Tag Archives: winter

How to Beat the Winter Workout Blues Without Leaving Your Couch!

winter-blues

If you’re anything like me, the second it gets cold you want all the blankets, all the creamy soups, all the Netflix on the couch, ALL THE TIME! Who wants to change into tight workout clothes and attempt to bundle up and leave the house for a run or a trip to the gym when your cozy chair and favorite knit socks simply won’t let you go?

Well fear not fellow homebodies! I’ve gotten pretty creative this year on how to stay moving without moving too far at all. Here’s how to beat winter at its own game, and do it from the comfy-cozy confines of your house.

Dread commercials? Make ’em count!

While I fully endorse the 25 Days of Christmas movie marathon, nobody needs 25 full days to sit around. Use those dreaded commercial breaks as an excuse to move around. The average half-hour TV show has at least 8 minutes of ads, double that for an hour, so if you’re binge-watching Gilmore Girls that adds up quick! Think pushups, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, no equipment, and only a few minutes to push it hard before your show is back on!

Here’s a TV Commercial Break Workout you can squeeze in between scenes. (more…)

Cozy Winter Dinner for Four: Turkey and Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash

turkey-acorn-squash

Some (huge) part of me loves hunkering down for the cooler months. This season mean more time by the fire, with a book, wearing cozy sweaters, and playing board games. Maybe this means I’m secretly an 85-year-old woman living in a millennial’s body, but maybe I’m OK with that.

One of my favorite parts of fall and winter is spending time in the kitchen creating wholesome, seasonal recipes. I love all of the winter vegetables and making “comfort food” that won’t ruin my wellness goals — like these fall comfort foods for vegetarians. My household tries to avoid excessive grain consumption, and increased veggies, the result being my favorite format of dinners: stuffed anything. Stuffed zucchini, butternut squash, these stuffed kale and bean sweet potatoes — name the veggie and I’ve packed it with goodies and served it as a meal.

acorn-squash

So then I tried to include the much less popular cousin of the beloved butternut or spaghetti squash, and experimented with acorn squash. It is perfect for a foggy fall night and lasts forever to make GREAT leftovers — even served cold! Plus, acorn squash is more nutrient-dense than any of its other summer squash relatives. Score!

stuffed-acorn-squash

Acorn squash is loaded with vitamin C to boost the immune system, vitamin A for healthy vision and skin, and has more than 9 grams of dietary fiber! This is more than one-third of the daily requirement and helps to regulate blood sugar, diabetes, and digestion. Plus, hello, isn’t she so pretty?

To choose a ripe acorn squash, look for one with a dark green color, with a small patch of yellow or orange. The skin should be hard and the stem slightly withered.

acorn-squashes

For this recipe, slice the squash lengthwise, brush with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Remember a little bit of this powerful autumnal spice goes a long way!

I chose to stuff the squash with ground turkey, as it is leaner than red meat and the subtler flavor lets the squash taste take center stage! Like all of my recipes, this is extremely forgiving in what you choose to throw in to the stuffing mixture. Consider adding red and green bell peppers, chopped onions, or sun-dried tomatoes. Those are some of my favorite bonus additions when I have them lying around the house.

minced-garlic-and-herbs

But for the purposes of guiding you on a ready-to-follow recipes with little improvisation needed, I’ve literally stuffed this recipe with some of the best natural flavor agents around. Minced garlic and onion, sweet raisins, and a trio of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme. The aroma before you even start roasting will fill your senses and boost your anticipation of this meal.

stuffed-turkey-acorn-squash

As always, I’d suggest tossing any almost-moldy greens into the mixture right at the very end so they wilt slightly and blend in with the other flavors. I’m always looking for ways to hide any extra veggies!

If your tummy and nutritional choices allow, you may even want to top with crumbled feta cheese before drizzling with balsamic vinegar and serving for an extra flavor boost!

And one more favorite preparation tip? I’ve made this with sweet potato flesh combined with the turkey mixture. Having both acorn and sweet potato together makes it extra yummy!

Turkey and Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash
serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise with seeds removedacorn-squash-stuffed-turkey

1 lb. ground turkey

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

16 oz. baby spinach

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/4 cup raisins

1 tsp. parsley, chopped

1 tsp. thyme, chopped

1/2 tsp. basil, chopped

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2+ tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position. While it warms, brush the squash lightly with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Place squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Brown the ground turkey. Add the diced onion, garlic, and celery, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes until soft.

3. Stir in herbs, spices, and raisins. Add spinach and wilt 2-3 minutes. Add in butter or coconut oil and combine over medium heat.

4. Spoon filling into acorn squash and roast for 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.


ALSO TRY THESE PERFECT FALL MEALS

Twice-Baked Shepherd’s Pie

Whole Wheat Chicken Pot Pie

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese


Recipe by Katie McGrath; Photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com

7 Flu Myths We’re Fighting This Season

flu shot

Flu season is here, and the only things more infectious than the assorted flu viruses are the myths that surround them. While those who unintentionally spread the fake flu facts are doing so with the best intentions in mind, what they say often overshadows what people really need to know about the flu.

We’re here to set the record straight. When it comes to the flu, it’s important to know fact from fiction.

Myth 1: Vomiting and other stomach issues are flu symptoms.

What is commonly referred to as the stomach flu isn’t the flu at all. It’s actually gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the stomach and intestines. It’s usually caused by a virus, but can also be brought on by bacteria. The real flu, or influenza, rarely causes stomach problems.

Myth 2: Flu shots give you the flu.

Neither the vaccine administered with a needle nor the nasal spray vaccine will give you the flu. Vaccines administered through needle either have “inactivated” flu viruses or contain no flu viruses at all. The nasal spray does contain live viruses, but they have been weakened and cannot cause infection. Side effects of the flu vaccine can include low-grade fever, soreness at injection site, aches, runny nose and cough.

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The 5 Indoor Fitness Trends Your Body Deserves to Try This Fall

pound-fitness-trends

Resolution season is just around the corner, which means now is the time to get serious about your fitness. Make your outdoor workout continue for as long as possible, but when the cold sets in leave your excuses at the door! Whether you’re moving the workout indoors or it’s just time to explore some new ideas for staying active, these hot fitness trends will satisfy your body’s need to sweat and move.

Here are 5 ways to stay fit for fall: 

1. POUND

We spoke with former drummers Christine Perrenboom and Kirsten Potenza as they combined their passions for music and fitness to create POUND, a full-body cardio workout that uses lightweight drumsticks to beat out rhythms to high intensity music, plus some Pilates and plyometrics. Torch up to 900 calories in 45 minutes at Crunch gyms or through their DVDs. We seriously love this liberating workout!

2. PiYo

A little bit Pilates, a little bit yoga, and maybe even a little bit rock ‘n roll. PiYo is a total mind-and-body workout that boosts the energy of the class with upbeat music. You’ll torch calories during this strength and cardio class, which introduces elements of Pilates, yoga, and even dance and martial arts. PiYo is not to be confused with Yogalates. (more…)

Make S’more Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting to Survive Six S’more Weeks of Winter

Has this been the longest winter ever? It’s starting to feel like it. Currently it’s a -21 wind chill outside and I’m starting to convince myself the sun may never come back; summer will always be a distant fond memory.

Like S’mores. That little campfire treat is one time I put my guard all the way down and say screw it! Gooey marshmallows, melty chocolate (I always splurge and use dark chocolate), and that crispy little graham cracker turn any dull summer night in to an instant memory maker. And right now, as I watch another winter storm swirl around the backyard, I’m clinging to those sweet memories of last summer to keep me warm.

cupcakes chevron

Another way to keep warm? Baking, duh! All that batter beating and pre-heating turns the kitchen in to a little den of coziness. A den of coziness with cupcakes!

And not just any cupcakes, but big, fat S’more cupcakes.

smores cupcake

And not frosted with just any frosting, but big dollops of homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting.

chocolate cream cheese frosting

Winter just became manageable, folks. (more…)

2014 Olympic Games: Where and When to Watch

Opening ceremonies for the 2014 Olympics are on Friday, February 7th, but the games officially begin tonight, on the 6th, and run all the way through the 23rd. Are you ready? (Olympic freestyle mogul skier Heather McPhie is!)

2014 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2014

In the U.S., NBC is the official broadcaster of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. (They were also the network to watch for the 2012 Summer Games and will be the host all the way through 2020, thanks to an almost $4.4 billion contract.) NBC will offer live and tape-delayed coverage of events on television via NBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports, CNBC, and its other channels. The network will also stream all events online and via the NBC Sports Live Extra app. All of this means that you are in for a lot of sports!

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Spice Up Fall with a Chicken Taco Soup Recipe That’s Simple and Satisfying

It is the crunchy season, aka fall, and that means it’s soup and stew season, too. Woohoo!

I love fall. Like lovvvve fall.

Not such a fan of the soups though. I’m more of a stew and chili kind of girl, if I have to be. But a few years ago, I found a compromise in my Crock Pot and it has become my family’s single most favorite meal of fall and winter.

I used simple, healthy Mexican ingredients — a food genre I swear I could eat every single day — stirred them up, and started filling bowls with Taco Soup.

chicken tortilla soup

It’s one of those slow cooker meals that fills the house with intoxicating smells for hours until you’re so hungry you’ll risk third degree burns on your tongue just to get that first taste! (more…)

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Pies Makeover a Favorite Winter Classic with Baked Potatoes

New on our “cozy food” seasonal menu rotation is a made-over classic. It’s the Shepherd’s Pie like you’ve never tried it before. It’s usually not my thing – loaded with lamb and mashed potatoes – two foods I don’t particularly care for. But I’ve got a pretty big thing for the baked potato.

I made a Shepherd’s Pie that’s a little leaner, bigger on flavor, and maybe even cuter.

Call them miniature. Call them single-serve. Call them dinner! These Twice-Baked Shepherd’s Pies are bound to be a staple of your winter menu.

twice baked potato shepherd's pie

I skipped the mashed potatoes because, like I said, I’m a little un-American and truly can’t stand the stuff. But, a baked potato, much less one that’s been baked twice, I’m all over that.

Then I cut the lamb and even skipped over the beef and went right to ground Italian turkey sausage – super lean with a great taste that fits right in here. (more…)

Your Seasonal Depression is Real and it’s Easier to Deal with SAD Than You Think

I’m not afraid to admit I get a little bummed out as summer transitions to autumn, and then to winter. The perfectly named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is an affliction of which I’ve always suffered, but for the longest time I thought I was being an overly sensitive wimp. After a mild and jovial summer, the cool air that gusts melancholy over the Midwest in early September had me wondering if I was about to get SAD again, if it was a legitimate condition, and if so, what I could do fight it.

SAD

I shot our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC an email asking her about SAD, and she revealed that after two decades of speculation, SAD had officially been classified as a common disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In 2008—before SAD was an official diagnosis—Brooke wrote, “Our natural response to the seasonal changes only becomes a disorder when the distress is in excess of what would be expected from the stressor (seasonal change) and/or when it interferes with functioning in more than one key life area.” For example, if seasonal change begins to negatively impact your responsibilities as an employee, student, or partner, you probably have SAD. (more…)

Vegan Blue Cornbread is a Sweet Companion to Hearty Winter Meals

At the beginning of fall I got bit by the chili bug and was eating the stuff non-stop for weeks. I was offering it up to friends, feeding it to my husband and packing it as a quick lunch for work almost daily. I didn’t realized I’d hit my max until a friend and I were discussing ideas for an upcoming dinner party and she said “anything but chili.” I agreed with her at the time but secretly I thought, “What are you talking about? I could chili year round!” And I do.

My all-time favorite chili companion is cornbread, which I made plenty of this fall drizzled in a little maple syrup for good measure. Absolutely smitten with the traditional kind, I had never tried the blue which is apparently healthier for you than the yellow stuff. Why? Let me explain.

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