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Helloooooooooooooo!  *waves arms dramatically*  How ya been!?  :D  It’s been awhile.  The Internet is finally up and poppin’, and all is right with the world once again.  Let’s get this party started, shall we?

I ran on Friday.  (!!!)  I wanted to do some cardio, but nothing sounded good.    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about healthy living over the years, it’s that you can’t force yourself to do something (or eat something, for that matter) that you don’t truly enjoy.  I mentally ran through my standard list of go-to cardio options:  Kickboxing?  Meh.  Interval training?  Nah.  Step aerobics?  Eh.  Running?  Hmmm…

I ran a couple of times per week for most of 2010; it was fantastic therapy for me after my divorce.  But slowly over time I grew to hate it.  Every run would turn into a grueling competition with myself.  I wasn’t a regular breakfast eater during that time, and I started really dragging through my morning runs.  Eventually I gave it up in favor of other, more interesting aerobic activity, but part of me has always missed it.  There’s something about lacing up your sneakers, getting outside and just moving.  There’s something soothing about the rhythmic pounding of footstep after footstep, your breath growing faster and heavier until it syncs up with your stride.  I really do love that.

When I asked myself if I wanted to run on Friday, the answer was a surprising, Sure, why not?  Yeah, it was 99 degrees outside and I hadn’t run regularly in nearly a year, but what the heck- let’s do this.

And so I did.  :)  There was no competition, no record beating, no pushing myself to nauseating limits.  I just ran.  I let my feet carry me and my breath guide me, and I ran 3(ish) miles in about 30 minutes.  When I got home, I felt fantastic.  Maybe there is a place for running in my workout routine, after all.

It’s little things like this that remind me just how far I’ve come in my quest to be a healthy, balanced, fit woman.  I used to exercise simply to burn calories, and being stuck in that mindset was a horrible place to be.  When I forget the calories and lose the scale and instead exercise to move my body, to feel alive and push myself while also being good to myself, the term ‘work out’ takes on a whole new meaning- a mind, body and soul kind of thing.  I try to remember that achieving a healthy, balanced life of optimal wellness really is a journey, and if I’m doing things right, it’ll be a long one.  :)  Might as well enjoy it!

***

Lets talk FOOD!  Even though I haven’t been able to properly blog since last week, the food photography never stops- buckle up for a Food Pic Extravaganza!  (I can tell that you’re having trouble containing your excitement- please, get ahold of yourself.)

Breakfast is still one of my favorite meals of the day.

Organic wheat squares, granola, chia seeds, agave nectar, and nectarine chunks (or blueberries, shown above) with almond milk.

Blueberry Overnight Oats (recipe adapted from Kath)!

I mixed the following in a bowl, then covered and let sit in the fridge overnight:

  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. Greek yogurt (use soy or other non-dairy yogurt for vegan overnight oats!)
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • big handful of unsweetened frozen blueberries
  • cinnamon

In the morning I added a small handful of sliced almonds and a good drizzle of agave nectar.  This was wicked-delish

Creamy, refreshing and sweet, with a nice crunch from the almonds.  LOVE:D

Lunches, lately:

Pitastada!

(Oat bran pita spread with vegetarian refried beans and leftover vegan cheeze sauce, then topped with chopped zucchini, tomato, avocado and lots of hot salsa.)

Big salad with mixed greens and lots of chopped veggies topped with walnuts, dried cranberries, chickpeas and Goddess dressing.

Pitastada, take 2.

This time I nixed the cheeze sauce and topped with leftover grilled veggies from dinner the night before.

(Pitastadas are sooo good!)

Snacks!  I don’t usually take pics of my snackage, but I usually have a little somethin-somethin’ in the afternoon if I’m hungry and won’t be able to make it to dinner.

My usual go-to snacks include:

  • raw chopped veggies with a big blob of hummus for dipping
  • apple slices or a banana spread with natural almond or peanut butter
  • other fruit (like an orange or some melon) plus a big spoonful of almond or peanut butter (a spoonful of nut butter is probably my favorite snack of all time- YUM!)
  • Beanitos dipped in vegan cheeze sauce or hummus

I also usually have a cup of green or herbal tea in the afternoon.  Aside from tea’s many health benefits, having something (non-alcoholic) to sip in the afternoon has made kicking my daily glass bottle (who am I kidding?) of wine habit much easier.

Lately, B and I have been in the smoothie-making spirit!  May or may not have something to do with the fact that it is exactly 1,000 Satan-esque degrees outside, ugh.  Smoothies make a fantastic snack- they’re cool, refreshing, sweet, filling, and pack a hefty dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  The key to a really good smoothie is frozen fruit.  More specifically, frozen bananas!

Have you ever stuck a frozen banana in a food processor or blender?  In under a minute it turns into a thick, fluffy, sweet, smooth sort of banana ice cream.  (Seriously, it is awesome!)  By using frozen bananas in smoothies you get the taste, texture and feel of ice cream without actually having to add any.  You also don’t need to add ice if you use a frozen nanner!

Anyway, last week B and I wanted a cold, sweet snack, so I stuck the following in a blender:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • big handful of unsweetened frozen mango chunks
  • ~1 cup almond milk

And that was it!  I didn’t even have to add any sweetener.  The resulting smoothie was perfectly (naturally!) sweet with a nice tropical flavor and was so delightfully thick that we had to eat it with a spoon.

I’ll be keeping frozen bananas in the freezer indefinitely from now on.  I always have a banana or two turn brown before we get around to eating it, and that’s the perfect time to freeze them.  The more ripe a banana gets, the sweeter it is, so simply peel your overly-ripe banana(s), wrap in plastic wrap, seal in a freezer bag and toss into the freezer.  Then when you want a smoothie, just take one out and blend with your favorite fruit and milk.  It’s like magic, I tell ya!

(Speaking of frozen bananas, check out all of Oh She Glows’ vegan banana soft-serve creationsYumNOMS.  *drool*)

Moving right along to DINNER.  (My other favorite meal of the day.)  ;)

Saturday before going to watch fireworks B and I made grilled veggie and buffalo “chicken” salads using Gardein’s Boneless Buffalo Wings.  I was a little nervous since I had never tried this brand of meat-free products before, and B is a fake-meat newbie.  Typically I avoid frozen processed food because of all the additives and preservatives, and while these didn’t have an ideal ingredients list, it definitely could have been much worse:

The only other faux meat item we’ve found that both tastes amazing and has a stellar ingredients list is Field Roast Grain Meat Co.’s sausages (more on those later!).

The directions were simple: just saute the wings in a little oil on the stove top, add the contents of the thawed sauce packet to taste, heat through and serve.

We piled a bed of spinach high with leftover fajita veggies and topped with the meatless wings, balsamic vinaigrette and a touch of blue cheese dressing.

The wings looked appealing…

And ended up tasting amazing!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was definitely shocked that B loved them as much as I did.  They had a classic, extra spicy buffalo wing flavor and a ridiculously meaty texture…

These rocked!

I don’t want to eat too much processed fake meat, but it’s nice to know that I now have two meat-free options that I can use in recipes when I’m pressed for time or if I’m having a chicken or beef craving.  Gardein has a ton of different products, and we’ll definitely be trying another one soon.  SCORE:D

Monday night I made Emily’s Mediterranean Quinoa Salad and B grilled some salmon filets.  It was such a simple, easy meal but so incredibly delicious, too!

This was crazy-good.  The feta and olives in the nutty, hearty quinoa gave it a nice salty kick, and the grape tomatoes and cool cucumber made it really refreshing.  The basil worked nicely with the simple lemon and olive oil dressing, too- it was greatness.

B grilled the salmon to flaky perfection, once again…

We discovered that the inexpensive frozen salmon filets we usually buy are certified sustainable, so that made this meal even better.  :)  We have lots of leftovers and will be having this same meal again tomorrow night- good stuff!

Last night M joined us for dinner, as well as a Season 5 Dexter-a-thon (we’ve seen Season 5 but M has not, and we’re more than happy to watch it again!).  The menu was grilled Field Roast Grain Meat Co.’s Mexican Chipotle sausages in whole-wheat buns:

Oven-roasted asparagus:

And Alexia panko-breaded onion rings:

Everything absolutely rocked!

My plate:

I had my not-sausage with Vegenaise and dijon mustard, and my onion rings with a big blob of ketchup, because ketchup is pretty much the best thing EVER.

(Always on a freakin’ Christmas plate.  Have you noticed that?  My dinners are almost always served on a Christmas plate.  Good grief.)

I usually roast asparagus in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, but last night I added a little bit of soy sauce.  The result was a sweet and salty success!  Both the soy sauce and vinegar kind of caramelize when they’re heated, and they created a delicious, flavorful coating for the tender-crisp asparagus.  The onion rings were also redonk:

Straight from the oven in 15 minutes, perfectly golden and crispy.  Sooo good.

M brought dessert: MYO banana splits!  She brought both chocolate and vanilla gelato, fudge sauce, bananas, macerated strawberries, whipped cream, and s’more trail mix for topping.  It was dessert heaven

Sweet, sweet perfection.  :)

B cooks tonight!  (I think he’s making shrimp paninis.)

Speaking of B, I’m glad you guys enjoyed his post!  I’m trying to convince him to do a regular guest post here.  Something like FFLL’s Manly Monday (thanks to M for that suggestion!).  We shall see.  :D  I’m off to do some kickboxing, shower, do a little studying and grocery shop.  It’s good to be back in blog land!

Have a good one!

xo,

S.

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3 responses »

  1. I’m not even sure if it’s available in the US but did you ever try “Quorn”? I used to eat bag-loads of that when I was a kid because my mother is a vegetarian so always used to substitute this stuff into recipes. I was sick and tired of it as a kid, but can see the benefits of it now – it’s actually not bad, and when marinated in wine is delicious! Comes in mince, chunks, steaks, sausages etc, so very versatile. Made from a mushroom fungus, or something.

  2. Yes! Quorn is popping up all over the place here! I just saw it in the freezer section in a million different varieties this afternoon, actually. The ingredients list seems to have lots of additives, which is bogus. :( If I can find a Quorn product without a bunch of fillers, I’ll definitely give it a try. :D

  3. Pingback: Mini Chefs « Food, Fitness, Life & Love

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