Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Healthy Comfort Food

No, that's not an oxymoron. I promise.

Sometimes you just need a little comfort food. You know that feeling: all you want is carbs, carbs, carbs. Tell me I'm not alone in this one (and don't you dare tell me if I am). Last Thursday, as I unpacked our veggies from our CSA share and processed those that I wanted to store for fall and winter, I thought about the ones I couldn't save. Leaves, for example, don't store quite as well as firmer fruits and vegetables like squash and zucchini. Here's how I basically tackled several foods that were going out of style like, well, like it's going out of style, but still satisfied my need for comfort.
A few pounds of potatoes, cut into similar sized pieces (to ensure even cooking), boiled in salty water.
1 red pepper and 1 red onion, diced, sauteed in olive oil and...
a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

1 small head of cabbage, more or less shredded, added to the saute pan...
with about 1/3 cup of salsa.

Once the potatoes are cooked through, add them to the pan and let that saute until the cabbage has softened.
Be advised: If you do not saute that cabbage enough, it will be bitter. Like your ex-'s new lovah is way hotter than you are bitter. Cook it well!
Top with sour cream and guacamole and enjoy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh, Hello. Welcome.

Dear Blender,
I want to thank you for your faithful service. For over a year now, I have subjected you to harsh work conditions; thank you for not calling OSHA. I've asked you to grind hazelnuts, tackled rock-hard chickpeas, and puree basil to smithereens. You've done them all to the best of your abilities, and with a smile, but it's time to rest. I'm relieving you of your extra-curricular duties. I'm letting you go back to your cushy life of milkshakes and smoothies. Don't worry, I adore smoothies. So we'll stay close friends.

Hello, Food Processor! Welcome to the house! I know it hurt your feelings when your old owner, BQ, called you "old, loud, and awful!" He didn't mean it. He was grumpy because he's moving to Western Mass. I love you. My partner, D-Mart, loves you. And, yes, oh yes, basil loves you.

  • 1 part basil leaves
  • 1 part olive oil
  • 1 handful of pine nuts (or walnuts, yum!)
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 part grated parmesan (or romano--hello!)*
*If you want to freeze your pesto (which I highly recommend--save it!), leave out the cheese and add it when you're ready to cook it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

weight loss? oh yeah.

That is kinda what started this whole business.
When I first started pizza to quinoa, it was mainly for accountability and to hopefully be an encouragement to other women trying to walk towards healthy living, while also hopefully losing weight. So here are the stats.

VB#: very big number is the very big number that I weighed after the durst settled after my third baby. This was a really uncomfortable number for me. I have no pictures of me during this period. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin.
down ten: after about ten months of dieting, some clean eating, a LOT of exercise. I was down about ten pounds. This was super discouraging.
- in early May, I decided to make a change. I decided to CRAZY clean up my calories, cut out gluten and dairy (which are both thyroid inhibitors) and I got my thyroid medicine tweeked a little. that led to...
down thirty: the clean eating, calorie watching helped me lose twenty more pounds pretty quickly - in about two months. It didn't feel all that hard. You know what was hard? Dieting and working my face off without losing any weight for the ten months before that. Also, food blogs helped a lot... they made me really excited about healthy food and it was so fun to to read about things I really wanted to read about.
now -
I've been in weirdo transition for about a month.
I've eaten some yucky, awesome, unhealthy, awesome food.
I left my tennis shoes in another town.
I had a random accident that left me unable to workout for a week and a half.
My running got much easier.
I left my tennis shoes in another town again.
And somehow, I've still lost a few more pounds.
But you know what, in this month - my thinking has shifted.
I'm not as obsessed with the weight loss goals, and I'm slowly growing less attentive to what's going on with the scale. Instead - I have new goals that are much more fun to think about.
With eating: my goal is to eat as healthy and deliciously as I possibly can when I wake up in the morning. I still tally my calories just a little to make sure I'm in line - but in general, I just eat what sounds really delicious to me.
With working out: I'm working towards my first 10k, which is a major goal for me. I want to be able to do yoga, run well, and throw in some 30 day shred most days a week without hurting myself. So those are goals I like.
What about you?
Is healthy living only about healthy living for you?
Are you just into healthy food or does it serve another function?
Is weight loss important?
What are your goals? What is your plan?
Let's talk about it.

Mmmm, Oatmeal.

I, like Jessi, have a thing for oatmeal. It's been unseasonably crisp and cool here lately and, to be honest, we were running low on all forms of breakfast groceries. I remembered this recipe I had seen over on Peas and Thank You and wanted to give it a whirl.

  • 1/4 cup of Trader Joe's steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup of milk
Microwave that for 2 minutes, stopping to stir once. Use a tall bowl, here, or you'll make a mess. Like I did. After two minutes, microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the oatmeal is nice and soft. Once it's cooked, add
  • 1 t. baking cocoa
  • 1 T. peanut butter
  • 1 T. agave nectar
  • 1/2 frozen banana
As usual, measurements are not exact.
Oatmeal, coffee, and the New York Times online. That's my kind of weekday morning.

*Note: coupled with some coconut black iced tea, it's also a fab post-run breakfast on a Sunday. As I'm presently discovering.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Running is Life #2

Hey y'all. This is part 2 of a series about how running is a beautiful metaphor for life (and anyone who's had half a conversation with me knows how much I love a good metaphor...)
5K in Charleston, January 2009

Everyone has a different reason to run.
I read this article in Runner's World about Kara Goucher. She has more money than Jay-Z and apparently an entourage to rival his, too: her husband is a trainer, she's got all-star coach Alberto Salazar, specialists in a variety of fields, a sports therapist, more equipment than it takes to climb Everest and more data about herself than all of the Apollo missions put together. She uses a thermal vest, for example, to increase her core temperature before a race so that she's already warmed up when the gun goes off. Now some folks will say, "Good for her, that's smart." I ain't one of 'em.

Because she and I run for very different reasons. Obvi, I know. She's a pro. It's her livelihood and whatever it takes to be the best is what she needs. I'm a weekend warrior. I run 3 times a week, if I'm lucky, and race once a month if I can. I have a stop watch that I use to figure my mile averages, but I don't really even pay attention to my mile splits unless I'm racing. Suffice it say, if we were a pair of sneakers, you just couldn't run in us together.

I later read this article about Ryan Hall. Now there's a runner I could talk to. This boy literally started running one day because he felt like God was telling him to do it. When he toes the line at a race, his whole family is praying for one thing: that the entire field of runners cross the line safely. Not a win. Not a paycheck. Safety. Bless their hearts. When he's running, he's praying. I can dig that.

But we certainly have our differences as well. Here again, he's a professional. (And he can run a marathon in less time than I can run a half, but that's just numbers.) And he does care about splits and time and performance as much as any professional should.

I think it's the reason that dictates the way we run. After some time (and age and maturity, I hope), I think I understand Kara Goucher a little better. This article helped, too. And I see that Ryan Hall has his own set of equipment and data. I could disagree with every runner out there, and it wouldn't accomplish anything.

As I said last week, I run to prove to myself that I can. (I get it, Kara, I really do!) I run to clear my head, to think, to be alone, to be with a friend, to pray, to listen, to sing, to daydream. I run to feel my body working. And if it's working, I don't care so much about how quickly it does so. Would I like to run a sub-2 hour half marathon? Absolutely. Do I want to place in my age-group someday? Of course, but it may have to wait until I'm 60. Am I interested in qualifying for Boston? Heck yes, and I don't plan to run it until I can. But I might not do those things. And that'll be okay for me.

For others, it might not be okay. What I've learned is that that is okay, too. Do you geek out with your Garmin and log every piece of data you can find on yourself? More power to ya! You want to be the fastest runner you can be? Good for you! Are you trying to beat your younger brother in a foot race? Knock his socks off! (And knock my brothers' socks off, too, if you would, because I certainly never will!)

The end result of all of these reasons is a group of people with healthy bodies. Runners usually eat quite well, because running sure doesn't feel good if you don't. While heart attacks can happen in a road race, generally runners have great heart health. And have you ever been smoked by a man twice your age in a race? I have, and I'm so proud of those gentlemen every time. Running is healthy, no matter why you do it.

So, tell me. Why do you run?

Friday, August 27, 2010

ice cream for breakfast?

I've heard about "banana soft-serve" on a few vegan blogs and while it sounded great, I just didn't trust that it would change my life.
I was wrong.

elias had already had his own "ice cream" for breakfast, this was mine.

I topped mine with a little bit of strawberries, sunflower seed butter, and some kashi cereal.

back up off, ebug.

no seriously - leave my breakfast alone.

to make your very own....
banana soft serve
freeze a few bananas
blend or process with a hint of almond milk
top with whatever you want!

This would go great on top of smoothies, totally replacing ice cream, or as a light and delicious breakfast on a hot, late August morning. Enjoy, ya'll.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuna Burgers!

I adore tuna. Cooked, raw, whateva. And now, burgers. This recipe was inspired by the one and only Karen Lambe. She's a real peach.
(In the future, I would add a little more onion. The flavor here was a bit mild, so it needs a little punch--what do you think?)

  • 2 frozen tuna steaks, thawed, diced as finely as you can (A food processor would help here. I keep trying to win fancy appliances over there from P-Dub, but so far, no luck.)

  • 1 or 2 green onions (fresh from Luna Farm, of course), sliced thinly

  • 1 handful of sesame seeds

  • a couple of handfuls of bread crumbs, 1 egg, salt and pepper

  • Use your hands! Mash it up and make yourself some patties! I made three, but could have easily made 4. Or 6 sliders! Who doesn't love sliders?!

  • teriyaki sauce for the bok choy, sesame oil to fry those burgers

  • Make sure you saute the stems first, then add the leaves at the end. I could eat teriyaki bok choy all day. All day.

  • Fry the burgers to your liking. I prefer tuna a little rare, but with the egg, you need to reach a safe temperature. 3 minutes per side was perfect for me.

  • Top with a little fresh tomato and corn relish (About 1 cup of frozen corn thawed, 1 large heirloom tomato diced and some of that fresh green onion + salt and pepper, yumzilla.)

  • The bok choy didn't photograph well. Oh, but it tasted so good.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the winner, old fashioned style

Are you ready for enough pictures to make your nose bleed?
Are you just CRAZY to know who won the blog-name giveaway?
Is it you!?!

first, I tallied the responses and wrote down some of my favorite reasons.
which I will respond to in the near future.

some were seriously awesome.

here are all your comments, in all their glory.

so I just cut those bad boys up.

threw them in a sweet bowl of my mama's.

and asked for a lovely assistant, my sister caroline.

we may have just gotten back from spin class, and she still looks soooo cute.
oh to be in high school again:)

I got a little annoying and asked her to MAKE SURE SHE WAS MIXING WELL, OK?!

and then she pulled it! What does it say?!

oh, Michelle! Michelle Stratton! one of my favorite future Boston friends!
Let's go to coffee together soon!

To everyone who didn't win - I'm very sorry. I mean, really really sorry.
Thank you for your opinion and stay tuned to see what happens name-wise.
Many more giveaways will occur here. Shoot, maybe even next week.
Much love foodies, keep on eating.

Monday, August 23, 2010

foodie on the run

If you think you really love good, fresh food and it's super important to you to nourish your body... don't go on a whirlwind, several city trip with three kids. I'm a healthy foodie on the run and the past few days are leaving me with an intense need for detox.

I've eaten a lot of oatmeal on the go. It feels like a healthy alternative. Until Benjamin tries to steal my oatmeal and he looks like he will cut me. Then that doesn't seem so healthy.

I've also reverted back to egg cake eating. Please don't tell me you don't know about egg cakes. You've just GOT to know about egg cakes! Recipe at the bottom.

A moment I'm not that proud of. We went to Ryan's. Ryan's is a straight up country buffet. It was kind of awesome. The kids were in heaven. I was in heaven. Here was my game plan: Eat whatever I want, but only eat a few bites each. I thoroughly enjoyed some fried chicken, fried okra, mashed potatoes, and fish sticks. Apparently they looked delicious.
Fish sticks? Seriously, Jessi?

When all else fails, default to ezekiel bread with goat cheese & honey.

or Trader Joe's black bean soup. De-lish.

So... this week I'm detoxing with fruits, veggies, and grains only. I'll let you know how it goes.
If you traveled this weekend or indulged nonetheless and need a fulfilling, lean breakfast - try an egg cake. Gluten free & dairy free, a lot like pancake.

Classic Eggcake
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
(whip all that together and cook up like a pancake)

Eat with whatever you'd eat pancakes with.
I say a little honey, blueberries, and a bit of almond butter.

Also - giveaway winner will be posted TOMORROW!
& maybe some closure to the blog name dilemma? I think so!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blogging is dangerous.

I just had to have this perfect shot of our meals. It looked so much better from this side of the island, so of course I had to put the glasses of cherry lime soda on the edge there.

Soon, my kitchen floor looked like this.

Haha, not really. But y'all, cherry juice stains like it has no other purpose on God's green Earth.

I'm sure my mother would have something to say about this.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Running is Life, Part 1

Hey y'all. This is part 1 of a series about how running is a beautiful metaphor for life (and anyone who's had half a conversation with me knows how much I love a good metaphor...)

Running is seasonal.
I don't mean that you run during certain seasons of the year (which is, of course, true for some people). I mean that I go through different seasons as a runner. Running is a constant in my life, but it changes shape, form, and function as I, too, change and grow.

In my first season of running, in college, I ran to escape: boredom, heat and humidity (In Charleston, so funny, right?), and my emotions. I vainly ran to "keep in shape" (because 15 minutes on the treadmill 3 times a week can burn off all that pizza and beer, right?). Mostly, though, I had no accountability. No races, no discipline, no community. Which is probably why I tabled my life as a runner for nearly 3 years.

In my second season of running, which began almost 3 years ago, I ran for independence. Honestly. I was terrified that I had become so connected to my friends, co-workers, and family that I was incapable of accomplishing anything on my own. So when a friend invited me to run/walk a 5K fundraiser for children with autism, I figured I had nothing to lose. Isn't that the truth? The race was hilarious. I was cold at the start, but I was burning up by mid-run. I got smoked by a 65 year old man (an occurrence I've come to expect at races). My time was not good. But I felt incredible. I mean, in-flipping-credible.

So I signed up for a half marathon. I trained in the summer, in the heat, mostly in the evenings after work. My 16-ounce water bottle was more than enough and I never ate more than half a pack of Cliff Shots on my long runs. I cross trained with yoga and stayed pretty healthy.

The race went so well that I gave myself some time off as a treat. One week turned into one month and before I knew it, I had an injured IT band and I couldn't hack the winters. I took so much time off that the following summer was too much for me. 20-mile weeks were gone. 3-mile weeks were the norm. I felt (and looked) terrible.

In my third season of running, which I am presently in, I'm a new woman. I've trained for and completed a second half-marathon. It was so much harder than the first, I forgave myself for running only 1 minute faster (not one minute-per-mile, one minute total.) I trained through the winter this time and loved it. I ran in the morning and loved it. I've switched to minimalist shoes, I drink so much more water and I'm flying through Cliff Shots. Even my taste buds are different this time around. I suddenly despise vanilla and adore "Razz." Who knew? And mint chocolate Cliff Shots? Get outta my life if you don't love that stuff! And I'm faster. In case you were wondering.

My favorite thing about this new season of running, though, it just how it feels. I'm older, so it makes sense that I've matured. But I really feel like I've aged in a wonderful way. I'm so much less concerned with time than I was in my second season. I listen to my body much better; I know when to run through it and when to stop. And I'm finally ready to share running. I don't need to prove myself to anyone anymore, least of all to myself. Instead of running from my community, I'm running to it. When my favorite racing buddy packed up and moved to Colorado, I was a little lost for a while. I slipped back into my cocoon, in danger of reliving the end of season 2 all over again.

Want to know what brought me back out? Community. Turns out while I was developing my own season of running, so were my brothers 1,000 miles away. Even when we're not together, we can't help but be exactly the same. In 6 months I hope to be cruising through 26.2 with my trusty sidekicks. Will I be in the same season? Who knows.

But I know I'll still be running.
Run to Home Base at Fenway Park, May 2010

Tell me about your seasons as a runner!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


so, summer is coming to an end. hard to believe, right?

few things represent summer more to me than a big ol' mexican feast. and what's a mexican feast without salsa and guacamole?

a failure, that's what.

so here are my two favorite recipes:

fresh salsa

  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3-5 tomatillos, depending on size
  • 1-2 peppers of choice, depending on how hot you want it, you could leave them out all together.
  • 1 whole bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 limes, squeezed dry
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, again, depending on taste, i love me some garlic
  • 2 cans original rotel
  • salt sparingly
  • a good bit of fresh pepper

it's as simple as it sounds.
chop your tomatoes, onion, tomatillos, cilantro.
turn your oven on broil, and scorch your peppers, and carefully chop them (scraping out the seeds). maybe take a second and wash your hands after that step. not trying to blind anyone. yikes.
use a garlic press for the garlic cloves, and add to bowl.
add both cans of rotel.
add salt, if needed.
grind some pepper on top.

moving on to the real star of the show:

the guac

  • 4 good sized (extremely ripe) avocados, scraped from skin and blended
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, using garlic press
  • 2 juiced limes
  • salt and pepper
like the salsa, you just do some chopping, pressing, and stirring and you've got yourself a little bowl of heaven.

oh, and one more thing:

don't forget to enter our giveaway from earlier this week. you've still got ONE MORE DAY!

This is how we do.

The boy and I are both adventurous cooks. My adventure involves wingin’ it. I like taking a good, long look in the crisper, then diving in and making it up as I go. Sure, I use recipes. I see them as a sort of guideline. I categorize the ingredients and substitute like items as I see fit. Don’t have endive? Let’s try arugula! Fresh out of lime juice? Pop in a lemon! Just finished a bottle of teriyaki? Throw some brown sugar and soy sauce in a skillet and watch it dance! And don’t even get me started on measuring. Suffice it to say that “handful” and “shwooshy shake” mean more to me than “cup” and “teaspoon,” ya heard?
Par esempio...

The man in my life is adventurous about his ingredients. He’ll browse online at work and find a recipe for brandy and shallot soaked stead and not even bat an eye. A recent fav? Orange butter chicken with grated beets and kale. Honestly, I think he has more food-related apps on his iPhone than any other type of app. He loves to find obscure amounts of ingredients (1/4 teaspoon of orange zest, for the record, is roughly 1/8 of an orange.) And homeboy loves a recipe. He takes them so seriously. He sets the timer for 30 seconds. He measures 1T olive oil to sauté onions.

What’s really hilarious about all of this is that our kitchen styles are totally opposite our personality styles. I’m a fairly methodical person. I enjoy color-coding. I can usually tell you what time it is without the aid of a timepiece. I’d like to wallpaper a room in my house with maps. The boy is more of a free-spirit. He has 700 black pens (don't even mention blue ones.) I’m not sure he’s ever owned a watch. I think he needs Google Maps to find the backyard.

But in the kitchen, we’re… well… we’re still ourselves. Just different facets of ourselves.

Neurotic or not... El Duderino can cook!

How do you roll in the kitchen?