Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Dijon Mustard

Well, look what we have here! A recipe that's not a vegetable. Hooray for protein! I love chicken, and it's where probably 80 to 90 percent of my protein comes from, so I'm always looking for ways to shake things up when it comes to chicken breasts. This recipe is extremely simple, and cooks fairly quickly, so you can whip it up, along with a few side dishes, in no time! I recommend pairing this with the sweet potato skillet, which you can make while your chicken is in the oven! 

4 Chicken Breasts
2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tsp. dried Thyme
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Black Pepper to Taste 

Print this recipe here.

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Wash and trim chicken breasts. 
3. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

4. Brush over chicken breasts.
5. Place chicken on a baking rack.

6. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is done to your liking.

Look at those babies! I was really expecting these to taste like mustard, but they absolutely did not. They were sensational! The chicken was juicy and the flavor wasn't too strong or overbearing. You could still taste the simple flavor of the chicken, but it the mustard mixture gave it a kick that made it not so plain.  I've still got a good amount of Dijon mustard left over, so I'm definitely going to be trying some different variations with this recipe. It's too easy and tastes too exceptional not to try again! 

My Rating of these Roasted Chicken Breasts with Dijon Mustard: 9/10

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fitness Friday

It's Fitness Friday, everyone!

Oven Roasted Lemon Asparagus

After I finished my juice cleanse, I had a lemon left over and was trying to figure out a way to use it. Lemon always goes well with asparagus, so I picked up a bunch at the store and this recipe came to be. I didn't really know whether to just squeeze fresh lemon juice on the asparagus or what, and then it hit me that I had stumbled upon many recipes online where you roast the asparagus over lemon slices, so that's what I did.

1 Bunch of Asparagus
1 Lemon (you could use more)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Wash and trim asparagus. Cut lemon into slices.

2. Toss asparagus spears in olive oil until well coated.

3. Arrange lemon slices onto a greased cookie sheet.
I know, they're not pretty. Who cares. Still tasted good!
4. Place asparagus spears over lemon slices.

5. Broil in the oven until asparagus gets crisp brown areas (between 5 and 10 minutes).

That's all! I will have to say this is one of the easiest recipes I've ever made, and it tasted good! I will say I probably should have cut my lemon slices thinner which would have given the asparagus more of a lemony flavor, but that's my only issue. If you're looking for a simple yet flavorful asparagus recipe, this is it!

My Rating of Oven Roasted Lemon Asparagus: 8/10

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The YouTube Guide to Ab Workouts

Ab workouts are fairly simple to do. No no, it's not the actual exercises that are simple, it's the fact that you don't need any special equipment  to give your core a good working out. A good way to work your abs is to follow a workout video, and with the internet at my fingertips, I have found three ab exercise videos that perform miracles on your core! 

8 Minute Abs
This is the video I started out doing when I incorporated workout videos into my fitness routine, and it really performed miracles on my abs! It's challenging, but the different exercises are manageable for beginners, but still challenging for those who aren't new to ab workouts, which  makes it a very versatile video. And yes, I know it's old and corny, but it works! An oldy but a goody...

Yvette Salva Fitness
This video (and the next one for that matter) are lesser known, but nonetheless challenging. A personal trainer named Yvette Salva has a whole YouTube channel of ten minute exercise videos called "Ten in Ten with Yvette" and the ab ones are phenomenal. There are two videos that focus on the core; one is less challenging than the other, so we'll start with that one. This first video uses a lot of lesser known ab exercises and gives plenty of modifications for beginners or novices, making it another very versatile video. 

The next video is also by Yvette, however it is, in my almighty opinion ;), more difficult. These exercises are also lesser known and modifications are given for the harder movements. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginner, though. Some of the movements are complex, and could cause injury for those less experienced fitness buffs. I would recommend starting with one of the previous two videos, then working your way up to this one. But all of that aside, this video is perfection when it comes to ab workouts. 

There you have it; a whole ab workout on your computer. Now you have no excuse not to work that core! You're welcome.

My Rating of 8 Minute Abs: 8/10
My Rating of the First YS Video: 8/10
My Rating of the Second YS Video: 10/10 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sweet Potato Skillet

Sweet potatoes are amazing, but after you've had baked one after baked one, they can get boring. So, I found a recipe for sweet potato chunks cooked in the skillet with only olive oil and a few spices! Here 'tis:

2 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1. Peel and cut up sweet potatoes into 
chunks (this part is extremely difficult,
so make sure you have a good knife).

2. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat.
3. Once oil is heated, add potatoes and spices.

4. Cook for about twenty minutes, until potatoes are soft to eat.
(Stir occasionally.)
There you have it!
These potatoes tasted superb! The cayenne pepper gave them a nice kick while the cinnamon kept them sweet, and they were cooked until they were just tender enough to chew but not too soft. The only difficult thing about this recipe was cutting up the sweet potatoes, but I have to say it was completely worth it! If you're ever looking for a way to shake up the method in which you cook sweet potatoes, try this; you won't regret it. 

My Rating of the Sweet Potato Skillet: 10/10
Note: This recipe was adapted from here

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Spaghetti is absolutely one of my favorite meals, and I always use whole wheat pasta when I make it, but I've wanted to try using spaghetti squash instead for a while now. It's not that whole wheat pasta is bad for you, I just think that when there is an opportunity to sneak another vegetable into a meal, TAKE IT! So I bought myself a spaghetti squash at the store and finally made some pasta out of it.

1 Spaghetti Squash
Olive Oil
Spices (I used Thyme and Rosemary, but you could use whatever blend you want.)
Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half length wise.

3. Use a knife and spoon to cut and scoop all of the seeds and goop out.

4. On a greased cookie sheet lined with tin foil, sprinkle your spices.

5. Brush a little olive oil on the insides of your squash and season with black pepper.
6. Place both halves face down on the season coated cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 40 minutes at 400°F.

8. Just after they've been taken out of the oven, hold each half with a pot holder and scoop the "noodles" out with a fork. 

9. There you have it! Spaghetti squash pasta!

From what I've seen online, you can use this as a pasta substitute in almost any recipe, but this time I chose to pair my spaghetti squash pasta with an all time favorite: meat sauce!

This spaghetti squash pasta is absolutely perfect for a pasta substitute. It is crunchier than regular noodles, but doesn't have a strong taste that makes it unbearable to eat with tomato sauce. In fact, I actually enjoyed this spaghetti squash pasta just as much as regular pasta (probably even more because I didn't feel guilty about the carbs!). This recipe is a must for anyone wanting to add more veggies to their diet. 

My Rating of Spaghetti Squash Pasta: 10/10

Note: This recipe was adapted from here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mashed Cauliflower

I haven't had a nice heap of buttery mashed potatoes in ages and I've read about using mashed cauliflower instead. At first I just ignored it because I hated cauliflower, but then I tried it raw and didn't absolutely detest it. So, I finally got around to Googling some mashed cauliflower recipes and came up with my own.

1 Head of Cauliflower
1/4 cups of Milk 
1 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. of Garlic Powder
**Note that all of these amounts can be altered a little bit, but this is just what I ended up using.**

1. Chop up cauliflower into florets.

2. Boil the cauliflower in water for 10 minutes (mine went a little extra).

3. Transfer to bowl and mash with a potato masher.
4. Add in olive oil, milk and garlic powder.

5. Viola! You have a nice bowl of mashed cauliflower.
Excuse the paper plates, I already had a heap of dishes to clean.
I have to say, they weren't half bad. They weren't a nice bowl of fat-filled, buttery mashed potatoes, but I liked them. Another plus is that they were extremely filling! I'm definitely going to make more of this, and I will probably do some more research for more spices that I can add to amp up the flavor. Other than that, this was a success!

My Rating of Mashed Cauliflower: 8/10

Juice Cleanse Time

This past Friday, I got my wisdom teeth extracted. I had been awaiting this procedure for a while, and I thought that it would be a great idea to go on a juice cleanse afterwards. I wouldn't be able to eat many solids anyway and knowing my parents, they would try and take my to get a milkshake after surgery and that was NOT happening. So I surfed the web a little and found a lot of information and recipes for juice cleanses and came up with my own three day juice cleanse. The first thing you need to know is that three days before you cleanse, start weaning yourself off of all foods EXCEPT raw fruits and veggies. After you've primed your body for the cleanse, its time to start. Here are the five recipes I used for my cleanse; I had one of these juices per day, but I slept until noon for the last two days of my cleanse, so you may want to add one more for the morning. Here they are:

Mean Green Juice
1 cucumber
4 celery stalks
2 apples
6 to 8 leaves kale
1/2 lemon
1-in ginger

Green Ginger Ale
1 cucumber
2 leaves of kale
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 lemon

Green Juice
3 leaves kale, stem removed, roughly chopped
1 handful spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 English cucumber
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 apple, halved and seeds removed
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 lemon, rind removed

Red Juice
1 apple, quartered
2 red beets, quartered
3 large carrots
1 orange, rind removed
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger
1 handful spinach

Green Machine
4 Kale Leaves
2 Apples
2 Cups Spinach
1/2 Cucumber
2 Celery Stalks
1 Med Carrot
1″ Ginger

I have to say, these juices kept me pretty full when I drank water in addition to them. I set up my own little juicing station in my kitchen for three days, and juiced until my heart was content. 

My Juicing Station
When I remembered to, I added a splash of apple cider vinegar to my juices because it is loaded with good bacteria. I did notice myself getting a little smaller in the stomach area, and to be honest, I didn't feel bad at all (especially for someone who had just gotten four teeth cut out of their head) and honestly, the juices were tolerable; they weren't great by any means, but I could manage them. Always make sure that there is a bathroom nearby though, because all of that liquid makes for a full bladder! And one more thing, this juice cleanse wasn't too cheap. I would advise that one be very invested in it because it requires a large amount of fresh fruits and veggies which can add up (I went through nine cucumbers and eight lemons among other things). After your three day cleanse, start gradually adding foods back to your diet and go back to your normal day-to-day lifestyle.  

My Rating of the Three Day Juice Cleanse: 6 out of 10

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Absolute Very Best Workout Shorts Ever

Earlier this month, I took a trip to New York City. It was amazing, and I am definitely going back, but that's not what I'm writing this post about. I'm writing this post to tell you about the best workout shorts ever! As I was strolling along Madison Avenue on a nice afternoon in the Upper East Side, I strolled by a store called Lululemon with a great display of workout clothes in the window. So, I went in an found these: 

They're amazing! They stay completely dry after my hour and a half workouts and are so friggin' comfortable! On top of that they're light and thin and don't move around too much when I run like my Reebok basketball shorts do. Yes, I know the price is a little steep, but they are completely worth it and I am so glad that I purchased them. I'm looking forward to heading back to Lululemon and seeing what else they have, and I would definitely recommend them for anyone who is serious about their workouts.

My Rating of these Lululemon Shorts: 9/10
(The only got a 9 because of the steep price.)

Summer of Health

Hi, my name is Harrison! Recently, I've gotten into living a healthful and fit lifestyle, and I love it. So, this summer that I have off of school is going to be devoted to further continuing my healthful way of life and blogging about it! This blog is going to be a smorgasbord of healthy recipes, fitness tips/experiments and my honest opinions on everything, so sit back, relax and enjoy the summer!