Fitness, Food and Photography

Follow me on my road to fitness… Because it's all about the journey, not the destination.

August Foodie Penpals Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

First off, I just have to say that if you haven’t participated in this program yet, you need to sign up, at least once. It’s so fun meeting another blogger or reader, buying your favorite foods for someone else to try, and then when your box of goodies arrives, it’s like Christmas!

I was paired up with a reader, Sara.  The theme of her box was “local”.  Everything she sent me was made within 10 miles of her home.  Now that is cool.  I love eating locally and I love supporting local businesses.  Good job, Sara!

foodie penpals

foodie penpals

The salsa was interesting and not like any other salsa I’d ever eaten.  I think it was the roasted red pepper that gave it that distinct flavor.  I kept dipping chip after chip to confirm what I was tasting.  🙂

foodie penpals

That jam is dee-f’ing-licious!!  Serious yum factor there.  My husband made the comment that it was “thick”.  That’s how I like my jam – thick and full of flavor.

We didn’t get a chance to try the pizza sauce yet.  But it LOOKS awesome.  I’m hoping the hubby will agree to make me one of his famous homemade pizzas that we all love so much, and when he does, we will us that pizza sauce.  It will be perfect for that!

So thank you, Sara, for the lovely box of goodies!!

The person I sent food to was Amy Croan.  Click HERE to read her post about what I sent her.
She recently became a vegan, so it was a little extra challenging which foods to pick out for her.  Thankfully, Trader Joes makes it easy with their labels.

Here are the details on Foodie Penpals:

On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

Click HERE to sign up.

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What I Ate Wednesday

Time for another installment of What I Ate Wednesday, courtesy of Peas and Crayons Blog.

 

As per usual, the day started off with a kale shake.  What was different about it today, though, was that it was hubby’s shake from yesterday that he didn’t finish.  It had been in the freezer for 24 hours.  We were all in a rush so there wasn’t time to make fresh shakes this morning.  So I had to eat it with a spoon…

kale protein shake

Yeah, I know it doesn’t look that appetizing, but I promise the flavor is great.  Plus, it’s frozen so it’s like eating ice cream for breakfast!!So I’m sitting in my Wednesday morning meeting and 4 different coworkers give me a scowl face followed by “What are you eating?”  Another asked “Why is it brown?” and “What’s in there?”  I like telling people that I’m having a kale shake and watching the look on their face.

Ok, here is the part where my day EXPLODED!  I had several people coming at me all at once, needing their answer/spreadsheet/whatever immediately, or more like yesterday.  Well, I’m only one person and as much as I try to multi-task, when it comes down to it, I really can ony do one thing at a time.  And this week, a coworker is on vacation so I’ve been filling in for her.  Turns out I’ve spent the last 3 days working on her stuff while neglecting mine.  To the point that now I won’t be able to take that vacation day I had planned on Friday because I just don’t have everything done.  It sucks, I know.  But such is life.  Or rather, such is insurance.

So I said all that to say …  I didn’t have lunch today.  Didn’t hardly leave my desk, except for bathroom breaks.  The only food I had at my desk was a can of Blue Diamond Almonds, Wasabi flavor.  I realized around 3pm that I was STARVING.  I think I ate about 3 servings worth.  Oh well. Fast forward to dinner.  Boy was I glad to be home!!!I was in the mood to cook and create.  I had 2 cucumbers in the fridge, so I decided to make homemade pickles.

homemade pickles

The pickle recipe is courtesy of Corinne.  You can find her recipe here. While I was in the kitchen making dinner, I went ahead and made a salad for tomorrow’s lunch.  I don’t want to be stuck at work with no lunch again.  This is the salad I wish I’d had today!  Mixed greens, turkey pepperoni, hard boiled egg, mushrooms, yellow peppers, grape tomatoes and sunflower seeds.  YUM.  That’s my kind of salad.  I’ll take a little homemade balsamic to go on top.

homemade salad

For dinner, I was in the mood for roasted veggies, but we didnt have any zucchini or squash so I settled for eggplant.

Served alongside some turkey bacon and leftover breakfast casserole, topped with salsa and a side of greens.

It was actually really good.  I love putting salsa on eggs.  Yummy.  The hubs put his breakfast casserole into a low-carb wrap with salsa, cheese and peppers.  He ate it before I had a chance to photograph it.I did, however, photograph this:

sunset

It’s now 9pm and I’m wishing I had something sweet to eat.  There’s not a thing in the house that has any trace of sugar.  Well, except for my son’s candy stash, which is leftover from last Halloween.  As you can imagine only the crappy stuff is left.In that case, it might be time for bed!  🙂

Good night, All.

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Wednesday WOD

Happy Hump Day, everyone!!  It’s time for the Wednesday WOD.

After a particularly rough work day yesterday, I came home, sat my butt on the couch and enjoyed a glass of wine.  No running, no workout.  Oh well.

Back on track today.  Time for a good old fashioned circuit workout.

circuit workout

 

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Nutella Cookie Bites

While browsing my favorite site, Pinterest, I came across a quick and easy recipe for 4-ingredient cookies here.  My son absolutely loves the taste of Nutella.  I try to use it sparingly since it really doesn’t have much nutritional value.  But after having a stellar week at school, I thought he deserved some homemade cookies.  Time to break out a new recipe!!

Nutella Cookie Bites

1 cup Nutella (or Kroger brand hazelnut spread like I used)

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup AP flour

1 egg

Blend all ingredients til smooth.  Shape 1″ balls.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Doesn’t get much easier than that.

nutella cookies

In an effort to keep them bite-size, I used a mini-muffin pan.

nutella cookies

nutella cookie bites

YUM!!

nutella cookie bites

Serve and enjoy!!!   They were really good warm.  (Even better with a spoonful of peanut butter on top!)  🙂

Two-year old approved, too!

Silly girl

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Monday Motivation

Geez.  Monday again already??  Anyone else feel this way?

That’s ok.  I’m ready.  We spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening getting prepared for the week.  We have our menu planned, the food purchased, the fridge organized, and vegetables chopped.  While we were making dinner last night, we even made a breakfast casserole for the kids that should last several mornings this week, as well as the whole family’s Monday lunches.

Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  And I don’t plan on failing.  Not this week.

motivation

Bring it, Monday, let’s see what you’ve got!  I’m hoping for another really productive day at work.  Then tonight when I get home, I plan on doing the 100 Workout.

hiit workout

Repeat twice, for time.

Make it a great day!!  🙂

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Weekend Recap: Lego Party and Sushi Class

Another exciting weekend!  🙂

Saturday morning started off with a birthday party for  a 7-year old.  Not my 7-year old, mind you.  One of his friends, Paulo.

It was a Lego-themed birthday.  They had gone all out.  Some people are so creative.

lego birthday party

lego birthday party

lego birthday party

fish tacos

They even served fish tacos!!  YUM – my favorite!!

My kids. That’s her “cheese” face.

After the birthday party, the hubs and I had plans to go to a sushi-making class.  There just happened to be a Groupon for the Sushi Academy a while back.  So we purchased it months ago and then realized that it expired this weekend.

sushi class

We learned how to make a california roll and a monterrey roll.

sushi making

sushi

The best part, though, was getting to eat our creations!!  YUM.

It was fun learning the technique, but I think in the future I will leave it to the experts at Nama to make my sushi.

(That’s me – still rockin’ the spex.  Actually, I don’t think I’m rocking them at all.  I hate wearing glasses.  It’s been two weeks since my corneal abrasion, and I can’t wait to go back to the contacts)!!

On Sunday, we took the kids out for a picnic lunch by the water.  It was a gorgeous day, though a little hot, so we ate our Subway in the shade of a tree.  If you follow me on Instagram (katiedaisy921), then you’ve already seen these photos:

 

instagram ducks

Ducks!

 

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

After the picnic, we headed home and all 4 of us took a Sunday afternoon nap!  I guess we needed it.

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon??

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Support GMO Labeling

Shouldn’t we have the right to know whether the food we eat has been genetically modified?  I believe so.  I fully support GMO labeling.  There is an initiative in California right now, called Proposition 37, which will be at the ballot on Nov 6th.  Proposition 37 calls for the labeling of gentically modified food, which is now mandatory in Europe.  It will also make it illegal to call foods “natural” if they contain any traces of GMO.

I read a disturbing article about these huge food conglomerates who are contributing money to the campaign to defeat Proposition 37.  You can see a pie chart here for a huge list of companies who do not want us know that our food is genetically modified.  Of course, Monsanto is at the head of the pack.  (More info on them below).  Quickly followed by DuPont, Pepsi, Nestle, Coca-Cola and a long list of others.

Today, the Organic Consumers Association and Mercola.com are formally calling for a global boycott of the following organic and so called “natural” brands:

*    Kashi (owned by Kellogg, which has contributed $632,000 to defeat Proposition 337). Kashi’s so-called “natural”
breakfast cereals have tested positive for the presence of GMOs. Kellogg also owns the “natural” brands Bear Naked and
Morningstar Farms.

*    Silk soymilk (owned by the nation’s largest dairy, Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to the effort to kill
Proposition 37). Dean Foods also owns White Wave Tofu and Horizon milk and dairy products.

*    R.W. Knudsen (owned by Smucker, which has contributed $388,000 to defeat proposition 37). Smucker also owns Santa Cruz Organic.

*    Cascadian Farm (owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat proposition 37). General Mills also owns Larabar and Muir Glen.

*    Honest Tea (owned by Coca-Cola which has contributed $1,164,400 to defeat Proposition 37). Coca-Cola also owns Odwalla.

*    Naked Juice (owned by PepsiCo which has contributed $1,716,300 to defeat Proposition 37). PepsiCo also owns Tostito’s Organic and Tropicana Organic.

I don’t know if I can go as far as boycotting everything that Kellogg’s makes, but I do find it disheartening that Kashi’s cereals have tested positive for GMOs.  That is one brand I thought I could count on to be “natural”.

It’s sad that we live in a world country where the government doesn’t put the health of its people first.  Instead, the government is too worried about campaign dollars, about their own seats being saved in Congress.  It is apalling to me that the execs at Monsanto have a revolving door in the FDA, the EPA and the USDA.  Monsanto is the same company that produced the “world’s most toxic molecule ever created”.  Agent Orange, a proven carcinogen.  They also make Roundup, which is an extremely harmul herbicide.  Saccharin and aspartame, two artificial sweeteners.  Bovine growth hormone.    Monsanto is without question the most evil organization in the world.  And those people who run this evil corporation are appointed or elected to serve in our government, where they now make decisions about the food we eat.

Join me in a stand against Monsanto.  Support GMO labeling!!

Millions Against Monsanto

Sources:   (I highly recommend you read a few of these articles, especially if you’ve never heard of Monsanto.  It’s time we got the word out!!)

Daily Finance:  Monsanto – The Evil Corporation in Your Refrigerator

Monsanto Products: Past and Present

The Amazing Revolving Door

Natural News:  Monsanto Voted Most Evil Corporation of the Year

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Kale Protein Shake Recipe

 

kale protein shake

My hubby and I have been making protein shakes for breakfast for about the last 6 months.  We started out putting Spinach in them, which is great.  I love spinach.  But have you heard about the health benefits of kale?  It is the most nutrient dense of all the veggies!!  It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.  Why wouldn’t you want to start your day with that?

One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 180% of your recommended daily requirement of Vitamin A, 200% of Vitamin C, and 1,020% of Vitamin K, according to WebMD .

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the antioxidants that have been are touted with reducing your risk of cancer.  There are over 45 different flavonoids in kale.  In addition to the antioxidants and the anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates, there are also anti-inflammatory nutrients.  It will turn the ordinary protein shake into a powerhouse breakfast!!

So enough about kale, let’s get to the recipe ….

2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I prefer the cookies and cream flavor)

1 Tbsp ground flax seeds

1 Tbsp PB2 (optional)

1/2 banana (optional)

1 cup frozen blueberries (or other fruit of your choice)

2 cups kale  (YES!)

about 1 cup water

about 1 cup ice, or enough to get it to your desired consistency

Throw all the ingredients in the blender and blend til smooth.

Makes 2 servings.

ingredients

I think frozen blueberries are best because they change the color of the shake to a brown-ish purple.  Especially, if you are trying to sneak the kale in on your unsuspecting spouse.  If you don’t mind the green color, frozen strawberries work well too.  Probably any frozen fruit would be good, but I try to stay away from those that are high on the glycemic index such as mangoes or pineapples.  Don’t get me wrong, I love mangoes and pineapples.  I have them occassionally.

frozen bananas

Quick tip on bananas —  If you have some on your counter that are about to get brown, just peel them and throw them in the freezer.  Being frozen actually helps the consistency of the shake.

Bananas are also high on the glycemic index, meaning they create a spike in your blood sugar levels.  We don’t do bananas every day, but if we do, we limit it to 1/2 a banana per 2-shake recipe.

Two secret ingredients.  PB2 adds that PB flavor without all the fat and calories.  And flaxseeds give you the Omega-3s you need.  I could probably write a whole post on Flaxseeds too.  Love these things!

kale protein shake

You could probably throw in any veggie.  Once it gets blended, you don’t even know it’s there.  In fact, my hubby slipped eggplant in there and I didn’t even know it.

Blend and enjoy!!  🙂

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I’m Back! … with Eggplant!

I must apologize – I’ve been MIA this week.  It’s been a crazy busy week with school starting and getting back into a normal routine.

I even missed the ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ post, which I really hated to do!  I love doing the WIAW pictures.  This Wednesday, my firm hosted a seminar on Healthcare Reform for our clients.  (Don’t even get me started on Healthcare Reform – maybe I’ll save that for another post another day).

It was a catered event so there were the usual pastries, muffins and cereals.  Carb overload.  So I refrained.  I was going to take a picture of the buffet for you, but I was too busy talking to clients.  Because I had skipped breakfast, I was starving for lunch.  I scarfed my salad down before I even had time to think about taking a picture of it. But it looked something like this:

homemade salad

That’s Thursday’s salad.  I ate it at my desk while I worked.  Then on Thursday night, the hubs made us some amazing fish tacos:

homemade fish tacos

But all of that wasn’t too exciting.  It was what I did on Friday that I’m excited to share with you.  I had the BEST day on Friday!!  I don’t know what it was.  Maybe I finally got the hang of the new school routine.  Maybe it’s because I was wearing jeans.  Or maybe it’s because my hubby snuck some eggplant into my kale shake.  Yes, you read that correctly.  EGGPLANT.  In a Protein Shake.  It sounds disgusting, right??  He didn’t tell me until I had drank the whole thing.  And I couldn’t tell anything different.

(Kale Shake recipe here)

In fact, I had just gotten to work and as I sat down, I had an email from the hubs asking me if I liked my shake.  I replied yes.  To which his follow up question was, “Could you tell what the secret ingredient was?”  I had 3 sips left, so I took a big swig, swirled it around in my mouth, furrowed my eyebrow and responded “No.  What is it?”  And then he dropped the bomb.  Eggplant.  Seriously??  We had leftover grilled eggplant in the fridge from dinner two nights before.

grilled eggplant

Not being the kind to waste food, we like to use our leftovers rather than throwing them out.  But he’s never gone so far as to put leftover grilled veggies in our breakfast shake.  Weird.  But it worked.  And eggplant is brain food.  So I really think it helped me have the most productive day I’ve had in a really long time.  I was even offering to help other people get their work done.

I had so much energy by 5pm, I went for a run after work at my favorite place:

Lakeshore Park

Lakeshore Park

It was a beautiful day, but still so very hot.  I remembered why I don’t like to run outside in August!!

So that was the end of my week.  I apologize for being absent for the last couple of days.

I’ll leave you with a sunset picture and a promise….

I promise not to miss a post next week, especially the WIAW post!!  (It’s my fave).  Oh, and stay tuned on the 31st when I reveal my foodie pen pal box!!

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Fun Questionnaire

I always love these fun little questionnaires.  I saw that Heather at the Run, Eat, Play blog had done one here, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  Although, I have absolutely no idea why there is not a #3.

This or That?

1. Coke or Pepsi? Neither. I don’t drink soda ….  unless it’s an occassional red bull  🙂

2. Caramel Apple or Cotton Candy? Caramel Apple, definitely … with nuts!

4. Salt or Pepper? Pepper. Lots of it.  And red pepper flakes, if you’ve got them.

5. Pudding or Yogurt? Well, I eat a lot of yogurt, but I definitely would prefer pudding.  Sugar-free pudding.

6. American or Provolone Cheese? Provolone. Can we even call that American crap cheese??  My favorite cheeses are feta, gorgonzola, brie and goat cheese.

7. Cookies or Brownies? I rarely have either, but I guess I would prefer cookies.

8. Pretzels or Chips?  Pretzels, please.  With mustard.

9. Cake or Pie?  Pie.  Too many good choices – pumpkin, peach, apple, etc.  With vanilla ice cream on top!

10. Oatmeal or Cereal?  Neither, really, since I cut out carbs.  But if I had to choose, I would say oatmeal.

11. Mexican or Japanese? Japanese!  Always.  Bring on the sushi.

12. Chinese or Italian? Is Japanese an answer here?

13. Surf or Turf? Surf.

14. Pizza or Pasta? Duh.  Pizza!

15. Mustard or Ketchup?  I love mustard – the spicier the better!

16. Sandwich or Wrap? Wraps are my new favorite thing.  Always looking for the next best low-carb wrap.

17. Apples or Oranges? Apples. Honeycrisp.  Hands down.

18. Strawberries or Raspberries? Raspberries.  I just wish they weren’t so expensive.

19. Blackberries or Blueberries? I can’t choose.  I love them both equally.

20. Rice or Noodles? Probably rice, but I don’t eat much of it either.

21. Spicy or Mild? Spicy.  I’ve already said it once, but I’ll say it again – the spicier the better!!

22. Salad or Soup? Salad. Can’t get enough.

23. Soup or Stew? Soup. I’m not sure I know the difference??

24. Salted or Sweet Popcorn? If ‘sweet’ popcorn means caramel popcorn, then hell yes.  But not if we’re talking about that kettle corn crap.

25. Cauliflower or Broccoli? Broccoli.

26. Onion Rings or French Fries? Not that I ever get to eat either, but I do love a good onion ring.

27. Burger or Hot Dog? Burger.

28. Popsicle or Ice Cream? Ice cream, all the way.

29. Coffee or Tea? The only reason I love mornings is because of my coffee!!

30. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.

31. Sausage or Bacon? Mmmm…… Bacon

32. Peanut butter or almond butter? Peanut butter – JIF natural.

33. Salty or Sweet? Depends on my mood.

34. Fried or Scrambled Eggs? Scrambled

35. Waffles or Pancakes? Now that is a tough decision, but if I have to choose, I say waffles.

Okay, your turn!  If you read my survey, now it’s time to post yours.  Isn’t it fun.

Now leave me a comment with a link to your blog post with completed questionnaire.  🙂

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