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Archive for the ‘Meals’ Category

Bad Bloggy.

I’ve been a bit of a slacker for the past couple of days because work has been insanely busy and the last thing I’ve felt like doing when I get home each night is turning on the computer.  I spend all day staring at one, so my eyes are totally burned out by the end of the day.  Especially during a no-lunch-break kind of week, like this one has been.

We’re still going strong on the South Beach Diet plan.  I guess today would be our 6th day and I’ve had no sugar cravings whatsoever, which I find amazing.  The first few days I felt a bit achey and tired but after a couple good nights of sleep, I’m feeling awesome.  I’m actually finding this very easy, which I’m surprised about.  If this is supposed to be the most restrictive phase of the diet, this will be no problem at all.  I may even stay on the strict phase a week or two longer.  You’re encouraged to move on to Phase 2 after two weeks but you can choose to stay on it a bit longer if you want.  They give the two week limit because of the nutrients we are missing out on from fruits and whole grains, but we are eating a ridiculous amount of veggies, lean protein and low-fat dairy (though not much), so I don’t feel as though there are a lot of nutrients we’re missing.  I’m being careful to take a multivitamin every day to supplement. 

We donated blood yesterday…always a good time.  There is always a somewhat desperate need for blood on the Rock because they have so many restrictions on who can donate and so, being prime candidates, my man and I try to donate every three months or so.  However, I haven’t been able to donate since December of 2009 because some bloodwork came back showing very low iron levels.  This time around, my hemoglobin measured in at the top end of
“normal”, which was a lovely surprise.  But my blood pressure, which has been historically low to the point that my doctor always makes the “are you even alive?” joke when she checks it, was high for the first time.  I know you can’t use one BP test because blood pressure fluctuates so much during the day, but it bothered me.  It wasn’t high, but it was on the borderline between normal and high.  So, that’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Back to the SBD – here is what we’ve/I’ve been eating for the past week or so:

Breakfast:  2 eggs or 3 egg whites, scrambled with onions and spinach, topped with hot sauce OR, for my egg-hating guy, sauteed ground turkey with vegetables.  Kind of an omelet without the egg.  Whatever works.

Lunch:  Leftover protein from the previous night’s dinner with either a huge salad or leftover vegetables.  Easy.

Dinner:  Big salads, chicken, fish, and lots of steamed broccoli and cauliflower because it seems as though I *might* have gone a bit wild at the market last weekend. 

Not a lot of planning involved, which is nice, but the meals are satisfying and easy to put together.  I do have the SBD cookbook which hasn’t been featured much this week…it will have it’s time to shine in the week to come.  I’ve already flagged some winners.

While the lack of sugar cravings was the intention of this change in our eating style, I can’t help but be happy about the 3 pounds gone this week as well.  I’m sure it’s mostly water, but when your pants feel a bit better, you feel a bit better.

OK, off to get ready for work.  Have a great Friday!

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Is it Friday yet?

Seriously. 

So, we’re on day 2 of eating on the South Beach plan and so far, so good!  I’m following it mostly because I’ve had some crazy sugar cravings lately and have found myself eating things that don’t usually find themselves on my plate (or in my purse).  Baked goods, particularly, haven’t been a part of the regular rotation for years but suddenly I have one lousy muffin and BANG, I want more.  What?  Cookies are a different story…I LOVE cookies (and so avoid them as much as possible), but for a little while there, I was eating a huge oatmeal-white chocolate-cranberry cookie every. single. day.  Again…what? 

So, the thing about sugar is that the more you have, the more you want.  Know what that means?  That means that the less you have, the less you’ll want it eventually, once those addictive beasties have left your system.  Some people have more difficulty with cutting out sugar and generally, if it’s hard for you, that’s a good sign that cutting it out is the right choice!  Your body doesn’t receive any benefits from sugar consumption.  And no, “it tastes so good” is not a benefit.

The South Beach plan cuts out all sugars (including fruit, for the first few weeks), flour products and starchy vegetables (there are other things, but these are the biggies for me).  Once the initial phase is over, the “rules” become more lenient.  All in all, it’s one of the most sensible plans out there (in my opinion), as it really pushes the consumption of vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.  And NO cookies.  No big, chewy, delicious, oat-y, chocolately cookies.

Sigh.  OK, I’m over it.

As I said before, so far, so good.  Today would be Day 3 and avoiding my favorite little coffee place (where those cookies are, enticing me from the confines of a big glass cookie jar) was no problem yesterday.  I crunched away on my celery sticks and roasted chickpeas (more on that in another post) and felt surprisingly good for a sugar-free day.  I had some minor aches and pains last night, which are a good sign that my body is going through a bit of a detox.  Success!

Today’s meals:

  • Breakfast: two organic eggs scrambled with 1/2 cup chopped onions, with a splash of tomatillo salsa
  • Snack:  organic cherry tomatoes!  YUM.  With some roasted chickpeas and a light Babybel.
  • Lunch: leftover chicken cooked with onion, garlic, artichoke hearts, kale and veggie broth.
  • Snack:  same as the morning snack, minus the cheese.
  • Dinner:  steamed broccoli and…something yet to be determined.  Kind of not into chicken twice in one day, but I’m not going to lie to you…it might come to that.

I am totally procrastinating my morning routine, so I better get to it.  Those eggs aren’t going to cook themselves.

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Snacktastic.

Action shot. It's such an exciting snack.

I’ve recently rediscovered the awesomeness of popcorn.  When I was a kid, my family had an air-popper and we’d have popcorn as a treat with movies on family movie nights.  However, the invention of microwave popcorn kind of stole the air-popper’s thunder, and the much-loved appliance was put to the back of the kitchen cupboard in place of those handy little microwaveable bags. 

Recently, a good friend of mine left the Rock and offered me her air-popper when she left.  I was ecstatic.  First of all, it’s identical to the one my family had when I was a kid (though, would they really have changed much?), and second of all, she even threw in some kernels.  Awesome. 

I put a scoop of Earth Balance in the little melting tray, plugged it in and let ‘er rip.  A minute or so later, I was popping up a storm and two minutes after that, I was on the couch with the perfectly seasoned bowl of popcorn, watching Lost in Austen.  I am not sure that it gets much better than that, unless chocolate had been thrown into the mix.

Snackeriffic.

My toppings of the day?

  • Earth Balance
  • Dulse flakes
  • Herbamare Bombay Seasoning
  • nutritional yeast flakes

Want a close-up?

Awesome...no?

While the popcorn is going to have to stay unpopped while we attempt the South Beach Diet’s first few weeks, rest-assured that the air-popper has made a comeback in our house.

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Oatmeal, on the rocks.

The return of the Oats!

Back when I first started this blog, I was eating oatmeal every. single. morning.  I love oatmeal.  I’m an oat-a-holic.  But then I brought home THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL TIME and my poor little oats were left behind.  Unloved.  Unwanted.  Overshadowed by kale.

Well, I recently discovered a way to marry my love for the oat with my love for THE blender.  Oats in my smoothies!  Why did I not think of this before?  I dump so many other randoms in my smoothies…surely oats would be a great addition as well?  I can now answer this.  They are great in smoothies.  They add fiber and bulk while keeping the smoothie…smooth.  Because who wants a gritty smoothie?  I blended a jar of smoothie first (kale, banana, strawberries and a spoonful of manuka honey), and then added a handful of spinach and a sprinkling of oats and blended again until smooth.

Delish.  I love it when food worlds collide.

Served in a stemless wine glass, because sometimes I'm fancy like that.

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Mexican Eggs.

Many, many years ago, or back in 2002, I had a half-Mexican roommate.  We had recently moved far from home together to go to university and had a great 2-bedroom apartment in the coolest area of town.  I loved it.  I still look back on the two years we spent as roomies as some of the most fun that I’ve ever had.  But the real bonus for me was that her Mexican daddy had taught her a thing or two about cooking.  I’d come home from a particularly horrendous day to find a hot quesadilla waiting for me, or Mexican hot chocolate, or…if I was really lucky, the coveted Mexican Egg.

I’ve never been a huge egg eater.  To this day, Mexican-style is pretty much the only way I really enjoy them.  Maybe eating them just brings back all the great memories of living with my best friend, or maybe it’s because they’re really that good.  I think both are pretty true.  They are delish.

You start by cooking chopped onion in a frying pan in a splash of olive oil and a dash of salt.  When they’re transparent, crack in the eggs and scramble them into the onion.  When the eggs are cooked, pour in about 1/2 cup of tomatillo (green) salsa – though, any salsa would work.  The optional ingredient at this point is cheese, which can be stirred in or sprinkled on top.  Ladle onto a plate and voila, Mexican Eggs.

How Mexican they really are is questionable.  We called them Mexican Eggs because she is half-Mexican, we used a brand of salsa made in Mexico, and she *thinks* she ate them in Mexico once, served by her Mexican aunt.  Good enough for me.

Mexican Eggs, drizzled in sriracha hot sauce. My ultimate weekend lunch.

Yum.

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Green.

My blender and I had a great weekend.  After the farmer’s market, I was having a hard time fitting all of the produce into the fridge.  Obviously, the easy answer was to use some of it right away.  I crammed a few handfuls of spinach, a few (huge) leaves of dinosaur kale, a banana, a whole orange and some raspberries into the blender jar and hit go.

Doing it's thang.

Finished product.

Lunch of champions.

When I take green smoothies to the office to finish up as lunch, I get a lot of weird looks.  Keep in mind that I live in the land of fried chicken, where even sushi is served with mayo, and where “smoothie” means, for the most part, “milkshake” or ice blended with some kind of sugary fruit syrup.  When I tell inquiring minds what makes my lunch look like swamp sludge, I will inevitably get a look of horror.  I’m OK with that.  My glass of blended green guck has more nutrients in it than many people eat over the course of an entire day…sometimes (unfortunately), even longer than that.  For me, the benefits speak for themselves:

  • better concentration
  • a great wake-up (green smoothies have completely replaced any and all morning coffees, except for that one latte each week that I treat myself with – usually on Fridays)
  • better skin
  • they keep me full until lunch time…and sometimes longer than that

I have no complaints.  Calorie-wise, they vary.  I estimate that my morning smoothies (i.e. 1.5 tall glasses like the one pictured above) range from 150-250 calories, depending on the “add-ins” that day. 

The Layered Look: (from the bottom up) banana, dinosaur kale, maca powder, chia seeds, ground flax seed, almond butter.

The base is always fruit – usually a banana, but I also use oranges, limes, pineapple and all sorts of berries.  I fill most of the jar with greens (they take up a lot of real estate) – normally kale and spinach, because they are normally the only decent greens available!  I might do some experimentation later this week with beet greens…stay tuned.

The “add-ins” can include:

  • Amazing Grass (a superfood powder…great for those of us with nutrient-deficient vegetables)
  • ground flax seed
  • chia seeds
  • maca powder (though, I’m not crazy about the taste…I find it kind of bitter)
  • almond butter (if I know the smoothie needs to “stick” with me for a few hours until my next meal)
  • unsweetened organic shredded coconut
  • cacao nibs
  • hemp seeds

I normally don’t go too crazy on these…my significant other has a hard time with small seeds and such getting stuck in his teeth (poor baby).

Anyways, I know I mention green smoothies A LOT, but that’s because I love ’em!  And I think they are one of the healthiest things you can “treat” yourself with.

Coming soon is a book review on two books dedicated entirely to…you guessed it…green smoothies.

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Finally!

My computer and WordPress, it would seem, are not the best of friends.  For almost a week, I’ve been unable to access my profile on WordPress and, consequently, unable to update.  No idea what was going on there, but I tried this morning and as you can see…it worked. 

I’ve got a couple of trips coming down the pipes…the first one being a trip to Grand Cayman in March.  I was in Cayman for work last year and was really impressed by it.  It’s similar to our Rock in a lot of ways, but very built up and Americanized, with a lot of comforts of home, such as fast-food restaurants (not super exciting for me, except for the Baskin Robbins), real movie theatres, normal-sized roads (with normal-sized cars) and good friends who we haven’t seen in awhile.  I’m really looking forward to it. 

After that trip was booked last Thursday, we made a quick decision to follow it up with another trip taking place just two weeks later.  On Monday, I booked us tickets to New Yooooooork (concrete jungle where dreams are made of…) to see some friends of ours from Canada and spend a few days wandering, eating and drinking wine.  There may or may not also be some shopping in my plans.  Not going to lie.  I’m so excited.  We haven’t been back to the Big Apple since our Easter trip in 2008, so this is overdue.  Like I said, there are only two weeks between the two trips, which isn’t ideal but we got amazing deals on the flights, so we’re doing this fairly guilt-free.  And then we’ll be here on the Rock for the majority of the summer and maybe even the Fall…enter Rock Fever.   Yikes.

I’ve been doing some cooking lately.  I made another pot of soup on the weekend (Curried Chickpea) from Rebar, yet another winner.  I’ve made it before, but I must have missed something the last time because I don’t remember it being this GOOD.  Seriously.  Bowl-licking good.

Tonight, I have a Thai red curry with shrimp planned.  It’s a new recipe (kind of a hybrid from two cookbooks), so we’ll see how it goes.  I’m on a curry kick lately…must be the dismal weather.

Curry cravings.

 I’m gulping down the last of my green smoothie before getting ready for work.  This morning’s creation was simple:

  • bananas
  • strawberries
  • ground flax seed
  • Amazing Grass (unflavoured)
  • KALE
  • filtered water

Nothing exciting, but delicious nonetheless.  Carlos has gone from being ambivalent about them, to asking for them, to having seconds.  A convert!  Excellent.  I think my BlendTec won him over when it whipped up an amazing batch of salsa with just a few pulses…amazing.

Have I mentioned how much I love my blender?

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