What I Ate Wednesday #6 (February 29, 2012)

Hi there, can you believe it’s already Wednesday? Or that tomorrow is March 1 (where is time going)? Or that the high for today is 60 degrees (in Pittsburgh, at least)? It’s so odd…. annnd I guess I’ll stop asking questions now.

So today is the last day of February and also the last day to celebrate/take part in “Love Your Veggies Month” over at Peas and Crayons for WIAW. To end the month with a bang, I made sure to eat some delicious veggie-inspired meals yesterday. I am also pretty excited for next month’s theme….

Breakfast – 5:30 am

For breakfast yesterday, I had some Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Hot Cereal that I made by combining the following in a saucepan and cooking for about 5 minutes:

  • 1/4 c cereal (1 serving)
  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 small banana (mixed in)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax (mixed in at end)

Toppings:

  • 1/2 small banana, chopped
  • small handful golden raisins
  • 1 chopped dried apricot
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts (toasted by microwaving for 2 minutes)

I really like switching up my breakfast grains from time to time, and I love the texture of this cereal (it is more chewy and more “oat bran-esque” than oatmeal). It was a nice change from my normal bowl of oatmeal that I tend to eat in the morning. I also especially liked the addition of the toasted walnuts  (I need to remember to top oatmeal/hot cereal with toasted walnuts more often…).

Snack – 9:00 am

As my mid-morning snack, I had a random trail mix concoction I made that contained:

  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • chopped dried apricots
  • golden raisins
  • dried mango
  • Kashi Heart to Heart cereal

Lunch – 12:30 pm

 My breakfast and snack did a great job of keeping me full for quite a while, and I was able to hold off on lunch until 12:30 (I usually am very ready to eat by 12).For lunch I had a big veggie-packed salad (a great way to squeeze in a lot of vegetable servings!) that contained:

  •  spinach
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • peas
  • beets (from a can – I never really buy beets but I saw them at the store this week and impulsively bought a can. I used to eat these all the time when I was younger, so they always oddly remind me of my childhood…)
  • chickpeas (approx 1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (approx 1/2 cup)

Dressing: Drew’s Goddess Dressing (I forgot how much I love Goddess dressing…)

I also enjoyed a new to me orange with my lunch: a minnelo. It was so sweet and and so delicious. I may need to start replacing my daily lunch apple with an orange….

Snack: 4:00 pm


I was still busy at work around 4 pm, so I snacked on a Fugi apple and a small handful of Kashi crackers as I worked and finished things up.

Dinner: 5:30 pm

I did my best to make this look appetizing...I think I failed

I had plans to go to the gym at 6:30 yesterday (for a BodyAttack class!), so I had a lighter dinner before I left to fuel me through the class. I had a Boca veggie burger on a piece of toast with some steamed stir fry veggies (a frozen mixture I recently bought) on the side.

One of my favorite ways to prepare frozen veggies is to microwave (aka steam) a small serving for 1-2 minutes (to get them warm), and then stir fry them in a medium-high skillet for 2-3 minutes. This browns the veggies a little and makes them more crunchy and “fresh” tasting rather than mushy and bland as they can sometimes get – which is never fun or tasty. I also like to add fun seasonings to them to spruce them up.

I decided to go with an “Asian theme” for my dinner last night, so I added some ground ginger and gomasio (a seasoned sesame seed) to my veggies. To make my Boca burger fit the “theme,” I used some Trader Joe’s Oriental Sesame dressing as the condiment for my toast and added some romaine, cucumber and gomasio as my burger toppings.

This was such a simple dinner to make and came together in less than 10 minutes. I wasn’t expecting much out of it, but it ended up being a pretty good meal. I especially liked the kick that the ground ginger gave to the veggies and how the TJ’s dressing absorbed into the Boca burger and toast, making everything rather delicious. I love when simple meals happen to taste amazing…

Dessert/Snack – 9:30 pm

To end my day on a sweeter note, I had a container of applesauce with a small handful of raisins and Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal sprinkled on top. I never eat applesauce, but for some reason it sounded appealing last night. I am glad that I had a few containers in my fridge that I haven’t touched in months, because this ended up being quite a delicious and refreshing snack…

I ate this as I read up on some Bio notes and attempted to watch the Biggest Loser (I have issues watching it these days due to the blatant/obvious advertising that seems to happen every 3 minutes on the show… does this bother anyone else?).

Annd that concludes my meals/snacks from yesterday. Now I’m off to check out the delicious things that everybody else has been eating this week! Have a great day everyone.

Easy Lunch Idea: Lemon Dijon Kale and Barley Salad

I always make myself grain and veggie-based salads for lunch. They are filling, delicious, and so versatile. They also guarantee a complete meal with the components of :

  • whole grains (barley, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta…)
  • protein (beans, tofu/tempeh, tuna/salmon, chicken, etc.)
  • fat (olive oil-based dressings, nuts/seeds)
  • veggies (spinach, carrots, mushrooms, whatever you have on hand….)

With the switching up of different grains, protein options, vegetables and dressings, the options are really endless when it comes to this easy meal concept.

To make these, I usually just tend to throw whatever ingredients I have on hand(veggies, protein source, grain, etc.) in a Tupperware container, pack some dressing on the side, and call it a day. While this is easy, effortless, and always results in a filling, healthy meal, I thought I could streamline the process even more by making and pre-portioning a big batch of a grain salad over the weekend to grab and go as  an easy meal option during the week.

I did just that this weekend by making a big batch of a barley and kale salad. This particular combination ended up tasting so delicious that I thought I’d share (in case anyone is looking to switch up their lunch routine or try out a grain-based salad for lunch). I especially liked how the  massaged kale and broccoli soaked up the lemon dijon dressing, and how the addition of the sunflower seed kernels  gave the salad additional crunch and texture. Overall, this was a very  enjoyable combination.

If you are looking for a simple, healthy, filling lunch idea, try this out!

Lemon Dijon Kale and Barley Salad

makes 2 lunch-sized servings

Ingredients:

  • barley (1 cup dry)
  • kale (approx 1/2 of a large bunch or 2 cups when torn into pieces)
  • carrots (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • broccoli (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • celery (2 stalks, chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • chickpeas (1 cup, rinsed and drained)
  • sunflower seed kernels (2-3 tbsp – optional)

Dressing:

  • olive oil (2 tbsp)
  • lemon juice (4 tbsp or about the juice of 1 lemon)
  • dijon mustard (4 tsp)
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  •  bring 1 cup barley and 3 cups water to a boil, turn heat to medium and let barley simmer for 25-35 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally (will make about 2 cups once cooked)
  • while barley cooks, prep your veggies!
  • rinse and tear kale into bite sized pieces and place in large bowl
  • chop broccoli, carrots and celery  into bite sized pieces and place on top of kale
  • add chickpeas on top of veggie mixture

To make the dressing: in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and dijon mustard, add pepper to taste (you might want to add more olive oil or lemon juice or dijon depending on taste preference)

  • massage about 1/2 of the dressing into the kale, veggie and bean mixture, using your hands (or a stirring utensil) to evenly distribute the mixture. (Massage/mix until kale begins to wilt down a little and turn a bright green color)
  • once barley is cooked and somewhat cool, add 1 cup (you will have about 1 cup leftover) of the cooked barley into the veggie mixture and add the remaining dressing . Mix until well-distributed
  • separate salad into Tupperware containers, add about a tbsp of sunflower seed kernels on top of each salad and refrigerate until you are ready to eat!

Options:

  1. replace barley with another grain of your choice (brown rice, quinoa…)
  2. substitute the veggies with whatever you have on hand (cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, etc. would all work well) – you could also use spinach or another type of green in place of the kale
  3. substitute the sunflower seed kernels with some chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans…) or other type of seed

The options and possibilities are really endless with this. Let me know if you try it out!

Getting out of my food rut

So I have a confession to make. For the last couple of weeks or so I have been in a bit of a food rut. I have been packing and eating a lot of the same foods over and over again, and while they have been tasting good and have been good for me, I haven’t been enjoying them as much  as usual.  As a result, I also have not been feeling very satisfied with any of my meals, and I have been resorting to some not so healthy habits. Some habits I tend to develop which cue me in to the fact that I am most likely in a food rut include:

  • eating my meals and finishing them without feeling like I ate at all (probably due to the fact that I am not really paying attention when eating)
  • becoming really snacky and never feeling fully satisfied… (probably due related to the bullet above)
  • craving  a lot of “junk”-type foods that I usually don’t normally crave
  • feeling out of control and in regard to eating in general

I don’t always experience all of these things at once, and while they can occur because of a “food rut,” they can also be caused by multiple other factors as well (stress, eating our of boredom/habit, getting stuck in a routine in regard to food, etc). I don’t want to say that I am only snacky and/or crave copius amounts of chocolate during these times(because I KNOW that this isn’t the case), but I find when I continuoulsy feel this way and am engaging in the above habits often, a boredeom with my food choices is usually a major culprit.

I have also begun to identify when these moods tend to strike:

  • when the end of a season is near (I tend to eat the same things during certain seasons….)
  • when I am really busy and don’t have a lot of time to devote to food/meal prep.

 As both of these situations appear to  be releveant here, I have decided that there must be something I can do to end the cycle. The crazy thing I have come to learn about food ruts is that they are so easy to fix. Once I recognize that it is the problem, all it takes is a few tweaks in my diet to make my food seem “fresh” and “new” and “exciting” again.  Now, if I could only remind myself of this sooner instead of waiting three weeks to come to this conclusion….

Does anyone get in these type of ruts?

To end this cycle and to get excited about eating again, I decided to spruce things up this week and do what I could to make my meals exciting again.

Some tips/tactics I use to get out of a food rut:

1.I buy something new at the grocery store to spruce up my meals

This week I got a little excited and purchased….

A few new salad toppers and/or snack mix ingredients:

2 new-to-me oranges to enjoy as my post-lunch fruit:

minnelos(?) and some FL orange I never heard of....

A few new granola bars to eat as snacks (Courtney inspired the SoyJoy purchase…):

I also bought some barley to make as a new grain for lunches:Other healthy purchases I buy to spruce up meals and snacks:

  • A new type of vegetable and/or fruit to throw into salads/sandwiches/stir fries or veggie bags
  • A new type of cereal to enjoy for breakfast or in a baggie for a snack (add some nuts for more staying power!)
  • fun toppers or add-ins to throw into snack mixes, on top of salads or meals (any type of seed or nut, dried fruit…)
  • A new flavor of yogurt (for breakfast or as a snack)
  • A new type of cheese to use as a salad topper, in sandwiches, sprinkled on top of meals…. (goat, feta, parmesan, cheddar, gouda…..)
  • Granola bars or snack bars (Kashi makes a lot of fun flavors of granola bars… and they don’t contain a lot of additives or unnecessary ingredients) – I also love Clif Z bars, Larabars and KIND bars
  • A new grain to enjoy with lunch or dinner (there are so many like barley, quinoa, different types of whole grain pasta, brown rice, bulgar wheat…. you can find most of these in the bulk bins at Whole Foods)
  • A new condiment to use as a dressing, marinade or sandwich spread…. (I love condiments!)
  • A new seasoning/spice to add to meals (I love Spike!)

2. I make a new recipe or search through cooking magazines or cookbooks for cooking and/or meal packing inspiration

I made a new soup yesterday (another one from Natural Health Magazine) to eat for dinner and/or pack for lunches… Red Kidney Bean Curry Soup (yum).

I actually ate this for dinner last night on top of some kale (mine was more like stew because I let it simmer too long), and it was delicious (and so simple to make too!). I am looking forward to eating it again….

I also brainstormed some new/”fun” lunch ideas for the week (which I’ll share if they turn out as delicious as they seem in my head) by looking through some of my cookbooks.

Not my current collection, but I thought a visual would be nice to include. I would love a copy of Clean Food though….

source

So lets hope my food rut ends this week. I am already excited to dig into my new trail mix concoction later and to eat my minnelo!

How do you deal with food ruts and/or keeping meals exciting? Do you have any other tips to share (I am always open to advice on this!)?

Best thing I packed this week (February 24, 2012)

Hi! whose excited for the weekend?

I have had a rather long week  (has anyone else had a busy week?) and am pretty excited to relax a little. I am also craving a good beer so I am hoping to make that happen tonight…. Any suggestions?

Before that time comes though, I must be a productive person and go to work and school (I have a Chem test tonight and Chem lab). The key for me to getting through these long days is having fun little things to look forward to (which usually takes the form of meals and snacks). I bought a few things today to keep my spirits up that I am excited about:

I just ate the  Chobani yogurt (SO GOOD) and plan to have the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Mojo bar as a snack and to sip on the seltzer throughout the day. I’m a little excited for both (it’s all about the little things, right?). I love fun snacks.

Best Thing I Packed this Week

Anyway, other than talking about my busy day and fun snacks, I though I’d end the week by sharing the best things I packed this week!

The winning day of packed meals was on Wednesday of this week, as I packed a delicious lunch and dinner.

Best Lunch: Tuna Salad with Dijon Honey dressing

I made myself a salad for lunch on Wednesday that contained:

  • spinach/romaine (as the base)
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • 1 slice  colby jack cheese (cut into squares)
  • 1/2 can tuna

Dressing:  Dijon Honey dressing I made with:

  • 3 tbsp (approx) apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp (approx) dijon mustard
  • 1 squirt (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp?) honey

I also ate a whole wheat wrap on the side that I dipped in the extra dressing and scooped up some of the salad with (I love doing this).

I don’t normally eat a lot of tuna (I think I just forget about it), but it is such an easy/delicious protein option to incorporate into lunches. (Side story… in third grade my friend and I decided we would eat tuna for lunch every.single.day… don’t ask me why. It lasted for a few months, and I literally could not look at tuna for years after that. I’m surprised my mom let me do it and that I didn’t get mercury poisoning… don’t judge me). Anyway, I am glad that my aversion has passed because tuna can be quite delicious every once in a while.

This salad was really simple and contained ingredients that I always have in my fridge, but, for some reason, it tasted extra delicious. Sometimes it’s the simplest foods that are the best.

Best Dinner: Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pita Sandwich

I’ve already posted about my half and half pita sandwich idea (in this post), but since I actually have a picture to show this time around, and since I can’t get over the delicious combo of goat cheese and strawberries, I had to share this again.

My first pita half contained hummus, kale, nutritional yeast and black beans (very similar to my wrap from Monday), but I want to focus the attention on my sweeter half that included:

  • spinach
  • goat cheese
  • chopped strawberries
  • strawberry jelly

I can’t explain to you how much I love this combo. There is something about  the creaminess/saltiness of the goat cheese paired with the sweetness of the strawberries that just works. If you can’t tell, I am a big fan. I can’t   get enough.

Have a great weekend!

What was the best thing you packed this week?

Cherry Garden (aka Cherry Pineapple Coconut) cupcakes

So I have a fun dessert creation for you today!  Since it was my boyfriend’s birthday yesterday, I decided to bake him some cupcakes to celebrate the occasion. Jon is a big fan of all things pineapple- flavored and since his favorite ice cream flavor is Cherry Garden (which is impossible to find….but contains pineapple, cherry and coconut), I used the flavors of pineapple,  coconut and cherry as my “inspiration.”

For Jon’s last two birthdays I actually “made” his favorite ice cream for him, meaning I:

  1. bought vanilla ice cream
  2. took it out of the carton
  3. added pineapple chunks, shredded coconut, and marachino cherries
  4. put the new creation back into the original carton
  5. Created a label (complete with badly drawn cherries, of course) that read “Cherry Garden”

I’m pretty sure I could give Sandra Lee a run for her money….

But this year, I thought I’d switch things up and go the cake (vs. ice cream) route. I decided to make a Cherry Garden-inspired cupcake creation. While browsing on Pinterest the other week I came across a recipe for Pineapple Fluff cupcakes, so I stuck to the cake portion of that recipe (sticking maraschino cherries into the batter as well), and made a semi-homemade version of coconut  whipped cream frosting.

These cupcakes contain no added butter or oil (except for the frosting…) and the actual cake only contains 2 ingredients: cake mix and crushed pineapple (I am always amazed that this is possible – I am a fan of using canned pumpkin in cakes as well). Overall, the cupcakes only require only 5 ingredients!

These  made my apartment smell amazing, and I must say that despite my general preference to cooking vs. baking, I really enjoyed making these.  They were super easy and seemed so festive. They would be perfect for a tropical themed party.

I think I may need more occasions to come up that give me an excuse to make fun dessert creations. The wheels are turning….

Cherry Garden Cupcakes

(adapted/inspired from Pineapple Fluff Cupcakes)

ignore the eggs... I didn't end up needing them

Ingredients:

  • Yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple
  • 1 container whipped cream frosting (any other vanilla-type frosting would work as well)
  • shredded coconut
  • maraschino cherries
  • yellow sprinkles (optional – and not pictured)

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine cake mix and crushed pineapple
  3.  Distribute  mixture into lined cupcake tins (should make about 24 cupcakes)
  4. Add a maraschino cherry into the batter of each cupcake (optional)
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (mine were a little underbaked at 15 minutes, so make sure you check on them to make sure they are done)

Frosting

  1. Empty container of frosting into a medium-sized bowl
  2. Mix in 1/2 – 1 cup of shredded coconut into frosting
  3. Once cool, frost cupcakes
  4. Garnish with more shredded coconut, a maraschino cherry (I garnished each with 1/2 of a cherry), and yellow sprinkles

WIAW #5 (February 22, 2012)

Hi there, happy Wednesday (and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JON)!

I thought I’d switch things up this week and show my meals from Monday. Since I am on the go literally all day, I thought it might be interesting to show a day of my packed meals/snacks on one of these days vs. the days when I am less busy. I also always love to see what people pack to eat (I love easy/healthy meals!), so I am hoping/assuming others feel the same?

Breakfast 7:00

On Monday I literally ate every meal away from home, which usually isn’t the case. I usually always eat breakfast at home. It is actually one of my favorite parts of the day, and I have a whole routine of reading blogs, watching the news, etc.  during this time. Breakfast is what gets me up in the morning (I brainstorm what I will make/eat pretty much as soon as my eyes open…).

On Sunday night though, I somehow set my alarm to the wrong time (1 hour late!) so I somehow magically woke up (thank god) with it with just enough time to get ready and pack myself something quick to eat for breakfast at work.

I ended up going with a pumpkin yogurt +oatmeal + peanut butter combo.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt (approx) with a spoonful of pumpkin mixed in – sweetened with a squirt of honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • small sprinkle of raisins

Snack 1: 10:00 am

Since I ate breakfast a bit later than usual, I wasn’t as hungry for my mid-morning snack. I just grabbed a handful of walnuts and almonds before I had to do some testing at work.

Lunch: 12:30

For lunch I packed myself a big salad that included every vegetable I could find in my fridge. I also added some kidney beans and veggie spiral pasta (I love adding pasta to salads!) for some staying power. I wasnt ‘expecting  much out of this salad, since it is one of my more normal combos, but, for some reason, this was SO good. I love eating big, delicious salads full of fresh veggies on Mondays to start the week off on the right foot. This creation contained:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • red kidney beans (about 1/2 cup)
  • Trader Joes veggie spiral pasta (about 1/2 cup)

I also especially liked my dressing choice of the day: Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic… It soaked into the broccoli and pasta really well and made everything very delicious.

To end things on the sweeter side, I had my daily apple (a Fugi… if you were curious) with lunch.

Snack 2: 3:00 pm

 Before leaving work  to head to class I was feeling a little hungry, so I snacked on 2 clementines and a small handful of almonds

Dinner: 5:00 pm

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have Biology at 5:30, so I usually will eat my packed dinner around 5 in the student cafeteria/study area. On Monday, I was trying to get some studying done before class (I have my first Chem test on Friday), so I took a quick study break to eat dinner. I packed myself a whole wheat wrap that contained:

I also had some carrot sticks and sugar snap peas on the side.

Again, I didn’t think this would be anything special, but it ended up tasting soo good to me (maybe I was missing vegetables in my life over the weekend?). I love the wraps I have been buying (they are a whole wheat variety I buy at Costcos) – they are so doughy! – and the combo of black beans + hummus + nutritional yeast was especially delicious for some reason. I love mixing hummus and nutritional yeast together. It is such a cheesy/creamy combo.

Snack 3: 7:00 pm

After class I had a plan to go to the gym, so I snacked on a Honey Graham Clif Z bar on my ride there.

Dessert: 9:00 pm

And lastly, when I got home from the gym, showered, packed up all my things for Tuesday and settled in to watch the second hour of the Bachelor with a few friends, I decided I wanted something sweet to end the day. I ended up having some cottage cheese with chopped strawberries, raisins, and a few chopped walnuts sprinkled on top.

And that concludes a day of packed meals/meals-on-the-go.

I hope you have been enjoying some delicious food this week as well! I’m excited to go check out what other people have been eating and get some new ideas!

A healthy habit to keep in mind…

Hi there, hope you are having a good morning!

So I wanted to bring up a topic today that is near and dear to my heart when it comes to living an all around, healthy lifestyle: the topic of awareness and/or the act of paying attention when it comes to food/eating.

The act of paying attention is one of the best “lessons” I learned when I crossed over to the “healthy living lifestyle” (clean, whole foods most of the time, focusing on whole grains, veggies, etc…). It is one thing that I NEVER used to do or even thought to do when eating/cooking, but now it is something I keep in mind all.the.time. and  is something I try to practice as much as possible.

I actually learned this tip from Bethenny Frankel in her book, Naturally Thin (I love this book, by the way), and I really feel it is SO IMPORTANT in regard to healthy living/living a healthy life in general. It’s like a light bulb went off in my head when I realized how interconnected this act is to so many aspects of life. Paying attention seems to be obvious task, but it can be really eye-opening if it’s not something you’re used to doing.

Paying attention can mean A LOT of things, but in regard to food, a few things that make up the concept include:

  • tasting your food! (aka not shoving it in your mouth or zoning out when eating)
  • recognizing when it is time for a meal – and stopping other activities
  • making a meal an ‘event’ (food presentation, making food look “pretty“) – you eat with your eyes first!
  • being aware of flavors/food combination, textures, food temperature….

When I started adopting this habit into my life (which was HARD at first…. mindless eating is often very second nature and NOT paying attention is much easier to do), I started to become more aware of when I was hungry and when I was full. I started to notice when foods didn’t taste so great (which is surprisingly hard to tell when you shovel food into your mouth… who would have thought?), started eating more slowly, and started to care more about what my food actually looked like. Food became more about quality and less about quantity. The “art” of food and the act of sitting down to a meal became more important to me.

Basically, the simple act of paying attention to what I was eating changed how I viewed food and the act of eating.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I sit in silence every time I eat and savor each and every morsel that goes into my mouth. Sometimes I eat in front of my computer or in front of the TV. Sometimes I have to eat quickly or have to throw dinner together in five minutes. Last week, for example, I had to eat dinner in my car (eating a kale and cucumber wrap out of a Tupperware container is an interesting obstacle, by the way). I understand that it is not always possible to completely unplug and give all your attention to a meal.

While paying attention can be mean various things to different people, to me, it is not about analyzing your food or making food more than it needs to be (like spending hours preparing it or making sure to taste every bite that you take), it’s about refocusing your attention to the present and unplugging from life.

I felt the need to bring this up since it is something that I have been trying to do, even when I am super busy and have to eat on the go. I feel like there is always some way to refocus yourself when busy or stressed (even if it’s just for 5 minutes!), and for me, enjoying a meal – even if its something simple –  is a built-in window of opportunity in which to do so. I refuse to let my busy schedule get in the way of my ability to disconnect for just a bit.

I hope I don’t sound crazy, but I truly believe that the simple act of paying attention to a meal (focusing on who your with, what your favorite part of your lunch is, what tastes the best/worst, etc.) can be a great way to refocus a moment or day. We eat at least 3x a day, why not take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy ourselves? It’s a great way to refocus and truly live in the present moment.

Do you think paying attention when eating is important/do you pay attention to it?

How do you refocus yourself when stressed/busy? How do you “live in the moment?”



In my perfect food/healthy living world….

1. It would be common knowledge that vegetables are not only good for you but also delicious (and fun!)

2. Kombucha  would be on tap at every restaurant/bar (I recently found out that it’s on tap in some bars!) and flavored seltzer would be available in every fountain drink machine

3. Kale chips would be a side option in every sandwich shop (potato chips are overrated….)

4. Fugi and Pink Lady apples would be a popular vending machines option…..

 

source

5. Every salad bar would be like Whole Foods’ salad bar

5. Almond milk and Stevia would be options in every coffee shop

6. Every restaurant would offer multiple vegetarian meal options  (that didn’t include pasta and/or heavy cream-based sauces…)

7. I would have an endless supply of nut butters (Sunbutter, Justin’s, PB & Co……) and Larabar/KIND bars….

 What would be required in your “perfect food and/or healthy living world?”

Scenes from the weekend + a fun snack idea

Hi! How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

I didn’t do anything super exciting and was rather low key, but it was exactly what I needed. I basically just ran errands and got some work done, but I really enjoyed myself. Sometimes its nice to just recharge. Some  of my more notable moments of the weekend….

I ate a delicious lunch at Whole Foods

I had to work Saturday morning so I rewarded myself when I was finished with with a delicious Whole Foods lunch…. I especially enjoyed the vegetarian Waldorf salad made with kale on the bottom right corner…. (I am pretty mad at myself for not looking how they made it…). Anyone know whats in it?

I ran 5 miles at the gym on Saturday!

Even though I have been running for over 2 years now, and have completed multiple races, I still get excited every time I run more than 2 miles…. maybe its my former nonathletic/uncoordinated adolescent self congratulating me? I was pretty pleased with myself for 1. getting to the gym on a Saturday afternoon and 2. running more than 3 miles (my original plan)

I tried a new-to-me beer

I went to Jon‘s friends house last night and enjoyed a couple of beers (including the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale that I previously wrote about!).  The Old Brown Dog Ale tasted exactly how Runner’s World described it and was deliciously malty/caramel-y. I also had a Flying Dog  In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen that was pretty good.

I saw the biggest yam I have ever seen….

This is random, but I saw this at the store today and felt the need to share. It was HUGE!

I ate a delicious snack

I just ate this, and since it was pretty good, I felt the need to share. I always love having something sweet at night, and I like to try to think of healthier alternatives to enjoy when I am not in the mood to eat something super indulgent.

I was in the mood for something warm/comforting, but I also wanted an apple. To satisfy both moods I made some cinnamon pumpkin peanut butter dip that I could dip some apple slices into. To make the dip I combined:

  • 2 tbsp pumpkin (approx)
  • 1 tsp  peanut butter (approx)

I heated the mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds than stirred in some cinnamon.

This was such a fun snack, and I loved dipping the cold/crisp apples slices into the warm  peanut butter and pumpkin combo. YUM!

What the highlight/best part of your weekend?

Best thing I packed this week (February 17, 2012)

Hi everyone, Happy Friday!

I am pretty excited because I have the day off of work today! I still have chem lecture + lab from 5-10 tonight, but I refuse to let that dampen my day. It’s so nice to have the morning/afternoon free! What should I do with myself? I’m not used to this freedom…..

Anyway, moving on…. Since it is Friday, I have another installment of “the best thing I packed this week.” I hope you guys are fans of eggs because my favorite meals revolved around them this week. For some reason I was craving egg salad last weekend (which is odd because I rarely crave eggs), so I decided to do something about it. I buckled down, decided to be my domestic self, and I made some hard-boiled eggs (I had no idea what I was doing and had to look up directions... it ended up being really easy, by the way).

Me and eggs have a weird relationship. I either love them or hate them (and there is no in between). I was definitely on the “love” side of the spectrum this week so I just went with it and had some egg-inspired meals….

The best thing I packed this week: Hard-boiled egg edition:

Best Lunch: “Cobb”-esque Salad

For lunch on Monday, I made myself a “Cobb-esque” salad (I am calling it that since it contained no bacon, chicken, or tomatoes like a typical cobb salad, but did have the egg and cheese components…). My salad contained:

  • romaine lettuce
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • a slice of cheddar cheese (cut into squares)
  • 1 chopped hard-boiled egg
  • Dressing: homemade honey mustard dressing made with apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper

I loved all the different textures and tastes in this salad and the cheddar cheese was a fun addition (I have a similar relationship with cheese as I do with eggs…. love it or hate it). I guess I am in a dairy loving mood this week?

I think I was inspired to make this after seeing a Cobb salad on Pinterest the other week… I have been loving getting food inspiration from the site (side note…. I really want to try to make these apple pies in an apple…).

Best Dinner: Healthy Egg Salad Sandwich

Keeping with the egg theme, my favorite pre-class packed dinner this week was a egg salad wrap that I had on Wednesday night. I made the egg salad by combining (enough for 2 sandwiches):

  • 3 eggs (chopped)
  • 1-2 tbsp greek yogurt (I just eyeballed this)
  • a squirt of dijon mustard (maybe 2 tsp?)
  • pepper
  • a sprinkle of paprika

I made my wrap by combining half the egg salad mixture with some romaine lettuce.

This ended up being so good and definitely satisfied my egg salad craving. Not only was it a protein packed wrap with the addition of both eggs and greek yogurt, it was also a bit healthier than the standard mayo-heavy egg salad you would find in most deli’s or supermarkets.

I was a little nervous to use greek yogurt  as a mayo replacement (I usually use it as a sour cream replacement), but it turned out really well! This tasted  spot on to the mayo-heavy egg salad I remember eating as a child, only this version was so much less dense and calorie heavy! I know some people are against using greek yogurt as a substitute for other condiments, but I am a big fan. It’s just so versatile.

Other notable meals/snacks of the week:

Tofu sandwich with Trader Joe's Lentil Masala dip, cucumber and spinach

Snack of cottage cheese and pumpkin topped with craisins, raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon and raw oats

 What was the best thing you packed this week?

Have a great weekend!