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coconut yogurt & gRAWnola

I had a 90 minute run on the agenda for this morning, so I whipped up another version of my tropical smoothie for a pre-workout snack.

Tropical Smoothie – V2

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • squirt of agave

This version was great!  Check out the chunks of strawberries and coconut butter in there!

I ran 9.5 miles in 90 minutes for my weekly long run in about 10°F weather!  I came home to a post-workout smoothie!

Chocolate PB Banana Protein Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax

Blended to perfection!

Crazy Richards produces Krema PB as well, so I received some samples of this too!  It tasted just like the Crazy Richards Smooth PB.  It’s great!  I poured it right into my mix.

This guy was thick, but delicious!

I cooked up a storm last night – coconut yogurt and raw granola!  I was too exhausted to get the cookies in!  I have been trying to stay away from all dairy for the past week (since last friday, exactly) for experimentation.  I love yogurt, so I have been trying to find alternatives.  I don’t like soy yogurt, so I decided to try the new coconut milk yogurt that they have in stores, and I like it.  I like the milk, yogurt and ice cream!  So, I decided to try to make my own coconut milk yogurt!

I used the same steps as my last yogurt, but just used coconut milk instead of regular milk!

I started with 3 cans of full-fat coconut milk and added in 3 tablespoons of tapioca starch.  I was reading about how to make coconut milk yogurt and multiple people suggested to add it for thickness and texture.  Since I had some in my cabinet, I decided to do so.  We’ll see how it turns out!

I heated the milk to 180°F.

Then, I took the milk off of the heat and allowed it to cool to 110°F.  The milk is thick!  I’m not sure I needed that tapioca starch…

After cooling, I added 1 tablespoon of the plain store bought coconut milk yogurt as my starter.  I whisked that in until mixed.

I then poured my mixture into a pitcher and then into the 7 individual yogurt containers.

I plugged in my yogurt maker and set the timer for 12 hours, which is the suggested cooking time for coconut milk.  It will be done in the morning!

While that was cooking (it will be cooking overnight!), I started to work on my granola!  I started by zesting my orange and adding that to my food processor, along with the orange juice and pear.  I pulsed until coarsely chopped.

I had been soaking my almonds and macadamia nuts for about 3 hours, so I chopped each of them in the food processor individually, then added them to the pear mixture.

I mixed up some agave, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a separate bowl and then poured it onto my nut + fruit mixture.

I then stirred in my extras!  Chopped dried bananas, unsweetened dried cranberries, coconut, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Since my dehydrator is too small for a job like this, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread my granola mixture onto that.

I then put it in my oven on it’s lowest setting of 175°F, with the door slightly ajar and “baked” it for a long time – almost 5 hours.  Or, if you don’t care about the granola being raw, then bake it in your oven at 300°F for 1-2 hours.  Make sure you take it out and stir it around every once in awhile.

gRAWnola

adapted from the Fitnessista!

  • 1 pear, roughly chopped
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup raw agave
  • 1/4 cup pure grade A maple syrup
  • 1 T orange zest
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 cups soaked raw almonds
  • 1 cup soaked raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (i used 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
  • 1 banana, diced – i used 3 dried, unsweetened bananas
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries (added to original recipe)

Directions:

  1. Soak the almonds and macadamia nuts for a few hours before using.
  2. In a food processor, combine the pear, orange juice and zest, and pulse until coarsely chopped then move to a separate bowl.
  3. Add the macadamia nuts to the (empty) food processor and pulse to chop a little bit and add them to the pear mixture.
  4. Repeat for the almonds.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the agave, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add this to the nut + fruit mixture and mix very well.
  7. Stir in your extras – chopped dried bananas, dried cranberries, coconut, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  8. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer (or use a dehydrator).
  9. Bake (dehydrated) in your oven at the lowest temperature with the door ajar for about 6 hours (dehydrating will take longer).  Or cook at 300°F for 1-2 hours.
  10. After it is ‘cooked’, let sit for a little while to cool before storing in an airtight container.
  11. Serve with your homemade coconut yogurt!

The granola came out great!  I got impatient because I was ready for bed, so I turned up the heat in my oven for the last 30 minutes.  This browned the granola nicely!

It made a ton of granola!  A huge bowl full!

Speaking of yogurt, mine is done!  12 hours later, and 3 hours in the fridge to chill and it is the perfect thickness and texture.

My granola is also done, so I mixed up a bowl of coconut milk yogurt with about 1/a cup of my gRAWnola.  YUM.

The yogurt is definitely not something I could eat everyday, but it is perfect for a sweet breakfast or dessert!

spaghetti squash and salad

I went to my favorite produce mart today, Russo’s.  If you live in the Boston area, it is a must visit!  They have all of the produce you could possibly imagine, and it is cheap!  Not everything is local, so I at least try to buy produce that is from the USA.  It is tough to buy local produce around here in the winter, but I really try in the summer!

Anyways, I bought all of the fruit and veggies I need for the week, but I had 2 favorite purchases!

First, was the bag of older bananas that I got for .98 cents!!

That’s right, 10 bananas for .98 cents!  And, they aren’t even that ripe!  I bought some good bananas for the week, but I purchased these babies so that I can cut them all up and freeze them.  I love adding frozen bananas to my smoothies, instead of normal bananas because they give it a little bit more thickness.  These 10 bananas will keep me going for a while – I would have bought more if I had a bigger freezer – what a great deal! 🙂  Look for this type of stuff at your local grocery store because normally the fruit that they put in the “damaged” bin is not really that damaged.  I have bought apples and pears before as well – just cut off the bruised parts and save yourself loads of money.

My 2nd favorite purchase was a spaghetti squash.  I have only made spaghetti squash once before, and it turned out great, so I decided to try again.

Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp dried basil (or fresh, if you have it)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

I cut my squash in half and scooped out the seeds inside, then placed it face down on a cookie sheet.

I saved a few seeds to toast and use on my salad!

Sprinkled with salt and paprika before toasting.

I baked it in a 400°F oven for 35 minutes and it came out perfect!

Once cooked enough that you can easily stick a fork into the squash, it is ready to be turned into spaghetti!

Take one half of the squash and scrape out the insides with a fork.  It will easily come out and look like spaghetti.  Repeat with the other side.

I mixed my spaghetti squash up with a little butter, salt, pepper, basil and Parmesan cheese.

I also cut up some grape tomatoes and tossed them in my spaghetti.

Along with my spaghetti squash I had a great salad!

Remember when I made stuffed peppers for some friends and served it along with whole grain bread?  Well, the next day I put the leftover bread right into the freezer to save for homemade croutons!

Tonight, I thawed the bread, cut it up into squares and tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  If you remember, the bread was already brushed with italian seasoning before freezing.

I then toasted the chunks of bread in my toaster oven until they formed crispy croutons!

I used a bed of romaine lettuce and garnished it with freshly dried apple slices (by me!), unsweetened dried cranberries, toasted seeds from my squash and homemade croutons.  I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.

And all together!

All served with some Malbec, which was delicious!

It was a light meal, which normally would be great, but tonight I am still hungry!  Off to find some snacks. 🙂

a lazy day

A great lazy saturday!  Well, kind of – I had a super productive morning cleaning my whole condo, phew!  And didn’t make it to the gym until 11:30.  I love to be busy, but I also love weekends at home with nothing to do!  Before heading to the gym I snacked on 2 pieces of millet toast, one with almond butter and one with Crofter’s blueberry superfruit jam, and some hot tea.

I had a great long workout with a 7 mile tempo run on the treadmill in 65 minutes, and a total body weight session!  A few people have asked how I know what type of weights to do at the gym because it is overwhelming, especially on a saturday morning in a crowded gym!  I like to make up my workout before getting to the gym so that I know exactly what I am going to do and get in and out in a timely manner!  I usually write my workout down and bring it with me.  Some people look at me funny, but it helps me, so I don’t care!

Shoulders, Chest, Triceps, Legs & Abs

I did some circuit training to get in all of these areas in a timely manner.

  • Overhead Press with Squats (3 sets of 12, 10 lb weights)
  • Dips and V-ups on the bench (3 sets of 12)
  • Front & Side Raises with Lunges (3 sets of 12 each side, 7.5 lb weights)
  • Upright Row with Deadlifts (3 sets of 12, 18 lb bar)
  • Tricep Kickback with Calf Raises (3 sets of 12, 12.5 lb weights)
  • Chest Press (3 sets of 12, 12.5 lb weights) and Bicycles (3 sets of 15)
  • Leg Extension Machine (3 sets of 12, 30 lbs) and Leg Ups (3 sets of 12)
  • Plank (1.5 min)
  • Pushups (30)

Remember to always start with a 5 minute warm-up and end with a cooldown!

You should also remember to eat some for of good quality protein withing 30-45 minutes after you finish your workout.  This will fuel your muscles and allow them to come back stronger!  So, after my workout, I whipped up a protein smoothie with a protein powder I wanted to try out.  Luckily, I only got a sample pack because it has a chalky taste.  Nevertheless, I drank the smoothie to get in some protein!

Banana Vanilla-Cinnamon Protein Shake

  • 1 packet vanilla protein powder
  • 1.5 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup almond milk (you can use any type of milk here!)
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 t agave nectar
  • handful ice cubes

Blend together, serve in a fun glass and enjoy!  The frozen bananas and the protein powder gave this smoothie a really thick texture, which reminded me of a milkshake!  But, still a little chalky with the protein powder – bummer!

Lots of cooking on the agenda for the day, including some coconut milk yogurt, granola, cookies and spaghetti squash for dinner!

See ya later!

(not) cooking up a storm

Tonight is just one of those nights where I feel like cooking (or not cooking as the case may be)!  I made up a pretty hefty list of things that I want to whip up this weekend for lunches, dinners and snacks for the upcoming week, so you’ll be seeing lots of yummy recipes to come.

First off, I started my day with another fun juice which included a beet!  I forgot to snap a photo, but my bright red juice included 1 beet, 2 green apples and 1 celery stalk.  It was good!  Better than my juice from yesterday.  Sweet, but not too sweet.

I grabbed some almonds as a snack as I left my house this morning.  They were some new almonds that I was sent by Sahale Snacks.  They sent me a bunch of different types, but the ones I grabbed today were PB&J Almonds!  I mean, I love PB so I knew that I needed to try these first.

Surprisingly, these tasted like jelly covered almonds!  There were peanuts in the mix as well, which is where the pb came from.  I liked them.  They were not too sweet, but definitely had a strawberry jelly flavor to them.  And, it was a small snack size pack which was perfect for an on-the-go snack.

The PB&J Almonds have a pretty decent ingredient list for flavored nuts.  Longer than I would like to see, but pretty natural stuff, so not bad!

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Organic Cane Juice
  • Dried Strawberries
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dried Raspberries
  • Vanilla Extract & Beans
  • Sea Salt
  • Strawberry Juice Concentrate
  • Natural Raspberry Flavor

You can find these snacks at Starbucks as part of their new snack line!  Yum!

My first project of the evening was eggplant bacon!  I used the recipe from Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney, frankly because it’s the only one I could find with good reviews!

I sliced up and soaked my eggplant for the required amount of time, then plopped it in the dehydrator.  It should take about 24 hours(!!), so I’ll post the recipe when it is done!

Recipe and more photos to come once it is done!

I then went to work on Zucchini Chips.  These were much easier.  I took 2 zucchini’s and sliced them into 1/4 inch strips and placed them in the dehydrator with the eggplant.

And, that is where both will at 115°F for 15-20 hours!

And then, I made the best treat of the evening – fudge babies!!  Katie from Chocolate Covered Katie is hosting a Vita-Mix giveaway!  I would die to have a Vita-Mix right now, and every time I am cursing my blender for not making my smoothies creamy!  To enter, go to Katie’s website.  If you cook up a recipe by tomorrow, you get 6 additional entries!

I decided to use Katie’s basic peanut butter babies recipe, but make it chocolate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Babies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 heaping tablespoons cacao powder

Directions:

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend!

Roll the dough into balls or flatten it into bars, similar to a larabar.  Eat and enjoy!

These took me all of 5 minutes to make.  It took longer to measure the ingredients and roll them into balls than anything else.  Of course I needed to try one!

Yum!  Just like a peanut butter cup!  Kind of – definitely not the same texture, but it does taste like peanut butter and chocolate which does the trick!

juice & smoothies

It was really tough to get up this morning, but I made it to the gym for spinning class.  The spin instructor on Thursday mornings is awesome!  She really kicks everyone’s butt.  My legs are still shaking.  I made a big juice this morning to hold me over after the gym while I got ready for my day!

I added a whole lemon to the mix, so it basically tasted like fruit juice lemonade!

I also had some fruit to use up that was going bad, so I added the following:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 huge carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pair
  • 2 kiwis

It was good, but not the best – too much lemon!

After my juice settled, I dug into some oatmeal with Chia Seeds that I got from the local health food store yesterday.  Chia seeds are all the rage in the raw food world and on food blogs recently, so I had to try them out.

Chia seeds are are extremely high in Omega 3’s and are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  They can hold up to 10 times their weight in water, which makes them great for athletes to keep hydrated.

I added one tablespoon to my oats this morning.  It kind of ‘bulked up’ my oats.  The seeds didn’t really taste like anything to me, but i did notice that I was full faster than normal with my oats.  I also added 1/2 banana and a scoop of Nuttzo to my oats.  Nuttzo is delicious!

It is a nut butter that is loaded with organic peanuts, organic ground and whole flaxseeds, organic hazelnuts, organic cashews, organic almonds, organic brazil nuts and organic cashews.  All of my favorites ground into one nut butter!

I took some photos of my trip to the health food store yesterday.  It is such a fun store.  They have a whole aisle of bulk items, which are so much cheaper than normal!

They have nuts, seeds, beans, grains, etc.  It’s great!  I don’t go there for all of my groceries, just some specialty items.

  • Chia Seeds
  • Tahini
  • Raw Macademia Nuts
  • 2 Chocolate Bars

  • Ume Plum Vinegar
  • Dried Bananas, unsweetened
  • Dried Cranberries, unsweetened
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Date Sugar

  • Raw Revolution Bars

Lunch was a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich at Panera Bread sans onions and feta.  I have been starving today!  The Mediterranean Veggie is loaded with Zesty Peppadew™ piquant peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro hummus on our Tomato Basil bread.

A few hours after lunch, I really wanted another snack, so I made a shake/smoothie.

Tropical Smoothie

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • scoop of coconut milk ice cream – this stuff is good!

And, stuffed peppers for dinner – cooked food!  Yay!

Goodnight!