Tag Archives: cooking

[UNBELIEVABLE] Brown Butter Carrot Recipe

Lately I’ve been on a carrot kick. The carrots in my region have been so affordable! One of my local grocery stores had carrots for $.69 for a 3-pound bag. That yields a lot of vegetable servings for .69 cents! So I’ve been playing around with recipes and I think that this one, by far, is my favorite. I’m considering headed out to the grocery store just to buy more carrots and make it again. Does that sound a little crazy? Even if it does, I’m fine with it. This brown butter carrot recipe is that good.

Now, this is not a 5-minute dish, but in 30 minutes or less, you’ll have some tender, caramelized, savory carrots that you’ll eat before your husband tries to get some. (Oh, did I just say that? Whoops…)

 

Brown Butter Carrot Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Whole carrots
  • 1-2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or regular butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried rosemary

 

Directions:

  • Wash, peel and dice carrots. (I strongly recommend a mandolin for this step, as a mandolin cuts down on cutting time exponentially.)
  • Heat pan to medium heat; add 1-2 tbsp of butter. I used clarified butter (ghee) for health reasons and for its nutty taste. (For more info on ghee, click here!)
  • Heat butter until it melts; wait until it begins to brownImmediately add carrots and salt. (For more info on browning butter, click here)
  • Cook carrots in butter, stirring consistently on medium to slightly medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots begin to brown on one side.
  • Add rosemary for an additional few minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

 

 

Now excuse me as I go to the grocery store….I have more carrots to make.

Did you like this brown butter carrot recipe? If you make it, share it on social media with the hashtag #amandaplazek and I’ll check out your take on this savory, healthy, delicious recipe!

 

In peace & good health,

Amanda



7 years gluten-free [it’s official!]

Photo Jun 27, 9 13 44 AM

 

This month marks 7 years since I went gluten-free! The gluten-free life has changed a lot in 7 years, but the number 1 thing I’ve learned is this: gluten-free living does NOT necessarily mean “buying a lot of fancy foods”. Gluten-free can simply mean “eating fruits, veggies & protein that you prepare yourself”. It does not have to break the bank.
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For more resources to jump start your gluten-free life, check out these links:

Gluten-free grocery shopping
8 ways to save money eating healthy
Just my words of wisdom for this Monday ?❤️???☀️



Surviving the Sugar Crash: My Experiences with Hypoglycemia

When I was eleven years old, I went to Catholic school. We were in our weekly Catholic Mass and I had this overwhelming, cold sweat come over me. I rolled up my uniform’s long sleeves and sat down, praying when it would be over.

While the feeling quickly passed, I will always remember that moment as when I had my first hypoglycemic episode. I didn’t know it then, but this was the beginning of the episodes I would have, off and on, for a very long time.

 

While I don’t have “shaky moments” that often lately (due to my healthy eating, thank you!), I still have them occasionally, which concerns me. I felt compelled to write this blog entry after the experiences I had yesterday.

 

I woke up and was too lazy to get out of bed and make breakfast (HA). I ate some frosted flakes (yes, they are gluten-free) and headed out the door to go to work. While I ate some eggs as I arrived at work, I suppose that the protein wasn’t enough to regulate my blood sugar before the crash.

I was in the middle of a work task and instantly started to feel weak and shaky. Since I have no air conditioning at work, I thought the sweat that began was from the heat, but I quickly realized what was happening. “My blood sugar has dropped. fast.” I thought to myself. I was presenting and couldn’t stop what I was doing, so I said a deep, prolonged prayer that I would finish my task and get help immediately!

I ran to the other room and grabbed anything I could find to eat: a granola bar and some hard candies came first. I still felt dangeously shaky and foggy but vehemently prayed and finished my task, thank goodness.

As I returned to the office kitchen to eat more hard-boiled eggs (i.e. the fastest protein I could find), I was shaken to my core. What happened to me?! What did I do?!

 

I returned home and rested for the remainder of the day, reflecting on what the heck just happened to me. I ate well for the rest of the day and felt better as the day went along.

 

While I’m not diagnosed yet, I can say with certainty that I had a hypoglycemic episode. The frosted flakes without any protein must have spiked my sugar enough to drop it as quickly as it rose. I had taught two exercise classes on Monday, most likely putting me in a calorie deficiency for the following day. My body was starved for whole foods, and I cheated it. Needless to say, it didn’t react well.

 

 

What can I do now?

I can’t let this event happen again. It was an eye-opening experience to two things: 1. Sugar wrecks our bodies, and 2. I am in control of my health. 

After watching the documentary “Fed Up”, my eyes were opened to the sugar that is in almost everything we consume: ketchup, breads, etc. I cannot let this dominate how I feel on a daily basis. I plan to limit my sugar intake, not because of weight loss, but because I want to control how I feel.

From today onward, I will be tracking my food more meticulously to see what makes me feel iffy, at any times. While many of my readers may not experience hypoglycemic episodes, we all probably experience hanger (hungry anger!) here and there. I want to see what works for ME, and I want it to help you too.

 

 

*DISCLAIMER: If you suffer from severe, consistent symptoms of hypoglycemia, please consult your doctor! I plan to do the same!

 

Have you ever experienced a sugar crash? Do you suffer from hypoglycemia? Feel free to share this with anyone who you think needs to hear it?



Recipe Wednesday: Pork Tenderloin Dry Rub

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m sharing my favorite dry rub that’s easy to make and easy to cook on a nice piece of pork. It packs so much flavor and juice into the meat without any marinating time (which is perfect for those who don’t have time to set a marinade!).

 

Ingredients for dry rub: 

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

 

How to cook:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Preheat a skillet in medium-high heat.
  • Combine all dry rub ingredients together in bowl.
  • Take at least a 1 lb piece of pork tenderloin and pour dry rub onto pork tenderloin with one hand.
  • Flip tenderloin and pour the other half of the dry rub, covering it as much as possible.
  • Pour 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into the hot skillet. Place pork tenderloin into hot, oiled pan. Cook pork tenderloin for 2-3 minutes, or until a nice crust starts to form on one side.
  • Flip pork tenderloin in skillet. Immediately place skillet into preheated oven. Cook pork tenderloin for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (for well-done pork).
  • Remove skillet from oven with oven mitts on (yes, I saw the skillet and forgot it was hot when I put it on the stove. D’oh!). Place pork tenderloin on plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Cut, serve and enjoy!

 

Would you make this pork tenderloin recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback! Comment below if you’ve given it a try!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda & the Fit Family

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“…in good times and bad”: nutrition tips for your toughest days

Can you tell I’m in wedding mode? I’m quoting vows in my blog titles! HA!

 

The morning’s discussion is: how do you stay on track with your nutrition on your toughest days? I’m talking about the days when you’re working a 12-hour shift, or your in your car for a huge fraction of the day. How do you stay on track?

 

After finding my life to be incredibly busy over the past few weeks, here are some of the tips I use to keep my nutrition on track even during stressful days.

 

  • Grocery shop in your free time. One of the toughest things about insane work (let’s be honest, life) schedules is that people run out of time to grocery shop. “I didn’t have anything healthy to eat, so I stopped at Sonic and got tater tots.” “I was starving when I walked in the door but didn’t have anything healthy, so I ate Easter candy for dinner.” This is a major red flag for not only your nutrition, but just your sanity as well!
    When you are at your busiest, grocery shopping should be as important as showering. Stop on your way home from work, or go incredibly early before a big day. You need that healthy food- it’s non-negotiable!
  • Hoard the healthy food. Put a tupperware container of almonds in your car. Keep a packet of Shakeology in the car for you to shake up when you’re stuck in traffic. Get granola and leave it in the car. Bring gum when you feel like stopping at Wendy’s and eating the world purely from stress.
  • Prep (in your own way). Some people love to plan every meal. Someday I’d love to get to that point, but I am not there yet. I like to say to myself: “okay. Looking at the week ahead, what are the days that I know will be the toughest to stay on point?” “When do I need to cook a lot of food and store it for the week ahead?” Think about what needs to be done. Make some sort of plan, and go to it!
  • Pack that protein. When you’re running around with seven different things to do, we tend not to eat. Or we eat the wrong things. If you’re in survival mode and can’t make a solid meal, at least get some protein in your body. (With a veggie coming in at a close second.) Examples are: hard-boiled eggs; chicken; ground turkey. It will keep you full with stronger mental clarity than a bag of chips…and I may be saying this from experience.
  • Frozen vegetables are the bomb.com. If you don’t have time to cook veggies (another excuse, party of one!), get some frozen vegetables. They are cost-effective and you can throw them in the microwave, if they come in a steamer bag. You need your protein and veggies, bar none.
  • Drink water. Tons of it. This goes without saying. Drink your weight, divided by 2, in ounces at least throughout the day. (Example: 200 lbs / 2 = 100 ounces of water a day)
  • Sleep. And don’t forget to breathe. You have so much going on right now, you might struggle finding time just to go to the restroom. Your immune system might be compromised, which might make you freak out when you get a sore throat, only exacerbating the problem. Make sure you sleep. Don’t try to be a hero. (“Well, I only got 2 hours of sleep tonight! I’m the one who’s under the most stress.”) Treat your body as your most valuable investment. It’s not going anywhere and will reflect the choices you make.

 

 

Stress is inevitable. But the way you handle it does not have to careen you into a downward spiral for an entire month afterwards. Respect your body and the conditions ahead. Like a city preparing for hurricane season, prep your body for the stress ahead. You deserve it.

 

 

How do you handle stress and nutrition? Comment below with any tips you might have. Let’s keep the positive vibes going!

In peace & health,

Amanda & the fit family

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Okay, Brussel Sprouts. I’ll give you another try.

So yesterday I asked my Facebook friends to suggest Brussels sprout recipes. What resulted was a deluge of recipes, one after another, all unique to the people suggesting them! Woah! I had no idea that brussels sprouts were so popular these days!

 

 

I associate brussels sprouts to being boiled, soggy, and having a horrible smell (a la my childhood). But the truth is…I’ve wanted to try them for quite some time now. And voilá! Yesterday I did. Behold, I give you…my first recipe for brussels sprouts.

 

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 container brussel sprouts
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp-1 tsp salt
  • optional: 1/2 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder)

 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Clean and cut brussels sprouts. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out this handy little video that I found on YouTube. (ps. it’s not mine!)
  • Put cleaned, prepared brussels sprouts in gallon-sized ziploc bag. Pour in remaining ingredients (olive oil, salt, pepper, and optional garlic). Shake to evenly distribute.
  • Put brussels sprouts on foil-lined pan and roast in oven for 30-45 minutes, shaking pan every 5-7 minutes.
  • Brussels sprouts should be brown- don’t worry, you haven’t burned them!
All ready to be cooked!

All ready to be cooked!

 

Voila. The brussels sprouts are done!

Voila. The brussels sprouts are done!

 

 

 

Would you give this brussels sprouts recipe a try? Let me know what you think (or if you have a favorite recipe) by commenting below.

 

Have a great day, everyone!

In peace & health,

Amanda & the fit family

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Announcing…Beachbody On Demand!

So the coolest thing to come out of the fitness world lately is “Beachbody On Demand”. Think of it this way: you pay a month’s gym membership cost once every quarter. In exchange, you get access to a huge library of complete workout programs. (Insanity, P90x, P90X2, P90X3, and many others are just a part of the library.) Workout programs + nutrition guides + recipe books + the workout calendars…the whole enchilada.

On top of that, some of the newest and hottest workouts (the 21 Day Fix, Focus T25, PiYo, etc.) are available to try before you buy, too.

 

So if you wanted to ever try a program without committing to the whole workout, this is for you.

Need more details? Here’s my video explaining Beachbody On Demand further:

 

 

Want more information? Would you ever try Beachbody On Demand?. Reach out to me and I can help you get started!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda

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Not-so-fat Tuesday recipe: Homemade Turkey Meatballs!

I’m sharing one of my newest, favorite recipes today since tomorrow’s “Recipe Wednesday” can’t be meat-related….it’s Ash Wednesday, for those who follow the tradition! (How is Lent already here?)

 

Anyways, I recently made this recipe for turkey meatballs and fell in love with it. I like to get 3 lbs of lean ground turkey and go to town for an afternoon and make a ton of meatballs. Then I have plenty of quick, easy, delicious protein for my day!

 

homemade turkey meatball recipe picture

 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup gf breadcrumbs 

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup basil (I use dried because that’s what I have at home)

  • 1/4 milk (I use almond because it’s what I have at home)

  • 1 tbsp ketchup

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 1-1.5 lbs lean ground turkey

    Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

  • Combine all ingredients except turkey in large bowl with spatula. Then add turkey. Make sure you integrate the spices/dough-y mixture evenly into the turkey. This may take some manipulation with a spatula, but it’s worth it.

  • Roll the turkey meat into small balls and place on a greased pan. (I use olive oil spray.)
  • Cook for about 15 minutes, or when internal temperature of the meatball reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Enjoy this delicious treat!

 

Other thing to note: If I make the 3 lb version, I sometimes have to do it in 2 shifts (ie. mix ingredients into 1.5 lbs of turkey meat and then do it again). It’s a pain, but it makes plenty of food for the week!

You can also add tomato sauce to these bad boys,  but when I’m eating quickly, I just make them without sauce. It’s up to you!

 

 

I think I’ll go out and make this recipe tonight!

In peace & health,

Amanda & the Fit Family

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What’s for Breakfast?: a 21-Day Fix Approved Oatmeal Recipe

A friend of mine made this recipe recently and I’ve just fallen in love with it. It’s simple, it doesn’t need any other sugar, and it is healthy! Oh, and it’s delicious too.

 

21-Day Fix Approved Oatmeal Bowl 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked oats
  • 2 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup fresh fruit

    Directions:

  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil; add 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, stirring consistently for 5 minutes until cooked.
  • Immediately upon spooning out the now-cooked oats into a bowl, put 2 tsps of peanut butter into the oats and stir.
  • Top the oatmeal with a cup of fresh fruit (yes, this will be quite a bit of fruit!). My favorites are blueberries and raspberries.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

21 day fix breakfast recipe_2-13-15

 

 

 

In peace and health,

Amanda & the Fit Family

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Recipe Wednesday: Twice-Baked Cauliflower Mash

The phrase “cauliflower mash” sounds horrifyingly disgusting to me, which made me hesitate making some type of recipe where both of these words would be juxtaposed together. However, I decided to give it a go. What resulted was a delicious, healthy side option for any meal. Honestly, I like it more than mashed potatoes. (I’ve never been a mashed potatoes kinda gal.)

 

Recipe: Twice-Baked Cauliflower Mash (healthy edition)

Ingredients: 

  • half of a head of cauliflower
  • one individual cup of plain Greek yogurt (I use the 5 ounce Chobanis that are at the grocery store)
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

 

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Clean and cut pieces of cauliflower while a sauce pan with approx. 2 inches of water is brought to a boil. (Don’t stress too much about the cauliflower pieces being too big/too small; they will be blended anyway.)
  • Place cauliflower in boiling water; cover and cook on medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes until cauliflower is “fork tender”.
  • Drain cauliflower and put in food processor. Blend until smooth (30 seconds or so).
  • Add Greek yogurt and coconut oil (or butter). Blend again for just a few seconds.
  • Pour into medium bowl; mix in remaining ingredients (salt, pepper, garlic, cheese). If you want to make a brown cheesy crust on top, save some of the cheese to toss on at the end!
  • Pour into small oven-safe dishes or a large casserole dish. (Toss on that cheese if you set it aside.)
  • Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turning the oven to broil for the last few minutes if you want to get the outside to brown a bit.
  • Cool and enjoy! This is so good and so healthy for you!

 

 

What do you think? Would you give this a try? Let me know what you think!

In peace and health,

Amanda & the Fit Family

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