Monday, August 5, 2013

Recipe -- "Banana Nice Cream"

This recipe is stolen (exactly) from the Whole Foods website called "Banana Nice Cream". I actually had the chance to try it while at the raw "cooking" class (from this entry) I attended a couple of weeks ago. I knew that I had to try it. So, for Dad's birthday, I whipped out four frozen bananas, one cup of homemade almond milk and two tablespoons of peanut butter, blended it up in my Vitamix and dished it up to enjoy!

I cannot believe how simple (or delicious) this tasty treat is and I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to lighten up their dessert-- and, added bonus, this injects the normal American, sugary dessert with a high dose of nutrient density that is almost unheard of in a post dinner treat.

Eat well and be healthy, friends!

8/3-4/2013 -- Weekend wrap up, resting & my final exam -- Plus, some hints at awesome news

This weekend was a whole clusterf- well, you know the saying. Dad's birthday was on Saturday so we took him to go see The Wolverine (which he loved, by the way). Then we chillaxed at home. Mom and I had gone to the gym that morning and done about 40 minutes of cardio but I hardly feel like it's worth mentioning since all I did the rest of the day was eeeeeeeeat.

I did make us some "dessert" bars, which I also eat for breakfast and pre/post work out snacks since they're packed full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

They are basically KIND bars sans honey, sub agave. I am so happy they turned out well (and are dirt cheap)!

Additionally I made my very first lentil loaf and a batch of freezer burritos so when we're hungry and I don't want to cook there will be food ready and available.

Additionally I completed my HUN 2201 Fundamentals in Human Nutrition final exam (with a 95%) and finished my class at 98% total. I settled in on Sunday morning with a delicious breakfast sandwich, my notes, book and laptop to rock it out. I loved the class but I'm definitely glad for the 2-3 week break.

So then, the weekend was a wrap and I am rolling into Monday. Monday, on which an exciting and potentially life changing event may occur. I have an appointment of the very best kind at 6pm and I cannot wait until the hour rolls around. I'm being vague for a lot of reasons but I will keep you posted on this particular development, because trust me. If it pans out like I hope it will then it will be EPIC.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Recipe -- Wild rice no-meat loaf

I have been meaning to make a no-meat loaf ever since I went vegan on March 1st, 2012. Or, possibly even since I quit meat in November of 2011. Anyway, it's been a long time coming and I have had this recipe bookmarked for ages. Well, I finally got around to making it and boy, oh boy, am I glad I did!

It turned out better than I could have possibly imagined. I made a few revisions, which I'll notate below, but otherwise I took everything straight from Pure Ella. She is definitely right when she says to make sure the rice is cooked ahead of time as wild rice takes nearly an hour to get done. So unless you've got two hours to set aside and make this you had better stick with that advice.

Other than that it made six servings at 257 kcal per serving (and mine is completely oil free). It goes well with some steamed green beans, mashed cauliflower, sauteed spinach or any other side you can think of.

Wild rice no-meat loaf
Serves 6
Takes: ≈ 120 minutes (can make some parts ahead of time to reduce the time)
Adapted from Pure Ella

what you'll need

  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice, prepared to package instructions
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free bread crumbs
  • 2 springs of fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper or more to taste
  • 1 tsp sea salt or more to taste
  • 5 tbsp warm water, divided

what you'll do
  1. Chop the onion very fine, and in small non-stick skillet saute until golden– set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix the ground flax seeds and 3 tbsp warm water, mix and set aside.
  3. Chop all raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts into the smallest pieces you could.
  4. In a food processor, grind all the red kidney beans into a paste.
  5. In a large bowl combine the bean paste, sauteed onion, all the dried fruit, nuts, 2/3 of the wild rice (reserve 1/3 for top), and 1/2 of the flax seed mixture, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and pepper plus fresh oregano – mix well.
      If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of warm water, mix and add more until it sticks together and isn’t crumbly, but it’s not runny. Taste it and add more seasoning if needed. Tasting it is a very important step to make sure it doesn’t come out bland at the end.
  6. In another small bowl, add 1/3 of the wild rice remaining with 1/2 of the flax seed mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix well to incorporate. This is the wild rice topping.
  7. Assemble in the lined loaf pan by adding the rice topping first. Be sure to spread it out evenly. Then add in the other loaf mixture. Press down firmly so it forms well in the pan, smooth out the top.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Click on the photos below to see the entries they were originally featured in-- except the last one, since this is it's first appearance. :)

8/2/2013 -- Progress Friday, end week 3 -- Shoulders & Abs

Okay, for those of you just joining us I've decided to make Fridays my progress photo day. I am somewhat disappointed with myself in that I did not get a snapshot of the end of week 1, but I have one from my starting point, end week two and from this week (end week three). Going forward I would also like to start adding progress photos for my legs too (because they're getting a helluva work out too!).

So, without further adieu (and just as a reminder here are the first two photos), I give you:

End Week 2

aaaaaaaand end week 3:

It almost freaks me out that the muscle build is going this quickly, but it just goes to show that two or three weeks is not too short a time and results (in the grand scheme of things) are almost "immediate". I mean, I could have kept sleeping in until 7am each morning, waking up with just enough time to roll out of bed and get ready for work and rush through my morning or I could do this ^^^. I'm glad Jason and I have made this change and I am super sure we will keep it up!

Friday weights:

3 set/10 rep Seated dumbbell press @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Rear-delt cable flyes @ 4 lbs
3 set/10 rep Dumbbell front raise @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated Arnold press @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Dumbbell lateral raise @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated bent-over rear delt raise @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Crunches @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Roman chair leg raise @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Oblique crunches - on the floor @ body weight

Thursday, August 1, 2013

8/1/2013 -- The Eats

I don't play when it comes to food. Not for flavor and not for health. What you eat, when you eat it, how you cook it, etc. All of these things play such an important part in our day-to-day and long term health. It's one of those things that makes spending an extra $15-20/week on good ingredients, whole grains and fresh produce so worth it.

It also throws the door open on so many ingredients that Americans tend to forget about.

When you grew up did you eat brown rice? Quinoa? Couscous?
Did your parents/guardians cook with fresh basil? Dill? Mint? Fennel seeds?
How about fresh fruits like lychee? Dragonfruit? Durian?
And now that you're an adult, do you use flavors and spices like sesame oil? Tahini? Ginger? Tumeric?

The transition to vegansim and my drive to create a more healthful and diverse diet has introduced me to so many new foods. Additionally, when you elevate your vegetables to the "star" of a dish, rather than casting it to the side of your plate, you can introduce so many new and exciting flavors!

I find the colors that I get to put on the plate are also so much more exciting. Rather than a lump of tan potatoes, a slab of brown meat and maybe a small mostly green salad I now get to add so much more. For instance the roasted veggie skewer and quinoa salad below.

Green: bell peppers, spinach, basil
Red: grape tomoatoes
Brown: baby bell mushrooms
White: diced onions, quinoa
Yellow/orange: bell peppers

All in one dish! I used to eat garbage like this but not anymore. Cut the saturated fat. Cut the cholesterol. Cut the crap and eat like your body wants you to. That said...I went a little overboard on the fat today. It's that damned salad dressing! Oh well-- tomorrow is a new day. :)

(You're darn right I ate two whole plates!)

8/1/2013 -- It's August! -- Legs & Cardio

I kicked my own butt this morning, no joke. I got up earlier than normal, powered through my weight sets (skipping one of the exercises because I don't have the room/ability to do it at my gym) and then jumped on the elliptical machine for an additional twenty minutes. AND THEN I got home, cooked and packed us lunch (just wait until you see what it is), had a shower and came to work.

Fitbit says I hit 5,000 steps before I even sat down at my desk at 9:00am. That is how I want to start every day because I feel like a million bucks.

Looking forward to our last day of weights for the week tomorrow and carrying this momentum through to the weekend. Happy Thursday!

Thursday weights:

3 set/10 rep Leg extensions @ 40 lbs
3 set/10 rep Wide stance barbell squat @ 20 lbs + bar
3 set/10 rep Single-leg barbell deadlift @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Lying leg curls @ 50 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated calf raise @ 25 lbs
3 set/10 rep Standing calf raises @ 50 lbs + bar
Skipped: Walking barbell lunch


20 minutes on the elliptical

Total burn: 277

And I was a hot, sweaty mess. :)