Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spice of Life

Anyone who eats clean can identify with the misery of choking down plain chicken breasts day in and day out. These were staples in my diet when I first was "re-learning" how to eat. I ate everything plain--not just chicken, but fish, hamburger, tuna--you name it! And all I can say is BOR-ING!

That kind of boredom with nutrition is a sure bet for failure. Thankfully, I since realized there was no need for me to eat so blandly! I think I even teared up when I found out that seasonings could (and should) be part of my daily regime! Oh, I can't even tell you how much more exciting life has become since adding a little spice!

Now, I'm not just talking salt and pepper (although those will do if you enjoy them). You need not be a gourmet chef--Lord knows I wasn't given creativity or skill in the kitchen. That's why I love seasonings and spices--they're SO easy!

My all-time favorite is Toasted Sesame Ginger Seasoning by Victoria Taylor's Seasonings. I was introduced to this by a friend who is an awesome cook and she shared this wonderful gift with me (the actual recipe she used was right on the back of the Toasted Sesame Ginger bottle)! What's even better is that our local TJ Maxx carries Victoria Taylor's Seasonings (and you know I'm makin' a stop at TJ Maxx almost as often as I'm at the grocery store anyway). If you don't have Victoria Taylor in your area, you can find her masterpieces at, which is also chock-full of great recipe ideas!

So go on folks and add a little spice to your life (drama-free, I might add)! Tell us what your favorite spices are and how you use them!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chocoholics Anonymous

Hey All~
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, is all this chocolate making you crazy?! I recently read a blog post by a fellow Savage Sister (Lindsay, who referred to herself as a "recovering chocoholic"---I can identify! Although, I'm not sure I'm yet "recovering"...maybe still in the denial stage. You see, I'm not the kind of person who waits for a holiday to indulge in goodies. I need to have me a little taste every single day! So, you can't imagine my excitement when I found a kind of chocolate that is actually good for you and that doesn't derail me on my journey to being the most fit I can be!

I can hardly hold myself back from raving about the benefits (and the taste) of dark chocolate. It's made from cocoa beans and is less processed than milk or white chocolate. It's full of antioxidants that have numerous health benefits, which include: lower blood pressure, enhanced mood, and antiaging effects (just to name a few!). It also contains less sugar than milk chocolate or white chocolate, so it won't mess with your blood sugar and cause more cravings later in the day (you know that viscious cycle that occurs when you allow yourself one little baby Snickers bar.......that turns into eating the whole bag?).

When choosing dark chocolate, aim for 70% or more cocao (the darker the better), which is less processed. If you're a daily indulger, like myself, try to find organic versions (good for the environment, grown without chemicals which can leave residue on the cocoa beans, and more likely to have gone through the fair trade process). Like any of life's pleasures, even dark chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation because it does contribute to your daily caloric intake (not fair, I know). At first bite, you might not find that your mouth does the same happy-dance that it does with milk chocolate; dark chocolate is an acquired taste, much like fine wine--or black coffee for your fitness fanatics:) Trust me, the flavor will grow on you and you will come to love it maybe even more than it's milky counterpart!

Despite my new affair with the darker version, I continue to be an equal-opportunity-chocolate-lover. I cannot, have not, and will not ever give up milk chocolate entirely (plus, for those of you who know me, I must support the sugar industry because my dad,brother, and uncle are sugarbeet farmers---and I love sugar!:). That said, I save my luxurious milk chocolate experiences for special occasions--and I can't think of one more perfect than February 14th! Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you find yourselves enjoying a few morsels of dark chocolate!