{ 3 Reasons Women Should Stop Running }

Shannon Gagnon running

I giggle a little bit when I pass the cardio machines at the gym or pass by our lakefront and see tons of women jogging or doing the elliptical. I know, I’m judging a little bit. But instead, of just giggling and walking by, I’m sharing my words of wisdom here.

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I was that runner. You could find me running endlessly on the trails near my house growing up, in triathlons, for college soccer training, you name it. I even ran along the lakefront like the women I mentioned earlier (see featured photo). I was not seeing the results I wanted no matter how much I tried.  Finally in August, I learned a completely new health plan that involved heavy weight training, little cardio (GASP) and what some may call a strict nutrition plan. You can read all about that plan here. I saw results like never before.

Now, before I tell all women not to run, there are a few disclaimers. Some people have serious weight to lose, and it takes some serious cardio. Sprints may not be in the cards for others due to injuries, etc. Others may just start out by walking. More power to you! Running may be therapeutic for some, a great stress reliever, etc.  For those who want better and faster results: sprints, along with heavy weight training and great nutrition, are your weapons. Running and forms of long, slow and steady, endurance cardio, as I mentioned in my previous blog, makes weight fall off, but also makes you lose your curves, your muscle tone and your booty. See here.

Sprints will help you:

  1. Maintain the muscle tone you have
  2. Burn more fat
  3. Build curves

Sure, the sound of running “suicides” like you did in junior high basketball may make you nauseous. Lucky for you, there are other types of sprints to incorporate. Try high intensity interval training on a spin bike, a stair master, Jacobs Ladder, swim sprints in the pool. Simply go, run, swim, spin, at your maximum pace for 30 seconds, then rest, slowly pedal, for 30. Try that 10 times. Just imagine turning your 30 minute – 1 hour long jog into just a ten minute killer workout. Learn more here.

 

More Posts:

{ Healthy Breakfast Grits Recipe }

No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling

{ Healthy Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about your brand being featured on this blog click here.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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{ Black Eyed Pea and Collard Greens Stew }

black eyed pea and collard greens stew crawfish and crunches blog2

I’ve been cooking with collard greens a lot lately, and now I’ve paired them with black eyed peas for a healthy stew recipe that feels anything but “light.” If you aren’t familiar with black eyed peas or collard greens, this is a great way to try them because there is plenty of chicken and chicken sausage in the recipe to add flavor.

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For 5-6 servings:

1/2 14 ounce package chicken sausage, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme

1 lb rotisserie chicken, broken into bitesize pieces

1 medium onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 32 ounce container chicken broth – depending on how brothy you like it, liquid should cover all ingredients (low-sodium optional)

1 giant collard greens stalk, chopped, trimmed of tough excess stems

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1  15 ounce can rinsed and drained black eyed peas

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

 

Optional garnish: hot sauce, creole or cajun seasoning, green onion, turkey bacon

Serving option: Pour stew over 1 cup brown rice

 

  1. In a large skillet on high heat add oil and gradually add in onion. Saute until the onion browns lightly and add to large stockpot for stew.
  2. Brown chicken sausage, add to stockpot.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and gradually add collard greens to saute pan and wilt, careful not to burn. Add some chicken stock to speed up the process. Transfer to stockpot.
  4. Briefly saute garlic until fragrant and transfer to stockpot.
  5. Pour remaining ingredients into stockpot.
  6. Simmer on low heat at least 5 hours, mash a few peas into the side of the pot for a creamier consistency. Better the next day!

 

More Posts:

{ Healthy Breakfast Grits Recipe }

No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling

{ Healthy Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about your brand being featured on this blog click here.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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Healthy Southern Collard Greens Recipe

Collard greens recipe crawfish and crunches

Collard greens are such a yummy southern staple that should be eaten all over the globe! Just like wilting kale or spinach, these big green leaves turn tender as they simmer throughout the day.  By cutting the fat just a tiny bit, they can be enjoyed all week long as a healthy vegetable side. It pairs really well with this healthy red beans and rice recipe.

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For 5-6 servings:

4 slices turkey bacon, diced

1 medium onion, diced

3/4 lb small bone in shoulder, picnic pork

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 32 ounce container chicken broth (low-sodium optional)

1 giant collard greens stalk, trimmed of excess roots

1/8 C apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp salt

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

Optional garnish: hot sauce, creole or cajun seasoning, green onion, turkey bacon

1 tbsp pepper

  1. Pat dry and Season your pork with 1/2 tbsp salt, 1/2 tbsp pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, (or on your grill) sear on high heat in 1/2 tbsp oil. Meat should show brown or black color but do not cook through. Set aside.
  2. In large stockpot cook onion on medium high heat until browned.
  3. Add bacon on medium heat until bacon is almost crisp, set aside half for garnish.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, add in collard greens and vinegar to wilt, saute, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic, saute one minute, then pour in chicken broth, add in pork, remaining salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer low, covered, at least 2 hours, but the longer the better. I like to simmer mine all day until dinner :)

 

More Posts:

{ Healthy Gumbo Recipe – Chicken and Sausage }

No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling

A Few of the Best New Orleans Restaurants

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about your brand being featured on this blog click here.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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3 Healthy Southern Seafood Recipes

Grilled shrimp crawfish & crunches

Seafood is a huge staple in Louisiana and in the south. We are surrounded by water and seafood boils are a frequent fun weekend treat. However, you don’t have to just have seafood on the weekends or at your favorite restaurant. Seafood is such a lean protein that it should be cooked and enjoyed in a healthy way in your own home. These southern seafood recipes can be enjoyed during the week and you won’t even guess they are missing about a stick of butter!

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Using satsuma preserves (a southern citrus) makes this salmon caramelize and taste spicy and sweet. If you don’t have satsumas growing in your backyard, try it with orange preserves or orange marmalade.

{ Satsuma Preserves Salmon Salad }

Merlitons are another healthy southern food, a green squash. If you don’t have them in your stores, stuff crab and shrimp into portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, or spaghetti squash.

{ Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Merliton }

This recipe is so creamy and filling like the full-fat version, but it’s tweaked to be just slightly healthier.

{ Healthy Shrimp n’ Grits Recipe }

 

More Posts:

5 Healthy Carbs I’m Eating Everyday

{ Summer Sweet Corn & Crawfish Chowder }

A Few of the Best New Orleans Restaurants

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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Healthy Red Beans and Rice Recipe

red beans recipe crawfish and crunches blog

Red beans and rice is a huge New Orleans staple. Typically, it is cooked with fatty cuts of meat and lots of salt. However, I found this version to be a healthy recipe where my husband and  I didn’t miss the fat.  Using brown rice is also a great trick to lighten up the recipe. Beware – this is a low and slow cooked recipe, so make a day in advance and they are better the second day!

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For 10 cups, 1 cup bean/1 cup rice serving
1 pound dried red kidney beans
10 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound chicken sausage, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
3 cups uncooked brown rice
1 Ham hock – or ham bone for flavor
Garnish: sliced green onions, hot sauce

1. Place beans in large pot add broth. Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, reduce to simmer.

2. Sear your chopped sausage until charred on each side in a large pan on high heat. Add to pot. Saute onion on high heat just until browned slightly. Add to pot of beans. Add celery, bell pepper, garlic, seasonings, ham hock or ham bone to pot.

3. Meanwhile cook your rice according to package.

4. Simmer covered for at least five hours. Mash a few beans against the side of the pot for a creamy consistency. They are better the next day! Put them on the stove and simmer another day until the consistency is creamy.

5. Garnish with extra creole seasoning to taste, green onion, hot sauce. Serve over rice.

 

More Posts:

“Clean” Dirty Rice Recipe

{ Summer Sweet Corn & Crawfish Chowder }

{ Healthy Dessert Recipe: Louisiana Strawberry & Cream Parfaits }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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5 Healthy Carbs I’m Eating Everyday

mom's famous banana bread crawfish.n.crunches insta

I was a no carb, high-cardio bunny for so long. I was thin, I was tired, and I had headaches all the time. Now that I’ve incorporated these healthy carbs into my diet, thanks to the help of a health coach, I feel great, I’m curvy, and I’m happy. Here is how it looks:

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Keep in mind that these guidelines were created for me and are not a fit for all folks. I exercise 5 days a week doing heavy weight training and occasional cardio.

Morning: Quaker Oatmeal Weight Control. This stuff tastes like candy to me. I have it with peanut butter on top (and a side of 1/2 egg whites 1 whole egg).

Snack: Banana. I usually have this in a protein shake or by itself. Fruits are usually minimized in weight loss phases but I’m game!

Lunch: Sweet Potato. Usually about three ounces with my meat and veg. I love them baked, mashed, roasted, you name it.

Snack: Rice Cake. Quaker oats chocolate flavor is my favorite.

Other: Brown rice. It’s not my favorite since I have such a sweet tooth, and I usually go for the sweet potato, but it is an option!

You won ‘t see bread in this list, but when I’m really craving it,  I incorporate it into my weekly “treat meal,” or have Ezekiel bread.

More Posts:

“Clean” Dirty Rice Recipe

{ Mardi Gras Muffaletta Salad }

{ Healthy On-the-Go Breakfasts to Take to Work }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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Healthy Dessert Alternatives for Valentine’s Day

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If anyone knows me, they know I have a voracious sweet tooth.  I have found every healthy alternative in the book to manage my love of sweets. Now that I am using a “cheat meal” in my diet, I can go all out on the chocolate for one meal this week.  This week, I’ll be feasting at Gallatoire’s restaurant in New Orleans.  Even if the “treat meal” is not in your nutrition plan there are a few healthy desserts you can use as a substitute to avoid sampling the whole box of chocolate on Valentine’s Day, or any weeknight craving.

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Here are a few of my favorite ways to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way:

Weight Watchers Ice Cream Bars: I love the GIANT Chocolate Fudge Bar

Protein bars. Quest Bars to be exact. Find them at your local GNC. Chocolate chip cookie dough, s’mores and Oreo are excellent. Microwave for 20 seconds.

Protein powder. This is my favorite thing in the world. Sure, you can have a protein shake and it will fill you up. However, I have learned that Salted Caramel or Cookies and Cream protein powder can taste like your eating real cookie dough.  I pour one scoop in a small bowl, add cold water just enough that I can stir it all together. It will firm up more when you put it in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Stir in a few chocolate chips or drizzle on some sugar free chocolate syrup.

Jello Sugar free pudding cups. These are especially convenient. The  instant powdered packages take about five minutes to make as well, and you can mix chocolate protein powder in it for extra protein.

 

More Posts:

{ How to Cut Back on Bread – Recipes, Tips, and More }

“Clean” Dirty Rice Recipe

{ 3 Tips and Tricks for Packing Healthy Snacks When Flying }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long.  On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” 

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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{ Healthy Mardi Gras Recipe: Mardi Gras Salsa }

mardi gras dip shannon gagnon blog

When it comes to Mardi Gras recipes, this salsa is a bit unexpected! Why not make a healthy Mardi Gras recipe that uses all of those gorgeous Carnival colors? This dish is a great appetizer for bringing to parties and hosting friends. I actually made it on a Sunday and put it in our lunches for the week.

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For 4-6 servings of salad you will need:

  • 1 can corn, rinsed, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 tablespoons red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/3 Cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon mild creole or cajun seasoning (or to taste)
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

Serving suggestion: Tortilla chips, on top of a salad, over a chicken breast or fish, over scrambled eggs or omelet.

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Toss carefully – don’t mash the avocado.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve chilled.

More Posts:

{ 3 Healthy Southern Recipes to Make for Mardi Gras }

{ Healthy Mardi Gras Parade Packing Guide }

{ Mardi Gras Muffaletta Salad }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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{ 3 Healthy Superbowl Party Recipes }

pulledporkcrawfishcrunches3

You may be hosting a Superbowl 50 party, or you may be headed to a friend’s house and you need to bring a dish. Either way, with these healthy recipes, you can be sure to please your guests and you will get to keep up with your health goals. They will never know these dishes are tweaked to be slightly healthier.

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First, for an appetizer – try this { Andouille Sausage Deviled Egg Recipe } The sausage even looks like mini footballs! If you are bringing something to a friend or family member’s house, this is your ticket.

For an easy Crock Pot recipe that screams cozy Sunday football on the couch, try { Healthy Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe } This is perfect for if you are the host, because it stays warm all day and you can tend to your guests.

It wouldn’t be a football party without some sloppy joes. Try this recipe { Healthy Easy Sloppy Joes – with a Louisiana twist }  To make things even more football festive, have a “sloppy joe topping bar” including, jalapeños, cole slaw, cheese, onions, and bacon.

More Posts:

{ Healthy Tailgating Recipes – Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert }

{ 3 Healthy Southern Recipes to Make for Mardi Gras }

Healthy Tailgating Tips – What to Pack, Healthy Choices, Cocktails & More

 

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

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{ Mardi Gras Muffaletta Salad }

Muffaletta New Orleans salad Crawfish and Crunches blog watermark

A muffaletta is a cheesy meaty sandwich with an olive salad spread served on Italian sesame bread. They are delicious, and usually ginormous. If you can’t get your hands on some canned olive salad, you could make your own, try my recipe below and you will have a healthy spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine.

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For 4 servings of salad you will need:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 cup banana peppers – diced
  • 1 cup turkey pepperoni – diced
  • 1 cup cubed low sodium ham – diced
  • 1/4 cup pimento green olives – diced
  • 1/4 cup black olives – diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, patted dry, diced
  • 1/2 cup low fat provolone cheese, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 4-5 tablespoons light Olive Garden Italian dressing
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Mix all ingredients  including your banana peppers, pepperoni, ham, olives, red peppers, provolone, and tomatoes.

2. Top your bed of romaine with all of those ingredients, top with salt, pepper, and your dressing, toss, voila!

More Posts:

{ 3 Healthy Southern Recipes to Make for Mardi Gras }

A Few of the Best New Orleans Restaurants

{ Healthy Shrimp n’ Grits Recipe }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

Continue Reading