Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tuesday's Eats: Some Real Meals Again

You would think the first week of classes would be pretty calm and relaxed right? Nope. Between working, homework, classes and sorority recruitment I have had no time this week. Everything has been back to back so much so that I found myself eating mainly protein bars (Bhu and Perfect Bars) and fruit, but no real meals. This week I wanted to make a point of eating real meals instead of just snacks. I always find that meals keep me fuller and happier than just a bunch of snack. Monday was the first day of eating real meals again, and lets say it turned out pretty well. Here is what I ate. 

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast w/ Rhubarb Jam, Blueberries and an Orange 

The highlight of this breakfast was the rhubarb jam. My mom made it for the first time this summer and it was amazing. It was the perfect level of tartness. I just had it on toast, but it would also be so good with almond butter or in yogurt. I've also been experimenting with different protein sources other than yogurt (though I still love my yogurt), and microwave scrambled eggs have been on repeat. They are easy and fast which is great for week day breakfasts. 

Lunch: Salad w/ Taco Seasoned Tofu, Cucumbers, Tomato, Carrot and Salsa with Baby Bel Cheese

Being grain free means that most of my meals consist of fruits/veggies and protein. Initially I was struggling to make meals that kept me full, but I find that if I fill the whole plate with veggies and then top it with a lot of protein staying full isn't a problem. We always have a salad bar for lunch and dinner, so I took ingredients from teh salad bar and then just topped it off with tofu that had been leftover from taco night. Not a crazy meal, but not bad either. 

Dinner: Alfredo Zoodles w/ Chicken, Broccoli, Olives,  and Tomato 

You have no idea how excited I was for zoodles. Everyone was having pasta with Alfredo Sauce so I was preparing myself to have just some broccoli and chicken but instead I was able to make a delicious meal with extra topping from the salad bar. The chicken this night was so good for some reason, I went back for seconds. 

Dessert: Apple and Dark Chocolate (unpictured) 

I had been initially thinking I would want a smoothie for dessert, but instead it wasn't that hungry but definitely still had a sweet tooth. To remedy this first I had some dark chocolate which is my usual dessert of choice if I want something small. I was still a little hungry since I had eaten an early dinner. For some reason an apple was sounding so good to me, so I had that as well. Apples are never my "dessert" of choice, but today it was what I wanted so I just rolled with it. 

Until next time, 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tuesday's Eats: Back at School

      It's been a while. Between working, greek life and packing for school I have not been able to find anytime to blog. I've mentioned in the past how I've been eating grain free and feeling a lot better, so in the last couple of weeks I have tested different grains to see what I might be able to tolerate. The answer... pretty much none of them. So far, I have done the best with rice but I will still be sticking with grain free for a while because I still didn't feel good after rice two days in a row.
      Another life update is that I am back at school. I got back at the end of last week. Right now,  we don't have food service right now (I am still in the sorority house) so my meals are either eating out or whatever I can make using a fridge, blender and microwave. This means my meals are not that exciting but I have managed to make some good meals for myself regardless. Here is what I've been eating.

Breakfast: Skyr w/ Strawberries and Grain Free Granola

Back to my usual school breakfast of a parfait. This one was really good because I used coconut Icelandic Provisions and Purely Elizabeth Vanilla Almond Butter granola. This granola is by far and away the best grain free granola out there. I have tried a lot of different grain free granolas because if you have been looking at my old "what I eat posts" you'll notice that granola has always been a staple in my diet. I would say that Purely Elizabeth is the best gluten free and grain free granolas out there.

AM Snack: Cashews 

Cashews are my favorite nut and its crazy how many I have eaten this yummy and already this school year. I had easy access to them at work so I could enjoy them whenever and my parents got me some when moving in as a treat. I typically don't buy nuts for myself because they are so expensive but I always make sure to enjoy them when I have a chance. My only complaint is that the 365 brand isn't as salty as others, and being a salt fan, this is a little bit of a let down. 

Lunch: Strawberry Chicken Salad, Plums, Cheese and Carrots w/ Quac 

I have seriously eaten this salad 3 times in the past 2 days, its a little much. We get all of the leftovers in my sorority house so I had this for lunch the initial day, dinner that night, and then lunch this day. I don't mind it becuase it tastes really good, but I need a break from it too. I changed it up a little by adding the fruit and veggies on the side. It is times like these where I look forward to meal service so that I can eat a little more variety in my days but oh well, at least it tasted good. 

Dinner: Naf Naf Grilled (Catered) 

I had a work meeting this night and it catered Naf Naf which is a middle eastern grill. I really appreciated this choice because it was so easy for me to make a grain free meal. In my bowl there was lettuce, chicken, steak, falafel, various veggie toppings, bit of tahini and a couple other random things.  I ended up eating two bowls worth of food with hopes that I could avoid needing to eat food that I bought at home. 

Bedtime Snack: Coconut Peanut Butter Perfect Bar

Not eating again definitely didn't happen. Because I had dinner so early, I ended up needing something before bed so I chose a perfect bar. The honey helped give me a little something sweet while the bar still had enough protein to keep me full throughout the night. I would never turn down a Perfect Bar any time of day so this addition is no surprise to me. 

Until next time, 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Reading Recently: Summer 2019

This summer a lot of reading has been accomplished, especially when I was recovering from hip surgery. Sadly a lot of the books I read were subpar but there were some really good ones. These are five of my favorites that I have read so far this summer, and would highly recommend them. I have added their description from Amazon (linked in the title) as it gives you a much better idea of what the book is about, than me trying to explain it without giving it away. 

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger 

"Welcome to Greenwich, Connecticut, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. After leaving Miranda Priestly, she’s been working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

When Karolina Hartwell, a gorgeous former supermodel, is arrested for a DUI, her fall from grace is merciless. Her senator-husband leaves her, her Beltway friends disappear, and the tabloids pounce.

In Karolina, Emily finds her comeback opportunity. But she quickly learns Greenwich is a world apart and that this comeback needs a team approach.

So it is that Emily, the scorned Karolina, and their mutual friend Miriam, a powerful attorney turned stay-at-home suburban mom, band together to not only navigate the social land mines of suburban Greenwich but win back the hearts of the American public. Along the way, an indispensable ally emerges in one Miranda Priestly."

Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes

"Bella Tuscany, a companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, is her passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life." 

The Lake House by Kate Morton

"Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies from a masterful storyteller, The Lake House is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read."

Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

"With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family."

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake 

"No. It is a simple word, uttered on a summer porch in 1936. And it will haunt Kitty Milton for the rest of her life. Kitty and her husband, Ogden, are both from families considered the backbone of the country. But this refusal will come to be Kitty’s defining moment, and its consequences will ripple through the Milton family for generations. For while they summer on their island in Maine, anchored as they are to the way things have always been, the winds of change are beginning to stir.
In 1959 New York City, two strangers enter the Miltons’ circle. One captures the attention of Kitty’s daughter, while the other makes each of them question what the family stands for. This new generation insists the times are changing. And in one night, everything does.
So much so that in the present day, the third generation of Miltons doesn’t have enough money to keep the island in Maine. Evie Milton’s mother has just died, and as Evie digs into her mother’s and grandparents’ history, what she finds is a story as unsettling as it is inescapable, the story that threatens the foundation of the Milton family myth."

My favorites of these books would have to be The Guest Book or Bella Tuscany. Both of these books completely sucked me in, so much so that I read them in less than two days. Now I am on the search for more good books, so if you have any recommendation comment below! 

Until next time, 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tuesday's Eats: An Easy, Healthy Overnight Trip

One of my favorite trips to take in the summer is little day trips to Door County. I have been going to Door County for as long as I can remember, but there never fails to be something new to do or try (or taste). The thing with these day trips is that they can get expensive if you go out to eat for every meal. This can easily happen when you aren't prepared. I have learned over the years how to pack food to make my trip healthy, delicious and easy. This way I save some money, or at least then go out for nicer food, and I make sure that I feel good the whole time. Here is an example of what I ate on my last little Door County day trip. 

My mom and I got there in time for lunch. We had planned on going out to eat for this meal, so we made our way up to Ephriam to Chef's Hat. I had this tuna salad with berries. I typically get a salad for lunches at restaurants because they are more likely to be gluten free, then if I got anything else. When trying to not go out to eat that often when traveling, I do make sure that whatever I order is something that will fill me up for a while. Sadly, I didn't really like this salad but I still make sure to eat enough to be full. 

 After going on a hike and lounging at a beach, my mom and I were getting hungry. We weren't quite in the mood to go back to my grandparents condo, but we didn't have any snacks with us. We decided we would get tapas at Parador in Egg Harbor. I had the roasted cauliflower with goat cheese, and she got anchovy toasts. This was the highlight of the trip

We always make sure to plan out our meals ahead of time, so this time we brought up black currants, red onion, tomatoes and lettuce with the plan of picking up some sort of fish. This way all we had to pick up was the fish, instead of running around the grocery store buying everything for a meal. We got better quality produce this way, and also saved a bunch of money as the grocery there is expensive. This dinner was really easy and tasty. It was my first time trying currants as well, and I have to say didn't think I would like them as much as I did. 

When going to Door County we hadn't decided if we wanted to eat breakfast out, or stay at home so all we packed for breakfast was peaches. Stopping at our favorite farm market made that choice for us as they had strawberries,  raspberries and cherries. We always buy things on our way home, so we just decided to pick it up a day early and make parfaits instead. For this meal we did buy the granola and yogurt, but it had already been planed to buy Door County Love granola as my mom really likes it. This just meant we had to add yogurt onto our grocery list... not too bad. 

We always make sure to plan to make one lunch, so this time we make pasta salad. We brought up all of the veggies and dried pasta, so all I had to do in the morning was cook the pasta and mix it all together. This could easily have been made the day before as well, but I ran out of time. I love picnics for lunch so we went to Sister Bay for the morning, and ended it with a delightful picnic near the harbor. This goes to show packing a lunch does't need to be hard to be good. 

 Its rare that my mom and I go on any type of trip without going out for coffee or ice cream. This time we both had a sweet tooth after our lunch, so we decided to head farther north to Door County Ice Cream Factory. All of the ice cream there is homemade, which isn't the case for most places around.  I had the mocha chip ice cream and it was to die for. It was so tempting to go back inside to get more ice cream just because it tasted that good. I already know I will be stopping back here on my next trip. 

Planning ahead can help save a lot of time and money when traveling anywhere. Whether it is someplace new or somewhere you've been hundreds of times, bringing some of your own food can make your life so much easier. By mixing up our meals between going out and homemade meals consisting of things from home, it still keeps the trip a treat with the meals out, but also lets you have a couple less expensive meals in the comfort of home or a rental. 

Until next time, 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tuesday's Eats: Too Much Produce?

This week has better a little different for me as my family went on vacation so I have been just cooking for myself. I wasn't able to go with them this year since I still am not allowed to fly after surgery. I've really been loving the chance to spend some time alone and also just to cook for myself. One thing I wasn't expecting was to be overloaded with so many veggies. Between the farmers market, our CSA and garden there are too many veggies, especially leafy greens, for one person to possibly consume. This day is just full of me trying to each as much produce as possible. 

Breakfast: Zucchini Oatless Oats (recipe) w/ Strawberries and a Peach 

I am been eating scrambled eggs with kale almost daily, but I really didn't want to eat scrambled eggs again this morning. Coming up with breakfast ideas that are high protein but not eggs is hard for me. This oatless oatmeal still involves egg whites, but it at least doesn't taste like it. It was also a great way to use up zucchini and strawberries I had lying around. The recipe seems so weird, but it was surprisingly good. 

Lunch: Shrimp w/ Kale, Roasted Cauliflower, Edamame, Cucumber, Tomato and Red Pepper

Lunches are where I really go for trying to eat a lot of veggies. As you've seen before, I chose a protein source and then make a salad around it. We had leftover red pepper from something my sister made so it wasn't local and the edamame was frozen, but other than that everything is from around me... even the cauliflower! 

All Afternoon: Kombucha

It has been so hot recently that I have needed to drink tons of water. When it gets warm I've found I'll drink more if I change up my beverages. This week I had a lot of iced tea, iced coffee, infused water and kombucha. Today was kombucha for a treat, but I have been liking to make infused waters with the remnants of leftover fruits and cucumber. As much as I love kombucha, I don't love spending the money so infused water is a cheap way to change it up. 

Snack: Yogurt w/ Flaxseeds, Strawberries and Cherries

 I was starting to get hungry about an hour before I wanted to start making dinner so I just cut up cherries and strawberries, added a dollop of Greek Yogurt and then sprinkled on flaxseeds to make a small, balanced snack. I was so excited to find cherries at my farmers market this weekend that I couldn't stop myself from buying more produce. Door County cherries are still a little bit aways seasonally, but these were grown near me and managed to hit the spot. 

Dinner: Chicken Tacos w/ Cassava Tortillas, Tomatoes  and "Broccomole" (recipe)  along with Greens sautéed in Salsa

I have been loving the website Well and Good recently, and the other day I found the recipe for the Broocomole. I was skeptical, but had leftover steamed broccoli to use up. I also wanted to try my new tortillas from Sieste Foods, so I figured tacos would be the best way to use both. These tacos were really easy. I just cooked some chicken in spices and then added the toppings. In attempt to use up some kale and Swiss chard I had around the house, I just decided to sauté it in salsa to keep with the Mexican theme. I thought it would be weird but it turned out to be really good. I will definitely be making it again next time I have tacos. 

Dessert: Bruleed Peach w/ Vanilla Ice Cream 

I have been eating so many peaches recently (no complaints here). I was really wanting some dessert. These peaches were just but under the broiler with a little melted butter and sugar on top. It was a super simple, summery dessert that is both relatively healthy while still fulfilling my craving for something sweet after dinner. 

Until next time, 

Friday, July 5, 2019

10 Easy Ways to Get Outside This Summer

There is no better time to be able to enjoy the outdoors than during the summer. As I write this I am sitting on my couch wishing I could be outside doing something other than reading or watching TV. I normally try to be really active and make the most of summer. Until now, I had not realized how many great ways there are to be outside, some I can do right now and some I can't. No matter what your activity level is, there are always ways to be outside and make the most of the weather. 
Eat Al Fresco
Eating outside is my favorite part of summer. My mom and I eat outside for every meal possible. This means almost every day we have breakfast and lunch outside, but rarely dinner. My dad doesn't like to eat outside, and then later in the year the mosquitos get really bad which both mean no outdoor dinners. 

Walk a Dog
No Dog? No Problem, borrow someone else's. I am serious. Walking a dog is such a great way to get outside without spending money or doing anything too strenuous. I really like taking my dog on a walk so I am not walking around alone. If you don't have a dog, I guarantee you know someone who does. Especially if they work, they may love it if you would take their dog on a walk for you. My sisters boyfriend loves dogs, but doesn't have one, so he will come over so they can walk my dog. 

Make an Outdoor Workout
In the week before my surgery I stopped lifting weight in exchange for outdoor HIIT workouts. You can either make up your own, or find a bunch of different workouts online. There is nothing quite like working out outside and getting your sweat on. I find working out is much more fun outdoors anyways. I can never get myself motivated for HIIT at the gym, but I am all for it outdoors. 

Gardening is an easy way to get outside. You do need some more room to do this if you want to have a large garden, but even something as simple as putting potted plants on your patio can make you go outside. Having your plants outside forces you to leave the house, but at least you need to water them depending on the weather. Gardening is great because it can keep you occupied all summer starting with planting, to weeding, and then to the best part- harvesting. 

Visit Your farmers market
Unless you are brand new to the blog, you know how much I love the farmers market. Heck, I even went to the market two days after my hip surgery. The market is a great place to walk around,  get some food and enjoy the outdoors. You can easily pick up some groceries for the week, or even just grab that days lunch from a food vendor. 

Read Outdoors
I love to read on the beach, but since I don't live near the beach, reading on my patio is the next best option. Pick up a book or magazine and enjoy the outdoors. This idea is as easy as that. 

Go on a Walking Date 
Sick of spending money on coffee or dinner dates, trying going for a walk instead. You can make it an adventure and go hiking, or just keep it simple and walk around a neighborhood. This is a free way to spend time with friends and loved ones that also happens to get you moving and outdoors, what more could you want?

The clear skies of summer lend themselves perfectly for stargazing. Make this night a big night with bonfires, s'mores and stars, or you can simply just turn out the lights and lay on the grass. Stargazing does require cooperating weather but if the stargazing session just turns into s'mores, you'll still end up having a great evening outside. 

Lounge in a Hammock
Lazy days lying on hammocks are a great part of summer. Hammocks are the best when surrounded by friends, or all alone with a good book. If you remember to put on sunscreen, taking a nap is such a great way to spend the afternoon. It would be annoying to wake up with a massive sunburn, but as long as you remember the sunscreen this is a great idea. 

Park Far Away
If none of these options are seeming easily accessible to you, then you can still find ways to be outside. When running errands, you can park at the end of the parking lot and walk. It might not seem like a lot of time outside, but by the time you lower your sunglasses and enjoy some fresh air, you will still be in a better mood. Even running a couple errands can add up more and more time outside. 

How do you like to get outside in the summer?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tuesday's Eats: A Typical Summer Day

Now I can finally show you what I eat on a normal day, no dumb low fiber diet or anything like that. These days I just need to focus on protein intake which has been a fun challenge for me. I don't typically focus that much on protein other than to make a balanced meal, but the need to up my protein has made it a bigger focus. Here is what I have been eating with the extra protein. 

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt w/ Grain-free granola, blueberries, strawberries and a peach 

When I start to make breakfast, I peel a peach. I love to have a peach every morning. They are my favorite fruit so I need to take advantage of peach season. From there I look for protein so recently it means eggs or yogurt. Today I had a parfait as well also had local berries, and it made for the perfect summer breakfast. 

Snack: Gluten Free Rhubarb Oat Muffins (from Jar of Lemons) 

I had a little morning snack of a muffins I had just made. I wasn't really hungry, but of course whenever you make something you need to taste test it. These muffins were so easy to make, and taste amazing. Recently I have been changing around recipes and having fun with that. The only change I made to these muffins was to add wayyy more rhubarb. I love these muffins so I will need to make more in order to freeze them for the school year. 

Lunch: Local Greens w/ Grilled Onions, Strawberries, Chicken, Avocado and Hemp Seeds

Whenever my mom and I deiced to have a salad for lunch, typically about 4 days a week, it really means we want to clean out the fridge and make room so that we can go to another farmer's market. I saw leftover chicken and strawberries so I knew I needed to make a salad that had a "strawberry chicken salad" theme. This salad was amazing as all the flavors worked so well together. 

 Snack: Mango Spinach Collagen Smoothie 

I have been having this smoothie on repeat recently. I found this recipe somewhere on instagram, and it love that it is 4 ingredients and higher protein. It is just mango, spinach, almond milk and collagen. I just this as a way to add a little more protein in my day if I am not near enough to meet my post-surgery protein needs. 

 Dinner: Taco Salad w/ Pulled Beef, Cucumbers, Cheese, Salsa and Plantain Chips 

Dinner tonight was tacos, but since we didn't have any corn torilllas around I made a taco bowl. In a the same mindset as with lunch, I just added whatever I could find in the fridge that fit the "Mexican" theme of the night. It turned out to be a really yummy bowl. 

see you soon!