New Eats

So I’m riding solo this week and for the next 5 since my Mister is away for a course for work. Thank goodness he will be home on weekends because it makes for some lonely evenings, and this is only week one. Luckily this little snuggle bug is keeping be very busy.

However, with the Mister away, this gal will play….as in experiment with food. Actually it hasn’t been anything all that exciting, but two of these dishes are definitely going to be part of my go-to meals, and all three were inspired by several different blogging ladies.

I had been reading a lot about adding nut butter to smoothies and I tried it out once before and was not a fan at all. But when I stopped for gas a caught a glimpse of both a Reese’s ice cream bar, and a gigantic peanut butter cookie from the local bakery in the convenience store, I had a major jones for something chocolate peanut butter. I decided neither was a good option for supper, so when I got home I resolved to try the nut butter smoothie again. Into the blender went:

1C unsweetened Almond Milk

1 large frozen banana

1 scoop Chocolate Amazing Grass

2 T Cocoa powder

2 T Almond butter

2 handfuls of spinach

I played around with this concoction a bit adding more here and there and was quite pleased with the outcome. I actually found this pretty filling and I saved half of it for the next morning. Unfortunately, as I added a little more spinach, banana, and cocoa, I was not real happy with the way it tasted this morning, even though it wasn’t that different from last night. I just wasn’t feeling it this morning and I don’t think this recipe will make it into my regular smoothie routine.  Maybe blended up almond butter just isn’t for me.

What is for me is Overnight oats. I’m so in love and can’t believe I waited so long to try them out when I’ve been reading raves about them for months now. The night before into a bowl went:

1/3 C Spearville Organic Steel Cut Oats

1 banana

1 T Chia seeds

About ½ C Chocolate Unsweetened Almond milk

1 T Cocoa powder

2T Almond Butter

 

I stirred it all up, mashing the banana, and left it in the fridge over night. What a treat to wake up and have breakfast all ready for me! My understanding is that most people eat Overnight Oats cold. I had a few spoonfuls of it cold, and while this might be a good summer option, fall has definitely set in here and I decided to warm them up for maximum enjoyment. I was so full half way through this bowl that I almost couldn’t finish it, but it was so good, I enjoyed every last bit. I loved how full I felt all throughout the morning. It was definitely a “stick to your ribs” kind of breakfast. If you are reading this, and have yet to jump on the Overnight Oats bandwagon, I urge you to wait no longer! It is so easy and quick and having breakfast all ready when you wake up is the next best thing to being served breakfast in bed.

Also, a couple people suggested I sauté my abundance of Kale I picked up this week. I never would have thought to do this, but with all this Kale I figured why not. I knew I wanted to season it with some salt, and I always stay away from salt as much as I can the day before and of my weigh in at SFL (which was today – I maintained this week, but didn’t lose any; hopefully being back at bootcamp will rectify this). So right after my weigh in and before I took off for bootcamp seemed like the perfect time to have a light meal of sautéed Kale, mushrooms, and chicken.

I put a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil in my skillet and added a little more than I would if I was just greasing the pan. I then tossed in some Kale, and then some more because it broke down so much. I ground a little Sea Salt onto the Kale, probably about a teaspoon and let it simmer. I also tossed in some mini bella and shitake mushrooms, and some precooked chicken. The whole thing literally took less than 10 minutes to prepare. My first few bites were good, but I felt it was missing a little something. That’s when I poured a little of this on top:

This is a soy based product that my SFL nutritionist recommended when I first started the SFL program. I go through phases where I add this to almost everything. It tastes similar to soya sauce but it is a bit sweeter. It is also much much lower in sodium than any soya sauce. AND it comes from PEI! Got to love supporting the Atlantic Provinces. So I added a little of this to my Kale and I was in heaven. As I mentioned above, this is definitely something I’m going to be eating on a very regular basis, quick, easy, and nutritious. Perfect.

I had bootcamp tonight and we worked a lot on our legs so I’m sure I’m going to feel that tomorrow when I go to sit on the toilet. It hurts so good. I would say more, but my internet has been screwy all night and delayed me past my bedtime as it is. Crate training for the puppy begins this weekend so I know sleep is going to be hard to come by in the household. Enjoy your weekend everyone!!!

If you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain…..

Happy Labour Day everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend and are ready to get back in the groove tomorrow morning. For me, I was off work all last week, and tomorrow is the start of a new semester at school. Thank-goodness I have another week before I have any students.

Yesterday morning I slept in late since the mister was gracious enough to get up with the puppy and let me get my beauty sleep. When I got up, I was not feeling like having either an omelette or my usual strawberry banana green smoothie. I really wanted oatmeal but on SFL I can only have cereal every other day. I used to prefer my egg days, but since I started throwing in some almond butter, chia seeds, cocoa, and banana, I could eat oatmeal all the time. I’m thinking this fall weather might also have something to do with that. So, I decided to experiment and whip up a green smoothie that was different from what I usually have. I went to work cutting up a fresh pineapple I had picked up the night before. When I think of drinking a pineapple concoction, I immediately think of Pina Coladas, and luckily I had a bit of coconut in my pantry.

Pina Colada Green Smoothie

1C Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1/4 cup ground coconut

1- 1 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks (I didn’t actually measure)

1 T chia seeds

2 C fresh spinach

1C ice

*after thought – We had some coconut, pineapple, lemon yogurt in the fridge that I bet would have been good to thicken this up a bit. Plain would have worked too.

My Ninja blender went to work and before long I had this beauty:

While some people might not like the texture (the coconut made it a little thick), I thought it was absolutely delish and this recipe will definitely be added to my books.

Before heading the the cottage for the day, we gobbled down a quick meal – mine was kale salad with bbq’d chicken from the night before, my mister had a ginormous cheese and bacon burger – and we were off. I took with us the other half of the pkg of chicken breasts that we hadn’t cooked up, as well as a big bundle of asparagus spears. We had a bit of a pot luck feast for supper at the lake, chicken, steaks, new potatoes, and grilled asparagus spears which I marinated in some balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, soya sauce, and garlic powder. Everything was pretty delicious, although I wasn’t crazy about my asparagus marinade.

This morning I made a big batch of oatmeal, then enjoyed a Kale salad with some Quinoa for lunch. I’ll be eating a lot of kale this week because they only had one bunch of kale at the grocery store and it was gigantic. I was happy my mister was with me or I never would have been able to bag it alone.

I’ll be eating it all week! Any readers have any ideas of how to use it all up other than salads and smoothies?

I had cooked up my quinoa plain, so I added a couple spoonfuls of Mango and Lime Salsa to kick it up a notch. It was sooo good, sweet and spicy.

I’m pretty happy about getting the go-ahead from my nutritionist at SFL to have a few meatless meals now and then. I’m going to try and track how I’m feeling when I forgo the meat and how it affects my digestive system. Just an experiment in response to all the Vegetarian/vegan bloggers out there who say they feel a million times better since being rid of meat. I’m not sure this is ever something I could do, but it might be worth my while to have some meatless days scattered throughout my weeks. I’m planning on trying grilled tofu something this week……

Speaking of tofu, I’ve also got a little something special for dessert tonight.

These baby’s are pretty freaking delicious. I even had my mister try one, and after he said he liked it and had devoured the whole thing, I told him it was tofu. He hasn’t trusted me since. hahaha

Bootcamp also starts up again tomorrow, but I have no idea what work is going to be like or how this little puppy is going to make out all by her lonesome tomorrow, so I might not make it. We’ll see.

Have a great week!!!

New Puppy!

So nothing real exciting on the foodie front, however, I do have other exciting news – we got a new Puppy! The mister and I have been talking for a while about getting a puppy. We already have a chocolate lab that my mister had before we moved in together, but she’s always been more his than mine. Also I wanted a small breed that I could take with me wherever I go. SO after searching for ever and setting my heart on a couple of darlings only to find out they had already been taken, I found this little gal and am so in love. She is a cross between a Shih Tzu and Poodle.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect as we have some stress going on in our lives that is largely out of our control, so while that is going on we can focus on the extra little joy who has just joined out family. Only problem is, I can’t decide on what to name her! After ruling out Peabody, Scarlett, Chloe, Cleopatra, Belle/Bella, Lucy, and giving up on Stella because it’s on my BFF’s baby names list, I think we have it narrowed down to Bette, Lulu (lululemon anyone?) or Lola, which I think is leading the pack right now.

Any help or other suggestions would be appreciated! Hope everyone is having a great weekend and that Hurricane Earl hasn’t caused anyone any major issues! This rain is definitely a gift from above and will give the dry crops the extra boost they need just in the nick of time!

The week of Amazing Breakfasts

I had a weigh in today at Simply for Life and I’m down! Two and a half pounds in the past week. Feeling pretty good about that, especially since I was far from perfect this past week. Aside from those ChedAcorns and drinks on Saturday night, after a super stressful evening on Monday, the mister and I went for a piece of cheesecake at our favorite little coffee and cheesecake shop in town. I indulged in a whole piece of Triple Chocolate Cheesecake and it was divine. I did feel a little sick afterwards, which I knew I would, but at the time it was definitely worth it. One of the hardest things about staying on track is not reverting to the 24 years of traditions and habits – in this case, using comfort food to distract myself from the stress in my life. Other than those couple of big fails, I had a generally good week and I guess it paid off.

Part of my success this week has to be attributed to getting my day started right with some AMAZING breakfasts.

I incorporated Chia seeds into my breakfasts all week and definitely reaped the benefits. Chia seeds have 6x more calcium than milk, 5g of Fibre per serving,3x more iron than spinach, 7x more vitamin c than oranges, 8 x more Omega 3 fatty acids than Salmon, 3 x the antioxidant strength of blueberries, and 15x more magnesium than broccoli! source I’ve been adding a tablespoon to either my green smoothie or oatmeal in the mornings and they blend in tastelessly. All these nutrients turn into so mean health benefits, best of which (for me) is increased energy. I started to notice my extra energy within 2 or 3 days after I started including them in my breakfasts.For anyone looking for a way to add some extra nutrients to their diet, as well as claim some great health benefits, I highly recommend looking these “superseeds”.

I’ve also been enjoying lots of blueberries this week- like in this “green” smoothie with chia seeds, spinach, blueberries and blackberries and a frozen banana.

This seems to have been the week of  really great breakfasts – probably something to do with me being off work and having time to make these great breakfasts. Check out this chocolately bowl of oatmeal, chia seeds, chocolate amazing grass, and almond butter, topped with some Chocolate Almond Milk and Banana.

This week was the first time I tried Almond Milk and I really really enjoyed it – I found it a bit fresher tasting than soy milk.

And just when I needed a switch up from the oatmeal and smoothies, I whipped up an eggwhite omelette, with basil, parsley, thyme, spinach, mushrooms, and some grated cheese. Then I topped it with the most amazing salsa.

The fruity flavors in this are perfect for breakfast time.

I believe in the importance of getting my day started right with a great breakfast which helps keep me on track all day. Plus it gives me the energy to stay on my toes all day. I’m looking forward to seeing how all this energy stands up against my typical work day.

I’ve got another stressful day coming tomorrow, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to power through and stay on track. Stress is my worst enemy.

How do you deal with stress????

End of summer

Hey! Hope everyone had a great weekend; only one more weekend left of summer, then we’ll all be back to school and back to the regular grind. My weekend was fairly low key, except for having some friends over and a few drinks on Saturday night around a big bonfire; good times.

The fire wasn’t this intense all night, but I love how all our friends played their part in keeping the fire going at one point or another througout the night – lugging brush, tossing logs of wood on, or just poking around. I also snapped a mirror pic sometime earlier in the evening…

Because of my sensitivity to sugar, I have to be pretty careful about drinking alcohol since most all alcohol has high levels of sugar. I was almost always sick when I drank throughout university, but now that I know to choose options with lower levels of sugar, I rarely get sick anymore. However, this has meant giving up some of my favorite choices -anything carbonated (beer, coolers), and any liquor with a sugary mix. I still drink a bit of wine, and hard liquor mixed with sugar free juice. Really I miss beer more than anything, but feeling sick just isn’t worth it.
The problem with drinking is losing one’s good judgement about what to eat. I made a wicked good Nacho dip (layers of creamcheese, salsa, taco seasoned beef, grated cheese, all heated in the oven), for my guests but I couldn’t serve it without trying a little bit. Then a bag of these got passed around and I had more than a couple handfuls.
Source

I don’t have any clue what all they put in these things, but I’m certain there is something in them that is equally as addictive as crack. I just could not stop as long as the bag was anywhere near me. At least I ate healthy BEFORE the party got started. Check out this salad (which I recreated again last night):

That’s spinach, vine ripened tomatoes, avacado, red onion (from my own garden 🙂 ), carrots, mushrooms, and goat cheese, topped with OSG’s Better than Bottled Balsamic Dressing. I saw this recipe posted earlier in the week and it sounded so easy and delicious that I whipped it up and was definitely not disappointed. Goat Cheese is also so amazing on a salad. Even better is that, now that I’m reflecting on it, I enjoyed this salad much more than those who-knows-what-is-in-those-things ChedAcorns. I feel so proud when my body is craving good healthy food!

I’m off to a doctor’s appointment this morning, then hoping to fit in some cardio before the day’s over, as well as soaking up some of this gorgeous sun that is supposed to bless us all week. What a treat for the last week of summer – and I’m on vacation this week! How perfect! Mother nature has been so good to me this summer; I was off for the month of July- which was absolutely gorgeous and hot just the way I like it, August I was back to work and it has been nice but much cooler than August, which has been perfect for working in. I’m off this week for a break between summer and fall session and it’s supposed to be gorgeous and hot again! Yipee! But because I’m off work, I’m hoping to post losts of updates this week. Happy Monday everyone!

(another) New Blender!

Ok, so I am sooooooo excited because I bought a new blender again today!!! Thank goodness for Wal-Mart and their loose return policy. I purchased an Oster Blender from there a week or two ago and was just not impressed with how it worked. It wasn’t that it was defective, it just didn’t grind and chop with as much vigor as I had hoped for. So I took it back and ventured to Canadian Tire, where I purchased this baby.

I was a bit nervous because Canadian Tire doesn’t have the loose return policy that Wal-Mart does, and if I used it and didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be returning it. I scoured the internet when I got home for reviews on this thing and couldn’t find anything on this particular model. However, I gained confidence from reading several glowing reviews on a similar Ninja product. I took the chance and opened it up, washed it up, and tossed in some spinach, frozen berries, water, a banana, some pineapple, and a bit of cocoa. It was a glorious concoction, and I was beyond impressed with the way the Ninja Professional Blender worked. It blended everything smooth and with little effort. The top of it even locks on, so I didn’t have to worry about it blowing off. The pitcher on it was really light and check out these blades!

The three rows of blades made it a little awkward to load, but it works so well I can forgive it for that. Plus cleaning it up was super easy as the blades just kind of sit in there, so there was no disassembly or reassembly. I am really impressed so far. It also claims that it can make ice into snow – I’ll let you know how that goes.

After my Chocolate Green Monster that I had for supper, I went to Bootcamp. I pulled my hamstring last class and it was hurting me pretty bad all day so I was a bit anxious about how hard I was going to be able to push it tonight. The warm up was a bit rough, but it felt much better once I got it going. Also, we did our cardio in the arena and the ice is now in and the temperature was absolutely lovely. This allowed me to really push myself during the interval training and I felt great about it. We then headed outside for upper body workout night. We worked hard, but had quite a few laughs while doing it. Because we are using our own bodies for resistance, in order to break up the monotony of push ups, we use each other for resistance, pushing and pulling against each other’s arms, working different muscles in our arms and shoulders and chest. I felt like we had barely begun and class was over! So we did a quick cool down, really stretching our arms out.

Eating before bootcamp has always been a point of contention for me, since bootcamp is at 7:00pm, which is when I usually am eating supper. If I eat before I have to rush home from work and eat something as quickly as possible to give it time to digest before I start working out, and I find if I wait until after, it’s 9:00 or later before I’m eating, which is too close to bedtime for me. Plus I’m then lacking energy during bootcamp. Brent, from SFL, recommended trying a green smoothie before bootcamp. I was worried about running with all the liquid in my stomach, but I figured I’d try it at least once. The result was very positive, I had lots of energy during camp, and while I was a bit hungry when I got home, I just finished up what was left of my supper smoothie and am now completely satisfied. I’m also brimming with energy, which is pretty rare for this time at night, when I’m usually crashing. I’m looking forward to another in the morning!

I am still looking for suggestions for what to do with all my cucumbers! Any suggestions at all?

Day 3 Cleanse: Time to get Cooking

So it’s day 3 of my cleanse and I’m finding it a bit difficult to stick to the limiting menu that the cleanse offers. The Nutrition transition meal plans are so much easier, especially once you get the hang of all your options. So for anyone who is just starting out with the program, hang in there throughout the cleanse. I think this cleanse is easier than my first one because I have the knowledge that it gets easier. However, to make things easier on me, I set tonight aside for cooking. I hit up the grocery store after work with my grocery list that accompanies my meal plan (pretty clever feature of the SFL website). When I got home my mister had the BBQ all fired up and we threw on a quick meal of BBQ’d mushrooms and onions in balsamic vinegar and premade Salmon burgers from Sobey’s. I’m not usually a fan of salmon but I really,really enjoy these burgers. I also cut up a fresh tomato on the side.

I added a dollop of whole grain mustard to my burgers for a little kick.

After supper and enjoying a few minutes outside with my mister, I heading in to “slave” over the stove. I’m not much of a plan a head person, but I took a cue from cookveganlover.com ‘ s post on planning out the whole week including meals and decided my week might be easier if I did a bit of planning ahead as well.  I was in the groove to cook up a storm tonight and had two recipes going at the same time – a Quinoa salad and Cabbage Soup. These are both on my plan right now as something I should be having at lunch time, so the adjustment for me is cooking up something I won’t be enjoying until tomorrow. However, I already feel better about having part of my meals for the rest of the week all made up.

Once I got the Quinoa salad made up, I dished out my 3/4c servings into sandwich baggies so I can freeze some and they will be easy to grab and go on my way to work.

I ended up with about 6 servings which should last me a couple of weeks! Also, I love that the quinoa is from Speerville Flour Mill which is about a half hour from my house! Growing up on a farm, I am a huge fan of supporting local and for anyone in NB, Speerville Mill has a lot of really great products.

Here’s a pic of the huge batch of Cabbage soup I made.

I’m not a huge fan of soup, so I’ll let you know tomorrow what I think of this dish. I’d also love to post some recipes for you, but I need to look into the rules of sharing SFL recipes are before I can do that. Briefly, this soup is a mixture of cabbage, broccoli, garlic, shallot, onion, low sodium chicken broth, and water. The quinoa salad is quinoa, carrot, onion, celery, almonds, mushrooms in a dressing of oil, honey, garlic, and lemon juice. I did try a bit of the salad tonight and it is pretty freakin’ tastey!

Other news, I did a bit of emotional eating after bootcamp last night after getting some bad news about a family matter. This is one of the areas where I struggle the worst. Food for me has always been something I used to numb myself to whatever was stressing me out in life. Conversely, I also used food to celebrate when things were going really well for me or others around me. Using food for emotional reasons, as opposed to using it to fuel my body, is the primary reason I gained so much weight. While my lifestyle has definitely changed, these tendencies that have been part of my life for the past 10 or more years are really hard to shed, especially when stressors in my life all bubble up at the same time. I got the news right before I left for bootcamp and I really had to focus to even muster up the motivation to go to bootcamp. Afterwards I ate a big cookie and about a cup of chocolate ice cream. I’m still feeling the urge to drown my sorrows in food but being at work in my routine all day and coming home and focusing on planning for the week and cooking really helped stem those false cravings. While the biggest problem with this latest stressor is that it isn’t something that can be solved anytime soon, I’m hoping to stay busy enough with bootcamp and friends and cleaning the house for a shindig we’re having this weekend, that I can power through the worst of it.

One more thing – a neighbour dropped off a bunch of cukes and I can’t think of what to do with them! Any suggestions other than soaking them in apple cider vinegar?