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: 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Finding Your Target Heart Rate Zone - DO try this at home!


Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This week's fitness video is the second part in a two video series that answers the fan question: "How important is it to stay in the Target Zone when working out?" In the first video of the series, I focused on the Fat Burning zone and whether you need to stay in it to burn fat. Catch up on the latest facts for getting your fat burn on by watching that video HERE>>

This week's video will answer the question more generally by taking a look at your Target Heart Rate Zone. You'll learn how to find your target heart rate zone and why you'll want to do this at home (hint: most cardio equipment and charts used outdated formulas to calculate your target heart rate zone).

Ready to honor your heart some more? It is Heart Health Month, after all!

Check out the video to pump up your heart knowledge here:


Did you calculate your Target Heart Rate Zone? How does it compare to the one you see at a gym? Share your thoughts below and share this post to share your new knowledge :)








Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dinner is served! Swiss Chard and Spinach Tart


Dinner is served! This little slice of goodness is a piece of Swiss Chard and Spinach Tart.  At the Fit Armadillo household it was served over a bed of salad for even more nutritious goodness.

By combining the Swiss chard and spinach with ricotta and feta cheeses and eggs, the veggies are slightly masked making it easy to trick a picky eater into enjoying loads of healthy vitamins and nutrients.  If you haven't tried Swiss chard yet, this recipe is a great way to do a trial run of the healthy green (and red and orange if you count the colorful stalks).

Want the full recipe? Visit the link HERE>>

Did you know I share the ingredients lists for every What's for Dinner? Wednesday meal with my newsletter subscribers? It's true! Get in on the fun by signing up HERE>> and also enjoy my free goal setting eBook.

What do you think of this savory tart? Share your thoughts with a comment below:

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Swiss Chard and Spinach Tart for Your Sweetheart!


Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! Last week my husband asked if I could please find a recipe that used Swiss chard.  It might sound like a weird husband recipe request, but his leafy green veggie is one of the last survivors of our balcony garden.  In response to his request, I found a recipe on Eating Well for a Swiss Chard tart and adapted it slightly to make it more healthy.  The result is the vegetarian-friendly recipe for Swiss Chard and Spinach Tart for Your Sweetheart that I'm sharing with you today!

Ready to make your own tart? Here are the ingredients you'll need:

Crust:



  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water


Filling: 
  • 4 cups chopped Swiss chard
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled fat free feta cheese

How to Make Your Dinner Tart for Your Sweetheart:

Step One: Make your crust.  Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  Then gather your crust ingredients.  In a bowl mix together your flours, thyme, salt, and pepper. Once these dry ingredients are mixed, you're ready to add in the wet ones. Continue to stir all of your crust ingredients together until you form a mix of dough consistency.  Knead your dough into a ball and then place it in the freezer for 5 minutes so it's easier to work with.  

Step Two: While your dough is enjoying it's cool-off period, organize your filling ingredients. Separate the stems of your Swiss chard from the leaves and chop up the greens from the chard and your spinach.   Mince your garlic and zest your lemon. Measure out your ricotta and feta cheeses.  

Step Three: By now your crust should be ready to roll out.  Use a rolling pin to make the crust thin enough to fit in a 9 x 9 inch pan and have enough extra length to cover the sides of the pan.  Then spray your tart pan with cooking spray and press the dough so it fits along the bottom and sides of the pan. Pop your pan in your preheated oven and keep it cooking unit the crust is firm and lightly brown (about 20 mins).  

Step Four: Finish up your filling! Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and allow it to warm up to medium heat.  Add your chard stems and cook them until they are tender (about 2 mins will do).  Next, add your garlic and mix it in with the chard stems for about 15 seconds before you add the rest of your green leaves.  Add the spinach and chopped chard along with 2 tablespoons of water to your skillet and continuing cooking for 3 mins so that the leaves are tender.  When you're done, drain out the water from your greens.

Step Five: While your greens dry out a little, combine the remaining filling ingredients.  Whisk together your 2 eggs, cheeses, lemon zest, and a pinch of pepper in a large bowl.  Then add your greens to the mix.  By now your crust should be done cooking.  Pour your filling into the crust and bake the tart until it is lightly browned (about 30 mins). 

Step Six: Serve up your Swiss Chard and Spinach to your Sweetheart! It goes great over a bed of greens.

Are you going to try this recipe? Have you ever had your husband ask you to cook with an ingredient you never thought he cared about? Share your thoughts below.  To see the recipe when it's finished, don't forget to stop back by tonight!






Monday, February 10, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: How Important is it to Stay in the Fat Burning Zone if You Want to Burn Fat?


Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This week's video was inspired by fan, Roxanne, who wanted to know how important it is to stay in your Target Zone while training.  To fully answer the question I decided to break it down into two videos. Today, I'll reveal whether or not it is important to stay in the Fat Burning zone.  Next week, I'll talk about finding and calculating your Target Heart Rate in general and whether or not you can venture out of that zone.

Have you ever seen a heart rate zone chart? Have you wondered what it meant and whether or not it was important? This video will tell you all you need to know about the Fat Burning versus Fit heart rate zones and their place in your workout.

To understand whether or not your need to be in the "Fat Burning Zone" if you want to burn fat, check out this week's video:


Do you regulate your heart rate when you work out? Did you learn anything new about heart rate zones? Do you have another question? Share your thoughts below and share this post if you found it useful.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dinner is served! Lemon Chicken with Quinoa


It's dinner time in the Fit Armadillo household! Tonight's meal was Lemon Chicken with Quinoa. This dish is packed full of protein from the chicken, beans, and quinoa so feel free to add your favorite carb-based side for a complete meal.  The meal is part of my weekly What's for Dinner? Wednesday series and you can find the full recipe HERE>>

All my What's for Dinner? Wednesday meals are saved to my Pinterest board.  To check out some older recipes and get inspired to cook a healthy dinner, visit the board HERE>>

Would you try this meal? What did you cook for dinner tonight? Share your thoughts with a comment below:  

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Lemon Chicken with Red Beans and Quinoa



This week’s What’s for Dinner? Wednesday meal is Lemon Chicken with Read Beans and Quinoa.  This tangy, protein-filled number was adapted from one in the March 2013 copy of Shape magazine. The most time intensive part of this meal is cooking the quinoa because it takes about 25 mins to make, however, it's a pretty easy dish overall.  Ready to get cooking? Here's what you'll need to feed four:


Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa
4 4-oz  boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cumin
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 small red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 - 15 oz cans red beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 



Step One: Make your quinoa come to life by combining it with 1 cup of water in a saucepan.  Set your stove to medium heat to bring this protein-filed grain and the water it is swimming in to a boil.  Then, reduce the stovetop’s temperature to bring the pan’s contents to a simmer before covering it for 25 minutes.  

Step Two: While your quinoa continues to cook, prep your chicken.  Coat the chicken with the lemon juice and then sprinkle it with a pinch of salt before rubbing it with your cumin. Don’t let one part of the chicken get jealous-make sure to coat it evenly with the spice.

Step Three: Use a medium heat setting to warm a skillet sprayed with cooking spray before adding your cumin covered chicken.  Cook your chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side before removing it from your skillet to cool.

Step Four: Now that your chicken is out of the way, spray your skillet again and add the onion.  Sauté your onion for 4 minutes before adding your garlic and cooking for another minute.   Finally, add the rest of your salt, pepper, pinto beans, and vinegar and bring the skillet to a simmer.  Your quinoa should be done by now. Check on your quinoa and then stir it into this mix.  Remove the mix from the stove and mix in your last ingredient, parsley. 

Divide the chicken and quinoa evenly among four plates so you and your guests don’t fight.  Add a carbohydrate as a side and you'll have a complete meal.  

Do you plan on making this dinner? Share your thoughts with a comment below:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: How to Get a Flat Stomach


Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! A few weeks ago I asked my fans to submit their fitness questions for future videos.  This week's video answers one of the questions I'm most frequently asked: How do you get a flat stomach?  The video will go over basic tips for toning your abs and provide a checklist that you can use to make sure that your workout routine is complete.  It will also teach you a key ab-toning move that you can add to your fitness sessions.

Ready to learn how to get a flat stomach? Watch the video here:


Did you learn some new tips for toning your tummy after watching this video? Be sure to share it so you can help a friend tone his/her abs as well.  Anything that surprised you? Let me know what you think with a comment below: