French onion soup sandwiches!

French onion soup..sandwiches?! Do my eyes deceive me? Nope! It is true! I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because You can get two meals out of one! I hope you love and enjoy this as much as I will 🙂 Happy and Healthy eats 🙂

French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

1 tablespoon each grapeseed (or olive) oil and butter, for frying
2 slices of french baguette or french bread
1 tablespoon softened butter
enough shredded gruyere cheese to generously cover both slices of bread
about ½ cup wine-braised onions (see recipe below)
fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat grapeseed oil in frying pan over medium low heat. Add butter and allow to melt.

Spread each slice of French bread with softened butter. Add half the shredded cheese to one, pile braised onions on top, sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper, then add the rest of the cheese. “Close” the sandwich with the other slice of bread, and gently press together.

Place the sandwich in the hot pan and cook until bread is toasted brown and cheese has started to melt. Carefully flip the sandwich over in the pan and cook until the other side is toasted brown and cheese has completely melted.

Remove the grilled sandwich from the pan and serve.

Wine-braised Onions

about 1 small clove garlic per 2 onions
onions (cook about 3-5 at a time, as you will find many uses for leftover caramelized onions)
olive oil
butter
bay leaf
fresh thyme
salt and fresh cracked pepper
red or white wine
beef stock (optional)

Directions

Cut the onions in half lengthwise, then slice thinly again lengthwise.

For every 1 large onion, heat about 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Add the same amount of butter, allow to melt, then add minced garlic. Allow the garlic to soften (but not color), then add the onions. Stir to coat the garlic and onions in oil+butter, add a bay leaf and a small sprig of thyme, then turn down the heat to medium low (so onions don’t burn). Continue to cook the onions until they are soft and deep golden brown, 30-40 minutes (depending on how many onions you cook).

Add about ¼ cup red or white wine (doesn’t matter), and allow to cook down with the onions, another 5-7 minutes. You can also add beef stock, but I didn’t.

Remove from heat and set aside enough onions for grilled cheese sandwich. The rest, throw into a pot and make French Onion Soup.

 

Bon Appetit !

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Chicken Parmesan – Made healthy!

Italian favorites made healthier so you can enjoy them without worry! Bon Appetit ! Recipe from the Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices whole-wheat bread (1-ounce each)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 jar good-quality marinara sauce (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2-ounce) shredded Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine crumbs are formed, about 25 to 30 seconds. Put the crumbs on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, until golden. (You will wind up with about 1 1/3 cups toasted crumbs.)

In a medium bowl, toss the crumbs with oregano, garlic powder, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and milk together. In a third bowl stir together the flour, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Dip each piece of chicken, 1 piece at a time, in flour, shaking off excess, then egg, then bread crumbs, shaking off excess.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place breaded breasts in a glass baking dish and spray on each side with cooking spray, about 5 seconds total per side. Bake breasts until cooked though and crumbs are browned, about 15 minutes. Top with marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbling.

Per Serving: (Serving size, 1 piece chicken with sauce and cheese)

Calories 410; Total Fat 11 g; (Sat Fat 4.5 g, Mono Fat 2.7 g, Poly Fat 1.2 g) ; Protein 50 g; Carb 31 g; Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 110 mg; Sodium 1200 mg

Excellent source of: Protein, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Selenium

Good source of: Thiamin, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Iodine, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Zinc

Sandy Hook

Hello everyone, the tragedy in Newtown CT was truly one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed . I felt so helpless sitting in my house watching these poor children. I wanted to help these kids and families who lost their precious loved ones. To help the families of Sandy hook , I am holding a fundraiser through Gold Canyon candles’ Prayer Child Foundation. 100% of the proceeds go to helping rehabilitate the families, students, and teachers who endured this terrible day. Please help me in supporting these people. They need all the help they can receive .

Heres what you do:

Go to this page:

https://tbeamon.mygc.com/Shop/Category/14

Pick any candle (besides the pink one, this candle supports breast cancer research and if you’d like to purchase one go for it! However money from this candle will not go to the families of Sandy Hook) .

Purchase  the candle and 100% of the proceeds will go to the cause

 

Thank you so much for helping and God Bless 🙂

Tortilla Soup!

I just tried this yesterday and it was just amazing – not to mention low cal and low cost. I hope you enjoy it!

What you need:

  • 4 chicken fillets
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can diced green chiles (optional)

Cook chicken in olive oil for a healthier twist. I usually season my chicken with garlic salt and pepper. It’s up to you what you’d like to do. It is very delicious!

While the chicken is cooking, add all canned ingredients into a pot. I started with the tomatoes first, working the beans, corn , and other ingredients to follow. Next add the spices. Put heat on simmer.

While the ingredients in your pot are heating up, take chicken out of the pan and shred it. I use two forks to pull the chicken apart. It’s very simple. Put two forks into the chicken facing opposite ways and pull. It will shred your fillets in no time!

As soon as your done shredding, add the chicken into the the pot and stir. As soon as the soup is warm to eat, dish it up!

Everyone likes to garnish in different ways. Here is how I did it :

After the soup is in a bowl, I add shredded cheese on top of the soup. Following this I add some crushed tortilla chips. I crush them by hand. If you’re feeling lucky, add a little sour cream on top. It’s delicious!! I hope you enjoy this great winter meal!

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Cute to work it!

I love to look good while working out. It makes me work so much harder when I feel confident. You know you love it when you run by a mirror and you see yourself and go “daaayum” . Here are a few gym accessories and clothes that I love and I hope you will love them too. Some are pricey… some are affordable but they are all worth it!

Shoes: You must have a great supportive shoe to run and train in – try these 🙂

This is the Nike Free run +3 . It comes in different colors but this is my favorite. $100.

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For training: The Nike Free Advantage , $80.00. These shoes come with a supportive band across the top of your feet so you feel safe no matter how many twists and turns you take.

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My favorite sports bra:

From Lululemon, a super supportive sports bra to get you through all your cardio moves, $48.

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For bottoms, check out these Nike Pro shorts and running tights. I personally love the tights for most work outs and I love the shorts for any type of intense cardio class. Pants are $65 and shorts are anywhere from $12 to $40. As shown, $30

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For tops, I really encourage people to purchase something thats either dry-fit or absorbs moisture.  They usually go for a little more money than your normal run of the mill shirts. (I find myself wearing A shirts at times). These are good investments if you spend time working out. They save your skin from chaffing too, which is a huge plus for me. The short sleeve is $65 and the long sleeve is $75 both available at http://www.Nike.com

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I love these fun shirts! $30

http://skreened.com/wearyourinspiration/commit-to-be-fit

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From Lululemon: A sports bra with a shirt! $64

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If you’re running outside, leaving the gym, or just getting warmed up, try these jackets out. 

I love Lululemon’s Scuba hoodies! The have a really neat front zipper and the collar comes up around your mouth which is nice when its cold outside. They come in really cute patterns this is one of my favorites! It’s also pink which I am a sucker for! I love the thumb holes too! It’s just a great all around, well made piece. $108 and WORTH IT!

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This is my favorite sweater shirt from under armour. Its cute, its fuzzy, and very nice to slip into after a shower or before a work out 😛 $54

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Bags: Its great to have something to carry all your gym stuff in . Try these!

Under armour Duffle $45 in white. The Nike Brasilia in pink – $25

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Of course, we can’t have a work out with out a cute headband. Both by Under Armour. This is my favorite work out accessory.

Braided head band : $10 , Pack of skinny head bands $12

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Last but not least… This is thee coolest thing to take with you to the gym. You can feel safe knowing your personal items can’t be stolen because no one can get into this thing! The Master Lock! $19.00 http://www.amazon.com

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I’d love to know what you guys like! Just drop a comment 🙂

 

Fitness 2013

New Years is all about resolutions! Most people make the resolution to go to the gym and lose weight. The only problem is that most people go for a few days and then get over it. This post is to help motivate you to keep up a healthy lifestyle all year round. Remember, its important to get about an hours worth of exercise a day. Whether its walking around a park, hitting the gym, or taking a dance class. If you find yourself bored with the same old gym routine I have some recommendations for you.

I have found a lot of wonderful classes and programs that have kept me active all year round and I hope they can help you too.

Ballet

I’m a dancer so naturally I like to take ballet classes. They are a great way to really tone your body and sculpt lean and beautiful legs. I like ballet because it doesn’t cause me to bulk up. It promotes great posture, abdominal strength and poise. You are never too old to start ballet or dance. In an adult class , there are beginners of all ages. There isn’t any competitive gossip which is a nice plus. They are all there for the same purpose. You can find an adult ballet class at most local dance studios or recreational centers. 

Cardio Barre

If you enjoy a good sweat and not being able to walk out of the class – this is for you. Haha- I kid about not being able to walk. However, these classes are packed with intense leg and abdominal exercises that can leave you pretty sore.  Cardio Barre takes basics from ballet and turns them into upbeat and fast paced moves. Cardio Barre classes and studios have been popping up all over the place lately. Check one out at a local studio or recreational facility.

Hot Hula

Enter a warm room full of ladies and gents ready to get their dance on. Hot Hula takes its moves from traditional Hula dance and adds cardio exercises. Torch a ton of calories in just an hour and leave the studio completely drenched. This is one of my favorites!

These classes run for around $45.00- $50.00 a month. Some places have unlimited programs where you pay a certain amount ( usually a discounted price) and you can take an unlimited amount of classes a week. Rec Centers usually have an 8 or 12 week class series . Around me ( So Cal ) they usually run for about $75 per series.

Dance themed classes not your thing?? Try these out.

Kickboxing

Nothing makes me feel better than attending a kickboxing class. In the period of one hour, you can burn between 800-1000 calories. The classes are usually high paced and a ton of fun. You can check one out at a mixed martial arts gym or at a boxing gym. Plus – who doesn’t love pink boxing gloves?

Pilates and Pilates reformer 

Pilates is a great way to increase strength in all parts of the body. Pilates is conditioning for the body. It promotes flexibility , endurance and muscle strength. Pilates can be done on a mat or on an apparatus called a reformer. The reformer uses resistance to complete exercises. Pilates moves are difficult. You may only be able to perform one move 4 or 5 times during your first few classes. They are hard and you can really feel the work out. Well worth it! Pilates are available at select dance studios, Yoga studios and some have their own studios . Classes are available at recreational centers as well.

Yoga

Many benefits come from practicing yoga. Yoga is an ancient art form that promotes a healthy body, a peaceful state of mind and flexibility. There are different types of yoga. My favorite is vinyasa. Its a constant flow of different movements . I feel so at peace after these classes. You get a great work out too.

Yoga, Pilates, and Kickboxing classes vary in price depending on where you take them. Most yoga studios offer discount prices to students. These classes can get pricey and if you’re on a budget, I’d suggest finding a class at a recreational center. They usually are the cheapest. Don’t worry though, the teachers are well trained so you wont be wasting money. Many of these classes are offered at 24 hour fitness and other gyms. Many classes are discounted or free with membership. On your way out of the gym next time, grab a class schedule.

Does being in a gym or class setting make you nervous? Like to work out at home? Try these!

TurboFire

I LOVE TurboFire. It is a high intensity kickboxing program created by Chalene Johnson. It’s a 90 day program that comes with resistance bands, a band for stretching, a meal guide, a work out schedule and a measuring tape to track your progress. The great thing about the TurboFire program is HIIT. HIIT or High intensity interval training, is a combination of intense movements that last for 60 seconds. There is a one minute recovery time and then the same combination is repeated. HIIT classes burn up to 600 calories in a 15 minute session. That is of course if you give it 100%. Its awesome to see how much improvement is made physically as you work your way through the classes. HIIT classes are only a few times a week. Other days are HIIT with cardio, strength training, abdominal training and one day of Yoga and stretching. Plus you get a day off. It’s so fun and the music is awesome. Chalene is so upbeat and positive – she makes you feel like you can’t fail. You’ll soon get addicted. It’s great for those who are busy and don’t have time to make it to the gym. 

TurboFire is two payments of $40.00. Let me tell you, I’ve been using it for a year and a half now and I love it – it really works! 

P90X and P90X-2

This program is how I was first introduced to a healthier lifestyle. I learned how to eat to fuel my body and how to sustain intense workouts with out feeling run down after. I was introduced to recovery drinks (which work btw) and of course, intense workouts that have real results. If you don’t fancy a program like TurboFire and would like to really build muscle, stamina and strength, P90X is a great program to try. Tony Horton, the creator of P90X , takes you through, cardio, plyo’s, strength training, yoga, kenpo and stretching. The program comes with great results – but I warn you, Tony can get a little interesting with his comments and after a while they get a little unappealing to the ears, haha. P90X is also a 90 day program . It comes with all 12 DVD’s, a meal guide and a workout schedule.

The prices for P90X and P90X-2 vary because you can add or subtract extras from the program. The basic price for P90X and P90X-2 is around $120.00 which can be made in 3 payments. From there the price goes up if you’d like to add extras. This is a great work out for both men and women.

Insanity

This program is a tough cookie. It is only 60 days long and is chock full of insane work outs that make you sweat puddles ! No lie, they show it in the commercials! I personally have not tried this particular work out , but my trainer is currently using it. From what I can see she loves it and she looks amazing!! (well she is a PT haha) 

Insanity cost $120.00 which can be made in 3 payments.

TurboFire, P90X, P90X-2 and Insanity are all available on http://www.Beachbody.com . You can also find a huge network of people all geared towards having a beach body. It’s a great way to stay motivated towards your fitness goals.

Fuel that body!

Naturally, when you workout hard, you have to refuel. I highly recommend a diet rich in protein with lots of fruits and vegetables. Make sure to hydrate with water during your exercises and make sure to get you 64 oz. of water in everyday. Yes that is in addition to the water you drank while working out ;).  It’s always a great idea to add supplements because we don’t always get all the required nutrition that we need. Check out Whole Foods, Sprouts, Mothers Market or Trader Joe’s for great variety of supplements. Usually the staff can help you chose something right for you. It isn’t a bad idea to set up an appointment with your Doctors to see what supplements you need. They always know best. I started drinking Shakeology which is available on http://www.beachbody.com . I no longer have to take multivitamins because the shake has it all. They are yummy too! – I will have to do a post on nutrition and fitness ! There is a lot to say. Please remember to refuel – especially if you are working hard. Your body will get so run down if you’re withholding food. Be smart about losing weight. The results will come. Starving is never the answer. Remember! You must eat clean to get lean . No soda, frappuccino’s or fast food!

It took me a few years to learn how to eat clean, to build healthy habits and begin to attain my goals. I suffered with anorexia for 9 years and have finally been able to live a healthy lifestyle. It takes time and effort  but if you’re willing to make the change, you will get to where you want to be! 

I truly hope this gave you some options to try to keep your fitness and health goals (broken record over here!) for the new year! Keep in mind, your goals are attainable and you can do it! I believe in you!! Good luck 🙂

P.S

Feel free to ask any questions or request blog posts. While I’m no expert and have just learned from experience, I’m more than happy to give you insight and help you on your path 🙂

 

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Delicious drinks to ring in the New Year!

Most of the year, minus the holiday’s – (hehe) I try to eat clean and stay healthy. The holiday’s are mean’t to get together with friends and family to eat , drink and be merry! I thought I’d share some delicious alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages that I enjoy during the holidays.  They are great recipes all year round too – especially the Cranberry- Orange Vodka .

Needless to say – I’m a huge food network fan. These recipes and more are available at http://www.foodnetwork.com

1. Italian fruit punch ( Halloween themed drink – but so yummy!)

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 1/4 cup limoncello
  • 1/2 cup maraschino liqueur

add together and mix!

Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network

2. Cranberry-Orange Vodka

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 oranges, peels cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka

This one is a real commitment haha but worth it!!

Place cranberries, sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Place pan over medium heat and stir. Simmer cranberry mixture until the berries burst, about 5 to 6 minutes. Place orange peels in a large glass container with an airtight lid, or large mason jar with a lid ( I love to serve drinks in mason jars!) Pour vodka over orange peels.

Allow the cranberry mixture to cool. Pour the cooled mixture into the glass container(s). Cover tightly and set aside for 1 week. After 1 week, strain out the cranberries sand orange peels and pour mixture into a clean bottle, using a funnel. Store vodka in the refrigerator.

Recipe by Michael Chiarello of the Food Network

3. Snowtini

  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 3 ounces vanilla vodka
  • 3 ounces chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)
  • 3 ounces Irish cream liqueur (recommended: Baileys)

Place the martini glasses on a designated, flat shelf in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, cut shavings off the block of chocolate and reserve for later.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the vodka, chocolate liqueur and Irish cream over the ice. Put top on the shaker and shake firmly.

Carefully pull out the glasses from the freezer taking care not get finger marks on the body of the glass. Pour into the chilled glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings in the middle and serve.

4. Michaels Italian Manhattan

  • 16 ice cubes
  • 4 orange slices
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • 10 ounces Kentucky bourbon whiskey (recommended: Maker’s Mark)
  • 4 ounces vermouth
  • 3 ounces Italian bitters (recommended: Campari)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, optional

Divide ice cubes between 4 tumblers. Garnish each glass with 1 orange slice and 2 maraschino cherries.

In a pitcher, blend the bourbon, vermouth and bitters and pour into tumblers.

Note: If you like your cocktails to be a bit sweeter, you can stir 3 teaspoons of sugar into the pitcher before pouring the drinks.

Recipe by Michael Chiarello of the Food Network.

For the kids:

If you have kids at your holiday parties, opt for something fun for them too. Include them in the mix. Make them a cookie and milk Martini! This one is real simple.

Fill a martini glass with milk and garnish with a cookie! Crazy delicious and fun!

Baby it’s cold outside! Nothing says holidays quite like hot chocolate – and its a great drink for party guests or for just hanging out with the family.

White Hot Chocolate:

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla whipped topping, for garnish
  • Mint leaf, for garnish

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips and heavy cream. Stir continuously until white chocolate chips have completely melted. Stir in the half-and-half, and vanilla extract. Stir occasionally until heated through. Pour into mugs and top with a dollop of vanilla whipped topping and garnish with mint leaf.

Recipe by Paula Dean of the Food Network

Last but not least- The Virgin Daiquiri 

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 medium limes, juiced
  • Fresh strawberries, optional, for garnish

In a blender, combine pineapple, frozen strawberries, sugar, and lime juice and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses, garnish with fresh strawberries, if desired, and serve immediately.

The best part about this beverage is that you can opt to make it alcoholic too. Just add Rum to taste.

Recipe by Ina Garten of the Food Network

You can’t have new years with out a toast!

A toast at midnight calls for a glass of champagne or wine! I love Chandon. It’s always been my favorite. However, some of Chandon’s products are on the expensive side. If you’re on a budget try some of these :

  • Korbel Sparkling Natural Wine – $12.99
  • Martini and Rossi Prosecco – $12.99
  • Barefoot Bubbly California Premium Extra Dry – $9.00
  • Cooks Grand Reserve – $5.99

Also, markets like Fresh and Easy carry inexpensive white wines that taste pretty good .

I hope you’re New Year is wonderful and full of grand adventures, health and happiness!! Have a safe and fun evening!

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

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