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carrot tops

Have you ever tried Carrot Tops?

Carrot Tops are the greens (tops) of the carrots that grow out of the ground.  When I picked them up in our CSA box for the first time a few weeks ago, I wasn’t really sure what to do with them.  The first few weeks I added them to salads and stirfy’s.  They taste more like an herb than a leafy green veggie, but they taste good, especially mixed with fresh lettuce.

If you get the carrots with attached green tops, the tops should be cut off before storing them in the refrigerator because they will pull moisture from the carrot and cause them to wilt more quickly. The tops should be used fairly soon because they will begin to wilt very quickly.

[Did you know? Carrots should we stored away from certain fruits, such as apples and potatoes because they produce a gas that will cause the fruits to become bitter.]

Today, I decided to do something different with the carrot tops- I juiced them!

Along with my carrot tops, I added the following to my juice:

  • 1 beet
  • 1 apple
  • handful of carrot tops
  • 3 carrots
  • 5ish celery stalks

This juice tasted great!  I couldn’t really taste the carrot tops, but hopefully I got some nutrients from them.  I juiced them first too see what kind of juice I would get.  I did, in fact, get juice from them!

The combination of beets and celery might be one of my favorites in juice.

Along with my juice, I had 2 slices of Carrot Raisin Manna Bread spread with Pepita Sun Butter.

Good breakfast!

Backing up a bit…

I woke up this morning, down a glass of Amazing Grass Lemon Lime and 2 Organic Medjool dates, and was off to swim.

When I got to the pool, it was packed, but luckily a few minutes later most people had left.

I swam 2200 yards.  I decided to change it up a bit today so after my 100 yd warm-up, I sprinted every 5th lap.

  • 100 yd warm-up
  • 2000 yd swim (sprinting every 5th lap)
  • 100 yd cool-down

It felt good to pick it up every so often.  I was tired by the end, but felt great!

This week, I have remembered why I love morning workouts!  For one, it gets my workout out of the way.  But, what I really love about them is that they leave me feeling great for the remainder of the day!  I love it.

Moving on to lunch…

I forgot to pack up my lunch last night, and the veggie all needed to be washed, so I opted for an easy grab-an-go lunch today.

Yogurt with banana and Uncle Sam’s cereal, museli and raw granola bites.  This definitely hit the spot and kept me full.

For my afternoon snack, I had some sprouted chocolate nuts and dried mango slices.

These nuts are awesome.  Trust me.  Sprouted nuts+raisins+raw chocolate=so good!!

Dinner was also fantastic and very easy.

Emily came over to chat for a bit, so by the time she left, I didn’t feel like making a big dinner.  Instead, I popped a can of soup on the stove.

When it was almost done heating up, I added some lentils that I had cooked last night to the pot to bulk it up.  I like Amy’s soups when I am in a pinch, but the minestrone did not have much bulk to it.

And, served the soup with some chips for dipping.

Last night, while we were eating dinner, I threw 1 cup of green lentils into my rice cooker with 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 cups of water.  I closed the lid and set it to the white rice/mixed setting.  An hour later, my lentils were done!  I knew I would want a quick dinner tonight, and this was perfect. 🙂

spanish stew

I think I made the best smoothie ever this morning!

In the mix:

  • 1.25 cups coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1.5 cups frozen mango
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • topped with 2 tbsp Galaxy Granola

It was refreshing and filling, just what I needed after my run.

Before my awesome smoothie breakfast, I went for a run this morning.  I waited until the sun came up, and ran along the water.  It was a sunny morning with a small breeze that kept me from getting to hot.  Absolutely gorgeous!  I love running during daylight – a big change from morning winter running.  I covered 5.8 miles in 50 minutes – not too bad.

The smoothie kept me full until lunchtime, when I had some leftovers from last night.

Veggie & Brown Rice Stir-fry with Kale Chips.

Surprisingly, the kale chips held up well.  Still crunchy and salty, just the way I like them.

I also tried a new yogurt – Wallaby Yogurt.  They were on sale for 50 cents each a Whole Foods (regularly $.99), so I gave them a try.  Plus, the flavors sound unbelievable – Strawberry Guava, Pear, Vanilla Bean, Dulce de Leche – yum!  It was surprisingly good!  The people who started the company, loved the yogurt in Australia so much, that they recreated it once home.

Wallaby is a thick and creamy yogurt, but not as thick and creamy as greek yogurt.  It was a little sweet, but great as a lunchtime treat!

I was too busy this afternoon to get hungry, but I did snack on a granola bar.

Then, tried something new and simple for dinner tonight – Amy’s Spanish Rice & Red Bean Soup.  This was sent to me months ago to try out with a few other soups.

This soup was really really good!  I am not a huge fan of canned soups, but this one really surprised me as other’s of Amy’s Soups have.  It was full of beans, veggies and rice and tasted good with just a hint of spice.

Amy’s Spanish Rice and Red Beans is a robust soup that combines organic brown rice with organic red beans, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, corn and green chiles.  I sprinkled a little cheese on top.

And, a side of toasted pita triangles and grilled peppers (stolen from Brant’s dinner!) for dipping.

It was a great dinner!  I would definitely buy this soup again.  The ingredients are great: (VEGAN) FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC TOMATOES, ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC RED BEANS, ORGANIC BELL PEPPERS, ORGANIC ZUCCHINI, ORGANIC CORN, ORGANIC BROWN RICE, ORGANIC GREEN CHILES, ORGANIC GARLIC, SEA SALT, ORGANIC HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC CILANTRO, ORGANIC SPICES, ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, ORGANIC CRACKED BLACK PEPPER.

140 calories per serving, 2.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbs and 690 mg of sodium.  Like most canned soups, this does have a decent amount of sodium.  However, it is much less than others.

Now, I’m thinking about coconut milk ice cream!

trident cafe

After work, I met Emily downtown at Trident Bookstore & Cafe on Newbury Street.  This place is adorable!  In all the years I have been in Boston, I can’t believe I have not been here.

We sat in the cafe and ordered some drinks.  They had a huge selection of coffee, tea, fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies, as well as a big menu.  I opted for a tea tonight, since I had a fruit filled snack before getting there, but I will be back for juice and smoothies!

(Fruit filled snack of an Apple Heart Thrive and an Orange.)

I chose the Seven Herb Tea, which was a blend of hibiscus, cloves, lavender, orange, licorice & lemon. It was delicious!  The cloves made it just a tad spicy.

This place is so cute!

After we chatted away for hours, we parted ways for dinner.  By the time I got home, I was famished!  I quickly popped a Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burger onto the grill for dinner, and a can of Amy’s Alphabet Soup in a pot on the stove.

Soup & Salad Combo : Veggie burger on a whole wheat pita with lettuce, ketchup and a laughing cow wedge & Amy’s alphabet soup with kale chips (need some green!).

I do love these veggie burgers, and the soup was delicious.  Not too salty, as many canned soups are.  All in all, a perfectly nutritious, delicious and quick meal.

Tips for healthy & quick dinners

I find that it is really important to keep a stock of some healthy lunch and dinner options in your fridge and pantry when you are trying to eat healthy.  On days like today, when I get home late and am famished, I could easily reach for something unhealthy if I had it.  But, for this reason, I don’t keep unhealthy options in the house.  Instead of the daunting task of making a full meal, I grabbed a frozen veggie burger from the freezer, and a can of soup from the pantry.  Within 5 minutes, they were both heated up and ready to eat.  My lettuce was washed and ready to go, stored in a bag in the fridge (I try to prepare this every Sunday night), so it was easy to get some greens into my dinner.  And, I had kale chips left over from the batch I made last week.  If you take time to prepare some things over the weekend, it makes weekday dinners that much easier.

What types of things do you do to make weeknight dinners quick and easy?