Posts Tagged With: Visual Food Diary

WIAW Oats, Kale, and Chipotle

My first WIAW! I love looking at everyone’s mid-week eats and decided to join in the fun.  Being the literal person that I am, I took “What I Ate Wednesday” to mean to photograph and post everything consumed today, Wednesday. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t even have a foot out the door this morning and I noticed WIAW posts popping up. Apparently most people post what they ate last Wednesday, or what they ate the previous day, or any other day they choose. Maybe this is why it’s not called “What I Ate ON Wednesday”. 😦 Ah, the omission of one little word. For me, this revelation means that today’s entry is being posted later than most.
WIAW Title Nine Lunch Bag

4 out of my 5 (or 6) meals are generally eaten at work, which means presentation lacks while function wins. I am still on the hunt for the perfect clean eating cooler or bento box. Until then, I bring all my eats in glass (or a few plastic) containers and baggies, and haul them in a tote bag. We visited the Title Nine store in Madison over the weekend, and they packaged my purchase in this cheerful little bag which has now become my temporary lunch tote.

Meal 1: Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

WIAW Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are so easy! I prefer my oats warm, especially when your furnace goes out on one of the coldest nights of the year; you really don’t want cold oats. I mix it up the night before, put in the fridge, and when I get to work I microwave for 30 seconds to take the chill off. This particular combo was so tasty! I also prefer my oats pretty thick, so if you like yours a bit more watery, wait until morning to see how it looks and add more almond milk as needed. For me, this is the perfect ratio for thick & creamy oats. Here’s my little “recipe”:

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Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 T Dried Tart Cherries
  • 1 T Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams

Directions

  1. Mix oats, almond milk, and cherries in a covered container and place in fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning, microwave container for 30 seconds (or eat cold, if you are into that).
  3. Top with chocolate peanut butter.

Serves 1
288 calories, 42 carbs, 12 fat, 9 protein

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I also added some fresh sliced strawberries to today’s oats.

Meal 2: Alouette Spreadable Italian Herb Cheese Portion with Crunchmaster Crackers

WIAW Crunchmaster Crackers from Costco

These are the new competition to Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges. They come in foil-wrapped 40-calorie portions which makes it easy to throw in a lunch bag. Very smooth and easy to spread. These Crunchmaster Multigrain Crackers are my current favorite cracker. We buy a big box at Costco. They are gluten-free, but do contain soy from the tamari (soy sauce) they use to flavor it with.

Meal 3: Raw Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds & Poppyseed Dressing, Topped with Sliced Cucumbers, Hard-Boiled Eggs & Baby Carrots

WIAW Kale Salad

WIAW Eggs and Carrots

This bagged Sweet Kale Salad by Eat Smart is pretty good! It contains raw finely chopped broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and chicory with a packet of dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds for a topping. It also comes with a poppyseed dressing which is quite good and works well with the greens. I topped my salad with some cucumbers for a watery crunch, and two hard-boiled eggs for protein. I also had some baby carrots (regular carrots are preferred, but these were actually cheaper that week).

Meal 4: Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt & Earnest Eats Superfood Trail Mix Bar

WIAW Chobani and Earnest Eats

My favorite Chobani flavor. It was my favorite last year, and still is today. I also wanted something chewy, and these bars from Earnest Eats get the job done.

WIAW Starbucks Americano

On my way home from work, I stopped for an Americano at Starbucks for my evening winter commute. This was my first coffee of the day! Surprisingly, I did not miss the early morning jolt, but I have to admit that this afternoon cup tasted wonderful and made the scenery of frozen cornfields seem less wicked.

Meal 5: Chipotle Bowl with Brown Rice, Barbacoa, Fajita Vegetables, Tomato Salsa & Green Tomatillo Salsa

WIAW Chipotle Bowl

Normally I’d have a salad at Chipotle, but I had a salad for lunch and wanted something warmer so I went with the bowl topped with lots of Tabasco. I can never finish a whole bowl myself, so I saved half of this and will have it for a snack or lunch tomorrow.

Maybe next week I’ll have to do “What I Ate On Tuesday, But Blogged About On Wednesday” to join in the fun a little earlier. 😉

What was your favorite food of the day? Do you feel that keeping a visual food diary helps to keep you accountable on your nutrition goals? Do you eat most of your meals at work?

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A Week of Food Highlights

This week may have gotten away from me, but I haven’t forgotten to snap photos of FOOD! 🙂 Here are some highlights from the past few days.

Butternut Squash Burger

Burgers with Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions from Paleo Table. Served with Sweets & Beets and sliced strawberries. Loved a bun-less burger topped with butternut squash! However I could do without the sausage. Next time I’ll stick with 100% grass-fed ground beef and leave the ground sausage out. She has a method for doing caramelized onions, but I was short on time and just sauteed a Vidalia until soft and sweet. This was a great combo worth trying.

Vitamix Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup from Elana’s Pantry. So simple, just olive oil, onion, broccoli, water and salt. That’s right, no broth! I was worried it would not be flavorful, but it was. A good little soup to mix up in the Vitamix, however it was very watery and was more of a sipping soup than a soup you’d eat with a spoon.

Clean Eating Tarragon Chicken

Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon from Clean Eating Magazine. Great, classic flavor. The leeks loose their bright, light green color in the cooking process but the taste is wonderful. Mild yet flavorful.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Squares

Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars from Little B’s Healthy Habits. I made these with Truvia instead of Stevia in the Raw (which is too bitter for me). The peanut butter flavor is mild and it is not too sweet. A dense chocolate cake that is perfect for a post-gym treat. Very moist and healthy and a good starter protein cake recipe that you can tweak to your liking. Store these in the fridge since they are all natural!

Berry Tart

An early birthday cake from my sweet Mom – a fresh berry tart from Whole Foods! SO GOOD! Hands down, the best birthday “cake” I’ve had. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries & kiwi atop a vanilla custard nestled in a shortbread-style crust. This was unbelievable people, gone in less than a day. I went to the fridge looking for more tonight, hoping another would magically appear. It sure is a good thing that Whole Foods is an hour drive from us or else I’d be there now in my pajamas with fork in hand.

Homemade Tomato Sauces

My MIL stopped by today and brought all these containers of homemade pasta sauces. An entire shelf in the freezer is loaded! Any suggestions on what to make with these sauces? I am trying to stay away from too many grains today, so a gluten-free or paleo-friendly option would be ideal.

Finally Running

In other news, I ran my first 5k distance since mid-December! It has been over 4 1/2 months and it has been tough. I went from running 15 miles to zero due to my IT Band injury. I have lost some speed, but I almost hit a sub-30 and I wasn’t even trying for that, I was just having fun running in the cold rain on a cloudy day. I have a race coming up this weekend (I signed up in early January when I was still optimistic and didn’t think I’d be injured so long!) and can’t wait to pin on a bib number and hear the shotgun start. I am not going to try for a PR of course, just want to finish and have fun! A few months ago I was depressed and honestly felt like I’d NEVER run again. I’d run 500 feet and be in so much pain, even after taking weeks off from running. Looking down at my Garmin and seeing that beautiful 3.10 number really made my day. Hopefully I’ll be back to running half marathons again by this fall, but for now I’m taking it one day at a time.

What have you been cooking this week? Have you ever had to take an extended period of time off from running for an injury?

Categories: Food, Running | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Formal Night Out

I love Saturday mornings when we have nothing planned.

Ezekiel Toast with Strawberries and Grapes

After rolling out of bed, I made an easy breakfast for us. Toasted Ezekiel bread, one slice made into a jam sandwich, the other slice had almond butter on one half and Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) on the other. Fresh strawberries and red grapes sprinkled with a little Truvia. Along with coffee and a tall glass of water, it was a great way to start the day.

We went to the gym for about an hour workout session. I was suppose to start the LiveFit Trainer Week 10 (Phase 2 / Week 2), but I decided to start last week all over again. Although I did most of the workouts (I did have to skip a workout and a half), I also subbed some exercises, forgot my cheat sheet at home more than once and as a result did the wrong reps, and just didn’t feel like I gave it my all. The only person I’d be cheating would be myself and I wanted to do it right, so I am starting back at the first week of phase 2. Since I was well rested and the gym was not too busy, I had a great workout for my back and abs. Did 20 minutes on the stepmill for my cardio, that always works up a sweat! Technically I was suppose to do 30 minutes of cardio, but I planned on going for a half hour walk later anyway.

After we got home from the gym, I couldn’t wait to have one of my favorite post-workout snacks.

Chobani Cinnamon Apple Greek Yogurt

Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt! This is my new favorite yogurt, it tastes like dessert! Seriously, this is like apple pie filling, only it is creamy and cold. It reminds me a lot of the Carb Boom! Apple Cinnamon gels that I’d take on my long runs. Now that I am not running, long or short, I have no reason to take these fuel gels and I’ve been missing them.

Chobani and Luna Bar Comparison

I decided to compare the ingredients in the Chobani Apple Cinnamon yogurt with a Luna Protein Bar that I had sitting around. The yogurt has MORE protein! That’s right, 14g vs. 12g. It also has no fat, lower calories, sodium and cholesterol. Sure the bar has a bit more fiber and vitamins and minerals, but I get enough of that from other sources. Sure it has some sugar (they both do) but it is a pretty decent protein-rich post-workout snack in my book. And the fact that it tastes like dessert? That is just a bonus. 🙂 And there you have it, my review of Chobani’s Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt. Yum.

With splendid, unseasonably warm weather, we took a walk around town.

Crocus Flowers

It was so nice to see the crocus (crocuses? croci?) emerging from the ground. Spring is right around the corner!

For lunch I wanted to try an intriguing recipe that I found in Clean Eating Magazine last fall – Spaghetti with Kale and Poached Egg.

Cooking Kale

Here is the kale, cooking in a bit pot of water.

I cooked the spaghetti (Dreamfields low carb pasta) in the same water that the kale was cooked in.

Here is the finished dish!

Kale and Poached Egg Spaghetti

The flavors worked great together! The recipe called for regular feta cheese, but I used a lemon and oregano feta that added a strong (but good) citrus flavor to the dish. The creamy yolk of the egg, mixing in with the spicy red pepper flakes, bitter kale stems and salty cheese just worked.

After all the food, fresh air and exercise I took a much needed nap! I am not a napper, but today it just felt right.

We were invited to a formal fundraiser dinner for a local health foundation, but dinner was not until 7:00pm. Since we usually eat dinner like senior citizens at 4:00pm, I had a snack of hummus and pita chips to tide me over.

Hummus and Pita Snack

And I was still noshy so I had a small bowl of granola, and half a slice of leftover french bread pizza (Mr. Nine wanted to split it with me).

I also tried a new (to me) drink called KeVita.

KeVita

Wasn’t a huge fan of this. It tasted like a watered down version of Kombucha Synergy. Wouldn’t buy this again, but glad I tried it. At least I got some healthy bacteria for the day!

The afternoon flew by and it was time for our fundraiser dinner.

Formal Affair

Dinner was fancy and fabulous. Appetizers were mushroom purses, tempura shrimp, cheese, grapes, carrots, celery and sliced cucumbers topped with goat cheese and an unidentifiable red ingredient.

Appetizers

Pardon the horrible photographs, my camera does horrible in low light and I was trying to be quick about taking pictures so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself in the classy crowd of black-tie professionals, so I didn’t hold the camera steady as long as I normally would for slow exposures. Or maybe it was because I had too much wine. At any rate, here is the salad.

Salad

Which was followed by the main course of mashed potatoes, vegetables and two bacon-wrapped filet medallions. One beef, one turkey.

Main Course

Dessert was a mango layer cake.

Mango Cake

Add in some bread and coffee (and more wine) and that was the night! We danced which was not a pretty sight. I also did a little too much chair dancing, and apologize to my friends who had to witness that. 🙂

Formal Affair

It was a lot of fun to get dressed up and spend the evening with friends. We are so honored that they invited us to join them, and grateful to have such fantastic people in our lives.

I only wish we would have gotten a photo with the 8 of us, in front of the candlelit fireplace. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to do this again!

Categories: Fitness, Food | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hot Sauce and Avocados

Today I started the morning with an Ezekiel english muffin topped with almond butter, apricot preserves and chia seeds, a Morningstar Farms veggie patty (we bought a huge box of these at Costco so they make a breakfast appearance quite often lately) and a sliced Kiku apple. I’ve never had a Kiku before, but the signage boasted of its sweetness & crunch and $2.49 / lb. was almost a buck cheaper than the Honeycrisp that I adore.

Friday Breakfast

The verdict? I would not bother buying this apple again. It was slightly mealy in texture and had almost no flavor. It did have crunch, I’ll give it that, but each bite tasted like diluted apple water.

Honeycrisp, you are still my BFF.

It was a busy day at work and lunch crept up on me, so I went the easy route and heated up a Kashi frozen meal. It has been awhile since I’ve had something from Kashi. If I’m going to go the quick & convenient frozen route I usually reach for an Amy’s. However these were on sale and they had a new flavor that was of interest – Chicken Enchilada.

Kashi Chicken Enchilada

The 7 whole grain and vegetable pilaf was just alright. It had a nice texture, but it did not wow me. The enchilada was pretty good though, with a nice subtle kick of spice. I try not to make a habit of frozen meals at lunch, but I’d get this one again.

Like with most frozen dinners, it did not fill me up. I still had a few LiveFit Turkey Muffins in the fridge from Monday, and that did the trick. Turkey Muffins are one of the recommended snacks in Jamie Easton’s LiveFit 12 Week Trainer plan that I started last week. I am not the type of person to just sit down and eat a big hunk of meat by itself, but they grew on me. These muffins are really filling as they contain ground turkey, egg whites & oats, but lack flavor and color. They are super easy to make, and came in handy when I wanted some healthy quick protein between meals. I’d like to try these again with my own seasonings and adding some spinach and bell peppers for extra color and nutrition.

Today I started Week 2 / Day 1 of the 12 Week Trainer so I wanted to quickly recap my experience so far. The plan at this stage is very doable as only requires 4 workouts during the week totaling about 30-40 minutes, giving me 3 glorious days off. Since there is no cardio (only lifting) it goes by quickly and I haven’t gotten bored. I enjoy weight lifting and am happy to be getting back into it and I am glad to have a “focus” when walking into the gym. Sometimes without a plan, I’d just aimlessly walk around the gym doing random exercises. This keeps me focused and I have found the exercises to be fun and effective, and I leave the gym feeling strong.

I will make it clear, although I made the turkey muffins, I am NOT following the eating plan. The plan would be fine for someone who wanted to walk the stage in a fitness competition, but for the every day person (especially someone who lives to eat, not eats to live) the plan is limited and repetitive. The focus is on clean eating, but they recommend egg whites for breakfast and turkey muffins and more egg whites for snacks. I like both, but not that much or that often! I do try to eat healthy for the most part, but don’t obsess about it at all, so I’m just continuing to eat as I normally do.

I stopped for a Skinny Mocha at Starbucks for a post-gym “snack”. Yeah, this was way better than another turkey muffin. 😉 And since it was snowing out, it made the coffee beverage even more enjoyable.

Since we had a later dinner, we shared some grocery store sushi.

Grocery Store Sushi

It is from a big-box grocery store so it wasn’t the greatest obviously, but it was still a nice little snack. I can’t wait until we go out for some GOOD sushi soon.

Tonight I wanted to do a taste test of the 3 popular hot sauces – Tabasco, Cholula & Tapatio. We buy all of these hot sauces (and some others) but is there really a difference? I learned there IS a flavor difference!

Hot Sauce Trio

I shook a few drops onto a plate and taste tested each by itself to get the true flavor.

  • Tabasco – Tasted like spicy vinegar, no depth of flavor. Watery consistency.
  • Cholula – Spicy, but also with a sweet tomato undertone. Beautiful orange color, good consistency.
  • Tapatio – Spicy, with a slight earthy smoky undertone. Darker red color, nice sauce consistency.

The winner was a tie! Cholula and Tapatio were hands down way better than the more popular Tabasco. Both had a nicer consistency which held up, nicer color and way better flavor. If I HAD to pick, it would be Tapatio. Not only did it score high with me on flavor and appearance, but it was the bargain of the bunch at 89¢ a bottle.

It was time to celebrate the victor with a special snack.

Avocados Sliced

I sliced up some beautiful avocados.

Avocado on Toast

And fanned them out on sliced triangles of toasted Ezekiel bread. Then they got a sprinkle of red sea salt, dried cilantro (of course use fresh if you have it! I didn’t, so this was better than nothing) and then a few drops of hot sauce. The coarse grains of the salt exploded in the mouth with a burst of flavor and the hot sauce added a nice heat to the smooth and mild avocado. The bread was the perfect foundation for these snacks.

Along with some pizza and beer, this meal was the perfect ending to the week.

Are you an avocado junkie? What is your favorite way to eat them? Which hot sauce do you prefer?

Categories: Fitness, Food | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Starting Something New – LiveFit

I usually don’t take photos of everything I eat during the day, but today I decided to snap some pics.

Friday Breakfast

Breakfast was a slice of Ezekiel bread toasted and topped with almond butter & apricot preserves, 2 Morningstar Farms veggie breakfast patties & a blood orange.

Almond Butter

I LOVE almond butter very, very, very much. My favorite is MaraNatha, but it is so expensive. Then I discovered Costco, and they sell a large 26 oz. jar for $5.89! Sometimes the price fluctuates from $5.79-$5.99 but it is usually right around there. Just for size comparison, the jars that the regular grocery stores sell are typically 16 oz., so this is more than twice as much almond butter! The savings from buying my almond butter there compared to another grocery store, probably covers the cost of the $50 Costco yearly membership fee!

I usually have a mid-morning snack, but breakfast was late today so I jumped right into lunch.

Chili & Apple Lunch

Amy’s chili topped with diced bell peppers & a little feta with a side of sliced Honeycrisp apple (best apple in the world). Half-way through the chili I got tired of it, not because it tasted bad, but because it was a big bowl of chili! I heated up the whole can which was 2 servings. I decided to wrap up the rest and put it in the fridge for later.

I was still a little hungry and wanted more fuel before going to the gym. I saw that our spinach and eggs were about to go bad, so I made a quick 4-egg white scramble with baby spinach and a little mozzarella cheese stirred in.

Egg White Scramble

Perfect amount to hold me over for my new (more about that below) workout.

I received good & bad news about my knee. Good is that the x-rays came out negative – no fracture. I felt very confident it wasn’t, but the doctor really wanted to rule that out. Bad news is that the injury is still unknown. I am 90% sure it is IT Band Syndrome, although I am starting to second guess that because my knee hurts even when I am not doing physical activity. Yesterday for example, just sitting at my desk working on the computer and I lifted my leg up and it hurt. I walked to my car, and it hurt.

The doctor called and said an approval for physical therapy was approved. However, the referral is an actual piece of paper I have to go pick up, with the name and location of what doctor he wants me to go to. I seldom go to doctors, so I really don’t understand how the whole HMO healthcare system works, but it seems silly. I had to wait 5 days for my x-ray results, another 2 for the referral (which I guess was “fast”, they said it could take up to 5) and now I have to drive an hour (30 minutes each way) to go get the referral and then schedule an appointment to start PT. Hopefully they can get me in soon.

At least I am taking a step in the right direction, even if the whole process is frustrating.

I decided that I need to do something else since at this point I am not sure how much longer I’ll be off from running. I’ve tried other cardio, like cycling & elliptical, and while these do not bother me when I am doing them (unless I crank up the resistance), I do feel it the next day. Then I came across Jamie Eason’s LiveFit 12-Week Trainer program. What caught my eye was that the first phase (4 weeks) had no cardio. This plan seems to work well for where I am at right now.

Today seemed like a good day to start so I went to the gym for Phase 1 / Day 1 of the workout. Today’s workout was all lifting and it went by pretty quick.

  • Wide Pushups (okay)
  • Dumbbell Bench Press (love!)
  • Flat Bench Cable Flys (used machine for this because cable machine was too busy)
  • Narrow Pushups (I suck at these, couldn’t do all reps, even with girlie modification)
  • Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extensions (love!)
  • Triceps Pushdown (also used machine, cable machine way too busy today!)

So I think I did it pretty well. Sure I had to substitute a few, but worked the same muscles more or less. I am interested in her nutritional stack but don’t have it in the budget right now. I’ve never used any of those products and am curious if they would work. I do have hemp protein powder I can sub for the whey, and also take chia seeds or Udo’s oil.

For a post-workout snack, I had a cup of this wonderful tea that a good friend gave me, along with a new (to me) product that I picked up at the vitamin store last time I was there – Natur’s Biscotti.

Natur's Biscotti

I love regular biscotti and saw that this has 10 grams of protein & 8 grams of fiber. A healthier biscotti option? Sure! The packaging says it is Almond Cherry flavor and the ingredients also show both ingredients.

I could taste the almond, and even saw a few, but no cherries! I did not pick up on a cherry taste nor did I see any physical cherries in the biscotti.

Biscotti Closeup

A little bit disappointed as I wanted some chewy cherry bites, and a few more almond pieces but overall it was okay. I’d like to try some other flavors to compare and give it another chance.

I’m off to the salon to see my stylist with a Chocolate Cherry Bomb Shake (Smoothie) in hand…

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

(one of my faves, thanks Kristen’s Raw!) …then tonight Mr. Nine is cooking dinner. I wonder what yummy goodness he’ll make?

Have you ever tried the LiveFit program? Do you take supplements like BCAA, protein or EFAs? How do they work for you?

Categories: Fitness, Food, Running | Tags: , | 5 Comments

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