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?

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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?

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?

mix it up: 1 minute blondie mug cake

First, let’s just say that I’ve been mixing up my workouts so I don’t get bored!

Fitness this week was a little different than normal, since my brother was visiting (big smiles!!).  He’s a pretty active guy so I wasn’t worried that he’d hate if I took an hour for the gym or if we went out for a full day of hiking or walking.

Second, let’s rewind a bit to an unhealthy treat I’ve been mixing up this month! I’ve  been craving carbs and sweets like nooooBODY’s business and have discovered a delectable mug cake recipe…it’s been a delicious indulgence but will NOT make it into my meal plan for the next few weeks….. time to kick the sugar addition.

If you want a heavenly, guilty treat, try making this:

MIX IT UP One-Minute, Mug Blondie:

  • 2.5 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2.5 tablespoons sugar (eeek I know!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Water (enough to make a wet dough mixture)

Microwave for about a minute  or until desired doneness (I like it a little more raw so it was like cookie dough).  Be like me and enjoy it with your fiance’s peanut m&m’s or the last of his chocolate cocoa ice cream (both of which I hate having in the house b/c ultimately I will eat them).  Sometimes you just can’t stop.

MMM now that I have you craving sugar, let’s describe what I’ve been doing to BURN off those calories:

MIX IT UP WORKOUTS

Monday: Cardio Sculpt Class at my gym (one hour class with full body toning using light weights  (2-5 lbs.) plus cardio: jumping jacks, burpees, boxing, shuffles, etc.) This class is taught by one of my favorite teachers, Alfredo.  Let’s just say he’s a spandex-wearing-bust-out-a move-hands-on kind of teacher. Hilarious.

Tuesday: Power Yoga morning class at the yoga studio (one hour yoga class that incorporated a lot of abs)

Wednesday: 5 mile hike with my brother and fiancé, moderate intensity; plus lots of walking!

Thursday: Popped in to an evening Zumba class for 40 mins of booty shaking

Friday: Yoga class (1 hour and 15 minutes, great stretching, focus on balance and alignment

Saturday: 5 mile run! slowly getting back at it!

Sunday: the plan is to do a few toning routines: Love Your Body Series- Tone It Up. I love K&K!

What was your favorite workout this week?! Any classes that I need to try? I wish my gym had spin classes- I have yet to try one of those out!

great (& Greek) yogurt pancakes

Breakfast is the BEST meal of the day.  No question. Hands down. Numero Uno. The whole enchilada. King’s feast.  Uhhhhh yea.  I’m done.

I used to feel guilty eating pancakes.  Well, well, well…. not anymore.  There are SO many healthy pancake recipes out there.  It can be overwhelming (if you by chance are as indecisive as I am and pin recipes that you never use and flag recipes that you forget to come back to).  😉

Anyway, I’ll normally whip up the egg-banana-2 ingredient-recipe OR the oat-egg-white version for a quick, easy, and high protein breakfast.  When I have more time and I’m feeling like pancakes that taste more like “usual” pancakes, I’ll make a version of these babies:

GREEK YOGURT PANCAKES

  • 1 container 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat or oat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of cinnamon and splash of vanilla

Whip egg and mix ingredients.  **Note: Batter will be very dry.  If too dry, add a splash of milk (I use almond).

Heat skillet on med-hi heat and spray with cooking spray or 1-2 tbsp coconut oil.

Drop batter into cakes, heat until bubbles form, and flip!  Cook until desired doneness!

Top with fruit, nuts, maple syrup, or whatever you’re feelin’.


MMM

Today I followed the recipe pretty closely and used my Vitamix to grind oats into flour.  I topped the cakes with peanut flour sauce, some almonds for crunch, and a sliced banana.

+ a large cup of coffee  + dvr’d Olympics = a relaxing Saturday morning.

What did you have for the BEST meal of the day?

ingredients pancakes

before and after pancakes

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Creamy Coconut Lentil Soup

If you’ve read this little page, then you know that I L<3VE reading magazines.  Anytime we have a girls-night-in, my friend will drop off a huge stack for me.  I try my best to be a good friend…. put them aside….join in the conversation…. and not devour them on the spot.

When I read health and fitness magazines, if I find a recipe I’d like to try, I’ll fold down the corner or tear out the page…..but rarely do I come back and follow the recipe exactly.  I’ll keep the idea in mind and make it in my own way.   When I saw this recipe, (also found here: Creamy Coconut Lentil Soup), I knew I had to try it.  I’ve had a Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk in my cupboard for waayyyy too long.  I wanted to make a curry with it…..but to be honest creamy ingredients scare me….. I haven’t found a true “light” recipe that I wanted to make, until now!

Surprise surprise, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  I didn’t have any carrots so I substituted with a few stalks of celery.  I didn’t have shallots so I chopped up some yellow onions.  I also had half an eggplant in the fridge (rarely does this happen) so I diced and threw in about 1/2 cup of that.  I didn’t add the brown sugar (though it could have used the little added sweetness and I probably would add something the next time).  I didn’t have any limes in the house so I squeezed half a lemon into the soup.  Lastly, I didn’t have any toasted coconut. 😦  Clearly, I took this recipe and ran with it- using whatever I had so I didn’t have to drive to the store.  Though I do love grocery shopping – if I had a Whole Foods by my house…..oh I’d be so broke.  Do employees get discounts?  Maybe I should apply… 🙂

Anyway, here’s the recipe I so “daintily” tore out of the magazine….along with the turmeric and coconut milk I had from Trader Joe’s.  I’ve started adding turmeric to many of my dishes – or even to my vegetables when I quick sauté or roast them for a side dish.  Once I learned about the benefits (anti-inflammatory, powerful anti-oxidant, helps with some digestive diseases, and may prevent certain cancers and heart disease, and on and on), I started incorporating it into my cooking pretty often.  The only downside is I’ve turned our dish scrubber orange- whoops.

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Below is a knife from our Guy Fieri knife set.  It’s actually the best set I’ve had so far- a freebie thanks to my previous job – if only the other perks were stellar- ha!

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And here’s the final pot-o-beauty 😉 Okay so I’m sorry this photo is not very appetizing- I swear I’ll get some great foodie shots in my next couple posts….but isn’t my ol’ faithful restaurant pot a classic?!?!

I served this soup for dinner-  ladled us a each a bowl, topped with fresh ground black pepper and Tapatio hot sauce (we’re out of Siracha).

I enjoyed it so much that I went back for seconds!  You could pair it with some fresh, crusty bread or toasted whole wheat pitas and you’ve got a filling meal bursting with fiber, healthy fats, and veggies.

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in love with yoga…and chia

I started taking yoga in college.   The classes were free for students, so of course, I jumped on board. They were called Powerflow and were pretty basic.  I remember one teacher came around the room and spritzed us with lavender body spray during Shavasana.  Ahh lovely.

Up until a few months ago, I’ve been using the same mat from college, gifted to me by my old roomies.   It was hot pink with a viney white flower pattern.  Since I now get a small discount in the studio I work at, I decided to woman up and buy a new mat.  It was a struggle to decide, I mean Manduka ProLite or Jade Harmony? Do I need such a nice mat?  I figured I’d take at least a few yoga classes a week……and I’d like to become certified and teach and therefore I need a nice mat…..Pro/Con, Pro/Con…..I debated for a few days….until I decided to get the Manduka in a deep royal purple.  DONE! yah!  And guess what, the reviews were correct.  It’s been a very sturdy mat that has so much more cushion than my worn-out-much-loved beginner mat. Only downfall is that my new mat is a little slippery once you start sweating.  Like I have to put down a small towel or my hands slide around while I’m trying to breath deeply and firmly plant my hands on the mat in downward dog. (I’m too cheap to splurge on a yogitoes towel. someday perhaps).  Maybe I should try the saltwater spray that was recommended before initial use OR I should stick to my resolution and get more yoga time in- wear it in and it’s less slippery, so they say.

My girlfriend heard about my mat dilemma and gave me a Jade Harmony mat in light purple, without knowing I had purchased the Manduka! whaaaaat??? I have both now?? Yes, apparently she got the Jade mat from a friend who also had some connection….it fell off the back of a truck…or something…I’m not sure I was too excited and didn’t ask questions.  I happily carried it to the studio and felt like I was stretching out the mat, as if the biodegradable nature of it made it super bendy and it wanted to practice with me.  Anyway, it’s great for stretching and yoga at home.  It works extremely well on top of our carpet.  I guess that’s one plus for a carpeted rental apartment.

Bottom line is I’m glad I have two new mats to practice on.  They’ve been my little islands of calm when I need to mediate or quiet my mind.  Designated areas where I can stretch and tone my muscles. 

I’m actually going to pop into a class today.  It’ll be the second class with a great new teacher I’ve found.  He’s amazing with alignment and I felt like he was correcting my form the entire class last time….which popped my ego a bit, clearly I still have a lot to learn.  I’m up for that challenge.  Becoming a certified yoga teacher is on my to-do list.   I love feeling that sense of calm and accomplishment, like my muscles are getting stretched and I’m releasing negative energy and focusing on the present.  Now that’s something fun to teach others.  Plus, with a really good class, you feel like jello afterwards.

Speaking of Jello, I think the last time I had Jello was when I worked as a Dietary Aide in Madison.  Free snack on break? Hello sugar free jello….strawberry please.  I don’t know why but I used to really like it.  I remember in high school, my mom would buy a few boxes and I would make squares of Jello Jigglers that would be gone in a day or two.  These days I prefer chia pudding….which I guess is similar?   I don’t really measure when I make it, but the basic recipe that I follow is below.   I like to pair it with fruit and enjoy for breakfast or a filling snack.  My mom has even made it for us, topped with a few slivered almonds and berries. YUM. ❤


Vanilla Chia Pudding
serves 2

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (give or take), dash cinnamon,
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (I used 1 packet stevia when I have it)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in cute mason jar or bowl. Let sit for a 30 mins in fridge.  Stir again as chia seeds will stick to bottom.  Let sit for 2-3 hours or overnight until chia seeds will plump up and absorb all the liquid.