Sunday Morning

Good morning, my bloggies! I just love Sunday mornings. Time to catch up on my z’s, eat a yummy breakfast (I’m thinking oat pancakes? you’ll see them for sure) and drink some good coffee. Oh and yes, catch up on some blogging!

I’m going to get things rolling right away. Here are two great dishes I wanted to share with you right away that I had over the past two days. So delicious, so healthy, so veggie, so good! Enjoy!

Tomato, Broccoli, Kale Fry

1 cup of chopped kale

1/2 Roma tomato

chopped red onion

1 cup of broccoli

1 tbs minced garlic

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1. Put non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, add red onions and sautee for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sautee until the red onins cook down.

2. Add tomatoes and sautee for about 3 minutes.

3. Add broccoli, sautee and cook until broccoli turns a vibrant green.

4. Add kale, and cover pan. Let steam cook up kale for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once kale is a bright green and reduced in volume, you are good to go!

5. Enjoy!!

This was a great way to get lots of healthy leafy greens into my diet. Plus I had leftovers for lunch the next day! I paired it along side a veggie burger with hummus and a whole grain bun. Dessert was summer sliced strawberries. So delicious!

On Saturday, I had to volunteer for The Fig Tree to set up a display table and hand out copies of the paper at Eco-Expo, the first time this event was held by Spokane Community College. It showcased local companies that were green and sustainable. We were there to showcase the stories we have on sustainability, but it was really awesome to meet all sorts of people working to be green 🙂

I also wanted to share with you my recent purchase: The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone! I read the book from cover to cover, and am so excited to start eating kind! It was enlightening, encouraging, down-to-earth, and opened my eyes. I definitely know how I want to better my health, and I want to try out lots of her recipes here on my blog. Check out The Kind Life, her website to see what the Kind Diet is all about! You won’t be disappointed, I loved it!

I also have some great news that I have realized I haven’t shared with you yet… I am taking a vacation to Greece in two days with my family! I am so excited for some vacation, beach and sun. So I won’t be posting for quite some time (2 weeks!) but my next post up will be filled with great pics and hopefully great eats. I am going to maintain my veggie lifestyle abroad, it will be my first great challange, so I will let you know how that goes! Maybe I will come back stronger and filled with great advice I will share with you for sure!

The morning of the event I needed something that will stick to my bones and give me great energy for the entire day. So I made some oats, duh!

Banana Nut Muffin Oatmeal

-1/3 cup rolled oats

-1/2 cup of almond milk + 1/2 cup of water

-1 banana

-1 tablespoon of chia seeds

-a dash of salt

-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

-Chopped almonds

1. Combine oats with salt and chia seeds. Add vanilla, almond milk and water on the stovetop and mix in oats and seeds. Turn up the heat until the mixture boils. As soon as it boils, add chopped banana.

2. Whip the oats until the chopped banana melts into the oatmeal.

3. Serve in a fancy bowl topped with chopped almonds.

This was absolutely delicious. It was banana-y and crunchy from the almonds, just like a banana nut muffin! I would suggest walnuts next time, as that is how the muffins are traditionally made, but if all you have is almonds, go for it. It was delicious.

The oatmeal fueled me for a “sustainable” day! Well, I have a shopping list of items for Greece, and lots of errands to accomplish. Have a great Sunday afternoon my bloggies!

Ciao for now, Mary.

 

 

Gushing about the Green

I am gushing about green smoothies. Especially this morning. I swear, the colors may turn out ghastly (mine always seem to…) but the taste is heavenly. Even more great is how they make you feel: energized, full, and rearing to go for the day.

Let us dissect my smoothie I had this morning:

  • A handful frozen raspberries
  •  4 fresh strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • tons of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tbs all natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbs wheat germ
Let us review the health stats. These will surely have you reaching for your blender at the end of this post!
Berries: Berries are some of Mother Nature’s greatest fruits she bears. They are always low in calories, so you can liberally snack on them and add them to green smoothies, for example! (though they aren’t very green after you sneak these babies in). Raspberries, for example, are brimming with antioxidants that protect you against a variety of human diseases. It also is one of nature’s most fibrous foods, with up to 20% of its weight being fiber! Now that’s tummy-sticking awesomeness. Not to forget the vitamin C, B vitamins, folic acid, and other minerals. This powerhouse of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber makes this a great tool to combat cancer. Take that!
Bananas: Bananas are another great ingredient to green smoothies. When frozen they not only add thickness and creaminess, but they also naturally sweeten it. Bananas are more carbohydrate rich than other fruits, about 20 grams, so that makes them a smart choice for the morning or before a workout when you need fast, clean energy. Bananas got their good rep from their high amount of potassium. Potassium is important for heart and nervous health. I’ll take my banana everyday, thank you very much!
Spinach: Spinach is another one of nature’s miracle foods. A famous and most loved dark leafy veggie, the spinach in a green smoothie is sweet and vibrant green. Always choose green. Why? They are anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, vitamin K and calcium for bone health, and so low in calories. Chalk-full of essential vitamins, their nutritional punch per calorie can’t be beat. Pile as much as you can in your blender, bloggies, and witness the benefits of the green smoothie increase!
Flaxseed: I have already gushed on how much I love flax on a previous post, but let me repeat and expand. Flaxseed is wonderful! It is an excellent source of omega 3’s and fiber for those going veggie and everyone alike. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which help them combat other diseases like cancer, and also are great for cardiovascular health.
Wheat Germ: I add wheat germ to up the nutritional content. It has lots of vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy functioning, because sometimes it is just hard to balance everything out! Check out these: fiber, B vitamins, iron, folic acid, zinc, protein and omega 3’s. Can I get a “hell yes!”
Peanut Butter: I use peanut butter for a protein boost in my smoothies. If you don’t have a powder on hand or can’t afford one (like me at the moment) then peanut butter offers a completely natural source of protein and healthy fats. It also, like the foods above, has antioxidant properties. Plus, eating nuts helps you control your weight, not gain it. And let’s be honest, it is simply delicious.
Almond Milk: It has no saturated fats compared to its dairy counterpart, yet is fortified with calcium and essential vitamin D. Low in calories, almond milk complements green smoothies beautifully with a nutty smooth texture. Plus it has plenty of Vitamin A, E, and protein. Pour yourself a glass… or two!
And that is what you are starting your day off with? All that packed into a delicious thick and creamy morning drink? That is why I love them. And you will too, trust me 🙂 Experiment to found out your favorite variations!
I got all this health information from The World’s Healthiest Foods, click here for any information about any healthy foods on your mind! It is VERY extensive!
Also, check out the Green Monster Movement, by Angela on Oh She Glows, for great Green Monster inspiration. Get blending!
Ciao for now! -Mary

A Successful Day, I’d Say!

Finally. A totally blog-worthy day. I did it: I had my camera and took a picture of everything I munched on today, and guess what? All of it was completely healthful, colorful, and delicious. Oh you would be proud!

So here you go bloggies, a first fully fledged blog post.

Let’s start with breakfast. I put together a green smoothie, much like from The Green Monster Movement, from Angela on Oh She Glows, but I added a secret ingredient: Wheat Germ! Oh the benefits of wheat germ. It is only 60 calories for a tablespoon, but is brimming with healthful statistics. Wheat germ is the remnants of the grain when refined white flour is made, meaning it is chalk-full of goodness. Its full of folic acid, fiber, and a slew of other minerals and vitamins.

I got my wheat germ recently on my saving grocery trip (finally!) from Bob’s Red Mill. I love this brand of flours and whole grain goodies. Who knew that there was more out there than white and wheat flour? I’m talking potato flour, almond flour, and more. I also grabbed oat flour for some future pancakes in the works 😉 stay tuned!

Today’s blend was almond milk, one tablespoon each of wheat germ and ground flaxseed, a handful of kale, and half of a frozen banana.

It finally looks the way a green monster should look: green. It was also my first time dabbling with putting kale into my smoothie, but it was delicious. It just looks like a happy smoothie, doesn’t it? I know my insides were happy too!

Now, I was all happy inside but even happier with today’s lunch results! I had a leftover “Mizuno” salad from Spokane’s Main Market, a health food co-op! It was so delicious: chick peas, spinach, tomatoes and more.

I laid them gently on a bed of fresh spinach with some EVOO (channeling my inner Rachael Ray, in case you don’t watch, its extra virgin olive oil!!) and balsamic vinaigrette. On the side was two pieces of 100% whole wheat toast with a hummus spread. Surprisingly, hummus toast is to die for. I never will look back to butter; it is so much more creamy and way healthier, mind you! 

Snacks throughout the day: almonds and an apple. ‘Nuff said.

Now dinner. I made the mistake of starting to make dinner after I was absolutely STARVING. BAHH. And I pre-planned my day so I wasn’t going to turn back. My plans were for a tofu-stir fry with sticky brown rice. (which takes 45 minutes to boil!) So while I was fighting hunger pangs (it was that bad!) I decided to nosh on some left over organic frozen edamame beans.

Can’t get enough of these little guys!! Well. Finally. Rice is done. Now I will introduce you to the college gal’s super easy and healthy stir fry!

Fast Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

  • cubed organic extra-firm tofu
  • teriyaki sauce
  • minced garlic
  • onion powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • frozen veggies
  • sticky brown rice
1) Start boiling water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of rice for the “sticky” version). When the water starts boiling, add the rice and cover. Return to simmer for about 45-50 minutes.
2) Press out the excess water of your tofu on paper towels, and then marinate with red pepper flakes, onion powder, and teriyaki sauce.
2) Heat up pan over the stove until hot, then add the oil until it starts to heat up.
3) Add the minced garlic for a few minutes (be careful not to burn!)
4) Throw in the tofu, and saute until it is lightly browned, remove from heat.
5) Next, toss in your frozen veggies (of your choice) and saute until well heated. Feel free to more add spices, water or sauce, and oil as you need.
6) Mix in cooked tofu.
7) Serve on top of sticky brown rice.
8) Eat.
9) Enjoy. 🙂
So easy, so healthy! A great addition to a college budget, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, healthy-minded girl 😉 Now that’s what I would call a successful day!
Off to watch a chick flick with my friends and share a bottle of wine. Hope it’s a good one!
Ciao for now! -Mary

Good. Old. Sweat.

Sweat, we meet again. And I mean this in the best of connotations.

I am not the type of girl who glistens. I am not the type of girl who looks just as good leaving the gym as I came in. I am that girl on the treadmill who is huffing and puffing, rolling up her sleeves, and always getting ready for business.

I am not afraid to admit it. Hey, I will shout out of my car window to poor innocent by-standers on my school’s campus, “I AM A SWEATER.” (not the fuzzy cozy christmas ones 😉 mind you) It runs in the family, but I am not blaming genetics. No, not at all. There are times when I am self-conscious as I hop of a machine with a drenched shirt and hair all-in-a-mess. There are times when I am extra careful to wipe down every machine I use because, well, that would not be classy in my sweaty position. But most of the time, I embrace it. Because without it; it just doesn’t feel right. I honestly can judge a workout based upon two things: soreness and sweatiness. And today, oh today, it was a sweaty one.

I have to admit it, I haven’t been to the gym in some time. But alas that was a thing in the past, because today I left the gym with a messy ponytail and a drenched t-shirt. And it felt great! 🙂

Now, let’s get down to food. I mean real, good old college food. I am on a tight budget these days until I get paid in a couple of days, (hooray!) but until then, its time to get creative with what I have. After all, that’s the point of my blog: college budget meets healthy food. So, meet my main ingredients: canned red beans, boiled red lentils, frozen corn and spinach, and taco seasoning. Oh, and my great powerful little friend, quinoa.

Straight from TJ’s! Organic quinoa. Lots of yummy, chewy/crunchy whole grain awesomeness.

I came up with a recipe with a little bit of inspiration and a lot of substitution. I am glad to say I have my very own first orignal recipe! (hold your applause, please 🙂 ) I am thrilled to say that it was DELICIOUS. I want all bragging rights for this baby. It was filling and healthy (enough bragging, I know). So, without further ado, I present…

Red Bean and Lentil Fiesta!!

Here is the recipe:

  • -1/2 cup of quinoa
  • -1 cup of frozen corn
  • -1/2 cup of frozen spinach
  • -1 can of rinsed red beans
  • -1 cup of red lentils
  • -red pepper flakes
  • -taco seasoning (I found a packet that was 100% vegan, and I got the extra hot version!)

Make sure, before you cook your lentils, to rinse them well and look for things that don’t belong there, like pebbles.

1. separately boil quinoa (1:2 ratio, about 25 minutes) and lentils (1:4 ratio, 25-45 minutes depending on the consistency you want)

2. de-thaw corn and spinach. Rinse red beans well and zap them in the microwave for a couple of seconds.

3. Add packet of seasoning to cooked quinoa, add the veggies and the beans and stir up. Keep the extra water with the veggies to mix the seasoning, and add more if needed.

4. Drain the lentils, and add them to the mixture, stir well.

5. Stir in Red pepper flakes to your desire.

There you go! A cheap, filling, delicious, colorful and oh so healthy, 100% vegan meal. Who ever said that vegans hardly eat, was sadly misinformed. I was so stuffed! I will have leftovers for days my friends. Well, it is a rainy evening so I think I am going to grab some earl grey tea, cuddle up with my housemates, and watch a chick-flick.

Have a great evening my little bloggies. Ciao for now! -Mary

Here Comes The Sun (doo doo doo doo doo)

Yes, blog dudes and blog dudettes, the sun has finally made an appearance here in Spokane. And it is just glorious!! So, what better to make that is cool, freshing and calorie-free in the sun then iced sun tea?! Yes. That is just what I did this morning 🙂

The before pictures, of course. I will show you the end results. Just stick the tea dispenser in the sun, add as many tea bags as you like (depending on your strength preferences) and the type of tea ( again to your preferences), and wait a few hours! The warmth from the sun will deliciously slow-brew the tea, and when the water turns a rich color, stick it in the fridge. Ta-Da! You are done. To add sweetness, try honey to avoid the empty calories of processed sugar. But me personally, I love it unsweetened. I am a tea-lover at heart, starting when I was younger with herbal and moving on to fuller-bodied english breakfasts, rich and deep earl greys, and spicey chais. I simply used plain Lipton tea bags this time around because I have A TON of them. What a great way to use up my ever-flowing over tea supply 🙂

For breakfast this morning, I reverted back to my childhood days. One perfect and easy, filling and healthy breakfast choice is peanut butter toast. I used two slices of 100% whole wheat bread and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. A note about whole wheat bread: Make absolutely sure it says 100% on the label to ensure you are really getting whole wheat bread. Producers are allowed to saw whole wheat, even if they use simply “enriched wheat flour” which isn’t the good fibery and heart-heathly thing you are looking for. Also, check the ingredients! The first thing listed should say “whole wheat flour.” Then my friends, you are good to go! I also love to choose 100% natural peanut butter to avoid any hydrogenated oils!

An added bonus to today’s breakfast: banana slices! Now I truly feel like my childhood self.

I was a very happy camper this morning 🙂 Well, off to enjoy the wonderful sunshine my friends. And to check on my iced tea…

Ciao for now! -Mary

The Joys of Flax!

Good Morning!!

Well, let’s get to blogging. I promise I will become a better food blogger! I have my  camera now sitting on my kitchen counter as a constant reminder to use it!!

So this morning, I did just that. I am extremely low on groceries right about now. Hence, the food as been extremely lack-luster for food blog worthiness. So this morning I plunged into the freezer for a so-heavenly green smoothie. I used the rest of my smoothie ingredients even, so I NEED to make a grocery trip. Pronto!

I put in extra berries into today’s smoothie, so it came out a lovely purple-hue. So purple in fact, the large handful of frozen spinach didn’t even come out to shine. One of these days I will make sure to have the greenest green smoothie to awe and inspire. 😉

Here is today’s smoothie!

-Lots of frozen berries

-1 cup of almond milk

-1/2 c of frozen spinach

-1 tablespoon of flaxseed

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

So my smoothie was so full of frozen goodies it was SOOO THICK. Too thick for a glass… so I turned it into a Smoothie-Bowl soup topped with granola. So filling and so energizing. YUM!  Side of coffee, of course 🙂

Smoothie-thickness spoon test. A must for smoothie-connoisseur and thick-smoothie lovers alike:

Talking about flaxseed, I finally added some to my college pantry. Flaxseed is so great because it is a little powerhouse of nutrients, most infamously omega-3’s. Lots of healthy fats, fiber, thingy’s called lignans, which have excellent antioxidant qualities. I recently made a trip up to Seattle for a lovely Memorial Day weekend, which included a stop at Trader Joe’s!!!!! And guess what: They are adding one in Spokane in November! Yee-hawww! I love Trader Joe’s. It’s like any foodie’s dream to shop there, and it’s not too pricey either 😉 lots of healthy options and yummy-yumminess.

Well I bought my flaxseed there, and found out when I opened it that it was roasted! It added a very strong nutty flavor to my smoothie. That’s ok, it tasted, well interesting. Maybe some new smoothie concoctions to spin-off of the nutty flavor!? But a fun fact is that while roasted, the flaxseed is easier to eat and to absorb all the wonderfulness then its full version. So I won’t need to do all this grinding (except in smoothies, of course!) I can top it on cereals, soups, add it to baking… the possibilities are ENDLESS. What an easy addition to a college student on-the-go, ya?

Well, some other news. I found this great book at a local store in Spokane called The Kitchen Engine.

They have all sorts of classes and sooo much great kitchen ware. Bank account, beware. 🙂 But they also offer classes and I hope to do a post on one someday!

Well with that, I am off to a lunch meeting with The Fig Tree, so I will catch you all later.

Ciao for now! -Mary