July 14, 2010 § 18 Comments
I’ve gone too long without Overnight oats, and I finally rediscovered my love for it yesterday morning.
The night before:
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- a spoonful or two of yogurt
- 1 tbsp flax seed
- half a mashed banana
- dash of salt
- drops of vanilla
- sweetener if you like
The morning of:
- BANANA SOFT-SERVE!!!! (with half of frozen, sliced banana)
- protein brownie batter
- chopped almonds and walnuts
A taste out of the world.
I’ve been seeing protein cakes everywhere on the blogworld since months ago. I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a try. I followed April’s recipe, but didn’t half applesauce nor pumpkin on hand. Therefore my recipe looked more like this:
- 15 grams of chocolate protein powder
- 1 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp of sweetener
- 1 tbsp flaxmeal
- 3 tbsp liquid egg whites (or 1 egg white)
I stirred everything together in a microwavable cup, as instructed, and microwaved for 1 min…
Out came moist, fluffy, chocolatey protein cake!
With some yogurt and almond butter, this dessert is out of the world.
My Kardea bar number two was the Cranberry Almond, sampled last night with the boyfriend being a taste-spotter too! 😀
His reaction: “Mmm..there’s a strong flavor! But I don’t know what it is!”
Me: “It’s almonds, silly. Haha.”
Upon first bite I was hit by the intense almond flavor. And by intense I really do mean intense. LOVE IT! I couldn’t really taste the cranberry part though. Perhaps the almond aroma was too strong that it masked the tangy taste of the cranberries. Or maybe I was enjoying the almond taste too much to really notice the cranberries. Conclusion: I MUST try it again to see if I can taste the cranberries, and also to chow down the almond-packed bar! This definitely was another taste out of the world!
It was unbelievably hot these past two days. We almost never turn on the air conditioner, but last night it was so unbearable that we just had to turn it on for 30 min or so to cool down after all that cookin’ in the kitch.
Today’s high was 100 degrees. 100 degrees!!!
I drove home from work in an oven my car that had been roasting in the sun all day (I really need to remember to put those shade on my windshield from now on). I stepped into a muggy, warm house. Naturally I had no desire to stand watch by the stove or the oven. All I wanted was something chill and sweet.
I started off with a slice of watermelon. Just then a lightbulb went on in m head.
Watermelon milk slush
- 2 cups watermelon, large cubes
- 1 cup milk (I used soymilk)
- 1 tbsp honey (or any other sweetener; this step is also optional if you have super sweet watermelon)
- LOTS of ice!!!
Blend in a blender till smooth. Pour in a cup/bowl (or just drink straight from the blending cup :-D). Smile and enjoy!
A taste of childhood.
This is something that reminds me of home (Taiwan) because you can see street vendors selling these all over the place during the hot summer season (along with banana milk, papaya milk, avocado milk). This drink definitely cooled me down effectively! 🙂
Okay, so I liked about the not cooking part. I did bust out the pan and light some fire. Just for these eggs.
If you haven’t tried fried eggs with soy sauce yet, you MUST! It’s an order! My grandma and my mom would make these for breakfast all the time.
This is again a taste of childhood.
I also had some celery with olives and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese and called it dinner.
‘Twas a beautiful, satisfying meal! 🙂
So you saw my overkill of words in my title. I was only going to do a post about knees, but a post without food just seems…weird. I know I want to have some food pictures and talk about food, and I know that you want to see some food gossip as well. In the end I thought, what the heck, I’ll just make it an extra long post with an extra long title.
Hope you don’t mind.
Anyways, the story begins when I went on a run yesterday morning. I noticed a discomfort in my knees that I am all too familiar with. On good days, my knees wouldn’t act up, but on bad days like today, my knee joints felt like they need some gear oil.
Due to my excessive running and sports during high school, I have unfortunately worn down the cartilage in my knee joints. Being the skinny thing I was back then didn’t help either, since my muscles around my knees were not strong enough to offset the harsh impacts on my knees.
Yes, excessive running can cause some injuries to the knees, especially if you don’t let your body rest between your running days. However, little did most people know that healthy knees start with healthy walking.
Ever since we learned to walk as a baby, our feet and legs have been the main support of our bodies whenever we want to bring ourselves to places. We rely on our legs, and yet we take them for granted.
The Science Behind the Knees
Besides the dense bones that make up most of the structure and support of our bodies, we also have plenty of cartilage that help support and cushion, especially around the joints. For example, the bridge of your nose is made of cartilage, as are your ears and part of your knee joints.
The cartilage residing in the knee joints is called the meniscus. The meniscus helps stabilize the knee joint as well as provide cushioning between the joints.
What happens when you walk/run excessively or incorrectly is that you’re wearing down this protective shield between the tibia (your shin bone) and the femur (your thigh bone). The discomfort or pain that you feel when you run is caused by the two bones rubbing against one another.
One doctor that I went to (he was a practitioner in Traditional Chinese Medicine) told me that knee problems, regardless whether you’re a runner or not, usually start from how we walk. He said that most people embrace the “wrong technique” in walking.
To find out if you walk “correctly,” answer the following question:
When you walk, do you:
a) Take big strides and land on the back of your heels with your knees straight?
b) Take smaller strides and land on the front of your heels with your knees slightly bent?
If you answer (a), then you are probably walking incorrectly! When you land on the back of your heels when walking and with your knees straight, it causes too much impact and force on your knees. Alternatively, if you land on the front of your heels with your knees slightly bent, you lessen the impact.
Now after a year of no running and proper walking, I can actually start running again! Of course, I try to limit my runs to maybe two times per week, since I want to give my knees ample amount of rest between runs.
If you suffer from these knee problems, I suggest that you lay off running for awhile, and opt for low-impact exercises instead. I’ve listed below some great exercises that can help strengthen your knee muscles.
1. Chair knee lifts. This is by far the simplest exercise you can do to strengthen the muscles around your knee joints. You can do this while reading, watching tv, blogging, eating? Well, pretty much whenever you’re sitting down on a stable chair. Sit in a chair so that half your thighs are not resting on the chair and your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor. Your feet should not touch the floor. With both hands, grab the underside of your chair lightly for stability. Slowly raise your lower legs up until they’re parallel to the floor, then slowly lower them back to the floor but not resting on the floor. Do this until the muscles around your knees feel sore. This exercise helps build muscle and strength around your knees without putting any stress or force on the knees, which is what you want!
2. Biking, elliptical machine, or stairmaster. Pretty self-explanatory. You always feel that burn on your quads and near your knees.
3. Yoga. There’s a reason why some people turn to yoga as therapy for spine injuries, body misalignments, and such. This thousand years old tradition offers the most natural way of healing the body. Some poses that strengthen the knees include:
There are also a couple of poses that can help relieve some of the tensions in your legs and knees
Even if you don’t get discomfort in the knees, these exercises are also great for prevention! If you feel that you get discomfort in your knee everytime you run, perhaps it’s time to lay off on running for awhile and turn to alternative exercises (such as these!) that are gentler to the knees. Remember, your knees are going to have to last you for the rest of your life. Cherish them, protect them, love them.
Sometimes we take our bodies for granted, and before we realized it, we’ve already damaged it beyond repair.
Do not wait till you feel pain even when walking. We are all young now, but think about whether you still want to be active and healthy 50 years from now!
June 27, 2010 § 10 Comments
= baking + cooking day!
I love it when weekends are relaxing and actually feel like summer! Yesterday’s BBQ was a blast. Well technically it wasn’t a barbeque because we were served corn tortillas, spanish rice, black beans, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, chips, you know the fare. I didn’t feel comfortable whipping out my camera and obsessing over all the angles of the food there, so I didn’t have any pictures to show you. I had two small corn tortillas topped with rice, beans, cilantro, guacamole, green & red salsa, dollop of sour cream. So good! For dessert we had watermelons and homemade chocolate marbled bundt cake!
After a day’s rest yesterday, my body was ready get back and rock ‘n’ roll!!! Haha literally, ’cause I had the best run in a long time this morning! I finished 5 miles strong in about 47 min (best time yet!), and felt I still got energy for one or two miles.
I came home, took a shower, and recharged with this breakfast.
Microwaved till tortilla was warm. Then I decided to whip up some vanilla-scented yogurt to keep the little guy company (and for added protein of course :-D).
Oozing with goodness.
As always, running makes me hannnnngry. But I need to go to lab today to do some work, so I made a quick Green monster smoothie, but with a new twist!
See that beautiful green? It’s from avocado girlies! I added half an avocado to buff up the creaminess and for some healthy fats! That 24-oz tumbler you see is my new find from Bed Bath & Beyonnnnd yesterday. I’ve been meaning to get the Starbucks one, but those are kind of expensive. This one was $7.99!
Lab work –> TJ’s –> Sprout’s –> Home.
It was already 1pm by the time I got home from all the errands. I love simple but satisfying lunches, and I couldn’t think of a better one than an egg wrap!
This wrap totally rocked my day! I even took out my blender to whisk the 1 egg + 1 egg white so that it will be nice and fluffy when I cook it. Haha even Dmitri agreed that the eggs looked “pretty” when I was cooking them. Halfway through cooking the eggs, I threw in a handful of spinach and folded the eggs in half. I then layered the tortilla (La Tortilla 100-calorie wrap) with Laughing Cow Light Swiss, TJ’s spicy hummus, the eggs + spinach, some ketchup. On the last minute, Dmitri suggested I spread on some of his TJ’s Olive Tapenade. I concurred…hahaha. He’s learning to be creative too! 🙂
Eww okay this picture turned out gross and blurr. I love the green sandwiched between the white and beige though!
Lunch was served with some leftover slaw and green beans.
The afternoon was spent with some quality-napping, cooking, baking, and lounging in the sun!
Sneak peak at what I baked today:
Recipe to come tomorrow! Stay tuned 😉
In other news, I decided to follow the blogworld trend and try out the raved and praised Jenna’s Lentil Walnut Loaf! I’ve been looking for the perfect lentil loaf recipe since…uh..since I can remember? It was love at first sight when I saw these circulating the bloggieworld this past week. It’s somewhat time-consuming, but the results are soooooo worth the effort!
After I dumped the loaf grubs into the loaf pan, I stopped working and accompanied Dmitri to the pool. Poor thing had been cooped up at home all afternoon while I was busy minding my own businesses. I thought I could be his play date for awhile :-D.
To the pool!
Who doesn’t love a warm sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze, the pool, a good book, and plain relaxation?
Dmitri found me a pretty flower! 🙂
It was 6:40pm already when we returned. I quickly made the glaze for the loaf and popped it into the oven. Grumble grumble tummy!
At last, the sweet-smelling loaf was ready for some serious devouring!
Hmm…the results were kind of crumbly, not because it was too dry, but it was actually kind of wet. Perhaps letting the mixture sit in the loaf pan while we were at the pool wasn’t a good idea. Those onions can sure leak!
It was yummy nevertheless. I had a mini 2nd serving for myself, and there’s still some for lunch tomorrow! Nom nom nom.
A night isn’t a night without some sweet endings.
I blended some frozen bananas and frozen strawberries with a splash of soymilk to make this Strawberry-Banana softserve. I then topped this creamy deliciousness with some nonfat plain yogurt, PB2 (yes I eat them just straight up sometimes), Nature’s Path Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch, and lastly some of April’s addicting protein brownie batter! This was so good and made me so full!
What I baked today is supposed to sit in the fridge overnight for the optimal flavor, but that didn’t stop Dmitri and I from sampling a small piece. I got four words for you:
Creamy, smooth, spongey, tangy.
+ What are your favorite Sunday activities?
June 12, 2010 § 6 Comments
…, keep it light and clean for the soul to reside in.”
— B.K.S. Iyengar (Founder of Iyengar Yoga)
This, along with a few other quotes by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, is a quote I live by daily. It can mean so many things in one sentence. How one perceives to “keep the body light and clean” differs from individual to individual. For example, alot of fitnessistas/foodies circulating the bloggie world would maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating wholesome meals and exercising regularly. Others may meditate or pray daily to cleanse the mind and soul. Yogis observe their bodies by eating clean, mostly vegetarian, diet, along with body rejuvenating practices that allow the mind to declutter. Meditation is also often practiced daily by enthusiastic and serious yogis. Whichever category mentioned above you belong in, Iyengar has described you all. Because when your body is healthy, your mind is healthy, and consequently your soul is at peace. By maintaining a healthy body, you are not worrying about diseases that may plague you in later years, your weight issues, whether you’ll be hit by another insomniac attack tonight, or having to drag your battered body through another day. You would feel energized, and face your everyday with a carefree mind, and hence a carefree soul.
“The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.”
–B. K. S. Iyengar
I consider myself an atheist, though my family leans more towards Buddhism. One of the reason why I love yoga is because it is not a religion, but rather a philosophy you embrace. Regardless of whether you’re Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, atheist, etc, yoga welcomes you into its practice and art with open arms.
On that note, I hereby present you what nourishment I gave my body today! 😀
Btw, I loved reading what you guys put down as your fave types of movies to watch! It seems like most of us were in a consensus there that horror movies are a no-no, and thumbs up for funny, light-hearted movies! 🙂 I love to curl up on a couch at home with some popcorn or a cup of tea and just relax with some funny movies to cheer me up after a long day!
At 6:50am, my eyes fluttered open, but my body lay in bed till 7:30am. Ahhh, love it when you get to roll around in bed on the weekends and just take your time to wake up! I made myself some blueberry-infused Green monster similar to the one on Thursday.
The mix included:
- 1/2 frozen sliced banana
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 cup soymilk
- 2 T plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- a splash of H2O
- 1/4 tsp xanthum gum
I had to go into lab this morning to finish up some stuff, so I did. It was only an hour or so, no biggie on a Saturday morning! When I came home at around 9:40am, my boyfriend was still sleeping, so I busied myself with some blog-reading. When he finally did wake up at around 10:10am, he grabbed some breakfast (bread with nutella) and I drove him out to San Bernardino to pick up the bike he bought on eBay! a week ago.
Record: He lost his bike TWO TIMES within the past year.
And of course, he rode home from San Bernardino, all 21 miles, while I drove back for some lunch. Just some leftover Chipotle salad from yesterday that I didn’t finish. I am sparing you guys the picture because you wouldn’t want to be turned off by the slightly blackened guacamole! 😐 No no, can’t do that to Chipotle!
For snackage, it was half a mango and 1/4 cup cottage cheese.
This has got to be the best mango I’ve had in the United States! Hah, but I got this from an Asian Market. Does that count? My encounters with mangoes here have been sour, dry, cardboard-like. Mangoes in Taiwan are the REAL mangoes! Oh. My. Gosh. I can probably eat 2 lbs of mangoes in one sitting.
It was cold today (63 degrees) so I fancied myself a cup of Yogi Detox tea.
Then it’s errands time: Trader Joe’s then Sprout’s Farmers Market. Yum yum I got La Tortilla wraps again! 😀 Also restocked with plain yogurt (I see more Greek yogurt making in the future!) and a dozen bananas! I go through bananas sooo quickly. Those green monsters, banana soft-serves, and just plain frozen bananas…I can’t get enough of those!
I puttered around a little after I got home, and ate a snack:
10-grain toast spread with PB2 and blackberries, topped with cottage cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Because cinnamon just makes everything tastes better. I was opting for a PB&J sandwich, but made this healthier version instead. Does that remind anybody else of shortbread and custard or cream?
decided to go out for a run seeing that the weather has warmed up a little bit more. It was only 63 degrees the entire morning! Brrrr…SOOO not So-Cal!
I managed to cover about 5 miles in 46 minutes. Woohoo! I think this is my new record, as I’ve never ran a full 5-mile before, and this is just under 10 min/mile (I usually run 10 min/mile…yep slow runner here)! I felt great. I felt rejuvenated.
A leisurely shower after, I leisurely strolled to the kitchen and leisurely prepared a fantabulous dinner. Just before I headed out for a run, I put a spaghetti squash into my oven to bake for an hour at 375 degrees. I instructed Dmitri to take it out of the oven when the timer goes off. He obeyed accordingly. 🙂
I’ve never had a spaghetti squash before, so this was all fun and new to me!
Look at that heapin’ pile of strings!
Next, I got to work with the sauce. First, I chopped up 1/2 onion, 1 small zucchini, and about 9 cremini mushrooms. Threw in a handful of fresh basil in the last minute. Because, like cinnamon, basil makes everything tastes better.
Next up, it was the pan. I heated some olive oil and sauteed the onions until golden.
Then I threw in the other veggies.
I deglazed the pan with some white wine vinegar while sauteeing. When they’re almost cooked, I stirred in about a cup of TJ’s Tomato Basil Marinara and added pepper to taste.
Let it simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors blend together! Just before turning off the heat, I threw in the bunch of basil leaves. Annnnndddd……
Ring, ring, ring. Dinner’s ready!
Topped with some more peppah and served with a side of steamed asparagus, drizzled with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of salt. Tell me that looks delicious!
Despite the fact that it was a superb dinner, and we both had a heaping plate of spaghetti squash, the plate was still full of veggies. My body and stomach was in post-run mode, and Dmitri in a post-bike mode. We were still hungry for carbs. And because I got lots of tortillas today from my grocery run, we both decided we wanted home-baked tortilla chips. I went for sweet ones while he favored salty.
We first cut the round tortillas into triangular shapes. For the salty ones, I lied the tortilla triangles onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, covered ’em with another coat of spray, and sprinkled salt all o’er. For the sweet cinnamon ones, I pretty much adapted the method from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Pop ’em into a preheated oven to 425 degrees, and bake for about 15 minutes, flipping in between, or until starting to get crispy. Let cool slightly before digging in!
These are, HANDS DOWN, the BESTEST OF BEST tortilla chips I’ve ever had! And Dmitri agrees too! No salsa or dipping sauce required.
I also made myself a dessert version of my Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie.
This yummy bowl was topped with two slices of my last frozen bananas, fresh blackberries, and April’s protein brownie batter.
And now, we’re lounging in the cool evening before the sun sets, complete with homemade tortilla chips and a lovely strawberry dessert. Ahh…life can’t get any better can it? 😉
Have a great weekend folks!
+ Have you had spaghetti squash before? If so, what other ways have you eat them with? If not, what recipes would you come up with?
+ What do you do to keep your body “light and clean”?
May 24, 2010 § 2 Comments
Like the new layout? I kind of got sick of looking at blue, blue, and more blue, so I decided to change it up a little. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you, I get sick of desktop wallpapers, gmail templates, the likes pretty quickly. So, you’ll probably see my page changing now and then 😉
Where should I start? How about breakfast this morning? I had yet another fab breakfast this morning, featuring strawberries and more of April’s protein brownie batter.That thing is addicting I tell ya! GO, GO, GOOO try it out now! You’ll want to drizzle that chocolatey goodness on everything. I also had some on freshly sliced pineapples last night too. I actually add a splash of vanilla and a shake of cinnamon to mine.
Sweet cinnamon alternative bagel, toasted and smeared on one side with some sunbutter, layered with sliced & microwaved strawberries, completed with a drizzle of the protein brownie batter and 1-2 spoonfuls of yogurt.
The chocolate fudge and the yogurt was oozing out of my bagel–it was just heaven in my mouth and my tummy!
Gosh, I definitely loovvveee breakfasts. It’s easily my favorite meal out of the three. I mean, who doesn’t love oatmeals, bread, toasts, cereals, granolas, pastries, fruits, nuts, etc….this list goes on.
How about you?
+ What’s your favorite meal of the day? (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack)