Back on Track

With the truffles and hard week behind me, I was ready to get back on track with healthier eating yesterday. I think it is funny how it ebbs and flows for me. I go through phases of eating junk food and then realize that my body is actually craving fresh, whole foods. Kristin, my new friend from group, commented yesterday about straying from a meal plan being an indicator that something emotional is going on. I think in my case, that is exactly right. My physical body doesn’t crave crap food, my mind does. I feel so much  better when I eat healthy, whole foods that when I start to crave the junk foods, maybe it is time to access what is really going on. What is leading me down the path of feeding it instead of feeling it? I am excited at exploring this concept more.

So, with a new attitude, I started my day with blogging and a breakfast, I made grits and sunny side up eggs. 

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It was a good filling breakfast that held me over for a few hours while the dear husband and I got to work on my bead business. I am making exciting progress and am super excited to unveil one of my deepest passions. We stopped for lunch around 1, I made whole wheat couscous topped with a MSF tomato basil burger and marinara sauce  I had been simmering all morning. I added a little shaved parmesan cheese and lunch was born. This is one of my old go to meals from years ago, I must say, it was still as good as I remembered.

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For lunch dessert, we shared a bowl of grapes and then headed out for some bead business errands.

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While we were out, we picked up lattes; I ordered a decaf venti 3 pump vanilla latte. As you may already know, I love starbucks vanilla lattes and aren’t something I’m willing to give up. Getting it with 3 pumps seemed like a happy compromise as it had a nice vanilla flavor and it wasn’t too sweet.

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Once our errands were done, I made my BSI submission for dinner. It was a recipe I came up after exploring lots of stir fry sauce recipes. The results were Orange Miso Tofu Stir Fry which I served over 100% whole wheat buckwheat noodles. Both the dear husband and I agreed that it was delicious!

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My camera cord is MIA but for the record, I had a square of Ashley’s tiger butter for dessert and greek yogurt and a creamed honey spoon for a late snack. All in all, yesterday was a really good day. It restored faith in myself that I do know how to enjoy food without going overboard. And faith isn’t something that comes easy to this girl.

Question: How do you walk the line between what your body and your mind crave?

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Beware: Long Post Ahead with TWO recipes!

Thanks for being patient with me yesterday, we had a really busy day and I knew I wouldn’t give Friday justice if I wrote about it yesterday.

Friday was a nice day, it started out with a cafe au lait on my way to work and then a breakfast wrap once I got there. I asked The Chef for something different that the egg sandwiches I had been eating and he came up with a great wrap. Inside the wrap was scrambled eggs, potatoes, green peppers and onions. There was also something really spicy inside but I couldn’t figure out what it was, maybe jalapenos. No matter what the spicy element was, it was delicious!

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For lunch, I had staff lunch again since it was vegetarian pizza. The pizza was topped with every veggie in the rainbow and I had a small salad on the side.

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Around 3, my stomach was rumbling again so I had a the coconut cream pie larabar. OMG. I loved this bar, I haven’t been a fan of coconut until recently and this little bar really packs a coconut punch. I really enjoyed it and plan to add it to normal bar rotation 🙂

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Last weekend, I  made a bag of dried butter beans and I knew I wanted to try my hand at making butter bean burgers. I googled it and low and behold I found my friend Jessy’s blog.  Jessy’s recipe is vegan and I didn’t have nutritional yeast on hand so I made some modifications. Here’s how it went:

Butter Bean Burgers

Makes 6 burgers

3 cups cooked butter beans (if using canned, should be about 2 cans drained and very well rinsed)

1 diced onion

1 diced red pepper

1 tbsp crushed garlic

olive oil for sauteing

2 tbsp minced jarred jalepenos

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 egg

garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper (all to taste)

In a medium saute pan on medium heat, saute onions and red pepper in olive oil until the onions are translucent and then set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, mash the beans with a potato masher until most of the beans are completely mashed, you do want to leave a few whole beans for texture. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine well with a wooden spoon. Form the mixture into six patties.

Once the patties are formed, you have a couple of choices. You can freeze them for later use or you can cook them right away. When you are ready to cook them, heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or regular if you don’t have cast iron) on medium low heat and cook the patties about 4 minutes on each side. If you cook them from frozen, it may take a little longer. You can also bake them in the oven for about 16-18 minutes at 350* if you prefer and oilless method.

The butter bean burgers were fabulous! I served them on Sandwich things with jack cheese, ketchup and mustard.

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On the side we had sweet potato fries, mmmm.

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For dessert, I had a TINY amount of Turtle Mountain coconut milk vanilla ice creamwith a nutella spoon. I would have had a larger portion but it was all we had left 😦 Let me tell you, people, this is GOOD stuff. I love it love it love it! If you don’t like coconut, you probably will not like it but if you do, you are in for a real treat.

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After dessert, off to bed I went. We had to wake up early to make it to yoga on time. Once we were up, I had a cafe au lait and a bowl of cereal. I had a mixture of Fiber One Shredded Wheats, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, ground flax seed and dried blueberries all topped with milk. This was a great bowl of cereal, since I had been in a rush all week, I was missing my morning bowl of cereal! I ended up not finishing the whole bowl but the dear husband was there to polish it off 🙂

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After last week’s yoga debacle, I received an email from the studio owner letting me know she was sorry for what happened and wanted to assure me that the class IS a vinyasa I and II class. She is also giving me a free class sometime soon, which is always good. I feel so much better now that I heard from her, I really didn’t want to leave my yoga home. 

This week’s class made up for last week’s, that is for sure! We started out with the breath of fire and continued to build heat from there. We did lots of sun salutations (yay!), a gorgeous standing flow that included warrior I, warrior II, triangle, side angle, moon warrior, standing splits into PIGEON!! Oh my, was it ever great. After the standing flow, we worked on arm balances and then she challenged us to give wheel a try. We warmed up with bridge and then gave it a go. I had only every tried wheel pose once before on a yogadownload and I couldn’t get myself up. This time, I could get up but I could not get my head off the floor. Rest assured, I will keep at it until I get it. We ended the class with shoulder stand. I noted during class that shoulder stand had just become a normal pose for me. Six months ago, I could not get myself into it. It is amazing what the body can do with practice!

After the powerful yoga class, I was ready to face the day. Even the dear husband, who normally prefers hatha, said he felt great and more awake after the class. This was unusual for him because he normally doesn’t “get” the mental affects (or should it be effects?) of yoga, he does yoga purely for the stretch. We were both on cloud nine as we went about our errands.

Once we were home, we had a quick lunch. I made Boca Spicy “chicken” patties on whole wheat english muffins with blue cheese dressing.

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On the side we had steamed green and yellow beans with “carrot balls”  tossed in olive oil, sea salt and garlic.

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And for an extra spicy kick, a hot and spicy pickle. I actually could not finish the pickle because it was just TOO spicy.

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For lunch dessert, I had two cherry cordial kisses. So good!

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After lunch, we cleaned the whole house, with the exception of the office. The only time the house gets cleaned these days is when we are having company 🙂 While we were scrubbing, I made caramel lattes to get us through.

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Once we were finished, I had a little food prep to take care of followed by girly maintenance. Our friends, Becky, Cris along with their two small children, Kristen and Reagan, arrived at six on the dot and we started dinner. I planned an easy dinner because I knew we would be busy, and since I am working to find balance in my life, easy was the way to go. I made baked salmon that I marinaded in fat free balsamic dressing

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And what I am calling cauliflower bake. The first time I had this, my friend Sarah made it and both the dear husband and I fell in love with it. After consulting with Sarah, I figured out how to make my own version.

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Cauliflower Bake

16 oz of cauliflower florets, I used frozen

1 package (8 wedges)  light laughing cow cheese

1/2 tbsp crushed garlic

1 tbsp minced onion

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 cup water

cooking spray, I use a misto with olive oil in it

Pre heat the oven to 350* and prepare a baking dish with cooking spray. In an large skillet, saute the cauliflower in 1 tbsp olive oil until it caramelizes slightly. Season with salt and pepper and then add water to the pan and cover. Cook until the cauliflower is completely cooked through, you can test it by mashing it with a fork, if it turns to mush, it is ready. Drain the cooked cauliflower and place into a mixing bowl. Add in the garlic, onion, cheese and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until almost smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, a little salt and pepper and the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix well until you have a fine crumb mix, you may need to adjust the ratio depending on how dry your crumbs are.

Add the cauliflower mix to the prepared baking dish into a smooth layer. Top with the breadcrumb mixture and bake for about 15 or 20 minutes until the crumbs are golden brown.

We also had some kale the escaped the camera because it steamed up my lens and I was too impatient for it to cool down. The cauliflower seemed to be the star of the evening, well, if you exclude the wine.

During the evening, we drank wine

Our friend Cris opening a bottle of local wine

Our friend Cris opening a bottle of local wine

and nibbled on an impromptu cheese tray.

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It was a lovely night with friends and we can’t wait to do it again soon.

Warmin’ Up

According to my Ayurveda, a kaphas ideal time to eat breakfast is between 8 and 9 am though they should wake up before sunrise. I believe this is to ensure one does not feel weighed down. A Kaphas tendency is to be heavy and feel weighed down (uh…yeah) so lighter foods and less frequent eating helps combat that. I do worry about my blood sugar and will certainly eat whenever my body dictates but thus far, it seems to be working for me. And overall, I must say, I am feeling better. I feel much happier and everything doesn’t feel like a drag to me.

And with all of that, I ate breakfast at work, again, yesterday. I had barley with chopped apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. I warmed it up in the microwave until the apples were soft and then mixed in some cottage cheese. Hmm, this mixture I did not like so much. I guess I am not a fan of warm cottage cheese.

A couple of hours later, I had a few kashi crackers with sliced ham and a few prunes. This light little meal kept me going for a really long time!

T went out around noon and said she would pick up lunch and ended up not coming back until 2! I sipped on warm tea and felt fine. When she did return, she had a shrimp tempura roll for me. It wasn’t from our regular place and it really wasn’t as good either. They put a spicy mayo on top and the mayo actually tasted like miracle whip. And as some of you know, I am a pure bred southern girl and in my opinion mayo comes in a yellow labeled jar, Duke’s. There is no other kind unless you make it yourself so when a mayo isn’t Duke’s, I can usually pick it out. So, the sushi was a bit on the disappointing side. Lesson learned.

Lunch was so late, that I didn’t need an afternoon snack. Once I got home, I was hungry and I was excited about dinner. I made pinto bean burgers and roasted Brussels sprouts. I have been working for years, literally to perfect my bean burger recipe and yesterday’s version was pretty darn close. Here is how I made them:

Bean Burgers

1 can of beans, drained and rinsed until bubbles are gone

1/4 cup stuffing mix, crushed but still chunky

1/4 cup corn meal

1/4 cup salsa

1 tbsp mayo (Duke’s ;))

salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin

olive oil for sauteing

Instructions

In a large bowl, mash the beans until only a quarter of them are still whole. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and season with salt, pepper, chili powder and a pinch of cumin. The mixture should still feel wet but firm enough to form into patties. Shape the mixture into four small patties or two large ones and place on a parchment lined plate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes until they feel more firm. Remove from freezer and put into an oiled skillet over medium heat. Saute on each side until very well browned.

After dinner, I made a batch of vitamuffins with extra peanut butter and chocolate chips. I ate mine warm and it was SO good!

Thought Provoker: What foods are you a purist about? Is there a food that you only a certain version of?

Yoga and a Recipe

I woke up with a major food hangover yesterday, I didn’t want to get out of bed for anything. I had an 8:30 am yoga class so I got up anyway and made breakfast. I made 2 eggs n baskets with local nine grain bread and earth balance. I didn’t have anything on the side because I actually wasn’t hungry but I knew I needed to eat because I wouldn’t be out of yoga until late morning.

This weeks hatha flow yoga class was taught by Candy, a teacher I had never practiced with before. When I first saw Candy, my first thought was relief. She was overweight! I can’t tell you how many super thin yoga teachers there are in this world so to see one that I would consider to be like me, I was excited. For a couple of reasons, really. My big dream is to be a writer while teaching yoga “on the side”. She eased my mind that not all yoga teachers have to be thin.  And secondly, I knew my ego would not come in to play because I would not be constantly comparing how thin the teacher is to how overweight I am.  It was a wonderful feeling.

After class, I had a private lesson with Laura, the owner of the studio. If I have a mentor in this world, I do believe it is Laura. She compels me to want to live a yogic life and be my own best person. From the moment I met her, I felt a connection with her that makes me feel like she has been a cherished friend my whole life. Needless to say, I always enjoy my private lessons with her. This lesson was about a yogic approach to my anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder. I could write an entire article on all of the things that I learned but the biggest thing that I learned is that my body needs two different things depending on whether I am anxious or depressed. The two are so closely tied in my mind that I had just assumed the opposite. She taught me some “real world” techniques for when busting into warrior II just isn’t appropriate as well as the proper asanas and flows for when it is.  The whole session helped me understand why I enjoy the poses and the flows that I do with some real legit yoga wisdom to back it up.

In addition to the yogic techniques, we also explored a little more into ayureveda. We talked about my being a kapha and some of the foods that will help keep me balanced. From, that I have decided that I would like to educate myself more of these principles and probably make some changes to my diet accordingly. Laura urged me to take a real world approach and to avoid any extremist ideas which I find to be the most rational and intuitive. 

Once I was home from expanding my yogic horizons, it was lunch time. I was pretty hungry and wasn’t up for much involved cooking so leftovers and frozen veggies came to my rescue. I had a mango sausage with whole wheat couscous and steamed green beans with almond. The couscous and green beans didn’t really do it for me so I ended up only have a few bites.

After lunch, we headed to Barnes and Noble to look for books about ayureveda. That idea turned out to be a dud but we did get a latte while we were there 🙂 I got a toasted marshmallow mocha and a pretzel because I was still hungry from lunch. The pretzel was revolting, really, so I only had the one bite. It looks much better than it tasted.

Once we were home from B & N and the rest of our errands, I started on a pot of chowder right away. My friend was coming over for dinner and I knew it would be a really long cooking process. I had seen a couple of recipes for edamame chowder and with those, here is what I came up with.

Roasted Edamame Chowder

4 cups shelled edamame

3 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste

3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

1 large onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed with salt

1 lb of small red potatoes, sliced into half moons

2 cups frozen corn

4 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 cup half and half

Cheddar cheese for topping

Instructions:

Pre heat oven to 400*. Coat the edamame the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and toss to combine. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes stirring often to ensure even roasting. Once roasted, turn off the oven but the leave the edamame inside.

Meanwhile, cook bacon on medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan as set aside of paper towels. Remove as little or as much of the bacon grease as you would like but be sure to add a little olive oil if you remove all of it. Sautee the onions in the bacon grease (or olive oil) until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the crushed garlic and sautee for another minute. Add the potatoes and corn and sautee for 5 minutes. Add in the chicken broth and increase the heat to med high. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce head to med and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove half of the soup mixture and add to the blender and puree until smooth. Once smooth, add back to the cooking pot along with the roasted edamame. Stir well to combine and taste for salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After simmering, stir in the half and half and let stand for about 5 minutes. Top with crumbled bacon and cheese.

The chowder turned out great, I served it along side whole wheat yeast rolls and everyone was happy. The soup was rich and creamy and just what we needed on a cold rainy night! For dessert, I had a small bowl of local butter pecan ice cream, it was so good but it made me really cold. I think it is ALMOST time to retire ice cream for the season.

Thought Provoker: Do you make note of how certain foods make you feel? Do you have a tendency towards eating them anyway because they taste good even if they make you feel bad? My body does not like to be overloaded with sweets but my mind always wants to eat them. I try to only have a little but sometimes the sugar monster takes over.

Life Goes On

I woke up ravenous yesterday. Probably because proper nutrition hasn’t been my strong suit these past few days. It’s funny how in the midst of feeling blue my eating turns to listening to my mind rather than listening to my body. My breakfast is a perfect example, days started with sugar never go well. I had a bowl of greek yogurt topped with pecan praline granola from TJ’s and a smidge of cherry jam.

The sugar and the jam caught up with me pretty quickly as I was really hungry again around 9. I had an apple with basil hummus. I liked this combo but I think it is much better with spicy hummus.

A couple of hours later, hunger struck again so I had a mango chicken sausage and roasted root veggies that I prepared over the weekend. I really loved the sausage, it was sweet and savory at the same time. I’d love to have it with a little mustard.

Shortly after, my stomach was growling again so I ate a few unphotographed prunes. Then walked in The Pro with a soy latte, just what I needed! I ended up only drinking about a third of it because the caffeine was getting to me.

By the time I got home from work, I was starving again. I made pesto and goat cheese chicken with whole wheat cous cous and broccoli and cheese. It was some kind of good, I think it will make it into the rotation for sure.

Easy Pesto and Goat Cheese Chicken

2 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken, pounded to 1/2 inch (I prefer thighs)

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning

2 tbsp good quality pesto

2 oz goat cheese

olive oil

Preheat oven to 350* and coat a baking dish with olive oil. Sprinkle each chicken piece with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and poultry seasoning. Spread the pesto evenly over the tops of chicken and place into oiled baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Crumble one ounce of goat cheese over chicken and place back into the oven for 5 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil until cheese is lightly browned then remove from the oven. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minute. Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil “drippings’ from the baking dish, it should be a gorgeous vibrant green color and infused with a lovely basil flavor. Serve over grain of choice.

After dinner. I made a quick dessert out of TJ’s inside out carrot cake cookies and ice cream. I ended up not really liking the combo and ate mostly the ice cream. I think I really wanted chocolate 😉

Thought Provoker: Do you have a hard time listening to your body instead of your mind when it comes to food?