Another Way

I’m struggling a little with getting back on track in terms of exercising and my eating in general. After being on vacation, and no longer going to a personal trainer, I feel like a form that’s slowly decomposing into a sludgy, squishier version. Its not good.

So on Sunday I made a big giant batch of different kinds of roasted veggies to eat throughout the week, and made up slaw like salad to eat for lunches.

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Just looking at the giant bowl of shredded red cabbage, grated carrot, and red pepper slices left me with the feeling that I would 100% still eat a bag of gummy bears after lunch most days. So I had to figure out a way to make it more appealing.

Remember that peanut sauce I made?

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Oh yea, I went there. I made a “lighter” version of it; peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, and a splash of trader joes sesame vinaigrette [no idea what the actual name of it was]. Whisked over a low burner until smooth.

Toss with a giant bowl of veggies and I’ve got a solid three plus lunches out of it. Let me tell you, this stuff was even better after sitting in the fridge for a day. Creamy, crunchy. All that peanut butter goodness.

I had a bowl of this with a greek yogurt parfait on the side [plain unflavored greek yogurt, frozen mango cubes, flax seed, a tiny smidge of granola].

 

I know its about finding foods I like enough to replace my sugar snacks with until I don’t crave them as much. Swedish Fish are just so good though, its not easy. But mindless snacking AND not going to the gym regularly are a recipe for sludge pudge, so we’re eating healthy and looking into some gym options. Mister even had his spaghetti replaced with zucchini noodles the other night. Poor guy, I’m pretty sure he ate a second dinner after I went to bed.

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Juice Cleanse Day 1, Hiccup

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Review: This is so much better than Formula #1, and  so yum.  It doesn’t taste super sweet, or too much like grass.  It feels healthy though, light and refreshing. Great start to the day.

 

Juice #2 (Formula 4) Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, Ginger, Cayenne

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Review: NOPE.  This one was a nope.  It was like trying to drink a spicy salad that someone liquified.  Awful.  I love all things ginger (ginger chews, ginger kombucha) and I don’t mind the Cayenne/Lemon drinks, but this whole combination was just awful.  Seriously.  No.

Juice #3 (Formula 3): Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Mint, Wheat grass

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Review: I could drink this baby all day.  So much sweeter than Formula #2, but I totally get that its basically all fruit juice so that’s to be expected.

About ten minutes after finishing this one the nausea hit.  And the headache.  I figured this was all part of the mystical detox that people warn you about.  But then the lingering sore throat I’ve had for a few days ramped its vengeance up and attacked full force.  I felt dizzy and all around gross.  I figured I wasn’t going to get much done at work, so I visited my local walk in urgent care just to be on the safe side.

Diagnosis: Sinus infection.  The doctor specifically said, “Eat a ton of food with this medicine or you’ll regret it.” Jerk sinuses.  So I have no idea if my plague made me feel like butt, or the cleanse; what was helping and what was hurting will be a mystery.  But I didn’t want to just throw my positive choices out the window, especially with a beach trip coming up next week.

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So I ignored my fourth juice, ate some almonds while waiting at the doctor and then came home and fixed this simple salad up.  I was afraid that eating anything too heavy might be worse than eating nothing at all, so this seemed like a really safe compromise.

Shredded romaine, steamed sweet potato, avocado, pico de gallo.  I did have juice #5 (coconut water, pineapple, lime) with this, and some antibiotics.  Unfortunately, the doctor was right about regretting not eating a lot with the meds so I forced myself to eat a handful of Ritz crackers for dessert.

Today I’ve decided to stick with eating the best I can to help my body heal, and to work on improving my nutritional intake at the same time.  I know I need to focus on eating more whole foods, and limiting processed items, sugar, and snacks.

I started Juice Cleanse Day 2 with half a cup of oats, cooked with cashew butter.  Followed by my meds and a Formula #2 juice.  So far so good.

 

 

No Snow Day

This weekend while downstate was getting walloped with snow, I had quietly escaped to Albany on Friday night.  I know I didn’t miss the shoveling, or the antsy trapped feeling, but I did feel jealous of cozy snowed in nights that I seem to have completely missed out on this winter thus far.

Mister and I made the most of our No-Snow Days by taking the dogs to the Capitol Hills Golf Course on Saturday. For anyone that lives in the Albany area, this is an amazing place to walk (its kept really clear even when it snows).

This is a great way to get in some exercise, while the dogs run and play with other dogs passing through.  Needless to say, they are always exhausted by the time we get home.  This time, the cold combined with the long walk meant out two bulldog ladies were tuckered out well into Sunday night.

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I texted Mister on Friday to insist he keep me accountable on my eating; I tend to treat weekends like a free for all in terms of treats and snacks.  This basically undoes all the great meal planning, calorie counting, and workouts I log during the week. With our trip to Puerto Rico in a few weeks, and a bikini in my not so distant future, I can’t keep inhaling cheesecake at this rate!

So we loaded up on salads, with only the occasional popcorn, fruit, or veggies for snacks.Where007.JPGSaturday night, we did treat ourselves to a strip steak dinner (courtesy of a sale at the Fresh Market), with roasted asparagus and a twice baked potato for Mister.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to limit my meat consumption, but felt comfortable with making this my weekend indulgence (instead of a parade of chocolate). For dessert, Mister had requested the do-it-yourself fruit filled sponge cakes from the Fresh Market, so I obliged.

I sliced some strawberries and let them soak in a balsamic, sugar, pepper mixture for about 45 minutes.  Then they were placed atop the little cake, topped with whipped cream, more berries, and a tiny bit of powdered sugar.

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Yum.  I promise I ate egg whites and veggies for just about every other meal. Balance baby.

 

Meal Prep and a Prepped Meal

Two nights ago I made up a big batch of bean and kale soup to eat for lunch throughout the week.

Super simple, and I like making the effort to eat less meat-centric meals more often.

  • sauteed garlic and onion in olive oil
  • added kale, red beans and white beans, sage
  • add vegetable stock, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • simmer as long as you want

Then last night, in an effort to honor Chanukah and stay on the lighter side of things, Mom made a twist on a latka involving a cast iron skillet and shredded zucchini.  (Along with brisket of course)

Shredded zucchini, potato, egg, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, Parmesan (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few other things) were mixed together after the zucchini and potato were properly drained. Then they were squished into a hot, oiled pan and crisped up a bit before being put into the oven for finishing.

Its always nice to have a meal cooked for you, especially on a holiday.  Along with the franken-latka we enjoyed this really great wine that my sister had picked up for my birthday.

 

Food always tastes better with wine, right?

Meal Prep: Tofu Stir Fry with Soba Noodles

After the five day binge fest that was Thanksgiving, I needed to really get a grip on my eating.  There had been wine, cheese, cake, pie, cookies, and stuffing.  Noticeably absent was adequate protein and just about anything from the vegetable category.

I knew I needed some veggies, and something that wasn’t too heavy but flavorful enough to keep me satisfied.  After perusing some vegan and vegetarian recipes online, I decided on a stir fry with as many veggies as I could manage.

After work yesterday, I went to Stop&Shop to pick up some ingredients.

  • 1 package Soba noodles
  • 2 broccoli crowns
  • 1 bag sugar snap peas
  • 1 container of ready to eat edamame
  • 1 package of extra firm, sprouted tofu
  • 1 bottle of white miso base
  • 1 red pepper
  • nub of ginger root
  • lime
  • garlic

 

By the time I got home it was almost 7 and I was tired, hungry, and ready to get cooking.  I’ve learned to just get all the prep out of the way; I know everyone says this, and a lot of people ignore it, but your timing will go a lot more smoothly when you just go ahead and chop everything at once.

I put a big pot of water on to boil and then minced the ginger and garlic, sliced the red pepper, diced the tofu, and cut wedges out of the lime.

When the water came to a boil, I added the soba noodles, and broke the broccoli into chunks right into the pot.  I don’t know if this is easier, its just the way I usually handle broccoli. [I cut the stems up into cubes to be cooked separately]

Set a time for 5 mins.

In a large pan I added a drizzle of peanut oil.  Once hot I added the cubed broccoli stems and the edamame first.  Then the tofu, ginger, and garlic.  Last the red pepper, white miso, and Braggs amino acid. I turned the heat up so everything would sear, I really like when tofu has that little char on the outside. There’s nothing worse than soggy stir-fry from low heat and/or too much liquid.

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When the timer goes off,  drain the noodles/broccoli and rinse with cold water. Put everything in a giant Tupperware to be eaten throughout the week.  Ta Da!

But wait….those sugar snap peas?! Yea yea I know.  I hate soggy sugar snap peas.  Yuck.  My game plan, is to add a handful to my bowl when I eat lunch; after either reheating everything or just enjoying it all cold.  Squeeze the fresh lime wedge over the dish right before eating. There will definitely be a splash of sriracha on top.

Quick and Easy: Office Lunch

I like to keep easy staples on hand in my office kitchen so I don’t always have to worry about what I’m going to have for lunch (or a snack).

Some great basics:

  • unsalted nuts
  • dried fruit
  • tuna [I prefer the packets so I don’t have to worry about a can opener, and packed in water instead of oil]
  • almond milk [the shelf stable cartons are great to keep on hand for smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, etc.]
  • oatmeal
  • rice cakes
  • granola
  • protein powder
  • tea
  • peanut butter

Having a variety of things on hand makes me more likely to have something nutritious while I’m in the office, and less likely to fall back on fast food or a not-as-great choice.  I try to bring leftovers in, or meal prep ahead of time, to supplement my stash; since this is a holiday week, I didn’t want to grocery shop or meal prep so I’m heavily relying on what I’ve got on hand.

014.JPGToday’s lunch wasn’t the most visually appealing option, but it was really good.  I’m actually looking forward to having it again tomorrow.

I mixed one tuna packet with half of an over ripe avocado, smashed them together in a bowl.  Mix in some seasoning (I keep salt, pepper, salad dressing, salsa, and hot sauce on hand for these situations) and spread on a rice cake.  Seriously, this was crunchy, creamy, salty goodness.  I mixed it with a cilantro lime dressing that I had in the fridge, and a little bit of salt and pepper.

Side Note: don’t judge me on the rice cake situation, I really don’t consider these diet food!  I LOVE rice cakes.  They’re crunchy, and the lightly salted ones go with everything.  The flavored variety might not have as good nutritional stats but they’re still a really good option.  Buttered popcorn, chocolate, caramel, ranch…seriously I would have a hard time giving up rice cakes!!

Happy lunch time!

A Classic Twist

I’m sure any of you whom read Facebook have seen those Buzzfeed “Tasty” cooking videos.

If you haven’t, they do a really great job of breaking down recipes into short, visual instructions.  They also summarize the recipes in simple ways, without over complicating the ingredients or the steps required.

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Last night, mister and I tried the Chicken Parmesan Meatballs.  So very worth it.

As per the above recipe:

Pre Mixed ingredients

In a large bowl I mixed together 2lbs of ground chicken, 2 eggs, 1 cup of panko, some italian seasoning mix, lemon zest and juice, 1 cup chopped parsley (fresh), 1/2 cup of fresh diced onion, and 1 cup of grated parmesan.  Then form meatballs, I like them on the bigger side personally.

Formed chicken meatballs

Formed chicken meatballs

Here’s where it starts to get interesting.  Put cubes of mozzarella cheese into those chicken meatballs.  Yeah, that sounds like a great idea!

Mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella cheese

Its all blissful indulgence from here on out.  I promise.

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Dip each cheese stuffed meatball into flour, egg, panko + breadcrumb mixture.  [Sidenote: everything should be served breaded in this manner. Its fantastic]

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Brown those beauties in a pan, then bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Time everything perfectly so that your sauce, pasta, and meatballs are done at the same time and sit in gluttonous indulgence on the couch.  Preferably with your sweatpants on.

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Update: Mister says 30 seconds in the microwave and 5 minutes in the toaster, just as good as the first time.