Monday, May 30, 2011

Long, Amazing Weekend

I'm back! My long weekend was spent happily in Milwaukee and Kenosha Wisconsin visiting Nick and the family. So much excitement was packed in to this weekend and now I'm pretty much exhausted! Here's a little recap :)

Friday we left Minnesota bright and early at 5:00 am. I had a small bowl of Kashi Autumn Wheat with banana and almond milk before the car ride and we stopped for breakfast around 9:00. My family ate at McDonalds, but I munched on a Luna bar and apple that I packed, and walked over to a Kwik Trip to snag some berries and coffee. Nick and I went out to a yummy little wrap place for lunch and I got a veggie hummus wrap that was absolutely tasty. The rest of the day was spent at the Botanical Gardens, getting ice cream (mint chocolate chip!), watching The Roommate (I do not recommend this one, hah) and going to the Brewers' Game (lots of fun even though they lost)! Definitely a fun fun Friday ;)

Beautiful Botanical Gardens

Nick & I :)

Fountain Shot

Gorgeous Lilac Blossoms
Saturday was spent venturing to downtown Milwaukee. We stopped for lunch at Alterra, this really cool coffee shop that I'm basically obsessed with now. It took me forever to decide what I wanted to eat because EVERYTHING sounded delicious. I ended up getting the Roasted Red Pepper and Brie Melt and Iced Tea. Next we met up with our friends to go on a cute (or as cute as we silly geese were able to make it) double date to the Art Museum and Water Street Brewery for dinner. I didn't take a picture of what I got at the restaurant, but it was a delicious warm, vegetarian pasta salad served a top lots of fresh spinach. Just the way I would have made it!

My yummy melt from Alterra 
Iced Tropical Crimson Tea

Milwaukee Lakefront

Obligatory Selfy

Milwaukee Art Museum

I love the simplicity of art museums

Emma and Jacob, our friends who went on the date with us! :)
Sunday was spent with my dad's side of the family in Kenosha. My cousin, mom, grandma and aunt went to my cousin's high school to see its production of Les Mis Sunday afternoon which was perfect because it was a stormy, rainy day. I let go a bit with my eating and decided to not be high-maintenance and go with the flow. I ended up eating more greasy food (read: fried chicken sandwich, fries, potato salad, pizza) than I would have cared to but I didn't dwell on it. I enjoyed it laughing with my family and I went to bed and woke up happy. I know that it was a once-in-a-long-while type of thing so I'm not stressin' :)

I should be back to normal bloggin' soon. I've got some recipes brewing in my head that I'm dying to try.

How did you spend your long weekend?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad With Tuna

Yesterday, I knew I wanted to incorporate quinoa into my lunch somehow. I decided to throw together a salad with a bunch of stuff in the fridge that I thought would work well together. Result? Deliciousness. If you're a fan of tangy-salty-mediterranean cuisine, this salad is definitely up your alley. Here's how I made it. It's super quick, and super EASY. :)

- 1/4 Cup quinoa
- 1/4 Cup water + 1/4 Cup orange juice
- 5 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
- half a can of tuna (seasoned with s&p)
- a few kalamata olives
- dollop of garlic hummus
- sprinkle of feta
- 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- pepper to taste

Cook quinoa in orange juice - water mixture. Let the mixture come to a steady boil then cover and lower heat so quinoa can simmer and absorb the liquid. When just a bit of liquid remains, add the carrots so they can cook slightly. 

While quinoa cooks, assemble the spinach, tuna and olives on a plate or bowl, however you prefer. Add the cooked quinoa and carrots to the salad. Top with a dollop of hummus and sprinkle of feta and finish it off with a teeny tiny bit of olive oil to balance the tangy-ness of the other ingredients. Add pepper if you like. I love the smolder of a little bit of cracked black pepper on my salads, especially mediterranean ones. 


In other news, I won't be posting for a few days because I'm journeying to Milwaukee too see the boy (and my family, hah) for the weekend. :D So excited. Many pictures shall be taken but I probably won't have much time to blog. I'll be sure to do a Memorial Weekend recap when I get back. Enjoy yours bloggies!

Popping my WIAW Cherry. Heyyya ;)

What UP! First What I ate Wednesday! Let's not get technical with the actual post date of this. Thanks Jennifer!!


Kashi GoLean + Fiber One Original cereal and Unsweetened Almond Milk topped with 1/2 banana, strawberries, blueberries and ground flax.

Cup of half-caf coffee plus a glug of Unsweetened Almond Milk

El backyard looking greener and greener every day. Now we just need some sunshine for me to enjoy it!

After my run, chilled out with HP and a tall glass of water on the porch:)


Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Tuna (recipe to come

Orange with Cottage Cheese

Afternoon Snack
Gala Apple and Almond Butter


(No photo evidence)

Noodles & Company Veggie Med Sandwich + Tomato Cucumber Salad (not the tomato basil bisque in the picture)

A couple friends and I hit up Noodles for dinner and I was in the mood for pita bread like none other. The sandwich hit the spot. For only 300 calories plus the 80 cal tomato cucumber salad I was deliciously satisfied. Yummers!

Later Snack
1/2 Dark Chocolate Bar

Got this from Target for the movie we were supposed to see -- I was super needing some chocolate in my life. But we ended up not being able to find the theater and ventured back home to watch a movie instead. Ha! Complete fail. Oh well. We're planning on re-trying that one tomorrow. We ended up watching The Virgin Suicides and I still don't know what I think about it. Have you guys seen it? What did you think of it?

Sorry for the cut and dry post but as it's 1 am and I'm used to falling asleep by 11, I'm a little unenthusiastic about writing a ton. Forgive me!

What is your favorite thing to munch on during movies, if you are a movie muncher?

What do you think of Noodles and Company -- Fan? Not a Fan?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Real Reflection: What am I Doing?

Okay. I'm going to say it. I'm getting sick of this weather. I've always been one to relish the gloomy days but there are only so many hours spent reading or Real Housewives marathon watching that I can take. I just want the sun back. Just for a little bit!

Anywho, I woke up this morning to find the fruit stand and banana hook completely empty. Woops, parents must have forgotten that their daughter is a fruit fiend and her moving back in means the fruit moves out quickly. I didn't really feel like running out of the house on a fruit hunt at 7:30 in the morning looking my absolute best. So I decided to go for savory. Whipped up this little charmer that really hit the spot. I've always been a fan of breakfast egg sandwiches and normally make them with fresh tomatoes. However, we were out of those too. (Don't you just love days like these -- note the sarcasm). I subbed salsa for the tomatoes and decided to keep the nacho-y theme going with a dollop of greek yogurt and slice of Reduced-Fat cheddar. Kicked up the health points with lots of spinach and finished it off with a sprinkle of salt and peper. Num!

I usually take my morning jog about an hour or so after breakfast and was so looking forward to it as it had been since Friday that I'd run outside. Just as I slipped on my tennie's, though, it began to rain. I decided to stick with the trusty elliptical in the basement and did 35 minutes of varying resistance instead.  Even though I wasn't able to get my fresh air, I got nice and sweaty and caught an interesting episode of I Didn't Know I was Pregnant. Have you guys ever seen that show? Leave it up to TLC to find people with the strangest stories that freak me the eff out. 

Lunch rolled around and I was SO ready for a Green Smoothie. I'm addicted. I used the same recipe as the cantaloupe smoothie I made a few days ago but had to omit the banana. I added a scoop of vanilla protein powder to give it some oomf and keep me full throughout my long afternoon of Nannying.

I drank my smoothie alongside a sweet/salty Almond Butter Cran-Apple wrap. Next time I make this I won't dice the apples. They kept falling out as I tried to eat it! I think slices might work out a little better.

Nannying seriously tires me out! The girls I watch over are 5 and 3 and bursting with energy. I love playing with them because their imaginations (especially Alli's, the 3 year old) are hilarious. Molly, the 5 year old, is a bit more regimented and does things pretty much the same way every time she does them. I've babysat for this family ever since Molly was a year and a half so it's been awesome to see them grow up! But MAN oh man they know how to run a girl down. I definitely need a nap when I get back home ;)

So I've been thinking a lot about my journey and relationship with food. Where I've been, where I am now, and where I ultimately want to be. My attitude has shifted so much throughout the years from one of food-loathing to one of food-respect. But do I really want to have respect and respect only for food? I realized today that I've let my perspectives be molded by outside opinions. When I struggled with my eating disorder, I saw all food as bad because food was the one and only source of calories and essentially weight gain. Avoiding all food was the best relationship I could hope to have with it if I wanted to be thin, I thought. 

Recovering from my eating disorder taught me that not all food was bad. I learned what was healthy and what was best for our bodies. I learned to appreciate fruits and vegetables, learned to differentiate between good and bad fats and whole and refined carbohydrates. But I still avoided food. I avoided the bad: Cookies, cakes, ice cream, red meat. These were still my enemies. Counting calories remained my virtue and vice. I thought I had everything under control, picking and choosing carefully everything that goes into my body.

Where do I want to be? I don't really count calories anymore, basically because I've learned to recognize what are appropriate portion sizes and what food I really want to eat. I've become, over the past year, a lot less stressed about precise caloric intake because I found myself eating less-nutritious food simply because of a lower calorie content and restricting myself from fully enjoying what I ate. I guess that's where I'm confused. Should I enjoy food? It seems to be the healthy answer -- to enjoy what you eat. But then again, enjoying food too much, or enjoying too much food is what lead our country into the serious diet-related disease crisis that we now face. I know a healthy diet is so much more than the common perception of a grilled chicken breast next to steamed veggies on a plate. This community is teaching me new things every day -- I'm bombarded with new perspectives and philosophies that all are highly inspiring. I'm just confused. 

What is your perspective on/relationship with food or healthy eating?

How much do you feel you control what food you put in your body?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sun?Day & Cookie Pillows!

Yet another rainy morning here. I'm not complaining, though. I love the excuse to lounge around and be relaxed. I had planned on today being my rest day, anyways. Some of the storms that passed through today shot down some heavy rain. What did I do to relax? Took some photographs and read some Harry Potter :)

My favorite reading spot looked especially inviting this morning.

I found that the mess in the kitchen was kind of throwing off my relaxing groove so I did something completely strange and CLEANED!

Leftover dark chocolate PB :)

So because I was pretty much locked inside today, I decided I'd bake something delicious! Here's what happened. They were supposed to end up being snickerdoodle cookies but the final texture ended up tasting more muffin-like. I'm going to call them Cookie Pillows! I'm pretty sure the puffy texture is due to the fact that I used applesauce in the place of some of the butter and two egg whites in place of one whole egg.

Whole Wheat Snickerdoodle Cookie Pillows
- 3/4 C Applesauce + 2 T. softened butter (or 1/2 C butter)
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 2 egg whites (or one egg)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1.5 C Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 T. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Step 1) Cream applesauce, butter, and brown sugar until "fluffy" (Mine never reached the fluffy stage because of the applesauce but you'll know when you're done beating the mixture)

Add egg whites and vanilla; beat well

Add dry ingredients

Step 2) Drop 1" balls of dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture onto balls.

Step 3) Bake @ 375 F for 10-13 minutes. Take out of oven once firm and let continue cooking on baking sheet. Remove cookies from baking sheet and let cool completely. Enjoy!

These cookies surprised me, for sure! Since they aren't super sweet, you could almost eat them for breakfast! (almost). They'd be delicious with some sliced apples, I think, or on their own with a nice glass of milk.

What did you do today?

What makes your favorite cookie the best cookie ever?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cantaloupe Crazy

Hello! Hope you're all having a wonderful day. 

I woke up again to a rainy Minnesota so the lighting was less than desirable. I tried to make my breakfast look as tasty as it really was! Last night I was feeling like a grandma and couldn't stay up past 10:00. Dozed off right when I got under the covers, and consequently woke up early this morning. Since I was the first person awake, I debated making the smoothie I was craving so badly. Thankfully, my mom woke up not too much later and I didn't feel to horrible about breaking out the blender. These green smoothies are seriously one of my favorite things ever!! So much goodness in one glass it's crazy. Gives me a ton of energy, too -- I felt more than motivated to get my morning workout in. I complemented the smoothie with some greek yogurt, blueberries and honey, topped with a bit of fiber one, a la Hungry Girl

Summer Cantaloupe Green Smoothie
- 2 cups slightly wilted spinach (pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds)
- 2 T. ground flax seed meal
- 1 Small banana or 1/2 of one large banana
- 1 cup milk (almond, soy, rice, cow, etc.)
- lots of cantaloupe (about 1 wedge)
- handful of blueberries

After breakfast I dove my nose back into Harry Potter 2... and finished! I'm doing much better than I expected on this HP frenzy. Since I've never read them all (I made it to the beginning of the 4th book) I made it a short-term goal to get through all 7 before the final movie this July. Look at me, it's not even June and I'm on to the 3rd! Haha, hopefully I don't lose enthusiasm. Thankfully, the cruddy weather is probably going to keep me house-ridden tonight. Somehow, Harry Potter, a nice mug of tea, a fire, and a slightly cracked window to listen to the rain doesn't sound too bad.

Today was also exciting because I finally got to see one of my best friends from school! She lives about an hour away from me, but we both live about 30 minutes away from Mall of America so we decided to meet there and shop our hearts out! I didn't need to get too much (who really does?) but of course I spent more than I should have. I got a cute dress for my half sister's wedding this July and a necklace from Forever 21 and two bras (there was a sale!) and floral skirt from Gilly Hicks. I'm really falling in love with that store, let me tell you. Anyways, to fuel my shopping trip and keep from shelling out at a food court, I heated up the leftover fajita vegetables from dinner last night and stuffed them in a sprouted wheat pita. More cantaloupe and cottage cheese balanced the meal.

When I got back from the mall, I was starving! I remembered the leftover spinach and mushroom frittata in the fridge that my parents had for din din last night and decided to reheat that. (since I didn't make it I didn't take any photos of it, sorrs!) I was really craving something fresh, so I threw together a spinach salad. Om nom. Put a bunch of spinach in a bowl, topped it with some cantaloupe (ingredient of the day, apparently!), jumbo raisins, walnuts, and papaya dressing. Hit the spot!

Now I'm off to RELAX with my pal Harry Potter. Have a great Saturday night everyone!

What was your "ingredient of the day?"