Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Great things!

Today was a great day! I have a stellar presentation in class, got a job (!!), received my package from iHerb and even got to relax in the sunny weather a bit! WOW!

I got a job as a waitress at a local restaurant, they called me 20 minutes after the interview to tell me they liked me a lot and wanted me to work there! I'm really excited! Now, not only will money be not so tight, but I will be able to spend the summer here in Durango with my boy! All around positive accomplishment :)

Then, when I got home and checked the mail, my iHerb package was here! It felt like it was my birthday already! Check out the great things I got at a great price:

I pretty much opened the Dagoba instantly! I was so curious what lavender blueberry chocolate was like and after a taste test, I give it two thumbs up!
I've looked all around the local grocery for some type of mint flavoring, but couldn't find anything, negative side of living in a small town, I guess...it was the first thing in my iHerb shopping cart cause a mint chocolate smoothie sounds soooo good!
I think I'll need to devote a post to PB2, it's a great peanut butter product and saves a lot of fat and calories for someone who's as nuts about peanut butter as I am! (get it?)
I have also been wanting to try Xylitol as a sweetner, but it's really expensive at the health food store in town, so I was excited to get a good deal from iHerb so I can test it out...I'll report back if I like it or not.
Lastly, the coconut oil is for skin/hair, the weather has continued to be so dry and I needed something a little stronger for my poor crackled hands. I've been stealing some coconut oil from my kitchen supply to rub on my hands at night, so I thought it'd be best to have a special supply for my skin and at $3, it was hard to say no!

Don't forget that you can get $10 off your first order of $40 or more and $5 off your first order under $40 by using my code SIJ735. Great deals for all!

I also made a different type of chocolate protein muffin today for a snack and LOVED it! I tried to take a picture, but with our bad lighting it was hard to not make it look like a chocolate blob. Check out the recipe at pure2raw and make your tummy and taste buds happy!

Hope you're having a great Tuesday!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate almond protein muffins

The other day I came across a list of low-carb snacks and one of them happened to be Almond Apple Spice muffins. I made a few changes to the recipe, adapted it to what I had as well as made it a little *healthier*.
They are gluten-free which is lucky, since today is my first day of gluten-free living! It wasn't so bad today, and I realized that I don't eat as many gluten products as I thought. My breakfast and lunch were pretty much the same as usual, it was my snacks that changed the most I think, cause many days I will have PB on ww toast or tortilla. But I also noticed that I would normally have something with gluten at dinner as well, or if I wanted something to cheat with, those almost always have gluten! I think it will be an interesting two weeks...

Here's the link to the original recipe for the muffins again.
And here's how I made them:

1 cup ground almonds
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients in a bowl, melt the coconut oil slightly beforehand, if necessary. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray or use cup cake liners. Pour mix into muffin tins, (~3/4 full). Place tray in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. Make sure not to overcook as the muffins will become very dry.

This is a half recipe of what the site used, I figured since I'm just cooking for one person, it makes more sense to cut it in half. From this recipe I got 10 small muffins, they don't "grow" much in the baking process, so be aware of that.

The muffins are really nutty and the spices definitely make a nice overall "earthy" taste. It's maybe more of a autumn taste, than spring, but I like it all the same. They are extra good topped with a little almond butter, talk about a dessert-like snack! 


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gluten-free test

Well, after some excessive and unrelenting digestive issues, I have decided to give up gluten for 2 weeks, as a test period to see if I'm "sensitive"to gluten. I've been reading up on gluten and digestive problems and I think there could be a strong connection and in my case, I know I eat a moderate amount of gluten everyday.
Two weeks may not be enough time to "cure" me and my symptoms, but I think it is a good starting point to assess if any changes happen. If it goes well, then I will stick with gluten-free living and be happy that my digestive problems have come to an end, if not, then it's back to the drawing board.
So, as of tomorrow, March 26th, I will not eat gluten for two weeks, that means no breads, pastas, beer (which I don't drink much of anyway) or wheat products in general. I will continue to eat my daily bowl of oatmeal, even though I don't have a GF certified brand, but I will count it as close enough. :)

I think this will be a good diet to start anyway because a lot of the unhealthy calories that I eat in my day are from gluten products. Because lets face it, I LOVE carbs with a passion. But I think they hinder me from achieving some of my goals, so it will be nice to try for a few weeks and see if I make any improvements as far a physique goes.

I'm excited to see what happens, if anything, in the next two weeks and I will be updating on my blog about how I'm feeling and what changes occur. Since I am looking to see if my body changes physically, I will take some "progress" pictures tomorrow and at the end of two weeks and if I'm satisfied that I made progress, I will be sure to post them as evidence!

I'll be back tomorrow to share some gluten-free protein muffins I made, so stay tuned!

Do you have any problems with gluten?    

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Strawberry salad

A few weeks ago, strawberries were on BOGO at the grocery, so I had to stock up! I came home with four packages of fresh strawberries and put three of them in the freezer for smoothies and the like. Last week, I realized I had totally forgotten about the massive amount of strawberries in my freezer and decided to take one package and put it in the fridge for easier access....big mistake!

Well, kinda. The strawberries did get super mushy after being frozen, (duh! I should have known that would happen!) but mushy = juicy and that was a great thing for spinach and strawberry salads!

The other day I not only put strawberries in my salad, but I made a great strawberry vinaigrette! It's super fast and easy.

Here's what you need:

1Tbsp EVOO
1Tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider but red wine would be best!)
1/2tsp rosemary
dash of salt
1-2 mashed strawberries

Just mix all ingredients together and drizzle over your salad!
This makes the perfect amount for one salad and the measurements are easy to double or triple. 

The mushy strawberries made it easier to mash them up, but I'm sure if you needed, you could put it all in a blender and it would be ready in no time!

I paired my salad with about 5oz of chicken cooked with a generous amount of smoked paprika and 1/2 cup cooked whole wheat noodles with a little oil and italian seasoning on top. It was a really great and filling dinner!

Have you experimented with homemade salad dressings? Any tips?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chocolate chia seed pudding

I've been wanting to write about the dinner and lunch items I've been eating this week, but I am currently spooning away this concoction:

And loving every second of it!

Meet Protein Chia Seed Pudding! In the "healthy" food-blog world there has been a uprising of chia seed recipes in the past year and I have jumped on the bandwagon in the past few months. I now use chia seeds in my oatmeal every morning to really "pump up" my oats and I also use them in all of my smoothies.

If you don't know about chia seeds, here's a bit of background. They are native to Mexico and Central/South America and the name actually comes from the aboriginal, Nahuatl word meaning oily. When soaked in water they "puff up" and produce a gelatin-like coating, but ground chia seeds can be used in baking. They are high in omega-3's and fiber which is why they have become a common health food today.

But you may also remember the ever-loved Chia pet which sprouts the seeds and makes an alfalfa-type plant.

Now, back to the delicious pudding.
Here's what you need:

3 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder (about 16 grams)
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk (or water)
2 Tbsp cottage cheese
And any other flavors you might want, a dash of vanilla or cinnamon would be great!

Blend all the ingredients in a blender adding more liquid if necessary; I had to splash a little more in as it was blending. Then let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes so that seeds are able to "puff up" in the liquid. I waited as long as it took me to do the dishes and then I dug in!

As you can see I added some chocolate chips on top for an extra treat!

If you've never eaten chia seeds this way before, the texture might surprise you a bit, it does have a gelatin-type texture, but I think it's refreshing. Especially when you use cold liquid in the mixture, it's reminiscent of real chocolate pudding.  

If you don't have protein powder, a mixture of cocoa powder and sweetener to taste would substitute just fine. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe and join the chia-craze!
For more chia seed pudding recipes, visit pure2raw, they have tons of puddings and other great ideas for chia seeds too!

Did you ever have a chia pet? Do you use chia seeds in food?