Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcome to my Kitchen!

It's summertime and I know that we're all worried about our waist lines and how good our stomach will look in our bikini when we're at the beach next weekend (or on a cruise next month!!!). I want to share with everyone a few tips, tricks and introduce you to the summer must haves in my kitchen! Now, I am far from perfect when it comes to eating right. I have my ups and downs and I do NOT believe in diets. It works for some, but not for me. What being healthy really boils down to is making the right choices and portion control. I believe in working out to balance out eating what makes you happy. Needless to say, I rarely deprive myself dessert :) It's a staple in my home and I blame my daddy for giving me his sweet tooth.
So, welcome to my kitchen!!!

Here are just a few of my summer must haves:

Fruits and Veggies
You will always find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in the Gougler Casa, mostly because I love veggies and yes, broccoli truly is my favorite food (no lies). I also love fruit because most types are sweet and I can always turn a healthy fruit into a healthy dessert with a few twists and turns!

During the summer though corn on the cob  and watermelon are at the TOP of my list! Corn on the cob is so much easier to cook then one would initially think! There are so many ways to cook it, so all you have to do is choose the best way based on what else your making. For example, if your planning on ribs or burgers (both staples at the Timmer house during the summer), you can soak your corn in salt water (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours) and then throw it on the grill for 45 minutes! Don't have as much time on your hands? Bring a pot of water to a boil and stick your corn on the cob in the water, cover, and let it cook for about 10 minutes. It really doesn't get much better than that.

Did I mention of cheap corn on the cob is? About every other week it goes on sale 8 ears for $2!
 Watermelon...yummm...great for breakfast or an afternoon snack on a hot, sunny day. Perfect for those days your outside at the pool or on the beach! Watermelon is actually 92% water, hence the water part of the water-melon :) It's rich in folic acid, vitamin C and all of your B vitamins. Watermelon is very cleansing for your body and very easy to digest...good for bikini season! The best part is that it's only 40 calories for an entire cup of watermelon and since I love to snack, this is great for me. I like to buy the mini watermelons because I can just cut them in half and have one half for breakfast and save the other for another day!


Peanut Butter
It's safe to say that I am addicted to peanut butter. I love it by itself, on toast or a bagel, in my oatmeal, with an apple, the list really goes on and on. I'm pretty sure I dream about peanut butter. Another addiction of mine which goes oh so nicely with peanut butter is Nutella. Like I said earlier, I have a bad sweet tooth and Nutella makes me not feel so bad about enjoying the sweet! Now it is much higher in sugar content then peanut butter, so it does need to be eaten in moderation. But, to balance that out, it has less fat. Both PB and Nutella are about 100 calories per tablespoon. I like to add a teaspoon of each to my morning oatmeal or put a tsp of each in a little cup to dip fruit in! There are so many ways that I could go on and on.


Oatmeal
All this talk about peanut butter made me remember to include oatmeal. This is my breakfast probably about 3 times a week and it never gets old! I can mix it up in so many ways! I personally use the regular Quaker oatmeal. This way I can add in whatever I want and there is less sugar content! I always add in a packet of Stevia to sweeten up the taste then I pick my mix ins! As for fruit, frozen blueberries or slice bananas are yummy as well as both together! I also like to add some chopped walnuts with some crasins or raisins!
Also, here's a tip to feeling fuller in the morning with your oatmeal! Add extra water, yes more than the box/package says for you direction followers. Then when you cook it in the microwave, cook it for twice as long for half the power! I cook mine for 4 minutes total at power level 5. I usually stop and stir after 2 minutes to make sure it's lookin' good!  This fluffs your oatmeal up more which allows you to take more bites which makes you feel fuller. It doesn't get better than that!

Greek Yogurt
It comes in all sorts of brands and flavors, and it's packed with twice the protein and potentially half the sugar as a regular low fat yogurt. Like I said, lots of flavors, but be sure to check the nutrition label because adding in those tasty surprises usually increases the sugar content by A LOT! I would recommend getting the plain yogurt and just like oatmeal, find your own add ins! Due to my sweet tooth, I always add a packet of Stevia and then mix in cereal (Kashi works great!), granola (adding cereal will keep the calories lower though), crasins and/or raisins, chopped almonds or pecans, and of course, fresh fruit! Any fresh fruit would work perfectly. Then, you get the great variety that the flavored yogurts provide, but better for your health!

Don't forget to check the nutrition labels! Try a bunch of types to see which ones you like best!
Ice Cream
Anyone who knows me knows that my second favorite food (second to broccoli of course) is ice cream. I can eat ice cream all year round. Even when I experienced my first adult frozen winter up in Pittsburgh, I ate ice cream. There really isn't a better time for it than summer though. It's the perfect dessert and writing about it now makes me wish that I had some in my freezer. I know this is about items in my kitchen, but I finished my last ice cream sandwich on Monday. I know this is also about healthy summer eating. Obviously ice cream doesn't keep that waist line as trimmed as we would like, but let me introduce you to Skinny Cow.

I love a good ice cream cone or try my fave, one of the ice cream sandwiches! Cookies and cream...yummm
Skinny Cow has a wide variety of flavors and different types of ice cream treats from ice cream cones to sandwiches to truffle bars to individual cups! The best part is that they are all under 150 calories and are the perfect treat to settle that 9pm craving.

So I ran this list of items by JP and he just smiled and shook his head because these really are the MUST HAVE items in the kitchen. JP has gotten quite used to my healthy eating and is even kind of enjoying it. He does have his own treats around the house when my healthy alternatives just don't quite cut it. Soon I'll share some of my favorite healthy recipes and recipe books for your cooking pleasure! I hope you enjoyed the tips and let me know if you want to hear more!

What are the top 5 things you always keep in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments section!
Until next time...

With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

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