Category Archives: cooking

Move. Eat. Repeat.

Wow, I am tired. I didn’t mean to have such an active, tiring day but it just kind of happened. I secretly love it though!

I kicked off the morning with some mixed berries and an English muffin topped with PB&J plus an egg white.

Pre-workout snack of a few Glutino pretzels and some pistachios.

I hit the gym for my Tuesday Ultimate Conditioning class. Y’all – David the Australian and I were chatting after class and as he was telling me about liking building peoples’ strength his voice dipped a few octaves deeper. Love. After a 15 minute warm up on the elliptical I went to class. Our finisher was to complete side spiderman plank walks with a push up (think – push up position, step out w/ left arm and leg, push up, move right arm and leg. repeat. switch halfway so the right leads). I didn’t think I’d make the whole distance with pushups but I did except for 3 and was extremely proud! I cooled down on the bike for 10 minutes before it was lunchtime.

Lunch was a salad with cucumber, carrot, beets, green olives, and bell pepper. I also had a wrap on a corn tortilla with hummus, beet, and cucumber.

Afternoon snack was delicious leftover fruit from a work event and a few more pretzels.

And then a big craving for BBQ pulled chicken struck. I bought some chicken over the weekend and didn’t have anything in mind until this craving struck and I knew I had to have it for dinner. Thanks to Twitter friends, I was sent this recipe and after reading the ingredients / instructions knew it’s what I’d be trying.

I made a few modifications -

  • .6 lb Chicken Breast (boneless,skinless)
  • 3/4 cup Onions, Diced
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 14 oz Water
  • 3/8 cup Amy’s Organic BBQ Sauce
  • 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp Agave Syrup (to cool down the spice – I was heavy handed in the sriracha department!)

I served it up on a slice of Udi’s whole grain bread along with roasted vegetables.
After dinner I took a 45 minute slow walk to enjoy the beautiful weather and make a few phone calls home. I miraculously found myself at Rita’s Italian Ice (funny how that happened!) and got a kid’s cup with pear and vanilla (I ate about 3/4).
Now I’m watching Biggest Loser and ready to veg out on the couch. I had a pretty active day, not that I’m complaining. I love it!
Do you have a favorite trainer at the gym? Where do you usually find recipes?

Preparing for Passover

I am lucky to have a lot of wonderful things on my calendar in the coming weeks and that the countdown to Passover (and a highly anticipated trip home to Dallas) is on!

I’m really excited to be heading home for a visit and not surprisingly, my mind has turned to food in preparation of Passover.

I always like to think of this prep as 2-pronged: cleaning out the pantry and freezer and stocking up / planning for 8 days of Kosher for Passover (aka safe to eat for the holiday) foods. I won’t eat out during that stretch for the most part so I like to get a little bit creative with the meals I prepare.

First – the clean out. At the moment, this is the state of my pantry and freezer (I mainly bought fresh produce at the store this week).

That gives me a couple of weeks to use up beans, corn (and corn-based goods), soy (and soy-based goods), grains, chips, and more!

Luckily, there is a clause in Jewish law that allows one to sell off any food to a non-Jew that is not Kosher for Passover (called chametz in Hebrew), store it out of sight (and mind) for the week as to avoid binging or waste. I usually do a combination of cleaning out and selling things and luckily the selling can be done pretty close to the start of the holiday.

Then there are the Passover-friendly meals beyond the 2 big Seders where the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told. This is really what I have to figure out as I’ll be home and not have to cook for seders.

There are 2 camps of eating on Passover – those who eat beans / legumes (which rise or grow in size when cooked, usually they are Sephardic or from the Middle East / North Africa) and those who do not (those who are Ashkenazi or of Eastern European, Russian, etc. decent).

For gluten free folks, there are also 2 schools of thought. There are those who will eat beans / legumes because they cannot eat a vast majority of things during the holiday and those who do not. Even if you are of Ashkenazi decent, the rabbis usually rule that you can eat beans / legumes as Judaism is a religion that values health and life above all other Jewish laws.

Since I fall into the camp that doesn’t eat legumes the following are foods that I avoid during Passover, plus this extensive list:

  • Wheat, barley, oats, rye
  • Peanuts
  • Green beans
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Corn

So, what does that leave me to eat? Well, for starters:

  • Fruits (except those on the extensive list above)
  • Vegetables (except those on the extensive list above)
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Chicken, beef, and turkey
  • Certified Kosher for Passover products that are gluten free such as spices, potato chips, salad dressing,
  • Nuts (except for peanuts)

When it comes to meal planning, I use the foods served at our seders as inspiration – meats, potatoes, lots of vegetables, charoset which is a mixture of apples, pecans, cinnamon and more deliciousness, fruits and other goodies for desserts. I also browse the Passover food sections at grocery stores to help me get creative and also to help me think through what I’ll need for ~1 week of cooking (including tea/juice, spices, and condiments.)

I am excited to try gluten free matzah for the first time ever!

While the laws vary, in recent years I’ve started purchasing products made from foods that are safe for Passover but potentially not labeled as such or buying something if the ingredient list checks out. It’s how I make the week a little less restrictive for myself.  Things like almond flour and almond butter, dried fruit and nuts, etc. help me eat during the week without losing too much nutrition.

As you can see from the length of this post, there are lots of things to consider in preparing for Passover. It’s kind of like a deep spring clean of your kitchen and for me, a chance to eat super clean for a week. I’m not an expert by any means and refer to sources through Google to make sure what I’m doing is okay or kosher for the holiday.

Still to come: what I’m stocking in my pantry for Passover and my meal plan for the holiday week!

Bouncing Back

It’s been a full week since I first got sick and I’m finally starting to feel like my old self! I am planning on heading to the gym for my first workout in well over a week and only have a lingering cough and my prescription to remind me of the fun that last week’s flu and ear infection brought. I am also slowly but surely finding the urge to cook again which feels like a victory!

While I was sick the only thing I had the energy to cook in the morning was a toasted English muffin with PB&J while half an orange for Vitamin C.

In feverish delirium I took what might have been the most random trip to Whole Foods while waiting on a prescription to be filled. Somehow I managed to pick up this little gem of a soup to fill my chicken noodle soup craving.

I picked it over a canned chicken and rice soup because it had 6 ingredients versus the long ingredient list on any can I picked up. The last was delicious as well – exactly what I was craving!

Yesterday I had another “sick” breakfast because of its ease and convenience and decided to treat myself to lunch. I picked up some vegetarian chili from Au Bon Pain which I enjoyed with some baby carrots.

And last night I knew I was finally bouncing back from everything because I had the urge to cook! I didn’t make anything fancy – just some brown rice pasta with white beans and veggies but it was a complete meal!

While the pasta cooked I sauteed 1/4 of an onion in non-stick spray with garlic powder, basil, and oregano. I added in a chopped red bell pepper and 1/2c of frozen white beans (from a big batch I made last month) and a spoonful of tomato sauce. I mixed half of the veggie saute with 3/4c cooked pasta, roasted carrots and broccoli, more sauce, and topped it all with hot red pepper and some Parmesan cheese.

This morning I finally felt like mixing up breakfast and went with a bowl of cream of buckwheat with blueberries mixed in, 1/2T of peanut butter and a pinch of Bakery on Main granola on top.

When you are recovering from being sick, what foods do you start craving that help you know you are starting to feel better?

Not Sure What’s Gotten Into Me

If I’ve noticed anything in the past 48 hours it’s that I’ve been feeling some kind of intense emotions. I can’t exactly pinpoint what they are but I’ve been overcome with intense urges – for Thai food, cleaning, nesting, clearing out clutter, and focus. The things on my to do list have not stood a chance!

The lunch I had packed with me yesterday did not sound appealing at all when noon rolled around. Instead I decided to take a short stroll to pick up some Thai food – pad see eiw with chicken. I had about 1.5x what you see here and it was delicious and exactly what I wanted.

The perk – I was full all afternoon long! After work I hit the gym for 35 minutes on the elliptical followed by 10 minutes on the stationary bike! I haven’t been on the bike since I realized it aggravated my stress fracture and I’m ecstatic to report that I felt no foot pain!! After the gym I munched an apple on my way to run a quick errand.

By the time I got home I wasn’t too sure what I wanted for dinner. Upon peering into my fridge, I discovered mushrooms and grape tomatoes that needed to be used up. I decided to make a ragu to serve over some polenta.

20 Minute Tomato Ragu

  • 1/4c onion, chopped
  • 1c sliced mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 container grape tomatoes (I recommend crushing yours before getting started. This is not what I did and I have the splatters all over my kitchen to prove it!)
  • ~1c frozen kale
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • 1/2c water

Chop your vegetables and crush your tomatoes. In a non-stick sprayed skillet, saute the onion over medium heat until they start to turn translucent. Add in mushrooms, tomatoes and their juice, kale, seasoning, and water. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes soften and loose their peel and mixture has thickened. Serve over top of your favorite grain or veggies!

My evening wasn’t quite done after this though. I cleaned my kitchen, led a conference call, and took care of a few more things.

This morning I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm which was fantastic!I did notice that I was really sore and did some light stretching before starting the day. I also declared it a rest day after 3 consecutive workout days. I had an egg white with 1/2 a slice of lite Swiss on an English muffin and frozen raspberries and blueberries topped with a spoonful of plain yogurt and a pinch of chia seeds.

For lunch I had brown rice and Cuban black beans mixed with a ton of frozen kale.

I picked up a bag at Whole Foods this past weekend and have been enjoying adding this power green to meals for bulk, nutrients, and taste. I also thought I’d show you guys the look I was rocking this afternoon when my boots got too hot. Yes, that’s socks with ballet flats. #Iamsexy

My afternoon snack was cucumber slices and hummus.

After work I high-tailed it to Target for some necessities as well as a few impulse buys. I picked up new dish towels and this padded kitchen mat. I’m loving the brighter colors and the cushion that the mat will provide me when washing dishes and cooking!

I was starving when I got home and threw together a very quick meal. I sauteed in a skillet one carrot, 1/5 onion chopped, and frozen veggies – broccoli, bell pepper strips, spinach, 1/4c lima beans, and corn with garlic powder, thyme, and a few glugs of soy sauce. I ate half of the batch over some leftover buckwheat with a serving of baked beans on the side.

I also had the last serving of my broccoli soup which I’ll spare you the picture of since it’s not the most appetizing ;)

Right after dinner I got back to work, cleaning and organizing. Maybe it’s my longing for another Snowpocalypse or something but I’ve been craving order and less clutter everywhere in my life, especially in my apartment! I cleared out a bunch of old things, cleaned and organized my socks (I clearly live a very exciting life) and tossed any with holes, and reorganized my drawers and my storage closet. I’m feeling proud of these accomplishments, even if I’m the only one who’ll enjoy them.

I’m not sure what the rest of the night holds but I’m craving a piece of fruit and maybe some reading? We’ll see.

If I didn’t convince you I was a nerd at the beginning of this post…

How do you deal with weird moods? Clutter vs. organization – which do you crave?