The Secret To Happiness

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to help you lose weight – but, it sure is a battle many of us fight each day. The key to being able to shed unwanted pounds rest in your hands alone.

You will simply need to eat less and do more to have the ideal amount of successful, permanent weight loss.

Try one or all of the following:

  • Walking around your neighborhood after dinner
  • No food after 7:00 pm
  • If you have access to a pool, swimming is my all time favorite low impact, total body work out!

Don’t let weight get you down, or stop you from living your life to it’s fullest.  The changes you make today, will allow you to feel better tomorrow!

The secret to our happiness is through our health 🙂

You are in charge of you…

 

 

 


Spices Every Cook Should Have

Some recipes will undoubtedly call for some obscure spices that you’ve never heard of…but, most will stick to a pretty common assortment.

It can be annoying to make a trip to the grocery and buy new spices that you may never use again. So, keeping some spices on hand in bulk, will save you time and money in all of your cooking endeavors.

There are a few essential spices that are worth buying ahead of time, even if you don’t have a recipe that requires them yet.

Salt and Pepper

The salt and pepper combo is a basic necessity for the table; but, they are also important to have for most food preparation.

You can get your salt and pepper in pre-ground form. Some prefer their pepper in whole peppercorn form, grinding it as needed.

Adding salt and pepper during the cooking process brings out the flavors of the other ingredients and spices you may use.

Baking Essentials

Whether Vanilla Extract and Cocoa Powder are considered spices or just ingredients is debatable. Either way, they are vital to any successful kitchen.

They are not just used for baking. You will find both of these ingredients hidden in many savory recipes. So, be sure to keep them on hand.

Ground Cinnamon

Another spice that shows up in baking and general cooking is Ground Cinnamon.

It’s used in cakes and many other baked goods...but, it also shows up in dishes like stews and chili. Plus, it makes a great garnish on a cup of hot chocolate or eggnog, giving it a little spice!

The Spicy Spices

Different dishes will call for different types of heat. So, you will want to keep Crushed Red Pepper, Chili Powder and Cayenne Pepper on hand. Each is a different type of spicy.

Crushed Red Pepper shakers have become a standard on the tables of Italian style restaurants and pizza parlors.

Chili Peppers originated in Mexico, but can be found in many different types of cuisine.

Cayenne Pepper is widely used in Mexican dishes, Cajun cooking and has now become a staple of various Asian cuisines.

Keeping all three on hand will ensure you’re prepared for whatever new recipe you want to try.

The Herbs

Fresh herbs make a great addition to any dish, but they’re not always available. Keep backups in the form of dried Oregano, Parsley and any other herbs you commonly use.

Also, keep Bay Leaves on hand. They are often used to flavor soups and stews.

Spike

One of my personal favorites…Spike is an all-purpose, natural gourmet seasoning. This spice can be used to season any meat type.

I also use this spice to prepare vegetarian beans and even eggs. It’s just a great general cooking spice!

Most spices/seasonings can be found inexpensively in various grocery stores or even discount shops.

Another way to find them at an even more reduced price is through global food markets, where they tend to have a wide variety.


The Perfect Crepe Style Bisquick Pancake

Cooking Materials

  • Griddle or Medium – Large Skillet/Frying Pan
  • Spatula, Spoon, Fork
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Cookie Sheet/Cake Pan (will explain why later)

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Original Bisquick Mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk (try with sweetened vanilla or coconut almond milk for an extra treat 🙂 )
  • 2 Large Brown Eggs
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter

First, start off by pre-heating your oven to 175 degrees. If this specific temperature is not listed on your oven, just make sure the temp is below 200 degrees (more on why we’re using the oven later).

Directions

Preheat

  • If you’re using a Griddle, preheat at 375 degrees – or the temperature listed in the instructional manual for your griddle…While your griddle is preheating, you can prepare your pancake batter.
  • If you’re using the Skillet/Frying Pan method, be sure to prepare your pancake batter before preheating your pan. Otherwise, your skillet may get too hot & burn your 1st pancake.

Making The Batter

Step 1: Place milk, eggs and melted butter into a large mixing bowl. With a fork, thoroughly blend the ingredients together. Make sure eggs are mixed well.

Step 2: With the same fork, thoroughly blend the Bisquick with your milk, egg and butter mixture. If any Bisquick clumps up on sides of bowl, use a spoon to scrape sides and blend in with the rest of mixture.

Mix well, leaving as few lumps as possible.

*This step is not necessary: Pour your Batter into a measuring cup. I feel doing this makes it easier to control the batter as you’re pouring onto griddle or in skillet.

Time To Make The Pancakes

Griddle Users: Take 1 tablespoon of butter and spread it evenly across the surface of griddle. You will perform this step each time before pouring a new batch of pancakes onto griddle.

Skillet Users: Place 1 tablespoon of butter into pan & preheat at a medium to medium-high heat. This will depend on the type of stove you have (gas or electric). You will know best how to adjust the temperature of your stove.

Make sure to evenly coat the bottom of pan with the melted butter.  You will perform this step each time before pouring a new pancake into pan.

  • Allow your Pancake to cook on the first side for 3 – 5 minutes.
  • When the tiny bubbles on the top appear to be almost cooked, it’s time to flip your pancake. Press down on the top of the pancake, one time, with a spatula after flipping.

Pancake on 1st Side (2)

  • Once flipped, you will cook your pancake about another 1 -2 minutes.

Pancake on 2nd Side (2)

Pancake Cooked Back Pic (2)

What’s The Oven For?

  • Remove your pancake(s) from the griddle/skillet & place on a cookie sheet or in a cake pan (any pan that can hold the pancakes and go in the oven).
  • Lightly butter each side of pancake & place in the oven to keep warm. Placing a light layer of butter on pancake keeps it moist and prevents over cooking or drying out while in oven. Plus, you won’t need any butter when it’s time to eat.

I use the oven to keep pancakes warm if I’m preparing a large quantity, or making other items like bacon & eggs. Nobody likes cold pancakes; and it’s nice for the entire family or you and all of your friends to eat together, instead of at different times.

Enjoy your pancakes with Maple Syrup, Add Bananas or Peach Preserves!

You have now prepared the Perfect Crepe Style Bisquick Pancake – A fluffy & moist middle…coming to buttery thin, crispy ends…Delicious Perfection!

Sure to be a favorite family request 🙂

 

 


4 Quick And Healthy Snacks

When you’re looking for a snack, you may go for something in your cupboard that’s easily accessible and unhealthy.  Many of us will eat toaster treats, chips, crackers and a variety of other junk foods because they taste good and are convenient.

While junk food snacks are okay in small doses, a lot of us eat them as everyday snacks.  The pounds start sneaking on and after awhile, some people find themselves asking how they put on so much weight.

In order to stay in good shape, but still satisfy your hunger, you’ll want to have some quick and easy snacks ready…

And here are four quick ideas to get you started:

1. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are delicious, filling and have a nice amount of good fats.

It will be beneficial if you do a little research on your own.  Many of us have specific nut allergies.  All nuts have different levels of protein, total fat and carbohydrates, just to name a few.  Choose what’s right for you.

My favorite nuts: Almonds and Walnuts.

My favorite seeds: Sunflower and Pumpkin.

2. Celery and Almond Butter

Celery and almond butter is an age old combination.  You get the creaminess and flavor of the almond butter and the crunch of the celery.

Some like adding a few raisins to this combo!

3. Fruits

While fruits have sugar, they are also high in fiber.  This allows you to digest them easier, as opposed to sugary foods.  They also aid in stopping an insulin spike, which you can experience from many sweets.

When you consume fruits with edible skin, make sure you Do eat the skin.  There are extra nutrients in the skin that are good for us.

Please remember to wash your fruit off before eating!

4. Carrots and Hummus

Carrots have a natural sweetness to them; and if you’re not consuming a lot of processed sugar, that sweetness will really come through.

Many have become huge fans of Hummus.  It has a unique and amazing flavor, with a soft, dip-like consistency.  This will give you the “mouth feel” of something like a ranch dip, while being a very nutritious snack.

These four snacks will satisfy your mid-day hunger, without putting on the extra pounds!


Healthy Meats For Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight or eating healthier, many of us don’t think of meat.  Actually, meat can be a great asset to a healthy diet.  You just have to make sure you’re making the right selections.

You should avoid meats that are high in fat and cholesterol, like beef and pork.  It’s still okay to include these in your diet sparingly, just not constantly because of the possible cardiovascular effects.

High quality grass-fed beef is a slight exception; but even still, you’ll see that many  of the healthier meats we’re going to talk about will be better options for you.

Chicken

If you choose, chicken can be your main source of protein.  It provides a lot of protein to your body while keeping the fat content low.  Also, it has less than half the fat of meat like beef.

Fish

Everyone should have fish in their diet.  Just like chicken, Salmon and Halibut provide a lot of protein with low fat.  These fish are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.

Fatty acids are important to get in our diets because our bodies can’t produce them naturally.  They work as a great anti-oxidant.  Research has also shown omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to improved cognitive function.

Turkey

Turkey is like chicken with it’s lean protein packed power…But, it has much more versatility.  It’s delicious and works well as it’s own dish.  It’s also become a healthy substitute for many other foods.

Foods like turkey bacon, turkey sausage, turkey hot dogs and turkey burgers give you the flavor of the “real” thing with a fraction of the calories.

Turkey is also a great alternative for those individuals who don’t consume pork or beef products.

 


Health Like Magic!

Nutritionists and health professionals make staying fit and healthy sound like an obscure religious or legal text – complicated and incomprehensible.

Nothing could be further from the truth…

Don’t be afraid to want more from your nutritional plan, because it is possible.  Make your food work for you!

With only a few changes, you can start moving towards better health easily and immediately.

Start by making small changes:

  • Replace soda/pop with fruit juice
  • Enjoy rice (any variety) as a side instead of pasta(noodles)
  • Use honey or raw sugar instead of artificial sweeteners or white sugar
  • Multi-Grain bread instead of white
You will be amazed at the difference.

You are in charge – Not the food 🙂


3 Next Level Grilled Cheese Ideas

Oh, the humble grilled cheese…You probably remember it from your childhood, often with some tomato soup 🙂

The grilled cheese has recently become a go-to sandwich for many restaurants and even food trucks.  Everyone has their own special way of preparing grilled cheese; and you should be no exception.

It’s time to explore the world of Grilled Cheese…

Before we dive in, I want to remind you that Cheese is the Star!  Make sure to balance your sandwich in a way that will allow the cheese to shine through!

1. Choose Your Cheese

Personally, I prefer to use a mild to sharp Cheddar cheese.  It has the perfect texture and melts in such an amazing and gooey way.  From here, you can add a variety of other wonderful tasting cheeses.

It all truly begins with the type of Grilled Cheese Masterpiece you want to create…

For instance, if you want to add something like roast beef and grilled onions; you may choose a Swiss cheese. If you have a taste for something bolder, you may opt for a Pepper Jack cheese.

Your cheese choice will make or break your sandwich.  No pressure – just a lot of fun choices 🙂

    2. Bread

Next, you will need to choose the type of bread you want to use.

I know white sandwich bread is traditional – and it’s a good tradition…But, I like to experiment with different breads, like Multi Grain, Potato, Hawaiian or Sourdough.

Croissants have been one of my favorite bread experiments!  They are so light and flaky, with the perfect amount of butter.  Your sandwich is not overwhelmed by bread.  Give it a try…I know you’ll love it.

Some breads will go better with certain cheeses…But again, it’s all in the fun of experimenting!

    3. Toppings

If you want to take your Grilled Cheese Masterpiece to yet another level, try adding protein!

I have used Blackened Chicken/Turkey Breast, Roast Beef, Pepperoni and Beef Salami.  Remember, you can experiment.

Even though you want to add some fun toppings, do Not let them take over.

If you add too much protein, it can over power the taste of your sandwich.  Always keep in mind that you are making a Grilled Cheese sandwich.

Experimenting with your Cheese, Bread and adding Protein will take your grilled cheese to the next level – and make your Grilled Cheese Masterpiece a classic!

 

 


Tips For Easier Cooking

If you love a home cooked meal, you may enjoy staying in more than going out to eat.  It’s ideal to choose foods you can prepare with ease, to make this easier for you.

There are many things you can do that will decrease your time in the kitchen; allowing you to complete other tasks.

Here are a couple of starter tips to make cooking more simple for you:

 

Create A Menu

It’s a good idea to know what you plan to cook way before you get started.  This gives you an estimation of how long it will take to prepare your meal and the ingredients you will need.

Having all of the ingredients required for the meal on hand is ideal and critical to making your task of cooking an easier one.

Be sure to skim through your recipe and check the kitchen to see if you have all items needed.

Lay Out Pots and Pans

Be sure you have the right cooking equipment prior to getting started.  This will typically mean laying out pots, pans or anything else you will need to prepare a full meal.

The benefits of cooking your own meals are many.  You’ll know what’s in your meal and benefit from the nutrients more 🙂

Make cooking easier today simply by getting started!


Add Avocado To Your Diet

The Avocado is a unique fruit, or vegetable?  The debate still lives…

Whether it is a fruit or vegetable, the avocado’s health benefits are non-debatable.  The benefits are so great, that the avocado is often referred to as a ‘Superfood’!

Avocados have more potassium than bananas.  Some studies show there is a link between high potassium intake and reduced blood pressure.

By eating avocados, you can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke or kidney failure!

Avocados are packed with fiber.  Fiber helps with digestion and helps with blood sugar control.

They taste great and are very easy to add to your daily diet.

In the mornings, try spreading avocado on toast as a spread instead of butter!

Lunch ideas – try making an avocado chicken salad sandwich; or add to your salsa!


Turkey Kielbasa Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • (1) package of Turkey Kielbasa
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorites Seasoning(s)
  • (1 of each) Yellow, Red, Orange Bell Peppers
  • 1 small Red Onion

Pre-Cut All of Your Ingredients…

  • Slice kielbasa in medium-thick slices (or your preference)
  • Do the same for each of the Bell peppers and onion
  • Pre-heat olive oil in medium to large skillet for about one minute
  • Place sliced kielbasa in pre-heated skillet and sprinkle with seasonings, if using any & stir
  • Brown meat 8-10 minutes or less (depends on how brown you prefer)
  • Stir meat occasionally
  • Once meat is browned to your liking, stir in pre-cut Peppers and Onion
  • Cook another 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (depends on how crunchy you like your vegetables).
  • All done! Enjoy with rice or pasta!