FIT hits the PAN Friday – Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna

Hello, my name is Jenn and I have a quinoa addiction. Whew! Glad that is out because now I can share this amazing recipe with you ūüôā

Aside from the ease of preparation and the variety of recipes, quinoa is packed with health benefits!

Quinoa

We have made this dish several times and each time we wish there was more in the pan! It is a great dish for company because it makes generous portions. Serve with a green salad and you have a complete meal!

I am not a vegan so I use real cheese. Cutting the zucchini is easiest with a mandolin. Otherwise, you get uneven slices.

 Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna (adapted from Peas and Thank You)

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin, 1/4 in. thick slices
  • salt
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c. vegetable broth¬†(I use fat-free, low sodium chicken broth)
  • 1/2 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. minced onion
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T. organic or non-dairy cream cheese¬†(I use low fat cream cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jar organic marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c. organic or non-dairy cheese¬†(I use regular low fat mozzarella)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • To prepare zucchini, cut a strip off of one side to make a flat base. Then, thinly slice zucchini into ‚Äúnoodles.‚ÄĚ You‚Äôll want 12 noodles in total.
  • Place noodles in a colander and sprinkle with salt, layering between paper towels.
  • Let this sit and absorb moisture while preparing the quinoa.
  • Combine quinoa, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, onion and oregano in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and lower heat, simmering for 20 minutes.
  • When quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, fold in cream cheese and herbs.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and try not to eat the whole pot.
  • Pour enough of marinara in the bottom of an 8√ó8 baking dish to cover the bottom.
  • Using a clean dry towel, blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini and layer 4 noodles across the sauce.
  • Put a layer of quinoa across the zucchini, and cover with another 1/3 c. of marinara sauce.
  • Repeat with another layer of quinoa, sauce and zucchini.
  • Top the final layer of zucchini with remaining sauce and 1/2 c. of cheese, if using.
  • Bake lasagna for 30 minutes, until heated through and zucchini is tender.

For additional quinoa recipes, check out this link http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/ways-to-eat-quinoa-and-succeed-in-life

Save our food!

I read an article this morning about the farmer who was acquitted for producing milk without a license in Wisconsin. I was so happy to hear it but I have to stop and ask, “How did we get here?” This country was built on the backs of farmers. Over the last 62 years farms have dwindled in population throughout the country. According to the USDA, in 1950 there were 5,647,800 farms in the United States (excluding Alaska & Hawaii) and as of 2012 the number had dropped to 2,170,000. The number of food producing farms has decreased significantly while the population has continued to multiply.

Over the last several years more and more people are becoming aware of the danger of our food sources being industrialized. There have been numerous documentaries such as
Food, Inc and Food Matters showcasing the changes in the industry and the attack on the American farmer. With increasing regulations and political involvement the local farmer is being forced to participate in the industrialization of his/her farm or face being bullied into bankruptcy by astronomical fines and unending legal battles.

farmers

The following excerpt is from an article posted on Mercola.com (click link for the full article):

50+ Industry Front Groups Form New Alliance to ‘Balance Public Dialogue’ on Food Production

As reported by Sustainable Food News15¬†on March 17, more than 50 of these front groups, working on behalf of food and biotechnology trade groups, have formed a brand new alliance called¬†Alliance to Feed the Future. Again, the alliance is being coordinated by the glutamate-protecting International Food Information Council (IFIC). The stated aim of the alliance is to “balance the public dialogue on modern agriculture and large-scale food production.”

‚ÄúThe Alliance to Feed the Future said “in an effort to meet the world‚Äôs increasing food needs responsibly, efficiently and affordably,” its members want to ‘tell the real story of’ and dispel “misperceptions about modern food production and technology,’‚Ä̬†the article states.16

The groups comprising the alliance represent multi-national food, biotech, and chemical companies that generate hundreds of billions of dollars-worth of revenue each year. Some of the most notable of these 50 industry groups include the very players already mentioned in this article. For the full list of all 50+ groups that are part of the alliance, please see the original article:17

American Soybean Association Biotechnology Industry Organization (which represents biotech crop giants Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta) Calorie Control Council (which represents the artificial sweetener industry)
Council for Biotechnology Information Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) International Food Additives Council (IFAC)

According to the featured article:18

‚ÄúWhen asked by¬†Sustainable Food News¬†what misperceptions the group seeks to dispel, Dave Schmidt, CEO at the International Food Information Council, who coordinates the alliance, said the most common misperceptions – perpetuated by what he calls ‘a large popular culture’ that can be found in recent ‘books and movies’ – are that ‘technology is bad and we need to go back to a time when there was less technology. Or, food processing or large-scale food production is bad.’

…The alliance’s aim is to educate who he called ‘opinion leaders,’ including those in the university sector, professional societies, journalists and government officials. However, another target demographic is the ‘informed consumer,’ who he expects will find the group’s information online.

The Alliance’s effort appears to be an attempt to squelch the growing consumer perception that modern food production can have a negative impact on the health of humans and the environment as espoused by the organic and sustainable food movement.‚Ä̬†[Emphasis mine]

Meanwhile, close to a dozen of the members of this new industry alliance have resigned from the Leonardo Academy’s National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee,19¬†which is currently developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture under the rules of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). According to Russell Williams of the American Farm Bureau Federation, this exodus occurred because:

‚Äú…the committee is dominated by environmental groups, certification consultants, agro-ecology and organic farming proponents. Based on their recent actions, it is apparent that these groups have neither the vision nor desire to speak for mainstream agriculture or the 95 percent of farmers who will be materially affected by any resulting standard.‚ÄĚ

Where do we go from here?

Get involved in your food! Educate yourself and your family. Do a little research on the products your family is eating and find out where it comes from and what ingredients it contains. Buy local when you can. Almost every city has one or more farmer’s market where you can buy local produce and other products.¬†http://www.farmersmarket.com/¬†Grow your own garden! Not everyone had sprawling acres to become a farmer, but there are many options for limited space to grow produce and herbs in your own yard. Container gardens are growing increasingly more popular. If we all contribute just a little, we can make big changes in our food industry!

Motivational Mondays – What is holding you back?

We are all guilty. You set a goal, start off great and slowly over time it fizzles out. What is it in our nature that causes us to act this way? Some people claim ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), others claim they are too busy or the goal was just too big to start. Either way the list is short of those people who set goals and complete them consistently. If you are one of those people, no need to continue reading ūüôā

Let’s break the mold! The next time you have a specific goal related to weight loss, your overall wellness or any other area of your life try using the SMART approach!

smart goal setting concept

Many times we get caught up with big picture goals like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to start running.” Be as specific as you can with your goals. For example, your goal could be “I want to lose 5 pounds by July 4th” or “I want to train for a 5K scheduled July 4th weekend.” The more specific the better.

How will you measure the goal? Weight loss is obvious, but training for a race or other physical activity could be broken down into even smaller goals. “I want to run one mile per day for a week” or “I want to lose 1 pound per week by eating 1900 calories per day.”

Is your goal attainable? Odds are, you are not going to be ready for a marathon in 6 weeks if you have never run a mile. Try not to set yourself up for failure by setting unattainable goals.

Some of the other sites substitute “realistic” for relevant. I believe both can apply. Is your goal relevant or realistic to your situation?

Last, set a time frame to meet your goal.  A goal without a deadline is really just a suggestion.

One last tip that is not included in this approach is to write your goals down. By writing them down you are committing yourself to those goals.

What goals will you set today? 

FIT hits the PAN Fridays – Turkey Stuffed Peppers

I love to cook! However, lately I have been super busy and super lazy so no new and exciting recipes have come out of my kitchen. I made this recipe awhile back and it was a hit!

Of course, it is from SkinnyTaste (my favorite recipe site).

Thankfully, I had all the ingredients on hand so I did not modify the recipe. TGIF!

Turkey-stuffed-peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings:¬†6 servings (1/2 pepper)¬†‚Äʬ†Time:¬†55 minutes¬†‚Äʬ†Old Points:¬†4¬†‚ÄĘ Points+:¬†5
Calories:¬†184.7 ‚Äʬ†Fat:¬†2.3 g¬†‚Äʬ†Protein:¬†20.8 g¬†‚Äʬ†Carb:¬†20.2 g¬†‚Äʬ†Fiber:¬†1.6 g¬†¬†

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb lean chopped turkey meat
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese

Directions:
Heat¬†oven to 400¬į.¬†Spray¬†a little olive oil spray in a medium size saute pan and heat on a medium flame.¬†Add¬†onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan.¬†Saute¬†about 2 minutes and add ground turkey.¬†Season¬†with salt and garlic powder, and cumin and¬†brownmeat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through.¬†Add¬†1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth,¬†mix well¬†and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.¬†Combine¬†cooked rice and meat together.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place in a baking dish.Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can.Place all stuffed pepper halves on the baking dish and pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan. Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy.

Motivational Mondays

Desktop-Bible-Verse-Wallpaper-Jeremiah-29-11

In light of the terrible tragedy in Oklahoma over the weekend, today’s message is simple. Be thankful. Be thankful for everyday you have on this earth. Don’t waste your energy on negative thoughts or actions. Take advantage of every second you have to spend with family and friends. Reach out a hand to a stranger in need; you never know when you may be the person in need¬†of a helping hand. Put down your electronic devices and be present with your family; let them know that¬†they¬†are the priority. Take care of yourself; a healthy lifestyle paves the way to quality time with your family.¬†Pray. When we feel helpless, the Lord is there to bridge the gap. He is faithful and always provides.

For information about ways to help the people in Moore, Oklahoma, please visit Samaritan’s Purse.

 

FIT Hits the PAN Fridays- Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes

It is Friday and I am headed to the beach for our annual Birthday Beach Weekend! I started the tradition on my 26th birthday and we look forward to it every year!

In honor of the celebration, I chose a Six Sisters recipe that was a huge hit in our house. The recipe uses minimal ingredients and is super easy!

With that said…Let them eat cake! Or cupcakes!

Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes1

(makes 24 cupcakes, 110 calories per frosted cupcake, 2 Weight Watchers Points)
Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
1 pkg. Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix (just the powder, not the recipe on the box)
1 (12 ounce) can Sprite Zero
Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) container Fat Free Cool Whip
1 (1.5 ounce) pkg. Fat Free Vanilla Jello Instant Pudding (just the powder, not the recipe on the box)
Directions:
 
Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine cake mix and Sprite together.  Continue to mix until the batter is smooth without any lumps.  Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter into every cupcake wrapper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool before frosting.
Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, add Cool Whip and pudding.  Mix with a whisk by hand or an electric hand mixer until smooth.  Spread over cooled cupcakes.  Makes enough frosting for 24 cupcakes.