Monday, August 30, 2010

Tuesday Review

*I bought this product with my own money, it is not a company sample. 

In the past few months, I’ve been using more protein powders to boost up my protein before and after strength training workouts.  Of course, I truly believe in using “real food” whenever possible, but being able to drink my protein has made it easier to get something in my stomach before a workout.  (I feel sick if I eat a meal before I workout.)  Awhile back, I read about the new Vega Shake & Go Smoothie mixes.  I checked my local Whole Foods and Sprouts, and was not able to find it.  I was about to order it off the company website, but decided to ask at Sprouts.  It was a special order, but the price still came out better than buying it online.  (Nice!)    The only drawback was waiting the few weeks for it to come in.  Well, it came in right before we left for our week in San Diego, so I didn’t try it until recently.

I went with the vanilla, because I love all things vanilla.  The almond flavor was only the icing on the cake. 

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I was a bit surprised when I opened the bag and saw that the powder had the greenish tinge to it.  I didn’t really think about it, but with all the whole foods added in, it was bound to have some color.  The fresh smell of vanilla and almond more than made up for any lack of color appeal.  It smelled like cake icing! 

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The first time I made it, I used half water and half vanilla almond milk since that is the standard way I mix all my protein shakes.   The flavor was really good, the texture was just a wee bit gritty.  Not in a bad way, just not as smooth as a whey protein or egg white protein powder if that is what you are used to.  The perfect amount of sweetness with spot-on vanilla –y  essence made me completely forget that it had any grittiness.  Trial 2, I used just plain water to see if it would be a good powder to bring to the gym for post-workout.  It was still just as good!  Most of the protein powders taste to thin and watery to me, when I don’t add at least half milk, but this one was unchanged in flavor. 

Also, check out the awesome nutritionals. 

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Mixed with milk, it is the perfect early a.m. pre-workout drink that gives me some ooomph but doesn’t make my stomach overly full.  Post workout, it is a nice snack to tide me over while I shower and have time to get to a full meal. 

(I apologize for not having a picture of the drink once it’s blended.  Just picture an off white thick milk look.) 

Do you drink protein drinks?  What is your favorite?

Speaking of working out, I’m hoping to get in some laps in the pool today.  I am really sore from the cardio muscle class yesterday and am thinking that an easy swim will help the sore muscles.  Have a great Tuesday everyone!!

Finally, a picture of Ava doing “pull ups.”  She is so proud of herself.  I think she can do more than me. 

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Monday, Monday

Hi!!!  How are you?  I hope your Monday is starting out well and that you all had a relaxing weekend!  Did you do anything fun?

I swear after how last week dragged, the weekend flew!  We started Saturday morning with a 5 mile run.  It felt good to be back out there and I finished 5 miles in 44 minutes – pushing the jog stroller.  I was really happy with that pace since my running has been slacking lately.  Other accomplishments of the weekend included yard work, buying Ava a new convertible car seat, groceries, and of course, some house cleaning.  We also had some relaxing time with Season 3 of Mad Men (love this show!), and a dinner party with friends. 

A few eats from the weekend included:

Friday Night = Pizza Night

Smoked salmon, fresh dill, capers, fontina cheese, and arugula.  I wasn’t sure if this flavor combo would work, but it was quite amazing.  A little salty, a little creamy, and the tomato sauce really helped balance it all.  Would do this one again for sure!

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Goat cheese, organic arugula and heirloom tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and balsamic reduction.  No matter what other pizzas I make, I always come back to this one, a clear winner every time! 

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Simple Sunday night dinner of fish and veggies.  I made the fish by coating it with a light layer of crushed pecans and panko.  Sometimes a little simplicity goes a long way.  This was a delightful topping that really let the flavor of the fresh fish shine.  Rounded out with sweet potato and green beans to make a colorful meal. 

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Well folks I’m off to the gym for a cardio muscle class.  Enjoy your Monday.  It’s the last “official” week of summer! 

What is the best thing you ate or drank this weekend? 

What is your favorite pizza combination? 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Simple Salmon and Emily’s Couscous Salad

Hi guys!  Happy Friday!  Did this week seem long to you?  For some reason, all day Monday I kept thinking it was Tuesday or Thursday.  Needless to say, it made a majorly long week. 

The other day I was eating my cereal in the morning and reading blogs, (so what else is new?) when I saw a recipe on A Nutritionist Eats, that grabbed me.  Not only because it looked tasty, healthy, and easy (which scores 3 points in my book,) but I had everything on hand, and was looking for a way to use up some of those very same ingredients.  This was a recipe that was not going to be on my “To Try” list for long.  Oh no.  As soon as I finished my bowl of cereal, I mosied on into the kitchen and began making it.   I knew it would go great with the salmon I had in the fridge for dinner.

Summer Couscous Salad 

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Yum!  Light and flavorful, I will make this one again and again.  I forgot how easy it is to turn one of our favorite grains, into a salad instead of always eating it hot.

Salmon was easy-peasy.  I usually like to do a marinade or rub, etc. but this time, I kept it simple and just let it set in lemon juice and fresh dill while we prepared the grill. 

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We poured the 2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower ValdiguiƩ.

 2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié

A red blend that had lots of berry, low tannins,  and complimented the dinner fabulously.  Little did I know at the time, the winemaker’s suggestion is to serve with grilled salmon!  For around $10, I’m not sure I loved it enough to get it over the J Lohr Seven Oaks Cab.

As for exercise, today I’m going to swim laps again.  I’ve been a bit uninspired this week with working out.  I’m so over the 110+ temperatures, and the humidity we get this time of the year is making me downright lethargic.  I plan to get back on track with my routine this weekend.   I need to bring some strength training back into my life!

Do you ever make a recipe you’ve seen on a blog, TV, or magazine right away?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lean and Green

Is the name of the neat little organic health food bar/cafe we visited on one of our last days in La Jolla.  We found it while we were taking a walk the day before, and decided to get some take-out the next day for our picnic by the ocean.  Looking at the menu, the foodie in me was in lunch heaven.  Salads, bowls, and wraps in yummy combinations – the only negative was having to narrow it down to two.  The dietitian in me was content, knowing everything was all natural, organic and there were several vegan and gluten free options. 

Eventually we decided on 2 wraps that we would share.  The wraps came in your choice of whole wheat tortilla, gluten free tortilla, or Napa cabbage.  We chose one in Napa cabbage with the “build your own” ingredients.  This tasty half contained marinated tofu, sprouts, avocado, tomato and sesame miso dressing.  The miso dressing made it, a bit tangy and a little salty, was the perfect marriage to the creamy avocado and big chunks of tofu.  I was proud of our creation!

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The other wrap we chose was the “Turkey+Goat Cheese+Sprout” on the Gluten Free tortilla.   (I had never had a GF tortilla.)  This baby came with roasted turkey breast, goat cheese, ripe tomatoes, sprouts, baby spinach, and a buttermilk herb dressing.  OMG, how could something so simple taste so sinful? 

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My two halves …still can’t decide if one was better than the other, or if I just give them a tie for deliciousness.  Lean and Green knows wraps!!

I only wish we had found this little spot sooner in the trip so I could have returned to try all the combinations.  Or better yet, that there was one in Scottsdale!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Purslane

Pur-what? 

I had read about purslane in a foodie magazine awhile back, so when I saw it at the Farmer’s Market in La Jolla, I was excited to try it.  Purslane comes from India, where it was a food crop centuries ago. It was Gandhi's favorite food. Now it also grows across America, and around the world.  It also just happens to contain alpha-linolenic acid, one of the highly sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids.  Supposedly, it grows like a weed, and is nicknamed “edible landscape.”  Gosh, I wonder if it would survive the Arizona 114 degree heat we’re having? 

This edible landscape can be eaten raw in salads, or sauteed and cooked into a side dish.  To me, it had a somewhat citrus flavor, with a lingering of slight pepper.  (Not as peppery as arugula though.)  I LOVED it! 

Here is what it looked like after washing and spinning.

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I added it to this salad, although it is hard to see, covered with the squash blossoms. 

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I can’t wait to see if I can find it in Arizona, or next month when I’m in Minnesota.  I’m obsessed with this stuff. 

I’ll leave with a picture of Ava reading one of her books.  She has been such a little bookworm lately. 

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To Do’s for Today:

swim laps

get Dr. appt. for Ava

pay bills

play date this afternoon with “the twins”

grocery store

Off to go accomplish more of our list…

Have you ever tried purslane?  What is a new –to-you food that you’ve tried recently?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Winner and Weekend Food and Drink

Good Monday morning!  How was your weekend?  Mine was fantastic.  The perfect mix of relaxing and getting things done.  Love that! 

Let’s rewind to Friday.  I had an appointment for a Brazilian Blowout in the afternoon.  This is the photo from last time, but it looked the same this time so I didn’t take another picture. 

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I was hungrier than normal all day, so I made a couple “collard green wraps” for a snack.  Mmm…. so good! 

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Of course, it wouldn’t be Friday night without some vino.

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Saturday morning I did a 6 mile run.  That is the furthest I’ve run in a couple of months, and boy was I feelin’ it!  It was 90 degrees at 6:15 am, and about 40-50% humidity.  It’s not always a dry heat in Arizona.  After sweating buckets, it was a very wet heat.  I replenished right away with some coconut water.  I’ve had a strange craving for it lately, and cannot get enough!  After lots of coconut water, and the typical Saturday lunch

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It was time for some vino again.  We got together with friends for some pre-dinner wine.  I had my favorite merlot

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For dinner we grilled some mahi mahi, but the star of the dinner was this starter salad.  The Heirloom Tomato, Fennel, and Avocado Pressed Salad w/ caper dressing, pistachio and mint.  A recipe from Living Raw Food.

I found it to be a little labor intensive, but part of that is because I kept forgetting a couple of ingredients at the store.  All in all, very worth the effort and an explosion of flavor in your mouth.  Capers, mint, basil, lemon, fennel…it was like a party for your taste buds. 

 

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And now, for the winner of the Haines-Celestial giveaway…

 

Kristy!

“My favorite wine right now is Pinot Noir, no favorite brand name in particular!!”

Congratulations Kristy!  Please email me your address so you can receive you box of goodies!

 

What is the best thing you ate or drank this weekend? 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday’s Wine and a Give Away!

Happy Humpday!  Is this week flying or is it just me?  We are having a lot of fun with my mom, “NeeNee.”   Ava loves showing off the things she has been learning, including taking her first steps on Monday.  She is so proud of herself every time she walks now. 

For today’s wine, I’m going to talk about a wine we had last Wednesday.  The Josefina 2008 Syrah Rose’.  This lovely dry rose hails from Paso Robles, California.  When I went wine tasting in that area a few years ago, I remember the wonderful rose’s that area produced.  For those white zinfandel lovers, this is NOT it.  Dry, but not so dry that it isn’t refreshing on a warm summer afternoon, and full of berries, like you’d expect in a syrah.  Nice and light, it was perfect with our picnic lunch.  (Remember, we were on vacation.  Wine at lunch is totally acceptable.  :-) 

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This wine was a total steal at Trader Joe’s for only $4.99!  Love that!

I don’t drink rose’ very often, and I think it is because I really do consider it a “lunch time or afternoon” wine.  It doesn’t have enough structure to satisfy my “wine tooth,” so if I were to have it in the evening with dinner, I’d still want a glass of “real” wine.  Does that make sense? 

Do you have certain wines that you like, but don’t find “satisfying?”

And now, for the GIVE AWAY! 

I was recently contacted by the Hain-Celestial Group to review their Family Fitness Fun Challenge giveaway package.

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I received this package full of fun, healthy snacks.   

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As you can see, the Snackin’ Fruit Hearts are Ava approved!  She didn’t have the patience to wait for mom to get her more.  

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I think Chase wanted to get in on some of the treats too. 

 

The giveaway package for one lucky reader to win, will include:

• Garden of Eatin’® Popped Tortillas

• ALMOND DREAM™ non-dairy beverage

• Earth’s Best Sesame Street® Organic Snackin’ Fruit Hearts/ Rings

• MaraNatha® Organic No Stir Peanut Butter

• Health Valley® Granola Bars

• Free Earth’s Best Frozen Product Coupon

Sports Authority® gift card ($25 value)

You can also visit www.Takea HealthyBite.com, beginning August 2nd, where you can register for the Family Fitness Fun Challenge and receive high value coupons and Sports Authority® Gift Cards. 

To Enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite wine

2.  Mention this give away on your blog for an extra entry, and comment here telling me you did so

3.  Bonus entry:  register for the Family Fitness Fun Challenge and leave me a comment telling me you did so. 

Winner will be randomly chosen on Monday, August 23rd. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Vacation Photos

We have another busy day today.  My mom is coming for a short visit to hang out “with her girls” while Scott is away for work.  I’m heading to the gym for a sculpt class, and have a little cleaning up to do before that. 

They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, so I’m going to leave you with a few more photos from our trip, and say very little. 

There was one of those self-serve fro yo places two blocks from our condo.  Fact:  we were there everyday!  Shown is cake batter with a tiny taste of espresso.

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Lovely bouquet from the Farmer’s Market

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Lots of vino consumed…hey, we were on vacation! 

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Fun appetizers at Pacifica in Del Mar.

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Del Mar Farmer’s Market

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Ready for shopping

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Enjoying the nice weather by taking a walk

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Souvenirs from the trip – wine glasses from the vineyard and fresh bouquet from the Market!  

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Stay tuned tomorrow for another give –away!

What’s your favorite way to beat post vacation blues? 

I like to get the house uber clean and looking great so I enjoy being back in it. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Market!

Good morning blogland!  I’m up and at ‘em, and back to reality.   Scott is leaving for a business trip this morning, and Ava and I have a pretty full week.  But first, let’s recap a little bit more from last week.

Sorry to leave you the rest of the week last week.  I kept wanting to post, but we kept quite busy on our vacation, and spent as much time as possible outside.  It was sooo nice to have the cool ocean air!  We had a fabulous time taking long walks all over La Jolla and Del Mar.  A couple of the cool mornings, I even made it to Bikram yoga.  There was a studio 2 blocks from our condo.  I haven’t been able to muster up the desire to do hot yoga at home (in 110 degrees, why would I pay to go in a 105 degree room?)  It felt SOOOO good!  I also forgot how much I love the Bikram style of yoga.

One of the highlights of our annual San Diego trips is going to the Farmer’s Markets.  Getting out of the desert, it is like coming to an oasis with the lovely flowers and spectacular produce.  Here are so snapshots of the downtown market we hit one day.

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Can you believe these lovely bouquets were only $5 or 2 for $9.00?  I think I’d have fresh cut flowers all the time if I lived there. 

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And this was the smallest market we went to! 

Here is a little of what we bought/made from that one:

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Roasted baby zucchini, patty pan squash, cubed butternut squash, and shitake mushrooms

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Mixed micro greens, purslane, and sunflower sprouts salad with goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms.

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A delicious glass of red in one of our logo glasses, from the vineyard stops on our way.

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Even the fish was local and purchased at the Farmer’s market.  It was locally caught halibut, that we topped with peach, yellow tomato and avocado salsa.  Everything was so fresh, and tasted magnificent. 

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Enjoying a stroll along the boardwalk in Mission Beach.  

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What is your favorite thing to do on vacations?

Tomorrow I will show you a little more of what we ate and did in southern California…

Today’s TO- DO’s:

swim laps

unpack

laundry

grocery shopping (Trader Joe’s, Costco, Sprouts)

get guest room ready for my mom’s visit  ;-) 

take Ava swimming