Tag Archives: food

That’s the wrong protein powder! {#Mamavation Monday}

Mamavation Anyone who knows me knows that I’m running a LOT these days. I’m determined not to get injured again – last year, I had some crazy sh*t going down with my piriformis, which caused my whole pelvis to get out of alignment. It was so bad, I was pronating on one foot, and supinating on the other!


I’ve been feeling some serious tightness around my hip again, so I’m stretching like crazy – pigeon pose, anyone? – and eating an anti-inflammation diet. Mostly.

The basics of the anti-inflammation diet are this:

Eat mostly foods that fight inflammation in your body (dark leafy greens, strawberries, blueberries, fish)

Eat only limited amounts of neutral foods (rice)

Avoid foods that cause inflammation (meat, dairy, corn, wheat, potatoes, alcohol, caffeine)

Not so hard, right? It really isn’t, actually. I have to be honest that I haven’t even attempted to give up alcohol and caffeine. But I’ve made some simple tweaks to rest of my usual diet, and lost 2 pounds in one week! Here’s a typical day:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, black beans and guacamole {super filling and tasty!}

Snack: Instead of Laughing Cow Light on a rice cake, I use almond butter. The almond butter is ground fresh at Winco – the kind that comes in a jar usually has extra ingredients, like palm oil and sugar. Not necessary! But check this out! The Laughing Cow container is perfect for carting around a rice cake without it crumbling into pieces!

I feel so smart for my clever transport!

Lunch: same as usual: salad & veggies, and since I’ve been eating more fish at dinner, I put some on my salad.

Snack: veggies with guacamole or hummus.

Dinner: fish, rice, salad and/or veggies.

BUT! I had a horrible realization. I’m avoiding dairy (except a little bit of cream in my morning coffee!), yet my protein powder is whey. It’s important to me to have a little protein shake before my 5:30 am runs. When I don’t get that burst of fuel before a run, I really slog through it. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that whey is dairy, but DUH.

I’ll keep eating the anti-inflammation foods the rest of the day, but as soon as I use up all that whey protein powder, I’m looking for an alternative that isn’t on my “avoid” list.  Someone suggested hemp protein, but all the reviews on Amazon say it tastes like dirt.

Does anyone have a favorite non-dairy protein powder I should try?

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My Guac Rocks!

OK, it’s not weird to say that I love my guacamole because I make it exactly the way I like it. Right? I’m not saying it’s the best guac in the world, I’m just saying I make it exactly the way I like it, and I’ve never met a better pile of avocados ifIdosaysomyself.

My dear friend Kim invited us over for a Sunday get together on New Year’s Day, and she specifically asked me to bring my “famous guacamole.” I was so delighted and honored that she asked for something in particular, because we were next door neighbors 3.5 years ago!

It was so nice to see our old friends, but also so nice to be reminded of my guac, because to be honest I don’t often think of guacamole in the winter. But I’ve made it several times since and I’m loving it every time. It’s so healthy, too! Seriously, what a great way to eat celery, people! I also dip Wasa light rye crackers in it, which is lovely. Jicama is another good dip for guacamole. Anything but corn chips, am I right? I am weak in the knees if corn chips are presented to me. It’s my downfall. I can resist most desserts without much trouble, but salty snacks are my kryptonite. So it’s best to avoid the tortilla chips if I don’t want to eat the whole bag.

I know avocado is high in fat, but it’s the good fat! And it’s tasty! And I found them it at Safeway last week for 10 for $10!

So here’s my recipe:

5-7 avocados, depending on the size

4 cloves of garlic. Yeah, you heard me.

1/2 medium onion

1 jalapeno, seeds & membranes removed (use a spoon to scoop it out – so easy, and you don’t have to worry about touching your eyes!)

1-2 limes

handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Salt & pepper

small add’l handful of fresh cilantro for garnish

I mush up the avocado while it’s still in the skin because I like efficiencies I’m lazy. Cut the avocado in half, and use a fork to smush it all up before scooping it out with a spoon:

how to properly remove an avodado from it's peel

I put the garlic, jalapeno and onion in my favorite little Cuisinart mini prep. Also for efficiency because it’s easier. I use this little baby approximately once a day, it’s so awesome:

Add those chopped ingredients to the lightly-smushed avocado, along with the chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the fresh lime juice, taste after each half-lime to get it just perfect. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste. I’ve been using celery salt that I got at Whole Foods, and it’s delicious. I really dig experimenting with salts, and this one is making me happy for the guac. And for Bloody Marys, but that’s another story.

They can't get enough of my guacamole!

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What happens when zoo people have a potluck

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How cute are these? One of our Education staffers came up with  these little guys. Too adorable to eat!

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Maybe I need to get this book for Matt:

 

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Eric’s Broccoli Fettuccine

Eric loves broccoli in anything, and always asks for it. This is his favorite recipe because he get to help make the pasta, which is fun and messy. He also likes grating the nutmeg, but that usually ends up with the nutmeg seed in the Alfredo sauce.

I had been using Giada De Laurentiis’ fresh pasta recipe for years, when my neighbor came across her husband’s grandma’s recipe. We taste-tested, and I like the grandma’s version better! So sorry, Giada… I’ve ditched you! My Alfredo sauce is very similar to Giada’s version, I started with her recipe, and I’ve modified it a bit over the years.

Please understand, this Alfredo is not a healthy recipe. And it’s not something we indulge in very often. But it is very special and yummy! I’d rather enjoy it in all it’s fatty glory very infrequently rather than try to skinny it up with non-real-food chemically substitutes. It just has to be considered an indulgence! The fettuccine is fine depending on what you make with it, and I sometimes make it with whole wheat flour, if that’s what I have on hand.

Fresh Fettuccine
Mix in food processor:
2-⅛  cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
Whisk together in a separate bowl:
2 eggs
¼ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pour the egg mixture in to the food processor, and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal.

Pour the dough out on to a floured surface, and gently knead it until it all holds together in one ball. Refrigerate for an hour or so while you set the table, then run the dough through a pasta machine to create fettuccine.

Wine makes everything better.

Set a very large pot of water with a handful of salt to boil. As you wait for it to boil, make the sauce and prepare the broccoli into bite-size florettes.


Alfredo Sauce
In a saucepan, stir to blend:
2 cups of heavy cream
½ cup of fresh lemon juice
zest of ½  lemon
2 garlic cloves, halved
Heat over medium temperature (do not boil) and melt in:
1 cup of butter (I KNOW! It’s a lot)
Once butter is melted, turn heat all the way down to low and grate in:
fresh nutmeg (about ¼ teaspoon).

When pasta water is at a boil, throw in your bite-size broccoli flowers. Set a timer for 2 minutes, and promptly remove the broccoli with a large slotted spoon into a large serving dish. The broccoli should be bright green, and don’t worry if it seems to be not cooked enough. It will continue cooking while it sits there waiting for everything else.

Throw your pasta in the now-broccoli-flavored water until just cooked through, then place in the same serving dish as the broccoli.  Do not drain or rinse the pasta, but rather scoop it out so some of the cooking water stays on the pasta. This helps the sauce cling to the pasta.
Remove garlic cloves from sauce, and stir in:
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
Add salt and (white) pepper to taste, and raise temperature if necessary. Then pour the sauce over the pasta and broccoli, and toss all together.
Enjoy!

~Krista (and Eric)

MY TOOLS:
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Disney Waffles – we can relive the magic at home!

The kids were enamored of the Mickey Mouse waffles we had for breakfast at Walt Disney World.

Magical Breakfast, only $9 at All Star Movies resort at Walt Disney World

On a whim, I just searched Amazon for Disney waffle makers, and look what I found! Why didn’t I think of this before?

Feeling a bit slow now, but I think I’ll order one of these for our Ukrainian Christmas family present. Which one, though?

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The Princess version, in pink. Somehow, I don't think this will be as universally appealing in a few years as it is now.

Winnie the Pooh & Tigger – How cute is that?

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Or the classic Micky Mouse. I think this is our winner!

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A Little Effort Goes A Long Way

Forgive me, I’m going to brag for a moment.

I had two mommy meetups on Sunday afternoon, a dinner party at my house on Monday, and a lunch potluck on Tuesday. I roasted a giant chunk of bone-in leg of pork and whipped up an olive tapenade, and had them for all 4 parties, plus dinner for my family on Sunday night. If I had realized along the way how well this would all work out, I would have taken more photos to document…

One of the mommy meetups was a cookie exchange, and I wanted to make the most amazing ginger cardamom bars, but crystalized ginger is having a bad moment (it’s not available in stores!), and I just couldn’t pull it off. I cut my losses (ie, gave up on my goal of DOING IT ALL) and texted the hostess asking if I could just bring wine. Check. Besides, I don’t need a bunch of cookies at my house, right?

While I was shopping at Whole Foods in search of said ginger, I stopped by the meat counter to see about a roast something for dinner. I was surprised to find a big bone-in pork leg for only $3.49/lb. My plan came together!

More on the pork in a minute.

Next stop, olive bar. I’ve pulled this trick before, and it’s delicious. I load up a container with about a half pound of olives of different types. Only the pitted ones! I whir it in the Cuisinart with a couple garlic cloves, a splash of olive oil to help hold it together, and salt & pepper. I bought 3 boxes of cracked pepper water crackers to go with the olives. One box for each party.

When I got home, I prepared the pork and put it in the oven at 200 degrees F and then prepared the olive tapenade and got dressed for Mommy Meetups.

Mommy Meetups: Olive Tapenade & crackers. It was a wine & chocolate party and then a cookie party, so I thought a little spicy savory nibble would be appreciated. Turns out I stayed so late at the first event that I missed all the guests at the second, but I had to be OK with that! {Let it go, you can’t do everything!}

I got home after both events and served my family some of the pork for Sunday dinner. I chose the thinner portion of the hunk o’ meat for dinner that first day, knowing that the rest would be reheated a few times.  Thicker meat = not as well done. And nobody wants tough, overcooked meat!

Monday dinner party: This was a potluck with 12 of my girlfriends, so I knew we wouldn’t need huge portions. There is usually so much food at these gatherings, so a little goes a long way. I heated the pork just enough to be room temperature. I would have heated it all the way to hot, but I didn’t want the meat to be tough. It was perfectly fine at room temp. The olive tapenade & water crackers went out with the other appetizers that some of the gals brought. Poached pears for dessert = super easy and light. I also made poached pears, so I had a starter, a protein and a light dessert – no matter what my friends brought, I knew I had the basics covered.

Tuesday lunch potluck: Once again, I heated the pork just enough to not be cold & coagulated. I intended to bring the last of the olive tapenade and last box of crackers, but I decided to save it for myself & Brian because I’m selfish like that!

It was so nice to do one bit of food prep, and have it carry me through so many events. And I still have some pork left! It will be lunch again tomorrow, I’m sure.

Here’s my recipe for the pork, which from all accounts is AMAZING. I agree, but of course I would think so because I made it exactly the way I would like it best! 

Spices! The shallot salt is notorious for getting clumpy, but it's totally fine if I grind it up with other whole spices.

7 lbs bone-in pork leg (Flintstone’s, anyone?)

In a mortar & pestle, grind up:

palm full, or about a Tablespoon, each of coriander seed, cumin seed, anise seed, black peppercorns, Penzey’s shallot salt, mustard powder, and sea salt.

Pat half of this ground-up mixture onto one side of the pork, then lay that side down on an oiled roasting pan. Pat the remainder on the naked (up) side of the pork.

Drizzle with soy sauce and olive oil, and another sprinkling of salt & pepper. Probably overkill, but that’s what I did.

After about an hour or so in the oven, drench the pork with a sauce of:

3 T tamarind paste blended with 1 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 c orange juice.

Roast the pork for a total of 5 hours, then check internal temperature for done-ness. Pork should be 145F. Let cool before slicing so the juices don’t all run out.

So there’s my recap of 3 days of stress-free parties: say no when you need to, and prepare once for multiple parties. It worked for me this time!

What are your secrets for getting through the holidays without killing someone?

Many cheers,
~Krista

My Flinstones-esque hunk of pork. 7 pounds for 3 meals!

Pork leg at the potluck, day three. Rave reviews!

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Holiday Fabulosas

sponsoredThanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring this post. There’s no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On! www.duncanhines.com.

 

I am blessed with many wonderful groups of women friends. One group of gals – we call ourselves Las Fabulosas Ravenosas – get together at each others’ homes monthly for food, wine and the very best conversations.

We’ve cried together, laughed together, everything in between together. Their friendship means the world to me, and I move mountains if necessary to not miss one of our “fabbies” get togethers.

Swarovski SnowflakeI usually host in December, because I just LOVE decorating and entertaining around the holidays. The beauty of our Las Fabulosas Ravenosas gatherings is that everyone brings amazing food, so the burden isn’t solely on the hostess. This leaves me free to concentrate on building a beautiful table, selecting a few starter wines (everyone brings wine, too – did I mention that?), and preparing one or two dishes.

Our darling friend used to always be in charge of desserts. She really loved coming up with fun surprises for us, but she had to go and move to Texas. I KNOW! TEXAS! Anyway, since I’m eating healthier and exercising more, I’m taking control of the desserts this month. I really enjoy the challenge of making something decadent that won’t be too high in calories or fat for us to enjoy. Plus, it’s got to go well with Champagne!

I don’t know what I’m going to make yet, but I’m already having fun pulling out the silver and crystal. I’m looking forward to seeing my gals, enjoying some great conversation and delicious food and wine. It’s a total bonus that I won’t have to drive home!

I’d love to hear about your holiday entertaining plans, and if you have any ideas for healthy(ish) desserts for me to make!

Happy Holidays,
~Krista
Check out Duncan Hines’ website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

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