Tag Archives: Nutrition

Muffins at Midnight

15 Jun

Midnight is a great time for making muffins.  A few months ago I discovered these vegan zucchini date muffins on ChoosingRaw.com. They are absolutely delicious. I’ve been craving them for a few weeks and now that I’m running more I want to have plenty of clean post-run snacks around.

Zucchini Date Muffins

Zucchini Date Muffins

Not sure that midnight was an ideal time to bake these but I will be so happy when I have them after today’s boot camp.

Also, since it’s gotten warmer I’ve been obsessing over Arugula. This is the third day in a row that I’ve prepared this salad.

ShrimpBlackberrySalad

Shrimp & Blackberry Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup organic baby arugula
1/3 cup organic blackberries
1/2 organic zucchini, sliced
1 small Persian cucumber, sliced
2 TBS green onion, chopped
1 lemon wedge
6 wild caught jumbo gulf shrimp
1 tsp coconut oil

Saute the shrimp in coconut oil over medium-high heat, toss all ingredients in lemon juice and enjoy. This salad takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

For all of you muffin lovers I leave you with, Muffins, a clip by one of my favorite comedians.

Which seasonal fruits and veggies are you craving right now? Do you have a favorite muffin flavor or recipe?

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Afternoon Drinks

15 Mar

After a long day of work all I want to do is have a drink, you know to take the edge off. A protein drink from Protein Bar!

Pier-Nut Butter and Jelly

Pier-Nut Butter and Jelly

This place is right around the corner from my office and whenever I’m in the mood for a sweet (protein) treat I head out to the Protein Bar. You can customize your drinks with your choice of protein: whey, egg or soy; your choice of milk: skim, almond or soy and your choice of fruit and extras. Lately I’ve been loving something they call The Daley Grind. It’s a warm protein shake and has coffee, chocolate and espresso protein.

Today I wanted to pretend that it was spring in Chicago so I got a cold drink, the Pier-Nut Butter and Jelly. This one’s got vanilla protein, almond milk, peanut butter, blueberries and strawberries. YUM! I am very lucky to have such an awesome spot so close to work. Ok, it’s back to work for me.

Do you have a favorite protein shake?

Breakfast on the Go, (Almost) the Same as at Home

10 Mar

By now I don’t think it’s a secret that I love to cook and breakfast is no exception. I eat breakfast every single day. I don’t change it up all that much. I find something I like and stick to it for several months. Kind of like when I was eating breakfast burritos all the time. Lately the standard has been oatmeal and eggs.

Even when in a hurry I don’t skip breakfast nor do I grab anything processed. I am excited to share with you a way to have the same kind of breakfast you would have at home on the go: overnight oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs. (I didn’t say it was going to be glamorous.)

It’s simple you prepare the whole thing the night before in less than 15 minutes and as long as you don’t forget your spoon you can eat it anywhere. I think I’m the last person on the planet to discover this breakfast delicacy. I first read about it on Carrots and Cake or Kath Eats,  I don’t remember which one. After a year of reading about these women preparing this culinary treasure, I decided to give it whirl. All you have to do is soak your oatmeal overnight in a liquid of preference. I’ve been using unsweetened almond milk topped with a sliced banana and walnuts. The oats soak up the liquid and are just as soft as when cooked. Now there are no excuses for not eating breakfast.

Anyone have a another tip for taking a home cooked breakfast on the go?

Random Report: Balls, Hancock and Lunch

3 Mar

Remember that bowling party I went to a couple of weeks ago? Remember how ballsy I was and asked to order off the menu? Well my request was granted and I ordered a grilled steak salad with extra arugula. They prepared it just how I like it, medium-rare and dressing on the side.

Steak Salad

Steak Salad

It’s a good thing I made the request because it was an after work party and I was very hungry by the time I arrived. The buffet food included pizzas and fried mac and cheese balls, which I would have resorted to eating. This way I got to stay on track with eating clean.

This past Sunday was my second Hustle Up the Hancock race. I participated last year and ran up 94 flights of stairs in 20:30. I had a goal of 18 minutes and I DID IT! My final time was 18:05.

Hustle with my trainer

Hustle with my trainer

This is all thanks to my trainer. He had me on a weight-lifting, stair-climbing regimen specific to meet my goal. There’s no better feeling than accomplishing a fitness goal after training hard!

It’s been a busy week this week and I haven’t had much time to prepare meals and shop for groceries, luckily where I work (in the heart of Chicago) I have an abundance of  lunch spots to choose from. Yesterday I chose Freshii and ordered off their Freshii 15 menu. The Freshii 15 is a menu of low-cal, portion appropriate options created by Ashley Koff, RD. I like that they have this option, I think it helps if you aren’t confident with choosing healthy off a menu on your own. It does the work for you.

Freshii 15 menu

Freshii 15 menu

The thing that I really like about Freshii is that everything is customizable and they have almost endless combinations for creating soups, salads and wraps.

Freshii Boostii-q salad

Freshii Boostii-q salad

For lunch I chose the Boostii-q salad because it has all the ingredients I would use at home: greens, bbq chicken (skip the cheese), avocado, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice and a splash of Sriracha (which I have never put into a salad before but now is going to become a staple salad ingredient).

I can’t wait to recharge this weekend. I’ll be registering for races, planning meals, hitting the gym and creating some running plans for the spring and summer.

What have you been up to this week? How do you manage eating healthy during a busy week?

Raw Delicious Decadent Dessert

25 Feb

I was able to salvage all of the photos from the memory card from the camera I killed earlier this week! I am very excited to share with you an amazing dessert that I made twice last weekend: sliced pink lady apples with slices of raw Gruyère cheese topped with raw honey and chopped pecans.

Raw apple dessert

Raw apple dessert

It’s 100% raw. 100% delicious. 100% decadent. 100% healthy.

It’s very easy to be this fancy. As long as you have some small plates you can easily impress your friends and family at your next dinner party.

Chop up some apples, place cheese slice on top, drizzle with raw (unheated) honey and sprinkle with raw pecans. The sweetness of the honey, the savoriness of the cheese and tartness of the apples create a unique blend of flavors that won’t be forgotten. I’m already thinking of variations of this with pears, brie, slivered almonds and honey.

Do you have a favorite raw dessert? I’d love to try it.

P.S. I’ve been so immersed in sharing delicious healthy food that I forgot to mention that I am doing the Hustle Up the Hancock on Sunday, 95 flights of stairs baby! I did the climb last year in 20:30 and my goal is to finish in 18 minutes. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Curried chicken chili and clubbing

11 Feb

What do chicken chili and clubbing have in common? Absolutely nothing but I’m going clubbing this weekend and I’ve been enjoying chicken chili all week.

As years go by people’s interests and hobbies change. One of my favorite activities used to be clubbing. Yeah, I used to be a Jersey-Shore-fist-pumping-dance-your-butt-off-til-5am-at-the-club type, I’m not kidding. For some of you who have met me over the last few years or who have been following this blog you may find it hard to believe. In my late teens through mid-20s I was at every club opening and DJ night in Chicago and even traveled Europe visiting the biggest clubs in Berlin, Mykonos, Athens, Madrid, Ibiza, London and Barcelona.

These days I prefer to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, go to the gym and cook delicious meals at home. My latest invention in the kitchen is Curried Chicken Chili.

Curried chicken chili

Curried chicken chili

Ingredients:
2 free-range chicken breasts, fat trimmed and pounded
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp green curry paste
1.5 TBS coconut oil, divided

1 medium onion diced
1 medium red bell pepper diced

28 oz can of no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp curry powder (this is optional and to your preference, I added sweet curry powder)
15 oz kidney beans

Step 1:
In a shallow dish brush lemon juice over the chicken until covered on both sides. Then sprinkle with chili powder and cumin, covering both sides. Spread green curry paste on the chicken with butter knife. Cover and let stand in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2:
Preheat skillet to medium and add half of the oil. Sautee chicken until cooked through, about three to four minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and let cool. Once cooled dice the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Step 3:
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat sautee onion and red bell pepper until soft, about three minutes. Add diced chicken and mix ingredients.

Vegetables and Chicken

Vegetables and Chicken

Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, coriander and curry. Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

With Tomatoes

With Tomatoes

Step 4:
Add beans, mix thoroughly, cover and cook for 15 more minutes. You can serve it straight out of the pot or over a bed of quinoa. Enjoy!

Are there any other chili-loving club heads reading my blog? If you’re out there what are your favorite dance tracks?

Full flavor and food philosophy

9 Feb

My food philosophy… what I eat is healthy, tastes great and gives me the energy I need for future activities. In other words when I prepare meals I make sure that they are nutritious, bursting with flavor and won’t put me in a food coma after I’ve eaten them. From time-to-time I eat strictly for flavor, but for the most part this is it folks and most of what you’ll be seeing from now on is food prepared with this intention.

Eating this way has gotten me in tune with my body and what it needs. I look at it as tapping into survival instincts, well modern-day survival instincts. I don’t eat huge portions so it’s important for me to eat every couple of hours otherwise my body starts to get tired and my mind slows down. Those are both no-nos in a fast-paced corporate environment since I want to move ahead and be productive.

Yesterday’s lunch was no exception to my philosophy. This shrimp, navel orange and quinoa salad kept me full and full of energy. It was a party for my taste buds and treat for my body. It does look festive, doesn’t it?

Shrimp, navel orange and quinoa salad

Shrimp navel orange and quinoa salad

Ingredients:
1 tsp coconut oil (or preferred cooking oil)
4 raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup raw spinach, lightly packed
1 peeled navel orange, sliced
(if you can get your hands on an heirloom navel orange, DO IT!)
1 small bunch walnuts
2 small colored beets, sliced

Step 1:
Drizzle lemon juice over shrimp. Then sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder and chili powder. Let stand for 5 – 30 minutes.

Step 2:
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sautee shrimp for approx. 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. The shrimp will turn pink. Remove from skillet, set aside.

Step 3:
In a bowl or plate place quinoa at the bottom of the dish. Layer spinach on top until quinoa is covered. Add the rest of the ingredients and top with shrimp. And enjoy!

Do you notice a difference in energy levels depending on what you eat? Which natural foods are your favorite energy boosters?

I’m ba-ack with a New Favorite Breakfast

8 Feb

I’m ba-ack. I’ve been behind the blog scenes working out and cooking up a storm. There are some blog changes on the horizon but in the meantime I’ll resume my usual posts. I’ll start with one of my new favorite breakfasts… Honeycrisp Coconut Oats.

Apple coconut oats

Honeycrisp Coconut Oats

1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (no-sugar-added)
1/2 diced Honeycrisp apple
1 TBS raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS no-sugar-added coconut flakes

Cook the oats using preferred method. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and eat.

This is a great way to eat a flavorful breakfast without adding any refined sugars.

Quinoa Scrambler, Resolution Approved

13 Jan

I’m always looking for ways to eat more vegetables. For breakfast it’s pretty easy to get some veggies in with my breakfast burritos. But for the beginning of this year I wanted to create something new for breakfast. Mostly I’ve been eating oatmeal with fresh fruit so I’ve been missing my morning veggies. Not any more, this morning I whipped up “The Quinoa Scrambler”.

Quinoa Scrambler

Quinoa Scrambler

Quinoa is naturally high in protein and has a bit of a nutty flavor, once I add the eggs and vegetables I get a vegetable-packed breakfast with plenty of protein and a great taste.

Ingredients
1 TBS coconut oil (or oil of your preference)
1/2 cup copped red peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp flax seed
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
2 eggs 0r 4 eggs whites
1/2 cup raw spinach
1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Step 1
Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium – medium high heat. Put onions, red peppers and all ingredients through sesame seeds into the skillet. Sautée for 5-10 minutes depending on how soft you want your vegetables.

Step 2
Add quinoa to the mixture. I like to make multiple servings of quinoa and leave it in the fridge for the week. Mix with vegetables until warm, about 3-5 minutes.

Sautéed red pepper, onion and quinoa

Sautéed red pepper, onion and quinoa

Step 3
Next add eggs and mix until eggs are cooked to desired level of ‘done-ness.’ Turn off heat and mix in spinach until wilted. Place into a bowl and top with sliced avocado and coat with lemon juice.

I’m looking forward to mixing it up with different types of vegetables for the rest of this winter.

Cookie Observations

29 Dec

I’ve been at the same job for almost four years. One of the perks of working in my office is that there are break rooms filled with snacks. The thing that I have been watching over the years is what gets eaten first. With each Peapod delivery – 100% of the time – the fresh fruit goes first and the pop tarts go last.

I’ve developed this hypothesis, given the option people will naturally gravitate toward healthy food choices. I accidentally ran an experiment over the Christmas weekend with some cookies.

For Christmas Eve I made these ‘Moon Cookies.’ I got the recipe from my mom, she’s been making these since we were kids. They’re my brother’s favorite so I try to make a batch for either Christmas or New Year’s Day. I brought these with me to my aunt’s house and at dessert time almost everyone ate one, a couple of people declined and my brother ate two.

Moon cookies

Moon cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
5 TBS sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a mixing bowl sift flour and salt.
Step 2
In a separate bowl cream butter until light and fluffy. Then work in sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Step 3
Work in flour until combined then add chopped nuts. Roll the dough into small logs and shape into crescents about 2” each and place onto a baking pan.
Step 4
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies start to brown. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack for cooling. Arrange on a platter and dust with powdered sugar.

For Christmas Day I baked ‘Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons.’ A recipe I found in the December issue of Eating Well Magazine, page 82. The recipe is from Teresa Ralston who was a finalist in their cookie contest. Take note that they’re lower in calories and fat and smaller than the ‘Moon Cookies.’ When I brought them over to my mom’s house she tried one right away and then had my aunt and brother try them before dinner. For my mom, that’s unheard of. There were close to forty cookies and not a single one was left over after dessert time.

Citrus-kissed honey buttons, prebaking

Citrus-kissed honey buttons, prebaking

Citrus-kissed honey buttons

Citrus-kissed honey buttons

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 TBS unsalted, softened butter
1 large egg
1 TBS honey
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract

Step 1
Whisk flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a small bowl.
Step 2
Beat sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until lightly fluffy. Add egg, honey, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon extract and beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low-speed just until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or overnight.
Step 3
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
Step 4
Roll the dough into 36 balls (about 2 level tsps each) with your hands. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Step 5
Bake, one batch at a time, until puffed and beginning to crack, 6-8 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Maybe it’s time run some real experiments… stay tuned.

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