Walk it off

This past winter, I got a great deal on a watch. This was no ordinary watch, but one of those sporty heart rate monitor exercise watches. The only problem with these watches is that the battery doesn’t last nearly as long as a regular watch as they are working so much harder and tracking so much more. So, the battery died about 2 months ago. Last week, Brian was trying to change the battery and accidentally broke the LCD screen on it. He very kindly bought me a new watch, which might actually be an upgrade to my old watch. This one also had a pedometer, calculates the calories you burn throughout the day based on your heart rate and you can set daily goals on it. I really like. It’s also very motivating to move more.

I had a lot of errands to run this weekend and by run, I mean walk. Since we don’t have a car, I do a lot of walking, especially on the weekend. Motivated by my watch to walk a little more than usual, I logged about 20 miles this weekend. How did I fuel all of this walking?

Big breakfasts! And lots of coffee.

Saturday morning, I was very indecisive about what I wanted for breakfast, so I had a little bit of everything. Strawberries and watermelon, an egg with sriracha, and a piece of cinnamon toast. Half with pumpkin butter and the other half with mashed banana and a little cookie butter.

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After a morning trip to the store and an exciting sale on homemade guacamole, I had a lunch of lots of fruits, veggies and an open-faced chicken and guacamole sandwich.  I love homemade guac, but when they sell the good stuff for less than I can make it, I’ll take it!

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A dinner of more chicken and guac, veggies, hummus and chips. I’m really trying to take advantage of the last of the fresh veggies while I can.

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Saturday night, I made some falafel with an extra helping of greens.

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Then I spent a night in with a glass of wine and my sewing machine doing some mending for Brian.

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Sunday’s breakfast was a helping of toast, guac, bacon and eggs with a pumpkin pie muffin.

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That was a very finger-licking and runny yolk! Mmm!

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Brian had a banana and chocolate chip muffin reheated with a smear of cookie butter on top.

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After running errands, a long shoe shopping trip for Brian, lunch at Native Foods(salads for both of us), and buying fabric for me, I did some more sewing. I sewed a yoga mat bag for myself. I have lululemon’s big mat. It is no longer available on the website, but is wider and longer than the average yoga mat and great if you are taller than average and struggle to stay on your mat during classes. Hence it being bigger than average, it doesn’t fit in most yoga bags. So, I loosely followed Kick Stand Fitness’s directions to make a bag. It took me about and hour, start to finish. I even added an interior pocket. Super easy and functional. Definitely work the 1 yard of fabric and one hour of work.

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Sunday’s dinner was fruit, salad and veggie lasagna. I bought the lasagna pre-made and thought it was great. Packed with flavor and protein, I’d definitely buy it again.

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With falafel and leftover veggie lasagna, it looks to be another veggie filled week! And what is great is that during this week’s heat wave, we can live on leftovers and I won’t have to heat up the kitchen!

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Mango lassi

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People! This is tasty and refreshing. Last month I went to an Indian cooking class. At the end, our instructor made mango lassi’s for everyone. YUM!

I had to attempt to recreate at home, of course.

The ones I made were much thicker and more smoothie like than was made in class, but I liked them that way.

For 2 lassi:

-1 individual container of plain Greek yogurt

-2 mangoes, peeled and diced

-1 cup unsweetened coconut milk(or whatever milk you prefer)

-dash of cardamom

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Blend away! Pour in two glasses. You can add more liquid(milk or water) to think them down more if you like. They are the perfect complement to a spicy dish. Or, we had ours with pizza and salad!

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Easter weekend

I didn’t do much cooking last week. I had over bought on groceries the week before, so we spend last week eating odds and ends, trying not to waste food and leave our fridge empty for Easter weekend as we headed to my parents house.

Thursday night, we had one of the best eating out experiences to date at Girl and the Goat. A group of 6 of us went, which was ideal. We ordered pretty much half the menu and tasted everything. I think the over all winning dish was the braised goat neck. Seriously tender meat. We got lucky, as it is only served once a month and we happened to be there. With so much passing and tasting of the food, the table got a little messy:

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We got up earlier than I wanted to on Friday and took the train to my parents for the weekend. The views were great, but I was tired and cranky.

easter2I spent NO time in the kitchen while I was at my parents house, which is very unusual. Well, actually the only time I was in the kitchen making myself drinks. Micheladas anyone? I added in some of my mom’s homemade tomato juice, for my health, of course.

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One of the highlights besides the copious amounts of good food, good weather and getting to spend time with my family was getting to play with my niece.  She is in a really fun stage where she likes to mimic and is such a ham! We couldn’t stop laughing at all the silly faces she would make and things she would do. Here she is goofing around making faces with my dad:

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Sadly, we had to head back early on Easter, but were able to take delicious leftover ham sandwiches and one per year Cadbury egg with us to eat on the train.

easter5 easter6I hope everyone had as nice of an Easter weekend as I did. Hopefully I’ll be spending more time in the kitchen this week!

Golden elixir: A detox beverage

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In this months issue of Whole Living magazine was the new whole living plan. It was the detox that I followed last year and really liked. This years looked even better than last with more great, healthy recipes. I’m looking forward to making most of them.

Twice today, I have drank a mug of their golden elixir. It’s really detoxifying and tasty. To make, add 1 T fresh lemon juice, 1/8 tsp turmeric, 1/8 tsp ginger( it calls for ground ginger but I used fresh grated), a dash of cayenne(depending on your heat preference you can add more) and a squirt of honey(optional) to a mug of hot water. Stir and sip.

Enjoy!

Green juice

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I have the constant struggle to justify making green juice when I could be making  a glowing green smoothie instead. Well, sometimes I just want something smooth to drink. Last night I made a pitcher of my favorite green juice.

Green juice:

  • 1 bunch kale(stems and all)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear

I love this juice because it has so many nutrients but still tastes delicious. The apple and pear make it slightly sweet and easy to drink. A pitcher of juice make about 3 glasses. I don’t drink the juice all day long, but like to have one glass a day, usually first thing in the morning.

If you are thinking about getting into juicing, now is the perfect time of year. There are sales on juicers everywhere. I personally got mine at Aldi for $34.99 at this time last year and have used it several times with great results. It works as well as other models that cost $200. It’s the perfect machine for people that want to try juicing without the commitment of a really expensive machine. Starting this Wednesday Aldi will be carrying the juicer again for about 1 week or until supplies last.

Ban holiday bloat!

Ugh! It’s the sixth of December and I haven’t blogged once this month! Shame on me.

It seems like the holiday season has already started to take its toll on me. I haven’t been getting to the gym nearly as much and instead have been going out  for fun social events that involve drinking and eating foods I don’t typically eat. While they are always a good time, I can always feel it the next day.

I would say, when did I become so old? But I think  it’s more that I started taking better care of myself(less booze, less processed foods, more exercise,  more organic food and tons of fruits and veggies) and now I can really feel it when I veer from that lifestyle. I literally crave salads and water.

To help counteract the junk I have been taking in, I have tried to throw some more green smoothies in my diet. Yes, they often taste like salads in a glass, but it makes me feel so much better that something good is going into my body. It also helps with all the bloat I get from deviating from a less processed diet.

Here is one I have been making:

A few hand fulls of romaine and spinach. 3 stems of kale with leaves on. 1 apple. 2 stalks of celery. 1/4 of an avocado. Squeeze of lemon. 3-4 cubes of ice. 1/2 to 1 cup of water.

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Blend really well.

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If you aren’t a fan of the glowing green smoothie, you probably won’t like this. To make it taste more like a smoothie than a salad, add in banana or a pear. Parsley is really good thrown in there too.

I thought it was good enough to drink down and made me feel a ton better, too!

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Here’s to finishing the year as healthy as I started it! Bottoms up!

Chocolate and peanut butter green smoothie

Tonight’s winner was the evening smoothie.

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Put in blender: one cup of vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 huge handfuls of spinach, 3 tablespoons chocolate PB2, 8 ice cubes and a half cup of water. Blend well.
Makes 2 smoothies.

Brian could see the spinach but not taste it. An easy and healthy way to get in about a cup of spinach each and lots of protein, all for about 100 calories a piece.

Pumpkin spice latte

Earlier this month,  the Chicago Tribune tweeted “must-try autumn” recipes. Being that I love autumn cooking and baking, I took a quick scroll through. I wasn’t excited by most of them, but did decide to try the DIY pumpkin spice latte.
I don’t typically buy fancy coffee drinks. I drink coffee, but generally only add a little cream or cream and sugar. Most of those fancy drinks are just too sweet for me and don’t pack enough punch.
This one was pretty good though. I made a few changes to make it healthier.

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened vanilla coconut or almond milk
3 tablespoons pure pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup strong brewed coffee

Combine milk, pumpkin and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk mixture until foamy.

Transfer to two mugs, filling each only half way; top with coffee. See, the coffee coming down the side of the mug. Well, that’s because I spilled about half the coffee on the counter while trying to take a picture at the same time. I have so much talent.

You can get all fancy and top with whipped cream or sprinkle with cinnamon or more pumpkin pie spice.

Drink hot. This would be easy to make a big pot for a nice brunch.

Detox spa water

I am not sure why this is called detoxifying or spa water. I saw it as a pin on Pinterest and thought it sounded tasty. It’s flavorful and a great variation to regular water.

Take an apple of choice(I have made this with gala and granny smith and both are tasty).

Core it and slice it into thin slices. Place that and one cinnamon stick into the bottom of a pitcher.

Fill the pitcher 1/2 to 2/3 full of ice.

Fill with water. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it will be.

Cold brew iced coffee

Iced coffee is the perfect summer drink. Correction: Cold brew iced coffee is the perfect summer morning drink.

There is just something about hot coffee cooled down that is a little bitter an not quite as good as cold brew. I can’t lie. Instead of taking the time to make cold brew, I often brew a cup of hot, refrigerate it over night and drink it in the morning. And it’s always a little disappointing. After too many cups of disappointing coffee last week, I made a batch of cold brew concentrate over the weekend that has lasted me the week and I still have some left.

It’s really not hard. You just have to plan a little.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz coffee grounds(not too finely ground)
  • 48 oz of water

All you need is 4oz of water per ounce of coffee grounds. I just happened to have a 12oz bag of coconut macaroon coffee grounds hanging out in the kitchen. Put your water in a pitcher then add grounds. Give it a few stirs to make sure all grounds have been moistened. Place in refrigerator overnight for 12-15 hours.

Set up another pitcher/jar. Set fine mesh strainer on top. Line the strainer with layers of cheesecloth or a clean but old tightly woven dish towel(NOT terry cloth). I used a very tightly woven dishcloth to avoid having to strain multiple times.

Pour coffee and grounds through towel and mesh strainer.

I’ve read to avoid stirring the grounds and water or you will end up with a cloudy coffee in the end. I can not confirm or deny this as I didn’t take my chances on cloudy coffee and refrained from stirring. This straining part took close to 45 minutes. It’s definitely the step that takes the most patience, but I distracted myself by making breakfast muffins while waiting.

Afterwards, you have a nice large jar of cold coffee concentrate, unless you like obscenely strong iced coffee.

I saved the grounds and put them in my garden. They are good at helping to keep the ground moist and the antioxidants left in them help your plants to grow. It’s organic fertilizer!

I left it in the jar as concentrate then dilute it as I use it. I usually fill my glass with ice then 1/3 to 1/4 water then the rest with cold brew.

Leave a little room at the top for cream, of course. My favorite is the So Delicious Coconut Milk coffee creamer original flavor.

The perfect wake me up on a hot day.