Tag Archives: food

New Smoothie and Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry

18 Sep

Since I haven’t blogged since December, I figured I owed you a few recipes.

Tropical Smoothie

One cup mixed frozen fruit (pineapple, mango, strawberries)

Two big handfuls of baby spinach

One serving of brown rice protein powder

One tablespoon ground flaxseed

Two tablespoons oatmeal

One banana

One and a half cups vanilla almond milk

Directions: Whip up in a blender for 30 seconds. Enjoy!

If you are ever short on time and have some cooked chicken in the house, I highly recommend this recipe. It literally took me about 15-20 minutes from start to plate.

Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry

About one and a half cups grated carrots

Couple of handfuls of frozen broccoli

One cup of frozen edamame

One tablespoon coconut oil

One teaspoon five spice blend

A tablespoon or two of peanuts

8 oz cooked chicken, diced

Sauce

One teaspoon of grated ginger (I run it over a microplane)

Two cloves garlic, minced (I also run this through the microplane)

Three tablespoons peanut butter

1/4 cup of chicken stock

One tablespoon of soy sauce

Pinch of cayenne or chili flakes

1) Heat one tablespoon of coconut oil in a wok on medium high.

2) Add frozen broccoli and edamame after the coconut oil has melted. Cook for about four minutes. I also added a splash of chicken stock.

3) Add the grated carrots and chicken; cook for another three minutes.

4) While the veggies are cooking, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

5) Add one teaspoon of the five spice blend. Cook for another few minutes.

6) Add the peanuts and cook for two minutes.

7) Add the sauce and cook until heated through.

And then you are done! I ate mine with no rice. You could eat the stir-fry with quinoa for some extra protein if you are watching carbs.

This makes two servings and the sauce recipe is enough for four servings. I had to make my husband’s sans veggies.

YUM!

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Recovery

18 Sep

How do you begin a blog post when you haven’t blogged in nine months? That’s a good question. Well, I can bring you up to speed.

–In January we adopted a dog from a shelter. They said she was a labradoodle, but I think she’s a poodle/terrier. Her name is Eve.

 

–In February I switched branches, and I now work in the same branch as my husband. I also work closer to home which is a big plus for the girls and our gas budget.

–In March we went to visit my parents, and I met my new sister, Greta.

 

–Sometime in the spring I was having some severe stomach pain. My doctor sent me to the ER because he was worried it was my appendix. After waiting all day, we discovered I had a burst cyst on my ovary. After doing a MRI, they also discovered some fibroids but said it was “no big deal”. I was a little more concerned so I went to a gynecologist. After doing an ultrasound, they found two fibroids about an inch big. The gynecologist told me that we should seriously consider having a child within a year. Eventually I will need to have surgery to get them removed or get a hysterectomy.

–In June my parents came to visit. The day after they arrived I was walking on a trail behind our house with the girls. They weren’t pulling, and I wasn’t running. Out of nowhere, I stepped on a loose rock and rolled my ankle in and out and fell down. I literally could not walk. I had to call my dad to come and pick me up. I was out of commission from running or hardcore exercise for two months.

–At the end of July I hurt my back out of nowhere. Everything from the waist up was completely knotted and unable to move. I haven’t been able to run since then. I’ve only walked, done yoga, and some barre exercises. I’m finally on the mend after seeing the chiropractor for a few weeks.

 
So, why start blogging again? I noticed my blog was still getting hits even though I haven’t written in months. I also was finding it hard to stay motivated to keep fit and eat well when I couldn’t perform up to my standards. I was feeling pretty low. I wanted something to hold me accountable again and to share my journey.

Part of my recovery from my injuries is walking. I try to walk at least 10,000 steps per day or thirty minutes. I track my steps on my FitBit. I do some form of stretching/toning every day as well for at least 20 minutes. I will eventually start incorporating light weights in a few weeks.

As far as food is concerned, I am being very careful about what I’m eating. Because of my uterine fibroids, I’ve stopped drinking soy milk and switched to almond milk. I’m not a doctor, nor have I discussed eliminating soy from my diet to slow the growth of my fibroids with my doctor, but I’ve read several books that say it could be related. At this point, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help us get pregnant within the next six months. This also includes eating organic whenever I can. Since I haven’t been working out as strenuously, I’ve also cut down on carbs after lunch. I typically just have protein and veggies for dinner.

With these changes, I haven’t gained any weight since I’ve been injured and actually lost a few pounds. I’ve also learned a little something through all my injuries–moderation. I have to be careful not to go balls to the wall once I start feeling better or I could hurt myself again. I have to know when it’s time to rest. And most of all, I have to have balance.

 

 

Spice Hut Review and Giveaway!

23 Sep

Okay, how long have you all been waiting for this??? I’ve talked about it at least three or four times over the past month and I’m ready to deliver.

I’ve been going to Spice Hut for about five years. When I was a senior in college I was introduced to loose leaf tea (I know, how did I go so long without experiencing this!) and I’ve never wanted to go back. Granted, loose leaf can be quite a bit pricier than the tea bags you buy in the store but it’s honestly worth it. Essentially, the tea from the tea bags is almost like the dust of the loose leaf tea, meaning less flavor. My husband would have a heart attack if I only bought loose leaf tea but I definitely keep at least 2-3 bags on hand at all times. A four ounce bag can actually last quite awhile if you only have two cups a day. Since I drink about six cups a day, I definitely have to supplement with tea bags.

Spice Hut is located in a small strip mall in Bellingham, Washington off Meridian Street and West Kellogg. I am really disappointed in myself that I didn’t take any pictures of the inside. They have the cutest mugs, tea pots, and pretty much any tea or spice related product. In fact, we even bought my mother-in-law a modern cat mug for her birthday (she’s obsessed with cats). If you ever looking for a gift idea for me, just go to Spice Hut!

I’ve tried so many of their teas, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find one I haven’t tried. Have no fear, there are still many more for me to sample. I decided to take the Hot Chili Truffle. Ever since watching the movie Chocolat, I’ve had an obsession with anything chocolate and spicy. This tea did not disappoint. I love spicy food so I enjoyed the zing I got from the chili flakes. Since I don’t drink coffee, I like to have a black tea to wake me up in the morning and the heat from the chili helped with that as well.

How gorgeous is that?!

And hello, who can’t resist a little chocolate in the morning, especially when it’s virtually guilt free (unlike a mocha). Now, if you have a sensitive pallet, I highly recommend adding a little splash of cream, milk or even vanilla soymilk. For an even fancier treat, take 8 ounces of water and use two heaping teaspoons of tea to brew. Then heat up 8 ounces of milk and combine. You’ll have a yummy Chili Chocolate Tea Latte!

Onto the spices! I’ve recently become very interested in spices, probably because of my devotion to shows like Top Chef, Chopped and The Next Food Network Star. Also, when you are eating healthy I find the food choices aren’t as flavorful. What better way to spice things up (pun intended!) then adding some exotic spices into your dishes? It makes eating healthy that much more interesting and enjoyable.

A few seasons ago a contestant on Top Chef made some sort of chocolate dessert with a Chinese five spice. I had no idea what he was talking about but I was definitely intrigued. I love all sorts of food so I knew I had to try it. I immediately knew Spice Hut would have it. Though I didn’t try something as adventurous as dessert, I definitely improved upon a recipe I recently made.

Do you remember a month or so ago when I made a stir fry from a Clean Eating magazine recipe? Good because I don’t! I tried finding the post in my past blogs but apparently I didn’t write about it (???). Anyway, I thought that recipe would be perfect with a little more flavor. The almond butter sauce adds quite a bit of depth, but I thought I would lighten up on the sauce and give more of that to the hub (cuts down the calories!). I combined the following ingredients in the wok with a couple teaspoons of safflower oil–

1 lb chicken breast cut into equal 1-inch chunks

1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 green pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 cup edamame

3 minced garlic cloves

2/3 cup raw unsalted cashews

I tossed those all in the wok and added about 2 teaspoons of Spice Hut Chinese Five Spice at the end with the sauce. We put the stir fry on top of some brown rice.

The five spice completely elevated the recipe to the next level. It gave the stir fry so many different dimensions. You could taste each of the five spices individually, but it all harmonized into a great blend in your mouth. I tasted the licoricey (is that a word?!) fennel, the warm cinnamon, the spicy black pepper, the exotic star anise, and the aromatic clove. I’ve always been a little nervous and confused about what spices go together besides the obvious (basil and oregano, sage and rosemary, etc); that’s why I love the spice blend. Also, you don’t have to buy each of the spices individually.

What the heck am I going to do with the five spice besides stir fries you ask and why should I buy my spices at Spice Hut? I googled Chinese five spice recipes and so many options came up. I also plugged the ingredient into allrecipes.com and there were so many choices. Also, Spice Hut is nice enough to put a recipe on the bag of five spice. As far as purchasing your spices at Spice Hut; have you ever had rancid spices? Not so good. Have you seen some of the “spices” in the containers at the grocery store? As with the tea, they look like dust. All of spices are fresh at Spice Hut and you can just tell by looking at them that the quality is so much better. I often find quite a few spices there I’m not able to find at the grocery store.

Now that my mouth is watering from recalling all the delicious things I’ve made, I better go eat dinner. One more small thing….I’m doing another giveaway!!!! I know I missed August but I’m hoping you’ll let it slide since I’ve been so busy. 🙂 I am going to give a lucky winner (picked at random) to receive 4 ounces of tea from Spice Hut. How do you enter? Simply go the Spice Hut’s website at http://www.thespicehut.com and comment on this blog telling me what flavor of tea you would like.

Have a great weekend! The winner will be picked on Tuesday at 7pm Pacific Time. 🙂

Shin Splints, Migraines, and Destruction

31 Aug

Great title, don’t you think? Well, besides work and volunteer commitments, shin splints have controlled my life for one week. I took about a week off of running to rest my shins. It’s really pained me, no pun intended, to stay off my feet but I’ve paid for two half marathons in two months and there is no way I’m giving up. I’ve had shin splints before and gone back to running too soon, only to be sidelined with the same injury. If there is one thing that I’ve improved on a lot in the past five years, it’s patience. I still have quite away to go though (ex. starting to ask for my presents way before the day they are due).

Last night we had a shower for an employee who was recently married. I had a wine spritzer, chicken lasagna, Caesar salad garlic bread and corn. For dessert I had a piece of Lemon Lush and Blueberry Cheesecake. When I got home I started to get a pretty bad headache. Luckily I was able to sleep, but today the headache came back with a vengeance and turned into a migraine. I need to start recording what I ate the day before or the day of my migraines because it has to be food related. I have a pretty strong hunch it’s sugar.

Edie reverted back to her puppyhood tonight and ate the sound bar remote. She didn’t have it very long but it was enough to completely destroy it, which is funny because there is only one tooth mark. Apparently it was in the right spot. Edie has destroyed many things over her three years.

One of many books

More books

One of several cell phones

Did I mention books?

And part of the wall in one of our apartments

Needless to say, Papa gave Edie a timeout in her kennel. 😦

Well folks, if I’m going to keep eating healthy I need to go prepare my tempeh for some Chipotle Lime Tacos tomorrow and tofu for my Hugh Jass Salad à la Mama Pea (that one you have to buy the book for).

Party Rock

29 Aug

We had a jam packed weekend to end our vacation, but it was definitely worth it. Friday some friends of ours had a going away party since they are moving to Portland. 😦 Sad, but also a little exciting because that means I will have one more reason to go there and one more place to stay! They rented a back room out in the bar which was jam-packed with people and they only had one waiter for all of us (at least twenty people who were VERY thirsty). Nathan and I waited over an hour for our beer before we realized we were probably forgotten. When we went to ask the waiter, he said he was out of one of the beers so he was “trying to find” us. Fortunately we were comped a couple of free beers. We decided to head home rather than try to for more drinks or a different bar. It was definitely an occasion for Dance Central.

Jessica and Denton

Our friends Denton and Jessica came to stay with us (since they live in Seattle and we all had a wedding to go to on Saturday). The first time I played Dance Central was at Denton’s house so I figured it was only fitting we stay up until 2am practicing our moves for the wedding. Since Jessica and I have the same name it was a tad confusing, especially after we realized we both had painted our toenails coral, go to bed at 9pm at the latest, and like to get up early. Course, that’s where the similarities end. She’s way taller than me (who isn’t), she KILLS it at Dance Central and I’m a smidge older. 🙂

We split up the next day because they had to do some last minute shopping. Nathan and I got to the wedding with about twenty minutes to spare. I got to take a few pics.

Where the couple got hitched

So cute!

Gorgeous view

I loved all the tree branches with candles that scattered the room. I always wanted that at my wedding (since we cheaped out and went to the courthouse I may just have to have a “second” ceremony sometime….). There’s just something about trees and branches…Maybe it’s because I love the outdoors. The flowers were gorgeous, bridesmaids dresses were classy and the bride looked absolutely stunning. I loved loved loved her dress…And earrings…And her mom’s veil she wore…And her hair…And everything!

The beautiful bride

Marcy and Ryan

Me and the Hub

Dinner was really yummy. We got breadsticks and Caesar salad. The entrée was surf and turf so I gave Nathan and Denton my turf (flank steak). They said it was super good but it looked really raw and pink like flesh, and you know I don’t eat cows (they have beautiful long eyelashes). The panko crusted halibut was really good (so good that Nathan ate it!) and the mashed potatoes were addicting. I ate Nathan’s since he will only eat potatoes in a fried form. I liked the spinach Florentine tomatoes except for the tomato! I decided I don’t like stuffed tomatoes because the texture of the tomato just doesn’t sit well with me. For dessert Jessica and Jessica (I mean I) shared a cheesecake piece that tasted like Oreo cookies. Mmm…

I forgot to take a pic until I already dug in!

Then it was time to party. As soon as the DJ said they had karaoke I ran up there. This is something you probably don’t know about me but I have an obsession with rapping Salt and Peppa songs. Yes, I know. My favorites are “None a Your Business”, “Whatta Man”, and “Shoop”. I would prefer “None a Your Business” but most people don’t have it and there is no way I can actually sing, so “Whatta Man” is usually my last choice. I decided to go with “Shoop”. Someone at work said, “Oh you must have been drunk” and I said, “No, I can make a fool out of myself completely sober.”

The night goes on and we’re dancing. The bride or groom even got a surprise guest, Nathan Cox who rapped “Bellingham State of Mind” which you can check out here. Then the DJ and his buddy rapped a few songs. And then it was karaoke time. I waited patiently (yeah right) for my song to come up but it started getting later and later and no “Shoop”. I finally asked the DJ and he scrambled to find it. A few songs later and it still didn’t play. I went to the bathroom because I gave up hope. I came back into the reception room and heard the DJ saying “Where is that girl who wanted to sing ‘Shoop?’” I came tearing across the floor in my bare feet (high heels were not welcome after 10pm) yelling “Here I am!! Here I am!!” All in all the performance was quite good. I stumbled a bit on one part but the crowd seemed to be digging it. The DJ even came up to me and told me it was awesome and that he did not expect that at all. I’ll take it as a compliment.

A short while later it was time for the after party. Mr. P was looking a little worse for wear and my throat was hoarse so we decided to head home. It was definitely one of the best weddings I’ve been to in awhile. Even if you took out “Shoop”. 🙂

Back To The Grind

29 Aug

Ugh…Going back to work on a Monday after vacation is never easy. Going back to work on a Monday after vacation is especially not easy if you’re slammed with things to do and you have to be away from home until 9pm. After work tonight I have a meeting with the Friends of the Library Board which I so graciously volunteered to be the treasurer for. I actually enjoying doing it but it’s just not the way I want to ease back into my work week. Tomorrow night will be a late one as well since we are having a shower for a recently married co-worker.

So because of all these plans, I am blogging to you straight from the lunch room at work! This is my delicious lunch.

 

Hugh Jass Salad; chicken, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries, sunflower seeds, croutons and balsamic dressing

This is one of four recipes I am making this week from Peasandthankyou.com. I didn’t have time to press the tofu last night though so this Hugh Jass Salad has chicken on it. Sorry Mama Pea!

For breakfast I had the Pumpkin Cream Pie Oat Bran (you have to buy the book for that one!). It was really good. I didn’t add any sweetener in it because I wanted to see how it tasted alone. I am definitely going to add some honey tomorrow morning. I just think it would pair really well with the pumpkin flavor, and something about honey always reminds me of fall too (my favorite season!!!).

For snacks today I’m having some Fage with chia seeds, flax meal and blueberries. I already ate my morning snack of Protein Trail Mix cookies, another recipe courtesy of Mama Pea. I really liked the cookies which pleasantly surprised me. I don’t generally like the strong vanilla flavor of the protein powder; I think it’s a little too sweet. But the recipe had just the right amount where it doesn’t overpower the whole cookie. I didn’t have any almonds or pepitas so I used pistachios and walnuts.

Protein Trail Mix Cookie

Dinner tonight will sadly be a Clif Body Builder Bar inhaled during the library meeting. After a long stressful day at work, all I want to do is go home and curl up with the hub and the pup. But duty calls!

I MET MAMA PEA!!!!

22 Aug

For those of you who aren’t aware of Mama Pea, you have my word I won’t smack you if you promise to go to her site immediately. But don’t get so caught up in her witty and hilarious writing that you forget about this little blog. 🙂 There are several reasons I adore Mama Pea.

  1. She is adorable
  2. She has the most enviable tongue in cheek writing style that makes me want to be her BFF
  3. She replies to so many of her bloggers comments it’s no wonder she doesn’t shower some days
  4. She seems like a very honest and genuine person

After meeting her, I can confirm that she is indeed as adorable as her pictures, if not more. Loved her hair, makeup, shoes, dress, etc. And I’m pretty sure she showered. She is just as personable in person as she in on her blog. Do you ever meet people who you know are just putting on a front? Where they are just being polite and nice because they are thinking about how it will benefit them? Well Mama Pea is not like that in the least. I felt like we could just sit down and have a conversation over some vegan cupcakes while I giggled over her Pea witticisms.

Portland attempted to give me a minor heart attack by deciding to close down 405 the day we drove down from Washington, which also happened to be the morning Mama Pea had her demonstration. Originally the plan called for Nathan to be dropped off at his brother’s house but in fear of missing the biggest moment of my vacation, I told Nathan he would have to come Downtown with me and figure something out.

We arrived with twenty minutes to spare and found an excellent deal on parking ($5 for the whole day!). Luckily  for Nathan, Deschutes Brewery happened to be right across the street from In Good Taste, where the demonstration took place. But unfortunately that meant it was also close to many other wonderful places in The Pearl District like Powell’s, Anthropologie, West Elm, North Face, Whole Foods, Lululemon, and more.

In Good Taste was a great store itself. If I could actually afford to buy high quality products this is where I would come. They also had great mustards, salts, and spices that were reasonably priced.

A Viking mixer??? Yes, please!

 

Super cute containers for marinades, dressings, or sauces

Since we drove non-stop from Bremerton to the demonstration after consuming a 20 oz tea, I headed straight to the bathroom. When I was washing my hands I heard some rustling outside the door. When I opened it I was greeted by some very familiar faces; Pea Daddy, Gigi, and Lulu. It’s so strange since I haven’t met anyone recently that I’ve only read about on the internet (last one was former Governor Jesse Ventura in high school but I don’t know if that counts). I felt like we all knew each other, and they were just waiting outside the bathroom for me. I greeted them with a big “hi” like we were long lost friends. Pea Daddy handled it in stride (I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s happened to him) telling me they were waiting for the bathroom and not stalking me (darn). Quickly I recovered and said I was here to see their mom.

There she is!

My favorite part of the demonstration was that Mama Pea kept things really intimate. We all gathered around the island while she cooked and she went around and asked everyone how they came to be at the demonstration. She also emphasized we could jump in at any time with questions. Gigi stood at the front with her most of the time, asking if she could help (I see star potential there as well). Mama Pea said her favorite vegan protein to work with is tofu. The most important thing about preparing tofu is to press, press, press! There are some great tofu presses out there but if you are just venturing into vegan or vegetarian cooking, she recommended cutting the tofu, layering a dish towel or paper towel over it, put another cookie sheet on top and then layer it with multiple heavy things such as dictionaries you never use. Mama Pea also reminded us it’s important to marinate the tofu, which I wish I would’ve learned years ago when I was a vegetarian. No wonder I never liked tofu! It pretty much takes on whatever flavor you are cooking with and doesn’t have much flavor of it’s own. Mama Pea marinates her tofu for a few hours or overnight and then broils it in the oven for about 5-6 minutes each side. She said it helps it get that great crisp on the outside.

At the demonstration we were treated to Chipotle Lime Tacos (LOVE chipotle), a version of Strawberry Roasted Chickpea with Cinnamon Vinaigrette, and Fruit Skewers with a cream cheese dipping sauce. I would make every single one of these recipes at home in a second for several reasons–

  1. The flavor was incredible
  2. There were so easy
  3. They are good for you

The salad

 

Naked Taco; I should've taken a picture of mine before I ate it but it was already in my belly before you can say "chipotle"

Part of the reason I often don’t like “healthy” or “diet” food is because there is a lack of flavor. Not here! The tacos even got my nose a little runny, but that is an indicator of great spice in my book. 🙂

After the demonstration Mama Pea signed books and talked with each of us. We even got to take pictures (and she said she like my shoes)!

What's a Pea picture without Gigi?

And since she was such a great helper and is really heading places herself, I also had Gigi sign my book.

After I pried myself away from Mama Pea so I didn’t have a restraining order on my record, I headed to Anthropologie to swoon over all the beautiful clothing and then vomited after reading all the prices. I did spend $16 on two mugs with “P” on them (and no, not for Mama Pea but for my new last name). I also dropped some money at West Elm, Whole Foods and Powells, because, as I justified my spending to Nathan, it’s tax-free here so really I saved us money. After spilling a good portion of my water bottle all over my dress and snuffing some up my nose I ran into Mama Pea and brood on the sidewalk. They said “hello” even though I’m sure they were in fear that the girl with the cute shoes was stalking them.

The day was absolutely lovely and I couldn’t ask for anything more, except maybe Mama Pea declaring that she thought that we would be the best of friends and go get pedicures together (my feet are seriously disgusting from running; I would take pictures but I’m sure they would end up in science magazines).