Get in Shape for Summer with Body Space Fitness

Ahhh, finally!! It looks like this loooong winter is finally over. The sun is coming out to play, and you know what that means: summer -AKA bikini season- is right around the corner.

Life's a Beach

If you’re like us, you’re probably thinking that it’s time to get your ass in shape, so we were thrilled when Tony from Body Space Fitness reached out to offer us a few simple lessons in how to kick-start a new fitness regime.

body space fitness best gym in nycThis is Tony. He’s amazing.

I’ll precedent this article with the following: Tony was probably the nicest person that we’ve ever met. Incredibly genuine and enthusiastic, he put great effort into creating a fun and effective workout. Phil and I talked about him for days afterwards- and have since put many of his health and fitness theories into effect. While the orginal intent of the article was highlight Body Space Fitness as a whole, we couldn’t help but focus on The Man, The Myth, & The Legend: Tony Vacharasanee.

body space fitness workout by tony nyc

Q. What’s your background and your specific approach to health/fitness/nutrition?

A. My background is an interesting one that provides me with a nice perspective on things.  When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I spent my adolescence in and out of hospitals, and when it came time to enter the real world and find a job, working for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was the most logical choice.

I spent 7 years in various capacities trying to find my way and see how I could make a living while also doing what I could to give back to other cancer patients. I found that sitting behind a desk wasn’t what I was meant to do. I have always loved martial arts and fitness so looking into becoming a personal trainer was an easy choice. Some of my coaches at my fight gym pointed me in the right direction, to getting my first certification and by introducing me to Kelvin Gary, owner and founder of Body Space Fitness.

While training and working at BSF, I have learned to take training with a functional approach.  That is to say: to train the whole body in a deliberate way that still pushes specific prime movers (chest, back, quadriceps, hamstrings).  No muscle, joint, or limb truly moves in isolation is real life. Your body needs to learn how to move as a whole unit if you’re going to be both strong and safe.

Q. We spoke a lot about balance during our session- both physical balance and the challenge of living a balanced life. What do you  personally do to achieve balance?

A. In terms of physical balance, I try to make sure I get in no less than 4 hours of exercise in a week, although 3 will be enough for most people to continually make progress.  Of those workouts, I make sure to have one day dedicated to strength and one day metabolic. On my strength days, I cover the major movement patterns – Knee Dominant (squats), Hip Dominant (Deadlifts), Horizontal Pushing (Pushups), Horizontal Pulling (Cable Rows), Vertical Pulling (Pull-ups), and Vertical Pushing (Overhead Press).  Whatever movement I’m doing, I try to make sure my core is also involved in some kind of anti-rotation or stabilization capacity. On these days, I load myself up with weight.

With regard to my metabolic days, I usually go through a Training For Warriors Hurricane (sprints combined with strength exercises) or run Speed, Agility, Quickness Drills with some other modalities (Agility Ladders, Box Jumps, Agility Cube, Cone Shuffles, Sleds, Ropes).  On these days, I look to jack up my heart and breathing rate as much as possible. My passion will always lie with martial arts and combat sports, so anything I do in the gym is a supplement to that.

In terms of living a balanced life, I try to make sure that I dedicate as much time to my family and friends as I can. Working 6 days a week and during times when the general population is out of work makes it a little challenging to find the balance. I’m still working on it, and have been getting a lot better.

Q. Bikini (or mankini, if you’re Phil) season is right around the corner. What are 3 things you would recommend to anyone looking to get in shape this spring?

A. LOL awesome visual!  The top three thing I would recommend is nothing new or surprising.

1. Feed appropriately – shop the perimeter of your supermarket and only drink water. Visualize what you what to feel and look like. Imagine every scenario that you go through right now in your day to day, and then put your ideal version of yourself in it. Let your goals be stronger than the temptations. It’s difficult, but it reaps a lot of benefits. If you need guiding principles, Precision Nutrition and Food Babe are great blogs that I always read.

2. Lift heavy – you need strength days to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while you’re resting. Besides, when you become stronger, the looks will follow.

3.  Move fast – the final piece of the trifecta is a metabolic session. Move fast, and sweat a lot. Whether it’s going through a TFW Hurricane, spinning at Fly Wheel, running intervals in the park, or doing animal crawls – keep moving.

Q. What is your go-to exercise or routine?


When in doubt, I’ll do a TFW Hurricane. Since I am certified in level 2 of the Training For Warriors system, it is easy for me to implement. Sprints on an incline for 20 -30 seconds followed by any two exercises (my defaults of late have been plyometric staggered pushups, pullups, hanging knee raises, dips, sandbag clean and press, and kettlebell clean and press). After the 2 exercises, get back on the treadmill.  Rinse and repeat until you have done about 27 full sets of work.

Q. Do you have any “rules” to live by when it comes to nutrition?


A. The more unprocessed and natural, the better.  There is enough trouble with trying to see if I’m putting enough variety of good things in my body, the last thing I need is to constantly regret all the bad food I’m taking in that has been prepackaged and manufactured.  If I’m going to eat cheese, I would prefer it to be cut from a block or wheel, and not come in powder form that needs reconstitution.

I eat a basic paleo diet. I still eat legumes and am not as strict as full paleo calls for, but in general I find that I feel a lot better. Everyone is different, and if eating a certain way gives you more energy, chances are you’re on the right path.

Q. In your opinion, what is most unique about Body Space Fitness?

A. The biggest thing that makes Body Space Fitness unique is the fact that we are one of the first truly semi-private training studios in NYC that focuses on full body functional strength. While others do indeed train clients in a semi-private environment (anywhere from 2-4 people), they either do the same workout regimen at the same time or just invert the order of the exercises planned. At BSF, we train 2-3 people where everyone has their own customized programs that are carried out by the coach. Everyone will perform their respective workouts, which includes individualized corrective exercises used to address each client’s specific problem areas (e.g., tight areas or asymmetrical movement patterns). Using the semi-private model also allows for greater available time slots for all parties at a cheaper price.

The other thing worth mentioning is that all of our coaches have unique skill sets and focuses. We can help meet the specific demands of anyone looking for a fitness plan with regard to pre-natal, post-natal, severe obesity, cancer diagnosis (pending medical clearance), martial arts and combat sports. This is in addition to the normal strength and conditioning that we customize for everyone’s goals and current status.

Q.  What is the most common mistake you see in the gym?


A. People jumping on machines and pumping away without rationale. If you are trying an exercise, know how to do it safely at first, then know why you’re doing it.  And never use the smith machine for squats. You don’t move like that in life, don’t train like that in the gym.

Everything has a place and purpose. I would much rather someone do bodyweight exercises than have them only use machines thinking that they are the best and only way to get in shape. Some people use them and have a specific direction and goal. Awesome. Others use them because they don’t have any. Not so awesome.

Q.  Tell me about Training for Warriors.


A. Training For Warriors is an international system that was originally developed 15 years ago  to increase the athleticism of professional world class fighters by Martin Rooney and has also been used by thousands of athletes, (NFL, Olympic, NBA, MLB, UFC).  Since then, it has been adapted to be able to help anyone from the weekend warrior looking to get back in shape  to senior citizens looking to become stronger so they are more resistant to falls and injury.

TFW is a system that incorporates both strength and metabolic work into it’s programming. It’s a principle driven system that provides training in speed, strength, endurance, nutrition that can help anyone lose fat, build muscle, and feel better about themselves emotionally and psychologically.  With obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease continuing to be prevalent problem in the US, the Training For Warriors system gives me the edge I need to help others become better versions of themselves. As the only affiliate in Manhattan, we are able to offer TFW classes and help people find their way.

Q.  What fitness or health craze are you sick of hearing about?


A. Fitness videos that you do at home. Now yes, they have done an incredible amount of good and have been able to get an otherwise sedentary group of people off the couch and into a healthier lifestyle. With that being said, the principle of individual differences is something that is inherently overlooked with these videos.  Every single person on this planet moves differently and has to find a way to learn how to control their own body.  You may know what a squat feels like, but you can only assume how the person next to you perceives that same squatting movement pattern. They may look fine, but their history of a sprained left ankle, right ACL surgery, and torn left labrum may have them feeling that squat quite different than you.

Regardless of the intent or exercise rationale, there are still going to be people that end up hurting themselves because they are trying to move like the person on the TV. If that same person were to try it in the gym, there would still be people around that would catch something potentially dangerous and offer safe alternatives.

Q: What fitness or health craze are you excited about?


A. I love the fact that people are looking to become stronger instead of skinnier. This includes everyone from the cancer patient looking to get stronger so they can get control of their lives again to the weekend warrior that wants to be stronger and healthier than they have ever been in their life.

Health and fitness have always been a passion, but now that I know what it was I was meant to do in life, I want to help others reach their full potential. I am a cancer survivor and am now the strongest I’ve ever been. I know I haven’t even tapped my potential of physical strength or mental fortitude.  I hope one day to inspire others to keep fighting, no matter what their walk of life. The world has become a lot smaller with instant information at our fingertips. Ignorance is less of an excuse now. Everyone wants to be healthier and stronger. Seeing that fire in clients day in and day out only renews mine.

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Well.. he’s certainly inspired us. If you’re looking to get in shape for spring for life, give Tony a call or shoot him an email:

Tony Vacharasanee | tony@bodyspacefitness.com
Body Space Fitness
47 W 14th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
(646) 684.4912
www.bodyspacefitness.com

Booskerdoo Coffee Giveaway

 

I’ve partnered with Booskerdoo Fresh Roasted Coffee Co. to give you the perfect roast! Based out of NJ and brewing fresh, fair-trade coffee, Booskerdoo offers a variety of rich flavors. They were kind enough to send me 3 variations- the Bottle Rocket, The Black & Tan, and the Bali- all of which are delivering that rich jolt of flavor and energy that I need in the morning.

booskerdoo coffee giveaway big city little blog

Get your java fix by entering our entering our social media giveaway here! One lucky winner will receive

All you have to do is like my Big City Little Blog’s Facebook page, post a picture of your favorite coffee, and get your friends and family to vote. The giveaway ends April 9th, so get cracking and good luck!

 

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Ikea Hack- BCLB Style With The MALM 6 Drawer Dresser

When we moved in 3 years ago, we purchased the Ikea MALM 6 drawer dresser to go with our matching bed-frame in medium brown. We also purchased a beautiful Missoni by Target bed spread.

Our bedroom was rich and dark- laden with shades of deep navies and browns. There was a little pop of tiffany blue and beautiful Portuguese watercolors I stole from my parents attic my parents gave me.

Tiffany Blue Antique Mirror

Tiffany Blue Antique Mirror

Unfortunately, living in the Big City leave most of it’s tenants with little to no sunlight. (Note to self: Sunlight is top priority in our next apartment.) In addition, as every New York knows- most apartments are overpriced shoeboxes, and ours was no exception.

So when we renewed our lease this year, Phil and  I  decided to revamp our living quarters. Turning our cramped, dark space into a bright yet cozy haven.

Step 1: Ikea Hack

In order to create the look and feel of a bigger space, we had to lighten the color palette and create a monochromatic design. We painted the front of our dresser white and added colorful knobs from Anthropologie. The great thing about Anthro knobs is:

  1. They are almost always on sale for about $2- $3
  2. You can mix and match
  3. Colorful knobsare adorable

how to decorate a small nyc apartment

The Ikea Hack itself sounded a bit intimidating, but with a positive attitude, a little patience, and the right tools it was surprisingly quick and easy. First step is to sand down the surface until it no longer shines. Wipe it off with a damn cloth and prepare to drill.

diy interior decorating nyc apartment

We used a marked ruler to measure the middle of the height and a tape measurer to measure 6″ from each side. Then drew a small dot to mark the drilling spot.

how to add knobs to ikea malm dresser ikea hack

We wiped the drawers down a final time, and got to painting: 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of white semi-gloss paint. This primer and paint was made especially for indoor furniture, and can be found at Home Depot.

ikea hack with ikea malm 6 drawer dresser

Less than a few hours later, the paint had dried and it was time to screw in our Anthropologie knobs. Et Voilá! Easy Ikea hack. For now, we’ve decided to leave some of the original brown color for contrast, but we’re debating painting the whole kit and caboodle. Thoughts?

ikea hack ideas malm 6 drawer dresser

Step 2: Monochromatic Palette

To open up the space, Phil and I decided to stick with a beach-inspired pallete: Seafoam green, tiffany blue, beige, grey and white. We ditched our old bedframe and purchased the Leirvik bed and matching bedside tables.

decorating small spaces on a budget

Our brown and blue Missoni were replaced with a hotel white Ikea, complimented with a brownish/grey and tiffany blue sheets. At JC Penny’s, we walked away with incredibly inexpensive finds: curtains, throws, and a bedskirt. Finally, my boss donated some gorgeous white lamps that just happen to match our bedframe perfectly. We just had to pick up new shades at Home Depot.

how to decorate a small new york city apartment on a budget

 

We couldn’t be happier with our new room- with the lamps and new color scheme it is infinitely more brighter and much more welcoming. Now all we need is a new area rug, and the transformation is complete!

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Pizza Party in PA

I’m really getting into dinner parties lately. I think the days of “Thirsty Thursday” and all-night booze-fests are behind me fading, as the thought of a quiet night in with some fine wine, gorgeous cuisine, and good company is much more enticing.

how to plan a pizza party

So when my brother received a fancy-schmancy Brevil Pizza Maker for his birthday, he didn’t have to ask twice to get the family to gather round the kitchen for a good ol’ fashioned pizza party.

We purchased a freshly-made dough, sauce, and toppings from the local grocer and got to work. Mom poured the wine, phil prepped the dough, and the rest of us got to chopping various vegetables, meats, and cheeses.

prosciutto fig basil pizza recipe

The Breville Pizza Maker get’s extremely hot, so A) be careful, and B) get ready for deliciously , Neopolitan-style crust: crispy and charred on the outside/ soft and airy on the inside. My favorite pizza of the night was a collaboration between my brother and me: sliced prosciutto, figs, mozzarella, pecorino baked to perfection and topped with fresh basil. A little sweet and a little salty. Just like me.

I can’t tell you how much fun this was- so much better than your average dinner party. When everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets to work, it’s outrageously entertaining and the conversation never stops.

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Pot Luck Game Night

There’s something very nostalgic about game night. It reminds me of the good ol’ days of Mall Madness and Pretty Pretty Princess. (Remember Pretty Pretty Princess!? Don’t get the black ring!) Recently, game night has gotten a well-deserved digital makeover by none other than Ellen DeGeneres. She created the ultimate version of charades called Head’s Up. It’s pretty awesome.

Game night for adults sometimes requires a little liquid courage, so to get the night started a little birdie sent me a couple of bottles of vino. I decided to turn the event into  ”Pot Luck Game Night,” and encouraged my guests to bring food that they felt would pair well with Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Rosé and Willm Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs NV.

d'alsace wine review food blog

My good friend Janine paired the  Rosé with some decadent crostinis. One of which: a rosemary baguette smothered in ricotta cheese, drizzled with honey, and topped with hazelnuts and sliced prosciutto.

truffle rosemary popcorn and crostini big city little blog

Molly decided on some quality cheese and crackers- brie, manchego, camembert and red pepper Alloutte cheese spread, while Phil contributed olives, salami, and rosemary truffle popcorn. Di-vine.

d'alsace wine review big city little blog

For dessert, Pete was kind enough to bring a gorgeously-rich chocolate mousse cake from La Bergamote.

donatella arpaia stoneware from hsn

I decided to pick up on the notes of apple in the Blanc de Noir and keep it healthy with a kale salad. I was lucky enough to pick celebrated New York pastry chef Andrea Jarosh’s brain, and she gave me an awesome (and simple!) recipe for candied nuts. I finished my salad with those and a home-made creamy, lemony,  honey-mustard dressing. Recipe Below…

Kale & Mesculin Salad with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing

kale salad recipe nyc food blog

What You’ll Need For the Salad:

  • 2 oz. kale
  • 2 oz. mesculin
  • 1 1/2 green apples, julienned
  • 3 oz. cooked pancetta
  • 3 oz. fig honey and rosemary mixture. (See fig recipe)
  • 3 oz. Grana Padano cheese, grated

delicious kale salad recipe

Directions: 

Toss kale and mesculin in a bowl. Top with julienned (thinly-sliced) apples and chopped pieces of the fig and honey mixture. Fully cook your pancetta in a pan and top the salad with that, the candied nuts, and Grana Padano cheese before drizzling with homemade dressing.

What You’ll Need for Candied Cashews:

  • 9 oz cashews
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • baking sheet

how to candy nuts candied cashew recipe

Step 1:

Boil cashews in equal parts water and confections sugar for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid becomes thick and syrupy.

Step 2:

This is the part where Andrea likes to deep fry the nuts and toss them in salt. (Hello!) I must reiterate that I was trying to keep this semi-healthy, so I decided to bake them. Simply spread them out on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes, or until they start to get golden brown. Once they’re cooked, sprinkle them with salt and carefully slide them off the baking sheet and onto the salad. Don’t wait too long- or they’ll be all stuck together.

What You’ll Need for Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp  lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole grain honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

In a mixing bowl, measure out your non-fat Greek Yogurt and whisk in lemon juice and  zest. While continuing to whisk, add a splash (about 1 tablespoon) of red wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, honey, and olive oil until you reach the desired taste and consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss your salad.

Crémant d’Alsace Cocktails

Created by Brooklyn-based Mixologist Katie Stipe of Last Call Consulting Alsatian Spritz:  Warming spirit of apple brandy & notes of cinnamon spice with an elegant effervescence of Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs.

nyc food and cocktail blog recipeWhat You’ll Need:

  • 1 ounce apple brandy
  • .25 ounce maple syrup
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters
  • Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut
  • Cinnamon stick and apple slice for garnish

Directions:

Stir the apple brandy, maple syrup and bitters then strain into coupe glass or over ice in a rocks glass.Top with 3 ounces Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs Brut. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon or cinnamon stick and apple slice.

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Polar Vortex. Spanish for “Pale Dry Skin”

Bad joke aside, I know I’m not the only one dealing with some major skin issues this winter. This English Rose was thorny beyond belief with dry flakiness and irritated dry patches all over. Was that TMI? Did I go to far? Sorry. My bad. In all seriousness, I had what some would call a “meltdown” while running into Sephora and crying for help in sheer desperation.

After countless samples and lectures from the staff, I’ve finally found a few products that turned my dry skin into a dewey, velvety, and even complexion from head to toe. I give you: my remedies for dry, winter skin. Take that Polar Vortex.

Winter Skin Remedies

For the face:

  1. At the suggestion of a dear friend (Read: FLAWLESS) I purchased the Clarisonic face cleanser, which gently buffs away imperfections and reveals a face softer than a baby’s bottom. I use it only at night to wash off all the make-up, dirt, and God knows what else has accumulated on my face throughout the day. In the morning, I simply splash a little cold water on my face so as to not over-clean and dry out the skin.
  2. I use said Clarisonic with Josie Maran Face Cleanser- a gentle oil-based cleanser that has made my face happier than I’ve ever seen it. I know what your thinking- cleaning with oil? Doesn’t make any sense… But let me tell you IT WORKS! As explained to me by a lovely beauty at Sephora, “When your skin properly moisturized, it stops producing excess oil, which clogs pores and creates pimples. Dry skin causes break-outs and redness, moist skin feels like velvet and looks like perfection.” After only 2 washes, I saw and felt an incredible difference.
  3. Both morning and night, I use a few drops of Josie Maran Argan Oil. It’s 100% organic and my skin drinks it up faster than a co-ed drinks $1 beers on college night.
  4. Finally, I complete my skin-care regimen with a little dab of Nivea Soft Moisturizer. Note: This product has been tried and tested by generations of beauties in my family. Nanny & Co all used Nivea growing up, and had faces absent of wrinkles and imperfections well into their 90s. Now-a-days, Nivea makes a “Soft” version of their classic creme, which is easier to apply but just as effective.

For the body:

  1. After the success of an oil-based facial cleanser, I decided I needed one for the body. Also at Sephora, I found L’Occitane Almond Oil Body Cleanser. It doesn’t foam much, which is a testament of not stripping the skin of natural oils. Instead, it gently cleanses and leaves skin refreshed and supple.
  2. After a nice, steamy shower I massage L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil  into my skin- concentrating on any particularly dry areas. I love the smell of this oil and the fact that it is quickly-absorbed into the skin. No greasy/oily hands for me!
  3. After oiling up, I love LOVE to lather myself up in Kiehl’s Creme de Corps. It’s one of the silkiest, most luxurious creams around. It’s not exactly cheap, and luckily there’s an abundance of it for the taking at my wonderful, over-priced gym.

For an extra glow:

Now my face and body are well-moisturized, happy and healthy, but there’s one winter skin problem I have yet to take care of. I am pale. I’m not talking classic, fair-skin Daisy Buchanan pale. I’m talking Irish Girl on the Beach pale…

That's me on the left.

That’s me on the left. Anyway, my favorite products for a healthy, natural glow in the winter are as follows:

Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream
While not cheap, this luxurious self-tanner is as moisturizing as it is effective. It smells more like a lotion than a tanning cream (thank you Jesus) and goes on smooth and even.

Jergen’s Natural Glow
For a more affordable and subtle color, I’m a huge fan of Jergen’s Natural Glow. It gives you exactly that, and is available at most drug stores.

L Oréal Paris sun care
What I like about this self-tanner is that it is easily mixed with your favorite lotion, which allows you to control the amount of color development. It can be quite drying, so I don’t typically use it alone.

 

Homemade Fig Newtons with Rosemary & Goat Cheese

I attended a superbowl party recently a while back. The hostess was graciously serving up appetizers of all kinds, pizzas, and decadent baked goods for dessert, and I offered to bring a little something to contribute. What do you need for a superbowl party? Something bite-sized, delicious, and easy to eat with your hands. Sausage rolls seemed like the perfect snack and I just so happened to have puff pastry and banger meat tucked away in the freezer for such an occasion. The only problem: the hostess in question is a vegetarian.

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

Rather than skimp away on the sausage rolls completely, I decided to use half of my puff pastry for them and half for a fig, rosemary & goat cheese puff. Ridiculously simple, fast, and all-around awesome.

 

Homemade Fig Newtons

Homemade Fig Newtons

 

What You’ll Need

  • 1 puff pastry sheet (1/2 package of Pepperidge Farm)
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese (President)
  • 10 figs, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 sprig of rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • immersion blender
  • rolling pin
  • baking sheet

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350F. On medium heat on the stovetop, let the honey, rosemary, and figs infuse together for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Use a handheld  immersion blender to form a gooey consistency.

Step 2 

Roll the sheet of dough into a long rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Spread the soft cheese lengthwise, followed by the fig and honey mixture. Tip: For even MORE mouth-watering flavor, you can add slices of thin prosciutto here too!

Step 3

Brush the egg wash onto one side of the dough as an adhesive and then roll the other side over. Use a fork to seal the ends, if necessary. Brush egg was on the top to create a golden crust. Slice into 1 1/2″-2″ pieces and poke a small hole in the top of each piece.

Step

Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let the fig and goat cheese puffs cool slightly before serving them. Et voilá! Home-made fig newtons. Gourmet style.

 

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Don’t forget to facebook or tweet me if you try this recipe. I love feedback and I’d like see how yours turns out!

 

Phil’s Pesto

My new obsession? Phil’s homemade pesto sauce. Being on a chronic budget, we switched out expensive pignoli (or pine) nuts for a much more affordable and buttery cashew. This recipe is as easy as it is versatile and can be served over meats, pastas, or as a sandwich condiment. When we’re feeling extra healthy- we like to roast a little spaghetti squash and have “angel hair pasta and pesto sauce.” Yummers.

pulse to blend while drizzling olive oil

Ingredients: 

  • 1 bunch Basil
  • 1 bunch Flat Leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of unsalted roasted cashews
  • grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste (we used 1 small pinch)
  • olive oil
  • blender or immersion blender

Step 1:

Rinse basil and parsley and remove the stems. Dry the herbs and set aside

 Step 2:

Roughly chop your cashews and place in a sauté pan on medium low heat. Lightly brown to release some of the natural oils. When golden brown in color, remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3:

Roughly chop your garlic and start adding all your ingredients to your blender or bowl.

Step 4:

Once all the ingredients are added to the the mixture, start blending while adding the olive oil at a slow and steady pace. Stop adding oil when the Pesto is a consistency that you’re happy with. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve over pasta, pizza, fish or chicken and enjoy!

 

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Meal Prep Part II: Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken Cutlets

Who says healthy food has to be bland? Get rid of that boiled chicken or fish and try this one on for size: pumpkin seed crusted chicken cutlets. With only 5 carbs per serving, low sodium, and a good source of fiber and protein,  this is a very healthy alternative to chicken fingers/nuggets/cutlets/what-have-you. I served mine with steamed broccoli and carrots and topped it with a home-made pesto sauce for added flavah. This is perfect for meal-prepping- it’s easy, delicious, and nutritious. Ch-ch-check it out!

clean eating breaded chicken recipe

What You’ll Need

  • 1 bag of Eden Organic pumpkin seeds
  • 1 lb of chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1-2 cups of flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • spray olive oil

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spritz lightly with olive oil spray.  Rinse your chicken and cut into strips- 1 1/2″ wide.

Step 2 

Use the pulse setting on your food processor or blender to smooth the pumpkin seeds into a powdery consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3

Prepare an assembly line for dredging the chicken: one bowl of beaten eggs, 1 bowl of flour, and 1 bowl of ground pumpkin seeds.

Step 4

Prepare to get messy! Dredge the chicken in the flour first to seal in moisture. Shake it slightly to remove excess flour and dip it in the egg-wash. This acts as an adhesive.  Next, roll the chicken around in the pumpkin seeds. Gently shake off the excess and place onto the baking tray.

Step 5

Bake the chicken in the oven at 400 F for 15-2o minutes or until cooked through. Serve with your favorite steamed vegetables and top with Phil’s Pesto Sauce!

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Meal Prep Part I: Vegetable & Grain Soup

Brr! Winter has officially arrived and it is COLD here in New York! Even News Channel 4 made a joke about how it is only “News 4 Degrees today.” (Not funny.)

In addition to the weather, I’ve just come back from  holiday vacation, where I felt the need to stuff my system with imported sausage and puff pastry for days on end. Needless to say, I feel the need to detox and eat healthier.

clean eating recipe for winter soup

Vegetable and grain soup is perfect for delicious, healthy meal for lunch or dinner and my father gave me a bag of Bob’s red mill Whole Grains and Beans Soup mix to take back to New York. Phil also bought a new slow cooker recently, so I thought I’d put that to use. Sadly, I made too much soup for the slow cooker and had to transfer it to a large soup pot.

How to make a healthy grain soup

In an effort to eat clean and drop a few El Bees, I’ve decided to meal prep and ladle 1 cup of soup into to-go containers to take to work. It turned out to be fan-freakin’-tastic and is the best way to fend off the inevitable cold this season.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 quarts of chicken stock (we used homemade)
  • 1 bag of Bob’s red mill Whole Grains and Beans Soup mix
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 5 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 pint of small sweet peppers in various colors or 1 green, 1 red, and 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of cut string beans (or fresh, but canned is easier!)
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1

Start off by sautéing your chopped onion in a 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.

Step 2

Add in the 2 quarts of homemade chicken stock. If using store-bought, I would recommend getting the low-sodium organic variety. It’s much healthier! Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3

Add the chopped carrots, peppers, beans, and tomato sauce. We used left over pizza sauce from Citerella that we had to get rid of. I like the Citerella brand because the only use simple, natural ingredients. There are about 5 on the label and all of which you can easily pronounce. Unless of course you struggle with tom-ate-toe versus tom-ah-toe, but that’s a whole different story.

Step 4

Add  Bob’s red mill Whole Grains and Beans  to the pot, stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and let it brew for 2-3 hours. The longer it sits, the more reduced and delicious the soup will be. So be patient!

Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve with a slice of crusty Italian bread and enjoy!

 

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