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i’m pregnant: week 36

Hello blog friends!¬† Just a quick little post to tell you that I am still here. ūüôā

I haven’t posted in just over a month, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been having tons of fun.¬† My 8th month of pregnancy was pretty good!¬† I continued to feel great and tried to get in as many walks as I could with the snowy and cold weather we have had here in Boston.¬† We spent the majority of our time relaxing and getting ourselves ready to have our baby.¬† The nursery is almost complete (pictures to come when it is complete!) and we have just about everything that we need for our little one.

Tomorrow marks the end of my 36th week of pregnancy, which means that I am considered full term, so the little one is fully developed.  Our due date is a mere 3 weeks away!

Week 32

Week 34

Week 36

The baby keeps growing bigger and bigger, but I am still right on track where I should be.¬† Everyone is healthy and happy. ūüôā

I have been trying to keep up with the healthy eating, which really isn’t that difficult when you make delicious healthy dinners, like Angela’s Mandarin & Maple Quinoa!

Delicious ingredients combine to create a sweet and spicy quinoa dish.

Overall, I have been feeling good.¬† Definitely getting more and more uncomfortable, especially while sleeping, but nothing that won’t be worth it in the end!

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sweet & spicy quinoa

I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I normally do.¬† Life is just simply getting in the way.¬† But, you can rest assured that I am still eating like I normally do – just more!

Breakfasts have been smoothies, as usual. ūüôā

My favorite Chocolate Cherry Bomb Smoothie.  This smoothie is thick, delicious and packed with protein and nutrients which is perfect for my growing belly!

And, I love that it is pink. ūüôā

Check out the banana that I used today!

Along with my smoothie, I snacked on a piece of homemade apple raisin walnut bread made by Lauren.  It is super delicious!

Lunch included some leftovers from dinner.¬† I decided to try out Angela’s Mandarin & Maple Spiced Quinoa with Cranberries, Apricots, and Almonds.

This was absolutely delicious!

It was sweet from the maple and dried fruit and spicy from the cinnamon and nutmeg.  We all really loved it.  I will definitely be making it again!

Served on a bed of spinach for some greens with dinner.

Definitely go try it out!  It will be a crowd pleaser.

I am so excited for the weekend…lot’s of stuff to do. ūüôā¬† Have a great one!

grilled zucchini and quinoa

I made a tasty dinner tonight for Kate and I!

I cannot believe that I haven’t had quinoa in over a month.¬† We used to have quinoa once or twice a week, but I haven’t been craving it lately.¬† Well, it tasted delicious tonight!

We all know that I love 101cookbooks.com and this recipe was another one that did not disappoint.  I followed the recipe, but subbed almonds for pinenuts and omitted the cheese.  While the quinoa was cooking, I sauteed an onion over medium heat with a little salt and olive oil until tender.  I mixed the onion with the quinoa before mixing in the sauce.

Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini (see recipe here)

My favorite part of the dish was the sauce!  It is so good, I would make this as a salad dressing or as a sauce for rice or just grilled veggies.  It seems very versatile and is so yummy!  Great for the summer.

The sauce is made up of avocado, plain yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and salt.

Trust me, it is so good!

I started out my day with a 4.5 mile run in the heat and humidity.¬† I swear, this heat makes me much slower and I get tired so much more easily…I hope it is the heat!

After my run, I drank some juice.

And, had some toast – Fig Fennel & Flax Manna Bread.

Spread with Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter and enjoyed with a banana and my juice, which was a delicious blend of pineapple, pear and ginger.  Very yummy.

I was starving for lunch, so I dug right into my leftover chopped salad from last night.  The salad was even better today after marinating overnight!

Along with a yogurt and 2 sweet and juicy apricots!

I tried the new Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar for an afternoon snack and it was amazing.  Very peanut buttery with chocolate chips throughout.

Try these new Larabar’s!¬† You won’t be disappointed…and if you are, send them to me! ūüôā

my favorite things – part two

Welcome to Part Two of my favorite things!  I hope you enjoy.

Coconut

Mmmm…coconut!¬† Coconuts provide a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations.¬† Each part of the coconut can be used!¬† Coconut is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.¬† The meat, milk and oil do have fat, but once again, they are the good fat.¬† The type that your body uses to survive.

I love coconut!  I use unsweetened shredded coconut in my baking and sprinked on meals.  The oil is wonderful for baking as well!

Honey

Raw, unprocessed honey has been shown to be an antiseptic, antioxidant and cleansing property for our bodies.  It has powerful healing attributes that promote healing for cuts and scrapes.  It also works wonders on dry skin!

My favorite way to use honey is as an energy booster while on my long distance runs.  It has just the right amount of sugar to give you that extra push for the last few miles.  Plus, it is much more natural and healthier for you than all the energy gels out there.

Honey is also wonderful mixed in tea, used in place of sugar in baking, drizzled in stirfry’s and so much more!

Almond Butter

When choosing a nut butter, make sure to look at the ingredient list!  Many on store shelves contain high fructose corn syrup and a lot of sugar.  Choose all natural nut butters.  My favorite is almond butter Рmade up purely of almonds!

I enjoy almond butter the most, but any natural nut butters are delicious.  They provide you with healthy fats that will keep you satisfied for a long time.  It has been shown that people who eat nuts or nut butter often consume fewer calories throughout the day because they keep you satisfied.

Check out my info on almonds in Part One!

Hemp Seeds

Hemp¬†is everywhere these days!¬† Hemp seeds, hemp milk, hemp protein powder…I love it all.¬† Hemp seeds are very high in soluable protein which makes them easy to digest.¬† They also contain all of the 9 essential amino acids that your body needs.¬† Essential amino acids are ones that the body cannot produce on its own.

Hemp protein powder is just ground hemp seeds.  I prefer hemp protein powder over others because of the way it makes me feel.  It does not cause bloating or gas as others do.

Add a tablespoon or two of hemp powder to your smoothie in the morning, or sprinkle some hemp seeds on your salads for a nutty crunch!

Quinoa

Quinoa is the seed of a plant, but many people think of it and use it as a grain in place of rice, pasta, etc.  Like hemp, quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids that your body needs.  It also contains high levels of iron and magnesium, which will help your body feel more alert and will decrease your changes of developing hypertension or heart disease.

I absolutely love quinoa!¬† We cook with it a lot by adding it to stirfry’s,¬†making quinoa¬†burgers, adding it to salads¬†and¬†using it as a breakfast cereal.¬† ¬†You cannot go wrong.¬† Cook a big pot on Sunday night and eat it throughout the week!

Sea Salt

Too much salt is not good for anyone, but a little salt added to your baking and cooking will not cause you much harm.  Adding salt to your food can immensly add to the flavor, but season properly.  Only use what you need!  By cooking your own meals, you can control how much salt you are adding to a dish.  Restaurants and frozen meals use way to much salt!

The grayer the salt the better…and sea salt is much better for you than table salt.¬† Gray salt is minimally processed, while table salt is highly processed!

Bananas

Bananas could easily be my favorite food.  I love them in smoothies, oatmeal, spread with nut butter, eaten plain and on-the-go!  I love them for breakfast, with lunch, as a snack and sauteed with a little brown sugar for dessert.  I eat at least one banana almost everyday.

Luckily, bananas are good for you!  They contain tons of potassium, which helps to prevent high blood pressure, cramping (side-stitches) and restore your electrolyte balance.  They also help your body to absorb calcium.

I buy bananas in bulk.  I keep some on the counter to grab and go, but also keep a container in my freezer with frozen bananas for smoothies!

Pepitas

One of my favorite parts of the fall is carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds!¬† I sprinkle a little salt on top and pop them in the oven until slightly crispy – yum!¬† Well, you don’t have to wait until halloween rolls around to enjoy pumpkin seeds, just buy some pepitas.

Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are a nutritional powerhouse.  They contain high levels of magnesium, iron, protein and zinc amongst other things.  They also contain anti-inflamatory properties and can help to lower your cholesterol.

Try adding a tablespoon to your smoothies, salads, trail mix or sauteed veggies!

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are the seeds of the cacao fruit.  Once removed from their pods, the beans taste like a bitter rich dark chocolate.  To get to the chocolate bars we eat today, those cacao beans are highly processed and mixed with a lot of sugar (and milk to make milk chocolate).  Check out more here.

Dark chocolate is the least processed, but make sure that you are buying chocolate that does not have many other ingredients added to it.  Most good, high quality dark chocolate is minimally processed, but you might need to pay a little more for it.  The darker the chocolate, the better.  Many bars only contain 50% cocoa or less!  Look for bars with a higher cocoa content.

Dark chocolate is my downfall.¬† I just love it!¬† The darker the better!¬† I read all of the ingredients before purchasing a bar, and try to buy organic when I can.¬† However, a little added sugar isn’t going to kill you!¬† (P.s…the Trader Joes dark chocolate bar pictured above is one of my favorites!)

Almond Milk

We all know by now that I love almonds…and almond milk is no different.¬† Almond milk is a healthy milk alternative.¬† It does not contain nearly as much protein as cow’s or soy milk, but I prefer the taste…and get my protein in other ways.¬† I prefer the Pacific Natural Foods brand because it does not contain any soy products.

There are hundreds of articles out there talking about why some milk substitutes are better than others, but I won’t bore you.¬† I just prefer the taste of almond milk over others!¬† I am¬†planning to try to make my own one of these days.

Use almond milk as you would use any milk product – in cereal, oatmeal, smoothies or with cookies!

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That wraps up my favorite things.  I hope you enjoyed the small sampling of some of my favorites!

donut peaches & apple sandwiches

Lunch was packed in about 2 seconds today.

I pulled out the last container of the Sprouted Quinoa salad leftovers, a yogurt and some peaches.

The salad was just ok today.¬† The avocado, apricots and strawberries were a little mushy, but nothing I coulnd’t handle.¬† The flavors had really absorbed as well.¬† I am not a waster, so I picked my way through and ate mostly the fruit and quinoa and dumped the rest.

This yogurt is full fat and tastes amazing. ūüôā¬† Full of apricot and mango chunks!

It has more sugar than I would like, but I normally eat plain yogurt, so a little sugar isn’t going to kill me!

(ps…try freezing this yogurt for an hour or so and enjoy a rich, creamy frozen yogurt in place of dessert!)

Have you ever seen a peach look like this before?

That, my friends, is a donut peach!¬† Otherwise known as a saturn peach or saucer peach due to it’s resemblance.

It may look like a donut, but it sure doesn’t taste like a donut!

These donut peaches are actually delicious.  They have very very fine fuzz on the skin and are extremely sweet and juicy.  They remind me more of the look of a nectarine or white peach because the skin and flesh is mostly white.

(Source)

And, you get the faintest hint of almond flavor at the end.

I love trying new fruits and veggies.¬† It keeps it interesting. ūüôā

I scarfed down this granola bar before my quick 3 mile run tonight (in 27 minutes).

They are the best granola bars!

Then, made a super quick dinner before heading out.

An Apple & Goat Cheddar Sandwich on Chipotle Black Bean Bread.

I sliced up the apple really thin, cut small strips of goat cheddar cheese, spread some dijon mustard onto the bread and drizzled everything with honey!  Then, grilled the sandwich until the cheese was melted.

Served along with another salad.  A mix of red leaf CSA lettuce, radishes, jicama, a few pumpkin seeds, rosemary marcona almonds and raisins.  Once again, the greens were mixed with balsamic honey and olive oil.

I learned a new trick yesterday from Emily at The Front Burner.  Chop up your raisins so that you can spread them around your salad more without all of the added calories.  You get a raisin in every bite!

The sandwich combination was awesome!  Sweet and spicy.  I loved it.  With a few tiny pickles.

YUM!

certified personal trainer

**I tried to post this last night, but WordPress was not cooperating**

Sometime in January, I decided that I wanted to become a personal trainer, so I sought out a great program and signed up.¬† I did not tell many people about this, but I have spent the past 4 months learning, taking workshops, and studying all about the body and its components.¬† It is a lot of information, but it is all stuff that a trainer need’s to know!¬† I really enjoyed everything that I learned in the class and the workshop, especially the¬†information on weight lifting and nutrition.

This morning, after a crazy 2 weeks of studying non-stop, I passed my exam!  So, I am officially a Certified Personal Trainer!  Yahoo!

I hope to give you guys some workout tips every now and then from here on out!

Before my exam, my wonderful husband made me some delicious brain food for breakfast – 2 eggs on toast.

They were delicious!¬† A meal always tastes better when someone else makes it for you. ūüôā

Right before the test, I snacked on a banana.  Then took a 2 hour exam (that I passed!!!) and came home to lunch.

A salad with CSA greens, black beans, salsa and sweet potato gnocchi dressed with a little olive oil, pear infused vinegar, salt and pepper.

It was really good!¬† Maybe because I was starving…

I also had some farmers market yogurt with strawberries and dark chocolate mixed in.

I was in need of a good post-exam treat…and this is the best I could come up with at home!

I snacked on some dried strawberries and raspberries mid afternoon.

When I got home from work, I didn’t know what to do with myself – I didn’t have to study!¬† Instead, I got to work in the kitchen and made some quinoa for dinner.

I cooked the quinoa in 1/2 water, 1/2 veggie broth to give it some flavor, then stirred in some dried thyme, basil, salt and pepper.  While that was cooking, I chopped and rinsed our CSA spinach and added it to a saute pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, balsamic and honey to wilt just a tad.

The spinach was so fresh, that I didn’t want to lose it’s flavor by wilting it too much!¬† I served the quinoa on top of the bed of spinach with local tomatoes, feta and oregano.¬† Along with a slice of seeded bread from Saratoga.

Just what I wanted for dinner on a rainy night.

What a day!!! ūüôā

13 Bean Chili

After work I went for a lovely 40 minute run.¬† No watch, no headphones (well, I never run with headphones…), no nothing.¬† Just me…running.¬† It feels so great to run just to run.¬† I look forward to enjoying my surroundings and not worrying about my time.¬† It feels great!

Dinner tonight was a mish-mosh of things.  I had some leftover cooked quinoa from my Southwestern Quinoa Salad to which I added some lemon juice, salt, pepper, thyme, cooked lentils, raisins, chopped walnuts and goat cheese.

Served alongside some Parmesan baked asparagus – sprinkled with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and parm cheese before baking at 375¬įF for 15 minutes.

And some hummus with crackers for fun. ūüôā

Then, I made up some 13 Bean Chili that I picked up at the store from Bob’s Red Mill.¬† It will be perfect for the week and to freeze.

The chili mix is basically just a mix of 13 different types of beans which you can cook and use however you wish.  It contains a mix of navy beans, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, baby lima beans, large lima beans, garbanzo beans, red lentils, great northern beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, yellow split peas, green split peas, and lentils.  No spices are added so that you can add whatever you want.

I decided to make this into a chili, as the back of the mix recommends.  But, of course, I added a few more ingredients to spruce it up!

I forgot to soak the beans overnight, so instead I boiled the beans for 5 minutes, then let them sit in that water for 1 hour.  By that time, the beans had absorbed some of the water.

I dumped out the water, rinsed the beans, and put them in the crock pot covered with water on low heat for 2 hours.

Once the beans were tender, I added the following:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes with pepper
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • pinch salt and pepper to taste

I chopped everything up and mixed it all together.

Then, set the crock pot to low heat and cooked for 1 hour until hot and bubbly.

Edited to add: I ended up simmering the chili on low heat overnight to make the beans more tender, and I definitely recommend doing that!  The chili thickened up a bit as well.

This made a ton of chili!¬† I have been making a bigger batch of 1 thing per week for the past few weeks to eat throughout the week, such as Millet Patties, Lentil Burgers and Southwestern Quinoa.¬† I don’t eat it for every meal, but it really helps to not have to cook something for every single meal during the week.¬† It is nice to have a lunch to grab and go, and to be able to have a healthy dinner within minutes.¬† I am planning on eating this chili all week, and also freezing a few containers for lunches or dinners in a pinch. (It ended up making 9 single servings!!)

Normally, I would do this over the weekend when I have a little bit more time, but this weekend just got away from me!  I love this bean mix, and the chili came out really good!