2.28.2014

Getting in your Fresh Fruits

I don't know about some of you, but I often have a difficult time fitting in at least four fresh fruits daily.  I am one who enjoys sleeping in as much as possible, so I allow myself the 20 minutes I need to get dressed and primped before running out of the door in the morning.  I generally don't have time for much else, so it is a challenge for me to eat a healthful, fruit-filled breakfast unless it is ready for me to grab and go.

I have had a pineapple sitting on my shelf for the last few weeks waiting for it to feel ripe enough to eat, I also purchased a bunch of fruit at the grocery store last night, including cantaloupe, navel oranges, grapefruit, and blackberries.  Another recent purchase of mine was a set of two gigantic Tupperware storage bowls  that holds a lot of food... A LOT.  I decided my fresh fruit and gigantic Tupperware was just what I needed to get myself consistently eating a variety of fresh fruit in the morning.

Fresh Fruit for the Week:
Here is my breakfast this morning, already half eaten :)

  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 3 bananas
  • 4 small apples
  • 1 box blackberries
  • 1 lemon, juiced
Instructions:
  1. Peel, cut, core, etc. all fruit and place into a large bowl.
  2. Pour the juiced lemon over the fruit and toss to coat.
  3. Store in an airtight container and eat over the week.
Amy's Notes:
Now, let's break down the servings of all of these fruits.  
  • 1 pineappe ~ 4 servings
  • 1 cantaloupe ~ 6 servings
  • 1 grapefruit ~ 2 servings
  • 2 navel oranges ~2 servings
  • 3 bananas ~3 servings
  • 4 small apples ~2 servings
  • 1 box blackberries ~ 1 serving
Total servings in my fruit bowl: 20
I'm guessing that it will take me about 4 days to go through the whole bowl, so that equates out to be 5 servings of fruit fruit per day... SCORE!  Prepping the whole bowl took me about 30 minutes from start to cleanup, so that takes away time that I would have spent trying to cut fruit in the mornings.

On another subject, one of my best girlfriends is getting married this summer and I am one of her bridesmaids.  She was nice enough to let us pick out different dresses as long as they were all the same color.  This is the dress I ordered earlier this week for the wedding:
Her color is a gorgeous deep plum purple, and her accent color is silver.  Now all I have to do is to be on the lookout for some sparkly, but comfortable silver heels.  I'm so excited for the summer to come!

In the meantime, Kevin and I will be hitting the gym like crazy, preparing for our cruise in May to the Caribbean.  We had a bit of a gym slump this week because it snowed and/or was icy on the roads, especially in the evening, so we opted to stay in a few nights.  I'm hoping to get back to work tonight and try out a Zumba Party class with the bride-to-be mentioned above.  It should be a fun time.  To encourage us, I sent this picture to Kevin:
Have a great weekend... and eat your fruit!

2.27.2014

Groceries and Reading

Ah, it seems like the days are just flying by with little time for blogging!  As an update:  I have been doing well with increasing my nutrient density while avoiding those no-no foods this week.  I have found that when I am eating nutrient dense, I seem to go through produce sooo fast!  I'm already needing to go to the grocery store again today after work.  I thought I would share with you guys again what is on my typical grocery list this time:

Grocery List 2/27/14
Produce:

  • Apples
  • Arugula
  • Bananas
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh thyme
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts

Bulk (dry) Section:

  • Bulgar
  • Farrow
  • Lentils
  • Long grain brown rice
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Canned:

  • White beans
  • Kidney Beans

Frozen:

  • Strawberries

Other:

  • Rice vinegar

For Kevin:

  • Cereal
  • Lunch sub sandwiches
  • Yogurt
  • Small Milk
  • Cornish game hen
  • Tillamook butter
I also thought I would share with you some interesting articles/blog posts I've been reading:


Hope everyone has a great rest of your week!

2.19.2014

Flavorful Tahini and Grain Salad

I hope everyone's hump day is going well.  Last night after prepping my breakfast, lunch and dinner for today, I went to yoga at my gym.  It was the perfect way to relax and get quite a sweat going... I just may be becoming a yogi!  Don't worry, this is first and foremost a recipe blog, but I thought I would share with you my experiences practicing yoga.

Over last fall I found that I was beginning to have some tightness and pain in my right hip.  It would have a light pop when I made certain movements and be sorest when I first got up in the morning and when I found myself sitting or standing for longer periods of time.  Since Kevin and I have started going to the gym more in the last month, the hip pain has become more noticeable.  So, I have been desperate to find some relief that didn't involve pain medicine.

I met a friend of a friend this weekend who went to school to be a sports physical therapist, and he suggested that I do a pigeon stretch (in yoga) at least three times a day for 35 seconds each, as well as do more lunges to build up the muscles surrounding my hip and buttocks.

Then, yesterday in yoga I also asked my instructor what she would suggest I do.  She felt my hip bones and noticed that my right hip is 1 inch shorter than the other and that it would take building my core muscles and stretching to fix the popping problem and pain.  She too suggested the pigeon pose and to consciously throughout the day try to lift my core to create space in that hip bone.  Hopefully a combination of both the sports trainer and yoga instructor's advice will get me back into shape.  On top of that, losing a bit of weight to not have so much strain on all of my joints is sure to help.

Last night I prepped a salad for lunch today that is one of my new favorite recipes I have made in a long time!  It is delicious, gets me to eat my greens, and can be versatile to whatever grain and bean ingredients I have prepped on hand.

Flavorful Tahini and Grain Salad
Servings: 4-6
Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cooked grain (I used brown rice, but would love to try it with bulgar, barley, farro, quinoa, cous cous, etc.)
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked beans or legumes (I used 1 can of chickpeas, but I would love to try it with brown lentils or even green peas.)
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • Tahini Dressing
    • Juice from 1 lemon
    • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
    • 2 Tbsp sweetener (I used brown rice syrup, but you could also use date paste or agave syrup.)
    • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • water to thin to consistency
    • black pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Place all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well combined, adding water as needed to achieve a thinner creamy dressing.
  2. Place all of the other salad ingredients into a large bowl and stir until well mixed.
  3. Pour all of the dressing on top of the rice mixture, and mix until all of the salad is well coated.  Add pepper to taste.
  4. Serve chilled by itself or on top of your choice of green.
Amy's Notes:

As I said earlier, this rice salad can be very versatile depending on the type of grain or bean/lentil that you use.  Next time I would like to make it with farrow and lentils.  Mmmm!  This time I made it with brown rice and chickpeas because that is what I had on hand.  I served mine over a bed of well chopped green leaf lettuce.

Last night I returned to my Mom a container of Tupperware I had borrowed, and in it I gave her the rest of this salad that I did not use for my side salad for dinner and lunch today.... all I can think now is, "Why didn't I keep it?!"  Enjoy it this time, Mom <3, because next time I make this, I'm not sure if I will be so willing to share ;).

2.18.2014

I feel a change coming...

I've been talking over the last couple of weeks on my blog about how Kevin and I have recently joined a gym.  We have been going regularly, 4-5 times a week, and I am beginning to see results in my muscles... but not on the scale.  After a few weeks of being downright frustrated with these results, I decided to take a good hard look at what I was eating day to day.  To be short, it looked much more like a processed vegetarian diet than a Nutritarian diet.  So, I have decided to make a change and add back in those fruits and veggies that had slowly made their way out of my diet.  After all...


Here is what I ate yesterday compared to what I have been eating on a more regular basis: 

On my way to work I had a green juice that had a cucumber, small green apples, turnip greens, and broccoli stems.
Before I may have stopped to grab a decaf coffee with soy milk and caramel syrup.
Once I got to work I had a big bowl of fruit with apples, tangerines, mandarin oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and a banana.
Before, for breakfast I may have had a big bowl of oatmeal with raisins, craisins, walnuts, almonds, chocolate chips, and soy milk on top.
For lunch I had a huge salad with mixed greens, red bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, celery, green onion, chickpeas, tomato, and a miso-dijon dressing.
Before, for lunch I would often have a large serving of grains with beans, a few veggies, and generally a salty sauce.
Yesterday for dinner I had a small side salad (unpictured) and a few scoops of Dr. Fuhrman's Asparagus, Mushroom, and Leek Ragout (link to recipe for Dr. Fuhrman members).  Note that I changed the recipe a bit by adding kidney beans while cooking the mushrooms and asparagus.  It added that extra bean that I needed in my day.
On a normal day, dinner could be some processed bread or chips with dip such as beans or guacamole.
Also, did I mention that before I would have had some chocolate kisses or M&Ms during the day?  I know!  I'm terrible!

As you can see from my descriptions, what I ate yesterday and what I had been eating before were both technically vegetarian, but my choices yesterday were much much more Nutritarian.  I think this is the step that I have known I should take all along in order to achieve successful weight loss, but just didn't want to put in the effort to make it happen... until now that is.  

So, here starts my new effort to increase the nutrient density in my diet.  After reading several articles from Dr. Fuhrman's website, I have had a re-enlightening to why it is we strive for nutrient-density in the first place:


Who's with me!?!

2.17.2014

Bountiful Basket 2

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend!  My Saturday was spent picking up my Bountiful Basket, going grocery shopping, and eating lunch with my mom.  Later in the afternoon, Kevin and I went to a wedding reception of some friends that had gotten married in Hawaii last month.  Then at night, our friends picked us up in a party bus to be taken around downtown for one of our good friend's birthdays.  Overall, it was tons of fun, but I needed some serious hydrating the next day from all of the running around and the couple of drinks I had.

Sunday, Kevin and I gloriously slept in, then watched James Bond and got some laundry and knitting done.  I was able to prep a bit of food for this week to hopefully keep me on track this week (but more on that in tomorrow's post).

I'm kicking myself for forgetting to take a picture of my Bountiful Basket in its entirety this weekend, but here is a quick picture of my fairly full fridge (note that some things are Kevin's like the milk, eggs, and yogurt) and a list of what came in the basket this week:



  • 1 large head green leaf lettuce (it is hidden in my VegiBag to the left on my middle shelf)
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 bag carrots
  • 1 bag small green apples
  • 1 bag mandrin oranges
  • 1 acorn squash
  • several large golden potatoes
  • several medium tomatoes
  • several very green bananas that will be ripe in a decade ;)
  • 1 bundle of spinach
  • 1 pineapple
I don't think that I will be getting a Bountiful Basket this week, as I feel like I have enough produce to get through as it is, and Kevin and I might be taking a trip to Montana to see my brother and lovely pregnant-with-twins sister in law.  I have a few things that I have been knitting for the babies that I hope to finish in time for when we see them next.

Tonight I will be utilizing some of my BB produce from this week and last week with a recipe from Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center: Asparagus, Mushroom, and Leek Ragout

I'm sorry, but the recipe link will only work for Dr. Fuhrman Members!  If you don't already have a membership, it is only $3.95 a month for the Silver Membership (which I have), and it gives you access to many tools including discussion forums, and my favorite, all of Dr. Fuhrman's most popular recipes.  I believe on the website he has over 1000.  I would highly recommend it when the cost is less than the cost of a latte  per month (not that we drink those liquid calories anyways).

I'll make sure to post pictures of how the recipe came out!  Until tomorrow.... :)

2.14.2014

Berry Coconut Chia Pudding

Some of you may remember Kevin and my distaste general disinterest for Valentine's Day in previous years.  Kevin and I started dating a little over three years ago right before Valentine's day, so we felt a bit awkward as to what our expectations of each other were on Valentine's Day.  We have come to an understanding that we expect nothing special on Valentine's day, but generally end up doing something fun together (preferably at home since most places are crowded).

In past years we have cooked together at home and enjoyed a night in watching a movie.  We are currently making our way through the James Bond collection that Kevin got from my parents this year for Christmas.  We just finished up The Living Daylights, which was actually pretty good after just watching A View to a Kill before.

As most people feel around Valentine's Day, I'm sure, I am craving something with a bit of sweetness to it.  I remembered how yummy my chocolate pudding was last year, so I decided to make another chia pudding:

Berry Coconut Chia Pudding
Servings: 6-8
Time: 5 minutes, plus 1 hour chill

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 16 oz can lite coconut milk
  • 1 7 oz cube soft silken tofu, drained
  • 6-8 dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • fresh berries to garnish


Instructions:
  1. In a high speed blender, blend all of the ingredients except for the chia seeds and fresh berries.  Blend until very smooth and creamy.  It will be a little thicker than milk, but thinner than a smoothie.
  2. Pour the blended ingredients into a medium sized bowl.  Stir in the chia seeds until they are fully coated and mixed into the liquid.
  3. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.  Serve in a small bowl topped with fresh berries.  Store leftovers in an airtight container until all of your Valentines are sweetly satisfied!
Amy's Notes:
Make sure to taste the blended pudding portion before combining it with the chia seeds.  You may find that you want to blend more dates to make the pudding sweeter.

For this recipe I used frozen organic sweet cherries for the liquid and fresh blackberries and blueberries to top, but feel free to mix it up however you would like. 

2.12.2014

Bountiful Basket 1

Have you guys heard of Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op (BBFC)?  It is a wonderful co-op that allows anyone to purchase produce or goods on any given week to be picked up (for us it is Saturday mornings).  It allows you to have fresh, inexpensive produce weekly without bothering to go to the grocery store.  Here is the description on their website:

"BBFC is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit. This is a grassroots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Since there are no employees at Bountiful Baskets, we as a group pay rock bottom prices on your food. This also means the co-op would not happen without volunteers. If you are interested in the co-op continuing, please volunteer occasionally. All it takes is a little time, energy and a smile. Volunteer opportunities include helping prepare the baskets, breaking down boxes, assisting with the distribution, and packing up. To help out, simply arrive an hour early dressed and ready to work with water to drink."

My mom has been getting a bountiful basket just about every week for well over a year and very much enjoys it.  She likes the mystery of what might be coming each week and trying some of the more unique items she hasn't before, while enjoying some of her regular favorites.  I haven't participated in it all too often because I am generally the only one who eats the produce in my house, and can't always get through everything before some things go bad.  Now, however, I'm going to be optimistic enough that I can get away with only getting produce from BBFC and grocery shopping only for dried or canned basics like brown rice, oats, nuts, and beans when I need to.  I'm also being optimistic for hoping that Kevin will partake in eating a bit of the produce.  He was quite excited to see blackberries in the basket that I picked up this Sunday:

This time I got a bag of apples, blackberries, strawberries, bananas, romaine lettuce,
asparagus, oranges, grapefruit, leeks, cucumbers, zucchini, and broccoli.
This week I split the bountiful basket with my mom.  Her and my dad just got back from a 20 day cruise (20... I didn't mistype), and their fridge was as bare as I have seen it in years!  So far this week I have been enjoying the fruit (except for the bananas, which will be ripening for a while), broccoli, zucchini, and cucumbers.  I have special plans for the asparagus, the rest of the zucchini, and the leeks.  Perhaps I will post about the outcome if all goes well.

This weekend Kevin and I took a small road trip with friends to go into western Montana for an overnight visit to Quinn's Hot Springs.  We enjoyed some time relaxing in the wonderful hot spring pools while enjoying the snowy forested surroundings.  There was (gloriously!) hardly any cell service, so I and mostly everyone else left their phones in the cabin and just enjoyed the scenery and company.  I did manage to snap a picture of Kevin and I just before we left.  Here we are with the cabins behind us (and my new knitted cowl and headband that I finished on the drive to the resort):

I'm just a bit squint-y... and with no trace of makeup.  It was actually quite liberating!
I hope everyone is having a great week so far!  Does anyone have some good plans for Valentine's Day?!

2.05.2014

Grocery List, Reading List, Pinterest List



Hi Readers!  I haven't had much time to cook since the weekend and have been enjoying a lot of sweet potato chili leftovers on top of extra brown rice during the week, so no new recipes today, unfortunately.  I also haven't had too much time to go grocery shopping in over two weeks other than stopping in at the store to buy the can't-live-withouts (apples, bananas, lettuce, potatoes, and onions).  I have this great app on my iPhone (one of the only ones that I actually paid money for, haha), called "Buy Me a Pie" (find it in the app store here) that helps me to remember all of the things that I am running out of and what I have gotten at the grocery store in the past.  I'm waiting till Saturday afternoon to do my big grocery shopping after I pick up my Bountiful Basket, but I thought I would share with you what is on my list this week to show you what items I regularly have on hand:

Grocery List:


  • Produce:
    • Apples
    • Avocados
    • Bananas
    • Bell Pepper
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Cucumber
    • Lemons
    • Parsley
    • Cabbage
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Broccoli
  • Bulk (dry) Section:
    • Brown Rice
    • Cumin spice
    • Chili powder
    • Garbanzo beans
    • Lentils
    • Walnuts
    • Almonds
  • Canned:
    • Chickpeas
    • Diced tomatoes
    • Petite diced tomatoes
    • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen:
    • Spinach
  • Kitchen Supplies:
  • Other:
    • Low sodium BBQ Sauce
    • Unsweetened apple sauce
    • Vegan cheese
    • Silken Tofu
  • For Kevin:
    • Lunch subs
    • Log Cabin Maple Syrup
    • Eggs
    • Sandwich buns
    • 2% milk
    • Caesar salad mix
    • Shredded pizza cheese

Reading List:

I thought I would also share with you some things I have been reading lately from some of my favorite blogs and news websites:

Check out this delicious looking Kale and Cabbage Pad Thai Salad at Eating Bird Food.

Look at all of the simple meals that can be made without a recipe to follow that include a grain/potato, bean, vegetable, and spices and sauces of your liking at Engine 2's Daily Beet.

My sister-in-law's new blog, Rouge Rustique, featured a homemade natural citrus cleaner today.

Pinterest List:

And... here are a few of my favorite pins that I have found lately.  Follow me on Pinterest here.
Lentil Soup
Tried, loved, making again sometime very very soon! (source)
DIY Tablet (or Recipe Book) Holder for under cabinet {Sawdust and Embryos}
How dynomite would this be in the kitchen?! (source)
Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Can you say "Yum"?  I would love this in a wrap. (source)
Or this one?  Option B
I'm making several of these for my pregnant-with-twins
sister-in-law for mobiles over the crib.  (Pattern)
Turtle Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans, Chocolate, and Medjool Dates
Don't these look just sinful?  (source)
Till next time... :)

2.02.2014

Super Bowl Sunday!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday to everyone!  As you can see from my last post, I am a Seahawks fan and am hoping for the correct outcome today.  Our plans for the Super Bowl include having food and drinks at our apartment with a dozen or so friends before heading to a bar down the way where we have reserved the best two tables in the house.  I'm happy to save a bit of money by eating and drinking a bit beforehand, but even more happy that I will have minimum cleanup after the game.  We will be recording the game at home anyways because we assume that we will have a hard time hearing all of the funny commercials to come.

What is everyone serving for their SuperBowl celebrations?  Today I am serving the following:




GO HAWKS!