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Mardi Gras Time-Let the Good Times Roll!!

February 27th, 2014 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

mardigrasAhhh, Mardi Gras!  Draped in tradition and filled with fun, it’s an annual Carnival  where thousands of people come out in droves from all over the world to don festive beads, dance in the streets, and enjoy traditional Cajun food.  Here are a few of our favorite Mardi Gras inspired recipes from Pinterest to help get you in the mood to party…

Laissez les bons temps roule

 

Sausage and Mushroom Etouffee- Made with fat-free roux and brown rice, this healthy spin on a Creole classic will have your friends coming back for more!

etouffee

Cajun Canapes- This delicious Mardi Gras appetizer will get the party started!  Substitute the pork sausage for leaner meat if you like.  

canapes

Red Beans and Rice- A must have for any Mardi Gras inspired meal

red beans and rice

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa- Perfect for Mardi Gras and super healthy!

pineapple salsa

Traditional Queen Cake- A Vegan version that’s just as good as the original

queen cake

And last but not least, SENSA’s own recipe for Gumbo with Shrimp over Rice….ENJOY!

Gumbo with Shrimp over Rice
(For 6 servings)

Prep time: 25 min
Cooking Time: 1 h 45 min
Difficulty: medium

Ingredients:Gumbo and Shrimp
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, rinsed; seeded and chopped
1 rib celery, rinsed and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz)
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 bone-in chicken thighs, rinsed; skin and fat removed
1/2 pound andouille sausage, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups frozen okra, thawed
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 per pound)
Salt, to taste
6 cups cooked brown rice

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Position oven rack to lowest position.

2. Toast the flour in a Dutch oven, set over medium heat, stirring constantly, until flour turns a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat source, and whisk in oil, until smooth. Cover and transfer to preheat oven, and cook until the mixture is deep brown and fragrant. about 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Remove roux from oven and transfer to stove top, whisk to combine. Add onion. bell pepper, and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring, until vegetables have softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour, garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper and for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add broth and fish sauce; whisk until smooth. Season to taste with pepper. Add chicken and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Skim any fat from the top and transfer chicken to a plate. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bone and cut into bite size pieces and return to the Dutch oven. Discard the bones.

5. Stir in the sausage and okra, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Add shrimp and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Taste; season with salt and pepper as necessary.

6. Serve over brown rice.

Nutritional information:  Calories: 634, Fat: 23g, Sugar: 3.9g, Fiber: 3.7g, Carbohydrates: 69g

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Ditch the Reservations—Get Active with your Valentine!

February 4th, 2014 Yolanda Posted in Fitness, Main, Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

 

Exercise produces chemicals in your brain that make you happier and decreases your stress—what better way to spend quality time with that special someone? Choose a unique, challenging and fun activity will build excitement in your relationship and help you form a deeper bond this Valentine’s Day. And since this love holiday falls on a Friday this year, you have all weekend to plan something fun. Here are some ideas for you and your Valentine to enjoy. Play like a kid, get sweaty and try something new!

Take It Outside

If weather allows you, enjoy the fresh air and get outside with your date.

Bike Riding + Froyo

Hiking + Trail Mix

Frisbee + Sandwiches

Kayaking + Smoothies

 

The Great Indoors

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t get active. Enjoy these fun indoor activities.

Indoor Rock Climbing + Sushi

Bowling + Cupcakes

Ice Skating + Hot Chocolate

Batting Cage + BBQ

 

Looking for something more to do with your loved on on Valentine’s Day?  Well, nothing says romance like chocolate!  Work up a sweat in the kitchen making these Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, cut them into bite-sized pieces, and spend the evening feeding each other these tasty treats….don’t forget to sprinkle!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!  ENJOY!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Crazy for Crust

Recipe and photo courtesy of Crazy for Crust

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Happy Chinese New Year!!

January 16th, 2014 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Spring Festival, aka Chinese New Year to us Westerners, falls on January 31, 2014 and is one of the grandest and most important festivals for Chinese People.  This colorful festival is full of rich color, celebrates family and friends, and helps usher in spring.  Let’s not forget all the yummy, traditional Chinese food that comes with the party!  In honor of this sacred celebration that dates back over 4,000 years, I’ve put together a menu from our “Year of the Horse”  Pinterest board that will bring you good luck during the Year of the Horse, but not wreak havoc on your waistline.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to sprinkle!!

Tangerines and Oranges- Displaying and eating tangerines and oranges will bring wealth and luck and giving them to elders is a mark of respect.  According to the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, the tradition stems from the way the Chinese words for gold and orange sound alike, while the word for tangerine echoes luck. Pick tangerines with leaves to symbolize longevity but don’t group them in fours, as that number is associated with death.  Load up on tangerines and oranges to help you feel fuller longer between meals and to get a healthy dose of vitamin C.

oranges chinese

Boiled Chinese Dumplings- This recipe is easy and can be made ahead of time.  Dumplings resemble Chinese currency and eating them is said to bring prosperity.

chinese dumplings

Brothy Chinese Noodles-  Long noodles represent a long life in Chinese tradition.  This recipe is light enough to be an appetizer yet filling enough so you won’t overeat on starch laden rice.

chinese noodles

Stir Fried Chinese Long Beans with Garlic- Eating leafy greens and long beans for Chinese New Year brings good luck to all the parents out there, so eat up!

chinese green beans

Pan Fried Whole Fish- Some of you might feel a little squeamish when it comes to eating a whole fish, but Chinese New Year will give you a reason to face your fears.  The Chinese word for fish is similar to the word for abundance, eating whole fish will ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.  Make sure the head and tail are intact when you serve it!

pan fried fish

Chinese New Year Cake- Last but definitely not least is the Chinese New Year Cake.  Eating a piece is supposed to improve luck in the coming year.  This cake is super light and very moist, plus since you’re using rice flour, it’s gluten-free!

new year cake

Here’s a cute little infographic for more food you can eat for luck, abundance, fertility and overall good times.

things to eat

福壽雙全Fúshòushuāngquán – “May your happiness and longevity be complete”

 

 

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Shrimp Pho Noodle Soup

January 8th, 2014 Kelsey Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Pho (pronounced “Fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese soup made with beef or chicken broth.  Every bowl of pho will taste different depending on who prepares it.  Here’s an easy recipe, perfect for weeknights that’s low in calories and high in taste.

Shrimp Pho Noodle SoupPho Shrimp Recipe

Broth:

  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger (or 12 1/4 in. thick coins fresh ginger, if you want it more gingery)
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, reserved for soup
  • 5-6 cilantro stems, reserved for soup

Pho:

  • 1 8-oz. package rice noodles
  • 8 oz. shrimp
  • 2 cups soybean sprouts
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 4 green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions: 

1. To make broth: Place all ingredients in a large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Strain broth and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water.

3.While pasta is boiling, cook shrimp, you can either boil or stir fry it with Pam or a little olive oil (if you don’t mind the added oil, which isn’t counted in the nutrition info.) Season with soy sauce.

4. Divide the cooked noodles among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle broth over noodles and top with shrimp, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into the soup.

Number of Servings: 6

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 172.7, fat 1.0 g, sodium 585.3 mg, carbs 30.4, fiber 4.4 g, protein 11.9 g

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Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

November 26th, 2013 Kelsey Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

 

Ingredients:OatmealCranberryCookies_RecipeTabs_EP_010213

3/4 cup soft butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 large egg

1½ cups Whole Wheat Flour

1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)

½ cup whole flax meal

¼ cup whole flax seeds

1½ cups dried cranberries or raisins

 

Method:

1.Line your baking sheets with parchment.

2. In a large bowl beat the brown sugar, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, salt, egg and baking soda together until fluffy.

3. Add in all the remaining ingredients.

4. Make small balls of dough and place on parchment paper. Once complete flatten dough with the back of a spoon.

5.Place into the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown

6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

The recipe produces 3 ½ dozen cookies.

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Spicy Edamame Guacamole

November 13th, 2013 Guest Blogger Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Spicy Edamame Guacamole

edamame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This delicious recipe comes from MySENSA Community User LindaMM gal

Pack some more protein into party food by adding in edamame. Serve it with fresh, crunchy veggies like sliced peppers, carrots, celery, or cucumber to keep it under 200 calories .

Ingredients:
1 medium ripe avocado
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, washed and seeded
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves (approx 5-6 sprigs)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, boil the frozen edamame for 4-5
minutes, until bright green. Drain and set aside to cool (you can skip this 
step if you decide to use fresh edamame instead). In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice and puree. Add cooled edamame and puree until smooth. In a mixing bowl, add avocado flesh to the edamame mixture and mash to combine thoroughly. Serve chilled with fresh
veggies.

Per serving (1/2 cup):
110 calories
6.3g fat
5.3g fiber
6.8g protein

Makes 4 servings

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It’s National Cheeseburger Day!

September 18th, 2013 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes 1 Comment »

Seriously, It’s really National Cheeseburger Day, which gives me the perfect excuse to get my grub on (yes, I’m really that excited).  I’ve been doing really well with my weight loss by avoiding fast food, and today will be no exception.  You have no idea all the crap that goes into that ground “beef”.  On top of that, the large amounts of sodium and saturated fat in fast food cheeseburgers has helped contribute to the ever expanding waist lines in America.  1061 calories for a Double Whopper?  No thank you!  Not when I can make my own and it will probably be cheaper and healthier.  So, I thought I’d share a few interesting variations of cheeseburgers I found on Pinterest, but first, a few secret ingredients that I haven’t shared with anyone about how to make one of the juiciest (beef) burgers EVER….1-2 eggs, 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, and 3-4 tablespoons of evaporated milk….weren’t expecting milk were ya.  Those ingredients will make you forget everything you thought you knew about making a cheeseburger!

Now, without further adieu, here are some amazing  healthy cheeseburger and cheeseburger alternatives we found on Pinterest.  Enjoy!

The Cheeseburger Casserole- Make it with whole-wheat pasta, ground turkey, and 2% cheese to keep calories low.

cheeseburger casserole

Bacon Cheeseburger Buns- Make sure you get a low-fat grade of beef, grass-fed if possible and try to use whole-wheat flour

cheeseburger bun

Cheeseburger Quesadillas- I’ve tried these and they are YUMMAZING!

cheeseburger quesadilla

 

Cheeseburger Bites- Perfect for Sunday Football Gatherings

cheeseburger bites

And last but not least…the Turkey Burger!  Save on calories and saturated fat with this lighter, tasty version!

turkey burger

Well folks, I hope you thoroughly enjoy National Cheeseburger Day…I know I will!  I would love to hear your favorite hamburger recipes.

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to sprinkle!

Yolanda

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BBQ Corned Beef Brisket

August 30th, 2013 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

I know….who BBQ’s Corned Beef?  I do, and it’s amazing, so much so that I needed to share this recipe, but first, a little history.

The term “corned” comes from the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt used to cure the beef for preservation and tenderizing.  Usually corned beef is made with potatoes and cabbage because they soak up the salt from the meet, but when you barbecue corned beef, you have to make sure it’s not as salty or it will be tough.  So….

Soak: To start off grilling our corned beef you need to soak the beef for about 30 minutes per pound and no less than 2 hours. This soaking needs to be done with warm water or the salt will not dissolve effectively. You also need to change the water every hour and rinse the corned beef off when you change the water. You may choose to place the corned beef in a pot of water and set it on your stove over a low heat for the soaking time.

Season: Once the corned beef has been soaked and rinsed off you can now apply the seasonings. Corned beef is frequently sold with a spice packet. You can use this as a rub on the meat. You can also mix up your own rub. Use coarsely cracked black pepper, cracked coriander seeds, onion powder, thyme, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne. Typically you want a lot of pepper and coriander and less of the other ingredients. Try 4 parts pepper and coriander and 1 part of the others. You can, of course, add whatever you want, but corned beef is traditionally seasoned with peppercorns and coriander so if you want the authentic thing use these. Rub the spices into the meat. You want it to get deep inside so the flavors will spread.

Grill: Now you are ready to grill. You want to grill your corned beef for about 1 to 2 hours at a low temperature (around 250 degrees F. (120 degrees C.)). Charcoal and hardwoods will give you better flavors but you can use a gas grill. Either way, go for indirect grilling and use a drip pan under the corned beef. Grill until the internal temperature of the meat reached more than 165 degrees F. (74 degrees C.). If you simmered the corned beef in hot water first it is probably already around this area. What you want to get is a corned beef that has lightly crusted on the surface but hasn’t dried out so watch the meat closely, especially after an hour.

Baste: During the grilling you want to baste the corned beef every 30 minutes. Use some of the rub you prepared with equal parts of water, oil and vinegar to makes something similar to a salad dressing. This will keep the meat moist and also help drain out any additional salt left behind. By basting with seasonings from the rub you continue to add that great flavor to the corned beef. If you introduce some smoke to the process you’ll add even more flavor.

Serve your corned beef with grilled potatoes and roasted kale….YUMMY!  The grill adds so much flavor to the beef and has a much better texture.  And I know from personal experience that it is the best way to have corned beef.  Try it and let me know what you think!  ENJOY!!

 

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Summer BBQ Recipe-Wrapped Asparagus

June 14th, 2013 Guest Blogger Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Wrapped Asparagus
WrappedAsparagus_RecipeTabs_EP_010213
Prep Time: 25
Cook Time: 15 mins
Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus, rough ends trimmed
6 slices lean ham, cut each slice in half
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 sheets whole-wheat phyllo dough, thawed
2 tablespoons parmesan, grated

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Remove tough ends of the asparagus.
  3. Unwrap phyllo and cut the stack in half lengthwise. Place half the stack back in the refrigerator.
  4. The stack the remaining out keep covered with a damp towel.
  5. Take 1 sheet of phyllo, lay it out flat, and bush it with melted butter.
  6. Take 2-3 asparagus and wrap the ham around the spears.
  7. After wrapped Lay them on the sheet of phyllo.
  8. Roll up gently, the tops and ends of the asparagus will be showing.
  9. Place the roll, seam side down, on a baking sheet.
  10. Brush the top with more melted butter and sprinkle with more cheese.
  11. Repeat until all of the spears are used up.
  12. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 36.1
Carbohydrates 3.2 g
Total Fat 0.7g
Fiber 0.4g

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Summer BBQ Recipe-Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

June 14th, 2013 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Jalapeno Peppers Stuffed with CornbreadJalapeno Peppers
(For 6 servings)

Prep time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 18 min
Difficulty: easy

Ingredients:
12 fresh Jalapenos, medium or large
1 box cornbread mix, 8.5 ounces (honey or original)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup corn, fresh or canned
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.

2. Rinse the peppers and pat dry with paper towels. Slice each pepper down the center and carefully remove all the seeds and veins. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, prepare the cornbread according to the box instructions. Drain the corn well if using canned, add the corn and Cheddar to the cornbread mixture and mix well.

4. Fill each jalapeno half with batter and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cornbread is firm and cooked through.

5. Serve with tomato salsa.

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