What I Eat in a Day #2

Hey healthy bunnies!
I’ve posted another “what I eat in a day” video which features my vegetarian plant-based lifestyle and also what I do for fitness on a typical weekend day. 
 https://youtu.be/am8eMyz0e68 

I hope the video gives you new ideas for meals to make at home which are quick, easy, and inexpensive!
Xoxo
Fifi 

Fitness Spotlight: Zakiya Alta Lee of Z Pro Prep

Hey healthy bunnies! I’m so excited to be bringing back fitness highlights to my blog. I’m even more excited to introduce you to Zakiya, one of the most versitile and multi-talented women I’ve ever met. I hope you enjoy getting to know her and can take advantage of her services!
xoxo
Fifi
Zakiya, tell me about yourself.

I’m Zakiya Alta Lee and I’m a southern belle. I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. I graduated Cum Laude from Florida State University. I lived in Atlanta and performed with the Hawks, and then came on over to the west side (California)!

ZL_blk headshot
What do you do?

I dance/choreograph, act–when time permits, create and executive produce television content, and I’m an entrepreneur. My business Z Art of Tease (ZArtofTease.com) is geared towards married and engaged women teaching them customized tease performances for them to do for their husbands. Z Pro Prep (ZProPrep.com) is a NBA/NFL style prep clinic that whips ladies into shape in order to get them ready for their favorite Pro team’s tryouts.(I also work in the la county public school system doing live shows for kids on protecting our environment, and do public speaking mainly to uplift women…but this is extra stuff lol)

What and when is your next upcoming venture?

March 2nd-April 10th in Atlanta, GA and I’ll be hosting a Z Pro Prep clinic!
zakiya court3

Why are you so passionate about this? What fuels you?

Last year I was given the opportunity to be hired on as the guest choreographer/judge for the NBA Atl Hawks Dance/Cheer auditions.  This was an amazing opportunity because I got to see EXACTLY what Pro teams are looking for!  Not just dance and picking up choreography….but there is a certain way a Pro cheerleader/dancer carries herself. From her look, to her style, to her appearance, to even the way she speaks.  ALL of these things are important!  The Pros are looking for the total package!  I’m tired of seeing girls audition year after year only to still not make the team, and then come back again the next year to endure that heartbreak all over again. Myself, along with some other very talented former NBA and NFL ladies are doing all that we can to give these ladies a real shot at achieving their dreams of going pro!!!  God put me here to uplift women…one of the ways I do that is through Z Pro Prep!
Zakiya Uni pic

What’s next for you?

I’m currently finishing up some choreography for a musical in LA “Einstein Is a Dummy” directed by Derek Manson, so I’m looking forward to that process. I’m also looking for opportunities to expand Z Pro Prep.  Wherever there is a demand for ladies who want to go pro, I’m there! As my grandma Ezelle says, “I don’t know where God is taking me, but I’m enjoying the ride!!”

How can my readers get a hold of you?
Make sure to check out ZProPrep.com and ZArtofTease.com

Facebook: Zakiya Alta Lee

Instagram: @Zakiya_Alta_Lee or @ZArtofTease

To learn more about Z Pro Prep call:  404-429-5482

Easy Lunch: Sausage & Kale

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Now that I have finished graduate school and rejoined the working world, I shared the challenge that many working professionals share which is a lack of time but a desire to eat well. As I adjust to my new schedule, I find myself exhausted and definitely in need of healthy food on a budget.

This yummy meal required minimal prep and cooking, but was filling and healthy. If you aren’t a vegetarian, feel free to use real sausage. Some nonvegetarians still use Tofurkey sausage from time to time because of the low fat.

I used organic frozen Jasmine rice from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any variety. For rice:
*dash of sea salt
*1/4 tsp smoked paprika
* 1/8 cup petite green peas
* 1/8 cup white corn

For stir fry:
* 1 cup fresh kale (rough chopped)
* salt free seasoning
* pinch if sea salt
* 1/2 cup chopped sausage
* 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
* pan oil spray

Heat pan on medium high. Sautée sausage until browned. Add kale and bell peppers for only one minute. This is important when making a lunch in advance. Upon microwaving, the vegetables will otherwise be receiving too much heat.

Enjoy!

The Roasted Taco

So, I never really get it right on Taco Tuesday. I’m usually craving Italian or Thai and it never occurs to me. I almost always have the ingredients to make tacos, though. Tortillas are a grocery list staple, and cheese goes with everything. The rest of the details are left to curiosity and chance. Today’s roasted tacos are nice hearty mixture that also comes with a nice crunch. I hope you like it as much as I did! Feel free to add a meat protein as well.

  • 2 corn/artisan tortilla shells
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/4 lemon wedge
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded kale
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • 1/4 avocado (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tortilla on a nonstick baking sheet. On one half of each tortilla, add 1/4 cup black beans, 1/8 cup shredded carrots, 1/2 cup kale, and 1/8 cup shredded cheese. Squeeze some juice over the veggie mixture and sprinkle a pinch of garlic powder and sea salt. Close taco and brush ousidelightly with olive oil. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and serve.

 

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Weight Loss & Frozen Entrees

Are lean cuisines good or bad? Well, that choice is up to you. Personally, I think that Lean Cuisines, Smart Ones, and other frozen meals just provide the convenience of a low calorie fast meal.

Did you know that the FDA allows for an almost 20% margin of error when it comes to calories for pre-packaged meals? More than anything, this encourages me to make my own food and to really just use portion control. If we plan at the beginning of the week, we can come up with yummy combinations that can be refrigerated or frozen. Diet is a bad word because it refers to restriction– but if can change our lifestyle to incorporate meals with nutritious ingredients, we are less likely to gain the weight back.

Check out this video with more tips on weight loss:

 

 

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Easy Turkey Rollups

In my last post titled, “Lean Abs“, I mentioned making good choices for meals and snacks. My easy turkey rollups are perfect for snacks, lunches or picnic finger foods. Not only are these rollups great for children, they are great for children to assemble. Fun, easy, and healthy? What is there to lose? I used Tofurkey for the demo, but feel free to use carved turkey, or any other sliced meat. They can also be wrapped in lettuce. Check out this quick video on how to put them together:

I Heart Summer Salad

I have for as long as I can remember loved summer—the smell of barbecues, sun-kissed skin, vacations, delicious sweet fruits, and the sun staying out longer than any time of the year. This salad is light, yet filling– and adds enough sweetness to appeal to your sweet tooth, yet just enough fiber to keep you right on track with your health. I am celebrating summer, because even if most of us are too old to enjoy summer vacation from school or all day pool parties, we can all use an extra hour or two of sunshine. Happy 1st day of summer, everyone!
Ingredients (per salad)

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ¼ cup cubed cucumber
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small plum, seeded, sliced
  • 1 apricot, seeded, sliced
  • 1 thin slice of red onion, rings separated
  • 1/8 cup of mint leaves
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 8 to 10 Kalamata olives
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil or olive oil

 

Instructions

 

In a large mixing bowl, toss spinach, arugula, cucumber and mint leaves with 2 TBSP lemon, sea salt and 1 TBSP grapeseed oil. Once well tossed, move salad to the plate or bowl in which it will be served. Top the salad with layers of plum and apricot slices, thin onion rings, feta, olives and additional lemon juice for added flavor. Last, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the entire salad and serve.

 Check out the video below to find out about the delicious dark cherry balsamic vinegar I used for my salad for from Pastamore:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hul3HMEZERo&feature=plcp

Spinach & Kalamata Calzones

I’ll let you all in on a little secret– though I’ve been called a foodie, food obsessed, a cook, and whatever else can be described as an usually great fascination with food, but my absolute favorite food has not changed since second grade. My mom can attest to it– and I’ll happily admit, it’s pizza! I’m picky about it, too. The crust cannot be too thick or too thin, the sauce cannot be too sweet, I must be able to detect the garlic, not too much cheese….I think I just made myself hungry! Anyway, pizza, pizza, and more pizza.

I did not have the pleasure of trying calzones until I was in adult. They can be large or small, and sometimes offer a less-messy option to pizza when you want to go with a lot of toppings. I cannot remember my first calzone, but I remember the best I’ve ever had. Picture me walking the urban streets of North Park around 11pm:

Since it’s been 4 hours since dinner, my stomach doesn’t have any recollection of ever knowing food. Most restaurants are closing, and I’m not in the mood for dessert. I spot this little Italian spot just past a cute little bakery, and there’s a sign that says they have $5 calzones. I decide to take a chance. My pre-recession-sized calzone comes out and it’s large enough to feed me and wagon full of preschoolers (Where do I get this imagery?). Seriously. It’s got spinach, mozzarella, freshly made marinara and a generous amount of kalamata olives. I didn’t even make it through half! It was in a word–amaaahzing (I didn’t say a real word)!

So, in my longing for that delicious little Italian spot, being over 100 miles away, I recreated it myself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 Ingredients

  • Premade pizza dough (at least enough for 4 servings)
  • Marinara or pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cutting board, or clean counter top dusted with flour
  • Flour
  • Rolling pin (optional, you can use your hands)
  • Large baking sheet
 InstructionsRemove pizza dough from refrigeration and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and brown for about 30 seconds. Next, saute spinach, but do not allow it to fully wilt. Cook for only 2 to 3 minutes and remove from heat.

Dust cutting board or counter space with flour to keep dough from sticking. Pull dough apart and roll into even sized balls for each serving. The size is entirely up to you. With either your hands, or a rolling pin, work the balls into a nice flat circle. Make the dough about 1/4″ thick.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over dough, keeping about 1/2″ to 1″ away from the edges. Next, sprinkle mozzarella, spinach, and kalamata olives on one half the circle. Fold shape into half moon, closing the calzone. Neatly pinch along the edges, to close it.

Place on lightly oiled large baking sheet and cook according to pizza dough instructions (Approximately 10 to 12 minutes, usually). I used wheat dough, so I noticed that it did not brown as much as the white dough.

Allow to cool and serve with additional warm marinara for dipping sauce.

 

 

All About Balsamic Vinegar

If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll have noticed that an item I use very often in my dishes is balsamic vinegar. This vinegar’s rich dark color is a nice indication of its equally rich and dark flavor. It’s a flavor enhancer, base for sauces and marinades, and an extra dimension of flavor. It can be your secret ingredient in stir-fry dishes, and it can also work to lower the amount of salt needed in a dish. Many have grilled peaches or other stone fruits with this vinegar, and topped it with a delicious reduction which thickens and becomes even more powerful in flavor. My preference is aged balsamic, so I use a good quality 8 year and it really lasts a long time! I highly recommend adding this to your pantry as soon as possible.

Below is my latest video discussing aged balsamic vinegar. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly posts!

Oven Roasted Broccoli & Glazed Salmon

I’ve been a vegetarian for years, and I love it. But, I also love to entertain and cook for others. I think it’s important that I continue to have some non-vegetarian items in my repertoire. The key to delicious meat and seafood is savoriness and moisture level, in my opinion. Some people cannot stand things like the white meat of poultry, or fleshy fish like salmon, because too many times it has been prepared in a dry and lifeless way. Roasting food is a wonderful way to soak in flavor and make some of the toughest vegetables tender and flavorful. This recipe calls  for few ingredients, has minimal prep time, and very much healthy. My simplistic meal creation is made from Asian-inspired flavors and will be done cooking by the time you’ve set the table and slipped into more comfortable attire!

Ingredients

  • Salmon steak
  • Light soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Minced garlic (I used garlic and ginger from a jar. They tend to fair well in the oven without burning)
  • Minced ginger
  • 2 cups of fresh broccoli
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Thoroughly wash broccoli and cut into smaller florets and place into a large mixing bowl. Toss with 2 TBSP sesame oil, 1 TBSP chopped garlic, and 1 TBSP minced ginger and sea salt to taste.
  3. Evenly spread coated broccoli on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Mix 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP sesame oil, 1 tsp of garlic, 1 tsp of ginger, and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Oil cookie sheet and place salmon down. Lightly sprinkle each steak with sea salt. Generously brush one side of salmon steak with glaze. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375F. Keep an eye on this. The times vary by the oven and size of the salmon steak.