What I Ate: Asian, Mexican, Italian, & Brunch

I’m a month or so into this gluten free thing and I must say it has made a big difference in how I feel. I don’t have celiac but I could tell when I overdid it with the bread because I’d get this crazy stomach ache right after eating. I’ll maybe have something on the weekend that’s bread-ish but doing without so far has been really easy. Here’s a glimpse of a few things I’ve eaten in the past few weeks.

Tater Tot Fiesta: our creation when friends came to visit last Thursday. Tots covered in Mike’s homemade green and red chili, guac, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Everything tastes better on tots.

Omelette Cups: Mike makes breakfast every morning even though he doesn’t eat it himself. He traded off making a scramble for Harper by pouring eggs, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach into muffin tins and baking them. The bottoms get all crispy and the centers are fluffy, such a cute way to present something so ordinary.

Brown Rice Pasta & Salad: Mike actually threw this together for my lunch the other day because apparently he thinks I’m a lumberjack. He heated cooked pasta in a pan with olive oil, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Easy and delicious.

Green Curry with Tempeh, Zucchini, and Red Peppers Over Rice: Green curry is amazing and so easy to make. Grab a jar of the paste (most supermarkets have it) and heat a teaspoon or two with a can of coconut milk, then toss in veggies or whatever to simmer in the sauce. Green curry has such a rich, somewhat spicy flavor that tastes great with everything. Use it with anything you’d typically stir-fry. If you like Asian food, you’ll love curry.

Veggie Sushi: This was from our Valentine’s date night (which was really just a quick happy hour and we had Everly with us), but it was fun all the same. We crave these rolls that we once ordered so many of the sushi chef dubbed them Michael rolls after my hubs. Avocado, cucumber, jalapeño, and cream cheese. Even our die-hard sushi loving friends go nuts over how good they are.

20140329-225709.jpg

Vegan Aussie Bites

My fave food blog is at it again! Oh My Veggies inspires me daily with delicious and simple recipes often using ingredients I already have on hand. It’s a vegetarian blog but even meat lovers can enjoy her full flavored creations.

A few weeks ago when I saw their recipe for Aussie Bites inspired by the ones you buy at Costco (and nowhere else apparently) and I knew I had to make them. This version is gluten free, refined sugar free, and made with just a few pulses in the processor.

I used maple agave instead of maple syrup and dried cranberries as the fruit instead of raisins and apricots. So easy and way better than Aussie Bites because they’re less sweet but have more flavor. I’ll be making them instead of buying them from now on for sure!

Find the recipe HERE

20140211-170420.jpg

Benchic: The Best Chocolate I’ve Had!

Ah chocolate…

As a lifelong professed ‘chocoholic’ my taste in the sweet stuff has evolved over the years along with my tastes in most foods. In the course of 12 or so years, I’ve gone from a McDonald’s eating, sometimes cigarette smoking, never excersizing, meat and potatoes kinda girl to a vegetarian who’s always looking for better ways to feed my family healthy and delicious foods. (Follow my Pinterest board HERE to see the yummy recipes I’m trying!) After all of the effort I put into eating great stuff, it doesn’t make sense to eat a Snickers anymore. That sort of candy doesn’t even interest me, it’s overly sweet- and it’s filled with a bunch of scary chemicals (which you can read more about HERE.) So what does someone with a sweet tooth do when a chocolate craving takes hold? Thank God for Benchic.

I was introduced to Benchic through Dhru over at the Clean Program, a wellness ninja and really great guy who loves connecting people interested in health and healing. What I found was a company making delicious handmade chocolate that’s minimally processed and actually good for you. When I bit into my first square, I felt like I was tasking chocolate for the first time. It really is that amazing. The basis for the chocolates is raw cacao powder which has all sorts of huge health benefits like being high in magnesium, fiber, and iron. Their chocolate squares are silky and rich so just a bite after dinner is just enough to make me happy which is how it should be. I’d much rather nibble on these decadent and good-for-you treats (that lasted about a month at our house), than pay $4 for a bag of chemical-laden junk that makes me feel terrible. Companies like this that I’ve been lucky enough to come across have changed the way I think about what I put into my body and how much. We really shouldn’t be eating a whole box of crackers or whatever in one sitting, but cheap food sold in giant boxes suggest otherwise. These chocolates are such simple and delicious treats that will satisfy both a sweet tooth and a desire for better health.

benchic

20140114-201806.jpg

PB2: It’s So Good, But Is it Healthy?

PB2. It’s a life changer.

Seriously though. I love peanut butter but opt for almond butter because it’s much healthier. All that oil and calories- (200+ in just 2 tablespoons of the organic healthy stuff we buy) its just a throw away as far as nutrition when you consider it’s just 7 grams of protein per serving anyway.

And along came PB2

I kept reading about PB2 everywhere, it has become a favorite ingredient for all of my fellow FitFluential ambassadors who use it to whip up creative snacks. It’s made from roasted peanuts that are then pressed to remove oils until it becomes a flour (they do add sugar and salt to it too.). When it’s time to eat it, just add a little water and mix it into a butter. It’s so crazy good (better than any peanut butter I’ve ever had actually) without all that heaviness and grease.

I’ve already used it in my protein ‘cookies’ that I make weekly (shown below) and the consistency and flavor is so much lighter than a regular peanut butter.

I bought it on Amazon but you can search to see what local stores are selling it which I didn’t do.

One big complaint though: It’s not organic. Something I didn’t realize when I bought it because I was too busy trying to figure out what it was. Peanuts are one of the most heavily sprayed crops around so I haven’t had any non-organic peanut butter in years. It’s a big reason some people aren’t on the PB2 bandwagon so do your research and decide what’s best for your family. If you’re already eating the mainstream stuff that isn’t organic and probably has hydrogenated oils, then this would be an upgrade and probably cheaper if you’re using a lot. If you’re serious about organic though, this might not be for you.

20130804-162820.jpg
Click to enlarge

pb2

What I Ate: Eating Out Edition

We’ve had such a fun, busy summer and being out means eating out so I wanted to show you some things I’ve eaten in the past few weeks while we’ve been on the go.

We met family at our local Vietnamese place Viet Pho and I had hot soup in 90° heat. It’s alway pho weather as far as I’m concerned.

We shopped and ate with friends last Saturday at the Boulder farmer’s market. The Greek stand had breakfast gyros with eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and yummy tzatziki. It was a perfect snack. Strange fact: I hate eggs unless I’m pregnant then for some reason I can eat them.

It looks like it’s from a restaurant because it’s so pretty but the pasta dish was a special lunch Mike whipped up last week. It’s brown rice pasta with roasted red peppers, spinach, and our fave vegan sausage Field Roast.

Last Thursday we met friends for Greek at a little place called Tzatziki’s and stuffed ourselves with hummus and falafel. Harper loves falafel and had a great time trying new things. We also polished off two baskets of fries in full disclosure but they didn’t photograph as nicely.

It was all about a Mexican place in Denver called Blue Bonnet when I met high school friends for lunch last week. I could’ve eaten 3x what was on this plate but held back. I have a weakness for enchiladas.

After we took Harper to her first Colorado Rockies baseball game we stopped at Sweet Tomatoes for a quick dinner. I wish I had a salad bar at home, I’d have a huge salad like this twice a day. It’s all that chopping and prep work that drives me crazy.

20130802-114456.jpg

What I Ate This Week

Since my morning round the clock sickness has finally passed, I’m thankfully back to cooking (and eating) like normal. Here’s a glimpse of the yummy summertime meals I ate this week.

I chopped up some Beyond Meat, marinaded it in BBQ sauce and warmed it on the grill (on foil) for a few before adding it to a salad. More on Beyond Meat (my new obsession) next week.

20130613-153459.jpg

I saw this recipe for portobello mushrooms in a gravy, wine sauce over polenta on Diners Drive-ins and Dives and had to try my own version. I used a vegetarian brown gravy mix (he used his own made from beef) and left the polenta creamy instead of making them into cakes. I also cooked the polenta in veggie broth instead of milk, butter, and cheese to lighten it up a bit. I was surprised at how well it turned out because I couldn’t find the recipe online so I didn’t measure anything – just followed along loosely from my TiVo’d show. Not too shabby..

20130613-153508.jpg

Then we went out for Bun and Pho last Saturday for lunch. Viet Pho is near us but we just discovered them for the first time. It’s MSG free and all fresh and really good. This was my tofu noodle bowl, it’s so addictive we already went back again last night!

20130613-153516.jpg

For some reason I would rather eat floor cleaner than tomato sauce this pregnancy. Sad I know especially since we love to grill flatbread pizzas in the summer. Instead of sauce, I made a parsley pesto with sunflower seeds, parmesan, and olive oil as the base, and then topped them with red peppers, farmers cheese, and spinach. Light and perfect for a quick summer meal.

20130613-153528.jpg

Bowls. It’s what we eat most often for dinner. This one had quinoa, tempeh, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, guacamole (fresh of course), and then topped with two homemade salsas. We change out the veggies depending on what we have in the fridge, but quinoa and tempeh are the mainstays. Other variations are grilled veggies using BBQ sauce or Asian bowls with stir fry veggies on top.

20130613-153536.jpg

I made this Frozen Pink Cheesecake and our lives haven’t been the same. Mike and I agree it’s our favorite dessert I’ve ever made. It’s perfect for summer and it’s actually healthy- basically fruit blended with yogurt on a crust of almonds. It’s so easy to make and perfect for company since you just blend it all together and pop it in the freezer. Get the recipe HERE from my fave food blog Green Kitchen Stories and download their recipe app too.

20130613-153820.jpg

The other Green Kitchen Stories recipe I made was for Banana Granola. I’ve been eating yogurt topped with fresh fruit and granola everyday and I didn’t want to keep buying the ready made kind laced with tons of sugar. This is lightly sweetened with agave, but the coconut oil, vanilla, and bananas give the real flavor.

20130613-153831.jpg