What I Ate [Over the Weekend] Wednesday

Time for a little recap of life. Ready? Here we go.

Since Friday night was a lot of this:

I tried to start my week of a little healthier, so this was my day of eats on Sunday:

Breakfast:

Ok, this was the same thing I always eat. Chobani 0% + stevia + blueberries + Udi’s granola.

Lunch:

G-love and I went to Chipotle after church and met up with Eric. I had a veggie burrito bol, with brown rice, veggies, black beans, every salsa (except for the hot one) guacamole and lettuce. Yes, I ate the whole thing.

Dinner:

We didn’t get hungry until later, since we ate such a big lunch, but eventually our appetite came back. I didn’t feel like doing anything complicated, so we just did pasta with asparagus for me, and meatballs for him.

My absolute favorite way to eat asparagus couldn’t be simpler:

Kitchen Grilled Asparagus:

  • 10 spears of asparagus (with the ends snapped off)
  • Cooking spray
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt + Pepper

This works best on a  George Foreman grill, or some other type of grill thing, but you could do it on a frying pan if you don’t have one. Just spray the cooking spray on your grill (or pan) and spread out your a-spears in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and cook for 7-8 minutes on medium heat, until tender. Top with parmesan cheese.

I realize this is barely a recipe, but my goal is to show how EASY it is to cook asparagus! Don’t fear the greens!

As for the rest of the plate, it was Trader Joe’s high fiber pasta (G-love didn’t even notice it wasn’t regular white pasta) topped with Trader Joe’s sauce, which we spiced up with lots of seasonings. This dinner took literally less than 15 minutes, and we both enjoyed it.

And that’s how I’ve been enjoying my veggies this month!

What’s your favorite way to recover after the weekend?

Streusel Satisfaction

Even my cravings have a short attention span.

I started out making these chocolate chip muffins. But I grabbed the self rising flour off the shelf… and the recipe on the back was for cinnamon streusel coffee cake… which sounded so good. Suddenly, mid-recipe, my craving switched from chocolate to cinnamon.
What is a girl to do?  Obviously, the answer is go with the newest craving. So I switched things up mid-way, and ended up with amazing cinnamon streusel muffins.

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Combine the sugar and butter until smooth-ish, and then add in your egg, milk and vanilla. It’ll be a little lumpy. Stir in the flour until well mixed. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Drop the batter, by tablespoons, into muffin liners. (I actually sprayed my muffin liners with a little non-stick cooking spray. I’m not sure if it’s necessary, but that’s what I did.) Then top with about a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar mixture. Top that with the rest of the batter, and then top with the remaining sugar. (See the pattern?) Bake in the oven at 375, for about 15 minutes, or until golden!

They’re more like… individual coffee cakes. But that’s ok. Because everything is cuter when it’s a single serving.

I gobbled one of these up before it was barely cool. The rest came into work with me, because I couldn’t be trusted around them.

And since a lot of my weekend was spent at Mexican restaurants and/or Cookout (can’t pass up at milkshake at 2am. Especially when I’m with G-love and Eric) I made sure to fit in some workouts.

Eric and I signed up for the Monument 10K, and we’re hoping to run it faster than we did last year! Although, we’re also considering dressing up like LMFAO, so if we’re slower this year, we’ll have an excuse. We did a short run on Saturday, and it was a decent jog, considering the wind was blowing like crazy.

I also returned to my circuit-style workout on Sunday and it made me wonder why I stopped doing it. So effective, and the time flies by. Seriously. (It helped that I had the whole workout room to myself at the gym. What can I say? I like my privacy when I’m doing burpees.)

What’s your favorite type of muffin? Have you signed up for any races recently?

Carb-a-licious Goodness

Hi, I’m Liz, and I like carbs.

Like a lot. I don’t know if you noticed… but I eat a lot of them. I know, I know, some people think carbs are evil. But I think they’re fantastic. I’ve tried cutting back. But the result is a grumpy, cranky girl who wants to eat your head off. Not pretty.

Give me a plate of cheese and crackers, and I’ll eat the crackers and leave you the cheese.

And yet, I don’t buy bread, like ever. The only reason I’ve been having a slice of toast in the morning is because Udi’s sent me some. Wanna hear something really shameful? I’ve had a bread maker for like 3 years, and I’ve only used it maybe… once. Oops.

So when we had that random snow storm on Monday (did I mention its 73 degrees today?) I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, baking. I browsed some recipes for inspiration and ended up creating this:

Whole Wheat Oat Bread

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup almond milk

Mix all your ingredients (I don’t do them in a certain order… but if it makes you feel better, just go down the list) and bake in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Mine didn’t rise a lot, so it was a very dense bread, but it was good! And since it has lots of fiber, it’s a super filling bread.

Would you go for the cheese, or the crackers?

What I [Photographed] Wednesday

Just in case you missed my superimportantannoucement on Monday… I’m still playing with my new camera!

My friend Taylor took me out on Monday for a little photo adventures and just an hour with her was SO helpful! (She does weddings and such if anyone in RVA is looking!)

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think I knew what I was doing. (Thank you for the pic, Taylor!)

So this was a fun, and challenging post, since I’m still trying to learn my way around my camera. Obviously, I couldn’t snap a picture at work with my camera, so that was my exception in this post.

Breakfast:

Simple bowl of Chobani 0% with vanilla stevia, frozen blueberries, and Udi’s cranberry granola.

Lunch:

Since my barley stew made a bunch of servings, and I’m the only one eating it, I had leftovers at work. I took this picture earlier, obviously (since I get enough strange looks from my co-workers for bringing in things like kale chips and kombucha tea. I don’t need to add a giant camera into the mix.)

I also grabbed some veggies from the salad bar at work, and topped it with some Trader Joe’s Peppercorn Ranch, which I brought from home. I’m normally not a fan of salad dressings (they usually just taste kind of slimy to me) but this dressing is light and delicious.

Afternoon snack:

As soon as I got home from work, I was starving. So I grabbed a slice of homemade wheat bread, and topped it with a smear of almond butter. This bread is really dense, and since it’s made with whole wheat flour and whole grain oats, it’s fiber packed as well! I’ll try to remember to post the recipe soon.

Dinner:

My friend Kate and I went to Xtra’s Cafe in Carytown, specifically for 1/2 off wine night. (I normally go on Wednesdays… for $10 bottles of champagne, but… I’m flexible.) Sadly, I brought my camera, and forgot my memory card… so no photo from there. But you know what white wine looks like, right?

When I finally got home, I wasn’t that hungry, but I knew I needed to eat something, so I whipped up a simple smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 handful ice cubes
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • stevia to taste
Serve it in a jar of almost empty peanut butter, and you get perfect nut butter distribution.
I can hear you judging. “Skippy? Really? Where is your $19 jar of raw, organic, whole foods, nut butter with fair trade flax seeds?” Not here. Sorry. Sometimes I get Skippy because they carry it at Target, and it’s cheap. Yep. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Do you try to sneak iphone pictures of your food around your co-workers? Do you buy fancy nut butter, or the cheap stuff?

Hearty Barley Stew

Wait, first off, I have an important announcement…

I finally purchased a DSLR camera!

After much deliberation, I went with the Canon Rebel T2i. (Uh, if anyone wants to help me figure out how it works? That’d be cool.) So I’ll be spending lots of hours in the future trying to figure out how it works :)

Anyways, there was a winter storm warning here in Richmond, and I didn’t need to see snow flakes to decide it was the perfect excuse to spend the day in the kitchen.

I whipped up a huge pot of what was initially going to be a vegetable soup, but it turned into more like an italian stew. This recipe had a mind of its own. Thankfully, it turned out well.

Hearty Barley Stew

Makes about 6 cups
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce (or just more diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup uncooked, pearled barley
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

Start by sauteing the carrots and onion in the olive oil, over medium heat until soft. Add cumin and stir. Pour in your diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, marinara sauce and barley. Turn to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the rest of the seasonings, and continue to cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the barley is cooked. Just before serving, stir in the spinach so it’s just barely wilted.

I didn’t do the exact “analysis” on this, but each serving is about 200 calories, and that’s for a pretty big serving. (Over a cup.) The barley is super filling, and you’re getting lots of veggie-packed goodness in each serving!

Forgive the photography… I don’t know my settings on my camera yet ;)

Anyone have DSLR tips for me?

Probiotic Cocktails

Hello Friday, and welcome, long weekend!

This week has been kind of crazy. I think I’ve been a little “edgy” and impatient the past couple of days. I’m pretty convinced it’s because my workout schedule was thrown off track.

I only had 45 minutes to squeeze in a workout over lunch Wednesday, and I decided I’d take the Tai Chi class. Why didn’t anyone warn me Tai Chi takes about the same amount of energy as sitting on the couch watching re-runs of Saved by the Bell? It was seriously the biggest waste of my time, and I was bummed because I didn’t have much time to waste. Thursday was packed with meetings and I had dinner for work, but m ore on that later.

So back to the gluten-free thing. I’m not avoiding gluten, although I’ve gotten slightly more aware of it. I didn’t think it was really helping or hurting, so I’d rather not complicate my diet by cutting anything out completely. What I have added, is Kefir+ Probiotic drink. I bought a bottle of So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir (because me and dairy aren’t always the best of friends) and a carton of Good Belly.

I’ve been making these every day:

Probiotic Cocktail

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk kefir
  • 1/2 cup good bell probiotic drink
  • 1 cup blueberries

It’s simple, delicious and it’s helping “regulate” my system. I’ve also been adding about 1/2 cup of kefir to my yogurt bowl in the morning. It’s delicious!

And in other news…

I went to Lemaire last night, which is inside the Jefferson Hotel, in downtown Richmond. Of course, I was faced with the common “the fancier the restaurant, the more awkward it is to take pictures” dilemma, so I didn’t snap anything until dessert…

I opted for the molten lava cake… as soon as the waiter mentioned it, I couldn’t get it off my mind. Of course, I had a bite of the cheesecake & the pecan tart, thanks to the sharing of the table! This was the perfect ending to a delicious meal. I wish I could have taken a picture of each course!

The most exciting part of dinner was when the couple right next to us got engaged! The lady was crying, and the restaurant brought out champagne and we all clapped :) so happy!

Have you tried kefir? What do you think about probiotics? All hype, or truly beneficial?

Does dim restaurant lighting make anyone else sad?

Gluten Free- What I Ate Wednesday

It wasn’t exactly intentional. But since the nice folks at Udi’s sent me a giant box of gluten free products, I figured, why not see what happens if I avoid gluten for a bit. At the risk of TMI, I’ve been having a few “digestive issues” (bloating, “irregularity”, etc) and it doesn’t seem to be lack of fiber… so for fun I figured why not go gluten free for a few days?

Don’t tell the boyfriend. I don’t think he could deal with another “dietary restriction”

So here is a [mostly] Gluten-Free What I Ate Wednesday!

 

This is actually Monday’s eats… since Gluten entered my world for Valentine’s Dinner. More on that later.

Breakfast:

I had a bowl of Chobani 0% with stevia and blueberries, topped with Udi’s cranberry granola. The granola was good, but since lots of granola is gluten free, it’s not THAT special. I actually don’t really like dried cranberries in my yogurt, because they get really hard, due to the frozen berries. But I can’t really blame the granola for that.

So it gets a B+. It’s good, but I wouldn’t necessarily buy it every single time.

Morning snack

I had a slice of Udi’s millet bread, topped with a bit of Sarah’s nut butter.

This bread surprised me. I’ve had some nasty gluten free bread, but this stuff was good. It had a really hearty texture, which I liked. But if you’re a wonder bread fan, this is not your thing. It’s not as soft as regular bread, but since I normally toast mine, I didn’t care.

Lunch

I had one of these Trader Joe’s Spring Onion Soups in my cabinet, and since it’s gluten free, it made the perfect packed lunch.

These things are pretty tasty, but it’s a lot of sodium, and not a lot of protein and fiber, so I don’t eat them very often. (and they’re not very pretty to photograph…) I was starving at lunch, so I also munched on an unpictured side salad, which was not very exciting.

Afternoon snack

I packed half an Udi’s cinnamon raisin bagel. I’m sure it would have been better toasted. but I was running from one meeting to the next and I just scarfed it down plain. It really tasted like a regular bagel, so I think it should get a B+, because it didn’t taste gluten free. Again, nothing spectacular, but it was good.

Dinner

Ok, so I don’t think this box of soup is ACTUALLY gluten free. I’m not sure. But since I’m not actually allergic or anything, and I was craving soup, I figured a little gluten would be fine. I also had broccoli + some hummus from Ellwood Thompson. I have a delicious broccoli recipe I keep meaning to post. Maybe Friday? We shall see.

Have you ever avoided gluten, or are you gluten free? Can gluten cause “digestive” trouble?

#VAis4Bloggers and the Salad Shocker

If you follow any Virginian food bloggers on twitter, then you probably saw the incessant #VAis4bloggers hash tagging.

Sarah from The Smart Kitchen organized a big meet up of Richmond & Charlottesville bloggers (Oh, and Alex from NOVA!)

It was so much fun to meet these girls in person! Sarah and I kept saying how strange it was since it felt like we already knew each other! :)

The group: BrittanyGabbyLauren, Kristin, Kath, Me, FaithLiz, Jess, Alex and Sarah

(Thanks for the photo, Kath!)

We had a fantastic time eating at Feast! and wondering around the market and spice shop.

I definitely need to spend more time in Charlottesville. I have a feeling I need to dedicate a couple of days to exploration.I mean, the Main Street Market area alone took the afternoon! (And since Sarah is a willing tour guide, I think more trips to C-ville are definitely in my future!)

Maybe G-love could tell I was on a blogger high or something, but he surprised me Sunday afternoon, by voting to make salads for lunch. We went to the store so he could get some chicken to grill (on my baby Foreman) and I prepped the salad fixings.

Photo

We did a mexican type salad, with Romaine, carrots, black beans, salsa, tortilla strips and Trader Joe’s light peppercorn ranch dressing (+ grilled chicken with garlic pepper rub, for the boy). He also bought some yogurt and granola, so I can tell he’s really trying to make an effort, which is cute ;) P.S. If you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Peppercorn Ranch, it’s delicious, and low in calories and fat! Woohoo!

I think these baby steps are working. At least that’s one day where McDonalds didn’t win ;)

What was the best part of your weekend?

Vitalicious Review!

Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you, but this week has seemed particularly long. I mean, it kind of flew by, but I’m just exhausted! I’ll have to scrounge up some energy for the weekend, as it’s going to be pretty busy. (#VAisforbloggers meet up on Saturday!)

Anyways, the awesome folks at Vitalicious sent me a few boxes of their new 50 calorie VitaCakes to review, and since they’re awesome, I thought I’d do a review of the cakes AND the muffins! So let’s begin:

If you’ve never had a VitaMuffin (Kat, I’m looking at you!) these things are delicious! They come frozen, and since they don’t have preservatives, you need to keep them frozen until ready to eat. You can either leave them out for a few hours, or nuke them in the microwave for instant gratification.

I’ve tried both the double chocolate chip and the banana nut flavor and both are excellent.

VitaMuffins and VitaCakes are:

  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber/protein
  • Easy to eat on the go
  • Have no artificial additives or preservatives
  • A delicious way to satisfy a sweet craving

They also taste really rich. They don’t taste like cardboard cakes, like some “low calorie” cakes do. Really the only downside is the price. They’re not cheap. (Around $5 for a box of 4…) but sometimes they’re on sale, and it’s cheaper than grabbing a muffin at a coffee shop.

That’s the banana nut muffin with a smear of nut butter on top, because everything is better that way.

 

Or if I want a smaller snack, the new VitaCakes are only 50 calories!

I usually take one with me in the mornings, and it’s thawed by the time I need a snack! (They also don’t smush, because they’re frozen… which sounds silly, but we all know is kind of a big deal.)

There are lots of other flavors I haven’t tried, but I can definitely vouch for these two!

 

Do you throw a snack in your bag for later? If so, what is it?

What I Ate Wednesday- Veggie Style

How is it only Wednesday? I feel like this week has already been packed with activity.

I managed to squeeze in getting new tires, taking my first (and potentially last) violin lesson, and $1 pizza night at Stuzzi… and that was just Monday night.

Yeah, I like to stay busy.

Anyways, it’s Wednesday! And not just any Wednesday… it’s a veggie-filled one! Fine, for me… every day is a veggie day. But some days… more than others. So a veggie packed What I Ate Wednesday isn’t too hard ;) But still, I can’t pass up a good challenge!

So in honor of Love Your Veggies Month (Jenn, is that a real month?) I’ve pulled together a veggerific day of eats!

Breakfast:

Greeeeeeeen smoothie! Just a simple: 1 banana, 1/2 cup soymilk, handful of ice, 2 handfuls of spinach, stevia and a little granola!

Lunch:

I actually packed my lunch, but I was swayed by the unpictured tomato soup from the cafeteria… so I had that + the salad below. I don’t know how I didn’t snap a picture of the soup, but it was good.

I know, I know, creamy dressing + croutons = bad salad maker, but shhh. The dressing is so creamy I only need a little and the croutons in our cafeteria are like the best ever. So just get off your salad high-horse and chill.

Afternoon snack:

I worked late last night, so around 6pm, I was glad I had one of these babies in my bag! Vitamuffin folks, the official review is coming on Friday!

Dinner:

Ok ok this isn’t what I had for dinner last night… it’s what I had for dinner Sunday night, but it was SO good! While I was at Brittany’s for a super bowl party, she made this delicious Eat Clean Vegetable Soup and it was fantastic. I’ve had it on my mind all week! I’m definitely going to have to make it for myself.

What veggie-packed recipes are you loving these days?