KALE: Your New Friend with Benefits!

Hi Lovelies!

I want to share with you my favorite leafy green!

20130330-173956.jpg

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

8402_10101054140241556_1347852881_n

 

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

 

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…

487469_10101045519567456_881792509_n

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

 

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

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

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…

397593_10100914958477926_937494359_n-1

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.

386579_10100914743578586_1741409132_n

 

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