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Drinking Your Greens

The explosion of green smoothies and juices is everywhere.  Within the last couple months, 3 new juice places have opened within one mile of my house and grocery stores and Starbucks are now selling pre-packaged juices.  Are they as good for you as they seem and what are the differences?  My friend, Elizabeth Girouard, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, wrote an excellent article that answers many of these questions and explains why we all should give green drinks a try.  We have posted a portion of her article below.  Read on to learn more.

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I am often asked:  What’s the rage with Green Smoothies? 

This is a great question.  Many of my Healthy Eating Challengers still start off their days with a Green Smoothie – and here are a few reasons why!

Green Smoothies are:

1)  an easy way to get in more than 3 servings of vegetables

2)  easier to digest since the blender starts the digestion process for you by breaking  down the veggies’ cell walls.  This means your body can quickly assimilate the nutrients.

3)  a great vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient and anti-oxidant infusion to start the day.

4)  a nutrient dense powerhouse that can improve your immunity to colds, flus and other potential bugs.

5)  able to help alkalize our bodies which reduces our susceptibility to disease

6)  filled with dark leafy greens that have a lot of chlorophyll which delivers oxygen to our bodies that can increase our energy levels.

7)  able to help diminish cravings and reduce hunger as it is providing nourishment to your body.

8)  able to help you lose weight as you are adding in more vegetables and crowding out the less beneficial foods for your body!

Other related questions that I often receive are:

What’s the difference between juicing and blending (smoothies)?  And, is one better than the other?  And, does juicing increase my blood sugar?

Read the rest of the article at: http://tinyurl.com/pwr8w5h

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Keepin’ It Light

As our name “Heels to Laces” suggests…a girl’s gotta put on her heels and have a little fun. With the holiday weekend fast approaching, we thought we would give you some great tasting,  “light” cocktail recipes for a little indulgence while keeping your calories in check.

If you have other suggestions, please comment at the end of this blog.

Cheers to all and a happy Memorial Day!Key-Lime-Margarita

Mojito
8 oz. club soda
1 oz white rum
Fresh Mint
Fresh lime
2 tbsp. of sugar (half the normal serving) prepared as simple syrup
Total about 150 calories.

Strawberry variation of the mojito:
8 oz. club soda
1 oz. white rum
10 mint leaves
4 sliced strawberries
4 lime slices (1/2 of lime)
1 tsp. agave syrup
Combine all ingredients, serve over ice.
Only 95 calories!

Skinny Peach Margarita
1 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. of peach nectar
Few squeezes of fresh lime juice
Citrus zest for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and pour into martini glass then garnish with lime.
Approx. 95 calories.

Farmer’s Market Margarita
1 1/4 oz. Corzo Silver Tequila (or your favorite variety
2 sprigs cilantro
2 slices cucumber
2 slices jalapeno
1 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. distilled water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 lime wheel, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake. Serve over the rocks and garnish with lime wheel.
About 164 calories.

Peach Tea
1 ½ oz. Vodka
4 oz. Cold Peach White Tea
Combine ingredients and shake vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass.
About 150 calories.

Negroni Sbagliato
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Vermouth
1 oz. Prosecco
1 orange wedge, for garnish
Build first three ingredients over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with orange wedge.
Only 95 calories.

Vanilla Burst
1 oz. vanilla flavored vodka
6 oz. soda water
Pour over ice.
Approx. 100 calories.

Can do the same with tequila – add a little lime for the taste of the margarita without the sour mix.

Sour Apple Martini
2 ½ oz. sour mix
1 oz. Vodka
¾ oz. sour apple liquor
About 160 calories

Wine
Red or white, it is approximately 120 calories for a 5 oz. pour

Gin & Tonic
1 oz. Gin
3 oz. tonic
Squeeze of lime
Only about 103 calories. 

Skinny Bloody Mary
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 oz. V8 light
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
Celery stalk & lime for garnish
A few drops of hot sauce (optional).
Combine all ingredients and serve over ice.
Only 117 calories!

Lisa’s Fav
1 oz. Vodka
6 oz. club soda
Lime
Splash of cranberry
Pour all ingredients over ice.
About 120 calories.

My Personal Favorite
Riondo Prosecco – light and refreshing mix between a cold glass of white wine and champagne, without the dryness (I buy it by the case.  15% off at A&P Liquors in Summit. Tell them I sent you 😉 )
Approx. 100- 120 calories per glass

I have also enjoyed a Skinny Girl Margarita now and again… the Sweet and Tart Grapefruit is my preference.

Cheers!

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Granola Bars: Homemade and Amazing

I have referred to my daughter’s cooking in past blogs and I can’t resist sharing her latest treat with everyone.  These granola bars with blueberries (or any berry of your choice) and yogurt drizzle are not only healthy, but incredibly delicious.  They are a good source of protein, omega-3, biotin, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.  I never considered making my own granola bars until I tasted these and I have a feeling you will agree.

There is only one caveat – resist the urge to eat the entire batch at once.  We wrap them individually and keep them in the refrigerator so we don’t finish them off as fast as we make them.

Note – the yogurt drizzle contains sugar (the only non-healthy item in the entire recipe) so you can choose to skip it altogether as we sometimes do, or just lightly drizzle the bars with it.  As an additional note, the directions below will make much more yogurt coating than we have ever needed or used.

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Ingredients for the bars:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown rice krispies
1/4 cup whole roasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (I typically use peanut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (rounded) cup fresh blueberries or 3/4 cup dried blueberries

Ingredients for the yogurt drizzle:

1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions for bars:
  • Skip this step if using dried blueberries.  Roast fresh blueberries in 350 degree over for 30 minutes or until they pop and shrink.  Best to coat baking sheet with parchment paper – then blueberries won’t stick
  • In a large bowl combine the oats, rice krispies, almonds, chia seeds and salt.
  • Combine almond or peanut butter with honey and microwave for about 40 seconds or until mixture is pourable
  • Add vanilla to warm honey mixture
  • Add honey mixture to the dry oat mixture and combine – it will be thick!
  • Add dried blueberries
  • Coat a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper and pour mixture into pan and press down evenly and until tightly packed
  • Place in freezer for one hour, then cut into bars
  • Bars should be stored in refrigerator to keep fresh and hold their shape better.

Directions for yogurt drizzle:

  • Combine water, vanilla and then whisk gelatin in and let thicken for about 5 minutes
  • In another bowl, combine yogurt, honey and salt
  • Microwave yogurt mixture for 15 seconds, mix and repeat till warm, but do not let it boil
  • Add gelatin mixture to yogurt mixture and whisk together
  • Add in powdered sugar and whisk until thick, but pourable
  • Drizzle bars with the yogurt
  • The bars will be sticky now – we usually just wrap them (one or two together) with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later eating. The yogurt will harden in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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