Super Fast Pasta, Food (B)log, and Progress

18 Jun

Hello, all. Top o’the early, early  morning to you. I’m a little extra peppy at this rather late hour due to a late night P90X session that didn’t end until 11! At least I got it in, and didn’t flake like I did last night when I decided to take a 3.5-hour nap after work. Today’s 2-hour nap was much more accommodating to my g-s-d (getting sh*t done) mantra of late. What can I say, I need my sleep. So let’s get to it. Onward and upward.

Easy Peasy Work-Week Pasta

Ingredients:

2 small cans of diced tomatoes or one large can (you could also use two cartons of grape tomatoes, halved)

1/4 red onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 can of cannellini beans

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

handful of brown rice fettucini

Step One (we’ll have lots of fun)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (mine only took seven minutes).

2. While you’re waiting on your water to boil and your pasta to cook, heat the oil in a large pan (the biggest you’ve got) over medium heat.

3. Get chopping! Chop the onion and mince the garlic. If you want to use fresh tomatoes, then chop those, too.

4. Cook the onion and garlic until they start to soften (3-5 minutes), then add the tomatoes and herbs.

5. Drain and rinse the beans, and add those to the pan – if you didn’t use a big pan, you’re probably starting to panic right about now.

6. Cook for another 3 minutes or until tomatoes and beans are heated through, which should be about the time your pasta is ready.

7. Drain the pasta, and add it to the pan.

8. Mix everything together, and serve as is or topped with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I’ve gotten about four meals out of this batch of pasta, and some included a second bowl. This is quickly becoming my go-to mid-week meal.

Speaking of meals, I left off my last post with Monday’s food (b)log so let’s finish up the week!

Tuesday

Breakfast (10:30 am): Rice Chex, banana, almond milk, 1/2 glass oj

Snack (post-work out 3:00): chocolate smoothie

Lunch (4:20 pm): stir-fry, 1 chocolate-avocado ball

Snack (pre-work 5:40 pm): 1/4 cup granola, blueberries almond milk

Dinner (10:30): pasta

(Check out those tomatoes! I took these pictures outside, and it made such a difference. The colors are sooooo much better. Note to self, start making dinner earlier so food can be photographed outside in natural light.)

Wednesday

Breakfast (10:40 am): 1/2 cup granola, blueberries, almond milk, 1/2 glass oj

Lunch (3:00 pm): pasta, 1 chocolate-avocado ball

Snack (4:50 pm): 1/2 cup granola, banana, almond milk

Dinner (10:10 pm): stir-fry, can of Coke, 2 chocolate-avocado balls

Thursday

Breakfast (8:30 am): 1/2 cup granola, blueberries, almond milk, 1/2 glass oj

Snack (11:30 am): apple with 2 tbsp nut butters

Lunch (1:50 pm): Pasta

Dinner (8:00 pm): Salad with black bean-corn salsa, peppers, salsa, cheese, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, 2 chocolate-avocado balls

Friday

Breakfast (8:30 am): 1/2 cup granola, mixed berries, almond milk, 1/2 glass oj

Snack (11:30 am): apple with 2 tbsp nut butters

Lunch (1:40 pm): stir-fry

Dinner (4:30 pm): Salad with black bean-corn salsa, peppers, salsa, cheese, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, 2 chocolate-avocado balls

Snack (7:00 pm): 1 chocolate-avocado ball

Snack (post-workout 11:00 pm): chocolate smoothie

There you have it. One week of food (b)logging complete. I have definitely been eating more rounded meals and getting more protein at every meal, which were two of my goals. I also haven’t been craving junk as much. I’m not sure exactly why that is. I think it’s a combination of working out regularly and having lots of healthy stuff ready to go. I’ve also been paying more attention to what my body needs. You may notice a big gap in my eating on Thursday. That’s because I came home from work around 4:15 and slept until nearly 8. I was supposed to do the Legs and Back and Ab Ripper X dvd that night, but I decided that I was way too tired to do that, and if I had attempted it, I would have been up until 2 (like I am tonight, but I can sleep in tomorrow), then have to get up early for work again. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that I started on Monday night when I stayed up until 2 to finish reading a book for my dissertation. I put a little too much pressure on myself to finish it that night. I really wanted to check it off my to-do list and be done with it, but that wasn’t the best decision. By staying up an extra two hours, I messed up my sleep schedule for the rest of the week. Now, it is entirely possible that I would have taken a marathon nap Thursday after work anyway. I had closed at my other job for the past three nights, which definitely took a toll, but I made it a whole lot worse for myself by not listening to my body on Monday and accepting my limitations. As I mentioned here, this is something that I constantly struggle with. I know that I’m not alone – I had a much needed talk with one of my brothers who has similar sleep needs and habits, which really helped me deal with my feelings of inadequacy – but it gets hard not to compare myself to other people who can get by on five or six hours (or less).

In other news, I got around to doing the Legs and Back and Ab Ripper X dvd tonight. It was crazy – one-legged wall squats! Are you kidding me?! But I did everything (and completed most of the reps) and enjoyed it. I felt really strong after I finished. And, call me crazy, but I think I might be starting to see some results. Granted, it’s likely a combination of my healthier eating habits, running for the last couple of weeks, and the P90X, but I’ll take it. My belt was definitely looser yesterday. Not dramatically, but noticeably. Also, and this is probably the biggest news of all, I went bathing suit shopping tonight. I have an exciting wine and cheese tasting/kayaking adventure planned with a friend tomorrow so I needed a suit in the likely event that I capsize or trip and fall in the lake, dam, or whatever it technically is. So there I was in the TJ Maxx dressing room with six bathing suits, one large mirror, and some pretty unflattering lighting (though not as bad as other stores, way to go TJs), and I began to try them on, starting with a one-piece. The first two were okay, but not quite right. Then the dreaded bikini – not the tankini, mind you. And I liked what I saw. Can you believe that?! I was pretty stunned. I tried on the last three suits (two bikinis and one one piece). The other bikinis were okay, but not quite as good as the first one, which has a really cute geometric print in teal, brown, white, and coral. The last one piece was pretty cute, too, with a modern fifties feel: halter zebra print with a little ruching at the sides, and a small ruffle at the bottom. I ended up getting both the first bikini and the zebra-print one-piece because I look damn good in both of them. How’s that for progress?

Still Going Strong

14 Jun

…and just a little injured.

This is what you get when you do girly push-up for thirty minutes. I even used a yoga mat! Oh, well. I have a week until I do that work out again; that should be enough time to heal, right?

Now let’s move on to a less painful topic like what I’ve been eating:

Sunday:

Breakfast (9:15 am): 1/2 cup granola, banana, almond milk, 1/2 glass oj

Snack (1:15 pm): oatmeal chocolate chip bar

Lunch (3:15 pm): salad with black bean and corn salsa, low-fat sour cream, salsa, cheese, and a stray tortilla chip (I added a few lime-flavored crumbs to the salad, realized they were stale, picked them off, and apparently missed one. Whoops.)

Snack (5:15 pm): small movie popcorn with butter (couldn’t finish it all, although I had to be very assertive and ask three times for my butter. That was awesome. Not.) and a small coke

Snack (10:00 pm): chocolate smoothie (based on this concoction; I used chocolate soy milk, a banana, 1 tbsp of almond butter, and hemp protein powder)

I had kind of a weird day of eating because I had to work in the morning and didn’t my break until 1:15. Then, after the movie – Midnight in Paris was soooooooooo good, loved Owen Wilson! And my man, Henri – I went for a run and did P90X, which meant that I didn’t have a chance to eat anything until 10 pm. Not so great. I also wasn’t too hungry so I just went with the smoothie. However, except for the 10-million-calorie snack at the movie, I did get a decent percentage of protein in every meal/snack.

Monday

Breakfast (8:45 am): Rice Chex, banana, almond milk with 1/2 glass oj

Snack (noon – post-workout): chocolate smoothie

Snack (1:20 pm): apple and 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter mixed with 1 tbsp almond butter

Lunch (3:00 pm): stir fry with tofu, red and green bell peppers, bok choy, red onion, garlic, peanuts, and a tamari-almond butter sauce, 1 chocolate-avocado ball

Snack (5:10 pm): 1/2 cup granola, blueberries, almond milk

Dinner (10:00 pm): salad with black bean salsa, red and green bell peppers, etc., medium slushie with coke and mt. dew, 1 chocolate-avocado ball

Work and working out threw a bit of a wrench in my feeding schedule (I generally need to eat something about every two hours) – hence, two snacks before lunch and a late dinner. Not too shabby, though. I intentionally ate a carb loaded breakfast since I was going to be working in about an hour; granola seemed like it would take a little too much work to digest. I was more conscientious about getting some protein with my other meals and snacks, though. I even cooked lunch. That rarely happens. Bonus: I survived my second P90X workout: Plyometrics.

Running and P90X, Day 1

13 Jun

A story told in pictures:

“Running is fun, especially with my new iPod Shuffle.”

“Time to check out my mileage.”

“Alright! 2.61 miles at a new, faster pace. Holla. Damn my Shuffle looks good.”

“Hmm, what should I do now? I know! I’ll pop in my first P90X DVD: Chest and Back and Ab Ripper X.”

“Awesome idea!”

“Boy, that was hard (that’s what she said).”

“And this was just Day 1. It’ll get better, right?”

“And by the end of it, I’ll have a back like this!”

“Well, the girl version…maybe…”

A Case of the Mondays

12 Jun

And on the weekend, no less. What is going on? I’ve been so tired this past week – having weird and creepy dreams that interrupt my sleep, not falling asleep in a timely manner (some nights it’s taken almost two hours!), staying up a little too late (only about an hour, not so bad). Anyway, it has taken its toll. I’ve had a general case of the blahs for two days, although after a couple of mega-naps, I’m feeling much better and calmer. I get so frustrated with needing so much sleep. Six hours does not cut it, and that’s all I’ve been getting this week. Give me nine or ten hours and a two hour nap, and I’m good to go. Crazy? Yeah, tell me about it. Plenty of people have questioned my health (mental and physical) for requiring so much shut eye. You know what, that doesn’t make me feel any better, and all it accomplishes is making me feel even worse and more self-conscious about my sleep needs. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to sleep so long each night. It really cuts into my getting-shit-done time.

Not getting enough sleep leaves me feeling pretty down. Ask anyone who knows me. I get really pathetic when I’m not getting enough sleep. Like an oversized toddler. My voice gets whinier, especially as the day goes on, my eyelids get droopier, I move more slowly, and, worst of all, negative thoughts flood into my mind. I beat myself up for sleeping so much, being lazy, not getting enough work done on my dissertation, not working fast enough, taking notes slowly, reading slowly, not managing my time well, not eating healthily enough, not exercising enough, and then things get really bad. From there, I turn into a mean girl. You know the kind. The girls in high school who with one whithering stare made you realize that you don’t measure up. Throughout all of this negative self-talk,  there is a voice of reason constantly batting away these horrible thoughts that cut me to the quick. I know that these terrible things that I’m thinking aren’t true, but it still takes a toll. So that’s what’s been racing (and I do mean racing) through my head yesterday and today. I think I’m pulling out of it. After a three hour nap yesterday and a two-and-a-half hour nap today, I’m starting to come out of my sleep-deprivation fog. This is the main reason why it’s good that I’m not including a calorie count on my food (b)logs, and I’ve stopped recording them in my planner. Those little measures of energy hold too much power over me. And while I can see that some of my choices haven’t been ideal, I think there have been redeeming qualities to almost all of them – like lots of veggies and beans on my nachos and not an obscene amount of cheese. I think I can learn more from the elements I use to build my meals and tweaking those than from a stupid number that doesn’t take the quality of the calorie into account.

Now for something much happier: Meet Isidore! (Ignore the dirty keyboard – it’s on my to-do list.)

My new iShuffle (yes, I name electronics and cars). He came while I was at work, and I was super excited to get him set up and ready for my runs (which I haven’t taken in the last two days – rest is important). He was a gift from the bf, who has been very encouraging with, well, everything.

And today, this came:

P90X. I found a great deal on Amazon and picked up the accessories (pull-up bar, push-up handles, and resistance bands) for a steal, as well. Woot. I’m looking forward to starting it tomorrow. And, frankly, slightly terrified, too. The package comes with a nutritional guide divided into three sections – “Fat-Shredder,” “Energy Boost,” and “Endurance Maximizer.” The guidelines are pretty reasonable, although I don’t think I’m going to follow them to a T (Tony Horton would not like this). Like the calorie-counting, I don’t want these guidelines to turn into something to beat myself up over, but that’s not to say that I’m going to be stuffing my face with junk. At the same time, I need to fit this program into my lifestyle, and I eat a lot of fruit. More fruits than vegetables, which may not be ideal since there is a lot of sugar in fruit. Even so, I consider it to be healthy and packed with vitamins so I think I will combine my fruit and veggie goals into one. To give you an idea, this is Tony’s recommendation for someone like me in during the first phase (~1800 calories):

5 servings of protein

2 servings of dairy

1 serving of fruit

2 servings of veggies

2 servings of fats

1 serving of carbs

3 servings of snacks

1 serving of condiments (which I think is a really weird category, but whatever, Tony)

As we established yesterday, I have trouble getting protein at every meal, but I think I cracked it. At least for breakfast: GRANOLA!!!!! Hello, complex carbs, good fats, and protein! Breakfast perfection! And it took less than an hour to mix up, bake, and clean up the dishes. Woot woot. I did a little googling (about three minutes worth) to get a feel for ratios, particularly wet to dry ingredients. In the end, I disregarded that, and did what felt right. And it tasted delicious! Even before I baked it.

Ingredients:

Dry:

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup pecans, chopped

3 tbsp flax meal

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

½ cup raw pepitas, chopped

¼ tsp salt

wet:

¼ cup honey

2 tbsp brown rice syrup

1 tbsp agave nectar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

Mixing It Up:

1. Pre-heat oven to 250.

2. Mix dry ingredient together in a large bowl. Use a fork to distribute evenly.

3. Pour all wet ingredients in a smaller, microwave-safe bowl. Nuke the bowl in twenty-second intervals until everything combines easily with a little stirring. It took me two times to get the right consistency, but my honey was a little dried out – I had to cut the honey bear in two to get it out. Cooking is brutal. And mama needs her granola.

4. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. I used a heavy-duty spatula to mix everything up. It came together easily and pretty quickly. Make sure all your nuts and oatmeal bits get coated in the honey mixture.

5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I love this stuff!). Spread the mixture out into a thin, even layer (a quarter to half an inch high). If you find the granola piling up too much, use two baking sheets.

6. Bake granola for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. It fills your house will an amazing warm honey smell.

7. Remove granola from oven, and let it cool. It will be very tempting to start eating it now, but don’t. You will burn your mouth! At this point, the granola is still pretty soft, however in about thirty minutes it will start to harden and chunk up.

8. After the granola has cooled, break it up with your hands and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my food (b)logs for today and yesterday:

Friday

Breakfast (8:20 am): Rice Chex, banana, soy milk, half a glass of oj

Snack (11:00 am): oatmeal chocolate chip bar

Lunch (1:30 pm): 1/2 cup plain almond yogurt, 1 cup of blueberries, 1/4 cup walnuts

Dinner (5:15 pm – super hangry!): veggie nachos, can of Coke

Snack (10:00 pm): a taste of granola (quality control:), rest of nachos from dinner, 1 avocado-chocolate mousse ball (original recipe of mini-chocolate mousse tortes, roll ball of mousse in crust crumbles – fantastic idea, Tess!)

Saturday

Breakfast (8:20 am): 1/2 cup granola, banana, almond milk, 1/2 glass oj

Snack (1:15 pm): apple with 1 tbsp almond butter and 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter mixed (love it!)

Snack (5:45 pm): 1/2 cup granola, cup of blueberries, almond milk

Dinner (8:30 pm): nachos with black bean corn salsa (1 can of black beans, 1 ear of corn, 1/4 red onion, 1 tsp chili pepper, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, salt and pepper to taste – yummy and cheap!), can of Coke, 1 avocado-chocolate mousse ball

Not too shabby. Today, I worked at least a little protein into each meal and snack, which is an improvement over Thursday and Friday. Nachos aren’t the healthiest dinner option, and I’ve been having them a lot lately. Good news, though: my bag of tortilla chips is finished. I will, however, be making versions of my nacho salads with the remainder of my black bean corn salsa. I haven’t been tracking my water intake, but I usually drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, more on days I run.

Last night, I finished skimming Runner’s World Complete Book of Running. It had some useful info, especially about common injuries and what to do about them. A lot of the information, I had already picked up from various blogs and fitness magazines. It’s a good start if you don’t know where to begin, and it’s good at encouraging runners to go at their own pace, take it slow, and not compare themselves to other “better” runners. I read the first edition from 2000 so the newer one from 2007 might have more in-depth information.

The No Meat Athlete has a lot of information on his site, and he just put out a half-marathon training guide (with special bonuses when you buy a copy this weekend!), which might be a little more informative if you’ve been running for a while or have already read some about training.

And thus concludes this epic post, and I can finally go to bed (an hour late, again. Drats!). ttfn.

Rest, Recuperation, and Food (B)logging

10 Jun

I decided to take a much needed day of rest today. Well, it was sort of decided for me since I had to work at both of my jobs today, leaving little time for a workout. Then, around 2, I got a call that my shift was cancelled, and I suddenly found myself with a free Friday night. What to do? Reeeelaaaaaxxxxx. My muscles could definitely use a day off. I do feel guilty for not doing something active today, but I know I need to take a day off. I had trouble falling asleep last night because my muscles were too “jazzed” from my run to relax, if that makes any sense. They were super awake and not calming down when all I wanted to do was fall asleep. Not cool legs, not cool.

I had planned to start my meal (b)logging tomorrow when I had more time, but now that I have a whole night to myself, I will take advantage of it. The format of this might change so bear with me. And please note that I am not a nutrition professional. This is just what I’ve been eating and what I’m striving for so, as LeVar Burton would say,

“Don’t take my word for it.” Talk to your healthcare professional before implementing a new dietary or exercise program. Use your noggin. With that said, let’s begin.

Now the first thing that I needed to decide is what I want to get out of this. You would think that I would have already figured this part out, and to an extent, I have. I want to eat more healthily, pay attention to what I’m eating, and fuel my workouts properly. Yet, that’s only part of the issue. The other looming question is am I aiming for a certain number of calories per day. That is, am I also trying to lose weight through this whole daily food (b)logging process. This is the tougher question for me. It should be easy, right? You either want to lose weight or you don’t. The fact that I’m even questioning this leads me to believe that I do, but maybe I don’t want to put in the work. That might be a fair assessment. However, there’s a whole self-acceptance issue. For the most part, I’m pretty happy about where I’m at right now. Of course, there are things that I’m less than fond of, but overall I feel good about about my body and my improving fitness. I, also, don’t want this to turn into an obsessive activity that makes me get down on myself for what and how much I eat. It’s a fine line. I think for now it’s best to focus on getting the right balance of fruits, veg, starches, fats, and protein. I went to a nutritionist twice this past semester to get an idea of what to aim for each day and at each meal, and I found that I get plenty of produce but need to work on protein and starches (gluten upsets my stomach so I avoid it….most of the time…I occasionally cave to a glutinous treat when there are very few other options…and more rarely, just because I want it and I don’t want to be different – a really lame reason, but there it is). Writing out my food intake just for the last day and half has made it clear that I still need to work on getting a little protein at each meal, especially breakfast. I tend to get stuck on certain foods (you may have picked up on my continuing obsession with nachos), and for the last couple of weeks, that obsession has been Rice Chex with soy milk and a banana with a glass of oj. Not a terrible breakfast, but it doesn’t have much in the way of protein. I really dig oatmeal with nut butter for breakfast, too, so I think alternating days might be a way to get my Rice Chex with banana fix and still start (at least half of) my mornings with some protein. I’ve also thought about adding some slivered almonds to my cereal. I’m not trying to eat an extraordinary amount of protein each day; I’m just interested in getting a little with each meal and snack – a little of each category: produce, starch, fat, protein. Now, without further adieu, I give you my food (b)log:

Thursday:

Breakfast (8:15 am): Rice Chex, banana, soy milk, and 1/2 glass of oj

Snack (10:30 am): Oatmeal chocolate chip bar

Lunch (12:45): Nacho salad – romaine, spicy refried beans, black beans, green peppers, red onions, a little cheese, salsa

(Yeah, it’s sitting on top of the newest issue of Cosmo. Guilty pleasure. Don’t judge.)

Snack (2:40 pm): apple

Dinner (9:15 pm): almond yogurt with blueberries and walnuts

I have a pretty big gap between my last snack and dinner. I took a three hour nap after work, then I ran and showered. Hence going nearly seven hours between meals. Not exactly ideal, but it’s how it was last night. Overall, I don’t think it I did that poorly. I should have had some nuts or nut butter with my apple to give me a little protein boost, but I had a lot of beans in my salad. Obviously, there’s room for improvement, and I’m open to and looking for suggestions.

To help with getting everything I need from my meals, I checked out Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running, which has an eating plan.

I guess I’ll see how it goes. I plan to keep this food (b)log going for about two weeks. That should be enough time to see my eating patterns and pinpoint areas to work on. For now, back to resting.

Phew

9 Jun

After putting off my run all day, I finally went. It was a little hot (as you can tell), but a lot cooler than it was this afternoon. I really didnt’ feel like going today. I was feeling a little sore after doing Jillian Michaels DVDs and running two days in a row, but after a post-work nap, I bit the bullet. I also used my cute new running skirt as extra incentive.

(Self-conscious much? Check out that tiny mucle!) Kind of silly, but it did get me out of the house. I was even able to keep up my faster pace (well, close to it) while running the farthest to date. Woot. Woot.

Gratuitous sweaty shots? I’m considering doing a stint of daily food (b)logging on here as a sort of healthy eating experiment. I’ve got about two weeks before I head to my parents’ for my mom’s birthday (and I know that the chances of me eating super healthily while there are slim) and given my new dabbling in running, I thought it might be a good time to get myself on track. I logged my food today in my planner (because I am a nerd and still have one), but I haven’t decided on the format for the blog or even if I should really do it…Although I am leaning that way. Any thoughts?

Nachos Redux

8 Jun

Nachos are quickly moving up the list to my favorite food. I reworked the steak nachos from Girls’ Night into a quick vegetarian version for a super satisfying supper. After a day of tennis with Tess, I definitely needed a hearty dinner. [That was a lot of alliteration.] I still had some of the steak leftover, but I don’t know. Maybe it comes from being a vegetarian for so many years, but there is something about meat – cooked or raw – that still kind of skeeves me out. I’ve also been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma lately so that could also have contributed to my aversion.

Really, the only reason that I made the steak (which I just typed as stake…that probably says something about my stance on meat) was that I had bought it when I had a coupon – grass-fed organic beef ain’t cheap – and I needed to use it. I’ve been debating eating animal products for about a month now –  approximately the amount of time that I’ve been reading this book (I read it during my lunch at work, which may not be the ideal time to be reading a book about the source of my food and the ins and outs of its production). I’ve also read Veganist and Quantum Wellness in the last two months in addition to having Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals out from the library. I’ve been sort of obsessed, I guess.

    

[And, yeah, Kathy Freston looks a little deranged on the cover of the Veganist, but she did her research. I think Foer's book is the best written of these three, but not everyone can be a brilliant novelist. If Kathy is good enough for Oprah, she's good enough for me...or something like that. Ya-ya.]

Basically, I’ve become more conscientious about where my food, especially animal products, come from and more careful about what I’m eating – the third of a Hershey bar and slushie I had earlier aside, of course – nobody’s perfect. And I don’t know, something about the appearance of meat is kind of a turn off. Also, I’ve noticed that my tummy really doesn’t enjoy when I eat animal products, especially beef and pork; they all seem to irritate it to some degree, though (that damn psychic in NYC, who among many other things noted that my stomach was not happy with me (and it certainly wasn’t on that trip – I had to spend half of it in bed in agony) and although I didn’t need to adopt a completely vegan diet, I should lean (to use a Freston term) into it). Now, I’m not about to make a major life decision based on one palm reading – I would need several to make an informed decision [to be read in a sarcastic tone, obvi] – but I have noticed my tummy issue increase when I eat meat. Therefore, while I’m not abstaining completely, I am making an effort to eat humanely raised and killed meat and limit my consumption of it in general.

Thus, what I’ve been very longwindedly getting at is the über lecker vegetarian nachos that I concocted last night. These are even quicker and less work to assemble than the steak version from Friday.

What You’ll Need:

1 can of spicy fat-free refried beans (you could also mash a can of pinto beans with some cumin and chili pepper or even add one or two ancho chiles in adobo sauce)

1 can of black beans

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 tomato, diced

shredded cheese (I used monterey jack and sharp cheddar again.)

tortilla chips

salsa, guac, sour cream for topping

Step by Step, ooh, Baby:

1. Dice your veggies and shred your cheese. While your doing that, let your oven heat up to 350.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I cannot stress how much easier this will make your life. And you’ll get to dive face-first into your nachos even sooner when you don’t have to scrape and pry your cheesy nachos off of aluminum foil or the baking sheet.

3. Load up the parchment paper with tortilla chips – one or two handfuls.

3. Scoop and spread (as best you can) spoonfuls of the refried beans on top of the chips. Then, add on black beans, peppers, and onions. Top the whole thing with cheese.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

5. Finish the nachos with tomatoes, guac, salsa, sour cream…whatever your little heart desires.

6. Stuff your face. You should have enough toppings to make this for about six people.

My eyes were about twice the size of my stomach. I had to pack up the rest and eat it for lunch today after my run. Did I say eat? I meant inhaled. It absolutely didn’t matter that the chips were completely soggy. Everything else tasted good. However, even if it didn’t, I’m pretty sure I would have hoovered it anyway. After Jillian Michaels kicking my ass and running just over a mile and a half, I needed to refuel. Stat. And I have enough veggies and beans to make this about four more times.

Mission Accomplished!

5 Jun shoes

 

I made it just over 2 miles alternating running and walking. Programming my playlist to alternate longer fast songs and slightly slower, shorter songs really helped me keep going  – it’s much easier to keep running up hills when I know Gaga is going to fade out in twenty seconds and I can walk. After mapping my route on Daily Mile, I realized that I definitely ran a lot faster outside than I did on the treadmill; I totally expected it to be the opposite! Even with walking breaks, my pace was a 12:47 mile, which I realize is pretty slooooooooooow for all you runners out there, but not too shabby for this snail. I copied my playlist below for anyone interested. I got home about a third of the way through “Monster” so I figure I was out for about 27 minutes.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

5 Jun

I decided to play around with the look of the blog. I’m still undecided. Thoughts?

Girls’ Night

5 Jun

Friday night, my friend, Tess, graced me with her presence for a much needed girls’ night. We drank daiquiris, ate nachos and “healthy” mini chocolate tortes, talked about boys, and watched some truly bad movies. It was awesome, and provided the distraction that I needed.

The nachos were super easy and delicious. The slow cooker did most of the work while I was at out, leaving just some chopping and shredding for me to do when I got home.

Steak Nachos

Ingredients:

steak or meat of choice

2 quarts (1 container) of beef broth

1 jar of salsa verde

2 bell peppers (I used a green and a red)

1 red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

tortilla chips

nacho toppings of choice (I used romaine, tomatoes, guac, sour cream, monterey jack cheese, and sharp cheddar cheese)

Directions:

1. Put your meat in the slow cooker with the broth, salsa verde, and salt and pepper to taste. Set it to low, and let it go for the afternoon. I left mine on low for about ten hours before we ate. The meat was super juicy and tender (as it should have been after cooking for nearly half a day).

2. About a half an hour before you’re ready to eat, pre-heat the oven to 350, and chop the peppers and onion. I sliced the peppers into long strips and the onions into rings, which gave the nachos a fajita feel. For ease of eating, I would cut the strips in half next time – it was a lot of pepper for one chip and my small mouth.

3. Put the peppers and onions on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let the veggies roast for 20-25 minutes until they’re just a little charred at the edges.

4. While the veggies are in the oven, chop and shred the rest of your ingredients. By the time the veggies were done, you’ll be ready to assemble your nachos.

5. Line a baking sheet with another sheet of parchment paper, and load it up with tortilla chips and and cheese. Parchment paper works much, much better for this than aluminum foil. The nachos will slide off remarkably well. You can also add some peppers, onions, and meat on there, too if you’d like. Pop it into the oven (at 350) for 5 to 10  minutes, or until the cheese melts.

6. Slide your nachos onto a large plate, and load them up with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guac, etc., and enjoy.

For dessert, I made mini chocolate tortes using with avocados and pecan crust. Check out the recipe over at Oh She Glows. The longer you keep them in the freezer, the less you can taste the avocado (the taste is very subtle otherwise). You could also increase the amount of chocolate a little, too. They were a perfect complement to the nachos and a couple of terrible chick flicks.

Tomorrow marks my first day of working out since my gym membership expired on Thursday. I plan to run outside for the first time in a very long time (not counting my soccer games from the spring). I have my playlist ready to go and my route mapped out. I really hope it doesn’t rain!

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