Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk

As a child, I hated cow’s milk. I gave up the stuff at a very young age. However, I remember on occasion my sisters and I would squeeze strawberry syrup into our milk glasses, to mask the flavor. As we stirred… it would mix up into a light pink creamy sweet drink. 

Well, now as an adult I know better, that the strawberry syrup I used as a child is artificial and full of sugar. (You won’t see this mom touching that stuff.) But guess what? I have come across a recipe for a healthier alternative – Strawberry Almond Milk. Everything about this is heaven – the texture, the color, the flavor! 

Warning: Once you make your own homemade nut milks, you won’t go back to the store bought kind. 

Here’s what you are going to need!

  • 1 Bowl (to soak almonds in… then used again later to use to strain blended almonds.)
  • High speed blender (Vitamix)
  • Cheese cloth 
  • Pitcher or mason jar (to store nut milk.)

Let’s talk Strawberries! There is nothing better than fresh picked strawberries from the garden. So look for organic local strawberries. I got these vibrant red ones from my local farmer’s market. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Raw organic almonds
  • Filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon or vanilla
  • 10-14 organic strawberries (depends on size) 
  • 2 dates (no pits)

Directions

  1. Soak 1 cup of raw organic almonds (in the refrigerator) overnight in a bowl of filtered water. 
  2. Strain soaked almonds and rinse. 
  3. Place the soaked almonds in a blender with 3-4 cups of filtered water. Blend.
  4. Strain freshly made Almond milk (the stuff in your blender) through a cheese cloth, over a bowl. 
  5. Give blender a quick rinse. Then pour freshly strained Almond milk back to your blender.
  6. Add one teaspoon of vanilla to blender.
  7. Add 2 dates (no pits) to blender. 
  8. Add 10 – 14 fresh organic strawberries. Amount depends on size of strawberries and your taste buds preference.
  9. Blend all ingredients together on high or on liquid setting. 
  10. Strain strawberry Almond milk through cheese cloth one last time, this way it is very smooth. Side note: you have a Vitamix or a very high quality blender you may not need to do this step. 

Store strawberry Almond milk in a mason jar or pitcher in refrigerator. This will make about 3 cups of milk, and will last 5 days in the refrigerator, however, its so delicious I’m sure you will drink it up before that.
You can also use this milk in chia seed putting and smoothies. 

This strawberry Almond milk is very creamy in texture, pink in color, and tastes delicious. Use your taste buds and customize the final product… Do you need more dates to make it sweeter? Do you need more strawberries.  It takes a little time at first to get the hang of making your own nut milks homemade and fresh. However, once you do, you won’t got to bed until you place a bowl of soaking nuts in your refrigerator. 


Enjoy! 

What’s your favorite nut milk? 

Pickled Turmeric Eggs

I live in the Washington, DC area. It is an urban area that is a vibrant melting pot of culture. I’m within walking distance of plenty to eat and drink – you name it, we’ve got it. And although, I have become quite obsessed with my vegetable garden, it’s far from farm life. Luckily, because we are surrounded by VA, WVA, MD, PA … we do have farmer’s markets. So with that being said… Guess what? It is spring and the farmers are out!

I recently stopped by a farmer’s stand to pick up some fresh farm eggs! They are absolutely gorgeous and taste amazing. 


And lately, I have come across some really fabulous egg recipes. Turmeric Pickled Eggs has been on my mind! The minute I saw the whites of the eggs, yellow from the super spice turmeric, I knew I had to try. 

This recipe is written by Heidi Swanson. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric 
  • onion or shallots thinly sliced (I used red onion) 
  • 1 table whole peppercorn 
  • scallions for garnish
  • 6 hard boiled eggs

Directions

  1. In a medium size sauce pan bring water to a boil. 
  2. Slowly and gently drop while eggs in pan with boiling water.
  3. Cook eggs for 6-7 minutes.
  4. Once cooked transfer eggs to an iced water bath, this makes it easier to peel off shells. 
  5. Peel egg shells off.
  6. Now in the sauce pan, add Apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and turmeric. Simmer until sugar dissolves. 
  7. Chop onions/shallots, put them in a mason jar.
  8. Put eggs in mason jar. 
  9. Pour vinegar turmeric mixture in mason jar over eggs.
  10. Let sit in refrigerator. Eggs last up to 1-2 weeks in refrigerator.
  11. Half eggs and eat with chives, sea salt and pepper. You can also devil the eggs, or use them on top of salads. 

Enjoy!!

What is your favorite way to eat eggs?


Wild West Rice Salad

The Wild West Rice salad is found in the cookbook Run Fast Eat Slow. To be completely honest, I have never used a cook book so much. I am quickly making my way through trying most recipes from Run Fast Eat Slow. 

Maybe it’s because there is so much warmth in the air, maybe it’s because all of my favorite veggies are now in season. But, I have been craving salads lately. And it is so much fun trying different types of salads. The combination of fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins are endless. 

I also have been whipping up my own salad dressings. Store bought dressings are not worth the money. In most cases they are packed full of sugar. It’s so much easier and less expensive to make your own. 

So here we go… Wild West Rice Salad. 

Facts: The best part about this Salad is that it is a great recovery meal for vegans. Because of the combination of the wild rice and edamame, this Salad, has all nine essential amino acids. 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • double batch of Creamy Apple Cider Vinaigrette 
  • 6 or more radishes, diced
  • 3 cups of Kale or other greens 
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 6 scallions, skice
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • (I also included tomatoes, but feel free to add anything you would like, if you are not vegan, add a high quality goat cheese for extra protein.)

DIRSECTIONS

  1. Cook rice, add cooked rice to salad bowl, mix with half of dressing and let cool.
  2. Once rice is cool, add other veggies.
  3. Add more dressing, toss and combine.
  4. Top with goat cheese (if you aren’t vegan) and salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Vinaigrette 

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 shallot minced, or garlic 
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Dressing lasts for 1 week in fridge. 

I know I will be enjoying this Salad for a couple of days! Hope you give it a try. 

Vegan Chocolate Nog Truffles 


Because of the dramatic Election, the holidays seem to have been overshadowed. Is this how everyone feels? Or is it just me because I live in Washington, DC. Well, we can not forget them! Thanksgiving is approaching – it’s next week. To get in the holiday spirit, I have been making Truffles. These Chocolate Nog Truffles cane from a recipe I found in Veg News. They are spiked with spicy rum and nutmeg. They scream, “It’s the Holidays!” They are also really easy to make, I promise.

Here is what you need…

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 3 3/4 cups powder sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons dark or spicy rum
  • 1/2 cup sliver or chopped almonds
  • 2 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegan shortening
  • Roasted almonds or toasted coconut flakes for garnish.

Here is what you do…

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Using a handheld mixer, cream butter. Add powder sugar and nutmeg. Beat until coarse crumbs form. Slowly pour in rum and bear until fluffy. Fold in sliver or chopped almonds. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Line baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Remove mixture from refrigerator and use hands to roll into truffle balls. Place balls on to baking sheet and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. In a double broiler over medium heat melt chocolate and shortening. Stir and combine. 
  4. Remove truffle balls from refrigerator. Using a fork slowly lift truffle ball from baking sheet and dip it in the melted chocolate mixture.
  5. Once all the truffles are covered with chocolate top each truffle with a roasted almond or toasted coconut. 
  6. Place back in the refrigerator and let cool until chocolate mixture has harden into a shell. 
  7. Share with friends and family. Enjoy! 

I brought these Truffles into work and everyone loved them. These would also be great to bring to any holiday party. 

What is your favorite holiday snack, dessert, or dish? Has anyone made Truffles before? 

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Eating for two: What to eat while pregnant!? Pregnancy Cravings, and good reads!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

EATING FOR TWO

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was really concerned on what to eat, and what foods/drinks to avoid? I already ate a¬†healthy, mostly plant based, organic diet. But I knew I drank too much caffeine, and struggled with drinking enough water. I also worried that I wasn’t eating enough. Being pregnant means, it is no longer just about me. I have become less selfish, and put my needs aside, thinking mainly of what will nurture the new life, that is developing and growing daily.

I am lucky that Thanksgiving and Christmas were during the early stages of my pregnancy. I eat really well during the holidays. All of the food I cook is organic and locally grown. My plate was filled with a variety of different foods, everything super colorful and in season.

Whether you are pregnant or not, most of the same nutritional rules apply. ¬†For example… You are what you eat. Eat your colors. Purchase things that are local and in season. Avoid the nasty – preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and GMOs. ¬†And although this may be obvious, limit your caffeine intake, absolutely no smoking, no alcohol, and no drugs.

In the beginning there were some things that totally through me off. My doctor told me it is safest to eat pasteurized foods. The reason why is that the process of pasteurizing kills harmful bacteria. This meant no “raw milk” soft cheeses, no farmers market honey, no free range local eggs (unless they are cooked all the way through.)

This made me read labels a little more closely. I shop at farmers markets, and organic grocery stores, so this may surprise you, but some things are not pasteurized. Some soft cheeses like feta and goat cheese are made from raw milk. Organic free range local eggs are raised on pasture, but are not pasteurized. I still eat free range local eggs, but I just cook them well. I loved poached eggs before, but for the time being, I am making egg scrambles and frittatas.

Although, many eat vegetarian and vegan during pregnancy, my doctor wanted me to eat well balanced meals. So for me, to easily achieve balance and make sure I am getting enough protein, I decided to include organic meat, eggs, and dairy (greek yogurt, and cream cheese) to my daily diet. It’s no longer just about me and my needs, I’m eating for two.

When it came to fish, I was confused. I always eat wild caught, but because of dangerous mercury levels found in wild caught fish, it is almost safer to eat farmed raised fish during pregnancy. The reason why is because it is mercury free and more controlled.  Although this may be true, I still have been eating wild caught fish, but in moderation. Oh and raw fish and sushi is off limits.

I also am a tea drinker. However, because I am limiting my caffeine intake I only drink a small amount of black tea a day. When pregnant you can have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. I normally keep my caffeine intake under 40 milligrams.

Two of my favorite types of tea are Chia tea and Green tea. Chai tea has star anise in it. To much star anise can cause contractions. Green tea is also controversial because some say to much green tea can make it more difficult for the body to absorb folic acid, which is essential. However, Raspberry Leaf tea is the best tea to drink while pregnant. Midwives have claimed for years that it strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles, resulting in an easier labor.

I found three books really helpful…

GOOD READS

  1. The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy, by Allison Tannis and Jonny Bowden. This book is very straight forward. It basically lists the healthiest foods to eat for each trimester and beyond. It talks in detail of why each food is beneficial. It also talks about some to avoid and the reasons why.
  2. The Kind Mama, by Alicia Silverstone. This book was by far one of my favorite baby books. Alicia Silverstone is very green, earthy, hippy like. She is also a vegan.  This book not only talks about fertility and pregnancy nutrition, but it also has many recipes to try. She takes the book beyond nutrition, by discussing co-sleep method, what to register for, how to make your own belly balm, prenatal yoga, and much more.
  3. Skinny Bitch, Bun in the Oven, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.¬†This book is a gutsy guide to becoming one hot healthy mother. These are the girls who wrote Skinny Bitch, a book I read a couple years ago. They use Skinny Bitch in the title of this book simply because it is their brand. Trust me they do not expect us pregnant ladies to be skinny, and they open the book saying that now is not the time to worry about dieting and body image. ¬†These ladies are also vegan, so be aware because they get really into it. However, they are also quite hilarious. I’m still currently reading the book, so I’ll get back to you once I am finished with a final review.

FOOD CRAVINGS

One of the top questions that every pregnant lady gets asked is What foods have you been craving? Honestly,¬†I haven’t had any weird cravings, however, all this baby wants is fruit. In the fall/winter I ate a lot of apples and citrus fruit. Now that it is summer time I am eating watermelon, honey dew melon, peaches, strawberries, and other berries.

To get my daily dairy intake, I eat a lot of organic greek yogurt. When I traveled to Greece a couple years ago, I remember the greek yogurt being amazing. Wallaby Organic yogurt reminds me of the taste and texture of the kind I ate in Greece. It has become my favorite kind, because it is high in protein, (17 g) but very low in sugar (4 g). I get the plain flavor, and add berries.¬†YogurtNow that the farmer’s markets are up and running, I stop by as much as I can. After yoga, on Saturday mornings, I have been stopping by the Del Ray farmer’s market, and picking up some amazing strawberries. I have never eaten strawberries so sweet. I added blackberries and raspberries for a great berry mix.

berries

 

I also am pretty obsessed with tomatoes. I eat them every day. Sometimes, I will eat a bagel with cream cheese and tomatoes. Other times I will eat tomatoes and hummus. But on Saturday, after yoga, while at the farmer’s market, I spotted these beauties. I am also growing tomatoes in my garden.tomatos

While walking though the farmer’s markets, I immediately started to think of lunch, a tomato sandwich would be perfect. I haven’t eaten a tomato sandwich in years. The way I use to eat it as a kid was simple, white bread, mayo, tomatoes and salt. I went to MOM’s organic market in search for organic sour dough bread, and a healthy alternative to mayo. I found Earth Balance.

earth balance

This mindful mayo is dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free. There are no preservatives. It is vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free!  It is awesome!

I decided it was time to clip some of my basil I have been growing in my garden. basil

So the ingredients for the ultimate tomato sandwich is organic sour dough bread, tomatoes, basil, earth balance mayo, sea salt.

Drinking while Pregnant

When it comes to drinks, it can be quite boring during pregnancy. ¬†I don’t drink soda on a regular, and I can’t drink too much iced tea because of the caffeine. So I have been drinking lots of water. To spice things up I add fruit to my water. However, a coworker introduced me to La Croix sparkling water.

sparkling water

My favorite flavors are the coconut and the passionfruit. This sparkling water is awesome because you feel like you are drinking a soda. However, there are no calories, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and it is sodium free.

So that is my answer, to the oh so popular question, “Have you had any cravings?” Some say you crave what your body is in lack of. Others¬†say while pregnant you crave what your body and baby need. If this is true, maybe those who don’t have any real cravings, are eating a well balanced diet and living a stress free healthy lifestyle.

Thats all I can hope for!

And always remember… ¬†When pregnant you are eating for two. But that doesn’t mean you need a ton of extra calories, it is more about the quality of food you eat.

“The cleaner, more cell-loving, oxygen pumping, nutrient-rocking food your put in your body, the better your body can do what you ask of it.” – Alicia Silverstone : The Kind Mama

What foods have you been eating lately?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

…because I am missing Thailand.

Sorry, I haven’t written much this month, I have been having the winter blues. However, exactly, a year ago today, I had finally escaped the cold winter by traveling to the oh so exotic country of Thailand. The minute I got off the plane, I could feel the heat. It felt so good, and because I long for that same hot Thailand air, ¬†I have decided to publish this blog post. ¬†I found this post waiting to be published in my draft section on my wordpress dashboard. I remember writing these words, when I first started to explore Thailand. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by.

Bangkok, Thailand (February 2, 2014)

Yesterday, was my first day touring around Bangkok.

We woke up and relaxed on Elissa’s balcony taking in the view and getting familiar with our new Bangkok neighborhood. Shockingly the city was quiet in the morning time.

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Once we got ready, we headed for breakfast. My friend, Elissa new an amazing brunch place.

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I ordered a savory crepe with egg, spinach, mushrooms, onion, and feta.

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We sipped on coffee and drank down fresh juices. I got watermelon juice of corse.

20140204-155423.jpg

After breakfast, we headed to the embassy to convert some American dollars to Thai baht. While Elissa was converting the money Erik and I hung outside strolling down a side street that were lined up with street food vendors (similar to our food trucks minus the truck part.) Everything smelled amazing but we ended up getting refreshing bubble tea. Of corse I went with Papaya.

After our tea time we headed for a pedicure while Erik got a massage. The pedicure I got is the best I have ever had. Next time I might go for a massage.

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After our spa services we headed to the Jim Thompson house. We took the BTS which is their metro system. It was packed so we had to squeeze in.

We saw a rally of protestors on the way.

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The election happened on the day we arrived, so the protesting has significantly died down. A lot of people back home were scared for my safety because of the protesting and political issues in Bangkok. But it wasn’t out of control.¬†

Anyway we made it to the Jim Thompson house and it was gorgeous. Jim Thompson was an American architect who fell in love with Bangkok, later making it his permanent home.

That’s all from that post.

Anyway, I hope this blog post finds you happy and healthy. I hope it gives you a little warmth to dream about on this cold gray winter February.

xo  ~ M

Don’t you wish you could drink that watermelon juice?!

Other blog posts about Thailand…

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Start Something New!

Hey lovelies!

I know, I know, I have been MIA! But honestly, I needed a break. So after my last Christmas post, I stopped writing and reading blogs, and just shut down… I barely checked facebook or instagram either. Social media was actually becoming overwhelming. So I knew it was time to take 2 weeks away.

Quick Update

During this break, my best friend, Mariana, came home from Sri Lanka. She is so pregnant. So we have been hanging out, and catching up. The baby is a boy and he is coming in 5 weeks. Her baby shower is this weekend. Exciting!

Together, we got to check out the health and fitness expo, and Union Market.

The expo was not what I expected. Because I am use to marathon expos, I expected it to be more fitness focused. But instead it was catered to people who are interested in starting a healthy lifestyle, not ones already living it. I expected more supplement vendors, and equipment vendors. On the positive side, Mind the Mat yoga studio was there, and they were worth seeing and supporting. (I’ve been to Mind the Mat, and it is an awesome studio.)

Union Market (although small,) is more than I expected. If you are a foodie, you will love it. It is basically a gourmet food court. There is also a really awesome shop, with house stuff, baby stuff, jewelry, lotions, etc. great for gifts. Because Mariana was with me, we loved all the super cute baby stuff! I definitely will be going back. If you come to the DC area, you must check it out.

Start something New!

2015

2014 was very hard to say goodbye to. It was a very special year for Erik and I. In February, we shared an amazing adventure to the oh so exotic country, Thailand. And then in June, we exchanged vows, and promised to love each other for eternity, aka, we got hitched! So although, 2014 has come and gone, it will always hold a special spot in our hearts.

2015 a lot has happened

But now, two weeks in 2015, the new year is here in full force. I usually by now have a new years resolution. In the past, I have had pretty creative ones, such as, Try one new interesting exotic food, I have never tried before, once a week. (Want to loose weight, try this one.)
2015 this is my year
But this year it has been hard to come up with one. I have been having a hard time because in 2014 I have become a huge goal setter. By constantly setting goals and reaching them, I don’t feel the need to set a new year resolution as much as I did in the past. Anyway, because it is tradition, I am going to set one. I don’t really want it to be too fitness focused because I am not weak in that area. I’m bored and just want something new and different.
My main focus this year for fitness and food is BALANCE. I want to be healthy, not obsessive. I have a pretty addictive personality so balance is something I need to work on.
Food and Nutrition: New Years Resolution, Goal
When it comes to food and nutrition, my goals are simple, boring, but necessary, drink more water, quit eating sugar, bring my lunch to work. 
Fitness, Running: New Years Resolution, Goal
Continue to Run and lift consistently Рto be healthy and have fun. Focus on yoga! Not bikram, I want to be upside down more.
2015 New Years Resolution: Goal, focus on Balance, Creativity and Start something New.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Balance
This year I am going to focus on balance when it comes to fitness and food.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Creativity 
I am also going to be even more creative in everything I do. This means more fashionable. Creating more art. Knitting more.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Start
But my main goal in 2015 is to Start something New. I don’t know what that new thing is yet, but I’m excited to report back to you guys, once I discover what it is. I am excited to write a blog post at the end of this year, with what I have explored. Can’t wait!
2015 best
What’s your focus for 2015? Are you planning on starting something new?
If you need tips on keeping your resolutions and goals click here.
© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting

The holiday season is coming to an end, but winter has just begun. And one of the things that I treat myself to during the “oh so dreaded” colder months is the occasional cup of hot chocolate. I have discovered this amazing hot cocoa and when I say hot I mean spicy.¬†cocoa

This cocoa is spiked with cinnamon and dried ground chili peppers. It is especially delicious with heated coconut milk.¬†Trust me…¬†skip the cows milk, the flavors of cocoa, cinnamon, chili, and coconut are divine.¬†

Anyway, everyone knows I am obsessed with cookbooks, and although, I cook more than I bake, I recently came across, Flourless, by Nicole Spiridakis. It is a cookbook full of gluten-free desserts. I am not gluten free, but the idea of challenging myself to make tasty gluten free desserts really intrigued me. Why make something with gluten, if you can make something delicious without it.

When flipping through the pages of this cookbook, I immediately saw Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting РI thought of my spicy hot cocoa and knew I had to make this cake. I had no doubt in my mind, that this cake would be any less than amazing, so I saved it for Christmas.

10891794_10102194882469986_6886365094385756478_n-1INGREDIENTS : THE CAKE

Note: all ingredients are organic and the highest quality.

  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp boiling water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups ground oats
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you want to control the spice. I only put 1/8 tsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS : THE CAKE

  • Heat oven¬†to 350 F.
  • Line the bottom of two 8 in or ¬†9 in round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease them with oil. (Note: I used two 9 in round cake pans.)
  • In a small bowl make flax seed paste, combining ground flax seed with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes.¬†(Note: I didn’t have ground flax seed, so I made my own by grinding flax seeds with the food processor.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together, flax seed paste, oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together, ground oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. (Note: I didn’t have ground oats, so I used regular rolled oats and ground them up with the food processor.)
  • To make batter: Add dry mixture to wet mixture, combine and stir well.
  • Divide batter by pouring it into the two cake pans equally.
  • Bake for 30 min.
  • Check to make sure it is done, when done, cool on cooling rack.

INGREDIENTS : THE FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)¬†Note: 1 stick equals 1/2 cup
  • 2 oz. milk chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS : THE FROSTING

  • Beat butter in a large bowl with the electric mixer on medium speed, until fluffy.
  • Add melted chocolate and vanilla.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar and butter milk
  • Continue beating until smooth, fluffy icing forms, about 5 minutes.

When ready to assemble, spread frosting on the top of the first cake. Layer the second cake on top of first cake and frosting. Frost the top.

Enjoy!

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Hello December, I am a Goal Digger!

After getting my wisdom teeth pulled at the end of October, my stress level finally went down. November began stress free, and I became aware of the cheerful holiday spirit, which was making its first appearance. The month was full of crisp fall runs, colorful leaves, and lots of big bold fall flavors. November ended, with a relaxing thanksgiving holiday surrounded by friends and family- there was lots to be thankful for. Yesterday, I said my final goodbyes to November, and today I am saying Hello to December.

goal hello december

December is an interesting month, because it is the last month of the year. People get so wrapped up in the traditions of Christmas that they forget to focus on goal setting. Yes, December is the the month to celebrate Christmas, but it is also the month to reach your final goals of 2014 and start to set new ones for 2015. In 30 days we will be saying goodbye to one year and hello to another. goal1

Time to be a …goal digger

A couple of my December Goals are…

 

Personal Christmas related:

  • Celebrate Christmas! Get my Christmas tree, and decorations up. Christmas only happens once a year, so the sooner I can get my Christmas decorations up the better. Time is flying by and if I wait too long, I won’t have much time to really enjoy it. I don’t over decorate. I have a tree, and a few things here and there. One of the joys of being a home owner is the fun of decorating, but if you rent you can decorate too. I choose pretty Christmas decorations, over funny tacky ones. One of my favorite thing about decorations is the warm white lighting the Christmas tree lights give off. I also love the smell of a live tree. The reason why it is important to decorate is because it really does lift your spirits and reminds you to take in all of the holiday cheer.
  • Decide if I am going to give out Christmas cards this year. We only have 25 days until Christmas.
  • Figure out who I need to buy for. I already bought a couple gifts, but I need to finalize my list and shop, shop, shop. I want to shop at Christmas markets and specialty shops.

Health and Fitness Goals:

  • Continue cooking my own food. The more I cook, the more I know exactly what I am eating. Plus cooking is fun, and eating my own food is satisfying! Abs are made in the Kitchen! Update blog more with delicious recipes.
  • Continue to read labels and reduce sugar intake. I QUIT SUGAR remember (wink wink) Set goals for 2015.
  • Run, Lift, Yoga. Start thinking of goals for 2015, and races.

House and Home:

  • It is amazing how much we have done with my little 1950’s duplex. Two years ago we started with nothing, (we¬†were sitting on beach chairs in the living room, because we didn’t have a couch.) But thats what it takes when you want to start from scratch. Things have really come along. I can’t wait to share with you some of our DIY projects.

Blog:

  • This month on the blog get ready for a lot of GIFT IEAS.¬†I’m going to be telling you the best gifts for runners, yogis, and gym unicorns. I am also going to be talking about what to get your foodie. So if you need Holiday Gift Ideas. Stay tuned.

Happy December 1!

goal holidays

 

What are your December Goals? What are your December traditions? What do you want for Christmas? Leave a comment below.

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Got leftover Turkey? Make Stock!

Another wonderful Thanksgiving came and went. The feast was amazing full of my favorite fall flavors. ¬†However, just like everyone else, my fridge is over packed with tons of leftovers. Well if you are like me, with a stuffed fridge, questioning what to do with all of those leftovers, you’ve come to the right blog.

I’ve got your back!

Lets start with ideas for your leftover Turkey.

There are lots of things you can do with your leftover turkey. Some like to go traditional, by making a good old turkey sandwich. My husband, however got a little bit more creative by making a turkey pot pie from scratch. I’m so proud of him… This is what we ate for dinner.¬†turkey pot pie

The turkey pot pie was delicious, but it only used some of the left over turkey meat. We still have a lot more meat to use and the whole turkey bones and all. The last thing I am going to do is let those bones go to waste…

At this point, some of you may have your jaws dropped… gasping, “You eat Turkey?” I have said it before, but I will say it again, although, I eat mostly a plant based diet, and almost always experiment with vegan and vegetarian cooking, I do not label myself as a vegetarian. I occasionally eat meat, as long as it is organic/wild caught. I also am working on being more balanced in my life, and definitely believe at certain times in life, organic animal based protein is necessary in moderation.

Moving on…

Lets talk about STOCK…

I use vegetable stock all the time. I use it in my butternut bisque/soup recipe. I use it in replace of water in any recipe that calls for water. It actually really does give that extra flavor. However, two weeks ago, I made my very own vegetable stock for pho soup, and (not bragging, just stating the truth) it was over the top good. Store bought vegetable stock just doesn’t even compare to made from scratch vegetable stock. I was almost a little mad when I discovered this… because now I am going to always have to make my own, or at least have some homemade stock on hand. The key to this is to make it in bulk and then freeze it.¬†

Another reason why I prefer making my own is because I have more control on what I put in it. No additives or preservatives like the store bought kind, plus I can really customize it to my taste buds. Depending on what dish I am making, I can add a little more of one spice. It is also much more economical. Save money, make a big pot of stock, and freeze it so you always have it on hand.

There are also amazing health benefits to stock, especially chicken stock (as long as it is organic.) According to Sarah Wilson from IQS…

  • Stock is full of minerals and electrolytes, in a form easy for the body to assimilate.
  • Stock has been know for centuries as a healing remedy for the digestive track because of it’s soothing effect on areas of inflammation in the gut.
  • Stock is a de-stressor. It repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine.
  • It is great for anyone with Thyroid and autoimmune issues.

Now there are many types of stocks other than Vegetable. There is Chicken, Turkey, Bone, Fish… the list goes on. And for the same reasons, I listed above, it is better to make your own.

But because Thanksgiving has just ended, the odds are you have some leftover Turkey on hand…

So now lets use those turkey bones and make some Stock!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped up roughly
  • 1 white onion, chopped up roughly
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped up roughly
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped roughly
  • garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 bay leaf
  • Turkey bones (use organic turkey)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Remove turkey meat from bones, leaving some on if desired.
  • Cut turkey meat in small pieces and place a side. (This meat can be used later for turkey soup.)
  • Place all ingredients in a big pot over the stove. (or crock pot, slow cook)
  • Fill pot with water to cover all ingredients, (about 20 cups of water.)
  • Bring liquid to a boil, continue to boil for 20-30 minutes.
  • After 20-30 minutes of boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer for 3-6 hours. 3 is the minimum, but 6 hours is ideal for ultimate flavor and health benefits.
  • Once simmered for the time you choose, strain all ingredients. Now you have Turkey Stock!

Note: You can use immediately for soup, or you can store in the freezer.

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stock 2stock 3Have you made Stock form Scratch? What’s your favorite kind of Stock? Leave a comment below and let me know what you do with your leftover Turkey!

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Cheesecake Recipe

My November Goal post revealed my food goal for November, which is to explore and test my Thanksgiving recipes instead of winging them the night before or day of. So I have been in search for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert recipe -something new and different that my family has yet to try.  To find this recipe, I have been reading tons of magazines and blogs. While browsing Bon Appetit I finally came across a Sweet  Potato Cheesecake Recipe.

thanksgiving mags

 

I don’t bake much, but I have been lately. Having a Kitchen Aid Mixer and a Vitamix has made me more adventurous in the Kitchen. These tools are must haves and I can’t believe I use to cook and attempt to bake with out them. They save me in the kitchen.

Okay, lets talk about Sweet Potatoes…

When baking this recipe there were so many firsts for me.

It was my first time making a Cheesecake and using a springform pan. First time ever using sweet potato as a dessert. And it was my first time doing a water bath.

So lets define some important tools you must know before you continue on…

Springform pan: is a type of bakeware which features sides that can be removed from the base. This is a must have when making cheesecake. Like any product, you can find one to fit your budget. I got mine at Sur La Table for under $15.

Water bath: At this point your cheesecake is already assembled in the springform pan. Now you are going to place it (cheesecake springform pan and all) in a bigger baking pan. You will boil water over the stove. Once water comes to a boil you will pour the boiling water into the bigger baking pan until it is about 1 inch deep up the side of the springform pan. Then you will transfer the cheesecake and water bath to the oven and bake. The water bath keeps the cheesecake moist and prevents drying and cracking.

cheesecake

 

So there are two parts to this cake, the Oat-Pecan Crust and the Cheesecake Filling.

Oat-Pecan Crust

INGREDIENTS:

all ingredients are organic

  • 2/3 cup whole pecans
  • 1/3 cup large rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats.)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Combine all dry ingredients in Vitamix.
  • Select Variable 1, push start, slowly increase to Variable 6 for 5 seconds.
  • Bring back down to Variable 1 and pour melted butter in though the lid opening.
  • Pulse until everything is blended.
  • Transfer crust mixture to a 9″ springform pan, pressing it into the bottom and 1″ up the sides.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Place on wire rack to cool.

Cheesecake Filling

INGREDIENTS:

All ingredients are organic

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 1.5 lbs or 24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Peel and Cup the sweet potatoes, boil them until soft.
  • Combine all ingredients in Vitamix.
  • Select Variable 1, push start, increase to variable 10 until all is blended
  • Start water bath, (for additional notes check above) bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  • Position the springform pan inside large baking pan/dish.
  • Pour filling into crust.
  • Pour water in the outer baking pan/dish until it reaches 1″ up the springform pan.
  • Transfer cheesecake in the water bath to the oven and bake for 60 minutes, until edges are firm.
  • Remove cheesecake from water bath and cool cheesecake on cooling rack for 1 hour.
  • Then transfer cake to refrigerator and cool completely for 4 hours.
  • When ready, run a thin knife around sides, remove springform pan sides.
  • Serve with whipped cream.

Important note: Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature. If it is cold the eggs will not mix well. It will be lumpy.

 

cheesecake

 Wondering how this taste!? Well it turned out delicious. I brought it to work and it was gone in 5 minutes. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? What are you making for Thanksgiving? Have your tried sweet potatoes as a dessert?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

The story of why I stopped drinking Milk & a Cashew Cream Recipe!

When I was little, I refused to drink milk. I still remember the day my older sister scarred me for life. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and we were both about to down a glass of white rich creamy milk, when she said, “You know, thats from a cow’s boob.” She ran off smirking, when I on the other hand, immediately put the cup down with a look of disgust. I vowed, from that day forward, I would never drink a glass of milk again.

Now a days, if you don’t want to drink milk, or heavy cream you don’t have to. There are tons of dairy alternatives right on your local grocery store shelves. They are available and the variety is endless. However, there are sneaky additives to some of the most popular brands, and it is just as easy and quick to make your own, fresh at home.

When I started to cook more vegan and plant based meals, I noticed that most of the dishes that required heavy cream such as Clam Chowders, used Cashew Cream.

I first came across Cashew Cream in the, Isa Does It, cookbook. But today, I found another variation on the blog I have been reading, My New Roots.

Can you believe I made that creamy goodness from the raw organic cashew nuts sitting in the bowl behind.

Cashew Cream

 

So here it is, the Cashew Cream recipe…

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Place cashews in a large bowl and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and let soak for a minimum of 4 hours at room temperature or overnight refrigerated.
  • Once cashews have soaked, drain water.
  • Place soaked cashews in Vitamix, and add water, garlic, lemon juice, and sea salt.
  • Blend until completely smooth.

That’s all you do.

That’s it!

Enjoy as a replacement to (dairy) heavy cream in all of your recipes!

Have you made Cashew Milk before? What is your favorite dairy replacement?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I Quit Sugar (8 week detox) review

I am a really competitive person, and I absolutely love challenging myself.

So that is why I am very excited to tell you guys about my new challenge.

I am trying my hardest to quit sugar.

I have talked about my sugar addiction in the past. I have written about it in the blog post, I’ve been drinking my sugar. I also have seen, Fed Up, the latest documentary on sugar addiction. It is a must see and is available on iTunes to rent. ¬†Now, that I have all the facts on sugar, it is time to really get serious. I don’t want sugar to control me anymore.

Do you have a sugar addiction?

I realized I had a sugar problem, when I woke up every morning craving it. I would get my sugar caffeine fix and neglect eating breakfast, but still feel full and energized. Then I would head into work and around 2:00 pm, I would began feeling sluggish again. The craving would start and I would go get my sugar fix. When I was feeling stressed, or my day was not going well, I would immediately want some sort of sweet treat, whatever it may be, it made me feel better. I never thought I had a huge sweet tooth, but I knew I was drinking to many sweet drinks.

I usually don’t pay to much attention to my diet, I just try to eat as many organic plant based whole foods that I can. However, after reading the book, I Quit Sugar, I began to analyze my daily diet even closer. It was then that I realized that all of my healthy snacks was secretly laced with hidden sugars. Did you know you body can not tell the difference between a natural sugar or¬†an added sugar. Your body processes these sugars the same way.

The American Heart Association sets the sugar limit at 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, which translates to 25 grams of sugar. I was getting way more than that. Are you?

Finding the Detox

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A couple weeks ago, I was at the book store picking up a new cookbook, when I came across the book, I Quit Sugar. I thought to myself, “I need this book.”

This book is awesome. It not only has a sugar quitting program, but it also has a lot of amazing recipes.

What I have discovered about quitting sugar….

I have been doing this no sugar diet for a couple weeks now. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. It is very hard, because sugar is in everything.¬†Compared to this, eating a plant based diet is easy for me. Being vegan or vegetarian you always face the question, “Well what do you eat?” A common answer to that question is… everything, but animal products. Well when it comes to no sugar, I found myself asking the same question. Does this mean no carbs? In the beginning I was very confused.

During, the first week of this no sugar detox, I found myself asking the question, “Well what do I eat?” ¬†I always knew that I drank my sugar, with my daily indulgence of a sugary chai tea latte from Starbucks. But now I am really becoming more aware of all the sugar I have been eating. My daily diet seemed to be a heathy one, but it was laced with hidden sugars. The author of the book, Sarah Wilson, had a similar issue. She too ate tons of health foods, but they were all sugary.

Now here’s the deal…

This detox is sugar free, low carb, gluten free. The foods that make up this detox is organic meat, dairy, and whole foods. The detox is only no sugar for 8 weeks. After the 8 weeks you can add natural sugars back into your daily diet, but remember keep in 6 teaspoons or less, in other words, no more than 25 grams of sugar a day.

My experience and what I have learned so far…

This detox (sugar free) and then diet lifestyle (low sugar) is very similar to paleo. For me this detox has been especially hard because I eat mostly plant based. I am finding that a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes have a good amount of sugar in them. If you eliminate both animal products and sugar form your diet, it is more difficult to find things to eat. For example, a friend of mine is also participating in the I Quit Sugar detox,  but because she eats meat, I found her nibbling on an organic chicken breast though out the day. Chicken breast is sugar free, so it works for her, but you will NOT find me nibbling on chicken, thats just not my style.

So the first couple weeks of the detox, I have been reading labels and have now gotten a really good idea of how much sugar I eat and drink daily. Because I was confused on what to eat, and didn’t have time to meal prep, I have not been cold turkey off all sugars yet. I also didn’t necessary feel like I was eating healthier. For the next 4 weeks I am¬†planning on keeping all of my sugars under 25 grams a day.

In conclusion…

So that is the plan. I will be updating you through out the next couple weeks about my experience. I also will be sharing with you some of the recipes I have tried from the cook book. And when it comes to a very meaty dish, I will be substituting the meat with a veggie option, while keeping everything organic and whole.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you a sugar addict?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I don’t like labels.

Last weekend, I went to DC VegFest. It was totally cool hanging out with all of those vegans and vegetarians. ¬†The Veg community¬†is a very friendly group, and most wanted to know my story. I was asked by a couple different people, ¬†“What brought you to VegFest today? Are you vegan?”

My answer to that questions is…

No. I don’t feel it comfortable or necessary to label myself as anything. I don’t want to follow rigid rules of any kind, when it comes to food – I am too much of a foodie to be so restrictive and disciplined. I simply want to eat a healthy well balanced diet – full of color, flavor, and texture. And although, I eat and cook mostly organic plant based, I¬†am opened minded, adventurous, and willing to explore all different types of food lifestyles.

I recently found my new favorite blog called, My New Roots. When reading Sarah’s (the owner of the blog) About page, I thought to myself, ” Wow! She nailed it. This is exactly how I feel.”

Sarah says, “The only label I‚Äôll slap on myself is ‚Äúwhole-food-lover.” Nothing makes me feel better, think better, and look better than whole foods! And the big bonus? I¬†never¬†count calories or worry about my weight because I know that if I eat this way, my body will be in a perfect state of balance and health, naturally.”

I agree with her 100%. Although, my diet is mainly plant based, consisting of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, I still can not label myself as vegetarian or vegan.¬†There has been weeks in which I have gone meatless, but there are days you can find me eating a greek yogurt. ¬†I absolutely love eggs and eat them a couple times a week. I also can’t live without fish. My favorite thing about summer time is eating a Maryland crab feast or a Lobster bake on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, your main priority is eliminating all animal products. But the most important thing to me is that everything I eat is organic and whole. It is a very rare day, if you find me eating something that is not organic. I avoid GMOs and processed foods. I try to buy everything from local farms, and eat seasonally. If I am eating eggs, they are from cage free hens eating an organic feed. When I eat fish, I only eat wild caught. And on the rare occasion that I eat dairy or any other animal product, it must be treated as humanely as possible, free of antibiotics and hormones.

There are times in which I love labels, and there are times in which I hate them. There are some labels that are simple, while others are more complicated. The times in which I love them is when they are simple and define ones identity. The times in which I hate them are when they are complicated and become stereotypes.  I can label myself as a marathon runner, simply because I run marathons. But, I can not label myself as vegan or vegetarian, although I often cook and eat that way.

I bought this pendant from a vendor at VegFest…

 

Plant Strong 2Plant Strong

 

It says, Plant Strong.

So if I must come up with a label, Plant Strong is a pretty awesome one. I also love the label that Sarah from My New Roots came up with РWhole Food Lover.  Add organic to it and slap it on me.

What’s your label?¬†

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Roasted Chickpeas

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This photo got a ton of attention when I posted it to Facebook and Instagram last night. People requested the recipe and wanted to know all the details from what kind of seasoning I use to if they get crunchy.

Why I decided to make these…

On Saturday, when I was at DC VegFest, they handed out free samples of this snack. They tasted delicious, and the minute I saw them, I knew I have seen them before. In my favorite cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, Heidi Swanson has a recipe for these. So instead of buying a bag at VegFest, I decided to make them myself.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas. (Drain and dry them the best you can.)
  • 2 tablespoons evoo
  • 1.5 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons hot paprika (I didn’t have hot paprika on hand, so I used red pepper flakes as a substitute. When using red pepper flakes I only used 0.5 teaspoon.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary. (I used dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. (I used dried)
  • Lemon zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Pour the chickpeas on a baking sheets, and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Check the chickpeas at 10 minutes shaking the baking sheet, making sure they aren’t stuck to the sheet. Continue baking for the rest of the time.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine evoo, salt, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, paprikas, and red pepper flakes if using.
  • Once chickpeas have baked for 20 minutes, take them out of the oven and put them in the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix together.
  • Place paprika covered chickpeas on baking sheet and put in the oven, baking for an additional 5-10 minutes. (The longer you leave them in the oven, the crunchier they get. Just make sure they don’t burn.)
  • Let cool for a couple minutes and serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

*** All of the ingredients I used are organic, and non GMO. ***

Why I love these…

I absolutely love these chickpeas. They are a wonderful alternative to potato chips, kale chips, or popcorn. They are a low in sugar, high in protein snack. You can eat them by themselves, or add them to salad, soups, or even on top of grains. And although, I flavored them with paprika,  you can really chose any type of seasoning or flavors you are craving. A friend of mine, commented on facebook that she made hers with garlic and grated parm. So try away, get creative!

Have you tried roasted chickpeas before? What is your favorite seasoning? How do you flavor you roasted chickpeas?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

DC VegFest

Today was a fun and fulfilling Saturday.

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a drop of humidity in the air. It was the perfect day for a quick five mile loop around the monuments. 10653611_10102009897351646_5078060190360476724_nI wore my new running shoes, Newton Gravity. I also wore my new running watch, Garmin 620. It was my absolute first time wearing the watch and I loved it. ¬†However,¬†I will be writing a detailed review on the Garmin 620 later this week so stay tuned.

10702231_10102009114106276_1414548754899070551_nThen it was off to DC VegFest

The DC VegFest was located in South East DC at the Yards Park right along the river. Growing up in the DC area, South East was a part of the city you always tried to avoid, it was poor and dangerous. But now, it tells a different story. The famous Eastern Market is located in South East, and eastern market is one of my favorite markets in the area. There are also some really cool bars and restaurants on the neighboring streets.

But today, the VegFest took me to another area in South East. I would have never thought to go down to the waterfront. Wow! Things are changing everyday. Check out how cool the South East waterfront is…

dc water

DC waterfront

DC water rest

After walking around the waterfront my friend and I headed over to DC VegFest. 10625143_10102009396749856_5438624594030666857_n

DC VegFest

DC Veg Fest

At the DC VegFest, there were some fabulous vendors, delicious plant based food, free samples, and amazing guest speakers.

SPEAKERS

I didn’t get to see all of the¬†speakers, but I saw a couple. They discussed the health benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. They also touched on politics, and environmental reasons for becoming vegan. They touched on animal cruelty, and some told their personal stories of why they went veg. The last speaker of the event was actually on the October cover of Runner’s World, wearing vegan compression socks.

VENDORS

Veg Fest soapsThere were some awesome vendors at the festival, but this soap vendor was by far my favorite. I have been using this sugar based shower gel from Blue Mercury which has been irritating my skin. Sugar is bad for you in every way.¬†¬†So when I saw this vendor, I thought perfect just what I needed. Buying soap here, saved me a trip to Sephora or Blue Mercury. All of the soap is free of animal products and both of the bars of soap I purchased have coconut oil in them. Coconut oil is my new obsession… (I will be writing a detailed post on the health benefits later this week so stay tuned.) The only negative thing I saw is that some of the soaps contain palm oil. Palm oil is in everything, and although it is not an animal product, it is not very vegan. Palm Tree farms in South East Asia, are taking away food and habitats from Elephant, Tigers, and many other animals. Anyway, I went home with two soaps a coconut one and and oatmeal one. The coconut soap is free of palm oil, but the oatmeal one may have some small amounts. Unfortunately, palm oil is hard to avoid.

FOODVeg Fest lunch

Going Veg is all about eating your veggies. If you go to DC VegFest next year, make sure you come with an appetite. There were tons of amazing food vendors and food trucks. A lot of the vendors only took cash, so make sure you bring cash. However, there are ATMs for those who forget. The food ranged from pizza to Indian, Ethiopian to mexican. There were sweets, and southern cooking, even greek.

Overall, I enjoyed DC VegFest!

I highly recommend VegFest for anyone who is already living a plant based lifestyle, and for those who are just interested to see what it is all about. At DC VegFest I learned a little more about animal cruelty, politics, and the environment. I also got the chance to eat some awesome plant based food, while learning how I can help create a better food system for the USA. And in my eyes, at the end of the day that is the most important thing. You are what you eat.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.‚ÄĚ ¬†~ Scott Jurek

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts…

  1. Review on Garmin 620
  2. Coconut oil health benefits.

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Recipe Box

This summer, I have been spending tons of time in my kitchen. With my new vitamix and my kitchen aid mixer, I have been cooking and baking up a storm.

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“Food is very important to me, and health is my top priority. I believe food is healing, physically, emotionally, and mentally.”

You-are-what-you-eat1

One of my favorite type of magazines to read are food magazines. But unfortunately, I have become a food magazine hoarder – Scary and embarrassing. So, I will admit there are piles of Vegetarian Times and Veg News in every corner of my house. ¬†These stacks have got to go…

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So I have come up with a couple solutions to organize my recipes…

Pin it...

One major thing I have done is clean up my pinterest profile. I will now have pinboards for each major meal. This will help you guys, my readers find my favorite recipes quickly. So make sure you follow me on pinterest!

Recipe Page 

I also now have a recipe page on this blog. This page will be organized in a similar way. It will be simple and easy for you, my readers. I will have it organized in sections by meal. Then I will have the name of the recipe listed with a link connect to the blog post. Each recipe will also be labled V for vegan/vegetarian, GF for gluten free, P for paleo.

Recipe Box

Image-1

At home, to get rid of the magazine stack I now have a recipe box. I have wanted one of these for a long time now, but they are actually really hard to find. With the internet being my generations main source for recipes, the recipe box, has become an old fashion technique to store and organize recipe ideas.  However, it is something my mom and grandma always had.

I like this idea because I will now be able to hand write my favorite recipes on index cards to store in the box, which I later will always have on hand. I also will be able to share recipes easier with friends, when I entertain.  And the ultimate best thing about this box is that I can clip my favorite recipe from the magazines and store these magazine recipes in the box eliminating my magazine stack.

e83ee7b181f01d67789b0d3c35a6da7eSo thats my plan for my recipes… That way I can cook the best I can and eat the best I can.

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How do you keep your recipes organized? Where do you find your favorite recipes?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Cinnamon Rolls – A Recipe

Lately, I have been cooking and baking a ton. I love using my Kitchen Aid Mixer and my Vitamix. I tend to make more baked goods (sometimes not so healthy) with my Kitchen Aid Mixer. However, when it comes to my Vitamix it is all very healthy eats.

So the other day, I pulled out my Kitchen Aid Mixer… After I was done playing… I posted this photo on Facebook and Instagram…

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It got a lot of attention. A couple different people asked about posting the recipe… so here it is.

These cinnamon rolls are from the cook book, Cook’s Baking Book. They are quick because they do not contain yeast. Yeast is an ingredient that makes your pastry fluffy, however it takes time for yeast to rise. These cinnamon rolls are also egg free. Buttermilk is used in place of eggs and yeast.

To make it easy to understand, I’m going to break this recipe down in three different parts, dough, filling, icing.

Dough Ingredients:
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Now let’s make the dough…

Whisk all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in bowl. Whisk all wet ingredients (buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter) in other bowl. Mix wet ingredients with dry (use a mixer or wooden spoon if you don’t have a mixer.) Transfer dough to a floured service and knead until smooth.

Filling Ingredients
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of melted butter

Now let’s make the filling…

Combine all ingredients and stir with fork or hands until a sand consistency.

Assemble the cinnamon rolls and bake…

Pat dough flat into a 9×12 rectangle. Brush melted butter on and lay filling on top of melted layer.

Roll dough long ways so it becomes a narrow cylinder with cinnamon filling in center. Pinch seam to seal in filling.

Cut cylinder in to 8 pieces (cinnamon rolls.)

Arrange in pan. I used an 8×8 square pan and buttered the bottom and sides so it became non stick.

Butter the top of rolls with melted butter. Place on the middle rack in an oven preheated to 425 F.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Icing Ingredients
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup powder sugar.

Now let’s make the icing…

Combine cream cheese and buttermilk, stir until smooth. Add powder sugar slowly while stirring until smooth.

Top off the tools with icing…

Once the rolls have baked for 25 mins. and are golden brown, take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled smother with icing.

Enjoy.

P.S. These cinnamon rolls are very fatty, lots of sugar and butter, but I promise you… You’ll love them and your whole house will smell sweet like cinnamon!

Wedding Weekend: The Welcoming Party

Lets talk, Tradition and Wedding Etiquette…

Traditionally, the day before the wedding you have your rehearsal. At the rehearsal you run through how the ceremony will go, as briefly or as detailed as you wish. After the rehearsal you then have your rehearsal dinner. It’s wedding etiquette for the groom’s family to plan and fund the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner traditionally includes both groom’s and bride’s immediate family and the full wedding party.

My Wedding...

My wedding was anything but traditional. I didn’t have a wedding party. My wedding was very small, only a total of 46 people. Whether they came from near or far, all of my wedding guests traveled. Because of this we decided on having a Welcoming Party in place of the traditional rehearsal dinner.

This was the best idea ever. Let me explain… The group of guests invited to my wedding were my closest best family and friends. Because everyone was so close to me, and because everyone traveled to come celebrate my groom and I, there was absolutely no way I would exclude anyone. The Welcoming Party allowed me to start the partying early. It also gave people the opportunity to reunite after years of not seeing each other, and meet those who they didn’t know. That way everyone could immediately feel comfortable and let loose quickly at the wedding.

Planning: The Welcoming Party…

Planning the welcoming party was not an easy task. I was busy and focused on the final details of the wedding, so I was dreading one more thing to plan. Traditionally, the groom’s side plans the rehearsal dinner, including every detail, down to the invites. The majority of my friends who have gotten married, told me they weren’t involved in the rehearsal dinner planning at all. ¬†Well, for me it was the total opposite.

Because my wedding was a destination, my groom was not familiar with the area. My mom and I had traveled out to San Francisco and Wine Country, at the end of April, to meet my vendors, but he did not come with me. While I was out there, I checked out a couple possible venues for the welcoming party. Because of this, it only made since for me to take control and plan the party.

One of the first suggestions, made by my wedding planner, was to have the welcoming party at my Aunt’s ranch, The Tejada Ranch. ¬†However, The Tejada Ranch was my wedding venue. I did not want my guests to see the ranch before the wedding. Because the ranch is so charming, I wanted to leave the ranch a surprise for the wedding day. I was nervous that by having the welcoming party at the ranch my wedding day would be less special, because it would almost be like a repeat of the night before. I wanted my guests to experience something different.¬†

As I explored wine country, my aunt, mom, and I came up with two other options.  The Blue Wing Saloon, or The Lodge at Blue Lakes.

The Blue Wing Saloon is the restaurant affiliated with the gorgeous Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake. The cool idea about using The Blue Wing Saloon was that we could do wine tasting at The Tasting Room.

Convenience always wins…

However, after a lot of debating, my groom and I finally decided on The Lodge at Blue Lakes. The Lodge at Blue Lakes is where I blocked off rooms for my wedding guests. A big chunk of my wedding guests were staying there, which made it super convenient for them. This convenience was very important to me. I didn’t want my guests to arrive to wine country after a 3 hour drive form San Francisco, and then immediately have to get back in the car to find another place, when they may be tired. Instead, they would arrive to the hotel, relax a little, and get ready, and then head to the back deck of the hotel for the welcoming party.

A review on The Lodge at Blue Lakes…

The Lodge at Blue Lakes is the cutest Lodge in Upper Lake. The best part of this hidden gem is the Blue Lake, which you can swim in. The back deck of the lodge wraps around the lake – it was there that we had the Welcoming Party.

Maryann is the owner of the Lodge. I’ve never emailed someone so many times. Booking the room block with her in January was easier than planning the event. When it came to planning the event, there were times when she immediately emailed me back and then there were times that I didn’t hear back from her, so I would have to call. Turns out she is a really busy lady. And although, I was nervous and had mixed feelings about her during the planning process, she came through. Her team was amazing. The food was delicious. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better Welcoming Party.

The Welcoming Party: ¬†Words and Photos…

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Maryann’s team was concerned about it being to windy outside on the deck. But nope, I wanted my party outside. It turned out perfect. The sun was shining. There was a slight breeze. And¬†I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the Blue Lake was beautiful. Look at that lake.

 

 

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Erik and I couldn’t have been happier.¬†We were all smiles!¬†Getting close friends and family together is our favorite thing to do. The Welcoming Party allowed us to do that, and start our wedding celebration early.

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Everyone seemed to have a really fun time, reuniting, and meeting each other.

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Speeches made me speechless…

The best thing ever happened two of my best friends surprised me with speeches. 20140724-210828.jpg

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I will never forget their sweet words. They brought me to tears. Happy tears. I also will always remember looking at my groom and seeing his amazing reaction as well.

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Mariana – who now lives in Sri Lanka, Rachel, Me, and Elissa – who now lives in Thailand. I am so lucky my closest friends came even Mari and Elissa who live in Asia.

Hanging¬†with my favorite (Dorsey) cousins…

Another awesome thing was getting to be with my favorite cousins.

20140724-211249.jpgRachel and I…

Me and ColleenMe and Colleen 2Me and Colleen

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Hanging out with more of my favorites…

Em, Me, Jax, Aunt KathyDorsey sisters with Aunt Kathy!

Erik, Elisabeth, Jax, meBride, Groom, Erik’s mom – my new mother in law, and Jax.

SistersSisters, Dorsey girls!

In the End…

Once again, The Lodge at Blue Lakes was the absolute perfect place to throw The Welcoming Party. Maryann the owner, came though and it was fantastic. Erik and I couldn’t have been happier.

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Thank you…

I want to say a special thank you to Erik’s parents for helping out with The Welcoming Party. I also want to thank Maryann for letting me and my groom celebrate at The Lake at Blue Lodge– it really was beautiful. I want to thank Mariana and Rachel, for the kind words and amazing speeches. And most importantly, I want to thank all of my guest for coming to share this special time. Lastly, I want to thank Erik, my groom, I am lucky to have you in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

© sweatdaily 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning (your diet)!

Today is the first day of spring…

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Hellooo Spring!!

Goodbye effing Winter!! 

During the cold winter months, fresh, local, colorful, produce has been nonexistent. However, I have been avoiding heavy comfort foods and staying true to my clean organic lifestyle by eating tons of spicy soups. They have kept me warm and satisfied during this brutally cold winter. ( If you haven’t read my soup posts do it now. )¬†My soup recipes are easy to make and you can freeze a pot full for later.

Soon though very soon, temperatures will warm up and farmers markets will open. Plus, I love to grow some staples of my very own in my backyard garden. Herbs such as basil, sage, mint, and rosemary are easy to grow and add flavor to many dishes. They are great additions to urban gardens for those who live in city apartments/condos. They also add a refreshing burst to fresh brewed ice tea.

So first comes first, it’s time to Spring Clean your fridge and kitchen.

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Eliminate all processed foods and all foods that are not clean and organic.

Reduce sugar intake.

This is a hard one but it makes a huge huge huge difference in preventing disease and in your waist line. Trust me, I know, I use to drink my sugar. According to the American Heart Association the average woman should get no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day.

Added sugar can be hidden in juice, tea, non fat milk, milk replacement products, yogurt, granola, oat meal, salad dressings, sauces, and many more foods. Easiest way to reduce your added sugar intake is by reading labels, eating whole foods, and making your own sauces, dressings, and granola from scratch. For more information read my post on added sugar and try making making Scott Jurek’s vegan granola by following the recipe I posted.

Also clean your kitchen of any foods that have chemically made sweeteners, aka sugar replacements. If it is made in a science lab it is not a clean food.

Research your oils.

I have many oils in my kitchen. Different oils have different flavors. My stash includes Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, and Coconut Oil. Make sure all oils you have in your kitchen are cold pressed. This means your oils are truly what the label says and not mixed with any other oils. Also make sure your oils are unrefined. Along with cold pressed this means they have the highest standard of processing. If it is not unrefined during processing your oils may have been heated too hot. When heated too hot the nutritional value may be in jeopardy. Also keep in mind that some oils have more saturated fat then others. For example: The American Heart Association recommends no more than 16 grams of saturated fat a day. 1 table spoon of coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat. Although, coconut oil has many health benefits, use it is small doses and be careful not to heat it over 300 degrees. I like to use my coconut oil in substitute to butter or cooking sprays when greasing baking sheets.

Increase your raw food intake.

Although, I had fun making pots of homemade soups (Broccoli with Pickled Ginger, Chicken with Sweet Potato and Chipotle in Adobe, Farro, Pumpkin, and Vegan Chile) by now I am ready for some veggies in the raw. I am not going completely raw, but the plan is to eat as much raw fresh produce as I can. When it is the season, raw is way more sweet, flavorful, delicious. Why cook and ruin a good thing.

Eat the Rainbow.

The more colorful your food is the better. Rich, bright, vibrant color means more fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants!  Runners especially need antioxidants because of the wear and tear/ stress that is put on the body daily.

Hydrate!

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Drink water. After the winter months, the air has been cold and drying. This leads to dehydration. It is time to up our water intake. I recently purchased a new water bottle that I plan to bring with me everywhere. Every chance I get I plan to refill. Having adequate amounts of water helps regulate metabolism and cleans the body of toxins. Another tip I do, is add lemon to my water. The lemon is a natural cleanser. So by adding it to your water I will be hydrating and detoxing at the same time.

Meal Prep.

This is something I am constantly working on. I love it when I have done it but it is a hard one to do. But if you can do it – well done! For those that don’t know what meal prepping is… I’ll explain. First you must plan your menu for your week. Second, get to the farmers markets or grocery store and buy your food. I normally do this on Saturday. Next thing, prep all food by washing, cutting and portioning raw foods. Cook foods that need to be cooked. Portion all meals with a protein, complex carb, and healthy fat. Follow your macros for portion sizes. These meals are now portioned and prepared ready to go. If you are eating clean you should be eating a small meal every 2-3 hours about 6 meals a day. The meal sizes depend on your calorie intake and macros. If you can do this, it will save you. It will help you avoid ever getting “hangry” and impulsive. It will help you avoid the need to eat out at restaurants. It will keep you high with energy and your metabolism speedy.

So that is it, thats my advice to spring cleaning your diet.

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So get in your kitchen.

Let’s clean, shop, and cook!

This post was inspired by an article in Runner’s World (march.) I love their idea to use dandelion which is high in vitamin A, C, and K in salads and pesto. They also mention fiddlehead, ramps, and rhubarb. I’m definitely keeping my eyes open for these!

What are your nutritional tips for spring?

© 2014 sweatdaily

Are you ready for some Thailand foodporn…

Okay lovelies! I am finally home from Thailand. My plane landed in the States last Saturday. Although, I have been home for a whole week, I was jet lagged, and just had to take some time to get back in gear. However, I have plenty of posts that I wrote while I was in Thailand, that I wasn’t able to post because of lack of wifi. So I will be updating you now!!¬†

I’m writing this blog post on a choppy motor boat from the Indian Ocean. So far on my trip to Thailand I have spent days in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and now I am in Phuket visiting the Ko Pi Pi Islands and Monkey Island. I have stepped foot in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

If you have been following my Instagram and Facebook pages you have seen everything I have been currently doing. Unfortunately, wifi here is really slow so it has been hard for me to blog. So I apologize for that and promise I will update you.

So let’s talk about my two favorite things food and fitness. The food here in Thailand has been absolutely amazing. However, I will admit I am feeling a tiny bit fluffy, (maybe I’m not actually fluffy, but I feel that way.) It may be water weight that I have been holding on to, because the food is so salty, heavy, spicy. This is definitely a love hate relationship I am having with Thai food. Don’t get me wrong I love it, but I hate that I have to eat out for every meal. I also hate that I am not able to eat 5-6 small meals a day, like I had been doing at home. I am on vacation in Thailand so I am enjoying my meals, and pretty much eating my way through Thailand. But hey, it’s only three weeks of my life, and I need to take advantage of being in this foreign land, because the opportunity may never arise again. With that being said, l am definitely not feeling as lean as I normally feel when I am back home. Let me explain why?

There are fruit stands with fresh fruit and juice bars everywhere. I love it and have been drinking tons of watermelon juice. (But too much fruit means too much sugar.)

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Yummy watermelon juice!

I have been hydrating with mainly coconut water straight from the coconut, bottled water, and tea, lots of tea. This isn’t making me feel fluffy. But although it is fun to drink coconut water right from the coconut, I will have to admit it taste exactly the same as Vita Coconut water.

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Also I have come to the conclusion that most locals get their meals by eating street food. The street food vendors literally line the streets like sardines in Bangkok.

In Chiang Mai, our taxi driver grabbed lunch from a random street food stand on the way to dropping us off at an Elephant camp – yes I played with elephants I’ll tell you more about that later. Also Chiang Mai is known for their night markets. They are every night, and are full of street food vendors. One vendor made us Pad Thai right in front of us. Other vendors already had their food prepared. It tasted amazing, but was a tad cold.

I love authentic street food, the only problem I have is that I don’t know exactly what is in it, what they use to cook with. Where the food came from. This is a major problem. How am I suppose to count my macros? Plus, I love to cook and prepare my own food. I am really starting to miss cooking a home cooked meal. By cooking my own food I can control what is in it. In Thailand I let go, took the risk, and just trusted the restaurants and street food vendors.

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As an American, we are told while traveling, never drink the water and never eat the street food. However, Thailand is known for it’s street food, and they take great pride in that. So I trusted the street food vendors, plus all of the locals eat it. Many locals have their favorite street vendors, and become regulars, just like we have regulars in local bars in the the States.

In Bangkok, it has been very difficult to communicate. This shocks me because it is such a huge city and I expected more people to speak English. Turns out the island areas are more touristy where most locals speak English and speak it well. In Bangkok, it was even hard to ask for a knife. It took a lot of hand gestures and pointing to pictures or names of meals on menus.

Food in Bangkok

Although, the Islands are very close, I would have to say Chiang Mai is my favorite place in Thailand, and it has the best food by far. Although, there were tourists, these tourists were very bohemian, (I saw tons of dread locks.) Chiang Mai has a very authentic vibe. There were tons of locals driving mopeds. The restaurants were so authentic that at one of them the owner through on apron and cooked our food barefoot in her kitchen. She also teaches Thai cooking classes.

This photo is by far my favorite photo I took while in Chiang Mai. It just reveals how authentic and beautiful Chiang Mai is. Look at the street food vendor grilling corn on the cob. I captured her smiling. Look at the local traffic in behind her. Mopeds speeding on by. Look at the beauty of the gold Buddhist temple in the back ground. This defines Thailand.  

Chiang Mai corn ladyThese photo belongs to me. Do not use or repost with out my permission.

Chiang Mai street food

Above is a photo of the night market in Chiang Mai. It is crowded and authentic. People selling art, food, etc.

Food in Chiang Mai

On the Islands, where we are staying, beach front, it is less authentic and more touristy so there are more bars and restaurants and less street food vendors.thailand island meat lady

Also surprisingly, our hotels have had really amazing breakfast. So I have been waking up and eating a pretty big breakfast everyday. This is way different from my eating habits at home. At home I am not a morning eater. Normally, I’ll have a hard boiled egg, latte, protein shake, possibly oatmeal, occasionally a greek yogurt, maybe a piece of fruit. I always have a latte every morning the caffeine helps jump start my metabolism. Here in Thailand I have only had coffee twice, and I have been here for almost 3 weeks.

Breakfast in Ko Samui, Thailand, resort The Blue Lagoonthailand islands breakfastBreakfast in Phuket, Thailand, resort The Malisa

Food on the Islands

The cool thing about Ko Samui is that there was a larger variety of different types of food. We went to The Larger, which was owned by a British guy or Aussie. We also went to an Italian restaurant which was owned by an Italian guy. There were restaurants like these where the owner loved Ko Samui so much that he eventually moved to the island and opened a restaurant.

So there you have it, that sums up what I ate on my three week vacation through Thailand. I am excited to say, that I also  brought home some Thai spices and curry pastes, so I can play in my kitchen and make some of my very own thai food.

I am also proud to say that the DC area has some pretty good Thai restaurants. I don’t think our restaurants are too Americanized.

Questions for You…

  1. Have you been to Thailand?
  2. What is your favorite Thai dish?
  3. Do you cook with Thai spices?

© 2014 sweatdaily

 

The Cool Impossible

I am in the Phuket airport waiting to head back to Bangkok. Unfortunately, my access to wifi has been almost nonexistent, so it has been really hard for me to blog, while I have been in Asia. I have so much to say, write, update you on.

But you probably want to hear something about running, since I am a runner and so are you.

And let me tell you…

I have been having some amazing beach runs during my three weeks in Thailand. I even inspired my non runner friend to do some short runs with me. I’m going to write a more detailed post about that later.

In the meantime, I am excited to share with you, The Cool Impossible, the new running book I have been reading while on my travels. I am obsessed! This book is a must read.

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You may have seen this book on a previous blog post I had written back in the summer. I started this book then, but because I was in the beginning of training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I took the author’s advice and stopped reading it until I had adequate time to complete the 5 month program.

The author, Eric Orton, is a running coach and natural barefoot running expert. He has experience with the Tarahumara (from Born to Run.) He also coached Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run.) Helping McDougall run a successful ultra marathon. He helped McDougall transition into a natural barefoot stride. And with proper running form, curing his bad running habits and healing him from pain from numerous running injuries.

I would have to say I am very impressed with Eric Orton. The way he writes makes you feel like I am actually in Jackson and he is coaching me in person. I also feel like I can relate to him. A lot of the stuff he says in this book is stuff I already know. But I am definitely learning some new stuff too.

“We need more than endurance to run well for long distances; we need to be strong and fast. “

The quote above is from the book. it is promoting strength. Strength is what a good portion of this book is about. Being strong will benefit you in every way. I agree with this 100%. It is refreshing to have someone finally promote strength to prevent injury, instead of finding a new type of shoe, or product to sell you, claiming it is magic. When in the end it is cheaper and more efficient to make your body stronger and healthier. Trust me it is that easy.

For years every running plan and running magazine talked about only running, not strength training. Burt honestly, the truth is the more you strength train, the stronger you will become, the less injuries you will get. The stronger you become the further and faster you will be able to run. Trust me it is that simple.

I use to be that girl who only ran. But since switching to a natural barefoot running shoe with a low heel to toe drop, I have been weight lifting for about a year now. My form has significantly improved. And after only 8 weeks of weight lifting and 6 months on perfecting my running form , I began to not only see my body change to a more fit physique, but my race times significantly improved. I set a new PR in my half marathon, shedding off 9 minutes. And I set a new PR in my full marathon time, shedding off 11
minutes.

I am excited to finish this book, and start the 5 month program. I will blog about my experience along the way.

Although, my form has improved over the year since weight lifting, and switching to a natural barefoot shoe – it is not perfect. There is still room for improvement.

If you are in natural barefoot shoes and you land on your forefoot, take the time now to see the wear and tear at the bottom of your running shoes. Noticing where the wear and tear is located on the bottom of your shoe can tell you a lot about which muscles need to be stronger. Or which muscles need to actually start being used.

By the wear and tear at the bottom if my shoe, I know I need to strengthen my feet and my gluteus medius.

So when I get back to the US this will be the running program I will start. I am also excited about learning more about Heart Rate monitoring and Heart Rate Zones. This will be part of the program as well.

Along with this program, and because I have completed another round of the LiveFit trainer, I will be starting the Clutch Cut by Ashley Conrad. I have been doing Livefit for a while know and it’s time to switch things up a bit. Can’t wait!!!

I’ve missed my gym weightlifting sessions since I have been away. I have tried my best to run and stay as active as I can, but I still really miss my intense gym workouts.

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Above is a burpee challenge I did in Bangkok…

Future Workout Plan
for when I am back home

1) 5 month running program by coach Eric Orton from The Cool Impossible

2) The Clutch Cut by Ashley Conrad 3 week program, followed by the Clutch phase 1 and 2.

Both plans talk about nutrition. I will be following Ashley Conrad’s clean eating nutrition plan.

What running plans are you following? What weight lifting plans are you following? Has anyone read The Cool Impossible?

Recipe: Asian Broccoli Soup with pickled Ginger and Black Sesame

The winter months are days full of desiring real comfort food. Its cold outside so one wants to eat a filling warm meal. It doesn’t help that farmer’s markets are scarce and the colorful produce that existed during the summer is now limited or in many cases nonexistent.

I still want to eat clean, organic, plant based, because everyone knows, “A summer body is made in the winter.”

So what is a girl to do during these cold gray winter months.

Crave soup.

Eat soup.

The variety of soups are endless. Soups are easy to make. You can make a huge pot for the week. You can freeze left over soup. Not all but many soups are an amazing way to eat clean, and still feel satisfied. They are warm, and to even make them hotter, smokey, spicy, try adding a pepper, such as chipotle in adobo sauce.

The soup that I am going to introduce to you today, is made with Asian influence. Because I am heading to Asia this week, I am all about the asian flavors.

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Broccoli Soup with pickled ginger and black sesame seeds.

Ingredients

1) Broccoli
2) Ginger
3) Ground Ginger
4) Soy sauce
5) Sea Salt
6) Sesame oil or toasted Sesame oil
7) Pickled Ginger
8) Black sesame seeds

Directions

1) Prep two small heads of broccoli by cleaning and cutting them into small pieces.

2) Place them in a pot of water with a chunk of natural ginger in it. Bring ginger water to a boil. Cool over high heat until broccoli is tender.

3) Once broccoli is tender, scoop out and discard ginger. Place broccoli into food processor or blender. Add two cups of the ginger infused cooking water.

4) Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce with grounded ginger, and sesame oil. Cook in a small pan over heat. Once heated pour over broccoli in blender.

5) Blend all ingredients.

6) Once blended reheat over stove until desired temperature.

7) Serve in a bowl topped with pickled ginger and black sesame seeds.

8) Enjoy!

What are your favorite soups? How do you eat clean during the winter?

Tips on how to keep your New Year’s Resolution!

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What is 2014 going to be like for you?

You can’t control everything that happens to you in 2014, but what you do have control over is which goals you choose to set and how you plan on reaching them.

Most people hate New Year’s Resolutions. Most people think they are pointless, and never set them. I guess, I’m not like most people, because I love them. I always set them, and I make a great effort to stick to them.

And although, I make a resolution for the year, I also always have other goals I am trying to reach. After reaching my current goals,  I then set new ones.

However, not everyone is constantly making goals, and for some, they dread it. Others set a New Year resolution and by February forget their resolution ever existed.

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So here are some fun tips to get you setting a New Year resolution and sticking to it.

  • Be specific, and well detailed.
  • Have a game plan.
  • Be inspired and find support.

The two most common resolutions are…

1) Diet and loose weight. 

If this is your new year resolution, the odds are you are going to fail. Why? Because there is no game plan. A couple years ago, my resolution was, “I’m going to eat one unique, exotic, interesting food a week.” This resolution being more specific¬†was totally doable. It¬†got me out of my rut of always throwing the same food into my grocery cart. It also got me exploring health food stores, such as MOM’s Organic Market and Whole Foods. I would literally grab one item I knew nothing about, and throw it into my cart. I would go home research it, learning how to prepare it, and what it went well with. This one small resolution changed my life. I began exploring new food options. I discovered a passion for cooking. ¬†I started meal prepping. And with out even realizing it at first, I began to eat healthier and loose body fat.

0019f04590beca7cf63eb89e770abeccSo this year, instead of focusing on dieting, and counting calories, try focusing on living a healthy lifestyle. Focus on making healthier food choices. This may not be as easy as it seems, because the sad truth is that many people are confused and simply do not know what is healthy. If you fall in this category it is not your fault. Advertisements play so many sneaky tricks on us by calling products fat free, low fat, diet, when the truth is these products are really overly processed, full of sugar and chemicals. Even fat free milk, which sounds healthy, is actually processed. They suck out the fat and replace it with chemicals and 12 grams of added sugar per cup. The average woman should only get an average of 25-30 grams of added sugar a day.

So start to educate yourself… This is important!

It’s time to…

  • Read labels and avoid chemicals.
  • Promise yourself that you will choose organic, cold-pressed, raw, unrefined, unprocessed foods.
  • Eliminate added sugars.
  • Meal prep.
  • Cook your own food.
  • Have fun by researching and trying new foods and recipes.
  • Become a foodie, and choose high quality foods.
  • Really make an effort to learn about exactly what you are putting in to your body.
  • Download apps, get the tools, you need to succeed.

This may be a time commitment and a financial investment, but it is worth it in the long run. You deserve this!

Once you have truly learned about selecting a healthy food choice, and your get on a regular routine of living a healthy lifestyle, it is then that you can take it up a notch. It is then that you can count macros and carb cycle.  There are a lot of apps that can help you learn a healthy food choice, and later log your food. My favorite is My Fitness Pal.

2) I’m going to work out more… is another common resolution.

If this is your New Year resolution be prepared to fail. Why? Again there is no game plan. Instead, choose a plan. There are tons of free weightlifting plans on bodybuilding.com.

Weight lifting

961f5fe107c5336873307876076622b7In 2013, I decided, along side of my running I was going to incorporate weight lifting, into the mix. I had been running everyday, but wanted to improve my speed, and prevent injury – so it was time to get strong. When training for a full or half marathon I always had been successful while following a disciplined training plan. Because of this, I knew I needed one when it came to weight lifting. That being said, I saw amazing results in the weight room because I followed the Livefit Trainer, by Jamie Eason.

Honestly, the Livefit trainer changed my life. I have never seen such amazing results in my body, and the best part is my running has significantly improved.

“Change your mind set. Stop focusing on getting skinny! Instead focus on getting strong. If you focus on getting strong, the fat will melt right off.”

f57e16d7b28f64b14239426e40d574f6One way I found success was to record everything. When you write down how heavy you are lifting, next time you lift heavier you will feel more accomplished, by setting a new PR. Also when you record everything, you will be amazed how much you are actually doing. One leg day, after counting all of my reps and sets, I discovered I did 180 squats that day. Pretty amazing!

Running 

22f9d787894089d24454f97454f7d2fcMaybe you don’t belong to a gym… maybe you would rather choose to run as your source of exercise. ¬†Well you are asking the right person, because I am a runner. Running is my thing.

Again you need a game plan and a detailed goal.

Start Racing…

I love racing, so this New Year I would suggest signing up for a race. By signing up for a race, you will have a specific date you must physically be ready to run by. In the summer, in the DC area, there is a 5K every friday in Crystal City. So if you are choosing to run shorter distances such as a 5K, consider signing up for several. Maybe your goal will to be to race once a month.

If you are choosing a longer distance, such as half marathon or full, allow at least 16 weeks for training. There are tons of online training plans. My favorite running plans are written by Hal Higdon. I have trained for all of my full marathons, by using his plans, and I found success.

Log your miles…

Another option is to set a milage goal, for example, maybe you want to run 20 miles a week, or 100 miles a month. (These are all very doable goals.) Maybe you want to do a 30 day consecutive running challenge, where you run at least a mile a day everyday for 30 days.

There are several online running logs, you can use to keep track of your miles.classic-log Because I have a Garmin, I use the Garmin Connect center. But if you do not have a Garmin, you can use a free log on runnersworld.com. Another option is Daily Mile. There are also many apps to record your miles, such as, Run Keeper or Map my Run.

¬†Stay Inspired beyond social media…

Although social media sites, such as Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook can be very helpful and inspiring. There are times when you find an inspiring article in a magazine that you want to tear out and keep. In this case, I find it very helpful to create a story board, or inspiration board/wall. This is simply a physical spot on a wall, or a cork board that you can pin inspiration and notes too. This helps you stay organized. Another option is to join Pinterest, the online option for a pin board.

Also if you keep a day planner, don’t forget to write down your daily workouts, and good eats.

To find support…

The people who see the best results in most cases have a workout partner, or a running buddy. Sometimes it is hard to find someone with the same schedule as you. (I have struggled with this.) ¬†So in order to find support there is a ton of online fitness community you can join. My favorite is What’s Beautiful by Under Armour. What’s beautiful is free, and by joining you are able to learn new things, be inspired by others, participate in challenges, and get never-ending support.

Instagram is another form of social media, that can make a huge difference in keeping you motivated.  People think Instagram is just a personal photo sharing app, but the truth is Instagram has much more to offer.

Instagram is an information source. You can search hashtags that lead you to, personal trainers, running coaches, small businesses, professional athletes, athletes trying to inspire, chefs, nutritionist, foodies, etc.

You can learn new yoga poses, new recipes, new workouts, new equipment, new gear, and so much more. You can follow people who inspire you. You can follow companies. The information and knowledge you can find, is at your fingertips. It comes quickly and is never-ending.  You can also hashtag your personal photos, which your followers and others  might like or comment on Рthis support alone may be just the motivation you need.

Another fun thing about Instagram is you can easily join a challenge. There are tons of challenges going on and all you need to do is use the challenge hash tag. There is also daily hash tags, such as #transfomationtuesday used on tuesday or #flexfriday used on friday.

If an online fitness community isn’t enough, try joining a Crossfit gym, yoga studio, running club/group, or local gym.

So there you have it.  These are my top tips on how to be successful when it comes to nutritional and fitness goals this new year.

Questions for you…

  1. What’s your New Year Resolution?
  2. What tips do you have to stick to a resolution?
  3. How do you stay inspired?

© 2014 sweatdaily

Articles you may be interested in.

  1. New Years Resolution 2013
  2. Food… doesn’t have to be fatty
  3. I’ve been drinking my sugar.¬†
  4. Livefit Trainer and Fitness apps
  5. Transformation Tuesday

The best Christmas present a Runner could ask for…

Tis’ the Season

This year’s holiday season was non stop. It actually was the busiest holiday season I have ever had at the salon. Busy is good, but it is also exhausting, and stressful.

Christmas Eve

So when I got to leave the salon early on Christmas Eve, I decided to hit the trail hard. Snow flurries were among the wind blowing, but it was sunny, and I made it just in time to get a good run in before the sunset. 1511366_10101518148575136_1184233541_nI love running at this time. You see a ton of wild life on the water, and this time the sky turned pink- so bright it matched my jacket.

My family never does anything on Christmas Eve, so we ended up all at my mom’s and ordered Chinese. Honestly, there are no good Chinese Restaurants in the DC area, so we ended up ordering from Charlie Changs. I haven’t eaten Chinese in over a year. It was a true test to my taste buds. Once you start eating clean and eliminating added sugar your taste buds totally change. This food tasted way to sweet,and processed- like a TV dinner. YUCK! If you are from DC and know of a good Chinese Restaurant clue me in please…

My Tree

This year was the first time that I cut down my own tree. I went once with my family as a kid, but my fiance and his parents have been cutting down their tree for the last couple years so this year I joined them.

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I asked the farm if they had Douglas Firs. They didn’t, but they had other types of Firs, that looked similar. It was a fun outing, and really awesome having a fresh cut tree.
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Because work was so busy, it took a whole week to decorate. But it finally got done. It is so relaxing to sit next to a beautiful lit tree. The tree part is one of my favorite things about the Christmas holiday. I also love Christmas Cards!

The Best present a Runner could ask for…

Of course a lot of the stress about this Holiday is finding the perfect gift. And for some reason my family says I am the hardest one to shop for. Honestly, I think the receiving presents thing is getting a little bit old. It’s much more fun when you have children around who get excited about Santa. However, because we have no children in my family, it is just adults exchanging presents, which feels a little weird since we are all lucky that we are able to buy our own things. This is why it becomes even harder, to find that fun creative thoughtful gift. I made my Runner’s Wish List, and never thought or heard of this wonderful idea my little sister came up with…

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This is a jar of pink, blue,  and green pieces of paper rolled up into scrolls.

PINK

When I am in need of a new song to add to my running mix on my iPod I choose pink, unravel it and there will be a song title and artist. This is perfect because I am always desperate for new music.

BLUE

If I am lacking motivation, I choose blue. I unravel blue and a motivational quote will be there to help me get my booty moving.

GREEN

If I am sore from miles and miles of running, I can choose a green scroll which will teach a yoga pose or stretch. The jar also had socks, and headbands in there as well.

This is a home made thoughtful gift and I love it! So creative. My favorite part is the phrase on the front, “Its a runners world, because 26.2 is my lucky number.”¬†This gift is definitely making my Runner’s Wish List next year.¬†

Christmas Morning Running…

So after breakfast and gift exchange, my sister and I went for a quick 5K loop. It was a great neighborhood run- towards the end of the run, I realized how peaceful it was outside. It was also nice to check out all the houses decorated for Christmas.

Another Exciting Gift…

Pacers is the local running store in the DC area. They posted on facebook a status wanting to hear what kind of milage everyone was running for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Whoever had the best mileage won a race entry for February or March. Guess what… I WON!!

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I am so excited! I never win anything! Can’t wait to run a St. Patty’s day race. Thank You, Pacers!!!

Now that Christmas is over, I am feeling much more relaxed, and very excited about the New Year! New Years is my favorite! I can’t wait to share with you my highlights for 2013, and my new goals for 2014. ¬†So stay tuned…

Questions for You…

  1. Are the holidays busy, stressful, and overwhelming for you?
  2. What cool running presents did you receive?
  3. Have you ever won a free race entry?
  4. Do you enjoy New Years?

© 2013 sweatdaily

I want to say a special thank you to my sister, mom, and of course my fiance, his parents, and stepsister who gave me gifts this year.  All of them were amazing and I have been so spoiled. Thank you!

 

Turkey Trot and Pies…

“My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and my favorite part is the Turkey Trot.”

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for so many reasons. Although, I have heard from others, it can be stressful, for me everything about it is relaxing.

After a really busy month at the salon – coming in early, staying late, and squeezing clients in… I finally get to leave work early on Wednesday- Thanksgiving Eve, and ¬†stay home, Thursday- Thanksgiving day. The best part is I don’t have to return to the chaos of Holiday Season at the salon, until Sunday. A couple of relaxing days off is just what I need, to rest, get refocused, and organized.

Some people get stressed over cooking a huge feast. The cost, the work, the clean up, but I love it. Cooking my own food, relaxes me. I am able to get creative, and stay in complete control. It is fun for me to discover new recipes, that are healthier alternatives then the traditional ones. All of my thanksgiving dishes and sister’s dishes, this year were organic, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, raw. Together we dominated the feast with healthy flavorful dishes.

You don’t have to have an unhealthy holiday. They say the average person consumes over 4,000 calories on thanksgiving. No wonder everyone is sleepy! Blame it on the turkey, but it is really your body trying to digest everything. You don’t have to indulge in that many calories, if you don’t want too. But if you do want to, don’t feel bad, it is a holiday – you can get back on track tomorrow. Just be happy with your choice. If you cook your own food, you can control everything.

A quick tip:  for this holiday season research some new dishes to try. By cooking yourself instead, of ordering out, you have the control of all of your ingredients. You then know exactly what you are eating.

This year I contributed quite a few dishes to my family’s feast.

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I decided I was going to make stuffing from scratch. So I made it from a whole wheat loaf, with rosemary from my garden. I also added, figs, cranberries, Tawny Port, and topped it off with hazel nuts.

In my family, we always have a couple appetizers so we can munch on something while the rest of the food finishes up. The bottom left photo are the two dips I made. One is roasted beet and lentil dip, the other one is Scott Jurek’s Salsa Verde. Both are vegan and gluten free.

I also made three pies. The bottom right photo are the two pumpkin pies I made. However, this year was fun because we ended up with a total of five pies. Two were pumpkin (raw, vegetarian.) Heather brought the fabulous pecan (gluten free, vegetarian.) I made my specialty date pie, (raw, vegan, gluten free.) Jackie made her famous grasshoper, which was not healthy, but a tradition in my family, so we all ate it anyway. Everything was delicious.

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People get so worked up and forget the true meaning of the holidays. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and share great food with family and friends. However, Thanksgiving, for me because I am a runner, also means Turkey Trot time.

The traditional Turkey Trot I usually participate in on Thanksgiving morning is the DC 5k put on by an organization called SOME (So Others May Eat.) Normally 11,000 people run it every year. There is a DJ at the start.  The route circles around the Capital.

However, this year, I decided to run the Alexandria Turkey Trot. This Turkey Trot is a 5 miler instead of a 5k. It also is a little closer to my house. I thought it would be nice to run a little further, and drive a little less. It also started at 9:00 AM, which is late for a race, but more sleep in the morning for me.

On Thanksgiving Eve, I went to the local school to pick up my bib and t-shirt. E was going to run this race with me, so I grabbed E’s bib too.

Thanksgiving morning was a cold one. It was around 30 degrees. So E and I bundled up. Other friends that were planning on running the race, bailed on us last minute because of the cold. E was really nervous about the cold, but we have run really cold races before, and I know that in the right running cold gear we would warm up quick. I have worn this hat, coat, and scarf snowboarding before, so I knew it would do the job, and keep me toasty.¬†1452077_10101469313900216_915473531_nTurkey Trots are fun because just like the Thanksgiving holiday, they too are relaxing. It’s a 5 mile turkey trot, and although, I am competitive person, I think of this as just a fun run.

There were hardly any other runners out and about, because a lot of the running community on Thanksgiving is doing some sort of Turkey Trot. I love it when the running community gets together. I also love seeing non runners and kids getting out there running. I saw Facebook statuses in which people claimed the Turkey Trot they ran yesterday was their first race. It is fun races like Turkey Trots that can help one find a passion for running. Maybe someone runs a Turkey Trot, then they love it so much, they sign up for another type of race. Then a new runner is born.

I love running! And running a Turkey Trot is my favorite part of my Thanksgiving celebration – It gets me in the spirit. Running in the morning, getting my work out in, and then filling my belly with amazing food, with great friends and family equals a perfect Thanksgiving!!

Do you run a Turkey Trot? Do you make any vegan or gluten free dishes on Thanksgiving?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Salsa Verde: a vegan recipe by an Ultra runner.

“That’s when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†~ Scott Jurek : Eat and Run.

With all the running I have been doing, I have been busy trying to update you on that, and in the mean time have neglected posting any recipes. So here is one for you because Food is who we are…

Salsa Verde means Green Sauce.

Several countries have its own variation of it. The Italian version is made from capers and anchovies. The German version is made from hard boiled eggs. The version from Argentina is used with roasted meats. But the Mexican version is by  far my favorite and it is most likely the version you are most familiar with. Mexican Salsa Verde is made from the oh so delicious tomatillo, and is normally eaten with tortilla chips or you can find this sauce smothering your tacos at your favorite local Mexican restaurant.

One thing I want to make clear is that Salsa Verde is one of the easiest things to make, so stop buying Salsa from a jar! When you buy salsa from a jar, you don’t know what is truly in it. You can make your own Salsa, and customize it to your own taste buds, buying organic local ingredients. The best part is how FRESH your salsa will be. Tip: you can refrigerate your salsa for up to five days, or make extra, and freeze it, so you always have some on hand. (It can last in the freezer for several months.

Okay, so now that you know what Salsa Verde is, and about it’s background lets begin making it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • oil, I used olive oil, but you can use coconut or whatever you have on hand.
  • 12 medium tomatillos
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers (optional) depends on how much spice you want. Hot (2), Medium (1), Mild (0)
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Oil baking pan.
  3. Place tomatillos, garlic, onion, peppers flat in oiled baking pan. Cover with foil.
  4. Roast for 40 min. until veggies are soft and golden browns.
  5. Remove veggies from oven, peel roasted garlic.
  6. Place all veggies in food processor or blender, along with sea salt and cilantro.
  7. Blend until smooth.
  8. Serve. Enjoy.

Tip: Try this sauce warm on a sandwich, as a healthy alternative to mayo. Try this sauce chilled with tortilla chips.

Do you like Salsa Verde? What is your favorite healthy alternative to mayo?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Mermaid Farm – Raw Milk, Yogurt, Mango Lassi

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This is Mermaid Farm located on Martha’s Vineyard. If you are looking for fresh raw milk on the Island, this is where you get it. They also have yogurt and mango lassi. Yum! You don’t have to call for an appointment. When it comes to payment they are on the honor system. That way you can get what you need, when you need it.

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The idea that fat free milk is healthy for you is a myth. During processing they remove all fat and replace it with sugar/chemicals. They add 12 grams of sugar per cup to make it taste good. The American Heart Association suggests no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day. One cup of fat free milk is almost half of your added sugar intake. I don’t drink milk, but if I was going to, Raw Milk is the way to go.

Mango is one of my all time favorite summer fruit. Mango Lassi is a popular traditional yogurt drink from India. Here on the Island you can find fresh home made Mango Lassi at Mermaid Farm.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to try this, because now I am inspired to make it at home on a regular basis. I also think it would be a delicious base to my vanilla Vega Sport Protein powder.

Fall is right around the corner so it is time to squeeze in some last minute, end of the season juicing and Mango Lassi making, while the produce is still fresh and in season.

Anyway, if you are on the Island, Mermaid Farm is definitely worth the quick stop. So check it out. It only takes five minutes to grab what you need.

How do you drink your milk? Do you think dairy is healthy?

Running the Vegas Strip

Hello lovelies!

For the last week I was in Vegas! It was a really busy, fun, non stop, sleepless, crazy, weird, hard working, inspiring, motivating, sun-kissed… trip. I will have to admit it was hard to keep my clean eating plant based diet on point. It was also a struggle to find time to get my workouts in.

Let me explain…

The diet: 

  • FAIL: One of the biggest points of eating clean, is to eat 5-7 small meals a day in 2-3 hour intervals. This did not happen.
  • FAIL: While eating clean it is best to prepare your own meals. This did not happen. I ate out every meal, sometimes pretty late at night.
  • FAIL: Although, I do not label myself as vegetarian, my regular diet consists of mostly plant based food. In Vegas, most of the food included some sort of meat, and all of my meals were loaded with salt.
  • FAIL: I definitely did not drink enough water. The heat is dry there, and I felt dehydrated most of the time.
  • FAIL: I drank way too many vodka pineapples.
  • FAIL: Although, most of the food I ate were not considered organic or clean, I am a foodie, and enjoyed trying different restaurants.
  • GOOD: I did find an amazing juice bar, and had a green juice, that consisted of kale.
  • GOOD: On the way back to the East Coast, I randomly found a 2 Mom’s in the Raw granola bar in¬†blueberry.

The workouts: 

6276_10101216329338306_617596903_nMy boyfriend came out to Vegas with me for the first four days. While I was with him I put it in my mind that these days would be my rest days. He was considering this a fun vacation with me and I was not about to be selfish by choosing the gym over him. It is okay, to skip a workout every now and then, when there are other plans scheduled, such as grabbing a morning coffee and bagel with your boyfriend while on vacation in Vegas. It is important to find a healthy balance.

Once my boyfriend left, I switched hotels, and started my work training, I was 20130718-153853.jpgable to find a routine, of waking up early and hitting the gym, at the Hotel/Casino before work. The gym was small and surprisingly very busy. Two days in a row I was able to lift and do some running on the treadmill. I hate running on the treadmill, and most of the time I don’t even consider my workouts on the TMill runs. However, this time around I did some HIIT, which was a really intense workout. Because during HIIT you run for 30 seconds at a sprinting pace and then jump off standing still for 30 seconds, then 1006287_10101225210181026_908292256_nrepeat, it is NOT boring. This type of running gets your heart rate up and then down, which can help you become a faster runner. I was shocked that at one point I was sprinting between a 6:30 and 7 minute mile.

I also went out a couple times at night to go dancing. Dancing is a really good work out as well. I sweat my but off, and worked my legs so hard I should have called it leg day!

Running the Vegas strip:  Finally, the last day, I woke up early so I could do a short run outside before I headed to the airport. The main reason I wanted to get an outdoor run in was because I wanted to compare the dry heat of Vegas to the humidity of DC. I have heard mixed opinions of which one is better to run in.

Dry heat:¬†The dry heat felt like a sauna. The sun felt like it was burning me. My throat was dry. My nose was dry and congested. In Vegas, there are areas where they manually spray mist. This is a good way to get water into the dry air, but it wasn’t enough. While I was running, it felt effortless, but I noticed I wasn’t even sweating. It wasn’t until I actually stopped running when sweat began to pour from me.

Humidity:  When I got off the plane and stepped outside into the Washington, DC air, I felt like I was walking into a steam room. I was so happy to be back in the humidity Рit felt amazing. Never thought I would say that. But because I am born and raised here, I am so use to the humidity that I never even noticed how much moisture is in the air. After being in Vegas and coming back home I could really tell a difference.

The one thing that I like most about running in the humidity is that you immediately start to sweat. Sweating is important because it helps your body detox and cool down. The good thing about running in dry heat is that if it is 100 degrees out, it feels exactly like 100 degrees, unlike in humidity where it normally feels hotter.  However, whether you are running in dry heat or humidity, you still need to drink a ton of water and stay hydrated.

The Strip:972071_10101227542566906_147498669_nI began my run at around 7:00 am. At that time, there were people out, but it wasn’t busy. Finally, I found a time when the Strip was quiet, almost peaceful. There were tons of other runners out too, however they were all tourists like me, no local runner would be running the strip. Also the strip is full of elevated crosswalks which means I ended up running tons of stairs. ¬†If you haven’t had a chance to run the Vegas Strip, I highly recommend it.

Questions For You…

  1. How do you stay on point with your diet while on vacation?
  2. Have you ever run in Vegas? If so where?
  3. Which do you prefer, dry heat or humidity?

© sweatdaily 2013

 

Post Workout Drink

Everyone who lifts, knows protein is the best thing for your muscles to repair and grow.  This is true, so I always try to have a protein shake with in 30 minutes after my workout. However, July is here, which means hot and steamy, air smothering days.  And although, I have found a new passion for weight lifting, my love is for running, that is where my heart is and always will be.

Week 1 of Marathon training is over. I am officially in marathon training mode. And training in this hot July weather, has made me craving something a little more refreshing then my traditional protein shake. Protein shakes are great ways to refuel, but after a run outside in the heat, my body needs hydration.

Well after flipping through the pages of my favorite cook book, Super Natural Every Day, I found the perfect drink to hydrate me post run.

Cucumber Cooler

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cucumber
  • A couple cucumber peels
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 cups of ice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • mint leaves or you can garnish with a cucumber slice or lime wedge.

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender until slushy like consistency.
  • Pour into class and Enjoy!
  • Garnish with mint, cucumber slice, or lime wedge. (Your choice)
  • Store in a pitcher in the refrigerator for up to a day or freeze as popsicles.

Cucumber is a Super food. It is a good source of silica, which helps promote joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. It is also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. Cucumbers are also 95% water, but always remember to chose ones that are organic because pesticides can be hard to remove from skins.

*This would also be a wonderful drink after Bikram Yoga!

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite post workout drink?
  2. How do you hydrate and prepare for the heat?
  3. Do you like cucumber flavored drinks?

© 2013 sweatdaily

.

Almond Butter stuffed Dates

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Ingredients
1) Dates
2) Almond Butter
3) Sea Salt
4) Cayenne

Directions
1) Cut a slice in each date.
2) Remove pits if they have them.
3) Spread almond butter in between slice of each date. Stuff them good.
4) Sprinkle sea salt on each date.
5) Sprinkle cayenne on each date.

Enjoy the sweetness from the dates. Enjoy the salty from the sea salt.
Enjoy the spicy from the cayenne.
Enjoy the nutty creamy flavor and texture from the almond butter!

Yum!

Try it and leave a comment below! Let me know what you think.

Date Pie Recipe

I have talked about it time and time again on this blog – over the last two years I have developed this new passion for food.

Not just any food though…

I have very high standards.

The type of food I’m talking about is…

colorful…

organic…

flavorful…

raw…

fresh..

vegan…

gluten free…

clean…

It pisses me off that this type of food is so hard to find in the USA. It pisses me off how expensive it is to purchase these types of foods. However, it is important to me and I make it one of my highest priorities – and you should too.

I am always on a never ending quest to find new unique foods and recipes. My new favorite place to explore is Instagram (follow me!) I came across this fitness enthusiast/foodie BRIANNA_SKY, (follow her!) She has several recipes posted, but one that I had to try the Date Pie.

My version is a little bit different. This Date Pie consists of 5 ingredients.

Ingredients:

  1. Dark Chocolate Chips
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Almond Flour
  4. Pitted Dates
  5. Water

ingredients date pie

 

 

Tip: When buying Coconut Oil look for the higher quality and less processed. This will say words like unrefined, virgin, cold pressed, expeller-pressed, raw.

Directions:

  • Combine 1.5 cups of almond flour with 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a food processor or blender. Blend on pulse, until combined.
  • Take 1 cup of this mixture and press it to the bottom of a pie pan, forming pie crust. For a thicker crust, add oats. Keep the left over 1/2 cup of mixture and set a side.date pie crust
  • Combine 2 cups of pitted dates and 1/2 cup of water in food processor or blender. Blend on pulse, until jam like consistency.
  • Spread date mixture on top of newly made pie crust.
  • Take 1/2 cup left over pie crust that was set a side, and crumble it on top of date layer.¬†date pie crumbles
  • Combine dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan. Simmer on low, continuing to stir until chocolate is totally melted to a liquid.
  • Drizzle chocolate combination to top layer of pie. If you want to keep this pie 100% raw, omit this step.¬†date pie with chocolate
  • Put in freezer for 1 hour, or¬†refrigerate for 2 hours.date pie

This pie is amazing and super easy. There is no added sugar. There is only five ingredients. It is gluten free, organic, raw, and vegan.

Because I am cooking more and more, I am also going to add a recipe page, which will have links to every post I write with a recipe or is food related. So keep your eyes open for that.

I hope you all are having a wonder July 4th, and eating fabulous food.

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Alive Juices

I first learned about juicing when I read the book The Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr. Immediately after reading this book, I knew I had to try juicing. This led me to buying a juicer, purchasing organic produce, and later even growing my own organic vegetables.

Soon after learning how to make my own juices, I started to see juicing everywhere, including on Dr. Oz. It was refreshing to see that my new healthy habit became trendy and went main stream.

WHY JUICE?

The Pros
The health benefits of juicing are never ending. When you juice the organic produce’s enzyme, antioxidants, and vitamins are absorbed into the blood stream immediately. Consuming freshly juiced juice also helps balance the pH level of the body. Because these juices are normally alkaline they help eliminate any acidity and toxins.

The Cons
Even the most healthy, positive thing, has some negative traits. In order to achieve the most high quality juice, you need a cold pressed juicer. These juicers are very expensive. The more affordable juicers make fine juices, but these juices need to be drank immediately after juicing. The longer you let them sit, the more they loose their healthy benefits. Also juicing takes a lot of time, produce, money, and can be very messy.

However, these negative aspects can be eliminated with Alive Juices.

ALIVE JUICES

Alive juices

Alive Juices is a new juice company located in Washington, DC. They are unique and different from any other juice because…

  • They use USDA certified organic produced.
  • They freshly press their juices and do not pasteurize them, preserving all living nutrients and enzymes.
  • The juice recipes are NOT based on a raw food diet, but rather are based on nutritional research, which supports the combination of both raw and cooked ingredients. The goal is to ensure that all nutrients is absorbed directly by the body as efficiently as possible.
  • Alive Juices also used ingredients such as ginger, garlic and sprouts

Because of Alive Juices you can now have all the healthy benefits of juicing, but you don’t have to do any of the work.

No purchasing an expensive juicers.

No wasting your time shopping for organic ingredients.

No making the juice itself.

No cleaning up a messy kitchen.

Because, Alive Juices does all of the above and they deliver.

Alive Juice 2

MY REVIEW

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to try Alive Juices. The green one of course was my favorite. The thing that I liked best about the flavor of these juices is that they are not over powered by sweetness. The juice itself was very smooth and mild. These juices are amazing by themselves, but you could also get creative with them by blending them with your protein powder.

I am so happy Alive Juices stumbled upon my website, because their juices are amazing and they want to give you a gift. All of my readers receive 10% off their first purchase. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. And for more information on Alive Juices please check them out on Facebook.

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Beet and Lentil Dip

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Inspired by Hummus. On the right is Beet and Lentil dip.
Ingredients:
  1. 1 large roasted or boiled beet
  2. 1/2 cup of cooked green or black lentils
  3. lemon zest
  4. garlic clove
  5. 2 tbsp of cold pressed olive oil
  6. 2 tbsp of tahini
  7. sea salt

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pair with cut veggies and/or pita bread.

Note: This dip is sweeter than hummus. Feel free to add any other ingredients to enhance flavors. Get creative and make it your own.

Enjoy!

© 2013 sweatdaily

KALE: Your New Friend with Benefits!

Hi Lovelies!

I want to share with you my favorite leafy green!

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How my friendship with Kale began…

I started eating Kale a couple years back when I first discovered Kris Carr. I read her book, Crazy Sexy Diet and watched her documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer, and was totally inspired. This book is a must read, and the documentary is a must see.

Her Story…¬†

After being diagnosed with a slow moving rare cancer that has no cure, Kris Carr used food as her medicine. She became vegan, and ate a whole food mainly raw diet, based on an alkaline PH level. She juiced everyday, slurping down healthy gorgeous green juices made from kale.

How I eat Kale…

I love juicing Kale, or mixing it in with my protein shakes. I also love adding it to salads. I actually started eating Kale so often I started growing my own. Anyway, just recently I discovered this amazing Kale recipe in the cookbook I am obsessed with, Super Natural Everyday, by Heidi Swanson.

Miso-Curry Delicata Squash

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INGREDIENTS

  • Summer Squash
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1 tablespoon Thai curry paste
  • 4 medium new potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups chopped kale
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut squash and potatoes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, miso, and curry paste.
  • Combine squash and potatoes with miso-curry paste. Toss.
  • Roast in a glass baking pan for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft.
  • Add kale, lemon juice, tomatoes, pine nuts
  • Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let cool, add cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

This is a quick easy dish that taste amazing and is full of health benefits. This dish is organic, vegetarian/vegan. It can be eaten as a main dish or a side dish.

Questions for You…

  1. How do you eat kale?
  2. What is your favorite leafy green?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Clean Eating…

Keep-it-simple.-Eat-clean.5
So Lets talk about Eating Clean…

Eating Clean: To eat organic whole foods.  To eat 5-6 small well balanced meals a day,  consisting of a protein (does not have to be animal flesh) and complex carb. in 2-3 hour intervals. The idea is to fire up the metabolism, providing energy, and promoting weight loss.

 

eatclean

I have been really cleaning up my diet since the beginning of 2012. I would have to say I eat clean 80% of the time, so it is still something I am working on. The transition of Eating Clean is not the easiest or cheapest alternative, but it is totally worth it.  It makes you feel good Рfull of energy, and it taste amazing.

As you may know, my clean eating lifestyle began with the 2012 New Year’s resolution – To try one unique exotic food once a week.¬†This got me shopping at organic markets and local farmers markets. This led me to read books such as ¬†Skinny Bitches, The Eat Clean Diet, and¬†The Crazy Sexy Diet¬†which led me to buying a juicer. Which led me to start a veggie garden. Which led me to cook more vegetarian and vegan meals. Which led me to research more, read more, seek more knowledge.

 

eatclean2

All of this led me to crave a stronger body, in order to enhance myself as a runner. Now I am running further, faster, stronger. Eventually, this led me to start the Livefit trainer, which taught me how to meal prep. Which also taught about supplements and protein shakes. Which also taught me about calorie counting and carb-cycling. Which led me to using a kitchen scale, and measuring out my food. (I am not that picky though, and don’t always measure everything, but the point is I have the knowledge now, and tools, to do this if I desire too.)

eatclean3

Side note: (Although, I would like to point out that, I do not label myself as vegetarian or vegan. I would rather choose the purest form of food, the highest quality of food, the lesser of two evils. And take note on this, that in some cases the vegan option can be just as highly processed. For example, I would rather eat a local organic egg, then a highly processed powder egg substitute that is vegan. )

Which ever nutritional lifestyle you choose, whether Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, High Protein, when it comes down to it, most nutritional lifestyles include organic non-processed foods.

So start eliminating those processed foods from your diet today. Start eating clean. Trust me it is worth it!

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Oatcakes

Many coffee shops in San Francisco sells oatcakes.” – Heidi Swanson from Cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.

As long as I can remember, I have always loved oatmeal. As a child, I ate the sugar filled, fruit flavored, instant kind. However, now that I am eating clean, I have found a new love for organic rolled oats. I have been using these oats to make fresh homemade Muesli, Oatmeal, Granola made from scratch, and now Oatcakes.

Oats have a ton of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels. It is a great source of fiber, and very heart healthy.  You should definitely consider adding oats to your regular diet, and you can start today by making these Oatcakes.

oat cakes final

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup dried apricot, chopped ( I added this)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 natural cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • wheat germ (I added this)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 325 F
  • Combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds, walnuts, wheat germ, apricots in a large mixing bowl.oatcakes mixture
  • In a medium pan over low heat combine coconut oil, butter, maple syrup,and sugar and slowly melt.oatcakes butter
  • Pour the heated mixture over the dry mixture add two eggs, mix well.oat cakes mix
  • Spoon the dough mixture into muffin cup tray, almost filling cups full.¬†oatcakes muffin
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, let cool, and enjoy!oat cakes final

I have been enjoying these in the morning time, before or after a work out. I have also carried these around with me to snack during the day. You will love these, I promise.

What is your favorite way to eat or use rolled oats?

© 2013 sweatdaily

I was in a Sweet and Spicy kinda mood!

Today…

I ran.

I bought groceries.

I gardened.

Today…

Although, I did all of the above, I will admit, I spent most of my day playing in my kitchen…

I was in a Sweet and Spicy kind of mood…

so I baked these…

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These are homemade Ginger Cookies, from my favorite cookbook, Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson. If you have been following my blog, then this book will be familiar to you, for I have shared with you several of her recipes. She’s the best!

Sweet Tooth

Because I am an endurance athlete, I normally crave healthy fats and salty food. However, sometimes, I desperately desire something sweet – I am human.

Ginger and Cacao

Along with sweet, my all time favorite ingredient is ginger! I love, love, love ginger – can’t even express how much. Ginger also has many health benefits, including being an anti-inflammatory, and improving digestive health. Lately, I have been cooking with it quite a bit. So when I came across this recipe, I just had to try it. This recipe also includes Cacao, which is known for being rich with disease fighting antioxidants. I am a chocolate lover, so this was definitely a plus. I mean, if I am going to indulge in something sweet, I want ¬†to go all out, and have a pastry made from high quality ingredients. I also think everything taste better when you cook or bake it yourself. It is true, give it a try.

So here we go…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao)
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2/3 sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Shave chocolate into large bowl.shaved choco

shave chocolate

 

  • In another large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt.¬†ginger cookies flour
  • Heat butter, molasses, sugar and fresh ginger in a pan on medium heat.¬†molassesginger
  • beat egg, mix into warm mixture in pan. Note: The yolk is very deep in color, because they are organic and from a local east coast farm. It makes a big difference in flavor.¬†eggs
  • Chop dried apricots.apricots
  • Pour mixture from stove over flour mixture. Add apricots. Stir.
  • Stir in chocolate.chocolate
  • Scoop dough with a spoon and roll into little balls. I dipped every other dough ball into sugar. Place each dough ball onto parchment paper cookie sheet.¬†cookies 2
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy!Cookies

These Ginger Cookies definitely met all of my standards. They are made from all of the highest quality organic ingredients. They not only taste amazing because I made them from scratch myself, but they also made my whole house smell sweet and spicy.

So if you are in a sweet and spicy kinda mood… these are a must try!

What Sweet and Spicy combos are your favorite?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Black Bean Pasta

About two weeks ago, I was browsing the isles of MOM’s Organic Market, and I came across this…

pasta

Black Bean Spaghetti! 

This pasta is amazing. It is gluten free, organic, and contain 20.5 grams of protein per serving.  The ingredients listed are two things, organic black beans, and water Рit is that simple.

For those that are clean eating or consuming a plant based diet, this pasta is an amazing protein option.

Pasta Toppings

Sometimes when trying a new pasta, one may question what to top it off with. Well tonight, I literally used whatever I had on hand.

Ingredients

  • onion
  • sweet potato
  • olive oil
  • carrots
  • mushrooms
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • egg
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbsp of shoyu
  • sea salt

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This dish is salty, sweet, delicious. It is colorful too! A must try!

© 2013 sweatdaily

Protein Shake Recipe!

Lets talk about clean eating…

As you all may know, I am currently doing the Livefit trainer by Jamie Eason. Besides the daily weight lifting and cardio sessions, Jamie Eason teaches us how to eat clean. Boy have I learned a lot! For those that are totally clueless, (don’t worry if you are, I was too at one point) she has a meal plan written out, along with grocery list, videos, and recipes… all on bodybuilding.com.

Here is what goes down…

  1. The meals consists of mainly a protein, complex carb, and healthy fat.
  2. Ideally, with in an hour of waking eat your first clean meal, then continue to eat 5-6 small clean meals a day in 3 hour intervals.
  3. Never workout on an empty stomach.
  4. Use measuring tools, such as a scale, to get exact portions.
  5. Use apps, such as fitness pal to record calories. It is important to get at least 1600-2000 calories in order to build muscle, (but it also depends on your size/BMR.)

When reading this reviews on this trainer, a lot of people claimed they were vegetarian and following the meal plan was impossible. But nothing is impossible.¬†If you are vegetarian or vegan, you should be getting the same amount of protein as someone who eats meat. I am not going to label myself as a vegetarian or vegan, but I do cook most of my meals meatless. I will eat eggs and fish, but for those who don’t…¬†Stop thinking that protein is animal flesh,¬†because it doesn’t have to be. ¬†You can sub, animal protein for many things example: beans, or lentils, and there are tons of vegetables that are a great protein source.

image

I found these charts on google, while researching protein for you guys!

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Supplements

Along with a multivitamin, BCAA, and fish oil/flaxseed oil, Jamie Eason suggests we drink a protein shake. Research claims that if you drink a protein shake with in 30 minutes to an hour after exercise, you will see more muscle growth/recovery, and less soreness.

I have always been a very big fan of juicing. I will make a green juice a couple times of week and have been simply adding my protein powder to that. I actually started to grow my own kale in my vegetable garden because I use it so often. But right now during these cold months of winter, a lot of produce is not in season at the moment, so I have recently began playing around with different ingredients. I finally came up with this amazing protein shake.

Protein Shake Recipe

protein shake

I know it looks like a Starbucks coffee drink, but the reusable travel plastic cups work perfect for protein shakes.

Ingredients

  1. 1 banana, (really good source of potassium, which helps with muscle cramping.)
  2. Cacao powder (good source of antioxidants)
  3. Chocolate protein powder (I use Vega Sport because it is vegan, soy free, and created by an iron man athlete.)vega
  4. Wheat Germ (good source of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, very good amount of protein, 27g per 115-gram serving.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/2707-facts-health-benefits-wheat-germ/#ixzz2MtlCygsN

  5. Flax seeds (omega 3s)
  6. Coconut Water (good source of potassium, and hydrating)
  7. Spoon full of organic all natural peanut butter (make sure nothing is added. This is an additional source of protein and healthy fat.)

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This protein shake recipe is very high in protein, heathy fats, and potassium. It is also enriched with other vitamins, and omega 3s. I drink this to refuel after my workout, and use this as one of my my meals.

No need to waste calories on Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. It definitely satisfies my chocolate and peanut butter craving.

Question for You

  1. What is your favorite ingredient for a protein shake?
  2. What is your favorite protein powder?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Vegan Strawberry Waffles

“That’s when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.” ¬† ¬†–¬†words of wisdom by Scott Jurek

Along with doing Jamie Eason’s, Livefit trainer, I am currently reading Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek. I have to get my run fix in somehow, and because Phase 1 of livefit bands running, I decide to read about ultrarunning.

Eat and Run, is about Scott Jurek’s life as a ultramarathon runner and his transition of becoming a vegan. This book is perfect for me because I too am a runner, who eats mostly a plant based diet. I am always challenging myself to cook as many vegan dishes as possible, and this book is full of amazing recipes.

I plan on trying every recipe in this book, and ¬†so far I have tried the Vegan Chili, and the Apple Cinnamon Granola. What I love most about his recipes is how full and satisfied you feel after eating them. When people think of vegan meals, most of the time they think it will be a light meal, lacking protein – but that doesn’t have to be the case. Scott Jurek doesn’t just proof that, but he out does himself with each new recipe I try.

Today, I attended my friend’s baby shower, which in our world, is translated into a vegan brunch. So I woke up early to prepare the food I was bringing. Normally I don’t plan ahead, but because others would be eating my food, I decided to test it first. So earlier this past week I whipped up a batch of Scott Jurek’s Vegan Strawberry Pancakes.

“Then one Sunday morning, after a 20 mile run… I served them my first batch of banana-strawberry vegan pancakes. They were golden brown and sweet dense, and hearty. The fruit flavors met on my tongue, then tangled together in a way fruit flavors had never done before. That is when I decided I could live without butter and eggs. ” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† – Scott Jurek

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour (I didn’t have this one, so I just omitted it and added extra oat flour.)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour. (I used a 1/2 a cup of oat flour to make up for the buckwheat flour I didn’t have.)
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 cup barley flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal (You can use either yellow corn or blue.)
  • 1/4 ground flax seed or chai seed (I used flax seeds and ground them up in food processor.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 cups of rice milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • strawberries and bananas (I used fresh strawberries not bananas, but you can do any fruit you would like or add nuts.)
  • wheat germ¬†(I added this, for additional nutrition.)
  • maple syrup for topping

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine flours, baking powder, salt, wheat germ, and ground seeds in a large mixing bowl.¬†pancakes
  • Add rice milk, olive oil, agave nectar, and vanilla. Mix well.pancakes2
  • Grease a skillet with coconut oil and heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour 1/2 -3/4 cup of bater onto the skillet for each pancake.pancakes3
  • Cook until golden brown and then flip.
  • Top with strawberry or maple syrup or both. I made strawberry topping by throwing a bunch of strawberries in a food processor.¬†pancakes4

I was beyond impressed with this batter, however for the baby shower, aka, the vegan brunch, I used the same batter recipe, but made waffles instead. The reason I went for the waffle over the pancake is simply because it looks prettier. I guess it is my artist side coming out, but no matter what I make or create it has to be visually beautiful. And although, Scott Jurek made pancakes, my pancakes always look sloppy, while my waffles always look perfect. waffles

At the brunch everyone loved the waffles.

As for a brunch beverage, I juiced a bunch of minneolas. Minneolas is a fruit that is part of the citrus family. It is a mix between a grapefruit and tangerine. They are very juicy, so they make for a good fruit to juice. I bought them fresh and organic from MOM’s organic market. One of the employes there let me sample one, to make sure it was sweet and not sour. They ended up being very sweet and made a wonderful juice.

juice

Both the batter and the juice are two recipes that you have to try.

Questions for You?

  1. What is your favorite fruit juice?
  2. Do you like pancakes or waffles better?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Protein Bar Recipe

Quick update on Livefit…

Today, 2/3/13, was Phase 1, Week 2, day 10. I can’t believe how fast 10 days came and went. Remember this is the muscle building phase. No Cardio for me, which means NO RUNNING. I have missed running, but have been able to tolerate the no cardio rule, because the weather has been so cold and snowy. Anyway, I have been really enjoying the strength training exercises that Jamie Eason has mapped out for us. I have been pretty sore too, so that means I have been working hard, right? The only thing is that in these first 2 weeks there are a total of 3 consecutive rest days. This is a lot of rest days, for me, because I am use to exercising 5-6 times a week. But I know next week there will only be 2 rest days, and later in the trainer there are weeks when I will be working out 6 days a week. So I am just going to cherish this last week of that consists of three consecutive rest days. Your muscles need rest in oder to grow, so these rest days are important.

When it comes to the nutrition plan the only thing I have really struggled with is eating enough – so I am going to work on that.

On Friday, after my gym session, J and I decided to try to bake Jamie Eason’s homemade Protein Bars. This recipe fits in the”Clean Eating” category, and is actually pretty easy to accomplish.

Chocolate Protein Bars

  • 96 calories
  • 1.4 grams fat
  • 12 grams carbs
  • 10 grams protein

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp ¬†baking cocoa
  • 4 egg whites
  • 8 oz berry flavor baby food, or apple sauce
  • 4 oz water
  • sugar: (splenda, stevia, sugar- which ever one you desire)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all dry ingredients: 1 cup oat flour, 2 scoops vanilla protein powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa.
  • Mix all wet ingredients: egg whites apple sauce.
  • Add sugar, (in this recipe I used stevia) to the wet ingredients.
  • Combine all ingredient together in a big mixing bowl, add water.
  • Pour mixed ingredients into a class baking pan.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Eat and enjoy

All of the ingredients I used were all natural, and organic.

Dry Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

The bars fresh out of the oven. Tasted like a brownie. YUM!

The bars fresh out of the oven. Tasted like a brownie. YUM!

It is best to cook or bake your own meals/snacks because you know exactly what ingredients are used. You should try these bars! They are easy to make, and will be an awesome snack post work out.

Click here, if you want to watch a video of Jamie Eason making these protein bars.

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite protein bar?
  2. Have you ever made your own?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

SweetGreen Obsessed

 

 

I want to share with you my new obsession…

sweetgreen

Finally, there is a restaurant that has food which is convenient and fast, but also raw and organic. sweetgreen is this place. This company sources ingredients, that are fresh and organic, which comes from local farmers.

Their menu consists of a wide variety of organic raw vegetables- arugula, spinach, kale, beets, avocado are to name a few. They also have some plant based proteins, all organic – black beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu. They have an array of organic grains to choose from, spicy quinoa, and soba noodles. They have a variety of nuts, cheeses, dried fruit, and meats. ¬†If you don’t want to make your own combination, choose from some of their signature salads, such as the Misoba. Bored of salad, you can make it, into a wrap.

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sweetgreen also has a variety of cold pressed juices to choose from. Because they are simply made from only veggies and fruits, the sooner you drink it the better. By drinking it with in the day you by it, your body will absorb more of the health benefits. If you wait to long, you risk the growth of bacteria – that is how natural it is.

385278_10100949363969046_1724452313_nLOCATIONS

I am one lucky girl… sweetgreen is not a big chain. It is only located in DC, MD, VA, and PA. I feel so privileged to live in an area that has not just one sweetgreen but many. It has become a popular place, in the area, which makes me so happy. I am a DC native. And people in our area are becoming more health conscious, then ever before.

Are you curious how health conscious your city is? Check out this article that lists the top 10 healthiest cities. DC made number 4.

If you ever visit the DC area you must stop in to sweetgreen!

Do you have a place like sweetgreen in your area?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Clean Eating, Rest Days, Livefit

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow are rest days in the Livefit trainer. Yesterday, was a perfect day for me to have a rest day, because it was Tuesday. Tuesday always ends up being really busy for me, because I have my art class in the morning, and then I head straight to work. But because of that, I wasn’t able to prepare any meals for the day. I did the best I could under the circumstances, but there were times when I felt hungry, and I don’t think I got enough calories. Remember, I am suppose to be eating immediately when I wake up, and then in three hour intervals. I also did not have a protein shake- this was a major fail.

On rest days, I am not working out, and should have more time to focus on nutrition.  So Today, Wednesday Р1/30/13, is another rest day! Have I mentioned how sore I am?

Today, I was going to go for a short run because a warm front came through and it is 65 degrees out. However, it is also overcast and looks like rain. This was a really hard decision for me, but I actually decided to skip the run and stick to the plan, of “NO CARDIO” in Phase 1. So instead I used this time to prepare my meals for the day. I have noticed eating small clean meals on regular intervals have really given me tons of energy. I haven’t felt tired, or had headaches, but instead super energized. I also have noticed that when before I wasn’t a morning eater and didn’t begin having an appetite until the afternoon, I now¬†wake up, hungry.

Below are some examples of the clean foods I ate today.

livefit toast

For breakfast, instead of having my normal, hard boiled eggs and greek yogurt with homemade granola, I saved those for later, and had toast with almond butter. ¬†I used Ezekiel bread as my toast. I have been wanting to get my hands on Ezekiel bread for some time now, but could never find it. I finally found it in the freezer section at MOM’s. J and I split a loaf because I don’t eat that much bread and didn’t want to have a whole loaf and let half go bad. Anyway, this bread is all natural, organic. It’s ingredients are inspired by the biblical passage Ezekiel 4:9, hence its name. This bread is high in fiber and protein, while being totally flourless.

livefit veggiesLater in the day, I ate an arrangement of organic veggies with organic hummus. Have you ever had hummus with cilantro in it? This is my new favorite!

lifefit shakeI also prepared a protein shake with Vega protein. I juiced kale, celery, and pineapple. I poured the juice over the protein powder and added some coconut water. Really yummy drink.

Anyway, those are just some examples of some things I munched on today. I am hoping these clean meals inspire you, and give you new ideas of things to pack for your day.

Questions for You…

  1. Do you eat on regular intervals?
  2. Have you ever made your own hummus?
  3. What is your favorite “clean eating” meal?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Granola… made from scratch!

Granola is a great addition to your breakfast greek yogurt. It is also a great snack item you can pick on through out the day. However, store bought granola can be very fattening and overloaded with sugar. So that is why I am suggesting you make your own. You become in complete control when you mix your own batch. You can also get very creative by using any spices and flavors you desire. For example, my cousin Shelly, mentioned using spices you would find in Chai Tea, in your granola.

In the last week, I randomly came across two different granola recipes in two different books I have been reading. It must be a sign, right? I thought to myself, I must try to make this. So I did, and it was super easy, satisfying, tasty.

This Granola recipe is from the book, Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek.

INGREDIENTS

  • rolled oats
  • hemp milk
  • coconut oil (to coat bottom of baking pan)
  • apple, cored and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup or 1 tbsp of agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • wheat germ (I added, not from original recipe)
  • flax seeds (I added, not from original recipe)

DIRECTIONS

  • Soak four cups of rolled oats in hemp milk over night. Make sure hemp milk is covering all of the oats. Hemp milk softens the oats, and adds a creamy sweetness. Hemp milk is also rich with omega 3 fatty acids.¬†GRANOLA 1
  • After oats have soaked in hemp milk overnight. Drain excess milk, that wasn’t absorbed from oats.granola 2
  • Cut apples.granola 3
  • Add coconut flakes, apples, cinnamon, sweetener, vanilla, and salt to the oats.¬†granola 4
  • Put mixture into food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Scrape sides and process for another 30 seconds, if necessary.Granola 5
  • After processed, transfer to a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, raisins, and wheat germ.granola 6
  • Coat bottom of baking pan with coconut oil. Spread mixture to pan and bake for 2 hours in oven heated to 250 degrees. Check sporadically flipping granola ever so often to make it into crispy golden clusters.

Final Result

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So there you have it! This recipe is really easy. And although, it took  2 hours to bake, it is well worth it because it makes your home smell like amazing apple cinnamon!

What is your favorite flavor of Granola!? Lets trade recipes!

© 2013 sweat daily

Farro Soup

Today, I woke up totally disappointed, to cold and fog, but it later cleared up and the sun came out, so of course I went for a run. Then once I got home, I started to cook up a storm. The first thing I baked was granola from scratch. (I will write a granola post tomorrow.) The second thing I made was an amazing vegan/vegetarian soup that even my boyfriend, the meat eater, gobbled up.

As you may know, soups are one of my favorite things to cook and eat. Soups can be so hearty and satisfying. They can warm you up on a cold winter day. They can cure the common cold.

This soup recipe is called Farro Soup, from my favorite cook book, Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson. If you don’t already have this cook book, you should get it asap. It is a must have… a kitchen essential.

Of course I put my own little twist on the recipe, so it is not exactly the same as the one from the cook book.

INGREDIENTS 

  • olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled, diced
  • 3 large carrots peeled, diced (This is not part of the original recipe. I added these. I love carrots in soup.)
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†turmeric powder¬†(This is not part of the original recipe.)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder¬†(This is not part of the original recipe.)
  • a handful or semi-pearled farro
  • A little more than 1 cup of black lentils
  • 6-7 cups of water
  • 2 cubes of vegan¬†vegetable bouillon
  • greek yogurt
  • lemon juice
  • lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

  • Add onions, sweet potatoes, carrots to a large soup pot, with heated olive oil.soup
  • When veggies are soft and golden add curry powder, turmeric, cumin, salt.soup2
  • Add 6-7 cups of water and 2 cubes of vegan vegetable bouillon.
  • Add farro and lentils.
  • Bring broth to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.soup3
  • Taste and season with more salt if needed. Taste and make sure farro and lentils are fully cooked.
  • In a side bowl, add yogurt, squeeze lemon, and stir.
  • Serve soup, top with lemon yogurt and sprinkle lemon zest.

    The Final result!

    The Final result!

This soup is super quick and really simple to make. It is also really hearty, super satisfying, extremely healthy, and very delicious. It is vegetarian, but if you are vegan omit the yogurt step.

© 2013 sweatdaily

Beans magically transformed into Vegan Chili

A couple Saturdays ago, I woke up to a gray sky and a light dusting of snow. Immediately, I felt like comfort food, but along with comfort food comes the butter, gravy, FAT. Finding something that would satisfy my craving for comfort, warm me up, but still be healthy, became my saturday mission.

My boyfriend had mentioned that Chili sounded really good, and that there was no need to run to the grocery store for ingredients. Among his stash of canned soup, canned fruit, and jarred spaghetti sauces, he had a gigantic can of chili waiting to be opened and warmed up in the microwave.

YUCK! Absolutely NOT! ¬†There is little to none, nutritional value in any canned goods.¬†¬†I don’t eat anything canned.¬†Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would. Making soups and sauces are not only my favorite things to cook, but it is also one of the easiest things to cook.

So that snowy morning, I went to MOM’s Organic Market to pick up the ingredients I would need to make my homemade Chili.

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I used the recipe Spicy Heirloom Been Chili from Rachael Tibbits as a reference. I did change it up a bit to put my own twist on things.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of dried beans
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions diced
  • 1 green pepper
  • garlic cloves diced or minced
  • carrots
  • sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 28 oz. (In this case, it is okay to use a can, but only here. Canned tomatoes are full of flavor.)
  • chipotle in adobo peppers, diced. (I used 2. But use as many as you would like. The more you use the more smoky hot your chili will be. Illuminate seeds to reduce spice.)
  • 1 tbsp. of raw cocoa powder
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • harissa

DIRECTIONS: Vegan Chili

  • When it comes to dry beans, it is better to soak them over night. However, if you didn’t plan in advance, you can fill 2 cups of dry beans, whichever you like or have on hand, with 4 cups of water. Tip you can also use a dry bean soup mix.bean soup
  • Do not salt the beans. Bring that water to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Try a few beans ¬†to make sure they are tender.
  • When beans are tender drain any extra water.
  • In a separate skillet, heat olive oil, saute onions, green pepper, and garlic over medium heat.

chili 1

  • Add sweet potatoes and carrots to onions.

chili 2

  • When tender and golden brown add these to the pot of beans.
  • Add chili powder, cumin, oregano.
  • Add 1 cup water.
  • Add tomatoes.
  • Add diced up chipotle in adobo.
  • Add cocoa.
  • Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Serve, topping the dish off with lime, cilantro, and harissa.

chili 6

The finished result.

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So my boyfriend refused to eat vegan chili so I had to make him a side of meat. This is how I added meat to his meal with out contaminating my vegan chili.

DIRECTIONS: A side of meat for the meat lover!

The ingredients for this was bought at the local grocery store, not an organic market.

  • Fry bacon over the stove in a large skillet. Once bacon is crispy remove from heat and set aside. Pat dry access oil.¬†
  • In the same skillet, saute diced onions, green peppers, and garlic.
  • Add corn.
  • Add ground beef
  • Once everything is cooked add bacon in cut up pieces.

chili 4

  • For your meat lover. Put meat mixture at the bottom of a bowl. Layer it with the Vegan Chili. Top off with cheese and sour cream.

chili 5

BEANS I use to hate them…

It is funny how our taste buds change, or maybe, it is just our personalities maturing, but as a young adult I never cared much for beans. I never liked Chili. I never put beans in my burritos. When eating out at a Mexican restaurant, I always substituted my side of beans for an extra side of rice. However, now that I am eating mostly a plant based diet, I am exploring the wide variety of beans that are out there. And the more I branch out the more I am finding that I am not only enjoying them, but actually loving them.

Also beans are super nutritious. They are low in Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Cholesterol. They are a good source of Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. They are rich in Protein and Fiber.  They are also a mild inflammatory. Lean the difference nutritional value between canned beans vs. dried beans here.

As you may know, ever since I bought the cookbook Super Natural Every Day, I am now currently obsessed with recipes by Heidi Swanson. ¬†One of my favorite quotes of the book is…

“I like to get to know each individual type of bean, and when I’m trying a new one, I prepare it simply so I can acquaint myself with its unique flavor, texture, and personality. This helps me develop a sense of what I might do the next time to highlight the uniqueness of the bean. Some beans are thin-skinned, some are thick, some lend themselves to a pureed soup, while some are better whole.”

This year as I continue on with my last year’s New Years resolution- trying one unique food a week. I am now going to try more varieties of dry organic beans. I have a feeling that this will lead me to many stored mason jars of different types. Call me a nerd, or maybe I am becoming a true foodie.¬†Who knew my interest in vegan cooking and nutrition would lead me to a collection of beans.

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite comfort food?
  2. What is your favorite beans?

© 2013 sweatdaily

New Years Resolution for 2013

My last post focussed on the idea that setting a New Years Resolution is unnecessary for me because it is in my nature to strive to be the best I can be. Because of this, I set goals for myself in most aspects of my life, sometimes not even realizing I do. And when those goals are met, I set new ones. Always challenging myself.

However, ever since I was a little girl, I have always set a New Years Resolution so although, it is not necessary, I will continue the tradition for fun, and set one for this year.

In 2011, I was in a rut. I use to speed through the grocery store throwing the same items in my cart every time. And most days, it was just faster and easier¬†ordering the same take out everyday. ¬†Although fast and easy, I was getting really bored, plus take out definitely was not the healthiest option. So I decided my New Years Resolution for 2012 was to try one new exotic food a week. This New Years Resolution was¬†not only really fun, but it was more specific then saying, I was going to eat healthier- making it easier to follow. ¬†This New Years Resolution made me leave my comfort zone, as¬†I started to explore Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and local farmer’s markets, on a constant quest for a new unique flavor. ¬†After purchasing these new exotic flavors, I realized I did not have a clue to how to prepare them, so this New Years Resolution also made me seek knowledge, which led me to new blogs, and later creating this blog. It also led me to the kitchen, forcing me to cook, later discovering a new passion. So as you can see, one small change/goal/challenge can lead to an array of others.

This year, 2013, I want to continue on with my last years resolution of trying unique food, and cooking new recipes- mostly plant based and organic. I can’t give that up, it is now a part of me. What use to be uncomfortable, has now become my comfort. However, with that being said, my New Years Resolution for 2013 is to get my kitchen perfectly organized, in a way that will better suit my way of cooking.

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces in a home. Trust me, a bad kitchen can make you struggle as a cook Рit being to small, no storage, no dishwasher. A very bad kitchen can make you never ever want to cook- appliances being old and out of date.  A really really bad kitchen can make you never want to store food or eat there ever- small, no storage, no dishwasher, appliances super old, unusable. I have lived in places that have had really really old bad kitchens.

In May of 2012, our dream came true. My boyfriend and I moved into our very own home, after two years of searching. (It was totally worth the wait.) But we are in the city, and being in a city means places are tiny. So although, the kitchen is my favorite space in our new home, it still is a bit small. This year I want to organize my tiny kitchen so it maximizes the space. I want to find new ways of storage and displaying things, but still keeping it minimal.

This is what I have come up with so far…

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These are stainless steel magnetic spice holders. I love them. I have them stuck on the side of my fridge. ¬†They have holes on the side – smaller side to sprinkle, larger side to get a good amount of spice out. I don’t have much cabinet space, so this frees up a shelf that would have been taken up with spices. Before I use to hate digging in the cabinet to find a spice. Sometimes I would think I had a spice and then I didn’t. Other times I would not see a spice and I would but two of the same. With these spice holders stuck to the side of my fridge I can see what I have, and what I don’t. I also can easily reach for a spice whenever I need it. I picked these up at Bed Bath and Beyond.

63613_10100914740519716_1795314128_nThese are my favorite. I found these at Anthropologie. I first got the bigger size ones, that hold pasta, but I ran back and got these smaller ones as well. The size of these are 8 oz. They are a significant amount larger than the magnetic spice holders. I decided to store some of my favorite go to ingredients in these containers. All of these ingredients are raw, natural, organic. They are full of antioxidants, and I usually use them in my my morning smoothies, oat meal, or muesli. I am glad they are close at hand. My favorite part of these containers are the chalk boards. I also love the fact that you don’t have to commit to one ingredient being in one jar. When you are done with the ingredient and the jar is empty, ¬†you can easily erase the name on the chalk board, rinse out the jar, and replace it with something else.

602950_10100914738718326_557535506_nIn this photo, I wanted to point out two things – my magnetic knife strip and my utensil holder.

Once again hanging your knives is a brilliant idea because they are easily accessible and they free up a drawer. Also try to invest in a good set of knives. Good knives make prep work fast and easy.

As for my utensil holder, it is one of my favorite things in my kitchen. The pottery is hand made, by an artist that sells his work at Eastern Market. My Aunt Kathy, when she came to visit, bought it for me as a house warming present. I think it is beautiful and does a great job holding all of my kitchen utensils. Again it is nice to have everything accessible. All of my wooden spoons are right there at reach, whenever I need them. Just as it is good to invest in a good set of knives, you should also invest in a good set of wooden spoons. These spoons are carved from olive wood from Italy, that I hand wash only.

1127_10100913259757176_1044208321_nMy sister J, bought this tea kettle for me as one of my Christmas presents! It is by far one of my favorite things I got for Christmas! I rarely microwave anything. I boil water for hot tea. I boil water for oat meal. I am always boiling water. So instead of wasting a pot, I leave this on my stove, and only use it for water.

I will never forget my water is boiling because it whistles when it is ready. My favorite thing about this tea kettle is the color. Turquoise is my favorite color, and the accent color for the rest of my house. She found this piece at World Market!

314093_10100688154270376_747974023_nThis is my pot holder! I highly recommend you hang your pots and pans. Again this makes your pots and pans accessible, and you are freeing up a drawer or cabinet.

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So this is a photo of my kitchen! The pots and pans are hanging on the other side next to the fridge. There are still some things I need to work through, but I think this is a really good start. Because I have been enjoying my kitchen, cooking has become enjoyable. I actually have been cooking up a storm, and I have four new recipes to tell you about, a new spice to tell you to try… so keep your eyes open, I will be posting those in the next couple of days.

So that sums up my New Years Resolution for 2013… which I am only setting not because it is necessary, but because it is tradition and fun!

198580664791257349_rtdvtzuf_cQuestions for You…

  1. What is your New Years Resolution for 2013?
  2. What is your favorite space in your home?
  3. Do you have any fun storage ideas for your kitchen?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

super natural every day

Does anyone else get super overwhelmed with Christmas shopping? It should be fun, right? Because my family is childless, the idea of adults buying presents for adults seems kind of silly. However, I am a knitter, so I almost always hand make most of my gifts. But this year, I found myself on a desperate hunt for that special something, which holds the qualities of unique and creative, but also thoughtful and useful. The problem was I kept finding that special something that would be unique and useful for me…

For example, I was in Anthropologie and I found Super Natural Every Day, a cookbook written by Heidi Swanson. She opens this book telling us about her home San Francisco. Her descriptions are so lovely, it made me want to move there asap. She also gives us a peek inside her cupboard and pantry. She tells us where she shops for food, as she teaches us the ultimate definition of Natural.

foodbook

As I said before, I was in search for something unique and useful. This book meets those qualities because in this country every day is a challenge to eat organic and vegetarian.

Changing the subject now…

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to eat one unique exotic food I had never tried before, every week. This made me on a constant quest to seek knowledge on these new foods I discovered. It forced me to go to local farmers markets, my favorite one being the Crystal City Farmer’s Market. I would rush over there on Tuesday, during my break at work. What I loved most about this market is that it was on a weekday so most of the time the farmers were there themselves working the stand.

farms

farmstomato

farmsorganicI also started to explore some of the organic grocery stores, becoming a regular shopper at Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and rarely, but sometimes Trader Joe’s. Although, they are expensive, my health is worth the money, (and so is yours!)

10392_10100905332643176_561693244_nWhen it comes to Whole Foods verse MOM’s, Whole Foods is much bigger and has more options. However, MOM’s has less imported things, most of their products are more locally grown. It is smaller, but their selection is more exclusive. When it comes to Trader Joe’s, I like it, but I feel like the store has a lot of packaged items, which is not really my thing. I don’t snack much, and although packaged products can be organic or vegan, I much rather get the whole food.

back to the book…

So lets get back to the fabulous cookbook, Super Natural Everyday. The title of this book says it all. This is the way I want to eat, cook, live. Every attempt, I have made at being vegetarian has failed in the past because I simply didn’t feel full with out animal protein. This September when I decided to give it a try again, I decided I am not going to label myself as anything. I simply decided to ease into it by having meatless and dairy-free days. Now I am buying fabulous cookbooks like this one, and learning how to cook more vegetarian/vegan meals.

The meal I decided to try was her stuffed tomatoes, but instead of using six tomatoes, I used three tomatoes, two green peppers, and two portobello mushrooms. I actually ended up liking the portobello mushroom best.

foodSimply wash them, and clean out the insides only saving the tomato insides. Put those a side in a large mixing bowl.

food2Add shallots, garlic, basil, harissa, olive oil, salt, yogurt, couscous. Stuff the vegetables to the top and cook them for 50-60 mins in a 350 degree hot oven.

foodstuffed

Now this is what I am talking about! This is a must try delicious recipe, and the best part is that it is a filling satisfied vegetarian dish.

For more info on Heidi Swanson you can check out her personal site here. You can also purchase her book, Super Natural Every Day, at Anthropologie.

© 2012 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin!

I know… Thanksgiving was soo last week.

But I can’t help it, I have to share with you, this amazing pumpkin pie I made, ate, and now keep wishing I still had some left.

It is funny, how the mind works… When I was thinking about what I was going to prepare for my portion of my family’s thanksgiving dinner, I kept thinking about the Oprah show.

Back in the day, I remember watching Oprah, and this amazing pie was made on her show. So I went to her website and with a simple search of the word pumpkin, there it was… I was so thankful the recipe was still there on her site.

PUMPKIN CHIFFON PIE

click here for recipe found on Oprah’s site.

INGREDIENTS – exactly the same from original recipe on Oprah’s site, except for those in bold text.

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. giner
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I used organic, or better yet make your own pumpkin puree with a real pumpkin.)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust ( I did not store buy my crust, I made mine from scratch. I will teach you how below.)
  • Whipped cream for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Now this is how we do it…

Part 1 – Pumpkin

  1. In a pan, over the stove, combine gelatin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg.
  2. Then stir in egg yolks, milk, pumpkin.
  3. Cook over heat, until bubbles and thickens.
  4. Remove from heat, chill in fridge until it is partially set, no less than 1 hour.
  5. Remove chilled pumpkin mixture and give it a stir.
and this is what your pumpkin filling should look like so far.

And this is what your pumpkin filling should look like so far.

Part 2 –¬†Whipped Cream

  1. Pour heavy cream into a bowl.
  2. Use an electrical better and whip it until whipped cream forms.
Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream

Part 3 –¬†Pumpkin Filling

  1. Use a different bowl and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.
  3. Combine both fresh whipped cream and egg whites and sugar with pumpkin.
  4. Fold ingredients together until totally combined.
  5. Pumpkin filling should be light and fluffy.
  6. Set aside.

Part 4 – Crust

In the recipe found on Oprah’s site, they used a store bought crust. I made my own. This is what I did…

  1. Take a box of graham crackers, remove two packs from the box.
  2. Crush and crumble graham crackers.
  3. Melt one stick of butter in the microwave, or over the stove. Whichever method you prefer. I quickly melted my butter in the microwave.
  4. Add graham cracker crumbs to a pie pan.
  5. Add melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs in the pie pan.
  6. Use your hands to mold the graham cracker and butter combo in shape of the pie pan. Making sure the bottom and walls of the pan are completely covered. Make your crust as thick as you want by adding more crushed up graham crackers. 

Part 5 – The Pie

  1. Pour pumpkin filling mixer into pie crust.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Top the pie off with extra whipped cream when serving. TIP: If you put the whipped cream on to soon and it ends up sitting out the whipped cream may melt. So I always  just put the whipped cream on each slice when serving.
Pumpkin Pie! Yum! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie! Yum! Enjoy!

I hope you choose to make this pie. Enjoy it during your next holiday party!

My sister and I on Thanksgiving! Finally you can see me without my running clothes on.

My sister and I on Thanksgiving! Finally you can see me without my running clothes on.

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite holiday food?
  2. Is it pumpkin pie?

© 2012 sweatdaily