Fitness Therapy

I forgot to mention yesterday, but WOW! You guys eat early! Maybe I should do a New Year’s Resolution to start eating earlier?

Ooh and I had fun reading about your eating styles! Glad to see I’m not the only one who gets skittish when it comes to ordering meat at a restaurant. Unless the restaurant states they source quality meats, I assume it’s factory. Ew.

On to today’s eats…

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I had a hard time thinking of something interesting to eat today, but finally came up with a simple yet savvy concoction.

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Of course, breakfast wouldn’t be complete without lovely, hot, comforting coffee in a Christmas mug. I love the shape of this mug!

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I ended up making french toast with Great Harvest Whole Grain Goodness.

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I made a quick apple-maple topping.

Quick Apple Topping Non-Recipe: add 1 small-chopped apple (remove skins if you want, but they have a lot of nutrition), 1/4 cup water, 2 – 4 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want), and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cook over medium heat to a boil, then simmer till apples are tender and sauce is reduced to your liking. Serve over french toast, pancakes, etc.

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Hubby and I had leftover baked ziti and homemade focaccia for lunch.

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Mmm…re-baked focaccia. :)

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I had a simple salad for some veg – organic baby spinach with red quinoa and balsamic vinaigrette. I’ve put grains, like wheat berries, in salad before, but I first saw quinoa in salads at Foodbuzz at the Fresh Express tasting table.

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And I had some steamed edamame a little later.

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Lookie what I got! The new ZLife, whic is the Zumba magazine.

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Speaking of Zumba, I taught a fabulous class tonight. I busted out a new song I choreographed, called Mira. :mrgreen:

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Once upon a time, I went with some friends to a cool club in Miami called “Mango’s Mambo Bar.”

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There, I saw girls in skimpy outfits dancing to hot Latin tunes, from Merengue to Reggaetton. The girls were hot, but to me…the dances were hotter! I used inspiration from that trip to choreograph my new Zumba dance – Mira by Fulanito (featuring Truko). My class loved it, and I had fun teaching it! Woohoo!

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I’m still working on my crochet ripple blanket, but I have a few other things in the works.

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Any guesses what this is?

Fitness Therapy

I tweeted this earlier today:

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I feel like workouts can be so therapeutic. I like getting different therapeutic value from different styles of exercise. I’ve found comfort and a feeling of refreshment from yoga. I’ve found freedom and endurance in running. I’ve found empowerment and excitement in Zumba. I wonder what other people think about how their workouts make them feel. I had a few people tweet back at me with their versions of therapy, but I’d like to hear from you guys, too…

What’s your fitness therapy? How does it make you feel during or after?

Quinoa Egg Scramble

I whipped up a batch of quinoa today in hopes of eating it over the next couple days. I already used it twice today!

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First, I made a quinoa-egg-scramble.

Non-Recipe: I basically did a sloppy scramble (click for info) on 2 local, cage-free eggs (1 for me, 1 for hubby) and added some cooked organic, red quinoa (an estimated amount for 2 people) at the end of cooking. I also mixed in salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and fresh parsley, plus a wee bit of EVOO.

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It was really so simple and very tasty! It reminded me of a messier version of my quinoa egg bowl.

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The quinoa-egg-scramble went well with some more of that quick cinnamon streusel coffeecake.

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Even though I was home, I was really busy with work today. I didn’t get much of a lunch break, so I threw some quick things together – a TJ’s frozen corn dog, frozen organic peas, and a quick hot quinoa salad.

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This is why I love quinoa – it’s so versatile! With a tweak of the mixins and seasonings, quinoa can take on a whole new form. For my quinoa salad, I mixed in salt, pepper, fresh parsley, EVOO and lemon juice. Not much different from breakfast, but totally new flavor profile thanks to the lemon!

After lunch, I was back hard at work. Phew! Then, it was time for Mexican out and then to a friend’s place to look at furniture.

I had a couple people tell me on Facebook (click to view) that they are DONE with Christmas shopping already. Whoa! How is your holiday shopping coming?

Thin & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe + Zookies

I wish I could have spent all day today baking and cooking like I did yesterday. The bad news was that I had to work today. The good news was that I have a short work week thanks to Thanksgiving! Hooray!

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For breakfast, I made a pared down version of my quinoa breakfast bowl by just dressing some quinoa with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. I fried a local egg up and topped the quinoa with it. You guys have to try fried eggs with quinoa (that is, if you eat eggs, of course). The flavors go really nicely together.

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I really wanted to eat some of my chai-granola, which I made yesterday…

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….but it will have to wait.

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I can’t wait to dig into this stuff. Hubby has already picked up yogurt so I can enjoy my granola later this week. Squeeee! :)

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Did you celebrate Starbucks Monday? I got a gingerbread latte. Nice and spicy!

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And lookie what I have…

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Zookies! That’s right. My friend Erica went to Roanoke this past weekend and picked up some more Zookies for me from the Healthy Cake Man that we visited last time. What a doll! She knows I loved these things!

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I got to thank Erica when I went to Zumba tonight!! There’s nothing better than kicking off the work week with a fun and energizing workout.

But, since she’s reading, I’ll say it again…thank you Erica!! :)

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(Here’s the photo I sent Erica via email this morning along with something about Zookies being part of a complete breakfast. What? They’re made with zucchini!! ;) )

And in case you’re wondering, yes…I ate all the Zookies. I had some with breakfast, some for a snack and some for a pre-workout snack. I may have a wee piece in my purse, but that will probably not last long tomorrow. Mmm.

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Post workout, hubby and I split 2 pieces of pizza – cheese and veggie, so we basically each got one slice.

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I steamed up some organic cabbage and baby carrots till crisp tender to get my veggie fix. I just drizzled them with a wee bit of real, melted butter, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.

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And even though I took my butterscotch dough balls (have you tried this flavor yet?? omg…they’re so good!) to work today, there were two left by the end of the day – just enough for hubby and I to each have one.

So far, so good. Only 2 more days in my work week and than it’s holiday time!

***

Since I’ve had three people ask for my chocolate chip dough ball fail recipe, I decided to just go ahead and post it. :) In truth…though they were not what I was going for, they were really, really tasty. Thin, chewy, sweet. They were awesome cookies.

Thin + Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened, but not melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet morsels

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar till light and creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, salt, baking soda.
  4. Mix wet mixture into dry mixture, careful to not overmix.
  5. Gently stir in semi-sweet morsels, without overmixing.
  6. Use a sorbet (or smaller than normal ice cream scoop) to evenly measure mounds of cookie dough on a sheet of parchment, spaced about 3-4 inches apart measuring from the edge of the mound, not the center (they spread a lot).
  7. Bake cookies for 10-14 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them.

***

PS I’m hoping to post those Alcatraz photos tomorrow! I’ve worked really hard on them, so I can’t wait to share! :)

***

Have you started your Thanksgiving prep yet? If yes, what are you doing?

Southwest Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I eat the same thing over and over again. I mean, how many times can I eat a fried egg and toast, right? So, it’s nice to have some very-different things to try…like my latest and greatest…

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…a quinoa breakfast bowl.

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You’ll need cooked quinoa (it only takes about 20 minutes to make, so you could theoretically do it in the morning, but leftovers would work, too).

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You’ll need kale. I mean…wouldn’t it be great to eat some veg first thing?

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I could have cut it, but I decided to save a knife-clean up and just tear it.

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I made a quick tahini sauce using some pantry ingredients.

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The sauce was no-cook…just whisk together.

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After a quick layering of ingredients, you have a beautiful, Southwest quinoa breakfast bowl to enjoy. Between the quinoa, beans and egg, this should be a very filling and protein-rich breakfast.

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I have lots of ideas for some great variations, but feel free to tweak as you like. :)

Southwest Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Inspired by the quinoa bowls at Cafe Gratitude
Note: This is more of a non-recipe than a recipe since you can use portions of your preference. Below are guidelines for what I used to make a single serving bowl.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
Ingredients
Quinoa Bowl Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa, re-warmed if needed
  • 3 leaves of tuscan kale, rinsed and torn into strips
  • ¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ tsp each cumin, paprika, chili powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper to taste
Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • ½ – 1 tbsp water, depending on how thick you like the sauce
  • juice of half a lime (or you can sub a splash of red wine vinegar, about ½ tsp)
  • dash cumin, paprika, chili powder (use more or less depending on how strong you want the flavor)
  • dash cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on how spicy you want the flavor)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
Quinoa Bowl Directions:
  1. Fry your egg to your liking, seasoning each side with salt and pepper to taste (a light sprinkling)
  2. Meanwhile, steam your kale for 2-3 minutes
  3. Meanwhile also, mix your quinoa with about 1 tbsp of sauce.
  4. And you’ll also want to mix your black beans with the cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, along with some salt and pepper and warm through either via the microwave or stovetop.
  5. Layer cooked kale in the bottom of a bowl. Top with the quinoa mixture. Top with the black bean mixture. Top with a fried egg. Drizzle additional sauce on top.
  6. Enjoy!
Tahini Sauce Directions:
  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk together.

***
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Enjoy!

I have a sweet quinoa breakfast bowl in the works, too! ;)

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers (Vegan)

Finally! I have a quick minute to type up my uber-yummy Southwest Quinoa Burger (the ones I made for that cookout awhile back) recipe for you!

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Ready for a veggie burger that won’t crumble apart on you? Ready for a veggie burger full of flavor? I’ve got the perfect recipe…

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This recipe uses cooked quinoa, so you can either use leftover quinoa or cook some for this recipe. It’s fast and easy.

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This recipe also uses lots of yummy fresh veg!

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Plus a micro-baked potato

Directions: wash potato, pierce skin in several places, loosely wrap with paper towel, and microwave 5-7 minutes, till a fork easily pierces through and center is tender.

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After your prep (quinoa, veg, potato), you’re pretty much just a whirl away in the food processor.

I like this recipe because you can easily prep it ahead, so if you’re entertaining, you can make it in the morning or the day before and you just have to form patties and bake when your guests get there.

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Bake away and you’re done! But, if you’re grilling out, you can also bake and then re-heat the veggie quinoa burgers on the grill.

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Get some fresh vegetables for toppings. I used organic romaine and heirloom tomatoes from my garden.

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Serve on buns or not – your choice.

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And see! No crumbles!

Reasons you should try this veggie burger recipe:

  • full flavor
  • no-crumbling factor
  • vegan
  • gluten-free if you use GF bread crumbs
  • a prep-ahead recipe so you can enjoy your guests if you’re entertaining
  • re-heats nicely and makes great leftovers

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers

*Vegan* *Gluten-Free if you use GF bread crumbs*

makes 10-12 medium sized patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 dry cup red quinoa, rinsed & cooked
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 15 ounce black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium potato, cooked & removed from skin – you can micro-bake it (see above for directions)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • dash cayenne (add more or less depending on how spicy you want your burgers)

Directions:

  • Combine black beans, potato, onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne in a food processor. Pulse till vegetables are chopped finely and contents are mixed.
  • Add bread crumbs and pulse till mixed well.
  • Add quinoa and pulse till mixed well.
  • Move mixture to a bowl and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (this will help the mixture to set and make it easier to form into patties. You can prep your recipe up to this point ahead of time if you’re entertaining and move on to the next step when you’re ready to cook)
  • When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Form the veggie burger mixture into patties (or balls) and place on the prepped baking sheet.
  • Bake 18-22 minutes, till burgers are lightly browned on top (note: if you’re entertaining, you can also cook the burgers ahead of time and re-heat them on the grill)
  • Serve with toppings and enjoy

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Delicious veggie burgers!

Take Out Oops + Organic Gardening Q+A

*Before I forget yet again, thanks to Bonnie, Taylor, and Ashley for your fun zumba notes. I loved reading them!*

More Tuesday Eats

After my fabulous quinoa breakfast, I brewed up some Teavana tea.

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Mate Vana + Rooibos Macadamia = delicious tea

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Sweetened with local honey.

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I was extra glad to be at home so I could get comfortable and prop my foot up. RICE, right? Ok, so my “injury” isn’t that serious, but I’ll do anything to make it get better faster! So far no swelling, so I expect to be 100% sooner than later. *crossing fingers*

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I got stuck on phone conferences and couldn’t get to lunch so I snacked on some Stacy’s Pita chips. Darn you Stacy and your irresistible pita chips!! It’s too easy to eat these.

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I had a nice, healthy lunch today.

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A GIANT salad or organic veggies: baby spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, pepitas and Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic.

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Plus a piece of spelt toast with some Homestead Creamery butter (from my weekend grocery trip)…so so good!

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I was mostly excited about digging into my creation from last night – Southwestern Quinoa Salad (click for recipe).

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For nutrition, I had a mini Vega Health Optimizer shake made with a little more than 1/2 a scoop of mix plus plain ole water.

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Then I had a not-so-healthy snack – a mini Texas donut…

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…plus some Tulsi tea in India Breakfast.

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I got a candle going to combat the rainy day and make the room smell yummy.

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For dinner, I got take out from The Flying Biscuit. I asked the guy on the phone to help me choose from 3 options (turkey meatloaf, turkey pot roast, and herb-crusted chicken). He recommended the chicken (served with mac and cheese and collards) so I took his suggestion.

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The dinner came with a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner was also supposed to come with a biscuit (hello, the restaurant is called The Flying BISCUIT!) :lol: but I didn’t get it. I called to ask if the dinner was supposed to come with a biscuit (in case I misunderstood) and they said it was supposed to. The person I spoke with was very friendly and apologetic and when I said I wanted to come back for the biscuit (yes, I really wanted it!), they offered to throw in dessert. They started to go down the dessert list, but I had another idea – breakfast! I am still thinking about the fabulous breakfast hubby and I had at TFB last Saturday. So, I got a single oatmeal pancake with peach topping to go. I’m already looking forward to breakfast now!

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I was really excited about my biscuit, but you know what…the restaurant forgot the apple butter. :oops:

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Luckily, I had some Kime’s at home, which I heated up to get the full Flying Biscuit experience.

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I got to enjoy my biscuit whilst catching the latest Glee – the Madonna episode! I love this show…so glad I remembered to watch it this week. I’m pretty bad at watching TV shows because I don’t pay much attention to the schedules and forget when they’re on.

Anywho, The Flying Biscuit made some mistakes tonight, but who doesn’t!? No one’s perfect. The important thing to me was that they were concerned about my satisfaction and they went out of their way to make me happy. Thanks TFB…I’ll definitely be back.

Theo Chocolates

After contacting Theo Chocolate, I was thrilled they were interested in sending me some samples to review. :mrgreen:

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The chocolate came extra-nicely packaged with cornstarch packing peanuts! Neat! I usually try to keep my peanuts to re-use them when I ship stuff, but it’s nice to see how eco-friendly these are – they dissolve in water!

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Theo Chocolate sent me some awesome stuff – some Pink Salted Vanilla Caramels in Dark Chocolate

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…plus an Orange Dark Chocolate bar.

I love how Theo supports both Organic and Fair Trade. I can’t wait to sample these and write up my reviews!

Organic Gardening Q+A with Don

You guys had some fabulous questions for Don, founder of Instant Organic Garden. In fact, we already have answers for those questions:

Michelle –

Question for Don: I’m wanting to start a garden, but I’ll be living in a rental property and can’t plant like I’d like to. Do you have any tips on container gardening?

Yes, use as big a container as possible, especially for summer plants like tomatoes. A whiskey-barrel sized container is sufficient for a single tomato plant. Use good-quality potting mix, but no synthetic fertilizers. Natural fertilizers like Plant-Tone or worm castings are best.

Jessica –

Question for Don: What are some examples of vegetables in North Carolina that are cheaper to purchase as well as examples of those you would grow.

Avoid crops that are inexpensive in the stores, take a lot of room (watermelon, corn, okra), don’t taste better fresh (potatoes, onions) and don’t offer a long term harvest (iceberg lettuce, bush beans.)

Julie -

Question for Don: I only have a very small gardening plot available at my apartment (but I am lucky to have one I can use considering I am only renting my apartment!) What is the best way to maximize your space when trying to grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Any suggested additional resources?

Good soil with organic fertilizer means you can plant three times closer together. Set up a trellis for climbing plants like beans and cucumbers. My book shows you how to get started. “No Green Thumb Required! Organic Family Gardening Made Easy.

Thanks for your answers Don!
If you’d like to ask Don a question about organic gardening, he’s kindly offered to answer some more! Leave a comment on this post starting with “Question for Don: ” and I’ll do my best to get your question to him.
If you’re in the Charlotte area, you can go to one of Don’s many local events to ask questions in person. :) Click here for his event page.

Randomness

Giveaway Alert! I have a super-cool giveaway planned for Thursday…stay tuned for details.

Page Updates – I’ve updated several of my pages:

  • Recipes – wow, I thought I only had to add one or two from the last week…turns out I was missing a TON!
  • Reviews – added links for some recent reviews
  • Blogroll – new bloggie friends

One great way, as suggested in my post the other day, to go Green this week for Earth Day is to get a re-usable water bottle. I just added the Klean Kanteen water bottle to my OpenSky shop if you need one. I’m also working to get some other sizes/colors added, so I hope to have some new options soon.

Did I mention I have a wedding to go to this weekend?! It’s my oldest best friend’s wedding! I can’t wait!

Have you ever picked up a take-out order only to realize after you get home that something is wrong/missing? What did you do? What did the restaurant do when you told them?

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