what i ate wednesday #9

Today was a busy, busy What I Ate Wednesday!  It is also somewhat bittersweet because this is the last Wednesday I will spend unemployed.  Say what?!  Yes, I was offered a job yesterday and I will be starting this Monday!  It will be very nice to get into the “real world” finally, but I think I will somewhat miss my days of sitting at home.  However my credit card bills will like the paycheck.

Kinley decided to take off of work today to spend one of my final free days with me and it was nice to relax together on a non-weekend.  It also gave us time to shop since I have zero clothes for work.  It will be quite the experience to build up a nice wardrobe in a couple of days – but I am definitely up for the challenge!  I think I’ll write more in detail about my new position (and experiences throughout the process) tomorrow – it’s time to get to my eats!

 


Breakfast

Oat Bran + Rolled Oats, topped with a banana, nectarine, ground flax, hemp seeds, chia and sunbutter.

Lunch

Sandwich with Millet & Flax bread, avocado, hummus, cucumber and salt.  Veggie Straws (my favorite) and a combo of strawberries and blueberries on the side.

Afternoon Snack

Chocolate Banana Smoothie!  

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ~1t cocoa powder
  • ~1/2-1t agave nectar

Blend until smooth and delicious!

Dinner

Leftover pasta salad from last night.  I made Daily Garnish‘s Strawberry Pesto Pasta Salad and it was absolutely delicious.  I also added chickpeas to the mix for a protein boost and had it on a bed of arugula.

Nighttime Snack

Millet Puffs + Erin Baker’s PB Granola + Chocolate Covered Raisins + Unsweetened Almond Milk.  Awesome end to the day.

I ended up with a handful of shirts, a dress, a pair of shoes and some workout clothes (okay, those aren’t to wear for work but I have been meaning to buy some new stuff).  I still really need to find some more dress pants (my two pairs won’t take me too far), maybe a couple more dresses and I am really wanting to get a few skirts, but I cannot find any!  So I will be headed to the mall tomorrow/friday/this weekend to finish up my closet!

Question: What’s your favorite store for dress clothes, specifically skirts?

sorbetto

I’ve talked a little bit about my trip to Italy in May of 2010 on this blog.  I love traveling, if I could find a job that would take me around the world I would be in heaven.  Although even finding a job in general is proving to be a bit of a difficulty, and being paid to travel is definitely not realistic ;).  That is why I loved studying abroad so much.  No, I didn’t get paid for it, but it was 3 1/2 months where I could be somewhere else, experiencing the cultures (and food!) of other countries.

Let me just say that I am so glad that I got the chance to go to Italy when I did without having to deal with any of my dietary intolerances.  Even traveling domestically is difficult.  Heck, it’s difficult to find restaurants that I can go to when I’m at home.  Going to Italy won’t quite be the same without being able to eat gluten, specifically.  I don’t even want to imagine being surrounded by fresh pasta, bread, pizza, calzones, and all of the other delicious gluten-filled goodies I won’t be able to indulge in.

And without dairy, gelato is a no-no as well.  I’m not going to lie, I had gelato at least once every day when I was there – mostly sticking to the chocolate-hazelnut variety that I love.  My family recently went into a gelato shop in Waukesha (just west of Milwaukee), called Divino Gelato Cafe, and I was delighted to find sorbetto.  Fruit-filled, non-dairy gelato.  Oh my word.

Kinley and I shared a pint (it was the same price as the smallest dish and we could get two flavors!).  It was filled up with passionfruit and blueberry and it was absolutely phenomenal.  Fruity, fresh, and just the perfect amount of sweetness.  Of course I had to attempt to make some sort of sorbetto at home.  We have an ice cream maker and I just wanted a simple mix to make that didn’t take much time but had an awesome flavor.

And that’s where Naked Juice comes in.  I only first had Naked juices a couple of months ago and was instantly hooked.  I do find them very sweet however, but I love that their ingredients are purely fruit.

Naked Sorbetto makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup Naked juice (I used mighty mango)
  • 1 cup water
  • fruit toppings (optional)

1. Assemble ice cream maker (according to your own instructions).

2. Pour the juice and water together and put in the ice cream maker.

3. Mix until your mixture has turned icy and looks like sorbetto :).

4. Serve in a fancy glass with a gelato spoon (optional).

This definitely was not as sweet as the sorbetto from Divino’s, but it was delicious and perfect for the summertime.  You can, of course, use 100% juice if you wanted a fuller flavor (but I liked this one just a tad on the icy side).

Garnish with strawberries if you so desire.

At least I know when I make it back to Italy someday, I’ll be able to live on Sorbetto and Wine.

meatless monday on the grill

Around three weeks ago now, I shared with you an easy peasy meatless monday meal with the thought that I would attempt to do a dinner every Monday that highlighted something easy, meat-free and delicious so you can celebrate Meatless Monday as well!  Well, three weeks passed and I never gave a second thought to it – whoops.  Obviously there was the 4th of July that was distracting and who knows what was happening last Monday haha (actually it was the day after Kinley’s 1/2 so I think our minds were both somewhere else!).  Thanks to Kinley for remembering my original plan, I am back at it this Monday!  Well, I should say she is back at it since she made dinner last night after a quick bike ride to the grocery store to pick up a few items.

The best part about this meal?  It only requires a handful of ingredients that are easy to have on hand for any quick weeknight meal.  And not only a few ingredients, but CHEAP ingredients!

Grilled Baked Bean Potatoes

  • baked potatoes
  • vegetarian baked beans
  • nutritional yeast (a cheesy tasting topping found in the health food aisle – it might look scary, but it’s delicious!)
  • salad (or other vegetable)
  • any other baked potato toppings you desire

1. Preheat your grill and wrap the (washed) potatoes in aluminum foil.

2. Bake on the grill for about an hour, moving around occasionally until baked through.  Take off the grill.

3. Heat up the baked beans on the stovetop.

4. Unwrap the baked potatoes and place on a plate.  Cut a slit in the top and fill with nutritional yeast and the baked beans (or you can eat on the side if you wish).  Serve with a salad or any other side vegetable – possibly one from your garden!

You can obviously make a ton of alterations to this idea.  Different beans, vegetables, bbq sauce, ketchup, earth balance, salt, etc.

And since the grill is heated up already, you might as well put on a few Chocolate Marshmallow Stuffed Grilled Bananas for dessert.

Enjoy!

chunky + creamy

There’s no better way to spend a Sunday than at home making homemade nut butters.  Especially because doing so will save quite a bit of money (especially with the coconut butter).  To be completely honest, I have never bought or tasted the coconut butter that you can buy in the stores, but all I know is that the recipe below is so simple and delicious there is no reason to spend more than a couple of dollars to enjoy it.

And all you need for either of these recipes is a food processer – couldn’t be much easier than that, right?

Chunky Almond Butter

  • 10 oz raw almonds
  • 1/4t salt

1. Preheat oven to 325*.

2. Roast the almonds for 15-18 minutes, until slightly toasted.

3. Let cook on the pan for 5 minutes.

4. Place 8 oz of the almonds in a food processor and process for 6-10 minutes or until it has reached a butter consistency.  Add in the salt and mix it a couple more times.  Pour into a mixing bowl.

5. Chop up the remaining 2 oz almonds into small to medium size chunks (whatever size you like the most).

6. Add the chopped almonds in with the almond butter and stir to combine.

7. Place in a mason jar and enjoy!  You can leave your almond butter at room temp for a couple of weeks, or put in the fridge to last longer (although it probably won’t last that long, especially in this house!).

Chunky perfection.

Coconut Butter

  • shredded coconut

1. In a food processor, place as much coconut as you’d like.  I normally stick to half of a 12oz bag for this which makes 6-7 fluid ounces of coconut butter.

2. Process until creamy.  It will take between 6 and 10 minutes, just scrape down the sides of the processor if needed.

Mmm creamy.

I wish I could say that I didn’t just make these both last weekend and had to make them again today.  Although most of the consumption happened before Kinley’s 1/2 marathon on our delicious pancakes.

hp 7.2

I love Harry Potter and I’m not afraid to admit it.  I remember reading the first Harry Potter book – just after the start of the new year in 2000.  Wow, time really does fly!  The reason I remember it so well is because it was when we got our pup, Crosby (we picked him up on January 1, 2000 since the world didn’t end haha).  Kinley received the book from our Aunt and Uncle for Christmas and we were hooked immediately.  The only bad thing about being obsessed in 2000 is that we still had to wait for four books to come out!

Any HP fan cannot go to London without visiting King's Cross

In fact, you can tell how deep our obsession was early on because I can remember going to Media Play (a local electronic/book store) at midnight to pick up the Goblet of Fire when it came out as a book.  I can also say that I have successfully seen each and every Harry Potter film during opening weekend, and I believe the first few I even made it twice during the first week.  Now those were the days!

Kinley and I (during her visit) trying to get through to Platform 9 3/4 - that darn Dobby must have locked us out!

Every time a new book or movie would come out, you could bet I would be among the first to read/see it.  I loved it and the books definitely made me an avid reader – most books were done within two days and I was seriously trying to read as slowly as possible.  And then I would read it again.  One summer a few years ago I actually made it through each and every book, one right after the other.  It was brilliant.

The Great Hall at Christ's Church in Oxford, used for Hogwart's Great Hall in the first two movies

I am sad to say that tonight is the last time I will be able to partake in the opening weekend of any release for the Harry Potter franchise!  I feel like I have grown up with the characters, being only 11 when I first read the books I was very close to the ages of the characters in each book, which helped me to connect with them even more.  I think my Harry Potter obsession also might have had something to do with why I wanted to study abroad in London.  And you can be sure that I saw my fair share of the Harry Potter sites around the country.  Although I am sorry to say that I did not take the guided tour – had to leave something for next time I visit, right?

These exact steps were used by Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Gryffindors when entering Hogwarts in the first movie

I  will never grow out of Harry Potter.  I am already planning a day to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when I travel to Orlando in Janurary to run in the Disney 1/2 Marathon.  I. Can’t. Wait.  I am sad to see the Harry Potter Era come to a close, although I know that it will be with me forever and I can’t wait to be able to share it with my future kids down the line.  I just hope they become addicted as much as I am or I might have to return them for new ones ;).

The Millennium Bridge - destroyed in HP6

See you one last time tonight, Harry, Ron & Hermione!

Karli, Jennifer and me trying to fit in with Harry during our trip to Oxford 🙂

I might even wear my glasses ;).

pre-race fuel

I do not have a long history with running, as I have said before.  It is relatively new in my life and I am still trying to figure out how to best fuel my body for short and (more importantly) long runs.  I obviously know pasta is a huge tradition for pre-race dinners.  Spaghetti nights being very common the night before a long run or race.  But since recently eliminating gluten from my diet, it has become harder to fill my meals up with carbs.  I used to eat a sandwich every day, something that I rarely have since the bread I now buy is more expensive than my previous gluten-filled sprouted wheat bread.

A simple carbo-loading night is now not quite as simple.  No plain spaghetti for us.  So when Kinley was gearing up to run in the Summerfest 1/2 marathon, we had to think of something that would help her get through her run.  What did we end up with?  Pancakes!

We had somewhat of a pancake party as my friend, Ashley, was spending the night.  She brought her own mix, but Kinley whipped up a delicious recipe we have been using that was inspired by the recipe Weekend Pancakes Made Easy in the cookbook, Vegan Yum Yum.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Pancakes (the picture above is actually a triple recipe, so don’t be concerned when you don’t make a pile of pancakes with the below measurements 😉 )

makes 2-3 servings

  • 1 c oat flour
  • 1/3c millet flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 2T ground flax
  • 1cup non-dairy milk (plus more milk or water if needed to thin out batter)
  • 2T unsweetened applesauce
  • 1t vanilla

1. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flax.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce and vanilla.

3. Mix the wet ingredients to the dry and add more liquid if necessary.

4. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown on the one side, flip and cook the other side to golden-brown as well.

*It also works to keep cooked pancakes in a 250* preheated oven if you wanted to make up the whole batch before serving!

I love my pancakes topped with banana, almond butter, coconut butter and of course pure maple syrup – but use any of your favorite toppings (or mix-ins!).

These definitely helped Kinley carbo-load for her race!

what i ate wednesday #8

I have a confession.  I ate breakfast.   Before taking a picture.  It was my first time since participating in WIAW that I have done that.  And with two months now under my belt, you’d think I would remember… guess not.  So the best I can give you is a deconstructed breakfast and a recipe.  But at least my little morning forgetfulness was only kept to the one meal!

Breakfast:

Overnight Oats topped with blueberries, a nectarine (got a HUGE box at TJ’s last weekend), ground flax and sunflower butter.  Yum!

Recipe for Easy Overnight Oats:

  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 3/4-1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1T chia seeds

Combine all ingredients and keep in the fridge overnight, or at least for a couple hours.  Such an easy and not-warm breakfast just perfect for warm, summer mornings!

Mid-Morning Snack:

Cherries – on sale at Whole Foods for $3.99/lb!

Lunch:

Millet & Flax Bread with Garlic Hummus, grilled (tastes like garlic bread – so good!).  With a side salad topped with carrots, a fried egg and some salt.  Perfect and simple Lunch.

Accompanied by some iced tea – made with Tazo Awake.

As well as a Blueberry Muffin Lärabar.  This was the first time I had one of these – and it really did taste like  blueberry muffin!  There will definitely be more of these in my future.

Afternoon Snack:

Beanitos with TJ’s Autentica Salsa

Dinner:

Lemon and Green Pea Risotto with Roasted Red Peppers + Chickpeas.  Recipe in Veganomicon.  Also had two of Oh She Glow’s Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls.  Hers looked prettier.

race recap: summerfest rock ‘n sole

The back of our t-shirts.

I was not the one running in this race, I was merely a spectator there to cheer on my sister, Kinley during her second official 1/2 marathon!  She signed up for this race shortly after it was announced as it was the first race that has been put on by Summerfest and during Summerfest.  Ashley came up to join in the cheering and we even made t-shirts for the occasion!

Milwaukee Art Museum

We left the house at 7am to drive down to Milwaukee and find parking.  It was already so hot… I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts and was already sweating, and worrying about the runners because of the heat!  The corrals were set up outside of the Summerfest grounds and compared to the Bellin Run, were tiny and so crowded with the participants.  Kinley decided to head to the back of the corrals instead and not be surrounded by hoards of people pushing and shoving their way in the corral.  It was chip-timed as well, so it really did not matter what time she crossed the start line.

Starting Corrals

After Kinley lined up and the race had gotten under way, Ashley and I headed to Alterra at the Lake to wait for Kinley to come to the first planned meeting point around 7 miles.  It was around a 2 mile walk for us up the street and even just walking, it was a welcomed relief to be in the air conditioning with an iced coffee instead of the muggy warm 80*+ temperature outside!  We also had a view of the course so we could see other runners.  Mom and Dad came down as well and were able to see Kinley after she ran over the Hoan Bridge which was 6 miles in.  So we waited a few more minutes and then went out to the course to wait for her to pass.

I love these things outside of Discovery World.

She finally came up to us and was extremely glad that we had a fresh water bottle for her to replace her other one!  She took one and packed another, both filled with her Naturally Clean Sports Drink.  She was also planning on alternating between that and water on the course so figured she would be ok during the run.  Kinley also put a couple of the ice packs on her neck to help cool down – but she was over 1/2 way done so that was a plus!

Kinley coming up to us around the 7 mile mark!

Before Ashley and I headed to the next stop, I ran back into Alterra and filled up her other water bottle (just in case) and grabbed a handful of salt packets for a quick electrolyte fix if she needed it.  We then headed a quarter mile back to the 11 1/2 mile stop just over the Brady Street Bridge.  A photographer was also there so it was a good spot to wait!  We waited for around an hour there for her to pass.  She was desperately in need of water so it was nice to be able to change her bottles again!  It was a quick stop, or run-past rather, just saying, “I can’t stop now!”.

Ashley and I then headed back to the Summerfest grounds to get to the finish line.  We knew we wouldn’t make it to the end in time to see her cross (that’s what Mom and Dad were doing anyways so Kinley at least had support at the end!), and we just walked near the course toward the finish line.  On our way, my first sign of race struggles was one guy sitting up against a tree (about a 1/2 mile from the finish line), surrounded by Medics with an IV put in his arm.  That was when I first heard them saying the course had been black-flagged.  I had no idea what that meant but they were also telling everyone to walk back and stop running and time wasn’t going to be recorded.

Just passing Brady St. Bridge - love all the boats behind her!

We made it back to the grounds by the finish and tried to look around for Kinley, Mom and Dad.  We found them after dodging a bunch of people working our way back closer to the lake.  Kinley had also packed a smoothie which we had in a cooler so I was able to give that to her for some recovery – which was good since the race was OUT OF BANANAS!  How does a race run out of bananas when they are the main food runners look to after the finish?  It blew my mind.  But I guess if the race officials were unable to get an adequate supply of water to the runners, it’s surprising they even had bananas at all.

I really could not believe it when I heard there was little to no water along the course.  Kinley finished in the middle of the 1/2 marathoners, and from a few statements it seems like the people near the front of the pack had no issues, but the ones further back did so it is really one runners tale versus the other.  But the stories of runners having to cup their hands together to get even a few ounces of water and pouring all of the water gallons into a clean garbage bag to fill up water faster was really disconcerting.  And so many of the other runners had no water with them… I’m not sure how many runners didn’t finish the race at all, or turned around at the 10k point, but I do not blame them.

The organizers of the race failed, in my opinion.  No runner should have to worry about dehydration on the course, after being told there would be water stops, and especially after paying over $80 to run the course.  Fifteen runners were hospitalized and I think that two of them are still in the hospital recovering.  My heart goes out to these runners because the officials failed to protect them.  Some runners are even blaming those complaining about not having any water by saying that they didn’t prepare enough or were not training correctly, but even just after walking four miles I had drank 32 ounces of water – there is no way a runner would even be able to carry that much water around with them.

Thankfully Kinley had brought her own water and I filled up that third bottle for her.  Although she did talk about one point where she debated picking up a half-eaten banana because she needed food – I’m so glad she was able to find a new one on the course somewhere!  She didn’t beat the time at her last 1/2 marathon (they did end up posting the results), but with the conditions the way they were I am just proud she was able to finish!

Ashley and I in our shirts with Kinley after the race! 13.1!

Nice work, Kinley!  And here’s to no more summer marathons!

my water obsession

My favorite Camelbak water bottle!

I’m not sure about you, but I have a little bit of a water addiction.  I know the word out there is to “drink more water!”, but seriously, sometimes I have to tell myself to stop drinking so much water.  In fact, there were a couple of weeks lately where I kept feeling slightly off with nothing to attribute it to until I realized how many ounces of water I was taking in versus my naturally low sodium intake.  I was definitely lacking in electrolytes, bordering on hyponatremia.  It’s a really good thing I figured that out before anything bad actually happened to me.

It’s a difficult balance between dehydration and hydration on hot summer days, especially when exercising.  How much is enough water?  How much is too much?  Is drinking while running going to cause a cramp?  Is not drinking enough while running going to cause a cramp?  Yikes.

I am still trying to get used to running with a water bottle.  On shorter runs, I might not bother bringing one along because I know I’ll be home soon and I hydrated earlier in the day, but on longer runs I have to remember to bring something and to continue to drink it steadily throughout the run to stay in balance.  One other tricky thing is that water alone is not enough, it needs to be balanced with some sort of electrolyte to make it effective.

On my journey to clean eating, I gave up so many processed, convenience foods that naturally my sodium intake level dropped significantly, without even trying.  I now have to consciously salt foods throughout the day to keep up with my water intake and how much I exercised that day.  After my 10k, I even just ate a packet of salt to replace what I had lost.  I know you may be thinking, just drink gatorade or any other sports beverage and you’ll be fine, but I am not a fan of some of the ingredients they use and would rather get my electrolytes in a more natural form.  A good measurement to go by is 1/4t of salt for every 16oz of water you drink.

Awhile back, Kinley found a recipe by Daily Garnish for a Homemade Sports Drink which I now like to take out with me as my mileage is getting higher and the sun is getting hotter.  Instead of sticking right to that recipe, we typically just use salt, a squirt of lime or lemon juice and some agave nectar to make it even more natural but just as effective.  I have to admit however that I have not been successful at making it Kinley’s way (she is much more the eyeball measurements type of mixer and her guesses on the amounts have not turned out for me – so I ask her to put it together for me!).  But as long as there is some salt and sugar/agave in the mix, your body will thank you and be able to recover faster than just drinking water.  Make it as sweet or salty as you like by tweaking the ingredients.

Naturally Clean Sports Drink

  • Salt (1/4t for 16oz water)
  • Lime or Lemon Juice
  • Agave or Honey
  • Water

Moral of the story, drink water, but not too much.  However, I am not a nutritionist by any means so if you have serious concerns with your electrolyte balance during long runs, please seek out a professional for advice.  Happy Summer Running!

spontaneous garden {update}

You might remember this spontaneous garden we planted near the beginning of June, just about a month ago.  Well, many things can change in a month.  Can you believe that little garden has grown and already produced some produce?

Hopefully this head of broccoli is still good… I cut it off today but I think it might have been left a little too long… but I ate a piece and it is tasty so hopefully we don’t have to scrap it!

This spaghetti squash continues to grow longer and longer… there have been some huge flowers on it but no signs yet of a squash.  I think they come after the flower goes away so we may have awhile yet.

Zucchini!  We have (at last count) SEVEN zucchini growing!  One has a teeny nibble out of it, but nothing else so hopefully whoever bit the one found another garden somewhere else!

And something I noticed this morning – little tomatoes!  They’re so cute, can’t wait until they’re red!

Little blossoms on the beans.

As well as the peppers although it looks like something more is about to come!

Unfortunately the eggplant never really established so it’s not looking too healthy.  Might have to move that to make way for the tomato plants that were originally put in the planters!

The squash on the left was actually grown from a seed – can you believe it?  That will need to be transplanted soon!  Strawberries (on right) haven’t given us anything for a while…

And of course, Crosby has continued to keep close watch on the garden!

I think he’s the only one of us who has a green thumb!  Thanks, Crosby!