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Archive for November, 2010

Since being concerned for my own health and what I put into my body, I have also brought my pup on board. We have tried a few different dog foods but always ended up finding an ingredient in it that just didn’t make sense to give to a dog. So we set out on a quest to find the food that we felt comfortable with and one that Ruca had to like. I present to you

A grain-free diet

Some of the benefits of feeding grain free (not limited to):

Shiny coat, decreased allergies, healthy skin, increased appetite in picky eaters, increased energy, ease in passing of stools, reduced stools and decrease in weight for obese dogs or cats,

Some of the brands that carry a form of the grain free diet:

Orijen, Solid Gold, Merrick (makers of Before Grain), Innova (EVO), Nature’s Variety, Wellness(core), Timberwolf, Natural Balance, & Taste of the Wild.

Since switching, Ruca’s coat is unbelievably shiny, her stool is smaller and she keeps a trim shape. We love it and it’s a reasonable price. We paid $11 for that bag of food nearly a month ago and it has lasted us until now. Ruca is only 7 lbs so feeding a large dog this diet may not be as cheap, but the switch is worth it.

On a more humanly note, I attended my first hot yoga class in a while. It was only an hour and I went in determined. I finished the class without stopping and felt awesome. I usually get dizzy in hot classes and the instructor informed me to drink A LOT more water 24 hours before the class. She also said I would need a lot more water than I think I would need. I am working on upping my water supply even more and will have to see if this helps. I am extremely sore today and will go back to the studio tomorrow for a warm class. I feel more comfortable easing my way back into hot yoga.

Last night I tried making something new for dinner. Since we still have Thanksgiving leftovers, I got creative. I found a recipe online to make homemade whole wheat tortillas. It’s so simple, easy and tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup water (I used around a cup due to dryness)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  •  Mix all ingredients in bowl. (I used my hands)
  • Form dough into large balls and set on parchment paper.
  • Roll out dough with a rolling-pin (a glass worked great for me) until thin.

  • Fry in frying pan until golden brown. (can fry in coconut oil or real butter – your choice) 

To pair with my homemade tortillas, I sautéed celery, onions and avocado in tsp real butter. Then added leftover Thanksgiving chicken and gave it a dash of chipotle tabasco sauce (LOVE that stuff!) Once my veggies and chicken were nice and hot, I added them to my plate and finished off with a few more dashes tabasco sauce.

My random concoction with 2 tortilla halves.

 

These were so damn good! Eating just one with my veggies and chicken filled me up. I saved the other 4 to make tortilla chips or to enjoy with whatever else I find in my fridge and throw together :). On todays agenda? Make a delicious flourless cookie using the new vegan chocolate chips I purchased. Wish me luck!

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mmmmm

I woke up a couple of days ago with a hardcore craving for an omlete. I rarely eat eggs but lately, they have been sounding exceptionally appetizing. So I whipped up this tasty morsel

2 beaten organic eggs topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and left over pineapple ham. All with a sprinkle of feta cheese and black pepper.

Garnished with organic dried basil, a pinch of salt, and more black pepper.

 This was so freaking delicious that I made it two days in a row! I figured it’s a good way to get some protein & eat up leftovers from Thanksgiving. That’s what I’m telling myself at least 😉 Jon made homemade lasagna last night and as much as I fought it, I ended up having a piece. I had no idea that my husband could cook! It was delicious, but I must stick with my healthier eating habits as I could have easily eaten 2 or 3 pieces of that gooey, cheesy, sinful dish. I stopped after just one piece, but became hungry a few hours later. I had a handful of puppy chow we made a few weeks ago but it only temporarily satisfied my sweet tooth. I sat and thought for a second about what I could put together. I remembered I had this

I help out at the local organic grocery store in the farmer’s market here in VA and love it. Check them out here. Michele, the owner, makes some of the best homemade goods I’ve ever tasted. I’ve had this granola before and had to go back to get some more. Check out the buckwheat action

mmmmmm

I mixed a generous handful of this granola with 2 heaping TBSP almond butter and added a tsp of vanilla. I served it as a side to 1 small chopped apple.

Hit the spot and filling!

I will definitely be making this again. So easy, simple, and yummy! Here are a few other goods I picked up from Virginia Garden.

perfect pre-workout snack!

LOVE these things! I sprinkle them on my wraps occasionally or eat them right out of the bag.

Shopping there gets expensive so I have to choose my food wisely. I usually only purchase the homemade goods made by Michele due to the fact that I cannot get them anywhere else. We watched football most of yesterday and it looks to be another football day today. I’ve attended yoga the last two days and am a little sore today. I opted for a 30 minute brisk walk on the treadmill at the Navy base gym while Jon lifted weights. Back to yoga tomorrow though and I can’t wait! I have noticed that my appetite, since attending yoga regularly, has increased. I’m trying to satisfy it with healthy foods, but find myself craving things completely off my normal path. Everything in moderation, right? I will leave you all with a Ruca picture

🙂

Have a relaxing Sunday Everyone!

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As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, my pup was spayed on Tuesday and she is doing great. I forgot to enlighten you all on her first day home picture

My little trooper

She makes that e-collar look good doesn’t she? She was a little loopy the first day but after that, I can’t keep her from running and jumping all over the place. Today began around 9 this morning with gathering our ingredients and trying to plan out our very first Thanksgiving together. Neither of us have ever made our own Thanksgiving meal so I thought to myself, “this should be interesting”. First up, Jon starting in on his beloved ham and we progressed from there:

Maple pineapple smoked ham

Our turkey substitute. An organic whole chicken rubbed with 2 TBSP real butter, basted with Jon's mixture of herbs & organic chicken broth, finished off with another 2 TBSP real butter scattered throughout. Along with 2 chopped red potatoes surrounding the bird.

With a side of:

Homemade cornbread 🙂

While we were making all of the above, Ruca was doing this

She zonks out after she gets her pain medication

We made stuffing as well but, sadly, I was in such a rush to keep it warm and dig in that I didn’t capture its goodness. Everything was so good and our Thanksgiving consisted of 80% carbs, but I didn’t let it bother me. It was my ‘anything goes’ Thanksgiving. Which brings me to my carbalicious desert I made last night. I found the recipe online but substituted all of the ingredients for organic ones and added some others.

Banana [coconut flour] bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar (original called for 1 cup regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup melted organic butter
  • 1 organic beaten egg
  • 3/4 organic coconut flour but could probably up to 1 cup. (original called for 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon (added by me)
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Mix mashed bananas with melted butter
  • Add in sugar and beaten egg. Mix.
  • Add other ingredients except flour and mix thoroughly.
  • Slowly mix in flour.

  • Pour batter into 9 x 4 loaf pan. (I didn’t have a loaf pan so I used an 8 x 8 pan)

  • Bake for 1 hour

It looked awesome and I couldn't wait to try it

With the end result looking mighty tasty, I was hoping it would taste as good as it looked. I know baking with coconut flour is not always a good idea and kind of tricky. The coconut flour is very dense and can dry moist goods out since it absorbs most of the liquid while it cooks. Also, it has a distinct taste but I went out on a limb and hoped for the best. After I let it cool, I cut the bread into bars. This is what I got:

The taste wasn't too bad at all. In fact, I liked them... a lot. The only problem is they were mushy. My first thought was that if I upped the amount of flour I used, they would come out a little less mushy.

 I will need to make these again with a greater amount of flour and when we have bananas in the house (which is very rare). I popped them into the fridge and am hoping the cold will give them a different taste. As I look back on all that I have stuffed my face with in the past 24 hours, I don’t feel too guilty. I attended a yoga class yesterday and am attending one tomorrow as well. As long as the portions stay smaller than they have been today, I should be good. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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Almost there!

My physician signed off on my physical form that I am ready to practice massage therapy free of restrictions! yayy! I also received my negative TB test as you know. Two of my dear friends were kind enough to write a letter of recommendation for me. I love those girls! The only thing I am waiting on is proof of having  received a professional massage before. I think you would have to live on Pluto if you have never received a massage before, but the administrator for the school said it has happened before. Strange, no? Anyway, I called Florida College of Natural Health from back home since I have always gone there for my massages and facials. It was always cheaper and I like people practicing on me, how else will they ever get better? So, now I am awaiting some kind of confirmation from them stating I have received two massages. Once that comes in, all that’s left is to apply! 🙂 By the way, this is the school I will (hopefully) be attending in January 2011. Note they have a meditation garden, how awesome is that?!

Yoga has been going really great lately. I attend class every other day to avoid any injury. It’s been so long since I’ve practiced and I have never had a consistent practice due to lack of funds. Plus, when I subscribed to Yoga Journal I received a couple of complimentary yoga do’s and dont’s with one of the books stressing the point to wait 24-48 hours between classes to avoid injuries. I am also only attending warm classes at the moment to allow my body to get used to the 60 and 90 minute hot classes. When I jump right into the hot classes, I tend to get light-headed very quickly. I used to practice bikram yoga (sparingly) so this new style of yoga is different for me, but I’m finding I like it much better. It’s been over a week of my consistent warm yoga practice and I’m craving that hot yoga but I need to start slow. I say another week or two of warm classes working in a hot class once or twice a week. 😉 Since practicing I have felt amazing. I’m addicted. I must say this year of unlimited yoga has got to be the best present ever given to me, hands down. I knew yoga did amazing things and allow you to reap the great benefits, which is why I have always tried incorporating it into my life, but it wasn’t until now that I am starting to see the magnitude of it all.

With the thought of my love for yoga, I had to find room in my brain to plan out Thanksgiving dinner. This will be Jon and I’s first Thanksgiving and we will be away from all family. To be honest, it’s not bothering me as much as I thought it would but I am still going to miss sitting around grandma’s table with my other family members. At least we’re going down there for Christmas. We waited until the last-minute to get anything for the holiday and when Jon went to Trader Joe’s, they were all out of turkeys. We improvised and he bought an organic whole chicken, kind of the same right? He also grabbed some veggies, non-MSG stuffing, and a ham for himself. I have the ingredients to make some cornbread and banana coconut flour bread (more on that recipe tomorrow). I think it will be a good day and a memory that will last.

It’s getting late and I need to re-energize for the cooking fest tomorrow, but I want to leave you with a yoga pose of the day. (one that I’m striving for)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-legged Forward Bend)

I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving!

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An EGG-ceptional dinner

After my Turkey Avocado Hum-yum Wrap yesterday, I started planning my dinner 🙂 I usually do that to ensure I won’t be stuck at dinner time with no ideas because there is nothing worse than an ill prepared dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I can whisk up a pretty tasty concoction last-minute. Take the following for an example:

cooked rolled oats with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cinnamon, and agave nectar. Topped with almond butter and a chopped apple.

This was so good and filling. It kept me satisfied for about 4 hours. On the contrary of the above random breakfast, my ‘thought out’ dinner for last night consisted of this big bad boy:

washed, scrubbed, and rinsed - ready for cuttin'

I set out and was determined to make some flavorful eggplant baked fries. I cut the eggplant into “frie-like” pieces and soaked them in warm salt water to get rid of any bitterness. As they were soaking, I preheated the oven to 375 F.

I tossed them around in the bowl to ensure all of them were soaking.

After soaking them for about 10 minutes, I drained the “egg-fries” and tossed them in fresh garlic, basil, and garlic powder. I then scattered them out over parchment paper on a cookie sheet and drizzled 1 1/2 tsp olive oil over the top but don’t know if I would do it again as the eggplant acted as a sponge to that stuff!

I baked these for roughly an hour, peeking in every 15 minutes to ensure they were doing good. I have never made these before so I didn’t know what to expect, what to look for, or if I was even going about it the correct way. I like my potatoes crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, so I was striving for the same thing with the eggplant. So when I noticed the outside of the “egg-fries” turning a dark brown, I decided to take them out and give them a try. There were a few burnt pieces and the “fries” shrunk while cooking making the dish look a bit unappetizing but let me reassure you they were delicious!

"EGG-fries" paired with my Hummus dip (Organic hummus, garlic, paprika and ground black pepper)

The pickles were just because I was craving them 🙂 These were very tasty and I would need to experiment with them to get them to come out the way I like them. The only downside to me and eggplant is that after I eat it, I almost feel nauseous and I don’t know why. I have an eggplant craving once a month, eat it, feel nauseous, stay away from it, and repeat. I’ll have to try eating it in smaller portions, maybe that will help. Yoga tonight and taking care of my post-spay pup 😦 Poor little thing.

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I don’t have TB!!! Oh my gosh I can’t tell you how big my sigh of relief was. Everyone reassured me I had nothing to worry about, but I guess you could say I think of the worst but hope for the best. I know, I know, that type of thinking is not necessary and is extremely negative. That is among one of the top things I am working on with myself in this journey. Now, the next step is filling out the application and get my letters of reference in order. Jon and I are heading home to FL December 16th-27th for the holiday and I hope to find out if I am accepted beforehand. Another task we are completing before heading home is getting my pup spayed 😦 . Her appointment is for tomorrow morning and the poor little thing has no idea what’s ahead of her. She’s going to have a rough first thanksgiving, but you better believe she will be getting her brown rice and boiled chicken feast to help her recover!

Now on to the food!

The last few days, I have been satisfying my ongoing Greek obsession with these awesome turkey wraps. I’ve dubbed them Turkey avocado hum-yum  wraps.

 
 

 

 

Trader Joe's Organic Acocado's. Delicious!

 

Ingredients:

  • 100% whole wheat wrap (or wrap/tortilla of choice)
  • Organic Hummus
  • Organic pesto
  • 2-4 Greek pepperoncini’s sliced into quarters
  • Small handful diced onions
  • Oven roasted turkey (or meat/cooked meat substitute of choice)
  • 2-3 tsp of Newman Own’s oil & vinegar dressing
  • 1/4 – 1/2 chopped avocado
  • Sprinkle of feta or goat cheese (optional)
  • Season to your liking if necessary (I used ground black pepper)

Directions:

There really is no “order” in which the ingredients should be piled onto the wrap this is just the way I prefer it.

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Lay wrap on cookie sheet and spread hummus 1/4 inch from edge of wrap. Spread desirable amount of pesto on top of hummus.
  • Lay choice of meat on wrap and top with the onions, avocado, and pepperoncinis.
  • Sprinkle desired cheese and dressing evenly over wrap.
  • Top with any seasoning, herbs, or pepper and pop into oven for about 5 minutes. (Peek in to make sure the edges of the wrap are not turning too dark and splitting. This will make it difficult to roll up.)
  • Remove from oven, slide your plate underneath wrap, fold and enjoy!

mmmm

This is super simple and very easy to experiment with. This usually fills me up for 4 hours or so and is perfect fuel a few hours before a yoga session.

For dinner last night, I threw together a few things to make an asian style stir fry. I diced up a handful of celery, onions, green peppers, and two 4 oz. organic chicken breasts. Before I went to my yoga class I marinated the diced chicken in Makoto Ginger Dressing. When I got home I started cooking the rice. I used basmati brown rice. While the rice was cooking, I started the chicken. I threw the chicken, dressing and all, into a saute’ pan and cooked over medium. The vegetables went in with the chicken once it was cooked 3/4 of the way through. I poured a little olive oil in to prevent sticking and cooked over low-medium heat. Once the rice and chicken vegetables were done cooking, I added the rice to the saute’ pan. (If you have a wok, it works much better) I cooked for 10 minutes on low-medium heat, added two dashes of soy sauce for flavor, and stirred. You can add in an egg or two if you’d like (I did), but it is just as tasty without. I know it was a little random, but it came out so great that Jon had multiple bowls.

 Here is the finished product:

Rand-yum Asian Stir fry

This hit the spot

Now off to make a Turkey avocado hum-yum wrap 🙂

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The last few days have flown by without a recipe brewing in my kitchen. I am currently working on my application to get into a school here in VA Beach. I want to attend this school to become a massage therapist and to better fulfill my urge to help people holistically. I never expected the application process to be so extensive though. Among the financial aid and application, I must have 2 letters of references, a physical from my doctor, and a negative TB test. I received the TB shot on Friday and have been stressing ever since. I do not remember ever having a TB test done before so I am in constant freak out mode that I may have this disease. My husband gets this test every year for the Navy and is doing his best to reassure me that I don’t, but I must hear it from a doctor to satisfy my anxiety. Nonetheless, I will know at 8:30 tomorrow morning!

On a more relatable note, this post will be about…. homemade granola bars!! Inspired and recipe from Yoga is yummy.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup organic COLD salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat organic flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick or rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup jam of choice (I used blackberry)

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients (except jam) together, adding cold butter last and forming crumbs. This works best when you use your hands to mix.
  • Press a little over half of mixture into 9 x 13 (I used 8 x 8 ) pan. Make sure pan is buttered before mixture goes in. Spread jam on top leaving a 1/2 inch “no jam” edge so jam does not run out the edge.

  • Top with remaining crumbled mixture and press  lightly into jam.
  • Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until edges turn a dark golden brown.
  • Cool and cut into bars!

Fresh out of the oven

After cooling, I used a knife and cut into 10 bars.

You may notice there are only 9 bars on the plate... I wonder where the 10th one ended up 😉

    These are so delicious!

    Make sure you let these bad boys cool or else they will break into segments. I let mine cool for 20 minutes and individually wrapped them up. In a container they went and I then placed them in the fridge.

    This makes it so easy to just grab one on the go

    I will be making these yummy little guys again for sure! Now on to yoga 😉  I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday! 

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