Fit Girl Pho Soup Recipe

Fit Girl Pho Soup

Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to love the Vietnamese soup called Pho, but it’s sometimes made with MSG, sugar, and GMO ingredients. This simple, healthy recipe, let’s you customize this flavorful soup that you can make at home and feel good about eating. By glancing at the recipe, it looks like a lot of steps and ingredients, but you can use pre-cooked or left-over meat, and most of the veggies are processed in minutes in a food processor. A final note is not to omit the daikon radishes. Even though they are strong when raw, they become sweet, translucent and bring a wonderful and unique flavor to the broth that makes it taste like authentic Pho soup.

Fit Girl Pho Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced and peeled yellow onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 small cauliflower, shredded (or you can buy cauliflower rice)
  • 64 ounces stock (I used 2 boxes of Imagine organic chicken stock)
  • 2 large daikon radishes, peeled and made into zoodles (thin noodles)

In a medium-sized pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until the onion turns white and somewhat translucent. Add the cabbage and carrots, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice, and stir for about 1 minute. Add the stock and stir so that vegetables are incorporated. Add the daikon. Heat on medium heat for about an hour. If soup begins to boil, lower the temperate. Taste the cabbage to make sure it’s broken down and soft to determine if it’s cooked enough. 

Add one of the following to each person’s bowl of soup:

  • 2 ounces of cooked rice noodles
  • 2 ounces of cooked spaghetti
  • 1.5 ounces of Udon noodles

 Add one of the following to each person’s bowl of soup:

  • Soft certified organic tofu, cut into bite-sized squares
  • 3 ounces of cooked meatballs (I used ground turkey in the photo above)
  • 3 ounces of cooked boiled shrimp
  • 3 ounces of thinly sliced cooked BBQ pork
  • 2 ounces of rotisserie chicken

Add as many toppings below to each person’s bowl of soup (I like to add them all):

  • A pinch of toasted sesame seeds
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of salted, chopped roasted peanuts (or cashews)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Thai basil, chiffonade
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Add the noodles and protein to the soup and mix. Lastly, add the toppings. If adding nutritional yeast, stir into the chili. Serve with a fork (for the noodles) and a spoon (to slurp up the delicious broth).

P.S. Take a peek at my two dairy-free, healthy cookbooks from my website: http://www.thehighfivediet.com

 

 

My experience with floatation therapy

swim

Since I have frozen shoulder, I was told that I needed more magnesium to increase range of motion, and the best method, in addition to taking supplements and eating lots of magnesium-rich foods, is to spend an hour in a commercial pod (commonly referred to as a float tank), or a warm mini pool filled with Epsom salts since this method allows magnesium to be absorbed into the body quicker, right through the skin. I booked a one-hour session and asked for the large room, which is recommended for people like me who are claustrophobic.  All sorts of claims are made as to what benefits floating chambers provide, from weight-loss to improved mood; call me skeptical.

After I arrived, I was taken back to where the rooms were located, behind closed doors. Walking down the hallway, I was overwhelmed with how muggy and humid the air temperature was; it felt like I was walking into an underground cave, where the air was contained and had limited oxygen. At the end of the hallway, an employee opened a door and told me, this was my room. It looked like a large bathroom, sans toilet, with two shower heads and a curtain. I was instructed to cover any cuts with Vaseline, that was provided in a small packet, to prevent the salts from stinging any open wounds, and to shower to remove any lotion since it can clog the drains and damage the equipment. The shower water was cold and I couldn’t figure out how to make it warmer, not a good start.

Then I went over to a wall with a small, custom, glass shower door, up high, with a handle. I had to climb in to get through. Inside was a large, rectangular bathtub, with dark, high ceilings, and a few tacky-looking fake rocks jutting out of the walls in a haphazard fashion, to make it look like a cave (It didn’t. It just looked creepy). The water was warm and the salt water make my legs slippery and slimy. I put in the ear plugs provided to prevent the salt water from going inside my ear canals. I laid back and floated around the mini pool, which was really neat and fun, until the salt water flooded into my ears. I tried re-positioning the ear plugs, but they wouldn’t block the water from entering, so I sat up, but the water wasn’t warm enough to keep the upper part of my body that wasn’t underwater, a comfortable temperature. I felt chilly, so I flipped over and tried to crawl around on my hands, but my shoulder is injured so that solution didn’t last. Then I flipped back over so I was sitting, but the water wasn’t deep enough so my upper chest and shoulders were exposed to the air. I tried splashing the water onto my shoulders, but I got bored. After 10-15 minutes, I’d had enough and left.

I didn’t see any increased range of motion, or decrease in the amount of shoulder pain, but ten to fifteen minutes probably isn’t sufficient time to notice any positive results. The only way I can see myself enjoying such an experience is if it was more like a large jacuzzi, where I could sit down, invite my friends, drink a glass of wine (but I’d be drinking tea), the surroundings looking like a bright and luxurious spa, and being able to control the music.

 

Vegan Spicy “Beef” Tacos

Fit Girl Vegan Beef Tacos

These vegan tacos have a true barbecue flavor that’s hard to replicate when making a vegan meal taste like a meat dish. These tacos are spicy hot, easy to make, and are so flavorful, I prefer them to steak tacos. The “meat” even looks similar to ground beef.

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ sauce*
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh guacamole
  • Chunky mild or medium salsa
  • 8 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper inside a cookie sheet, or glass baking dish to fit. Place beans in a medium-sized bowl, and used a potato masher to smash the beans, but keep some intact. Add BBQ sauce and mix with a spoon. Spread the bean mixture (this is your ground beef) onto the parchment paper, and even out so that it’s flat. Bake for 25 minutes.

After removing the cooked beans from the oven (the edges will be crispy-those parts are my favorites), place them on a hot pad on your kitchen counter, to cool down a bit. Change the oven temperature to broil, and heat the dry corn tacos in the oven (about 2-5 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is, and how crispy you like your taco shells). Flip and heat the other side of the corn tortilla, 30-60 seconds.

Place two heated corn tortillas on each plate so that each person gets two tacos. Add ingredients to each corn tortilla in this order: a thin layer of guacamole, 2-3 tablespoons of your “beef” mixture, 2 tablespoons of salsa, a pinch of cilantro, 4 bell pepper strips, and top with more guacamole.

Serves 4

*For this to have a true barbecue flavor, and for the meal to turn out well, make sure to use this particular BBQ sauce. You can buy this sauce from Trader’s Joe’s markets. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can order it from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Sriracha-Roasted-Garlic-Sauce/dp/B00RDOCEIC/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1516052567&sr=1-1&keywords=trader+joe%27s+organic+sriracha+and+roasted+garlic+bbq+sauce

 

Vegan Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

Fit Girl Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Even your meat-eater will love this satisfying vegan dish. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 ½ cups black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 cup white corn, frozen
  • ¾ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup chopped, cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup prepared guacamole

Rise bell peppers. Slice off the top of each bell pepper, and set tops aside. Gently remove seeds and white membranes; keeping the bell peppers intact. Place the cored red bell peppers in a large pot and fill with water. Place the pot on the stove, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook the bell peppers, until softened, about 20 minutes. While the red bell peppers are cooking, dice the green bell pepper and remaining edible portion of the tops of the red bell peppers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chopped bell peppers in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, except for the guacamole, and stir gently until combined. When the red bell peppers are softened, drain, and place each on a large rectangular glass baking dish. Using a spoon, stuff each bell pepper with the filling. Place the extra filling around each bell pepper. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

To serve, place a bell pepper on a place, add a few shakes of salt, and top with a dollop of guacamole. You can also serve alongside with tortilla chips, and/or add sliced black olives, or sliced jalapeno peppers (if you like it extremely hot).

To make it easier to eat, I cut the bell pepper down the middle. Then I cut the red bell pepper into bite-size pieces. Lastly, I’ll add a heaping tablespoon of store-bough guacamole.

vegan stuff bell peppers

Serving: 1 stuffed red bell pepper

Amazing Grass Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein powder review

Amazing Grass Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder review

I’ve been searching for a yummy, sugar-free, grain-free, certified organic, vegan protein powder to add to my fruit smoothies, for years, and this flavor and brand was highly recommended. I was thrilled that I could just buy the sample without buying a whole canister. I added a frozen banana, one cup of cold water, and the entire protein powder packet (since it’s one serving), and blended it in my Ninja. I was really surprised that after it was blended, the color was green because I expected it to be brown since the name is Chocolate Peanut Butter.

I didn’t taste any chocolate, and it didn’t mix well. There were still small clumps of protein floating around in my drink. So I mixed it again and the clumps were smaller, but still there. I added ice, and blended it again, but the protein powder still didn’t dissolve completely. Texture and taste are equally important to me. In regards to how it tasted, it’s hard to describe, other than: “artificial.” I don’t like foods that taste “fake.” Also, I ended up with diarrhea later in the day. While I cannot 100% say the protein powder caused my “distress,” I’m pretty certain it did, because my stomach felt fine before I had it. I don’t recommend this protein powder, and give it an “F” for failure. I’ll keep looking for a healthy, tasty vegan protein powder, and will let you know if one exists.

P.S. You can also follow me on Instagram at @FitGirlUSA  – And check out my diet plan/nutritional guide, and newest dessert cookbook at http://www.thehighfivediet.com

 

Tracy Anderson exercise DVDs review

Tracy Anderson DVD reviewI saw Tracy Anderson, a skinny little blond woman, fitness trainer to the stars, on The Dr. Oz show where she did a mini arm workout, and I followed along. My arms were tired after just a few minutes, and I work out with weights consistently, so I got two of her DVDs, shown above. Her exercises are very odd looking, and she explains that her method trains the accessory muscles in addition to the large muscles, which creates a lean look. In both DVD’s, the arm workouts delivered; they weren’t too hard to do, yet, I could feel my arms getting tired and stronger. The older DVD, Precision Toning, has four 15-minute workouts, and I like that arm video best because it’s more challenging than the newer DVD, Method Express, but what I don’t like about this older video is how unlikable she is. Tracy is condescending, saying that we need to watch the video three times before even trying it. She has an attitude in the tone of her voice in the whole DVD, but in her newer video, she seems nice and friendly, so I prefer the newer one for only that reason.

There’s things to like and dislike about these workouts. She doesn’t say at the beginning of the exercise how many reps to do, she just counts. Sometimes it’s ten reps and sometimes it’s forty. That’s not a typo, 40 repetitions in a row is a lot! Most the moves are bizarre or awkward, but some just seem like a really bad idea unless you’re very flexible and have taken a least a year of ballet because you’re on the floor with your head down, bending your leg up and back a ridiculous number of times.

In her leg section, her “squats” are where her knees are slightly bent, and she just bends her chest towards her thighs a bunch of times; that’s not a squat, and it doesn’t do anything to strengthen your lower body. She explains that her workouts really lift that butt, except that she has hardly any butt to speak of, and I didn’t feel my glutes working at all.

Most of the exercises are faced down, or away from the TV so you can’t see if you’re doing the exercises correctly, yet she emphasizes doing the movements exactly as she does. The camera only shows one view, from the front, so you don’t have a good idea of what it looks like from the side or from the back. I had no idea if I was really doing the exercises the right way. There’s a lot of floor work where you’re getting partially up and moving back down to the mat, which is great from a cardiovascular perspective, but not so great if these exercises don’t come easily for you (they didn’t for me), so I was worried I was going to injure myself and hurt my lower back.

All in all, her workouts are weird, but they have some merit. I really like the arm workouts and some of the abdominal exercises, but if you want to strengthen your lower body and/or get a good cardio workout, these exercises won’t accomplish those goals, and you might end up hurting yourself.

P.S. If your goal is to clean up your diet and lose unwanted pounds, check out my flexible eating diet book at http://www.thehighfivediet.com

 

The fruit that vegans are using as meat

dairy-free chicken enchiladasI saw a video on Instagram where a man was making vegan tacos. The “meat” looked like shredded pork, and he said he fooled his Hispanic family into thinking he was serving authentic pork tacos. I wanted to try it so I bought a can of unripe jackfruit from Trader Joes, as suggested. The ripe fruit tastes too sweet, so unripe jackfruit in a can is suggested.

I followed the recipe for his jackfruit tacos, tossing out the liquid, breaking apart the jackfruit into pieces, cooking it on the stovetop, and adding spices and sauce. It took quite a long time to cook, and chop and tear up, until it resembled shredded pork, but it didn’t taste good, and it didn’t taste anything at all like any meat I’ve ever eaten. It was disgusting and I spit it out into the trash. The first bite is great; I taste the spices and the yummy sauce, but a pungent artichoke flavor takes over (and I love artichokes). My husband didn’t like it either. We ending up throwing the entire batch in the trash, and just had vegan tacos with guacamole, sliced red bell pepper, cilantro, salsa and topped it off with plain coconut yogurt mixed with lime juice, which was, actually, quite good!

Healthy Vegan Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fudge

healthy vegan fudge recipe

Healthy fudge?! Yep, and it’s delicious and really easy to make, with no cooking needed.  I finished eating the entire batch in 24 hours.

For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, unsalted or salted
  • 2 tablespoons toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes

For the fudge:

  • 9 medjool dates, pitted and torn in half
  • 3 tablespoons creamy, unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coco powder, level
  • ½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract

Add the topping ingredients to a heavy-duty food processor, and mix for a few seconds until it resembles small pieces. Place the crumbly mixture in a small, flat, glass container, evenly distributed, and cover with a lid to store the fudge in. Next, add all the fudge ingredients into that same heavy-duty food processor and mix until it forms a large ball. Pinch off about a tablespoon, and roll between your palms until it forms a smooth ball. Roll the top lightly in the “topping” and place neatly in the glass container. Most of the topping will fall off, that’s okay. It’s meant to look pretty, and you can smash the fudge into the topping with each bite (that’s more fun!).

Repeat process. You should end up with nine pieces of fudge. Store in the freezer, covered. It should be ready in a few hours. Let sit out 3 minutes to warm up slightly before eating.

Serving size: 1 date

Calories: 99             net carbs: 17 grams

P.S. There’s lots of healthy treats in my cookbook: Slimming Dairy-Free Desserts & Smoothies. Order today at http://www.thehighfivediet.com to get it before x-mas to give to yourself, or someone else as a gift.

Pasta and Meat Sauce remake: now gluten-free & vegan

gluten-free pasta and vegan meat sauce

I enjoy creating new, healthy versions of the dishes I love. I decided to transform my “Pasta and Meat Sauce” recipe from my 1st cookbook, The High-Five Diet, into a gluten-free, vegan version and it came out delicious so I wanted to share it with everyone who is gluten-free and/or vegan.  

  • Instead of the rotini pasta, peel two large zucchini and make spaghetti zoodles. Cook in the sauce.
  • Replace the ground lamb with one can of rinsed chickpeas. Cook in the sauce.
  • Add ½ cup chopped green olives, cook in the sauce.
  • Add two handfuls of spinach at the end and mix into the sauce.

That’s it. Super easy and low calorie. Serves 3-4. You can order either of my cookbooks from www.thehighfivediet.com If you already have The High-Five Diet paperback book, the Pasta and Meat Sauce recipe is on page 169.

 

Pecan Pie Cookie Bites

Vegan Pecan Pie Cookie BitesMy husband wanted either Pecan Pie or Pecan Cookies, but all the recipes I found had a lot of oil (even coconut oil in large quantities isn’t healthy), so I came up with these Pecan Pie Cookies. They came out better than I expected. The gooey sweet inside covered with crunchy pecans is rich and decadent. They’re easy to make and don’t require any cooking.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup medjool pitted dates (about 10)
  • ½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon (three powerful shakes)
  • 2 level tablespoons unsweetened, creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (I used raw, but toasted would be good too). You’ll probably only use ¼ cup but it’s good to have extra, just in case

Tear the dates in half, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and almond butter to a medium-sized mixer until it all clumps together in a large ball. Use a level tablespoon to scoop out each cookie, and roll it in your hands to make a round cookie. Do this with each cookie. It makes 8-9 cookies. (I ate some of the batter while I was making the cookies so, if you can resist eating any of the batter until they’re done, you might even get 10 cookies!)

Lastly, place the pecans in a very small bowl. Dip each cookie, gently into the chopped pecans so that it covers it completely. Put on a plate and place in the freezer. It should be firm and ready to eat in an hour. I prefer these frozen, instead of refrigerated, because they aren’t firm enough and taste too much like sticky dough if they aren’t cold enough. I keep these in the freezer, uncovered, and let one sit out 30 seconds, to unthaw a bit, before eating. These are really rich so one is plenty!

Makes 8-9 cookies         Serving size: 1 cookie

Calories 130 (based on 8 cookies)       Carbohydrates 19 grams each

 

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