Count Down

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely holiday. Tonight was our first time back at the gym since our holiday activities. Dragged my feet on the way there, but as always, definitely glad we went. It’s also a good sign that the staff and regulars recognize us now!

Only 5 more days to my birthday! And only 11 days until I start Insanity! EEEE, I’m nervous but also very excited. I still kind of wish I had a little more time to get into slightly better shape before starting it, but it’s now or never! Starting January, I really have to be on my A game so I can kick butt and win this competition.

Today I also found an awesome Groupon to a healthy organic restaurant I had recently discovered online called GustOrganics. It’s in the West Village and I was planning on checking it out some time in the near future anyhow, but the Groupon deal definitely will make my visit much more affordable. Here’s a link to the deal if anyone is interested: GustOrganics Groupon Deal.

I got my hair cut on Sunday just to change things up a little. I now have bangs for the first time since I was 3 (well there was that one time when I had them poorly cut at Super Cuts when I was 16, but I try not to remember that. It was very short lived). I’m still getting used to them, but I think I like them! Although, they definitely don’t look too flattering post workout haha.

Bangs while at work/before going to the gym:

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Bangs after 30 minute work out and 40 mins of cardio at the gym:

After gym

The rest of my week is consumed of mostly work until my birthday, but definitely going to the gym Saturday and Sunday. I also have some new recipes to post in the near future! But for now, shower, food, and Breaking Bad! Have a good night everyone 🙂

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Craisin Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Mike and I made these last night and there were delicious. They bake quickly as well.

As mentioned in a previous post, this is a recipe I found from A Dash of Sass’s blog, with some very minor tweaks.

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Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Craisin Almond Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of Smart Balance or Earth Balance (or any butter/butter substitute of your choosing)
3 tbsp egg whites (or 1 egg’s worth of egg substitute)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon of skim milk (or soy milk or any milk you prefer)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Tiny bit of nutmeg
1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats
3/4 cup of craisins
3/4 cup chopped almonds

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
– Mix together the sugars in a large bowl.
– Cream the sugars with the softened butter.
– Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Cream until smooth.
– In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add slowly to the wet mixture until incorporated.
– Once smooth, stir in the oats, craisins, and almonds.
– Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream/cookie scoop, drop rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or on foil coated with non-stick spray.
– Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Veganism/Vegetarianism

I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries and reading a lot of articles about food to try and get a better handle on what I’m putting into my body. It can be a very confusing process as almost everything that I see or read has something that completely contradicts it. An issue as simple as what kind of milk is healthier, skim or whole, gets my head spinning in a million different directions. The main points that I’ve truly begun to believe and understand are that raw foods are wonderful for you, and the closer to nature a food item is, the better it is for you.

I’ve been starting to think a lot about veganism/vegetarianism. If you asked me a year ago if I would ever consider being a vegetarian , I would have said:

And honestly today, I can’t say that I believe that I will fully commit to being a vegetarian or vegan, but I do see some very good points in their choice of diet. And the options that are available, especially in NYC, are immense. I guess that where I stand right now is at a point in which I would like to include more vegetables into my diet and consume less dairy and meat. In the past 2 years of my life I have been much more adventurous in trying new things and my palate has expanded greatly. I have so many more options in the world of vegetables that I was closed to before. Nutritionally, I don’t need to consume meat twice a day, or even daily for that matter. It’s just a habit I’ve gotten used to. I’m starting to feel the same way about dairy; cheese in particular. I absolutely LOVE cheese. Seriously, when I was 14 I owned a shirt that said, “CHEESE IS GOOD.” But I’m starting to realize that a lot of times I’ll find myself adding cheese to foods not because I need to, but because I’m used to doing it. The other night I was baking some eggplant and wanted to add sauce and cheese to it, but we were out of cheese. So I ate some pieces plain and some with just sauce and guess what, I didn’t die without the cheese! I wasn’t even really upset about it. I definitely want to start being more aware of what kinds of dairy and cheeses I’m adding to my meals and be conscious of if they are really necessary. And like I said before, I’m not claiming that I’m going to eliminate meat and dairy from my life completely, but there is a big portion that I feel I can cut out resulting in a healthier diet over all.

Last night, Mike and I grabbed a bite to eat at this place called Energy Kitchen. They have several locations in Manhattan. We ate at the one in Chelsea because it was on the way to his work party. I had one of their veggie burgers and it was really good! I did not feel in any way that I was missing out by choosing a veggie burger over a chicken burger or a turkey wrap. I was completely satisfied by my meal choice. It’s just simple decisions like that that I would like to make more often. Because most likely, in my regular diet, I am not lacking in meat or dairy, but fruits and veggies can always be improved upon. So why not opt for a tastey veggie burger instead. And why not start using soy milk (which I only first tried a few months ago and actually really enjoy, as well as almond milk) instead fretting over whether skim or whole is a better decision.

Sometimes you don’t want to, but you do it anyway

Yesterday was the kind of day where on the subway ride back from work, I wanted to skip going to the gym and just head right home. But I didn’t. I went to the gym like I planned. Normally once I’m actually at the gym, everything is fine, but for some reason yesterday, once I was there, I still didn’t really want to be. I got through my biceps/chest workout and 3 minutes into cardio, I was really wanting to get off and leave. I felt that way almost the entire time. But I pushed through and did cardio for 30 minutes anyway. I’m really glad I did. It just proves to me that even though there may be part of me that is tired, lazy, and scared, the part of me that wants to be happy and healthy is much stronger.

Tonight I’m going to Mike’s work holiday party with him so we won’t be able to go to the gym. There will also be an open bar, so I have to make sure to eat a healthy dinner and keep drinks to a minimum. It’s definitely hard to be perfect this time of year. One of the things I try to tell myself in situations where there is temptation, especially around the holidays, is that it is okay to say no. The bowl of lasagna, the chocolate truffles, the alcoholic beverage that you really want, well guess what, just because it’s in front of your face doesn’t mean you have to have it. Because believe it or not, you will live another day to see such things again. Once you eliminate that feeling of missing out on something, it’s really not too hard to stay away from such things. I have the ability to say no to this piece of apple pie that is in front of me right now, but hey, if in the future one day I really want a piece I could always make one or purchase one. This is not my last chance to consume this item so I don’t NEED it. That’s just a way of thinking that helps me personally. If it’s something you really want, maybe just take a bite instead of a whole serving. You just have to be aware of how often you pick at things here and there because small bites in large amounts really do add up.

Speaking of not being perfect, Mike and I are celebrating Christmas early this Saturday before he leaves home for Georgia. We wanted to bake some cookies so I found this whole wheat oatmeal cookie at A Dash of Sass’s blog. The original recipe calls for chocolate chips and walnuts which I think I’m going to switch out for crasins and almonds. Yum.

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Turkey Taco Salad w/Guac

I really love tacos, as do many other people, I’m sure! We wanted to create a healthy version of one of our favorite dinners.

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This meal consisted of ground turkey meat with a healthy taco seasoning, peppers, onions, and guacamole over spinach leaves.

First we’ll start off with the guac.

Guacamole

About 3 Haas Avocados (we used 3 and a half)

1 lime

1/2 teaspoon of each: cayenne, salt, and cumin

1 tablespoon cilantro

1-2 cloves of minces garlic (to taste)

About half of an onion, chopped

Half of a jalapeno, chopped and seeds removed

1-2 tomatoes, chopped

In a bowl, mash up the avocados and add in lime juice. Then add in yours seasonings and mix together. Finally add in your garlic, onion, jalapeno, and tomatoes. Let it sit for a little while for all of the flavors to blend together. Also, if you want to keep your guac from turning brown quickly, save the avocado pits and place them in the guac.

Turkey Taco Meat and Seasoning:

Approximately 4 servings

1 lb ground turkey meat

1/2 chopped onion

1/2 chopped jalapeno without seeds

About 3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup of tomato paste or sauce

First prepare a bowl with all of the seasonings mixed together. Heat up a large pan on medium with a thin layer of oil. Add in your minced garlic and chopped onions. Once they start browning a little, add in your ground turkey. Mix up the turkey meat with the onions and garlic. Once the meat begins cooking a bit, add in your mixed bowl of seasonings and the chopped jalapenos. Be sure to mix everything well. Finally, add in the cup of tomato sauce. Mix and let simmer for a few minutes.

In another pan we heated up a little oil with 2 cloves of minced garlic, and about 1/2 a chopped onion and 1 sliced red pepper.

For our leaves, we chose spinach. Once everything was done we put in a bowl: spinach leaves, sauteed peppers and onions, the turkey taco meat, topped off with guac. And there you have it. A great taco salad!

Fall down 7 times, Stand up 8

I’ve had a pretty busy/tiring week last week, which is why there is a lack of posts. I also hit a bit of a bump in the road this past weekend. Although I ate well during breakfast/lunch, I didn’t eat so well at dinner time and also failed to go to the gym. On top of that, I felt so guilty after eating unhealthy that I fell back into some old bad eating disorder related habits. Relapsing is one of my biggest concerns. I know everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. Over the past 2 years since receiving treatment for my eating disorder, I’ve only “relapsed” a few times. Part of that may be because I wasn’t actively attempting to lose weight during that time. I know that 2 years isn’t very long in the whole scheme of things, especially considering that I had an eating disorder for 10 years of my life. I am fully aware that food, diet, exercise, and self image will be things that I probably struggle with in one way or another for the rest of my life. Thinking about it now though, I realize that messing up on a few meals over the weekend isn’t the worst thing on earth. It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve started eating right and exercising regularly. I’ve lost about 6lbs so far which is about 2lbs a week. I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up so much. The most important thing is to get back on track and move on, which I started doing yesterday. Yesterday I ate very well and had a great workout at the gym.

In the past, I feel like a lot of the things I did, especially relating to my image, I did for other people. Whether it was for their approval, to prove to them that I could do it, or to shove it in their face (however twisted or wrong any of that sounds). But what I’m doing now, I want to do for myself. I want to prove to myself that I have what it takes to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. That I can accomplish my goals in a nondestructive way and be happy doing it.

Hope everyone else is doing well. I’m going to make sure that this week is better than last!

I also have a great turkey taco salad recipe that I’ll share with everyone later!

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Zucchini Chips with Hummus

Yesterday I found out that I got an internship at Warner Bros Records as a Video Marketing Intern that I interviewed for last week, so I’m very excited about that. I also closed the coffee shop in the lower east side for the first time and am doing it again tonight. Last night Mike and I did a little work out at the apartment instead of going to the gym because I was kind of drained. Tonight we’ll definitely be going to the gym, drained or not. I’m taking this week a little easy since I still have some congestion and it was suggested not to do anything super strenuous for at least 2 weeks after bronchitis. So this week will just kind of be getting back on board because I couldn’t do anything last week, and hopefully next week I am good as new and can go full force!

I just got Mike’s last Christmas present in the mail and it’s way smaller than I thought it was going to be, so I may have to return it and think of something else :/ Bummer. Other than that, things are going pretty well! I showed Mike some of that documentary I had mentioned a few days ago: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Here’s the cover with before and after pictures of the main guy in the film:

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He started off at 309 lbs. The other guy in the movie started off at 420 lbs. Their journeys and results are truly motivational. If a man who could barely take a 10 minute walk is willing to do what ever it takes to get healthy, I sure as hell can do it! Mike agreed to do a juice fast with me sometime in the near future. I’m thinking maybe at the end of January and then again in March. I want to do them for 10 days.

I also wanted to share a delicious yummy snack we made the other day and something we’ll definitely do again.

Zucchini Chips with Hummus 

(Sorry forgot to take a picture! I’ll take one next time and post it here :p)

For the zucchini, all we did was cut them in very thin slices and put them on a baking sheet with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. They tasted great when they came out, but the weren’t really chip like, they were kind of mushy. We used forks to dip them into the hummus which we didn’t mind, but if you want your zucchini to be more like chips or fries so it this way:

Set your oven to 425.

Slice your zucchini into thin slices or strips, whichever you prefer.

Mix together some eggwhites with a little bit of skim milk.

Get some whole wheat panko crumbs and mix it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little bit of parmesan cheese if you like, and any other spices you might want.

Dip your zucchini in the eggwhites and then in the panko mix.

Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 25-30 minutes until they are golden.

For the Hummus:

About 3 minced garlic cloves

1/4 cup of greek yogurt

About 2 cups of cooked chickpeas or 1 19 ounce can of chickpeas, drained

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tsp olive oil

1/4 Tsp Each of Salt and Paprika

1/8 Tsp of Pepper

1 Tbsp Chopped fresh Parsley

Throw everything in the blender or food processor and that’s it! If it’s too thick, add a little more greek yogurt or olive oil.

Hope everyone is doing well! Have a good day 🙂

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Pesto Pizza

Mike and I made some pesto pizza two weekends ago that I didn’t get to post because of my bronchitis.

I loveeee making homemade pesto because it’s really easy and great on so many things. We used it as the pizza sauce but also had some left over which I used on sandwiches and with omelettes.

Pesto Pizza

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For the Pesto:

2 cups of basil leaves

3 cloves of minced garlic

About 1/3 cup of pinenuts or walnuts (I tend to use walnuts because they are cheaper and taste just as good)

3/4- 1 cup of olive oil (I start off with 2/4 cups in the food processor and then add a 1/4 cup as needed. Depends on how thin you want the pesto to get)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In the food processor I start off with 1 cup of basil, the walnuts, minced garlic and 2/4 cups of olive oil. Blend that together a little then add in the rest of the basil and another 1/4 cup of olive oil and see how the consistency is. If it’s still a little too chunky, I’ll all the final 1/4 cup of olive oil, making it 1 cup of olive oil total. Then add in the salt and pepper to taste, and you have your pesto!

 

For the pizza dough, we get whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s. Heat the oven to 425. Toss your dough and get it into pizza shape. (I’m pretty bad at this but Mike used to work at a pizza shop so he handles it. I used to have to roll is out.) Add the pesto sauce first and then what ever toppings you’d like. We typically go with tomato slices. We’ve also done spinach and grilled chicken which is really great. Top off with some grated part skim mozzarella cheese (I’ve also done it with fresh mozzarella and that works out really well). Keep it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (depending on how crispy you like your crust). And then remove and consume your yummy pesto pizza 🙂

 

Whole Wheat Pasta with a Light Alfredo Sauce, Grilled Chicken, and Sauteed Kale

Happy Sunday Everyone! Can you believe that Christmas is just about 2 weeks away? I seriously can’t.

Today Mike and I spent most of the day cleaning/doing chores while playing Home Alone in the background. We finished decorating our little Christmas tree that we bought last night. It’s a live planted tree that we got from Pathmark for 10 bucks! Only about 2 feet tall and his name is Herbert.

Mike had mentioned being in the mood for some pasta with Alfredo sauce so  I went on the look out for a healthy Alfredo recipe! The one we ended up using is  from Minimalist Baker’s food blog, but I used whole wheat flour for mine so the amount is a little different. We also added some grilled chicken and sauteed kale and it worked wonderfully!

Whole Wheat Pasta with a Light Alfredo Sauce, Grilled Chicken, and Sauteed Kale

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(approx 3-4 servings)

For the Light Alfredo Sauce:

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-3 Cloves of Minced Garlic

1 Cup of Skim Milk

1/2 Cup of Chicken Broth

2-3 Tbsp Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Tbsp Pesto Sauce

1/4 Tsp Each of Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes

Heat up a large sauce pan on medium. Once it’s hot add the oil and garlic and stir them. Add in the milk and broth, stirring all of them together. Slowly add in the whole wheat flour, making sure to sprinkle in only a little at a time and to whisk well and get rid of any lumps. We used about 3 tbsps and the sauce came out pretty thick. So if you don’t like yours too thick, you may want to stop at about 2. Finally add in the cheese, pesto, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. And viola! A super yummy Alfredo Sauce, but way less heavy and much healthier!

We grilled the chicken in a large sauce pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, some minced garlic and chopped up onions. Once the chicken started cooking a bit, we added handfuls of kale and cooked that in with all the yummy chicken, garlic, and onions. And that was it! Threw the pasta in a bowl with the chicken and kale and mixed in the sauce. It was delicious.

Coffee shop, eggplant pizza, and juice fast

Yesterday at the coffee shop the health inspector showed up. For those who may not know, health inspectors do not give you an exact time telling you when they are going to show up. The owners knew we were due and that they would be arriving soon, but exactly when, they did not know. We were informed via email last night that anyone who is working while a health inspection is taking place will be given a cash bonus if the store gets an A grade. Having a health inspector at the shop while you are working is kind of like having a cop driving behind you on the road. Even if you know you’re not doing anything wrong, you still feel a little paranoid and on edge and do your best not to do anything dumb while they are around. At the very same moment that the inspector came in we also had a HUGE rush out of no where (I think they might have been production people from a set that was shooting near by). Luckily, we got through it all and received an A! Just in time as a Christmas bonus! I also served Steve Buscemi his morning coffee for the first time (apparently he’s a regular at our shop). And supposedly Patrick Stewart was sitting in the corner of our shop while his friend ordered a coffee, or so I was told by one of the other customers after he left, but I didn’t see him.

When I got home from work, Mike had made us lunch. It was a great little recipe I found and sent to him for Eggplant Pizza. Quick, easy, and delicious! It’s pretty much slicing up some eggplant and using the eggplant in place of pizza dough for yummy little mini eggplant pizzas. I’m definitely going to be checking out Kath’s Blog for some more great recipes and ideas.

I started watching a documentary called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead on Netflix yesterday and it’s pretty interesting. It starts off with an Australian man on a journey to become healthy starting off with a 60 day all juice fast as he travels around the United States. I’m thinking doing a 10 day juice fast might be something I’d like to look into.

Even though I haven’t been able to work out because of bronchitis, I’ve been doing really well with my diet, so I’m proud of that. And the coffee shop definitely keeps me moving for hours at a time. I’ve been sick and/or busy this week so I do have some recipes that I’ll post when I get around to it! Hope everyone has a good weekend!