Sunwarrior Classic Plus Café Latte

I’ve been hearing a lot about “Bulletproof” coffee lately and as someone who recently realized that coffee actually isn’t that bad, I wanted to try it.  I made it a few times with some coffee that I have at home and while I maintain that no, caffeine still doesn’t affect me, it really wasn’t that bad.  In fact, it was kind of enjoyable.

From that though, I wanted to make more of a “protein punch” coffee version.

Enter Sunwarrior.  Sunwarrior recently revamped their “Classic” protein powder to create “Classic Plus“.  Still a raw, plant-based protein, they added an awesome blend of ancient grain superfoods (including peas, chia seeds, quinoa and amaranth) to their original rice protein.  It’s also now USDA certified organic with a complete amino acid profile.

On the taste end, I really enjoy the changes they made to their Vanilla flavor.  I feel like it has a much stronger vanilla-bean flavor to it without added sweetness or an aftertaste.

Also, until May 31st, check out their Starter Pack Giveaway– 1-20 entries will win so you’ve got some good odds in your favor!

I decided to make my own “bulletproof” café latte version and not to toot my own horn, but it’s pretty darn delicious.  An awesome way to start they day and keep you fueled throughout!

Disclaimer: Sunwarrior sent me their products to sample and review for the purpose sampling and recipe testing – no other compensation was received..  All opinions are my own.

Classic Plus Café Latte

1 ½ cups Coffee, cooled

1/3-1/2 cup Full Fat Coconut Milk

1 Scoop Sunwarrior Classic Plus Vanilla Protein

1 TBSP Maca Powder (optional)

Freshly Grated Nutmeg (for garnish)

Add cooled coffee, 1/3-1/2 cup coconut milk (depending on taste), protein powder and maca (for an extra energy boosting punch!) into a blender.  Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Serve with freshly grated nutmeg- yum!

Philadelphia for a Day

This post comes later than I wanted but I feel like it’s been a whirlwind of a week!  I’ve been pretty busy on the weekends and will be finishing my last final tomorrow- woo hoo!  Soon I’ll officially be on summer break and I can’t wait!  I’m hoping to get back into printmaking and working on my more creative side, actually.

But back to Philly!

This past Friday was a good friend of mine’s graduation.  I took the bus down to Philly for the day to see the official ceremony for her completion of her Masters in Fine Arts!

We have been friends since we met in undergraduate several years ago in NYC and in July she will be heading to California so I wanted to make sure to see her one last time.

Fit Fridays: Omega 3’s- What’s the Big Deal + Granola!

Have you ever been curious about omega 3’s?  They’re in the news all the time about how they’re “heart healthy”, but what exactly are they, where can you get them and why does it matter?

I recently teamed up with Azumio, a mobile health company specializing in mobile apps.  I’ve been writing health and nutrition based articles for their newly launched blog.  I’ve been having a lot of fun writing for them and recently submitted my second article (which should be published soon!).

So if you’re interested in learning about Omega 3’s please check out my recent article “Omega 3’s: What’s the Big Deal?” and you’ll also find a delicious granola recipe packed with healthy Omega 3’s!

Matchstick Broccoli Slaw with Tahini

It’s a good thing I’m so on top of it lately.

Shortly after making this recipe, I found that Food 52 listed broccoli stems as “What’s In”. 

Scoreeeeeeee!

This really started out as a mission to have less waste.  When I buy whole broccoli, I typically just chop up the stalks and toss them in with the rest of the florets but I realize a lot of people just throw them out (or give them to their dogs- I met a guy once that let his dogs chew on them).

Inspired by the Organic Broccoli Slaw by Trader Joe’s, I wanted to create my own version from leftovers complete with a delicious dressing.  This also gave me an excuse to practice my different cutting techniques!

I’ve been enjoying this as a delicious side to my meals but you could easily add a few more things to it an make it a great main dish for summer!

Matchstick Broccoli Slaw with Tahini

Serves 2-3

4 Broccoli Stalks

2 Medium-Sized Carrots

1 TBSP of Soy Sauce

2 TBSP Tahini

1 TBSP Brown Sugar

1 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar

1 tsp Chili Flakes

Hemp Seeds (to garnish)

With a knife, slice off the ends of the broccoli along with the tough outer skin (the skin is pretty thick so I found that a knife worked better than a peeler).  Cut broccoli into 2 inch pieces and slice into tiny matchsticks.  Repeat with the carrots.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, tahini, brown sugar, vinegar and chili flakes.  Whisk until smooth and toss in with sliced carrots and broccoli.  

Garnish with hemp seeds (if desired) and serve!

Fit Fridays: Dieting Is Easy- A Healthy Diet Is Hard

Last week I talked about making changes; how I didn’t want to be on a diet anymore and I wanted to work on changing my own life habits- essentially, practice what I preach.

After a week of working on making changes- small changes not for the next few weeks or months but for my life- forever, I realized that it’s hard.

Competition dieting was hard- no doubt about it.  But it was temporary.  Diets are temporary- weeks, months- until a specific goal or time and then after a while you go back to “normal” (weather you intend to or not).

Today I was talking with Kelly from Juice Hugger around the corner about making changes in life and how different they are for everyone.  Everyone has their own sense of “normal”.  Everyone has their own sense of comfort.  What may be normal and unhealthy for me might be a healthier day for others (or it could just be wishful thinking).

My normal before and between competitions are at one point and my normal during competition is at another point- one only obtained from a strict diet and exercise regime.  After finishing my second show I’ve realized that I want a new “normal”.  This week as I struggled to eat with intention- to eat mindfully and joyfully- I realized how hard it was to change my own habits.  

I want to get into a healthier state and lose some of the weight I put on since the show and while it would be easy to say “Low carbs for the next 3 weeks”, I find myself asking, “What about after?”

Is it better to work hard in an un-mantainable way for a short period of time for a specific goal, or is it better to work longer, less stressfully and more manageably for a longer period of time?

In the end I suppose it’s all about goals and intentions.  I don’t want a “bikini body”- I want a new “normal” state for me, my health and my body.  It isn’t something that is going to happen overnight or in 3 months but it’s something I want to be able to have for the rest of my life.  

It’s hard to realize that when you are truly looking to make a change, it takes time- time to adjust and time to see changes but it’s worth it in the end, isn’t it?

Creamy Alfredo with Buttered Fiddlehead Ferns and Lemon Zest

I do love a good faux pas.  You know, the kind that reminds you’re still a little bit of a rebel.

Ooh yeah baby- watch me be a rebel.

Posting a pasta recipe on Cinco de Mayo- a day in which Americans appropriate another country’s holiday and make it a drinking excuse for all- totally a rebel thing to do.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Cinco de Mayo as much as the next red-blooded American, but I like to make sure to point it out for what it is here.

But back to being a rebel- pasta time!

Ok yeah, not really a rebel, but this is coming from the girl that feels uncomfortable walking against the directional arrows in Ikea (true story- both my mom and Mr. C have noticed it and laughed at me about it).

Either way though, this recipe is super amazing and I wanted to share it immediately.  

I was introduced to fiddlehead ferns for the first time a few years ago and while these foraged wild edibles can be hard to find, they’re definitely worth trying.  They taste kind of like a cross between asparagus and baby spinach- nice and crisp and grassy with a hint of sweetness!  Yum!

And if nothing else- look how cute they are all curled up!

Creamy Alfredo with Buttered Fiddlehead Ferns and Lemon Zest

Serves 3-4

5 oz Fiddlehead Ferns (can sub for chopped asparagus)

8 oz Linguine

4 TBSP Butter

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

Zest of 1 Lemon

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

2 oz Freshly Grated Parmesan (about 1/3 Cup)

Pepper

In a medium pot, blanch the ferns in boiling water (it’s important to fully cook them, as raw ferns can make you sick).  Strain and rinse in a colander.

Bring a pot of water and a handful of salt to boil and cook the pasta according to the box until al dente.  Drain the water, reserving 1/3 a cup.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan.  Add the ferns and sauté for several minutes until they have softened.  Bring heat to medium and add the heavy cream, pasta and reserved water.  Toss to combine and add in the salt, lemon zest and nutmeg.  Cook for several minutes until sauce has begun to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and a few cracks of fresh pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

I’m always a little late to the game.  Very much a “last minute” gal- I meant to make some sort of new taco recipe for you all but it didn’t quite end up happening so instead of a recipe+round-up, we’ll be doing a plain ‘ol Cinco de Mayo Round-Up instead 😉

Let’s start this sweet soiree with some delicious Sangria!  After all, what’s a party without some drinks?

Next up, appetizers!  Some good, classic Guacamole is definitely a must!  Roasted Corn Guacamole:

Black beans and rice might also be in order with this Sweet and Spicy Black Beans and Rice recipe!

And finally- the tacos!  How about some good ‘ol Healthy Vegan Tempeh Tacos!

Or if you’re really in a hurry- just make it a bowl with this super quick Taco Bowl recipe.

Now you have no excuses- it’s time to get out there and enjoy some delicious food and drink this Cinco de Mayo!

I also just joined Yummly- click here to follow me and be able to find and “Yum” my recipes!

Fit Fridays: A Practice in Mindful Eating

It’s been a while since I did a Fit Fridays post and I feel badly about that.  I enjoy writing these posts but after I let competition prep take over my thoughts and actions I spent the last 3 weeks “un-dieting”.  Aka, overeating, binging and doing everything I write about not doing.

Second dinner?  Sure!

Snacking mindlessly despite not being hungry?  I’m down.

Water?  What water?

Yes, that’s been me the past 3 weeks.

I thought this time would be different and that I wouldn’t feel the need to binge.  Despite it all however, I’m actually doing much better than last year.  This year I at least have some notion of when to stop whereas last year I continued eating myself sick.  For weeks.

At least I can exemplify why I am against dieting.  When you diet, you bounce back.  I’ve done it before and I did it again and in 3 weeks I’ve gained back most of the weight I lost during my 12 weeks of prep.

When I explain my dessert overindulgence and recent passionate consumption of carbs I’ve had people say, “After all the work you did, you deserve it!”  Maybe I deserve to let myself indulge a little but my body doesn’t deserve to be treated like a trashcan just because I can eat it now.  

I want to be able to eat dessert and I want to be able to enjoy carbs and fatty foods but I also want to treat my body with respect.  That’s what brings us to today’s topic: Mindful Eating

As I’ve said in this post and in previous posts, “dieting” doesn’t work in the long run, but maintaining a healthy diet can.

I love food, we all know that by now, and while I want to be able to eat everything, I also want to enjoy it.  I find myself snacking on things just because I want something to do- it doesn’t mean it tastes good or I particularly enjoy it.  I want to stop these habits.  I intend to improve my health and nutrition by eating more mindfully.  What exactly do I mean by “mindful eating” mean, though?

  • Sit Down:  When I’m in the kitchen I often find myself snacking on random things because they are in reach and I just happen to be there.  Meals- even snacks- should be eaten while sitting down and ideally on a plate or in a bowl.
  • Wait: No more diving into meals before they are ready.  Wait for them to cool down properly so you can enjoy the full taste and flavor of each item.
  • Take it Slow: Take time to chew your food- savor each bite and flavor before moving onto the next.  This should also prevent overeating by allowing the body to digest while you eat so that you stop when you’re full.
  • Be Present: Less texting and watching T.V. while eating.  Eating should be a special moment and good food should be celebrated and enjoyed.

Most of my intentions lie with paying more attention to what I’m eating and enjoying the food- eating mindfully.  I suspect this is actually easier said than done, as paying attention to what I’m eating and being patient is not always a strong point but I intend to work on it and see if I can make changes and adjustments each day to live a healthier life filled with delicious food.

Do you eat mindfully or with intention?  What tips do you have for taking time and being present with your food?

Holy Moly Guac-a-mole!

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking “Wow- did she really just do that?  Seriously??”

And the answer is yes.  Yes, I went there.

Holy moly guac-a-mole.

HELLZ TO THE YA!

I want to say that guacamole is an under-appreciated food and in some ways it is.  Sure, everyone loves it (If you don’t love it get out- get out now.  Ok no, no, I’m just kidding…kinda.) but so often do I see recipes for guacamole that just aren’t right.  I mean, if you don’t have a jalapeño or cilantro in it, it isn’t guac.  Similarly, some chopped tomato is also a requirement.

From there you can make some changes, but you just can’t skip those ingredients.  

Sorry, you just can’t.

I’ve been told I’m a bit, uh, set in my ways with regards to my opinions here, but I’m ok with that.  Everyone has to be passionate about something, right?  

I’m passionate about the proper way to make guacamole.

In an effort to prove that I have some ability to be a reasonable and flexible person I’ve added a few twists to this recipe- roasted sweet corn and shallots rather than a red onion.

Woah boy- I know I’m really pushing some boundaries here but a good basic recipe doesn’t need much done to it.  No frills, just good guacamole.

Roasted Corn Guacamole

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¼ Cup Sweet Corn

2 Shallots (or 1/4 Red Onion)

½ tsp Salt

1 Jalapeño (or more for a spicier guacamole)

¼ Cup Packed Cilantro

Juice of ½ Lime

1 Small Tomato (Approx 1/3 Cup)

2 Avocados

In a pan, stirring constantly, dry roast the sweet corn for several minutes until it has browned slightly.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Chop the shallots and add to a bowl with the salt.  Using a wooden spoon, muddle the shallots and salt slightly, then add the chopped and seeded jalapeño, chopped cilantro and lime juice.  Slice the tomato and remove excess juice.  Add to mixture along with diced avocados and roasted corn.  Mix until desired consistency is reached and season with additional salt and lime juice as desired.

 

Chopped Ramps, Bacon & Egg Over Creamy Quinoa

I swear, the more I pay attention to my food photography, the more frustrated I get.  The more I see issues and problems with it.  Rather than relying on catching the natural light at “just the right moment” (which can be hard to schedule one’s day around), I’ve been trying to use lights and setups to control my own light.

I like to think I’m learning and improving with each shoot, but I honestly feel like I’m staying the same, or -worse yet- going backwards.  I keep thinking that I have it setup right and once we get over to photoshop it’ll be “perfect” and then find that no, that’s not the case.

Maybe it isn’t that I’m getting worse, but that I’m just becoming more discerning and more critical.  Maybe it takes less time to see what’s “wrong” with an image and more time to figure out how to get it “right”.

Anyway, I’m still here and still learning so hopefully I’ll also continue to improve slowly as well…Moving on!

I don’t know if you heard, but ramp season has started!  I’ve never had an opportunity to buy ramps before but this year knew that things had to change!  It was time to get ahold of that small wild onion that foodies go nuts for every year.

And get hold of them I did!  Now to be honest, when I tried them it was like “Ok, these are cool,”  but nothing mind blowing about them.  Oh god, I feel like I’ve just political blogger/foodie suicide saying that…please don’t ostracize me!  Maybe I just haven’t found the correct way to truly show off their ramp-y magic but the season isn’t done yet so there’s still time!

This savory dish works great for breakfast but also as dinner as well!

Chopped Ramps, Bacon & Egg Over Creamy Quinoa

Serves 4

Quinoa:

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1 Cup Quinoa

1 ½ Cup Whole Milk

½ Cup Water

2 oz Grated Sharp Cheddar (Approx 1/2 Cup)

1/2 tsp Salt

Pepper

 

4 Slices of Bacon

4 Eggs

1 Bunch Ramps

Zest of 1 Lemon

1 Cup Crushed Tomatoes

Add the quinoa, milk and water to a medium-sized pot.  Bring to a simmer, stirring often and reduce to low.  Add salt and pepper.  Cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and liquid has mostly been absorbed.  Remove from heat and add in grated cheese.  Stir until melted and incorporated.

Thinly chop white and green parts of ramps, separated.  Reserve the greens for later.  Chop bacon into chunks and add to a pan over medium heat.  Add in chopped ramp whites.  Sauté for several minutes before adding in crushed tomatoes and lemon zest.  Season with salt and pepper.  When everything is soft, make wells in the mixture and crack in eggs.  Cover pan with a lid and cook until whites are solid.

Divide quinoa into bowls and top with egg and ramp mixture.  Sprinkle chopped ramp greens on top!