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a few of my favorite things…

May 15, 2009

I got out of work a little early today and it is BEAUTIFUL in Boston! On my way home I stopped at whole foods to pick up a gift for my BFF but I of course got something for myself too!  I have had a strange craving for coffee flavored yogurt all week.  Enter…CIMG0831

Mocha one ups coffee in my book.  I stirred in a spoonful of cashew butter for the PERFECT afternoon snack.  I was WAY too happy while eating this.  Today I was reading an article about emotional eating.  If people are emotional eaters the pleasure center in their brain is triggered after eating sweets; while those who eat sweets but are not emotional eaters do not experience the same thing.  I guess I’m an emotional eater because food makes me happy!

I also read about a study in which researchers gave two groups the same milkshake but told one group it was low-fat.  The group who thought it was low-fat were less satisfied than the group who wasn’t told.  INTERESTING!
you want to read this article
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I also treated myself to this.  It is a blend of raspberry, ginger and lemon.  And like any Kombucha it tastes like it is spiked with vinegar but I LOVE IT!  It makes me feel slightly drunk after wards and  I get all tingly.  Does this happen to anyone else? It costs $3.39 but I figure that is about the cost of a beer and since I get a slight buzz it’s all worth it.  I just can’t buy too many.

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I refused to try these for the longest time because this is what they look like on the bottom.  IT’S ALIVE! kinda yucky

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This is in my fridge right now…*sigh*! I ran out of both cashew and almond butter this week! It was so sad! Clearly I have stocked up since.

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Oh and this was on sale, and my Aunt picked it up but since no one else likes it in the house I will be drinking it.  I actually like the mango flavor a lot more!  60 calories in 11 ounces plus lots of potassium and tastes yummy!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned! I got nothing as far as plans, but it feels so nice to be FREE!

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Floor-DUH!

May 15, 2009

As soon as I arrived in Florida, I was informed I didn’t really have a NY accent but I did say Florida wrong.  Apparently I say Flaarida and I should say Floor-duh.

I ended up being in St. Augustine and Palm Coast and Daytona Beach!  Lots of beach time and tourist-y things.  And of course some good eats!

The food highlight of this trip was my first time at Seasons 52!!! For those that have never heard of this wonderful restaurant chain that exists in Florida and Cherry Hill, NJ they focus on seasonal veggies, fresh flavors and every entree is under 475 kcals! I read about this place a LONG time ago in a Dietitian magazine and ever since have wanted to try it….

CIMG0824tomato basil flat bread-thinnest most amazing crust ever!

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goat cheese ravioli with LOTS of garlic and tomatoes!

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spring vegetable plate-with tofu

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my aunt’s wonderfully presented turkey burger with side salad

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and dessert!! red velvet cake-for me, carrot cake, for mama and some AMAZING pecan pie type shot for auntie!

I loved this place! The trick to getting caloric “bang for you buck” is to fill up with lots of veggies, medium amount of lean protein and whole grain carbs, and small amount of high-fat/high-cal items(like dessert and the tiny amounts of cheese/guac they include in menu items)

There was other good eats in Florida, including a Mother’s Day lunch with the best key lime pie EVER! which apparently my camera ATE the picture of(see, I told you it was good!)

Also, the biggest potato, sweet or otherwise that I have ever seen!

CIMG0793look at the size of this thing!

By the way, if you have never tried grilling sweet potatoes, I HIGHLY recommend it.  They just need to be sliced in thin to medium rounds and brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The man at the farmstand who sold us this potato said he sprinkles brown sugar on one side once they have been flipped.  This also sounds amazing but I have yet to try.

Also, St. Augustine was having a 2009 CrayFish Boil which I figured was a bunch of crayfish and nothing to special.  I was SO wrong. I missed Snoop Dogg, G. Love and the Presidents of the USA! tear.

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Today I walked 12,000 steps! Wahoo! My right knee is getting much much better!

Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend!-Goodnight

travel tips…

May 14, 2009

Turns out I didn’t have internet access all weekend in Florida.  I originally intended to post this Friday or Saturday but here it is now, more fun stuff to follow soon!

Blogging from sunny Florida….well technically the airport, posted via sunny Florida!

Before taking off last night I ate a small meal when I wasn’t hungry just because I didn’t want to be famished on the plane!  And since I knew I would be staying up til 2 am, I packed some snacks of a Kashi Hot Fudge Sundae bar and kettle corn! I had fruit, veggies, protein before leaving at about 5:30 which now at 7 pm I think was a great idea.  I just walked past a chocolate shop, a fudge shop, a beer garden!, and a burrito place.  Mostly, I plan my meals ahead to save money, but it is also usually healthier!

It can be really hard to stay healthy while traveling-hence my 12 lb weight gain last summer in about 1.5 months(well that was a culmination of a lot of things-lack of exercise, LOTS of eating out(seriously I think I had two home cooked meals in a span of 2 months), and traveling to MEXICO, VEGAS and CALI! Plus bachelorette parties and an amazing wedding back on the East Coast plus blah blah blah…you get the picture)….I should digress some more and say that part of this weight gain(I think) was me rebelling against my “healthy” life style…for the first time in years I didn’t think about calories, carbs, protein, fat, fried anything, sugar ( I can’t really help this, it’s part of what I majored in) and I just ate the way I wanted to eat and enjoyed almost every bite!  It was very refreshing but I took it a little overboard, and it didn’t help that everyone wanted to celebrate my graduation of college/last summer home!  I’m not complaining; I was just super spoiled and ate A LOT of good food!

ANYWAYS….

-vacations are a good time to splurge on fun foods you can’t have back at home; airports/road stops are places I do not consider good splurges.  It usually ends up being; I’m hungry, I’m on the road/in the air and there is nothing else to eat! I know not everyone can subsist on Clif bars and PB and J sandwiches and baby carrots (some of my favorite travel snack-packs) but planning ahead with snacks or even meals-if feasible- is a great way to prevent being famished and making poor food decisions while on the go.

– Speaking of planning ahead….when my family goes on vacation it can probably be assumed that we end up talking about/planning our meals in advance.  This is great because if you know you are going to a restaurant for dinner with a dessert you’ve been dying to try, you have a good incentive to eat a healthy breakfast.  The downside is, you talk about food all the time(which is clearly something  I don’t mind) but it doesn’t help to keep your mind of hunger when all you do is talk about food!

Stay active– I for one cannot lay on the beach all day(although I am beginning to see the appeal more and more).  Beach walks(walking on sand engages your core and burns more calories), hikes, long treks around town exploring are all ways to get some “exercise” in while you are on vacation.  It doesn’t have to be scheduled in as part of your day; just try and make sure you move your body a little

funny side note, one of my favorite people swears she developed rock hard abs freshman year of college from reaching under her bed all the time, which was where she kept her snacks- haha I don’t know if it counts on vacation to lift some chips to your mouth, but maybe placing them far away and doing some sort of side lunge or sit up to get to them could work…..

Don’t beat yourself up– Today at work, one of the counselors was talking about how guilt does not come from an action, it comes from the thoughts regarding that action.  For example, eating a cupcake(or 2 or 3) does not make you guilty but the thoughts of “Oh I over-ate, I ruined my day, I’m such a failure” instead of “I ate a little too much, but I will do my best to eat healthier and stick with my eating plan now(but man those cupcakes were good)” will make you feel guilty.

So…. To sum up- pack some healthy snacks for the road, choose your indulgences wisely, go for a hike, and don’t stress the small stuff-after all, you’re on VACATION!

p.s. Florida recap tomorrow- I finally got to go to a restaurant I have been wanting to try for YEARS!

little fish in a big pond…

May 7, 2009

I had my first day at Tufts today-and WOW! They do so many important things(haha; general I know) and everyone is so SMART! I met the president of the Friedman School of Nutrition graduate program-and by met I mean had cupcakes with! It was his birthday! I was impressed with all that goes on there.  I spent the day learning how to use a computer program that analyzes diet intake.  You cannot just tell it you ate a chicken sandwich- you need to tell it what type of chicken, how it was prepared, skin or no skin, fat added, salt added, what type of bun, condiments(50 + choices for low-fat mayo) It took me at least 7 minutes to enter this chicken sandwich for my tutorial practice.  Hopefully, I get better over the next few weeks.  And luckily(!!!!!!) I get to vacation in FLORIDA starting tomorrow!!! WAHOO! The weather report for Palm Coast, FL reports highs of 90, lows of 70 and SUN!! I am going with my Mom and staying with my Aunt-do you think it is at all possible to convince them to go to a Magic/Celtics game in Orlando? Highly unlikely, but that won’t stop me from trying.  I love the Celtics!

Some of my eats since yesterday(2 days ago?)…..cimg0728

the last of my pumpkin butter in greek yogurt with blackberries and cereal(kashi heart to heart)-This was actually dinner! but it looks like a yummy breakfast

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a b-fast cookie(scone?) with pumpkin, oats, flax, protein powder, lots of cinnamon, some maple syrup and topped with dried cranberries

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Lentil soup from this cute little cafe around the corner-I wish I had every Tuesday off work to go out for lunch with my Aunt.  I think I could be a “lady who lunches” at least for a little while without getting bored!

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fresh apple/carrot/beet juice! I mainly tasted carrots but this was SOOO good.

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my lame cinco de mayo celebration consisted of  a Mexican salad: black beans, corn, sauteed peppers and onions, lettuce, salsa and crunched up chips……of this variety

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not too spicy with a nice buffalo flavor

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also-just putting this out there. I managed to resist my fresh baked blondies the other day(just a small taste) but I couldn’t stay away from 5 mini cookies out of the bag! UGH! I guess it’s ok because I enjoyed them; but not as much as I would have enjoyed my homemade goodies.  Lack of will power; I guess you never know when it’s gonna get ya!

On my way home from the gym today-where I SWEAR a former real world cast member just became a trainer- I was contemplating how to make my veggies-and I said mmmmmmmmm….Italian! My aunt knows me so well because she was already cooking pasta and some yummy bean/tomato sauce.  I just roasted up broc, peppers, and onions with some balsamic(375 for 15-20 minutes flipped 1/2 way through)

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I ate mine with some meatless balls and parmesan cheesecimg0747

purty

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then since whole foods decided to only carry pumpkin butter seasonally, I made my own! YUM!!! I don’t know numbers but I just mixed canned pumpkin, lots of cinnamon, a small squeeze of lemon juice(this made a big difference in helping the flavors blend together) and lots of maple syrup!  Mine came out less sweet than the store bought version but it was really good and definitely reminded me of pumpkin pie!

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look-there is me taking a pic reflected in my pumpkin butter!

Hope everyone is having a great day!! I am off to cut up a mango for my cousin..who is now trying to drop the mango on my computer so I better go before anything bad happens(to my computer or my cousin!)

peanut butter jelly time!…

May 5, 2009

When people ask me what my favorite food is, I usually say Peanut Butter(I know I know, it should be pizza based on the title of this blog).  I never really was a fan of the favorite food question because who can really pick just one!?!?!?!

You also don’t see a lot of peanut butter on here because there is a peanut allergy in the house.

So my thoughts on PB….

I love PB.  I think it is a great food that can be incorporated into weight loss/gain/maintenance programs.  Very versatile huh? It’s good for weight loss because it has healthy fats and protein that keep you full, and for weight gain because it is calorie dense! Most PB has ~180-200 kcals/2 TBSP serving and 7 g protein.  There is also a lot of fat in PB, but it is the healthy kind! The problem with most “commercial” PBs is that companies add hydrogenated oils(trans fat) and sugar(usually high fructose corn syrup) to keep the PB oils from separating.  Many people are a bit freaked out/turned off by all-natural peanut butters that have a layer of oil on the top and need to stay in the fridge.

As a former Skippy Super Chunk addict(thank you freshman year of college), I can vouch for the fact that natural PB can be an acquired taste but once you convert-the commercial stuff just doesn’t taste peanutty enough!! If you can’t go for the “peanuts and salt” variety, Skippy and Jif both make a “natural” version with palm oil and cane sugar that tastes just like their regular versions.  I would encourage everyone to try the natural kind-especially if you live near a grocery store where you can grind your own nuts and make fresh PB! Also, low-fat peanut butters typically just sub the fat out with sugars and can be just as high in calories.  So read your labels before you buy!

It is also KEY to stir your natural PB really really well.  I usually flip the jar over before opening, to let some of the oils start to sink back into the PB.  Then I flip it back over and give it a really really good stir, otherwise-your PB will be oily on top and dry on the bottom.  Give it a quick stir every time you use it and enjoy!

Some people group PB together with foods like tofu and chicken or other lean proteins.  Technically, I don’t consider PB a lean protien, in fact it is more of a “fat”-the healthy kind.  It does provide some protein and fiber.  I have heard nutritionists who hail PB as an amazing food, and some who think it is over-rated.  I personally belive when it comes to PB-it is all about portion control.  2 TBSP is a lot, but spread on two pieces of bread it can look pretty skimpy, so it might help to measure it once or twice or stick to spreading it on just once piece of bread and making a sandwich.  For a snack you may only need 1 TBSP to top an apple or piece of bread.  I used to still eat PB straight out of the jar, but I know better than to sit down with a jar and a spoon because I could probably finish off 1/2 the jar!!! I have a serious PB tooth!

I felt really bad this year with the peanut butter recall and PB getting such a bad rap!

peanut butter contains…..

-vitamin E(an anti-oxidant that helps fight off free radicals!)

– fiber

– heart healthy fats

-minerals like phosphorus and magnesium!

So what are you waiting for? Go make yourself a PB & J, PB and pumpkin butter(mmm), PB and apple, PB and fluff, PB and carrots, PB and soysauce(for peanut noodles!), PB on a spoon!, PB melted over ice cream, PB and yogurt, PB and pretzels etc. etc. etc.

Just don’t consume if you have a peanut allergy! DUH!

caramel chocolate blondies….

May 4, 2009

WOW!  The blondie recipe from this book…cimg0710

+ these….cimg0713

= amazingness!

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Look at that caramel on the edge, just bubbling up and turning golden-brown delicious!  I ate a teeny bit of the batter, which was seriously the most amazing batter I have ever tasted.  I have an AMAZING pic of my aunt licking the beaters, but I did not think it was fair to post.  If it was me, you would have seen it, but I actually had pretty good self-restraint around the blondie dough because I need to go to the gym and did not want to have a tummy-ache from too much suga!

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Ok I just cut into them to take a pic, and WOW! I didn’t eat that whole piece, just a lil taste but the caramel melted and then hardened a bit, like toffee almost, and they are so chocolately and AMAZING! I think the caramel kisses would be an amazing addition to brownies or cookies.  I chopped these up before adding so they got a lil messy and I had to unwrap them-but great way to get kids invovled in the kitchen huh?  Also, these kisses say that 9 only have 190 kcals.  That is not bad either, but I don’t know if I can believe it.  YUM!

I will leave you with this: do you say car-a-mel? like it is spelled?

or car-mel? like the way shaquille o’neal says it in an old nestle crunch with caramel commercial.

I say “car-a-mel” because that is how we say it in NY! or how I do anyways!  people also think I saw orange(“ah-range”) and horrible(har-a-able) strangely.  And when I’m in a fiesty mood I definitely take on a more distinct NY accent(even though I hail from suburbia) and bob my head and wave my finger around!

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happy and sans accentcimg0724uh-oh, maybe someone stole all my blondies?

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I had a little too much fun with my camera, but isn’t the progression fantastic.  For those that know me, it’s pretty standard.  But I go right back to smiles in no time!

and now I am just posting pictures to prolong going to the gym! haha such a procrastinator.  In exciting news, I start at TUFTS this week! wahoooo! And lucky for me, those blondies are getting sent with my cousin to school for a bakesale!

I love to bake, but hate having whole pans of baked goods laying around because I tend to have very little self-control around fresh-out-of-the-oven-homemade goodies!

Happy Monday!

just call me harry potter….

May 3, 2009

I may not have magical powers and a sweet cape- but my scar gets wicked painful!  Is this normal!??!?!? I don’t know…but my knee has been acting all sorts of funny this week and I can’t tell if it is just because I am getting used to walking or something is really wrong.  I was also a complete BRAT to my physical therapist who thought it would be a good idea to put my brace back on because my knee was sometimes buckling when I walked and if I wasn’t able to stop it I may tear my ACL again.  I ADAMANTLY refused!

It went something like this….

PT:you should really wear your brace…

L: NO

PT: maybe in the afternoons when you are tired…

L: No , I am not putting my brace back on.

PT: I recommend….

L: No!!

etc. etc. etc.

Now don’t get me wrong the last thing I want to do is re-tear my ACL but this little buckling has happened to me a lot of times and I have always caught myself(usually it happens when I take too big of a step).  And after spending 8 weeks with my brace I can’t say I miss it at all.  And I don’t want to move backwards only forwards, so no brace!  However, my brattiness(is it OK to make up words on your blog?) has carried over into my exercises( I think I am going through my teenage years in terms of my rehab) because I skipped some this week when I was feeling tired or rushed.  I just decided I was going to do my own routine, and in the almost 3 months prior to this week I have skipped my exercises once(and felt really bad about it).  I need to grow out of this phase but I don’t know how to get motivated again! EEEEK!

In other news, I did eat some good food this week- just wasn’t too motivated to blog because I can walk and be outside and my best friend just moved here and I had a presentation and I went out on a Thursday(gasp!), yada yada yada- but don’t worry, I am not giving up on my blog; it’s my baby!! I have also been lax about blogging comments but I promise I still am reading and love all the blogs out there tons! My Dad and BFF both asked me what happened to the blog but it is still HERE!

One of my dinners-which turned into 3 (with leftovers), involved stir fried red onion, celery, zucchini, and tempeh.  I had to get creative because I didn’t have too many veggies on hand and I actually really like the celery, it was still crunchy and flavorful.  The sauce was 2 parts terriyaki to 1 part BBQ-genius combination(if I do say so myself)!cimg0688

I stopped by Hay Market Saturday morning.  For those that don’t live in Boston, not only is Hay Market a stop on the T, it is also a GIANT outdoor market with cheap produce and fish(eeww this gets smelly).  They have great deals like $1.oo blueberry pints in the winter and A TON of stuff(papaya, starfruit etc).  Some things I don’t like about Haymarket-the fishy smell, the fact that you can’t always hand-pick your produce(they put it in the bag for you-although I think I just need to be more assertive), the produce is usually at the end of it’s life-so it is not a great place to “stock up” on things for the week.  None of this compares however, to my LEAST favorite thing about Hay Market-the sexual harassment!! Blatant and RUDE and unnecessary.  I don’t need it at 9 in the morning when i am browsing produce and I most certainly DO NOT need you asking me about the size of your cucumbers in front of my dad and brother! I have a love/hate relationship with the place, which before moving to Boston I thought would be all love.

I did manage to score some broccoli, red peppers, plums! and strawberries on my way home.  The broccoli and peppers starred in last night’s dinner, along with garlic and onions.  I coated the veggies in teriyaki sauce and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning 1/2 way through.  I left the garlic cloves whole and probably ate about 6 of them( I was sweatin garlic today at the gym)cimg0698

I enjoyed my roasted veggies with a Quorn chicken patty! These come out much better in the oven and I hope they go on sale again at whole foods soon so I can buy more!

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I also tried this blueberry soy milk from the kind folks at Wild Wood( I love that bottle says shake wildly and I did).  It smelled like blueberry yogurt so I was a little scared to try it, based on my soy yogurt experience, but it was really good.  Tastes like a smoothie of soy milk and yogurt with a hint of blueberry flavor(i would have preferred more blueberry!) and it is a little thicker than soy milk.  I think it would be great to pour over cereal or in a smoothie with more fruit added! My one caveat is that 10 oz has 230 calories.  8 oz of my favorite light soy milk has 80.  However, this soy milk is loaded with probiotics(7 live active cultures to be exact), 8 g of soy protien, and Omega-3s! too bad I didn’t try this last week, I talked to a mom wanted to know where they could get pro-biotics for their son who can’t drink milk and doesn’t like yogurt.  Here is the place!

Hope everyone had a great weekend- I gallivanted around cambridge/somerville and watched some awesome CELTICS basketball! Go BOSTON!

p.s. I live REALLY close to the TD banknorth garden-where both the Celtics AND Bruins play! Bruins Friday, Celtics Sat, Bruins Sunday and Celts again on Monday.  There is a lot of great energy and horn-honking in the area! Wahooo!