Tips for Planning the Perfect Winter Olympics Party (guest post)

USA,USA,USA!!!

USA,USA,USA!!!

Hi Party People!  I’ve been super busy these last few days so today I have a special treat for you… a fellow blogger, Quinn has written a post for you that will give you some ideas on how to plan an AWESOME Olympics Party.  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely cannot wait to watch my favorite winter sports… (forced to watch hockey by Dave) Figure Skating, Snowboarding, and who doesn’t love Curling?!  Check out these great tips and let the games begin! (May the odds be ever in your favor…)

Kinda obsessed with the flying tomato...

Kinda obsessed with the flying tomato…

Trying To Plan The Perfect Party For The Olympics? Here Are Some Things You Might Need!

The Olympic games will be here in a couple of days and many people have begun the party planning process. Sometimes, finding the perfect cocktail or appetizer dish can be difficult.

My husband and I host many sporting event parties over the years. Each year, it gets a little bit easier to host a party because I feel I have found out how to make the party planning process smoother. Below are a few tips for having a great Olympic party:

Break Out the Décor!

What’s a better way to celebrate than decorating for the theme? Break out the national flags and homemade Olympic rings. Even Fourth of July décor would work just fine with the red, white and blue theme!

Plan A Fun Game

Even though the Olympics are really exciting to watch just in itself, playing a game can ensure your guests have a great time! One thing I suggest is buying an array of international beers and holding a blind taste test! Use a score sheet with quirky descriptions of each beer. Whoever guesses the most correct wins a (homemade) medal!

Choose A Great Appetizer

The Olympics come around only every 4 years making them unique. An Olympic party simply would not be the same without a unique appetizer. My husband enjoys a bacon-wrapped meatball dish that I make. My party guests love it, and people are always asking for the recipe. I use the recipe from this site.

Personal note: My husband purchased me a casserole dish a couple of years ago from here as a token of his appreciation for hosting every year. Every time that we have guests over I use it! One of the many great things about this dish is that it can be microwaved and is also dishwasher safe. I would encourage anyone to get a casserole dish that can be used and reused.

Pick A Patriotic Cocktail

Everyone loves a tasty drink. What’s more patriotic than a Red, White and Blue Sangria? As the name suggests, it is perfect for the Olympics. My husband and the party guests, as well as I enjoy the sweet taste. If you are looking for a great Red White and Blue Sangria, then you should consider checking out this website.

When planning a party, it sometimes can be hard to break out of the normal mold, especially if it’s tailored towards a certain event. Over the years, we’ve switched things up and our guests seem to really enjoy it! I hope these tips help out for this year’s games!

-Written by Quinn from Healthy Living by Quinn

More about our special guest blogger, Quinn:

Quinn is a self-proclaimed health enthusiast. She loves spending time with her husband and two boys. When she’s not driving her boys from sports practice to sports practice, she enjoys a nice glass of wine and a good book. 
Blog: healthylivingbyquinn.blogspot.com

Simple Ways to Make Even “Diet” Foods Delicious and Filling (Guest Post)

Hi Everyone!  I know I’ve been MIA lately, but today there is a good reason for that… I’m hiking in Ecuador!  I cannot wait to tell you all about our fabulous adventure.  

I didn’t want you to feel lonely, so today I have a fabulous post for you from Bridget all about making “Diet” food delicious and satisfying.  I totally love all of her points and try to use them in my own diet too!  

Enjoy!! 

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A lot of people fail at making healthy changes to their diet because they think that they have to diet. They think they have to live on salads and carrot sticks, and they soon become bored and unfulfilled by their daily menu, leading them to give in to cravings and to binge on unhealthy foods.

It is important to make real change to your diet in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle. That means passing on fad diets and choosing healthy foods and activities that promote optimal wellness. One way to make sure that you can stick to these new healthy changes is to find ways to make even healthy, so-called “diet” foods taste delicious and filling so that you don’t become bored or feel deprived by your food.

Here are a few ideas for how you can do that:

Don’t Shy Away from Spices <– (my favorite idea!)

Spice is the variety of your diet. You can make steamed broccoli taste delicious by sautéing it with garlic. Bland cauliflower can become much more interesting by cooking them in a curry.

Anything you eat can take on more flavor and become more appetizing by choosing the right spices for it. Use spices liberally to give your foods more flavor and to make your dishes more diverse.

Some spices can even have health-promoting properties on their own, helping you to meet your wellness goals. For example, cinnamon can help you control your blood-sugar levels and garlic can help you to fight inflammation.

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Use Natural Sweeteners

Nothing tastes quite as good as a sweet treat, but indulging in too many sugary foods can be bad for your health. You don’t have to call off sweet foods altogether. Instead, you can use natural sweeteners in your foods to make them feel like the real thing, satisfying your sweet tooth and your tummy.

For example, instead of adding sugar to your smoothie, you can throw in a couple of dates. Instead of sprinkling sugar on your oatmeal, you can drizzle a little raw honey.

While you can’t eat these natural sweeteners in excess either, you can enjoy them in moderation without guilt, and they will make you feel like you are eating the real thing.

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“Fry” It

Crunchy fried foods are comfort foods for a lot of us. There’s something so satisfying about the crunch of a French fry or chicken strip, followed by the savory oils. However, fried foods are some of the worst foods for you to eat.

You can make healthy foods seem more tasty and more satisfying by “frying” them with

healthier alternatives, such as coating them with coconut shavings or crumbled whole grain flakes and baking them. The result will be a crispy treat that seems sinful but is missing a lot of the calories and fat of its fried cousin.

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Add Protein or Healthy Fats

Meals that consist of little more than carbs by satisfying your taste buds, but they won’t satisfy your hunger. You may feel full at first, but your blood sugar levels will soon go on a roller coaster ride, and you’ll be feeling snackish again very quickly. In order to feel more full and more satisfied by what you’re eating, you need to have enough proteins and healthy fats in the dish.

Make sure you always add both to every meal and snack you eat. Some good choices include lean meats like chicken and turkey, nuts and seeds, nut butter, cheese, low-fat dairy, avocado, and coconut oil.

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Try New Things

If you’re bored with your diet, it isn’t going to satisfy you, and you are going to be much more likely to veer off course. You can’t eat the same thing every day, and you can’t stick to plain, unappetizing foods. Grilled chicken and steamed broccoli isn’t going to sustain you night after night.

Branch out and try new recipes.  Look for ideas online or check out a few healthy cookbooks from your local library. The more things you try, the more dishes you will find that satisfy your appetite and your cravings. You’ll be able to rotate these to keep your menu interesting and to keep your wandering eye in check.

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If you stick to “diet” foods that are plain and bland, you aren’t going to stick to a healthy diet for very long. Use these simple tips to help you make any healthy food or dish more appetizing and satisfying so that you can stick to your new healthy lifestyle.

What other ways do you make so-called “diet” foods seem more interesting or delicious? Share your tips in the comments!

About the Author:

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching the option of a France cooking school. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

Tex-Mex Fish Tacos (Guest Post)

Hello friends!  I’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in Philly… how about you?  

Today I want to introduce you to Meredith from ReadySetEat.com.  She will be posting an amazing recipe for you today that is just perfect for this time of year:  Fish Tacos!  I have never tried to make them on my own but I cannot wait to try this recipe.  It sounds fresh and so delish!  

 

Easy Summer Dinner: Tex-Mex Fish Tacos

Is there anything more summery than fresh seafood? Fish, shrimp, scallops and crab are delicious all year round, but there’s just something about eating seafood in the summertime that makes you feel like you’re lounging poolside even if you’re stuck in an office or miles away from the nearest beach!

One of the most popular summer seafood dishes is, unsurprisingly, also one of the most delicious: fish tacos. Fish tacos are one of those meals that seems to pop up on every menu at every restaurant the minute it gets warm out, and for good reason. Instead of your typical beef, steak or chicken tacos, fish tacos tend to be a little lighter and are bursting with summery flavors like lime, cilantro and crunchy jicama.

These Tex-Mex Fish Tacos are topped with a fresh slaw, heart-healthy avocado and a zippy salsa, putting them into the delicious category of good-for-you tomato recipes. In place of the avocado, these tacos would also be delicious with your favorite guacamole recipe for extra flavor. They make an easy weeknight dinner but are also definitely impressive enough for entertaining friends and family; they’re perfect for a tasty twist on taco night. Make them from the comfort of your own kitchen and you’ll never feel the need to splurge on them during a dinner out for the rest of summer!

Tex-Mex Fish Tacos

Total Time: 45 min

Serves: 4

• 1 pound pollock or cod fillets, thawed if frozen

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• PAM® Grilling Spray

• 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained

• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

• 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

• 2 teaspoons minced garlic

• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 cup julienned jicama

• 1 cup shredded napa cabbage

• 1/4 cup shredded carrot

• 12 white corn tortillas (6 inch), heated

• 1 large avocado, cut into 24 slices

For the Fish:

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Spray a grill pan with grilling spray; heat over medium-high heat.

Place fish in the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork (if you’re using a meat thermometer, it should read 145°F). Cool slightly and shred with forks.

For the Salsa:

Combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, kosher salt and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

Complete the Tacos!

Combine jicama, cabbage and carrot in a medium bowl. Place 2 tablespoons fish in the center of each tortilla. Top with about ¼ cup of the jicama mixture, 2 tablespoons salsa and 2 slices avocado. Fold in half and serve immediately.

Tex-Mex Fish Tacos

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For easy summer recipes, or for a classic easy lasagna recipe or easy meatloaf recipe, visit http://www.hunts.com.

Thank you Meredith for sharing such an awesome recipe with us!  I want to eat these now!