Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dinner is Served! Blackberry Chili Scallops over Couscous

Dinner is served! This week's dinner was Blackberry Chili Scallops over Couscous. Looks and tastes entirely decadent, but will be done in less than 20 minutes.  For the full recipe click HERE>>

The key to making the scallops delicious is to make sure you don't overcook them.  Stick to 2 mins a side and they should be amazing.  

One of my favorite things about this meal besides the fact that it was amazing in every way is that it made me remember how easy couscous is to make! Even though I loved last week's meal, Japanese Fish Rice Balls and Edamame Salad, I'm just not that great at making rice.  Couscous is absolutely fool proof to make and done in 5 mins. So much better than rice!

Would you try this recipe? How do you enjoy your scallops? Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Blackberry Chili Scallops over Couscous

Happy Wednesday! It’s What’s for Dinner? Wednesday again here at Fit Armadillo.  It’s also Website Wednesday, because I’m determined to get my website and blog married and moved over to their new WordPress home by the end of the day.  Think I can do it? I hope I can! 

The guys over at Blue Host (who are AMAZING, I might add) have warned me that you may see some funky things happening with Fit Armadillo the next week or so, but once it’s all done it’s going to make all of our worlds so much better, so hang in there with me!

This week’s meal features two of my favorite foods, scallops and blackberries, paired with my husband’s favorite food item, peppers!  Very fitting for the last meal before my online websites are joined together, right? (totally NOT planned!).  

This recipe comes to you modified from one found in my favorite magazine of all time: Clean Eating Magazine. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should! 

So let’s get onto this week's recipe for Blackberry Chili Scallops over Couscous since I need to get back to setting up my website!

Here are the ingredients you need to serve the meal to four:

4 cups blackberries
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp raw honey
1 tbsp chopped chile (recommended: chipotle)
1 cup couscous
2 tsp olive oil
20 oz sea scallops
pepper (to taste)
fresh parsley (garnish)

Here’s how to put it all together:

Step One: Make your blackberry chipotle sauce by combining your blackberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and chipotles in a small bowl. 

Step Two: Make your couscous by first bringing 1.5 cups of water to a boil and then adding your grains to the pot. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat and let your couscous sit for 5 minutes.

Step Three: Cook up your scallops! Preheat a skillet over high heat and then spray it with cooking spray.  Season your scallops with pepper before searing them in your skillet for about 2 mins on each side.  Remove the scallops when their edges start to split and set them aside.

Step FourAdd the blackberry sauce from step one to the skillet and stir it up.  As soon as it bubbles, turn the heat to low and continue to stir for 4 minutes to it’s ready to top you meal.

Step Five:  Divide the couscous among 4 plates and top with 1/8 a serving of the blackberry sauce, the scallops, and 1/8 a serving of blackberries.

And that's it! Super delicious and super easy to make! Check back tonight to see the final product. 

Would you try this meal? Share your thoughts with a comment below:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: How to Enjoy Easter Candy without Regret

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! It's Easter week and Easter candy is everywhere.  Is it stressing you out? Do you feel guilty because you want to enjoy a childhood favorite, but you don't want to undo all the hard work you've put into your fitness routine? Fear not, my friend! This week's video brings you three tips for enjoying your Easter candy without regret.  That's right! I'm here to tell you that you can eat your Easter candy and enjoy it too!  

Even more exciting? The actual Easter bunny is my special guest for this week's video! Check him out hard at work editing our video footage here:

Nathan, the Easter Bunny, editing video footage. 

Most personal trainers will tell you to avoid candy altogether, but I think it's fine to indulge intelligently. If you REALLY want to eat that candy, you will. The longer you avoid it, the more you'll want it. Plus, I don't know about you, but Easter candy is the best candy! I've tried not enjoying any myself, and it's just no way to live.  By taking the tips I'm sharing this week to heart, you'll get to have the best of both worlds.  You can enjoy your favorite seasonal treats, but you won't feel like you've ruined months of hard work in the process.

Ready for my healthy Easter tips including one of my FAVORITE online fitness tools, Easter basket ideas to keep your favorite kiddos active, and to meet the Easter bunny? Check out this week's video:

Did you enjoy this video? Give it a thumbs up/share it for me on Google + and with your friends. 

Did you do your homework yet? I'd love to hear about your favorite Easter candy and the activities you'll add to your week or other treats you'll give up so you can enjoy your candy without guilt. Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dinner is Served! Japanese Fish Rice Balls & Edamame Salad

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! This week's meal brought all the flavors of your favorite Japanese restaurant to your kitchen without the need for testing your sushi-grade fish buying skills.

Tonight's meal, Japanese Fish Rice Balls & Edamame Salad, substituted raw salmon for smoked fish to keep crafting it in your own home safe as well as delicious.  Smoked salmon is fairly high in sodium, so make sure to enjoy this dish on a day where you haven't been eating a lot of this ingredient.

The hardest part of this meal for me was the rice! I don't know why, but that small little grain is something I just can't seem to perfect.  If you're like me and get a little stressed out by cooking rice, remember to breathe AND that to make the rice sticky, you really need to have wet fingers.  That being said, I think I'm going to leave all future rice cooking to Mr. Fit Armadillo since he's Indian and can basically cook the stuff in his sleep!

Think you'd enjoy this meal? Check out the full recipe HERE>>

What do you think of this dish? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave them with a comment in the space below this post: 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Japanese Fish Rice Balls & Edamame Salad

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! Today's dinner is a Japanese dish that combines all the great flavors of your favorite sushi spot in a way that can safely be prepared in your kitchen.  That's because instead of making this meal with raw fish, you'll be using smoked salmon.  If you're like me and you wish that you could eat Japanese food every night, but just aren't ready to trust your ability to select sushi-grade fish, I know you'll enjoy this dish.

This recipe for Japanese Fish Rice Balls and Edamame Salad has been modified from one I found in MiNDFOOD, a magazine I fell in love with while in Australia.

To serve it to four people, you'll need the following ingredients:

2 cups short grain rice
4 tbsp sesame seeds
2 nori sheets (dried seaweed)
8 oz smoked fish (I'm using salmon)
7 oz edamame
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Salad leaves, ginger, wasabi, and miso soup 

Step One: Get your rice ready.  Rinse your rice in cold water until the water runs clear.  Drain the rice and then place it in a microwavable container. Cover the rice with 2.5 cups of cold water and heat it in the microwave for about 20 mins or until it is tender. Leave the rice to cool.

Step Two:  Prepare the fish ball coating.  In a dry frying pan, heat up 5 tbsp of sesame seeds so they become toasted. Allow them to cool while you heat up the nori sheets in the same dry frying pan.  Use a coffee grinder to make a powder out of 4 tbsp of the sesame seeds and the nori sheets.  Set aside the extra 1 tbsp of sesame seeds for later.

Step Three: Make your fish balls. Wet your hands and use them to shape the rice into 1 inch balls. Use your thumb to make a hollow in each ball and fill it with your smoked fish before sealing and reshaping the ball.  Finish each ball off by rolling it in your sesame seed and nori powder.

Step Four: Make your salad.  Blanch the edamame in boiling water.  When cooked, rinse the beans in cold water before tossing them with the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and the remaining 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.

Step Five: Put it all together! Serve the fish balls on top of a bed of salad topped with wasabi, ginger, and edamame.  Heat up miso soup to serve on the side.

Now you can enjoy a quick Japanese food fix without needing to visit a sushi restaurant.

Would you try this dish? Share your thoughts with a comment below.  Know someone who might enjoy it? Spread the word by sharing this page.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: How to Select the Correct Running Shoes for Your Feet

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This week's video gives me the chance to talk about two of my most favorite things in the whole wide world: running and shoes.

If you're here to learn how to select the correct running shoes for your feet, don't worry. I'm not going to break out my stiletto shoe collection and go for a run (or will I?).  Instead, I'll be providing some tips that will make your running shoe shopping trip go more smoothly.  

The big takeaway from this video is the importance of buying your running shoes for comfort and not style.  I won't be telling you to stop buying impractical shoes, because I wear them on my off days.  However, I will give you some tips that will make changing up the way you shop for your running shoes easier to understand.

To get my tips, watch click on the video to tune in:

Interested in checking out the shoe finder tool I talked about? Visit it on Runner's World by clicking HERE>>

One of the online shoe stores that offers an extended warranty is Road Runner Sports. Check them out through THIS link>>

Are you starting a running routine? If so, have you bought new running shoes yet? Share your thoughts on my tips and your new routine by leaving a comment below. Know someone who might enjoy this video? Please share it to spread the word.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dinner is served! Cornmeal Dumpling Soup with Kale and Red Beans

This week's What's for Dinner? Wednesday meal is served! You're looking at a bowl of Cornmeal Dumpling Soup with Kale and Red Beans.  It was my first time making any dumplings so I am feeling pretty accomplished right now.  Although, that might have more to do with the fact that this meal also helped me use up a good amount of the copious amounts of cornmeal that appeared out of nowhere last month.

To find the full recipe click HERE>>.  I think you'll enjoy the fact that it takes about 40 minutes to cook (and only about 10 minutes of hands on time).  If you've gone gluten free or are a vegetarian, this wold also make a great meal with a nice salad and maybe some gluten free bread.

Would you try this recipe? Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Cornmeal Dumpling Soup with Red Beans and Kale

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! I hope you survived April Fool's Day okay and got to play a joke or too on some unsuspecting victims.  I didn't try to fool anyone, but Wordpress definitely played a trick or two on me!

This week's meal is something to help my friends in cooler climates warm up a little as they wait for warm weather to finally arrive.  I'm sharing a recipe for Cornmeal Dumpling Soup with Red Beans and Kale.  Besides warming you up from the inside out, this soup is gluten and meat free.  Pair it with your favorite salad and some fresh bread (gluten free if needed) for a complete dinner. The inspiration from this recipe comes from one I found on the website Simply Gluten Free.  It's been altered quite a bit to take the total cook time down from 4hrs to less than 40 mins, but you might want to check out the site if you're more of a pro than I am!

OK....I have a little confession. I did think of my friends up north while selecting this recipe, but I initially picked it because I discovered this situation when doing a little spring cleaning two weeks ago:

You're looking at not one, not two, but THREE "things" of cornmeal! Yes, one is yellow cornmeal and two are white cornmeal, but I'm pretty sure a girl only needs one of these at a time. I'm really not sure how this happened, but if you're in Houston, TX and need some cornmeal, I'd love to share some of the wealth.  I need to take back that valuable pantry real estate so I can add to my slightly obscene collection of fancy oils.

If you stopped by last week, you know I shared a recipe that also included cornmeal.  The recipe was quite scrumptious, but when I found it I was SO excited to have located a yummy, healthy chicken fingers recipe (want it? get it HERE>>) that I overlooked the fact that it really wasn't going to make a dent in the cornmeal invasion.  This week's recipe is definitely a better attempt to solve my cornmeal crisis.

So without further ado, here's what you need to make Cornmeal Dumpling Soup for four people:


1 can red kidney beans, rinsed with water
1 onion 
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce (*make sure yours is gluten free if you're avoiding the ingredient)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb kale, ribs removed and chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used brown rice flour)
3/4 cornmeal (take that, cornmeal invasion!)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup water
1 bunch green onions, minced
crushed red pepper (optional, but recommended)

Accessories (optional):
Witch hat
Green face paint

Putting it all together:

Step One: Grab a large pot and add in your red beans, onion, and 8 cups of water (you may want to add more or less water later depending on how "chunky" you like your soup). Bring your caldron (WAY more fun than saying pot, right?) of goodies to a boil and throw on your witch accessories, if desired or if you need to cast a spell today. Need help finding a spell? Check HERE>> 

Step Two: Let out an evil laugh and turn the heat on your stove top down so everything simmers. You can put away your witch hat for now if you'd like :) Add your soy sauce, pepper, kale (a witch has to stay trendy, my friends!), and balsamic vinegar and cover your pot for 20 minutes. 

Step Three: While you wait, make your dumpling batter.  Whisk together the flour, cornmeal (and rejoice if you have as much as I do), sugar, salt, and baking powder. Next, add in 1/2 cup of your green onions.   Check on your caldron and add a little more salt, if needed.  Take a few laps around the house on your broomstick to get in a little cardio and scare any guests if desired.

Step Four: By now those 20 minutes of simmering should be up.  Drop your dumpling batter into your caldron/pot by large tablespoons.  Cover it up again and let it continue to simmer for a final 15 minutes. Take one last broomstick calorie burning fly-by.

Step Five: Dinner will be served when you portion out your soup and top it with some green onions and crushed red pepper! Take off your witch disguise or don't. It's up to you.

Do you plan on trying this recipe? Have you ever cooked in costume? Share your thoughts and comments below and this recipe if you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Why exercise IS an effective way to lose weight and tips to maximize your routine

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This week's video is the last in my March Madness series.  Yes, I know it's April 1st, but since March Madness at Fit Armadillo is more about shining a light on fitness myths than it is about March or basketball, I figured it was still timely.  Especially since it's April Fool's Day and this week's myth is one I don't want someone to prank you into believing!

What myth am I uncovering this week? It's the myth that exercise "just isn't proven to aide in weight loss."  This myth always really grinds my gears, because it's just not true!

However, haters are gonna hate and they keep talking all this trash about exercise. I think the myth comes from the fact that while your eating and exercising habits work together to impact your overall weight and weight loss goals, it's a lot easier to overeat than it is to overexercise! 

Most of us don't realize what we actually eat during the day and tend to overestimate the amount of exercise we enjoy.  But "most of us" doesn't have to be YOU! Take charge of your healthy living routine and get a few steps closer to your goal by getting real about your current routine with me.  If you're not sure where to begin, you'll love the quick tips for learning how to modify both your eating and exercising routines that I reveal in the video.

Find out more about my thoughts on the maddening idea that exercise doesn't work by watching this week's video here:

Did you enjoy this video? Share it with a friend and then share your thoughts with a comment below. Did you visit Choose My Plate yet? It's a great resource and I'd love to hear your thoughts on that as well :) Type away: 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dinner is served! High Class Chicken Fingers

This week's What's for Dinner? Wednesday meal is ready for you to enjoy (at least in a visual way)!  It's a grown up version of a childhood favorite that I like to call High Class Chicken Fingers.

The blackberry, honey, and mustard sauce will delight your adult tastebuds as you reminisce about days of old enjoying tasty fingers or nuggets of goodness. Many kid-friendly meals are not very healthy living friendly. However, this dinner won't fill you with regret! There's no frying involved.

To view the full recipe check out the post from this morning HERE>>

Did you cook with us? Share your version of High Class Fingers and Tag it with the #W4DW hashtag.  Have a comment about this meal idea or a favorite childhood chicken finger/nugget story? Share that below too:

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: High Class Chicken Fingers

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! Last week I shared a recipe for Falafel Scotch Eggs that was brand new to most of you. This week's recipe is one you've likely seen before, but it has a little bit of a twist.  It's for High Class Chicken Fingers! This blast from the past (or a least my past, I couldn't get enough of chicken fingers when I was a kid!) goes healthy in this recipe that I slightly modified from one I found on Eating Well.

Besides enjoying reminiscing of a simpler time when cooking up this childhood classic gone all grown-up, I think you'll enjoy the fact that it only requires 15 mins to make and you're likely to have most of the ingredients already in your pantry! Plus, the fancy sauce that goes with it is a fun, adult twist.

Here's what you'll need to serve High Class Chicken Fingers to four:

1 cup blackberries 
1.5 tbsp mustard
2 tsp honey
1 lb chicken tenders
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp cornmeal
cooking spray

How to put it all together:

Step One: Get saucy! You're all grown up now so you won't be dipping these chicken fingers in ketchup.  To make your classy dip mash up your blackberries, mustard, and honey in a small bowl.  It will be a little chunky and a lot of yummy!

Step Two: Prep your chicken.  Cut your chicken into nuggets or finger size (your choice) and then sprinkle them with your salt and pepper.  One your chicken is seasoned, coat it with cornmeal by tossing the topping and your meat together in a bowl.  

Step Three: Heat a skillet over medium-high and spray it with cooking spray.  Add your chicken and cook it over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side.  It should be ready when it's lightly browned.  Once your chicken is done cooking, divide it among four plates and add a dash of your berry sauce.  

That's it! Three easy steps and one delicious and healthy entree.  Don't forget to add some veggies for a complete meal.

Are you going to try this recipe tonight? Does it look delicious or do you think chicken nuggets are best served with ketchup? Share your thoughts and your favorite chicken finger memory with a comment below:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Does Running Cause Knee Injuries?

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This Tuesday I've booked you an appointment with a doctor. Don't worry, it's not for a check-up! Rather, it's to watch this week's March Madness video, which is an interview with Dr. William Turley who has stopped by to discuss the question: Does running cause knee injuries? 

Aside from being a medical doctor, Dr. Turley has been running for 45 years so he knows a thing or two about the sport.  In addition to providing his personal insights as a runner, he'll also teach you several reasons why tying up your laces should be on your to-do list this spring that might surprise you. The best part? You don't have to wait 2hrs in an uncomfortable chair reading old AARP magazines to hear what he has to say.  This might just be your favorite encounter with a doctor, ever! 

Ready to figure out if running is dangerous or worthy of your time? Check out the video here:

What did you learn from this video? Share your thoughts with a comment below and be sure to "share" this video if you found it useful!

Friday, March 21, 2014

6 Ways to Look Great While Working Out

by Nikki Duckworth

On a recent shopping trip a dear friend said something that really stuck with me. 

She said that cute workout clothes made her actually look forward to exercising.

It made perfect sense and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t made the connection before! I’d forgotten about our conversation until I picked up new running sneakers a few weeks later. I’d gotten them for function, but I couldn’t ignore the stylish touches that made them feel special. 

Whenever I run in them, I can’t stop staring at my feet! Even on the days that I realllly don’t feel like working out, I get more motivated just looking at my lovely sneakers sitting by the door. I know for sure now that my friend is really on to something.

When you think about working up a sweat doing it in style may not be your first thought, but there’s no reason why fashion and fitness can’t coexist.

With that in mind, here are 6 tips to keep you looking good before, during and after your workout:

Tip 1: Upgrade your gym bag

Nike Victory Bag

Embrace your woman on the go status with a fashion forward gym tote. I’m thinking about a bag that not only looks good on your arm, but keeps you organized and can handle anything you throw at it. No time to shower right away? Stock your bag with face/body wipes, dry shampoo and deodorant to freshen up in a hurry.

Tip 2: Keep it fresh

Lululemon Nice Asana Jacket

Speaking of freshening up, when it comes to workout wear wicking technology is your best friend. Moisture wicking materials pull sweat away from your skin to keep you feeling dry. Terms like Dri-fit, Dri-more and GoDry indicate that the fabric is designed to keep you from feeling like a sweaty mess no matter how hard you’ve just trained.

Tip 3: Make it personal

Old Navy Fun Fearless Free Tee

Want to inject more personality into your workout wardrobe? Try grabbing a graphic tee or tank that speaks for you. Get one with a motivational saying that will inspire you and your gym mates. Added bonus: This kind of top holds its own style wise once the workout is done.  

Tip 4: Work it out in prints and patterns

Women's UA Perfect Tight Fitted Capri

Prints of all kinds are going strong in fashion. Carry the trend over to into a street and sweat friendly workout ‘fit. Just the thought of doing a downward dog or lunges in your favorite print makes the impending exercise seem more fun. 

Tip 5: Add Color

Nike Free Run 5.0+

If prints aren’t your thing, play with adding a splash of color. Even it’s just a pair of sneakers or bright socks, color is sure to brighten your mood and fitness session. Of course if you’re feeling adventurous don’t be afraid to mix prints and colors!

Tip 6: Flatter your figure

C9 by Champion Women's Yoga Layering Top

Put away the oversized sweats and opt for gear that better celebrates your body. You’re working hard to whip (or keep) that body in shape, why suit up in clothing that doesn’t fit or flatter for a workout?

Whether you’re working out to whittle your waistline, increase strength or just to maintain your health, using these tips to elevate your fitness look is no sweat at all.

Nikki Duckworth is a personal stylist armed with nearly a decade of fashion industry experience and a passion for helping women look their best. She loves helping clients banish frump to hone a sense of style that works for their real lives, real bodies and real needs over at

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner is served! Falafel Scotch Eggs with Radicchio

Here in Houston, TX it's been a lovely What's for Dinner? Wednesday!  This week's meal, Falafel Scotch Eggs with Radicchio, was inspired by a recipe I found while visiting my sister down under and it was delectable!  

I hadn't heard of scotch eggs until finding the recipe that inspired this meal in MiNDFOOD magazine. If you read the magazine or have eaten this dish before you know that a true Scotch egg is fried.  The version I shared HERE>> cut out that step and still resulted in nicely browned and tasty eggs.  Instead of using meat as the egg's coating, this version uses a homemade falafel mix so the entire dish is vegetarian friendly!

If you haven't tried this dish, I highly recommend it. Plus, it's a great way to hide your eggs from the Easter bunny when he comes hopping through next month!

Would you try this meal? Have you ever heard of Scotch eggs? Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Falafel Scotch Eggs and Radicchio

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! As you may know I was in Australia last week for my little sister's wedding.  She was the most beautiful bride I've ever seen and we had a wonderful time! I have a few "snaps" (that's Australian for pics) over on Facebook if you want to check them out head here>>

While I was gone, I didn't have any time to cook! However, I did get to read some new health magazines and am excited to share with you a recipe I discovered while down under! It's not made with kangaroo (although I must say kangaroo meat is really delicious and healthy)!  Rather, it's the vegetarian dish, Falafel Scotch Eggs and Radicchio. The version I'm sharing has been modified from a recipe found in the March copy of MiNDFOOD magazine to make it even more healthy and easy.

If you've head of scotch eggs, you know they aren't normally vegetarian and aren't really Fit Armadillo approved! In fact, this dish that's from the UK is traditionally made by wrapping an egg in meat and frying it, but as you know I'm really not into frying things so I've cut out that step.

If you're a newsletter subscriber, you already got your list of ingredients for this meal on Monday.  When I made the recipe today, I found myself with a LOT of leftover ingredients even with the modifications I originally made so I've adjusted these in the list that follows. If you already bought all the ingredients listed in the newsletter, you'll have enough leftovers to double the recipe if you buy a second head of radicchio and four extra eggs.

If you are sad that you missed out on this week's newsletter, turn that frown upside down and become a part of the club by signing up HERE>>

Ready to try out this shiny new recipe with me?
Here are the ingredients you'll need to serve Falafel Scotch Eggs and Radicchio to yourself and three lucky guests:

5 eggs
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 can chickpeas (200g)
1/2 can cannelli beans (200g)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp allspice
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
cooking spray
1 radicchio
1 cup +1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Greek yogurt (topping)
Oregano, thyme, and sesame seeds for seasoning

How to make your healthy, vegetarian version of scotch eggs:

Step One: Boil four of your five eggs for six minutes.  In case you haven't boiled eggs in a while and want to avoid embarrassment, you want to make sure the water is boiling before you add your eggs and start your timer.  Not that you'd make this mistake, but I recently did when I was really hungry and impatient and it wasn't pretty!

Step Two:  While your eggs are boiling, it's time to whip up your falafel coating.  You'll need 1/2 a can of chickpeas and 1/2 a can of cannelli beans.  Rinse each can before dumping the necessary amount into your food processor.  Add 1 tbsp each of water, flour, and cumin, 1 tsp of allspice, and 1/2 a cup of fresh parsley and processes the ingredients until they are smooth.  If your mixture gets stuck, add a little extra water.

Step Three: By now your eggs should be just about done. Take them out of the pot and rinse them off in cool water before removing their shells.

Step Four: Re-shell your eggs! Set up the following four small bowls to "re-shell" your eggs in tasty goodness: In bowl one add your recently processed falafel mix, in bowl two add 1/4 cup of flour, in bowl three whisk a raw egg, and in bowl four add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.  Take each egg one by one and coat it with the ingredients in each bowl.  When you're done you should have four eggs coated in falafel mix (use your hands to form the falafel around the egg so it sticks), flour, egg, and lastly, breadcrumbs.

Step Five: Cook up your covered eggs!  Spray a medium sized pan with cooking spray and heat it up over medium high heat. Add your eggs and continue to cook and turn them so that the outside is lightly browned (about 4 mins).

Step Six:  Add your finishing touches.  Make your radicchio salad by combining the radicchio with 1 cup of fresh parsley and 1/2 a cup of fresh mint before topping it with 1 tbsp of balsamic and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Divide the salad among 4 plates and add 1 falafel scotch egg to each plate. Cut each egg in half and admire the interesting pattern that you've made.  Finish each plate off with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, oregano, and thyme if desired.

And there you have 'em: Falafel scotch eggs! Did you try this recipe? Don't forget to stop by later tonight to see the final product and share your thoughts below:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Four Reasons that Women Lifting Light Weights is Madness!

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This week's video is the second in the March Madness series.  If you're just tuning in, March Madness isn't about basketball here at Fit Armadillo.  Instead, it's about fitness myths that have been driving me MAD and uncovering the fit facts.

The fitness myth that has been driving me MAD this past week is the myth that women should only lift light weights.  This myth has been driving me mad for so many reasons.  In fact, if you watch the video you'll learn FOUR reasons why you want to put down those 3 pounders! You'll also get some proof that lifting the appropriate weight for your won't leave you looking like a body builder.

Ready to take your strength training routine and fitness goals to the next level, ladies? Tune in here:

Are you ready to change out those too-light weights? Which of the four reasons has you really feeling ready to make a change? Share your thoughts below:

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: A Fish Lover's Fantasy!

This week for What's for Dinner? Wednesday I'm still stuck on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays (tragic, I know) so instead of cooking up a new meal, I'm reheating er...reminding you of all the fish recipes I've shared this past year.

Ready for this fish lovers fantasy? Here are my favorite healthy fish dinners:

1.) Broiled Salmon with Thai Chili Glaze:  This recipe has quickly become a Fit Armadillo household favorite.  Apart from setting aside some time for the salmon to marinade, it's ridiculously quick and easy to make. Try it as the star of your next dinner party or over a bed of salad.

2.) Salmon aka Krabby Patties over a Bed of Spinach Salad: If you or some little ones are Sponge Bob Square Pants fans, you can whip up this dish and call the salmon patties Krabby Patties for a little fun. This one is great because it takes less than 10 minutes to make and you can keep most of the ingredients on hand.  Banish your excuse of having no time to make a healthy meal with this recipe!

3.) Cod with White Wine Sauce and Asparagus: Another delicious and under 30 minute meal. Decadent enough for a dinner party, yet easy enough to have you thinking about hosting another dinner party soon.

4.) Tilapia Fish Sticks with Special Sauce: Reminisce about your childhood without feeling guilty with this healthy version of fish sticks.

5.) Nutty Salmon: This recipe came out so good that even my dad who's a pretty picky eater couldn't stop talking about it! Get on the omega 3 train with a double dose from the pistachios and salmon in this dish.

6.) Swai Wrapped in Proscuitto: Fish and pig together at last! This meal unites flavors of the water with those on land and the result is a delicious duo sure to please.

Do you enjoy cooking fish? Which of these recipes would you like to try? Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Reruns of Favorite Chicken Dishes

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! This Wednesday I'm reporting from down under. That's right, I'm in Australia! My little sister is getting married in 3 days. I can't believe it!!!

Since I'm not near a stove this Wednesday, I thought I'd re-share some of my past recipes.  The round up this week reviews those meals that had chicken as a main ingredient.  If you're just finding this blog, you may not realize that on Wednesdays I share the recipe for one of my favorite healthy meals. I then cook it up and post a picture of the final product in a follow-up post called "Dinner is served!"
If you'd like to play along and cook with me on Wednesdays, make sure to sign up for my e-mail list HERE>>.  You'll get a list of the Wednesday meal ingredients delivered to your inbox on Monday so you can pick up the items you'll need.  Another reason to sign up for the e-mail list? You can get discounts on great programs like my upcoming Run Away from Winter, Get 5K Fit! session and you'll also get your own free copy of my goal setting eBook!  Hope to see you on the A(armadillo)-List.

Getting back to business, here is a list of all of the chicken meals that have been shared:

1.) Chicken Cordon Bleu: A healthy take on the decadent French classic, this one is sure to please your fancy dinner guests and you as it takes minimal hands on time to make.

2.) Lemon Chicken with Red Beans and Quinoa: Delicious and packed full of protein, this dish makes a complete meal when you add your favorite whole grain carbohydrate to the side.

3.) Healthy Take on Taco Salad: Ground chicken stars in this Mexican style meal.

4.) Moroccan Chicken in the Slow Cooker: There's not much to not love with this dish-the slow cooker does most of the work and the result is delicious, moist chicken!

5.) Potato Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Chicken: Don't be fooled by the negative press, potatoes are nutritious (unless they are made into fries and served at McDonald's...). This recipe is easy and a good way to fall back in love with a spud.

6.) Poached Chicken with Green Beans and Nectarine Salad: This was the first recipe I shared! It's one of my favorites and great when nectarines are in season-very refreshing!

Are you a chicken fan? Which of these six dishes would you like to try? Have another thought? I'd love to hear what's on your mind! Let me know by leaving a comment in the space below:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: March Madness at Fit Armadillo Week One

Happy Tighten and Tone Tuesday! Can you believe it’s already March? I know I’m having a hard time believing it!  During the month of February Tighten + Tone Tuesday focused on tips for your cardiovascular fitness and in honor of Heart Health month.  This month’s theme is March Madness. Don’t worry, I won't be breaking out my lack of basketball skills! Instead, I’ll be sharing fitness myths that have been driving me mad and letting you in on the fitness facts.   

This first video won’t cover a fitness myth.  Instead, it introduces this month’s video series and provides a link to a brief meditation I recorded for you to enjoy anytime you hear one too many fitness myths so you don’t really go mad.  The meditation I’ve shared is one that I often use at then end of my Pilates classes, but it can be used any time. You’ll be able to download the mp3 so you can take it with you  anywhere.

Week One of March Madness Video and Meditation:

You can find the link to download your meditation in the ABOUT section of the video on YouTube or just click HERE>>

Do you have a meditation practice? What about a fitness myth that is driving you mad? Share your thoughts with a comment below:  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Get Ready, Get Set, Run Your Best Road Race!

The Flashback 5K/10K Fitness Run and Fitness Expo is just under three weeks away.  If you’ve signed up as a participant, you may be wondering what you can do the last few days to ensure that your race is a success.  You’ve come to the right place! Although I love working with all my fitness clients, my runners are my favorites.  That’s because I first started to enjoy exercise when I picked up the sport some 15+ years ago.  With many races under my belt I’ve learned a lot. Before you toe the line, check out my tips to make sure you’re truly race ready!

Tip 1: Find the right footwear

If you’re a new runner, you may be running in your regular fitness kicks.  However, if you want to continue your running habit for a long time, investing in the proper footwear is a must!  The first thing I tell clients interested in picking up running, is to purchase shoes from a specialty shoe store.  Yes, it will cost you  more money.  However, you can always purchase the same model online for future races.  

If you think you’ll just be a running shoe daredevil and wear your old tennis shoes, think again! You might save yourself some money now, but you’ll also be  increasing your chance of injury.  Running is a very inexpensive sport. You don’t need a gym to “play” it and you don’’t need any equipment other than yourself and your running shoes to enjoy it.  In addition to preventing injury, your properly fitted running kicks will also keep you from getting  black toenails.  Unless you’re planning on a free goth pedicure to complement your black flip flops or want to see what your toes look like without toenails, get yourself to a running store, stat! You still have time to break in a new pair if you wear them around your home and while running errands.

Tip 2:  Trot with technology

One of the most difficult parts of racing is learning how to properly pace yourself.  When your adrenaline is pumping at the starting line, it’s hard to hold back during mile one.  However, if you’re able to pace yourself correctly by running each mile slightly faster than the last, you might just run your PR (personal best) on race day!  A fitness gadget can help you with your pacing and is something you can still set up  before race day.  If you have a smartphone, you can download a free app such as MapMyRun and purchase an armband so you can race handsfree.  Otherwise, Polar and Garmin make some great tracking devices.  

If you’re in the market for a piece of technology to trot with later this month, check out Heart Rate Monitors USA. It’s my go-to shop for  fitness gadgets because they always offer free shipping and usually have the best prices.  Another great place to look for a fitness gadget online  is Amazon.  

Tip 3: Fuel your workouts properly

With a few runs before race day, it’s good to test out your pre race meal plan and make sure you’re properly refueling your body after each run.  The type of food that will work best for you is something that you’ll have to figure out through trial and error. However, you definitely don’t want to try something that doesn’t work the morning before your race!  Foods that generally work well will be mostly comprised of carbohydrates. However, try not to eat something with a lot of whole grans unless you’re eating more than an hour before you run (otherwise, you could make your tummy upset).  

If you can, try out your pre-race food plan within the same time frame as you would eat it on race day.  I advise my clients to experiment with foods the two weeks prior to the race by waking up at the same time they’ve decided on for race day, eating the same pre race snack they’ve selected, and running the distance of their race. I’d recommend that you try the same technique to avoid and tummy trouble on race day. 

While you won’t need to refuel during a 5K or 10K race, you may want to try some of the energy gels that runners who train for longer races use as a pre race snack. I have a very sensitive stomach, but have found that GU products work well as my pre-race fuel.  Energy gels give my body the energy it needs, but don't make me feel weighed down by a higher volume snack.  

After a run it’s important to properly refuel your body. Your body’s cells will be primed to restock glycogen stores (the molecule that is broken down to provide your cells with energy when you run) during the first 30 mins after your run.  By refueling at this time, you’ll ensure that future workouts are successful.  What should you eat after a run? Nutritionists have actually found that low fat chocolate milk offers the best combination of carbohydrates and protein so keep some on hand!

Tip 4: Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Staying hydrated is always important, but will be especially so for the Flashback 5K/10K race since its location makes it likely to be warmer than others this time of year.  You won’t be able to make up for forgetting to drink water while you’re racing. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you drink water throughout the day before your run and to leave a water bottle by your bedside table in case you feel thirsty at night.  To figure out if you are properly hydrated you can try two tricks. First, make sure you consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of water before the big day (if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water) When you go number one, aim for a “clear and copious” result!

Tip 5: Last minute details: 

If you know the course route ahead of time and live close to the race, you may want to drive the loop or run it once or twice in the days leading up to the event.  This isn’t so you won’t get lost (there are usually plenty of volunteers on hand to point you in the right direction).  Rather, this step can help you visualize your race. You can anticipate hills, a location for your cheerleaders to stand, and identify water stops.  

When you enter the final week of race day, you’ll also want to taper off your mileage. The week before your race shouldn’t include interval training (your race will be your hard workout) and ideally won’t include a workout the day before the race.  These steps will leave your legs feeling fresh and ready to go on race day.  

Last, but not least, make sure you have fun! The Flashback 5K/10K event is March 22nd at 7:30 AM in Galveston, TX and invites participants to dress up in  leg warmers, track suits, Farrah wings or tie dye, and  jam out to tunes from the 60s all the way to Pop2K.  It’s sure to be a hit! To register, click HERE>>  The expo will be held the day before in League City, TX.  To learn more about the expo click HERE>>

In addition to the expo and road race this event includes the following giveaway offer:

Grand Prize – 1 Winner Astros 4 tickets value $65.00 per ticket Mariners game, Sunday, May 4th Value - $260.00 4 All day passes to the Downtown Aquarium (Value $67.00) 2 $10 Gift Cards to Landry's Restaurants (Value $20.00) 2 $15.00 Discounted entries to the 10K run (Value $30.00) Total value Grand Prize Pack - $377.00

Second Place Prize Pack - 1 Winner 4 All Day Passes to the Downtown Aquarium (Value $67.00) 2 $10.00 GC to Landry’s Restaurants (Value $20.00) $25.00 Gift Card to Toys R Us ($25.00) 2 $15.00 Discounted entries to the Flashback 5K run ($30.00) Total value Second Place Prize Pack - $142.00 Third Prize Pack- 1 winner 4 All Day Passes to the Downtown Aquarium (Value $67.00) 2 $10.00 GC to Landry’s Restaurants (Value $20.00) 2 $15.00 Discounted entries to the Flashback 5K run (Value $30.00) Total Value Third Prize Pack $117.00 Fourth Prize Pack - 1 winner 2 VIP Tickets to the Flashback Fitness Expo (Value $50.00) 2 Passes to the Aquarium (Value $34.00) 1 $25.00 Gift Card to Toys R Us (Value $25.00) 1 $10 Gift Card to Mario’s Total Value Fourth Prize Pack $119.00 Fifth Prize Pack - 1 Winner 2 VIP Tickets to the Flashback Fitness Expo (Value $50.00) 2 $10 Gift Cards to Landry's Restaurants (Value $20.00) 1 $25.00 Gift Card to Toys R Us (Value $25.00) Total Value Fifth Prize Pack $95.00 Giveaway begins March 3 and ends March 14.

Have you run a road race? Share your experiences and any additional tips for the Flashback 5K/10K runners!  Haven’t started a running routine yet? I’d love to get you started! Leave some of your big questions with a comment below:

This post is part of a campaign with New Creative Media

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dinner is served! A Bowl of TQR (Tofu, Quinoa, and Red Peppers)

The mystery of the Bowl of TQR has been solved! It's a bowl of Tofu, Quinoa, and Red Peppers and it's just as colorful as any guess as to what it might have been.  Not sure what I'm talking about? When I shared the full recipe for this week's What's for Dinner? Wednesday meal HERE>>, I suggested telling your dinner guests that you were whipping up a bowl of TQR to see how they would react.  It sounds a lot more fun than a bowl of Tofu, Quinoa, and Red Peppers, right?

This dish isn't just Tofu, Quinoa, and Red Peppers, it also has some deliciousnesses added to it from a special sauce made of maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a few other ingredients.  It came out so good, that it almost makes me want to go vegetarian in order to experiment more with tofu!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this dish and experiences cooking with tofu! Share them with a comment below:  

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: A Bowl of TQR (Tofu, Quinoa, and Red Peppers)

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? You're in luck and just in time for What's for Dinner? Wednesday! This week's recipe is a vegetarian dish, a Bowl of TQR (Tofu, Quinoa, and Red Peppers). I think the recipe sounds more fun as initials, because then your dinner guests have no clue what you're up to while you work. Maybe you're making The Quintessential Recipe or planning your own version of The Quiet Revolution.  They will never know until they sit down for dinner or catch you in the act of whipping up a bowl of the stuff.  Either way a little mystery never hurt anyone.

This recipe has your oven and stove working for about 30 mins, but you'll only actively involved for about 5 mins.  Gotta love that! Even better? Your bowl of TQR will be brimming with protein from the tofu and quinoa.  I'm not a tofu cooking pro yet, so the recipe I'm sharing with you today has been modified from one I found on Pop Sugar, but the more I use it the more respect I have for it.

If you're buying a bag of quinoa for the first time and are worried that it will just take up space in your pantry after you try this meal, you might want to check out one of my other favorite quinoa recipes, Lemon Chicken with Red Beans and Quinoa>>.

Getting back to our bowl of TQR, here's what you'll need to serve a Bowl of TQR to Four:

10 oz of tofu, cubed
2 red peppers, sliced
cooking spray
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1.25 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1.5 cups shredded carrots
1.5 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
1.5 tbsp sesame seeds
1.5 tsp fresh ginger
1 clove fresh garlic, minced

Putting it all together:

Step One: Preheat your oven to 450°F and grab a large bowl. Don't put the bowl in the oven. Do add your cubed tofu, sliced red peppers, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix them together.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread out the ingredients from the bowl on your baking sheet.  Once your oven is ready, cook your tofu until it has browned slightly.  Your total cook time should be 15-20 mins.

Step Two:  You know what else takes about 20 mins to cook? Quinoa! It's almost too convenient....Set up a pot that has a cover on your stove and cook your quinoa and water on high until the water starts to boil.  Then turn the heat down so your protein-packed grain is set to simmer. Cover the pot and allow it to cook for 10 mins before adding your shredded carrots.  After another 10 mins the water should be absorbed by your quinoa and you'll be ready to take it off the oven.

Step Three: By now your tofu should almost be done with its first round in the oven.  Check on it and then prepare the secret sauce that you'll add to the top.  In a small bowl, combine your soy sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar.  Drizzle this liquid mix over your tofu and then sprinkle sesame seeds on top before returning your your tofu to the oven for a final 8 to 12 minutes of roasting.

Step Four:  Stir your ginger and garlic into your quinoa and then divide it evenly among four plates. Check that tofu one last time and when it's done, divide it up and place each serving of tofu on it's own bed of quinoa.

And you're done! Announce to your dinner friends that their Bowl of TQR is ready and see if they are intrigued by the mystery name, or not.

Does this recipe sound delicious? Share it so others can find it too.  Will you try it out tonight or later this week? Share your thoughts on making a Bowl of TQR with a comment below:  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Bid Farewell to Heart Health Month with a Test of Your Heart's Health (No Step Required!)

It's the last Tighten + Tone Tuesday of February and Heart Health Month.  If you've been away the last two weeks, don't feel bad. You can catch the reruns anytime! Last week's ode to the heart taught you a trick you'll want to do at home.  Learn it HERE>> Two weeks ago, I taught you about the Fat Burning Zone and if you need to stay in it to burn fat. Check out that video HERE>>

This week's video is short and sweet and still honors your heart.  In it you'll learn how to monitor your heart's health and your progress as you are up in the gym working on your cardiovascular fitness. You don't need a witness to get this one done.

Check out this week's tips here:

Found this video helpful? Don't forget to share it!Did you complete the test? Share your results below and come back in eight weeks to see how you've progressed! Have other thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Post your comments and questions below:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dinner is served! Chicken Cordon Bleu

Dinner is served! This week's What's for Dinner? Wednesday meal was Chicken Cordon Bleu. Normally, this meal is hard to enjoy if you're watching what you eat. However, with the few ingredient swaps made in this recipe >>, this French-inspired dish can be enjoyed guilt-free.

Looking for a different healthy dish?  Be sure to check out the Fit Armadillo Pinterest board to check out dinners from previous weeks>>

Have you ever enjoyed Chicken Cordon Bleu? What do you think of this recipe idea? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu, A Healthy Trip to France for Your Tastebuds

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! This week's recipe is one of my favorites from one of my favorite healthy cooking magazines, Clean Eating Magazine.  I love it because it's healthy, easy, AND fancy enough to share with special dinner guests.  Modeled after the super decadent French meal, this version of Chicken Cordon Bleu dish is big on taste, but not on fat.  Another reason to love it? It only takes 15 minutes of hands on time and just under 30 mins of total time to create.  Take a journey to France with me and serve some Chicken Cordon Bleu up tonight!  If you're an e-mail subscriber, you already know what you'll need.  If you're not on the A-List (Armadillo List, that is!), sign up HERE>> to get the ingredients for future meals delivered directly to your inbox each week!

I'm dedicating this recipe to my fans who stopped by for a What's for Dinner? Wednesday a few weeks back when I shared Swai, a fish, wrapped in proscuitto and some fans were a little uncertain about using the water dweller with the fancy land meat.  I have a hunch they'll enjoy this one!

Here is what you'll need to serve four this dish:

4 4-oz boneless, skinless thin-cut chicken breasts
4 large spinach leaves (no stems!)
4 wedges of Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese
2 oz ham
1 pinch o' paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
pinch o' pepper
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp chopped chives

How to whip it up:

Step One:  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (we're really not in France anymore!).  Take out your chicken and get ready to layer on the goodness. Start with a layer of spinach, one leaf per chicken breast. Next, spread on a layer of your laughing cow cheese.  Top each chick off with 1/2 a slice of ham.  Once you have these three layers in place, roll up the chicken tightly and sprinkle each piece with a pinch o'paprika.  Place your chicken in a glass baking dish and set it to cook for 20 minutes.

Step Two: As your chicken rolls bake, cook up your mushrooms. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and set it to medium-high heat.  Once your skillet warms up, add your garlic and cook it for one minute before adding in your mushrooms and pepper.  Continue to stir in the ingredients together for 10 minutes before removing them and setting them aside.

Step Three: Before you get back to that chicken, prep the sauce by mixing together your yogurt, mustard, and chives.  

Step Four: Check on your chicken. Once it's cooked through, take it out of the oven and place each breast over 1/4 of your mushrooms before drizzling 1/4 of your yogurt mustard sauce on top.

And you're done! Super easy, but super impressive as well.

What do you think? Would you try this recipe? Know someone who would? Share it! Then leave your comments below: