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brownie sundaes

It was another beautiful day to ski.  It snowed overnight, so the trees were beautiful this morning!

Before we ventured out on the slopes, I munched on an egg and cheddar cheese sandwich on an english muffin.

Along with some ginger peach tea.

And, a perfectly ripe banana.

After a morning of skiing, I had a little snack before meeting some friends to watch the USA-Canada hockey game (which didn’t go so well for the US! :().

Yogurt with granola.

And, some cantaloupe.

Then, it was off to Not Your Average Joe’s!

(Source)

I decided not to take any photos tonight because sometimes it just ruins the mood, but we got perfect seats in the bar smack in front of a big screen TV for the big game!  It was fun, even though the game did not end well.

I chose the house-made veggie burger for my meal.  It contained brown rice, black beans and caramelized onions, hand-formed and topped with vermont cheddar, on a seeded brioche roll. A little messy, but delicious!  I may have snacked on a few french fries too.

Once home, I decided to try these VitaBrownies.

They only contain 100 calories and 2 grams of fat – and you can tell!  They are tiny brownies that don’t taste all that great.  I expected them to be fudgier and more chocolatey, but they really don’t.  They have a bit of a bland taste.  The good thing was the chunks of walnuts!

They definitely were not awful, just did not taste like I had expected.  I much prefer the Vitatops!  But, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce makes everything better!

Time for a lazy Sunday night so that I can get up on Monday morning for a 10 mile run!  I ran out of time to fit it in today, but need to get it done since my half marathon is just 3 short weeks away!

Goodnight!

lots of veggies

We are up at Loon Mountain, NH again this weekend, so posting is a little slim!  It’s been a great weekend of skiing – the snow was awesome yesterday.

Brant and I left Boston early yesterday morning to get up here by the time the lifts opened.  Before we left, we grabbed a few Vitatops for the road.  We both tried the CranBran and we liked them!

There were big chunks of cranberries, and this muffin top was not as dry as the Blueberry I tried last week.  I asked Brant if he liked it and he just kept shaking his head “yes” as he munched away. 🙂

I topped my CranBran vitatop with Futter’s AlmondHaze – yum!  And, snacked on a banana.

The skiing was awesome yesterday.  It snowed all day!

For lunch, I had my usual weekend-up-at-the-ski-house lunch!  Roasted root vegetable soup, a grilled cheese panini on sprouted wheat and some cantaloupe.


And, a Cherry Almond Chocolate cluster for something sweet.

My afternoon snacks consisted of Cinnamon Sugar pita chips (how good are those things?!) and popcorn!

Dinner was fun! Brant and I cooked up some quinoa with veggies for my family.

You could easily make this with any vegetables, this just happened to be what we had in the fridge.  I loved the combination of everything, and so did everyone else!

Quinoa

I cooked the quinoa and then added lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper after it was done.  The lemon-y flavor was a big hit.

For the veggies, I did the following:

Sweet Potatoes

I cut up the potatoes into chunks and spread them onto the cookie sheet.  Then drizzled them with olive oil and a hefty shake of cinnamon.  Then sprinkled a little chili powder on them.  I placed them in the pre-heated oven at 400°F and baked for 40 minutes, flipping them around after about 20 minutes.  They came out perfectly baked and a little sweet due to the cinnamon!

Onions

Once the sweet potatoes were baking (since they take the longest), we chopped up a few onions and got them onto the stove to saute.  We cooked them over medium heat for about 20 minutes until they were nice and caramelized!

Broccoli

Next, chopping up the broccoli and zucchini.

We cooked the broccoli in a skillet with a little olive oil and sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning (sans salt).  It turned out delicious!  I had never cooked broccoli with lemon pepper before.

Zucchini

The zucchini was cooked in the same skillet as the broccoli after it was done, with just a smidge of olive oil!  After it was cooked through, I turned up the heat to brown the bottoms a bit.

Peppers

I used the same technique for the peppers.  Cooked in the same pan as the zucchini with just a touch of olive oil.  My thought was that the sweet potatoes, broccoli and onions would have enough flavors, so I didn’t need to add spices and seasonings to everything!

Asparagus

Once the sweet potatoes only had about 10 minutes to go, I laid out the asparagus on a cookie sheet and sprinkles with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Then baked at 400°F for 10 minutes.  Before serving, I cut the asparagus up into quarters.

All ready to make it pretty and serve!

Presentation is key!

My mom made a delicious salad with baby spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, mozzarella and balsamic, which we enjoyed with the quinoa.

My plate.

With some red wine, of course!

And, an ice cream sundae while watching the Olympics!  So sad they are almost over!!

In the sundae: a blonde brownie, vanilla and coffee ice cream and a drizzle of caramel and chocolate syrup.  Not good for me at all, and I loved every bite. 🙂

crazy cabbage stir-fry

I headed to the gym after work (I love Friday nights when I have nothing to do) and had a super workout.  I started with weights and then moved to the treadmill for a tempo run.  Here’s what I did:

Upper Body Weights (30 minutes, circuit style)

  • 21’s (10 lb weights, 3 sets)
  • Overhead press (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Fly’s (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Front raises (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12
  • Lunges (3 sets of 12, 10 lb weights,alternating legs)
  • Tricep dips on bench (3 sets of 12)
  • V-ups (3 sets of 12)
  • Squats (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Hammer curl (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Chest press (12.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Crunches (3 sets of 12)
  • Bicycles (25 sets)
  • Tricep kickbacks (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Deadlifts (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Upright rows (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)

6 Mile Tempo Run

  • Mile 1 – 9:30
  • Mile 2 – 9:00
  • Mile 3 – 8:30
  • Mile 4 – 8:00
  • Mile 5 – 7:30
  • Mile 6 – 9:13
  • Total = 51:47

What a workout!

Before my workout I snacked on a Clif Mojo Mountain Mix bar.

I had never had one of these before, but I was excited when I opened it because of all of the chunks of stuff in the bar!

It was ok, but I didn’t love it.  It did the trick for my workout though.

Once I got home, I was famished!  Time to cook something up with random stuff in our fridge – that is exactly what I did.  It was a crazy, but great mix!

Crazy Cabbage Stir-fry

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage
  • 1 orange pepper
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup cooked wheatberries
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins

I chopped up the cabbage and pepper into bite size pieces.

Then, heated the cabbage over medium high heat with a dash of olive oil.

Once heated through and wilted a bit, I added the pepper, salt and pepper, thyme and orange juice.

I had cooked wheatberries in the fridge, so I just nuked them in the microwave for a minute until warm.  I put the cooked cabbage on a plate and topped it with the wheatberries, raisins and peanuts.

Served with Trader Joe’s herb flatbread.

And, white wine.

It was an all around great quick meal for a Friday night at home!

a cereal kind of day

No rain this morning – yay!  Nice weather instantly puts me in a good mood, I love it, but of course it’s raining now!  I slept in a little today since it was a late night and when I woke up all I wanted was cereal.

I mixed 1/2 museli with 1/2 granola.

And, topped the bowl with a sliced banana and almond milk.  Perfect!

 

I couldn’t wait for lunch today!  Leftover Lentil Almond Stir-fry and a beer bread muffin with a laughing cow cheese wedge.

Mmmmm…this lentil dish is so good.  I can’t wait to make it again.  I definitely recommend the pre-cooked lentils too.  It makes for a really easy weeknight meal.  I also saw pre-cooked brown lentils at Trader Joes, but I’m really not sure what the difference is besides color.

The beer bread was better today!  Maybe it gets better with age? 🙂

After lunch, was a Cherry Almond Chocolate Cluster.

These things are messy, but so good!  I would make them again in a second.  I ate the yogurt a few hours later mostly just because I love this yogurt.

I’m planning a trip to the gym after work for a tempo run on the treadmill and some weights, we’ll see what happens…

Did you know these fun facts about lemons?  Apparently, they are super nutritious!  Check out this article.

A few of my favorite facts:

  • One lemon contains a full day’s supply of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, but that’s the whole fruit; the juice holds about a third. Lemon juice is also about 5 percent citric acid, making it a natural for slowing the browning or oxidation of fresh, raw foods: apples, avocados, bananas, and other fruits. That power, and the C, makes the lemon a real health fruit.
  • They make a versatile household cleaner – Dip a halved lemon in salt for a bit of gentle abrasive power, then scour brass, copper, or stainless-steel pots, pans, and sinks. Rub a cut lemon (sans salt) on aluminum to brighten it. Used lemons tossed in the disposal will deodorize it.

everyone loves lentils!

On the menu tonight was Heidi Swanson’s Lentil Almond Stir-fry for our dinner party!  It was a huge hit!  Everyone loved it, and so did I.  This is a delicious and easy dish (especially if you use the pre-cooked lentils Heidi suggests).

I bought Trader Joe’s pre-cooked Black Beluga Lentils to make sure this dish was easy to put together.  They sell them in the rice/pasta aisle for around $2 a pack.  They tasted great and all I needed to do was heat them up.

Lentil Almond Stir-fry (with Mint Sauce)

from 101cookbooks.com

Serves 2-3 (I doubled the recipe for 4 people – it was a perfect amount with one serving left over for lunch tomorrow!)

Ingredients:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 very small new potatoes, cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 2 cups cooked brown or black lentils
  • 12 brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, thinned out with a bit of water, and salted with a pinch of salt
  • 2 dates, pitted and chopped

Mint Sauce (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 serrano chile pepper, de-veined and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • a touch of sugar, or honey, or agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions for stir-fry and mint sauce:

1.  Start by making the mint sauce. Combine the mint leaves, serrano, olive oil, salt, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor. Give it a few pulses, just enough for the mint to break down a bit.  Set aside.

2.  Heat the olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat and cook the potatoes. Cover the skillet and let the potatoes cook through, this will take five minutes or so. The water in the potatoes will help steam and soften them. When the potatoes are just cooked through (not mushy or falling apart) remove the lid and give them a good toss. Turn up the heat to medium-high and stir every minute or so until the potatoes look a bit golden. Stir in the lentils, and cook until heated through. Turn the potatoes and lentils out onto a large plate and set aside.

I used 2 different types of potatoes tonight.

3.  Then cook the brussels sprouts using the same pan. Heat another splash of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly.  Place the sprouts in the pan, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cover, and cook for a few minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning.  Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized.

4.  Add the lentils and potatoes back to the skillet and add most of the sliced almonds. Turn out onto a large platter and drizzle with some of the yogurt and mint sauce. Top with the remaining almonds and the chopped dates.  (I served the yogurt separate for people to use as wanted).

I served the Beer Bread Muffins with this dish, which just came out okay.  The flavor of the muffins was great, but the outsides were a little chewy – opps!  Next time I’ll stick with the loaf.  They still were eaten though!

All in all, a great meal.  I would make this again in a second!  The mint sauce really complimented the dish – it is a must!

And, for dessert?  Blonde brownies!  I like these even better the next day.

nuts are good for you

Yuck!  What another gross day!  Luckily, I had a gym workout planned so I headed to my spinning class this morning.  Love the instructor on Thursday’s – she kicks your butt!  My legs are literally still shaking 8 hours later.

Breakfast part 1 was eaten right after the gym -a protein smoothie!

  • 1 cup frozen berry mix
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp honey

Breakfast part 2 was after I got ready for work – an ezekial cinnamon raisin english muffin with almond haze and blueberry jam.

I love the Futter’s Almond Haze with its chunks of hazelnuts and almonds.  And, the Blueberry (North America) Crofter’s Superfruit Jam is by far the best flavor!

I spread 1/2 with the nut butter and 1/2 with the jam.  Delicious!

The morning flew by, so lunch time came very quickly.  Last night I prepared my lunch for the day so I wouldn’t be rushing – salad, pineapple and yogurt.  All stacked up and ready to go.

My salad contained green leaf lettuce, wheatberries, cheddar cheese and golden beets.

I also packed some snacks for today, since spinning days always seem to make me more hungry!

2 graham crackers, honey peanut butter and an apple!

Dinner will be a little later tonight for our dinner party, so this snack will hopefully hold me over.

In other news, it looks like nuts are finally making a comeback!  For years, so many women have been nervous to eat nuts because of the high fat content.  It is true that you should only eat them in small portions due to the high fat, but it is all good fats which are healthy and essential for your body.  Studies have shown that people who eat more nuts normally eat less overall because they keep them full and satisfied for longer.  Check out this article: Once a diet no-no, nuts are in again.  I have already eaten nut butter twice today!

See you after dinner!

time to bake

I found an article this afternoon on CookingLight.com that gives 8 ideas for healthy office snacks!  I wanted to share it with you for more snack ideas since I recently did a tip of the week post on snacking.

From the article:

Working eight or more hours a day can make it difficult to eat healthfully unless you plan ahead. Research shows that eating every four hours helps to keep your metabolism charged and your energy level high. Before you dig in your drawer for spare change and head to the vending machine, plan ahead and stash low-calorie, nutritious snacks in a cabinet, drawer, or your briefcase. Each of these snacks has less than 200 calories and are sure to satisfy when the 3 p.m. cravings hit.

8 Healthy Office Snacks (from Cookinglight.com)

  1. Whole Wheat Crackers and Peanut Butter
  2. Fruit
  3. Popcorn with Parmesean
  4. Nuts (one ounce)
  5. Instant Oatmeal
  6. Mini Pitas with Hummus
  7. Granola Bars (like Larabar’s)
  8. Veggies with Low-Fat Ranch Dressing

I would switch up #8 for veggies and hummus, since packaged salad dressings often contain unhealthy oils.

On to dinner, which was simple tonight, but very delicious!  BLT’s with eggplant, lettuce, tomato, cheese and roasted red pepper spread on whole wheat toast served with sweet potato fries!

I spread one slice of toast with a Laughing Cow Cheese wedge and the other side with Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke spread.

Then, eggplant bacon, lettuce and tomato!

With baked sweet potato fries.

I needed dinner to be simple so that I could whip up some baking creations for our little dinner party tomorrow night!  I will be cooking the main course tomorrow, but wanted to get the bread and dessert out of the way tonight.

Last time I was at Trader Joe’s I picked up a box of their Beer Bread Mix.

The mix is only $1.99 and is a combination of the following ingredients: wheat flour, cane sugar, baking powder and salt.  Not bad for a mix!  All you have to do is add a bottle of beer, stir it up and bake.  How easy is that?

You can add different beers in order to alter the taste.  I imagine that adding a light beer would taste much different than a dark beer.  I stuck with something in the middle that we had in our fridge.  I decided to make muffins for our dinner tomorrow instead of a loaf.

While the beer bread was baking, I set out to make a dessert.  I was searching recipes, but decided to keep it simple once again and make blonde brownies with the option of brownie sundaes for anyone who may want one!  I had a coupon for some Nasoya Silken Creations, so I decided to use it in my dessert recipe.  I always love to try new products, and you can’t go wrong with a free coupon. 🙂

I was nervous to try a new product with friends coming over, but if they come out awful, I have my Chocolate Clusters as back up!

Blonde Brownies

from Nasoya’s website

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Silken Style Creations Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used unbleached white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or canola oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
  • 1 cup dairy free semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I used dark chocolate chunks)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Mix the oil with the sugar, then add the vanilla silken creation to the mixture.
  • Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and mix just until combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Pour into a greased 8×8 pan.

  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until cooked.

Of course, we had to try a brownie warm out of the oven.  Yum – they came out great!  Super moist and lots of chocolate chips.