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    Sports&Food Blog

Well my friends. The time has come for us to part ways. My hubby and I are going to Florida!!! Its for our third anniversary! We will be staying in Ft. Lauderdale. I am especially looking forward to spending my days lying on South Beach with all the college kids. Good times Im sure. We fly out tomorrow morning, so I wanted to say goodbye before the chaos of getting to the airport ensues.

I have arranged for some amazing guest bloggers for this week, so make sure you check in everyday while Im gone! I might sneak in and taunt you with some pictures of my lazily reading in the sun or munching on some Cuban foodwell see!

I got this little (well, big) beauty in the mail the other day!! Tropical Traditions is an amazing online company that sells top of the line coconut products. They have everything from coconut oil to hand cream! Tropical Traditions use only the finest coconuts from the Philippines and extracts oil by hand- no bleaching or chemical processing!! All of the other brands I have tried (Trader Joes, 365) have been kind of crumbly or too moist, but this guy seems to fit right in the middle.

I made some delicious cookies and chicken with it. I love the gentle aroma that comes when you melt it! So tasty! Topical Traditions did not pay me to review their product or to write a review. I simply had to share this great product with you!

Paleo Carrot Cake Cookies

* Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

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Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Tommy celebrated a birthday this past Saturday – the big 29! Because we were going to be in Cape Cod on his actual birthday, I wanted to make him a special dinner prior to our departure.

The appetizer portion of our dinner featured one of Tommy’s favorite foods – beets. The guy just can’t get enough of the variety of colors and sizes available at the farmers’ market. As such, I have been making lots of beet salads this summer.

My favorite beet salad preparation involves using creamy goat cheese, crunchy hazelnuts (sometimes called filbert nuts at the grocery store) and fresh basil. I then drizzle everything with a homemade balsamic mustard vinaigrette.

Now don’t be intimidated by the “homemade” vinaigrette. It is literally the easiest dressing one could possibly make as it involves olive oil, balsamic, dijon mustard and salt and pepper shaken up in a mason jar. And it is so good, you would never even consider using the bottled stuff again.

For Tommy’s birthday, I also added some farm fresh arugula to the mix because the peppery lettuce really makes everything better.

If you are concerned that your family and friends might not love beets that much, I would suggest buying light colored ones. The lighter the beet, the more mild the flavor (think white, yellow or light red. The deep purple ones definitely have the strongest flavor). I have served this salad to self proclaimed non-beet lovers and have gotten rave reviews! So I really encourage you to try this yourself, even if you aren’t sure about this sweet root veggie.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Basil and Arugula

Serves 4 as an Appetizer


  • 4 medium sized beets, any color, sliced
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup balsamic
  • 2 TB dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • S+P


To cook the beets, place them in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Once at a boil, add a small handful of salt, cover and cook on low heat for 30-45 minutes (depending on size of the beets) until they are fork tender. Drain, cool, and peel the beets.

To make the dressing, add the olive oil, balsamic, mustard and salt and pepper to a small jar and shake vigorously to combine. You can also whisk everything in a bowl, but I find the jar method to be more fun!

To toast the hazelnuts, add them to a dry sauté pan and cook on medium high heat until they are slightly toasted (make sure not to burn!). Allow to cool slightly and then peel. Hazelnuts have a very thin skin on them that comes off easily once they are toasted. Carefully give them a medium chop.

Once the beets have cooled, slice them into 1/3 inch slices. For a nice presentation, I like to overlap different colors of beets on top of each other. If serving on individual salad plates, it looks nice to arrange them in a circle. If serving on one large platter, I arrange the overlapping beets up in long straight lines.

Season the beets with salt and pepper and drizzle with the enough dressing so that there is a bit on each bite. Top with the chopped hazelnuts, crumbled goat cheese and fresh chopped basil.

In a separate bowl, mix the arugula with enough dressing to coat, but not over dress! Toss together and then add on top of the beets.

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Strawberry Smoothie

Brazil nuts are my favorite nut, and strawberries are my favorite fruit. Brazil nuts make a really tasty milk, kind of like almond milk. Add strawberries, with their amazing flavor and color, and you have a delicious and unique smoothie.

I only started using brazil nut recently, after learning that they are grown in the rainforests of Brazil. I care a lot about the rainforests, and I now believe that we can conserve them by buying brazil nuts. The brazil nut trees grow wild, in the rainforest. Buying them means that the forests are more valuable if they are left standing than if they are cut down.

Brazil Nut Milk

Brazil Nut MilkMaking brazil nut milk is very easy. All you have to do is soak the nuts for at least 2 hours. This will remove the phytic acid that many nuts have. Then, blend them with 3 cups of water. Add a teaspoon of vanilla, or a vanilla bean, if you like vanilla flavor. And that’s it!

Some people strain their nut milk through a cheesecloth, to get all the pulp out, but I don’t bother. It takes time, and it only takes away from the overall nutritional value of the milk. But if you don’t want any bits in your smoothie, you can strain it.


My favorite strawberries are fresh from the garden or local farmer’s market. But most of the time, I settle for frozen strawberries.

Frozen strawberries are nice, actually, because they can take the place of ice in a smoothie. They will make your smoothie cool, without diluting it or making it super cold. Half a cup to one cup of frozen strawberries are the perfect amount for this purpose.

Strawberry Smoothie Recipes with Brazil Nut Milk

Here are a few recipes that are really good. They are all fairly simple and easy to make. I think you will like the combination of brazil nut milk and strawberries.

Rainforest Strawberry Kiwi

  • 1 cup brazil nut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Tropical Strawberry Ginger Smoothie

  • 1 cup brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half cup pineapple pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • Rainforest Strawberry Mango Smoothie
  • 1 cup brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half a mango

Brazilian Strawberry Acai Smoothie

  • 1 cup brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half cup acai juice or acai puree
  • Rainforest Avocado Smoothie
  • 1.5 cups brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • half an avocado
  • half cup baby spinach

These recipes all make one large smoohie, or two small smoothies. If you want you smoothies to be a little thinner, then just add an extra half cup of brazil nut milk. If you like them sweeter, add a pinch of stevia powder, or an extra half a banana. As for the strawberries, feel free to use either fresh or frozen strawberries in these recipes. They both work well.

The acai smoothie is really nice. I like acai juice. I recommend the Sambazon brand, because they offer organic and fair trade varieties, and their care about the people producing the acai. Acai juice is the easiest to use, but you can also use frozen acai puree.

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Eating healthy can be difficult, especially if your food doesn’t look appetizing. For many of us, vegetables often have that problem. Seeing a squash or zucchini isn’t exactly what will make our tastebuds explode with excitement just from seeing these food items, and therefore certainly isn’t our top, go-to food when we want something to chow down on. For a while, this has been one of my biggest problems and all my friends knew it. However, thanks to a very good friend of mine, I received some of the best spiralizers that I could ever use, which have helped me tremendously in turning what used to be boring vegetables into creative noodles and vegetable pastas.

Not only have the spiralizers helped me in turning my vegetables into something that look great to stare at, but have also made them much easier to incorporate into all kinds of dishes. When I make my home-made meatballs with zesty, tomato and lime sauce, rather than using high carb pasta noodles, I can substitute in with delicious scrumptious zucchini noodles, a great serving of vegetables.

The first spiralizer I received was the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Spiral, which has been the most versatile of any spiralizer I have used, simply because of the three stainless steel blades that the machine comes equipped with, giving me so much more flexibility in terms of the size of the noodles I want to make. The three blade system also makes it extremely easy and time efficient in terms of cutting up vegetables. Though the system is much bigger than a few I have used, it was the first and best one I have used hands down.

A few months after I received my first spiralizer, another friend gave me an equally amazing spiralizer called the Kitchen Supreme Spiralizer. Unlike the one mentioned previously, this has been my go to whenever I travel because of its sheer compactness and ease in terms of storage. It also comes with a finger guard, so I don’t have to worry about having an accident in the kitchen when my mind is wandering off, thinking of what new Netflix series I should start.

Needless to say, there are many more spiralizers that could get the job done, but only a few have the durability and precision that I require to make great looking, great tasting vegetable noodles for a hearty dinner.

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Low Fat Smoothies

Smoothies can be made with any variety of ingredients. Although there are many lower fat recipes to be found, many people make the mistake of thinking that just because it’s a smoothie, it is immediately healthy. The fact is that low fat smoothies take some work to prepare and you’ll need to pay attention to what you’re adding to your smoothies in order to ensure that they really are good for you and your waistline.

Here are a few tips for how to make smoothies with a low fat content. You can even use these tips to make adjustments to the standard smoothie recipes you find. Transform the typical recipe into a low fat version and enjoy the taste and texture while avoiding the fat.

Use Low Fat or Fat Free Yogurt

Yogurt is an ingredient in many of the most popular fruit smoothie recipes these days. While yogurt can be an excellent source of Vitamin D and calcium, it can also contain a lot of sugar, fat and other less healthy ingredients. Use the low sugar and low fat or fat free varieties of yogurt in your recipes. A plain, low fat version is the best and healthiest choice. Add other ingredients to get the sweetness and flavor you desire.

Other Low Fat or Fat Free Dairy Items

Recipes that call for milk or cream are common as well. You can still get the beneficial qualities of milk by using a lower fat or a fat free variety. Get the flavor and texture without packing on the pounds. Use a fat free cream or cream cheese in those recipes that call for such items.


Tofu is an excellent dairy alternative. There are low fat varieties of tofu that can be used in place of cream cheese, cream, milk or yogurt in a variety of baking and cooking. Silken tofu is a wonderful way to get the creamy texture you want in your thick smoothie recipes and allows you to avoid the fat content found in dairy products, without sacrificing the vitamin D, calcium or protein content.

Use Water, Ice or Tea

Rather than using milk or yogurt, use more water, ice or tea to make a smoothie. You avoid the fat of dairy and the sugar content of fruit juice but still have enough liquid to make nice, refreshing, low fat smoothies. Chilled smoothies work great with crushed ice. Tea is perfect for adding flavor without adding sugar or fat.

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