Wednesday, October 31, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 56

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Kellogg's All Bran, Arrowhead Mills puffed wheat, a sliced banana, and cow's milk.

Figure 2. Lunch: a romaine lettuce salad with carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese, an Amy's Sonoma burger, ketchup & balsamic vinegar. Carrot sticks and peanut butter on the side.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack: a whole wheat pumpkin muffin adapted from Amanda's delicious recipe.

Figure 4. Check out my sleek muffin carrying case!

Figure 5. Dinner: leftover roasted butternut squash alongside a veggie-egg scramble. For this version I roasted eggplant and sauteed yellow bell pepper, onions, and garlic with olive oil, s&p, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar until done. Then I scrambled 1 egg and 2 egg whites, mixed the eggs with the veggies, and topped with sunflower seeds for crunch. Delicious!

Figure 6. Dessert: dark chocolate pudding mousse and whipped cream.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Monday, October 29).

Monday, October 29, 2012

weekend review: to rate or not to rate

I make all these recipes I find online via my Pinterest obsession, scouring healthy living/whole food blogs, or through my Cooking Light subscription. I make them, eat them, photograph them, and blog about them. If they are outstanding I make note of it. But, I had this revelation last night that it may be useful for my readers to rate each recipe to help decide whether or not they want to recreate something in their own kitchen.

What do you think? Please comment and let me know! See the Figure captions for my idea... Today I'm trying a 1-10 rating scale.

Figure 1. Friday night's dinner: roast chicken with balsamic bell peppers (6/10), baked brown rice pilaf, seasoned with smoked paprika and garlic powder (4/10: I think I needed to season it more...), and roasted asparagus with garlic.

Figure 2. Saturday morning baking: Amanda's pumpkin chocolate chip pumpkin bread turned into non-chocolate pumpkin muffins (9/10).

Figure 3. In preparation: skinny mushroom stroganoff (5/10).

Figure 4. Saturday night's dinner: skinny mushroom stroganoff and a spinach salad with roasted red pepper, avocado, cashews, and a homemade honey lemon thyme vinaigrette. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

my less serious day: hungover

Today was my dog's first day in doggie day care. When she finally got home she walked in, stumbled to her food bowl, voraciously drank a bowl of water, and crashed in the corner without moving for the entire night. She wouldn't even lift her head when I called her name. Reminded me of coming home in college after a full night of partying. 

Doggie hangover, indeed.

Dress (worn as skirt): J Crew outlet; top: Loft; belt: Anthropologie; pumps: Tsubos.


This morning I hit my at-home stationary bike for a 35-minute ramp interval ride followed by a short walk. After work I hit the gym for a 60-minute Body Pump class.


Breakfast was a bowl (x2) of Post Shredded Wheat, Quaker Whole Hearts, a banana, and cow's milk. Can you spy a heart?

Lunch was a spinach salad topped with cucumbers, grape tomatoes, carrots, sunflower seeds, and cottage cheese with a side of carrots sticks and peanut butter.

My afternoon snack was homemade peanut butter granola and a Gala apple.

Dinner was leftover polenta, a runny egg, 1/2 avocado and a zucchini and grape tomato saute.

Dessert was dulce de leche pudding and whipped cream.

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Wednesday, October 24. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 55

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl (x2) of Post Shredded Wheat, Arrowhead Mills puffed wheat, a sliced banana, and cow's milk.

Figure 2. Lunch: a spinach salad with carrots, white button mushrooms, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese, and tahini thinned with apple cider vinegar.

Figure 3. Afternoon snack #1: a leftover (out of the freezer and warmed) orange-apricot bran muffin with plain Greek yogurt.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack #2: a big of pretzels from the vending machine. Sunday's 13 mile run made today carb-tastic!

Figure 5. Dinner: cinnamon sweet potato fries dipped in honey alongside a delicious veggie-egg scramble. For this version I sauteed eggplant, mushrooms, and green onions in olive oil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and coconut aminos until done. Then I scrambled 1 egg and 2 egg whites, mixed the eggs with the veggies, and topped with cashews for crunch.

Figure 6. Dessert: dry Cascadian Farms vanilla almond granola and peanut butter.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Monday, October 22).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the salad dressing experiment: lemon oregano vinaigarette

As you may have read (or should certainly read now), I recently started experimenting with creating my own salad dressings and began the salad dressing experiment. First up, lemon oregano vinaigrette.

This easy dressing required no special equipment and is a great use for leftover fresh oregano. This dressing is simple, delicious, and fresh. Originally, I served this dressing with a mixed green salad with grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.

Ingredient line-up: kosher salt, honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, fresh ground black pepper, and fresh oregano.


For this dressing, I used a Tupperware container to combine all the ingredients and then shook to combine. You could also use a whisk.

Fresh lemon juice makes all the difference.

Ready to shake.

After shaking!

Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette (original recipe here)

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Several sprigs fresh oregano (or substitute about 1 teaspoon dried)

Chop the fresh oregano. In a small Tupperware container, add olive oil, fresh lemon juice, cider vinegar, honey, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, and fresh oregano. Shake to combine. Enjoy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

weekend review: pumpkin makes it better

 Figure 1. Saturday night's dinner: healthy bacon & pumpkin pasta and roasted asparagus with garlic. This pasta was one of the best things I've made in awhile - add pumpkin (and bacon) to anything, and it's bound to be delicious.

Figure 2. Saturday evening baking: apple crisp light. I have had a serious craving for a baked apple dessert for the past week. I served this with classic vanilla ice cream and it satisfied my craving without being too decadent.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

my less serious day: death by salad

Some people risk death for drug addictions. I risk death for over-topped salad beasts.

Dress: Loft; cardigan: Gap; pumps: Miz Mooz.


This morning I hit my at-home stationary bike for a 35-minute ramp interval ride followed by a short walk with the pup. Despite my troubled tummy, I have really been enjoying ditching work early and hitting double afternoon workouts at least once a week: a 45-minute spin class followed by a 60-minute Body Pump class.


Breakfast was a bowl of Kellogg's All Bran, Cheerios, Chocolate Chex, banana, and cow's milk.

Mid-morning snack was this ripe banana

This salad just looks like trouble, doesn't it? At the time it seemed like a brilliant idea. Romaine lettuce topped with tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, carrots, sharp cheddar cheese, leftover bbq chicken, and leftover sauerkraut. Delicious, but dangerous. This thing put me under for the rest of the day...

As a result, dinner was this bowl of plain Greek yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder, Quaker Oatmeal squares, Post Great Grains, and cashews. I went back for more cereal and cashews and a glass of milk later on. 

Dessert was sugar-free vanilla pudding.

Note: this post represents what happened in my world on Wednesday, October 17. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 54

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl of Kellogg's All Bran, Arrowhead Mills puffed wheat, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, a sliced banana, and cow's milk.

Figure 2. Mid-morning post-run snack: Eat Live Run's no bake oatmeal peanut butter bite. I made mine with almond butter - delicious and healthy.

Figure 3. Out to eat for lunch: a Greek salad with spinach (I asked for extra), olives, marinated artichokes, feta, smoked salmon, and a lemon-tahini dressing (which I must recreate). A slice of homemade walnut-wheat bread on the side.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack: a Gala apple, homemade pumpkin pie roasted almonds, and a cran-raspberry sparkling water.

Figure 5. Dinner: leftover crust-less spinach, mushroom and feta quiche, pumpkin ale bread with Earth Balance, and roasted zucchini with fresh parsley.

Figure 6. Dessert: a bowl of dry chocolate Chex cereal.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, October 16).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

my less serious tips: on healthy eating

Eat healthy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've heard it all before. We spend money on diet books, we stock our fridges with bags of spinach and carrot sticks, we talk about it, we want it, but we rarely do it (and rarely actually eat those carrots).

Just a few years ago, you would have found me downing tuna helper and ice cream for dinner. Slowly, but surely, I have worked to re-create my view on healthy living. Here are a few healthy eating tips that I now follow on a regular basis. I hope you try them out, tweak them to fit your life, and soon find yourself eating massive piles of spinach and…enjoying it.

 Figure 1.  A spinach and red cabbage salad with roasted red peppers, smoked almonds, balsamic vinegar, and topped with hummus thinned with almond milk. 

Tip #1. Keep your fridge stocked. If you open your fridge and there is only one lone cane of Sprite in the corner, I don't blame you for grabbing your keys and hitting the drive-through. Instead, stock up at the grocery store. Buy enough healthy food (that you actually like) so you have choices, variety, and excitement when you open the fridge.

Tip #2. Embrace the power of the salad. I believe in the power of the salad. For me, at least, an embarrassingly-large salad filled with healthy fats and protein makes the perfect meal. Salads are the perfect canvas for being creative; I never eat the same combination two days in a row. Salads keep me satiated, energetic, and ensure I meet my veggie-quota for the day. Embrace it, folks (Figure 1).

  Figure 2. A healthy snack: a Gala apple and a mix of shredded wheat and cocoa-roast almonds.

Tip #3. Balance. This is the mother of all tips and the key word for living a healthy lifestyle. Balance. Balance your meals, balance your daily intake, and balance your weekly diet. First, balance your meals. I follow a simple formula (this way, even my boyfriend can make dinner): protein + healthy carbohydrate + veggie (Figure 3). The protein doesn't have to be meat, in fact, for us it rarely is (try: eggs, cheese, nuts, veggie burgers); the carb can be anything from brown rice to whole-wheat toast; and the veggie should be plentiful and kept exciting (I usually amp up the excitement factor by adding a bit of healthy fat to my veggie [e.g., olive oil, goat cheese]). Second, balance your daily intake. If you have a carb-heavy breakfast (like I do), make your lunch light on the carbs (see Tip #2). I try and never have two similarly composed meals back-to-back. Our bodies and minds need variety and....balance. Likewise, if you went out to lunch with your co-workers and indulged, lighten up your dinner. Finally, balance your weekly diet. For me, this means eating healthier during the week and treating myself a bit on the weekends. I do this mindfully and never feel guilty. What is life without chocolate cake, after all?

Tip #4. Eat healthy snacks. Your snacks should fuel you. I always make sure my snacks have a significant source of protein, otherwise they will do nothing to satisfy my hunger and I'll be hitting up the vending machine one hour later. I also use them as an outlet to ensure I'm getting all my nutrition needs met. If I haven't had fruit yet, for example, I'll grab an apple and almonds (Figure 2). If I'm low on calcium, I'll make a bowl of Greek yogurt and whole-grain cereal.
   Figure 3. A balanced meal: scrambled eggs (1 egg and 2 egg whites) with a grilled Portobello mushroom and roasted red peppers, roasted zucchini and eggplant, and two pieces of whole-wheat toast with Earth Balance spread. 

Tip #5. Cook. This is the tip that ties everything together. When your schedule and energy levels permit, cook. Just a year or so ago I subsisted on frozen entrees. Armed with a Cooking Light subscription and meal ideas garnered from hours of scouring healthy living blogs, I cast my inhibitions to the side and started to cook. It began with weekend adventures (some successful, some not), but I quickly realized how even a home cooked meal could come together quickly and healthfully on a busy Tuesday night. Now, I love cooking exciting and healthy meals with whole foods. Cooking allows you to maintain balance, eat the way you like, and is not only good for your waist-line (and wallet), but it is good for your soul.