Catchy Title

Hello eaters!
Long time no talk, right? It does feel like forever, even though it was only a weekend. But its been a long few days and I feel totally spent.
I was also feeling quite spent yesterday when I made my grocery list. I had little to no clue what I wanted to eat this week except for one small thing. Considering I’m leaving on Friday to go home, I knew I shouldn’t be cooking up a storm, but still. I literally walked into Earth Fare with broccoli, chocolate, peanut butter, and fruit on my list.
Somehow I don’t think that will sustain me for a week.
So I wandered around aimlessly and eventually spent almost all my budget.
Spinach, apples, grapefruit, Tribe 40 Spice hummus, Cassis cherry kombucha, single-serving vegetable broth, Theo cherry and almond dark chocolate, EF animal crackers, broccoli, MaraNatha chunky peanut butter.
Not my hugest haul, but I’m still happy with it. And I was especially happy saving a little dough on some of my favorites.
Between coupons and specials I saved $5 on these four. Not bad at all, right? Especially when this bag of cookies boasts…
You can’t turn that down.
And today I got even more good stuff in the form of an iHerb package.
I’ve never ordered from there before, but then I saw that my favorite protein powder was less than half on the site as it is in my local store. So I had to load up.
Lifetime Chocolate Plant Protein, grape seed extract, and CLA.
And they even threw in some random goodies:
No clue why they thought these were relevant, but I’ll take it. (Especially, since I was just craving jelly this morning.)
So there you have it, eaters — random ass groceries for what will surely be a long and tiresome week. Wish me luck finishing my midterms, eaters. I surely need it.

G’night, eaters. I’ll catch you in March.

Spiced and Saucy

Hello again eaters!
It’s Thirstday here in over-stressed student/worker/human world. Unfortunately, I’m not letting myself partake until I study some more art history. And when I do partake it’ll only be moderately because of my standing appointment with Bikram. 
(The one man that encourages me to stay sober.)
Speaking of drinking with men…my date last night was wonderful. The manly friend wore his usual red button down shirt, which just happened to match the chairs and napkins at the restaurant. That fact became funnier as I sipped my martini (for which he made fun of me because apparently martinis are bad-tasting girly drinks). Another humorous aspect — his friend was our waiter. Having him stopping by the table felt like going on a date with a younger brother. In a good way.
Overall, it was a damn good night.
And overall, this is a damn good dish:
I still had a head of cabbage sitting in my fridge from a recipe that didn’t happen last week so I started searching around for recipes. When I found this recipe it sounded a little too good to be true.
I was wary of flavorings and cooking times. I was also quite nervous about the sauciness of this dish.
Because I’m a ‘Baby who loves something saucy.
I ended up tweaking the flavorings and increasing the sauce-stuff. But the cooking technique was spot on. So here’s what I’ve got to offer.

Spiced Sweet Potato and Cabbage
1 sweet potato, chopped
2 c cabbage, thinly chopped
1 ½ c vegetable broth
1 ½ t curry powder
½ t cayenne
¼ t cinnamon
1 can chickpeas, drained
½ c red onion, diced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T garlic, minced
Heat an oiled pan to medium heat and sauté onions. Once softened, add in flavorings, stir, and cook for a few minutes. Once the spices are fragrant drop everything else in, toss, and cover.
Check back every handful of minutes and cook until the cabbage is soft, the potatoes are fork-tender, and the broth has reduced down.
Note to single eaters — spend the money on this broth. A package of 4 1-cup boxes is only slightly more than a regular carton, but without the added hassle of worrying about quickly using up the broth or wasting it.
Done. Serve over some grain (if you like that sort of thing) and douse in cayenne hot sauce, if you need more heat.
This meal is satisfying and satiating.
The spices combine to create a complex flavor profile that will have you dreaming of naan and crowded bazaars.
And at less than calories per serving (without the added grain) you can also feel free to dream of beaches and bikinis and other skimpy things.
Or just serve yourself another serving.
And while you’re doing that, I’ve got to serve myself another helping of art history. Now if only I could figure out which movement Yves Klein fits into.
Look, there are cellos. 

G’night eaters.

WW: Active Recovery

No time to talk eaters!
I’m in the process of prettying myself for a date. The manly friend is taking me out for some Asian cuisine and sake shots are promised. So this WW is going to be short…like the workout I’m talking about.
There are some weeks when I go crazy hard. Tons of bikram, killer treadmills sessions, and long weight circuits. After a week (or a few days even) of turning my workouts way up, I need a break.
I may mentally want to workout, but physically I just don’t have it in me. So that’s when I turn to active recovery workouts.
Whenever we workout we’re stressing our bodies, which causes them to repair and thus get stronger. All of this is great! But when we workout long and hard (giggle giggle) enough, our bodies don’t have time to fully recover before the next sweat session. This, in addition to any other stressors (those little things called work, home, relationships, school, ya know?), causes the physical exhaustion that makes another ass kicking seem…like an unbearable ass kicking.
Sure you could push through the exhaustion, but then you risk burnout and overtraining injuries.
In order to shake that feeling so you can go big again, your body needs to recover. And unless you’re training for a large endurance event, you don’t physically need a rest day. (Mentally, yes, taking days off from the gym is absolutely fine, but with proper care your body can go everyday.) Instead you need an active recovery workout — a workout where you go just hard enough to stimulate your body’s recovery response, but not so hard that you’re putting any more stress on yourself.
The guidelines I’ve always read regarding active recovery is to do a 30 minute workout where you maintain a heart rate of 130-140.  For those of you who do it old school and don’t have a HRM, this is about a 3-4/10 perceived exertion rate. This is also the level that was once considered optimal for fat burning. Of course, we now know that’s not true (intervals are actually best, from what I’ve read), but if you check the heart rate chart on most cardio equipment, you should aim for that zone based on your age.
Aim for the gold/yellow.
For me, this means hitting the elliptical with a pretty low resistance. Or maybe a very gentle yoga class. A few laps around the block. Anything that’ll get your heart pumping and blood flowing without further contributing to your exhaustion.
Good. Now I’ve got to run, eaters. I still need to put my face on.
G’night, eaters.

Kicking Kraft’s Box

Hi eaters!
I’m so glad you haven’t abandoned me after my grain-aversion confession yesterday. And yes, Zoe was right, quinoa isn’t a grain, but a seed. That point has been debated a bit, because I’ve heard grain, seed and nut, but it seems the consensus is seed.
Anywhoo, let’s talk nostalgia. 
I don’t know if it’s the sudden downturn in temperature or the quickly mounting pile of work I have in front of me, but I’ve been craving something simple, comforting, and hearty. Back in the day that used to mean either a Marie Calendar frozen dinner or…

Don’t pretend you didn’t eat this stuff as a kid. And don’t pretend you don’t know that the mac n’ cheese that came in shapes was way better than the plain elbow noodles.

Believe, I definitely did, so there’s no judgment here.
But since I no longer need a stool to see over the stove (and I no longer eat such blatant food products) this doesn’t appeal to me…as much.
Instead, this appeals to me:

Yes, eaters, there is a different.

This isn’t mac n’ cheese-flavor dust. This is…
Whole-wheat moose head pasta with peas n’ butternut squash cheesy sauce
1 ½ – 2 c whole-wheat pasta
(Mine is from Ikea. Moose isn’t required, but fun shapes aren’t really optional)
1 – 1 ½ c frozen peas
salted water (to cook the pasta)
1 box (12 oz) firm silken tofu
½ c canned butternut squash
1 c nutritional yeast
½ t (smoked) paprika
pepper, to taste
hot sauce, optional
Begin heating the salted water for the pasta.
Toss tofu, squash, nutritional yeast, and spices into a blender and whirl away until smooth.

Magic Bullet users — all of this won’t fit into a single cup. Divide everything in half to blend and then give it a stir.

Before you know if you’ll have a heaping pile of saucy goodness.

Once the water is boiling toss in the pasta and peas. Cook until al dente.

Drain the noodles and peas and put them into the sauce. Either toss, like a classy eater, or simply put the lid on the Tupperware container and shake, like this ‘Baby.

Crack some pepper. Sprinkle some more paprika. Drizzle some hot sauce.
Bing. Bang. Boom. Fun cheesy noodles.

These are packed with real food, vegetables, protein, and moose. Kraft’s got nothing on this.

Please make these soon. They’re every-eater friendly. (Except those that are gf or soy-free, unfortunately).

G’night, eaters. 

I Don’t Like Grains?

Hellooo eaters!
You have no idea how happy I am to be here, because that means all my must-dos for the day are done. And it’s been one heck of a day.
But enough about that. It’s over and done and now it’s time to talk fun things.
And by fun things I’ve got a confession to make — I don’t really like grains.
Rice. Quinoa. Barley. Pasta. All that carby stuff.
Now before you start burning me in effigy and deleting me from your readers, let me explain.
Sure, I like all those things. They’re delicious. BUT eating them requires me dirtying another dish (my rice cooker). AND because I try to maintain a balance and a lot of the other things I eat are carb-heavy (bananas, sweet potatoes, pears). Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
So when I started my 30 healthiest foods challenge I knew that the grains were going to be a struggle. But this is a challenge, so I couldn’t turn away.
Instead I got creative.
Pretty much the only time that I eat grains are at breakfast (hellooo oatmeal). So it made perfect sense to simply switch up the grain. First up, bulgur.
Are you a bulgur virgin? Then let me…change that.
It’s a form of cracker whole wheat that’s been cleaned and parboiled. It often replaces rice because it’s similar in taste and texture, but is more nutritious and has a low glycemic index (which means a smaller fluctuation in blood sugar). Since it’s been parboiled, it can be cooked in about 20 minutes.
So, that’s exactly what I did by following this handy bulk bins cooking guide from Whole Foods.
1 c bulgur: 2 ½ c liquid.
In my case that was 1 c bulgur: 1 ¼ c water and 1 ¼ c soymilk. I spiced it up with a handful of raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Not long later I had a big bowl of fluffy bulgur (which got packed away for breakfast the next day).
And upon waking up bright and early all I had to do was spoon out a heaping serving and heat.
But since I’m not some crazy carb-fearing lunatic, I jazzed it up even more with some banana, pb roux, almond silvers and a sprinkle of flax.
Yup, I’m a jazzy ‘Baby. And this was a killer breakfast.
I had forgotten how much I love plump juicy raisins. Or raisins in general.
So there you have it, eaters, proof that I’m not a crazy xenophobe.


Don’t Whip-It

G’evening eaters.
It’s been a long and thoroughly enjoyable weekend for me. The sun was shining and everyone was feeling good.
(You can read more in my Musings.)
How was your weekend? Enjoyable, I surely do hope.
Possibly one of the most enjoyable things about my weekend was that never once did I feel hungover. A little headache upon first waking up, but a little warm lemon water cleared that right up.
And so the lack of feeling like crap meant that instead of nursing my unhappy body all Saturday I got to spending some time leisurely grocery shopping.
Lemons, oranges, soy whipped cream, cinnamon, coconut, nutritional yeast, canned butternut squash, waffles, licorice, spinach, chocolate, sweet potato.
I don’t know if this week was an anomaly or if I’m just getting great at this whole budget and meal planning thing, but after getting everything from my list I still had about 1/3 of my budget left. You know what that means, right eaters?
It means that for no other reason than simply because I wanted to (and because I spent a good bit of time talking about *“whip-its” on Friday night) I was able to buy soy whipped cream.
I stumbled upon this a few months back and have wanted to try it for some time. But normally my budget is too tight to justify the $6 expenditure. But today I was able to.
You’ll be happy to know that it was certainly worth it. A few big squirts went straight into my mouth while putting my groceries away.
So there you have it, eaters — a fun little Earth Fare experience.

G’night eaters. 

*”whip-its” — holding a whipped cream can upright and releasing the co2 gas into your mouth as a way for kids to get a 30 second high. It’s stupid. And a waste of perfectly good whipped cream.

Miso-Ginger, Me So Joyous

G’day eaters!

I’m coming to you from a lovely sunny picnic table outside. Because it’s 70 and perfectly pleasant.
I look weird.
And my dorm looks like a motel.
See! I told you it was lovely.
In honor of this glorious day, I felt a cold, highly portable salad was in order. 
And lucky for me, I just happened to have one!

Miso-Ginger Slaw
½ c brown rice
½ c wild rice
1 softball-sized head of cabbage
2 medium carrots
1/3 c brown rice vinegar
1 ½ T brown rice miso paste
2 T freshly grated ginger
1 ½ T soy sauce
¼ c green onions (plus more for garnish)
1 T minced garlic
3 T sesame seeds
2 c water
1 ½ t sriracha (plus more for garnish)
Start cooking rice in your handy-dandy rice cooker.
Then mix everything except the vegetables in a large container (go ahead and make this in a Tupperware because, unless you’re entertaining or carrying sextuplets, there will be leftovers). Make sure to incorporate the miso paste well, because it tends to clump.
Then using a vegetable peeler or box grater, shred the carrots into the container. Thinly slice the cabbage, taking care to remove the thick stems and veins, and toss that in, too. Using whatever method you like (I chose kitchen sheers because that’s too simple to mess up) chop the green onions and add them to the container.
Mix everything together. And once the rice is finished cooking add it into the container, put the top on and shake what yo mama gave you vigorously.
In no time flat you’ll have a delicious slaw-salad of sorts.
And only a small mess to clean up.
The longer the salad sits the better it gets, so make this Monday and you’ll have lunches all week.
Tons of texture.
Top with fresh green onion and plenty of sriracha.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to take my whimsical warm-weather outfit…
And my newly exposed legs and toes…
And go play in the joyous sunshine. 
Yup, I’m a happy ‘Baby.
Have a good weekend, eaters. I may check back sometime before Monday. 

Typically Paula

Ello eaters!
It’s been another long day. And I should be finalizing an English paper right now. But…I’m talking to you and watching The Human Centipede instead.
Anyone seen that movie?
Super freaky shit going on. I highly suggest you DON’T watch it unless you can handle lots of gore.
Speaking of things that should rarely be seen…it’s time for another Paula Deen recipe!
I haven’t lead you through one of her culinary creations in quite some time. And believe me, her recipes are a real hoot.
So here goes…

First you melt ½ pound of Velveet cheese product
And 1 c butter in a pot over medium heat.
Then you stir in 1 c peanut butter.
Whatever you do, don’t make this healthy peanut butter.
That’s just a waste. 
Remove the pot o’ poo from heat and stir in 1 c chopped peanuts
And 1 t vanilla.
Fake vanilla works fine.
No need for the good stuff.
Dump 2 16-ounce boxes of powdered sugar in a large bowl.
Pour the pot-ful of food products over the sugar and mix. Once everything is incorporated press the dough into a lightly greased glass baking dish.
Now here’s the strange part — the recipe tells you to blot of the excess grease from the massive amount of oil in the recipe, but yet it also tells you to grease the dish. Seems a bit redundant, no?
Oh well. Toss your blotted dish into the fridge until everything is firm. Then cut into cubes.
Ready for the best part?
Here are the stats for 1/36 of the dish.
Yum? Tasty? Edible?
Seriously, these are huge cubes of every imaginable type of fat.
So thank-you, Paula Deen, for creating yet another recipe designed to kill of those people who are depraved enough to find it appetizing.
Speaking of depraved, I’ve got a movie to finish. I won’t tell you what just happened.

G’night eaters. 

WW:Write it Down!

G’evening eaters.

Today has been another non-stop day. How about you? Are you thrilled to death that it’s hump day?
You’re damn right I am!
I’m cutting the small talk short tonight because it’s WW, which is always a wordy day. So let’s do the darn thing.
As you may know, I’m taking a General Conditioning class this semester. The class is entirely based around working out however we like for the appropriate amount of class time. AND we have to keep an exercise journal.
Today was the first day that the coach actually checked the journal. And by check, of course I mean that he flipped through to make sure things were written on multiple pages. (Can you tell this class is a bit of a joke?)
Coach’s check encouraged me to do a little checking myself. And frankly, I’m thrilled to death at what I saw.
5.5 workouts/week
56 minutes/workout

That impressed me quite a bit. But more importantly than the time I spend in the gym is what I do when I’m there. Of the 32 workouts I’ve done…
15 have included at least 20 minutes of strength training
27 have included at least 10 minutes of stretching/physical therapy
So from my journal I can tell that I’m going to the gym and doing things while I’m there. But it’s not just that I’m doing things, but that the things I’m doing are making a difference.

Increased my kettlebell squat swing weight from 10lbs to 15lbs (which I haven’t been at since before my not good knee injury and even then only occasionally)
Increased my flat-backed fly reps from 7 to 16.
Increased my row everything from 20 reps/arm with 10lbs to 25 reps/arm with 15lbs.
Increased my walking lunges from 30 to 45.
Increased my body weight triceps’ dips from 18-24.
And as far as my 31-minute treadmill work goes…
Increased my distance from 2.47 miles to 2.63 miles.
Decreased my max heart rate from 199 to 192 (excluding my most recent sprint-heavy workout).
Despite that all of these improvements happened in slightly over month, they may not seem like huge milestones. But then again, if I hadn’t been keeping this journal then I never would have known EXACTLY how much I improved.
And for those of you eaters out there, like myself, who aren’t training to cross a finish line or doing something else with clearly marked points of improvement, knowing the little things like this is what keeps you going to the gym. More than just going to the gym, though, it keeps you pushing. It keeps you going just a little bit bigger than you can.
So, the moral of tonight’s story — write things down.


Sauce, Sugar, and Spice

Howdy eaters!

Before I dive into what I’m been shoving into my mouth, I’ve got a question to ask you: How was your Valentines Day?
Are you a hopeless romantic that lives for the pink and red? Are you a little bitter on the day (much like my ‘mate)? Or do you not care?
I’m always curious about how people feel about the day and why. Does that make me a little nerdy? Intrusive?
(But to be fair, you can see all about my feelings in my Musings tab.)
Okay, enough questions. Time for real talk.
This week is crazy busy for me. Assignments keep popping up. Papers. Long readings. Tests to correct. Stories to edit.
With all of that in mind it’s easy to see that I need quick, healthy eats. You can relate, right?
So I turned to an old standby — tempeh.
Most people probably shy away from tempeh because it’s a little scary. Dark splotches. Weird smell. Funky taste. Yeah, I can see why it doesn’t seem eater friendly. But believe me it’s more than just eater friendly — it’s BUSY eater friendly! And tasty.
Look! I am worth reading.

Sugar and Spice Tempeh
1 ½ blocks tempeh (I use flax)
3 T maple syrup
3 T soy sauce
1 t minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
¾ t ground ginger
1 t sriracha
Slice tempeh into desired sizes. I prefer large and thin because it always for maximum marinate penetration and easy flipping. Heat a few cups of water in a pot to almost a simmer and put tempeh in. You want the water to cover the tempeh, but the actual amount doesn’t matter.
While tempeh is going, make the marinade by mixing everything except the oil in a Tupperware.
After the tempeh has cooked for about 10 minutes transfer the blocks to the container. Add in a tablespoon of the cooking water into the marinade, close the lid, and shake. Then toss it into the fridge and foggedaboutit.
Stop by a few hours later and flip the container over so that everything gets sauced.
Then (whenever you have time) heat a pan to medium heat, drizzle with oil, and add a few blocks in a single layer. Flip the blocks once they are brown, cook on the other side, and remove once brown. Continue this pattern until all the hunks are cooked.
Now you have a big plate of tasty tempeh. But we’re not quite done yet.
Lower the heat on the pan slightly and pour in the marinade.
Let this reduce for a few minutes and then pour over the tempeh.

Garnish with green onions if you’re feeling fancy. And volia!
Damn good tempeh.
Saucy goodness. 
Add a few blocks to a plate with some quick vegetables and you’ve got yourself a perfectly healthy, pretty balanced dinner.
Kid plate #1, with #2 below
But if you want perfect balance…
Oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip, love
Follow dinner with a cookie. Because you need carbs and healthy fats, right?

And thus marks the end of a long, somewhat productive day. Catch you tomorrow, eaters.