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FitMenCook
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My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.
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This year has come and gone and we have already arrived at the “SuperBowl” of cooking – Thanksgiving.

Many people have a lot of angst around this time of year because we while we want to enjoy our favorite, family indulgent recipes, we don’t want our enjoyment to totally derail our healthy eating efforts.

But you don’t have to! It’s fine to enjoy and then get right back on track!

Here are 5 easy ideas to help you salvage SOME of your Thanksgiving food so you can reduce food waste.

Calories and macronutrients will need to be calculated by you.  Since recipes for foods will vary by household, I just want to share some ideas that may help you take some of the food and re-package it in a much more calorie-conscious way.

I got all of the ingredients from my local Kroger grocery store so the additional items you will need for the recipes should be easy to find.

WATCH THE VIDEO for context and to answer any recipe preparation questions.


 

MASHED POTATO WAFFLE

mashed potato waffle

Leftover ingredient: Mashed Potatoes
gallery-1453311614-delish-greek-yogurt-mashed-potatoes-recipe

 

Extra Ingredients needed:

  • egg (or egg white)
  • green onion
  • reduced fat cheddar (optional)
  • spray coconut or olive oil

 

EGG WHITE FRITTATA

egg white frittata

Leftover ingredient: Stuffing
o-vegetarian-stuffing-facebook

 

Extra Ingredients needed:

  • minced garlic
  • diced onion
  • egg whites
  • reduced fat mozzarella
  • leftover kale
  • leftover red bell pepper
  • spray olive oil or coconut oil

 

SWEET POTATO SALMON CAKE

salmon sweet potato cakes

Leftover ingredient: Sweet Potato Pie (or mashed sweet potatoes)
sweet-potato-pie_19413

 

Extra Ingredients needed:

 

NO-MAYO CURRY TURKEY SALAD

no may curry turkey salad

Leftover ingredient: Turkey
imgres

 

Extra Ingredients needed:

  • avocado
  • curry
  • fresh tarragon
  • fresh rosemary (small amount)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
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Whether you’re binge watching your favorite Internet shows or preparing appetizers for a dinner party, these cauliflower pizza bites are a sure winner.  I came up with the recipe while thinking about two of my favorite foods –  pizza and potato chips.

I wanted to create pizza “chips.”  After trying out different combinations of seasonings for homemade potato chips, it occurred to me that I should just create mini-pizzas about the size of potato chips.  This would also solve the flimsy cauliflower pizza crust problem, whereby it’s often hard to pick up and hold like a regular pizza.

Problem solved.  And so was my hunger.  Oh yeah – it’s definitely calorie conscious so enjoy even more.

 

Ingredients for 6 pizza bites:

  • Crust:
    • 285g cauliflower florets (cut from a medium head of cauliflower)
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/3 cup reduced fat shredded parmesan
    • 3 tablespoons almond flour
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder (or flakes)
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Homemade sauce:
    • 2/3 cup tomato sauce (no salt)
    • 3/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Place cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender.  Pulse blend until the cauliflower is fine like quinoa.
  3. Empty the cauliflower contents onto a cheesecloth and wrap it up like a ball.  Squeeze the ball of cauliflower in order to get out all of the water.  Once you squeeze out the most amount of water as possible, empty the contents onto another dry piece of cheesecloth and repeat.  After squeezing the second time, I like to spread the cauliflower out on a paper towel and let it air dry for at least 20 minutes so that it can be as dry as possible.
  4. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the crust.
  5. Spray a muffin mold with cooking spray or olive oil, then add about 1.5 tablespoon of the cauliflower mixture to each mold.  Use your fingers to pat the cauliflower down in the molds, then use your thumb or index finger to create a mini-indenture in the middle of the cauliflower crust to resemble a deep dish pizza.
  6. Bake the crust in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. While that’s baking, prepare a homemade pizza sauce.  To save time, you can use a store bought marinara.
  8. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat, then add olive oil and minced garlic.  Cook the garlic in the oil for about 3 minutes to allow it to flavor the oil.  Then, toss in cherry tomatoes and increase to medium-high heat.  Cook the tomatoes for about 4 to 5 minutes so that the tomatoes get soft and explode in the skillet and it begins to resemble tomato sauce/paste.
  9. Add Italian seasoning to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute, then toss in tomato sauce.  Stir it up and season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  10. Remove the crust from the oven and ensure the edges are golden brown that it’s not soggy to touch.  Add about 1 teaspoon of the homemade sauce to each mold – do NOT drench the crust in sauce as it will make the pizza soggy.
  11. Add a tablespoon of mozzarella to each pizza, then place the mini-pizzas back in the oven to bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
  12. After removing them from the oven, allow them to slightly cool so they are easier to remove from the molds, then immediately garnish with basil (if desired) and enjoy.

Approximate macros for 1 of 6 pizza bites:

104 calories, 6g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 7g protein, 2g fiber, 3g sugar

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Just in time for the holidays! Here’s a delicious, Southern-inspired comfort food treat for your family get-together or your weekly meal prep.  Keep in mind that some of the ingredients below are optional – that’s just me trying to add a little something “extra” for the holiday.  With that in mind, make this recipe your own but definitely try to keep it on the “lighter” side!

Ingredients for 12 muffins:

  • Dry
    • 1 1/2 cup oat flour (or whole wheat flour)
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 4 tablespoons coconut sugar (or raw sugar or Stevia)
  • Wet
    • 1 whole egg
    • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Extras
    • 246g mashed sweet potato (roughly a medium-sized sweet potato)
    • 4 slices turkey or center-cut pork bacon (nitrate-free, uncured)
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese**
    • 1/3 cup chopped green onion**
    • 1 chopped jalapeño (seeds removed)**

 

Steps:

  1. Peel a raw sweet potato and chop it into large pieces.  In a small pot add about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.  Add the raw chunks of sweet potato to a steamer (or metal) basket and steam the sweet potato until soft.  Alternatively, you can bake a medium sweet potato then peel it.
  2. Mash the cooked sweet potato with a fork and set it aside.
  3. Cook your choice of bacon
  4. Mix together all of the dry ingredients into a bowl using a fork.
  5. In a separate larger bowl, beat together the wet ingredients.  Slowly stir in the dry ingredients using a spatula.  Then, fold in any of the “extra” ingredients using a spatula.  Ensure the batter is completely mixed but be careful not to over-mix the ingredients.
  6. Spray a muffin mold with cooking spray or coconut oil, then evenly divide the mixture among the molds.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F or until you can pierce the muffins with a toothpick and it comes out clean.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 12 muffins (using turkey bacon and cheddar):

178 calories, 22g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 7g protein, 2.5g fiber, 5g sugar

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November is Diabetes Awareness month so there is a lot of focus on lower carbohydrate and low-glycemic recipes.  Incidentally, this is a pretty timely post because I’ve been meaning to address a number of requests for lower-carb recipes and I wanted to tackle a very common breakfast recipe that tends to be higher in carbohydrates – pancakes.

Don’t believe the hype!  You can still enjoy flavorful food without some of the ingredients that tend to enhance food flavor and texture.

This recipe is a great “base” recipe for others that may require making substitutions because of dietary restrictions.  Check out my notes below and watch the video for a full explanation.

Enjoy!

 

OAN, I’m really digging the Copper Pan in this video! Easiest cooking surface I’ve used to date.  All I did was wipe it clean with a paper towel.  I picked mine up from Kohls – definitely would add this to a Fit Cook’s Christmas Gift List.

 

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • Wet
    • 4 egg whites
      • Substitutes: whole eggs or milled flax seed (vegan option)
    • 1/3 cup coconut cream
      • Substitutes: Greek yogurt, heavy cream (dairy option) or almond butter with a little almond milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dry
    • 1/3 cup coconut flour
      • Substitutes: fine almond flour 
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 packet (1g) Stevia in the raw
      • Substitutes: raw sugar, raw honey
  • Garnish
    • low-calorie (sugar-free) maple syrup
    • cinnamon to taste

 

Steps:

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Tip for fluffy pancakes: In a separate bowl, beat egg whites (or eggs) with a pinch of sea salt until they are fluffy and almost appears like a foam.  This will likely take about 5 or 6 minutes if doing it by hand (but the upside is you’ll burn some calories in the process).
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites and nix together.  Then add the coconut cream and vanilla extract.  Mix together.  If you find that the mixture is too thick, then simply add tablespoons of coconut cream to the mixture until it is thinner.  Note: a mixed coconut flour batter will always appear a little thicker than an all-purpose flour mixture.
  4. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and spray with coconut oil (or preferred cooking spray).
  5. Once the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon of batter (per pancake) to the skillet, then cover and cook for 1 minute.  After about 1 minute, flip the pancake using a spatula and cover and cook for an additional 45 seconds.
  6. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving (without cinnamon):

349 calories, 23g carbs, 17g fat, 19g protein, 13g fiber, 5g sugar

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In 2016, I want to continually challenge you to make choices that will push you closer to your fitness and wellness goals. Whether you’re advanced or a beginner to healthy eating and living, there’s something here for you.

Print this calendar out and place it on your fridge or wherever you need a reminder! In fact, you can even schedule reminders on your phone for each day’s challenge(s).

The more you put in, the more you get out. It’s simple!

RULES

Just do what it says on the calendar, take a pic (for proof that you completed the day’s activity), share the pic on any social media platform (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and tag #FitMenCook!  This is even more enjoyable when you can do this with friends and family so be sure to invite them to participate with you.

ENGLISH
screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-10-01-27-pm

Here is the link to the NO-Sugar Challenge for details…

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ESPAÑOL
screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-10-06-48-pm

Aquí está el enlace a página sobre el Reto 5-Días sin Azúcar que mencioné en el calendario.

 

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Tis’ the season of calorie-conscious comfort food and tailgating for football and luckily, I picked up the perfect tool for both.  Recently, I picked up the amazing panini/grill skillet from Kohl’s to test out and I haven’t put it down since.

I love it.  It adds grill marks to just about anything, so you lock in flavor and make all your food even more appetizing.  Plus, I like that you can also toss it on your grill while tailgating for a smoky or BBQ inspired treat.

caprese panini kohlsPlaying around with it, I got inspired to make a “grilled cheese” but with a small twist.  I used basil, tomato and balsamic glaze to give it my own twist on a Caprese salad; and, I used lite safflower mayo instead of butter to make the outer part evenly “creamy and crispy” with each bite.  Try it!

 

Ingredients for 1 caprese panini:

  • 1 100-calorie wheat bun
  • 3oz choice of protein (I used about 3 slices of prosciutto and trimmed fat from edges to save a few calories)
  • 2 thin sliced tomatoes (dried on a paper towel to remove excess water)
  • 1.5 oz reduced fat mozzarella
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic glaze
  • 1 teaspoon safflower mayo

Utensils: Panini skillet/grill

Steps:

  1. Assemble the sandwich with protein, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and balsamic glaze.
  2. Place the skillet on medium high heat and spray it with olive oil.
  3. Spread half of the mayo on one side of the sandwich.
  4. When the skillet is hot, place the sandwich on the grill with the mayo side down (so it’s cooking).  Allow it to cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, or until it is golden brown.  Press down on the sandwich using the panini grill lid.
  5. Spread mayo on the other side of the sandwich, and when ready, flip the sandwich over so the other side cooks (roughly same amount of time, maybe a little less time).
  6. Remove the sandwich from the grill and enjoy!

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving:

368 calories, 32g protein, 24g carbs, 19g fat, 2g fiber, 3g sugar

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Without a doubt, this is my favorite post-workout treat because the carbs help replenish the glycogen stores from training and tearing down the muscles, but in a MUCH more delicious way.

The maple syrup is sugar-free, but if you can handle it and prefer it, you can use real maple syrup or honey, careful not to go overboard since ripe plantains are already rich in natural sugars.

But, you can also eliminate the maple altogether if preferred because the cinnamon and coconut oil pair beautifully in this recipe to satisfy that post-workout tooth.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 3 ripe plantains (or about 3 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt (to taste)

 

Steps:

  1. Cut the stems off a ripe plantain and peel it. Slice it into small pieces.
  2. Add coconut oil to a nonstick skillet and set it on low-medium heat.  Once the skillet is hot, toss in the plantain pieces.
  3. Cover and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes on low-medium heat, careful not to let the plantains burn.
  4. Flip the plantains, then let them cook for another 3 minutes (covered or uncovered).
  5. Add sugar-free maple syrup (if desired), then sprinkle on some cinnamon.  Mix the plantain pieces together using a spatula to ensure they are all evenly coated.
  6. Let the plantains slightly cool, then enjoy!  Sprinkle a little sea salt on top for a little “sweet & salty” action.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 6 servings (UPDATED 12/13/16):

182 calories, 28g carbs, 10g fat, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 12g sugar

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Here’s a quick recipe for all of my peeps following a lower carb or ketogenic diet.  It’s packed with tons of flavor and the green beans are fibrous and hearty enough to leave you feeling satisfied with a small amount (so you can watch that carbohydrate limit).

Ingredients for 3 servings:

  • 3 cups raw green beans
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • fresh lemon juice (to taste)

 

Steps:

  1. Slice open a jalapeno, remove the seeds then chop it into pieces.
  2. Set a nonstick skillet on medium high heat and add bacon.
  3. Cook bacon in the skillet until it is nice and crispy. Reduce the heat in the skillet, then add garlic and jalapeno.  Cook for about 1 minute, but be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  4. Then add green beans and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the green beans are soft, yet still have some crunch.
  5. Season with a little sea salt, pepper and lemon. Stir it up, then finally, toss in the cooked bacon.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 3 servings:

66 calories, 8g carbs, 2g fat, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 2g sugar

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I haven’t been the biggest fan of cauliflower because of it’s harsh flavor.  Then I forced myself to start experimenting with it and I learned how delicious it can be and how versatile it is (i.e., rice or quinoa, etc)

One of my favorite ways to enjoy cauliflower is roasting it, then coating it with a special sauce because it is less bitter.  Here’s one of my favorites using natural, store-bought BBQ sauce.

Ingredients for 3 servings:

  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 2/3 cup natural BBQ sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder (or minced onion)
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • spray extra-virgin olive oil

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 410F.
  2. Chop the florets off the head of the cauliflower.
  3. Spread the florets on a baking sheet and spray them with olive oil.
  4. Season with garlic powder, onion, cumin, smoked paprika and pepper and rub the season into the florets to ensure they are all coated.
  5. Roast for 15 minutes then remove them from the oven and place them in a large bowl.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together arrowroot starch and BBQ sauce.
  7. Pour the sauce over the florets, and shake the bowl to mix.
  8. Place the florets back on the baking sheet and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 3 servings:

126 calories, 24g carbs, 2g fat, 5g protein, 6g fiber, 11g sugar

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People often share with me that quinoa is bland and often uninspiring. I used to think the same thing until I started to prepare it differently.  Here is an easy delicious, savory quinoa dish that has moisture because of the way it is prepared in a savory broth.  Guarantee this recipe will inspire you to jazz it up and make it your own!

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups veggie stock (unsalted)
  • 1 can (15oz) black beans, no salt added
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Steps:

  1. Add some olive oil to a pot, set it on medium heat, then add garlic and red onion. Sauté for about 2 minutes (careful not to let the garlic burn), then add uncooked quinoa.  Sear the quinoa for about a minute, then add veggie stock and cumin.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fluffy.
  2. Then, add black beans, bell pepper, cilantro and sea salt & pepper. Stir it up then cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes covered.
  3. Portion it out for your meal prep and enjoy!

Approximate macros for 1 of 8 servings:

157 calories, 24g carbs, 4.25g fat, 6.5g protein, 5g fiber, 2g sugar