Archive for ‘Lunch’

April 12, 2013

Life Altering Change

Jim and I have been making some major changes over the past month. I told you a little bit about our juice reboot, but it’s gone beyond that. We’ve decided we need to overhaul our entire attitude toward food and change what we put into our bodies while we still have the chance to make a difference in our own lives.

It all started on St. Patrick’s Day as we sat down to feast on processed food and plenty of beer. I was scrolling through Pinterest during a commercial on tv and the following image popped into my screen.

fat sick and nearly dead

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. “Interesting,” I thought, and checked Netflix to see if they had it. They did. And we watched (you can watch on Netflix if you have it, or through Amazon, free with prime or a $2.99 rental).

It’s about Joe Cross, an Australian who suddenly realizes he needs to make some changes in his life. He goes on a 60-day juice fast while traveling around the USA promoting healthy living. For whatever reason, this film struck a chord with us and we embarked on our own 4-day juice fast the very next day.

But somehow that wasn’t enough and through the “Reboot with Joe” website, I learned about a new documentary, Hungry for Change, that was showing for free for a limited time that week (also available for rental through Amazon).

hungry for change

This one was huge for us. Not only did it tell us a lot of stuff we already knew was bad for us, but it explained why, and that’s huge when you’re talking about stuff like diet soda, which I knew was bad for me (sadly, other people think it’s good for them), and I already stay away from, but did you know that it causes blurred vision, headaches, nausea, vertigo, memory loss and seizures and for those reasons pilots are not allowed to drink it while or prior to flying? Holy Cow! I won’t go into all of the details of the movie, but I highly recommend it. It features many prominent figures in the health/wellness world and Jim and I both found it to be insightful and eye-opening.

Along with these two videos, I read a book.

crazy sexy dietThe word “diet” turned my head the other way when I first saw this one. I didn’t want to read a diet book, but after reading the first few sections of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen, a book devoted mostly to recipes whereas Crazy Sexy Diet is mostly information, I decided I needed to read Crazy Sexy Diet too. Carr never thought she was going to be a diet guru. She was an actress and photographer and when she learned she had cancer, her entire life changed. Doctors gave her a prognosis and she said screw that! From there, she transformed her life, started following a plant-based diet and claims she’s never felt better, cancer and all. But that’s her story, and you should get her books and let her tell it. Check out her website too. It is an amazing source for information, recipes and community support.

But back to Jim and I, because we don’t have a book and if you want our story, you’re going to find it here. Granted, our story isn’t that long yet, and you’ll have to keep coming back if you want to learn more, but here it is so far.

As I mentioned, we did a 4-day juice fast just after St. Patrick’s Day. I felt more energy after the second day of that fast than I have in so long. But then we had a crazy Napa 30th birthday party to go to, and we needed to quit the fast so we could have some fun (also, we weren’t so sure about fasting for longer than that at a time. We want to be healthy, not crazy and dangerous with our bodies). Having fun, by the way, is okay. We also went to the Food Trucks event in Roseville last night and had Po’Boy sandwiches from the Cajun truck. It’s okay.

We did another juice fast last week and we plan on doing one next week. The weeks between, we’ve been replacing one meal with juice and eating healthfully the other. We have smoothies for breakfast (usually filled with fruit, spinach or kale, protein powder, chia seeds and spirulina…it’s a seaweed) when we’re on the fast and when we’re not, and sometimes a little snack like a handful of walnuts and raspberries if we need it. We’ve also been kicking up our workouts, and by kicking up I mean doing them. We take Katie for long walks or go to the school down the street and play basketball. We both kind of hate working out, so we try to make it fun.

We’ve had very few desserts in the past month. We cut our added sugar down to almost nothing (okay, sometimes I have a few chocolate chips with my walnuts, but again, its okay!), and in the month we’ve been doing this, I think we’ve had caffeine twice. We’ve almost completely cut out dairy products and eggs and started eating more quinoa, wild rice and tons and tons of vegetables!

Mostly, I feel amazing. I have energy (except when I can’t sleep at night, like last night…argh!), I have a positive attitude toward the world. I want to get outside and do things. I want to cook. When I find myself craving something, it’s not tater tots or ice cream, it’s walnuts or carrots or oatmeal (oatmeal, people!). I was on such a tater tot kick before I started this and they don’t even sound good anymore!

As I mentioned before, though, this doesn’t mean we won’t partake in foods we’ve enjoyed in the past. Jim fully intends to continue eating meat when we’re out with family or friends or on special occasions. And I don’t see myself passing up roasted figs with goat cheese and honey come fig season. But we’re no longer okay with putting so much crap into our bodies. There’s increasing research that concludes that filling up on fats, simple white foods like pastas, breads and sugars and the plethora of lab created, chemical “food” products on grocery store shelves these days causes cancer and chronic diseases, and we just don’t want to risk it. It’s like stepping into a fire and just hoping you don’t get burned. We’ve seen too many people we care about…and so many people those people care about get diagnoses of cancer and heart problems that it seems stupid to us not to do something to stay off that increasingly long list.

So stay tuned for more tidbits and tales of our journey to health. I’m sure it’s going to be a bumpy ride, and it won’t always be easy, but we’re going to make the trek and hopefully come out on top as a result.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy my “lunch.” I’ve got carrots, oranges, fennel, red cabbage, baby kale, spinach and sweet potatoes today all wrapped up in a pretty purple juice. As Tucker would say, “Aaaaahhhh.”

If you find yourself intrigued, please ask me about our experience. I have tons of information, recipes, opinions, and advise if you’re interested in making a change like this in your life.

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July 11, 2012

Oh what a day

I am just sitting down to my desk for the first time today. It’s almost 2 p.m. This morning I had to go down to El Dorado County’s building department to handle some things (in my dad’s absence) regarding our second shop building. It’s boring, so I won’t go into details. But I was there for almost three hours.

Breakfast this morning was delicious. I was totally channeling fall on this one. I had a little bit of extra time, so I decided to make some oatmeal. On top, I put some pumpkin butter, some toasted pecans and a small handful of chocolate chips. It was so yummy. The chocolate added just enough sweet. I definitely felt nostalgic for fall.

I love Cold Hollow Cider Mill. They’re in Vermont and I was soooo happy to find out that they have a website where you can order their stuff. I loooove this pumpkin butter. Their maple syrup is to die for and pretty much everything else they carry is delicious as well.

So after breakfast I rush down to the county offices and wait while my architect is 1/2 an hour late. And then sit in various offices for two and a half hours, filling out paperwork, signing checks, listening to the architect talk with whoever about whatever. Then I had to deliver plans to the fire district as well as the water district (hey, at least we’re covering our bases!) before I could finally come in to the office. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about the time away from my desk. If it wasn’t hotter than Hades out there, it would have been fine.

Anyway, so to back up the bus a little, the offices for El Dorado County are in Placerville, about a 20-25 minute drive from my office. Since I got out just before lunchtime, I decided to grab some chow from one of my favorite places in Pville.

They serve all sorts of fresh, organic foods and yummy beverages. I got a dirty chai…which is a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso…with almond milk (how many other places offer almond milk?!). For lunch I ordered their “Righteous Rice Bowl” with tuna. I ordered it to go, but here’s a photo of the same rice bowl I ordered with my mom a few weeks ago.

It had rice, beans, cheese, tuna, avocado, carrots, cabbage, red onion, sprouts, cilantro, two different kinds of sauces and probably all sorts of stuff I’m not remembering at the moment. It was so good.

And the Cozmic Cafe is super cool. It’s in this really old building and has a mine shaft at the back…

And I just learned today that there’s seating back there!

Yea, it’s a little creepy. But it was the coolest place in the entire restaurant!

So now I’m at work…and since I’ve been writing this (okay, and browsing Pinterest), I have 45 minutes before it’s time to leave. And then I’m off to the gym for my daily 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and home to make dinner…which I’ve yet to make a decision about. I’d better get on that.

What are you having for dinner? Anything corn and wheat free?

July 6, 2012

Thai style peanut noodles

I have had the biggest cravings for something savory and creamy lately. Most things possessing those qualities are so because of the flour in them, which makes it hard for me to find something that’s safe for me.

I decided to bust out the PB2 my lovely Foodie Pen Pal, Dee, sent me and create something myself.

I’ve always loved Thai peanut noodles. I never thought peanuts would be good with pasta, but holy moly. Delicious! Since I’m home from work early today, I decided it would make a delicious little lunch.

Mr and Meatless’ Thai style Peanut Noodles

1 large handful of spaghetti style pasta (I used rice pasta, but you can use whole wheat or regular old what pasta. Tis up to you)

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin

2 medium sized carrots, sliced thin

Approx 1/2 cup frozen edamame (or fresh if that’s what you’ve got)

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

4 tbsp PB2

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 squirt Sriracha sauce (to taste)

Cilantro, for garnish

Boil the spaghetti noodles in a large saucepan. Steam the bell pepper, carrots and edamame. Combine the liquid amino acids, PB2, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and Sriracha, whisk until smooth. If you’re using rice noodles, empty them into a strainer and rinse with cold water, then place in a serving bowl. Toss noodles with veggies and sauce. Garnish with cilantro (If I had sesame seeds, I probably would have sprinkled some of them on top too) and enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’ll see you on Monday!

June 25, 2012

Slight change of weekend plans…

Sometimes things don’t go the way you expect them to. Sometimes you plan a nice relaxing weekend at home, prefaced by a casual Friday night dinner at your favorite winery with some of your favorite people. And sometimes, you get exactly the opposite.

Sometimes, it’s even better than what you planned….

That’s right, sometimes you randomly end up at Disneyland!

 

Can you tell I haven’t slept in that photo? Can you tell we got a phone call, wildly packed up the car and drove 8 hours through the night? I’m so in love with the fact that we have enough spontaneity in our lives to just decide to do something like that. It makes me happy.

Of course, today my feet are in pain. I packed for a night at the vineyard, not a full day of walking around two parks in flat sandals. And I’m still tired because I think we got a total of 12 hours of sleep over the course of two nights…only six of which were in a bed. But how could we say no? How, when we had no other plans for the weekend, could we turn down a day at Disneyland? And at practically no cost?

We couldn’t. Bottom line.

We got to the park around 10 am. We stopped by the hotel where BJ’s son and his family were staying to drop off our stuff. They generously offered us the second bedroom of their timeshare suite, so we had a place to stay. They have three adorable little girls (hold on, let me see if I can’t jack a photo from their mom’s facebook page for ya)…ah, there they are!

Adorable, right?

Anyway, they had so much fun! The oldest one went on Tower of Terror with us, and based on this photo, I think she had a better time than I did! (Actually, all three girls eventually went on the ride…I sure wouldn’t have at their age!). She’s the one on the far left, her dad is in blue, I’m the one next to him looking like I’m dying, and my husband…well, he just looks like a kid in a candy store, doesn’t he?

Despite my face, I actually love this ride. But I have this thing: when I’m on a roller coaster, I pull the shoulder bar thing down, and for some reason, I always want it to be one more click tighter….so when we were on California Screamin’, the roller coaster, just before Tower of Terror, Jim pushed down and gave me one more click. Well, that turned out to be a bad plan because it totally squashed my stomach and I got a bit of vertigo feeling all throughout the ride. I blame this mostly on lack of sleep. I never get that feeling on rides!

Well, we got off and walked to Tower of Terror, but my heart rate just wasn’t slowing any. All the way up to the door of the elevator (in case you don’t know about this ride, we are sitting in a “service elevator car”), my heart was racing and I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t puke with all the flying up and down this ride does. So that look was “Don’t yack, don’t yack, don’t yack!” not “holy cow, this is scaaaaaary.” Why I opened my mouth, I’m not sure.  If I did yack, that wasn’t going to do me any favors. But alas, no yacking. I did, however, walk off the ride shaking like a mad person and almost fell into a wall. But that’s okay. That didn’t piss off and gross out a whole “Elevator car” full of people. And I got over it soon enough.

Most of the day, Jim and I spent doing our own thing. We spent a little bit of time in the morning with the girls and BJ and Ash, but they were doing kid stuff and we wanted to ride a few of our favorites while we were there. I was fully expecting lunch to cause problems for me with all of my allergies, but I managed to find myself a pretty delicious lunch (that doesn’t mean we didn’t peek in at six different menus before we chose, though…). There’s a Mexican restaurant in Frontierland that served up this baby:

It’s a roasted veggie tostada…except I had her leave out the shell. It had refried beans, lettuce, roasted carrots, zuccini, squash, two kinds of peppers and onions, guacamole, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. I was quite impressed. Sure it cost me $10, but for Disneyland food? This thing wasalmost worth it. I capped it off with a $5 plate of fruit which contained several kinds of fruit including papaya, mango, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, blueberries and three different kinds of melon. Lunch was good.

For a Saturday when school is out, the crowds were pretty tame. I don’t think we waited more than 20 minutes for any ride. We only got one fast pass all day and that was for Indiana Jones, which is still, I believe, one of the most popular rides at either park.

We didn’t, however, attempt to ride any of the rides at the new CarsLand. No fast passes and wait times soaring to 185 minutes (at least that was the highest I ever saw on mousewait…great app for Disney parks, by the way…and dern accurate). CarsLand itself was pretty cool, though, like you were actually walking down the streets of Radiator Springs (with 500,000 of your closest friends).

Kind of makes me want to go home and watch Cars.

We also cruised by the new Starbucks they put in California Adventure (but passed on the $5 tall drinks) and the new front section of the park where the giant fountain and the Golden Gate Bridge used to be. Overall, we were pretty impressed (sorry, by that time I was too tired and having too much fun to remember to take any photos).

After a small dinner debacle (ok, it wasn’t small, but I don’t really want to go into it again…), we went back to the hotel and practically fell into bed. It had been a long day, and we had another long day of driving ahead of us in the morning…bright and early at 5:00 a.m….

But holy moly, was it worth it!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything crazy or fun? Do you ever up and head out on an adventure on a whim?

May 15, 2012

Corn and wheat free, day four

As I mentioned yesterday, I just found out I’m allergic to wheat and corn. I want to clarify that I do not have celiac disease. I am not allergic to gluten but to wheat specifically. And, to add a little extra fun, I’m hypoglycemic.

So for the past two days, I’ve been making sure I pack a good amount of snacks to get me through 8 hours at work. I used to just ignore my body telling me it was time for me to eat. I would argue with it, bargain with it to hold off until it was “time” to eat. But I can’t do that anymore. It makes sense now why my body was acting the way it was. It needed food. Granted, now it feels like all I’m doing all day is eating. But I’ve decided that if I can pack a reasonable amount of food for the day, as long as I don’t eat more than what I pack, I should be good.

This is what was in my snack pack today (and yesterday, pretty much). Strawberries, carrots (I ate about half of them before I took the photo), rice crackers (I also ate a few of), tofu (Its teriyaki flavored and may have trace amounts of wheat, but I threw away the package and I didn’t want to waste the rest). Also in there is a cappuccino flavored Lara bar and a couple of Dove chocolate hearts.

Yesterday this combination, along with some of this salad, got me through the day quite nicely.

It’s the Mediterranean Crunch salad from Whole Foods, and ti’s got all sorts of deliciousness in it including chickpeas, red peppers, zucchini, kale, kalamata olives, onions, lemon juice and tomato among other things. It’s not something I would have normally picked up, but since it was “clean,” I figured I’d give it a whirl.

Last night before Jim and I went out to play tennis, we ate frozen pizzas for dinner. This was one section of Whole Foods I almost broke down in the other night because all the pizzas seemed to have either wheat or corn in them. Finally I found two that were “clean” and I tried this one last night:

As an added bonus, this pizza was vegan. Although I fixed that by adding some goat cheese to the top for the last five minutes of cooking time.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. My mom has dealt with food allergies, including wheat, for a long time, and I’ll tell you, some of the stuff she used to have to eat, I wouldn’t touch with a 35 foot pole. But this pizza? It surprised me. I think I actually enjoyed the rice crust more than I enjoy wheat crust. It was crispy and had good texture as well as flavor. The sauce was really good and the veggies, although not quite as pretty as the ones on the front of the box, were pleasant enough.

Eventually I plan on making a lot of my own food. Pizza crust and breads and such, but I also count on some of my energy coming back as well. My philosophy, as of now, is to get by. To eat what I can eat and stress as little as possible so I continue to stick with it instead of getting frustrated and quitting, and giving my life back up to exhaustion. I feel like I may finally be able to live a little, to feel like I’m experiencing it and not just going through the motions, and I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew (ha ha) and get overwhelmed at the start.

So even though they’re not the greatest for you, I figure I’ll eat a lot of frozen pizzas…and prepared salads from Whole Foods and bento lunch boxes full of fruits, veggies and rice crackers. I just have to get through each day. And when I feel better, and not so much like just plopping on the couch when I get home, I’ll start to experiment with my own corn and wheat-free creations. So stay tuned!

Do you have any food allergies? Or sensitivities? Have you ever tried rice crust pizza?

April 24, 2012

BBQ Pineapple Pizza

Anyone out there watch Cupcake Wars? Did you see the episode with Chloe Coscarelli winning the competition with vegan cupcakes?

Well, she just came out with a cookbook full of all sorts of vegan deliciousness, and I decided to give her BBQ Pineapple Pizza recipe a whirl on Sunday, making a few alterations of my own, of course.

 

BBQ Pineapple Pizza

Adapted from recipe by Chloe Coscarelli

2 whole wheat pitas

2ish cups bbq sauce

7 oz slab of firm tofu

1/2 onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

pineapple chunks (I didn’t really measure, I just kept putting it on top until it looked like it evenly covered the top)

cilantro

mozzarella cheese for sprinkling (this is optional. It removes the vegan label, but Jim sure enjoyed the addition)

 

Chef Chloe enlightened me to an amazing little tofu trick. If you wrap it in a paper towel, place it in a shallow dish and put something heavyish on top of it, the water will drain out and it will more effectively absorb the flavors around it. I would highly recommend doing this. I left it for about 10-15 minutes while I prepared other parts of the pizza.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until they’re soft. Set aside. Cut tofu into small squares. Coat tofu with 1/2 of the bbq sauce in a bowl. Transfer tofu to a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, turning pieces over a couple of times. Meanwhile, slather your pitas with the rest of the bbq sauce. Sprinkle with onion, pineapple and tofu (and cheese if you’re using it). Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Bake pizzas for about 10 minutes or until the pita gets a little crunchy.

Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

It was pretty dern delicious, if you ask me. And even though it was covered with tofu, Jim ate all of his too.

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March 8, 2012

Baby fever…or not + bento lunches

Every time I turn around, someone is asking me when Jim and I are going to have a baby. And it never seems like any of my answers satisfies people. I feel like everyone expects us to drop everything and start trying right now.

And I know that I own the problem here. I need to just relax and let their comments slide by. When Jim and I are ready, we’ll start trying to have a baby. Yes, I know I’m 28 and my clock is ticking. And yes, I know that there’s never a perfect time to have a child. But isn’t there something to be said for being prepared for one?

Currently, we live in a 900 square foot apartment. It’s small. Almost all of our wedding gifts live in a 5×10 storage unit down the street because we can’t fit everything we own into the apartment. Also, Jim is still hunting for a job, which means my income is the only income, and it’s already spread pretty thin. And these are just the major points.

Me and my nephew when he was about a week old. Love this little guy!

Don’t get me wrong. I love kids. Eventually I plan to have one (two max!), but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to have space and money enough to accommodate a kid. In fact, I think its kind of irresponsible not to. I want to have a cute nursery for her/him, and I want to have a rocking chair and not just shove a crib into our extra bedroom amid the bookcases and rc cars. I want to be able to offer my child a comfortable and happy existence, something I don’t feel I can do at this exact moment in life.

So please, if you fall into the above category of people, give me a break, would ya? When we are ready for kids, I promise, you will be the first to know!

On a different, more delicious note, I have rediscovered the coolest lunch box! I used mine for a while and then I moved and it got stuck in the back of the cabinet and I just dug it out last night!

It’s a bento box!

laptoplunches.com

They’re from a company called Laptop Lunches and they’re marketed more toward kids, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. I think they’re a genius alternative to a traditional lunchbox or brown bag situation.

I used to pack up mine every day to bring to work. It’s a really useful tool in portion control and healthy eating. Each little box is a perfect serving of whatever you fill it with, and the company’s website has a ton of “menus” and recipes for different things you can fill it with. Like this one they call Potluck Bento. It has whole wheat pasta salad, cucumber, tomato and basil salad, crackers, a peach and balsamic dressing. Looks delicious to me!

And this one, called Hummus and Veggies.

And this one, called cashew crunch!

Their menus are grouped by season, so you can click “Spring” and there will be a bunch of menus with things that are in season in spring. The site also has a huge list of recipes for the different items on the menus (and more I think!).  I’m excited to try some of them out next week (after I go shopping this weekend. Our cabinets are bare! eep!). All of their menus are also health conscious and well-balanced, perfect for any kid…or adult!

Do you have any healthy lunch strategies? Have you ever tried a bento box lunch?