Holidays

Healthy Broccoli and Pasta Casserole Recipe!

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casserole1

This is a recipe for a delicious casserole that can be made in a surprisingly healthy way.  Now that we are heading into the colder months, you might be craving some heavier comfort food and this will definitely satisfy that!  This is also a proven crowd pleaser even amongst the pickiest of eaters and while it is vegetarian friendly, meat eaters will love it too!

The trick to making this casserole more health conscious is to pick your ingredients wisely.  I usually go for low-carb pasta (whole wheat would work as well) and Smart Balance instead of butter.  This really cuts down on the calories!  A great low carb pasta is made by Dreamfields and can be found in many grocery stores.  For the broccoli I find that using frozen broccoli florets work best with this dish.

So here we go…

Ingredients

1 box low-carb pasta

1 package frozen broccoli

1 tub of Smart Balance (you won’t use all of it!)

1 package/tube of grated Parmesan cheese (again, you won’t use all of it!)

Directions

  1. Put water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Toss in pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Put several chunks of Smart Balance and the frozen broccoli in a frying pan over medium to high heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once done, drain your pasta and put it into an oven-safe casserole dish/bowl.  Then put several more (as much as you like) chunks of Smart Balance onto the pasta and stir.  Pour in your broccoli and stir until evenly distributed.
  5. Sprinkle on about ½ – ¾ cup of grated cheese and stir again.
  6. Put it into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top looks a bit crispy.
  7. Take out and serve.

3 Tips for Balancing the Upcoming Fall Semester

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It’s about that time again where the new school year looms dauntingly overhead.  Nearing the end of swimsuits and late night rendezvous in replace of studying and hitting the alarm 3 times before rolling out of bed. Yes, it’s the fall semester and while you’re frantically rushing to class, were helping you retain some of that cool ocean chill all year round. Get your head in the game because it’s going to be a long semester.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

This could be tricky but it’s doable. You’re loaded with midterms or finals and you must study to pass but you’re working or crunched for time. The only likely scenario is to study late into the night, every night with little sleep. If you’re experience is similar, don’t fret. The perfect solution is to start early. In order to get plenty of rest, start studying weeks in advance. The rule of thumb is to study the amount of hours you have a class per week. For instance, if you have a class that meets three hours per week, the allotted amount of time you should spend studying that subject each week is 3 hours.

2. Pick healthy foods

At every college campus, there is an ample amount of convenient food, but choosing the right convenient food matters. Ditch the candy, ready-made pizzas and chips for something more sustaining.  Assorted nuts are packed with healthy fats, minerals and protein to keep you full during those long lectures. It can also help keep you alert if you find yourself drifting. Fruits are also an easy on the go snack filled with brain boosting nutrients that can help curb that sweet tooth we just can’t seem to get rid of. Try eating a banana for the amino acid tryptophan; it has been linkedto aid memory (great for studying).

3.  Hit Your Campus Gym

Hitting the gym is a no brainer for optimum health, but did you know it can actually help achieve higher grades? One study found that students who frequented the gym had higher GPAs than those who did not. Those who work out regularly have better memory, better test scores and tend be better at managing their time. So don’t sweat the upcoming semester; just sweat at the gym!

4 Must Watch Shows This Summer

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Summer TV shows are back in full force and the choices are endless. We are currently in a television Golden Age, where the number of quality TV programs is at an all time high. What shows will you watch this summer? Here’s a short list to help you get started!

1. Orange is the New Black
7-8 OITNB PosterThe second season of OITNB was released in full on Netflix on June 6th, so you may already be caught up on this one, but for those of you who aren’t: there’s no better time than now! The show was a breakout hit after its first season was released in July 2013 and fans of the show eagerly waited for Season 2. The show, set in a minimum-security women’s prison in New York State, has received critical acclaim as well as positive viewer reception. Plus, there’s lots of awards’ season talk around the show and its cast as we get closer to the Emmy’s this August, so put this one at the top of your list.

2. True Blood
7-8 true blood posterThis HBO hit returned for its 7th and final season on June 22nd. If you haven’t watched the show before and you have an HBO Go account, all of the episodes are available online for you to watch at your leisure. For the final season, they amped up the drama and the stakes (pun intended) are higher than ever. Who will make it out alive? Tune in to find out.

3. Pretty Little Liars
7-8 pretty little liars posterThis ABC Family breakout hit debuted in June 2008 and has gained a loyal following ever since. The drama centers on a group of four friends who start receiving anonymous, threatening messages a year after their friend Alison goes missing. The show came back for its 5th season on June 10th and with Alison back in town, craziness ensues. If you’re not already watching this show, it’s time to start!

4. The Leftovers
7-8 the leftovers poster

Another HBO creation, this brand new show just premiered on June 29th. The show, from the co-creator of Lost, is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta. The show is set in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York three years after a “Rapture” that caused 2% of the world’s population to disappear without a trace. The show has received positive reviews and stars Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, Amy Brenneman, and Christopher Eccleston. And yes, it is the same Christopher Eccleston who played the Ninth Doctor on Doctor Who!

 

Summer 2014 Blockbuster Sequels

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PSST…Let us know by 6/17  in the comments which summer blockbuster sequels you are most looking forward to to be entered for a chance to win $20 to the movies!

With stars like Channing Tatum, Jessica Alba and Mark Wahlberg heating up the big screen this summer, it is shaping up to be the summer of movie sequels. Whether you are into comedies, thrillers or animated movies, we’ve got all the details (without spoilers!) on this summer’s biggest sequels. Don’t forget to catch up on your favorite movie franchises before going to see the newest installments, especially for titles like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which haven’t seen a new release in the franchise since 2011.

So kick back with a bucket of popcorn and your favorite candy and enjoy the show!

22 jump street

22 Jump Street
Release Date: June 13th
Sequel to: 21 Jump Street
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rating: R

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back at it again when they go undercover as undergrads at a local college to investigate a new drug that has taken over the campus. With no new leads, the two end up on a spring break trip to Mexico and shenanigans ensue.

how to train your dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2
Release Date: June 13th
Sequel to: How to Train Your Dragon
Genre: Animation, Adventure
Rating: PG

The friendship of Hiccup and Toothless continues as they discover a secret ice cave full of wild dragons. The two find themselves in a battle in which the outcome will determine the future of both men and dragons alike.

transformers age of extinctionTransformers: Age of Extinction
Release Date: June 27th
Sequel to: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: Not Yet Rated

Director Michael Bay continues the franchise with its fourth installment. Set four years after the epic Chicago battle in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a mechanic stumbles upon an old Autobot and his findings cause quite a stir with the government who want nothing more than to wipe out all the Transformers for good. Autobot favorites Optimus Prime and Bumblebee return along with a number of new characters, including Grimlock, a mechanical T-Rex.

dawn of planet of the apesDawn of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date: July 11th
Sequel to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rating: Not Yet Rated

The continuation of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes picks up a decade later with Caesar calling the shots as the leader of a large population of genetically-evolved apes. The apes struggle against the humans who have survived for the right to become Earth’s most dominant species.

planesPlanes: Fire & Rescue
Release Date: July 18th
Sequel to: Planes
Genre: Animation, Family
Rating: PG

In the second installment of Disney’s Planes, air racer Dusty learns that he may never race again so he switches careers and becomes an aerial firefighter. Dusty teams up with a fire and rescue helicopter and his team to battle a massive wildfire.

the purgeThe Purge: Anarchy
Release Date: July 18th
Sequel to: The Purge
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating: R

Due to escalating crime rates and overcrowded prisons, this sequel is set in a world where for one night a year all criminal activity, including murder, is legal. Most citizens barricade themselves inside their homes before nightfall to avoid the dangers of the night, however one couple finds themselves caught out after dark after their car breaks down on the highway.

the expendables 3The Expendables 3
Release Date: August 15th
Sequel to: The Expendables 2
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: Not Yet Rated

With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger (just to name a few!) starring in this film, it is sure to be an action-packed thrill ride. Mel Gibson plays Stonebanks, an arms dealer who has set out to end The Expendables once and for all.

sin citySin City: A Dame To Kill For
Release Date: August 22nd
Sequel to: Sin City
Genre: Action, Crime
Rating: Not Yet Rated

Frank Miller’s famous graphic novel Sin City heads back to the big screen for the third movie in this crime thriller starring Jessica Alba and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

PSST…Let us know by 6/17  in the comments which summer blockbuster sequels you are most looking forward to to be entered for a chance to win $20 to the movies!

Healthy Summer Snacks

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Summer is finally here and with the bright sunshine and rising temperatures come the numerous invites to summer barbecues and parties. You can still enjoy these events without sacrificing your healthy eating habits! Swap out a few of the traditional summer snacks for these healthier alternatives.

fruit salad1.Fruit salad
Most berries are in season during the summer so take advantage of this and try a fruit salad. They’re super quick and easy to make and are sweet without the worry of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Simply slice up your favorite fruit and mix them together in a large bowl. Popular options are star fruit, kiwi, watermelon, mango, and strawberries.

 

turkey burger2.Turkey burgers
You can’t have a summer barbecue without a grilled burger. Try swapping out the traditional beef patty for a lower fat but equally satisfying turkey burger.

 

frozen greek yogurt

 

3. Frozen Greek yogurt
Trade your ice cream for frozen greek yogurt to have the same taste with much less fat.

 

 

 

 

green tea

4. Iced Tea
Iced teas are a great alternative to sugary drinks. Try green tea with a sprig of mint for freshness or honey for a sweeter drink.

 

 

 

 

angel food cake

 

5. Angel food cake
Between birthdays, graduation parties, and Independence Day, there’s bound to be a situation where desserts are a must. Angel food cake is a healthier alternative to most cakes because it has a very low fat content but still tastes great.

 

 

What are some of your favorite swaps to maintain healthy eating habits? Let us know in the comments below!