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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.

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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.

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!

Um, hi, my name is Kim, and I’m a terrible blogger…

30 May

…but I’m really trying to get better. Things have been pretty busy – working, reading, applying for jobs, hanging with bf before he leaves for NOLA for the summer – but the real problem is I’ve gotten lazy. I’ve been making a lot of very quick, very unexciting meals. I’ve also been building up the whole posting process: taking and editing pictures, writing down recipes, coming with clever things to say to you all. Which is to really say that I’ve been a little overwhelmed and a lot lazy (with the blog at least). However, I am back with a kick ass black bean-sweet potato burgers, guac, and gluten-free naan bun recipes, a meager peace offering.

Black Bean – Sweet Potato Burgers

1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ 15 oz. can of sweet potato puree (or other pureed veggie)

¼ red onion roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup walnuts

2 tbsp flax meal

salt and pepper to taste – I used about a tsp of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the black beans, sweet potato puree, onion, garlic, flax meal, a little salt and peper, and ¼ each of the rolled oats and walnuts in a food processor. You’re going to need at least a 7 cup one to fit it all in there; if you aren’t lucky enough to have a roommate with top-notch kitchen equipment, you may have to do this in two or three batches. Mix until smooth-ish (thirty seconds to one minute). Add another ¼ cup of oats and walnuts. Mix for twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat until you have added all of the oats and walnuts.
  3. At this point you should have a thick, soft mixture. Give the mix a little taste (the beauty of vegan cooking – you can taste-test at any point in the process without worrying about dying). Adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab a small handful of the mixture. Be brave, and reach in there. It will be squishy, but you should be able to form a 3-4 inch patty without too much trouble (don’t worry if some sticks to your hands; it’s all part of the process). Patty out the mixture. I got eight patties out it, which filled my baking sheet. You may notice that I didn’t tell you to add any oil or coat the patties with oil. You can do this if it makes you feel better (I’m looking at you, Mom), but I didn’t find it necessary. The burgers were moist on the inside and crisp on the outside – pretty much perfect as far as I’m concerned. But do what you need to do.
  5. Bake the patties for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip, and cook for fifteen more minutes.

While the burgers are baking, get started on the toppings and buns. That’s right – you’re making your own buns. Yummy, gluten-free naan buns. But first the guac. It is ridiculously easy to make and super tastey. You may want to double the recipe, especially if you’re having friends over for margaritas.

Guac

1 ripe avocado (it should give slightly under pressure)

1/8 or 2 tbsp of onion – red or yellow will work

1 clove of garlic

juice of ½ a lime or 2 tbsp of bottled lime juice

1 small vine ripe tomato or about 5 cherry tomatoes

salt to taste

  1. Cut the avocado in half long-ways, scoop out the inside, and mash with a fork or potato masher in a bowl.
  2. Add lime juice right away to keep the avocado from browning.
  3. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and seed and cube the tomato (seeding is not necessary if you’re using cherry tomatoes). Throw them into the bowl.
  4. Salt and stir.

By this point, you’ll be feeling pretty good about yourself. You’ve made veggie burgers that could rival anything Amy cooks up and guac that will have your guests fighting over the last bit and licking the bowl. But I’ve got one more trick up my sleeve: buns. Finding gluten-free buns has been a pain in my bum so I gave up and made them myself. They’re pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. The naan buns are inspired by a 5-Minute Naan recipe from Neverhomemaker. The only real changes I made to the recipe were adjusting the flour measurement for gluten-free flour and salting the bread as soon as I flipped and removed it from the pan.

5-Minute Naan Buns

adapted from neverhomemaker

1 ¾ cup to 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

2/3 cup water

salt to taste

  1. Heat a pancake griddle on medium-high heat with a little olive oil (about a teaspoon).
  2. Start with 1 ¾ cups of flour and the rest your ingredients in a small bowl. Mix it all together. Your dough should be a only slightly sticky and hold together. Slowly add the rest of the flour until you reach this point.
  3. By this time your dough is mixed, your pan should be hot and ready to go. I got about six small dough balls, which works out to three buns from this mixture. Flatten each ball a little in your hand. Place it in the pan and finish flattening until it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of four inches in diameter. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take much work, and you will not burn your fingers. Just be careful. I tried to roll out the ball on the counter, but to no avail. Hand-flattening was much, much easier.
  4. Cook each bun for three to four minutes a side. Flip when you see the bottom getting golden brown. Swish the oil around when flipping. Salt the cooked side while it’s still hot and has some oil on it.
  5. When the second side is golden, remove it from the heat and lightly salt that side.

For burger buns, I thought these worked really well. They were sturdy enough to hold up to my massive dressing of the burger and some serious squishing as all my fillings oozed out (mostly onto my plate). I’m not sure that I would eat these buns on their own. The taste of the flour comes through a little too much for my liking – hence the salting on each side, which I thought helped immensely. If I were to make these as a flatbread for sandwiches – the thought of sandwiches seriously makes me giddy, sometimes being gluten-free is a little sad – I would definitely use a flour mixture (I’m generally not a big fan of the all-purpose flour on its own, but I was in a hurry and super hungry) and add some herbs (rosemary is my go-to bread/pizza crust herb). All in all, I was super please with my first attempt at homemade buns.

I dressed my burger with some romaine, a slice of tomato, a ring of red onion, a slathering of guac, and a glug of ketchup. Oh, yeeeaaaah. This completely vegan, gluten-free dinner was a-mazing. I added some Terra Chips, baked beans, and a cold glass of organic lemonade (on sale at Wegman’s, woot woot) to round out the meal, but I could hardly eat the sides. The burger was super filling and delicious. I also had some Terra Chips and lemonade while cooking (I was seriously hungry; applying for jobs and dissertating all afternoon will do that to a girl), which could have possibly added to my fullness. One caveat: this is a very, very messy burger…when you are as fanatical about the guac and ketchup as I am. Definitely not first date food. It would, however, be the perfect sploshing food if you’re into that sort of thing. I won’t judge.

And a little something to kick off the official start to summer:

Hello Again

30 Apr

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new. Sorry about the delay. I’ve been a little overwhelmed with work and school so something had to give, but I’m back now. In our time apart, I went to Arizona, baked all day Easter Sunday with my sweetie, and perfected the art of making just one rice crispy treat. I have so much to share with you, but I think I will start with a quick post about the individual crispy treat: it’s short, sugary, and oh so satisfying.

Individual Rice Crispy Treat

1/2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup mini marshmellows

1 cup (give or take) your favorite crispy rice cereal

Microwave butter for 20-30 seconds until it’s melted. Add marshmellows and stir. Microwave for 10-15 seconds. The marshmellows will get puffy, airy, and melty. Stir again, and pour in the cereal. Add a little more or less depending on how dense you like your rice crispy treats. Spray a ramekin with cooking spray, pour in mixture, and allow it to cool; or if you can’t wait, eat it warm and gooey directly from the bowl.

Super Easy and Tasty Spicy Bean Dip

5 Mar

This is one of my favorite dips to make for a fiesta with friends or a glutinous evening of movie watching. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make, which is saying a lot for me since I have the knack for transforming a 10-minute task into a 30-minute endeavor.

Spicy Bean Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can spicy refried beans (or refried bean of choice)
  • 1/2 jar of pineapple salsa, medium heat
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • handful of shredded cheese of choice (I usually opt for Mexican or taco mix)

Process:

1. Pour the refried beans and salsa into a 6 x 8 inch glass dish, or whatever you have on hand. Stir to combine. Flatten the mixture into your first layer.

2. Add the sour cream and smooth to form your second layer.

3. Top with shredded cheese.

4. Eat with your favorite chips; I like lime-flavored tortilla chips. Try not to devour entire dish in one sitting.

Cinnamon Crispy Balls

5 Mar

Balls are great: cute, round, bite-sized, versatile, delicious, and funny. They’re even easily transportable. The perfect food? Perhaps. These cinnamon crispy balls are certainly delightful. Not too sweet and protein-packed, they’re the perfect punctuation to a meal, and yummy as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. They may not be Schweddy balls, but they’re still pretty darn good.

Cinnamon Crispy Balls ~ yields 13 cookie-baller-sized balls

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup pb mixed with 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp crispy rice cereal
  • dark chocolate cocoa powder for sprinkling

Process

1. Combine wet and sticky ingredients.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the crispy rice cereal.

3. Stir in crispy rice cereal. For more cereal-dense bars, increase the amount of cereal by 1 tbsp at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.

4. Using a cookie-baller or your hands, form the dough into 1 – 2 inch thick balls.

5. Dust ball with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Variations on a theme: dust with powdered sugar for sweeter balls, or add mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips for a decadent dessert.

Recipe inspired by Oh, She Glows 5-minute chocolate peanut butter chews