coconut extract. Add a handful of coconut flakes (I really like coconut, but if you’re not a huge fan, you could omit this.)

Chocolate Sauce:

Ingredients

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 squares Bakers unsweetened baking chocolate (make sure to chop this into very fine pieces before adding so that it melts and incorporates evenly into the sauce)
Preparation
Add everything together in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until everything is incorporated. Once incorporated, bring the heat up to medium high (or however hot your stove needs to be to bring it to a rolling boil) then turn on low and cook until thickened about 10 minutes. It should be bubbling like crazy, with the heat only low enough to prevent it from boiling over.
Serve hot over warm cake!
* As you’ll notice, I left the cake “naked”, so that I could serve the sauce as desired on each individual piece of cake. The sauce can sit on the stove for a day or two, and be reheated as needed.

 

For the Pão de Queijo, I followed a recipe I found here. I opted for olive oil instead of butter, and regular milk instead of soy milk.

 

Finally…we were ready to eat!!

plate 3.jpg

 

angie at table

After dinner, we exchanged cards and gifts. Normally, I’m the one who writes extra in greeting cards…but, this year Kendrick outdid me! He wrote me a letter, which was tucked inside my card. It was such a sweet surprise, and as I read it I started to get tears in my eyes- I truly have an amazing husband!

I decided to make this Valentine’s dinner Saturday night, so that I could relax and enjoy time with my hubby on Valentine’s Day- plus, we had leftovers…LOTS of leftovers! 😉

Did any of you cook for your significant other instead of going out? If so, what did you make??

I’ll be sharing Our Valentine’s Weekend – Part 2 on Thursday, so stay tuned!

 

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