Road Trip Rules for People Who Can’t Sit Still! #OnAQuest


On the eve of a road trip, I get anxious about being cooped up in the car, whether it’s just for hours on the road or 14. A little bit of claustrophobia combined with dread over what feels like a sedentary death sentence – I cannot tolerate locked knees, a cricked neck and what feels like roots growing from my butt into the bucket seat. Plus, I need to EAT and with my mind on auto-pilot, thoughts of snacking typically don’t vanish until satisfied! Quest Cereal Bars at 7-Eleven

Bu typical gas station food is really not my thing, eating the junk food just makes me feel worse. But, whoohoo, I just found out that 7-Eleven can keep me fueled up in a healthier way — they sell one of my favorite protein items, Quest Cereal Bars! With only 110 calories, 12g protein and a much more nutritious ingredient profile than most convenience store snacks, I can keep my tank filled for the finish! Read on to find out more about Quest Cereal Bars, get my Road Trip Rules for People Who Can’t Sit Still and enter a GIVEAWAY! Continue reading

Be Mine! Sugar-free Strawberry Protein Truffles

This post is sponsored by Now Foods. I received products for review and compensation for my time, however all comments, opinions, recipes and enthusiasm are my own.

Today, I’m delighted to share with you a Sugar-Free Strawberry Protein Truffle recipe that will take your Valentine’s Day game to a whole ‘nutha level! These sweet little treats are not only sugar-free and dairy free but also pumped up with sustaining protein and heart-healthy fats that won’t jack up your blood sugar and then leave you in a nasty carb crash.  Perfect for a post-workout treat, healthy dessert, sensible snack and really cute way to woo the one you love on Valentine’s day! Sugar Free Strawberry Protein Truffle - a low carb way to show your sweetite that you care this Valentine's Day. A sensible snack, post-workout treat or healthy dessert

Now, before you get confused, I’m a way more of a Race Boss than a Cake Boss! My cake, candy and cookie decorating skills can be so lame that I’m often forced to do penalty burpees! But these protein truffles are simple to make and there is no “cooking.” Plus, I’ve offered several decorating options – easy, easier and easiest!

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Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting).  Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.

 

Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com Tri-Colored Quinoa  and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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Low-Carb, Bunless Sandwich Salute for July 4th

Looking to keep it light and low-carb this summer? I have four fun “sandwich” ideas that offer a real blast of flavor without any bread or buns that will be a hit at your backyard 4th of July celebration, family picnic in the park or anywhere else you plan to do some outdoor entertaining.

First up is my Watermelon Grilled Chicken Capr-easy Sammie. I’m never run out of ways to eat watermelon (you know how I love #LivingOnTheWedge).

Chicken Watermelon Capr-easy Sandwhich -- A fun, low-carb bunless sammie!

Simply take a juicy, grilled chicken breast, two strips of thick cooked bacon, and a slice of mozzarella or provolone and slide between two ½” planks of watermelon cut right from the sweetest, ripest “heart” of the melon. Top with basil and drizzle with some balsamic syrup if so desired!

Chicken, Bacon and Watermelon Sandwich with Sargento Provolone

I’ve been using Sargento® Ultra Thin® Cheese Slices this summer (the company was kind enough to send me product to try and review). Verdict – I love these paper thin slices of natural cheese that deliver 100% of the flavor I want for only 45 calories per slice (that means I can have a couple slices)! I also like how they are thin enough to roll up, fold up or “ruffle” like I did for a garnish on my sammie!

Do you have a favorite way to eat a sandwich without bread? Cheese or no cheese and why? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Chicken Lentil and Veggie Collard Green Wraps with Sriracha RanchNext up, a Chicken, Lentil and Veggie “Green” Wrap —> Click Here

Fit, Flavorful, Fast Dinner Ideas – Ragu and My Funny Family

I have to admit, making long complicated recipes is NOT a family tradition. I do it sometimes, but not on typical nights when I am trying to fit in running, working out or watching the kids play their sports – you know, HAVING FUN!  Instead, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and let creativity reign, based on what I happen to have in the fridge, produce bin and pantry. So, I guess you could say dinner traditions in my family of five are rooted in being quick and easy yet fresh and flavorful – you’ll see this with the two RAGÚ pasta sauce recipes I’m sharing today (Eight-Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu and Low-Carb Chicken Club Zoodles).

Ragu pasta sauces are simmered in tradition and the perfect meal solution for my busy nights.

jen and dean college

Yeah, here we are in 1986 — the early Ragu days.

One ingredient that is always on hand help me pull off a speedy supper is RAGÚ® Pasta Sauce. When I say I’m a fan, I mean it – I’ve been eating the RAGÚ® Traditional Sauce (and now Organic Traditional) for 30 years beginning when I first met my husband in college (It’s the only sauce we eat)! Who has time for homemade, really?!

I appreciate how RAGÚ® does all hard work, and when I pop open the jar it tastes just like grandmother’s secret recipe that had been simmering all day.  That’s because RAGÚ® has super high standards and uses no artificial anything or high fructose corn syrup – it’s slowly simmered to add layers of insane flavor, just like Assunta’s (the single-mom founder) original recipe from way back in 1937.

So, this first vegetable pasta recipe is seriously made in eight minutes – Egg & Zucchini Ragu. It’s my go-to meal solution when totally slammed but in need of a nutritious meal packed with protein and fresh veggies. By the way, did you now that a serving of Ragu pasta sauces is the equivalent of two servings of veggies?!

Eight Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu

Eight Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or cut in julienned strips
  • 1 cup Ragu Organic Traditional Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 4 eggs (depending on appetite)
  • Salt and Red Pepper flakes, to taste
  • Garnish – snipped basil

Directions: Place zucchini in microwave-safe bowl, top with lid slightly cracked. Steam in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.  Add pasta sauce and microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds, stirring well after to combine. Heat olive oil in small skillet and cook eggs sunny side up, until yolks set to preferred consistency. Top eggs on pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with snipped basil. Serves 2.

Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles

My second under ten minute dinner fix (Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles) is a yummy use for nights when I have some slowcooker chicken already in the fridge (I make big, big batches at once) or have swung by the store for a rotisserie chicken.  I love to use zucchini in place of traditional noodles to keep the grains and carbs down – I like to eat a higher protein diet and prefer most of my carbs to come from fruits and veggies.

Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or cut in julienned strips
  • 1 cup Ragu Organic Traditional Sauce
  • 12 ounces shredded slow cooker or rotisserie chicken with skin removed
  • 4 slices par-cooked bacon
  • 1 ounce shredded cheese of choice

Directions: Place zucchini in microwave-safe bowl, top with lid slightly cracked. Steam in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.  Add pasta sauce and chicken and microwave for an additional 60 seconds, stirring well after to combine. Wrap bacon in paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds or per package instructions. Sprinkle top of pasta with bacon and cheese before serving. Serves 2.

davis spoon balancing 2015I have another family dinner tradition to share – and it’s just being silly. With three now teenage boys, it can get pretty crazy and rowdy at the dinner table. More than one time, I’ve spewed water out my nose – the utensil balancing contests always crack me up.  We’ve been doing it for years, as you can see – youngest son holds the record number of spoons and forks balance.  Yes, we’re weird – but these are indelible (if insane) memories to enjoy along with the RAGÚ®  Pasta Sauce.

So, what are your favorite family dinner traditions – recipes or activities? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Lean & Green Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats – Protein Pasta

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta, a higher protein and gluten-free option for dinner!

So, how does a plate of pasta fit in with my higher protein diet? Let me tell you! As many of you know, I’ve been eating a higher protein diet for the last several years and really scaled back the amount of carbs that come in the form of bread, baked goods, rice . . . and pasta! You may have read one or two of my posts on the importance of protein, there have been many!

Jennifer Fisher Yoga Side Plank

A higher protein diet helps me stay lean and mean for running, Crossfit, yoga and all my other fitness endeavors. Oh yeah, and for LIFE — that especially!

As a long-time athlete, I decided it was time to take a closer look at what I’ve been eating and how wit as or was not fueling my goals. While carbs have their time and place on my plate (like leading up to and during an endurance event and, of course, pretty much any and all vegetables whenever I want), kicking up my protein intake has really helped me build some much-needed muscle I need to stay competitive as I creep up into the shadows of being 49 years old!

Explore Asian Organic, Gluten Free Pastas

So, until I recently found the Explore Asian line of higher-protein pastas, I had been eating my beef ragu on top of zucchini, my stir-fry on top of spinach and my chicken noodle soup without, err, noodles – you get the idea! As much as I love the extra servings of veggies, sometimes it’s nice and comforting to have pasta to twirl around on your fork or slurp from a spoon. Explore Asian has given me back pasta options – and options that are ridiculously healthy and can be quickly cooked into a nutritious meal that fills me up and helps me stay lean and strong. I’m winning already!

Explore Asian Organic, Gluten Free Pastas

All in all there are five flavors, but I especially love these three Explore Asian products- Black Bean Spaghetti, Edamame Spaghetti and Thai Brown Rice Noodles. Every batch is made with the finest, organic NON-GMO ingredients that are also vegan, gluten free, organic, Kosher certified and come in low on the Glycemic Index (around 20).  Additionally, Explore Asian has about 400% more protein and fiber and 60% fewer carbs than other pasta making them a great option for diabetics, vegetarians or those following a low-carb, high-protein diet!

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.

I’m sharing a yummy, easy “pasta” recipe (Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats) using the Edamame Spaghetti from Explore Asian the pasta, coming straight out of the bag, is simply made from edamame beans and water, that’s it!  One serving of this bean-based pasta offers 24g of protein in a 2 ounce dry serving – this is pretty much spot on with the recommended 25 – 30g recommended per meal. You don’t really need to add any additional protein, but I threw on a few extra edamame beans to get to the upper range and flavored it up with some zesty kumquats and feta cheese.

Explore Asian Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta

The pasta is so easy to boil up too! It basically cannot be overcooked and the fiber content from the beans offers a great texture that keeps this pasta in a constant state of just-right al dente! This means the pasta products will work well in a crock pot and left overs hold up beautifully for reheating the next day! Check out this other recipe I made earlier in the year with the Black Bean Spaghetti — Black Garlic & Steak Curry!

Black Garlic Beef and Bean Curry

You can find Explore Asian gluten-free pastas at Whole Foods, Costco and Fairway stores as well as at http://www.explore-asian.com/.  Costco is now even selling the Edamame Spaghetti in 2lb boxes!

Use the STORE LOCATOR to find the retailer closest to you.

Try this gluten-free, organic, high-protein pasta out for yourself! If you do, take a picture of your recipe using Explore Asian products and enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Whole Foods.  Head over to the recipe database for inspiration, get cooking, and then send a photo of your finished dish to info@explore-asian.com no later than December 24, 2015.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Explore Asian.

 

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Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta
Print Recipe
Make a quick and healthy dinner of edamame pasta tossed with feta and kumquats - this gluten-free, high-protein spaghetti is perfect fuel for the athlete.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta
Print Recipe
Make a quick and healthy dinner of edamame pasta tossed with feta and kumquats - this gluten-free, high-protein spaghetti is perfect fuel for the athlete.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, Srirracha, and olive oil.
  3. Put edamame beans, chopped kumquats and sauce into pot with drained pasta and toss until everything coated.
  4. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.
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YOU Can Help Change Dietary Guidelines + Low Carb Beef Dinners

First of all, God bless America, land of the free. That being said, I feel free to state my opinion that I don’t like where the nutritional guidance dished up by the U.S. government, by way of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking us. For 30 years we have all dutifully listened to these recommendations about what to eat, first with the Food Pyramid and, more recently, with MyPlate and soon with updated 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

Things are always changing, and I’m really questioning the quality of science all this hootenanny – and I’m not the only one, right now we can all sign a petition to demand that quality science determine the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Eat Real Food

You butter believe it! Funny, but for realz.

You butter believe it! Funny, but for realz.

Remember how butter was the bad guy over margarine? Oops. Eggs are not awesome, no wait – we decided eggs are okay after all. How about the mandate to eat low fat, fat is making you fat, saturated fats are completely evil – a federal finger shaking that made most Americans run out and load up on overly process foods full of sugar and starchy carbs instead. Obesity and diabetes jumped through the roof. Apparently the science on that study was questionable. Oops.

Most recently the Advisory Council contributing to the upcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines is pushing a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods, citing sustainability, environmental impact and lower saturated fat. You can read their recommendations for yourself, I don’t like them.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE plant-based foods. I can’t imagine going a day, even a meal, without Mother Nature’s bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Heck, I’ll make a dinner that features plant-based protein every once in a while because I just love variety. But, don’t go messing with my butter, my beef, my full-fat Greek yogurt. You’re really going to piss me off.

jennifer fisher fit foodie run beefSee this picture to the left? I’m not obese. I eat butter, beef, eggs, a rainbow of whole foods and a low-carb diet in general. I was even having a quote-unquote fat day, that morning. Guess what, I also exercise, care about my health and fitness and I don’t like the government telling me what to do.  Thirty years of federal nutrition “guidance” has made us fatter and sicker, lets take a stand and do something about it because #NutritionMatters.

Of course, all these federal guidelines must be well-intentioned, although woefully misguided. Who would purposely want to create a population where obesity rates have doubled over the last 30 years and are projected to rise to 50 percent by 2030, according to The Trust for American’s Health Report. Yup, that’s right ONE HALF of Americans will not just be pleasantly plump, but will be medically obese. The upsurge in obesity rates is equally as staggering with our kids. We are in a major health crisis here in the USA.

In a nutshell, it’s time for all of us to look beyond MyPlate and begin demanding dietary guidelines based on quality science that encompasses a range of different approaches.  We also need dietary guidelines that eliminate the one-size-fits-all eating plan and focuses on the needs of a very diverse group of people.  Newer, better, and more credible science needs to be backing up our food choices, we shouldn’t just be eating “what we’re told” without better proof. Rising rates obesity, diabetes and other health concerns isn’t the proof I’m looking for.

You can help shakeup the status quo and demanding scientific scrutiny in our dietary guidelines by signing this Change.org petition — in the process you may save millions of lives. I signed because I care about what I eat, what my family eats and the health and well-being of American’s in general.

Also, in the name of wholesome family meals that WON’T make you fat or unhealthy, I’ve rounded up a week of my favorite Low-Carb Beef Dinners. I enjoy all of these on a regular basis with a nice side of roasted veggies or a big green salad.

A Week of Low Carb Beef Dinners

 

Recipes from top, moving clockwise:

What are you doing to help your health? Do you think it is sometimes confusing to know what IS and what ISN’T healthy to eat? Please share you thoughts in the comments below and please consider signing the petition to demand that quality science determine the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Thank you, XOXO — Jennifer

 

Speedy Orange Jalapeno Salmon – Fueling More Fun

Orange Jalapeno Salmon makes a quick and healthy weeknight meal. Served on a bed of brown rice mixed with quinoa.You can’t beat salmon for a quick weeknight dinner — I probably eat it once a week and have fixed it up so many ways. I still can’t stop thinking about that time I skewered up salmon filets, completely wrapped them in bacon and threw on the grill! That’s when I was experimenting with fat-loading for a marathon. That’s a whole ‘nutha story.

orange jalapeno salmon toes

Firefly Pose Yoga - Jennifer Fisher - TheFitFork.comI’m not bringing bacon back today, but I am sharing a recipe for Orange Jalapeno Salmon that keeps the flavor kicked up with a punch of pepper. Many similar recipes do an orange marmalade in the sauce, but I’ve opted that out to avoid added sugar. This recipe is sure to become a favorite on fish day – plus it can be finished in 30 minutes, freeing you up to spend your late afternoons in more leisurely pursuits. Of course, “leisurely” is a relative descriptor, because the hour I spent trying to straighten my legs out practicing the yoga “firefly pose” was, errr, a little more challenging that leisurely.

If you’re looking for other ways to eat this heart-healthy fish, check out the 100 Ways to Cook with Salmon from CookingLight.com — you’ll never get bored with salmon again!

Salmon Recipes from Cooking Light are easy and packed with important nutrients.

What is your favorite fish? Do you have a secret salmon recipe? If you had and extra hour of free time, what would you do?  Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Speedy Orange Jalapeno Salmon
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Speedy Orange Jalapeno Salmon
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Add orange juice, oil, jalepenos, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper in a small food processor or blender and pulse for about 30 seconds to a minute until combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 400 F degrees. Place salmon, skin side down, into 2” rimmed pan or oven proof skillet that has been rubbed with oil. Top with orange slices. Pour marinade over top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until opaque.
  3. Serve on a salad or favorite whole grain -- pictured with 50/50 mixture of brown rice and tri-color quinoa.
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