Archive for January, 2014

High Protein Potato Skins? It’s True (recipe!)

I’ve got some bad news…the Superbowl is this Sunday. 

More than 100 million people will be tuned in.

superbowl potato skins recipeThe Big Game between the Broncos and the Seahawks.  The commercials.  The halftime show.  All sounds great to me. 

So what’s the bad news?

Superbowl Sunday is the SECOND biggest eating "holiday" …

… second only to Thanksgiving.

Some estimates suggest the average person eats around 4500 calories during Superbowl Sunday alone.  Honestly, with the wings, chips, dips, pizza, guacamole, beer and everything else, that number could easily top 5,000 or even 10,000 calories in one night alone. 

Seriously.

So what should you do?

Enjoy the game.  Enjoy the commercials, time with friends or whatever your plans may be and make these highly recommended high protein potato skins.

Here’s what you need.  Like in my Simple Almond Butter Muffins post the other day, these started as traditional potato skins …

… and have been "Doctored" …

Let’s say it’s another recipe from "The Doctored Kitchen"

High Protein Potato Skins

Yield: 8 skins (NOTE, 2 were satisfying)

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup frozen, unbuttered corn
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Daisy cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 TBS fajita seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (or our preference, Cabot Hot Habanero)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean and brush the potatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt & pierce with a fork.
  2. Bake the potatoes for 45-60 minutes, until fork tender
  3. While the potatoes are baking, place frozen corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fajita seasoning. Cook about 8-10 minutes until corn is browned.  Remove from heat, add to a bowl and mix with black beans
  5. Saute the onion in 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent.
  6. Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool.
  7. Turn oven to broil.
  8. When cool enough to hold comfortably, cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise.
  9. Scrape the flesh of the potatoes, leaving the skins intact. (note: it helps to leave some potato in the skin to prevent tearing).
  10. Mix the flesh of the potatoes with the cottage cheese & Greek yogurt.
  11. Add the potato/cheese/yogurt mixture to the beans, corn, onions and cilantro
  12. Add the filling back into the skins and top the shredded cheese, divided evenly.
  13. Broil stuffed potato skins for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Nutrition per whole potato (two skins):

379 calories, 55 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 22 g protein, 11 g fat
And that’s how you Eat Your Medicine.

Give these a try.  Our girls loved them (without the habanero cheese — their two had just straight cheddar).  And we’ll surely make them again on Superbowl Sunday. 

Can you do us a favor and click the ‘like’ button below to share this recipe?  We get 200+ likes and we’ll continue this theme of "The Doctored Kitchen" next week …

 

MUST Try Almond Butter Muffins (SIMPLE recipe!)

Those who know me, know I love tinkering around in the kitchen.

gluten free high protein muffin recipeThe other day I made mention of how I couldn’t be any further from handy.

I’m instead "handy" in the kitchen. 

I use a recipe as a guide, tinker around with the ingredients, add/substitute in my own …

…and, well, sometimes we have a hit and sometimes not.

I’ve actually been doing this for the last few decades.

And it all started when my parents friends were coming over for dinner and dessert.

I was probably 12 or 13.

Luckily my mom is a fantastic cook and prepared dinner.  For whatever reason, though, she allowed me to handle "dessert."  Glad she gave me that freedom, but unfortunately for my parents and their friends, it didn’t pan out so well.

Let’s just say the "oatmeal pie" I made will not be winning any awards.

Not as familiar with ingredients as I am now, I tried to make something healthy — oatmeal.  Mixed in some brown sugar, added it to a pie tin and baked it.

I was so proud of that "dessert" … until I served it.  It tasted like, well, like plain oatmeal baked in an oven.  Definitely wouldn’t suggest serving it any time soon.

And no joke, we still laugh about it (and at me) to this day.  I’ve fortunately grown and honed my cooking skills since then so you can trust this recipe (and others we’ll be posting).

Which brings me to this next recipe that we ATE UP way too fast. 

I started with a recipe I saw on my friends site – Healthy Aperture (which is a great site for food ideas by the way).  But then I tweaked and tinkered and tweaked some more, making it my own.

This is great for breakfast when paired with some protein, for a snack … or just for a little treat.  And it takes literally 5 minutes to prepare.

Coconut Almond Butter Muffins

1/2 cup almond butter (or you could try sunflower butter if you have a nut allergy)
1 ripe medium/large banana
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350

Mix all ingredients in a blender.  Blend until well combined. 

Add to prepared muffin tins (we sprayed with non stick spray).

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

These. Were. Awesome!!  The ONLY problem with them … is they’re too easy to OVER eat! 

This makes about 9 muffins. 

Each muffin is around 173 calories, 19 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 4 g protein and 10 g fat. 

Next time I’d add in 2 scoops of unflavored protein powder, bringing the protein up to around 10 g per muffin. 

And that, my friends, is how you eat your medicine!

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Can you do us a favor and please click the ‘like’ button below to share this recipe with your friends on Facebook.

We went out with some friends last night.  Our previous neighbors who are both musicians invited us to an event they were hosting in their new condo.  The event was centered around another musician who lives in Louisville, but is pretty well known in the music circles as a professional classical and jazz pianist. 

Admittedly neither of us are into that type of music, but we went to show them support.

And to be honest, we we’re both more than impressed.

Of course Mr. Pickens is super talented, but throughout all his travels, teachings and worldly experiences, he actually shared some very cool and inspiring stories.

At one point in the night, he stopped playing and talked about the importance of two words.

Show. Up.

He was referring to being present.  Wherever you are.

With a spouse in conversation.  Not distracted by your phone or whatever else.

With co workers.

With yourself.

With your kids. 

With whatever you are doing.  At the gym.  Cooking.  It doesn’t matter. 

Show. Up.

It actually hit home today when I was at the gym. 

After going out with our friends, having a couple drinks with them …

…then going to bed later than "normal" I struggled a bit to get up this morning to get there.  But for me, if it’s not done in the morning, it’s not done.

In my head, while contemplating staying in bed or going …

… I was reminded to "SHOW. UP."

I went, had a great workout and glad I did.

Then it was interesting.  I was in the locker room afterwards and overheard a conversation between two guys.

"How was your weekend?"

"Well, it was the weekend.  Now it’s Monday – back to the daily grind.  Another week ahead.  Always something to do."

And the tone in his voice was very lackluster and not at all excited.  In fact, it was just the opposite. 

There was a lack of control.  If I were to ask him about his day, he certainly would have been complaining about being "busy" … and "working for the man" … 

Sad reality, actually.

What can you do to "Show. Up" today?

Maybe during dinner time with your family you can turn off the TV.  Actually have a real conversation. 

Put your phones in another room so there is no buzzing, beeping and people staring into their laps while pretending to have conversations with people who are actually in front of them.

Show. Up.

Be engaged.
 
We’re actually both looking into a meditation program to use each day.  Help us focus more.  We’ll let you know more once we dig in further into this … 

Help us be more engaged.  With each other.  With our kids.  With work.

And it all comes back to these two words. 

Show. Up.

Can you please "show up" and click the ‘like’ button below to share this important PSA. 

Monk Fruit Sweetener – Should YOU Use This?

Smart Sugar Alternatives?

The other day we talked about Stevia, the "hot" new sugar alternative…several years ago.

Well, Stevia, take a back seat – there’s a new darling sugar alternative in town.

monk fruit sugar alternativeOver the last year or two, Monk Fruit Sweetener has started to emerge.  Long used in China, monk fruit sweetener is actually known as luo han guo and has started to emerge in many foods and as a stand alone product.  We’ve seen it in some protein powders, chocolate milk, ice creams and Greek yogurt.

It’s also sold as a stand alone product – both as Monk Fruit in the Raw and under the brand name, Nectresse.  I have also seen it in health food stores and supplement stores under its other name "Luo Han Guo." 

Same thing (almost) – Nectresse is blended with erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and molasses and Monk Fruit in the Raw is blended with a bit of dextrose (sugar).

Like Stevia, the small fruit that is native to China would be eating it in it’s "natural" state.  It then becomes concentrated through a variety of processes and manufacturing until it’s used in foods.

Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Safe?

From all we’ve seen, monk fruit sweetener is safe and to our knowledge, there are no negative side effects that have shown up in the research world.

The other benefit is that it’s void of that same bitter aftertaste that stevia is known for.

Monk fruit sweetener is about 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.  The other major benefit is that you should be able to use it as a substitute for traditional sugar in equal ratio.  In other words, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar, you can substitute 1/2 cup of Monk Fruit sweetener.

We admittedly have not personally tried this, so are speaking from what we’ve heard from others.  Try it out and let us know.  We’ll do the same. 

Do Sugar Alternatives Trigger Cravings?

This is certainly a concern and a lot of research is underway looking at some of the more common artificial sweeteners to determine if they trigger cravings.  Just like sugar should be limited, so should sugar alternatives. 

None of them offer any worthwhile nutrition …

… so be cautious about overusing any of them, regardless of the color of the packet or how "natural" they’re said to be.

 Please do us a favor and click the ‘like’ button below to share this with your friends on FB

 

Stevia: Natural Sugar Alternative or Toxic Chemical?

The other day I was at the grocery store in the yogurt section.

stevia sugars natural alternativeUsually I’ll just throw a bunch of Greek yogurts in our cart; I like plain, Kara prefers coconut and the girls like all of it.  By the way, mix any of them with peanut butter and they are DELISH.  Like peanut butter and jelly.

I digress.

A woman comes up next to me and is picking out some yogurts as well.  She starts reading the labels and I guess she wanted me to hear, so she was reading outloud.

She picked one up "Sucralose? That’s junky."  Picked up another and said "Stevia," and then turned to her daughter and said "good, this one is natural and only 100 calories, we’ll get this."

The first question, what is "natural?"  What does that even mean?

In the nutrition world, nothing.  Really.

In our heads it’s a lovely, romantic story about how a food isn’t processed at all or "tainted" by any other hands, outside of the farmer who only uses organic practices and probably waters it with filtered, pH balanced water. 

But that’s far from the truth.

"Natural" has zero significance when it comes to food.  The FDA has not defined what it actually means, though the term is thrown around on food labels, usually on products that look wholesome and pure.  We’ve seen natural products laden with preservatives. 

Let’s take a step back with stevia — often viewed as the holy grail of sugar alternatives — and take a look at this popular alternative to "artificial sweeteners."

It comes from the sweet tasting leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana bertoni plant, native to Central and South America. 

There are certain components within the leaf – stevioside and rebaudioside A (reb A)) – that provide most of its sweetness.  In fact, stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.  You’ll most commonly see it in stores under the names Truvia, PureVia, Stevia in the Raw, Sweet Leaf and Sun Crystals.

When first introduced to the market, it had to be labeled as a dietary supplement because it didn’t quite have what’s called "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) status, which is the only way it can be sold as a food.  So you could initially only find it as a dietary supplement.  However, in 2008 this changed and after reviewing the available data, the FDA has granted Stevia GRAS status and it’s in the brands listed above as well as in several products themselves, from yogurt to soft drinks, protein powders and more. 

But this FDA approval certainly didn’t come without controversy.

Folks at the Center for Science in Public Interest and several renowned toxicologists from UCLA aren’t quite on board with widespread distribution and use, pointing to data that show DNA damage and mutations, which could raise the risk of developing cancer.  These studies have been done in animals, but these groups suggest a little more concern is certainly warranted, given the tens of millions of people who will be using stevia liberally.

Outside of potential health concerns, the flavor leaves a bit to be desired.

Stevia itself has a bitter aftertaste that we’re not fans of in the Mohr house.  That being said, we have tasted a few protein powders that use it that don’t have that same bitter taste.

Our stance? 

First, getting back to the question "is stevia natural" — no.

The loosely defined natural word to us would mean you are eating the actual leaf of the plant.  And you can do that; one vendor at our local Farmer’s Market sold it by the plant.  Keep in mind, though, while this has a hint of sweetness, it’s nothing like the end product, isolated from the isolated components of the leaf described above.

The highly concentrated sweetener alternative – Stevia – is not natural in the form it’s sold.

Our preference for sweetening foods are local honey from our farmers market and pure maple syrup (and no, Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin aren’t pure or aren’t real maple syrup).  Both of these are also sweeter than traditional table sugar and have unique flavors in and of themselves.

Like this post?  Please click ‘like’ below to share this article about stevia on Facebook. 

Leave 25+ comments below and we’ll be back tomorrow with another blog about Monk Fruit Sweetener, the newest darling in the "natural foods" world.

 

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