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simple sesame green beans

This weeks weather has been crazy!  It most definitely felt like fall at the beginining of the week, but now it is 81 degrees out!  Come on, Mother Nature, I’m ready for fall weather. 🙂

However, since it felt like summer this morning, I whipped up a cold smoothie for breakfast.

My favorite Chocolate Cherry Bomb!  With cacao nibs on top.

Lunch was AB&J on Flax Quinoa Bread from Whole Foods.  Definitely some of the best bread ever!  But, I forgot to snap a photo.  Snacks yesterday included fruit and trail mix.

For dinner, we made a special weeknight meal.  It barely took anytime at all to cook, but it felt more special due to the ingredients.

Shrimp, Green Beans and Quinoa

I started out by getting the quinoa ready, so that it would cook while we were cooking the other things.

I used a recipe from Clean Food cookbook for Quinoa with Currants, but I subbed currants for dried cranberries.  Everything else was the same, except that I just threw it all in my rice cooker to cook at once!

Into the rice cooker went the quinoa, cranberries and spices.

I added the water and set the cooker to quick cook.  I have found that the quick setting works perfect for quinoa!

Next up, simple sesame green beans.

Cut off the ends of each side.

Then, throw them in a colander to wash thouroughly.

While you are cutting and washing, boil water in a shallow pan.  Once boiling, dump in the beans and blanch for 1 minute just to take the bite off.

Place back in the colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

Careful dry the pan and add a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the dry green beans and saute for 5-7 minutes until they look a little browned.

Add a little salt, pepper and a good pinch of sesame seeds.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes to toast the seeds.  Then, serve warm!

This is our favorite way to eat green beans.  They beans stay crisp, but are warm and delicious!

We added the shrimp to another skillet at the same time as the green beans.  Saute the shrimp over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until they turn white.  Add seasoning of choice (we used a fish seasoning from William Sonoma).

I served the quinoa with a little feta on top.

This was a delicious meal!  Very quick (preptime and cooking took about 30 minutes) for a weeknight meal.  Plenty of greens, protein and omega-3’s from the shrimp!

Served with a slice of Flax Quinoa Bread and butter.

Yum!

farmers market finds

Yesterday, my mom and I headed to the South End Open Market (SOWA), which is a mix of a farmer’s market and an artist’s market.  There are multiple farms that set up stands and numerous artists as well.

Below are just a few fun finds from the market!

Radishes

Garlic Scrapes

Workout

After taking ALL of last week off of exercising, I started to really miss it.  I spent the first half of my week panicking about my test, and the second half having trouble getting motivated!  All of a sudden I didn’t have to study anymore and I was completely exhausted.  I figured that catching up on sleep was the most important thing for me to do.

But, it’s a new week and I’m back at it!

After work today, I hit the road for a much needed workout.  I ran 5.25 miles in 51 minutes, then walked for another 9 minutes to give me 60 minutes of cardio.  Once home, I spent a good 20 minutes on strength, balance and stretching exercises.

After taking a break from weight training, I am trying to focus on my stability and balance before jumping right back into it.  That last thing I need to do is get hurt!  Tonight, I focused on a circuit session with squats, lunges, pushups and plank, then stretching.  It felt good to stretch so much!  So many people jump right into weight training and forget how important it is to stabilize your core before hitting up a tough routine.

Breakfast

For breakfast, I had some Steel Cut Oats that I had previously prepared.  Yesterday, I made up a big batch of oats for the week.  I used 1 cup of steel cut oats and 4 tbsp of freshly ground flax seed.

This morning, I took out a serving and mixed in a little bit of milk, 1/2 of a mashed banana and 1 tsp cinnamon, then heat it up in the microwave.  It surprisingly came out just like normal!  I am trying to find ways to make my breakfasts easier in the morning to be able to enjoy then instead of eating on the go all the time.  This worked wonders…and I have enough to last me all week.

I added 1 tbsp vanilla almond butter, raw granola and a few chopped strawberries for toppings and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast!

Native strawberries might be my favorite summertime fruit!

Lunch

For lunch, I packed my leftover Cabbage Pizza from Saturday with some hummus and salsa for dippers.

And, the last of my Saratoga yogurt with a few strawberries and Kaia Raisin Cinnamon granola.

Before my run, I snacked on a Pear Ginger Prana Bar, then came home to make an easy summertime dinner.

Dinner

The Clean Food cookbook is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  Terry Walters, the author, has so many wonderful and simple recipes in the book (and, I cannot wait for her new cookbook to come out soon)!  It is definitely worth purchasing.  Over the weekend, I sprouted some grains to have for the week (more on how to sprout later this week!), so dinner was easy to put together.

Sprouted Quinoa with Strawberries and Lime (recipe from Clean Food)

I chopped up the following:

  • 1 heaping cup strawberries
  • 1/2 jicama
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 1 daikon radish
  • bunch of radishes from farmers market
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 apricots

And, mixed up a dressing which I changed around a bit since we didn’t have all of the ingredients the recipe called for.  We mixed up 1/8 cup olive oil, 4 tbsp lime juice, 1/8 cup lemonade, 1 chopped jalapeno.

I added the dressing to the sprouted quinoa and fruits.  I kept the avocado separate and gently mixed that in afterward to keep it from getting mushy (this technique worked well!).

This was such a refreshing meal served on a bed of lettuce.

I enjoyed it with a few small slices of black bean bread and a glass of my Mint Mojito Iced tea.

I love summer!

watercress, daikon and avocado salad

After spending the afternoon yesterday cleaning our entire condo, I was in need of a refreshing smoothie!

I added 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 8 frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 1 scoop berry vega protein powder and 1 cup of coconut water.

It hit the spot and held me over until dinnertime.

For dinner, we headed to Josh and Sarah’s.  They had a fancy appetizer waiting for us when we got there.

Apparently it is a ricotta mouse, raspberry preserves and olive oil.  Served on fresh bread, it was delicious!  I can’t wait to recreate it. 🙂

We made a salad to bring over for dinner.  I used the recipe from the Clean Food cookbook for the Watercress, Daikon and Avocado Salad with Mustard Seed Dressing.

I used the watercress from our CSA box and added a little green leaf lettuce for volume.  Then, chopped up the daikon radish and avocado and mixed up the dressing.

It was great!  I loved the spiciness from the mustard seeds.

For dessert, they made a mixed berry dish.  Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries mixed with a little sugar and Grand Marnier.  Served with vanilla frozen yogurt.

Super delicious!  Summertime berries are the best.

millet patties

After trying the millet patties at Angelica Kitchen last week, I knew that I had to make them at home.  I was thrilled when I was browsing through the Spring section of the Clean Food cookbook and came across these:

Millet Black Bean Patties with Corn – score!

I have seen so many recipes including Millet lately, so I was curious about the health benefits.

(Source)

Millet is a tasty grain that has a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor.  It is nearly 15 percent protein, and is rich in fiber, B-complex vitamins, essential amino acids, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.  The magnesium in millet can help to reduce the severity of asthma, the frequency of migraines, lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.  Millet is non-glutinous, and is not acid forming, so it is soothing and easy to digest.

I followed the recipe exactly, and the patties came out perfect!  The mixture was delicious, and the patties actually stayed as patties when cooked (unlike my other veggie burger variations I have made!).  It was nice to try a grain that I do not cook with a lot.

I sauteed the onion, corn, black bean and spice mixture until soft and warm.

I could have eaten the mix just like this!  But, I added the cooked millet instead – and cornstarch to make it easier to mold into patties.

This made 15 patties for me, even though the recipe says it will make 10!  I cooked 5 patties as suggested – fried on each side in a little olive oil over medium heat.  They were deeply browned on each side.

I baked the other 10 patties in the oven at 375°F for 20 minutes (10 on each side).  They came out great as well – now as browned, but still a little crunch on the outside with a soft patty on the inside (and healthier without the extra oil!).

Lot’s of leftovers for the week – yum!

I served our Millet Patties with a salad and homemade pita chips.

Salad with arugula, raisins, sweet curry sprouted sunflower seeds, feta cheese and a homemade dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Delicious dinner!

And, a mocktail with seltzer, pomegranate juice and lime.  I needed a change from water!

Give these patties a try, they are great!  The recipe makes a lot, which makes it great for a crowd or for plenty of leftovers.  I am planning on freezing about 1/2 of the leftovers to keep for quick lunches and dinners when I am in a pinch.

springtime produce

I am in a workshop all day today (Friday) and tomorrow, so I figured I would set up a few posts while I am tied up.

I found a fun new website the other day called Vital Juice.  I think that it is similar to Daily Candy in that you can sign up for email newsletters that they will send you with tidbits of info each day/week/etc.

I was searching through some of the articles on nutrition and found one on Spring Vegetables that I thought was super interesting.

(Source)

Even though the weather keeps tricking us, it really is starting to feel like spring around here.  Flowers are popping up, and we keep getting some very nice 60 degree days.  At this point, I will take what we can get!

As you know, I love to eat seasonable local produce, and try to as much as possible.  But, it is hard to eat locally over the winter in New England!  Therefore, once the spring comes, I am more than ready for the farmers markets and CSA’s to begin.

But, my absolute favorite thing about Spring and Summer veggies – grilling them!  It brings out the best flavors and keeps them very healthy.  All you need is a little olive oil and you are good to go.

(Source)

The article on Vital Juice, lists many healthy spring fruits and veggies that are important to get into our diets, especially since many of us have been missing out on them (and their nutrients) all winter long.

Check out the list below:

  • Asparagus: Contains a type of fiber called inulin to promote healthy gut bacteria.
  • Artichokes: They pack the most antioxidants of all vegetables.
  • Apricots
  • Fennel: Beats bloat.
  • Swiss chard, collards, mustard, spinach and spring greens: Loaded with vitamins A, C and E, these leaves boast blood building vitamin K and iron and bone boosting calcium and magnesium.
  • Peas: A half cup serving has more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal.
  • Chives
  • Strawberries: One cup contains more than 160% of your daily quota of immune-boosting vitamin C.
  • Mangoes: Contains age-fighting vitamin E.
  • Honeydew melon: Eat your water! This fruit is 90% water to help hydrate the skin and fill you up.
  • Vidalia onions: These stinkers are rich with sulfur compounds that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • (Source)

    I have definitely been getting my fair share of asparagus and mangoes recently, but can’t wait for my local farmer’s market to start bringing their greens and native strawberries along.  My body seems to crave different produce in the spring and summer, and this is definitely a normal trait.  In the winter we want more comfort foods to make us warmer (such as potatoes and other starchy veggies) but in the summer, refreshing fruits (such as strawberries and melons) are all that I crave.  Your body is an amazing thing – just listen to your cravings and it will tell you what your body wants and needs.

    Another great find for me was the cookbook Clean Food by Terry Walters.

    It contains many wonderful recipes broken up into 4 sections – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall and Anytime.  I have not tried any recipes yet because I literally just picked up the book, but  I have plans to try many Spring recipes in the next few weeks.

    It is so important to eat a variety of foods to get all of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, and even more important to support local farmers!  This cookbook is a great way to help you do both.

    Do your cravings change as the seasons do?  What foods have you found yourself craving on the warmer days we have had this month?