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Mushroom Mozzarella Panini

DSC_0021With Passover starting this week, we decided to use up some bread that was taking up space in the freezer. So Sunday night I whipped up some grilled Mushroom Mozzarella Paninis for a quick dinner.

I started by grilling portabella mushrooms on our grill pan for a DSC_0023 few minutes on each side. Next I spread some BBQ sauce on either side of the bread, topped it with some fresh basil leaves, and a thin slice of soy mozzarella. When the mushrooms were  soft and grilled, I placed them in the sandwiched which I then grilled whole for a few minutes. Voila! I enjoyed this sandwich paired with a spinach salad, while Funk ate it in the other room in the midst of his Fantasy Baseball draft. He did yell from the living room, “This is awesome!” Simple success! DSC_0026

I dined while reading Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism book, which was recommended by my friend Nicole. I love Jillian Michaels, but was skeptical because she’s no dietitian, and I haven’t agreed with everything she’s said about food on the Biggest Loser. Here’s a little blurb about her book from Amazon.com:

Michaels (Making the Cut; Winning by Losing), the strength trainer for television’s The Biggest Loser, here addresses the influence that hormone balance—affected by estrogen, insulin, testosterone, cortisol, epinephrine, leptin, and others—has on weight loss. Various internal and external influences can cause hormones to over- or underproduce, resulting in not only weight gain but serious illness. Michaels’s plan emphasizes natural foods, organically grown and unprocessed. She describes which foods affect which hormones and how plastics and pollutants in our air and water and additives in many different products can also cause imbalances. She makes a good case for not using bioidentical hormones.

I’m just about finished the book and it is very informative, blunt and realistic, and has some darn good information about taking the crap out of our diets. It’s made me more aware of all the lurking plastic, hormones, and junk in our diets. Even my whole mushrooms I bought for the sandwich were wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray. Unnecessary! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to clean up your diet, get your hormones in check, and all-around eat better. 

Two favorites: Avocados + Biggest Loser

If you know me, you know I love the Biggest Loser. So much, that I have been known to avoid making plans on Tuesday nights during the BL season, and most definitely will not answer any calls during that time either. I know there is a lot of BL controversy – the contestants live in an unrealistic ranch without “real world” experiences, they promote Extra gum far too much, and they never actually show the staff dietitian, among other things – but the way I see it, if one television show can inspire a nation…heck, a whole world to get off their butts and DO SOMETHING, I’m on board.

I’ve worked in numerous corporate wellness sites where I’ve either witnessed or led Biggest Loser competitions, and I’ve seen first hand how it has inspired change. I also one day dream of being the Biggest Loser dietitian (that is, when Cheryl Forberg decides to fork over her awesome job to me), but for now I’ll watch every Tuesday, happy to see the message the show sends: if you move more, and eat better and less, you will lose weight.

IMG_0552I got word from the people at Avocados from Mexico that on this week’s episode, there will be some talk about the benefits of avocados. Halleluiah! The show definitely needs some chatter about the benefits of eating healthy fats, like those found in avocados. I can’t wait to watch. Healthy fats have a place in every diet, even if you’re trying to lose weight. They can improve heart health, reduce bad cholesterol, improve mood, leave you feeling more satisfied – the works! So tune into BL to learn more and while you’re at it, hop on Twitter and you can win a great prize from Avocados from Mexico!

From the Amazing Avocado website:

Ten lucky winners will receive a copy of the new book “The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You” – 2 chances to win! On March 15th and 16th you can tweet with The Biggest Loser dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD and Avocados from Mexico for a Nutrition Q&A on Twitter. Follow Cheryl (@CherylForbergRD) and Avocados from Mexico (@AmazingAvocado) on Twitter. If you tweet ‘em, you’re entered to win the book! For more info click here and see official promotion rules here.

Want my all time favorite avocado recipe? I’ve used this as a dip as well as a sandwich spread. It’s sweet and spicy, creamy and chock full of nutrients and heart healthy fats. Dig in !

1 ripe avocado, mashed
1t agave
1T lemon juice
chipotle powder to taste (watch 0ut – it’s hot!)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and enjoy!