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Healthy and Tasty Option for Shepherd's Pie

01/05/2019

Need a killer dish for your get-together that is healthy, tasty and QUICK to MAKE?

Okay, I will share with you one of my top favorite signature dishes I cook often! It steals so many compliments and my guests eat it till the very last bite. Many people have asked me for this recipe, so here it is!

Katia’s version of a Shepherd’s Pie:

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 lbs medium size white potatoes

  • 1 cup of whole milk

  • 1 tsp of butter

  • 1 egg

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef

  • 1 large tomato

  • 1 medium white onion

  • 1 lb of crimini mushrooms

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • Basil leaves flakes

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Grated parmesan cheese to taste

  • Sour cream to taste (optional)

 

Cooking instructions:

1. Dice up the onion in very fine pieces along with tomato. Stir ½ of the onion and tomato evenly with the ground beef, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, cover with a lid and simmer the mix in a large frying pan until the meat is fully cooked. Make sure you stir the mix well frequently and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and basil leaves flakes to taste.

 

2. Chop up crimini mushrooms, mix with the other ½ of the onion and also simmer the mixture in 1 tbsp of Olive oil in a frying pan until fully cooked. I usually do not add salt/pepper to this mix.

 

3. Peel the potatoes and cook in a pot until soft and ready to be mashed. In a separate small pot heat up 1 cup of milk and add 1 tsp of butter until fully melted. Do not boil! Mash up the potatoes and evenly stir in the milk and butter from the pot. Use the masher to mix this all up until smooth consistency. Very mild salt to this mix.

 

5. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Now let’s layer it up! Get a large glass casserole or a clay pot and let’s start with a thin layer of mashed potatoes, then a layer of ground beef, then a layer of mushrooms, then a layer of potatoes again and repeat: beef, mushrooms and the last TOP layer of mashed potatoes again. Sprinkle it with ground pepper to taste.

 

 

6. Cover up the dish with either foil or a lid (if you have one) and off it goes into the oven!

7. Leave it there for a good 15 minutes. While it is cooking beat up 1 egg in a small dish until fully whisked.

8. Pull out the pot, open it up. Use a basting brush to evenly cover the top layer with egg glaze and sprinkle it with grated parmesan.

 

 

8.  Cover it up and leave it in the oven for another 15 minutes

 

It is ready! Open it up, let it sit and cool off a bit. Serve it just as a cake by cutting it up with a knife and using a spatula to serve the slices. You can add sour cream to taste as a condiment if you like it! Enjoy!!!

 

Let me know if you end up making this dish and what your impression is! Share the recipe with your girlfriends!

 

Stay healthy and fit,

Katia KITA

 

 

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Best Toronto Guide

12/18/2018

Canada, the country of great experiences and roots… LOL

It was not the first time I traveled there, but the first time I had a really amazing time. So let me tell you all about it. Many of you have been asking me to write about Toronto, as I go there quite often but yet was missing a city guide on this breath-taking capital!

 

Tradition has always been to escape the town for Thanksgiving and enjoy the time elsewhere. This year was not an exception, therefore with all the wild fires that were going on in the Bay Area this year, we escaped to Canada promptly.

The first thing I thought was “ahhhh, fresh air” while I took a deep breath of crisp air as soon as I got off the plane. The second thought was “oh, no!”, as there was no snow on the ground. Sonya was really looking forward to it. Okay, enough on extra detail, let’s cut to the chase as I fill you in on the fun adventures in Canada.

First of all, you need to be ready for sunshine, snow, hale and WIND while exploring Toronto. So bring gloves and a hat for sure to be comfortable.

A fusion city of small little boutique villages, big parks, authentic cuisines and cultures from around the world will definitely have something for EVERYONE to explore. Sonya had a blast trotting through the busy city streets and abandoned parks during the week.

The very first destination we chose was Christmas Market downtown Toronto. I felt like we were in Europe somewhere with its red brick buildings, curvy little streets running through the holiday fair and apple cider taste in the air. If you want to try the REAL bratwurst hotdog, authentic pecan holiday tarts (yeah, like the ones in France and Germany), experience the holiday fair crafts from artisans and local shops, you MUST go there. It is so peaceful and Christmas-themed setting. Bring your kiddos – a lot to do and to taste! Ride a Ferris wheel as you are taking a stroll through holiday market streets.

 

 

Fun comes with the sunset. Grandma was finally home and Sonya was put to bed while we got to go out and explore Toronto at night. One place I wanted to visit was Pravda Vodka Bar. Why? Not because I am a vodka fan, but because I suspected I might become one after this exclusive vodka tasting experience. What got me wanting to go there is TASTING concept of this bar. I never tasted vodka before and always assumed that flights and pairings are just for wine and well, maybe, beer. I had it wrong this whole time! Okay, guys, so first we got to this 2-story Soviet-themed lounge that was decorated in USSR style with red walls, communism slogans and portraits of those who used to be at reign. Oh yeah, Lenin statue – captured!

Next we were presented with a tasting menu boasting VODKAs all of the world. Then I got to know that apparently there was potato vodka on the menu, as well as wheat, rye and rice!! I never knew!! But now I was excited to try them. Vodkas are sorted by countries and are offered in 3 various tasting pairings, like various caviar, pickled veggies and more! The food menu was definitely short, but to the point. I got Kiev Chicken entrée and was really pleased with the presentation and TASTE while Eugene got the lamb rack and his was excellent also! We shared a tasting flight of 3 vodkas: potato vodka from Poland, volcano stone filtered vodka from Iceland and ice wine vodka! Yeah, to die for! Look at this pairing sample that accompanies the tasting set!

 

 Another tasting that was offered there is the ice cellar tour. Surely I gladly accepted the offer! You get a fur coat and frozen shot glasses as you walk in this narrow ice cellar that features all the vodkas they serve and have! You can just simply point at the bottles you like as the guide is telling you about the story behind this particular vodka and while you are taking a shot!

 

What got me amazed was the absolute lack of any hangover. None! I did not feel any buzz at all, even after a glass of wine I would feel more “relaxed”. Definitely a MUST try experience. But book a table in advance, as this place is sold out EVERY night almost. DJ takes over at 10pm.

 

If you are thinking that the waiters are Russian, nope, they are not! The Latin tunes are playing in the background while you are staring at Stalin’s portrait and trying to make sense of this all. “The owner must be Russian”, I thought to myself and urged to ask that question. To my surprise the waitress said “No, he is South African”. Well, my astonishment did not stop just there. The owner came up to me when he got to know that I was planning to feature this place in my blog series and gave me his card. It turned out that he also had two more restaurants in the city. Italian family-inspired gem, Uncle Tony's, next door to Pravda and an upscale steakhouse Woods downtown. We ate at the Italian place the other day and it was also excellent. Gotta give a try to this steakhouse on the next visit!

 

Must-see of a Toronto visit is Niagara Falls, of course. I visited the landmark about 10 years ago and was happy to see it again. So much fun! Not only kids friendly, but advised for kids!!! Next to Niagara Falls they have an entire theme park located just in a walking distance with haunted houses, arcades, 3D/4D motion rides, huge Ferris wheel and racing track! Eat, play, REPEAT! In summer you can enjoy the zipline adventure right above the water!

Sienne Tower

I will be short on this landmark. We visited it on my very first trip to Canada and I liked the experience of the transparent floor and looking down from such height, but the restaurant was not good at all. At least back then. It was empty with only one server running around and the food was so mediocre. I would not have even imagined it being so blend at this sightseeing exhibit… So I would definitely recommend a tour up the tower, but not the restaurant. Money waste.

 

Woodbine Mall

TIP: this is applicable during winter holidays. Indoor fun activities for kiddos inside the mall starting from very young toddler age and going into teen years. Railroad, miniature golf, rides, arcades, mazes and crawling labyrinths ice cream treats and even dinosaurs! All under the same roof while winds and snow are blowing outside. Sonya had a lot of fun and I take her here each time we visit in winter. Put it simple: want your child to be exhausted and sleep for the whole night – MUST visit!

Malls are different in Canada and not so upscale like in US, but you can most definitely find very good deals and warm winter clothes here.

 

High Park

Well, well, well… Put your walking shows and get ready to explore. I did not expect it to be so huge! By the time we reached a half point, Sonya started whining that her little legs were tired. I was fortunate to have my brother-in-law with us who gave her a lift… on his back! LOL

Castle playgrounds, cute little zoo, ice rink, various swings, TONS of space to run and go on an adventure along with a restaurant right in the middle of the park reminded me of Central Park in NYC. Every city has its gem park. This one belongs to Toronto.

 

Bloor West Village

Oh, my favorite village of all! When you are done taking a stroll (of many hours!!) in the park, you need to take a break by walking some more LOL through Bloor West Village and selecting a restaurant of your choice. Sonya was exhausted and so were we!

Hungry and cold we wanted to crash somewhere neat and cozy for lunch. Bloor West Village is filled with ethnic cuisines and little family-owned restaurants, but the one we chose was European bistro – Baka Gallery Cafe! The key was: Sonya was asking for crepes and they had the thin crepes, just like what she wanted. It is a very clean little place that sets you in the mood and great appetite right from the moment you open the door. The smell of baked scones and French crepes, the taste of paninis and home-made soups – to die for! The menu amazed me as it was so big and rich in selection! From the outside it looked like a small little café, but inside you will find two rooms downstairs and one additional seating area upstairs! As for the food recommendation – I have none, as everything was so yummy and we finished it till the last bite!

 

Crooked Cue

The night was upon us after one long day and we wanted to do something fun in the evening. The place was set – Crooked Cue. When you think of a pool bar in the US you picture just an old rusty bar with a few worn out pool tables and a distinctive beer smell that is stuck in the walls. I was taken down when I walked into Crooked Cue here. It was like a high-end bar with ample seating area (think leather armchairs and fireplaces). Huge windows let you look outside as snowflakes are floating down from the sky. Here sat a big tall Christmas tree where I felt an urge to snap a memory photo!

The bar was super exquisite with a variety of beer tastes from around the world and the food was amazingly tasty! When we were done indulging, we rolled to the pool tables where we had a blast and enjoyed a few games!

 

Now, for many of my moms, here comes the itinerary on what to show and do with kids on your arms or in the strollers:

 

- Ontario Science Center is perfect for your kids to explore, create and play. Open year-round and through any weather LOL

 

- Art Gallery of Ontario has various exhibits to cater to any age group and interest. You will enjoy a few floors of masterful galleries and collections

 

- Royal Ontario Museum is a definite must-visit with kids as they will have a blast at this place going through many exhibit rooms and enjoying special events year-round

 

- Ripley’s Aquarium will allow your kids to dive into the immersive water world and meet various animals and fish

 

- Reptilia Zoo will keep your kids entertained when it comes to wild animals and their life in this habitat

 

- Indoor playgrounds:

 

- The Wave Pool (Richmond Hill) will come in handy if you are looking for some splash and water fun for your family. Also open year-round, but be sure to check for closure notices.

- Niagara Falls has two big indoor water parks to enjoy:

  • Fallsview Indoor Water Park will provide summer fun even during winter months so that your kids get plenty of exercise and water fun

  • Waves Indoor Waterpark offers 25,000 sq. ft. of splash-tacular family fun with its retractable glass roof that provides all the advantages of the great outdoors with all the protection for year-round enjoyment.

 

- Blue Mountain Village

  • Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster: enjoy this 1 km long fast riding roller coaster in a winter setting

  • Plunge Aquatic Centre: can I just mention that it is a heated pool with snow laying around it as you enjoy deep water? Enough said! Experience awaits!

  • Apple Pie Trail: picturesque trail located in the heart of Blue Mountain Village offering various tours, wine tasting and apple picking experience

  • Ski school is open for kids starting at 2 years old! Get them gliding from early on!

 

- Horse- back riding at Pause Awhile offers riding lessons with certified instructors and wonderful school horses and ponies for all levels

 

- Theater performances are available year-round - the city has so many theaters to choose from! So do not forget to use Google!


 

Like this Toronto city guide? Leave me a comment and share this blog article with your friends as they might find the info useful also for when they are planning a visit to this gorgeous city!

 

If you are planning to visit Toronto yourself, do not forget to share your experience in the comments and let me know how you liked it .


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best healthy recipe guide for Thanksgiving and holiday season

11/14/2018

 

While some of us may not celebrate Thanksgiving, we cannot ignore this time of the year when the air gets crisp and fresh in the morning, when you see lots of turkeys in the meat section of a supermarket, when malls start getting crowded and decorated... That time of the year is upon us and we start looking for some new recipes to put on Thanksgiving table to impress friends. You can agree that just regular roasted turkey recipe gets old, even so it is a tradition for some. But what if I gave you healthy, yummy and calorie-smart options for tasty Thanksgiving dishes? This idea was a hit in my Get.Reinvented FB fitness group when i suggested it. Therefore, I am sharing it with the world, if you are not in my GR Club yet!

 

This year I decided to dig the online library and hand pick some healthy options that will definitely make an impression on your friends, not break your budget and not make you a kitchen slave overnight LOL While the web is overfilled with a variety of menu selections, catchy photos of styled meals and mouthwatering recipes, I am going to cover just a few to put together a nutrient-dense meal on your holiday table. So let’s indulge!

 

1. Queen of the menu and lean protein must have - TURKEY dish

The one I picked is herb roasted turkey with a variety of aromatics. Why? Because it is rather simple to cook, yet it will give you that juicy and tender turkey you want for Thanksgiving! It will not dry out and be dense. Check out this delish recipe here

 

2. I cannot imagine any table without a good green SALAD on it. Salads make everything just so much better and healthier! Check out this pomegranate chickpea salad from Occasionally Eggs. I modify and add goat cheese crumbs to this yumminess! This will make it non-vegan though.

 

 

3. Now moving onto GARNISHES and SIDE DISHES. We need healthy carbs that will make your menu nutritious and exciting. And what Thanksgiving menu will possibly omit green beans? None! And we are used to green beans casserole under a heavy cream sauce. Not this time! Not under my watch! You absolutely need to give this alternative recipe a TRY and cook it this year! To die for! Blistered Green Beans with Tomato-Almond Pesto - OMG!

 

4. I do not know about you, but I love orange colors of Thanksgiving holiday and fall in general and cannot imagine my colorful table without…. CARROTS! So enjoy this easy to make and tasty to eat Shaved carrots and charred dates recipe.

 

5. Alright, alright, people! I hear you, MORE meat…. Here you go! But how about an alternative to a whole roasted turkey? You cannot go wrong with this Tart Cherry Chestnut Stuffed Turkey Roulade. Now, this will put a big impressed smile on your guests’ faces!

 

6. One more VEGGIE RECIPE to add to your menu (for those who love yams with marshmallows, but want a healthier slightly less sweet option) - Squash with Dates and Thyme dish will not leave your friends indifferent, that’s for sure!

 

7. To finish off this feast of multi tastes we need DESSERT, right? But, again, I wanted to select something on a healthier side with no frosting like carrot cake for example. So I found this Apple and Almond cake recipe that made me want to COOK this!

 

 

So, what’s on your holiday MENU card for this year and what will YOU choose to cook from my healthy Thanksgiving guide?

Let me know in the comments!

 

Stay healthy and fit,

 

Katia KITA

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BEST FITNESS VACATION IDEAS

11/12/2018

 

Holidays are approaching and many of us are looking for the next quick getaway or an all-inclusive vacation. The first thing I always look for in ANY vacation is a GYM or a sports program that is available. While I am always looking forward to having a break on my vacation, I also understand the challenge that comes with it - risk of disrupting the fitness routine you’ve worked so hard to develop! One of the main reasons why I created Get.Reinvented, ultimate fat burning online program is because I wanted YOU to have access to the online workouts from anywhere in the world. So regardless of a location you can have me as your personal trainer on demand! This is the BEST and RISK-FREE option to stay in shape while you travel!

Sign up for the Get.Reinvented program here and apply coupon THANKS2018 to claim your special offer at the checkout.

So I decided to reveal some world’s best-renowned vacay spots that will help you get more FIT and inspire you!

 

 

Keep reading, as in this blog post I will share with you how to plan a relaxing vacation that also helps you with your fitness and wellness goals through spiritual tranquility, sports and weight loss motivation. It is so great to tone up, get fit and fabulous, build muscle, burn fat and relax at the same time, right??? Just imagine getting a body conditioning training on a beach where sun kisses the water.

 

Here are SOME FITNESS-INSPIRED vacation destinations for you where you can enjoy your holiday risk-free of disrupting your fitness routine:

1. If you want to improve your physical and emotional well-being and reinvigorate your health by gaining the benefits that YOGA offers from improving your posture and breathing to flexibility and stress relief. Here are some luxurious spots for you that’ll replenish you and you will return home with a new relaxed you.

 

Another cool idea would be to join your YOGINI celebrity trainer who offers yoga retreats somewhere next to the ocean and enjoy the scenery as you work out on the coastline. Check out Dashama with her yoga retreats schedule and pick yours!

 

 2. If you want to a kick start your metabolism and start living a healthy lifestyle, find a vacation spot that offers a wide range of fitness activities starting from everything outdoors like hiking and mountain biking to group classes like boxing, total body workout, crossfit, etc.

 

 

Catch a list of some all-inclusive FITNESS destinations that you can choose as your next vacations spot where you can easily combine HIIT  workouts with spa treatments to get fitter, healthier and RELAXED!  You will not be able to say goodbye :-)

3.  Learning to manage stress is really challenging, especially in our busy 21st century life. But guess what? You have a chance to recuperate and regain focus through simple stress relieving fitness activities. So if that’s what your heart and body desires, plan a getaway to a remote DESTRESS spot where you can detach yourself from daily stress and achieve deep mind and soul relaxation. Here is your list for such destinations.

 

 4.  Do you want some mental, physical and spiritual development? Believe me, all you need is a holistic approach to wellness while you get away from demanding job, crazy life and heavy schedules! An AYURVEDA holiday will provide quick healing for an emotional imbalance while your heart will be in peace and soul - in harmony. You will definitely experience sensation of rejuvenation benefits from such getaway. Shall we take you to a recharging vacation spot? Here is your list for such destinations.

 

 5. If you are looking for a complete experience of nutrition and exercising to escape reality, then a HEALTHY BREAK is exactly what you need to relax and revitalize your body and mind. Some fun fitness activities, nutritious cuisine and a luxurious spa treatment will just be a perfect short relaxing holiday. Here is your list for this ultimate getaway:

 

6. Trip Tribe is growing and you can definitely utilize technology power combined with group training when you choose this source for a fitness getaway. It is simple: go to www.triptribe.com browse through trainers and featured destinations to choose the one you want! You will connect with same minded people during this getaway and share the value of group training and accountability for sure!

 

 

Apart from this you can also plan a trip to the world’s best fitness destinations that will combine plenty of travel adventures with the world’s best workouts…

- Bahamas (a perfect place for multiple yoga retreats)

- Fontainebleau, France (why not do some mountain climbing and give your arms back and core muscles an unforgettable trip?)

- Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast (cycling is great for firming up your leg muscles and is also an excellent cardio workout so why not plan a cycling trip this vacation? Don’t you think it’ll be fun coming back home feeling healthy with millions of stories to share?)

- Chand Baori, India (with thousands of stairs to climb give your legs a perfect workout)

- Patagonia (world’s best place for ice trekking...with vast sheets of ice go challenge yourself and your major muscle groups)

- Costa Rica (an ultimate destination for those who love running. Jogging along hundreds of miles of coastline will be an amazing trip with treasure trove stories and best workout to keep you in shape)

 

 

No more waiting! Let’s pack your passports along with the sneakers and let’s plan the next big getaway!

If you do not have enough money to travel abroad and would much rather stay here, explore RETREATS - another great option to disconnect from the everyday hustle and stressful job schedule. You will be asked to go to the woods where there is no reception, wifi, and the only thing you will enjoy is actual self-discovery through mind and soul searching and connecting with what your heart really wants.

 

Okay, I am off to pack for our trip to… for Thanksgiving LOL In the meantime comment your ideal vacation spot!

 

Stay healthy and fit!

 

Katia KITA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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