Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef

M.S.G., wheat, refined sugar, gluten, dairy and partially hydrogenated oils.

That is what you will find in most versions of Mongolian Beef. How do I know? Well you see, Coop loves Mongolian Beef and back in Michigan he and my grandmother would often get Chinese food for dinner. For a while, I faked liking the food and ate it with them. Then one day, I spilled the beans, and told him that I don’t like it. I would eat it because I felt bad messing up their tradition of Chinese food with a side of Steve Harvey’s show Family Fued. The main reason I told him that I would no longer be taking part in their Chinese tradition was because of how absolutely terrible I would feel the day after eating the food. I almost always had a terrible headache, unbelievable stomach pains and my skin broke out like I was 14 years old again.

I did some research and was somewhat surprised to find out that they put nothing but garbage in that food. I expected some garbage but I’m telling you there is NOTHING good for any human being in that Chinese food.

This lead me to more research. My question became, how can I possibly recreate this dish without using anything bad, at all in it?

Here is the answer…

 MB Essentials

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Annie’s Sweet BBQ Sauce (1)
  • 1 tbsp. Organicville Island Teriyaki Sauce (2)
  • 6 tbsp. Bagg’s Liquid Aminos (3)
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 1 tsp Lemon Pepper
  • 1/8 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb. of Flank Steak
  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa Pasta
  • 2 Large Green Peppers
  • 1 Small White Onion
  • 3 Medium Scallions

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine BBQ, Teriyaki, and Amino Sauces.
  2. Stir in Garlic, Lemon Pepper, Water, Coconut Sugar and Olive Oil.
  3. Set Mixture aside, covered, and in the refrigerator.
  4. Slice Flank Steak against the grain and removing any fat.
  5. Once the Steak is sliced, add it to the mixture in your refrigerated and allow it to marinate for 4-6 hours.
  6. Once marinating time is close to completed, place quinoa in a medium sauce pan and boil.
  7. In the mean time, slice up peppers, onions, and scallions.
  8. In a large skillet pan, cook the steak, vegetables, and the remaining marinade on low for 3-5 minutes. Cover the pan with a lid and stir often.
  9. Turn up the heat to medium-high, with the lid still on and stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. This should allow for the steak to have cooked all the way through, as well as the coconut sugar to have caramelized the remaining marinade into a thicker sauce. Vegetables will be cooked but still slightly crunchy rather than soft.
  10. While the previous step is taking place, remove quinoa from it’s sauce pan and drain.
  11. Place cooked quinoa in dishes and top with finished steak, vegetables, and sauce.
  12. Enjoy!

 

mongolian beef 2

Nutritional Stats:

These don’t seem like great stats, however if you compare them to your average take out order on Mongolian Beef, they are leaps and bounds better. This recipe is great for a “splurge” meal in which you really aren’t splurging in retrospect!

Calories: 276     Carbs: 26 grams     Fiber: 4 grams     Protein: 29 grams    Fat: 6 grams    Sodium: 1275 mg.

Rolling HIlls Workout

rolling hills workout

Michigan is flat, Tennessee is not! Michigan is cold, Tennessee is not-as-cold.

Coop and I went for a run the other day and in the past I have always been able to out run in when it comes to distance. This time however, that was not the case. Why you ask… because for the last 5 months, I have been running in flat-flat Michigan and Coop has been running up and down hills for 2-3 miles a day here in Tennessee. He, and the hills kicked my behind! In fact, at one point he said “Who would have thought that I’d be the one given you advice on running”. The hill did my pride very little good, but they did do my legs good!

I thought about going back to Michigan and how easy my runs will be, and that made me kind of sad. It has been nice to be challenged, even if my pride doesn’t like it at first.

I’ll be back in Michigan next week (sad face), and I intend to take the hills with me. Since it is a whole 6* F in Michigan today, I’ll be running on the treadmill (sad face again). So I sat down, was reminded of Tammy’s request for more indoor workouts, and dreamt this up. Although the speeds seem laughable, the inclines aren’t. I highly suggest that you give it a go as is, before making any changes because you think you can run these hills faster. If you prove me wrong, please by all means adjust and make sure you rub it in my face in the comments below 😉

Another recipe post is coming shortly so check back in later today for that.

What is every one doing for New Years Eve tonight? Coop and I will be heading out for dinner and a movie, then returning home to watch the music note (I guess it’s a Nashville thing) drop.

Mexican Chicken Bake

I’m dedicating this week to recipes… well kind of. Everyday this week I will be posting a new recipe, but I will also be adding a second post some days concerning the new year and other material. I am so excited to share with you what this new year will look like for all of us and I’m also very excited to share with you these delicious recipes.

I’ve been in Nashville since last Friday, cooking and doing research. Have I told you guys how much I love research and documentaries? I was talking to my mom the other day and she asked if Coop and I are doing anything for the new year and I said no… then I changed the subject to a documentary I recently watched. My mom laughed and then said, “Honey I love you but you are so boring”. I replied with “yeah I am!” and continued talking about the documentary. I feel like I have learned SO much this week and that I have so much to tell you all about in upcoming posts.

Anyways, getting onto today’s recipe. This recipe was something I just thought up when I was craving some Mexican food but wasn’t craving the aftermath of the meal. I’m calling it Mexican Chicken Bake and it was a major hit! It’s relatively easy to make and feed quite a few people. The key to this recipe, because it is high in good nutritional calories, is portion control! In fact, this dish should serve at least 6 people.

MCB

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can of Organic Corn
  • 1 Can of Organic Black Beans
  • 3 Medium Ripe Tomatoes
  • 2 Large Chicken Breast
  • 3 Large Scallions
  • 2 tsp. of minced Garlic
  • 1 oz. of a Mexican blend Cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350* F.
  2. Cut up chicken into 4 oz. servings.
  3. Cut up all other ingredients and place to the side.
  4. In a sauce pan, combine tomatoes and scallions and cook on low for about 10-12 minutes stirring every 3 minutes or so.
  5. In a baking dish, layer your chicken with the tomatoes, scallions, black beans and then corn.
  6. On top, sprinkle the garlic and cheese.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and baked for 15 minutes.
  8. Take baking dish out and remove foil, then place back in the over and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
  9. Once chicken is cooked through (test by cutting the chicken with a knife and making sure there is no pink), remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with rice or a side of vegetables.

I have been getting quite a few request’s from readers that include the “stats” of the recipes I post so here they are! Like always, enjoy and please let me know if you enjoyed the recipe!

Per serving:

Calories: 252    Carbs: 22 grams    Fiber: 7 grams    Protein: 33 grams   Fat: 5   Sodium: 409 mg.

Cool New Things

gifts

Before I get into the goods, I just have to say that this Christmas was impressively special. Not only did Coop surprise me and come home a day early but there was also a relatively serious ice storm in Michigan that knocked out my parents and some other family members electricity for 3 or 4 days leading up to Christmas. In fact, my parents were told that there would be no power for Christmas however by the grace of God we they got their power back Christmas Eve afternoon. It seems like the last few years, my family and I have seen the goodness of God in really remarkable ways a day or two before Christmas. For me, it just makes Christmas day that much more wonderful.

Now to the gifts 😉 My family did me good this Christmas. The cool thing is that after I opened my gifts, all I could think of was “I can’t wait to share this on the blog!”

On Christmas Eve, Coop and I exchanged gifts privately. This was mainly because although I knew what I got him for Christmas and that he would enjoy it… I didn’t know how to explain his gift. Coop is a tech-aholic (something I definitely am not) and for Christmas I bought him something called a Leap Motion. It more or less allows him to control his computer with his hands in air rather than with a mouse or keyboard/pad. When I gave him his gift I had to show him a video from youtube about it because I knew that my description would not do the product justice. If you don’t know, Coop’s parents are were not born here and speak broken English. If I would have done this in front of them, well I’m pretty sure they would have thought I was an idiot.

Coop really amazed me and I am so unbelievably thankful for the gifts he got me. As an lover of books, I was so thrilled to get the book The Daniel Plan. It’s new to the market and extremely resourceful with information on nutrition, faith and bringing friendship into healthy living, as well as meal plans and recipes. I am absolutely loving it so far. Next up Coop got me a fit bit! I don’t know if you remember but that was on my “wishlist” that I posted here. I was flabbergasted by this last gift. It’s called the hapifork and it is unreal! This fork has a computer chip in it that tracks the bites you take and how quickly you take them. If you are eating to quickly, it vibrates to tell you to slow down. Then, when you are done with your meal you can plug your fork into the computer to see your report sheet. The report sheet includes how many bites you took during your meal, how often, and how many times you ate to quickly.

Christmas Eve night, Coop and I were at his parents with his sister, her boyfriend, and two family friends. We had a wonderful night and I was gifted by his parents with a great pair of running capri tights as well as a a running hoodie. I especially love the tights because they can be added to my winter wardrobe by putting them under pants or wearing them as is during the summer. The hoodie, on the other hand is only a cold weather piece, which is more than fine since I reside in Michigan.

Around 11 p.m. I headed over to my parents to stay the night there. I brought Coop’s dog with me and we got a whopping 4 hours of sleep due to her missing Coop. The next morning we woke up and all of my siblings, their spouse and children as well as a few family friends came over. We had brunch and exchanged gifts. My parents gave Coop and I a roku… I’m not good at explaining what it does however it gives you much of the benefits of cable without having to actually purchase cable every month! Next they gifted me with a new juicer which I was in terrible need of. My parents also got me socks… I needed socks so bad which I am pretty sure makes me an official adult. I remember when I was younger and thinking that socks were a terrible gift but now I find so much value in them, hahaha.  Finally my sister-in-law (my family drew names for gifts) gave me a personal smoothie machine/blender.

I was also gifted with many other things from family and friends however they don’t really apply to fitness or technology.

What did you receive for Christmas this year?

Was there anything, other than materialistic things that defined this Christmas as special for you and your family?

Christmas Adam!

Happy CHristmas Adam – you know because Adam came before Eve in creation and it’s the day before Christmas Eve.

Anyways… This week will be little about food (I think). I have some really exciting news for you all and I will be sharing after the 1st of the year. In the mean time, I have been working behind the scenes to make some changes for this community. I cannot wait to share will all of you what will be happening in the new year and I cannot wait to hear what you have to say about it.

Coop came home for Christmas last Thursday so I have been practically attached to his hip.We will be heading back down to Nashville on this Thursday and have decided to do a pretty mean cleanse style diet while I am there. I cannot wait for what is coming and I hope you all are excited to.

Enjoy your loved ones over this Christmas week! I will attempt to check back in before Christmas but can’t make any promises.

Consequenses

There has been some recent news about a little something called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It is a disease that is the result of brain injury. The thing is thouis, that pro-athlete’s are the individuals making the news concerning this disease. Between Pro-Football players and Pro-Baseball players, a whole lot of talk is happening about what many are calling C.T.E.

All in all, this disease is extremely unfortunate and definitely needs the attention it is getting. If you would like to read more on it you can do so here and here. I think that parents of high schoolers especially and coaches need to pay much more attention to this topic as well as that of concussions.

All of this is to say that I think something else can come from this new information. Time and time again, we are seeing that disease is linked to actions. Take for instance H.I.V., this disease is directly linked to actions and by this I mean I cannot get it by just simply being around someone who has it. Or how about Type II Diabetes? You cannot be born with Type II Diabetes and definitely cannot catch it. No, instead Type II Diabetes comes from individual actions.

Please understand that I am not suggesting ALL disease comes form actions as that definitely isn’t the case for diseases such as A.L.S., Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis and many more.

However, so many are. So many diseases are coming about without a cure but a direct link to personal choices in terms of health. We have a choice.. we have a choice to say yes to extra portions, poor micro-nutrient foods and drinks that are full of sugar.

I don’t say any of this in a condemning way, because this truly is an area of struggle for me. Honestly, I feel like I can’t talk about it because I’m supposed to be “good” at this. After all, I have a blog about healthy living. A few days ago however, I read another blog in which the author spoke about the appreciation of genuinity. It inspired me to speak honestly with each of you in hopes that I can perhaps help anyone who might also be feeling the same way as I am.

I have chronic headaches and I have had them for years. I also have a food allergy to yeast as well as sensitivities to wheat (not gluten) and dairy. My chronic headaches are definitely linked to my food – sometimes it seems to be linked to sugar. The point of all of his is to say that I like food, some foods reek havoc on my body and I yet somehow still struggle to get them out of my diet for good.

The other night I was watching a documentary on nutrition, and this popped into my head.

denial 2

I’m not perfect at this healthy living thing, and part of me is thankful for that. I want to be a voice that says “I’m not there but, I’m still trying” and “I’m not perfect but that’s ok”.

Deep down, when I put my pride aside… I think I need to be more vocal about my struggles with all of you. And not so very deep down inside, I think be more vocal about my struggles will help all of you.

Thank you for being such compassionate and kind readers, and I genuinely look forward to a more open relationship with all of you.

Apple Cider Vinegar

What can suppress you appetite and boost your metabolism? Apple cider vinegar can… or at least new research is hinting that it can. Why? Because apple cider vinegar contains something called acetic acid. Acetic acid helps to hault the accumulation of body fat. Add that to the fact that apple cider vinegar is also known to stabilize blood sugar level and we have a winner!

So what do we do with this information? We add apple cider vinegar to our diet. Preferably in the morning, whether in a “detox drink” such as this one, or as the new star in our salad dressings. Start adding apple cider vinegar into your diet and observe what happens. If you see and/or feel any results please pop back in here on this post and let us all know.

Lighter Legs

Lighter Legs

Complete each segment 3x through and then move onto the next.

Of all the workouts I do, legs are my favorite. As a female I know the importance (in a very vain way) of working and leaning out my legs, and I’m pretty sure I am not alone in this thinking. Great legs mean better looking dresses, more comfortable shoe wearing experiences and more calories burned throughout the day.

Many people don’t know this but when you workout large muscle groups, like your legs, you cause your body to burn more calories throughout the day due to the recovery that has to happen in response to the workout. Yet another reason why working out your legs is a win-win (source).

For men, well I feel as though legs are left out. Men do some cardio – if any, and then move on to upper body and possibly some core. But did you men know that strong legs help you keep a stable and tighter core. In fact, new science says that by working your legs, you can improve you overall strength (source).

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Don’t be this guy!

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I’m planning and preparing for next year and this blog. I would love some feedback. What do you all want to see here next year? Do like what is currently happening ( a little bit of everything), or are you wanting less of one thing and more of something else? How about the sugar series… would you like to see more of that, not sugar but maybe a whole series on sleep? How about videos? They are becoming popular and I’d be happy to do those. And then there is the topic of giveaways, I tried one and it didn’t work well but I’d be happy to try again.

I want this blog to be about you, so let me know what you want and I will try my hardest to serve it up!

Hope everyone’s week is going well.

Cookies

chocolate surprise cookies

Sometimes you need a cookie. No matter how hard we try to eat good things, sometimes you are craving something sweet and a cookie is just what will fix your “problem”.

This weekend was a rough one for me… in the end everything that needed to get done (Christmas party, school finals, gifts bought and wrapped) got done, but not without a little blood, sweat and tears.

On Sunday, cookies seemed to be just the thing that would do. It was a snow filled weekend that left me inside, with books and comfortable clothing and well… cookies!

I was able to tweak a recipe that I found of my grandmothers, and was pleasantly surprised at just how well things turned out.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Hershey Drops
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 3/4 Cup Peanut Butter (I used a combination of regular creamy peanut butter and all natural almond butter)
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 2 tbsp Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Extra Sugar

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended.
  3. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
  4. Add egg whites, milk and vanilla; beat well.
  5. Stir together flours, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place Hershey drop inside each ball. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned (cookies will crack around edges). Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

These cookies are great and tweaked just enough to remove some of the guilt if you end up eating 5. Hope you enjoy!

Energy Drinks

energy drink

A few years ago I worked at a gym on top of my current job and I was also going to school full time. At this time, I also went once a month to Sam’s Club and bought a giant pack of Monster Energy Drinks. You know those blue ones, because they are low carb (because my weight was my biggest concern). My day generally looked something like this… wake up and be to school by 8 a.m., drive immediately to job number 1 after class, then after job number one, drive to job number two until 11p.m. when I would go home for the first time all day.

It was on my way from job number one, to job number two that I would pop open that Monster and depending on the time either sip or chug it. This was mainly because when I would get home at 11 p.m., I often had a few hours of homework to do. Then I would fall asleep around 3 in the morning and after sleeping for a whopping 4-5 hours, do it all over again.

Most people are aware that energy drinks are not good for you. Clearly I was one of the people who knew but blatantly ignored. Quite frankly, at that time I would have done anything to keep life happening considering the details. However I now look at the statement of “energy drinks are not good for you” with a bit of wonder and question.

Why are energy drinks bad for you?

I know plenty of people who drink coffee almost all day long?

Is that just as unhealthy?

How about the energy drinks that are sugar and caffeine free?

How about the ones that are all natural?

Amazingly all of those questions can be answered, so today I will do exactly that. If not for anyone else, at least for me!

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that energy drinks must contain something pretty hefty if they can make you get through a day that other wise would not happen without much more sleep. But what is it that is making the magic happen?

For the energy drinks that do contain caffeine, it’s radical doses of caffeine. A regular cup of coffee usually has about 100mg of caffeine in it. Some energy drinks have as much as 500mg of caffeine in them (source).  That is a Sh*t load of caffeine! And as an individual who gets emotionally wrecked (if you don’t believe me as my fiance) when drinking anything more than 75mg of caffeine in it, well I don’t really understand how I managed any sort of life while downing those monsters.

If you don’t already know, caffeine in large doses has some pretty hefty side effects that include high heart rate, spiking of blood pressure, severe dehydration, anxiety, the preventing of sleep patterns and in extreme cases seizures. They should put that on the commercial, huh?

Then there are the energy drinks that do not contain caffeine. Instead they contain legal stimulants such as guarana and ginseng. These stimulants are natural however just like all other stimulants, there are side effects for these as well.

Guarana is a plant whose seeds contains 2x as much caffeine as the seeds coffee (source). This is the most common used stimulant in energy drinks labeled “caffeine free”. Another ingredient commonly used is ginseng, which is also a seed containing caffeine. Ginseng is a bit more dangerous as its side effects include headache, decreased appetite and bleeding (source).

The last of the symptoms listed above is the one that concerns me the most… bleeding. If you are continuously using an energy drink containing ginseng, you run the risk ultimately of suffering from stomach bleeding. This is because the acid combined with the ginseng can disturb your stomach and intestinal lining which can eventually lead to bleeding.

When the effects of energy drinks do ware off, you risk for poor health does not. Once the stimulants are free from your body, your risk of vomiting and respiratory depression sky rocket. In fact, in 2008 there were 16,000 E.R. visit that were documented as due to energy drink consumption (source). This confirms that although the side effects seem extreme and not likely, they are in fact taking place.

All in all, energy drinks are a big no-no. They confuse your brain by tricking it into sending out signals to your body that say you are awake, alert and highly functioning, and then cause you to crash when the stimulants ware off. The chemicals used in the drinks can reek havoc on your digestive system as well, as they suppress your appetite which means you are getting less of the nutrients your body needs even more now that your are pumping it with stimulants. And then there are the many organ system side effects that happen despite you not even realizing they are taking place.

By getting a few extra hours a sleep every week, improving your nutrition by 10 – 15% and drinking more water, you can have the same energy benefits of energy drinks without any of the awful side effects.