Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Breakfast for Whenever

So, you say you would love to eat healthy, but cooking at home takes so long? Well this is for you. It's fast to make, easy to make, healthy, and to top it all off, delicious and totally customizable. It is your very own, personal frittata.

What is a frittata? Well, it's basically a Spanish omelette-quiche crossbreed that went devastatingly right. The great thing about frittatas is that:

1. You don't have to flip them.
2. You don't have to let this one bake for an hour.

So it has all the delicious qualities of omelettes and quiches, but without the time consumption and IHOP line cook level cooking skills. It also doesn't have over half your day's worth of calories, much unlike an IHOP omelette.

The absolute greatest thing about this is that you can put literally anything you want into it! Spinach? Sure. Roasted potatoes? Definitely. Leftover spaghetti noodles from two nights ago? You bet your sweet bippy. Using leftovers in these is a great way to not only reduce the waste you'd be making if you just ended up throwing it away, but using pre-cooked meats and/or vegetables cuts way down on cooking time.
 Here's what went into mine:

You will need a 6" pan and it's lid. It'll probably be the smallest one you have if you have an entire set.

2 eggs, beaten.
1 Tbsp milk
A literal pinch of salt
4 roasted fingerling potatoes, diced. (Two of them were purple.)
2 brussel sprouts, chopped
1 oz. turkey, diced
1 oz. cheese of your choice. Goat cheese would be pretty bomb. I used cheddar.
1 tsp. olive oil

First, get your pan heated. Set it to a low heat, about the 3rd notch on most burners. Oil the pan.

While the pan heats, beat your eggs, adding the tablespoon of milk and salt until it's all combined. Leave your eggs alone now.

Next, add the potatoes and chopped brussel sprouts to the pan, and sautée them until the brussel sprouts are just wilted and everything is warmed through.

 Toss the turkey in and stir everything for about 30 seconds. Now pour your eggs in.

DON'T stir anything now. Cover the pan, and let it all sit for about 5 minutes, or until the surface has no runny egg.

 Remove the pan from the heat, and sprinkle on your cheese. Put the lid back on and let sit for another minute to let the cheese melt.

Using a flexible rubber spatula, slide up under the frittata to lift it free from the pan. If you oiled it well enough, or if it's nice and non-stick, it should be very easy.

Once loosened, you should be able to gently slide the frittata onto a plate.

Serve hot with fresh fruit, and enjoy :) This recipe can serve one or two people, depending on how much you'll eat. You can substitute one of the whole eggs with just a white, or you can probably just use egg whites. Your options are pretty much limitless with this, so have fun with it!

Now let me apologize for the very unappetizing-looking cheese square that's all over my frittata. We were out of shredded cheese.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year...New You?

It's finally 2013. I no longer have to wade through pages of Facebook statuses proclaiming that it's "1/1/01, 2/2/02, 3/3/03..." and so on. In fact, if you make it your New Years' resolution to NOT make a post pointing out the date, then you will have finally actually gone through with one.

Maybe. There will always be May the 4th (be with you...)

But seriously, how many people really go through with their resolutions? According to this, only 8% of people who make resolutions come out successful. 25% don't even last a week! And only 46% last six months or longer. So at this point you're probably thinking, "ugh Emily, you're so negative. At least they're trying!"

Sure, they're trying. And in all seriousness, that's great. 54% of people in America don't even make a resolution. However, I've come to understand that people set their goals unrealistically. Television, movies, magazines, you name it. Inspiring stories of weight loss and self-improvement easily become muddled up with reality. For example, I think that The Biggest Loser, as much as I like to watch it, sets people up for unrealistic expectations. They see the contestants on the show losing 12+ pounds every week, but what they don't always remember to take into consideration that those people are extremely overweight, so losing that much weight every week is actually easier for them (and you can see later in the season that the weight they lose each week typically starts to decline more and more as they lose weight). This is because what has caused them to get so overweight: overeating, and not exercising enough, has been completely flipped upside down in a highly contained and inspiring environment. Those people are working out numerous hours every day with celebrity trainers, and have dietitians planning most of their meals. For the average person who hasn't been blessed enough to have such an awesome opportunity, this just isn't possible.

What is possible, however, is setting several short-term goals over the span of a year. Instead of having one big, vague resolution, like "eat healthier" or "lose weight", be specific. Here's an example:

  • For one month, I will replace my caramel frap with a home made peanut butter banana smoothie.
    • This will help you transition into a habit of eating foods that offer more nutrient density, that is, foods that are pretty low in calories compared to the benefits that have (fiber, vitamins, etc).
    • Just replace caramel frap and the smoothie with your own vice and alternative.
    • It would also save you some money ;)
  •  I will continue to replace [vice] with [alternative], and replace 3/4 of refined carbs with whole grains/"good" carbs for another month.
    • Again, you're replacing bad with good, but not totally cancelling it out. Restriction leads to temptation, which leads to succumbing and then failure.
    • You don't have to cut out carbs, either. has a handy little tool called Supertracker, which you can use to track your meals. Take an average of three days and see if you eat too little or too much of something. For example, if your results show (or maybe you just know) you eat too much meat and beans, but not enough fruit, replace some of the meat you eat with fruit at your meals.
  •  Continue to either add new goals and adjust as you reach each one, or lay them all out from the beginning. Just remember - allow yourself some flexibility. If you're in school and busy most of the year, don't worry about a gym membership, but do try to work out when you can. Use your time out of school, such as during Winter break or Summer, to get out and do more than your normally would. Go hiking, swim some laps, run on the beach while you're on vacation (it's pretty hard on the dry stuff)!
  •  A good workout for beginners, or people who are just short on time is this:
  1. Run (or walk) for 10 minutes a day. See how far you can go in the ten minutes. Every day, push yourself just a little bit more. You'll notice quickly that you'll be going further and further every time.
  2. Try to get to the point where you can comfortably run a mile within the ten minutes. If you can run more, great!
  3. Add 5-10 minutes as you get faster. Eventually, your speed will level off, but your endurance will continue climbing.
  4. Add as much time as your schedule allows. Getting out to run for 15-20 minutes a day is better than doing nothing at all! 
What's great about running is that you don't need to pay for anything, unless you don't have any kind of running shoes already. What's great about this plan is that it's easy to change to fit with a schedule that always changes.

Finish off your runs with various body-weight exercises like push-ups and squats, and core exercises like planks. One of my favorite core exercises is doing headstands. Throwing your body off it's normal balance challenges your muscles to relearn how to keep your body aligned.

Changing your habits isn't a matter of a single goal. It's a process and ultimately a complete change of lifestyle. You can't cut out carbs forever. You will literally die, or get very, very sick. You can't live your life constantly counting points or ordering pre-planned meals, either. However, you can take 10 minutes out of your day to challenge yourself to run as far as you can, or replace something in excess. A lifestyle overhaul is what will really give you "lasting results" because it's real, and it is for the rest of your life. So give it a try this year, if you have a resolution, to make it realistic, flexible, and life-long.