December 21, 2007
Well, my plans changed a little bit when I arrived at my family’s house in Tampa this morning…it was 72 degrees outside and not a cloud in the sky so I decided to go for a run instead outside! It was wonderful! Before I went I ate the snack that I had brought with me in the car…a cut up kiwi and 1/4 cup of the flax granola I have been telling you guys about. It tasted really good 🙂 I did a slow 40 minute run because my leg has been injured and I was testing it out today…it still hurts a little bit but not as bad as it did before. For the first time in my life I ran without my ipod (i forgot it in orlando) and it really made the run a lot more satisfying. One of the central points of yoga is the breath and I think that’s what connects yoga and running but so often we drown out listening to our breath by blasting music. Today as I ran I concentrated on my breath and just the world around me and that brought my run to a whole new level.
When I got back I made one of my favorite light meals that I enjoyed in Paris so many times: an omelet. Now, I know what you are thinking….”but aren’t eggs bad??” NO. I don’t think so at all and when I eat eggs I always eat 2 whole eggs, yolk and all. People differ in their beliefs about this but from what I have read and researched, the yolk of the egg contains minerals and vitamins that our body needs. Here is some info from the Harvard Medicine Nutrition Source that I frequently go to for nutrition advice:
“Long vilified by well-meaning doctors and scientists for their high cholesterol content, eggs are now making a bit of a comeback. Recent research by Harvard investigators has shown that moderate egg consumption–up to one a day–does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals.(5) While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol–and, therefore may slightly affect blood cholesterol levels–eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate.
So, when eaten in moderation, eggs can be part of a healthy diet. People with diabetes, though, should probably limit themselves to no more than two or three eggs a week, as the Nurses’ Health Study found that for such individuals, an egg a day might increase the risk for heart disease. Similarly, people who have difficulty controlling their blood cholesterol may also want to be cautious about eating egg yolks and choose foods made with egg whites instead.” http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fats.html
So, of course don’t go and eat 5 eggs a day, but I think that 2-4 eggs a week is totally fine and can benefit your body! When you just eat the egg white you are missing out on a valuable source of vitamins from the yolk! Anyways, I cooked my omelet in 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil for some good monounsaturated fats and sprinkled it with sea salt and pepper. I used to always had to have gooey cheese in my omelet, but then when I moved to France I started eating omelets the way the French do: with nothing in them except for the eggs themselves. I learned how to make a classical French omelet and now it is one of my favorite lunch or dinners. An omelet with a salad and a glass of red wine is a simple dinner I prepared many many times in my little Paris apartment last summer.
With my omelet I also had a cut up pear, 4 ounces of plain nonfat yogurt with a teaspoon of jam, a slice of sprouted grain toast and a small spinach salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar. This lunch was light (only about 414 calories) but that is just fine with me because this afternoon I plan to bake christmas cookies (gingerbread, my favorite!!!) and of course there will be licking of spoons, bowls, everything….haha 🙂 And then tonight I’m going out to dinner again! I will def. be having a snack later because dinner is not until around 8 probably.
I bought a new cookbook!!! Nigella Lawson’s “How To Eat”. I have been staring at it for awhile now and finally splurged and got it…..I’m so excited to read it cover to cover–I love her ideas and recipes and am so excited to try some out!
December 20, 2007
I hit the gym a little earlier for a quick strength training workout with some pushups and weights and then I came home and made the same delicious snack I had yesterday! But this time my camera didn’t fail me so I was able to photograph it! I had 4-ounces cottage cheese with 1/4 cup Nature’s Own Flax Plus Granola with Pumpkin Seeds for 150 calories. It really held me over til dinner last night and I just love the combo of crunchy sweet granola with the creamy cottage cheese. Its a very good combo of carbs, protein and omega 3’s and hopefully it will last me the next 3 hours til dinner!
Tomorrow I am going home to Tampa early in the morning (no school!) so I can make a 12:00 yoga class at my old yoga studio. Then, I have plans to bake christmas cookies in the afternoon before Ryan and I go out to dinner and celebrate our little christmas! Early because I have to work christmas eve 😦 Already excited!
December 19, 2007
I think I have found my new favorite recipe. Seriously. It was that good. No- it was great. Amazing actually and I savored every single last grain and then traced my index finger around the rim of the saucepan to get another link. Make this tomorrow. Seriously–it was SO easy. The most difficult thing would be to find the Taleggio cheese at the store. Search for it because it is amazing but if you can’t find it, try Brie.
The recipe came from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking again. It was originally named “Quinoa and Crescenza with Sauteed Mushrooms” but I made it with Taleggio cheese and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was creamy, rich and deeply satisfying. I had with a glass of red wine for a total calorie count of 539. So good! I used to make risotto a lot when I needed something warm, cheesy and comforting but now I will be making this. Maybe again next week!
Here’s the recipe, my modifications made
Quinoa and Taleggio with Sauteed Spicy Mushrooms
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped onion (about 1/4 of an onion)
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup organic chicken stock
pinch of sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 ounce taleggio cheese
1. Saute the onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil until the onions are soft. About 3-4 minutes. Add the quinoa, stock and a pinch of salt and let the stock reduce a bit. About 2 minutes.
2. Add the water and bring the quinoa mixture to a boil then return to a simmer and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.
3. While that’s going, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add the red pepper flakes and another small pinch of salt. Add the mushrooms and saute til golden.
4. When the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, stir in the cheese. Put in a bowl and top with the mushrooms and enjoy each and every single bite. Heavenly.
A note on quinoa: always rinse your quinoa in a strainer before using it to wash away the natural bitter coating that it has.
I had a pretty good cardio session at the gym today. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the bike, then went outside and walked around the big lake at my apartment complex (it’s about half a mile around) to get outside a bit. I miss my outdoor runs three times a week 😦 Hopefully my leg will heal fast but for now elliptical/bike/walking doesn’t bother it!
December 18, 2007
So, I have been looking forward all day long to having a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner tonight with a cup of my chunky lentil soup from last night. I have a ziplock bag with some leftover slices of provolone in the fridge that I was going to use. THEN, I had a revelation…and listen close because I’m going to tell you about the best grilled cheese sandwich of my entire life. Yesterday I bought 3 ounces of Taleggio cheese from Whole Foods. Taleggio is to Italy what Brie is to France. It’s a triple cream soft ripened cheese that you can spread, melt, eat with crackers…anything really. It’s very specialty though so you will probably only be able to find it at the Fresh Market, Whole Foods, or an imported foods shop. Well, for tomorrow’s recipe (which is still a secret, you will have to wait and see!), I only need 1 ounce……so tonight, I took the other ounce, combined it with 2 tbsp of freshly grated parmesan cheese and layered it between 2 slices of sprouted grain bread. Set on the griddle and weighted down with a big pot on top to get a crusty feel to it. It.was.amazing. Totally melted to absolute perfection and tasted divine! Like a gourmet grilled cheese…SO much better (and about the same calories) as just using regular old provolone. So, if you are at a specialty grocery store and see Taleggio cheese, GRAB IT! It’s so good!
Besides my amazing grilled cheese I also had a small bowl of lentil soup and a 4 ounce glass of red wine. I would pretty much classify this as the perfect dinner. It was easy to make, tasted like heaven, and left me satisfied and happy! The total calories was about 555, including my glass of wine.
Now, I have steel cut oats simmering on the stove for the next couple day’s breakfasts and I’m about to take a bubble bath before starting on my recipe copying for school tomorrow. I’m going to eat a little treat in about an hour so I’ll let you know what that will be (I don’t know what I feel like yet!)
My ashtanga yoga class was really good once again today…yoga always seems to give me exactly what I need. Too bad my finger is still throbbing from earlier 😦
December 17, 2007
Just had a quick snack before hitting the gym for a short & sweet cardio session today…I ate 10 kashi crackers before I went and once I was there I alternated between the elliptical machine and the treadmill for 25 minutes while watching Oprah. I didn’t work out hard today because 1.) I ran my butt off at school today and scrubbed the entire kitchen floor until my arms were quite sore! also, lifting heavy pots, washing dishes…it all burns calories! 2.) my leg hurts and I’m really supposed to be resting it this week because I overstressed it running. Its not my shin because its on the side of my lower leg..more like my ankle? Are there any other runners reading this that can help?? It hurts when I run so I don’t know yet if I will still be able to continue training for my half-marathon in february. 😦
I’ve got some homework to do, some cornbread to bake (it’s still rising right now–more on that later!) and some soup to make yet! See you in a little bit!
December 16, 2007
I’ve been starving all day! I think this time though it might be more hormone related than snack related because I’ve eaten balanced healthy meals/snacks all day long! I was so ready to eat dinner early tonight and glad I had an excuse to (I had to be at work at 6:30). The recipe I made tonight is one I have been wanting to try for almost 6 months now—ever since I bought the cookbook. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to try it because it was so easy! Seriously…earlier in the day I made the dressing then when dinner came all I had to do was cook the pasta and sear the tofu. Done! and it was PERFECT! So good and the tofu was crispy and firm….the sauce was spicy but not too spicy. I would make this again tomorrow if I had more ingredients! Def. a keeper! If you have never had tofu before, make this! But see my note on tofu at the bottom of the page to do it right! I also had a salad with bell peppers, steamed broccoli and low fat ginger dressing.
Otsu~from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp honey
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp shoyu soy sauce
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces Soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
4 ounces extra firm tofu
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cucumber, peeled and chopped into small dice (i used 1/2 cucumber because i love them!)
1 green onion, chopped
To make the dressing combine the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne and salt in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar and shoyu and pulse to combine. Add the oils and pulse more until the dressing is smooth. Set aside.
Cook the soba noodles in salted boiling water. Drain then rinse under cold water. While the pasta is cooking, cut the tofu into rectangles about the size of your thumb. Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick skillet on med/high heat for a couple minutes on each side until golden and toasty.
In a bowl, combine the noodles, the cilantro, the green onion and the dressing. Toss well. Add the tofu and toss again, gently. Serve.
434 calories, 18 grams of fat
**A note on tofu:
I never used to like tofu…but then I had it cooked right! If you like firm tofu that you can cut with a knife and that doesn’t have the “slimy” texture of soft tofu then do this trick that I learned in college: buy 1 pound of tofu at the store. When you get home, drain it then cover it with paper towels and a clean dishcloth and set underneath the heaviest cookbook or book you own (I use the HUGE yellow gourmet cookbook that is about 800 pages). Leave it sitting underneath the cookbook for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, cut the tofu into four servings and freeze each serving individually in a little plastic baggie. This will not only make it firm but make it more spongy so it can absorb other flavors of the dish you are making. When you want to use it, just defrost 1 servings of tofu in the fridge the night before and enjoy! Let me know if you have questions about this because it really does make all the difference in the world if you do it correctly!
Today I went to an advanced ashtanga yoga class that lasted 90 minutes. Yoga is something very special to me and I do it for much much more than just the “workout” (it is a GREAT workout though!) I find yoga to help me de-stress and center myself. Its just one of those things that I have no idea what I would do without. Last year in college I practiced 6 days a week and that’s all I did. No weight lifting, no cardio…just yoga and walking everyday (I walked probably for 1.5 hours everyday total because our house was about a 15 minute walk to campus and downtown–oh, how I miss Charleston!). I lost about 12 pounds just doing these 2 things…well, plus eating healthy of course! I lost the weight I had gained Freshman year from too many Friday nights at the bar ;). So, if you are trying to lose a few pounds or just want to live a happier, healthier life I would def. tell you to give yoga a try. It’s amazing–simply put. 🙂
Ok-headed to work now! Good thing I have the other half of my monster gingerbread cookie with me for a sweet later!
December 14, 2007
Ah..gotta love the restaurant business and all of its unreliability!! I ended up being called off tonight so I drove home to Tampa and now I am sitting at my parent’s house enjoying a tiny taste of red wine. I’m so glad that I was able to get here tonight because Ryan and I are going to go out to dinner (!!) and then go to his sister’s Christmas party. I have to drive back tomorrow for work tomorrow night but its still so nice just to be here and relax!
Today I went on a run for 40 minutes outside…I didn’t think it was that hot out til I started running and sweating all over the place. It must have been 85 degrees out there…not very Christmas-like, that’s for sure! I still mananged a pretty good run though, despite the heat, and when I got back I made myself a snack of a smoothie + 10 kashi crackers. I made the smoothie in my blender using 3.5 ounces Fage yogurt, 3 ounces skim milk, 5 frozen strawberries and one splenda for sweetness. My total snack including the crackers was about 193 calories. A bit bigger because my lunch was almost like a snack in itself and I didn’t know (and still don’t know) when dinner will be. It was really tasty after a hot run!
Yum! Healthy fruit smoothies and crackers
Small (only about 1 ounce or so) glass of wine
December 13, 2007
Oh my gosh, I made such a good dinner tonight! (and yes, its only 6:15 and I already ate. When I’m alone I like to eat early around 6:00 or so). Tonight for dinner I made Greek White Bean Soup and homemade scottish oatmeal scones that I had with a 4 ounce glass of red wine. It was perfect! Light, yet filling and I highly recommend trying this recipe that I found in my “12 Best Foods Cookbook”.
Here are the recipes:
Greek White Bean Soup
Serves 4 (I always make the entire recipe for soups and stews because they keep for awhile in the fridge or you can freeze them as well!)
1 cup dried large lima beans
1 large red onion, chopped
1 leek, white part only. chopped
2 cups organic vegetable broth
2 cups baby spinach
4 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Rinse the beans in a colander with cold water then put them in a large saucepot with about 3.5 cups water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then cover, take off the heat and let sit for one hour.
2. After the beans have soaked for an hour, drain them and put them back in the saucepot. Add the chopped onion, leek, broth and 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce for a simmer for one hour.
3. Season the soup with salt and pepper then puree half of it either in a blender (which is what I did) or using an immersian blender. Add the pureed soup back to the pot and mix everything together.
4. Bring the soup to a simmer then add the spinach, cooking until wilted..about 3 minutes.
5. Divide the soup among four bowls and add 1 tbsp feta cheese and 1 tsp olive oil to each bowl as garnish.
278 calories, 8 grams fat/serving
Scottish Oatmeal Scones
Makes 8 scones
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 tbsp natural cane sugar (I used 1 tbsp like the recipe called for but thought it was a little too sweet)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter
1/4 cup lowfat organic buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a bowl, combine the oats, flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in the butter (cut butter into tiny pieces then mix it in with your hands until it looks like sand).
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Pour over dry mixture and combine with hands. Form into a crumbly ball.
4. Use either parchment paper or a canola-oil spray on a baking sheet. Then dust an 8 inch circle with flour. Flatten the ball of dough out on the baking sheet on the flour circle to its about 1/2 inch thick. Score into 8 wedges. (see picture)
5. Bake for about 17 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. These will keep wrapped in foil for about a day or you can freeze them so they last longer.
164 calories, 7 grams of fat/scone
Scones on the baking sheet out of the oven
My dinner + a glass of wine not pictured 🙂 I brushed the scone with about a half teaspoon of promise light. Yum!
Oh, and before I forget! Before I went to the gym this afternoon I had the best new snack. They are called “Kind Bars” and they only have fruit and nuts in them. It was so good and I wish I would have bought more than one at the store but I wasn’t sure I would like it. I’m def. going to be buying more of these!
Today at the gym I did pushups and various arm machines along with some ab work. I stayed for 30 minutes because I was only doing strength training today…not cardio. 30 minutes of strength training works perfectly for me-I would get bored if I stayed any longer! 😉
December 12, 2007
I made one of my favorite dinners tonight. I like to call it “power salad” because of all the protein that’s packed into one bowl! I found this recipe a long time ago on the 101 cookbooks blog (www.101cookbooks.com) and have made it several times since when I need something quick, easy and rejuvenating to eat! If you have never tried quinoa before, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s FILLED with protein and is actually one of the only vegetarian foods that gives your body a complete protein…and, best of all, its very inexpensive! You can eat it for breakfast like oatmeal with walnuts and dried fruit, in soups, as salads, in baking goods…the list goes on and on. I think its wonderful with a chew and slightly nutty taste. It makes this salad very filling. All the ingredients in this salad are quite inexpensive…most you probably have already in your pantry. Give it a try! Here’s the recipe that I modified to serve one.
Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad with Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup quinoa
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 smashed garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tbsp small diced red onion
In a small saucepan, add the quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed into the quinoa. While that’s going, make the dressing.
Whisk together the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Set aside.
When the quinoa is done, remove from the heat and put in a bowl. Toss with the garbanzo beans, cilantro and red onion. Mix in the dressing and enjoy 🙂
520 calories, 18 grams of fat
*note: the fat in this recipe is the good type of fat that comes from olive oil and tahini. Your body needs this mono-unsaturated fat to keep on working and protect your heart. Its the same type of fat found in walnuts. So eat and enjoy!
Cooking in my kitchen
The finished, yummy salad bowl!
This afternoon I finished all my work I had to get done and made it to the gym for a 40 minute run on the treadmill. I felt soo much better after I ran! I came home and ate a quick snack of 4 ounces 1% cottage cheese and 1 kiwi while I made my oatmeal for tomorrow morning. Mmm..it’s amazing how good healthy food and exercise can make you feel!
I always try to eat a little bit more on days that I have to work at night because not only have been on my feet running all morning in the kitchen at school and have exercised, but also go to work for about 5 hours at night where all I do is run and seat guests for dinner! I always bring a snack with me to work thats about 100-150 calories and eat it midway through the night (around 8:15 for me) so that I don’t pass out!
No wine tonight because I’m off to work! I’m bringing an Erin Baker’s Mini Breakfast Cookie with me (100 calories- found them at the Fresh Market) to give me some fuel later on!
**adding onto last night….I ended up eating the 100 calorie whole grain cookie around 8:15 along with a small piece of organic dark chocolate I had stashed in my purse. When I got off work around 10:30 I tasted about 2 ounces of wine that was given to one of the servers by his table. It was from a 100 dollar bottle of red wine and was very good—I couldn’t say no when they offered me a tiny taste 😉