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Spinach Pesto

This sauce is bright and tangy, colorful and simply delicious. It is divine on flatbread pizzas, toast, eggs, chicken, rice and more. Whip up a batch and try it for yourself!

Check out my recipe for Veggie Flatbread Pizzas using this delicious pesto sauce.

Enjoy,

Crystal

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 grams raw spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • basil leaves, approx 40
  • salt and pepper

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Combine all ingredients in the blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy. You may want to add up to 1/4 cup water as you are blending until you achieve the desired consistency.

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Recipe makes 16 servings. One serving is a tablespoon.

Per 2 tablespoons:

Calories
85
Total Fat
6.8g
Sat. Fat
0.8g
Cholest.
0mg
Sodium
9.1mg
Carb.
3.9g
Fiber
2.6g
Sugars
0.8g
Protein
5.1g

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Hourglass Attack Workout

splitSquat.jpg

Today’s workout is going to challenge mainly the core muscles (abs, obliques, stabilizers, and even low back.) I’ve also sprinkled in a little bit of glute work. πŸ™‚ Working muscles in the lower body substantially improves metabolism, burns more fat, and coincidentally, is a great way to also train your ABS.

This workout is meant to be repeated 2-5 times depending on your ability level. Enjoy!

HOURGLASS ATTACK:

  1. Knee Cross Plank – From low plank, bring right knee underneath body toward left armpit. Return to low plank and repeat on other side – left knee to right armpit. Keep core engaged and body in straight line. Left and Right together equals ONE rep. (20 reps)
  2. Plie Squat (weight) – Step feet wide apart and toes slightly outward. Hold a dumbel up near your face (this position puts more emphasis on the abs.) Reaching your butt backwards, squat down til thighs are parallel with ground. Return to standing position while squeezing through the glutes. Keep gaze upward and core engaged. (20 reps)
  3. Oblique Lift and Kick – Get into high side plank with left hand beneath the shoulders, body in a straight line with hips off the ground, and right hand placed behind head. Lift extended right leg into the air and back, then kick it forward, keeping leg extended and body in a strong, straight line. Keep your balance! Each lift and kick together equal ONE rep. These are tough! (20 reps each side)
  4. Split Squat – Hold a dumbell (go heavy!) up near your face. Using a chair or bench, step right foot forward and place left foot on bench behind you. Lunge down until thigh is parallel with the ground, knee not reaching past the toes, and return to standing position. Push through the heel to place major emphasis on glutes. The balance of this exercise is a great challenge for stabilizing muscles. (10 reps each side)
  5. Ball Pass – Lay on back with low back pressed against floor. Extend arms back and hold a stability ball or medicine ball between hands. Lift the ball and your feet together and exchange the ball from hands to feet. Extend arms back and lower ball, but don’t let it touch the ground! Now lift ball and hands and exchange back to the hands and back down (but not touching the ground.) Each exchange equals ONE rep. Keep the low back on the ground throughout the movement and squeeze through the abs with each exchange. (20 reps)
  6. Exploding Squat Jump – With legs together, push glutes backward, and reach down to touch the ground next to toes (keeping back straight, knees behind the toes, and gaze outward.) Jump up while bringing your arms above your head and clapping them together, and jumping each leg outward. The movement looks like making a snow angel! Land with legs back close together and crouch back down to touch the ground, but keep back straight, gaze outward, and knees behind the toes. Repeat jump. (20 reps)
  7. Weighted Cross Abs – Lay on your back and hold a light weight in right hand, with arm slightly extended behind head. Reach right hand up while reaching left leg, and touch left foot. Return to lying position and repeat. Same movement for left side. Keep core engaged and don’t forget to breathe. (20 each side)

How To: Spaghetti Squash

Clean chicken parmesan over spaghetti squash!
Clean chicken parmesan over spaghetti squash!

 

The first time I tried spaghetti squash, I heard an angelic sound from the sky. The light bulb in my head flashed on, and I was shown a major epiphany – it changed my life, and I wondered why I had never tried it sooner?! At only 42 calories, .5g fat and 2g fiber per cup, this delicious squash is an absolute ringer for pasta or potato substitutions. Spaghetti squash is now a regular purchase for me at every shopping trip. I love that it makes such a large amount that I can keep a healthy snack in my fridge to eat for several days.

I have read many different ways to cook spaghetti squash, and through my own trial and error, I have come up with a fool proof EASY way to cook perfect squash every time.

Enjoy!

-Crystal

Making A Perfect Spaghetti Squash:

You will need:

  • Spaghetti squash
  • Fork
  • Serrated knife
  • Spoon

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Preheat your oven to 375 F. Using a fork, pierce the skin of your spaghetti squash about 10 times evenly around. This will allow the pressure from inside the squash to escape while it cooks.

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Now place the entire squash in the oven, directly on the rack. Make sure your rack is near the middle of the oven so it cooks more evenly.

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Depending on the size of your squash, you may need to adjust the cook time a bit. However, most spaghetti squash takes just over an hour to cook just right. For a small squash, 50 minutes should do – medium: 1 hour – large: 1 hour 15 minutes.

Set your timer for 30-35 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn your squash over (use an oven mitt!), close the door, and set your timer for 30-35 more minutes.

By now, your spaghetti squash should be smelling quite fragrant! When your timer ends, remove the squash using an oven mitt, and feel how soft it is. If your squash still feels quite firm, you may need to cook it for a bit longer. A good way to test is to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fork goes through the squash with little resistance, your squash is done. If the skin is shrively and wrinkled, you probably over cooked it. Most spaghetti squashes are a bit larger, and I have found that 1 hour plus 10 minutes or so is just perfect.

Your squash should look like this:

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The places where I pierced the squash with a fork before I put it in the oven have bubbled out a little bit, and are caramelizing on the outside.

 

Using an oven mitt and a serrated knife, cut the squash open lengthwise. This should be very easy now that your squash is soft!

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Remove the seeds and stringy stuff from the center of your squash with a big metal spoon.

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Now use a fork to scrape the stringy squash away from the edges gently.

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Keep scraping…there is a lot of squash!

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Scrape until you have removed all of the flesh from the skin. Transfer the squash into a large tupperware container for easy storage.

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Get creative with your squash! Try it with marinara sauce, fresh herbs, goat cheese, soy sauce, fried eggs, sauteed veggies, etc. etc. etc.. The possibilities are endless!

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Congratulations! You are now a professional spaghetti squash roaster. I’m so proud of you. πŸ™‚

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Here is a lovely recipe for Ginger Sesame Spaghetti Squash with Edamame. One of my favorites served warm or cold!

 

HIIT Sweat and Tone

Today’s workout is another great Bender interval workout. It is exceptionally challenging, however, in the sense that you will be working for 1 full minute, and instead of rest, you will complete a 30 second cardio blast between exercises. This is a major calorie burning, fat torching workout that only takes 15 minutes! Hooray for short, intense workouts – we all want to get on with our day, right? Right. πŸ™‚

Have fun, and push hard!

-Crystal

HIIT Sweat and Tone

All Levels: Max reps for each 60 second interval, 30 seconds cardio of choice between each exercise. Β 

*I wrote my cardio bursts in the breakdown, you can follow along with me or select your cardio of choice. You can select one form of cardio or alternate.Β 

1. Curtsy Lunge Hop
cardio: high knees

2. Mountain Climber Hop
cardio: burpee

3. Angel Abs
cardio: high knees

4. Sumo Pushups
cardio: Jumping Jacks

5. Leg Series (right)
cardio: high knees

6. Leg Series (left)
cardio: burpee

7. Temple Tap Abs
cardio: high knees

8. Frogger Crunch
cardio: Jumping Jacks

9. Chair Twist
cardio: burpee

10. Prone Heel Tap
cardio: burpee

Green Smoothie – Nutritional Powerhouse!

Hi Guys,

Today I want to share a delicious, healthy smoothie with everyone. I love green smoothies – sweet, tangy, full of nutrients, and a filling no-guilt meal. I make this smoothie about 4 times a week!

 

green smoothie

 

You will need:

  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 kiwi fruit
  • 1 scoop plain Greek strained yogurt
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop low calorie vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional) *including healthy fats in your diet is proven to curb sugar cravings, and aid in fat burning

Add all ingredients in your blender, and blend until smooth!

Enjoy,

-C

Asian Style Coleslaw – AMAZING!

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I have another recipe for you – full of nutrient-rich vegetables, bright shining flavors, and a perfect compliment to all of your hard work in your fitness schedule! This salad is part of my meal preparation for the week, and probably won’t last very long because it so so delicious. Have you been eating your vegetables?!

 

For the dressing you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons grape seed oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger (if you have a food processor, you may leave the ginger in chunks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves in the processor)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • sriracha sauce or red chili paste (optional)

*Either add all ingredients together in a bowl and stir to combine, or use your food processor for a creamy texture

For the salad:

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced and bite sized
  • 1 cup cooked, shelled soybeans (optional)
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and add the dressing. Stir until all veggies are coated evenly, and let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes so all the flavors can soak in. Enjoy! **Also, if you have a peanut allergy, you can just as easily substitute almonds and almond butter or cashews/cashew butter.

Let me know if you liked this recipe! Thanks for reading.

-Crystal

Makes 8 servings – Serving size 1 cup

Per Serving:

 

Calories
91
Total Fat
5g
Sat. Fat
0.8g
Cholest.
0mg
Sodium
282.8mg
Carb.
10.3g
Fiber
2.5g
Sugars
6.4g
Protein
3g

 

Stir fry with Asian Style Slaw (made without edamame)
Stir fry with Asian Style Slaw (made without edamame)

Ginger Sesame Spaghetti Squash with Edamame

Hi Guys!

Today I prepared some meals to have ready to go in the fridge for the next few days. Having healthy options at my fingertips discourages me from eating junk food when I get hungry, or when I don’t have much time to prepare a meal. It is so important to eat clean, and avoid sugary, processed foods. Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” Whatever your health and fitness goals are, you will never see the results you want if you aren’t complimenting your regimen with a clean diet.

This recipe never ceases to amaze me! Enjoy.

-Crystal

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need:

  • 4 cups cooked spaghetti squashΒ (clickΒ HERE for easy roasting instructions)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups shelled, cooked soybeans
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste, or sriracha sauce (optional)

Cook your spaghetti squash, and clean the flesh into a large mixing bowl. (Instructions for cooking squash HERE)

Combine oil, vinegar, tamari, garlic, ginger and peanuts in a food processor until courseley chopped and combined throughout. Add mixture from food processor to squash, as well as toasted sesame seeds, edamame, cilantro and scallion. Mix well to combine. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 4 large servings.

Per Serving:

Calories
263
Total Fat
13.7g
Sat. Fat
1.6g
Cholest.
0mg
Sodium
562.8mg
Carb.
24g
Fiber
7.7g
Sugars
5.6g
Protein
13.4g