Tag Archives: clean eating

Lazy, Lazy Days of Summer

Good afternoon! 

I have had the laziest, rainy Saturday quiet possibly in the history of all Saturdays.  It has been amazing!

I had a little trouble sleeping last night, so I slept in to almost 10 AM!!!  I could have probably slept even longer, but I peeled myself out from under the covers and started the day.

First things first, I made protein pancakes.

This time around I added a little apple sauce to the batter.  When baking I always try to replace the oil or butter with apple sauce (I’ve even heard of people using canned pumpkin) to decrease calories and fat.  This recipe had no “oil” like substance, so I thought the apple sauce would add a little richness and fluffiness.  They were pretty darn good, if I do so say so myself 😉

Next up was lounging, and what serious lounging I did! 

Back in February, I put Food Inc on our Netflix Watch Instantly queue, but have never taken the time to watch it.  I have to admit I was a little terrified.  I have already read books that describe the corruption found in our food system.  I wasn’t so sure I was ready to see it in action.

However, today I decide to push aside my fears and get over the whole “ignorance is bliss” notion.  

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If you have not watched this documentary, you really must.  Because so many people do not know about these problems, these problems will continue to happen. 

One of the most disturbing facts (although there were many) that I learned from this documentary was that 70% of ground beef served in the United States is combined with “filler” that has been cleaned with ammonium to kill e-coli bacteria. 

 

They definitely don’t put that on food labels!!! 

They also don’t let you know if your meat is from a cloned animal, because those corporations don’t believe it is in the “consumer’s best interest” to know that information.

Hmm…  what else are they hiding from us?

They did highlight a farmer from Polyface Farms in the video that followed humane and clean practices for raising and slaughtering animals.  They are the perfect example of the kind of farm I want my food to come from. 

“Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.” [Source]

I was even more pleased to discover that Ellwood Thompson’s carries Polyface Farm products.  Yet another wonderful reason for me to shop there! 🙂

I won’t continue to burden you with such unlovely thoughts on this rather lovely Saturday, but please take the time to watch this documentary, or to read Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  After all, losing ignorance is how we develop knowledge, compassion, and understanding. 

And wouldn’t that make for a world that is a much better place?

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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R.I.P. Little Sony

My camera has finally gone kaput. 

RIP little Sony Cybershot.

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You have served me well… until, well, you didn’t any more.

This means I am in the market for a new camera.  Any suggestions for an easy to use yet awesome camera that will last longer than 2 years and take awesome pictures for the blog???

Since starting HH,HM I have really gotten into taking pictures of everything.  I whipped that baby out to take pictures of absolutely everything.  Larry teases me because there are over 1,000 pictures on the memory card that I just can’t bear to erase.  It’s always funny when people go through my camera to look at the pictures.  I get some rather strange glances when they get to the multiple pictures of the same bean burger or grilled salmon.  I mean who takes pictures of their dinner like they are afraid they are going to miss it when it’s gone?!?!?

Speaking of salmon, this was last night’s dinner.

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Arugula, Asparagus & Salmon with Blackberry Glaze from Clean Eating Magazine.

I can’t tell you the exact recipe because of copyright issues, but I will tell you that this was such a simple meal perfect for a scorching summer night.  The base was a handful (or two) of arugula and some steamed asparagus.  I then baked the salmon until it flaked, and topped it with a blackberry glaze made of crushed blackberries, soy sauce, honey. and orange juice.

This has me thinking though.  You could recreate this dish in so many ways.  You could use any kind of berry to make a glaze using similar ingredients and toss it over chicken, shrimp, scallops, tofu or even by itself over greens for a simple salad. 

Hmmm…  I saw some cherries at the grocery store the other day.  I’m thinking we may be having a cherry glazed something for dinner one night next week 😉

In case you are wondering, I did not eat the salmon.  For my protein, I used  a TofuSteak from Helen’s Kitchen.

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I found these while browsing the organic freezer section of my local Kroger.  They were pretty tasty, and after visiting their website, I think I’ll definitely be trying more of their products in the future. 

Helen’s Kitchen encourages a Simple Health Lifestyle that:

“… is about making smart choices and enjoying a balanced nutritious organic diet that tastes delicious and is easy & quick enough to prepare so that I have time to enjoy an active life with family & friends.”  [Source]

Sounds like my kind of company! 🙂

Yesterday I put myself through a grueling hour on the treadmill.  I absolutely hate running on the treadmill.  I think this is why my running mileage goes down in the summer time.  It makes me feel like a gerbil in a ball.

Gerbil in Ball[1] [Source]

I once heard someone call it the Revolving Apparatus of Death and I couldn’t agree more. 

However, I made myself do it anyway.

I wanted to run 5 miles, and although it was cooler yesterday at a whopping 97 degrees, I just couldn’t go running outside.  I warmed up with a quick 5 minute walk.  Then ran approximately 46 minutes until the mileage hit 5 miles exactly.  Not a minute more.  Not a minute less.  To cool down I walked for about 9 minutes while I watched Rachel Ray discuss perfect fitting bras and panties.  It was a total of 5.55 grueling miles.  

It was not the best run.  It may have been one of the worst ever.  But, hey!  I did it!  And without tears! 

Today I’m going to hit up the gym for a BodyPump class and to do an easy 30 minutes on the elliptical.  No Revolving Apparatus of Death for me today.  Maybe not for a very, very long time! 😉

What are your plans for today?  Any tips to make a treadmill workout easier???

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Summer’s Bounty

In case you didn’t already know, summer is my favorite season of the year.  Not only are the days longer and warmer, but there are beach vacations to be had, and countless hours to be spent reading by the pool.

However, the absolutely BEST part of summer is its amazing bounty. 

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This is the best time of year to visit a local Farmers Market to pick up the freshest produce available.  There are so many colors and textures to choose from.

For me, this means that I have absolutely no trouble getting my five servings of fruits and veggies a day.  🙂

It also means that dinners are light, healthy, and super easy!  

Last night’s dinner was no exception. 

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To recreate this delectable dinner at home follow these easy steps.

1. Cook your favorite pasta according to the package directions. 

2. Chop or slice your favorite fresh veggies.  I used summer squash, zucchini, onion, garlic, sliced tomatoes, and mushrooms.

2.  Heat a pan over medium heat and lightly mist the pan with olive oil spray.  No need for oil in this dish!

3.  Once the pan is hot, add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes until they are cooked through. 

4.  Season the veggies with a bit of sea salt and crushed black pepper.

5.  Mix in fresh chopped basil.

6.  Serve and enjoy!

You can add thin strips of steak or baked chicken if you want to add meat 🙂

The veggies were so flavorful and juicy that you didn’t have to add any cheese or oil. 

It was perfectly simple.

What is your favorite easy, light summer dish???

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Salmon & Mock Tuna Melts

Here it is!  The pictures and recipes I promised yesterday 🙂
Salmon and Mock Tuna Melts

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Can you tell which one is real fish????  I made them and I’m having a hard time telling!

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Mock Tuna                                                           Real Salmon

 

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I found the recipe for Real Salmon Melts in the July/August issue of Clean Eating Magazine

It is very similar to making tuna salad except rather than using canned tuna fish, I cooked a large salmon filet and pulled it apart with a fork.  Then I added shredded carrots, celery, onion, dill, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, paprika, and a little sea salt and pepper to taste.  For the wet ingredients, I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and a couple teaspoons of Dijon mustard. 

Larry liked this so much he had two sandwiches!

The Mock Tuna is what I am really excited about.  I hadn’t realized how much I missed tuna sandwiches until I saw this recipe on the Compassionate Action for Animals website. 

Here is my modified version 🙂

  • 1 (15oz.) cans chick-peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (could have used less)
  • 2 stalks celery minced
  • 1 large carrot cleaned and shredded
  • 1/4 small sweet onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl mash chick-peas coarsely with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mixed gently.

To make these “sea” inspired salads into scrumptious melts, toast two pieces of pumpernickel or other whole grain bread.  Arrange tomato slices on toasted bread and top with about 1/2 cup of “fish”/veggie mixture.  Cover each piece with a slice of cheese (I used provolone) and broil for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Top with remaining slice of toast.  Slice and enjoy!

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I served these sandwiches with this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad from WebMD.

I get so excited when I find recipes like this that take the place of a meal from my meat eating days.  There are so many options out there!!!

Do you have a favorite meat free version of a traditional meaty meal???

When I go to the beach this summer and my entire family is eating tuna fish sandwiches, I will not have to eat a completely different meal.  I can have my own meat free version (though I know my brothers will heckle me to no end). 🙂

Well, I’m off to the gym for day three of my Healthy Habits workout.  My muscles are a little sore, but I’m still going strong. 😉

How are your Healthy Habits coming along?

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Bulgur Breakfast and Healthy Habits

Mmmmm…  I am eating the most glorious breakfast at this very moment. 

Last night I forgot to make a batch of Overnight Oats, so this morning I was left to ponder what to  make for breakfast.  Just as I was about to start a batch of Protein Pancakes, I saw it—a container of leftover bulgur from last night’s dinner.

Hmmm.  What could I make with this?  Could I make breakfast out of a dinner food??? 

Absolutely!

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I took 1 cup of the cooked bulgur, mixed in a smushed banana, large quantities of cinnamon, a swirl of maple syrup, and a dollop of cashew butter.  Stirred it all together and voila! 

Simple Leftover BULGUR BREAKFAST!

Bulgur is a whole grain that  has been eaten since ancient times.  It is actually known as man’s first “processed food.”  However, don’t be afraid to try this healthful grain.  When you think processed in today’s day and age you think preservatives, additives, added trans fats, sodium, etc.  However, bulgur is processed in modern times much in the same way as it was in ancient times.

In fact:

“Many of the wheat’s naturally occurring vitamins and minerals permeate the kernel during cooking thus maintaining more nutritive content than other forms of processed wheat products.” [Source]

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I say that if you haven’t already tried bulgur, you should give it a go!  It is wonderful as a side to any dish and can take the place of brown rice or cous-cous.  You can also try Vegetarian Halupkies or Stuffed Peppers

But enough about breakfast.  What I really wanted to talk to you about today is staying healthy with a hectic schedule.

As you may know, the past few weeks have been extremely busy for me.  Don’t get me wrong!  I’ve had a wonderful time traveling all over the state, visiting my alma mater, going on wine tours, watching my brother graduate, standing by my best friend’s side on her big day, closing out the school year, etc., but this continuous go-go-go has not had the best impact on my health.

Most of my meals have been super quick throw-togethers, and my workouts have also been super sporadic.  In fact, I think I have only worked out a total of 4 or 5 times since the second week of June!  My energy levels are low.  I have not been careful about meals and snacks.  And I just plain feel funky!

It is so easy to get out of the workout groove, yet so very hard to return to a regular routine of health and fitness. 

There will always be times in our lives when the daily grind will make it harder for us to stay on top of our game.  However, rather than beating ourselves up over the poor choices we’ve already made, we should just put our best foot forward to get back on track.     

They say it takes 30 to 60 days to make something into a habit.  So, if you want to make daily exercise a habit, then it is necessary to do some sort of physical activity every day for 30 to 60 days. 

I would like to reestablish the regular workout routine that I’ve left in the dust the past few months.  I am challenging myself to 60 days of physical activity.  Because rest is important, some of these workout days will consist of gentle yoga, long walks, or stretching routines.

Here is my Healthy Habits Challenge to you! 

Is there a healthy habit you would like to establish for yourself? 

Perhaps you wish to drink 8-12 cups of water a day?  Or eat 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies?  Maybe you need to get into the habit of flossing every night?  Or maybe, like me, you wish to make daily exercise a habit?

I challenge you to put your best foot forward in trying this habit for the next 30-60 days.  If you would like, leave a comment below letting us know what Healthy Habit you are trying to establish, and we can provide each other with support. 

Here’s to Happier Hearts and Happier Minds!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Dinner Divine

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Last night’s dinner was a Farmer’s Market dream.  Seventy five percent of the food on my plate was grown within 20 miles of my house, and none of it ever had any preservatives, additives, or pesticides. 

It was a dinner divine.

After a quick stop at the Farmer’s Market to pick up some produce from my CSA, the wheels in my head started turning.  I knew I could throw together a quick, easy, healthy, and delicious dinner.

First up was the Swiss chard.

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I’ve never cooked Swiss chard before, but I have fallen madly in love with leafy greens, and these were especially appealing with their purple stalks and billowy edges. 

I first toasted about 2 tablespoons of pine nuts in a hot pan and set them aside to use later.  I then heated about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and added sliced onions and the Swiss chard stalks cut into inch sized pieces. 

I chopped the chard leaves into bite sized pieces and added them to the onion/stalk mixture.

Then inspiration hit me! 

Recently, I have seen many recipes where greens are cooked with raisins, or something semi-sweet.  I didn’t have any raisins, but I did have dried apricots.

I diced about 2 tablespoons of apricots and added them to the mixture. 

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I drizzled the mixture with balsamic vinegar and added a dash of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  

When everything was good and tender I topped the mixture with the toasted pine nuts.

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(Some pine nuts may have been a little too toasted.)

While the greens were cooking I also made some quinoa with vegetable stock instead of water to add some extra flavor.

But here comes the really cool part.  I, yes you read this correctly, I, grilled the vegetables.  Not Larry, but me!!!!  I did it! 

I had picked up a beautiful eggplant as well as zucchini, and squash from the market on Tuesday.  I also had a few left over baby bellas from the vegan enchiladas I made on Tuesday.   I sliced these babies up, threw them in a large plastic baggie with olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, and balsamic vinegar, shook the bag like crazy, and plopped them on the hot grill.

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See!  Wasn’t the eggplant pretty???

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I heart mushrooms 😉

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I was very proud of my perfectly grilled veggies 🙂

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The combination of quinoa, Swiss Chard, and grilled veggies was perfectly filling and tasty. 

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It was almost effortless, but as I was eating, it I knew that if I had ordered this meal in a restaurant, I would have been more than pleased.

It is very easy to make healthy dinners that are delicious.  Especially at this time of the year when fresh fruits and veggies are in abundance. 

I encourage everyone to think about adding fresh veggies to your dinner plate at least once a week.  And if you’ve never been to a Farmer’s Market, I highly recommend it.  There is something so amazing about produce this fresh!!! 

Here’s a link to LocalHarvest.org that can help you find your nearest Farmers Market.

What’s your favorite impromptu meal that you’ve thrown together?

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Monsters in Love

Happy Humpday!!!  Can you believe how quickly this week has flown by?!?!?!

This week I have been whipping up a vegan storm!  I’ve been trying various recipes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. 

On Monday, I made her Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus…  well, sort of.  I didn’t have any olives so I just made the Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus part. 

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This dip is far better than any I’ve ever bought in a store.  I can’t believe how easy it is to make your own hummus

Needless to say, it’s only Wednesday, and this is all the hummus I have left. 

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I am a hummus monster!

And I happen to be married to the cookie monster!!!

No, not this one.

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This one!

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Larry’s claim to fame may be that he can eat an entire batch of cookies in one night.  WITHOUT.GAINING.A.SINGLE.POUND!!!

However, I do not blame him for eating so many last night.  These cookies were irresistible.

Not exactly chocolate chip cookie irresistible. 

But close.

Lemon Poppy Seed Crackle Cookies

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These cookies are made with some unusual cookie ingredients: spelt flour, poppy seeds, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and canola oil to name just a few. 

Although I have used most of the above listed ingredients in one way or another before last night, Brown Rice Syrup is something I had never used. 

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image [Source]

It was thick and syrupy.  Sweet and gooey.  The perfect sweetener for a perfect cookie 🙂

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We got creative and put a scoop of vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream between two cookies to make delectable ice cream sandwiches!

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Kinda ruined the whole vegan aspect of the cookie, but hey, we can’t always be perfect!

Tonight I am going to try Dreena’s Orange Sesame Tofu (scallops for Larry) and Coconut-Lime Basmati Rice. 

Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan is a cookbook that I am definitely going to purchase.  The recipes are easy to follow, healthy and best of all, CLEAN! 

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I’ve also enjoyed reading Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet; however, I’m not sure this is one I will buy.  While I love her philosophy, and I am flirting with a vegan diet right now, I don’t think I could be this restrictive.  I believe that life is all about balance.   

I am happy to say that tomorrow is my Friday!!!  Woot woot!!!

I took a personal day on Friday, so I could visit my alma mater with my second to youngest brother and mom.  I can’t wait!!!

Have a lovely evening!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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