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Superfood Saturday--Say Hi to Açaí

It's time for Superfood Saturday's on The Studio (MDR) blog. And today, we want you to say hi to Açaí. Also known as nature’s energy fruit, the Açaí berry is one of the most nutritious foods in the world.

Açaí, harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, is chock full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids, making the tiny berry a weight loss and anti-aging superfood1!

While it may be difficult to find Açaí berries in your local supermarket, Açaí juice is widely available.  There is also, a new product featuring the unsweetened pulp of Açaí which provides many benefits including2:

  • A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

So, if you’re feeling a little sluggish, or if you just need an extra boost of energy, this recipe for an Açaí smoothie is a fantastic choice to consume before or after your workout at The Studio (MDR).

Açaí Berry Smoothie 

1 Unsweetened Pure Açaí Berry Smoothie Pack 8 oz Almond Milk 1 Banana 1 Scoop Whey Protein Powder 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed Oil

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

Is there a superfood you'd love to read more about? Let us know, we are looking for future "Superfood Saturday" ideas.

  1. http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/Açaí -berries-and-Açaí -berry-juice-what-are-the-health-benefits
  2. http://www.oprah.com/health/Açaí -Dr-Perricones-No-1-Superfood

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Sugar Free Saturday's: A Guest Post And Recipe From Amy Samuelson

My name is Amy M. Samuelson and I have spent the last twenty-five years in the entertainment business as a writer/producer. Visit my website at www.amysamuelson.com. I am a former New Yorker living in Santa Monica, California. I also maintain the blog, Amy Does It Sugar-Free.

Last year I had an epiphany regarding “good health” and how to attain it by reducing salt and sugar in my diet and kicking up my exercise regimen. I also began attending (MDR) Total Body classes at The Studio (MDR) run by Lisa Hirsch. The changes that have occurred to my body, mind and spirit are phenomenal.

  • My sense of self and humor returned quickly.  I had forgotten how much fun life offered.
  • Blogging on Amydoesitsugar-free also means I will not sugarcoat this lifestyle. My entries are written with a sense of humor and truthfulness. Truth being the bully everyone pretends to like. I will chronicle my successes, missteps and adventures.
  • Sugar-free living is limited to 15 grams of sugar a day. Sugar exists in almost everything we eat… Read labels carefully.

Here’s my recipe for “Mellow Yellow” scallops, served with asparagus and brown rice. This entire dish is low in sugar and salt.

I buy frozen scallops at Trader Joe’s in a 12 ounce package. I defrost them in the bag. Once defrosted, I take them out of bag, squeeze out their juices, and place them on top of 2 paper towels. I cover them with more paper towels in order to remove excess liquid. It is important that the scallops are as dry as possible before “woking” them.

Next, I place a generous amount of saffron into my wok along with chopped garlic, olive oil, 2 Tbs of white wine (optional), lemon thyme, ginger and the juice of one lemon. I heat my mixture until it is hot and place my scallops into the wok. They are done in approximately 5 to 6 minutes. You never want to overcook your scallops. They will become tough. Fault on the side of under versus over. Garnish them with lemon zest.

Asparagus is an amazing and health friendly vegetable. It is high in vitamins and the folic acid it contains is good for depression. Also, it has a cleansing proponent that flushes your system. Of course, we have all noticed that our pee smells funny after eating asparagus.  Well, it turns out to be a good thing. Who knew? 

There are many ways to cook asparagus.  I prefer sautéing my asparagus in lemon, garlic and oil. Sometimes I add a little butter with fresh pepper. It is ready to serve in less than five minutes.

As for the brown rice, I buy mine at Trader Joe’s in microwaveable packages. However you choose to cook it is fine--just remember that brown rice is always preferable over white rice in this regimen.

Putting it all together. After everything is cooked, place a scoop of brown rice on a plate, dice up your asparagus and place them around your brown rice and put  the scallops on top of the rice. Voila, the result is a picture-perfect entrée that looks as beautiful as it tastes.

This entire meal took me less than 20 minutes to prepare and serve.  Sometimes, I make a quick green salad with whatever vegetables I have in the refrigerator with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing.  Again in wishing you good health, I remind you that lemon is a color you can smell.

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Meatless Monday: Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

A few Saturday's back, we told you about the benefits of adding the superfood Quinoa to your diet. At The Studio (MDR), we aren't just about burning calories, we want you to consume calories too! Here's why. We want to ensure that you have the fuel your body needs to maintain the energy of each strengthening and muscle lengthening class. MORAL OF THE STORY--don't come to class on an empty stomach! With that said, in honor of Meatless Monday, this protein packed recipe is sure to delight your appetite!

Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

Yield: Makes 4 (side dish) servings Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

Quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed whole grain.  It makes the perfect partner for lime-spiked black beans and fresh tomato.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or 1 packet of sugar substitute stevia
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash Quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Add Quinoa and 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of Quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, the water is absorbed and the grains will be translucent and fluffy.

Add Quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com.  Read more:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Black-Bean-and-Tomato-Quinoa-238939#ixzz1kyHdpGHi

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The Studio (MDR) Superfood Saturday's: And The Quinoa Continues On

It’s Superfood Saturday and today on The Studio (MDR) blog, we’re talking about the super delicious, super grain, Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). So why does this whole grain hold the key to a healthier you? For one, it's high in protein and fiber at 8 grams and 5 grams, respectively.  Quinoa is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids which is particularly beneficial for vegetarians and vegans.  A naturally good source of iron, this is a wonderful ingredient to include in your repertoire of recipes.  Even better, Quinoa is as simple to make as rice.

What else can we say about this? Quinoa is gluten free and also contains zinc, vitamin E and selenium, which helps control weight and lowers risk of heart disease and diabetes.

To prepare Quinoa for cooking, either purchase pre-rinsed Quinoa or rinse the Quinoa in a strainer until the saponins are removed. To cook the Quinoa, simply add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of Quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, the water is absorbed and the grains will be translucent and fluffy.  Add your favorite veggies, nuts or fruits along with olive oil or a light vinaigrette.

Quinoa is delicious and can be served cold or warm. It can be also frozen and reheated.  Check back here on Meatless Monday for a Quinoa recipe that is healthy and satiating!

And if you've tried Quinoa, feel free to share your recipes for our fabulous community in the comments section. This is Superfood Saturday after all so if you eat it, be sure to tweet it!

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