Category Archives: Uncategorized

Music Monday: 10 Songs For Your Workout

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Recipe Rewind: Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms

It’s Thanksgiving!  On day 4 of my recipe blitz, I’m cheating a little and re-posting one of my seasonal favorites, Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms.  Yum!SWEET POTATO STUFFED MUSHROOMS 1I sincerely hope you’re able to enjoy the day with family and friends.  There is lots to be Thankful for!  The boyfriend and I are running our 10K Turkey Trot this morning.  Will we survive?!  Stay tuned for a full report!

Wishing you health & happiness this holiday,

Jess 🙂

Recipe: Tomato Rosemary Soup

Fall is officially here!  That means it’s time to wrap up in your favorite oversized sweater and sip on some soup.  Isn’t it just the best?  I love soup because it’s cozy, and it keeps me full.  Plus, I can make a big fat pot one day, and eat from it for a week.  My favorite?  Old school tomato with a warm, gooey grilled cheese.  Can’t beat it!

TOMATO SOUP 1

Making soup from scratch might sound difficult and time-consuming, but it’s really not at all.  All you need is about 30 minutes, a blender, and a few simple ingredients.   I adapted the following recipe from THIS one posted by food blogger Marc Matsumoto.

Tomato Rosemary Soup

Makes 3 Servings

1.5 Cups = 90 Calories

TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 14 oz. canned tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 inch sprig rosemary
  • sea salt, to taste
  • natural sweetener, if needed, to taste (calorie content calculated with calorie-free stevia)

Directions:

  1. Add oil to a large pot.  Warm to medium heat and add the garlic and shallots.  Cook until slightly browned.
  2. Add fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and rosemary to the pot.  Simmer over low heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the rosemary and transfer the mixture to a heat-resistant blender.  An immersion blender works just as well.  Puree until smooth, and then pass through mesh strainer to remove skin and seeds.
  4. Add salt as much salt and sweetener as you think you need.  My fresh tomatoes were purchased out of season, so I added a significant amount of stevia.
  5. I topped my bowl with plain soy milk to add some plant-based creaminess.  Non-vegans could use milk, cream, even greek yogurt.

8 Secrets To Surviving Your Vacation

Oh, hey there, readers!  I’m baaaack!  Extra points for you if you noticed my absence.  And if you didn’t, I still love you because guess what.  You’ve made the time to read this post.

I hope you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a little time away.  I just got back from a raucous trip to Vegas with about 15 of my best friends, and I have to admit… although I was really, really excited for the vacation, it also made me a little nervous, because I was in a situation I assume is not too rare:  I needed to go to Vegas.  I needed to go HAM.  But I also needed to look hot for a wedding and reunion of sorts just 2 weeks later.  My vegetarian ass ended up eating at least 4 different animals over the course of the trip.  I drank like Lindsay Lohan for 4 straight days and 4 straight nights.  I gambled with chain smokers.  But with a little forethought and some careful packing, I managed to come out looking and feeling great.  Not a single hangover.  Not a single regret.  Not a single pound gained.  In fact, one of my co-workers looked at me on my first day back and said, “You look like you never left!”.  Here’s how I pulled it off.

8 Secrets To Surviving Your Vacation

  1. Pack Healthy TSA-Approved Snacks:  Sbarro.  Cinnabon.  Burger King.  These usually represent your meal choices at the airport.  And even if you manage to find something healthy, the prices are ridiculous.  Make yourself some raw trail mix for the flight, and carry along a few pieces of fruit.  This way, the only thing you’ll need to purchase at the gate is water, and you’ll always have something nutritious on hand.
  2. Walk When You Can.  Work Out If You Want:  Vacation is a time to relax, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about letting your regular workout routine slide, at least for a few days.  But consider walking to dinner instead of taking a cab.  Or maybe do a quick tabata circuit in your hotel room with a friend.  Snorkel.  Cycle.  Take a jog to explore your new surroundings.  Any movement counts and will help chip away at the extra calories you may be taking in.
  3. Take Your Vitamins:  Dry air and close quarters increase the likelihood of you getting sick.  I recommend taking a multivitamin and an extra vitamin C supplement just in case.  A probiotic could help with digestion, especially if you plan on eating things you normally wouldn’t.
  4. Get Your Greens:  If you’re doing your vacationing right, you’re allowing yourself to eat whatever the eff you want.  You’ve earned it, right?  But if you’re used to eating clean, the sudden change in diet could shock your system.  We’re talking headaches, bloating, constipation.  Yuck!  Avoid the nasty side-effects of decadent foods by keeping your body as alkaline as possible.  Greens will help.  And if you don’t have access to fresh produce, use my little shortcut – green food suppliments like chorella or spirulina.  They’re available in powders and easy-to-swallow tablets.VEGAS SPIRULINA
  5. Lemon Water:  I was the girl who packed an entire bag of fresh lemons in my suitcase.  Why?  Because fresh lemon juice fixes EVERYTHING.  One glass of lemon water first thing in the morning de-puffs a tired face, helps with digestion, and helps alkalize the body.  Extra points for adding a splash of raw apple cider vinegar.VEGAS LEMONS
  6. Cha-cha-cha-CHIA:  I also packed a mason jar full of chia seeds in my carry-on.  The chia seed is a unique superfood that keeps the body in balance.  Each little seed carries water along with it to keep you hydrated.  The little sponges also pull toxins from the digestive tract so they’re eliminated when you… you know… “go”.  And you’ll be “going” regularly.  Chia seeds contain substantial amounts of necessary fiber.  Mix one tablespoon in with your lemon water in the morning.VEGAS CHIA SEEDS
  7. Stay Hydrated With Coconut Water:  Excessive alcohol consumption will dry you out faster than anything.  The easiest way to not feel like a 10 pound turd after a night of partying is to drink as much non-alcoholic liquid as you can before going to bed and the morning after.  My #1 recommendation is coconut water.  It has more electrolytes than plain water, and most brands are better for you than sports drinks because they’re all-natural.VITA COCO
  8. Choose Your Booze Wisely:  Sometimes we binge drink.  We’re adults.  As long as you’re not driving, it’s okay.  But when you’re planning on going hard, consider the consequences.  Having one or two?  Go ahead and indulge in your favorite margarita or mudslide.  Having 15?  Stick to drinks lower in calories, because the extras add up FAST.  Take my favorite for example, the vodka soda with fresh-squeezed lemon.  One of those will run you only about 70 calories.  If you have 7, that’s 490 calories.  But if you decide to have 7 light beers instead, your calorie consumption jumps to 700.  Big difference, right?

Do you have any secrets for surviving a particularly decadent event?  Let me know by commenting in the section below or emailing me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.  Together, we will conquer the dreaded hangover!

Happy trails, and I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

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!

That One Time I Went To Paradise…

Guess who’s back!

It’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve posted anything at all.  Thanks for the concern, but no… I didn’t get kidnapped or go into witness protection.  I went to Hawaii.IMG_1351I work for a TV show, and my bosses actually paid me real money to help shoot on location for a few days.  It was gorgeous.  It was warm.  It was scenic.  I’d like to say I got a chance to enjoy the beach, but I’m pretty sure I came back with less of a tan than I had when I arrived.  That’s because this is where I spent most of my time.  A tiny conference room with no windows.  Say hi to my coworker Melissa!

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Most days, we were so busy, we’d have to decide whether to eat or sleep.  Luckily, I didn’t mind losing a few winks over good food.  And… full disclosure… I went full-on carnivore on this trip.  Anthony Bourdain says he admires vegetarians and vegans who are willing to put their routines aside as they travel to be more respectful to their hosts.  I say when you’re in a place you’ve never been before, all bets are off!  Food is part of the experience!  My body is still recovering from the incredible ribs I had on the first night.  Here are a few of the other things I ate while work-cationing in Oahu:

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My daily continental breakfast courtesy the Hilton Hawaiian Village: Fresh fruit, a little guava juice, some of the awesomest coffee I’ve ever had at a hotel, and oatmeal with toasted coconut, raisins, walnuts, and tropical marmalade!

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THIS MONSTROSITY!  Take a minute.  Soak it in.  This is a lobster dog.  Sausage made from lobster.  Real lobster.  I regret to say I choked half of one down during a short break in taping.  I didn’t get a chance to really savor it, but I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  In case you were wondering, it came from Hank’s Haute Dogs in Waikiki.  The owner, Henry Adaniya, left Chicago and an illustrious culinary career to start a hot dog joint in Hawaii where his parents were born.  We featured him on the show.  He might be one of the most laid back, interesting people I’ve ever met.  GO TO OAHU.  GO TO HIM.  ORDER A LOBSTER DOG.

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One night, I actually had time to eat a real dinner, so my afore-mentioned coworker Melissa and I spent as much of the company’s money as we possibly could on cocktails, raw oysters, and sushi.  We didn’t realize until after we were back at the hotel that we were at Morimoto’s place.  The guy from Iron Chef?  Yeah.  Had no idea.  But I did pay $14 for one piece of sashimi!  Great success!

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And finally, a tasty souvenir for my buddy Dexter.  Pineapple doggie biscuits!

Oh, and remember how I was doing the whole Bob Harper Jumpstart to Skinny thing before the trip?  I ended up losing a total of 6.2 pounds… and I gained back almost 4.5 of them in just two weeks while I was on the road.  WHOOPISE!  Not sorry.  I’d never take back those ribs.  Or that lobster dog.  Besides, it’s probably just water weight, right?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy belated Mother’s Day, all you hot mamas!  How’d you spend the day?

I trekked back to Ohio and spent a spectacular afternoon with my mommy, my 92-year-old grandmother, my “little” brother, and my beautiful baby niece!  The day couldn’t have been more perfect.  We drove down to see the Cincinnati Reds play the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park.  My brother and I were raised on this team, but this was baby’s first baseball game.  Thanks to a few gentle suggestions, we had her saying “Go Reds!” from the outfield.  How adorable are those hand-made-by-grandma hair bows?!

LINDEN BASEBALL

During the car ride, there were three generations of women in the backseat.  Grandma kept the baby busy with a book.

GRANDMA LINDEN

Before the game, we went totally wild with a pub-style lunch.  Fresh brews, burgers and pretzel bread with beer cheese!  I had the Greek flatbread pizza with kalamata olives and goat cheese.  YUM.

LUNCH

I packed some healthy snacks for the stands… and the Reds won in a blow out!

VEGGIED

On Sunday, I had to say goodbye to Dexter for a while because I’ll be traveling and he’ll need to eat while I’m gone.  Mom is doing the babysitting, and she’s the cool one with a yard.  Does he even look a little bit sad?  I think he’s faking it.

DEXTERHope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!  Go, Moms, Go!

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