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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Tomato, tomato, egg, tomato

I almost made it to this weekend with out posting about last weekend.

Last week was a little nuts. I started a new workout regimen. I was doing strength before work and cardio after work. This left me with little time to actually make dinner. So, I made good use of my old friend the crockpot this past weekend.

After leaving the gym Friday night, I stopped and picked up dinner at Whole Foods. I snagged a bag of their house made thai pepper popcorn. It was the perfect snack for relaxing on the couch and watching a movie.

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Saturday I got up early, worked out, then made a large and delightful breakfast to fuel the day.

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Toast with egg, avocado and sriracha with a side of clementine, and homemade greek yogurt with chia, flax and strawberries. This powered me through a trip to Whole Foods to take advantage of their one day bulk bin sales:

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After getting home, I threw a curry in the crock pot.

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Feeling good about being able to come home to a hot dinner, I headed downtown to do some marathon shopping. After trying on over 50 dresses, I bought one. Success.

I recently inherited a plethora of homegrown tomatoes and a half dozen ears of sweet corn. I have been greatly enjoying those all week. Is there a limit to the number of tomatoes one can eat in day? I think not!
Tomatoes for breakfast:

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Tomatoes for lunch:

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Tomatoes for dinner:

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Oh, the joys of summertime.

Tarragon chicken salad sandwiches

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This is an easy and flavorful recipe that I lightened up. Perfect for a quick lunch for unexpected guests or as smaller sandwiches/roll-ups for a party.

I lightened up the recipe by substituting plain Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise and Brian didn’t even notice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise(regular or low-fat)
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries(I used strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice(I used almonds sunflower seeds and cashews)
  • 6 oz of shredded chicken

Mix everything except the nuts, dried fruit, and shredded chicken in a bowl.

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Taste and adjust flavors as necessary.

Stir in nuts and dried fruit.

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Toss with chicken. Let refrigerate for about an hour(if you have the time) to let the flavors mingle.

Serve on delicious bread or in pieces of lettuce for lighter fare.

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Holiday weekend

Maybe it wasn’t technically a holiday weekend, but with the 4th falling so close to the weekend, it seemed like one. Thursday we had a few people over to grill out and enjoy the back yard. There was a ton of food and festivities(maybe a little too much for some of us).

We now have oodles of left overs that I have been trying to recreate into other dishes so that we aren’t eating burger after brat after burger.

Saturday I woke up at 5:15am and couldn’t go back to sleep. So, I headed up and did some work in the garden and headed to water aerobics, only to learn that it started at 11am, not 10am. I didn’t want to wait around so I headed home and started creating some calzone dough. I made two different fillings, one being ground taco meat, corn and black beans with cheddar cheese and the other of chicken, pesto, tomatoes and swiss. I thought they turned out pretty tasty.

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Saturday afternoon I spend relaxing and watching a Law and Order: SVU marathon. Delightful. It’s amazing how crimes can be wrapped up neatly in a one hour TV segment. Saturday night I headed to Michael’s craft store and browsed their clearance. I got some fun glitter paint and goods to make some bracelets. A wonderful little night at home.

I had recently heard in a podcast that if you want really fluffy eggs for omelettes to put them in the blender. It will also make your eggs go farther, needing you to use less. So, after making a batch of almond milk, I cleaned out the blender and threw in one egg and 3 egg whites. I also threw in a few handfuls of spinach(who not???). It made my eggs super fluffy and green! I had a 12 inch skillet full of eggs. I topped them with marinara. Delicious and colorful.

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Once my food settled, I headed to meet some friends for an aquatic exercise class. Get a tan and exercise? Yes, please! Lunch consisted of BBQ chicken salads and fruit. I topped the salad with grilled corn, black beans, carrots, cucumber and some crushed tortilla chips.

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After realizing that yesterday was National Chocolate Day and being a little tired of eating meat at every meal, I decided that we would have chocolate chunk waffles for dinner. Well, Brian would. I had half of a waffle, veggie patty and some fruit. I don’t care for sweet breakfast foods all that much and I would have been really cranky later if I didn’t eat some protein.

Brian:

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Me:

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I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend as I did. So happy it finally felt like summer!

Fun and fantastic

This past weekend was awesome. The weather was great and Brian and I ended up doing some spontaneous things and really taking advantage of the city. Something I need to do more often. That’s why I live here, right?

Brian took me out to dinner on Friday night because our fridge was bare! We hadn’t really gone grocery shopping in 2 weeks and we had been squeaking by on pantry staples and freezer meals all week. The upside to this was that, our fridge was bare. How is that an upside? It was the perfect opportunity to pull everything out and wipe down the shelves. A task that was long over due! Look at its glowing beauty afterwards:

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After my speed cleaning fridge session, I headed out the door to walk to meet Brian for dinner. The weather was perfect for eating dinner outside and this place had a patio(no coincidence). We started off our meal with the bone marrow appetizer which came with a great arugula salad and pickled cherry. It was the perfect flavor combination.

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I had a delicious and dark beer made with 3 different types of coffee beans:

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And was only able to eat half of my Legend’s of the Daal wrap(very tasty):

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The place is mostly known for their burgers. Brian got Elvis’ Last Supper with house made peanut butter and bacon. Surprisingly delicious.

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On the way home, we decided to walk through Ribfest, which was happening right down the block. There was this sign:

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To which, Brian reacted like this to the thought of a deep fried Snickers:

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We continued walking, until we saw this sign:

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To which the possibility of deep-fried Oreos was too much for Brian to resist. We headed over to the ticket line and within 10 minutes had a tub of fried Oreos. To which, the man next to us in line got a deep-fried Snickers and insisted I take his picture.

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Because deep-frying candy and cookies isn’t enough, they top them off with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar:

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I tried one of the Oreos. It was actually pretty tasty. Like a funnel cake married and Oreo and made tiny funnel cake Oreo babies. Brian was in heaven.

A Friday night of indulgence meant a healthy breakfast and exercise Saturday morning.

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Followed by a trip to the garden. A very exciting trip where I would learn that all of my radishes had matured and were ready to be picked. I also got a few handfuls of kale and spinach and a lone strawberry. I think I’ve gotten more produce from my community garden plot in one month this year than I did all last summer!

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After lots of errand running we grabbed lunch and then hit up Margie’s for a scoop of ice cream. They were switching out containers on Brian’s chocolate peanut butter and he got a mega scoop. That got all over his beard and mustache, but loos at those abundant ribbons of peanut butter. I had some serious ice cream envy and Brian happily shared with me.

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Saturday we ate mostly vegetable for dinner. I grilled a ton of them for us to devour and a little chicken. I also made a delicious salad with the kale and spinach from the garden with a vinaigrette, hemp and sunflower seeds and blueberries.

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Sunday was to be filled with rain, but we were surprised by a sunny day instead.

I had a breakfast taco to start the day. The eggs ended up overwhelming the tortilla, but it was delicious!

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I slow cooked brisket in a marinade all day to make some delicious barbacoa for our tostadas for dinner.

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While that was cooking and making the house smell wonderful, I got to work on a big batch of pumpkin and chocolate chip waffles to use as breakfasts in the upcoming days:

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Made a tasty batch of tarragon chicken salad(can’t wait to share the recipe) that was the perfect meal of protein to sustain us on our 12 mile bike ride by the lake.

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I don’t think we could have packed much more into our weekend. It was a great one! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Greek tuna salad

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When I was traveling in December and dreading the unhealthy airport food, I ran across a really cute fresh and healthy restaurant/stand in the Houston airport called Camden Food Co. Right across from an organic pizza place. What? Two decent options right by each other in the airport? I love that it’s not impossible to get good food while traveling anymore.

Well, they had a Greek tuna that was so delicious. It was fresh flaked tuna with kalamata, cucumber, diced tomato, feta, herbs and a Greek vinaigrette. I bought a container of that and put in on a bed of fresh mixed greens from their salad bar and topped with a few chickpeas. So delicious.

I’ve been thinking about that tuna ever since. So, I had to attempt to recreate it as I don’t know when will be the next time that I am in the George Bush International airport to get more. It’s so good, it’s almost worth the trip just to get some.

Here’s my attempt at the remake. I also threw in some diced yellow and orange bell pepper. A great way to jazz up plain old tuna. It would also be great as a dip on crackers or in a pita. Mmm. Ican’t wait to make it again.

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Quick sweet and sour cucumbers

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I have trouble going to a Thai restaurant and NOT ordering an appetizer of cucumber salad. If they offered it in entrée portion, I would probably order it as my meal. It’s sweet, it’s tangy, it’s crunchy and oh so refreshing.

I’ve made a few attempts at a homemade version before, but they always seems a little off. This is one of the closest I’ve made. It might even taste a little lighter than that in the restaurant.

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot-house cucumber, unpeeled, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • fresh ground black pepper

Place cucumber slices in colander, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat. Stir occasionally. Let stand 15 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl until sugar is dissolved.

Rinse and drain cucumbers well. Pat to dry.

Add to dressing mixture. Combine well. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours(I put mine in a glass jar for safe keeping) and ate them a day later. The flavor was superb.

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A typical evening

Here is a look at my typical evening. This just happened to be last night.

After work, I came home and worked out. A fast and effective Jillian Michaels DVD.

Then it was time to head into the kitchen to make dinner. I was glad to have dinner mostly pre made, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time cooking when I was already hungry. All I needed to do was reheat the curry and sauté some zucchini.

Here’s a look at tonight’s dinner plate:
1/2 avocado kale salad
1/4 sautéed zucchini
1/4 chicken and vegetable curry and brown rice

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My dinner was less than 500 calories and super filling. The curry contained onion, bell pepper, carrots, sweet potato and cauliflower.

After dinner I made green juice from celery, cucumber, romaine, spinach and kale. I had about a 6oz glass and saved the rest for the morning.

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Then I finished off the evening by taking some fish oil, organizing for the Texas trip and relaxing on the couch.

That is pretty much my typical evening. Nothing too exciting but productive. My new goal is to continue to pack my lunch the night before, so I have it ready to grab and go the next morning. It lets me get the extra 10 minutes of sleep that I love!

Tips to succeed in healthy eating

It’s day 2 of the new year! How is everyone doing on their resolutions?

I had a very successful day yesterday. After having a few drinks on New Years Eve, I wanted to eat crap yesterday. Even if I only have one drink, I always want to eat crap the next day. I hate it. Which is why I have cut back and almost eliminated alcohol from my diet. But I didn’t eat crap yesterday. I knew ahead of time that I would probably want to eat crappy and safe guarded myself against it. How?

Planning.

That is the number one key to being successful in healthy eating. Plan your grocery lists and stick to them. Plan your meals. Plan to have healthy snacks ready. Look at restaurant menus ahead of time and decide on what you will order. Doing this will eliminate the impulsive poor decisions.

I almost always have eggs on hand. They are one of my favorite breakfasts and they are so filling and nutritious. They go great with a side of fruit or veggies. I will eat eggs for almost any meal as my source of protein. Even better…they are inexpensive. And cook very quickly, so they are a fast and easy meal.

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The other thing I do is make large batches of things. Eat some. Freeze some. Always have food on hand to eat so you don’t grab fast food or go out to eat. I dedicate a good portion of my weekends to cooking so I have food during the week and have no excuse for making poor choices when I get home late and don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen. I made a big batch of this amazing Moroccan lentil soup that Brian and I can’t stop eating.

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I also made two big batches of kale salads. The avocado kale salad and the detox kale salad. I love kale salads because they are packed with nutrients and kale is so hearty that it will last for days in the fridge without wilting. Pre-made salad? Perfect.

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Utilize your slow cooker. If you don’t have one, get one! They are great for making big batches of soup and a whole variety of other things, including desserts! Look what I made in my slow cooker while I went out to dinner yesterday.

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What are those mysterious bundles of aluminum foil? Sweet potatoes. Cooked in the crock pot. Ready to go so I can just reheat the sweet potato and have a filling and healthy side at any meal this week. Just wash, poke a few holes, wrap them in foil and place in slow cooker. Cook on high for 2.5 to 4 hours depending on size and amount of potatoes in crock pot.

Combat hunger by having healthy snack on hand. I always pack an extra piece of fruit or some carrots to snack on while I’m at work. I also keep a bag of almonds in my desk drawer.

So combat pit falls by planning. Always have something healthy ready to eat to avoid temptations.

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!