Saturday, April 30, 2011

CSA Veggies and Workout Adjustments

Yesterday, we got another wonderful CSA box.

Here is what we got and what I plan to do with each item:
  • Oranges; lunches, if I can convince the toddler not to juice them all; he is obsessed with juicing oranges!
  • Mandarins – same as the oranges
  • Celery – veggie sauce to go with pasta; salad; stir fry
  • Broccoli – roast with yams
  • Radishes – add to salad
  • Yams – roast with broccoli
  • Zucchini – sauté with onions, garlic, and tomatoes
  • Strawberries – lunches
  • Onion – veggie sauce to with pasta
  • Lettuce – salad
Workout Adjustments

As you may remember, I planned my meals and workouts at the beginning of the week. While the meals went as planned, my workouts did not work out. First, the toddler and I got a really bad cold. By Monday night I had a very bad sore throat and felt miserable. I decided to listen to my body and only did a short yoga routine on Tuesday. On Wednesday I felt a bit better, and hubby, the toddler and I went for a 7 mile walk in the afternoon. Here are some pictures from the walk:

Unfortunately, I didn’t wear the right shoes and socks and ended up with two very painful blisters which since have become infected. My three mile walk on Thursday probably didn’t help the situation…

Pretty much exactly a year ago, I got very sick with the flu, and I didn’t listen to my body. I kept working out and pushing myself as soon as I was just a bit better, and I ended up not getting better for many weeks. I’m determined to be kinder to myself these days, even if that means missing some workouts.

However, not working out is sometimes easier said than done. I really enjoy my daily workouts, and they are the source of my “happy hormones.” So missing workouts has consequences. I have found that just 10 – 15 minutes of simple stretches and yoga moves make me feel better. So that’s what I plan to do until I can work out again.

Questions: Do you listen to your body when you get injured or sick? Does not working out affect your mood? What strategies do you use when you have to miss workouts? Finally, what will you be up to this weekend? 

Be well,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rosemary Pancetta Beer Biscuits

Before I went on my trip, I received an email from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program which informed me that I would receive a stipend to purchase New Belgium Brewing Company beer and the ingredients needed to make a recipe using the beer. I didn’t have time to work on it before I left, but beer was on my mind while I was gone. Smile I couldn’t wait to pick up some beer as soon as I got back.

I purchased two large bottles of New Belgium Brewing Company beer:

Here are the descriptions of the beers from the bottles: 

I decided to use the beer to make some biscuits. I have made bread using beer before, and we all liked it. Plus, it’s an easy recipe that I have played around with with success (remember, I’m not much of a baker…). To make the biscuits, I tweaked the bread recipe a bit more. Unlike a traditional biscuit recipe, my biscuits contain no butter or shortening, but they do contain pancetta! Smile

Rosemary Pancetta Beer Biscuits

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 7 ounces beer; I used Fat Tire Amber Ale
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 ounces pancetta, cut into very small cubes
  • Rosemary to taste; I used the needles of two small (3 inch) branches. Rosemary can be very powerful, so less is often more. The rolls had a slight, very pleasant Rosemary taste.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Slowly stir in the beer.
  4. Stir in the honey until it is worked in. Don’t overwork the dough.
  5. Stir in the pancetta and rosemary.
  6. Scoop the dough on a baking sheet with a spoon.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until the biscuits are slightly brown. I like my biscuits slightly moist in the middle; if you want yours all the way done, bake a few minutes longer.
  8. Enjoy!
Prep and Bake Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 small biscuits

The biscuits are not fluffy like traditional biscuits, but the denser texture made them perfect beer food, and they went REALLY well with cheese, salami, mustard, and the Belgium Brewing Company beer! And since I bought two 22-ounce bottles, we had plenty of beer left to drink with the biscuits! Smile 

Hubby and I both enjoyed the two beers a lot! New Belgium Brewing Company makes a wide variety of beers, and we can’t wait to taste some of their other beers soon!

As I said before, the biscuits faintly tasted and smelled like rosemary. If you want a stronger rosemary flavor, just use more rosemary. Also, you could easily increase the amount of pancetta if you are after a “meatier” biscuit! Or you could leave it out entirely of course.

What I love most about these biscuits are the endless possibilities of “add ins:” cheese, different herbs, garlic, onions, ham and cheese – the possibilities never end!

Questions: Do you like beer? Have you ever cooked with beer? If so, feel free to link to a recipe in the comments!

Be well,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easy Fried Lunchbox Rice

While I was gone, I received several products and coupons through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. One of them was a box of Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice. According to the box, it has “the comforting taste and texture of white rice and the nutritional power of Whole Grains.” I was curious. Would it taste good?

(You can click on each of the images above to make them bigger.)

Yes, it does. It tastes very good. We haven’t made white rice in years (much to the disappointment of hubby and the teenager,)  and it was a nice change. It’s done very quickly, in about 15 minutes.

I decided to use the rice to make some fried rice for hubby’s and the toddler’s lunch boxes.

Fried Rice
  • 1 box Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice, cooked according to the package
  • Olive oil
  • 1 organic beef hot dog made with 100% grass-fed beef, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into half moons
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into three strips each and then sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Spray a wok or frying pan with some olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots, celery. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the veggies start to soften.
  • Add the hot dog and cook another 5 minutes, until the hot dog browns a bit.
  • Add the rice and the frozen peas and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Season the rice with sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to taste.
Prep  and Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: About 3

Question: What did you have/will you have for lunch today? 

Be well,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Fun and Planning Time

Here is some of our weekend fun:

On Saturday, we checked out the KraftBrew Beer Fest in San Jose. Hubby really enjoyed tasting all the different beers. Since I was the designated driver, I only had a few sips; I liked everything I tasted.

Beer Fest 03
On Sunday, we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at Clos La Chance Winery. We had forgotten the toddler’s basket, so he collected eggs into a paper bag… Nevertheless, it was lots of fun, and the scenery at the winery is just breathtaking…
And now It’s time to plan meals and workouts for the week.

I plan five dinners for the week, but I don’t plan them for a particular night. Before planning, I always take a quick look at my fridge, freezer, and pantry and try to use some items I already have (This week I’ll use quinoa, canned wild salmon, and brown rice pasta from the pantry. I still have feta cheese for the quinoa salad as well as sliced cheese for the grilled cheese sandwiches in the fridge. The basil for the pasta is coming from my basil plant on the table.)  I plan no more than one meat/poultry meal per week and at least one fish meal. We also eat at least one fish meal on the weekends (I don’t plan weekend meals). The veggies, carbs, and proteins are often interchangeable.

Meal 1: Quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, egg whites, dill, olive oil, and lemon juice; asparagus.
Meal 2: Grilled cheese sandwiches and a salad.
Meal 3: Salmon cakes on a bed of mache lettuce.
Meal 4: Organic beef hot dogs made with 100% grass-fed beef on toasted sprouted grain buns with tomatoes, pickles, relish, and mustard. This is a request from hubby! Smile
Meal 5: Brown rice pasta with a fresh grape-tomato/garlic/basil sauce and a salad. I’ll quickly sauté the halved grape tomatoes and garlic in some olive oil and then add a bit of the pasta water to make a sauce. After tossing the sauce with the pasta, I’ll coat the pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Now on to my workouts for this week. Unlike meals, I plan specific workouts for specific days. That way, I won’t be doing the same workout over and over again…

Monday: Barre-type workout.
Tuesday: The 30 Day Shred. A quick workout on a busy day, done before anyone gets up.
Wednesday: Barre-type workout and a walk with the family later in the afternoon. Must take advantage of the last few days the toddler will go in the stroller…
Thursday: Total body weight workout.
Friday: Yoga and cardio (either the elliptical at the gym or a run, depending on my schedule).

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What will you be eating this week? What workouts do you have planned? 

Be well,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting Back Into A Healthy Routine

The toddler and I got back late on Tuesday. I hadn’t slept on the 11-hour flight, and I couldn’t sleep at night. I was off on Wednesday, and it was spent doing very little… I did manage to go to the store to pick up a few things for the next few days. Together with what is still in the fridge, pantry, and freezer, I’ll be able to put together quick, veggie and protein filled meals. Here is what I picked up:
  • Basil plant – In my opinion, basil makes (almost) everything taste better. I keep the plant on the table instead of flowers. To make it even prettier, I’ll plant into a pretty pot today.
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruits
  • Oranges
  • Cheese
  • Eggs – I already boiled some of them for lunches and to add to salads.
  • Canned wild salmon

Next week, I will get back to meal planning, something I haven’t done in quite some time. Taking the time to plan meals on the weekend really pays off to keep the week stress-free and to eat lots of healthy, well-balanced meals. Plus, meal planning saves money as I take a good look at what I already have in my pantry, fridge and freezer and build my meals around those items. Plus, shopping with a list leads to fewer impulse buys.

I had planned on doing a quick yoga workout yesterday, but I was just too tired. Instead of pushing myself, I listened to my body. Today, I did a short yoga routine, some additional abdominal work, and some weights. It felt good and was just the right amount to slowly get back into an exercise routine. Over the weekend, I also plan on putting together a more structured exercise plan, something I haven’t done in a while either.

Questions: Are you a meal planner? Do you plan your workouts? What are your strategies when things get in the way of your plan? My life is smoothest when I plan our meals as well as my workouts. When it comes to planning meals, I have learned that planning five, flexible meals works best for us. That means that I don’t usually plan a specific meal for a specific night. Also, the veggies and proteins are usually interchangeable, so there is enough flexibility to eat what we feel like on any given night. My workouts are also better when I plan them as I can make sure I mix things up enough, and I do enough strength workouts. For the most part, my workouts are nonnegotiable, and I put them into my calendar like any other appointment. If something comes up, which does happen from time to time, I make sure to reschedule them like I would any other appointment.

Be well,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

They Are Back

[Guest post by hubby.]

When I saw the kale in the latest CSA box, I knew that kale chips were in my near future. Didn't really have a chance to consult wifey much about this. I was simply going to play it by ear based on the roasting that I did last week. The only thing wifey said was to pay some attention so that the kale wouldn't get burnt.

It was a last minute decision to also roast some broccoli and asparagus.

So glad to have roasted the asparagus and broccoli along with the kale, as they all tasted great. The next time we have kale chips, I intend to sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and rosemary to enhance the taste.

Since wifey has already put up her "We Are Back" post, I don't have to be coy and ask, "So guess who's back?"

As much as as I appreciated video chatting with wifey and the toddler, seeing them on this TV monitor last night was more thrilling.

For her first meal back, wifey didn't hesitate when I asked her if she wanted some bibim bap.

It's beyond great that they're back.

Always Grateful,