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.

cabbagesalad

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

veganmeal

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.

tunasalad

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?

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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?

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?

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!)

oats banana almonds

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.

californiaroll

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! 🙂

sashimi

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?

unexpected dark chocolate, almond, oat cookies

Unexpected cookies? whaaaat? Is there such a thing?

Well like I admitted yesterday, I initially bought a few Vday treats (but ate all of them) and needed something else to put in my gift bag.

I even wrote in my card “I promise not to eat your unhealthy treats!” haha wow see this sweet tooth of mine is UNREAL.  Time for a juice cleanse maybe?

Oh well.  We all know that Chips Ahoy really aren’t that great anyway.  Clearly Oreos are the better store bought cookie.  Especially with milk or PEANUT BUTTER!

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I still gave the empty container to him and explained my embarrassing story……. I think it’s happened before…he wasn’t surprised.

You know what? I had some extra time and I felt like baking, so I should never have bought that processed crap in the first place.

Honestly my hot pink packaging is much more festive anyway.  Win. Win. Win.

Turns out I was out of brown sugar, didn’t have butter in the house, no raisins, only a few oats….so I had to find a recipe that would work with my disappointing cupboard.

 I found this recipe for Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Bakerbettie.com that promised I could make  PERFECT cookies with only 6 ingredients….

I was sold….and figured that I could use what I had…

I mean Bettie made it very clear that I could pull a Tim Gunn and, “Make it work”.

YAH!  That’s my kind of baking.

I followed the recipe subbing in what I could, adding the baking powder, vanilla, and a little salt as suggested.

I used Smart Balance.  And white sugar. Whole wheat flour. and some dark chocolate bars from TJ’s. Some almonds. Barely a cup of oats.

I also added a few tablespoons of steel cut oats because I didn’t have enough regular oats.

I ended up cooking them for the 9 minutes…plus 2…plus 2…plus 2…plus 2….I prefer gooier cookies but I have a habit of undercooking them and this batch needed to turn out yummy enough to package up and give as a gift.

I even had a little leftover dough to throw in the freezer to bake up next time I eat all his candy.

vdaycookie collage

Overall, they turned out pretty good! Or at least the fiancé pretends to like them so that’s nice of him.

cookie in box

I had too much of the other junk food that I wouldn’t dare try one of these cookies….in case they are good….there’s another upset stomach waiting to happen.

Next cookie I’d like to make are these healthy “cookies” from Pinterest.  Now those are my kind of cookie.

What’s your favorite cookie recipe? Do you try to healthify everything like me?

Healthy bars, make sure to use no sugar added applesauce

WIAW #1

I’m that girl that likes to people watch.  Not in a creepy way, but in an observant, get to know you way.  Take me to a restaurant and I love checking out what’s on your plate and I’ll try to guess if you’re on a first date or how many years you’ve been married.  Take me to a festival or a ball game and I love to take in the scenery and crowds….weird? maybe a little.   I guess that’s why I love reading WIAW posts…see what other bloggers are eating and cooking up…and why I wanted to start posting my own eats.

It doesn’t hurt that WIAW will make me photograph my meals and snacks….like a food journal except I can really see my portion sizes…and if I’m overdoing it!  Most days, I like to use the Lose It! app to keep myself accountable and also track workouts.

So here goes nothing…

To be honest, today’s eats weren’t traditional for me AT ALL. But I’m trying to eat what I’m feeling, and I had to work in the evening so more snacks and a shake for dinner instead of in the morning were easiest.


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7:00 AM Breakfast:

Margarita Grilled Cheese (two slices sprouted grain toast, fresh basil, fresh tomato, Smart Balance Light w/flax, and Trader Joe’s Lite Shredded Mozzarella) and two mugs of black coffee.

So so so good.  I made this for dinner a few days before and as soon as I saw the extra ingredients in the morning I knew what I wanted for breakfast.

I wish I snapped a photo of the cooking process.  I first used a cast iron skillet…until one side stuck and I practically had to scrape it off and transfer to a flat nonstick frying pan and finish grilling. Smile  Still delish.

grilled cheese

For my workout I went to a morning, hour long cardio sculpt class at my gym.

12 :00 PM Lunch:

Quinoa Veggie bowl (leftover quinoa, shredded cabbage, kale, carrots, more basil, squirt or two of mustard, splash of balsamic vinegar, and splash of Braggs Liquid Aminos).

quinoa bowl

2:00 PM Snack:

Chia Seed Pudding (almond milk, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, stevia) and small green apple eaten on my porch.

chia seed snack

6 pm Dinner:

Protein Shake (Chocolate protein powder, kale, spinach, almond milk, cinnamon, flax seed) and unpictured veggies (cucumbers and carrots) and later some raw almonds eaten at the yoga desk.

almonds and smoothie

I went to my girlfriends after work.  She had a few friends over and we played this game:  Snorta.  It was my first time playing and it was fun but I was horrible!  Have you guys heard of it?

While I was there I had a few un-pictured sparkling waters that were yummy.

11 pm Snack:

By the time I got home I needed another snack.  I’m normally in bed by 10 pm so I suppose I had the late night munchies.  I nuked some oatmeal in a little ramekin (same as chia seed pudding dish).  I then nuked myself a second helping and added some Smart Balance and a little protein powder.  One tiny serving of oatmeal is never enough!   Also un-pictured! whoops.

There you have it! A snacky kind of day!

too good for a straw

I made a promise that if my fiance ever bought me a Vitamix, I’d stop eating my protein smoothies from a bowl…..

What he doesn’t know won’t annoy him, right?  Especially if he doesn’t see me eating it?

As much as I love slurpin’ up a smoothie through a straw, I prefer to pour mine right into a bowl and enjoy it with a spoon.

It feels like a treat in the morning- almost like a bowl of fro yo or ice cream for breakfast- and I can savor it MUCH longer. Otherwise, I’ll drink it up in 2.5 seconds and I won’t give myself enough time to feel full!

Here’s the recipe I made today:

WholeSAM Protein Oat Smoothie Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • few handfuls of spinach and/or kale
  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • Enough almond milk to get it all moving
  • Big dash or two of cinnamon

Topped with 1/4 cup raw oats for some added fiber!

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Don’t worry, there’s more to come in the world of wholeSAM smoothies! Can’t wait to share some of my other favorite smoothie recipes!

What’s your favorite smoothie?  Is it a protein smoothie or a regular fruit smoothie?