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super smoothie

Despite my staying up way past my bedtime last night to work on our kitchen organization, I was up bright and early for a workout!  I took yesterday off because I was sore from my circuit session on Wednesday and I am trying not to push it this week due to the half marathon next weekend.  So, a workout was on the schedule this morning.

I started off with 10 minutes on the stepmill until I could get a free treadmill.  Can you believe that I got to the gym 10 minutes after it opened this morning and every treadmill was taken?!  Once one was free, I jumped on for my planned 7 mile run.  I completed the run in 1:01:37 – 1:37 behind my goal, but that’s ok – my knee was acting up, so I had to take a few walking breaks.

Before the gym, I snacked on an Apple Berry Vitatop with AlmondHaze Nut Butter.  This is my favorite flavor so far.  It was moist and had huge chunks of apples in it, but I’m not sure where the Berry comes into play.

 

After the gym, I made a super smoothie full of goodies!  I am running low on frozen fruit, so I made due.  It was not the best tasting smoothie (it need more berry flavor), but it was worth it with all of the superfoods I put in it.

In the mix, I added the following:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • 10 frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 huge handfuls spinach

I added many of the items because of their health benefits.  I am running a half marathon next week, so it is time make sure I am well hydrated and feeling great!  Check out the benefits of my smoothie below:

Banana – full of potassium

Strawberries – lots of vitamin C

Hemp protein & seeds – contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need (some which are not produced by our bodies) and they maintain proper tissue function.  They also increase your energy levels and metabolism.

Chia Seeds – these little seeds are so good for you!  They are easily digestible and act as a muscle and tissue builder.  They have extensive hydration properties and are an energizer of endurance.  They also contain loads of protein, calcium, potassium and iron.  If you are interested, check more out here.

Ground Flax – very high in fiber and omega 3’s.  Binds to your colon walls to help pass things through! 🙂

Cacao powder and nibs – it’s chocolate!  Isn’t that a good enough reason?  Cacao is also very high in antioxidants and magnesium.  Check out my post about it here.

Spinach – leafy greens and very high in iron.  I love starting my day out with some greens!

There you have it!  A super nutritional smoothie!

Around 10:30 I was feeling really hungry, but I thought that I could also be dehydrated.  So, I filled up my water bottle, made some green tea and snacked on an apple. 

Once lunch time rolled around, I took out my lunch bag full of tupperware to put my salad together.  I started with a bed of baby spinach then added sliced cucumbers, Kaia garlic & sea salt sprouted sunflower seeds, sundried tomatoes and hummus.

I enjoyed this delicious salad with a side of plaintain chips.

This was a perfect meal.  But, I wasn’t done.  About an hour later, I broke out my Raspberry Chobani and granola.

We are headed up to Maine for a wedding right after work, so I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting this weekend.  I’ll be sure to at least post a recap on Sunday!

I’m bring this guy for the ride.

Have a good one!

tgif

Thank goodness it’s Friday! I’m ready for the weekend to begin.

I started my friday with some oats.  Due to the special occasion (it being friday and all), I added some fun toppings.

I used Steel Cut Oats today, since I am out of my favorite rolled oats.  I loved the steel cut oats.  They have a different texture, more like oatbran and I like it.

Steel cut oats are minimally processed.  They do not have to go through steaming or rolling, like rolled oats due.  For this reason, they also take longer to cook, but it’s worth the wait.  A normal pot of steel cut oats can take about 20-30 minutes to cook, but I bought these quick & easy steel cut oats to make on weekdays before work.  They only cook for 5-7 minutes and come out great.

One serving is 1/4 cup, which contains 150 calories.

I added a super ripe banana and 1/2 tbsp of chia seeds to my oats while they were cooking.  I like whipping in the banana to create banana oats without any chunks.

On top of my oatmeal I put 3 special ingredients:

The Nuttzo is so crunchy!

With some Birthday Tea, for fun.

Check out the sprinkles!

Lunch

I’ve been working like crazy today, so I didn’t break out my lunch until almost 3!  So late for me!!

Luckily, I brought a homemade salad with arugula, peppers, Valdosta pecans and goldenberries.

My second course was Honey Chobani with homemade granola!

Good thing I took pictures this morning, because lunch was gone in no time!

Dinner

Brant made me a pre-Valentine’s day dinner tonight.  It was delicious!

Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas

from Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (he used 1% milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound dried gnocchi
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Directions:

  • Simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

  • Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.

  • Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.
  • Add gnocchi to sauce with cheese and some of reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin with additional cooking water if necessary.

Served with some delicious wine given to us by my parents for Christmas 2008!  Oopss!

Dinner was delicious.  I forget how good gnocchi is.  I loved that this wasn’t super creamy (because he didn’t use the cream) and I could taste the lemon zest.

And, Brant brought me a rose and chocolate!  Yahoo!  What a great guy. 🙂

More of my new favorite chocolate to try!

Happy Friday!!

snowy day

The city of Boston started their snow emergency at 8am!!  There wasn’t a flake on the ground when I left for work…

Back up to my workout!

I trekked to the gym this morning to do some speedwork on the treadmill, and lift some weights.  After running 7 miles with 8 x 800’s in 60 minutes, I moved on to weights.

Upper Body Weights

  • Overhead press (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • 21’s (3 sets, 10lb weights)
  • Chest press (3 sets of 12, 12.5lb weights)
  • Tricep row (3 sets of 12, 12.5lb weights)
  • Upright row (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • Front raises (3 sets of 10, 7.5lb weights)
  • Side raises (3 sets of 10, 7.5lb weights)
  • Fly’s (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • Tricep extension (3 sets of 12, 10lb weight)
  • Lateral pulldown (3 sets of 12, 50lbs)
  • Seated row (3 sets of 12, 40lbs)

Great workout!  My legs were burning after my run, and my arms were burning after the weights!

Once home, I was starving, so I immediately dug into breakfast!

Museli with homemade granola and a scoop of Cinn-ful Pecan Mix Nut Butter

This is the best kind of Museli I have tried.  I love Bob’s Red Mill!  I haven’t tried all of his stuff, but the museli and oatmeal are delicious.  Remember my NuVal shopping experience, when I found out that Museli was more nutritious than Oats?  Well, I still love my oats, but I like the switch it up once in awhile too.

I mixed this museli with a litte almond milk, and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, so that my pecan butter would melt.  I then topped it with some homemade granola and Cinn-ful Pecan Butter.  It was delicious, as usual.  The addition of pecan butter made it more sin-ful. 🙂

The Cinn-ful Pecan Mix Nut Butter is from Futter’s.  They have a great company who make lots of different types of nut butters instead of peanut butter.  All of their products are made with little to no extra ingredients added, and are so good!  I have tried a few other flavors, but this Cinn-ful Pecan is to die for, seriously!

(sorry for the blurry photos today :()

They recommend that you keep pecan butter in the fridge, but I like it ooey and gooey, so it sits in my cabinet!

I feel a cold coming on (it seems like everyone around me is sick!), so along with breakfast I had some Cold season tea from Yogi.

The tea contains a lot of natural herbs to fight a cold!  I love natural medicine practices.  I’m not one to take cold medicine, so I try to fuel up on natural stuff.

Mmmm…it has an overall orangy flavor, and I love tasting some herbs too.

Warmed me right up.

My blurry tea fortune says: You must live for something higher, bigger and better than you.

On to Lunch!

I am still working on some leftovers, but wanted something different today. I decided on a salad with arugula, peppers and hemp seeds!  Hemp is so good for you (read about it in a previous post here).  I normally use the protein powder in my smoothies, but bought some seeds during my last health food store shopping.

They don’t taste like much, but do have a nutty flavor, so they make a perfect addition to sprinkle on salads or in stirfrys for an added boost!

I added some homemade pomegranate dressing to my salad – pomegranate juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Along with my salad, I had a pineapple chobani with some additional pineapple mixed in!

 

And, for my sweet ending, another new chocolate bar!  (only a few pieces though)

Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Word cannot describe this bar!  It was so good.  Rich dark chocolate paired with sea salt and chunks of almonds.  I mean, check out the almonds!

Loved this one!

Of course, it came with a love poem:

How great would these chocolate bars be for Valentine’s day?!  Chocolate and a love poem! (hint, hint)

pizza cheese

I started my morning off with a smoothie that I basically just threw together because I was so hungry!

I added the following:

  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • squirt of agave

This basically tasted like a Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie!  I couldn’t taste the hemp powder or the blueberries, but they were in there to give me an extra boost of protein and antioxidants!  It was delicious.

I love smoothies, but I find that for breakfast they only hold me over for a few hours.  I think that my body craves food more in the morning…I am never as hungry at night.  Plus, I workout in the mornings which definitely makes me hungrier.  I guess that is a good thing since it gets my metabolism going!

Check out this article about Superfoods for women from Health.com!  Their top ten list contains the following:

  • Wild Alaskan Salmon
  • Wild Blueberries
  • Oats
  • Broccoli
  • Walnuts
  • Avocados
  • Red Beans
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Olive Oil
  • Dark Chocolate!!!

Other winners were almonds, beef, green tea, kefir, lentils, low-fat milk, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, raisins, soybeans, spinach, sweet potatoes, tart cherries and tomatoes.

It is amazing to me how many of those superfoods I get into my diet!  Yay me. 🙂  And, I’m sure that plenty of other women eat a lot of those foods as well.  I make a great dish with quinoa, pumpkin seeds, spinach, tomatoes and golden raisins!  I guess i’ll have to make that again soon, since it is packed with superfoods!

Before leaving for work this morning I toasted up 2 slices of Millet toast and brought some raw almond butter just in case.  And what do you know?  I was hungry around 10:30!  I ate about 1.5 slices with my almond butter and that kept my hunger off until almost 2, where I ate some leftover Spicy Thai Salad from last night – still delicious!

Avocados do not keep well after they have been opened up, but I stored my leftover dressing in a jar with a slice of lemon which definitely kept it from browning too much.  The top layer did brown, but I just scooped it off!  Mmmm…I love avocados. 🙂

Back up for a second to talk about Trader Joes Raw Almond Butter.  It is amazing!  For some reason, it tastes better to me than anything else I have tried – and trust me, I have tried many nut butters!  I get the chunky version and there are huge chunks of almonds in it!!!

Mid-afternoon I snacked on an Attune Chocolate Bar.  The nice people at Attune sent me some of their chocolate bars to try.  I am going to review the bars in more depth later after I try the other 2 I have because the idea behind the bar intrigues me.

From the Attune website:

“Attune® is the powerhouse probiotic bar that tastes absolutely amazing. And it helps you feel amazing. That means a digestive system that works like it should. And an immune system that puts up a good defense. Get Alive Inside™ with just one Attune bar every day.”

I tried the Chocolate Crisp bar, which tasted good.  Kind of like a Nestle Crunch bar.

I did not absolutely love it, but it was a nice treat with only 90 calories.  Apparently the bars contain more probiotics than yogurt, which ultimately will keep your digestive system in track.  More to come once I try the other bars!

Tonight was an easy 5 mile run!  Between my run and dinner, I sipped on a coconut water to replenish and hold me over for dinner.

For dinner, I whipped up a fancy cashew “pizza cheese” to eat with our lettuce wraps.  I am loving the ChoosingRaw.com recipes that Gena has, so this week is a variety from their, including the pizza cheese.

Cashew Ricotta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil (aka Italian Pizza Cheese!)

from ChoosingRaw.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for two hours or more
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white miso (optional) – I did not use this
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped – I used golden sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup basil

Directions:

  1. Throw nuts in a food processor and process till ground well.
  2. Add salt, lemon juice, miso if using.
  3. Scrape sides of bowl and run processor again, this time drizzling some water in. Keep doing this until the cheese reaches the consistency you like (similar to ricotta).
  4. Add tomatoes and basil and pulse until they are well combined into the cheese.
  5. Serve as you like!

I followed Gena’s directions exactly, and my “cheese” came out looking just like hers does!  Fluffy and creamy with a consistency similar to ricotta.

Nut spreads, cheese and pate’s are really big in the raw food world because it gives some flavor to your dish.  Some people do not love the texture, but personally I love them!  I do not love meat, so sauces and spreads (such as hummus, guacamole, and nut cheeses) kind of act like my meat, if you know what I mean?!

I spread my Cashew pizza cheese in cabbage tacos and topped them with shredded carrots and slices of tomatoes.  They were delicious!

I love the raw idea, but I am still craving some cooked foods!  But, like everyone says, start out slow with any kind of diet change.  If you try to change everything at once, you will just end up failing!  Small steps towards a healthy lifestyle are definitely the way to go.  It took me a few years to really get into the healthy, all-natural way of eating.  But, now that I am here, I would never even dream of going back!  The candy and cookies and chips that I ate all the time in college are not even appealing to me anymore.  I am healthier and happier than I have ever been before!

a raw day

I cracked myself up with the title of my post today. 🙂  I woke up to pouring rain in Boston!  I am happy for rain, instead of snow here in the city, but it is not looking good for skiing since they are having lots of rain up north as well. 😦  The temperature, however was over 40°F so it was not raw outside, but lots of my eats today will be raw!

I took a rest day today.  My legs and body are tired and sore from my first full week of weight training, and from my fun winter activities over the weekend.

So, I started my day with toast and a smoothie!  My toast was Millet bread from Food for Life.  I love this bread.


It is perfect for anyone with a gluten allergy, and for folks in need of a change!  It is light and slighty sweet due to being sweetened by fruit.  The list of ingredients is very short, compared to other store-bought bread which has a list a mile long!


I normally eat Food for Life’s Ezekiel bread, which is sprouted whole grain bread.  The Millet bread definitely feels lighter, and more delicious!

On top of my millet toast, I spread some Crofter’s Superfruit jam that the company sent me to try.  Each jar of their organic superfruit jams are apparently stuffed with 1 pound of premium organic fruit, sweetened with fair trade sugar and contain one-third less sugar than normal jams.  I tried out the North America jam today which is wild cranberries and blueberries blended with red grapes and morello cherries.


This jam was definitely delicious!  I really like blueberry jam, so this was perfect.  It was packed with real chunks of fruit, which I also loved.  My one concern is the sugar.  Even though the jam is made from fair trade sugar, it is still sugar!  I prefer my jam without any added sugar, because I like the natural tartness of the berries.  But, I do think that with all of the tart superfruits added, the jam would be too tart for most without the added sugar.  Luckily, it does contain much less sugar than the normal jam on the store shelves today, so it is definitely an upgrade!  Plus, it tastes a heck of a lot better!

It was perfect spread on my millet bread!

Now, my toast was not raw, but the second part of my breakfast was!  I have to say, 2 days of eating mainly raw foods has already helped me to feel better!  I do not expect to always be able to eat completely raw because I love some foods, like toast and oatmeal and yams and stuffed peppers, and when going out to dinner it may be harder to do so, but I am experimenting with the way my body feels.  This is important to me, just as it is important for others to eat the foods that make them feel best!  I find that when I eat certain foods, my body feels better than when I eat others due to the way it processes and digests the types of foods.  Other people might not suffer from the same problems, which is great!  You should eat what is best for you, and not be persuaded to eat as someone else does.  So, for the next few weeks I plan to experiment with raw foods, with removing cow’s milk dairy from my diet and with combining different types of foods, which I’ll explain in more detail in later posts.

Part two of breakfast was a (raw) Chocolate Strawberry-Banana power smoothie!

To the mix, I added the following:

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs (for the texture)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • squirt of agave (to add sweetness to the raw cacao powder)


I also added some ice and blended all the above ingredients together!


Yum!  This smoothie was just right, not to chocolaty at all.  I love using the raw cacao powder with just a squirt of agave because it gives it the perfect amount of sweetness.

I also like to use a protein powder in my smoothies to give me some extra protein in the mornings, especially after a hard workout to fuel my muscles.  There are a lot of protein powders on the market today with many fillers in them.  I prefer a more natural plant-based form of protein, such as hemp protein powder.  Others prefer brown rice protein powder instead.

Hemp protein powder is literally hemp seeds ground into a powder, nothing else is added to it.  The two turnoffs to some people are that both the seeds and powder have a nutty taste to them and the powder is green, but when added to smoothies like mine this morning you can hardly even tell!  Hemp is packed with protein, along with all the 20 essential amino acids that are used in the human body.  It also has the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in a healthy 3:1 ratio, and a lot fiber.  Two tablespoons provides 8 grams of fiber!  It’s a perfect, and healthy way to add more protein to your diet.

As I was making my lettuce wraps for dinner last night, I made sure to pack up lunch for today!  This way, I can make my morning as stress free as possible.  So, lunch was lettuce wraps with guacamole and a small side of sweet potatoes.

I was much better at wrapping them up for lunch, than I was for dinner last night!  Delicious meal that left me feeling more energized, instead of exhausted after eating a heavy lunch!

My sweet treat after lunch was a mug of Cacao Berry tea and a chocolate macaroon.  Normally I do not eat anything sweet after lunch, but with the rain today I was really craving some tea and chocolate! 🙂

The Cacao Berry tea is a superberry tea from Zhena’s Gypsy Tea to support breast cancer research.  It is top-tier Sencha green tea with rooibos, cacao, raspberries and dark chocolate.  It is definitely delicious.  You can taste the chocolate and the berries – yum!

Each tea bag is a pyramid to allow the leaves to expand more for a better steep, and they are 100% biodegradable!!

Back to work to enjoy my tea!