Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How are you celebrating 4th of July?

How do you like to celebrate the 4th of July?  This can be a crazy day with calories out of control... potato salad, pasta salad, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, colorful dessert, beer... are you going all out or do you plan to make it work for staying somewhat healthy?  I plan to focus on the veggie plates, stay away from the creamy salads, and limit my meat.  To make sure I don't go crazy I have already found time for my workout and I am making super healthy food choices before we head to a party at 5pm!  I started off by soaking 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds in water for 5 min, adding 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 1/3 cup coaches oats, topping off the water then microwaving for 2-3 minutes.  Topped with a little unsweetened almond milk, fresh blueberries and chopped watermelon!  Delicious, healthy AND patriotic :)

Here are a few more recipes that can help you stay on track today but are still festive:

Cerveza-Marinated Chicken Skewers (from Beachbody Thin Kitchen)
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast cut in 1" chunks
1 cup beer
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
nonstick veg oil spray
Combine beer, lemon juice, oil, paprika, oregano, salt & pepper in a zip-lock bag; add chicken.  Squeeze out the air and seal the bag; shake lightly and turn to coat the chicken.  Refrigerate 1 hour, turning the bag occasionally.
 Transfer the marinade from the bag to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 5 min.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in hot water 30 min (to prevent them from burning)
Spray the broiler or grill rack with nonstick vegetable oil spray; preheat; or-alternatively-spray a nonstick ridged grill pan and set over high heat.
Divide the chicken among 12 8" skewers (approx 2 chunks on each skewer).  Grill the skewers 4" from the heat until lightly browned, about 3 min.  turn and brush with the reduced marinade.  Cook until the chicken is thoroughly done, about 2 more min.  Serve immediately (6 servings)
2 skewers= 160 cal, 5g fat, 22g protein

Garden Pasta Salad 
1 cup broccoli in small florets
2 sweet carrots peeled and penny sliced
*3 cups whole wheat or rice pasta
1 yellow pepper, seeded, deveined, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup purple onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup fresh corn
*reserve 3 tbsp of pasta cooking water for dressing
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
3 tbsp reserved pasta cooking water
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, passed through press
Blanch broccoli & carrots in post of boiling water for 3 min.  Place in a bowl of ice water. Drain well and place in a bowl.  Using the same water, cook pasta al dente.  Drain pasta, reserving 3 tbsp of water for dressing.  Rinse pasta under cold water and drain well.  Place pasta in bowl with veggies.  Add remaining ingredients.
In a small bowl, whishk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss.  Chill until serving!
You can add any vegetables you want, just blanch the tougher veggies to make it easier to eat!

For Dessert - buy a variety of fresh melons and berries.  Serve them on their own or with some whipped cream lightly sweetened with agave syrup.

To Drink - lemon water, light beer, wine, or try a pomegranate Fizz to be more festive.

Pomegranate Fizz
2 oz pomegranate juice (100% not cocktail)
1/2-1 oz triple sec (optional)
5 oz chilled champagne
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
6-8 pomegranate seeds
lemon zest
In a champagne flute pour the pomegranate juice.  Add the liqueur, if using, then the champagne or sparkling water.  Top with a few pomegranate seeds and grated lemon rind. Enjoy!

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Have an amazing 4th of July!

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