What I Ate [with the OTHER Boy]

Remember when I showed you a His & Hers WIAW, and you got to see how the man-friend eats [the complete opposite of what I eat]?

Well there is another man in my life.

My brother and I have always been close. He’s only 2 1/2 years older.

That’s us, on the day that he married his lovely wife, Aricka, a couple of years ago :)

Anyways, he might be just as stubborn about eating meat as the man-friend. But after a long discussion during our 8 hour car ride back from Columbus…

He accepted the challenge to go 1 week without meat.

His lovely wife is on board with this, which makes it about 10 times easier for him ;)

He even said “Maybe I could do a guest post on your blog about it”

Um. YES! So stay tuned my friends.

After he told me he was going to try being a vegetarian, I immediately invited him and his wife over for dinner. (I’m a nice sister, right?)

I wanted to make a vegetarian meal that would show him how delicious vegetarian food can be! (Although Aricka makes him delicious vegetarian meals sometimes, so it’s not like he’d never had one before!) And I’ll warn you right from the start that this was not a low calorie dinner. But I’ve gotta ease these men into it…

I decided on Angela’s Barley Risotto (which I’d actually made before here) and a cheesy potato bake, that was the product of an afternoon of brainstorming. I’ll share the recipe soon! I also made an apple walnut salad, because I had to have some greens in this meal.

But since it wouldn’t be a true WIAW without the other accompanying meals of the day, here’s what else I’ve been noshing on.

Breakfast:

The weather has still been warm here, so I haven’t given up my smoothie in the morning

1 frozen banana, 2 handfuls of ice, splash of soymilk, 2 packets of stevia, topped with homemade granola, and a side of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter. YUM.

Lunch:

I was lazy, and didn’t pack a lunch at work, so this is what I pulled together from the salad bar. Veggies, hummus, pita, and a little bit of rice. This was eaten with an unpictured red pepper soup.

Dinner:

The spread that I whipped up for my brother, his wife, and the man-friend.
*Blogger fail, I didn’t actually take any pictures at dinner, but I had leftovers the next night, so I took a photo of that!*

Dessert:

Unpictured cake batter ice cream that my sister-in-law made. Holy monkeys, was it good. For a “healthified” cake batter ice cream recipe… click here!

Any vegetarian recipes I should recommend for my brother['s wife] to make?

The Closest, Cheapest Gym Ever

I’ve always been a doubter of home workouts.

It just seems too easy to get distracted… and could I really push myself like I do at the gym?

But after some field tests, I’ve come to the conclusion that home workouts will hold a special place in my routine. Here’s why:

1. Working out at home saves so much time. Add up the time it takes to drive to the gym, put my stuff in a locker and drive home… I could have fit in Jillian’s 30 day Shred workout.

2. As it turns out, there are difficult videos out there! I think my past experience had been with beginner pilates videos, which left me feeling like I hadn’t even broken a sweat

3. Stocking my closet with the essentials (see below) is key to a good workout!

So what do you need to get started?

The Workout:

First, check your Video OnDemand free video section. Odds are, you’ve got free OnDemand workouts at your finger tips. Don’t have cable? Visit the Exercise TV website and stream a video! You can also buy dvds, obviously, and I find that the Jillian Michael’s dvds give you a good bang for your buck!

The Gear:

I have a yoga mat (which I got at TJ Maxx for $10) and a set of adjustable hand weights. These are super $$ (I got mine for free, long story) but a simple set of light and heavy hand weights will get the job done. You also might want to consider and exercise ball, depending on what you want to do. I don’t have one.

The Attitude:

I realized that I had to turn off distractions. I leave my phone in the other room, just like I would if I was at the gym. Now that life has been crazy busy, I value the time I can spend working out, so I don’t want to waste it by “phoning it is” (as Jillian would say). If you want results, you have to push yourself, no matter where you’re working out.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a membership to Gold’s Gym and the gym at work (and entirely too many bootcamp groupons…). I use both of them a few times a week, but sometimes I just don’t have time to get to the gym, or I want to try a morning workout, and it’s just easier to fit it in at home. Besides… you can’t find the Butt Bible at the gym ;)

What’s your favorite workout dvd/video?

Random [Thanksgiving] Activity

This post is going to be super random, because my days have been super random.

I love sleeping in. It’s one of my favorite things. But I voluntarily rolled my butt out of bed before the sun came up, so I could run in a 4 mile race, before the marathon day of eating began!

Best part of the race? Everyone that finished got a bottle of wine! Sweet!

The four miles actually flew by, and it was a great race! I can’t wait to run another one. I forgot how motivating those are!

I’ve also been spending a lot of quality time with this baby:

I was a music major at one time in my life. That turned into a minor, and I haven’t been playing much since college. It felt so good to play again. I also have very understanding parents who let me blast the new Coldplay album for like an hour while I played along. Thanks, Mom and Dad. (Is anyone else obsessed with that album?)

I’ve spent quality time with this lady:

Can you see the resemblance? My mom and I have always been super close, and I love coming home to see her.  My parents have struck an amazing balance of making me feel SO good about coming home, without ever making me feel guilty for moving away. It’s honestly amazing.

Is it too early to decorate?

We put up our tree last night, which makes me feel like it’s officially the Christmas season. Have you decorated yet?

What was the best part of your thanksgiving?

What I [brought] Wednesday

I’m pretty lucky that my friends still agree to eat with me in public.

Hi, I’m awkward. But you knew that.

This week was no exception. So for WIAW (Join the party, that Jenn throws every week!) I captured some of my awkward moments. You’re welcome.

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I went to Chipotle with my brother and sister in law and I just HAPPENED to have some of my favorite TJs tortillas in my bag. What, you don’t carry random food items with you all the time?

Don’t worry. I do it all the time.

Like at work.

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By the way, those gluten free cheese things are awesome. And only 100 calories!

I’m also high maintenance. But my friends are so accommodating.

At my Thursday night potluck, they made me my own pot of vegan chili

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And last but not least, the one thing that doesn’t belong in the fridge:

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The man friend was trying to fix my computer but it kept overheating. So we put it in the fridge. All fixed.

What’s the strangest thing in your fridge?

Happy One-Year-Anneversary…to Me!

Hey friends!

As I was scanning through old posts, I remembered that November is when I started this blog. It had been six months after my “vegan experiment” (chronicled over at LizLivingVegan) and I decided to go back to vegetarianism.

What’s changed in a year:

My photography slightly improved.

Old Photo: (Vegan Mocha Muffins)

New Photo: (Nutella Muffins)

Or at least, it’s much better when I actually use my light box.

I eat yogurt every day:

I was telling my friend Kelly yesterday, I think I could still be a vegan if it wasn’t for greek yogurt ;)

Wednesday is my new favorite day of the week:

Jenn has single-handedly transformed hump-day.

Some of my favorite What I Ate Wednesday Posts:

What I Ate [for $2] Wednesday

His & Hers WIAW

What [Protein] I Ate Wednesday

I’ve discovered so many amazing new bloggers:

I literally can’t name them all, but since I haven’t had a chance to update my blogroll in awhile, I want to call out:

Tessa @ Amazing Asset

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

Kat @ Keepin the Faith

Bonnie @ Glam Kitten’s Litter Box

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

And a ton of other amazing bloggers! (I seriously wish I could name you all, I promise I’ll updated my blogroll soon!)

What have you learned in the past year?

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

You need to know the back story:

After a run with the man-friend (which was shocking on it’s own) he said, [through a mouthful of cold pizza], that he might want to start eating yogurt and granola for breakfast.

Woah.

You have to jump on opportunities like that. So I knew a granola recipe was in order. Since he likes oatmeal raisin cookies, I thought I’d ease him into the idea of a healthy breakfast with a delicious homemade granola.

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp wheat bran
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups roasted, salted almonds
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Lots of cinnamon!

Combine the pumpkin, coconut oil, brown sugar, agave, and peanut butter  in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave it for 2 minutes, stirring everything 30 seconds. You want it really really warm but not boiling or anything. While that’s cooking:

Chop your almonds. I actually ran mine in the vita-mix, but be careful, you don’t want them to turn into almond butter! Then combine this with the oats and spices. (Do NOT add your raisins or cranberries yet!)

Spread on to a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Let cool and stir in your raisins and cranberries.

You’ll have a huge batch of granola and an awesome smelling kitchen.

This granola will happily be sprinkled on to yogurt, eating in bowls, or, my personal favorite, topped on a smoothie:

I did the nutritional calculations for this one, and it comes to ~200 calories per 1/4 cup servings. I realize this is not low calorie, but since I was making it for G-love who most certainly doesn’t need to be watching his calorie intake… I didn’t mind.

If you want to make a lower calorie version, use 1/2 amount of coconut oil, 1/2 amount of peanut butter, and sub 1 cup of almonds for 1 cup of puffed rice cereal!

Now, lets see if I can get the man-friend to eat it after our morning run ;)

What’s your favorite granola add-in? I think I want to try adding chocolate chips!

What I [Really] Ate Wednesday

Confession: Sometimes I’m super lame, and I eat the same thing over and over, and so I don’t actually show you want I ate in a day.

But Jen, our lovely host queen of WIAW made a request via twitter (if you’re not following me, you should be. I’m super awesome):

Ok Jen! This one is for you :)

Breakfast:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • Tons of ice
  • pinch of xanthan gum (it makes it thick!)
  • crumbled ginger cat cookies (I’m still obsessed with ginger)

Lunch

  • Black bean soup (recycled picture. You think I could actually get that kind of photo at my desk?) Click here for the recipe
  • Salad from the cafeteria: lettuce + carrots + lentils + couscous + balsamic vinegar
  • Popchips! (I’ve still got lots of these left!)

Afternoon snack

  • Apple (unpictured because I’m pretty sure you know what an apple looks like)

Dinner

I warned you, I’ve been super lame lately.

  • Fage 0% plain greek yogurt
  • Blueberries
  • Almond extract + stevia
  • Slices almonds
I was out of granola, so I dumped some sliced almonds on top. It was good, but I did miss the granola… which leads me to…

Night time snack

Oh. My. Gosh. This stuff was amazing.

But you’ll have to come back Friday for the recipe ;)

Exercise

I don’t even normally call this out, but I have to mention that G-love willingly got his butt out of bed at 6:45, just to go on a run with me. I don’t think you understand how incredible that was. We only ran a couple of miles, but the weather was beautiful!

As if that wasn’t enough… he said he thought he might want to start eating yogurt in the morning. (Granted, this was being said as he was eating leftover pizza from the night before… but still.) Is it possible that the boy who hates vegetables is turning over a new leaf?

What’s the best thing you ate today/yesterday?

Whats the best way to encourage healthy eating without being pushy?

Ginger-Obsessed

I never really craved ginger. Honestly, when I see whole ginger at the grocery store, it kind of freaks me out. But recently, I’ve become a ginger-lover. (No, not that kind of ginger.)

How it began:

I think I can blame gingerade kombucha.

Warning: You’ll fall in love with this, and then your wallet will be empty even faster than the bottle of deliciousness. Please ignore the packaged-trans-fat-laiden-frosting to the right of the tea. It’s been in there for months, and it will never get used.

Then I stumbled across these:

Trader Joe’s Ginger Cats. They are ad.ict.ting. That’s why I bagged them up into single servings. Yes. I’m a crazy person, but sometimes that’s what it takes in order to prevent the “one-cookie-here-one-cookie-there” problem.

Then I sealed the deal with this:

Angela’s Gingerbread. So delicious. I ran into Eric’s roommate at the auto parts store, and he’s a vegan. For some reason, I felt the need to make some sort of vegan baked good for him. I think I just feel like vegans get negelcted when people offer around baked goods. So there you go. Sorry for the bad picture, but I didn’t have time to drag out my lightbox. #Fail

Normally I like to tweak recipes, but with Angela’s I don’t even mess with them! Eric, his roommate, and his friend all raved about this. Eric and I ate ours with TJ’s pumpkin ice cream and some pumpkin spice coffee. YUM.

What’s your favorite ginger-fied food?

Makin’ it Fancy- New Recipe!

If you’ve read my blog, like, ever, then you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been hooked on Sweet potatoes + almond butter. I’m convinced that it’s the best combination ever. Add a little stevia and cinnamon, and you’ve got a party.

So when I volunteered to bring a side dish to my Thursday night potluck, I knew I wanted to use up the sweet potatoes from my garden.

Awkwardly huge potatoes. The one in front was like the size of a football. The one in the back looks like two separate ones, but no. It’s one giant-mutant potato.

I seriously considered just baking them with almond butter. But… 2 ingredient dishes aren’t quite as fun to bring to a potluck. I wanted to kick it up a notch.

This was the delicious result:

Sweet Potato Almond Casserole

Serves 8 as a side dish

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed clean
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 3 tbsp almond butter (roasted and salted. If unsalted, add 1/2 tsp salt)
  • 2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of  nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until soft. Then scoop out the flesh and discard the skins. Turn the oven down to 350. Mash the flesh and stir in the eggs, almond butter, brown sugar, and spices. You could probably do this with a hand mixer, but I just tossed it all in my vitamix, and blended until smooth.

Spray an 8×8 cassaerole dish with non-stick spray, and then pour your mixture into the dish. Top with chopped almonds and, if you feel like it, a tiny bit more brown sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Click here for the nutritional information. *Side note, do you guys like it when people post the nutritional info?*

Warning: This will make your kitchen smell amazing

The whole thing got eaten, so I think that’s a good sign! Although the main dish was chicken pot pie, the girl who made it brought me my very own veggie filled pie!! I felt quite loved ;)

What’s your favorite side dish?

What I Ate [For a Low Calorie Dessert] Wednesday

Sometimes, inspiration just strikes.

I was long over due for some play time in the kitchen. I was in the mood for something sweet… warm… decadent…. oh, and low calorie.

I’m just glad inspiration came in time for What I Ate Wednesday.

So today, I’ll be featuring What I Ate for Dessert :)

It took trial. Error. And lots of dirty ramekins. But I did it! I made the recipe for a single serving, but you could easily double it or triple it. Just note that the microwave time is for one serving!

Almond Cake for One

  • 1 1/2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp egg white
  • 1 tsp soymilk (or other milk)
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 drops of almond extract (Sub in vanilla if you must!)
  • Dash of salt
I mixed everything in one ramekin, and then transferred it to a new one that was sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Then I popped it in the microwave for 45 seconds, and voila! A dense, sweet, rich, cake. All for me.

This lovely little cake has just 75 calories, 1.5g fiber and 4g protein. Beat that!

All. For. Me.

It’s a good thing I could share this, because all of my other eats have been exactly the same. Cake batter yogurt bowls, salads with super creamy hummus, and Trader Joe’s Asian Stir Fry. Lame. I know.

Do you ever make single serving desserts?