Tuesday, July 31, 2012

my less serious move

This weekend I moved into my first home. As you can see, I have a lot to do. At least this picture documents that I successfully transported the important things in life (exercise bike, weights, case of wine). 

All this to say...please excuse my potentially less frequent and/or less thoughtful posts while I get settled. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

weekend review: peanut butter heaven

If you are into decadently rich dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy and luxurious peanut butter frosting - you should make these. Otherwise, you should curl up in a ball in the corner - because I have no other advice for you.

Figure 1. Friday afternoon baking: dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting for Dad's birthday.

Figure 2. Friday night's dinner (the last dinner in my old home*): a variation on this summer pasta skillet. My modifications were using whole wheat rigatoni, roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes, feta cheese instead of Parmesan, and fresh thyme instead of basil. Delicious.

Figure 3. Saturday night's dinner (the first dinner in my new home*): grilled bbq chicken, baked sweet potatoes, fresh bread, and asparagus sauteed with garlic, grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and topped with feta cheese. I'm pretty sure most Americans order pizza on their first night after a move - not me. I dug out all of the kitchen equipment I could find because I'm gourmet like that.

*This weekend I moved to a new home so bear with me as posts may be short.

Friday, July 27, 2012

my less serious day: anxiety

Running out of breakfast supplies makes me nervous. On Sunday, I considered myself well supplied with (I kid you not) 7 boxes of cereal, 7 bananas, and 5 cartons of almond milk.

They tell me I have a generalized anxiety disorder, but I'm beginning to think it's cereal specific.


Tee & skirt: LOFT; necklace: gifted via Grandma; heels: Miz Mooz.


This morning I went on a 30-minute run at working pace. After work I kicked ass during a 60-minute Body Pump class. I also included two 10-minute walks with the poor and injured pup during the day.


My morning routine has changed a bit and I now have two bowls of cereal (one before my run and one afterwards). Today my first bowl (un-pictured) was a mix of Post shredded wheat, Earth Fare organic honey wheat puffs, 1/2 banana, and almond milk. My second bowl (pictured above) was a mix of Post shredded wheat, Kashi Indigo morning, 1/2 banana, and almond milk.

Lunch was a spinach salad with roasted red peppers, carrots, 1/2 avocado, feta cheese crumbles, agave nectar, and balsamic vinegar.

My afternoon snack was a peach and healthy peanut butter honey granola.

Dinner was wild mushroom couscous tossed with sauteed eggplant, grape tomatoes, garlic, and roasted cashews. Delicious!

Dessert was blueberries and more of Anna's healthy peanut butter honey granola (can't get enough!)

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Monday, July 23. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 43

Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Post Shredded Wheat and Kashi Indigo Morning (have you tried Kashi's new cereals yet?), a sliced banana, and almond milk.

 Figure 2. Lunch: a spinach salad with a tomato, roasted red peppers, leftover wild rice, and drizzled in tahini-balsamic special sauce as inspired by Sarah @ Feeeding Brain and Body's Special Sauce. Carrot sticks and peanut butter on the side. This was my first time using tahini and it made this salad really filling (hello healthy fat and protein!) and delicious. A great substitute for hummus.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack: a Fuji apple and smoked almonds.

Figure 4. Dinner: leftover tomato, squash, and red pepper gratin alongside a spinach salad with blueberries, feta cheese, honey-roasted almonds, balsamic vinegar, and agave nectar.

Figure 5. Dessert: plain Greek yogurt, EnviroKidz Organic Koala Crisp Cereal, and Enjoy Life soy-free mini chocolate chips.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, July 24).

Since it's fun, food, AND fitness WIAW month it is time to tell you about today's workouts. This morning I hit the pavement for a 30-minute run at working pace (went super fast!). I took two short walks during the day and I finished it all off with a 60-minute sweaty kickboxing class at the gym.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

my less serious momma: lemon dessert

My summer isn't complete without my mom's Lemon Dessert. This year, I've only had it once - and after looking at these photos, I think it's time to make it again. Take it away my less serious momma...


Call me Mello Yellow!

Sunflowers, sunshine, moonlit nights!  How do you know it’s summer? Nothing says it better at our house than Lemon Dessert. Light, airy, easy. What else could you ask for in a summer dessert? Come to think of it, why don’t we make this in the winter to bring a little sunshine into winter days?

Lemon Dessert

The ingredients are simple and old school. We’ve clarified the directions a bit because when you get a recipe from grandma, it was less measured and more by feel and instinct. 

1 c flour
1c chopped nuts
1 stick oleo (see note below)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 c confectioners sugar
1 large pkg Cool Whip (fat free)
3 c milk (skim or whatever you use)
2 pkgs instant lemon pudding

Combine flour, chopped nuts (pecans are the best), and “oleo”—that’s butter (light butter works). Pat into bottom of 8” x 12 “ pan. Of course I don’t have a pan that size so I usually use a 10” x 13” and the crust is really thin. This time I had a new 9” x 9” pan so my crust was a bit too thick. Hopefully you’ll have the right size. Bake at 350 about 15-20 minutes until a little brown around the edges like below. Let crust cool (I stick it in the frig).

Cream together light cream cheese, confectioners sugar and 2 cups of Cool Whip. Spread on crust.

Mix milk and 2 pkgs lemon instant pudding until thick. Pour over cream cheese mixture.  Spoon remaining Cool Whip on top. Refrigerate. Cut into squares.

Voila! Instant summer. You’ll want seconds.

Monday, July 23, 2012

weekend review: thyme three ways

Fresh herbs can be expensive, so sometimes I plan my weekend meals so they all use similar herb profiles. This weekend, I bought a package of fresh organic local thyme and chose my recipes carefully. Thyme in the asparagus on Friday, thyme in the gratin on Saturday, and thyme in the chicken on Sunday. But, no thyme in the granola - that would be weird.

Figure 1. Friday night's dinner: salmon paprika (one of my standing favorites) served alongside black rice with cashews, and lemon-thyme asparagus.

 Figure 2. Out of the oven: tomato, squash, and red pepper gratin. Made with Gruyere cheese (also in the cordon bleu!), thyme, quinoa, and fresh summer vegetables.

Figure 3. Saturday night's dinner: tomato, squash, and red pepper gratin with an arugula salad with cashews, golden raisins, and this homemade lemon vinaigrette

Figure 4. Saturday afternoon baking: healthy peanut butter honey granola.

I've now made three delicious variations on this (my new favorite granola):
1) using All-Bran, brown rice crispies, and no protein powder
2) using All-Bran, Cheerios, protein powder, and almond butter instead of peanut butter
3) using All-Bran, puffed wheat, protein powder, and peanut butter

Figure 5. Sunday night's dinner: chicken cordon bleu (delicious!), wild rice (Near East), and sauteed spinach with shallots and red pepper flakes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

my less serious birthday!

Today, my less serious life turns 1!

One year of blogging about food, fitness, fashion, and experiments.

Kashi Indigo Morning + Cheerios + banana + almond milk

One year of teaching myself to cook (and learning to love it), expanding my workout horizons (and getting in the best shape of my life), and stepping outside of my fashion comfort zone (and looking pretty great along the way {if I do say so myself}). 

One year of finding my place in the healthy living blog community, making blog friendships I am not sure how I lived without before, and finding comfort and support in a world of people just like me (no longer do I feel alone when I wake at 5 AM to run 10 miles or eat massive quantities of vegetables and nut butter). Thank you.

Romaine lettuce + spinach + grape tomatoes + carrots + smoked almonds + an Amy's Sonoma veggie burger + red wine vinegar + ketchup

One year of building a beautiful following of readers, some who comment, some who follow in silence, all of whom I cherish.  

One year leading to another. Here's to many, many more...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 42

Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Cheerios and All-Bran, a sliced banana, and almond milk.
Figure 2. Lunch: a spinach and romaine lettuce salad with a tomato, carrot strips, cottage cheese, toasted pine nuts, and balsamic vinegar with a side of carrot sticks dipped in peanut butter.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack: a Golden Delicious apple and homemade spicy honey-roasted almonds.

Figure 4. Dinner: a zucchini and eggplant egg scramble with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese alongside sweet potato fries dipped in honey.

Zucchini and Eggplant Egg Scramble with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese

I made this on the fly and didn't really measure anything, but I wanted to record it here because it was so delicious and easy! Would be great with fresh basil and summer squash, too.

1 tsp olive oil 
~1 cup diced zucchini
~1/2 cup diced eggplant
salt, pepper, and dried basil to taste
~1 T balsamic vinegar
1 egg + 2 egg whites + a touch of almond milk, whisked together
1/4 cup goat cheese

Heat saute pan to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and saute garlic for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add the zucchini, eggplant, and seasonings. Saute until browned (~8 minutes). Turn heat down to medium/medium-low. Add balsamic vinegar to vegetables and stir to coat.
Move vegetables to the side of the pan and add the whisked egg mixture to the other half. Scramble the eggs until almost done. To finish, mix the eggs with the vegetables until done.
Remove pan from heat and stir in goat cheese.

Figure 5. Dessert: frozen dark chocolate pudding mousse drizzled in vanilla peanut butter protein frosting and chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life soy-free mini chocolate chips). Make this now - it will change your life. 
(Put a Jell-O sugar-free dark chocolate mousse temptation in the freezer a day before. When ready, microwave for a few seconds and it will slide out of its container. This dessert has: <2 grams of sugar, ~200 calories, and ~16 grams of protein.)

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, July 17).

Since it's fun, food, AND fitness WIAW month I should tell you about my workouts. This morning I hit the pavement for a 30-minute run at working pace followed by a short walk with my pup. I missed my lunch walk because my poor puppy has a hurt leg from all of our running! My day ended with a 60-minute kickboxing class.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the cereal experiment: Post Shredded Wheat

I've talked before about how close frosted shredded wheat is to my heart. I used to eat massive bowls of this stuff for breakfast and lunch in graduate school (I also used to eat tuna helper twice a week, but let's not dredge up my dirty past). I've tested two variations on shredded wheat in the cereal experiment so far. This time, I went back to the classic, Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size.

Results. Sometimes, simple is best. This cereal is one ingredient, shredded wheat. In a world overflowing with fillers and preservatives, this is a truly beautiful thing. You may think that this one-ingredient cereal might also taste like dirt - but, it doesn't! Maybe it is just me, but there is something I really enjoyed about the hearty, wheat-y flavor of this cereal that I didn't even miss the lack of any added sweetener. And this is coming from someone with a sweet tooth the size of a Chick-fil-A milkshake.

If this cereal has any draw back, it turns soggy easily (as do most shredded wheat cereals). Despite this flaw, I enjoyed the fibrous squares and often found myself pairing them with a crunchier cereal partner. Compared to the other two shredded wheats (Fiber One Frosted Shredded Wheat and Kashi Autumn Wheat), I think these maintain their texture better and I certainly enjoyed their simplicity.

Post Shredded Wheat stands out in the cereal crowd with its low calorie count, fat content, price, and 0% sugar content. I'd say its taste, texture, fiber, and protein content are around average as compared to the other cereals. All things considered, Post Shredded Wheat takes an impressive fifth place finish.

In a world of overly complicated and processed foods, Post Shredded Wheat reminds me how delicious and satisfying one simple ingredient can be.

See other cereal reviews here


Lastly, I want to share with you that my boyfriend and I are in the process of developing a Cereal Ranking application - that will allow you to input your own cereal and preferences to conduct your very own experiment with a table of results similar to mine. Look for its launch soon! 


Monday, July 16, 2012

weekend review: stocking up

I'm back from my relaxing vacation and week away from the blog! I assure you I did not take one single photograph and I consumed vacation-sized amounts of brownies and beer.

Instead of sharing my usual weekend recipe creations (mostly because I did not create anything), today I decided to share with you the goods from my weekly grocery trip (I find this weirdly fascinating - and thought you might too? If not, humor me). What you see here is representative of my typical weekly purchase (see footnotes for additional details).

Figure 1. This week's grocery haul separated according to how I think about my food (from left to right): cereal, miscellaneous, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.

Figure 2. Cereal (is in its own category in my head apparently): rolled oats (for making granola), Kellogg's All-Bran, EnviroKids Organic Koala Crisp (no comment), and Kashi Indigo Morning.

Figure 3. Miscellaneous: balsamic vinegar, honey, agave nectar, cinnamon Altoids, Jell-O Dark Chocolate Pudding Mousse, two containers of Silk original almond milk, and Enjoy Life soy-free chocolate chips.

 Figure 4. Carbohydrates: a box of Near East wild mushroom couscous and two sweet potatoes.

Figure 5. Fruits and vegetables (the produce aisle makes me happy): six bananas, three Golden Delicious apples, three peaches, a pound of asparagus, two on-the-vine tomatoes, a pint of grape tomatoes, carrots, two zucchini, an eggplant, romaine lettuce, and a package of spinach.

Figure 6. Protein sources: crumbled goat cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, Amy's Sonoma veggie burgers, two avocados, and eggs.

*This food is all for me. 
*I will certainly consume all of the produce (I even may have to make a mid-week banana/spinach run) and milk and likely consume all of the cereal, cheese, and yogurt this week. 
*I eat 90-100% of my meals from home.  
*Of course, I have many things on hand in my pantry (e.g., peanut butter, nuts, quinoa, pasta) and freezer (e.g., chicken, bread) that will pair with these purchases.  
*Usually I make more complicated recipes on the weekend that require additional ingredients not included in this purchase. 
**Most importantly, I really wanted a pint of Arctic Zero to be included in this purchase - but they recalled it and my heart is now broken.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

my less serious vacation

I need a vacation. 

I need a vacation from work, from deadlines, from responsibilities. A week at the beach without any of these is calling my name. So, I hope you'll bear with me, dear blog readers, as I have decided to take the next week and enjoy my vacation without any responsibilities, including blogging. 

In lieu of daily blog posts, I've decided to just leave you with one of my favorite photographs and food creations of my blog's lifetime:

(baked sweet potato + plain Greek yogurt + almond butter + cinnamon)

I figure you can just look at this every day this week and be completely satisfied. I mean, I would be.

Now, off to live a little.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

my less serious momma: easy eggplant parmesan

My mom is at it again, with a new red-themed recipe (see her first, here). My less serious momma posts are 100% mom - from the words, to the pictures, to the recipe's themselves. 

This simplified version of eggplant parmesan is a perfect weekday meal. Life is complicated enough already - why make dinner complicated when you don't have to? Sounds like something my mom must have taught me...

Red Recipe #2.  Easy Eggplant Parmesan

I used to make a complicated version but discovered this last year and like it better. Kind of tricky baking instructions the first time, but easy thereafter.

1 large eggplant, peeled
4 egg whites
Parmesan cheese grated, lots
garlic powder to taste
1 c marinara sauce (can use this sauce, can add sausage or not)
mozzarella cheese as desired 

Slice peeled eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.
Beat egg whites w 4 T water until foamy.
Dip eggplant into egg whites, then cover with Parmesan, pressing to cover.
Place on sprayed baking sheet and sprinkle w garlic powder and then spray the top of the eggplant.
Bake 20 min at 400 until golden brown.
Turn over and bake for 10 minutes.
Add marinara, top w mozzarella if desired.
Bake 20 more minutes until hot and bubbly.

Here’s the prepared eggplant slices going into the oven.

Eggplant ready for flip one.

 Eggplant after flip one.

Eggplant now browned on both sides.

Eggplant ready to eat with browned mozzarella.

Eggplant on plate with cranberry muffin (okay they don’t go together but it was all I had)!
Do you ever get hungry for a color?  Isn’t red always lurking in your head somewhere?