Monthly Archives: October 2010

Spicy-Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

Exercise of the day: 45 minutes on the elliptical at level 8, and heart rate between 163-174. I did 30 woodchopper core weights, a crapload of sit-ups on an exercise ball and rolled out my IT bands again whilst trying not to tear up. Will the pain EVER stop? Stupid IT bands.

I went to the pumpkin patch today to pick up a big ole gourd to butcher.

So many pumpkins!
There was a petting zoo at one end…
with a fluffy chicken-y thing. I thought this was a dog at first before I saw its head.
     Turns out the pumpkins at the patch were ridiculously overpriced, and there was no haggling, so I headed home and made a fancy Kitchen Sink Salad.
Special ingredient – half of a deliciously ripe avocado! Yum, fat!
     I headed to Albertson’s to pick up a reasonably priced pumpkin.
At the patch, a pumpkin this size cost $14. I got it for $5.13. Oh yeah!
I don’t need newspaper – I’m a pro!
I started to carve “welcome home” for my roommates who are both returning from their trips tomorrow, but got tired after “welcome.” Now I just seem accommodating and friendly to everyone.
Don’t be fooled.
I also picked up some decor gourds. See how festive I am?
     I didn’t let those seeds go to waste though, don’t worry!

[gmc_recipe 5567]

I like mine really crispy!
Store them in a tupperware and snack away! These have MAJOR bite to them, so carry a bottle of water and Kleenex!
One of my free samples! I’m on a roll!


Filed under elliptical, gourd, gym, kitchen sink salad, Kleenex, pumpkin carving, pumpkin patch, pumpkin seeds, recipe

My WHAT has MSG???

     Exercise of the day: 45 minutes on the elliptical at level 8. My heart rate was between 170-177 the entire way and I was drenched. It was awesome. I also did 30 tricep dips and 30 pullups, followed by insanely painful rolling of my IT bands. It hurt, but hurt less than last time!

     Now are you ready for something gross? I did a pantry/fridge clean. In the vein of The French Don’t Diet, I decided to compile everything from my fridge and pantry that contained any chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, added vitamins (we should get enough from our daily food sources) or food dyes. You ready for the outcome?

Holy. Crap.
     Let’s go through what we have here – ketchup (high fructose corn syrup), pickles (Yellow #5), powdered gravy mix and taco seasonings (corn syrup solids), bread crumbs (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil), oatmeal pancake mix (corn syrup solids), protein pasta (thiamine mononitrate added to replace what’s lost in processing), vegetable broth (monosodium glutamate aka MSG!). GAG. Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Now for the fridge. Ugh.
     Parmesan cheese (cellulose powder), pickles (yellow #5 again), ketchup and barbecue sauce (high fructose corn syrup), whipped cream (hydrogenated vegetable oil AND high fructose corn syrup), and so on and so forth. This shelf was jam packed with stuff to get rid of. The rest of my fridge? Pretty much empty. All that’s left is spinach, mixed greens, lentils, all natural peanut butter, tahini, celery, bell peppers, homemade hummus, hot sauce and whole grain mustard – I can live with that!
     After the pantry and fridge cleanse, I threw together a body and soul cleansing salad with what remained.
A Kitchen Sink Salad to trump all salads! This had half a bag of mixed greens, 2 organic zucchinis sauteed with herbes de provence, egg white salad, a yellow bell pepper, lentils and a dressing of whole grain mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Hey! I can pronounce every ingredient above!
     After all this, I feel good! I can’t wait to see how I feel after a week of eating clean, with no added chemicals, dyes or unnecessary added vitamins. I’ll get my vitamins straight from the source, thank you very much! From now on I’m sticking to foods that contain ingredients that I know, can pronounce, and don’t shudder when I think of putting it into my body. 
The best news? Gelato is all natural, baby!

Comments Off on My WHAT has MSG???

Filed under added chemicals, fridge cleanse, gelato, ketchup, kitchen sink salad, monosodium glutamate, MSG, The French Don't Diet, Yellow 6

Homemade-ish Thai Green Curry

I had my last training session before my new job begins! I drove a gigantic van, learned a little about texturing and the process that the artist goes through to come up with her magnificent paintings and came home ready to FEAST.

Homemade-ish Thai Green Curry – Printable version HERE
1 can coconut milk (Don’t get the lame, watery light stuff, please)
1 tablespoon thai green curry paste
1 tbsp fish sauce (Ew, I know, but it makes the dish!)
2 bell peppers, red and yellow
1 russet potato
2 carrots
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 tbsp slivered almonds (optional)
Ingredients assembled! I even had the pliers out (check out the last picture) in preparation for opening the can of coconut milk.
     1. In a saucepan combine the coconut milk, green curry paste and fish sauce over medium heat.
The can opened! Maybe it’s just Trader Joe’s brand cans that have issues?
     2. While the coconut milk is warming, peel and chop the potato and carrots and slice the bell peppers.
     3. Stir the vegetables into the sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Pretty colors!
     4. Cook for twenty minutes over low heat until thickened.
     5. If yours doesn’t thicken, as mine refused to, take 3 tablespoons of raw almond slivers (no skins), place them in a food processor and process into a fine paste – about 2 minutes.
     6. Add the almond paste to the curry and watch it magically come together!
     7. Serve over a delicious, nutty brown rice and absorb! Try to remember to chew, not just inhale.
This makes about 6 servings. I have SO much leftover!
     This curry is delicious! I didn’t add any salt, which may have added a little extra flavor, but I loved it on its own. Everything I used in this recipe had 2 ingredients on the label or fewer! How’s that for real food?
     I got a last minute audition for tomorrey at noon fifteen! I’m off to study sides!


Filed under recipe

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

I’m on a squash binge. I’ve had some type of squash every day for the past week. It’s kind of an issue… To go along with my squash epidemic, today I cracked open a spaghetti squash and decided to try something besides plain ole squash ‘n marinara. I said squash five times in two sentences. Squash.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash LasagnaPrintable version HERE
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeded
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
7 leaves fresh basil, julienned
4 small zucchinis
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups spinach, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup grated mozzarella (Place the soft mozzarella in the freezer for 15 minutes before grating)
2 tbsp grated parmesan
     1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
     2. Place the halves of the spaghetti squash with the cut sides face-down on a greased piece of foil on a baking sheet.
     3. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the skin of the squash.
     4. While the squash bakes, slice up the zucchinis.
Since I’m eating the skins, I got organic. The fewer pesticides I consume, the happier I’ll be!
     5. Throw the zucchini slices and Herbes de Provence into a pan with a spray of olive oil, saute until tender and brown, then set aside.
     6. In another large pan, cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until tender.
     7. Add the white wine to deglaze (read: get all the yummy burned pieces off of the bottom) the pan and stir well.
     8. Add the diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce to medium heat until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.
Before – tomato soup
After – Marinara!
     9. When the squash is tender, CAREFULLY scrape out the flesh into a bowl. This will be HOT! Or you can act like a smart person and let the squash cool before you scrape it. Or that.
Putting it into a metal bowl did not help the burning of my fingers…
     10. In a baking dish sprayed with olive oil (I used a small square dish, but I’d recommend a 9×13 to avoid overflowing) layer marinara, spaghetti squash, zucchini, black beans, spinach, grated mozarella, ending with a final layer of squash and marinara.
Top with freshly grated parmesan.
3 ingredients! I had to check out five different brands before I found one that didn’t contain any unnatural chemicals.
     11. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
     12. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the lasagna is bubbling.
     13. Remove the lasagna and let it rest for five minutes.
     14. Serve and devour.
     I only had one problem with this recipe:
I thought yesterday was a fluke, but I now realize that it’s probably time for a new can opener…
Now time for MORE bread pudding!
I have a problem, I know.

1 Comment

Filed under recipe

I Eat REAL Food!

     Exercise of the day: I woke up with a headache and sat around for a while sipping tea before I decided that if I was going to feel like crap anyway, I might as well feel like crap at the gym and get a workout out of the way and I’m really good at writing run-on sentences. I fueled up with some carbs:

1 slice of 9 Grain from Great Harvest with some peanut butter and mashed banana. I have no idea how those chocolate chunks found their way there!
     I got onto the elliptical and did the random cycle at level 7 for 40 minutes, then did 30 assisted pullups and 30 tricep dips. I used the evil/wonderful foam roller and tried not to cry as I rolled out my IT bands, then went out and did a few “woodchopper” core weights. Halfway through the workout my headache was GONE! 
     I had an icy Monsta when I got back with 6 cups of spinach, 1/2 cup of soymilk, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 lemon and 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries. Soymilk has protein in it… Probably not enough for a post-workout refuel though. I also had some reheated butternut squash apple soup with a dollop of goat cheese – yum!
     I spent the day cleaning the house, doing laundry, CLEANING OUT MY CAR (something I haven’t done in over six months) and making hummus!
The can of garbanzo beans gave me some trouble, but I sorted it out.
And the hummus is chillin’ in the fridge, waiting to have fresh bell pepper slices dipped into it.
     I made baked sweet potato fries for dinner.
Half of a huge sweet potato sliced, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt, then roasted at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
     At work I got a lovely gift from a lovely friend.
Chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva! Thanks, Jose!
I also started this book: The French Don’t Diet Plan. I really, really, REALLY recommend reading this! I’m only a few chapters in, but this is so interesting! The author, Dr. Will Clower, talks about how the French can seemingly eat everything in sight: bread, cheese, wine, chocolates, and not gain weight, and how their diet differs from the typical American diet.
“They eat real foods, we eat food products.” – Dr. Will Clower.
     If you read the ingredient lists on different foodstuffs, it’s shocking to see how many unpronounceable ingredients, chemicals, dyes and preservatives actually inhabit the products that we put into our body. For instance, let’s look at the ingredients on a simple loaf of Wonder Bread:
I don’t want to put exthoxylated mono and diglycerides in my body – I researched them and STILL don’t know what they are!
Lucky for me, I have a Great Harvest down the street. The ingredients in this loaf? Fresh-ground whole wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, honey and oatmeal. That’s more like it!
     I’ll be going through this book and sharing on my blog as I go along! I’m making a conscious decision to only eat food with real, whole ingredients – starting with making my own ketchup tomorrey! Stay tuned!
How many things in your fridge contain crazy chemicals or dyes? 
My count – seven out of twelve on the middle shelf alone. Yikes.


Filed under butternut squash apple soup, elliptical, Godiva, Great Harvest, gym, headache, hummus, sweet potato fries, The French Don't Diet

Welcome to 1958!

     Happy Sunday! I love Sundays: they always mean a morning at church followed by a day of rest and relaxation, family time and lots of reading. Oh wait, that’s not true for me. Normally I’m sucked into the vortex of retail every single Sunday, but today was a nice change: I got to go to set and get paid to do something I love! What a concept!

It’s nice to wake up before the sun once in a while. This picture made the exhaustion even more worth it!
     I pulled out the Vitamix and threw together a Monsta with 5 cups of spinach, 1/2 cup of soymilk, 1 frozen banana, 1 lemon and 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries. I pulled on some fuzzy socks, arm warmers and a baggy sweatshirt and headed to location with a hot mug of tea.
     When I arrived at set, I got into wardrobe for the first scene. This shoot is b-roll for a commercial that takes place in 1958. My first outfit was high-waisted capris with a button-down frilly sleeveless top and pink converse-style shoes that laced around the ankles. It was pretty hideous – I’ll spare you the picture because I’m awful and forgot to take one!
So. Much. Wool!
Getting my hair styled involved lots of hairspray, headbands, teasing and shellacking. Also pretty awful.
I got off easy with makeup. I only had to get base, blush and mascara. Two of the girls were filming a prom scene and had to get the works! The last time I saw so much blue eyeshadow was on Mimi from The Drew Carey Show.
     The first scene I filmed took place at a piano. I was assigned a boyfriend (Hi, Tom!) and we basically sat at the piano playing a duet and kissing “1958” style, which basically means long, soft pecks. Too much? Sorry. The next scene was a party scene. The director started the turntable and we had some painfully awkward slow dancing (“Stop laughing! Look like you love each other! And kiss!”). 
     Next came my favorite part: LUNCH!
Chicken tacos from Baja Fresh! No, I didn’t partake – I asked for vegetarian and vegetarian is what I got!
(I think I might be able to keep up this vegetarian thing full-time!)
Here we have a horribly plated vegetarian burrito that had black beans, lettuce, grilled bell peppers and cheese inside, with a side of salad, guacamole and a few chips.
     You know what works really well after eating a big lunch? SWIMSUITS! Um, yeah, not. We donned some 50’s bathing wardrobe and spent an hour freezing our asses off outside by the pool, hula hooping, attempting to dance “The Twist” and playing volleyball with a beach ball. These were the only pictures I got of me in wardrobe: Prepare yourselves.
Haha, love Rye-Bread posing in the background.
Please, no snide comments – I blame the shellacked hair. This was like wearing a corset but who needed to breathe in 1958 anyway?
     The final scene took place at a school. All ten of us spent the time prancing around in the most tight “casual” clothes I’ve ever worn. I had to cram my feet into size 6 shoes (my feet are size 7.5-8 normally) and I got some gnarly cuts on my ankles from the backs slicing into them. I’m a trouper :-D. 
     We wrapped after seven and a half hours, far less than the twelve that they predicted, and we still got paid for the full time! Hooray! I drove home through the mist, rinsed the shellack out of my hair and the mascara out of my eyelashes and made a big Kitchen Sink Salad.
Yeah, that should balance out the cheesy goodness from the burrito.
OoOoH! I’m gonna go make more bread pudding!


Filed under 1958, Baja Fresh, bathing suit, Bikini, bread pudding makes me happy, commercial, filming, The Twist, vegetarian

Butternut Squash Apple Soup!

I did a lot of cooking yesterday, but decided not to bombard you with every recipe in one post. I felt that the bread pudding needed to be shared first because it was so epic, but here’s another dish that is a saga in itself. Bonus: it’s vegan!

Butternut Squash Apple Soup with a bite! – Printable version HERE
(adapted from Martha Stewart to be vegan/vegetarian)
1 tbsp Nucoa
1 onion, chopped
1 butternut squash
3 apples
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
A pinch of ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground nutmeg
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/3 cup soy creamer
     1. Assemble your ingredients. (I didn’t have all the ingredients that Martha’s recipe calls for so I just grabbed whatever I could find in my kitchen.)
Everyone ready?
     2. Combine all your seasonings into a small dish.
Mise en place, baby!
     3. Slice your butternut squash into rounds, trim off the skin and scoop out the seeds.
     4. Chop the squash rounds into inch-long squares.
     5. Peel, core and chop the apples into the same size squares as the squash.
     6. Heat the Nucoa (or olive/vegetable oil) over medium heat in a large pot, then add onions and sautee until transparent (about four minutes).
     7. Add the chopped squash and sautee for another fifteen minutes.
     8. Throw in the chopped apples, spices and vegetable stock, then top with water until all the vegetables are just barely covered in liquid.
     9. Bring the pot to a boil, then set it to low, uncovered for 40 minutes.
     10. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup into a blender and blend it in batches until smooth.
I left some texture in mine so it didn’t feel like I was eating baby food.
     11. Stir in the soy creamer and add some freshly ground black pepper.
     12. Ladle into a bowl and top with any garnish you like: sliced jalapenos for extra bite, caramelized pecans or, if you’re not vegan, a small scoop of goat cheese for a little extra tang.
     This soup is delicately sweet and comforting with a hidden spicy bite that warms your stomach and makes you want to stay on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket all day, reading a book or watching the Food Network.


Filed under apples, butternut squash, butternut squash apple soup, Martha Stewart, vegan, vegan soup, vegetarian

Magical Bread Pudding!

I made something amazing today. Something so tempting and delicious that once it’s created, it’s nearly impossible not grab a spoon and dive into the depths of this sweet, gooey miracle.

This magical, mystical thing is: Bread Pudding. Not just any bread pudding though – Chocolate Chunk Whole Wheat Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Swirls. The perfect size for a Friday date night ;-).

Chocolate Chunk Whole Wheat Bread Pudding – Printable version HERE
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 shakes nutmeg (“shakes” is a technical term referring to a spice bottle full of ground nutmeg)
2 slices whole wheat bread cubed (crusts left on)
2 tbsp chocolate chunks
     1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
     2.. In a small bowl, combine the egg, soymilk, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk well.
     3. Stir in the bread cubes and chocolate chips, then pour the mixture into an oven safe bowl.
     4. Let the mixture set for about 5 minutes so the bread absorbs the liquid.
It will be very, very soupy!
     5. Put the bowl on a baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted come out clean.
Crispy on top and heavenly inside!
     I let it sit for about thirty seconds before I threw caution to the wind and dug in with a big spoon.
My new obsession!
     I must warn you now: this recipe is ridiculously easy to make and even easier to consume. If you are prone to addictions and have no self control… Well I still think you should make this recipe, but then give your leftover chocolate chunks away. Yeah, that’ll work.


Filed under Bread pudding, bread pudding makes me happy, chocolate chip bread pudding, whole wheat bread pudding

Swollen-Faced Puppy!

     I got some good news last night: I booked that audition I had on Monday! I’m still waiting on all the info, but what I know as of now is that it’s b-roll footage (the footage of what goes on while the spokesperson is talking) for a commercial. That’s all I’ll share for now until I know that I’m not crossing any lines! I film on Sunday :-D.

     Today I woke up bright and early and went to the gym! I spent 35 minutes doing cardio on the elliptical (HR at 170 or above the whole time! Not sure if that’s healthy or maybe the reader was broken?) and then did some pull-ups and core weights. I finished up with a foam roller on my IT bands which hurt so bad I teared up! Foam roller is no longer my best friend – it’s more of a necessary evil.

I refueled with a mug of unsweetened jasmine green tea and a Halloween Monsta!
     I was about to head out the door for work when I saw this:
Swollen-faced Buddha!
     The entire right side of her face was swollen to high heaven and I, the spazz that I am, freaked out and thought that she’d been bitten by an evil deadly poisonous spider and that after her face had finished swelling, her throat would close up and she would die. I called into work telling them I’d be late and kept an eye on the pooch waiting for the telltale signs of her imminent death so I could take her to the vet. She promptly went over to her food bowl and devoured its contents, then brought her bone over to me to play. I went to work.
     Work was work. Boring and long and long and boring. I came home at lunch to make sure that the Buddha was still alive (she was), had some leftover chana masala and forced myself back to finish the final hours at work. When I got home, I realized that I had a leftover sweet potato that needed to be used up, so I made more fries!
I peeled and chopped up a small sweet potato then tossed it with olive oil and garlic salt and baked it at 450 degrees for about fifteen minutes, flipping halfway though.
I also finished up the leftover lettuce, lentils and egg white salad that was in the fridge. Kitchen Sink Salads make me happy!
     I have tomorrey off so I’ll be making some butternut squash and apple soup and grilling some salmon while reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (book number two in the “Dragon Tattoo” series) and sipping tea. My life is hard!
Any recipes you’ve wanted to try but haven’t had the time to? Maybe I can test a recipe tomorrow or Friday for you 🙂 I need a challenge!
(Preferably not a SUPER expensive challenge!)


Filed under audition, booked, Buddha, chana masala, gym, Halloween Monster, jasmine green tea, kitchen sink salad, sweet potato fries, The Girl who Played with Fire

Recipe Overload!

My kitchen smells like heaven right now and there’s a burning underneath my fingernails. I’ll explain later.

I had my free fitness evaluation at the gym this morning and learned some great exercises to build core strength in preparation for the heavy lifting I need to do with my new job, and got an injury/body-fat reading. Foam rollers are my new best friend! I have incredibly tight quads, hamstrings and IT bands from the mass amounts of hiking I do, and I will be devoting a good amount of time at the gym to stretch them out and release all the knots. This morning’s rollout goes up on the list as one of the most painful things I’ve experienced.

I finished up my workout, ran over to Trader Joe’s to pick up some necessities for my day off and sprinted through a downpour to get to my car. Lunchtime!

First I caramelized some onions…
Next up, I chopped up a jalapeno (hence the burning under my fingernails that is STILL lingering, hours after chopping), a clove of garlic and grated some frozen ginger.
Hint: Using a zester and a knob of frozen ginger is the easiest way to “chop” ginger!
I threw above ingredients, plus a lot more into a pan…
I halved Jenna’s recipe since the roommates are out of town, and still have about four servings leftover!
     After lunch I ran to the library to pick up some books I had on hold and, since I was out, decided to stop by the grocery store for even MORE ingredients. Once I start cooking, I can’t stop!
Butternut squash, chocolate chips and “Leaves of Grass“. Not to be used together!
I had a butternut squash from TJ’s and after lots of deliberation, decided to make Megan’s butternut squash fries.
I sliced up half of the squash, tossed it with olive oil and sprinkled garlic salt on top, then baked it at 450 degrees for an hour.
These were enjoyed with ketchup and another thunderstorm 🙂
     I sat down to watch “Leaves of Grass” which stars Edward Norton as twin brothers. I really liked this movie and Ed Norton is AMAZING – however… The disc was scratched and the most pivotal moment was skipped over. I tried to clean the disc to no avail, and called Redbox to tell them. The good thing that came of this is that I got promo codes for two free movies! I’m slightly less bummed about not knowing what the heck happened in the climax of the movie…
     I was so distressed that I had to put my anxiety into the beating of some butter and sugar. It was time for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!
Chocolate Chip Banana MuffinsPrintable version available HERE.
(adapted from my Great Grandma Max’s recipe <3)
1/3 cup Nucoa
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 banana mashed
1 banana roughly chopped
A crapload of chocolate chips
     1. Cream the Nucoa (or butter or butter substitute you prefer) and the brown sugar together.
     2. Add eggs and wisk together.
     3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well.
     4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine.
     5. Stir in bananas and chocolate chips (I used almost half a bag in mine! Oops!)
     6. Pour batter into muffin tins.
     7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
     8. Grab a muffin immediately and dive in!
      I wish I could claim that the muffins are healthy, but whole wheat flour and rolled oats are the best I can do while still keeping it delicious! It’s a good thing I have a gym membership – I’ll be working off the extra muffin I inhaled after eating the first one. Oops again!
What’s your favorite recipe to make on a rainy day?


Filed under butternut squash fries, chana masala, Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, HealthyHoggin, Jenna Weber, Leaves of Grass, Redbox