Being Healthily Unhealthy

 

 

I’m back to half marathon training. I was down for a bit because I broke my tailbone. So I cut down and changed my workouts. Feeling better but better eating is always encouraged. So trying new things is always something i try to do.

Mr. Vietalian was diagnosed with this thing called Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis. Long story short is that if he eats too many carbs it pulls the potassium out of his muscles. The reasons they give you bananas after you run a race is because they give you potassium (and carbs) and it will help to prevent cramps. But so, with the potassium pulled out of the muscles, it’s like a really bad cramp to the point of paralysis. This can be brought upon by eating too many carbs. So now it’s the challenge, how does one cut down on carbs? I feel like this is the age old question much like: How do I lose those last 10 lbs? I never realize how much carbs I eat until I try to cut them out. Even bananas have carbs! That’s crazy. So here’s to eating clean and cutting the carbs to some extent.

So first up we’ve been eating more salads, which means you really need to jazz them up. Extra vegetables and new salad dressing. Ive just learned that I like chick peas. I thought they’d be really hard but they’re not. Just delicious. So along those lines I made salad dressing. Chipotle Hummus Salad dressing. The spice at the end is supposed to help to rev your metabolism. My metabolism doesn’t seem super active so here’s hoping there. It was pretty delicious. 

The other thing I’ve been doing is replacing flour with almond meal. I made almond meal cookies a while back. They flattened and spread out. But so this time I refrigerated the dough then put them on the pan. They were actually cookie forms this time! Not flat discs.

Black bean brownies do not taste like black beans. The tsp of baking powder really makes it cake like. It’s a little dry but I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. But I’m pleasantly surprised.

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Chipotle Hummus Dressing



Chipotle Hummus Dressing

1/2 cup hummus
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 chipotle pepper, sliced
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Blend together, add more milk for smoother texture.

Almond meal cookies

1/2 c. butter, soften
1/4 c. coconut oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. almond meal
1 1/4 c. chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven at 350
  2. In bowl cream butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar. Add vanilla and eggs.
  3. Mix in baking soda and salt, then almond meal- 1 cup at a time and chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon tbsp of dough, 3 inches apart and bake for 11-13 minutes.

Black Bean Brownies

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c. cocoa powder
3/4 c. white sugar
1 pinch salt
Chocolate chips for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 square baking dish.
  2. Combine black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, and sugar in a blender;
  3. Blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
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Haven’t been here in a while…

To sum up what has happened since I wrote last: I ran a marathon, a half marathon, I did the paleo diet for three weeks, I ate at the new restaurant in Hawaii (MW), 

This post is for all of those with New Year’s Resolution I did a cleanse. I know I really detest them because I love eating. But so the Purium cleanse is only for 10 days and that seems doable. And it was, but also difficult.

The hardest part is the social outings. I sat at my boyfriend’s family’s house where they made delicious goodness, including fresh made bread. That was a very difficult day. Eventually the not eating thing actually became very helpful. I didn’t have to think about what to make for the week, what to bring with me for the day, etc. I went to observe a school I wanted to work at and didn’t have to eat the entire school day. So there is convenience factor, but there is absolute will power. As time went on I needed less snacks (which can be apples, cucumbers, vegetable broth, tea, small things like that) and I was down to one flex food a day. I cut up my apple very small and spaced it out through the day.

Yes, you do get hungry. Is it possible not to eat though? Oh absolutely. But I’m trying to listen to my body. When I got too tired to run a quarter mile one day, I ran back and got back into bed to rest up. Cutting back on exercise was seriously a difficult task for me. I felt pretty energized and felt like I should have been the same but once I started getting winded doing my exercises I learned to cut back. Also having to use the bathroom every five minutes because it is a liquid diet and you have to even intake more water than usual, ugh, not good. But still doable. And lastly, I chugged the shake every time. I hate the way the apple berry shake tastes. It nearly made me throw up the first time I drank it.

The Results: Lost 2-3 inches in certain areas and 10 lbs.
Upper Waist: 32 : 29
Mid-Waist: 36.5 : 33.5

I ordered a new pack of aminos for when I’m ready to do round 2, it may be in February or in March. But I only want to do a 5 day cleanse instead of a 10, but who knows, I get there when I get there. You start gaining back a few pounds when you start eating if you’re not careful and I have not been the most careful. I like that it helps to reset the metabolism and reset your tastes. It helps for us to keep having a healthy lifestyle.

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1, 2, 3, 4…I Declare a Noodle War

…Wait What?

I’m back. Sorry for the unexplained hiatus. You know. Life.

I’m training for a marathon, which means I have to clean up what I eat. Less fried, less sugar, and I’m even monitoring the carbs. I need the carbs before a big run but frankly it’s so easy to go over. So I’m using the cauliflower Alfredo Sauce, which if you add 1/3 of a brick of cream cheese (low fat or fat free) it goes a long way.

So the first types of noodles I tried were Zucchini noodles. You get a spiral peeler or a julienne peeler. I have a spiral peeler and the zucchini didn’t quite fit in it. I think pan fried it in pam olive oil  for a couple minutes to cook it just so it wouldn’t taste overwhelmingly like zucchini. If you have a spiral peeler where you twist it and the noodles come out, make sure the zucchini isn’t too big or you can’t use all of the zucchini.Image

Shirataki noodles are the calorie-free noodles. It’s made out of elephant yam (Or devil’s tongue yam), it’s low in carbs and somehow are made to have zero calories. They’re stored in liquid and in the produce section of your grocery store (or perhaps the Asian aisle or wherever the tofu is). Some of the shirataki noodles are made out of tofu, so they have 40 calories rather than none. You can cook them in the microwave or like you would regular noodles. I read a post on MyFitnessPal that said you can spray a pan with cooking spray and then just fry them like that. So my opinion on these noodles is that they have a weird texture. Image

In the end, I mixed the two noodles with some whole wheat pasta to get some normalcy. So yes, it’s healthier and lower calories, but it leaves something to be desired while you’re eating it. If I had to choose the order would be 1) Whole Wheat Pasta, 2) Zucchini, 3) Shirataki Noodles. There’s probably something wrong with having noodles that are 0 calories. Calories are a unit of energy so what exactly am I eating if it doesn’t have any calories? More than that I’m worried about the texture that’s just so strange. My mix is good, I just always need large amounts of sauce to it.Image

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French Dips and Oreo snacks

I love a good sandwich or sandwich wrap. I learned that my crockpot chicken, lettuce, hummus, and chipotle mayo is amazing. LIKE AH-MAZE-ING. There are so many flavors going on and textures. Oh it was glorious. But I love me a good French Dip sandwich. But the last couple of times I’ve seen it on a menu there is always something else I want more. So why not make it at home? Out came my handy dandy crock pot.

A few things I did wrong in this recipe. I wanted a chuck roast with bone in because of the Au Jus. I thought it would add flavor, but I couldn’t find it in the grocery store, so I had to use rump roast. On top of that, so I forgot to pick up the beer. But I didn’t have any (duh, you don’t drink alcohol stupid.). However, on occasion my friends occasionally leave their beer here. It was a Pilsner which to my knowledge is kind of light and I read dark probably would have been better. Which is why my broth was slightly bland. I added a pinch of salt before serving and it perked right up.

So the meat came out a little dry so I’d lower the time to 6.5 hours. But as you’re dipping it into a bowl of juice, it’s really not that bad. I added a little chipotle mayo to the sandwich and OHMYGOD, HOW, WHAT AND HOW. Tastes so good. I was worried that the flavors would kind of battle it out but it’s really quite good. It gives it the kick that it needs, a little extra fatty content, and just enough variation to mix up a delicious sandwich.

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I’m glad I was thinking it. I wanted to make oreos because I love them so much. Perhaps I was too lazy to go to the store, but this seems like a poor way to make up for laziness. Keep in mind before you make them, unlike I did, that it takes a decent amount of time. You need to mix the batter, let it sit in the fridge, roll the dough, then let it sit again. I figured you know, hour in the fridge is probably the same as 20 minutes in the freezer. It’s not. But eventually I baked the cookies into the odd little shapes they were frozen in, but not the sweet little round ones that Bakerella, Joanne Chang, or Nabisco does. It was just kind of thick and cookie like. I suggest following the recipe word for word. The freezer might help in the last 10 minutes of refrigeration because it’ll cut better and thinner, more oreo like if you will.

With real oreos I crushed them and put them into a chocolate chip cookie batter. I saw it on Pinterest, which inspires some really bad ideas sometimes. Great ideas. But bad ideas. Great bad ideas. Either way these cookies were very good and very addicting. I grabbed one in the middle of the workout instead of a sip of water. They were really close together though, so you can understand why I had my confusion… It also gave me a place to use some oreos that I made that crumbled under pressure. The frosting, however, will melt while you’re baking these cookies. But the regular oreos don’t melt. So take it for what you will.

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Sushi, Half Marathoning, Crockpotting, and More!

Last weekend was jammed packed. On Saturday we went to Sea to You Sushi Class that I bought on I bought a groupon for Sea to You Sushi. We signed up for the master class, which is a combination of the other 3 classes. The other classes are one hour long, master is 2. It normally costs $120 per person. We learned how to make inside out maki, Jumbo maki, temaki, nigiri, designer rolls and also how to cut fish. I found the entire experience really informative and helpful. But I really appreciated learning how to cut fish because you can’t just cut the fish in any old fashion. It’ll ruin the fish and make it more difficult or uneven to make your sushi. So something I learned in the last couple of years, (1) sushi is generally made to be eaten in one bite; (2) shoyu is not supposed to go on the rice; (3) simplicity is usually key; (4) nigiri can be hand food so you can get the fish to the shoyu without it falling apart; (5) temaki are the fastest way to make and eat your own sushi.

I ate a lot of my sadder looking pieces of maki. They have a big open salad bar type thing where you can get your sushi ingredients of choice. The have deep fried sweet potatoes, cucumber, carrots, broiled tuna, broiled salmon, shitake mushrooms, fried panko, and the unagi and spicy mayo sauce. You can upgrade some of your ingredients when you sign up online, like buying avocado, soft shell crab, and spicy scallops. We opted to upgrade to soft shell crab for $10. $10 is less than the average spider roll! No avocado though, but with me being and picky as I am I don’t like avocado.

So much Sushi! Spicy Tuna, broiled tuna, spider rolls!

So much Sushi! Spicy Tuna, broiled tuna, spider rolls!

Dragon roll, california temaki, and a salmon inside out roll

Dragon roll, california temaki, and a salmon inside out roll

The day after this I had my very first half marathon. I was using this as say, my carbo loading, I probably should have gone with something a little heavier. Now a half marathon doesn’t have much to do with food. But I have to say having good training does involve eating better. Less fried food, better carbs, less sugar, etc. etc. I’ve said it before. When I finished, the one thing on my mind was, there better be food in the convention center. There was. But I had a banana, plain bagel without spread, orange, and water. We ended our half marathon day at Flour, which I’d say a lot of half marathoners did the same.

Then later this week I’ve been playing with my crockpot. It’s hot out and I don’t want to be using my oven a whole lot (not to mention it doesn’t work still). I did a chipotle chicken in a creamy sauce. I didn’t quite figure out what you do with it. Do you serve it with pasta? No not really. Mashed potatoes? Yeah that was pretty good. Here’s what you do. It has a little bit too much sauce, but if you can fish the chicken out put it in a wrap. Lettuce, hummus, garlic and herb cheese with the chipotle chicken is so very good. It has so many flavors going on at once and just blends so well. When I did the chipotle chicken recipe I used chicken thighs which was and was not a mistake. I like using meat with bones in it because I feel like it gives it a stronger flavor. But for two reasons, not so good. The meat falls right off the bone and I lose some of the smaller bones (choking hazard). The bones give more flavor and a little bit more liquid into the creamy sauce. So now I have all this sauce and will figure out something to do with all of it. (I just poured it over my mashed potatoes and will eat it like that later).

And so recently I’ve wanted some local food. I looked up a recipe for a copycat Mitsuken Garlic Chicken. I cut it a little differently since I don’t have a deep fryer and just pan fried it. Cutting it into smaller chunks makes it cook faster and more thoroughly. Drizzle the sauce on top and it’s pretty much like being at home. I did not add the green onions and ginger like the recipe says because well, because I don’t have those ingredients on hand. I don’t do the super market on Sundays because it is an absolute mess. I overfried a couple of the pieces because they weren’t browning up like I thought they should have been. But it was still good. Just a little more practice next time!

Faux Mitsuken Chicken and musubi

Faux Mitsuken Chicken and musubi

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San Diego, My newly adventurous eating and some not so much.

Mr. Vietalian and I just came back from San Diego. I was wondering what San Diego would be famous for food-wise. I mean Maine has lobsters, Massachusetts has chowder, Hawaii has Hawaiian food and spam musubis, and of course each city has its own unique thing, but what the hell does it for San Diego? I still am trying to figure it out. Mr. Vietalian says it’s fish tacos. But unfortunately I don’t like tacos or fish. But we did go to a fish market, El Pescador Fish Market.

El Pescador Fish Market, located in La Jolla on Pearl Street, is a small fish market. Decent prices, but by no means cheap. As someone that doesn’t love seafood, it was a weird place for me. I’ve gotten by usually by eating chicken, beef, or anything that’s not fish. This is not the case here. Everything is seafood. I had the Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp combo sandwich, not a ton of mayo which is good. But I did unfortunately have some bites without any meat. Mr. Vietalian said he would have preferred Wahoo’s up the street, the tacos weren’t anything too special for him. It might have been the anticipation of waiting for these tacos and reading about them online. Also the creeps sitting next to us (they asked a couple to leave their table because there weren’t enough tables) detracted from our stay. I wish it was a little more but I like the little I had.

Before this we took a drive around the state. We found ourselves out past San Diego zoo at Lake Cuyamaca. It was so small town I was almost uncomfortable. It was a restaurant and a store all in one. We sat on the deck that overlooked Lake Cuyamaca. So beautiful, the lake was shining, the sun warmed our shoulders, and there was a nice soft breeze for us to enjoy. I had the Breakfast Special, which were 2 pancakes. The bottom had blueberries, peanut butter and bananas in the middle, another pancake on top and strawberries with powdered sugar on top of that. Mr. Vietalian had the country fried Steak and gravy, which he said was good. Mr. Vietalian loves his country southern food so he knows it pretty well. He said it was one of the better gravies he’s had recently. I enjoyed my pancakes as well. It’s really quite hard to mess up pancakes. Given the fact that I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter, it didn’t quite add to the meal. We loved our waitress though. She was very sweet and attentive. The bill didn’t come out to much so we left a rather large tip for her. She tried to give us our change while we were leaving. But we insisted it was for her. As we left she cried she was so happy for her tip. She earned it. She made our day and I hope we made hers.

The very first night we ate at PB Alehouse out of sheer convenience and how hungry we were. We started with the fried calamari and poutine chips and short ribs. Got full and then did not want to eat our meal and had it packaged to go. So the food was good. But I’d like to take a minute to commend our waitress. The table behind us had 6 people who had drinks and food. Then some time after the waitress dropped off the check decided they wanted separate checks, in addition, they could barely figure out who ordered what and what everyone should pay. I do believe in everyone paying their fair share. But that was ridiculous. What’s wrong with just splitting the check 6 ways? Yeah someone might pay more or less, but do they realize how much hassle they put the waitress through? When the waitress came back and they requested separate checks she politely said, “I can do that. But just as a tip you should probably let your server know when you order that you’re going to want separate checks so it’s easier for us to help you.” Gold star.

We visited Mr. Vietalian’s cousins in Los Angeles for brunch. Combined with the fact that it was a Sunday and Mother’s Day we had a 2 hour wait. It’s a good thing they wanted to catch up or that wait would be completely unbearable. It was still a little unbearable. But the food was good. I have a lean corned beef sandwich and onion rings. So good after a morning work out. Mr. Vietalian got corned beef hash and extra crispy hash browns. It was a nice little patio and a good breakfast, but not something I couldn’t find in Boston. Or in Hawaii. Or probably in any other US City.

On our very last night we went to Gang Kitchen in the Gaslamp district. Unfortunately, I really did want to like this place, but it wasn’t meant to be. When we first showed up there was no hostess to seat us… for over 5 minutes. So we left, took a walk, and then made our way back where a hostess finally did seat us. Some of the food was creative, the crispy rice with spicy tuna on top. But then there were the spicy spring rolls which were less creative and a bit too much spice. Then the seared tuna and five spice chicken. All the food was tasty but just nothing blew me away or stood out. Such a shame, especially for the price of the food. But you know, live and learn.

In the morning we made our way over to Snooze. On a Monday it had a 30 minute morning wait. But so worth it. I had a puff pastry pot pie that was basically filled with sausage gravy usually topped with a sunnyside up egg (but I don’t like egg, so it was on the side) and a side of hash browns. I’ve come to the realization that while pancakes are all well and good, I get hungry later because they’re just so empty. I did decide to try some of the sunnyside up egg, after all, I’m working to get over this picky thing. I liked the whites but not the yolk. But the fact that I ate part of it was the most fantastic. It was kind of like a hardboiled egg. Mr. Vietalian got the shrimp and grits. He said it was good, on the trendy side but good. It was a good ending to our San Diego vacation. Affordable, so so tasty, and the way we did it, it got us to the airport on time.

Snooze renewed my love of pot pies. When I came home I fixed a recipe from Martha Stewart. I altered it a bit. But I love puff pastry. I’ve started to bake an extra piece of puff pastry on the side to have more puff pastry. It’s potatoes, carrots, chicken, and peas In addition, Mr. Vietalian and I have made half and half sweet potato and regular potato hash browns. I’m finally getting the hang of making hash browns. I use a grater when I can to create the nice thin potatoes. I was cutting it by hand and it makes it much thinner and easier to fry. They came out nice and crispy and hopefully not as bad for us. Oh so delicious, thank you Snooze for inspiring me.

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I’ve been keeping busy

Before and up to the marathon I’ve been keeping busy. Cooking so far has been a good way of helping me cope. I was feeling overwhelmed so I found a new recipe for brownies. I don’t drink but I’m thinking of pouring some baileys into them. I found it to be a nice combo when I was still trying to drink.

I had friends over the other week, I always use this as a chance to try new recipes. I did barbecue chicken sandwiches. I watched the chicken cook in the crock pot, I felt like there was so much liquid after the chicken was cooked. But once you shred the chicken it starts absorbing it like crazy which makes the chicken very moist and flavorful. And being the paranoid person I was I went to the store and bought Jack Daniels Hickory Smoke Barbecue sauce. Seriously delicious. And when it stews with the juices and the other sauce, it just makes such a sweet savory flavor that I love. But it’s not overpowering barbecue flavor that would turn off Mr. Vietalian.

The next day, I had my Hawaii Kids over for lunch/brunch. We had loco mocos. Loco mocos are from Hawaii, it’s essentially a hamburger with gravy on rice with an egg on top. I don’t eat egg so I don’t know how to cook the egg at all so Mr. Vietalian covered that. I had that gravy from the crock pot roast beef. It’s really the quality of the gravy, burgers, and how long you wait to consume the loco moco that makes it really something. This meal cold, probably not so good, but nice and hot, before the gravy congeals; do it right or don’t do it at all basically.  We were out of gravy by the end of the meal but hey, at least we made it. The gravy, I saved the juices from the Pot roast, mixed in milk, flour and butter and waited until it thickened up. I think I even used some beef stock (basically just to use it since I wanted to use it). It becomes thick and a nice brown gravy, I’m definitely going to do this again.

Lastly, I made baked spaghetti. I was aiming for that spaghetti that they serve in Hawaii Schools. It’s covered in cheddar, plain spaghetti with marinara and baked until it’s pretty much overcooked. Yes, that is what I wanted. The recipe I had though had cottage cheese and mozzarella involved. It was good, but not the crap I was craving. Is it bad that I find that rather unfortunate? When I want the crappy food I want like Pizza Hut, I want the crappy food. But it was good, far too filling. Top it with some cheddar and it kind of brings back some of that Hawaii school charm.ImageImage

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