Recipe of The Week: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

5 06 2012

I’m a sucker for Mellow Mushroom, a pizza “chain” (only because they have a few locations in the south) with great beer selection AND great pizza.  I actually just took my brother and sister there when they were visiting Orlando.  Good times were had, since I hadn’t touched pizza in months (and hadn’t seen the siblings for just as long)!

One of my favorites is their Buffalo Chicken pizza.  The problem with that is, like most Buffalo Chicken pizzas, is the amounts of sodium-laden sauce and blue cheese dressing in the recipe.  Those two things are deathtraps in the war against obesity, for sure!

That’s why I’m glad Muscle & Fitness came up with this healthier version.  Basically, it replaces the usual suspects with their lower sodium/fat counterparts.  The only thing I’d change is maybe making the pizza a thing-crust and use a low-carb tortilla or naan bread to control portion size.

If you’re feeling SUPER creative,  here a link that teaches how to make a pizza crust out of quinoa, which will give a boost of protein.

Happy cooking!

Advertisements




Your “Tasty Tuesday” Primer (6/5/12)

5 06 2012

Happy Tuesday, GymGeeks!

Thanks to everyone for bearing with me on the timing of posts.  This whole migrating to a WordPress.org format has been a total pain the ass from the start, but the hard work (and psychosis) will be worth it, since I will have more access to making this thing prettier and more user-friendly (including the option to post comments via your Facebook accounts).

Angry Jon

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…

Despite the craziness of trying to get this done (on top of the day job of voicing scripts for the college AND dealing with the cable company over a bad internet connection), I’ve yet to fall into the trap of eating due to stress.  That’s what I wanted to touch on today in the primer…see?  I find a way to make my rants make sense!

A lot of people fall into the pitfall of eating not because they’re hungry, but because life has them stressed out.  For a scientific reason that I can’t really explain without having a PhD, your brain produces the same responses for chemical reactions due to both stress and hunger.  You, on the other hand, have the capability of telling what the difference is.

So when you find yourself in times of trouble (MusicGymGeek Problems), walk away from whatever’s stressing you out,  take a deep breath,  re-prioritize and get back in there.  You’ll save yourself unnecessary calories and gain a little bit more sanity.  Besides, it’s been proven that stress hormones do lead to less efficient metabolism.  Translation:  stressing out enough can help pack on the pounds.

That’s my rant for today.  Be on the lookout for a recipe (I’m keeping it a surprise, but I’ll leave hints on Twitter to get you guys following), but most of my day will be focused on making this site amazing for you guys.  You’ve proven that this is a worthwhile venture with all the new follows, view of my interview on YouTube and pictures on Flickr and I won’t let you down!

Jonathan





Recipe of The Week: Breakfast On-The-Go

29 05 2012

Ok, here’s a scenario I’m sure we’ve all been through…

You haven’t gone shopping in over a week and you’re down to protein powders, water and maybe some oatmeal or a couple of eggs.  You need a quick breafast before working out.  What do you do?

You improvise!

This is the easiest thing to make.  I’ve done it many times, even if it’s just to eat something before going shopping (or out of town and don’t want to shop for the week):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Oatmeal (always choose the tub over the packets!)
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein (I find Dymatize cooks the best)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 egg whites

Directions

  1. Place oatmeal and protein powder into a bowl and mix
  2. Add water to mixture and let sit for a minute to soak in
  3. Place two egg whites into bowl and mix again
  4. Put bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 2 1/2 minutes.
  5. Let cool for a minute and enjoy!

If you like it a little bit sweeter, feel free to throw in some stevia extract or any berries you may have left over in the fridge.  The great part about the egg whites is that you don’t get the savory taste profile, which would conflict with the sweetness of the protein powder.

Remember: the idea is to make the best of what you have lying around.

Bon Apetit!





Your “Tasty Tuesday” Primer (5/29/12)

29 05 2012

Happy “Tasty Tuesday,” GymGeeks!

I don’t know about you guys,  but I’m always on-the-go.  Because of this,  I plan at LEAST three meals ahead of the one that’s coming up.  Perfect example:  knowing I’d be on the road for at least three hours on the way back from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, I had the perfect plan in place for my lunch, my mid-day snack and my dinner (knowing I had zero food in my fridge, so nothing could spoil while I was out of town).

For that reason,  I actually took a long-winded route using the Florida Turnpike, since the choices at the service stations sure beat the hell out of pulling over at a random exit on I-95 and having the choice of McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King or all three at a truck stop.  I was able to run in, grab a turkey wrap from the “healthy choices” kiosk, a bottle of water and get back on the road.  Also, knowing that I’d be going shopping almost the recond I got back into town,  I had one of my homemade protein bars ready so I wouldn’t shop hungry.  This stopped me from taking advantage of the special on a whole turkey sub at the Publix deli and allowed for a more sensible dinner instead of carb loading.

With that in mind,  the posts and tweets today will revolve around how to survive (nutritionally speaking) on-the-go or in a pinch for something to eat.  I have a great recipe (if you want to call it that, since it’s so freakin’ simple) for your mornings, as well as how to survive a vacation.  Having spent the last few days down in South Florida catching a Miami Marlins game, going out to dinner with my parents (not to mention dinner on Friday with my brother & sister), I know I was able to avoid some pitfalls, so I want to share that knowledge with my GymGeeks.

Hope everyone had a great weekend…now let’s get back to work!





Pineapple: The Tropical Muscle Builder

22 05 2012

I’ll let out a little bit of the nerd in me:  I’m a big fan of the (recently cancelled) TV show, “Chuck.”  In the first season, they did a Thanksgiving episode which revolved around the dreaded day-after holiday that we’ve all come to know as “Black Friday.” 

As employees of the Buy More (the fictionalized version of Best Buy), they devised an emergency protocol, where if things go sideways, someone says one…simple…word…(which can be seen at the link below, since YouTube won’t let me embed!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZA29AhiP6Y

Little did I know until doing some research into my own diet that this one word…this one fruit…would have so many benefits for building lean muscle mass! 

For starters, a single cup of pineapple contains 50% of your daily requirements of both thiamine and manganese.  These two minerals are responsible for the removal of free radicals that could be detrimental to mitochondria, which we all know from our high school biology class, is the body’s source of energy production.  As GymGeeks, we need every ounce of energy to get a serious workout in!

Another benefit of pineapple in your diet is its ability to aid in digestion of protein.  Thanks to a little-known mineral, bromelain, the body can better digest and break down proteins for consumption in the body.  It has also been studied as an anti-inflammatory, which helps in the recovery phase.

The way I personally get pineapple into my diet is by using a cup of diced bits (by hand, GymGeeks…no canned stuff!) with a cup of non-fat cottage cheese.  This not only gives you something sweet to cut the saltiness of cottage cheese, but it also helps in breaking down the natural casein in the stuff!

Since pineapples are currently in season, you should be able to find it at every supermarket in your area for a good price.  Get out there and cut some up!





Recipe of The Week: Carrot Cake Protein Bars

22 05 2012

As I promised in my rant this morning about why most protein bars suck,  I’m here with a recipe to make your own bars with ingredients you can pronounce!

Now, many people have tried to make their own bars in the past.  I’ve tried their recipes and they all have their merits, but this happens to be my favorite since the final product dense enough to go with a cup of coffee in the morning for a mid-morning snack.  I chose the carrot cake version because my on-the-run bar is usually the Carrot Cake-flavored Cliff Bars, which have natural ingredients, but lack the protein content I look for in a small meal.

So without further ado:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein (I used Dymatize Elite Gourmet, which has casein in it.  Helps keep me full longer)
  • 1/2 cup chopped & shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup stevia extract (Truvia is my sweetener of choice)
  • 8 oz. carrot baby food (Don’t be afraid to pick this up if you have no kids…but if anyone at Whole Foods asks, I have a 2 year old)
  • 4 oz. unsweetened soy milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
  3. Mix the egg whites, stevia extract, baby food and soy milk in a separate bowl
  4. Combine the bowls until you have a consistent batter
  5. Spray a 10″ x 10″ pan with non-stick butter spray (Pam) and fill with batter.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes
  7. Let the bars cool for 5 minutes, then cut into six bars.

Goes great with your morning cup of joe!

Now, you can up the ante in the protein category by going with a higher-protein powder or 2% milk instead of soy.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can mix & match ingredients and have an entirely different bar each time.  I’ve actually made some banana bread protein bars with walnuts & berries in it using the bulk of this recipe (and it came out effing AMAZING).

So there you have it; a protein bar you can make at home with zero fillers and all good old-fashioned ingredients.  Happy baking!

Nutritional Info (per bar)
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 7.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates:  18 grams
  • Protein: 22 grams




Your “Tasty Tuesdays” Briefing (5/22/12)

22 05 2012

Your protein bar sucks.

I learned this a few years ago.  Being in a time crunch on the way to and from Fort Lauderdale,  I’ve pulled over to buy one while gassing up my car.  I also grabbed one on the go when I was working a long shift at the restaurant where I was Kitchen Manager during college.  My thought at the time was that protein bars with high amounts of protein were perfectly fine for consumption, right?

Yes, at one point, this was a good option.

I couldn’t have been any more wrong.  Sure, a bar can promote 32 grams of protein per serving,  but upon further inspection, it’s not the highest quality protein.  Using the MetRX “Big 100” as an example,  take a look at the nutrition label and remove protein content from the equation.

Couldn’t have been ANY more wrong..

That is a meal chock full of fat, sodium and sugar.  While it’s only 5 grams of saturated fat, those three pieces of nutrition each contain 25% of your daily needs!  When you’re eating small meals every 2-3 hours (as you should be),  that’s a recipe for disaster.

Anything with a novel on it’s packaging ain’t worth it!

Also, take a peek at the ingredients list.  I don’t claim to have a degree in biomedical sciences or chemistry, but I can only tell you what purpose a handful of the ingredients serve.  The rest (i.e. xantham gum, brown rice syrup) serve as filler.  Nothing more.  Even breaking down where the protein is coming from, it’s good to see that it’s isolate sources, but soy has been known to be a less stable building block for muscle-building than whey.  The soy crisps in this particular bar are also the source of most of the sodium content in the bar!

What does this all have to do with today’s “Tasty Tuesday,” you ask?  Well, today’s recipe is how to make a protein bar using fewer ingredients (more importantly, that you can actually pronounce).  I’ve always been a big advocate for making as many of your meals as possible, since that means you know what you’re putting in your body.

So I hope you enjoy your “Tasty Tuesday,” GymGeeks!  If you want to share your thoughts on the topic of protein bars (or want to share what’s on your plate today),  feel free to share it here and over at Twitter or Facebook.  I’m up for a lively debate today! 🙂

Jonathan








%d bloggers like this: