A taste of childhood, a taste out of the world and HOW WE SHOULD LOVE OUR KNEES

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
  • blueberries

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! πŸ˜€

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

~~~

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!

Oh, Sundays

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.

Wrapped some frozen banana chunks in a La Tortilla 100-calorie wrap, smeared with PB2 and sprinkled with cinnamon.

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! πŸ™‚

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,Β  baking, and lounging in the sun!

Sneak peak at what I baked today:

Recipe to come tomorrow! Stay tuned πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚

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.

Until tomorrow!

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+ What are your favorite Sunday activities?

Guacamole guacamole!

May 29, 2010 § 8 Comments

Today has been a lazy day yet a very tiring one! I jumpstarted my morning with a 4.5 mile run with my boyfriend at the crack o’ dawn. Lol not really, it was 8am. It was heating up as I was heading back to my apartment complex at around 9am, and got up to 80 degrees today! Nice, sunny So-Cal weather πŸ™‚

After we got home and both showered, I made him some French toast while I used up the last of my La Tortilla wrap to make this peanut butter banana quesadilla, which was just another variation of my SB&B Quesadilla the other morning. I smeared half of the tortilla wrap with PB2, and then layered mooshed bananas on top. I heated the whole thing on a skillet until it was nice and crispy. Deliciousssss! I love it when after a good workout, you find just the right food to fuel you!

I also had half a cup of Chobani plain greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with Walden Farm’s Blueberry syrup, completed with a few strawberries. Doesn’t the Chobani yogurt look like cream? There was a special sale for 99 cents per small container of Chobani yogurt at Vons, and I literally grabbed like 7 of ’em! I love Chobani, but it’s expensive, so I really took the opportunity that time πŸ˜‰

After some mosey-ing around the apartment and doing some laundry, we headed out to TJ’s and then Sprout’s to restock the fridge. We spent $100 + for groceries next week! Because I tell ya, that boy can sure eat!

It was really hot today, so for lunch all I wanted was a green monster smoothie, so I made one, with the new package of frozen spinach that I just bought this time! On the side I had a slice of toast smeared with some sunbutter, topped with more Chobani, and lastly drizzled with April’s protein brownie batter.

Oops, I guess I might have taken a BIG bite before I remembered to take a picture! It looks like a volcano erupting with the coconut shreds on top, and the chocolate drizzle is the lava. Hehe!

Ohh and guess what I got today?! My new yoga mate from Easyoga!

Got the purple Eco-care mat, and boy is it squishy! I’ve rubbed my hands over the surface and did a few down dogs on it already, and I can tell that it is very resilient! I actually didn’t expect it to come this fast, as I only ordered it earlier this week and it was shipped all the way from Taiwan! I bought this because one of my yoga teachers in Taiwan recommended it to me πŸ˜€ I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow morning!

So, we pretty much bummed in the house the entire afternoon. We finally stepped out of the house at around 5:30pm since we were both getting bored and restless. We went to school to check out some board games, and got Scrabble andΒ  a Simpson’s 1000 piece puzzle. The puzzle looks like this, but with the whole Simpson’s shebang replaced:

I’ve never really played Scrabble before, but have seen other people play. I guess it’s time to learn! I’m also horrible at puzzles, but I guess I have the whole summer to work up my skills!

I was actually hungry when we got back, and I already had dinner planned. Earlier in the day, I made some guacamole.

The guac consisted of 4 cloves garlic, half an onion, 2 ripe avocados, about 6 cherry tomatoes cut into small chunks (didn’t have regular tomatoes), a squeeze of lemon, and S&P. Hmm..I think I might’ve added too much onion, and not enough avocado. I had lots of fun spooning out and eating the leftover “meats” on the inside of the avocado skin! πŸ˜€

I then I made this:

1 can of black beans plus 1/2 cup (?) of TJ’s Fire-roasted Tomato salsa. Mmm-mm!

And the finished product was Chipotle-inspired.

Hers & His.

From bottom to top: chopped romaine lettuce, brown rice, black beans + salsa mixture, guac, and more salsa. It was good, but I think I still yet have to perfect the guacamole. It wasn’t as creamy as I would have liked it to be. Any suggestions?

After dinner, I got RIGHT to work to these delicious vegan cookies:

Dreena’s Supercharge Me Cookies! I used whole wheat flour instead of spelt flour, and used craisins and peanut butter. These were amazingly good! It’s not at all oily and heavy like your regular choc chip cookies, but light yet filling! It was like eating an uber delicious granola bar or something!

Packaged and ready to give to my cousins when I go visit them tomorrow. πŸ™‚

I also made Brandi’s Nutella Marbled Banana Bread.

Holy moley these were soooo moist! See how gooey the nutella came out to be? I wolfed down two slices of these immediately when they were cooled enough. I also had 1.5 of those cookies and downed them with some milk. Nothing beats chocolate chip cookies with some milk for bedtime dessert! πŸ˜‰

Tomorrow’s plan:

Can’t wait!

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+ Have you made guacamole before? Any tips to share?


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