Post track work breakfast

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Just completed 35 mins of speed work (sprint intervals) and this was my yummy recovery treat!

2 raw eggs
8-10 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp coconut sugar
Dash of cinnamon

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Is it okay to hate Quinoa….and chia??

Is quinoa better than brown rice?
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Is quinoa better than brown rice?

Is quinoa better than brown rice?

Is it me or is every other popular blog post recipe about something made out of chia or quinoa? Luckily, I like both… well, quinoa more than chia since I’m allergic to the latter. Still, what if you have never tried either OR if you have and don’t like them? is it even necessary to force yourself to try these so-called super foods? Well, let’s figure out why they’re super, shall we? Foods with that label typically have a higher concentration of antioxidants than on other foods in their category (fruit, vegetable, grain).

Take quinoa for example; can’t you just stick to brown rice and get the same benefits? Well, first: congrats on making the switch from useless, diabetes instigating white rice to it’s browner sister.  Off the top of my head I know that brown rice is high in fiber but this handy infographic from the Prevention.com blog spells out why quinoa wins the competition.  Hint: quinoa has more protein , fiber, and folate per cup than the same amount of brown rice.

Verdict: give quinoa a try. You might not like its nutty flavor as a newbie but you can start by mixing it with your brown rice or buying it that way. You can also cook it in low sodium chicken stock to add more flavor if you like.

The chia seed is not only high in antioxidants but this little Mayan powerhouse is also high in protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Wait, didn’t we JUST fall in love with flax seeds for the same reasons? well, chia has higher amounts of the aforementioned nutrients than flax does AND you can eat the seeds whole ( flaxseeds need to be ground up in order to be absorbed). People that like chia usually sprinkle it on other healthy foods or mix it into liquids to make chia pudding as the seeds turn gelatinous when wet.

Basically, the ideas is that chia seeds can make a healthy meal even healthier by boosting its nutrient content but here is the catch I  found: There IS so much as too much of a good thing when it comes to the fat soluble vitamins  (chia has 15 IUs of Vitamin A), allergy potential ( I got a bad rash) and tummy troubles ( chia with a side of bloating, anyone?).  In short, try it sparingly first before throwing yourself wholeheartedly into it. Actually, this is a good rule of thumb for most “fad” foods!

Final Verdict: as our world gets smaller (AND bigger) new foods that make eating more interesting and beneficial will come and go. Your goal is to enjoy your meals while getting the most out of them nutritionally. Foods like quinoa and chia can boost your nutrient level quicker than their more traditional counterparts so explore your options.

How to make badass gluten free biscuits

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A  favorite part of the  NYU Nutrition program was the time I spent in the kitchen. It was there that it really hit home that cooking and baking especially were scientific reactions. One just had to think about the end goal for taste and texture and combine ingredients to achieve them. Was I always perfect? hardly. Did I often end up with flour in my hair? always. Still, I too kmuch away from that course and whatever my addled brain couldn’t remember I knew  was written in this $3000 collection of textbooks I amassed over the years. Like how to make biscuits: this is really about how to combine your ingredients. Once you get that, it dawns on you that it applies to everything i.e types of cookies etc. 

Biscuits (or scones) are rustic lumps of deliciousness in my house. I do like the flaky, buttery versions too but I’m still perfecting those so stay tuned. These savory ones were born of my love for  the taste of cheddar biscuits and my need to only use gluten-free flour. *P.S. I’m not celiac but I know I don’t respond well to regular flour (extreme fatigue, bloat, churlishness). Judge me freely. Here is how I did it:

1/2 cup GF muffin mix from Red Mill

3-4 tbsp unsalted butter (regular or coconut)

6 oz low fat yogurt ( I needed the probiotics but you can use tsp of vinegar mixed with 1/4 -1/2 cup almond milk; the acid is the key)

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of Rosemary

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and oil your muffin pan for 4 biscuits ( you can just use wax paper too).

Mix flour and butter thoroughly in a high speed mixer or blender ( my Ninja might be the best thing I’ve ever bought). 

Add pinch of salt and rosemary to mixture and mix again. Taste to see if you like it.

Now add wet ingredients of yogurt or almond-vinegar mixture and blend all throughly. 

Scoop lumps into your tin and bake for 18-20 mins until golden brown and knife comes out dry when you test.

Let cool for at least 5 minutes and then enjoy!

Did you try them? Please let me know what you thought!

 

Un-Pasta Bolognese

Low Crab option to your favorite pasta!
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Image Did you know that substituting grated/shredded carrots for bread crumbs and adding tomato paste in meat makes it perfect for a meatballs AND Bolognese? Yeah, me either until now! This recipe was born because my local market sells these awesome giant meatballs that I enjoyed until I found out they had rice and breadcrumbs in them. That and each if them costs about $2 a piece and who needs that when I can make them?? So I roasted some spaghetti squash and cooked this up fully intending to make my own Giant Bawls. Sheer laziness turned this into the Un-Pasta Bolognese you see here. Hey, at least I’m honest!

*Heat oven to 400 degrees, cut spaghetti squash in halves or quarter and sprinkle with salt, olive oil and maybe a tsp of vinegar (optional); roast in ben for up to 25 mins.

1Tbsp oil ( I used Olive)

1 Tbsp onion, chopped

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 4-6 p can of tomato paste

1 tsp garlic, minced or grated

1/2 grated carrot

sea salt & cayenne pepper to taste.

Heat oil in heavy skillet then add onion and sauté until onion is translucent. Season meat  and cook on medium to high heat until brown. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 mins, add carrots then cook another 3-5 minutes. Make sure meat is fully cooked and then add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. The paste will soak up all the liquid from the skillet so turn down heat to low so it doesn’t  burn.

* To make meat balls, add all ingredients together while meat is uncooked and cook from there.  When squash is finished roasting, scoop flesh out into a bowl and top with a hearty scoop of the meat mixture. Enjoy!

A week of some of my low carb, low starch meals

Low starch, low carb meals
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Here is a nice collage of what I’ve been feeding myself over the last week. The Lazy Girl’s guide to home made eats 🙂

Spinach eggs with chopped red bell peppers and sweet potato: 2 eggs fried with spinach leaves and the rest is self explanatory.

Baked spaghetti squash sprinkled with coconut sugar and a tsp of ghee: Cut squash into quarters, remove seeds, sprinkle with coconut sugar and ghee and bake for 25 mins; scoop into a bowl when it’s tender to the fork and set alone or as a side for something else.

Korean bbq lettuce cups: Make a marinade of 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 1 tbsp of oil,1 tbsp of coconut sugar, 1/2 cup low sodium soy, one inch of chopped mince ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves and soak thinly sliced meat ( I used grassed beef) in it for a minimum of 1 hour ( the longer the better; reserve a bit as gravy for lettuce cups). After marinating is over, heat skillet or grill to very hot temps and sear meat 2-5 mins on each side depending on how well done you prefer it ( chicken should be well done!!). Wrap each each piece in Bibb or Romaine lettuce and slather with marinade gravy-ENJOYYYY!

Instant coffee with cinnamon and a tsp of ghee: I made my regular cup of joe ( coconut sugar and cinnamon added) , added a tsp of ghee and GEEE WIZZZZ it’s yummy!

Make Your Own Winter Coffee drink

Pre-made Winter Coffee Mix
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20140219-091808.jpgTrader Joe’s had me hooked on their premixed coffee drinks up until November 2013 when I realized how sugary and STRONG they were. To be honest, I ran out and had to figure out how to make my back-up Folger’s palatable. This led me to what I’ve been drinking every morning since then:
Mix together
Cinnamon powder
Nutmeg
Coconut sugar (optional)
Coffee (instant or premade)

I don’t tell you amounts because you have to figure out if you want a whole jar of the powdered mixture or to make each cup individually. Add dry mixture to warmed almond milk or hot water OR to your already brewed coffee.

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Pre-made Winter Coffee Mix

Sweet turkey sausage and kale soup

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One of my old favorites! Trying to eat less meat so the best way I’ve found to do that is to eat only organic meat. Who can afford that?!  Luckily this soup is full of veggies and is so tasty! Here is how I made it:
6 turkey sausage links
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans
3 cups chopped kale
1.5 tbsp onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 parsnip, diced
1 can chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
Heat olive oil (don’t let it burn!) in stock pot over medium heat
Sauté onions until translucent
Add garlic and sauté
Set aside
Brown sausage in skillet then slice into bite sized pieces.
Transfer to stockpot with onion and garlic.
Add parsnip and sausage, cover and cook for 20 mins
Add kale, corn and black beans.
Cook another 10 mins.
Serve hot and enjoy!
Serves 4

Sunday Soup day: garlic chicken

Healthy soup option for cold an d flu season
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Healthy Cold Kicking soupThis soup thing is starting to get too easy but I’m not knocking it! Such an no fuss way to get some cooked food in the house AND get your root vegetables. The last soup I made was meat free and I’ve spent this past week eating very little meat. This week’s has a 1/2 LB of organic chicken.
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, diced
3 small turnips, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 small sweet potatoes, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 LB chicken

Heat olive oil in large sauce/soup pan then add onions and stir til translucent. Add garlic and stir together. Add all vegetables and add broth until vegetables are covered. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat and then simmer on medium heat:
Season chicken with herbs and turmeric then add to broth. Cover and simmer for an additional 25-30 minutes.

How to cook & make everything taste awesome

low carb cooking
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low carb cooking

low carb cooking

Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up that allow me  to feed myself deliciously while keeping it healthy.

  1. Choose wholesome and easily found ingredients: I’m no Julia Child so I stick to what won’t be too much of a headache. Sure, I’ll experiment once in a while but that’s good to keep you learning. First things first:  the ingredients are whole foods and the best I can afford. I eat less meat because I like grass fed and organic meat which requires a small bank loan sometimes.
  2. Have at least three to 4 Recipe Favorites: Pick a handful of your favorite easily prepared healthy meals  and PERFECT  them and make variations of each.  Curried chicken, baked salmon and soup are just 3 of mine that I enjoy modifying.
  3. Keep your favorite spices handy: I can’t make anything savory without sea-salt, thyme, coconut and olive oils. I also keep curry, rosemary, garlic, and onions on heavy rotation ( I smell batter than this implies and I rarely get sick). For sweet flavors it’s all about honey and coconut nectar or sugar in my house. Whatever you’re into, keep it around!
  4. Have a healthy respect for the versatility of vegetables:  Don’t throw your vegetables under the bus! Vegetables can be the main dish AND the side, my friend. In my opinion, the secret is NOT to chop them until you’re ready to eat them.
  5. Get a Good Knife: Any chef worth their apron will tell you a strong, sharp knife make life so much easier. Mine was part of a set and since I sharpen it regularly, it works perfectly fine even though it is less expensive than some.
  6. Invest in a food processor, if possible:  Trust me, it changes the game for everything in the kitchen! Suddenly nothing is impossible in terms of texture and cooking time and effort decreases exponentially.
  7. Try a NInja Blender: especially if you can’t afford a food processor. 
  8. Crock-pots are magic: You put flavors and foods you like to eat in it, you go away for awhile, you come back and a yummy meal comes out of it. What’s not to love!