My Strange Habits

Last year, I lived by myself, and most of my meals were consumed by myself, on the couch. (That sounds super depressing, but I swear, I had a social life!) Now, I live with two roommates, (and there is this boy who seems to be over a lot these days…) which made me realize how strange some of my habits are to the “ordinary” person.

Yep, these things are strange… even for the blog world.

I eat with kiddie spoons

For two reasons: 1. I tend to be a SUPER fast eater. So a smaller spoon helps me slow down and let myself feel full before I’ve shoveled in so much that I feel like I’m going to burst. 2. I make so many things in my vitamix, and the rubber/plastic spoons work a lot better at scooping things around the blades, rather than a big metal spoon. (For the recipe above, click here!)

Oh yes, the boy thought this was the weirdest thing ever. Pretty sure he was uncomfortable. Sorry.

I keep the Peanut Butter Puffins waaaaay on the top shelf of the kitchen.

See them way up there? This is because I couldn’t walk by the cabinet without grabbing a handful of cereal. And this happens, oh, 87392 times a day. Cereal didn’t last more than a few days. Oops. Now that I have to drag a chair over climb up on the counter top to get it, I’m a little more mindful of what I’m eating.

I freeze soy milk into ice cubes

I like my smoothies to be super thick and creamy, and if you freeze your soymilk in ice cube trays, it makes your smoothies (like the one above) more like a milkshake! Warning: When someone thinks they’re getting ice our of the freezer, they’ll probably tell you that there is “something wrong with your ice”…

Trust me. The list could go on.

Sometimes I forget that my habits aren’t exactly normal. But everyone has their own ideas of normal, right?

What are some of your weird habits?

What I [Now] Eat Wednesday

I used to be the pickiest eater ever.

Breakfast was Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Lunch was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Dinner was (hopefully) pasta, with just a little bit of sauce, followed by a package of ritz crackers for a snack.

Uh, carbs much? But  I didn’t care. Not to mention I was an active kid, who was always small for her age. Ah, how I’ll miss that metabolism ;)

That, my friends, is the face of a little carboholic.

I guess I’m still rocking the bangs.

Random photo courtesy of the Mac Photo Booth… moving on.

Well I’m still loving CTC, but now it’s more of a “treat” than a breakfast food. And, well, you know how I feel about Kraft now. Pasta for dinner just doesn’t happen that often, unless it’s loaded with veggies. It made me realize that there are so many foods I used to hate, that now I can’t imagine living without. So I can’t imagine what WIAW would look like when I was young. Oh how things change.

I used to hate yogurt.

My mom begged me to eat it because it had calcium in it, and since I refused to drink milk (ok, some things never change) it seemed like a good source of calcium. Well it is. The difference is, now it’s hard for me to go a single day without yogurt! Hence, today’s breakfast.

I didn’t like almonds. Or cashews. Or nuts in general.

My dad used to always eat a handful of cashews when he came home from work. My mom was more of an almond girl. I liked neither. Yet today, I can’t go a day without nuts, normally in the form of nut butter!

I didn’t like anything new.

Now I’ll try anything (*with the exception of meat I suppose).

Kombucha- check

Chia seeds- check

Pluot- check!! (yes, its a plum and a apricot!)

Oh and I definitely wouldn’t have eaten a green smoothie

This was a banana, soy milk, ice, stevia and a large handful of spinach… topped with granola. Holy yum!

How have your tastes changed as you’ve grown up?

Cranky Cookie Cravings

I wasn’t even cranky. I swear.

Although normally, when someone denies being cranky, they just sound even crankier. (It’s similar to someone saying “I’m really not drunk.” It’s basically a sure sign they are.) But unlike the pissed off oatmeal cookies, these cookies didn’t come out of negative emotion. These cookies spawned from my desire to basically eat everything in sight. Maybe I should call these PMS cookies, as that’s a little more accurate. The problem is, most cookies are, well, cookies, and not exactly full of nutritional value.

Did I mention these cookies are only 37 calories each?

I saw these on Lift To Run‘s blog (apparently they were on Oxygen magazine) and decided I must make some! However, I have to be honest. The first batch was kind of a fail. I omitted the carob chips, because I didn’t have any.  But I didn’t make a substitution and the result was just meh. So I ended up doing quite a bit of tweaking, and I eventually came up with something I feel good sharing!

Cranky Cookies

Cookies for that time of the month. Or anytime of the month.
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 3 packets of stevia
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 tbsp mini chocolate chips
Mix it all up and bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. These cookies are really light (as in, they don’t weigh much) because the egg whites make them puffy. They’re cakey, but not dense, if that makes sense. It made 12 cookies for me, and they were small tablespoons of dough. If I’m 100% honest with you, I’ll tell you these aren’t the kind of cookies I would take to a party. They don’t taste buttery and moist (I hate that word) but they do satisfy a cookie craving.
Uh, and yeah, they’re only 37 calories. Dig in.

Nutrition Facts

User Entered Recipe
  12 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 37.6
  Total Fat 1.6 g
  Saturated Fat 0.4 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  Cholesterol 5.1 mg
  Sodium 14.3 mg
  Potassium 35.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 3.5 g
  Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
  Sugars 0.9 g
  Protein 2.7 g
These are actually pictures from the first batch, before I added in the chocolate chips. You can see their not huge, but not tiny either!
I still think they could use a little something. Maybe some pumpkin would make them a little more dense? Maybe some banana? It’s the kind of recipe you could tweak 1,000 different ways.

What do you crave when you’re feeling cranky?

Pasta Puttanesca

There is something I love about eating dinner with people.

Which is actually kind of  weird, because I’m usually so picky about my food, but I really love having a feast with friends. Maybe it’s because I miss dinners with my family, but I just love having a house full of people! Lucky for me, some friends and I get together every Thursday for a potluck.

I was hosting this week, and the theme was Italian!

I kicked around some ideas of what to make. I was just going to do a basic pasta + marinara + cheese kind of combination, but I wanted to do something a little less… expected. But I’m also not brave enough to try a totally new recipe when I have a houseful of people. Thankfully, I remembered the Pasta Puttanessca dish I learned how to make at the Mise En Place cooking school!

I’ll re-post the recipe, in case you missed it. (I also made some tweaks, so it’s a little different than the last time.)

Pasta Puttanesca
A twist on the previous recipe from the lovely ladies at Mise En Place

  • 16 oz of linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup parsley (or you can substitute 1 tbsp of dried parsley)
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives
  • 4 tbsp capers
  • 1 qt cherry tomatoes (halved, about 2 cups)
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the parsley, olives, capers, oregano, red pepper and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 min. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt.

Then just add your cooked pasta and cover with cheese.

We also had garlic bread, salad, & dessert. Not to shabby!

Now I’m just celebrating the fact that it’s Friday.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like this week has dragged on a bit. I’m ready to go out! I have basically nothing planned… so I’m hoping to find some adventure!
I have a workout with my trainer this morning, so that means I can go out tonight guilt free tonight, right? ;)
Can someone please make the weather be like this again? I’m tired of grey skies.




Sunshine maks me happy. 


What do you like to make when you’re having a lot of people over? Is the sun shining where you live?

What I [Worked] Wednesday

Let’s jump right in!

It’s What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn @ Peas and Crayons, where I get to give you a peak into a day in the life of my tummy. *Disclaimer: this is SO not all I eat in one day. Unpictured are the 1,000 snacks I consume.

What I’ve been eating:

Breakfast

Are you sick of seeing my yogurt bowls yet? You should be. I basically have one of these for breakfast every time my roommate is still sleeping, and I don’t want to wake her up by the sound of my jet engine vita mix.

  • 1 container of Chobani 0% plain yogurt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • Sprinkle of Bear Naked Granola

I really need to start switching things up. But when you like what you like… why change?

Lunch

I wish it didn’t look like someone poo-ed on my eggs. This was 1/2 cup egg whites, a wedge of laughing cow cheese, cooked in a skillet and topped with salsa and red pepper flakes. YUM. And super protein packed. This was consumed with a salad and many many snacks.

Dinner

Nope, nothing new here folks. I’m still obsessed with the sweet potato + almond butter combo. I also added a tiny bit of almond milk, and some cinnamon and stevia.

With food, I don’t mind getting in a rut groove. I can eat the same things over and over without getting tired of them. But I don’t feel that way about my workout. I get bored really easily.

I’ve been feeling bored with my regular workout routine, so I’ve been trying to mix things up. My goal is to do a different type of workout everyday.

What I’ve Been Working

1. Jillian Michael’s Yoga DVD

(Please see my formal apology to yoga here)

I love this, because it’s only 30 minutes so I have no excuse not to squeeze it in on a busy day. And it really gets me sweating.

2. Personal Training

I’m lucky enough to have access to free personal trainers at my gym, so I’m starting to take advantage of this more. (Bring it on, Jason!) I definitely work harder when someone is pushing me!

3. Exercise On Demand

If you have FiOS or Direct TV (and maybe others?) then you have a whole bunch of free workout videos on demand! I didn’t realize this until a few weeks ago, but it’s awesome! Some of them are just 10 minute segments, but some are full workouts! If I’m not feeling Jillian, these have been a good alternative.

4. Exercise Classes

I’m trying to get back into taking classes at the gym. They don’t usually work with my schedule, but I really need to get into it! Having a room full of other people pushing themselves is so motivating for me!

5. New Machines

My trainer showed me how to use a few machines I’d never tried before (hello, shoulder press!) and I finally tackled the Stairmaster. I know that sounds stupid, but I honestly couldn’t figure out how to use that dang stair stepping machine. Good news, I figured it out and sweated my buns off yesterday.

What new things have you tried lately?

What I Learned From the Boy Who Hates Vegetables

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past couple weeks, you may have noticed some trends.

One of which is me whining about what a certain boy (aka the veggie hater) eats. Sometimes his habits make me cringe. How can he honestly think that Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs taste better than Peanut Butter Puffins? Doesn’t he know his cereal has all kinds of weird ingredients in it?

And you can’t tell from the picture, but the bowl is like the size of a serving dish. And yes, that’s whole milk.

He can eat a large pizza in one sitting. And he will never, ever eat breakfast.*

*With the one exception of occasionally eating cookies.

Yes, he took some of these cookies for breakfast on Friday. But then the squirrels ate them, while he was outside with his class for “Nature Day”… no wonder he hates Nature Day.

So I tell myself I have my work cut out for me. Where do I even begin?

But I’ve also noticed something.

*Side note: If he had any idea I was posting these pictures, he’d probably kill me.

He eats when he’s hungry, and he stops when he’s full.

He doesn’t snack. He’s not constantly thinking about food. He’s fine eating pretty much anything. 

I can’t imagine being able to eat a McDonalds value meal (as he did yesterday) and not be stressing out for the next 5 hours about what I just ate.

Who’s the healthy one?

I guess what it comes down to in the end, is balance. We all hear it. We all get the “everything in moderation” and we tell ourselves that’s what we do. But is it? And is everything truly ok? “Well, everything in moderation, except for trans fat/high fructose corn syrup/MSGs…” we say, and I agree with that. But when does it become too extreme? When do we waste too much time worrying about what we ate, are eating and will eat to just enjoy life?

Am I going to stop eating the way I eat? Heck to the no. But I’m learning to relax, just a little. Tiny. Bit.

How do you feel about “everything in moderation”…?

3-Step Pasta Bake

Let’s jump right in.

Sometimes I get really excited because I want to share a recipe with you all. But then I get bored typing it all out. And I imagine your eyes glazing over as you read through it. Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to read 100 steps unless I’m actually in my kitchen making it. And you’re probably not. You’re probably at work, looking for something to distract you from your spreadsheet.

Good news, this recipe is only 3 steps. Which saves you reading time, me typing time, and us both cooking time.

I’m really trying not to go to the grocery store everytime I’m missing a few items, so I did some experimenting in order to use up what I had in my pantry. I actually had a lot of this left over from the first His and Hers recipe.

3-Step Pasta Bake

Serves 4 (as a main dish)
  • 3 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups pasta sauce (divided)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle of roasted red pepper flakes, oregano

Step 1: Cook your pasta and drain it.

Step 2: Combine the ricotta and 2 cups of pasta sauce, then stir in your pasta until combined. Pour over the rest of the sauce and top with cheese and spices.

Step 3: Cover it with foil, sprayed with non-stick spray, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes

3 step pasta bake

Optional step: Eat.

And now, even though I’m way late on this, I’m finally going to fill out the butterfly award survey that Tessa tagged me to do like 2 weeks ago!

First of all, if you haven’t checked Tessa’s blog, please do! She’s an amazing girl, and while I love a lot of blogs, hers is definitely one of my favorites!

Name your favorite color: Purple. Ask anyone. (Alexa won’t let me buy anymore purple clothes.)

Name your favorite song Does anyone have a straight answer for this? A current favorite I’m loving is this passion pit/Jackson 5 mash-up. It’s freaking awesome.

Name your favorite dessert: I have to pick one? Honestly, anything chocolate. Especially if peanut butter is involved.

What wizzes you off:  When people are rude. There is no excuse not to be polite.

When you’re upset you: make Pissed Off Oatmeal Cookies ;)

Black or white:  Black!

Your biggest fear: Not being able to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself, or realizing that the goals I set aren’t really what I want to accomplish with my life.

Best feature:  My eyes! I have so many people ask me if I have colored contacts. (I also have a hilarious story about an ex-boyfriend painting me a picture of my eyes, after we’d broken up. It was creepy and my family will never let me live that one down.)

Everyday attitude:  As my co-worked recently described me to a new hire: “Liz is like sunshine, rainbows and unicorns all wrapped into one. She’s always happy.” That’s pretty accurate actually.

What is perfection:  Defining what you want, and achieving it.

Guilty pleasure:  Jersey Shore and dipping peanut butter puffins into peanut butter, (you think I’m kidding?) preferably, both of those activities at the same time.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

What I [Lazily] Ate Wednesday

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m kind of lazy sometimes.

Actually, it’s not really a secret. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know I’m not an elaborate recipe kind of girl. Honestly, I don’t have that long of an attention span. A recipe that has 9,000 steps, and takes 4 hours to prepare just doesn’t sound fun to me. And since lately, my food preparation has been for a guy who would prefer a box of Reese’s Puffs instead of  a gourmet dinner, I’m not planning on changing my strategy anytime soon.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s What I Ate Wednesday, so I’ll satisfy your voyeristic personalities and show you what I’ve been eating ;) (I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m the biggest food creeper ever.)

Lazy Breakfast:

I was craving a smoothie, but since my roomie was still sleeping and my Vita Mix sounds like a jet engine taking off in a construction zone, I decided I’d stick to a simple yogurt bowl.

Trader Joe’s 0% Greek Yogurt (cheaper than Fage!) with blueberries & bear naked granola. Sorry, this is nothing new.

Lazy Lunch:

I was too lazy to pack my lunch and the salad bar at work is pretty delicious so this was lunch! Plus I LOVE avocado (hello healthy fats!) and they always have it at work. Holy yum.

Lazy Dinner:

Ah dinner. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been trying to create some new “His & Hers” recipes, where a vegetarian and a meat eater can live in harmony eat at the same table. It just so happens that these opportunities tend to come up on Tuesdays, which means the recipes falls into WIAW. Anyways.

The veggie-hater suggested pasta, but the conversation went as follows:

Good thing I can read between the lines.

This is one of those recipes that could make someone think you’ve been in the kitchen for an hour, but you’ve actually only been in there for 5 minutes. But don’t tell anyone. (That way, they’ll do the dishes.) The trick is a can of pre-made chili. I got mine from Trader Joe’s but you could use any brand.

His & Her’s Tostadas

  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can beef chili
  • 2 cups frozen tri-color peppers (or you could use fresh ones, I’m just lazy, remember?)
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 medium yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Heat up the vegetable oil in a skillet and lightly fry the corn tortillas. While those are cooking, heat up your chili and your beans. (These can be done in the microwave, honestly.) The tortillas won’t take long, and once they’re crispy, remove from the pan and add a little more oil. (Using the same pan saves dish-time.) Add your frozen peppers, zucchini and yellow squash in the pan and saute until tender.

For the boy, I topped the tortillas with the chili, a bit of peppers, cheese and Greek yogurt. (He thought it was sour cream… and when he asked for more, I confessed it was Greek yogurt. He almost had a tofu meltdown but then decided it really did taste good.)

For mine, I just topped one tortilla with a ton of vegetables and salsa. (Basically what I would make here…)

This dinner got the best reviews yet. At one point he said “Can we eat this every single night? This tastes better than a restaurant.”

Do you enjoy making fancy dinners, or are you more of a “pour a bowl of cereal” kind of person?

Pissed Off Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes, people tell you things that are hard to hear.

Maybe it’s at work, maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a family member. I’m actually not terrible at taking criticism. Obviously it’s not my favorite thing in the world, but that’s how we improve, right?

But what’s not helpful, is when someone tells you something that you can’t change. (For example, someone telling you that you’re too short, or that the color of your skin is too light/dark, or that you have big feet.) So when something like this happens, I follow these simple rules:

Rule #1

Change what you can, accept what you can’t.

So don’t tell me to change something I clearly can’t.

Rule #2

Vent on twitter

If you’re not following me on twitter, click here. And if you’re not following Bonnie, aka GlamKitten, click here. You should be follwing us both, clearly.

Rule #3

Make Oatmeal Raisin cookies

Because sometimes, a girl just needs some qualify time in the kitchen.

This recipe is a combination of a few I found online + the one on the oatmeal box [canister?] so I’m not taking any credit here. But they did turn into a classic, chewy, delicious cookie. (*side note, the veggie hater also hates chocolate chips. I know, wtf? But it is what it is.)

Pissed Off Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Combine the first four ingredients until smooth. Fume a little about what [insert person's name] said to you.

Stir in the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Tell yourself [insert person's name] is an idiot and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Mix in the oats and raisins and tell yourself you’re glad you’re not [insert person's name] because they’re so out of touch with reality. I mean, come on.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 11 minutes while you realize that you probably blew things out of proportion, and they’re really not so bad. It was probably a big misunderstanding, right? Oh, and [insert name] doesn’t have a sweet teenage mutant ninja turtles sweatshirt either. So…

Eat a cookie, and release some endorphins.

Note: These could also be called PMS Oatmeal Cookies. Or, I supposed you could eat them when you’re happy. I guess. 

What do you do when you’ve got some frustration to get out?

Partying it up with Protein

I’m a little late to the party.

No no, not the WIAW party… I’d never be late to that! I’m late to the birthday cake trend! (I associate birthday cake with parties, that’s the connection, mmk?)

I felt like the last person in the world to try the About Time Birthday Cake Protein Powder!

I’m honestly not a big protein powder person. I prefer to get my protein in other ways but when you find a powder as delicious as this… well… you find ways to work it in ;)

So I whipped up this little shake

Ok, so this is actually only half of it. It made a huge serving. But I’m not complaining ;)

Birthday Cake Protein Shake

There are recipes all over the blog world for similar things, but this was my version!
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet (or scoop) of About Time Birthday Cake protein powder
  • 5 drops vanilla stevia (or to taste)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Blend everything except the sprinkles in a blender or food processor until smooth. Freezing the banana is the key to making it extra thick! You can also add a tiny pinch of xanthan gum, if you want to make it a little thicker. (If xanthan gum freaks you out, it shouldn’t! I use it every time I forget to freeze my banana ahead of time.)

You basically get to eat a milkshake with these awesome nutritional facts. You’re welcome.

In the mood for something savory?

I was lucky enough to have this protein packed vegan dinner whipped up by my friend Eric, and his roommate!

Veggies on the left, and (soy) chorizo and sweet potato on the right! Seriously, the chorizo and sweet potato combination was SO delicious. Just chop the potato and stir fry it in a little olive oil with some soy chorizo (I get mine at Trader Joe’s) and it’s packed with flavor!

Almost as good as the sweet potato + almond butter combo I’ve been addicted to lately ;)

What combos are you addicted to these days?