Monday, April 28, 2014

Peanut Noodles

Last week I made a big batch of peanut noodles and enjoyed them for lunch, dinner, and everything in between.  Well, actually just for dinner once and lunch twice.  Next time I need to make a bigger batch ... Because these noodles are so easy to make and so tasty I just couldn't get enough of them! 
The recipe below is modified from my equally tasty sesame noodles, tweaked a bit for my flavor preferences and to make prep a bit easier (we all need that sometimes). 
Peanut Noodles


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds (crushed peanuts would be great here too!)


1. Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, oil, red pepper, peanut butter, garlic, and Ginger.
2. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until just tender, drain, and rinse in cold water.
3. Toss pasta with dressing, carrots, scallions, and sesame seeds.
These are enjoyed best right after you make them, but if you must refrigerate leftovers for later, let them come back to room temperature before eating.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mexican Salad

Monday and Tuesday I had the exact same dinner.  Luckily, the Mexican salad I prepared is so tasty you don't get bored of it - in fact, you just want to eat it again and again!  This salad is perhaps a bit ingredient intensive, but that just means that once you've gathered everything for the first go-around, it's that much easier to prepare on night two.  Plus it has the advantage of being full of vitamin-packed veggies and protein from black beans.  What's not to love about this salad?
Mexican Salad
Into the mix (makes two salads):
Salad mix of choice (I used Spring mix), chopped
Grape tomatoes, halved
Canned corn, drained (1/3 of the can)
Canned black beans, drained (1/3 of the can)
French's fried onions (you can omit this, but I love the added crunch)

Diced avocado (1/2 a large avocado)
For the dressing:
Vegan sour cream
Mexican spices of choice to taste (I used adobo, chili, and ground chipotle)
Whisk together dressing ingredients, then toss salad fixings with dressing well to coat and enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miso Soup

Last week I spied the tub of miso I have sitting in the fridge for making delicious vegan brie and cashew cheese sauce and decided I might as well make the thing miso is most famous for  ... soup!  I made a big batch of miso soup at the beginning of the week that ended up being three dinners - I was a bit miso-souped-out by the last bowl.  I followed this recipe, but tweaked it by adding some shitaake mushrooms to the mix and amping up the amount of tofu, scallions, and seaweed. 
Along the way I learned a few important things about making my own miso soup:

1. It's important to cut the seaweed up into smallish pieces or the long strips will send soup flying everywhere when you're trying to eat.
2. To cut the seaweed, it's a lot easier to fold the sheets up and then cut with scissors than to try to cut with a knife on a cutting board.
3. Cook the shitaakes first, the heating of the soup alone will not do it and raw mushrooms have a really weird consistency.
But most importantly ...
Miso soup is tasty, but not enough to eat it three nights in a row.  Either I'll have to figure out how to make a much smaller batch or stick to ordering it in restaurants. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pizza Quinoa

You'd think I'd be over my quinoa obsession by now, but no ...  It seems I can't get enough of this stuff.  Which is just fine, because it's full of protein and fiber not to mention delicious.  A lot of people think quinoa is bland and uninteresting, which it is ... if you try to eat it plain.  But if you add just a few ingredients to dress it up, it can magically become one of your favorite foods. 
Inspired by the quinoa pizza bites I made a while back and eager to find yet another use for my delicious cashew cheese sauce, I invented ... pizza quinoa!  It's warm, it's cheesy ... it's pizza-y.  It's got all the comforting gooeyness of pizza without the fat, carbs, and feeling of a brick in your stomach later. 
Pizza Quinoa
1 cup cooked quinoa (follow package directions)
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 tablespoons cashew cheese sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
(Optional: serve with Daiya mozzarella melted on top)
Simply mix ingredients together and heat through.  Ingredient amounts can all be adjusted subject to taste.  Serve warm and enjoy! 

One-on-One Training With Jackie DVD

Last week's workouts were mostly centered around the Workout One-on-One Training with Jackie DVD I borrowed from Netflix.  I watched a few episodes of "Workout" back when it was on Bravo years ago, and had put this DVD on the queue probably several years ago but never got around to bumping it to the top of the list.  I don't normally get workout DVDs, but I decided it might be a nice way to shake up my workout routine a bit, and I just might learn some new fitness tricks too.  And then I realized getting the DVD by mail was really the only way to get them - Netflix won't stream workout videos (probably because that would be excellent for the consumer but then no one would ever buy the DVDs). 
The One-on-One DVD has three twenty-minute workouts: one focused on the upper body, one on the lower body, and one on abs.  I really liked that this DVD let you customize your workout by choosing which routine(s) you wanted to do before hitting play, so you could just sail through the routines you'd chosen without fiddling around with the menu in between.  (The top Amazon review, linked above, has a run down of all the exercises featured in each segment.)
I received the DVD on Monday and got right to work by trying out the lower body routine that day.  Unfortunately, the routine wasn't all that unique or difficult - mostly lots and lots of squats and lunges.  I did like that the weight-baring exercises were broken up with short bouts of cardio to keep your heart rate up and at least make you sweat just a little.  But I definitely wasn't the least bit sore the next day, and the meager workout didn't make me eager to try the other two routines.  In fact, it was Friday before I went back again. 

Tuesday - Bike 30 minutes
Wednesday  - Elliptical 30 minutes

Thursday - Off

Friday - I finally got back in front of the One-on-One DVD by doing both the upper body and abs routines.  Since I was in my living room without access to all the different weights of a gym I just used a set of 5-lb weights for the upper body exercises.  Maybe if I'd gone up in weight it would have felt tougher and my arms would have been sore the next day. 
The real winner of the DVD was the abs routine.  I actually had to stop a couple of times because I just couldn't keep doing reps and my abs were definitely feeling it the next day ... and the day after that.  It really showed me that I'm not working my abs like I should be and that I should be focusing on that area more in the future. 
Saturday - Short walk to library and grocery store (about two miles) plus 1 hour hike at Wheaton Regional Park.  Like so many of my other "hikes" recently, this was also more of a nature walk, with paved trails almost the whole way. 

Sunday - Hike at Rock Creek Park (about 4 miles).  This park is only about a mile from my house, but I've been avoiding going there because I thought I'd need to go further afield to find a real "nature" experience.  Fortunately for me I was wrong.  While I didn't exactly spot any deer, I also couldn't see any cars or too many houses.  And the trail was an actual trail!  I didn't have a trail map, and the trails didn't appear to be blazed anyway, but I managed to figure out a loop that was easy enough to follow (and you're never far from civilization anyway if you do manage to get lost) and did two laps of it in about an hour and a half.  This may just be my new go-to hiking destination. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two Weeks Ago Food - Better Late Than Never?

So, what I really need to do is get on a more regular blogging schedule - similar to the one I followed when I first started out (more than a year ago!).  At that point, I managed to blog almost every day, so I could recount the previous day's meals and activities.  But since I haven't been doing that, now I just have to do a dump post where I recount a bunch of meals I ate two weeks ago ... 
For a long while I stared at this box of Archway Cashew Nougat cookies I'd managed to save away at Christmas (I'm like a squirrel ...).  My usual ritual is to eat two (or three) boxes of my favorite cookie of all time at the holidays, then save just one to eat after session ends.  So every time I opened the freezer I would see the deliciousness waiting for me but I'd have to be good and look away.  Until two weeks ago ...  when session was finally over and I dug in and ate the whole box in two days ...  Now I wish I'd frozen two boxes :( 
Around the same time, I received The Godfather on DVD from Netflix (part of my little attempt to watch all 100 of the AFI top 100 movies - I'm around 40 now).  Well, as most of you probably know, The Godfather basically requires you to eat Italian food while you watch it, so I mixed up some quick and easy pasta sauce and enjoyed a big plate of spaghetti with Mr. Brando. 
Making pasta sauce always leaves you with a huge batch, so I froze about half of what I made, then enjoyed the rest later in the week with some delicious Rising Moon artichoke and olive ravioli - notice it's made with soy ricotta.  I loved this stuff before I was vegan, but it was a nice treat to find out it was not just vegetarian (like they advertise on the label), but actually vegan as well :) 
Mid-week at work, with not a whole lot to do, I decided to go out for lunch by stopping by the Whole Foods prepared foods bar.  I always go to Whole Foods hoping the selection is going to look like Wegmans, and I'm always disappointed.  I don't know why I keep going.  On this occasion, there wasn't a lot to choose from and a lot of things weren't marked as to whether they were vegan, so I erred on the side of caution and only grabbed what I knew was safe. I got some marintated mushrooms and a couple of slices of celebration roast.  Neither were very good, and to make matters worse one of them made me pretty sick later in the afternoon.  Maybe I'll finally learn my lesson about the Whole Foods bar ...
Things looked up food-wise on Friday when I joined a friend for a birthday dinner at Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar.  Since my friend is also vegan, I knew she would be making a great choice for her own birthday dinner, and I wasn't disappointed.  I loaded up on guacamole before dinner, then enjoyed the sweet potato tacos as my entree (minus the aioli).  Of course I also had a few libations to round out my dinner.  It was a celebration, after all. 

Saturday night I tried to steer myself back toward healthier fare by making a tried and true healthy dinner - tofu, broccoli, and edamame with Thai peanut sauce.  Though I often serve this with rice or bean threads, I decided to nix the filler and just serve the stuff with actual nutrition.  Look at all that green.  This dish just screams "healthy", doesn't it? 

Sunday night I headed to Josh's parents' for dinner.  (Remember the lemon coconut bars?)  I headed up there a few hours before dinner so I could walk their dogs and socialize for a bit.  Unfortunately, on my way there I realized that with just a breakfast smoothie in me I wouldn't make it to dinner without a bit more food.  Lucky for me I was passing close to Land of Kush at just that moment and decided to stop in for a delicious side of mac 'n cheese.  It was creamy, cheesy, deliciousness.  Not super healthy, but at least I ordered the small.  And it was definitely enough to tide me over until the tasty pasta dinner Josh's Dad prepared - pasta with cannelini beans, broccoli rabe, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and I'm sure all sorts of other good things too.  Yum yum!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lemon Coconut Bars

When invited to Josh's parents' house for dinner last weekend, of course the first thing I do is ask "Is there anything I can bring?"  Which is how I got roped into baking again.  Don't get me wrong ... I love to bake.  And I love to eat sweet treats.  The problem is that when I bake and then eat sweet treats I tend to not stop at one.  And when I end up baking something for occasion after occasion, then I end up eating multiple desserts ... every day ...  Not good for my health and not good for the size of my posterior. 
It was actually Josh's idea to make lemon bars ... specifically, he wanted lemon coconut bars.  And fortunately I had recently come across this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie for plain lemon bars that I thought would be easy enough to tweak for my needs.  Plus, the recipe was both relatively healthy and also had a small yield - the less it makes, the less I can eat, right?  I followed the recipe almost exactly (I didn't use lemon zest, and obviously I used a lot less food coloring - I prefer the natural-looking yellow, rather than the technicolor) but before putting the bars in to bake I sprinkled sweetened coconut flakes on top.  Even after chilling the bars were surprisingly soft - more like a mousse on top of a firm crust - which meant they really needed to be eaten with a fork.  But they were definitely tasty. 
The recipe yielded eight bars that were about 2 inches x 1 1/2 inches - small, but enough to get a few good bites. I'm not quite sure how I would make them firmer next time - maybe more tofu?  But I think I'll be experimenting with these more in the future. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

My New Addiction - Cheesy Quinoa

I know it's been a while now since I said I would post on my favorite new food - cheesy quinoa.  But better late than never, right? 
I didn't really think it was possible to improve on my cashew cream sauce. But then I added miso and truffle oil ...  What a difference! The miso, in particular, really adds a sharp, "cheesy" flavor to the sauce.  It just goes to show, even your staple recipes can always be revisited and maybe improved.  I don't even think I'll  ever go back to the old recipe.  And I definitely wouldn't have thought I would ever say that a month ago. 
New-and-Improved Cashew Cream (Cheese) Sauce:
(ingredient amounts are all estimated and can be adjusted to taste)
1/3 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
soy or almond milk to reach desired consistency
I blend everything together in a cuisinart and then taste to adjust flavors. 
Then the real fun begins.  The sauce can be used on just about anything - pasta, plain broccoli, or even as pizza sauce.  But my new (and healthy!) favorite way to use it is to make cheesy quinoa.  Just mix cheese sauce with cooked quinoa, then dress up with your favorite add-ins.  Several times now I've opted to mix my cheesy quinoa with cooked broccoli (I lightly sauteed mine for a few minutes).  But you could use just about any vegetable under the sun.  I've also mixed mine with black beans (white would also be tasty!) and chopped and sauteed bell pepper.  I can't wait to try cheesy quinoa with mushrooms!  The possibilities are definitely endless.  But I intend to try as many as I can ...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stopping to Smell the Flowers

Last week wasn't exactly the most workout-filled week I've ever had.  But hey, something is always better than nothing, right?  Let's get right to it ...

Monday - Off

Tuesday - Long walk to library - about 4.5 miles.  The great thing about taking a walk on a beautiful day (even just around your neighborhood) is that it's a great stress reliever.  I like to take the opportunity to literally stop and smell the flowers :) 
Wednesday - 30 minutes on the elliptical
Thursday - 2 mile run.  Again - got to get outside, even if it's just a short trip.  I did this quick run while my lentil soup was simmering on the stove.
Friday - Off
Saturday - 1 hour hike at Black Hill Regional Park.  To find this place, I just pulled up a map of the area and looked for green space.  Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly my favorite hiking experience ... in fact, it was really just a nature walk because the "trail" I followed was paved the whole way.  And some of the time you were even fenced off from the actual nature ...
And most of the time the trail went right along behind a bunch of houses so it was like you were walking through peoples' back yards.  Not exactly like immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the world. 
But the trail wound its way around a good-sized lake and it was a beautiful, sunny day, so there were a ton of turtles to spot sunning themselves on rocks and logs.  I probably saw about thirty turtles in my hour-long walk - which I'd estimate came in at right around three miles.  Not the most physical exertion ever, but I got a late start to the day.  I intend to do much better with my hike this weekend! 
Sunday - Off (unless you count the incredibly short walk with Josh's parents' dogs - probably less than a mile going at an old dog's pace - which is sloooooooow)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chicken Ring?

Yes ... chicken ring.  Sounds pretty much disgusting, doesn't it?  I don't even really recall how I came across this recipe for a chicken broccoli ring, but I do know why I was drawn to it.  When I first became vegan I looked through the (extensive) list Peta compiled of "accidentally" vegan items at the grocery store, and I remembered that Pillsbury crescent rolls were included on the list (right between cornbread and pizza dough).  Since the real crux of this recipe was the crescent rolls, I figured everything else could be subbed out easily enough to create my own vegan version of the chicken ring ...
Horray, right?  Yeah, Josh didn't think it was worth pursuing either.  But boy was he wrong!  With the crescent rolls safely in the vegan camp, all I had to do to make my chicken ring dreams a reality was sub out vegannaise for the mayo, Gardein chicken scallopini for the chicken, and daiya mozzarella for the cheddar (I had the mozz already, but I'm sure daiya cheddar would have been great too - and more colorful).  I could have also gotten more color using a red bell pepper rather than orange but the orange were on sale ...  I also nixed the egg wash and almonds, figuring crescent rolls come out looking just fine without filling and would probably do the same here. 
The whole recipe came together pretty easily.  The trickiest part really was fitting all of the crescent roll triangles into my circle (I came up one short).  I also didn't get the beautiful foldover with perfect spacing, but I'm sure I can get it right with more practice!  And more practice I most certainly will get, because the chicken ring was amazing!!!  Decidedly unhealthy, perhaps, but really, really tasty.  I ate the whole ring myself in three sittings.  (Yes, I realize that's the equivalent of eating five crescent rolls at a time, plus the filling.)  So maybe the more appropriate plan here would be to make this with a giant salad to help ensure chicken ring portion control. 
Now, one more time for good measure ... chicken ring!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Muffin Mania

I guess it's no surprise by now that I'm a bit all over the map when it comes to my food choices.  One minute I'm talking about how I want to eat healthier, eat more green vegetables, and make sure I incorporate protein into my meals ... and the next minute I'm off baking up some indulgent treat again.  I'm definitely food bipolar. 
But I guess most of us are to some extent.  It's almost impossible to go through life without the occasional treat.  It's just that my treat occasions seem to pop up a bit more frequently than they do for other people ...  I also find that when I get bored I tend to turn to the kitchen.  Either I want to eat something or I want to make food.  It's a way to pass the time, and making food at least means I'm not consuming it ... until it's done. 
And apparently I've found myself bored a lot lately.  Because I've been turning to baking over and over again in the past couple of weeks.  To combat the resulting onslaught of baked goods, I've done my best to partake in just a few of the resulting goodies and haul the rest off to work to watch them disappear from the office kitchen.  Which usually manages to happen quite quickly and wins me all sorts of new friends at work too. 
Three times in the past two weeks I've brought muffins to work - the first two batches were supposedly cupcakes, but without the frosting (I followed the accompanying recipe for cream cheese frosting with disasterous results - it was sickly sweet glaze rather than frosting, though I followed the recipe to the letter) I figured these hummingbird cupcakes were really more like "tropical" muffins. 
I'm not sure if there's a definitional difference between "cupcake" and "muffin" other than the presence of frosting, but no one at work seemed to think they weren't muffins.  In fact, they were so popular that people actually said they hoped I would make them again soon - which is how I came to make a second batch less than a week later.  It also helped that I was quite taken with them as well.  Plus the recipe was so simple to follow it really wasn't much effort to make a double batch the second time. 
Then just two days after I brought in round two of tropical (hummingbird) muffins, the last day of Maryland's legislative session arrived.  The last day of session is always a long and exciting day, and lots of people bring in treats to share.  I certainly couldn't sit there with all sorts of non-vegan treats surrounding me all day.  I knew I'd go crazy if I didn't have an opportunity to indulge a bit too. 
Which is where the Caramel Apple Muffins came in.  I'd seen this recipe a while back and was eager to try it.  (Plus I couldn't very well bring in a third batch of hummingbird muffins!)  While this recipe wasn't quite as simple and quick as the hummingbird cake, it wasn't too difficult.  Following the recipe measurements, I ended up with 16 muffins to share at work. 
And I probably ended up eating 1/4 of them myself ...  The crumble topping made these a bit messy to eat, and I wouldn't really say there was any genuine "caramel" element to them, but the apple cinnamon flavor combination is always a winner in my book.  These also managed to come away with high praise, though nothing so enthusiastic as the hummingbird cakes. 
Maybe my coworkers were just a bit muffin-ed out.  I know I am ... for now ...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Walk, Walk, Walking Through My Workout Recap

Last week was all about embracing walking for exercise.  I was pretty sluggish all week and couldn't really get on board with a major sweat session, so I decided leisurely strolls would have to get me by.  It always helps to have a destination in mind when I'm walking, so two days in a row I used the local library to get me out the door. 
Here's my recap for the week:
Monday - off
Tuesday - short walk to library (the direct route) - 2.6 miles total
Wednesday - long library walk - this route took me far past the library along Sligo Creek and then back - about 4.5 miles total

Thursday - (I finally found my way into the gym!) body pump 75 rep modification - increased weight but lower reps to 75 reps from 100
Friday - 30 min elliptical level 4 plus 2 min cool down 
Saturday off
Sunday - short hike at the Patuxent Research Refuge

You can follow my route from the map at the left - I took the large circle around the outer perimeter, which I think ended up only being about three miles (it took me just over an hour, but I was going at a very leisurely pace and enjoying the scenery). 
The terrain was completley flat, and a lot of the path was even paved.  The trail followed around the edge of a small lake before eventually cutting through the woods and back to the parking lot.  While this wasn't exactly a difficult hike, there was no entry fee (aside of course from tax dollars) and the visitors center had clean bathrooms plus nature exhibits (if you are so inclined) - including a giant taxidermied polar bear (odd).   
There were a fair number of other people at the Patuxent Research Refuge, but not nearly as many as I would see walking along Sligo Creek in Silver Spring and definitely not the annoyance of traffic sounds.  It's been such a long time since I've gotten out into "real" nature that it's made me itch for more.  I'll definitely be looking for a more intense and remote hike this weekend. 

Crazy for Quinoa

I've been a quinoa-eating machine lately.  It seems like once I started, I just can't stop.  And while there isn't actually any leftover prepared quinoa in my fridge right now, it's so easy to make I definitely think they'll be some more in their again soon. 
It all started when I came across this recipe for Quinoa Pizza Bites on Chocolate Covered Katie's blog.  I live right by a Papa Johns, so I'm always smelling pizza-y goodness, and these seemed like a great way to satisfy the craving for pizza without fully succumbing in the dark side (or is that the delicious side?).  The pizza bites proved super easy and really tasty - definitely a recipe I will be making again and again.  I've also already started to envision all sorts of modifications I could make too - Quinoa Mexican Bites, anyone? 
Of course when I was preparing the pizza bites I failed to notice that the recipe only called for one cup of cooked quinoa, so I promptly started off by preparing a cup of dry quinoa and ending up with more than two cups once it was made.  So what was I going to do with all that leftover quinoa?  Experiment, of course! 
Successful experiment #1: quinoa mixed with chalula and guacamole, then eaten as a dip with tortilla chips.  This may not look all that appetizing, but I can assure you it was delicious!  It was spicy, but still cool and creamy with the guacamole.  It also packed a big protein punch that made it a lot more satisfying than chips and salsa alone, but not as high in fat as if I'd eaten that amount of guacamole.  I really think this would be a party appetizer winner. 
Following along the same lines, I used more leftover quinoa as lunch one day by mixing in more chalula plus a generous helping of black beans and serving it with a bit more guac on the side (not shown in the picture).  All mixed together this didn't necessarily look too pretty either, but it definitely tasted amazing.  Plus the double protein punch of black beans and quinoa kept me full right through the afternoon. 
And maybe my favorite quinoa innovation yet?  Mixing quinoa with cashew cheese sauce and whatever other ingredients you feel like (or can imagine!).  I will definitely have a follow-up post on this soon.  The cheesy quinoa was so warm and satsifying - like mac 'n cheese without any of the guilt!  I had this twice - once mixed with black beans (shown) and once mixed with broccoli.  Amazingly delicious both times!  This is definitely one of my new favorite meals. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dinners Lately

It's been a long time since I've posted some of my day-to-day eats, so now I have to just lump them all together in one big post ...
Hopefully these meals will show a trend - that I've been trying to make sure that I incorporate more protein and more green veggies into my meals.  This is always easiest at dinner, when I can make my meal at my leisure and then eat it right away, but I'm trying my best to do this at lunch too. 
Of course, sometimes laziness takes over too, and then I try my best to balance everything - sometimes with great success (and sometimes not).  Fortunately, I'd consider this meal of English baked beans on toast with roasted Brussels sprouts a huge winner.  The beans were warm and comforting, but also still full of protein.  And of course Brussels sprouts are one of the all time top green veggies!

Unfortunately I don't think my beloved (fake) bacon, avocado, and tomato sandwiches can really be considered all that healthy.  And does avocado count as a green vegetable?  It's a green fruit at least ...  And the bacon does provide some protein.  Yeah, there's only so far I can stretch that one.  But they're so delicious!  I ended up having two last week ...

And going even further to the dark side was my excessive consumption of vegan brie last week ...  I got a baguette to make this tasty brie, honey, and almond sandwich (lightly toasted, of course).  But then I took things up another notch by finishing the baguette as a brie, apple, and almond sandiwch - soooo good!  I can't promise I won't be having plenty more of those in the future, but I'll try to be good and wait another month or so before I bring back the brie. 
Swinging my dietary pendulum a bit back towards the healthy side, I invented another new favorite - spicy broccoli with sundried tomato cashew cream sauce.  I should probably come up with a shorter name, because I'll definitely be making this recipe a ton.  I made it three times in one week right after I came up with it.  And there's that green vegetable sneaking back into rotation! 
The recipe is so simple too.  Just coat broccoli with olive oil, hot sauce, and salt, and roast for about thirty minutes.  Top with cashew cream sauce (with or without added sundried tomato, I'm sure it would be good either way).  I served this twice with polenta, but one evening I just ate a big bowl of it plain.  Yum yum yum.
Sunday I kept going with the healthy eating plan by trying my hand at making a tofu scramble.  (Maybe an odd choice for dinner, but oh well.)  I followed this recipe, but tweaked the recipe a bit by nixing the broccoli (I'd finished it all with the recipe above).  This wasn't exactly my favorite meal of all time.  The flavors were fine, but I think I messed up with the tofu I used - morinu silken tofu, rather than a "firmer" variety.  It came out too liquidy and with just an all around unpleasant texture.  I'd be willing to give this another shot with a different brand of tofu, but I still doubt it would become a favorite recipe. 
Monday I had to stay late at work - the first time in quite a while.  While I could have just ordered a side salad to be technically healthier, I just couldn't bring myself to have such a horrible meal.  My back still hurt from Sunday and I just wasn't in the mood to exert any kind of willpower.  So I ordered the (pretty much entirely unhealthy) portobello sandwich with fries.  And yes, I ate it all. 
So, it doesn't seem from the meals above that I've stuck with the healthy eating thing all that well, huh?  But I suppose if I just keep returning to the same goals I will still be doing better than if they weren't floating around in the back of my mind.  And if accountability works for exercise, hopefully it will help keeping my healthy eating on track too!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Workout Recap

Once I decided I would start making a concerted effort to document my workouts, I really found that it gave me a ton of motivation to actually ... work ... out.  It's funny how much public accountability can influence your habits. 
Even on days when I really didn't feel like doing anything, I still got myself onto the exercise bike for a half hour so I'd at least done something.
Last week's workout recap:
Monday: at home body pump routine
Tuesday: 30 min bike (while reading) manual level 5
Wednesday: 30 min bike random hills level 5 plus1 1/2 min plank 
Thursday: off
Friday: treadmill intervals - 5 minute warm up on 5, then alternating 1 minute at 8.0 with 1 1/2 minutes at 3.2.  25 minutes total.
(Saturday and Sunday it rained all day so I didn't get a chance to get outside like I did the previous weekend.  So sad ...)
Saturday: back to the at-home body pump - such a good workout!  Though Saturday's routine didn't leave me as sore the next day as it did the first time around.  I guess my body's already getting used to it and I'll have to change things up soon ...
Sunday: 35 min elliptical - last 5 min in reverse, 19 dead lifts with 70 lbs. 
Why only 19 dead lifts, you ask?  That's because I totally through my back out on lift number 19 and just managed to hold it together to get the weights back to the rack and walk back to my apartment - in great pain.  Whomp whomp.
I was watching my form and I've done dead lifts with a lot more weight before (I did a 1RM in crossfit less than a year ago of 115 pounds), so I'm not really sure what happened.  But it took me out for a few days.  I really didn't want to do anything to injure myself any more. 
But now I'm back to my old self and ready to get back into the workout swing!  And next time I'm going to scale way down on the deadlift weight ...