Sweet Potato

Grumbling

I woke up this morning a little hungry since last night’s dinner was pretty light. I think next time I’d add some noodles in those rolls or some carbs on the side if I have it for a meal after a workout just to replenish myself fully. I normally am not hungry when I first wake up and my stomach was grumbling from the second I opened my eyes!

What’s better than peanut butter on toast first thing in the morning?

This was one slice of whole wheat bread (1 pt) with 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (2 pts). I ate it quickly and waited just a few minutes before heading out.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Duration: 33:39 min

Avg Pace: 9:36 min/mile

Avg Speed: 6.2 mph

Calories: 409

This was pretty fast for me! I’m usually averaging closer to 10:00 minute miles, but to be honest the run was not that easy. I started out feeling great but then around the turnaround point was really struggling to keep myself from walking. I think because I’ve learned to take successful walking breaks where I just walk a little and then run the rest of the way, it makes me feel like it’s OK to take walking breaks. To clarify, I think it is OK for some people, but for me, it’s not that I NEED a walking break, its just that I want one since I’ve recently gotten into the habit. I think I need to just power through and not stop, especially on shorter runs between 3 and 4 miles when it’s not even that hot.

After my run, I took a quick shower and threw together my lunch. I was already running a little behind and wasn’t that hungry since I’d had the PB Toast right before my run, so I just whipped up a smoothie and brought it to work to drink here. It was my first time ever transporting a smoothie from home, and I just used a bell jar and it worked perfectly!

In the mix:

  • 1 cup light soy milk (1 pt)
  • 1/2 large frozen banana (1 pt)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (1 pt)

Simple, but delicious.

I probably should have added some protein powder or peanut butter/almond butter to the mix to make it more filling because by 11:30 my stomach was grumbling and screaming for lunch!

I manged to hold off until a few minutes after 12 because if I eat before noon that can be dangerous for later in the day. Lunch was a new-to-me slash strange combination based on what I had in my fridge. Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans is one of my favorite combos of all times, but unfortunately I am out of black beans at the moment. Instead, I had some chickpeas (1 pt) in the fridge, so I brought those to give the sweet potato (3 pts) a protein boost, plus a laughing cow babybel cheese (1 pt).

Totally weird combo, but it worked! It was a little dry because I microwaved the chickpeas to get them hot which dried them out a bit, but I had brought some salsa along (0 pts) so I poured that on top after a few bites.

It was actually really good! I think sweet potatoes and black beans are a better combo, but if I’m all out of black beans I wouldn’t hesitate to try this again. When a friend asked me what was for lunch today and I said a sweet potato, chickpeas, babybel cheese, and salsa, it definitely sounded weird coming out of my mouth, but tasted quite good going into it. 🙂

On the side I also had some leftover cabbage from last night (0 pts)

Sad but true – I ate an entire head of cabbage between last night and tonight. I’m pretty sure vegetables are going to start coming out of my ears pretty soon…

Two questions today…

Have you tried any weird combos of food lately that you wouldn’t expect to go together? Did the combination work or not so much?

Do you eat before you run/workout if you’re an AM exerciser? If so, how long do you usually wait after eating before getting started?

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Lunch today was a new creation that you must try. 3 ingredients total – so simple, healthy, and delicious.

What you need (for one serving):

  • 1/2 cooked sweet potato (1.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (1 pt)

Directions:

1.) Wash and poke holes in a sweet potato and microwave it for 5 minutes. OR use 1/2 leftover baked potato

2.) Put 1/4 cup canned beans and the sweet potato in a food processor and pulse until combined

3.) Put mixture into a bowl and add the panko crumbs.

4.) Mix until combined and form into patties.

If I was eating at home, I would have cooked them in a pan, but since I brought them with me to work, I microwaved them for 45 seconds and then threw them into the toaster. I served them open faced on a toasted arnold thin

And then added a spoonful of salsa onto each patty.

I served these with a side salad of romaine and radicchio with chopped garlic sprouts

And then leftover broccoli from the chinese restaurant

Oh my gosh, these burgers are amazing. And they take no time to prepare, especially if you have leftover sweet potato to throw in there. You probably know by now that sweet potato and black beans is one of my all time favorite combos, and I’ve just started making my own veggie burgers, so I thought why not a black bean sweet potato burger? I’m so happy I thought of this and tried it!

Total points for lunch today was 3 (burgers) + 1 (arnold thin) + 0 (salad) + 1 (broccoli – just a guess bc of the sauce which I mostly washed off) = 5

So much food for the points. You’ll definitely be seeing these burgers again, if not in your own kitchen, on here!

Happy Wednesday!

Audience

Hey! It is so gorgeous outside today that it feels sinful to be inside all day. I did go outside for a quick trip to Starbucks and got an Unsweetened Venti Iced Green Tea. I always laugh (usually to myself) about how many words there are when you want to order something from starbucks. I always get them in the wrong order even though I normally get the same things.. better luck next time.

Lunch today was an oldie but a goodie, a “baked” sweet potato with black beans and pineapple salsa.

I just nuked the potato on the “Baked Potato” setting (about 3 minutes) and then added 1/2 cup canned black beans. I normally don’t rinse them when using them over a baked potato so they add some moisture. On top was some pineapple salsa from Trader Joe’s. This combo is awesome. If you’ve not yet tried it, you must. It’s so easy to just throw a sweet potato in your bag for lunch and nuke it at the office if you have a microwave.

On the side, I had a monster salad.

This had:

  • Arugula
  • Fresh Basil
  • Babybell Light Cheese
  • Radishes
  • Turnips

I’d never had raw turnips before Sunday night’s dinner when my boyfriend sliced them on a mandolin. These ones are baby turnips so they are quite tender and really taste great on a salad. I also loved having the fresh basil – fresh herbs make such a difference in your salad. I don’t usually have fresh herbs around that much, but we bought a big container of organic basil for pizza night and I’ve been using it wherever I can ever since then.

I ended the meal with some strawberries

These were from the Farmer’s market yesterday and were so little and sweet! What a difference from the huge strawberries I’ve been buying at the grocery store recently. These almost melted in your mouth and had such a good flavor. Yum.

As I was putting my lunch together today, I had an audience. A few of my coworkers came in to the kitchen to watch me assemble it and were asking lots of questions about the ingredients, how often and where I shop, if I come up with ideas on my own or if I get them from my boyfriend (since he’s a chef!). It was kind of funny but also pretty flattering! I love that I’m now known as the healthy one and people come to me for food/nutrition advice and ideas. Makes me smile because this is such a 180 from my life 1.5 years ago.

Have you made any major changes in your lifestyle? Have others noticed? Do you like it when they say things or prefer they’d leave you alone?

Old Standby

Hey and happy hump day! We’re officially over halfway through the week, woohoo! Also the weather in DC is holding up really well, so keep you fingers (and toes!) crossed that the thunderstorms don’t come so I can do a run or a bike ride tonight! 🙂

My OIAJ from this morning kept me full until 2pm!! I think it was the combination of 2 tbsp chia seeds and the peanut butter in the jar… whatever it is, I liked it. I wasn’t even starving by the time 2pm rolled around, it was just time to eat! I am loving these chia seeds, and loving making “overnight” oats with milk and vanilla extract instead of yogurt and milk. All good things!

Lunch today was my old standby, a sweet potato with black beans. Whenever I’m in a rush to pack lunch and/or haven’t cooked dinner the night before, I love to have a microwaved baked potato with black beans with a salad on the side. It’s so easy, filling, and delicious! To “bake” the sweet potato, I wash it really well, then poke some holes it in with a fork, and then cover it with a damp paper towel. I throw it in the microwave and hit the “Baked Potato” setting, which is my scary strong microwave at work is only 3 minutes, but will be more like 5-6 in normal microwaves.

On top, I put 1/2 cup of canned black beans. I used to rinse my beans thoroughly, but lately I’ve stopped rinsing them and just pour them over the sweet potato as is. The extra wetness from the bean juice (nasty!) actually gives it a good flavor and helps the beans stick more to the potato.

On the side, I had a spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese.

Which made for a very colorful and satisfying lunch!

I also had a few extra strawberries on the side that wouldn’t fit on my salad.

Yum! I still have another container of strawberries at home because they were buy one get one free, so I’m trying to think of a fun way to use them up other than just eating them plain/chopped on salads. Any ideas?

What are some of your standbys when you don’t have leftovers?

Also, don’t forget to enter my KIND Bar Giveaway if you haven’t already!

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!!

I May Turn Orange

They say that one great rule of thumb for healthy eating is to make sure your meals are colorful. The different colors in your foods represent different nutrients, so the more colorful your meals are, the more varied the nutrients you’re eating are. I like to go by this rule because it’s obviously important to make sure you’re varying your food/nutrients, but it’s also very aesthetically pleasing to have all the colors and you “eat” with your eyes first.

That said, today’s lunch was a big fail in the colorful department. I had leftover Carrot Sesame Salad from last night, but knew that wouldn’t be enough, so I grabbed the old standby, a sweet potato with pico de gallo.

Carrot Sesame Salad:

Microwaved sweet potato with pico de gallo on top:

Lunch all together:

Funny because I brought an orange with me too and was craving some fruit, but I held off on having it because of the orange overload (not to mention the pumpkin in my oats this morning…) I was still a little hungry after eating this lunch though, so I took the plunge.

So now you see why I may actually turn orange. It hasn’t started yet but stay tuned. 😉

Luckily I have nothing orange on the agenda for the remainder of the day and though color-wise this lunch wasn’t a success, it TASTED delicious. The carrot salad was even better today because the flavor from the dressing really go into the carrots overnight.  And sweet potatoes are always amazing (though I really could have used the black beans today!). The oranges I found on sale for $1 at Whole Foods last night, so you’ll be seeing them a lot this week.

Back to work I go!