Tag Archives: quinoa

Welcome Spring!

And allergies, UGH.  Not to be a downer because I’ll take this gorgeous 70 degree weather with allergies over the hurricane-like rain of last weekend or the snow and cold of the few weekends before that any day!

I had full intentions to post last night but the Benadryl I took kicked in before I got a chance to.  I was at my wit’s end yesterday with what I suspect is a combo of allergies and my never-ending sinus issues so I stopped by the store to pick up Benadryl to hopefully stop some of the itching and inflammation and just make me sleep for awhile.  It worked and I feel a bit better today.

I won’t bore you with the specifics of this week’s workouts (2 days spin and 2 days lifting) because I was feeling so crappy that my lifting days were just not all that great.  I’m hoping that I’ll be back to my normal self on Monday and be ready to really lift some heavy weights!

So onto some food.

I’m enjoying my usual weekend breakfast of quinoa flakes with my usual combo of half banana cooked in/half scoop vanilla protein powder/tbsp. ground flax/cinnamon/almond butter, but this time topped it with some shredded coconut.

the almond butter is hiding on the bottom, getting all melty

The coconut was a yummy addition.  While I really love quinoa flakes something about it being so warm today and eating the warm quinoa just seemed off.  I think I need to find a summer weekend breakfast.  Not sure what that will be yet.  Last year it was always scrambled eggs with turkey bacon and Ezekiel toast, but since I’m not eating eggs or wheat regularly right now I’ll have to be creative.

Last night I was in the mood for some Mexican and I had some avocado that I wanted to use up.  I didn’t have any packaged taco seasoning and I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of taco seasoning packets anyway so found a recipe that I tweaked slightly based on the spices I had on hand.

The original taco seasoning recipe  can be found here.

I cooked up some ground turkey with some chopped onion and red pepper and then added 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, sprinkling salt and pepper.  I doubled the amount of crushed red pepper flakes because I didn’t have the chili powder the recipe called for and it was spicy!  A little too spicy so I probably wouldn’t add that much next time.  I topped this with some reduced fat cheddar, a dallop of Greek yogurt, and chopped avocado.

Greek yogurt disguised as sour cream

This was really good and really easy, just the way I like it!  This was my first time using Greek yogurt as sour cream and I thought I was going to hate it but I was pleasantly surprised.  I don’t think it tasted exactly like sour cream but it added a nice amount of creaminess.

I had this along with a salad tossed with olive oil and white balsamic and chopped onion, chopped red peppers, sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic, and of course a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  This is one of my favorite salad combos and think I will be making it a lot more now that the weather is getting warmer.  There’s something about nice weather that makes me want salad.

I swear there are peppers in there

I hadn’t used white balsamic in awhile because I had run out and kept forgetting to get more.  This is by far my favorite vinegar to use for salads.  It’s not as tart as regular balsamic and just has a really nice flavor.

welcome back into my life

I realize the flavors of the salad don’t necessarily go with the flavors of the turkey taco bowl but I don’t mind.  I actually do that all the time, although I’m sure some people would think that’s weird.

Later on I decided to make a protein cake.  I’ve tried (and failed) in the past to make microwaved protein cakes/muffins and they never really came out all that good, but April’s always delicious looking protein concoctions inspired me to start experimenting again.

I noticed that when you leave out the egg the cake doesn’t really stick together in one piece and comes out more like a crumble, so that’s been what I’ve been having.  That’s OK because while I may not look pretty it still tastes good.  However last night I left out the egg again and it did stay in one piece this time.  Not sure why this happened but it did.

in one piece!

This was half a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. ground flax, cinnamon, and just enough milk to make it wet.  Cooked for 40 seconds and topped with raspberry jam and almond butter.  While this one stuck together it was also really dry.  So the experiments will continue!  At least these are coming out edible.  I did receive a tip from someone who told me that if you use a mix of whey and casein protein powder instead of just straight whey it will come out way better.  Sometime in the near future I plan on getting my hands on some!

Some questions!  Do you eat random food combinations or do your main dish and side dishes always go together? I eat random combos all the time.

Do you eat different foods depending on the time of year? For the most part I eat a lot of the same stuff but I find I want salad more when it’s warm out.

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Bon voyage NJ!

The NY/NJ area got hit hard by another snowstorm yesterday and today.  I shouldn’t complain because I got a  half day off yesterday and the whole day off from work today, but I am just so sick of the snow and winter!  My poor dog is sick of it too, he hates the snow, and it’s high enough that it’s hard for him to go out to go the the bathroom.

brutus braving the elements

Look at that face!  It’s a look of misery!

At least having off from work  gave me lots of time to pack and get ready to leave for my trip to LA tomorrow.  Hopefully my flight will not be delayed, but according to Continental.com my flight as of now is ON TIME.

My day started at the bright and early time of 11:30 am.  I cannot get my butt out of bed early on days I don’t have to work.  So that means weekends and snowdays I sleep in.  I’ve been working full-time 9-5 for 5 years now and I still am not used to getting up early.  I mean I’ll wake up early on a day I have off but have no problem rolling over and going back to bed for another few hours.

I usually wind up getting up when my dog wakes me up or when I wake up and am hungry.  Today it was because I was hungry.  Brutus was cuddling next to me sleeping and I actually didn’t want to get up because he looked so peaceful!  Once I started moving he got up so it was time to prepare my breakfast.  I had my usual non-work morning breakfast of quinoa flakes but I switched it up a bit this time.  Instead of doing the usual banana/peanut butter combo, I opted for blueberries and apples made into a sort of apple pie filling.  I just chopped up some apple and cooked it on low heat with a little bit of water, cinnamon, and 3 tsp. brown sugar.  While that simmered I cooked the quinoa and added some f rozen blueberries to it along with a tbsp. of flax meal and, half a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and some more cinnamon.  When everything was done I just topped the quinoa with the cooked apples.  It was SO GOOD.  Tasted like apple pie with blueberries mixed in.  I’ll definitely have this combo again.

there are blueberries under there

Once I digested that along with some decaf coffee, I forced myself to do Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones.  I had to force myself because I was feeling a little crappy, that I may or may not be getting sick feeling.  More about that in a second.  But I knew that this would be my last real workout until I got back from California.  While I do plan on doing physical activities like hiking and biking while I’m there, I’m 99% sure I will not be going to the gym.  So No More Trouble Zones it was.  This was tough even the 2nd time around, and I’m still surprised that this workout is as hard as it is!

Back to the fact that I may or may not be getting sick.  I’ve had that post-nasal drip/scratchy throat feeling for the past couple of days.  When this happens I start my arsenal of Mucinex/nasal irrigation/tons of vitamins to ward it off.  Usually it helps, but I am nervous that traveling is going to turn this into a full on sinus infection.  I really, really hope this doesn’t happen because I’ve gotten sick the last 2 times I’ve gone to California.  The first time I got the flu the 2nd to last day I was there and the 2nd time I got a raging sinus infection.  Hopefully this time I will stay healthy the whole trip!

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, packing, and beauty preparations.  I took a nice long shower where I did a deep conditioning treatment, a face scrub/mask, a body scrub, and shaved my legs.  I don’t even remember the last time I shaved my legs before today, that’s single life for ya!  I also gave myself a pedicure and manicure (I’m actually in the middle of the mani as I finish this post, it’s all about multi-tasking).

What products did I use you ask?  The conditioning treatment was Philip B. Light Weight Deep-Conditioning Creme Rinse.  Highly recommend this if you like a lighter conditioner.  I have thin hair and not a lot of it so this is perfect for me.  I found this for cheap at Marshall’s though so not sure if I’ll cough up the money and pay full-price for this.  I tend to cheap out on hair products since I go through them so quickly.

The face scrub/mask and body scrubs are super cheap though!  The face scrub/mask was just sugar and honey, gently rubbed on and left on for awhile to let the honey work it’s magic.  Honey is wonderful for your skin, it has anti-bacterial properties so it is good for acne but is also hydrating.  I LOVE doing honey masks.  The body scrub was…again sugar and honey but also included olive oil.  Simply add the 3 together, add a bit of water once you’re in the shower to get it to mix and scrub away.  I promise your skin will be baby soft afterward.

Well I’m off to LA tomorrow to get in some much needed sun and stalk celebrities!  I’m only half serious about the stalking part.   I’ll try to post while I’m there but if not I’ll be sure to recap the trip when I get back!

Snow day!

Finally!  A storm that was not on a weekend!  I think it’s safe to say I’m snowed in.

snow day!

There’s only about 6 inches on the ground right now but it started to snow again and we could get up to another foot!  Luckily my job sent out an alert last night that we would be closed today so I could go to bed without wondering if I was going to have work or not.

I figure now is a good time to post about some of the food I’ve been eating lately.  I’m not good at daily food posting like a lot of bloggers are!  For breakfast today (and my newest fave breakfast) was quinoa flakes with half banana cooked in with ground flax seeds/quarter scoop vanilla protein powder/cinnamon/almond butter.  Yes almond butter instead of peanut butter.  I’m doing a little experiment this week and eliminating peanuts to see if they affect my sinus issues.  They were one of the foods that my food allergy testing showed I was mildy allergic too but my Dr. said you would just know if you had a nut allergy.  I figure I’ll try eliminating them just to make sure.  My first taste of almond butter the other day left me less than impressed but it’s growing on me-sorta like the quinoa flakes did!  That happens to me a lot so I try to give foods a shot even if I don’t LOVE it at first.  And oddly enough this taste kind of like cashews to me.

cashews are you hiding in there?

That this almond butter is sweetened with organic unrefined cane sugar but with 3g per 2 tablespoons is that so bad?  I don’t know if I will ever like un-sweetened nut butters but I’m not going to make myself crazy over it.

I just had some lunch and it was a Jennie-O Lean Savory Seasoned turkey burger and healthified creamed spinach.  The turkey burgers are a total lifesaver sometimes and what I consider a convenience food.  Sometimes I want/need some protein as part of a meal but don’t really feel like making something.  OK maybe this is more like a lot of the time. These turkey burgers are actually really good because they are already seasoned and I just eat them with a bit of ketchup, no bun required.  They’re also great to “cook” ahead of time and eat cold (which is what I did today) and because of this are good to bring to work for lunch.  With 160 calories, 0g carbs, and 18 grams of protein I think they are a great find.

find them in your grocer's freezer

Now onto the healthified creamed spinach.  For this I tweaked a recipe that someone posted on a fitness board and I’ve been eating it a lot lately because it’s so good yet so easy.

For this you will need:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      about a 1/8 of an onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (the garlic is a good addition but I’ve also made it without and it’s still yummy)

2-3 cups frozen spinach

2 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges

milk

parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste

First I saute the onion and garlic in some cooking spray while defrosting the spinach in the microwave.

onions and garlic, my favorite

Once the onions are translucent I add the thawed spinach, Laughing cow wedges, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese (I like at least a tablespoon) and a little bit of milk.

mixing everything up

I just add a little bit of milk at a time to make a creamy consistency, you do not need a lot.  Then just sort of chop up the Laughing cow to break it up into smaller pieces so it will melt and mix everything together.  Add more milk if it looks too dry.  It’s not actually going to look that creamy but don’t worry it will taste creamy.

the final product

This makes 2 side dish servings or one large serving.

mmmm...lunch

I know that turkey burger doesn’t look too appetizing there but trust me it is!  That was half the spinach, but don’t be fooled, I then went back and ate the rest because I was still hungry.

must have been good!

Even my mother who is not a fan of a lot of the stuff I try out really likes this so give it a try!

Week in review

I have to hand it to the bloggers who post daily.  How do you find the time?!  I guess I need to get my priorities in line!  I’ve been a little MIA this week so will do a quick recap of my workouts.

I started Stage 5 of NROLW on Saturday (workout A1).  This stage is 4 sets of 4 reps for most of the exercises which is a totally new set/rep scheme for me.  I have NEVER done this before so it does feel a little strange to me.  I’ve found it a little hard to do the workouts exactly as laid out just because of the layout of my gym and needing certain equipment to do some of the exercises in the alternating set way it’s supposed to be done.  It has been interesting trying to figure out what weight I need in order to tire out by the 4th rep.  Also a little different is that the rests between sets is supposed to be 2 minutes.  For some of the exercises I feel like I need the 2 minutes and for others not.  I think because I’m only doing 4 reps I’m not getting so out of breath like I have in previous stages with higher reps, but I can’t increase the weight anymore because then I won’t be able to complete the reps with proper form.

Monday should have been a lifting day but I got out of work SO late and was exhausted so I just wound up doing cardio instead. I know boo-hoo Jamie suck it up BUT I’m not going to beat myself up for that because at least I did something.  Tuesday instead of taking my usual spin class I lifted (NROLW stage 5 workout B1).  Wednesday was the dreaded JURY DUTY and turned into rest day.  I really, really need to get a good DVD for days when I need a good cardio workout at home.  Thursday should have been my favorite spin class with the awesomest  instructor but sadly he was not there.  The sub teacher is just awful so I again did cardio on my own.  I actually did 45 minutes (on the elliptical) which for me to do on my own is a lot.  I am not a fan of cardio!  I heard some gossip at the gym and think the awesome instructor may have quit, I hope this is just a rumor because I seriously LOVE his class.  I feel like I get such a great workout and it goes by so fast.

I’ll give the specifics about today’s workout which was NROLW stage 5 workout A2

The rests between sets was supposed to be 2 minutes, but I for some I rested 90 seconds instead.  Here goes…

One-armed dumbbell snatch-4 sets of 4, 20 pound dumbbells

Dumbbell single-leg Romaian deadlift-4 sets of 4, 30 pound dumbbells

Dumbbell-single arm overhead squat-4 sets of 4, 15 and 25 pound dumbbells

alternated with

Dumbbell incline bench press-4 sets of 4, 30 pound dumbbells

Barbell bent-over row-4 sets of 4, 85 pounds

Plank-1st held for 80 seconds, 2nd and 3rd 60 seconds

Reverse wood chop-4 sets of 4, 25 pounds

Then it was the dreaded body-weight matrix which consists of 24 squats, 12 lunges on each leg, 12 lunge jumps on each leg, and 24 jump squats, repeated twice.  This KILLS me.  It usually takes me somewhere between 4 and 5 minutes to complete.  I cannot do this all the way through, I usually have to stop a couple of times during the lunge jumps and a good 4 to 5 times during the squat jumps.  At that point my legs are throbbing and I’m so out of breath I feel like I’m going to DIE.  Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to do the whole thing straight through without stopping.

I made a trip to the health food store today on my lunch break to get a couple of things to have on hand for tomorrow since we are supposed to be getting a big storm.  I am not looking forward to this AT ALL.  This will be the 2nd big storm this winter and the 2nd one that is happening on a weekend!  Snow is only welcome in my world if I’m going to get a snow day off of work!

I’ve been craving cereal (and carbs in general) lately so I picked up some Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise cereal, puffed rice cereal, gluten-free cracklebread, 2 Lara bars (my favorite PB&J and a one I’ve never had before chocolate coconut chew), and an un-pictured (b/c I already ate it) Raw Organic Food Bar in in chocolatey chocolate chip. I love the guy at this health food store because he always orders stuff for me.  I requested the chocolate coconut Lara bar and the Organic food bar because I’ve been wanting to try them both.  I didn’t try the Lara bar yet but had the Organic food bar as part of my lunch and snack today and have to say I’m a bit disappointed.  It was similar to a Lara bar with a softer but gritty texture, which I’m assuming is from the flax seeds.  I’d like to try some of the other ones though before I totally write them off.

the goods

a steal at $2.19!

I love, love, love that Mesa Sunrise cereal.  I love cereal in general and could eat bowl after bowl of it if I let myself.  I decided to try the puffed brown rice because it is only 60 calories per cup which would allow me to enjoy a nice big bowl of it.  Which I did as part of my dinner.  Tonights dinner was a random hodge-podge of stuff.  I kind of don’t like when I do that because it sometimes leaves me not so satisfied.  I had quinoa flakes cooked with half a banana, then added a quarter scoop of vanilla protein powder, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, and a tbsp. of peanut butter. The quinoa flakes are really growing on me.  I’ve been craving them and have had them as part of my dinner a couple of times this week.  I also had some sliced smoked turkey with provolone cheese and then I had the puffed rice with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a quarter scoop of vanilla protein powder, and some cinnamon.  See I told ya-random!  Looks like a ton of carbs but I did get in a good amount of protein today, 146.7 grams to be exact!

looks like mush, tastes delicious

puffed brown rice is surprisingly tasty

The puffed brown rice was actually good.  The only downside is that it gets soggy pretty fast!  Well let’s see if we actually get this storm we’re supposed to.  So far nada and my plans tonight got canned because of this so we better get something.