New Fish, Blue Fish

For dinner tonight we took Adam’s parents to the new sushi spot that just opened on Elmwood, Blue Fin.

My camera was dying and the lighting was low, so please excuse my poor photography.  The meal was delicious; I got one healthy roll and one fun roll.

For health, I ordered a California hand roll.

Hand rolls are my favorite sushi order, I love the texture of the nori.

For fun I ordered a roll to split with Adam.  This bad boy had asparagus, cream cheese, white fish, massago, eel sauce, spicy mayo, and tempura; I believe it was called the Blue Mountain Roll.

It was a great mix of flavors and textures, but very heavy; if you are ordering sushi to be healthy please be aware that rolls with cream cheese are neither traditional nor low-calorie.  They are tasty though!  I ate three pieces.

We were given chocolate with the bill.

We took the in-laws to Delish for local ice cream after dinner.  It was too cold outside for that to appeal to me, but I did pick up an adorable mini casserole dish!

They were on sale and I’ve been wanting one forever.

My mother-in-law is amazing; she was in the kitchen all day yesterday and she brought us pounds (literally!) of tasty foods.  She actually brought so much we can’t eat it all this week!  I portioned out the chilli into baggies in one cup servings and have them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.

That’s how I deal with all soup/soft leftovers, once they are frozen they are a cinch to stack and store.

I did a little bit of school work when we got home and I snacked on a snickerdoodle from my m-i-l.

I didn’t actually eat much real food today so I probably should have skipped the cookie; I’m learning.  We’ve got breakfast plans at 7 tomorrow so I’ve got to get to bed.  Sweet dreams all.

What is your favorite sushi order?

Locked and Loaded

It’s been a full day and my to do list’s not even close to empty!  Thank goodness it’s mostly stuff I enjoy.

Tuesday is my 8am class (library) day so an at home breakfast was not going to happen.  Instead I packed some healthy snacks to eat in between classes.  A Blueberry Crisp Cliff Bar,

and a local apple.

We learned about amino acids and proteins in NTR 100 today and it was totally fascinating.  Did you know that only animal protein sources can provide a “complete protein?”  Vegetable sources don’t have the correct ratio of the essential amino acids.  However, through “complementary proteins” vegetarians can get what they need.  For example, beans and rice are a complimentary protein.  I’m obviously not vegetarian, but we do eat a lot of meatless meals so it’s definitely something to think about.

After class I headed over to the gym.  It’s a 30minute walk from my apartment (1hour roundtrip) so gyming it in the morning this year is just not realistic; instead I’m trying to make my workout part of my on-campus time.  This weekend I picked up a pretty pink lock –

and today I brought a bag full of gym essentials – sports bras, socks, shoes, outfits, scrunchies, water bottle – to store on campus.

Today’s workout was 30minutes on the elliptical, random, level 6.

Adam could even give me a ride home so I didn’t have to walk in the sun, yay!  We had some business to take care of so I replenished with coconut water while I waited for lunch.

Lunch-lunch was a package of Allergaroo Chili Mac.

I ‘beefed it up’ by stirring in 4oz of frozen peas.

Yum.  This packet was still part of my shipment of free samples but I think the chili mac is fantasmic, I’ll definitely buy more with my own $.

I’m still looking for a fruit-dairy component to lunch so I’ll probably have a study snack in a bit, I’ll update the post if I do.

Dinner’s gonna be exciting…..

***Updated to add -I found my dairy-fruit (+ sweet!) snack.
I started with an Oikos free sample, 0% strawberry.
I don’t know why I was expecting this to be flavored yogurt, but I was a bit surprised to find plain with jam on the bottom.  In the end I loved it though; it was the perfect amount of sweet!
I topped my yogurt with a sliced black plum, a sliced plucot, and part of a crumbled cookie.
I definitely did not need the cookie (this was really sweet), but I had to throw out the last of the burnt granola and I had my heart set on something crumbly!
Do you have a locker at your gym?  Do you bring your stuff for the day or keep a bag stocked at the gym?

The Binder System

I will concede in advance that this is a dorktastic activity, But – it is a great way to stay organized and can be a lot of fun.

Magazines are a lot of fun to read, I personally subscribe to more than 5 different ones, but they are also a great wealth of information.  When you read a magazine, there are probably several pages you are interested in; a new workout routine, a tasty recipe, instructions on a fun hairstyle.  There are probably also several pages you barely want to skim; perhaps Cosmo’s 700th installment of “25 Ways to Please Your Man.” 

So how to you keep the articles you find to be helpful while excluding the ones that don’t apply to you?  Tear them out.  Ok, that’s better right off the bat as you no long have a huge stack of magazines taking up space.  But now what do you do with the unorganized stack of loose papers?  Institute a binder system:

I have 3 different binder of magazine clippings.

1. The Recipe Binder

This one I use all the time; truth be told, I actually have two recipe binders because there was some spillover!  The binder includes food and drink recipes, as well as tips for washing veggies or storing produce.

2. The Life Binder

 This Binder System started here.  When I was younger I would read an article about keeping the family schedule organized and even though it didn’t apply to me at the time I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it out.  This binder houses party ideas, decorating tips, hair and make-up ideas, as well as how to’s – get a wine stain out of a carpet, unclog a drain, etc.

3. The Healthy Living Binder

This one doesn’t get used nearly enough.  This is the binder where I store all of the strength training cheat sheets that fitness magazines include each month.  I also keep stretching and meditation routines in here.

Starting your own binder system is easy as pie!  And you can customize it in whatever way suits your taste and needs.  However, here are a few of my tips to keep things running smoothly –

  • Tear out pages willy nilly; if something seems like it might be worth saving, there’s no point in leaving it in the magazine to be thrown out, but
  • be a little more discerning about what goes into the binders so you don’t end up with pages and pages of “why did I save that?”
  • Cut out what you are interested in – if a page has a recipe for a meat dish I won’t eat, a recipe for some nasty sounding low-fat cookies, and a recipe for some killer roasted veggies I’m certainly not sticking the whole page down in my binder.  As far as recipe photos are concerned it’s up to you; I often omit the photos to save space, but leaving them in can help you have an idea of what the finished dish should look like.
  • Buy tabs to keep your binders organized and paper protectors to keep the pages safe (this is especially important for the recipe binder!).  I tap or glue my clippings to thick pieces of computer paper and then stick them down inside the page protectors. 
  • Be your own editor.  Using the tabs is step one, most books don’t write up chapters and then throw the material into them at random.  My recipe binder tabs read appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, etc… Within those tabs I keep things further organized by grouping chicken dishes together, or grilled dishes together, etc.  Don’t just fill every page, leave space as you go.

The Binder System is a great way to stay organized, and it’s also pretty cathartic to cut and organize the papers.  Remember to have fun with it!

Shaken, Not Stirred

I didn’t get as much done this morning as I could have hoped, but it was certainly an improvement on my track-record of late.  I have my final Chemistry quiz (and lab!) tomorrow, for which I began studying making up reading for at the oh-so-responsible hour of 10:00 this morning.

My breakfast wasn’t really big enough so I did some snacking while I studied.  Half a package of chocolate covered espresso beans; I can’t believe how long I’ve had these sitting in my cabinet.  [My camera ate the photo, but if you click the link there is an original picture of them there]

As well as some homemade trail mix;

1/2 cup Kashi H2H, 1/6cup dried cranberries, 1T cinnamon chips.  I liked this combination a lot.  I always make my own trail mixes because they tend to be healthier than store-bought, but I end up putting so many healthy items in that the serving size becomes unhealthy.  Today’s mix had ~200calories and still managed to interest my taste buds.  Sometimes simplicity is better.

I worked on my lab-work all morning then threw some veggies in the oven while I took a much needed shower.  I emerged much cleaner, and quite excited about my roasted veggie salad lunch.

Romaine lettuce base topped with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and yellow squash.

I roasted extra veggies so I could put some pre-made in the fridge for the rest of the week.

I ‘made’ extra of my salad dressing as well.  I was in the mood for blue cheese but I’m not one of those bloggers who like my lettuce dry; I knew I would need to spread my dressing further in order to get enough of it.  So for two servings (today and tomorrow) I shook together 2T blue cheese dressing with 2T vinegar.

Whenever Adam and I finish a jar, canister, or what-have-you we always wash it out and save it to be reused.  It is a convenient way to be green, and save some $.

Speaking of saving money, I can tell this is going to be a snacky day so I thought ahead this time and threw some snacks into my purse already.  I’m heading to campus to pick up the husband before Anthropology and Chemistry, I’ll let you know what I ended up snacking on when I get back for dinner.

Does your family reuse containers or do you just trash them?

Under the Influence

Hello from PA!  It was a loooong day in the car but we made it.  I’m more than ready for bed, and I have an actual topic to discuss, so I’ll keep the food recaps quick.

Breakfast this morning was a new kind of Green Monster.

For two (Adam and I) I blended 2cups frozen spinach, 1cup frozen strawberries, and 2cups skim milk.  They were ok, not even close to my regular GM love.

The reason I made the crappy new Green Monsters was because the husband tends to not like oj in smoothies, but was willing to give spinach smoothies a try.  Adam almost never eats breakfast, and doesn’t eat anywhere near enough servings of veggies, so if I could get him on the Green Monster band wagon it would be positive all around.  I know it seems like I eat a lot of crap (especially in comparison to the other healthy living bloggers) but in general I’ve been a good influence on the husband’s diet since we met.

  • He eats far less red meat now, maybe once a month or so.  He grew up in a more than once a day meat family.
  • He’s even gotten on board with the occasional vegetarian dinner.  And surprise – he loves tofu!
  • 90% of what I cook is healthy.
  • I always keep the house stocked with healthy snacks.
  • And even though he eats his own junk from time to time, he’s basically stopped eating any trans fat because of what I’ve told him about it.

Obviously as a medical student the husband has more health knowledge than the average American, but it feels really great to help someone I love make good choices.

For brunch (eaten at 9:30am?) I polished off the rest of the gumbo.

So fricking good, I can’t wait to share this recipe with y’all!

And when we got on the road we split a bag of Fizzy Skittles.

I am in love with the new nutritional panels I’ve been seeing on some products.  Obviously that blurb doesn’t tell the whole story (and there is complete info on the back) but I love being able to know calories at a glance.

By 7 we were starving for dinner.  When we pulled off Adam got giddy at the sight of this –

Eat n’ Park.  Meh.  I’m not big on diner food but he was very excited.  This is where the husband influences my choices (and not for the better!) I ended up ordering an Oreo Milkshake with my meal.

I always request skim milk when I order a milkshake.  I get no more enjoyment from a whole milk milkshake (in fact I much prefer skim) so it never hurts to ask.  Never be embarrassed to make healthy substitutions, even to a not-so-healthy order!

For dinner I ordered the pirogues.

I was starving but these were just not good.  I ate about 1/3 and then I stopped.  I know I’m not exactly the picture of good choices, but I do have one hard and fast rule – If it’s not good for me and I don’t like it I don’t eat it.  There are so many foods that I love and so many foods that are good for me, why eat something ho-hum just because it’s there?

You’ll never guess where we ended up stopping to get me the rest of my dinner –

Wegman’s salad bar!  I got lots of veggies and I loved them.  I’m not gonna lie, I picked all of the broccoli out of the container!

I also love these quad-containers, perfect portion control.  Thai style tofu and veggies,

General’s chicken,

and Paneer Mutter.

Yums!  I gave Adam a big bite of all three dishes and he loved them as well.

I was left perfectly satisfied by dinner, and probably should have just said no to pizza at the in-laws, but it just looked too tasty.

A weekend trip isn’t exactly a ‘vacation,’ tomorrow I’m going to try to eat a little less crap.  It’s bedtime in these parts, sweet dreams!

How have you influenced your significant other’s eating habits?  What healthy changes have you inspired (or been inspired by)?

Sandwiches, Smoothies, and Schedules

Hello again, happy Monday!  This will definitely be the longest recap post I’ve done in a while – Friday through Monday.  Physically things have been low-key but mentally there’s been lots of drama – my flight was canceled!  And since I’m in St. Thomas it could have meant getting into Buffalo on Tuesday and not having a ride and missing class.  I was freaking out a bit.  Thankfully 45minutes on the phone + my firm but calm voice got me on a different flight that leaves/gets in on pretty much the same schedule.  And now my layover is shorter and in Philly and not Charlotte.  🙂

I’m a big proponent of the firm but calm voice.  I was polite, and said multiple please and thank yous, but unwavering.  I didn’t ask whether or not I could get on another flight, I simply said “I will be leaving St. Thomas tomorrow, what can you do to help me make that happen?”  And it worked.

Anyway, back to Friday.  My mom served me a slice of cake,

which promptly got stripped of it’s icing because I don’t eat cake.

Then I moved on to greens, a small container I put together at the salad bar we stopped by.

Lettuce, beans, corn, cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg and a drizzle of light Cesar.

I also made myself some frozen coffee – coffee, ice, skim milk, and 2T sugar.

Soo much better than Starbucks could ever do.

Dinner was all about the leftovers.

Oven baked okra is kind of my favorite.

And I served up some leftover baked tofu on toasted rye with hot pepper raspberry preserves and sharp cheddar.

Friday night I did end up going out to meet some friends.  We had a good time and I had a few drinks but photo-taking was abandoned in favor of trying to keep my balance on one leg!  I don’t know how on earth I managed to stand on one leg past 2am but a fun time was had by all.

For Saturday morning breakfast my mom and I hit up one of my favorite places on earth – Barefoot Buddha.  I had fresh-made lemonade,

and a Bigfoot Bagel Sandwich.

Frittata, smoked turkey, turkey bacon, cream cheese, spicy sauce…

I love these sandwiches so much I ate them on my wedding day!  I know most brides say they are too nervous to eat but I was just nervous my friends would devour them before I got any 😀

We hung out and studied for a bit and I had a passionfruit, banana, coconut smoothie.

We laid low the rest of the day before going out to a fabulous dinner at The Cellar.  We did a lot of sharing and the lighting was low so let me apologize for the picture quality in advance.

There were way too many things I wanted off the drink menu but I finally settled on the Caribbean Champagne.

Champagne with coconut rum and key lime juice.  GREAT combination.

We split a cheese plate that was kind of out of this world.  The goat cheese was my favorite but the stewed plums were pretty fantastic as well.

My plate –

And at The Cellar the chef always sends out an amuse bouche.

Ahi wontons.

Plus homemade bread and butter.

For my meal I got the Vegetable Cutlet – panfried, potatoes, peas, carrots, eggplant and pickled papaya, and tiki masala sauce.

The cutlets were delicious but my favorite part of the entire meal was the eggplant wrapped papaya.  I ate one cutlet and took the other home, and I had a few bites of my dad’s tamarind mahi as well.

We were stuffed, but couldn’t not order a dessert plate to share.  It came with little forks,

because we got four little desserts!

NY cheesecake with fruit sauce and bananas foster,

cinnamon creme brulee and chocolate mousse.

Yum, yum, yum; I wished I could have had a BIG serving of the bananas foster.

Sunday morning I made a nice green monster for breakfast.

My mom and I got our nails done (green again, I’ll show you later!) and then I picked up nachos for lunch from the bar I used to work at.

Yum, but I think it’s time to be fully done with any sort of nachos for a while.

We saw a matinée of “Our Family Wedding,” during which I munched on a box of Nerds.

I would like to show you dinner but it was so dark at our table I never could get a picture.  I shared green bean fries with my parents and ate half of a tamarind turkey burger.

When I got home I had 2 maple pecan sticky blondies for dessert.

Dreena would be sad to know I deveganized these, but at least I made the recipe for my parents!

This morning (Monday) I’m hanging out at school for a bit before I head home to pack.  I brought a pineapple Chiobani for breakfast,

but that didn’t begin to cut it.

I ended up also having an egg and cheese biscuit from Wendy’s.

It is 100% time to stop eating like I’m on vacation!  Especially because I’m not sure what the workout situation with my leg is going to be like.

I had fabulous spring break but I am more than ready to get back with the husband and back on a schedule.  I get in late tonight so I won’t be posting today’s eats but hopefully Tuesday my sleeping, eating, and blogging will all be back on track!  I can tell you now though, that I have a Greek Gods honey yogurt in the freezer for a pre-packing treat!

When you get to the end of a vacation are you sad it’s over or ready to get back to business?

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

Good evening everyone!  I feel exhausted and gross (still?!?!) so I’m keeping this quick in the hopes that I get to bed soon.  I always say that, it never happens, and still I keep on hoping.  It’d be like not clapping for fairies to admit I’m an “early to bed early to rise” loser.

Our grocery trip went well.  The communal coin jar was full and Coin-Starring it paid for our groceries 🙂

This afternoon Adam and did all sorts of healthy stuff like take a long nap and split this Jokerz bar (i.e. a vegan Snickers).

It was good but not great, I’m not sure why they went with mockolate instead of just dark chocolate, I had about 1/3.

For dinner I made Tomato, Dill, Lentil Soup from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.  It had a 60minute simmer time though so I had a small bowl of cereal while I waited.

1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch with plain, reduced fat soymilk.  Two notes here – 1. I know Kashi has honey in it; honey and gelatine are still on the menu here, even during the vegan challenge.  2. Always measure your cereal.  You guys know I am not any sort of dieter, but I always measure my cereal.  Many (healthy) varieties are still calorie dense and it is such an easy item to overeat.

Followed by a small serving (1/2cup) of the aforementioned soup.

I’m not gonna lie, I was saving myself for dessert.

Thank You AngelaTo Die For Cocoa, from Oh She Glows

·         Ingredients:

    • 3/4 cup coconut milk (full strength, not light!)
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk)  I used plain, fat free soy
    • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    • Pinch of sea salt to bring out the sweetness
    • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
    • marshmallows and cacao nibs/chocolate chips to garnish (optional)

Directions: Throw all ingredients into a pot and whisk like crazy. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for several minutes while whisking to remove clumps.

I poured it in one big mug but I’ll probably drink 1/2 – 3/4 and then put it in the fridge for the husband.  A perfect (super) sweet note to end the day! 

What do you do with your lose change?

Vegan Grocery Tips

My grocery trip this morning as a success.  Even with a lot of household items (toilet paper, shampoo, etc) on the list I managed to keep the bill reasonable.  Here are some my tips for successful vegan shopping

  • You don’t have to buy pricey fake meats.  I know those products can be a lot of fun, but it can be cheaper and healthier to stick to traditional non-meat protein sources such as tofu and beans.
  • Go in with a list, and stick to it!  Knowing what produce you need for the meals you’ll be preparing in the upcoming week can keep you from overbuying and throwing out items later.
  • It’s ok to rely on the freezer section.  In winter months it’s hard to find a lot of fresh produce variety.  As long as you stick to items that have no added salt or sugar frozen can be the way to go for fruits and veggies.
  • Pick one or two new items that look fun.  Especially if you are a new or part-time vegan who misses some animal products a new try to get excited about can be a good distraction.

When I got home I used some of that frozen fruit to make an amazing smoothie.

1cup frozen peach slices + 6 ice cubes + 1cup oj + 2T fat free sugar free Jello pudding mix.  I ended up with a little extra which I served to the husband.

This mix was so creamy and delicious.  I got the pudding mix idea from Mama Pea.  Her post was actually about how she has stopped using the artificial sugar stuff but I can’t find gums around here and damn it I want thick smoothies too!

As soon as our smoothies were finished (too soon, I was freezing!) we headed to The Spot to do some studying.  I am officially 80% done with my reading for this week!  I got a China Breakfast Tea to sip while I studied.

It was kind of gross, like dirty murky water, but I drank most of it just to keep warm.

I’m glad we did a date night yesterday, clearly our Valentine’s was sort of a bust.  I did throw on some purple mascara this morning to be festive!

Now I’ve got a fun dinner to make and a little bit of lab homework that I want the husband’s help with.  I’ve talked about earlier bedtimes all year but Adam’s been saying how tired he is lately and the thought of my Valentine feeling run-down will hopefully be enough to motivate my butt into bed!

What are some of your no-fail grocery tips?

Mish-Mash Day

Today has been a strange kind of mish-mash, backwards schedule day.  Apparently what we learned last night is that Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns are a bad idea right before bedtime: I had the strangest dreams all night and I woke up very late, completely cocooned!  However, once I extracted myself from the bed sheets I got right down to business.

While I was organizing some school files (I have two tests this week!) I drank this Sugar Free Rockstar.

Actually, I stretched that baby out for a couple hours because I was still drinking it while I did house stuff with the husband.

We had a 3pm tax meeting with H&R Block, and when we got home I headed to the gym.  I have 30 days to get in cardiovascular shape for the half marathon while hopefully not hurting any of my various leg problems.  I’ve decided the best plan is to do several long workouts a week while very slowly upping my running-walking ratio.  Plus strength training will be key.

Backing up, pre-gym I snacked on some grapes and a KIND bar on the way to tax-dealings.

At the gym I did some running on the treadmill.  2/1 run/walk intervals x18.  With warm up and cool down my totals were 63minutes / 640calories / and 5+ miles (the treadmil shuts off at 60minutes).

Now, post-shower, we are heading to the mall to deal with buyer’s insurance and donate my old laptop to charity.  Speaking of good causes, are you wearing red today?

What do you do with your defunct tech stuff?  I try to donate or recycle everything I can.  Staples will even give you a gift certificate in exchange for used up printer cartridges.

That’s What HE Said

Shortly after my last post, I enjoyed one of these –

Usually I wouldn’t boast about a pre-10am diet soda, but what I’m really showing off is the straw.

My mom bought me these reusable straws, with their own pouch!, for Christmas.  Now I can be green while slurping my favorite chemicals! 

I drink everything (water, milk, iced-coffe, soda) through a straw so this is a great area for me to look into reducing waste.  The straw didn’t feel too strange and I loved how cute it looked.  When I use regular straws I chew on the tips which the husband hates (wow, that got dirty in a hurry!) so maybe these will cure me of that habit.

Either way, the caffeine must have inspired genius because I had a great lunch.

I started with these Johnsonville Turkey and Cheddar Sausages.

I melted 1/2t Smart Balance Light over medium-high heat and then added 1/3 of a chopped green pepper and two chopped sausages to the pan.

Once everything was nice and browned I sprinkled on some Kernel Seasons Ranch seasoning.

Finally I topped the bowl with hot and chunky salsa.

Delish!  I really really liked the sausages, they had the best smokey flavor and the cheese gave a nice kick without being too goopy.

For dessert I had a 2% Pineapple Chiobani.

Buffalo Residents – Price Right on Elmwood currently has these for 99cents!

And now it’s off to the old chopping block, yikes!  I’ll be back for a tearful post this evening!