An Extra Hour

Good morning, everyone! How was your weekend? Did you get some extra sleep after “falling back” for daylight savings?

I had a much-needed restful weekend, and I feel particularly well rested after moving the clocks back an hour. I always have mixed feelings about daylight savings: I haaaaate that it gets dark so early in the fall, but I love the daylights (pun intended) out of that extra hour of rest. The well-rested feeling lasts for a few days, which I adore.

By contrast, I loooooove that it stays light in the evening in the spring, but I can’t stand losing that one precious hour of rest. Similarly, it takes me a few days to re-adjust to having lost that hour, and I wind up feeling groggy and like a a really irritable zombie all week. Instead of saying “Braaaaaiiiiins,” I wind up muttering “Sleeeeeeep” as I stumble around like an insane person.

But I digress.

In both cases, I try to focus on the thing  that does make me really happy. (If we’re looking at trade-offs, I figure it can’t hurt to focus on any and all benefits.) In this case, it’s sleep. Sleep is my homie. My BFF. I love it to pieces.

I decided to milk that extra hour for all it was worth: I slept and dozed and lounged, knowing that I had extra time and didn’t need to worry about getting up and being productive. Leisure! Rest! GLORIOUS!

So, while it’s getting dark obscenely early now, I at least got to spend the day being way lazier than I normally would. And I have to admit: I really like being lazy.

Aside from my propensity to lounge around endlessly in my PJ’s, we had a lovely weekend. We hit up our favorite Indian restaurant for their lunch buffet, saw Ender’s Game — which, BTW, was awesome, and I highly recommend seeing it — and then visited one of my favorite grocery stores here (Mom’s Organic Market).

I love grocery shopping in general — I’ve loved it since I started cooking when I was in high school — but I especially love shopping at Mom’s. Mom’s, while not as economical as places like Trader Joe’s, has produce that looks so flippin’ gorgeous, it’s almost inspirational. I really think that if you could take a bona-fide vegetable hater and show them the produce at Mom’s, they’d reconsider their loathing of anything that comes from the ground. It’s heavenly.

After all that shopping, I whipped up some healthy breakfast-ish muffins. I’ve been trying to squeeze more veggies into our daily routine, and we’re both pressed for time in the mornings — so I figured this would be a good means of both saving time and giving us something healthy to snack on.

 

Gluten Free Morning Glory Muffins

While the original recipe, courtesy of Martha Stewart, is already pretty healthy, I decided to up the ante on this. I used gluten-free almond and amaranth flours, replaced the sugar with agave, substituted 1/2 cup of the flour for ground flaxseeds, and substituted almond milk for skim milk. (I also nixed the oil, because the batter was plenty moist without it, and the raisins, because I really don’t like having raisins in baked goods. I’m weird like that.)

With those substitutions, these muffins are gluten- and dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and loaded with protein, fiber, and produce. I know almond flour sometimes doesn’t sit well with some Celiac tummies, so if you decide to make your own GF version, use whatever GF flour you like — I obviously haven’t run that experiment myself, but I suspect it’d work just as well.

Healthy Morning Glory Muffins (Adapted from the Martha Stewart recipe)

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup GF rolled oats
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 4 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Baking time will probably depend on your oven (mine gets funky sometimes, for reasons I’ll probably never understand), but these will bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of each comes out clean.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and that all your days are off to a marvelous start! If you’re in the mood for some more marvelousness, feel free to swing by Healthy Diva Eats, where the lovely mamacita Katie hosts a weekly link-up for Marvelous in my Monday — it helps the beginning of the week feel less painful. 🙂

MiMM MIMM #74  Family, Dinner Date, and More!

Adventures in Juicing

Around the time when we put together our wedding registry a few years ago, I’d started reading all about the wonders of juicing. This was excellent timing: because wedding registries are an awesome way to stock your kitchen with amazing appliances, I seized the opportunity and put a juicer on our registry.

Granted, it went on along with approximately 8,000 other things. I was never into wedding planning, and I definitely hadn’t been dreaming of/imagining my wedding day since I was a little girl. I had, however, been planning/dreaming of my wedding registry since I started cooking. (Which was in high school. Which meant I’d been mentally compiling a registry full of kitchen appliances since I was 17. Which meant I might’ve gotten a little too excited about putting together our registry in real life.)

But I digress. Back to my grand designs for the juicer: I was totally going to use it every day! I was going to be a juicing goddess! It was going to be great!

Well. As it turns out, I’m lazy. Juicers make a mess, and they’re hard to clean. We used it exactly once – that is until this week, when I’ve suddenly morphed into the juicing fiend I always hoped I’d be. It’s a murricle!

I’ve been juicing up a storm and combining all manner of produce. As luck would have it, these comics showed up on the first few days of our adventures in juicing:

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I tend not to like juices that are super earthy or overly vegetable-y (I do, however, like making up words like vegetable-y), so I decided to nix combinations like beet-kale-cucumber right off the bat. Instead, I’ve been running experiments with fruit and veggie combinations. In the interest of playing it safe at first, I decided to start with a carrot-orange base, which I know I like. Thus far, I’ve tried the following concoctions:

Carrot-orange-mango

Carrot-orange-pineapple

Carrot-orange-apple

The assessments:

Carrot-orange-mango was a bit too heavy on the mango. It also was really pulpy, which I didn’t love. (A direct quote from my inner monologue: “Huh. It’s really pulpy. The juicer is supposed to make it be not pulpy. WHY IS IT SO PULPY?”)

Carrot-orange-pineapple was just a wee bit too sweet and too acidic for my taste. I love pineapple, but sometimes it makes my teeth hurt (no joke – I have to be judicious in my pineapple consumption, even though I love the stuff), so I decided to let this one go in the “close, but no cigar” column.

Carrot-orange-apple was a winner! It was just sweet enough without being overly sweet, and the apple added some extra depth of flavor (which turned out to be delicious). Here’s a slightly art deco-ish shot of the winning concoction:

 

Now, of course, I’m all about broadening my juicing horizons. However, that excludes horizons that could lead to juices that taste like snail burps — so I figure this calls for some crowd-sourcing.

With that in mind, do any of you good people make your own juices? What are your favorite combinations?

A Lazy Sunday + Bananas Foster Muffin Tops

Good morning, everyone — hopefully you’re all having a lovely weekend!

Brandon and I are on the mend after not feeling so awesome this week, but we decided to take it easy this weekend in order to get some rest. Yesterday we watched — and I believe this is the scientific term — a metric crap-ton of TV on Netflix. We went from House of Cards (which, since we live in DC, sometimes hits a little too close to home) to Arrested Development, which we looooved.

On that note, I’d like to announce that I’m officially a total, full-fledged, TV-Guide-thumpin’ Arrested Development convert. How did I not discover this amazing show until now?! Was I living in a cave? (No, I was living overseas. But still.) It’s freakin’ hysterical, y’all — I can’t believe I’ve been living without this since 2003. My life has been changed! All praise Lucille Bluth!

Entertainment epiphanies aside, today’s agenda involved baking Bananas Foster muffin tops, which is a recipe I thought up on a whim. I knew I wanted to bake banana bread, but I wanted it to be…different. I love me some traditional banana bread, yes, but I had a hankering for Bananas Foster. I decided to get a bit creative with this, and…voila!

 

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On the non-culinary front, today will also involve getting a pedicure (the podiatric situation is getting dire, folks), and possibly seeing a movie with Brandon. Oh, who am I kidding? We’ll probably also watch more Arrested Development.

If I’m lucky (*crosses fingers, prays to every deity known to humankind*), I’ll also hopefully make a visit to the gym. At the risk of sounding like a total weirdo, I find that I really miss the gym when I’m sick. I firmly believe that it’s best not to push myself too hard when I’m not feeling well, so I give myself full permission to skip the gym and commune with the couch when I feel craptastic — but darned if I’m not itching to get back in there, ASAP.

In the meantime, though, here’s a recipe for the bananas foster muffin tops — as a side note, while I’m not vegan, I do enjoy vegan baking, and these muffin tops follow that vein. I’d love to say that I’m drawn to vegan baking for wholesome, healthy reasons…but in reality, it’s because I’m a total hedonist and am all about instant gratification. Raw eggs = I can’t eat the batter. Eggless recipes = my face in the bowl. Is this further proof that I have the maturity of a 5-year-old? Yes. Does that bother me? No. 😉

Now if you’ll pardon me, I have some batter to eat.

 

Bananas Foster Muffin Tops (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Ingredientes*:

  • 3 uber-ripe bananas, mashed into a puree
  • 2 tablespoons rum extract
  • 3 flax eggs (feel free to use 3 regular eggs, if that suits your fancy)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups Mama’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 small pinch of sea salt

Instrucciones*:

In a mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients (banana puree, rum extract, flax eggs) and mix thoroughly. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until combined. Spoon into muffin top tin, and bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from tin, attempt to have some self-control before inhaling them. Fail at aforementioned attempt at self-control. Burn mouth. Regret nothing.

 

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*I’m a Coloradan married to a Texan (both of which involve a baseline level of Spanish proficiency), and we both studied Arabic…which means that a weird English-Spanish-Arabic hybrid is the language of choice in our home. We’ll call it Sparabish. Or Enganibic. Or something.

I hope everyone has an awesome day — see you tomorrow for MIMM!

Do you have any big plans for today?

Have you seen Arrested Development?

Do you use any weird language hybrids, like Spanglish or Franglais?

Banana bread: yea or nay?

 

Adventures in Blending: Chocolate-Raspberry Smoothie

Earlier this week, Meredith said that a rough week calls for chocolate, and I couldn’t agree more. Similarly, a rough day calls for a chocolatey, decadent smoothie!

Yesterday was a particularly rough day in my world; with apologies for the impending TMI here — and by way of explanation for why I was AWOL in the blogosphere yesterday — the lady-troubles that have been plaguing me all week became especially acute on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

And then, because that wasn’t enough on its own, my stomach decided to join in the party. “Oh hai,” it said, “let’s join forces to make Lillian think that maybe she acquired the Black Plague!” It basically rolled up like this:

 

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Soooooo…needless to say, I was a hurtin’ cowgirl. I spent the day yesterday at the doctor’s office, and I got a ton of lab work and diagnostics done in hopes that those will lend some insight as to what’s going on.

Random medical fact about me: I have no trouble getting shots (I started getting allergy shots when I was 3, so I’m well acquainted with that whole gig), but I hate — we’re talking absolutely detest, loathe, and outright abhor — getting blood drawn. You see, I have teeny and recalcitrant veins. They roll, they collapse, and they refuuuuuuse to give up the goods when it comes time for blood work. This made yesterday’s lab workup especially fun, and after a few false starts, the lab tech (who, to her credit, was super nice) called for the big guns. Then I was all:

 

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By the time I got home, I knew there was but one thing that could soothe my ruffled feathers: chocolatey smoothie goodness. I promised y’all the recipe for this baby, and it was just what the doctor (proverbially) ordered last night.

For those of you who don’t dig dairy or eggs, this smoothie is vegan; it’s packed with vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fruit, loaded with calcium and Vitamin D, and basically brimming with both nutrients and chocolatey goodness.

I drank this puppy down in a flash, at was comforted both by the delicious chocolate and the knowledge that I was pumping my body full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bring on the nourishing, soul-soothing goodness!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • Approximately 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (use more or less depending on how thick your want your smoothie to be)
  • 2 scoops Vega All-In-One Chocolate Protein Powder
  • Truvia, agave, or stevia to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Put ’em in the blender and mix away!
  2. Drink happily, possibly giving yourself a shameless smoothie mustache in the process. (I do this, um, every single time I drink a smoothie. I’m hawt.)

 

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I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday — here’s to the weekend, y’all!

What do you do to feel better when you have a rough day?

What’s your favorite smoothie flavor combination?

Do you have any big weekend plans?

WAIW: Gluten-Free Pancake Porn

Good morning, and happy Wednesday!

First of all, I just want to say that y’all are rocking my world with all your awesome comments on yesterday’s post. You people are freakin’ amazing! Seriously, folks, this is why I love blogging. Being able to pour my thoughts into a post is wonderful on its own, but it becomes exponentially more so when that post can be a source of shared connection for other people. You guys are awesome! 🙂

And now, to quote my loves at Monty Python, for something completely different: What I Ate Wednesday! Thanks, as always, to the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting this little cyber-potluck.

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Breakfasts

My breaky habits stay uber-consistent during the week: coffee and toast while writing, and then a green smoothie made with kale, spinach, Vega protein powder, frozen fruit (banana, strawberries, and mango), and almond milk.

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That said, though, things get fun on the weekends — that’s where I break from my routine and, y’know, go wild in the kitchen. (You know your grandma-status tendencies are being taken to new heights when “going wild” involves cooking on a Saturday morning.) This Saturday, I decided to cook one of my favorite breakfast treats: blueberry pancakes. I used King Arthur Flour’s GF pancake mix, almond milk, and egg whites, so these babies are both gluten- and dairy-free:

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One of my favorite bloggers referred to these as pancake porn, which a) is totally apropos, and b) made me laugh my tuchus off — so, to say the least, that’s what inspired the title of this post. Bow-chika-wow-wow, y’all.

Aaaaand, for the sake of posterity (bow-bow-chika-chika), one more pancake porn picture:

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Ooooookay, moving on…

Lunches & Snacks

Since I take my lunch with me to work each day, I’m pretty consistent about my foodstuffs. I always take a Pamela’s Whenever bar, Greek yogurt with Udi’s GF granola, an apple, and, because it’s preposterously easy, soup with added veggies. I recently discovered Quest Bars, too — and ehrmagherd, they’re just as awesome as everyone says. Win!

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Beverages for the day have stayed consistent too: half of my morning smoothie (I make a huge one and split it between breakfast and lunch), iced coffee, and the occasional Kombucha. Seriously, y’all, I need to win the lottery so I can afford to have Kombucha every day. I freakin’ love these things.

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As for snacks, I have some go-to faves: Trader Joe’s kale chips, GF pretzels, and GF granola. *Drools on self*

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Dinners

Aaah, dinner: my favorite meal of the day! I’m usually staaaar-viiiing by the time dinner rolls around, so I’ve been pretty stoked about these meals. The offerings have included black bean soup with roasted chipotle-spiced sweet potatoes, chicken with sage browned butter (I took tons of pictures of this, only to find that the camera’s memory card was still in my computer — gah!), and chicken with onions and cream of mushroom soup.

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Desserts

Need I even say it? Fro yo 4-evah, peepz. Gawd, I love this stuff.

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La Fin

Have a lovely day, y’all — and tell me:

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Do you have a go-to dessert?

What’s your favorite meal of the day?

Friday Recap: The Great Crock Pot Experiment and a Protein Bar Review

HAPPY FRIDAY! The weekend is once again almost upon us, and I’m pretty effing excited.

I’ve got big (well, insofar as my grandma-status goes) plans for this evening: I’ve got a phone gabbing session scheduled with a family friend in Colorado as soon as I leave work, and then I’m gettin’ my hair did this evening. I’m going to a place near our new apartment, and it got great reviews on Yelp…so here’s hoping they handle my tresses well!

As for the Great Crock Pot Experiment and Operation: Time Management, overall I feel like this week was a win.

On the time management front, I felt much more on top of my schedule — and even though I often needed to push my morning workouts into the evening, it wasn’t hard to do. Dinner was ready as soon as I got home, which meant that working out didn’t feel all that daunting (there’s something about working out after chopping veggies and cooking that feels waaaaaay more onerous than just working out and then eating dinner).

I also really appreciated being able to rely on frozen/pre-chopped veggies, which made my life a lot easier. I saved a ton of time and effort by just opening up a bag of veggies (as opposed to rinsing, peeling, chopping veggies, and then washing knives and cutting boards), and I seriously enjoyed that.

 

As for the Great Crock Pot Experiment, the results were a mixed bag. Our verdicts on the recipes were thus:

Enchiliada Casserole: Meh. Kind of dry yet mushy, and pretty seriously lacking in flavor. I might try this one again with significant modifications, but I’m not sure.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic: We weren’t a fan. Brandon wound up ordering pizza instead.

Beef Carnitas: A good one! We approve!

Mediterranean Chicken: This was a monstrosity. It was straight-up deplorable, y’all — which, considering that I make this on the stove all the effing time, is a fairly spectacular fall from grace for this dish. I choked down my serving because I felt bad wasting so much food, but Brandon couldn’t get past the second bite.

The fact that the Crock Pot recipes were 1 out of 4 is, um, really demoralizing!

It looks like I have a steep learning curve to climb before I really get the hang of cooking things other than hearty winter soups and stews. (I bust out the Crock Pot all the time in the winter, and I have no problems with chili/tortilla soup/insert fall or winter food here — but apparently other entrees are a different matter.)

But learn I shall! In the words of the crazy restaurant owners whose Facebook meltdown went viral, I WILL PREVAIL! I WILL TRIUMPH!

In the interest of continuing to find ways to cut back on cooking time, I checked out some cookbooks from the library for a bit of culinary inspiration. I won’t be able to go Crock Pot-crazy every week, but if we can find good recipes that I can prep on the weekend, then that’ll definitely help. In the library mix:

 

Light and easy dinners

 

I looooove Ina Garten, and I’ve heard good things about Ellie Krieger — so, I’m excited to try these out!

I have to admit that I especially love all things Barefoot Contessa. She seems so down-to-earth, kind, and creative, so she seems like the sort of relatable woman I’d want to be friends with. Did you know that she used to be a budget analyst at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before embarking on a massive career change? How cool is that?!

On a separate note, I’ve been trying to increase my protein intake as part of TNROLFW. To that end, I decided to try out three different kinds of protein bars this week, just to experiment and broaden my protein-y horizons.

I scoured the offerings at Whole Foods, and I eventually decided on these three: Luna Protein in Mint Chocolate Chip flavor, a Perfect Fit Protein Cookie, and the Quest Bars I keep hearing about.

 

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The reviews?

The Luna Protein Bar was uh-maaaaay-zing. I’ve desperately missed Luna bars in the 5 years that I’ve been gluten-free, and I was beyond excited when I saw that they had a GF line of products. I haven’t tried the other flavors, but the Mint Chocolate Chip was delicious! It tasted just how I remember Thin Mints tasting, and I wolfed it down.

Verdict:

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The Perfect Fit Protein Cookie was ok. I think I was expecting a legit cookie, which probably raised my hopes and set the bar a bit too high. I suspect that if it was just a straight-forward protein bar, my expectations would’ve been lower and I would’ve been pleasantly surprised by how cookie-like it was — but since it’s marketed as a cookie, my brain had a hard time reconciling this information with my taste buds. I kept thinking “Aw man, this cookie tastes like a protein bar! Oh, wait…”

Verdict:

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The Quest Bar was surprisingly delicious! I tried the Coconut Cashew flavor, and I was really impressed. When I opened it up and saw that it looks alarmingly blob-like, my first thought was “Really? This is what everybody raves about? This looks heinous!”  I then veeeeeeery skeptically tried a teeny bite…only to be wowed by the sweet and salty taste. It’s effin’ good, y’all! I also wolfed this one down, which is really saying something.

Verdict:

 

Anyways, I’m off to do this morning’s workout (kickboxing + more lifting) — but I hope everyone has an awesome morning! TGIF, people. 🙂

Have you ever tried Luna Protein or Quest Bars? 

 If so, what flavors do you like?

 What are your favorite cookbooks?

Do you have big weekend plans? (I’m dyyyyyyyying to see the new Star Trek movie – SO EXCITED!)

WIAW: The Great Crock Pot Experiment Continues

Good morning, y’all! Being that it’s Wednesday, I’m super-excitedly rounding the last corner of the workweek into the home stretch before the weekend…as usual, it can’t get here fast enough!

Before getting into my WIAW offerings, I want to give a quick update on Operation: Time Management and the Great Crock Pot Experiment. Yesterday was a bit (ok, a lot ) of a fail. I had a ton of trouble trying to publish yesterday’s post, since WordPress kept deleting the content. (Thank God I’d written it all in Word before pasting it into WordPress! If I’d lost all that content for good, I would’ve been weeping my eyes out, rending my clothes, and sitting under my desk in fetal position.)

Anyways, it took me a full hour to finally get the post to publish properly — and by that point, there was no time for me to do even a quick workout. I was late to work again, and while dinner (chicken with 40 cloves of garlic) was a-cookin’, I knew I’d need to stay late and then come home and work out. C’est la vie!

Once I got home, I tested out my new fitness ball (!!); I got said fitness ball because TNROLFW calls for a number of exercises (i.e., the prone jackknife and the stability ball crunch) that rely on it. With that in mind, I decided to invest the $15 in this beauty:

Brandon was, um, a bit wigged out by the fact that it’s pink. We share the study, and I’m the proud owner of a pink desk chair — so when this baby rolled up (pun intended), he looked worried.

B: Wow, dude. It’s really pink.

Me: *Giggles, claps hands in excitement* I shall make my half of the study saturated in pink! Muuuahahahahaha!

Once I was done informing Brandon of my diabolical plot to pink-ify my portion of the study, I did the Fitness Blender Cardio Bootcamp and Cardio-Infused Standing Abs Workout while the veggies for dinner roasted away in the oven — and hooooooly crap, was it ever a hard workout! It was only 30 minutes, but I was sweating like a wildebeest and breathing harder than I’ve ever breathed during a 45 minute elliptical session.

 

A super-sweaty post-workout selfie, replete with the pink stability ball!
A super-sweaty post-workout selfie, replete with the pink stability ball!

 

Then we had dinner, and I’m sorry to say that the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic was no bueno. The garlicky taste was great, obviously — but I added white wine to the mix so it would have some cooking liquid, and I think that made it taste weird. I also cooked it for waaaaaay too long, because it was incredibly dry. Fail!

This morning, though, I’ve turned the page on yesterday’s blunders and am ready to start anew with this recipe for Beef Crock Pot Carnitas from Eat, Live, Run. The meat is marinating as I type this, and soon I’ll throw all the veggies into the Crock Pot. We’ll see how things turn out this evening!

Anyways, with all that being said, it’s time for What I Ate Wednesday — thanks, as always, to the lovely Jenn from Peas & Crayons for hosting!

 

Peas and Crayons

 

Breakfasts: There’s my ever-present coffee and GF toast before my workout — and while during the week I’m incredibly consistent with my post-workout fruit and kale smoothie, I tend to mix it up on the weekends. I’ve shown y’all a bajillion smoothie pictures, so I’ll focus on the weekend breaky foods: GF blueberry waffles served with a side of scrambled egg whites, spinach, and reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

 

Van's GF Blueberry WafflesScrambled Egg Whites with Spinach and Cheddar

 

Lunches and snacks have included Greek yogurt with GF granola, Pamela’s bars, apples with almond butter, cantaloupe, salad with chickpeas plus a creamy dill dressing that I whipped up over the weekend, and one of my favorite concoctions: Thai cole slaw (made with cabbage, carrots, romaine lettuce, cilantro, and GF peanut sauce).

 

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Dinners have been all about the Great Crockpot Experiment, and thus far they’ve included enchilada casserole and the aforementioned uber-fail (le sigh!) of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic with roasted veggies. The chicken may have been no bueno, but the roasted carrots were delish!

 

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Oh, and then there’s my Friday night dinner: I broke every rule in the healthy living book — I’m a big proponent of the theory that all healthy food and no crap makes Jack a dull boy (or, in this case, Lillian a dull gal) — and had wine (in my super-sophisticated regular glass, because I didn’t feel like having to hand-wash a wine glass…Friday nights are my nights of laziness and sloth) and home-made pizza on GF pita bread. Laziness and sloth FTW!

 

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Desserts have had a bit of a change-up, too: we ran out of fro yo (gasp, horror!), but I want to use up all the food in the fridge/freezer before we get more. With that in mind, my desserts have consisted of mango sorbet and cherries — both are absolutely delicious, and it turns out that I don’t miss my beloved fro yo at all. 🙂

 

Bowl of cherries
Life is just a bowl of cherries, y’all.

Gluten-Free Mango Sorbet

And now, of course, I’d love to hear from you lovely folks!

Do you indulge a bit more on Friday nights and/or weekends?

What are your go-to indulgence foods?

Have you ever been disappointed by a recipe that you were all kinds of excited about?

Do you mix up your breakfast routine on the weekends?

MIMM – Operation: Time Management

Lately I’ve been feeling like there’s not enough time.

I only have a few hours of free time each day, and there simply haven’t been enough of those hours to do all the things I love: hanging out with Brandon, writing, working out, making phone calls to friends and family, and cooking. (I’d love to have hired help, but I’d have to pay them in baked goods instead of real money – and I’m pretty sure there are labor laws prohibiting stuff like that.)

I wrote last week about how I’m ok with cutting back to 30 minutes of exercise instead of 45-60 in order to give myself more time to write, and that’s the first step in Operation: Time Management. After doing some thinking this weekend, I’m going to run another experiment as well: Crock Pot dinners.

We use our Crock Pot a few times a month, and I’ve found that my life feels a lot easier whenever we do. I have no trouble doing prep work in the mornings – I mean, it basically involves throwing meat, veggies, and sauce into the stoneware, hitting a few buttons, and patting myself on the back for being so productive before the clock strikes 0600 – and I really appreciate that it frees up my evening to chill out and do some writing before Brandon comes home.

Drafting blog posts on the couch > chopping veggies.

With this in mind, we picked up two Crock Pot cookbooks this weekend – and, after reading through them and finding a bajillion delicious-sounding recipes, we agreed to try a week’s worth of Crock Pot dinners to see if it makes our free time a bit easier to manage.

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On the menu for this week:

  • Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (served with roasted asparagus and carrots)
  • Ropa Veija (served with chili, cumin, and lime sweet potatoes)
  • Mediterranean Chicken (served with Greek salad)
  • Enchilada Casserole (it’s filled with black beans and veggies galore, so I won’t do a veggie dish)

It’s important to me that I have enough time to hang out with my beloved, write, and get my sweat on while also cooking up nutritious food – so if this helps facilitate that goal, then I’ll be all about it!

Another portion of Operation: Time Management involves prepping veggies on Sunday evenings. I’ll gladly concede that this isn’t fun, like, at all. My inner monologue tends to get all kinds of whiny when veggie-prep hour rolls around (Uuuuuuuuuuugh! I don’t waaaaaaaannnnaaaaa dooooo thiiiis!), so I decided to cut myself some slack this week with frozen and pre-chopped onions, frozen veggies, and dried herbs.

Lastly, I’m going to incorporate more high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training into my workout routine so I can maximize my newly-shortened workout times.

I’ve owned a copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Women for aaaaages, and I’d gotten through level one about 18 months ago before going back to mostly cardio workouts. (I went back to long cardio sessions when I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; during the course of the training program I listened to all my class lectures while on the elliptical. I’m all about multi-tasking!)

Now that I don’t need long cardio sessions to give me time to do class work, I’m excited to start lifting again. I love strength training, and I’m looking forward to doing this lifting program again!

And, with all that, I hope everyone has a marvelous (or, shall we say, maaaah-velous) Monday — be sure to stop by Healthy Diva Eats to see the other MIMM posts (and, of course, big thanks to Katie for hosting)!

And, of course, I have questions for y’all:

What are your thoughts on strength training? Have you tried it, and do you like it?

What are your favorite time-saving tips and tricks?

WAIW: Book Love, More Fro Yo, and Lots of Chicken

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you feel like you’re in need of something — even something small — and suddenly, BLAMO, the answer to your question/very thing you need is right in front of you?

I had this experience this weekend with my beloved Sonoma Burgers, but it also happened again Monday night: while I was on the bus, I was thinking about how I often feel like I don’t deserve to ask for what I really want.

I feel inexplicably selfish and, I dunno, bad when I say “Hey, I’d really like a helping hand/bit of encouragement/opportunity to open up.” (It turns out that while I’m really progressive and all about reinforcing other peoples’ self-worth, I’m like an angry Calvinist in caffeine withdrawal when it comes to doing those things for myself.)

Anyways, there I was: sitting on the bus and feeling bad about the fact that I’d really, really, really like it if some key things in life could just fall into place. A few seconds later, I realized: I need some inspiration in my life. And where, exactly, is a nerdy girl like myself supposed to find such inspiration?

Books.

They’re my homies.

So, I pulled up the Amazon bookstore on my iPhone and browsed my little heart out as the bus hurtled down the highway — and within minutes, I’d found the perfect thing.

Image Source: http://www.positivelypresent.com

 

Like I said before: BLAMO.

As soon as I started reading it, I knew I’d found the perfect book for me. I’m 15% of the way through (thank you, Kindle, for giving me such precise percentages), and I already feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. All the messages and viewpoints that have led to me being so harsh on myself are getting debunked faster than Usain Bolt can run 100 meters. (Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. But that’s not the point.)

Adding to which, all the gut feelings I’ve had in recent years — for example, the fact that everybody says that working and adulthood are supposed to be a slog towards retirement and that work is supposed to be more or less soul-shredding, while I keep thinking “That can’t be true. There has to be some way to work hard, earn a decent amount of income, make a meaningful contribution to the world, and actually be happy”are being validated left and right.

Needless to say, I lurve it. One could even say I’m eating it up, which brings me to…

Peas and Crayons

Woohoo! Thanks as always to Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting. 🙂

My food offerings this week have been pretty consistent with my normal routine: Coffee and toast before my morning workout, followed by a big ol’ smoothie.

Lunches this week have relied on my foodie BFFs, the elusive but beloved Sonoma Burgers. I still can’t get over the fact that I finally found them after 18 months of fruitless searching!

Aside from the Sonoma Burgers, our one time venturing out for lunch this week wound up being a serious GF win: we went to Coastal Flats in Fairfax, VA after our closest-approximation-to-Tex-Mex plans (out here on the East Coast, we know we can’t get the real thing — but we’ve found a reasonable facsimile) were thwarted by the insane Cinco de Mayo crowds. The folks at Coastal Flats were incredibly accommodating of my gluten allergy; the manager came and talked to me about what menu options were safe, how they prepare the GF food, etc., and he was awesome. Not surprisingly, my meal — a chop salad with pan-seared chicken — was delicious!

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My snacks have involved the usual suspects: Pamela’s Whenever Bars, Greek yogurt with fruit and granola, and fresh fruit (apples and cantaloupe: best snack fruit ever).

Dinners have been all over the place, and last week I made coconut-cashew curry chicken tenders with jasmine rice and broccoli…

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…as well as a spatchcock-style roasted chicken with white wine, lemon, and oregano.

DSC00845Desserts have been — need we even ask? — fro yo!

Pinkberry

With all that being said, I hope everyone has a phenomenal Wednesday! And tell me…

Has the right thing ever fallen into your lap at exactly the right time?

Do you ever feel bad about asking for what you really want?

What’s your favorite dessert?

Pin-It Party: Workouts, Pancakes, Fro Yo, and Art

Good morning, y’all! I’m doing a quick extra post for the Lean Green Bean’s Pin-It Party – but for some longer reading, I’m going to brazenly self promote for a moment and recommend the main attraction for today: this morning’s post about the Mothers’ Day Movement.

Anywho, on to the pinnable pictures!

Gluten-free, dairy-free strawberry pancakes:

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My beloved fro-yo (this one is from the self-serve fro yo place a block away from my apartment, which will prove to be my second home once summer arrives), served with strawberries in a re-purposed martini glass:

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Gluten-Free, dairy-free blueberry muffin tops, which are among my favorite things in the entire universe:

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Some humor, because really, who doesn’t need a laugh (especially at the expense of North Korea’s infantile leader)?

NYSC Kim Jong Un A wee bit of art — I love making collages, and this one is my favorite so far: Sunday Fun Day

And, lastly, some workoutsthey’ll leave you shaky, but it’s worth it!

10x10 Lower Body Workout 10x10 Upper Body WorkoutHave an awesome Thursday, y’all — here’s to the home stretch before the weekend!