Healthy Recipe Roundup

I have been trying some new healthy recipes lately to break me out of my dinner rut. Some of them have been duds, but here are my favorites from last month:

Hemp and Flax CrackersFull write-up here. They are so good and satisfying. but I have to watch myself since they are high calorie.

Meaty Chili – I made this chili recipe from Cooking Light and it was really good. I was skeptical of mixing turkey and sirloin but it worked. I never think chili at home is as good as at a restaurant but this recipe is going to be a keeper. Only 278 calories per serving too. Add a cup of broccoli and you will be stuffed.

Vegetable Paella – Shape Magazine had a feature on healthier versions of Spanish recipes that all looked really good. I can’t find the recipe online at all, but the Paella de Verduras (Vegetable Paella with Mushrooms and Asparagus) came out great. And I get to eat rice at 342 calories per serving :) Reprinted here, with my modifications of increasing some of the flavors and doubling the vegetables.

Vegetable Paella with Mushrooms and Asparagus
6 servings (350 calories)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 spanish onion, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups short-grain rice
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, diced small
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces and blanched
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and cook until softened. Add the rice, stir, and let it toast for 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of the stock, bring it to a simmer. Once it simmers, take the pan off the heat, cover it with foil, and bake it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

While that’s in the oven, grab another pan and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are done. Add the asparagus, heavy cream, parsley, and bring it all to a simmer. Season to taste. Take it off the heat, then stir the sauce and rice all together.

Adapted from Shape Magazine, September 2014.

Arizona

Hello from Arizona!

phx_3

For the most part, I’ve been stuck in a conference center but I’ve managed to find a few interesting things around this empty town in Arizona. I’ve tried to stay close-ish to east coast time, so I’ve exercised every single morning since I’ve been here, which hasn’t happened since the summer. I found this weird tromp l’oeil painted building on one morning run:

 

phx_1

 

The food has been mostly boring, but I found an empanada place nearby that I loved (Republica Empanada in Mesa, AZ). They have all kinds of flavors, from classic to modern.

phx_6

Ones I’ve tried were roast pork and yellow rice, ground beef and potato, buffalo chicken, and peanut butter banana. They also had really great salads, which is worth mentioning because I have had some truly awful “salads” here at the hotel and restaurants around it.

phx_4

This is a terrible picture, but I also ate Loco Moco. I’ve seen it on travel shows and thought that was exactly my kinda comfort food, so I had it at a Hawaiian-fusion restaurant. It was everything I wanted it to be. A burger patty, mushroom gravy, eggs, and rice. The only sad part was they never gave me hot sauce.

Oh! On my first day here, my first big morning, I walked out of my hotel room and my only pair of shoes BROKE. I pack light, just one carry on size for a whole week, so I had no back up option. I was in shock. I spent all day walking around on my tip-toes hoping no one would notice my broken shoe. Thankfully, I was mostly sitting and watching presentations all day but I did have to stand and speak in front of a group a few times. No one said anything so hopefully they just thought maybe I never wore high heels before. During lunch time, I ordered a new pair from Zappos with (FREE) next-day shipping. I tweeted my problem, and customer service responded on twitter with a tracking number right away, even before the email system had time to catch up.

phx_2

 

The next day of my conference was business casual dress, and they said to wear comfortable shoes (for some team building activities) so I got away with wearing my black Reebok sneakers. However, by lunch time – exactly 22.5 hours after I put my order in, the shoes were delivered to my hotel! I was able to change shoes to have my photo taken in the afternoon. I’m not sponsored by Zappos, I just wanted to share this awesome story.

I’ve also hit up some bars in Tempe (ASU area) and Scotsdale and even though I’m not in the college hangouts, the stories I’ve heard about how hard people rage here are true! I guess when you are in the desert you just party party party. I’ve never been in the southwest at all so it’s been neat to see mountains and deserts and see how different the people are. I’m ready to bust out of here though. Next stop, Las Vegas.

Fall In

This is my obligatory New England fall post.

Sunday was my first long run since the half marathon. Suddenly overnight, it officially became fall. My running path looked like this:

fallin_1

So pretty but a little nervous about running over leaves-on-asphalt, which can get slippery. I did 13 loooong and slow miles. The scenery was pretty and all, but you can only think about colors for you know, the first two hours.

fallin_2

This was my longest training run yet under Coach Jeff’s plan. Thirteen miles at a slow pace of 15:00/mi (15 secs run / 45 secs walk) was mentally rough. It just never seemed to end. Jeff is right though about your recovery being so much better when you go that slow. I felt fine afterwards, fine enough to get the family together and go on a little 2 mile hike to enjoy the foliage. My legs also felt fine when I got on the plane the next day. Back to hiking though, we borrowed a kid for the day too:

fallin_3

This was Stratton Brook State Park in Connecticut. The park also has a great, flat, straight, soft, walking path that would be perfect for running but it’s a little too far out of the way for me to justify driving there just to run. Oooh also in the fall theme, I baked oatmeal-raisin-chai cookies, which made the house smell all deliciously spicy and warm. I haven’t baked goodies in a very long time and I think I’m starting to lose my touch. Those cookies were a really good post-run snack too.

I think everyone kinda has at least one “quintessential fall day” and I think that was it for me. Cross it off the list, task done. Well sorta. I still need to bake pumpkin things! The rest of my weekends are spoken for and it’ll be winter snowstorms before you know it. I’ve already blown through fall and now I’m sitting in the total opposite – 90 degrees and loving it.

PS – Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for hemp seeds!

Recap: FitBlog NYC 2014

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to attend Fitness Magazine’s Meet & Tweet, aka #FitBlogNYC. I had a blast, found new inspiration, and walked off with new friends and a pile of gifts.
FitblogNYC

The event was held at the Mercedes Club, a gorgeous luxury gym that I can only dream about. We were welcomed with a tasty light breakfast spread as we waited for the panels to start.

FitblogNYC

As people arrived, I felt a little out of place because many of the women knew each other, but there were just as many people who didn’t have a “crew” so I did my best to meet people.

My top take-aways from FitBlog NYC Panels

Holly Rilinger, basketball player and personal trainer speaking about fitness success

  • If you are short on time, maximize your results with resistance training
  • Don’t forget about the after-burn effect, where your body is still burning calories even after the workout is over
  • Be consistent: schedule your workouts (and sleep!) the way you would schedule meetings or any other committment. Do not cancel!
  • We don’t train just to lose weight. There is a joy factor

Marci Goolsby, MD, speaking about sports injuries

  • Know good pain vs bad pain. If it affects your gait, STOP
  • When injured, you can keep up your fitness level by doing low impact activities such as cycling or swimming
  • Symptoms of over-training – a weak immune system, not getting your period, performance drops off, resting heart rate rises. None of these are “normal” and you should get them checked out
  • If you need to get checked out, feel free to see your primary care physician first. They will let you know if you should be referred to a sports specialist
  • My favorite part was when we talked about women-specific ailments. Missed periods (NOT normal), bladder control (kegels!), and pregnancy (keep training!). We rarely get to talk about these topics in an open forum so that alone felt empowering

Carla Hall, Top Chef, about food and happiness

  • It’s not your job to be rich, it’s your job to be happy
  • Be open to learning. Want a job in the food industry? Meet people, work catering events, volunteer to intern
  • On making ethnic foods healthier: The side dishes at her upcoming restaurant will be vegetarian because she doesn’t want to ignore the reality that diabetes affects the African-American community. However, don’t give away too much power in exchange for being healthy. Leave some of the fat in, for the sake of community and authenticity
  • What do you need to cook good healthy food? A good nonstick pan, a silpat for oven frying, and SPICES

Blogger Panel: Lisa Held, Anne Mauney, Bianca Jade, Laura Sykora

  • It’s ok to be inspired by other people but make it your own. Look at what others are doing and find a gap
  • Keep learning: take continuing education courses, follow online tutorials to learn technical skills that will make your blog successful
  • Don’t partner with brands that don’t make sense
  • Be authentic; accept that not everyone will like you
  • Collaborate with other women. Grow with them. You can’t get anywhere alone

The positive messages in their panels were specific to fitness and blogging, but you can apply them to to your life no matter what your passion is. Feel good about yourself, feel good about what you do, and be positive. The panelists did a great job on driving that point home.

The timing of the events were just perfect. The panels were not too long, and the breakfast were long enough for you use the bathroom or wait in line for photos but not long enough to start getting bored or distracted. I met Betty Wong, editor of Fitness Magazine and told her that I was in the issue. I’m a nerd.

FitblogNYC

Lunch was amazing. If someone cooked like this for me all the time, losing weight would be easy.

FitblogNYC

After lunch, I visited the sponsor booths and chatted with their reps about the new stuff they showed us.

FitblogNYC
FitblogNYC
FitblogNYC

They were incredibly generous.fitblog201406
FitblogNYC

Since I was jetting for a big trip as soon as I got home, some of these goodies went straight into my suitcase – the Reebok sneakers, Pacifica face wipes, Dermalogica SPF 50 sample (I will be in the desert after all), OCC Lip Tar, and tons of snacks. I normally do a shopping trip to stock up on travel snacks and this time I didn’t have to because I had like 5 lbs of food in the gift bag.FitblogNYC

I can’t thank the sponsors and the magazine enough for this opportunity.

Walking into the event, I was very intimidated. As a new-ish “capital” B-Blogger – moving from writing about my feelings to something more professionalized, I didn’t know anyone there, and it seemed like lots of women already knew each other. I read a lot of health and fitness blogs, but I didn’t really feel like I was “in” with the crowd or had many virtual friends.

However, one of the first panels mentioned that people are friendly, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and make community. It was so true. I couldn’t be the only person there who knew everyone. I saw some familiar faces of blogs on my reader feed, but I also met a lot of new people and added about 20 new blogs to my reader. There were other bloggers there who I was familiar with but didn’t have enough time to meet them all. I can’t wait to start being a part of that community, meeting more bloggers, and maybe looking to open more doors in the blogging world.