Green Smoothie!

I make a lot of smoothies.  A ton.  There are definitely a few reasons for this – one HUGE reason is that a few years ago, when I was job hunting, I took a job in the bakery at Whole Foods (hence, why I’m such a Whole Foods fan).  The job was actually incredibly hard work, and very physically demanding, but the coolest thing for me was that I started to take a liking to working in the coffee bar, which allowed me to play around and make loads of smoothies for people.  I moved on from working at the store, but never really lost my love for smoothies, and I’ve continued to make them at least a few mornings a week.

Point of Smoothies?

So, just because something comes in smoothie form doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy, and a lot of times, at smoothie places, you can really get yourself in trouble with the sugar/portions.  And the smoothies at fast food places?  Seriously, don’t bother.  You’re doing yourself no favors.

For me, the point of a smoothie is that I can get a few servings of fruits/veggies in there (something that can get a little hard if you’re go-go-go), and it’s convenient – I can make them really quickly and slurp them down on the way to work/in a meeting if I need to.

So the last few I’ve made, I’ve snapped and stuck on Snapchat or Facebook, and some folks have asked about recipes, and they probably think I’m weird about my recipes, but the truth is that I never got around to posting them :/ my bad.

Avocolada Smoothie

Full disclosure, this recipe is a copycat of a smoothie I got from a smoothie place, however, I looked up the nutrition of this smoothie, and the sugar was way, way too high for anyone to be drinking will-nilly, so I set off to make my own.  I DO believe that you can ask for theirs without the added sugar, so if you’re really in a pinch, that’s always an option, so make sure to comment if you want me to tell you where you can get this.

You will need…

A better blender than I have.  I really need to go ahead and bite it and get a Vitamix, but I just haven’t droppped the $500 yet.  I will.  If you have a crappy one, just make it work.

Some kale.  For today, you’re making two servings (one for you, and one for a friend), so grab like 4-5 stalks of that sucker.  De-spine it so you just have the kale part, and rinse, since kale can get a little gritty.

A squirt of lime juice.

Frozen tropical fruit.  I like mango/pineapple/peach/bananas, and I measure it out literally by taking a red solo cup, filling it with fruit, and that’s enough for one person.  Do it twice since you and your friend are going to be drinking this.

An avocado.  You can chill it if you want, but the frozen fruit should keep it from being like hot green pudding.  De-seed, obviously, and you can get it into your blender without screwing up your mani just by squeezing the guts out of the skin.

So stick all of that in your blender.  Then you’ll need.

Trop 50.  Not really more than a cup necessary.

Coconut milk.  Do some unsweetened if you went with sweeter tropical fruits, or sweetened if you’re feeling like you went with some fruit that may not have been super-ripe when you froze it/when it was frozen.

Blend.  For you Vitamix folks, it really shouldn’t be a long blend job, but if you have a cheap thing like I do, blend it for a good while, until you see that that kale has calmed down.  It comes out super green, but don’t let that run you off because it tastes super refreshing.  And between the kale, avocado AND the fruit, you’re knocking out a really good bit of your fruit/veggie intake for the day.  Which I feel like we all could use some help on!

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Voila, or viola as some of our favorite instagram models would say!

 

 

 

My baby brother graduated yesterday + healthy nachos.

As you’re reading this, my ass has been out on the trail, to work, and is currently dashing to Charlotte to see my little brother graduate.

I’m not sure what to say, cause I remember when he was born and now he’s graduating high school, and I cannot even.

I drove down to Charlotte on Thursday, but not after first noticing that I was sunburnet from a trail run early this week.

photo 1If you ever have awkwardly asked a black person why they wear sunblock, or if they can tan, here is your answer.  A resounding hell yes!

So I made it down to Charlotte just in the nick of time,  but not before my dad sent me this to take us down memory lane..

photo 2This, folks, would be my brother on his first day of kindergarten.  I can barely stand it!

photo 3This is the bro, getting ready to graduate!

photo 4And this is us, after the ceremony.

He did great, and we were all so proud of him.  And we followed the big day with a visit to the local Ihop to celebrate his big achievement.  My brother’s favorite spot is Ihop, and he we had to give the man what he wants.

After such a huge accomplishment, once we got back to my parent’s house, we were all in a very nostalgic mood, and it all summed up to us looking at a bunch of old family pictures.  For your viewing pleasure, I will share with you this…

photo 5No idea.  No idea.  Thank you god for my adult face coming in.

Let’s switch gears for a minute.

Who likes nachos?

So a food that I’ve sort of struggled with is nachos.  I love nachos like a ton, but they’re not particularly easy to fit into your plan, especially when you’ve suffered from gastritis.  Nachos + an inflamed stomach lining don’t get along particularly well.

So, The Hungry Runner Girl posted a recipe for healthier nachos, and they weren’t particularly terrible.  Actually, they were pretty good, so I’m gonna share with you!  If you’re looking for a better way to do nachos….

photo 1 (2)Start with two baked potatoes.  Slice em up, and layer a teensy bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper on top.  Stick them in the oven for 30 minutes (my oven was a little overzelous, so make sure you keep tabs on how the potatoes are smelling).  Pull them out, and add 1/4th of a cup of low-fat mexican cheese blend, and pop the potatoes back into the oven.

Melt them for about 4 minutes at the same temp.  Once they’re done, add avocado, some beans and some corn, and a few jalapenos.  You’ll end up with these…

photo 2 (2)It’s kinda like nachos, but less fried.  A solid, solid recipe, without the terrible stomachache after.

What are your plans for this weekend?

 

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

I was inspired by this post yesterday on The Importance of Being Reese – this chick is actually kinda close to me and I didn’t know until I started reading her blog!  Cool huh?

So anyhoo, obviously, as the resident veg in charge, I couldn’t do a chicken tortilla soup, but I used my noodle, and whipped up a quick and delicious veg tortilla soup, totally packed with protein and deliciousness for you to enjoy.

Soooooo here goes, my little poodles.

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What you’ll need:

A thingie of low-sodium vegetable broth

1 can of black beans

1 can of corn

1/2 can of diced tomatoes

Some paprika

Some cayenne pepper powder

A tad bit of cilantro

A some crushed tortilla chips

What you’ll do:

In a soup pan, dump your can of black beans, juice and all in there.  Now drain your corn, and dump that, along with the tomatoes in there too.  Paprika, cayenne, and cilantro to taste, along with with a pinch of salt.  Add a little bit of vegetable broth.  Make it as juicy or as thick as you want, and heat on high til you see a boil, and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  As you serve it, sprinkle some tortilla on top, add some guac, or add a spoonful of rice.

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Seriously delish.

What do you think?

Part 2 – Would I train with an overweight trainer?

So before we get started on all the dramz, lookie at what Mama Chelsie sent me yesterday! I was laying on the couch yesterday, when she sent me a gorgeous pic and a recipe of what she’d made for dinner. Since I had nothing for lunch today, I decided to give her recipe a whirl, put a little more of a spicy twist on it, and pack it for lunch. I hope it’s good, cause it’s all packed up now!

photo 1

photo 2

So the way it all works is really easy. One can of seasoned black beans, drained, and I smooshed them all up in a ziplock. I mixed the smoosh up with an egg, some paprika, some garlic, and some hot pepper, added a half-cup of bread crumbs, and I grilled it up with some olive oil. With my refined palate, I added a dab of ketchup to eat it with tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how it turns out. But it smells BALLER. And in case you forgot about Chelsie, she’s the mom who helped out with my post last week. Click to read, it’s super, super good, plus there are pics of my super cute niece on there!

But moving right along.

Yesterday, without any prodding or judgement, I asked you all if you would work out with an overweight personal trainer.  The answers ranged from “absolutely not,” to “why not,” to one particularly sweet answer from one of my campers, and here it is.

Considering I’m still considered overweight but I am very healthy and teach Zumba and am becoming a personal trainer I would say I would pay a person who was overweight because the weight doesn’t mean anything. I have a dangerously slow metabolism which makes it extremely hard for me to loose weight consistently unless I’m working out all day basically, but I still know how to help others to be successful, ya know?

God. I tear up when this beautiful girl says this.

Here’s my take. 

Would I work out with an overweight personal trainer?  

Yes.

I am very fit, and very active now, but if I ever freed up some of my time and got into weightlifting, I would employ the help of a personal trainer.  Damn right I would allow an overweight personal trainer to train me, and here’s why.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t have x-ray vision.  Can I tell if someone is healthy by the way they look? Can I tell if they know what they’re doing?  Can I tell really much about them?  Not a ton.

I’m not overweight, nor have I been.  I’ve lost weight, gotten fitter, and learned to love my body. If, when I was in my transition period, someone had not given me a chance, I wouldn’t have had the strong Zumba following I have today.  I appreciate folks who stuck around while I figured things out, and I would do the same for others, especially given if they know what they’re doing.

I am a counselor.  Do I need to have gone through a divorce to counsel a divorced couple?

Does a heart surgeon need to have had a heart attack to successfully operate on patients?

To raise funds for Haitians in the earthquake last year, need I have been a direct victim of its devastation?

I think you know where I’m going here.  And I don’t hate or fault anyone for their opinion.  But for me, if Bre wants to train me?  Bring it on sweet pea.  I know you know what you’re doing. 🙂

Recipe

So, twice this “fall” (it’s been warm as a mother frick, so that’s accounts for the “) I’ve had this incredible soup from Panera, their squash soup.  Squash is happy.  Squash is a really pretty color.  And it screams fall.  However, not for no $7.00 like I was paying for it.  I’m a social worker who’s getting married in less than a year, I really don’t need to be spending that kind of money on a bowl of soup, how delish it is.

Panera's Version
Panera’s Version

So I grabbed 4 small bags of frozen squash from the Super Target, and got started on a Crock Pot Creation that would mimic the soup I’d paid nearly ten bucks a few days earlier. Here’s how it turned out.

My Version!
My Version!

So here’s the recipe, especially if you’re in one of those places that actually gets a fall.

If you don’t have anything in your kitchen but Lean Cuisines (tsk, tsk, sodium watch!) head to the store and grab a few things.

  • Curry Powder
  • Rosemary
  • Some decent black pepper.  Cracked is cool.
  • Some salt.  I like big fat kosher salt.  Thank you, summer camp. 
  • Veggie Stock (low sodium!) Like two of those cartons should be good. 
  • A few bags of frozen squash OR if you have some extra chop time, some butternut squashes (can you make squash plural like that?)
  • Heavy Cream (it’s next to the milk)
  • A medium onion.

Now, you’re ready to crock.

  • Chop, then sauté a medium onion in an oil.  I used butter, but you can make it a little lighter with some olive oil, or a light butter, if you’re watching the saturated fat.
  • Throw a few bags of frozen squash into your crock pot.  If you have fresh, chop it, then throw it in.
  • Throw those onions with oil into the crock pot.
  • Thow in a tsp of rosemary
  • For a little warmth, throw in a spoonful of curry powder
  • Throw in a cup and a half of heavy cream.  Cut it with some water if the cream seems a little fatty to you.
  • Pour your veggie stock over the mixture, til your crock is pretty full, but leave a little room for it to simmer toward the end.  There’s nothing worse than cleaning burnt mixture out of your crock pot.
  • Add a tad bit of pepper, and only a teeny bit of salt.  You can add more to taste, but you don’t want to oversalt, especially in the crock pot.  It’s really annoying to fix.
  • Crock it for 10 hours.
  • This is the only weird part of the recipe.  When you get ready, spoon however much you want into a bowl.  Pour the entire mixture into the blender, and purée it so all the chunky squash is like, creamy and stuff. 
  • Most important part.  Eat it.  Make sure to casually bring up in conversation how you made this in the crock pot and you’re so domestical and stuff.  Very key.

Random and disturbing observation.

I think Panera must put food coloring in their version of this soup, because it’s always been slightly more orange than what I’m comfortable with.  Also, mine was not so orange.  For the love of God, why color a SOUP?!

Anyhoo,

Let me know how yours turns out, folks!

What do I do with coconut water?

So the awesome folks at Zico sent me over a case of both plain and chocolate coconut water, and I have to admit, I totally didn’t even know what the heck to do with it.

I like coconut candies? I like shredded coconut, but for whatever reason, me and coconut water never got on particularly well. But it’s been all over lately, and I think it’s worth another look.

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So Zico Pure Coconut Water is marketed really well. It comes in sweet little bottles that look chic, so you’d actually want to be seen drinking it. The draw of coconut water, as a supplement to your normal water intake (not a replacement!) is that it contains a few additions that you might need, especially after prolonged periods of exercise. Endurance athletes, especially, may find this useful, because coconut water can replace sodium and electrolytes lost without laying on a ton of sugar or calories.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 bottle 14 fl oz (414 mL)Serving Per Container: 1
Ingredients: 100% natural coconut water from concentrate, natural flavor.
Amount/Serving % DV*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Calories 70
Cal.from fat 0
Cholesterol
Sodium 180mg 8%
Amount/Serving % DV*
Potassium 610mg 16%
Total Carb 16g 5%
Dietary Fiber
Sugars 15g
Protein 0g
Amount/Serving % DV*
Calcium27mg 4%
Phosphorus 30mg 2%
Magnesium35mg 10%
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Iron
* Percent Daily Values are
based on a 2000 cal. diet
† Not a significant source of protein

The way I chose to incorporate it was to use it in a recipe!

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Excuse the fact that my life is a complete mess there on the coffee table. Just…don’t judge me.

Okay, so I tend to use this one for a kind of meal replacement for breakfast, as I tend to only do like a piece of toast or something like that before I do an early morning long run, to replace lost sodium and such. I know, that for me in particular, this is important, because my sweat seems to be a little saltier – usually after a long, long run, if I let the sweat dry before I hop in the shower, I literally have salt crystals on my face.

sweet-ass recipe with less dairy and sugar than your normal

-Get your frozen fruit together. For the plain coconut water, I stuck with the tropical theme and did a sort of tropical medley. This is like mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, and a few peaches. Fill up the cup you’re gonna sip this out of like 3/4ths of the way.
Protein/Iron/Nutrition Addition do a little dollop of plain Greek yogurt or a handful of spinach in the blender. The yogurt will make it creamier, and the spinach will turn it green. Don’t let the green freak you out.
Dump it in the blender. All of it.
Cover the fruit with the coconut milk. And blend til the center tornado in the blendah is really moving.

And drink it up! Feeling creative? Do strawberries, and swap the plain coconut for the chocolate! Or if you love the taste, chill some, and keep it on hand (along with a protein source) for after a long workout!

Tart Bomb Smoothie!

Tart Bomb Smoothie!

So my favorite part of the weather warming up? (Sorta, I guess, I heard that some of yous in Colorado are getting snow? Gross.) Smoothie and salad time! Goodbye to heavy soups and gravies, and time for some light, tasty foods. Try this recipe in the morning for a tart, tasty smoothie!

What you’ll need
-Frozen bag of mixed berries (blue, raspberries, black, strawberries)
-Low-sugar orange juice (or you can cut regular orange juice with water)
-Palmful of spinach (optional)
-Scoop of Whey Protein (optional, but creates a wonderfully soft texture in the smoothie)

What you’ll do
-Fill a glass a little more than half way with frozen fruit. Dump it in the blender. Add optional spinach if you’d like.
-Add a little scoop of whey protein to the blender.
-Cover the fruit with the low-cal, low-sugar orange juice. Or add juice about halfway up the fruit, and add water the rest of the way.
-Blend until you get that little tornado in the center of the mix.
-Drink up and enjoy! (And tweet, email, and send me your pics of your sweet spring treat!)