Archive for October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Posted: October 31, 2011 in fit tips, holidays

Happy Halloween from Fit2Flex!  I hope you’re enjoying a spooky night!

I wanted to share some fun Halloween pics, but first here are 2 “tricks” to “treat” your body right.  You may have heard them before but give them a try again.

1. Schedule your workouts like appointments.  It’s almost that busy, busy time of year.  Don’t skimp or skip your workouts.  They are probably the 1 thing you do in your day for you and your health.  Don’t miss it.
2. Watch what you eat! Tis almost the season for eating..so…eat right when you can.  Switch your lunch chips or afternoon carb pick me up for carrots, apples, celery, and mixed nuts.  They calories will make a deficit you will appreciate come the holidays!

Happy Haunting! I’m off to eat a salad and give out candy to the kiddies.  We have Butterfingers and Nestle mini’s. So far I’ve been candy free today…but I feel a treat coming on.

I always loved Halloween as a kid.  I used to be so antsy at school waiting to head out.  My Mom did a great job of making all my costumes.  I was for several years a cat-witch, dracula, regular cat, and Eeyore! Happy Memories!

This is someone’s actual front yard in Celebration, FL
Crazy huh!

What are you doing for Halloween?

Love and Boo to You!,
Carissa & Kyle

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October Foodie PenPal

Posted: October 30, 2011 in penpal

Another month has come and gone (my favorite month) and I had another amazing Foodie Penpal!
Last month was the first edition of foodie/blogging penpals. You can check out the first post here.
Jealous? Well….if you want to get an awesome food related package next month then read the instructions at the bottom of the page on how you can sign up.  Thanks to Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean for creating this great program.

This month my penpal was Allie from Healthy Balance, Healthy Life.

Allie is getting her Masters in social work and aspires to be a life coach to help people change their lives by looking at the “whole person and whole self”. She describes her blog as written by a “non-expert” for “non-experts”.
Once we were assigned penpals Allie asked me if I wanted “quality or quantity” in my box.  I went with the quality.  I’m up to try one beautiful, tasty, new treat over 15 mediocre ones.  And I lucked out…I got 4 totally tasty Vermont grown treats.

Yeah- Allie’s from Vermont.  I’ve never been there, but I dream about going every Christmas when I watch “White Christmas”. “Snow, snow, snow…” Anyway…
My penpal package was a sweet Vermont sensation! The package smelled like coffee and I have enjoyed the fresh ground, organic, City Market coffee.  It smells so strong, but the flavor is mild just like I like.
Kyle & I are also both choco-holics, so I’ve been rationing the 2 chocolate bars from Lake Champlain.  One is peppermint crunch and the other is a rum caramel.  I think I’ll go have a nibble right now…brb….
Ok – yum!
We also got some real, genuine Vermont maple syrup.  I don’t think I’ve ever had actual maple syrup.  I see a batch of pumpkin pancakes with that in my very near future.
Thank you Allie for such a tasty package!
If you are a blogger or reader and you’re like your own penpal then email Lindsay to join in. My friend Alexis is participating in her first month as a penpal. Check out here post here. Here’s all you need to know:
 -On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact each other and get mailing addresses and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. *US Residents only please at this time- hopefully we can expand soon!*
If you’re interested in participating for October, please send me an email at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

Beginner’s Guide to Couponing

Posted: October 27, 2011 in coupons

Today at an early birthday lunch with my friend Amber she mentioned that she wanted to get into couponing! That got me excited! 
I started rambling off about how much I love coupons and where I get them and how I use them and yadda yadda yadda.  I love to talk about coupons! 

Apparently there was a lot of info coming at her and she said, “Just write me a blog post about it.” So I said, “I did write a blog post about it.” 🙂  She suggested I write one geared at beginner couponers like her.  Okay – I can do that!
I have written 3 other how-to guides to couponing you can check out:
Crazy Coupon Lady
Extreme couponing tips
Extreme couponing on TLC

Today’s post, however, attacks couponing from the sheer basics. A lot of this will be most useful if you live in Central Florida like I do, but it can be adapted to any location.  I’m just more familiar with the coupon policies here.


If you’re ready to start couponing and have NEVER done it before.  Here’s how to start:
    1. Order the Sunday paper.  Order 2 if you live in Florida and want to maximize Publix’s BOGO (buy one, get one) sales. There’s a gift card deal on the Orlando Sentinel right now. 
    2. Create a coupon only email. For example, coupon.carissa@gmail.com. This will reduce coupon related spam in your actual email box.
    3. Bookmark several sites on your computer that have good deals, coupons, or match-ups.  I recommend:

    4. Know your store’s coupon policy.
  • At Target you can use a manufacturer’s coupon (like you would find in the Sunday paper) and a Target store coupon (like you would find online) for each item. 2 coupons = more savings.
  • Each Publix store accepts competitor coupons from its nearest competitors.  This should be posted in the store.  You can use manufacturer’s coupons, Publix specific coupons, AND competitor coupons all on the same item! This is where I get the best deals.
  • BOGO deals.  Some stores, like Publix, will accept a coupon for each item in a BOGO sale.  Therefore if pasta is $2 a box and on BOGO and you have 2 $1 off coupons, then your pasta will be free.
So now that you’re set up with an email, paper, and online coupons here is your week 1 couponing assignment!

    1. Starting Sunday clip coupons for items you may buy.  Paperclip the rest of the inserts together, date them, and store them for any great deals that pop up.

    2. Visit online coupon sites like coupon.com, and Target’s mobile coupons and print any coupons you might need.  You can print each coupon twice per printer.  Print them now, because they can run out.
    3. Watch the tutorials at CouponMom. That’s the easiest way to get an understanding of how to maximize coupon savings.  Then select your state and store and create a list of the “sale” items you want that week.  You will she that she has listed where the coupons are for that item.  This is a good thing to do each week to make sure you’re not missing any major bargains.
    4. Organize the coupons in a binder, file folder, or simple envelope and take them all to the store.  If there’s an unexpected sale and you left that coupon at home you would be sad! Trust me!

I think that’s enough for week 1. What do you think?

If you want to do more then I’d say make a habit of checking Totally Target and I Heart Publix once a day.  Honestly that’s how I know which sales are best.

Good luck!  It’s really easy I promise!
I am still brand loyal.  I have just become aware of the average prices of the things I want and I can buy more when it’s really a good deal.  I save about $35-$50 dollars a week at the store.

Today I got a great coupon score on Halloween candy!

– 2 40 oz. bags of Butterfingers at Publix – $9.98 each – $20 total

– They were a BOGO item so that dropped my total to $10.
– I had two $1.40 manufacturers coupons + 2 $1.50 Target coupons
– Total – $4.22!!!!  Booyah!

Are you a couponer?

Love and pennies pinched,

Carissa & Kyle

We always like to send kudos for those who make a difference in the world and Harris Rosen does that in so many ways.  He is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and now a healthy-food activist and creator of the perfect pizza!
Kyle & Mr. Rosen
The perfect pizza? Yes you read that right! Harris Rosen is making an effort to make one of America’s favorite foods healthier!  Sign me up! 
Rosen’s Perfect Pizza is a low-fat, low-sodium pizza with a honey whole-wheat crust and zero grams of trans fat. 
The pizza received rave reviews for its overall taste and delicious crust during 10 weeks of focus group testing with youth and adults in various Central Florida schools.
Rosen hopes to eventually launch an entire line of Perfect Foods to consumers via a multitude of distribution channels, including grocery stores, however he won’t personally see a penny of the profits. The philanthropist will donate all profits from Perfect Pizza sales to the Rosen Scholarship Foundation, which provides college scholarships to deserving Orange County students.
I have tried this perfect pizza and I really, really liked it! The cheese had a totally different taste- very rich – and the honey wheat crust gave a sweet bite. 

You can find the Rosen perfect pizza currently for sale in the Rosen Center Hotel on International Dr…and in my kitchen!  MMMMM!
You can create your own version of the Perfect Pizza at home by creating a whole-wheat crust and topping it with a homemade marinara sauce, low-fat cheese, and loads of veggies!

Kyle & I are also big fans of several Rosen restaurants at his Shingle Creek resort in Orlando. If you’re planning a trip to O-town check out Rosen’s resorts and support an amazing, health-minded organization.
Check out our post on stay at Shingle creek here.

Love and pizza thirsties,
Carissa & Kyle

Welcome to another happy What I Ate Wednesday (or WIAW) as it’s known around here. Past WIAW: version one,  twothreefourfivesixseveneight,  nineten, eleventwelvethirteenfourteen, fifteen.

This week I decided to share a very fun, festive food that I put together along with my eats.

First here’s a run down of Tuesday’s eats:
Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean + Cinnamon Chex cereal mash up with Almond Milk
Snack 1
Low sodium v8
Snack 2
Quinoa + roasted zucchini and mushrooms + chick peas
Snack 3
Small apple + 4oz Gatorade pre-workout
Snack 4 (wow!)
1/2 Think Thin Gluten Free lemon cream bar
Lunch (finally)
2 slices of Udi’s Gluten free bread, rotisserie chicken “salad” made with cole slaw dressing + roasted veggies + H20
Snack (again)
Dessert Lean Protein shake made with water
Dinner
Sofrito Chicken and beans + spinach salad + raw red pepper



Lots of snacking….and I was hungry all day? What gives?


Anyway… onto the happy little healthy skeleton! 

I got this idea from a blogger who saw it on Pinterest. I can’t remember who it was exactly, but if it was you then thanks!
I always try to bring healthy snacks like veggies to a party. Mindless munching happens, but it’s much less calorie dense if it’s raw veggies over chips or cookies.  I feel good about downing celery whilst gossiping!

I chopped all the veggies at home and put them into different bags, so they would be organized and clean when I went to assemble. It took me about 15 minutes.  I also made sure there were plenty of extra veggies to nibble on.  The “head” was filled with a fat-free ranch I made from fat-free sour cream and a Hidden Valley ranch packet.

The Pinterest version
My version. How’d I do?

The skeleton was made for a family birthday party.

Someone gave me pumpkins! I love them!!!

  There are 5 birthdays within 10 days with Kyle’s family + me!

Kyle’s sister Kelsey – one of the birthday kids!

I got to open a few early birthday gifts and I was soooo happy to get Skinny Italian! Somebody was reading the blog! Thanks Aunt Vickie! I can’t wait to cook some “skinny” pasta!

I shouldn’t be that excited..but I AM!

The skeleton was a huge hit! He’s already had requests to appear at other events this Halloween. Please contact me for booking info. 🙂
I heard that there was a “cat vegetable skeleton” on Pinterest too…hmmmm….intriguing.



What’s your favorite healthy party snack?


Love and anatomy,
Carissa & Kyle

The other day I had a random urge to make granola.  I’ve never made granola before…and I’ve never really purchased granola…but for some reason I wanted to make it.  So I did.

I’ve seen lots of granola recipes on blogs.  I hopped over to Julie’s blog aka Peanut Butter Fingers and found several recipes for granola.  I was surprised how simple it seemed to make. It’s basically just oats…and they charge $6 for a tiny bag in the store! Shame!
Julie’s recipe for PB granola intrigued me the most.  Plus I liked the idea of adding more protein from the peanut butter. 
I followed her recipe almost exactly, however I added chia seeds too.  I think I may try to cinnamon granola tonight.

must clean iPad screen

I put the granola on apple slices with peanut butter, I nibbled it plain, and I put it on oatmeal.  That felt redundant. Granola on oatmeal?  Am I crazy? 

Peanut Butter Granola (Makes 1 cup or 4 1/4 cup servings)
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 c. oats
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts (approximately 20 seconds). Stir.
  • Stir cinnamon and vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture.
  • Add oats and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture.
  • Spread out oat mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 7 – 8 minutes until granola is slightly browned.
  • Let cool until granola is crunchy.
When Kyle tried the granola he said it tasted “smokey”….good he said…but smokey. Welllll..I may have tried to cook the granola on wax paper to speed up my cleaning process.  And it may have started to burn a bit in the oven.  And I may have picked out the most burnt pieces, but I was still found out.  Note to readers: don’t use wax paper! 🙂 You live and learn right?

Love and little smokey,

Carissa & Kyle

Community Health Issue

Posted: October 24, 2011 in school, weekly meal plans

What a fun weekend we had!  I seriously LOVE October!  

The weekend wrap up is coming soon, but I wanted to share our weekly meal planning.


It’s so important for me to have a game plan for my meals and workouts.  Then it’s so much easier to make healthy choices instead of eating on impulse.  
This is another week where I’m trying to have really healthy weekday meals because our weekend (my birthday weekend) is going to be filled with treats!  Mmmmm- mellowcream pumpkins!  My fave!


Weekly Meal Plans
Monday – Zeus’s Greek Salad + 2 miles of HIIT sprints.  1 min 80% run with 1 minute of recovery.
Tuesday – Sofrito chicken and beans + full body workout

Wednesday – Jenny-O Extra Lean ground turkey tacos + full body workout
Thursday – early Birthday dinner at my in-laws! Pretzel chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, and “dirt” pudding + 3-5 mile run.
Friday – Halloween Party! Kyle and I are attending a “kids” party and we are helping with the haunted house. + full body workout
Saturday – BIRTHDAY! I have no idea where I’m eating..it’s Kyle’s surprise like always but I CANNOT wait!

Birthday 2009

And now I’d like to pick your brains…I love my readers because you all are smart, health savvy people! I started a new class this week called “Dietetics in Community Health“. 
Part of our class is a project where we will write a grant proposal about a community health initiative we’d like to take on. We won’t ever actually send in the grant proposal, but it helps us understand all the steps to creating public health policy and community health programs.


So what do you think a good topic would be to work on? My project in the last class was on educating pregnant mothers on proper nutrition.  I could do something along those lines…but I thought I’d see if you guys saw in areas where you would try to address a health issue.  It can be something like creating a class or a billboard or labeling program.  
What do you think?


What area do you think needs a community healthy program or campaign to build awareness on a health related issue?


Love and grading rubric’s,
Carissa & Kyle

Ladies Night Dinner at Press 101

Posted: October 22, 2011 in dining out

I love a good girls night out.  It’s hard with my school and work schedule to find time, but when I do it is always a happy evening.  

Kyle not such a fan of girls night.  That means he eats dinner alone.  He’s not a fan.


This week I met my friends Darcy and Amber at Press 101 in the Dr. Phillips area.  It’s a very “cute” restaurant that Kyle and I are very fond of.  It has a great wine list and fresh, tasty salads and sandwiches.  They often have live music in the evening too. According to their website they’re a “Euro Bar”.


I was early (shocker), so I asked the waitress if there were any happy hour specials. Apparently the thousands of hours I spend watching the Real Housewives makes me think wine is necessary at every girls only dinner. It is? Right?
The waitress informed me that it was Ladies Night and I got a free glass on Sangria.  Oh yeah! Mega score! (and I didn’t even have a coupon)

We started the meal with a fruit & cheese plate.  Amber and I both thought this was “very fancy”. It was a good variety of cheese, but I really like the sweet jam with the crusty french bread. Nom Nom.

For my main course I went for a salmon salad.  It came with a poppyseed dressing, spring mix, craisins, walnuts, and some other salad veg.  I was very happy with my choice.  The salad was actually warm, which I loved, and the salmon had great flavor.  I rarely cook salmon at home, however I know how good it is for you – Omega 3’s. Therefore I try to order it out often.

After our food was demolished I got a fantastic surprise. Presents! 🙂 Yes, I’m five years old and still love gifts. Don’t judge.

Wine from Napa.

My birthday is next week, so Darcy brought me some early birthday love since I won’t see her until after the big day. Darcy is a wonderful friend and she is one of the most thoughtful people I know.  She also knows that I LOVE Christmas so in lieu of buying a new gift bag, she knew that I would be just fine with some early ho ho hoilday love!

I love smiling. Smiling is my favorite.
Amber was acting our irrationally because she didn’t get presents. And yes she knew I was putting this on the blog….I hope! 🙂 Love ya!

Thank you ladies for a wonderful night!
Love and free laughs,
Carissa & Kyle

Happy Friday! 
Let’s talk fitness. I love blogging and I love fitness.  
Sometimes I get so excited about meals and life that I forget to share my love of fitness and fit tips with you.  I hope you enjoy seeing my Sunday suppers just as much as you love learning awesome ab exercises.  🙂
But just in case you need some new diet tips for your arsenal here are 3 that I’m digging right now.


Friday Fit Tips:
1. Eat eggs.

  • Eggs are packed with protein and good fat, which keeps you fuller longer.
  • Studies have shown that eggs enhance muscle strength and mass.
  • Studies have also shown that people who start their days with eggs have an easier time losing body fat.
  • People who eat eggs in the am also consume less calories throughout the day.
  • Eat the yolk. For an explanation read my other egg blog.
  • Try my healthy egg muffin recipe for a quick an egg breakfast.
Egg muffins. Grab ‘n go in the am
2. Lift heavier weights.
  • Yes, ladies…heavier weights.
  • Studies show that lifting heavier weights for less reps causes a greater and longer increase in resting metabolic rate.  That means you burn MORE calories AFTER you’re done working out when you lift heavier. Even if you do less reps.
  • It relates to your EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption) and it’s the truth!
  • Try it and within 4 weeks I’m pretty sure you’ll see results without even spending more time in the gym.
3. Drink cold water
  • Drinking appropriate amounts of water is key to losing weight and looking good. (water  helps your skin)
  • Drinking COLD water can boost metabolic rate by about 30% according to German researchers.
  • Anytime you can up your metabolic rate. That’s good.  It means you’re burning more calories.  Things that slow your metabolic rate (like skipping meals) are bad if weight loss is your goal.
Chug, chug….headache..tooo cold!
3 steps. 3 ideas. The weekend is 3 days.  Can you integrate one a day?  I know you can!

Love and looking lean,
Carissa & Kyle

Skinny Italian Turkey Lasagna

Posted: October 20, 2011 in recipes

I may not be Italian. And I don’t think I’d ever refer to myself as “skinny”. I prefer “fit”. 

But if Teresa from Real Housewives coined the term “skinny Italian” for her book, then I’d like to give it a run for its money with the fantastic and HEALTHY turkey lasagna I made this week.

If I didn’t have 2 herniated discs in my neck then I would totally give myself a pat on the back.

This lasagna uses lean ground turkey, whole wheat noodles, and part-skim ricotta.

I also make my own sauce, since jarred sauces have a ton of added sugar, and I sneak zucchini into the sauce for extra veggie power! 

For best results allow the sauce to simmer 1-2 hours.

Skinny Italian Turkey Lasagna

  • 1lb Jenny-O Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2T garlic
  • 1 15 oz can Muir Glen crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can Muir Glen tomato sauce
  • EVOO
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3T oregano
  • 1T red pepper flakes
  • 2T Italian seasoning
  • 1T garlic powder
  • 1T onion powder
  • 1t salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles – uncooked
  • Additional shredded Italian cheeses to top  lasagna (if desired)
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
Directions:
  • Dice zucchini and cook in a skillet coated with Pam.  While the zucchini softens add the crushed tomato, tomato sauce, water, and all the spices to a different large pot.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Bring to a simmer.
  • Add softened zucchini to tomato sauce.
  • Sauté onions and garlic in a little EVOO until tender.  Add turkey to the same pan and cook until no longer pink breaking it up into the smallest pieces you can.
  • Add turkey and onion mixture to tomato sauce.  Simmer on low 1-2 hours. Adjust spices as needed.
  • In a bowl beat 2 eggs.  Add ricotta, shredded cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.
  • Using a 9×13 pan begin the lasagna forming process.  
  • Cover bottom of the pan with 1 cup sauce. Layer 3 noodles.  Top with sauce then add 1/2 ricotta mixture.  Add 3 noodles. Top with sauce then add the remaining ricotta mixture evenly.  Top with 3 noodles and top with remaining sauce. Add additional shredded cheese on the top. I don’t add a lot of cheese, because I find it doesn’t add that much flavor compared to the extra calories.
  • Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes
  • Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or broil to achieve desired “browness” on cheese.  I like browned cheese…when I eat cheese.
  • Let cool.
  • Top with fresh parsley and enjoy
Lasagna also makes amazing leftovers that I always look forward to come lunch time!
I may not be Italian, but I am a true Real Housewife of Healthy Living! 
What’s your favorite healthified comfort food?

Love and “that’s amore”,
Carissa & Kyle