Parsnips

Back At It

Thank you guys so much for all your comments and support on yesterday’s post! It seems like a lot of you can relate to feeling like you barely know your old self anymore. When you lose a significant amount of weight and/or make drastic changes to move towards a healthy lifestyle, a lot more changes than just the way you look to others. For those of you just starting or thinking about starting on your journey, realize that it’s much more important to focus on the day at hand and making smart, healthy decisions for yourself right now, rather than looking too far ahead and getting discouraged. I promise you that those little choices you make will eventually add up to huge strides in your own healthiness journey and before long, you’ll have a similar story to share.

Moving along – though I desperately miss the perfection that is San Diego, I have to admit it does feel pretty good to get back into my normal routine and be sleeping in my own bed (though the beds at the Westin ARE heavenly). Because of the severe weather alerts that actually did come true, I got let out of work at 3pm yesterday in hopes of beating the storm home. While I did get home before the storm, I immediately went out to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I could have made due with frozen veggies, grains, and the tofu and tempeh in my fridge, but I really wanted to get some fresh fruit and veggies and stock up the kitchen. So I did. And the drive was kind of intense with slush/snow, but the supermarket was shockingly not busy at all and I was able to zip around the store and be done in less than 30 minutes. Luckily, too, because as I was pulling back into my garage afterwards, the weather was getting worse and worse and let’s just say I was glad not to be driving anymore.

After the grocery store, I ended up doing a 35 minute tempo run, and it felt wonderful. I was trying to figure out why I felt so good during the run, and I’m pretty sure I was experiencing runners high, for the second time ever. It’s crazy how runs can be so hit or miss, and this one just felt so good that I was almost disappointed when it was over.

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Man I love my Polar. I honestly don’t know if I can go back to the Garmin, even when I start running outside again… You’d be proud of me though – I stretched for 8 minutes after my run. I think that’s a record for me.

After a quick shower, I whipped up a quick and healthy dinner with Wil, and it felt so good to be back in my own kitchen. I picked up a few parsnips at the store, and I just love them.

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This might be obvious to some, but I only learned it within the last several months. If you cut a parsnip in half before you start chopping it, it makes it way easier to handle.

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Same story with carrots. You slice those ones in half again, and then chop them to your desired size, trying to get them all about the same.

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I used to always try to cut them in half lengthwise while they were still intact, and they would always come out so uneven. Doing them this way helps a lot.

Anyways, I ended up roasting two large parsnips and four carrots in a little evoo, salt, and pepper, making some red quinoa (1/2 cup dried, rinsed, added to 1 cup of water, boiled, then brought to a simmer until the water was all gone – about 15 minutes total), and steaming just under a pound of shrimp for Wil and I for dinner (plus lunch for me today).

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Plus a little cilantro for some green and extra flavor. Super simple and clean, but totally delicious. I love steaming my own shrimp – just a touch of salt and they are sweet and flavorful on their own without much seasoning. Plus, they only take 3 or so minutes to cook this way. (This is the steamer I use, which works really well for veggies, too. Best $17 I ever spent.)

What’s the thing you miss most about being home after you’ve been away (even if you are really enjoying yourself!)? For me, it’s definitely cooking my own meals.

Dangerous Dr. Krackers

Hiya! They were saying mid 70s and sunny today but it is looking pretty gloomy outside… pretty sad. That might not stop me from a later afternoon frozen yogurt stop though. 🙂

For lunch today I had a mix of leftovers and things I’m trying to use up since I’ll be going out of town tomorrow. I used almost all of the baby kale I had left to make a massaged kale salad with 2 tsp olive oil and some salt. With the salad I had ~ 1/2 cup rice noodles (leftover from Tuesday’s Lettuce Wraps) and the baked tempeh from last night. I also put a squirt of BBQ sauce on the plate for good measure.

On the side, I had the rest of the roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes, also left over from last night.

So simple, but so good. I love how roasted veggies get so sweet that you can just eat them plain and they have so much flavor.

But then came the best/worst thing to happen… Dr Krackers Pumpkin Seed Cheddar Snackers.

From the website, “We toast this cracker while it’s baking to coax the “wow” out of those delicious organic pumpkin seeds, and to get that the most out of that unique, extra-crispy toasted cheddar flavor. Absolutely delicious.” And delicious they were. Do you see how each kracker (I absolutely love writing cracker with a k) has cheese baked on top?

Oh.my.god. Seriously, these are like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. If you see these anywhere, BUY THEM. What made them the worst thing is I could not stop eating them. Luckily I ran around my office and made everyone who would talk to me try one, so I didn’t eat them ALL myself, but I made a pretty hefty dent and now the box is empty. These krackers (awesome) are really crunchy, which again takes a little getting used to during your first bite, but then they are like heaven. Everyone in my office agreed just in case you don’t believe me. 😉

Hope Friday is being good to you!

Baked Tempeh

Happy Friday Eve! 🙂 My new favorite way to look at Thursday nights. Today has been a really good day, though nothing terribly exciting happened. The highlight (besides lunch) was probably that Farmer’s Market right by my office opened up today, which is so convenient for me. I literally have to walk through it to get to the metro, whereas the one I’ve been going the last few weeks is about a 20 minute walk from my office.

Here’s what I picked up from the Farmer’s Market.

I got:

  • a dozen farm fresh eggs
  • 3 parsnips
  • arugula flowers
  • spring onions
  • 1/2 log goat cheese
  • one multigrain roll

I did really well and got everything for under $20. I’d never heard of arugula flowers, but they basically grow out of the top of the stalks of arugula and have the same peppery taste but are also pretty to look at. The vendor had some out to try and I thought they were so tasty that I decided to buy some. I also haven’t had farm fresh eggs since… I can’t even remember the last time. I can’t wait to try them! I didn’t want to get too much stuff because I’m going away this weekend for Mother’s Day, but I think I did well with my choices.

After getting home from the market, I went on a long bike ride after work and it felt so good! I did 16 miles that took me around 1 hour 15 minutes, which is a 13 mile/hour average. I’m happy with that pace because the wind was blowing hard against me during the first half of the ride and then magically the wind disappeared on my way home when I was hoping it would push me along. The Garmin says I burned 781 calories on the ride, but I recently found out that it calculates your calories burned not by heart rate, but instead by age, activity and pace. I was a little disappointed about that because that means its a lot less accurate than I was thinking.

For an afternoon snack, I had a bowl of fruit around 4pm.

I just brought in the grapes, but when I went back to get them there was leftover food from a meeting, so I took advantage of the starfruit and kiwis that were on the platter. Yum!

Pre bikeride, I had the roll from the Farmer’s Market. I put almond butter on half, and Crofter’s Asia on the other half.

This was SO good. The bread was really fresh so the outside was crispy and the inside soft. And with almond butter and superfruit spread? Delicious.

After my bikeride, I was huuuungry. I decided to do some roasted veggies and the other half of the block of tempeh I opened last week. For the veggies, I took one large parsnip and one sweet potato and peeled them and cut them into chunks. I sprayed nonstick spray on the pan and then spread them in a single layer.

I sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and then threw them into the 400 degree oven. I roasted them for 2o minutes, and then flipped them over and roasted them for another 20.

For the tempeh, I spread some of this minced ginger on each side:

And also added some rice wine vinegar, ponzu sauce (citrus soy sauce), and salt and pepper.

I baked the tempeh at 400 for 15 minutes on each side and it came out perfectly.

I served the baked tempeh with half of the potatoes and parsnips.

Sort of random but it was exactly what I was craving. Everything turned out perfectly and I think this might have been my first time ever having baked tempeh! It’s flavor was delicious with the ginger, rice wine vinegar, and soy, whereas raw it didn’t have too much flavor, but I still liked the texture.

I’m off to catch up on the Biggest Loser and then get to bed. Have a good night!!