Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let's Talk Chocolate

I am so tired right now. I woke up this morning and went to the gym for a great upper body lift and I had every intention of running 5 miles this evening, but I just don't know if it is going to happen. I am exhausted. I think sitting in a class room learning about Medieval feudalism might have caused this...

On a much happier note, I want to talk about chocolate. Dark chocolate is one of the few things that can make me happy after a long day of school. I don't mean chocolate that is like 55% cocoa, I mean chocolate that is at LEAST 72%. My personal favorite is the 88% from Endangered Species. Lindt's 90% Supreme Dark comes in a close second.

A great way to enjoy cocoa is by using baker's chocolate or cocoa powder that has 100% cocoa content, and therefore is the best for you. I was looking on Chocolate Covered Katie again and I found this recipe for her mint chocolate chip milkshake. I made it a little extra chocolately, and it was divine. A new go-to when I'm craving dessert.

(note: I took these pictures at a time when I made it without the cocoa powder, so when following my instructions below the milkshake should appear darker.)

Here's what I put inside mine:
1 Very Ripe, Frozen Banana
1 c. Unsweet Almond Breeze Almond Milk
1 drop of Peppermint Extract
1 tsp. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Guar Gum
1/2 Square Grated Baker's Chocolate

Blend all the ingredients except the baker's chocolate. Pour it into a cup and then add grated chocolate and stir until mixed. Enjoy!

Helpful Notes:
I grated my baker's chocolate with just a regular cheese grater.

The peppermint extract is extremely strong, so I always put a drop in a spoon and then drop that in the blender so that I don't pour more than necessary. You may want to taste it and then decide if you need an additional drop, but definitely err on the lesser side.

The Guar Gum is completely optional, but it acts as a thickening agent and makes it seem more like a milkshake. You can buy it at Whole Foods or here. Although I do think it is significantly cheaper at Whole Foods... 

All gone!! That didn't take long... :)

I think I am going to take a nap... but first, here is my workout from this morning.

Upper Body:
Bench Press 4x5
Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly 3x10
Flat Bench Dumbbell Pullover 3x10
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 3x10
Dumbbell Arnold Press 3x8/arm
Crunches on Decline Bench 3x10
Oblique Twists 3x10/side
Pike Pushups 3x10

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Weekend and Brownie Batter!!

I had such a wonderful weekend at home! I had so much fun with my cousin Jenni and my precious mother. Although they spent most of the time talking about sconces, tile, and sinks for our new home... I still managed to have a good time :) And of course make some yummy desserts.

On Friday I went with Meagan to our high school where we celebrated the third graduating class. I tried to get a picture of them throwing their caps, but this was all I managed to get. You can see the caps, but not the graduates. Oh well...

The reception was nice, but the cake wasn't nearly as good as the cake from our high school graduation. Not even close. 

Being so busy this weekend prevented me from blogging, but I have been meaning to post pictures of this amazing, healthy dessert. It is DEFINITELY worth trying. Probably my favorite healthy dessert recipe I have ever made.

The recipe comes from Chocolate Covered Katie and it is her Cookie Dough Dip. Instead of chocolate chips I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to make it completely sugar free and so that's why I am calling it brownie batter. It's divine. 

My roommate made the Cookie Dough Dip from CCK that has sugar, and we both decided that the sugar free one was better. Now that is phenomenal. Dates beating brown sugar...

It is hard to believe that a chichpea-based dessert sweetened by dates could possibly taste good, much less amazing, but please trust me. It will take your taste buds to chocolate heaven. 

Happy Memorial Day!! And I hope all of you immediately start soaking your dates to make this dessert!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whole Foods Has Arrived

Wilmington has been waiting for this day for quite sometime. The arrival of their very first Whole Foods Market. Although I have only lived here for about 10 days, I was already beginning to miss the deliciousness that Whole Foods has to offer.

They even had policemen stationed outside... I am not sure if this was entirely necessary. Are people going to be stealing handfuls of kale because they are so happy about the grand opening? Doubt it.

When I was checking out they asked if I wanted to pay a few cents to get a reusable bag. I don't usually do stuff like this, but after they told me I will save 10 cents every time I use it and I saw how cute the bag was I decided it was worth my money.

I bought several things such as kale, spinach, honey, yogurt, but I bought three things that were particularly notable. 

First up, is this new chocolate spin on the original Lara Bar. I am a fan of these bars because they are completely clean, sweetened only by dates and not by refined sugar. I think I am going to have to try to make my own homemade version of these soon.

It came in four flavors: Chocolate, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Mint, and Chocolate Coffee. My bet is that I will like the Chocolate Coffee the best. I have had the Chocolate Mint before and it was very good, and today I bought the Hazelnut and Coffee one.

Next up is this hotdog looking product. Its greatest feature is the short ingredients list. It consists solely of these natural ingredients: skinless chicken, spinach, water, garlic, sea salt, fennel seed, and black pepper. Not to mention it is only 80 calories per link and only 0.5 grams of saturated fat.

They would probably be best chopped up and put in a bowl of cooked or raw greens, such as spinach or kale, with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice on top. I think I'll have that for dinner...

Last, but certainly not least, a soup that I love very much: Amy's Organic Split Pea Soup. It is so yummy and makes an easy quick meal that contains 0 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. I challenge you to find another soup that can beat that! ;)

Alright, now that my fun trip to Whole Foods is over it looks like I am going to actually have to do homework. I am also going to attempt to go on a 5 mile run this evening. We'll see how that pans out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good Food Can Be Ugly

With Sunday's post on Kale Chips and today's post on oatmeal, I think I have proved that sometimes delicious food doesn't look appealing. Despite pictures that say otherwise, both the Kale Chips and my oatmeal are amazing. This oatmeal recipe, actually it's far from a recipe and more like a concoction, is what got me through long school days this past semester. Days where I would have to go 5 hours without eating, and for me that is a very long time.

I call it Banana Creme Oatmeal. And believe me, oatmeal never tasted so good.

I know there is about a billion variations of oatmeal circulating in the blog world, and so maybe someone else thought of this exact thing before me, but from my knowledge this is my own little breakfast invention.

What's inside?
-1 C. Plain, Unsweet Almond Milk
-1 Very Ripe Banana
-1/2 C. Oats
-Coconut Flakes

Step 1: Boil 1 cup of almond milk with the lid off. It boils pretty quickly, and when I had the lid on it kind of exploded...

Step 2: Pour in the oats.

Step 3: Slice the banana into pieces and put into the pot.

Step 4: Cook it until the oatmeal reaches your preferred thickness. The longer you cook, the more almond milk it'll absorb, and the thicker it'll be. (I guess I am kind of stating the obvious...)

Step 5: Put it into a bowl and mix in desired amount of cinnamon and coconut flakes.

Step 6: Stuff your face and pretend you're eating banana creme pie.

I really do love oatmeal. I think it is the best breakfast because it holds me for so long. 

Today's lift was pretty boring because Rachael was sick and so I was alone...

Biceps, Triceps, and Legs:
Squat 3x8
Lunges 3x10/side
Dumbbell Bicep Curl 3x8/side
Leg Press 3x10
Dumbbell Deadlift 3x10
Tricep Rope Extension 3x10
Hammer Curls 3x8/side
Dips off Bench 3x10

Quick Rant: Summer classes are boring and are sucking the life out of me. I don't think I can continue sitting in class for 4 hours and 10 minutes straight everyday for the next 4 weeks...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top 4 Breakfasts and Kale Chips

I love breakfast! I feel like when I wake up I always have a million ideas, but in the end I stick with my go-to 4:

1. Green Smoothie

4. Plain Greek Yogurt with Honey

These 4 never let me down. I love them :) Recently #4 has been the winner. I don't like the fruit-flavored greek yogurts because they have so much added sugar. Instead, I buy the plain and either add a little honey or sprinkle some blueberries. It makes it so much better and takes out all the excess fruit goo.

I had some kale in the fridge that I was worried was going to go bad so I decided to make my own kale chips! They were really yummy, but I added too much salt. I modified the recipe and can't wait to try it again with less salt. They are a great way to eat greens on-the-go.

Pieces of Kale to Fill One Pan Without Overlapping
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Finely Cut Fresh Basil (optional)
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Fresh Ground Pepper

Place the kale pieces into a bowl and pour the olive oil and the remaining ingredients on top. Mix around so that all the kale is moistened by the olive oil. Lay the pieces of kale out on a pan so that they do not overlap. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until desired crispiness.

Is it possible to make a picture of crispy kale look good? I really don't think so...

Today is a much needed rest day after a long week of weights and a 5 mile run yesterday. Maybe I'll take a walk on the beach later :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lemon Basil Pasta

For dinner I made this delicious Lemon Basil Pasta from The Gracious Pantry (without the chicken) and garnished it with a little extra grated parmesan :) It was so yummy! I couldn't get enough. I think I have definitely found a new favorite recipe. Creamy pasta without cream equals a win-win situation.

Instead of using whole wheat pasta, we tried using quinoa pasta. It was really good and with the sauce I honestly couldn't tell a difference! I definitely think I am going be using this more often because it's a good way to get in some extra protein.

You can find this at almost any grocery store. I got this box from Harris Teeter.

MMM... pasta... :)

Today's body weight exercises were pretty rough. I was so sore after lifting legs yesterday.

Push Ups 3x15
Leg Lower Hip Lift Abs 3x15
7,7,7 Lateral Raises and Flys with Light Dumbbells x3
Split Jumps Holding Medball 3x30
Ab Plank on Stability Ball 3x15 rollouts
Tricep Dip off Bench 3x15
Russian Twists 3x20/side

Finished it off with sprints on the treadmill: 1 min on, 1 min off for 4 minutes. Then 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 3 minutes.

And that's it for today!!

Hopefully I will have internet in my apartment tomorrow and I can post more regularly...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homemade Pizza

Clean eating is so great because it doesn't limit you to specific foods. Almost every "comfort" food can be modified to be "clean." Since I just moved in with my college friends Rachael and Stephanie, we decided to make homemade pizza the first night. Naturally I got the recipe for the Clean Eating Pizza Crust from The Gracious Pantry. It did not disappoint.

Check out a couple pics of this whole-wheat masterpiece. It tasted a lot better than it looked...

If you're noticing weird white blobs that doesn't look like regular cheese, it's because it's not. I thought I had bought goat cheese to go with the parmesan, but it turns out it was bleu cheese. They are not the same thing...

It was still extremely good, but bleu cheese is much stronger than goat cheese and I wish it had been goat cheese. The good news is I still have enough ingredients to make it again soon!

It was so great to lift weights with Rachael after laying on the beach all day. We did chest, shoulders, and back. It was a good one :)

Bench Press 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Row 3x10/arm
Overhead Shoulder Split Press 3x8
Single Arm Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 3x8/arm
Arnold Press 3x7/arm
Lat Pull Down with Cables 3x10
Oblique Crunch on BOSU 3x10/side
Leg Let-Downs 3x20

Rachael and I finished with interval sprints on the treadmill (10 seconds on, 10 seconds off). We did this 20 times at 11mph.

I think I'm going to wake up in serious pain. Soreness mixed with sunburn. This will be interesting...

Oh and please check out this giveaway for Sunwarrior Protein Powder!! Just go here: The Real Food Runner :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Meal

Happy Mother's Day!! My mom is my absolute best friend in the whole world. I don't know what I would do without her in my life.

Today my mom and I travelled to visit my grandmother. She fixed us a delicious meal and we spent a relaxing afternoon at my grandparent's house.

Aren't my grandmother and mom the most adorable people?!

When we got home, I got together with my best friend Meagan and we went to Whole Foods to pick up all the ingredients we needed to make dinner for our moms. (Oh, and we stopped by another store to get pink balloons and pink poster board!) 

Our moms had such a wonderful time, but most importantly the food was DELICIOUS. Seriously, everyone and their mother needs to make this chicken recipe. I really want to make it like once a week now. It's that good.

I got both the recipe's from my favorite clean eating blog: The Gracious Pantry. The chicken was her Grilled Chicken Souvlaki recipe and the pasta was from her Penne in Lemon Basil Sauce recipe. The only changes I made was using 100% whole wheat spaghetti instead of penne, and then we didn't add the chicken from the lemon basil recipe since we were using the chicken souvlaki instead.

The chicken was so tender and marinated perfectly... I want more now.

Mother's Day flowers in the background, courtesy of my father :)

Dinner is served.

Tomorrow I officially begin clean eating (aka: The Death of my Sugar Addiction). I have been eating clean for the past couple days and it has been going really well. Hopefully as I get better I can start creating recipes of my own and stop taking every single one from The Gracious Pantry!!

Oh yeah, and we also made these Clean Eating Peanut Butter Cookies for dessert. Best meal ever. Although I must admit, we added regular chocolate chips, not grain-sweetened, so they technically weren't 100% clean... but oh well :)