Wholesam meals of the week

I initially had this post titled “squash, avocado, salad, pancakes” but thought that might sound a little gross.

Would you try it? A squash, avocado, pancake salad? Winking smile

Annnnyways.

I snapped some photos of my meals and snacks to share on this little bloggie.  Lots of big veggie bowls, avocados, treats, and carbs.

Sprouted grain toast with smashed avocado and hot sauce

Have you tried this?  It’s so rich and creammmmmy….. and better than smearing toast with butter or mayo!

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Protein pancakes with banana and peanut flour drizzle

Weekend staple

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Cabbage & broccoli salad

If I’m too lazy to make a dressing, which is almost always, I’ll just  squeeze on some mustard, vinegar, and hot sauce.

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Roasted kabocha squash with more peanut flour sauce

Snack time!  This polishes off the last of my PB2….womp womp.

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Egg white scramble with kale and zucchini and nutri yeast

Not a pretty photo- but yummy!

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VEGAN Meal at Sage in Culver City

I talked the fiancé into a meal out at a vegan restaurant.  We decided to split a pizza and a burger.  We chose a pizza with artichoke, eggplant, red pepper sauce, vegan cheese, and a buckwheat crust.  We also split a tempeh black bean burger topped with mango, avocado, and sautéed onions.  It came with a side of house made sweet potato chips.

Although our meal was good, I think we’d try something else on the menu next time.

I love trying vegan food, but it’s important to realize that a lot of it can be high in calories, sugar, or fat!  Normally, I stay away from the fake cheeses and meats for this reason.  Buuuuut it’s fun to try out different meals and combinations that you wouldn’t cook up at home.

When we go back, I’d love to try a bowl or breakfast.  Their drink menu looks great too Winking smile

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Egg burrito with black beans, spinach, mushroom, and hot sauce on Ezekiel tortilla

The black beans look like rabbit poop.  Sorry. Smile

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Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate bar

These are my favorite chocolate bars! 100 calories each and 70% cacao.

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Tuna Salad Veggie Bowl

Easy peasy!  Drain 1 can tuna in water, mix with mustard, and top over steamed broccoli & cauliflower and chopped mixed veggies (found at Trader Joe’s).  Plus some hot sauce of course.

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There were a few more un-pictured treats this week….including triple peanut butter ice cream, brown rice sushi rainbow rolls, and quinoa cranberry cookies.

I need to cool it on the hot sauce. Most of these pictured meals have it…yikes!!

What was your favorite meal this week?

sweetness & fitness mantras

“Hi my little Sweet Pea!” – my mom

“Have a good day Sugar Plum” – friend

“Hello Sweetness” – yoga teacher

“Good morning mi Amor” – fiancé

“Sambody Sexikowski!” – girlfriend (She gifted me a few magazine subscriptions to that name. haha) 😀

“<3 YFA” – YFN

Don’t you love sweet little nicknames?  I do ;D

ANYWAY.

Was just thinking about how sweet positive thoughts can keep you going.  Like mantras when you’re working out. Do you have any mantras you use while running?

Here’s what pops into my head when I’m trying to stay in the work-out mindset:

Random Thoughts:

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” I mean isn’t Finding Nemo inspiring?

“You’ve got this. ___ miles/minutes done and ___  miles/minutes left.”  Calculating how far I’ve gone or what I have left to do pushes me.

“You had a big breakfast- let’s burn it off. OR You’ve got a yummy meal waiting for you!” Ok yea sometimes I think about what I ate for fuel or what I want to eat after my workout.  Who doesn’t?

“Just to that tree. Just to that street.  Just to that car.” Continually naming and achieving small milestones while running encourages stamina.  When I’m tired and don’t think I can run one more mile, breaking it up into , “ok that tree, ok just this stop sign” makes the total distance more attainable.

Faster, Stronger, Relaxer” Repeating this mantra to myself has been a great motivator.  Yea, I know relaxer isn’t a word.  But I read this mantra in a workout magazine and it stuck.   It rhymes and it’s exactly what I need to think about when I’m feeling tired and need that extra push.

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Other Tips:

Make a playlist that makes you dance and sing! A great playlist will keep me going and pump me up!! I will sing out loud and dance along if I’m really having fun.

Wear comfortable clothes for the weather conditions of the day.  Dress for the weather! When you feel comfortable, you work harder.  When you aren’t overheating or freezing, your workout is easier to complete.  When I get a new workout shirt or outfit, I want to put them on and head out the door!

Find a workout buddy!  This is still on my to-do list.  Attending workout classes are a huge part of my fitness regime.  Without them, it’s hard for me to stay motivated!

Have fun! Love your workout or you’ll start hating exercise.

How do you stay motivated? Any mantras that you love?

taste everything, eat everything

Just a thought for intuitive eating and how to stay healthy without becoming CRAZY!! 

What’s your eating philosophy? Can you taste everything & eat nothing? 

Sounds easy enough right?  Pretty straightforward? mmmmm welll……

Are you a fan of Bethanny Frankel?

I wasn’t until I read her book.  She’s still a little too “New York” for me but I do love her honesty.

She has a pretty realistic and healthy attitude towards food and staying thin.  She admits to previously suffering from “food noise” and obsessing over her diet.  She says she’s so much happier now with her new habits of “taste everything & eat nothing.”  By not depriving yourself and not focusing on each and every meal and calorie, you can enjoy small portions of foods that you actually want.  What’s more, most of her recipes use whole ingredients and make  healthy substitutions where possible without decreasing the flavor.

Interesting.

I have a girlfriend who is good at eating what she wants and not overdoing it.  She’s thin and gorgeous!  Lately, she’s had issues with a GI infection that she hasn’t been able to cure.  She put herself on a diet consisting of probiotics and a special formula/smoothie that totalled around 600 calories per day.  Because she couldn’t eat solid food for a few weeks, she’s been collecting goodies from work in a Ziploc- stored in her freezer for when she can eat again.  Today I received a text from her, “OMG I did it.  I ate the entire bag.  EVERYTHING. :/ ”   In my opinion, she probably needed the calories!  But it’s interesting to see what happens when you deprive your body!

I’ve been in a similar boat. I’m not the “taste everything eat nothing” girl.  When I taste something that’s not a “healthy” food (like sweets, bread, carbs, chips etc.), I want to EAT EVERYTHING.

I guess that’s another reason why I like blogging my meals.  I’m finding a balance.   Moderation for me looks like: fro yo once in a while, eating more carbs and healthy fats, having a glass of wine here or there, and having that extra snack so I don’t eat a HUGE dinner when I get home from work.

I’m also learning to eat what I’m craving without feeling the guilt.  I won’t eat everything else and come back an hour later for that French toast or oatmeal I wanted in the first place!

I can’t wait to share more of my healthy tips and recipes.

Just a wholesam taste of life over here….enjoying one day at a time. 🙂

I’d love to hear what keeps you motivated and healthy, without being obsessive!

I’ll leave you with some lovely pinterest pins that may or may not relate to health……

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Foodie Pen Pal February 2014

If you didn’t see my previous post, I shared how this whole foodie pen pal idea works here: Sweet Treats for Foodie Pen Pal.

Kellie, my February Pen Pal, emailed me when everything arrived safe & sound.  She said she was very excited to dig into the treats she received.  Yah!

On that note, I 100% believe that “giving” is more rewarding than “receiving”.  That being said, I wish I was a better gift giver!  I think it comes down to the fact that I’m so thrifty and can be a procrastinator.  Not to worry, I’m definitely getting better at giving gifts.  I’ve learned to take a note when I think of a great or thoughtful idea.  For example, my mom and my future MIL are both beauty lovers.  For Christmas last year, I gave them each a Birch Box subscription and they are loving it!  Also, I have a few good ideas for my fiancé’s upcoming birthday…excited to see what he thinks.  I also love skipping the gift and giving an “experience”.  I ‘d much rather spend $$$ on a dinner/drinks/movie/outing with friends or family rather than giving something material that may not be appreciated.

I know I appreciate sweet surprises and mail.   😉

Oh my gosh! Turning the corner and seeing this box at my apartment door made my day.  I couldn’t wait to see what sweet Kellie had sent me!

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I’m kind of obsessive and picky about packaged foods so I emailed Kellie about some of my favorite things.    She did a fabulous job putting together the Foodie Pen Pal box for me.

Here’s what I received:

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I told Kellie that I’m a fan of hot sauce.  I’ve been putting Sriracha or Tapatio on everything from eggs and burritos to avocado toast and pea soup.

She sent over some local Hot Sauce from Alabama.  I’m so excited to try these!  Kellie sent over two flavors, original and jalapeno green.  She said they have a “fabulous local hot sauce in her little town with a ton of varieties.”  It’s like I got a little trip to Alabama this month!

hotsauce

I told her that I like nuts and she saw on the blog that I like peanut flour so she sent some PB2!  This is awesome because I’ve actually never tried it.  I normally order this Byrd Mill Peanut Flour in larger quantities to save a little money.  I was super excited to try the PB2 that I’ve seen at Whole Foods and online.

PB2 has a little bit of added sugar and salt …..that must be why it is SOOOO good.  PB2 tastes more like peanut butter and a sweet treat compared to plain peanut flour.

So far, I’ve mixed it with water or almond milk and have enjoyed spooning it over my breakfasts of protein pancakes.  I’ve also eaten it as a snack with some apple slices.

PB2

What’s a goodie box without some chocolate? Kellie took my love of spicy and healthy and sent over two more treats.  I don’t think she saw my Friday Favorites #3 post….but she sent me my favorite flavor Kind bar!!  I swear sometimes great minds think alike.

I dug into the dark chocolate bar.  It’s amazing.  I can’t wait to share the rest with the fiancé…..which is why I taped it back up and put it out of sight….so that it will still be there to share. haha Open-mouthed smile

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There you have it.

A sweet & spicy first experience as a Foodie Pen Pal!

FYI- If you’re interested in being a Foodie Pen Pal for a month, go ahead and sign up!  You don’t have to have your own blog to join the fun. 🙂

What’s the best gift you’ve given?  Any great “experience” gifts that you recommend?

Speed it Up Running Playlist- Feb 2014

I just don’t understand how some people do it.  How do they go out for a long run without any music?  I’m so conditioned to have headphones in my ears.   Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy the newest fitness gadgets every year or need the best running gear….I wish I could afford that!

My ipod is about 6 years old.  6 years old?!?! That sounds crazy.  My fiance gave it to me for my birthday a few months after we started dating…….awwww.  Can you believe that I haven’t broken it by now?! 😉

When I go for a run, I’ll get out to clear my head and I NEED some jams blasting in my ears.

Ok so that’s not completely true.  I went for a short run with a friend the other day and I didn’t listen to music.  It was great and challenging!  Holding a conversation and keeping pace with a running buddy is hard work!

Wow this post is already so random.

Basically, it’s simple math.

Sammy – music = a run is not going to happen.

Sammy + music = moderate to decent run.

Sammy + new playlist = better, faster, longer run ====> happier Sammy

How do I find new music?

  • I love sifting through playlists from other bloggers! Share the motivation!
  • I’ll Shazam something I hear on the radio or check out the top singles in Itunes.
  • ANNNNDD at work I’ve been known to stand outside the door of the yoga studio and Shazam a song that I like.  Dork. Yes, I know.
  • Also,  I just read that Jennifer Aniston took Jimmy Fallon’s History of Rap skit and made a playlist with those songs.  Great idea.  I will be doing that.

THEN, I buy the singles on Itunes.

My current playlist is actually labeled “new songs” on my ipod…..but let’s change that to Speed It Up Running playlist.  It’s gotten me through a few recent 5 mile runs…so I’ll call that speedin’ in up….almost time to train for the next half marathon, don’t ya think?

Don’t worry, I have PLENTY of other songs that I’ve loved and that have gotten me pumped up for a run!  I’ll be sure to share those with ya 🙂

 

besteverplaylist

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Did any of your favorites make the cut?

What songs motivate you? Anything new that you’re loving or do you jam out to old school?

sweet treats for “Foodie Pen Pal- February”

How cool is this idea?  Don’t you love mail and surprise treats picked out just for you?

If you haven’t heard about Foodie Pen Pals, check out this description from the lovely Lean Green Bean.

I had a great experience with my first pen pal!

After signing up, I was matched up with my foodie pen pal: a sweetheart, foodie, reference librarian, and mother of two living in Alabama.    Since my pen pal doesn’t have a blog up and running, I thought I’d describe the package I mailed. (Technically we’re supposed to wait until the last day of the month for the blog post….but on that day I’ll share what I received in the mail!)

Here’s what she had to say:

I’m Kellie, your Foodie Pen Pal match for February,  Nice to “meet” you!  A bit about me, I’m 36, a reference librarian in Alabama, and have 2 teenagers, a boy and a girl.  We live in a small town just north of Tuscaloosa, but thankfully have access to an amazing locally, mom-and-pop owned “health food store” as Whole Foods is 95 miles away from my house, and Trader Joe’s 300 miles away in Atlanta (ack!)….As for my diet, I’m primarily vegetarian, but have to dabble in pecatarianism occasionally because #1: my protein is abysmally low always, and #2: salmon is yummy.  I also have celiac disease (I am horrible to shop for, sorry!), but my children happily gobble up whatever I can’t eat, so, no worries.  These are a few of my favorite things (since I enjoyed reading your list on your blog!):  mint and chocolate together, caramel, peanut butter, coconut, peaches, tomatoes,  mustard and anything Asian (my undergrad is in Asian history, and I spent a summer in Taiwan doing research and eating)

Besides making sure every item was gluten free, it wasn’t too hard to find some goodies that I know Kellie would love.

I went shopping and found all of my goodies at Sprouts.  After writing a note about why I chose each item,  I headed to the post office to grab a box and ship it out.

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Plenty of chocolate, mint/coconut/chocolate, peanut butter, peach, & Asian inspired goodies!

I also bordered the note with some super cute paperclips- perfect for a librarian and mom.

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I can’t wait to describe my pen pal box!

Have you participated in Foodie Pen Pals?

fitting it all in: fitness & to do’s

I read an article in Redbook magazine that talked about not having enough time.  It compared how much free time men have versus women, how experts measure free time (time spent exercising or in the gym counts as leisure time), and figuring out how to take more “me” time.  Isn’t it always a struggle to get it all done? I know I always feel like I have a huge to-do list.

This week I’ve been pretty good with getting my fitness in.  I make it a priority and I’ve been loving lots of yoga.  My schedule is about to change so I tried to take as many classes as possible.

Monday: Cardio weights class & yoga class

Tuesday: 3 mile run outside & motorcycle ride

Yup we’re going to count the motorcycle ride as exercise.  I mean, I didn’t do the driving, but it takes some skill to hold on and I’d say it counts as a butt/ab workout. See my awesome huge helmet below.  Wearing that thing is also a workout 🙂

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Wednesday: Baldwin Hills stairs & yoga class

Thursday: Short run outside with a girlfriend & popped into a zumba class for about 40 mins

Friday: Yoga class & walk

Saturday: Yoga class?? hike?

Sunday: Sunday Runday??

Yup we’ll see if I take a day off on Saturday or Sunday instead.

So what about right now?  What is my little inner to-do list telling me to do?

  • Get a car wash or wash my car
  • Clean the apartment
  • Look into at more schools to apply for
  • Meal plan for  next week and pick up groceries

How do I justify not doing said items?

  • I don’t want to spend $14 on a car wash and it’s supposed to rain next week
  • I took out the garbage, put away the dishes, and wiped down the counters….so it’s pretty clean
  • I’ve reached out to a few friends about their schools and programs and am waiting for responses
  • I wrote the fiancé a grocery list last week…so I  hope he’ll pick up some food so I can cook up and prep the meals

Soooo what am I doing instead?

  • Drinking a sparkling water
  • Catching up with my aunt via a few texts
  • Making plans for the weekend
  • Drafting up a few blog posts

I bet many of you are the same way…..a to-do list is rolling through your head right now. Especially if you’re trying to keep a healthy active lifestyle and eat well!!!

I recommend writing everything down and getting it out of your head.

Then take some time off and go for a cruise 🙂  Maybe listen to this overplayed, semi-obnoxious song:  for you country music lovers like myself.

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Enjoy the ride and have a restful, healthy, FUN weekend!

steel cut oat breakfast bars

Have you read the Body Book by Cameron Diaz?  I skimmed through it the other day and it’s actually quite interesting.  She says she doesn’t have a sweet tooth (luck duck!!) but craves savory foods.  Definitely not the case with me- my sweet tooth can be cuuuhraaaazy.

Cameron (isn’t it funny how you use first names and assume it’s ok even though you don’t know the person? or is it just me?) said she has steel cut oats for breakfast.  She makes makes a batch of oats, lets them cool into a cake-like shape, and then sears a few bars in olive oil when she’s having breakfast.  She tops hers with some sautéed egg whites & shallots or veggies. After reading about her breakfast regime, I knew I had to try something similar.

It sounded like a great idea- changing the texture of steel cut oats but not adding any sugar or flour to make it into a “bar” or “cake”.   Perfect for me, because sometimes I want actual oatmeal –super hearty-but on the other hand,  I’ll want something with a more compact or crispy texture, like pancakes.

Here’s how I made it:

I cooked up a 1/2 cup of steel cut oats and once creamy, I poured them into a loaf pan to cool in the fridge overnight.  (I have a photo but it’s definitely not pretty enough to share!)

Today, I heated a pan with a splash of EVOO.  I cut out a few bars and surprisingly, they kept their form!

I popped them into the hot pan and seared both sides until a little crispy.

I wanted to make these into a sweet breakfast so I topped them with peanut flour (about 2 Tbsp mixed with almond milk) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  You still need to eat them with a fork because they are still gooey in the middle.

I also enjoyed a pear and a large cup of black coffee on the side.

Pretty deeern good!   Does that make you think of This movie??!?.  Haha 🙂

Next time, I’ll cook the oats in a shallower pan.  I think the bars will be less gooey and crisp up better.  I’d also like to try adding in nut butter, protein powder, or cook in egg whites for extra protein.  Maybe even grated zucchini or blended spinach? Can’t wait to try out different variations.

I hope you like them!

steel cut oat cake

Have you made other recipes with steel cut oats?

WIAW #2

Time for WIAW #2! Mmm I’ve been loving big salads, sweet potatoes, smoothies and oats per the usual.  Still not really eating any meat, which I guess is why my fiancé is getting bored with beans and tofu and lentils….and I’ve been working evenings- not being able to cook dinner as much….poor guy.  Time to make it a priority to try out a few recipes and food prep for him 🙂

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7 AM Breakfast:

Steel cut oats with almonds, cinnamon, and a sliced banana plus a few cups of black coffee.  Every time I make steel cut oats, I make a mess!  I like to set an initial 15-20 minute timer and come back and stir….and then 10 minutes….then stir….I think I need to stir more often. (dang the picture is blurry!)

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Today’s workout was a 5 mile run outside (it’s warming up!) plus some abs.

11:30 AM Lunch:

Sweet potato with 1/3 cup black beans, nutritional yeast sauce, 1/2 an avocado and romaine salad.

sweet potato avocado salad

Still hungry!

1:00 PM Snack:

Quesadilla (1 Ezekiel tortilla with mozzarella cheese).  I thought the nutritional yeast at lunch would quench my cheese craving for the day….but clearly that didn’t happen.

quesadilla piece

3:00 PM  Snack:

Tall Soy Misto (splurge!) I had a quick interview this afternoon and had time to burn before my shift at work.  Decided to enjoy a Starbucks treat!  See Exhibit A below 🙂

soy misto computer

6:30 PM Dinner:

Protein shake (Trader Joe’s unflavored soy protein powder- since I’m out of whey- kale, spinach, the fiancé’s organic skim milk- since I’m out of almond milk-, cocoa, cinnamon, frozen banana) and raw veggies (red bell pepper and baby carrots).

I wish I could show the actual smoothie for you- but it wasn’t pretty anyway. Has anyone every used this thermos? It’s a bit messy for smoothies but it’s my absolute favorite- keeps coffee hot and smoothies/drinks cold for hours!  This thermos seriously saved my butt in college.  Kept my coffee hot the ENTIRE day.

veggies and smoothie

I also try to drink lots of water throughout the day.

I used to start every day with a protein smoothie, have a big green salad for lunch, and have a more balanced dinner with veggies.  Looks like I need to upgrade my greens & veggie intake again!  I was also really good with Sunday food prep- which would save me a lot of time and ensure some healthy meals for the week.  Time to get back into those habits!

Good thing this WIAW keeps me on my toes.

What was on your meal plan today?

homemade sushi rolls

“Irasshaimase!”

I think that’s what they say when we go out for sushi.  Isn’t it?

Recently, we had a little date night- shopping and dinner at home.  But this time it was extra special.

Have you been to a Japanese market before?  My fiancé took me to this local Japanese Market and it is SO cool.  I can’t wait to go back and eat in their little food court.

For dinner, we picked up ingredients to make sushi and sashimi! We bought shrimp, tuna, salmon, imitation crab and the fixings- roasted seaweed paper, avocado and white rice (for him).  We also got miso soup and edamame for appetizers, plus wasabi paste and soy sauce (for him) for our condiments.

I’ll admit to being picky.  I didn’t use the soy sauce b/c it wasn’t low sodium and I didn’t have any rice because I try to stick to brown rice if I have any.

Anyway, we already had the bamboo-tool-thingy (I think I got it from my friend at my old job) and Syran wrap for rolling.

sushi rollup

Let’s just say that I didn’t get to roll any because my fiancé was having too much fun.  I  was in charge of the miso soup and edamame.  Next time I’ll pick up some cucumbers and brown rice and roll one or two!

He made himself two rolls-  salmon avocado and California roll- & a crab avocado- sans rice- roll for me.  For being a first timer- they turned out so so good.

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And the Sashimi.  YUM!  Our favorite was the tuna. The salmon was ok and the shrimp would have been better in a roll.  Overall everything was very fresh ….and the wasabi was killer! 🙂

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We will definitely be trying this again.

Add some jasmine green tea in a wine glass for me and a few Japanese beers for him and it was a great low-key night.  We also started the new season of House of Cards.  I’m not sure if I’m hooked because he really likes it or if I like it too….either way it’s addicting.

Ever try your hand at sushi rolls?