Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh, you fancy, huh?

All I know is that my breakfast was pretty fancy this morning.

The beginning of the semester always starts off really slowly, and then all of a sudden, everything happens at once. Well, that unfortunate "all at once" thing has begun. And it will not end until the end of the semester.

So I decided last night that I'd make my breakfast for this week (or at least for a few days) to save precious sleeping in time in the morning.

On a completely related note, I went to Trader Joe's yesterday to pick up a few things, and eyed the rice pudding in the milk section of the store. I used to buy TJ's rice pudding all the time.

And then I decided to make some healthy brown rice pudding. For breakfast. For the next few days.

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ~1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a large pot and heat to a boil.

Stir and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 45 minutes.

The pictures don't capture the creaminess of the rice!

Store in a container and keep in the fridge. 

The next day, take a portion of the cooked rice and add 1/4 cup any kind of milk. I felt like eating it cold, so I stirred and added chia seeds to thicken. Let sit for about 15 minutes. You can definitely microwave this to thicken with or without chia seeds!

For additional protein/fats to keep me full, I added walnuts and flax seeds.

Delicious! Creamy! Filling! And a totally fancy breakfast. It was awesome.

The rest of my meals this week are definitely not going to be as fancy. In fact, most of these are going to be quick 10-minute meals, such as this green bean scramble.

Oh yeah, this week is green bean week!!!

Saute a handful of fresh green beans (wash and chop them first), snap peas (I used frozen), and tofu in olive oil.

After snap peas have thawed, add soy sauce and rice vinegar.

Add an egg. (I used egg substitute). Keep this on medium heat until the egg has completely cooked.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

I guess I just can't get enough of the green vegetables.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've been thinking about this recipe all week long. You don't even know.

But first! I must share my breakfast from this morning. If you haven't noticed, I've been mixing up my breakfasts a lot lately. Most of you readers know that for my entire life, I ate cereal for breakfast. Every day. However, recently, I found out about the presence of sugar in almost every cereal. So I made a drastic move to oatmeal/smoothies/other grains.

I've also made another drastic move in terms of my diet, but I am planning on sharing that much later. [Edited to add: wow, I don't know why I didn't finish that sentence when I originally wrote the post. Woops.]

Today, I made blueberry "ice cream" for breakfast. 

1 frozen banana blended with almond milk, blueberries, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. 

And then I topped it with some grape nuts. 

It was quite creamy, and the grape nuts gave a nice crunch to it. It was like eating cereal with ice cream. 

And now for our feature presentation: swiss chard and walnut pesto.

This is an awesome way to get in greens and healthy fats. Not only that, but it tastes great!!

  • 2 large swiss chard leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to taste

Chop the big chard leaves.

Saute them in 1 tablespoon olive oil for a few minutes.

Until they wilt a little.

Chop the garlic in the food processor.

Add the basil.

Add the walnuts.

Add the chard, salt/pepper, and lemon juice. And then add 2 tablespoons olive oil.

And then blend away!

Makes enough to fit in a small jar!

I topped some ciabatta bread with pesto, mushrooms, and fresh mozzarella.

I'm quite proud of this recipe. And I can't wait to try it with quinoa/pasta/roasted veggies!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Throwin' in the towel.

I've taught three aerobics classes in the past week. The calorie burning has been through the roof this week.

This has been my fitness schedule the past seven days:

Saturday: taught Zumba (60 min)
Sunday: attended TurboKick (60 min)
Monday: taught TurboKick (60 min)
Tuesday: attended Butts 'n' Guts & Calorie Knock Out (80 min)
Wednesday: attended cardio kickboxing (60 min)
Thursday: attended Butts 'n' Guts & Calorie Knock Out (80 min)
Friday: taught TurboKick & attended Zumba (120 min)

I don't recommend this schedule. Well, I do because I had a fantastic work out each day. But I don't because it's pretty exhausting.

So, tonight I made the executive decision to take a rest day tomorrow. To ensure that I don't wake up in the morning tomorrow with a strong urge to go to the gym, I straightened my hair.

And now I will definitely not be working out tomorrow!

In other news, I've come up with the perfect recipe for a post-work out protein shake. This is unlike any other protein shake I've made before. I actually dare to call it delicious. And yet, it's so simple.

Chocolate "Milkshake" 

Blend unsweetened non-dairy milk (ie. almond, coconut, or hemp) with 1/2 frozen banana and 1 scoop chocolate protein powder.

It really, really tastes like a chocolate milkshake. And those of you who consume protein powder regularly know how horrible it tastes. This somehow makes that horrible protein taste disappear! Also, the reason for using non-dairy milk is because compared to skim dairy milk, it is creamier and has a sweeter taste.

A few days ago, I made waffles. Today, I made more. I didn't expect this to happen, since I had all kinds of leftovers. But sometimes, appetite calls.

This time, I made guilt-free no sugar added waffles.

(And in addition, they do not contain butter/oil!!!)

Ingredients: (Makes one)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 egg (I used egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (may need more or less, depending on consistency of batter)
  • 1/4 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

I topped my hot, crispy waffle with almond butter and real maple syrup. Now that I've experience melted almond butter, I'm not sure if I will ever go back to regular.

I realize I've been neglecting swiss chard, despite declaring this week swiss chard week. Never fear! Tomorrow I will be posting an exciting recipe featuring chard. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Spinach Challenge.

This post is going to contain a lot of food. And a lot of spinach. My biceps are Popeye status. (Literally. I have macho bicep muscles after Calorie KO today).

For those of you who aren't up to speed, earlier this week I mentioned that my roommate dared me to eat an entire bag of frozen spinach in one day. So today, I attempted to do just that.

For breakfast, I made an oatmeal smoothie. You are probably wondering what I mean.

I mean I literally blended oatmeal into a smoothie. Check it out.

I mixed 1/4 cup oats with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon chia seeds and kept it in the fridge overnight.

This morning, I cooked the oats in the microwave for about two minutes.

Then I blended the oats with almond milk and 1/3 bag frozen spinach. I also added a handful of frozen blueberries and 1 teaspoon almond butter.

What a ridiculous idea.

And yet, it was actually kind of tasty. I really enjoyed the texture. In terms of taste, it wasn't as sweet as I would have liked it to be, but that's because I used 1/3 bag of spinach. Next time, I'll definitely increase the number of blueberries, or maybe add a frozen banana.

It was so thick, that I ate most of it with a spoon.

I had to eat my lunch on the go today. No better way to incorporate my lunch-time spinach than by making a sandwich! A grilled spinach and cheese sandwich, that is.

I thawed a little less than 1/3 bag of frozen spinach in the microwave and layered it on a slice of Ezekiel bread with some fresh sliced mozzarella. 

Side note: if you plan on doing this, I advise you to squeeze the water out of the spinach before making this sandwich. About four hours after making this sandwich, I opened it to find that the bread had nicely absorbed the water. Soggy sandwich...meh.

So after my "interesting" breakfast and lunch, I decided I wanted to do something fancy for dinner. 

Spinach Gnocchi with Reduced Balsamic and Garlic Basil Red Peppers

Let's start off with the gnocchi. 

  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 bag frozen spinach
  • 1 egg yolk (I used egg substitute instead)
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan (or ricotta cheese)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt/pepper to taste

Thaw the spinach in a pan with olive oil.

Add the egg, spinach, and cheese to a large bowl.

Mix, then gradually mix in the flour.

The dough becomes quite sticky, but still soft.

Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into cylinders.

Chop the cylinders into smaller pieces. You may have to re-form the dough into smaller ovals.

Cook the dough in salted, boiling water for five minutes. I would recommend fitting at least 6 or 7 pieces in the pot at a time, but not so many that the dough pieces stick together.

Using a slotted spoon, take each piece out carefully and place on a non-stick sprayed pan.

At this point, you can choose either to leave the gnocchi as is, or bake for a few minutes at 350F for a more firm and crispy texture.

Next: balsamic reduction! I got the idea to do this from Jessica's balsamic gnocchi recipe.

Heat 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar on medium heat until it begins to boil. Immediately turn it down and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Let it cool. It then becomes a nice and tangy syrup!

Lastly (for additional veggies), saute 1/2 chopped red pepper, fresh basil, and garlic in olive oil.

Combine the gnocchi and red peppers on a plate and drizzle a generous amount of balsamic on it.

If you ever want to treat yourself to a fancy dinner, just make this. Save some money and some calories. :)

So. Incredibly. Delicious.

And if you were wondering, I didn't eat all of the gnocchi that I made. Hence, I did not actually eat an entire bag of spinach today, but I must say I got pretty close. If we want to quantify, I must have eaten 5/6 of the bag. Close enough, right?

Plus, now I get to eat leftover spinach gnocchi for dinner tomorrow. Success!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

French 'n' Creamy.

Yesterday I mentioned I had breakfast for dinner.

I was being dramatic. Kind of. Unless quiche is not considered a breakfast food. I think it may be one of those versatile meals that doesn't have a classification.

Either way, this is a good recipe. It's also useful as it makes leftovers for a couple of days.

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan)
  • 1/8 cup almond milk (or any milk)
  • 4 eggs

Saute the spinach and garlic in olive oil until the spinach has thawed. Add the red peppers and saute for a bit longer.

Spray a baking dish (preferably pie-sized) with non-stick and transfer the spinach mixture into it.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add the milk.

Stir in the cheese, and then pour evenly over the spinach mixture.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes. I checked it after 15 minutes and sprinkled some paprika on top.

Creamy, cheesy, and still quite healthy!

I recommend eating this with a spicy salsa--great combination!

FYI: tomorrow is the day that I will be completing my spinach challenge. This will be a test not only for my digestive system but also for my creativity, since I will have to find ways to incorporate spinach into all of my meals and snacks. Wish me luck!