Monthly Archives: June 2013

Daily Dexter: I Got A Sister!

I teased something “BIG” to come a few days ago.  Turns out, the announcement is about something small.

Introducing…. Emma the Corgi!

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Emma is the newest member of our little family.  She’s only 11 weeks old, and she’s actually my boyfriend’s dog, which means that I give her all the treats, and he cleans up all the messes.  Dynamite deal, if you ask me.

Dexter, being my senior seven-year-old, is so far less than enthused about the decision to get a puppy.  Let’s just say, he’s had to put Emma in her place more than once.  He’s also currently on a hunger strike, but I’m sure once she grows up a little, they’ll be thick as thieves!

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So far, her favorite snack is Dexter’s tail.  She thinks it’s a Slim Jim.

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YAY FOR PUPPIES!  Isn’t she the cutest?!

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Recipe: Healthier Caesar Salad Dressing

‘Tis the season for salads!  I usually dress mine with some kind of vinegar & oil mixture.  But sometimes, you just gotta get creamy… ya know what I mean?  In general, you’re so much better off making your dressings at home.  The store-bought kinds are usually packed with preservatives, additives, unprounouncable (is that a word?) chemicals, and high fructose corn syrup.  Barf.  Make your own, and suddenly your salad is even more guilt-free!

This homemade version of the caesar variety is seriously tasty with no added fat, oil, or sugar.  The ingredients even provide some extra protein for a heartier, healthier salad.

Healthier Caesar Salad Dressing

Serving Size: 2 tbsp.

Servings Per Jar: 5

Calories Per Serving: 15

CAESAR DRESSING 1 CAESAR DRESSING 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. of pre-made garlic hummus (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • 4 tbsp. coconut kefir (any plain yogurt, including Greek, works, too)
  • 2 tbsp. water (if using yogurt, add 1 more tbsp. of water)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp. of anchovy paste (optional)
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in jar or bottle.  Close the top and shake like hell.
  2. Once everything is mixed, toss the dressing into salad and enjoy!

Daily Dexter: He’s Baaaaaaack!

He was gone for about a month and a half at his grandma’s (we called it summer camp), but Dexter has returned to Chicago with me!  I’m not sure who’s more excited.  I missed my little buddy!  And guys… speaking of  buddies, I’ve got some major news coming up in the next couple of days.  No, I’m not pregnant, but you’re going to DIE!  Stay tuned.

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Friday Favorite: 10 Ways To Use Greek Yogurt

It’s creamy.  It’s healthy.  It’s packed with protein.  Best of all, it’s one of the most versatile foods around.  I’m talking about today’s Friday Favorite, a gift from the gods, GREEK YOGURT!

greek yogurt

My fridge is always stocked with at least one quart of the plain non-fat kind.   I’m not brand loyal, although there are lots to choose from.  I usually just buy whatever’s on sale.  An entire cup is only 120 calories with a whopping 20 grams of protein.

Sure, you can eat it like you would a regular cup of Yoplait, but there are so many more options.  Here are 10 things you can do with your plain Greek yogurt:

  1. Scoop out a serving and top it with your favorite fruit.  Maybe a little stevia or agave nectar.  Chances are you already do this.  It’s still delicious.  I like to buy the plain and add my own things to it to avoid added processed ingredients.  You also get more food for the calories.
  2. Add to your smoothie for a thicker consistency and protein boost.
  3. Throw a dollop or two into your favorite red pasta sauce or use it instead of heavy cream in your alfredo.
  4. Add a pinch of salt.  Instant sour cream!  Seriously, it tastes identical to the real thing.  Use on everything from baked potatoes to tacos.
  5. Use as a substitute for mayo.  Works especially well in things like tuna & egg salad.
  6. Greek yogurt + chopped cucumbers + dill + salt = tsatziki
  7. Skip the traditional pizza sauce.  Spread Greek yogurt on the pizza dough instead!  Add your favorite toppings & bake.
  8. Get a popsicle tray.  Make frozen yogurt pops.
  9. Slim down your favorite cookies and cakes by replacing half the amount of butter with Greek yogurt.
  10. Turn your already healthy guacamole into a protein-packed snack by adding a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt.  So rich.  So good for you.

What do you do with your Greek yogurt?  Tell me in the comments section below or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

The Price Of Today’s Diet

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while now.  If you’re in any way interested in improving your health or the health of your family, I recommend watching the following video.  It’s not new, but it’s striking.  English chef & TV host Jamie Oliver explains how our ignorance of food, and its affects on our bodies are leading to our demise.  He challenges us to demand better for ourselves and for our children… and to start really paying attention to the food we’re giving to the people that we love.  Powerful stuff!

Fro-Yo Fever!

Summer is the season for frozen treats, but let’s get real.  We eat ice cream all year round.  And you know I’m right.  I’ve eaten it with gloves on outside in the middle of winter, and I’m not even sorry.

I don’t know if it’s just my location in the world, but the frozen yogurt world has really stepped up its game.  The places that have me smitten at the moment are as follows:

Starfruit Cafe

STARFRUITAs far as I can tell, Starfruit is exclusive to Chicago.  That’s really too bad, because it’s so unique.  Instead of plain old frozen yogurt, Starfruit serves frozen kefir.  They call it a “miracle drink”, but what it really is is a fermented dairy product like yogurt that contains lots more live and active probiotic cultures, which are good for the immune system and digestion.  It’s also a good option for people who experience tummy trouble with milk, because it’s 99% lactose free.  I’ve had frozen kefir at Starfruit many times.  You can pick from a few flavors.  There are also lots of healthy and not-so-healthy toppings to add.  I think the kefir alone is rich, satisfying, and totally delicious.  One note – there’s a definite yogurty tang.  I think it tastes a little like cheesecake, but it can be off-putting to some.  If it’s your first time trying a kefir product, I’d suggest asking for a taste before you blow your money on something you don’t like.

Red Mango

RED MANGO

Okay… when did Red Mango totally change everything?  The last time I went was a few years ago in Columbus, Ohio.  They had a couple of flavors.  They all had that trendy tang.  It was good, but not so good that I felt like going out of my way to find it again.  Then, a week ago, Red Mango opened a new location RIGHT NEXT TO MY WORK OHMYGODDDD… and wow.  Just wow.  Everything is different from what I remember.  First of all, most Red Mango locations are now self-serve.  They didn’t used to be.  And next to say, oxygen, a self-serve yogurt place is my favorite thing on planet Earth.  There are close to a dozen flavors to choose from at any given time, including two “skinny” flavors with no added sugar! And they’re sweetened naturally with stevia!  STEVIA!  Can you believe the progress here, people?  I rushed over to try the Dark Chocolate Skinny Sorbetto.  It’s dairy free, sugar-free, contains healthy bacteria, and it only has 50 calories in half a cup.  If I didn’t already know these things before trying it, there’s no way I would have been able to tell.  It’s creamy, melty, incredibly rich, and almost unbelievable.  I have no idea how they did it.  It didn’t even need toppings.  I mean, I returned to find a parking ticket on my car, and I didn’t even care.  It was that good.  This flavor alone has roped me in for life.

RED MANGO SORBETTO

Even if you don’t have a Starfruit or a Red Mango near you, there’s a good chance you do have frozen yogurt options, self-serve or otherwise.  Frozen yogurt seems like a healthier option than ice cream.  Most of the time it is, but if you do it wrong, it can be just as bad… even worse!  And it can get expensive.  Check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self!  Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Self-serve shops that require you to pay by the ounce.  The cups they supply are GIGANTIC, because they’re hoping you’ll fill ’em all the way to the top.  Don’t feel like you have to.  Watch the heavy hand at the yogurt machine, and keep in mind, although fruit is healthy, it also weighs a lot because it’s filled with water.  Choose lighter toppings like nuts and granola if you’re on a budget.  And speaking of toppings…
  • Pretend not to see all the delicious cookies, candies, hot fudge, etc.  You might as well just go and eat a full pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  Like I said, go with some nuts or a little fruit.  Or just skip the toppings altogether.
  • Try before you buy.  Most yogurt shops will allow you to taste a few flavors before deciding on an order.  Take advantage of the perk.
  • Check the website before stopping by.  These days, almost everyone has their nutritional information online.  This way, if you’re watching what you eat, you can go in with a plan, and you can enjoy a little dessert without totally blowing your diet.  And BONUS ALERT!  Some shops have loyalty programs that give you discounts just for signing up!  At Red Mango, I saved $2 on my first cup.  Starfruit gives you a free order after so many visits.  Don’t miss out on the perks!

Do you have a favorite summer treat?  It doesn’t have to be ice cream.  It could be anything… even fruit!  Let me know in the comments section below, or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

Music Monday: More Kanye, Ya’ll!

He’s easy to hate, but impossible to ignore.  Kanye West, whether you like it or not, is changing hip hop and continues to be a bona-fide artist in an ever-growing sea of rappers barking about money, hoes, cars, and chains.  Even if you don’t like him, you have to admit Kanye tries to provoke thought, or at least reaction, from the people listening to his music.  His newest album “Yeezus” drops tomorrow, June 18th.

YEEZUS COVER

In anticipation, I’m sharing my favorite Kanye track “All Of The Lights”.  P.S. Can you believe he’s a dad now?!

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