Posts Tagged With: Clean Eating

WIAW Oats, Kale, and Chipotle

My first WIAW! I love looking at everyone’s mid-week eats and decided to join in the fun.  Being the literal person that I am, I took “What I Ate Wednesday” to mean to photograph and post everything consumed today, Wednesday. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t even have a foot out the door this morning and I noticed WIAW posts popping up. Apparently most people post what they ate last Wednesday, or what they ate the previous day, or any other day they choose. Maybe this is why it’s not called “What I Ate ON Wednesday”. :-( Ah, the omission of one little word. For me, this revelation means that today’s entry is being posted later than most.
WIAW Title Nine Lunch Bag

4 out of my 5 (or 6) meals are generally eaten at work, which means presentation lacks while function wins. I am still on the hunt for the perfect clean eating cooler or bento box. Until then, I bring all my eats in glass (or a few plastic) containers and baggies, and haul them in a tote bag. We visited the Title Nine store in Madison over the weekend, and they packaged my purchase in this cheerful little bag which has now become my temporary lunch tote.

Meal 1: Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

WIAW Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are so easy! I prefer my oats warm, especially when your furnace goes out on one of the coldest nights of the year; you really don’t want cold oats. I mix it up the night before, put in the fridge, and when I get to work I microwave for 30 seconds to take the chill off. This particular combo was so tasty! I also prefer my oats pretty thick, so if you like yours a bit more watery, wait until morning to see how it looks and add more almond milk as needed. For me, this is the perfect ratio for thick & creamy oats. Here’s my little “recipe”:

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Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 T Dried Tart Cherries
  • 1 T Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams

Directions

  1. Mix oats, almond milk, and cherries in a covered container and place in fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning, microwave container for 30 seconds (or eat cold, if you are into that).
  3. Top with chocolate peanut butter.

Serves 1
288 calories, 42 carbs, 12 fat, 9 protein

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I also added some fresh sliced strawberries to today’s oats.

Meal 2: Alouette Spreadable Italian Herb Cheese Portion with Crunchmaster Crackers

WIAW Crunchmaster Crackers from Costco

These are the new competition to Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges. They come in foil-wrapped 40-calorie portions which makes it easy to throw in a lunch bag. Very smooth and easy to spread. These Crunchmaster Multigrain Crackers are my current favorite cracker. We buy a big box at Costco. They are gluten-free, but do contain soy from the tamari (soy sauce) they use to flavor it with.

Meal 3: Raw Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds & Poppyseed Dressing, Topped with Sliced Cucumbers, Hard-Boiled Eggs & Baby Carrots

WIAW Kale Salad

WIAW Eggs and Carrots

This bagged Sweet Kale Salad by Eat Smart is pretty good! It contains raw finely chopped broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and chicory with a packet of dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds for a topping. It also comes with a poppyseed dressing which is quite good and works well with the greens. I topped my salad with some cucumbers for a watery crunch, and two hard-boiled eggs for protein. I also had some baby carrots (regular carrots are preferred, but these were actually cheaper that week).

Meal 4: Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt & Earnest Eats Superfood Trail Mix Bar

WIAW Chobani and Earnest Eats

My favorite Chobani flavor. It was my favorite last year, and still is today. I also wanted something chewy, and these bars from Earnest Eats get the job done.

WIAW Starbucks Americano

On my way home from work, I stopped for an Americano at Starbucks for my evening winter commute. This was my first coffee of the day! Surprisingly, I did not miss the early morning jolt, but I have to admit that this afternoon cup tasted wonderful and made the scenery of frozen cornfields seem less wicked.

Meal 5: Chipotle Bowl with Brown Rice, Barbacoa, Fajita Vegetables, Tomato Salsa & Green Tomatillo Salsa

WIAW Chipotle Bowl

Normally I’d have a salad at Chipotle, but I had a salad for lunch and wanted something warmer so I went with the bowl topped with lots of Tabasco. I can never finish a whole bowl myself, so I saved half of this and will have it for a snack or lunch tomorrow.

Maybe next week I’ll have to do “What I Ate On Tuesday, But Blogged About On Wednesday” to join in the fun a little earlier. ;-)

What was your favorite food of the day? Do you feel that keeping a visual food diary helps to keep you accountable on your nutrition goals? Do you eat most of your meals at work?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week’s Eats

In a rut and looking for some dinner ideas? Here is what I’ve been making this past week.

Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus

Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus from Eating Bird Food

My Notes: Flavorful and quick! We only used 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and that was plenty. I’d think that the 1-2 teaspoons the recipe calls for might be too much for most people. You can always start out with less and add more! I added some red and green bell pepper, plus baby spinach, to increase the veggie-ness.

Elana's Pantry Chocolate Chip Scones

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones from The Almond Flour Cookbook

My Notes: Makes 12 (not 16). I wouldn’t call these scones as they lack the classic scone texture, but they taste like excellent pillowy cake-like chocolate chip cookies. Try them! I’ve made these twice in one week – once with dark chocolate chips and once with Enjoy Life! chocolate chips.

Clean Eating Apple Grilled Cheese

Apple Grilled Cheese with Grainy Mustard from Clean Eating

My Notes: Added smoked turkey for more protein, and ate with sliced honeycrisp apple and salt & pepper pop chips! Simple, super fast lunch!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Closeup

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Veggies

Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Janetha at Meals & Moves

My Notes: Made a much smaller pizza than expected. Used up some veggies on hand (bell peppers and mushrooms). Baked on parchment-lined baking sheet, flipping before adding toppings. Not as crispy as I like my crusts, but nice and “bread-like”. Interesting concept, would try again with some changes, but good base recipe if you want to try working with cauliflower dough.

Tandoor Chef Pizza

Tandoor Chef Roasted Eggplant Naan Pizza

Okay, this isn’t homemade, but it’s out of this world! My local co-op had this on sale for $2.24 and it is worth every penny. The eggplant gets crispy, has a slight spice to it, and the naan crust is fantastic. The only downside is that these pizzas are small and soooo good that I can easily eat a whole one myself, and I do.

Clean Eating Shepherds Pie

Shepherd’s Pie with Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potato Crust from Clean Eating

My Notes: Liked this more than I thought I would! Good for a cold autumn night. Leftovers were equally as tasty.

All of the above are easy to make and QUICK. I work full-time and don’t have a lot of time and energy to spend hours in the kitchen every night. Most of the recipes I make are quick and require few ingredients.

What are you cooking up this week?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What I Missed About Running

One foot in front of the other.

Merrell Pace Gloves

Yesterday I headed out for a late evening run. While moving along inhaling the heady fragrance of lilacs, I realized what I missed most about not being able to run the past few months. It wasn’t so much the physical activity. There are other forms of exercise that you can do to keep your heart and body healthy. It wasn’t the thrill of racing, or the camaraderie of group runs (although that is indeed missed). What I missed most was delighting in the simple details that you experience during a run.

Lilac Bush

The smell of lilac.

Gravel Pitted Road

The uneven, pitted streets that collect tiny pools of rain water.

Brick Wall

The texture on the facades of buildings that have been around longer than me.

Lily Of The Valley

Sidewalks lined with lily of the valley.

These are just a few of the things I missed. Don’t even get me started on trail running.

This experience cannot be replicated indoors on a treadmill or elliptical. Sure I could take a walk outdoors and enjoy the sounds, sights and smells but it is different when you are running. Your senses are heightened. Your breathing is deeper and you inhale the smells around you more intensely. You are covering more ground in the same amount of time than you would if you were walking thus experiencing more. And since you are moving at a faster rate, each experience with a sound, smell, sight or feeling is so fleeting. You take it in and hold onto it as long as you can, before exhaling and releasing. Anticipating the next sensory delight which awaits around the corner. You could replicate this to a degree with bicycling, although I feel that some of the sensory elements are removed since you are moving faster. (Although I adore cycling for other reasons which I’ll share someday.) For whatever reason, maybe it is the rhythm that it creates, running is the right speed and method for me to pull enjoyment and inspiration from my surroundings. It is a way to get to know a neighborhood in a more intimate way, or a therapeutic dose of nature. Either way, it is so much more than running.

Inhale. Exhale.

And because no post is complete without a little talk about food, I bring to you “Two Nights of Elana’s Pantry“. Carrot Muffins, Apricot Power Bars… I find myself going back to Elana’s Pantry for more. As good as the muffins and bars are, I needed some savory ideas for dinner and Elana delivers in that department, too. Last night I made her Green Chili Turkey Burgers.

Elana's Pantry Turkey Burger

It’s a simple combination of ground turkey, green chiles, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. While Mr. Nine was grilling these, I went out to the garden and picked some asparagus and prepared it with wilted asparagus drizzled with oil and vinegar. Nothing like super fresh veggies and a good protein! The burgers were moist and full of flavor. We enjoyed these sans-bun to make it gluten-free and didn’t need any toppings! That says a lot for a humble turkey burger. Leftovers were enjoyed for lunch today and reheated fabulously. My only tip would be to layer the formed patties between small sheets of parchment paper on a plate and freeze for about a half hour or until slightly firm. I would have done this if I had the time. The patties were super soft with a high moisture content, and Mr. Nine executed his superb grilling skills to ensure that they stayed in one piece. While he was out there grilling, I had him throw on a few chicken breasts for tonight’s dinner - Mexican Chicken and Rice.

Elana's Pantry Chicken and Rice

Doesn’t that look yum? What is fantastic about this recipe is that the “rice” is really cauliflower! Mr. Nine took a whole head of cauliflower and fed it through the food processor fitted with a grating disc. He only did this because I had a minor kitchen accident with the blade that required bandaging my thumb. :-) Elana says to use the “S” blade, but I thought the grating disc did an excellent job and kept all the pieces uniform. The whole dish contains grilled chicken, onion, cauliflower, green chilies, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cilantro and salsa. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly, but you could take some of her other suggestions and add cheese, or even black beans. This recipe is really versatile. Personally, I left out the celery and cut the oil and salt in half (the original amounts seemed unneccessary). I could envision other veggies like red or orange bell peppers – use your imagination!

Now the question is, did the cauliflower taste like rice? I am not sure you could fool anybody into thinking it was rice, but it wasn’t bad at all. It essentially had the same texture, color and shape of cauliflower and the flavor was somewhat neutral and absorbed the spices and other flavors. I think this could definitely grow on me. I like the idea of having a cruciferous vegetable instead of rice because it is way lower in calories and higher in nutrients. I made a little comparison chart to illustrate this.

Cauliflower Vs Rice Comparison Chart

With the cauliflower, you are getting way more potassium, fiber and vitamin c, and lower carbs and calories. The rice has the advantage on the minerals, but all in all I think the cauliflower is the better option. What do you think?

Tonight’s questions: What would you miss about running if you had to stop? Have you ever made cauli-rice?

Categories: Food, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pressed Sweet Potato and Avocado Sandwich

Looking for new ways to enjoy two of my favorite foods – sweet potatoes and avocados – I came up with this simple sandwich combination for lunch.

Here is what you’ll need:

Sweet Potato Avocado Sandwich Ingredients

Whole wheat bread, red onion, avocado, sweet potato, baby spinach, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, olive oil, salt and pepper.

First, slice the potato and onion into roughly 1/4″ slices and roast in the oven (with olive oil, salt and pepper) until tender.

Sweet Potato Avocado Sandwich Sliced Potato and Onion

Here are the roasted taters and onions:

Sweet Potato Avocado Sandwich Roasted Potato and Onion

Yummy. Now you’ll assemble your sandwich with the rest of the ingredients as beautifully illustrated here.

Sweet Potato Avocado Sandwich Assembly

Cook sandwiches in a large skillet with cooking spray as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, until the bread is lightly toasted and the inside is warm. I like to smoosh the sandwich as flat as I can with the back of my spatula, to ensure that everything holds together and is warm throughout.

Sweet Potato Avocado Sandwich

Now you are ready to eat! We enjoyed our sandwiches with a side of sliced apples.

Sweet Potato Avocado Sandwich Closeup

I loved how beautiful the orange and green colors were, just like the orange and green in my Avocado-Carrot Salad from earlier this week.

This hit the spot and was the perfect fuel for a 4-mile afternoon trail run/walk.

RECIPE

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Pressed Sweet Potato & Avocado Sandwich

A colorful easy-to-make vegetarian sandwich for all the sweet potato and avocado lovers out there.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 light Laughing Cow cheese wedges, any flavor
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss sweet potato and onion with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Spread potatoes and onion in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, turning half-way through until the sweet potato is tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
  4. Spread 2 slices of bread, each with a cheese wedge. Top with spinach, onion, potato and avocado. Place the remaining bread slices on top.
  5. Place a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
  6. Carefully add both sandwiches to the skillet and press with the back of the spatula to compress the sandwich together. (Alternatively, if you own a panini press, you can use that to “grill” your sandwich.) Once the bottom is lightly toasted, flip and press again.

Serves 2.

Tip: I used Laughing Cow’s Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle flavor, but you can use any of their savory light cheese spreads.

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Laughing Cow light cheese wedges are only 35 calories and they are so creamy that they spread nicely on sandwiches like the one above. After making this sandwich, my imagination ran wild with alternate sweet potato combinations, so expect to see more sandwich creations like this in the future.

Have you ever had a potato sandwich? What is your favorite combination?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Clean Eating Sirloin Steak Recipes

An alternate title for this blog post could be “A Tale of Two Sirloins”. I’ve been trying to eat more meat and bought a huge package of beef top sirloin at Costco. I decided to use this beef in a few Clean Eating recipes, one which was okay, the other was great.

Let’s start with the great…

Sirloin Beef Wraps

Clean Eating Sirloin Beef Wraps

Yum, yum!

I didn’t have any romaine (or any lettuce for that matter) and my cucumbers were not looking very good, so I stuck with just carrots, red onion and cilantro for the topping and it was plenty flavorful, crunchy, colorful and interesting.

The sauce for the wraps is made from whisking together Dijon mustard, raw honey, stevia, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. The result is a sweet and tangy sauce that worked well on top of the beef.

Although the recipe does not mention this, it is always important to slice steak against the grain. With sirloin this is not as important as say a flank steak, I still find it makes a big difference. The meat is much easier to eat because it is not as tough to bite. Why? Because when you slice against the grain it shortens the muscle fibers. This website article, The Food Lab: Slicing Meat Against the Grain, does a great job of explaining the meat math behind it!

I would definitely make these wraps again. :-)

Get the recipe for Sirloin Beef Wraps from the Clean Eating website.

The heap of carrots in the background? That is my Avocado & Carrot Salad. I’ll post the recipe for that later on so stay tuned.

Next up on the sirloin cooking spree…

Sirloin & Peppery Tomato Reduction

Clean Eating Sirloin and Peppery Tomato Reduction

The sauce made from reducing down diced tomatoes, water, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes, tastes a lot like A-1 Sauce. The recipe also calls for olive oil which I omitted, and I subbed tomato juice from the can (I used petite cut diced tomatoes) for the water.

Instead of slicing the meat for plating purposes, I decided to leave them as whole steaks. While this was okay, it didn’t wow me enough to want to make it again. It was quick, involved minimal dishes, and was acceptable for a simple weeknight dinner.

Get the recipe for Sirloin & Peppery Tomato Reduction from the Clean Eating website.

In conclusion, out of the two sirloin recipes, the steak wraps were hands down better.

In other news, I tried TRX Suspension Training for the first time!

From the TRX website:

“Born in the Navy SEALs, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX® Suspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to enable hundreds of exercises for every fitness goal.”

It was an introductory class so we didn’t get too sweaty, but was a nice way to try it out with a certified instructor. It was a lot easier than I anticipated, but some of the moves were definitely hard.

The great thing about TRX is that you can alter your foot position or angle of body to make it harder or easier. Squats, push-ups and pull-ups were pretty simple, one-foot lunges and planks were a little harder.

Imagine yourself in plank pose, but your feet are suspended in straps that can sway and move side to side. This means that you have to engage more muscles and requires balance and stability.

TRX Plank

(That is not me in the picture, photo credit goes to Couch2Camino.)

One-foot suspended lunges were definitely hard because of the balance factor. Check this out:

TRX Suspended Lunge

(Unsure who to credit for this photo, but I found it on Man Bicep.)

I can do one-foot lunges with my foot on a bench, but in a moving strap is much harder. I had to have someone stand in front of me so that I could lightly hold their hand so I wouldn’t topple over. With practice, one could master this, but it was definitely harder than the other moves.

There are no TRX facilities near our home so we had to drive and hour to try it, however you can buy the straps for home use. The only downside is that they are $200!

I prefer regular weight training and cardio, but this would be a great idea for someone who is bored with their regular workout routine, or for someone who wants a “portable gym”. If I ever got this, I’d prefer to do it outdoors in a park by attaching it to a sturdy tree branch.

If your gym offers this, definitely check it out! It is always nice to find new ways to push your body. If this was offered at a facility closer to our house, I’d probably go once in awhile for workout variation.

Have you ever tried TRX? Do you own a system? If so, do you use it often?

Categories: Fitness, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clean Eating Spaghetti Carbonara and Slow-Cooker Brisket Tacos

I’ve been on a clean eating recipe kick lately, and so far it has been yum-tastic. When I first discovered Clean Eating Magazine a few years ago, I loved making the recipes. Then I hit a series of bad recipes that took away my confidence in them and I shelved all my issues for a long while.

Now I’ve rediscovered my love for them and I’ve been having fun making new dishes every week.

Spaghetti Carbonara – November/December 2010

This is not to be confused with their Quick & Healthy Pasta Carbonara, which is a different recipe entirely.

Clean Eating Spaghetti Carbonara

I chose this dish because we have fresh asparagus in the garden right now just begging to be eaten! It is a little early for asparagus, but our winter has been unseasonably warm and the first spears were ready for harvest mid-March.

This Spaghetti Carbonara was a cinch to pull together, and tasted indulgent! I haven’t made spaghetti carbonara in nearly a decade. I use to make it the traditional way with lots of bacon, after all it is traditionally an egg and bacon spaghetti. Although it has been awhile since I’ve had the “real thing”, I was very satisfied with this and did not miss the bacon at all (well maybe a little). The ham gives a nice saltiness, and the asparagus gave it a nice bit of crisp veggie goodness. Instead of using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, I used the bagged sun-dried tomatoes that are found in the produce section. I think that these taste fresher and I like that they come in a resealable bag that I can keep in the fridge.

This is a very simple dish, full of flavor, minimal cooking time and minimal kitchen clean-up. For extra protein, we enjoyed southwestern grilled chicken breasts alongside smaller portions of the pasta. There were leftovers for 2-3 more meals. I wondered how the leftovers would hold up (with the egg/parm sauce), and it did pretty well. It was slightly gummy in texture from sitting overnight and then being microwaved , but it was to be expected. It didn’t stop us from eating every last bite!

Clean Eating does not have this recipe on their website (boo!), but someone posted it here on TasteBook.

Next up is a fun taco recipe!

Slow-Cooker Brisket Tacos with Tangy Chimichurri Zucchini – April/May 2012

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Tacos

This is from the latest issue of CE, where they did a whole feature on tacos called Five Nights of Tacos. I could not find ancho or guajillo peppers at the two grocery stores I went to, so instead went with my backup plan and used the Rick Bayless Red Chile Barbacoa Sauce packet.

This has the same flavor profile as the CE recipe (roasted tomatoes, ancho and guajillo chiles are the main ingredients) but in a simple open and dump packet. It was also on sale, and ended up being cheaper than getting the ingredients and making it myself.

I browned the flat cut beef brisket and added it to the slow-cooker (or as some people like to call it, a crock pot) and cooked it for 8 hours on low. The CE recipe says 6 hours, but that seems short to me, and Mr. Bayless says to do 8 and I trust his advice. ;-)

While I can’t give an accurate review for the meat since I didn’t follow the recipe, the meat made with Rick’s seasoning pouch was great! I’d suggest taking a cue from him and adding a little onion powder, paprika, chipotle, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar to up the flavor profile a bit.

I DID make the Tangy Chimichurri Zucchini part of the recipe and it is FANTASTIC! I love chimichurri, but never thought to add it to raw zucchini and use it as a taco topping. It is zingy and tangy and all around lip-smacking good. The raw zucchini adds a bit of crunch to the soft shredded beef and is a gorgeous bright green color.

It was so easy to whip up in my Vitamix, just puree 2 cups fresh cilantro, 1 cup fresh parsley, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 garlic clove and 1 jalapeno (seeded). Pour this green goodness over thinly sliced zucchini and you have a delicious taco topping. CE states that this can be made up to 2 days in advance, which combined with the slow-cooked meat, you can have a dinner that comes together the instant you get home.

The only thing I didn’t care for was the Ezekiel corn tortillas that I bought because they were hard and chewy. I normally purchase El Milagro, but the store was out of them. Ezekiel, I love your bread and your english muffins, but your corn tortillas are not very good.

Clean Eating does not have this recipe on their website, but is in the current issue (April/May 2012).

From the same issue, I decided to make a sweet treat…

Meyer Lemon Bars – April/May 2012

And here is a bonus recipe, that was a fail for me.

Clean Eating Meyer Lemon Bars

In all fairness, I used regular lemons (no meyers to be found) and substituted Stevia in the Raw for the evaporated cane juice. The result was bitter and not palatable.

Sadly, it all went into the garbage.

Has anyone else tried this recipe? It was easy to make, and I’m wondering if I should try it again using regular sugar and real meyer lemons, but not sure if it would be worth it.

Have you made any of the other recipes in the April/May 2012 issue of Clean Eating Magazine? If so, what are your favorites so far?

Happy Cooking!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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