Sunday, August 30, 2015

Zucchini Taco Boats

We are rolling in tomatoes and zucchini from the garden, so I was looking for some new ways to use them up! And here is this recipe to the rescue!

I made these yesterday as a test recipe on my kids and in-law's, as I was not really sure whether I would like them or not! 

I was happily surprised though, we all liked them a lot. My son ate a whole boat, and said it was good! 

I can see doing these with an Asian or Italian flare too, and maybe even little meatloaf boats?  Note to self, need to try all these ideas ;) next test time!

Zucchini Taco Boats

Serves 4

4 medium (32 ounces) zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup mild salsa
1 lb 90% lean ground beef (can sub ground turkey too)
2 tbsp taco seasoning (here is the recipe to make your own)
2 large tomatoes, diced (can sub 1/2 cup tomato sauce)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 F.

Half zucchinis, lengthwise, and microwave for 5 minutes or until tender enough to hollow easily.

Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half. (Freeze or refrigerate the zucchini left for zucchini bread or pasta sauce)

Brown beef in a large skillet, breaking up while it cooks. Add the taco seasoning and diced tomatoes then mix well. Stir and cover, simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the taco meat equally, about 1/3 cup in each, pressing firmly. Top each with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese. Bake 10 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through. Serve with salsa on the side.

Nutritional stats per serving

For 1/2 of recipe or 2 zucchini boats

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 362
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g29 %
Saturated Fat 8 g40 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 88 mg29 %
Sodium 533 mg22 %
Potassium 1198 mg34 %
Total Carbohydrate 18 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g23 %
Sugars 12 g
Protein 33 g65 %
Vitamin A41 %
Vitamin C125 %
Calcium18 %

*Note you can sub in 93% lean turkey meat and cut almost 100 cals per serving off! I just do not keep that stocked and the family prefers beef (Texas thing haha)! Which variation should I try next? Italian, Asian, or meatloaf boats?

X- Liss

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tips to Improve your Push Up and Stability Ball Rollout

Want to know the fastest way to improve your form in the gym? Film yourself. Yep *raises hand* I never knew I had some form issues until I started making videos for this blog LOL I looked fine to me in the mirror. But you cannot watch your way all the way through the movement on some exercises. So I am, as always, a work in progress. I have been intensely working on my push-up form as of late. Here are a few tips I have gleaned:

Push Up Form Tips

* Flex your quads, glutes, and abs so that your body will stay in a fixed plank form all the way up and down. This is harder than it sounds! I am still working on it! 

*reset from the floor each rep until your get your form perfect. Then move back to resetting after 2 reps, then 3, etc...

*keep your hands at your shoulders and tuck in those elbows. Lots of people set their hands too wide and flare out their elbows (myself formerly included!) 

(gasp! My face... and not in gym clothes ;) haha!)

3 quick tips on doing a stability ball rollout

1. Breathe (exhale as you go out, inhale as you come in)
2. Engage your abs not your back (your back likes to take over, don't let it)

3. Stop your rollout before your back starts to arch (keep a neutral spine)

Various clips of my workout the other morning! 

Back, glutes, and abs!

- prone rear delt raise
-reverse hyperextensions 
-swiss ball Crunches
-seated banded hip abductions

Prone rear delt raises are a newer exercise for me! Amazing for back and shoulder work. Go lighter so you can really squeeze!

Ignore my gym that is a hot mess, should be all done soon!

What kind of video would you like to see me do?
X- Liss

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Protein Pancake with PB and Nutella

I have been OBSESSED with these all summer long. And this recipe is tweaked from other similar ones I have featured before. BUT this one is my favorite protein pancake, and toppings BY FAR ;)

I think I have eaten them almost everyday all summer LOL if you followed my IG experiment where I posted every day what I ate for week, you saw haha! IG @mlgraham09

Protein Pancake with PB & Nutella
Serves 1

0.25 banana, mashed (I freeze mine very ripe, peeled, in quarters then microwave for 30 s)
1 scoop protein powder (I like chocolate or vanilla, I used Optimum Nutrition in Rocky Road)
0.33 cup egg whites

1 tbsp peanut butter
0.5 tbsp Nutella

Directions: Preheat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Mash together first 3 ingredients. Spray skillet and cook for about 3 minutes or until first enough to flip. Cook on other side about 2 minutes or until cooked through.

Top with peanut butter and Nutella. Enjoy :)

P.s. you can make a week's worth of pancakes at a time. They freeze well. I like to defrost in a skillet or toaster but a microwave works good too!

Nutritional stats per serving
333 cals
20 g carbs
13 g fat
37 g protein

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Nutrition - the Venus Way FREE podcast

In this podcast which was recorded live in front of an audience for a seminar in Dumas, Texas, at the Moore County YMCA- I answer:
  • What is the fitness hierarchy?
  • Why is rest and stress important to consider?
  • What are the 3 ways of eating?
  • Why, when, and how should we eat in a deficit.
  • Why is eating to maintenance level important?
  • Why we should consider error in our nutrition.
  • Why is protein important?
  • How a weekly and daily eating pattern might look.
  • Does meal timing matter?
  • What supplements should I consider?
  • Why should I consider gut health?
  • What is the Anything Goes Diet?
  • How might I consider actions instead of only goals?

X- Liss

Monday, August 10, 2015

Some new moves for you try in your next workout

Decline bench reverse hyperextensions with a swiss ball

The decline bench gives you a bit more of a range of motion and the ball forces some hip abduction while increasing the load. Give it a try at your next workout! I did 4 sets of 10 with a 5 count pulse at the end of each set. 

Banded Face Pulls

Banded Face Pulls - a great, and unusual, pulling exercise for your shoulders! Your thumbs should be inward toward your body, pull the band back and apart as you pull toward your ears. For extra BURN - pulse for 5 at the end of your last set ;)

Banded deadlifts With Lateral band walks

4 sets of 10

Burns the glutes SO GOOD!!! The band at the knees on deadlifts gives a completely different feel on the glutes, give it a try!

X -  Liss

P.S, got something great for you coming in a few days....

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ana's Red Pork Tamales

This post is LONG overdue ;) but here it is. I wanted another chance to make them before I posted the recipe.

Liss and Ana making tamales

The recipe is another one of my sweet mother-in-law Ana's authentic Mexican recipes. These tamales are delicious. I LOVE tamales, and these are some of the best I have EVER had.

Ana's Red Pork Tamales

Makes 50 Tamales


For pork
3 1⁄2 lbs pork - can be shoulder, ribs, or pork butt (or any combination) trimmed of fat and chopped
10 cups water
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

Red Chili Sauce
15 large dried chilies (We used Ancho but can also use other varieties such as Anaheim, New Mexico, California, or pasilla)
4 -5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

For Masa
3⁄4 cup shortening
6 cups masa harina
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tsp salt
50 dried corn husks (about 8 inches long)


  1. In a 5 qt Dutch oven, bring pork, water, onion, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp salt to boil.
  1. Simmer covered, about 2 1/2 hours or until meat is very tender.
  2. Meanwhile start on the red chili sauce.  Soak pepper in enough hot water to cover for about 30 minutes or until cool. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers.

  1. Put peppers and 2 1/2 cups of the soaking water into a blender.
  2. Add garlic, cumin and salt.
  3. Cover and blend until smooth.

  1. Remove meat from broth and allow both meat and broth to cool. (Chilling the broth will allow you to easily remove the fat if you desire to do so).
  1. Shred the meat using 2 forks, discarding fat.
  1. Strain the broth and reserve 6 cups.
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat the red chili sauce and add meat; simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
  1. To make masa beat shortening on medium speed in a large bowl for 1 minute.
  1. In a separate bowl, stir together masa harina, baking powder and 2 teaspoons salt.
  1. Alternately add masa harina mixture and broth to shortening, beating well after each addition. (Add just enough broth to make a thick, creamy paste).
  1. In the mean time, soak corn husks in warm water for at least 20 minutes; rinse to remove any corn silk and drain well.
  1. To assemble each tamale, spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk (each husk should be about 6 inches wide at the top- this is about the width of a relaxed hand. If husks are small, overlap 2 small ones to form one. If it is large, tear a strip from the side). Ana likes to use a masa spreader like this to spread the masa -
  1. Place about 1 tablespoon meat and sauce mixture in the middle of the masa.
  1. Fold in sides of husk to the middle and fold up the bottom beneath.
  1. Place an upturned bowl in the center of a steamer basket placed in a Dutch oven or large pot.
  1. Lean the tamales in the basket, open side up.
  1. Add water to Dutch oven just below the basket.
  1. Bring water to boil and reduce heat.
  1. Cover and steam 40 minutes, adding water when necessary.
  2. To freeze these for future meals, leave them in the husks and place them in freezer bags. To reheat, thaw and wrap in a wet paper towel and reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes for one or two or re-steam them just until hot.

    1. Nutritional Stats

    1. Per 1 tamale
    2. 153 cals
    3. 93.3 g fat
    4. 10.7 g carbs
    5. 6.8 g protein