Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Hump Day!

I made myself a blackberry banana smoothie to drink on my way to the gym this morning. I swam drills for about 30 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of pool running, followed by a 15 minute pool weight workout. I was a prune by the time I got out of the water!

Blackberry Banana Smoothie

- 1 whole, fresh banana (very ripe)
- 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
- 1/4 cup raw oats
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- tablespoon ground flax
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 7 ice cubes
- teaspoon raw honey

My long pool workout left me extremely hungry for lunch. I made myself a veggie BLT on sprouted grain bread. Here's the veggie bacon that I use on my BLTs.

I had a HUGE honeycrisp apple with my sandwich.

Come dinnertime my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli, bell pepper, onion and carrot) tossed with whole wheat linguine and homemade reduced fat alfredo sauce. This has become a favorite recipe of mine! Love it. I saved about 1/3 of the pasta and veggies on my plate for lunch tomorrow.

Ok, back to work!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pomegranate Madness!

If it wasn't for the photo I would have no idea what I ate for breakfast today. It's been a long day! I had a repeat of yesterday's breakfast: Cascadian Farms high fiber cereal with a banana, almonds and organic 1% milk.

It held me over better today than it did yesterday. Strange! I wasn't hungry for lunch but I wanted a little something and my pomegranate has been calling my name. If you haven't heard, pomegranates are all the rage due to their health benefits. If you've never tried one, I highly recommend them. Here's a photo tutorial to guide you through your first pomegranate experience.


Pom juice stains.

Step 2: Get a large bowl of water and your pomegranate

Step 3: Score your pomegranate from top to bottom at about 1.5 inch intervals around the entire circumference, being careful not to cut too deep. The objective is to score the skin so you can break the fruit apart to access the seeds, which are the edible part of the fruit.

Step 4: Carefully break the pomegranate apart over your bowl of water. The pom seeds will sink while the white material holding the seeds will float, making it easy to separate the seeds from the waste.

Step 5: Carefully dislodge all of the seeds from inside the pomegranate allowing them to sink to the bottom of your bowl.

Step 6: Toss the occasional stray seed to your dog who is patiently waiting for her first pomegranate of the season, too.

Step 7: remove any extra floating bits from your bowl of seeds.

Step 8: Relish the fruits of your labor. Look at those beautiful little rubies!

I immediately took about half of the seeds and mixed them with some greek yogurt and sprinkled a little granola on top. Delicious. I love the satisfying crunch of the pom seeds.

Pom seeds are also excellent sprinkled on hot or cold cereal, as a smoothie ingredient or as a salad topping. I even enjoy them plain.

After my pom-yogurt snack I had a mug of tea and six peanut butter M&Ms. I just randomly grabbed a few M&Ms out of the bag, opened my hand, and the colors were all in order! And they matched my mug!

Around 4:30 I went for a hot, sweaty 5k run. I checked the temp when I got back to the house...96 degrees! No wonder I was dripping. I showered and changed before heading out with Bella for her dog training class. We've been remiss with our homework so I was worried she'd embarrass me in class.

I was STARVING so I grabbed a Larabar on my way out of the house.

And I stopped for an iced latte, which was conveniently located directly across from the PetSmart where we were meeting for training. My training program is not through PetSmart, but we met there tonight to work on training in an environment that's full of distractions.

She did great! But no matter how hard I try I cannot get her to stay in the down position. She immediately pops right back up. She's a great sitter, but terrible at staying down.

I debated stopping for food on my way home but decided that our full pantry and refrigerator could yield a healthier and tastier dinner. I settled on soup and grilled cheese.

I started with this Amy's tomato soup as my base.

I microwave steamed some broccoli, carrot, and zucchini in a ziploc zip-n-steam bag. I don't use the zip-n-steam bags too often, but they work great when you're throwing together a quick, healthy meal.

I added the steamed veggies and some fresh cherry tomatoes to my bowl of tomato soup. On the side I lightly grilled an Arnold's 100 calorie whole grain sandwich thin with some extra sharp cheddar and mustard.

It was a VERY filling dinner. Now I must digest before bed. Good night!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Poor Me

I'm having a "poor me" day for some reason. Not sure why! I've been grumpy. I tried to cure it with food and yoga. Breakfast was a wonderful bowl of Cascadian Farm Organic Hearty Morning high fiber cereal topped with a sliced banana, a sprinkle of almonds and 1% organic milk.

My bowl of cereal tasted so good, but I still got hungry for lunch about three hours later. I reheated some leftover mac & cheese and the rest of the roasted veggies.

A few hours later I was hungry yet again! So I pulled a very small peanut butter blondie out of the freezer and enjoyed it with a crumbled square of extra dark chocolate.

I also had a juicy peach.

After my evening yoga class I stopped for a veggie wrap on my way home. I wanted something easy. To lighten it up I ordered it on a whole wheat wrap with 1/2 of the cheese and no dressing or oils. I got a small bag of Sun Chips for some salt and crunch.

Before I sign off I thought I'd address a question I've been asked a few times now -- How do you freeze a banana? When my bananas get really brown and spotty, it's time to freeze 'em for use in my smoothies. I peel them, break them in half, then put them in ziploc freezer bags before tossing them in the freezer. The browner the banana, the sweeter it will be. So although a banana may not be suitable for direct consumption, it's a wonderful smoothie addition once frozen.

I freeze other fruits as well, mostly berries. I recently bought a huge container of strawberries and was only able to eat about 1/2 of the container before they started looking questionable. So I washed them, dried them, then put them in a ziploc freezer bag. It's a great way to extend the life of your perishable fruit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Night Blues

I can't believe the weekend is almost over. They go by so fast, don't they? I woke up early to get our bikes ready and loaded on my car so we could head to the "trail" for our bike ride! I enjoyed some hot tea in my new mug while getting organized.

We rode our bikes on a lovely road right by our house that's never been open to vehicles due to a dispute over who will pay for the final 1/4 mile that's needed to connect it to a toll road. It cost millions to construct and it's been used only by cyclists for years.

We saw a group of about five deer running along the road, a giant snake slithering down the bike lane, and a medium sized alligator relaxing on the shoulder. And there's a creepy abandoned house along the road, too.

After riding for about an hour we stopped for a refreshment before heading home to shower. I had a small cappuccino.

We had to rush to get ready and out of the house to meet a friend for breakfast. I ordered a veggie omelet with a small stack of blueberry pancakes instead of toast. I ate about 60% of everything.

The pancakes appear larger in the photo. They're really small pancakes.

After doing some shopping we headed home and I was hungry for a snack -- honeycrisp apple and some raw almonds.

I suddenly got the urge to make soft pretzels. I used this recipe as my guide and instead of the bread flour I used 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup ground flax. Here they are before going into the oven.

And here they are hot out of the oven topped with a light smear of butter and sea salt. Dipped in horseradish mustard they were comforting and tasty, but not quite the same as Auntie Anne's pretzels. I need to play with the recipe to figure out how to boost the pretzel flavor.

And for dinner I reheated a small bowl of leftover mac & cheese topped with veggies.

Laundry calls....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

13 Miles DONE!

I did a sloooow 13.2 miles this morning. I may not have been speedy, but I completed my target miles for the day and burned 1,360 according to my heart rate monitor. I drank a water/G2 mix throughout my run but didn't eat anything. Once back at the house I had two handfuls of almonds to tide me over until lunch.

And I drank a Fuze Slenderize Pomegranate Acai Berry on the way to Pei Wei.

I had an iced green tea with lunch.

And we shared veggie spring rolls.

For my entree I ordered a veggie tofu teriyaki bowl with brown rice on the side. I ate about 70% of my meal. I was HUNGRY and it tasted really good!

After lunch we ran a few errands, including a stop at Nordstrom. I got a small double mocha (light on the chocolate) at Norstrom's eBar. I was falling asleep in the car so I really needed a caffeine boost!

I desperately needed to go grocery shopping so we stopped at Publix on our way home. Here are a few highlights of my loot! I bought MUCH more than what's pictured but I didn't have the patience to photograph everything.

- Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
- Cascade Farms organic high fiber cereal
- Chipotle salsa
- Carrots
- Brussels sprouts
- Pomegranate (first of the season!)
- Honeycrisp apples (yay! they've made it to FL!)
- Peaches
- Extra firm tofu
- Organic eggs
- 0% Fage greek yogurt
- Laughing Cow Light cheese

For dinner I was craving my all-time favorite mac & cheese with roasted veggies.

Roasted Veggies
- onion
- green bell pepper
- red bell pepper
- zucchini
- carrots
- broccoli

Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt & cracked black pepper. Roast at 375 for approximately 40 - 45 minutes.

And the star of the show was Moosewood Restaurant's Mac & Cheese.

Moosewood Reduced Fat Mac & Cheese

1 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 cup low fat milk or buttermilk
1 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
pinch of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated onion
1 cup freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 lb uncooked elbow macaroni or pasta shape of your choice (I used Barilla Plus fusilli)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used two crumbled slices of asiago sourdough bread)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray a baking pan (about a 9 or 10 inch square or oval baking pan) with a light coating of cooking spray. Puree the cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper until smooth. In a large bowl combine the cottage cheese puree, grated onion, pasta and cheddar cheese. Combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. Pour pasta mixture into pan and top with bread crumb mix. Bake approximately 45 minutes until the topping is browned and the center is firm.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gut Busting Dinner

I was planning on a long run this morning until I remembered it's FRIDAY and my long run is TOMORROW. Duh! So I went to the Y and did a short, fast treadmill run followed by a 45 minute stretch class. Before heading to the Y I had a small cup of cereal.

A few hours after getting home I made a lazy lunch.

Spinach and Fruit Smoothie

- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 of a green apple
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup raw oats (old fashioned, rolled oats)
- 8 ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon raw honey

And a piece of sprouted grain toast with almond butter and jam.

I had an afternoon snack of a handful of raw almonds and a few bites of cold black bean and veggie mix (leftover sweet potato topping from Wednesday's dinner). I didn't photograph either snack.

For dinner Chris and I went to a new Greek restaurant in our neighborhood. We ordered the mixed veggie appetizer.

- Pita
- Hummus
- Feta
- Peppers

And I had a falafel pita as my entree.

Everything tasted great but I ate WAY too much. I was uncomfortably full after dinner so we took Bella for a walk around the neighborhood to expedite digestion. I hate it when I overeat without realizing it! I need to be more mindful of that in the future.