Type your search keyword, and press enter

Tasty Tuesday 8/31

Last grilling day of the season edition

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which means grilling season is almost over. So to make sure you get the most out of it, check out the non-red meat options to serve.


Shrimp and Corn Salad (throw the shrimp and the corn on the grill to add extra mmmmm)

The no beef-burger

(and if that is too much…)

Portobello Mushroom Burgers (for 2)

2 portobello mushroom caps

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

2 (1 ounce) slices provolone cheese

  1. Place the mushroom caps, smooth side up, in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour over the mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or so, turning twice.
  2. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
  3. Brush grate with oil. Place mushrooms on the grill, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until tender. Brush with marinade frequently. Top with cheese during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

Socialize Your Diet

A few weeks ago, my friend Alan guest posted about using foursquare for exercise motivation.  What else in the world of social media can help us lose weight and be healthy?

For years, people have been saying writing down what you eat will help you lose weight. But what if you broadcast it to the world? Will that make you more likely to watch what you eat or will you lie?

Brian Stelter of the New York Times recently went both ways. At first it was the lying (not accounting for late night drinking) and then he slowly made the switch to being brutally honest.

I have been using Myplate on Livestrong.com for a few months now and have been toying with going public (you can link to Facebook).  I track my exercise and food daily, but do I really want everyone to know? And how annoyed will my Facebook friends get with my frequent postings?

I would definitely be less likely to have a pack of Skittles if all 659 of my friends knew what I was eating every day.

Maybe I will toy with hitting the share button next month.  What do you think?

If you aren’t ready to tweet your weight loss goal there is a whole slew of online communities that can help you stay on track.

FitFiend –  Social network devoted to health, fitness, and athletics. It is a community that connects FitPros and FitFiends.

FitLink – Connecting workout partners

Weight loss buddy – Matches a buddy based on weight loss goals

Sparkpeople – Offers nutrition, health and fitness tools, support and other resources

Reinventing Your Food

Last week on Top Chef: DC the contestants were brought to the CIA and asked to disguise their dishes. While, I am still not sure how you could create a “cover” for French onion soup, it got me thinking.

How can you reinvent your favorite foods so that they are healthier? So I took some of MY favorite foods and tried to figure out how to make them better.

Tell me in the comments how you make your meals healthier without losing the tastiness.

Mac ‘n Cheese

There are days, especially when it has been raining a ridiculous amount outside, when I just want a steaming bowl of mac ‘n cheese. But instead of reaching for the blue box, I create a different kind.

Adding a vegetable (I like cauliflower or broccoli), nonfat milk and whole wheat macaroni adds more fiber without losing the deliciousness. The recipe below is for 6 servings (I like to make for multiple meals) and is about 294 calories per serving

What you need:

  • 1 box (13.25 ounces) whole-grain penne pasta
  • 4 cups borccoli florets (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch   cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces 2% sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

How you do it:

  1. Heat large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Add pasta and cook 6 minutes. Add broccoli and cook an additional 4 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour together in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer 3 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  3. Add grated Cheddar, whisking constantly until melted. Transfer pasta and broccoli to serving bowl. Pour cheese sauce over pasta-broccoli mixture and stir until coated.

BLT (with a fake B and no added B)

Coming home late from work or the gym means I want something quick, tasty but not too high in carbs. Enter BLT in a bowl. Also, what I love about this is that my meat loving fiancé can still eat it, by adding real bacon to his. And by making your own dressing you can save a lot of calories. Recipe below is for 2 servings, 185 calories per serving.

What you need:


  • 4  slices cooked bacon (FAKE)
  • 2 cups  sliced green-leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 cup  halved yellow and red grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup  low-fat croutons (optional)


  • 1/8 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon  water
  • 1/2 tablespoon  cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon  sugar
  • Pinch of pepper

How you do it:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl. Then, in a smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; toss salad with dressing

Tasty Tuesday 8/24

Spicing up your lunch edition

Egg-cellent Asparagus Salad

Grilled Portobello Sandwich with Mozz and Red Pepper

Fiesta Bowl Salad

Combine 1/4 cup each canned black beans (rinsed and drained), chopped avocado, canned corn (drained), and chopped cherry tomatoes with the juice of 1/2 fresh lime and salt to taste. Serve on top of 2 cups romaine.

Marinated Artichoke, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Sandwich

Halve a small whole wheat baguette lengthwise; spread with soft goat cheese. Top with thinly sliced ripe tomatoes, drained marinated artichoke hearts, and arugula or baby spinach leaves.

Parallel Bars: Running vs. Online Communities

One of the things I love most about running is the camaraderie that so often emerges when people run together. Whether as strangers lining up for a race, as running buddies pushing through miles together, or as rivals, there’s an understanding between runners.

As a runner, one often finds times when non-runners just don’t get it; those are the times when forums full of other runners are a great alternative. People who understand you and your habit are one of the biggest benefits of the running community.

You see these same elements in online communities, especially ones for those afflicted by disease.  Search the web for “online support groups” and you will immediately find nearly 300,000,000 results. From Parkinson’s disease to Crohn’s disease people are flocking online to find others who are going through the same thing.

The power of these online communities is seen in the connections these people form with each other and how they turn these relationships into opportunities to push forward research.

Where else but in an online world can different people from all walks of life come together?

Well, running.  I don’t care what you do, where you came from or where you are going. If you are running next to me I am going to encourage you and help you along.

Tasty Tuesday (8/17)

Trying to stay on a budget and keeping your meals healthy and exciting can be pretty difficult. So in an effort to help, here are three tasty recipes and one of my own.

Baby Spinach and Raspberry Salad

Smothered Tempeh Sandwich

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Chickpeas

Edamame Corn Salad (Makes 4 servings)

2 ears of corn, unhusked, or 1 ¼ cups of cooked corn kernels (use frozen!)

½ cup shelled edamame

¼ cup chopped red onion

¼ cup small-diced red bell pepper

1 tbls finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbls lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper


1 medium sized avocado, chopped

1 medium sized tomato, chopped

A Nice Change From the Park

One of my favorite things about August in New York is when the city closes down Park Avenue. Summer Streets as they are so aptly named go from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd street.

Along the route are free bike rentals, roller skates, work out classes from Crunch and other gyms and best of all….car free streets to run.

Today I got to meet up with two of my running buddies for a great morning run. While on our way up Park we ran into another running friend who pretty much summed it up…the NYC Summer Streets was a nice change to the Central Park loop.

The event is modeled on others from around the world including Bogotá, Colombia’s Ciclovia, Paris, France’s Paris Plage, and even New York’s own Museum Mile.

My unrealistic dream? This doesn’t just happen during August.

I’m sure it costs a ton of money to keep these streets closed and have police to direct traffic, but wouldn’t it be great if it was done twice a month throughout the year. Well, maybe not during the winter months.

Are you enjoying Summer Streets? Do you think we can convince the city to increase the days?

Using Foursquare for Exercising

Recently a good friend of mine decided to get healthy. Below is a little taste of a trick Alan Danzis is using to stay on track.  Thanks for contributing Alan!

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been on a health kick the last three to four months: lots of salads for lunch and dinner, going for walks after every meal (especially dinner) even going to the gym—for the first time since college!

It can be tough to keep a crazy routine like that up if you were so un-exercise-ey for so long as I have been. (Especially when you cut the caffeine out and your irritability probably climbs.) So where possible, I decided to make my new healthy routine into a bit of a game.

To keep myself on those walks after meals, I not only take my iPod Touch with me and listen to some nerdy podcast like the Joystiq Podcast, but I also tie my walks to badges I can earn for Foursquare.

If you’re unaware, Foursquare is a mobile application that allows you to virtually check-in to locations: parks, restaurants, office buildings, subway stations, etc. If you check in the most, you become the mayor. You can also earn certain virtual merit badges such as “Gym Rat” for checking into the gym 10 times in 30 days.

As I said, I recently started tying my walks to badges I could earn. I started by walking to the Apple store from work – about a twenty minute walk – three times to earn the “Jobs” badge.

Then, I started walking to the dog park in Hoboken (where I live) to earn the “Dog’s Best Friend” badge. You get that by checking into a dog park at least 10 times over thirty days.

Now, I’m after the “Pizzaiola” badge which is earned by checking into twenty different pizza places. That can be quite difficult. I’m not going to eat a slice in every one – that would be pretty unhealthy – instead I buy a bottle of water. I’ve knocked out four pizzerias in Hoboken in the last few days and believe I’m on track to earn the badge by the end of the month.

A little weird, yes, very nerdy, yes, but I’ve found my incorporation of Foursquare badge earning is yet another way to keep me on my goal of leading a healthier lifestyle.

Leave a comment below and tell us what crazy things you do to keep your exercise routine up. If you’re a Foursquare user and have a great idea for what badge for me to tackle after “pizzaiola.” Or, you can always hit me on Twitter at @adanzis.

Squeeze in that Healthy Meal

I work a lot of long hours. This seriously cuts into not only my exercise time but my ability to put together healthy meals.

What I end up eating is sometimes what crosses my path as I sprint from work to home. So to do better, I decided to follow a few guidelines.

Watching What You Buy

Taking a few minutes to plan my meals, making a list before I buy my weekly groceries can seriously help make better decisions. It can also take the time and stress away from figuring out what I am going to eat.

Avoid Temptation

I don’t shop the isles at grocery stores, in NYC you just can’t. A friend of mine uses FreshDirect each week and swears by it. It streamlines your shopping, and your grocery list is stored in the system to save you time with future orders.

Also, going to the grocery store hungry is a big NO. But if you have to, eat something healthy either on your way to the store or as you shop. Like green beans.

Love Cooking

According to research we spend more time watching cooking shows than we spend cooking in the kitchen. Nighttime meals don’t have to be fancy. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Make a BLT or a stir fry, which takes about 15 minutes.

Frozen veggies are great when you need a quick addition. If you think about it, it may actually take less time to make your food than to order it.

Timesaving Tricks

Thinking ahead really does help. If you’ve already shopped for your staple ingredients for dinner, you can

chop up two kinds of veggies or boil brown rice and pasta on the stove at once to prepare two meals.

I also make enough for the next day for lunch.

What are your tips for staying on track when you are scraped for time?