Blender Love Affair

Good Morning!

I just wanted to show you how my Green Monsters have been going ever since I whipped out my brand new Ninja blender. See below 😉

It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I want to introduce you to my green smoothie. He is just a down-right lovely sight to see in the morning. So. Green.

Power Peach Kale Green Smoothie

-2 cups of kale

-1 cup of almond milk

-1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

-1 tablespoon wheat germ

-1/2 frozen banana and 1 peach

I am still trying to adjust to kale in my green smoothies. I know they are good to mix up with the usual spinach, but in smoothies they are quite bitter and chewy. Maybe next time I will add some more banana for added sweetness and less kale. Honestly, I stuffed my blender with it. Healthy yes, extremely normal green smoothie tastiness, not quite. Work will be done on the kale ratio for green smoothies.

Oh Ninja, you did good my friend. I blended through my frozen bananas like there was no tomorrow. I often thought my old blender would die when I blended them, but this is just a walk in the park for my new morning friend. I am so excited about it!

I also added half of my sample packet of Amazing Grass Amazing Meal, in the Original blend. I wanted to just “test” the waters with any supplement. I have to say I enjoyed it! I only used half a serving, but the protein kept me full and I could barely taste it as I blended away. Looking at the ingredients and nutrition, I am thinking about investing in some.

In other news, I am learning more and more about preparing tofu. I always reserved my supply for stir-fry’s, but I wanted something more savory with less oil for tonight’s dinner. I realized you can’t really seriously mess up with tofu, you could even eat it raw. I looked up this baked tofu recipe from vegweb.com. Click here for more tofu goodness!

Simple Baked Tofu

It turned out to be so easy and so delicious. The marinade is easy and I had leftovers for the next few nights.

Marinade:

3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

(I added some nutritional yeast for more minerals and vitamins!)

Cut up 1 pound of firm tofu and marinate overnight of for 10 minutes. Set up a wire cooling rack over a pan and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

I enjoyed this with quinoa and the last of this summer’s asparagus. I can’t believe I missed asparagus season! Oh well, they were delicious.

Anyway, I have also been going to Lila Yoga here in Spokane. I have to say, I have just done the introductory two weeks and I am coming up on my second week. I have tried Yin Yoga and Vinyasa. I love them both. I am considering a summer package. Yoga just makes me feel so good, flexible, and strong!

Well, off to work. Ciao for now! -Mary

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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

Cookie Dough Coma

Hello Bloggies!!

Well, I am pumped to get up and ready and get this blog a-going. (finally!!) I am officially all settled in, getting into a routine, and ready to start my healthy journey!

So this morning I decided to get as much nutrients in as possible (because of the absolute LACK of due to yesterday’s delicious but not-so-smart choices) in a beautiful green smoothie! YUM.

I am still getting new at this food blog thing, so I forgot my camera this morning. Nonetheless, into the blender went this concoction:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • a handful of frozen berries
  • a handful of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • a handful of rolled oats.
The oats definitely were the dominant flavor this morning, but I am glad I added this last-minute ingredient: it substantially made my breakfast more filling! Oh and yes, don’t forget my very important cup of coffee!! Plus I got some great extra protein with the added greek yogurt. (plus I have to use it all up before it goes bad!)
Today’s activities included my second editing session for my internship with The Fig Tree. I am really enjoying these days because I get the opportunity to warm up my rusty journalism skills while sitting around a table with great people and read about great people. There is always some great conversation around the table as well.
Lunch is always like some sort of potluck, where everyone brings something to the table. I had to pick up mine on the way there, but I grabbed some strawberries and cheese from Safeway. Something basic and uncreative, but next time I am going to whip out the inner cooking goddess within!


Today was another downfall. Ergo, a bowl of unused cookie dough just sitting in our fridge, two good friends, and lots of time to YouTube puppy videos. Sadly it was amazing and delicious, but now I find myself in a cookie dough coma. You know how that feels, when you feel great eating great tasting cookie dough, but then feel the repercussions a few minutes later. Blech. You live you learn, I guess!!


I also found some great inspiration for working out this week: Bring on the GAGA. Lady Gaga’s new album Born This Way came out today!! Yay! 🙂 I am super excited to buy it from iTunes and instantly add it to my workout playlist for my iPod. It is amazing how much power in motivation some good tunes have. They have surprisingly many times become the only thing that drags my butt to the gym!!
Well bloggies, I promise that the next few food blogs will have pictures, will be about good and yummy, healthful food, and I will share some exciting news with you about my cooking endeavours as well! 🙂
Ciao for now! -Mary

Swept Away by the GREEN.

Good morning, good morning! (says Brogan!!)

Let me introduce you to my cutie-pie doggie, Brogan!

I was in an especially chipper mood this morning. I like to say that maybe it is because my cooking skills are greatly improving! I was able to convince my little brother to let me make him a simple ham and cheese omelet and a greek yogurt and berry smoothie before he left for school today. He usually grabs one of those awful frozen breakfast sandwiches, which I know are absolutely terrible! So I was able to cook him something just as yummy, filling and protein-filled, that was also made with whole foods. No artificial eggs or filler-meat sausage. It made me happy to be able to serve wholesome food!

After he left and I had my cup of coffee, I was hit with a realization. I have been swept up by theGreen Monster Movement. Found on this lovely blog by Angela, Oh She Glows, she introduced the name “Green Monster” to these amazing and energizing green smoothies!! I am officially in love with them and look forward to crafting green-gooey concotions as I fall asleep on my pillow at night and bound out of bed in the morning. Angela created an entire seperate blog, The Green Monster Movement, to post reader’s own recipes and more. Can you believe that? An entire blog dedicated to the green-amazingness?!? Well, after all that hoop-lah, I am ready to show you what I concoted in my blender this morning:

I grabbed this smoothie from Angela’s recipies. And let me just say, it is so healthy!! I choose this one in particular mostly  because I had most of these ingredients on-hand, but also because I am still a rookie at this. Give me some time to work up to the pumpkin, but I know I will 🙂 It also is a great way to start out my path to eliminating animal products from my diet. It is so filling and healthy, I have never felt deprived after drinking one of these babies. Oh ya, it is also totally delicious.

Blueberry Banana Green Monster (from The Green Monster Movement)

  • 2-3 cups organic spinach
  • 1-1.25 cups soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon flax
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (I substituted frozen berries for fresh blueberries because its all I had in my freezer)
  • ice
  • (I added fresh strawberries because I had them on hand!
It as so full of good for you ingredients, it didn’t all fit into my magic bullet! I might have to switch to a traditional bigger blender when I start adding more and more healthful ingredients…
I am officially energizied for my day!!
Work out will be a basic 5k jog, yoga at 3:30, and in-between, I have some special errands to run! One of them I will let you know tomorrow, but for now, a much needed pedicure. A great way to indulge that isn’t bad for you, like how I used to eat a pint of ice cream, this is pampering, fun, and just plain old awesome.

So anyways, Lunch was leftovers. Dinner… leftovers. Not very much fun but so easy! No need to mention them or show pictures. They won’t be very interesting!  Thanks for tuning in bloggies!

Ciao for now!

-Mary

The Beginning of a Beautiful Journey

Hello!

As I am putting forth my first real blog post (yaay!!) I am watching the Biggest Loser. The perfect inspiration for not just dieting and exercising, but living a full and healthful life!! So, as I am enjoying the show, I will let you know how I did today for day 1 of my little journey.

I woke up this morning, rearing to start my get-healthy and get-back-on-track journey! I am looking forward to feeling healthy, getting back in shape, and shedding a few unwanted poundage. I should probably lay down my goals, as that is a very important step if one wants to make it!

My goals:

Long Term: To live a healthy and long, happy life! (duh!)

Mid-Term: To lose 20 pounds. I have had this goal in mind for a while. and I want to lose these unwanted and unneeded pounds. It is all so that I can feel healthy and fit! Its a good goal to have over the course of a couple of months, and I want this to be done as healthily as possible!!

Short term goal: To be active everyday. I am all down for chilling after a stressful week, but my goal is to incorporate some sort of activity each day. Even if this is walking my dog around the park or doing some yoga, I want to be moving everyday! More concretely: I want to workout  5 times a week. Additionally, I want to fuel my body the right way. It will be to strive to reduce the amount of processed food I eat and try to cut out as many animal products as possible. It is a healthy way to eat whole foods, but I will be sure to get all my nutrients and proteins! I have done a short term vegan and vegetarian diet before I went abroad, and I absolutely loved the energy it gave me. I never worked out so hard and felt so great afterwards. Time to get back to that green, great, and energy-filled feeling!

So anyways, on to today. I was sooo sore from my workout yesterday: sprint intervals for 30 minutes (sprint 30 seconds, off 4:30 minutes and repeat until you reach 30) and arm weights. After 4 months of relying on walking as my form of exercise, I was sore. So today, I hit the mat. Corepower Yoga is a great place to get a great workout, especially a form like Power Yoga where you feel like you worked out and burned calories. You feel rejuvinated and refreshed as you leave the gym as well. I defintely sweat it out, and my arms were shaking the whole time. I love the feeling you get afterwards, of being lose, rejuveniated, and even feeling a little taller 🙂 It was a good choice after being wiped from my first workout!

For my eats, I started with an inspired Green Monster smoothie. I wanted to start my journey with a BANG, a kick-off start with a nutritional punch! It looked something like this…

Pretty attractive, right? Well, it definitely had the statistics to be attractive, and tasted just as good! It was inspired by all those great green smoothies out there, but I added what I liked and what I felt would be best for my body. That is what is so great about smoothies! Well, anyways, in my blender went:

  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • tons of ice
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • a few raspberries

Though it turned out looking like mud-in-a-glass, it was creamy and refreshing, and full of good for you nutrients! It powered me through my day.

Looks… interesting… tastes amazing! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Lunch was a quinoa and black bean salad on a bed of heart-healthy romaine lettuce. I got the Quinoa Salad recipe from mytrianerbob.com, a great place to get veggie friendly recipies from my favorite trainer on TV, Bob Harper!!

It was as easy as it was delicious:

  • 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water
  • rinsed black beans
  • chopped up tomato
  • and topped with avocado and salsa.
  • I added some tobasco sauce because I love spicy!
When the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed, simply add the black beans, tomatoes, salsa, and tobasco sauce (if desired) and stir it up to heat up the beans and tomatoes. Top the salad with as much salsa as you want! Eat up! Quinoa is a great grain to eat because it is also packed with protein, so it is an ideal staple for vegetarians and vegans alike. Plus, it is chewy and has a nutty flavor, a great and satisfying addition to any meal!
Well, I am sad to say that dinner did not go as well as the rest of my day had. I had my healthy snacks to keep me full and energized (almonds and an orange) but when dinner came around, I was exhausted. Also, I have been making dinner for my brother the past week, and put his needs ahead of my own. Thus, I avoided the miny hamburgers I made for him because I wanted to avoid red meat, and tried to come up with something else that is much more healthful for my needs. I ended up eating roasted potatoes and half a wheat pita with spicy hummus.
I know that this does not align with my goals completely, and that I had too many carbs too late in the day. It also wasn’t very nutrient-dense. But anyways, I am going to forgive myself and move on. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will make up for it! This is part of my new plan also: self-forgiveness. We are only human, right?
Well, back to the blood and sweet and tears of the Biggest Loser. I absolutely love Bob and Jillian!
Ciao for now!
-Mary