Virginia and Mark:Virginia Engagement Session

I told you we'd get back into the proverbial swing of things once our event season slowed down a here it is, another great engagement session from our clients Virginia and Mark. I love sharing my clients with our readers for a few reasons; There is some amazing photography talent on the East Coast and my clients are beautiful, funny, witty and classic.

Virginia and Mark aren't getting married until November 2011 but these pictures are so fun I had to share them now. These great images are not from the same photographer that is shooting their wedding...but I love how elated they look in all of these images, and of course you know I love her YELLOW DRESS!

Thank you Dave White of Wildcard Photography in Miami. Virginia and Mark look like models!!

I'm Thankful: 2010

So, this marks my 200th post to the ever evolving Antonia Christianson Events Blog...and what a great day to post...Thanksgiving Day! Last year (and every year) I post on the many many items that I am grateful for. This year I will do the same...

Let's fly a kite from Kristin Fields on Vimeo.

First, I am obviously thankful for an amazing family. I am surrounded by the support and energy of my husband James and two beautiful babies...In the past I have been told that I am obsessed with them, but truthfully, I'm not sure what else you should be obsessed with than the few things in this world that make you tick, and make your life worth living. I am not only thankful that I have such support around me, but eternally grateful and blessed to have the things I do at such a young age.

I am thankful for the most hilarious children in the know them is to know laughter, uncontrollable laughter.

I am thankful for a beautiful new studio, a mom that has been the best mom and dad a gal could ask for, in-laws that actually rock, the most accomplished group of friends, adorable nieces and nephews, ...and of course a faith that is always steadfast.

I am thankful for colleagues in the wedding world that help me grow both professionally and personally...colleagues that I can truly call my friends.

I am thankful for hilarious, trusting, and ever appreciative clients that let me into one of the most beautiful, trying and loving days of their life.

I am thankful for my M' best friends Molly and Melanie who have helped our little circle grow this year with the birth of baby Trent nearly 3 months ago to Molly and the upcoming birth of baby Josh in the coming weeks. (last thanksgiving we were grateful for the marriage of his mommy and daddy).

I am thankful for the most supportive, real staff that I could ask for. I am not only thankful that they bring me down to earth, but that their brutal honesty has formed me to the person I am today. I am thankful that they ground me, support me, love me and humor me (even when they think i'm a nut). I'm thankful that they come back to work week after week, year after year because they are as in love with our clients as I am.

I am thankful to one of my dearest friends in the world...Lissa Hatcher for the images and video above...

I am thankful for those that inspire me daily...

Workout Wednesday: Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes

The Antonia Christianson Events staff is thankful for our friend Lacey Lee! She is a blessing to the fitness community, the bridal community and our friendship community. Below are some great (and realistic) tips to keeping healthy this Thanksgiving (and all holiday season, really)...along with some amazing recipes. I know i'll be using some of these tomorrow! 

Realizing how difficult the Holiday’s can be for most people watching their waist lines – I felt a follow up to the “How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain” blog was in order. 
*Go for lean, white meat turkey to get the most bang for your calorie-buck. Dark meat has about 15% more calories and 30 - 40% more fat than light meat. And ditch the skin while you're at it (that's where most of the fat hangs out!).
* Choose foods that leave evidence: Keep those shrimp tails and chicken wing bones on your plate when you’re done. Studies show that if you see how much you've already had, you’ll eat less.
*  Go slow. If you wolf down your food, your plate may be clean while others are still eating. That invites seconds. Take a sip of water every bite or two to slow yourself down.
* Use a small plate. The tinier the dish, the less food you'll take and the less you’ll eat.
* When you're in a restaurant, ask the server not to put bread on the table. Leave more room for your other favorite holiday foods instead.
* Substitute cranberry sauce, loaded with antioxidants, for fatty, high-calorie gravy.
*  On potatoes and yams, avoid butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream. If possible, substitute low-fat yogurt or nonfat sour cream.
* Watch the alcohol, which has almost 200 calories per ounce and slows down metabolism. And too much alcohol impairs judgment, so the more you drink, the more you're likely to eat.
* Wear your favorite form-fitting clothes and you'll be way less likely to overeat. No stretchy pants!!!

You'll need a large indoor grill for this recipe.
2.5 to 2.75-pound turkey breast (if bone is included)
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1.5 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves
5 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1.     Remove skin from turkey breast and discard. Cut the turkey breast away from the bone into two equal-sized fillets.
2.     Start preheating your indoor grill on high. Meanwhile, combine herb rub ingredients -- parsley, sage, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil -- in a processor bowl by pulsing for about 10 seconds.
3.     Use your hand or a spatula to spread the herb rub on both sides of each fillet. When grill is ready, arrange turkey fillets on grill so that the grill top rests evenly on both pieces of turkey. Cook about 14 minutes (if fillet is 2 inches thick). Test the thickest part of the turkey fillet to make sure turkey is cooked throughout. You should be collecting some drippings in the tray of your grill (you can use this and scrapings from the top and bottom grill plates to make a gravy)
4.     Remove turkey fillets to a serving platter and let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings
Per serving:
Calories: 215, Protein: 39 grams, Carbs:  0.3 grams, Fat:  5.5 grams, Fiber:   0.1 gram, Sodium:  63 mg 

Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without stuffing.  But, as you know, butter-soaked bread cubes (aka stuffing) aren't exactly low in calories.  And nobody should be stuffing-less on Turkey Day.

6 slices Wonder Light Bread, any variety (or another light bread)**
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup fat-free broth, chicken or vegetable; room temperature
1/4 cup Egg Beaters, Original
1 tbsp. LAND O LAKES Whipped Light Butter
2 cloves garlic; finely chopped
salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme

For best results, leave bread uncovered for a night or two, until slightly stale.  Otherwise, begin by lightly toasting bread. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes.  In a medium-sized pot, combine broth, celery and onion.  Cook for 8 minutes at medium heat.   Remove from heat and add mushrooms and garlic.  Season mixture to taste with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.  Spray a medium-sized baking dish with nonstick spray, and place bread cubes in it.  Once veggie-broth mixture has cooled slightly, add Egg Beaters and butter.  Pour mixture evenly on top of bread.  Mix gently with a fork.  Bread cubes should be moist, but not saturated.  If necessary, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.  Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and fluff/ rearrange stuffing.  Return to oven (uncovered) for 10 - 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Serves 5.

Serving Size: 1 cup, Calories: 88, Fat: 1.5g, Sodium: 305mg, Carbs: 16g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 4g, Protein: 7g

Two 16-oz. bags frozen French-style green beans, thawed, drained & thoroughly dried
Two 10.75-oz. cans Campbell's 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery Soup
One 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 bag (about 1 oz.) Crispy Delites Red Onion Chips or 1 oz. (about 25 pieces) onion-flavored soy crisps, crushed

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Make sure green beans are thoroughly drained and completely dry -- use a towel if you need to. Then, place half of the green beans in a casserole dish (a 2 - 3 quart rectangular one works best).

Pour 1 can of soup evenly on top of the layer of green beans. Place half of the sliced water chestnuts over the soup layer.

Cover with remaining green beans, and then top with the rest of the soup. Evenly top with the remaining water chestnuts. Place dish in the oven, and cook for 45 minutes.

Top with crushed soy crisps, and return dish to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until chips turn golden brown.

PER SERVING (1/10th of casserole): 76 calories, 2g fat, 431mg sodium, 13g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 4g sugars, 3g protein -- 

By substituting butternut squash for sweet potatoes and using some key light ingredients, you can save over 200 calories and nearly 17 grams of fat per serving on this Turkey Day classic.  And it tastes EXACTLY like the real thing (yes, EXACTLY)

1 large butternut squash (large enough to yield 2 cups mashed flesh)
1/3 cup light vanilla soymilk 
1/3 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup SPLENDA; Granular
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel squash and cut into large chunks (removing seeds).  Fill a large, microwave-safe dish with a half an inch of water.  Place squash into dish and cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for approximately 8 minutes (and drain).  Squash should be tender enough to mash, but not fully cooked.  With a potato masher, food processor or fork, mash squash.  Measure out 2 generous cups, lightly packed, and place in an oven-safe baking dish.  Add all ingredients except for marshmallows.  Mix ingredients thoroughly, but do not over-stir; squash should still be pulpy.  Allow to cook for 45 – 50 minutes.  Remove from oven, and disperse marshmallows over top of pie.  Return to oven for 5 minutes, until marshmallows begin to brown.  Allow to cool.  Serves 4.

Serving Size: 1/4 recipe; approx. 2/3 cup, Calories: 110, Fat: <0.5g, Sodium: 115mg, Carbs: 25g, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 7.5g, Protein: 5g 

Workout Wednesday: Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are approaching and before you know it you have been to every holiday party under the sun, you have skipped your workouts and you feel more sluggish than ever. Somewhere in between Thanksgiving and Christmas some of you will say, “I’m going to start working out January 1st” or “My New Year’s resolution is to lose 10lbs.”

The next couple of months can be particularly challenging for those trying to watch and/or lose weight. Extra calories are lurking around every corner. All these extra calories add up, and if you are like most Americans, you will put on a pound or two by New Year’s Day. I know what you are saying, “So what's the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it's just a pound”? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.

Get a jump start this year and begin using the tools I have provided below to avoid holiday weight gain.

#1. Stay Active: Keep your workouts on your schedule. Don’t let shopping for presents or holiday parties take the place of you burning those calories. On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You'll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. Even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, that is still a lot better than zero minutes.

#2. Don’t Arrive Hungry: Have a nutritious snack or a meal before you head out to the holiday party. As I have said before – once you are hungry, you will make a bad food decision. Our stomach will over-ride
anything you “intended” on eating. If you work in an office setting be prepared for the deluge of guilty treats your co-workers and other business associates will graciously want to share. Stash your own healthy snacks in your desk so you won't be tempted to overindulge when your grumbling stomach demands a 3:00
snack time.

#3. Focus On Socializing: Remember one of the great things about the holidays is spending time with friends and family.

#4. Limit Alcohol: Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. It's not just about calories but about control. If you drink a lot - you won't have as much control over what you eat.

#5 Limit 'Tastes' While Cooking:  If you do a lot of cooking during the holidays - crack down on all those "tastes." People lose their appetites when they have been cooking because they have been eating the whole time. Instead of tasting mindlessly every few minutes, limit yourself to two small bites of each item pre- and post-seasoning. Just put the spoon in and taste a little bit- it is not grounds for a big scoop.


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