Firefly Fitness with Ken & Jennifer Cornine

Building a Legacy of Health and Happiness


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Popcicles For Breakfast????!!!!! Yes Ma’am

It is H-O-T outside today! I have been obsessed with iced coffee MEALS lately. This morning I was having lunch in the teacher’s lounge- we eat at 10:30am if you imagine that!-and some students came in to get icee’s out of the freezer and they looked AMAZING! Of course they offered their FAVE teachers some (we were also the only one’s in the room), I had to decline since I packed lunch and the sugar would have made me CRAZY & then CRASHING. In my jealousy this recipe was born. Why not combine lunch & a sweet treat and still do something healthy for my body?! I can’t wait to give it a try, how about you? Share with someone you think is SWEET!

iced mocha

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Fun Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers

I made a fantastic impromptu dinner and thought that I would share…

mini-taco-stuffed-peppers-06Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers
1 bag of mini sweet peppers; split in 1/2 lengthwise
2 lbs ground turkey breast
1 jar salsa
1 portion taco seasoning. (I have a great recipe if you need one)
shredded monterey jack cheese.

Brown the turkey with seasoning & 1 c. water. Stuff mini pepper 1/2’s with turkey. Add a teaspoon of salsa on each pepper and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Broil in a preheated oven for 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Serves 4 in my house. Enjoy!


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Need A Little Mental Vacation?

We have had amazing weather here in Central Jersey- up until this week.  The temp dropped a staggering 40 degrees reminding us that summer is not quite here.  So, A LOT of us are grouchy and dreaming of sun, sand and surf.  I thought that I would help you out with a mental break.

 Now that you are  a little relaxed, you can take a minute to whip up today’s frothy dose of dense nutrition.

Greek Island Shakeology

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of Vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2 fresh basil leaves

Add first 4 ingredients to a blender with ice and garnish with basil.

Calories: 357/ Total Fat 2g/ Saturate Fat 0g/ Cholesterol: 5 mg/ Sodium: 311 mg/ Carbohydrate: 49g/ Fiber 7g/ Sugars 38g/ Protein 40g

Enjoy!


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Problem: Campfire S’mores = Cravings! Solution Below

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do in the Summer is to sit by the fire and make S’mores with my kids.  The problem is that it doesn’t always fit into my healthy eating plan.  Instead of feeling deprived (and Hangry!) I searched for alternative solutions to my cravings and came up with this life-saver.  It really does taste like Summer.  (If you haven’t given Chocolate Shakeology a try and would like to- just give me a shout!  Happy Summer!Smores-Shakeology-Full


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LOVEGRASS, WEIGHT CONTROL & WHOLE GRAINS

Today we are reblogging from the Whole Grains Council about TEFF.  Of note is that it is a resistant starch which can benefit blood-sugar management, weight control, and colon health.  (See this post)  Which means that you can have your starch and eat it too!

Teff [Eragrostis tef] is the only fully-domesticated member of the genus Eragrostis (lovegrass). Its name is often assumed to be related to the word “lost” in Amharic – because of the tiny size (less than 1mm diameter – similar to a poppy seed) of its seeds.

This tiny size, in fact, makes teff ideally suited to semi-nomadic life in areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has long thrived. (The photo to the left shows teff being harvested in Ethiopia.) A handful of teff is enough to sow a typical field, and it cooks quickly, using less fuel than other foods. Teff also thrives in both waterlogged soils and during droughts, making it a dependable staple wherever it’s grown. No matter what the weather, teff crops will likely survive, as they are also relatively free of plant diseases compared to other cereal crops.

Teff can grow where many other crops won’t thrive, and in fact can be produced from sea level to as high as 3000 meters of altitude, with maximum yield at about 1800-2100m high. This versatility could explain why teff is now being cultivated in areas as diverse as dry and mountainous Idaho and the low and wet Netherlands. Teff is also being grown in India and Australia. In Kansas, theKansas Black Farmers Association is experimenting with teff – intrigued by both its connection to Africa and its market potential.

IGrowing in the fields, teff appears purple, gray, red, or yellowish brown. Seeds range from dark reddish brown to yellowish brown to ivory.

Click here to see photos and learn more about teff.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF TEFF

Teff leads all the grains – by a wide margin – in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach.

Teff was long believed to be high in iron, but more recent tests have shown that its iron content comes from soil mixed with the grain after it’s been threshed on the ground – the grain itself is not unusually high in iron.

Teff is, however, high in resistant starch, a newly-discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood-sugar management, weight control, and colon health. It’s estimated that 20-40% of the carbohydrates in teff are resistant starches. A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, teff is a healthy and versatile ingredient for many gluten-free products.

Since teff’s bran and germ make up a large percentage of the tiny grain, and it’s too small to process, teff is always eaten in its whole form. It’s been estimated that Ethiopians get about two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff.  Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff.

For a complete survey of the nutritional and health aspects of teff, click here.

COOKING TEFF

In Ethiopia, teff is usually ground into flour and fermented to make the spongy, sourdough bread known as injera. As anyone knows who has eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant anywhere in the world, injera is used as an edible serving plate. Food is piled on a large round of injera on a tray in the middle of the table and different foods are served directly onto the injera. The diners eat by tearing off bits of injera, and rolling the food inside.  Ethiopians also use teff to make porridge and for alcoholic beverages, including tella and katikala.

Today, teff is moving way beyond its traditional uses. It’s an ingredient in pancakes, snacks, breads, cereals and many other products, especially those created for the gluten-free market. You can also buy teff wraps.

White or ivory teff has the mildest flavor, with darker varities having an earthier taste. Those who have only tasted teff in injera assume it has a sour taste, but when it is not fermented (made into a sourdough), teff has a sweet and light flavor.

How you cook teff depends on how you like to eat it, according to our WGC Culinary Advisors. Lorna Sass advises “dry cooking” teff for 6-7 minutes, with 1 cup of teff in 1 cup of water, then letting it stand covered for five minutes. Her approach results in a grain “with the texture of poppy seeds” that’s great for sprinkling on vegetables as a topping, or for adding to soups. Robin Asbell suggests cooking teff for about 20 minutes, with 1 cup of teff in 3 cups of water producing a creamier end product. The Teff Company, in Idaho, advises cooking 1 cup of teff in 3 cups of water or stock.

Here are some recipes you can try, to get acquainted with teff:

Banana Bread with Teff and Chocolate

Teff Crepes with Spinach and Mushrooms

Teff Waffles

Ethiopian Teff Vegetable Loaf

You can easily buy teff grain and teff flour. Three good sources are The Teff Company, Bob’s Red Mill and Shiloh Farms.

FUN FACTS ABOUT TEFF

  • Just one pound of teff grains can grow an acre of teff, while 100 pounds or more of wheat grains are needed to grow an acre of wheat.
  • Teff requires only 36 hours to sprout, the shortest time of any grain.
  • Three thousand grains of teff weigh just one gram (1/28 of an ounce).
  • Teff’s protein content (around 14%) is largely easily digested albumins (similar to a vegetable version of egg whites).
  • Teff is thought to have originated in Ethiopia about 4000-1000 B.C.E.
  • Teff is fermented by a symbiotic yeast living in the soluble fiber on the grain’s surface (like the blush on grapes).

Thanks to The Teff Company for some of the information on this page, including the harvest photo.


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Got Matcha?

I’ve been hearing so much about Matcha lately that it got my curiosity peaked. So just how healthy is the green powder?

According to Yahoo Health, “A study found that one serving of matcha has 137 times more disease-fighting polyphenols, called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), than a brewed mug of conventional China Green Tips — the equivalent of up to 10 cups of regular green tea! With such an antioxidant punch, it’s no wonder that matcha just may be the new superfood.” Read on for why it could just be a miracle in a mug.

Turns out people add it to baked goods, cereals, smoothies or drink it with hot water and honey. I’ll give it a try in my morning Greenberry Smoothie with apple cider vinegar, flax and pineapple.

A quick recap tells us that it is a disease-fighting, detox-inducing, jitter free energy boost that helps you lose weight. Sounds like it is worth giving a try to me. Here is an amazing sounding recipe found on thehealthymaven.com that I plan on giving a try.

matchaballs

 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add dates and almonds to a food processor and process until they come together into a sticky ball.
  2. Break up ball and add in cocoa powder, matcha powder and almond milk.
  3. Process until all ingredients have been combined and form into a large sticky ball again.
  4. Roll into 10 small balls and dust with more matcha powder.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or longer in freezer.


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PASTA IS GOOD FOR MY WAISTLINE?????!!!!! RICE????!!! POTATOES?????!!!!

WHY HASN’T ANYONE SHOUTED THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS?

According to a BBC.com article in 2014, they did just that. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Even if I had been, I surely would have been skeptical. It goes against everything we’ve been told so far. And that is exactly why I took another look.

pasta-al-limone-with-ricotta-cheese

As it turns out, popular science doesn’t tell the whole story. We all agree that pasta, potatoes, and rice are all carbohydrates. We agree that once they hit your stomach they are absorbed as simple sugars, which in turn makes your blood sugar soar. This triggers a release of insulin to combat all of that sugar. Then we enter the “carb coma”. Our sugar levels decrease rapidly and we lose our energy. We know that too much free roaming sugar in our blood is unhealthy as is the rollercoaster of glucose-insulin response. Sugar that isn’t used up in the form of energy makes us fat. That must mean that pasta makes us fat. Period. This is why we are encouraged to eat carbs rich in fiber to slow that ride down. Are you with me so far? Good.

Now Let’s talk “resistant starch”.

pastaResistant starch, according to http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/lowdown-resistant-starch, “is a carbohydrate your body can’t digest. It behaves a lot like fiber, helping food move through your system, says Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D., University of Maine food science professor.”

Wait, what????? “Like fiber, resistant starch helps control blood sugar and keeps you regular. It also acts as a prebiotic, nourishing healthy gut microbes. Those bacteria then produce a type of fatty acid that may protect against cancer.”

This could be revolutionary. Back to pasta… So, according to scientist Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey, “if you cook and cool pasta down then your body will treat it much more like fibre, creating a smaller glucose peak and helping feed the good bacteria that reside down in your gut. You will also absorb fewer calories, making this a win-win situation.”

Even better, the surprise came when the doctors decided to do an experiment. You can read all of the details here. I am excited to report that they found something that I really didn’t expect – cooking, cooling and then reheating the pasta had an even more dramatic effect; an even smaller effect on blood glucose! In fact, it reduced the rise in blood glucose by 50%.

 

Mushroom-Spinach-and-Artichoke-Lasagna