Recipe-A-Rama

Since coming back from the Lomilomi retreat, I’ve been trying to cook more vegetarian meals for dinner.  My goal is eating vegetarian 3-4 times per week.  This is challenging since I really enjoy getting a lot of protein and don’t enjoy the gassiness from most legumes but I’m giving it a go.  Since I’m also dairy-free, most of my veg meals are vegan, though I do use ghee or eggs in some of my dishes.  It is not my intent to become vegetarian or vegan, both due to how my system does well with meat and that I have access to local meats from small farms that I trust.  BUT, the American diet has definitely become a meat-fest and I think I’ll both be healthier and will eat more sustainably for our planet if don’t eat meat in every meal and eat it in smaller portions when I do.

Last night I was particularly pleased with the concoction I made up.  I bought some great organic veggies at Sweet Pea in Waitsfield, VT, which included tomatillos, a veggie I’ve had in Mexican dishes but hadn’t really cooked with.  I decided to see if they worked in a Coconut Curry, and holy crap I think tomatillos might be a perfect pairing for Indian food.  I can’t wait to try them in my bhindi masala once my okra is ready to pick!  This is an easy recipe with a lot of warmth and a good mix of tart and sweet.

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Tomatillo Coconut Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-7 sliced baby bella mushrooms (or 3 portobello mushrooms)
  • 6-7 tomatillos, sliced thin
  • 1 handful of snap peas
  • 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. red curry powder
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • dash of cardamom powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: toasted coconut flake (throw some coconut flake under the broiler or in the toaster oven for just a few minutes, watch it, it burns fast!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the flax and mustard seeds, once they are starting to pop add the chopped onion and cook for just a minute or two.
  3. Before the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms (this is if you like your mushrooms well done, like I do, otherwise wait until the onions are translucent).
  4. Cook mushrooms to desired doneness, then add tomatillos, garlic and all spices.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until tomatillos have softened and there’s some juice in the pan.
  5. Add snap peas and broccoli, cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add coconut milk and stir well.  Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring, then reduce heat to low.  Adjust spices as desired.  Simmer covered on low 5-7 minutes or until veggies have softened a bit but snap peas still have some crunch to them.
  7. Serve over rice or quinoa, optionally top with coconut flake.  Enjoy!

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This morning I finally tried making almond milk from scratch.  It was not only incredibly creamy and delicious, but it was also SUPER easy!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked 8-12 hours and rinsed (optional: remove skins by pinching then after they’ve soaked*)
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. honey (or sweetener of your choice, or 3-4 large dates)
  1. Toss all ingredients in a Vitamix or high-powered blender.  Blend on high for two-minutes (if you’re not using a Vitamix you may need to blend longer and also may need to strain the final result for optimum creaminess).  
  2. Enjoy!  

Now, wasn’t that easy?  Why have I been buying pre-made almond milk with preservatives and cane sugar?!  Well, now I know. 😉  I also have to brag and say that I’ve found many store-bought brands are watery and either too sweet or flavorless.  This was a nice mild nuttiness, very rich and creamy, and for me it was just the right sweetness.  

Next up, making my own coconut milk!  Now that I know how easy it is, the sky’s the limit!

WTF Workout?!

August has been a pretty crazy month for me, but while my blog entries cooled down, my workouts continued to fire up!  I’ve been traveling a lot, which means my routine has needed to shift to accommodate my locale.  

The first adventure was a five day intensive Lomilomi retreat.  Lomilomi is a style of Hawaiian massage that I’ve been studying for about two years now.  This was my third class and it was incredibly inspiring.  I knew that I would be in a calorie-friendly environment, as our meals were all vegetarian, mostly made from ingredients found right on the land we stayed at.  Speaking of the land, I already knew about Dreaming Mountain in Johnson, VT, but now that I’ve spent four nights there I’m absolutely in love with it!  I had done a mini-cleanse before the trip, so I had already cut out alcohol, red meat and was strict to my food allergies diet (generally no sugar, dairy, gluten, corn, coffee and a slew of other random things).  This meant that I didn’t feel the need to do my really intense workouts on the retreat.  Instead, I did yoga daily, a martial arts dance that’s part of the Lomi training, and, of course, I was giving and receiving massage daily.  I ended up dropping 5lbs just from living a healthy stress-free active life for a week!

The next adventure was much more challenging.  My company recently opened up a new store in Key West, FL.  It was my job to head down there to set up all the infrastructure.  This meant taking three planes each way to a hot, sweaty tourist playground, working five 12 hour+ days in a row and attempting to stick to my diet and exercise.  The first thing I learned is that the sun rises LATE in Key West, after 7am.  So to keep up my workouts I had to just deal with getting up in an unfamiliar place in the dark.  I did a combination of creating my own workouts in the hotel’s (really spectacular) gym and yoga on the beach.  I should have recorded what I did in the gym but I didn’t think to.  It was nice varying between being in the gym and being on the beach.  I really didn’t get much time at all to enjoy the island so at least doing yoga under the stars, next to the ocean, and then slowly watching the sun rise through my vinyasas was pretty spectacular.  I’ll admit diet was much more of a challenge there, and I made myself outright sick once or twice, but you gotta live too, right?

It’s nice to be back home and back to a more normal routine.  Though, it seems my yoga is going to be ramping up as I’m trying to hit the minimum pre-req hours for a yoga teacher-training I’m hoping to start in January.  I only just found the program and they require 35 hours in their studio before I can enroll.  Since I live an hour away this is a challenge, but I’ve been wanting to get my yoga certification for years now and it’s a teacher I really like.  Wish me luck!

So, today’s workout was really unusual for me.  It’s a little bit of everything.  I started out doing someone else’s workout (some of you may recognize the first few items) and then decided I wanted it to be more dynamic.  This was LONG.  My arms were shaking at the end and I was dripping with sweat.  I feel it’s a good mix of cardio and strength training, though the cardio portion never really ends.  Check it out:

8/27/13 – For Time (My Time = 24:50)
  1. 1 Min High Knees
  2. 1 Min Sprint
  3. 1 Min Low-Jacks
  4. 30 Weighted Burpees (I used 5lbs)
  5. 30 Knee Tucks
  6. 30 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
  7. 30 Plank Side-To-Side Jumps
  8. 10 Prisoner Getups
  9. 10 Weighted Sit-Ups (I used 15lbs first 5 and then 10lbs last five)
  10. 10 Push-Ups
  11. 20 Knee Tucks
  12. 20 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
  13. 10 Side Crunches, Right
  14. 10 Side Crunches, Left
  15. 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Tricep Kickbacks in Lunge Position (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
  16. 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Bicep curls (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
  17. 10 Weighted Lunge Twists, 5 Each Side (I used 10 lbs)

After that, I needed some protein and amino acids!!  Cut to today’s smoothie!

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This beauty contains pomegranate juice, coconut milk, spinach, flax seeds, fresh local blueberries, frozen mangoes, and a half-serving of vegan protein powder (Fat Flush).  I’ve honestly moved away from using protein powders in my morning smoothie because I feel adding flax or chia seeds plus spinach gives me enough protein without making me bloat.  But, today I really killed my upper body so it seems right to add in the protein and help rebuild my muscle tissue.  

I also am on a daily gut repair formula from my Naturopath which includes l-glutamine.  While new research is always coming out, there’s a lot out there showing a direct correlation between l-glutamine and muscle recovery.  It’s recommended post-workout, along with protein and carbs (1:4).  We always hear protein protein protein after workouts, but that’s one time when I think it’s important to have carbs to help with the recovery.  Frankly, I do think there’s such thing as too much protein.  I’m definitely trying to build my muscles, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat 10 eggs and a bucket of protein powder in one day.

What post-workout drinks/meals/supplements work for you?

Sweat and Smoothies

 
 
 
Well it may have been too long since the last time I wrote, but the workouts haven’t stopped and neither has the healthy eating!  My original workouts are starting to really kick my ass.  Exhibit A:Image
This was after today’s workout, which is the last one on the list here.  It’s the first time I’ve done box jumps and now I understand the fuss.  They feel to me like burpees did before I did the 90 Day Burpee Challenge.  Great way to get your heart rate UP!  I found that following them up with snatches and the kettlebell renegade row was really brutal. It made pull-ups a relief, which is saying a lot.  So without further ado here is my backlog of original workouts to share.  Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a delicious smoothie recipe. 🙂
 
7/6/13
Buy-In: 10 Burpees
 
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/3 rounds
  1. KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge R
  2. KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge L
  3. Double KB step-ups
  4. Elevated Plank Pushup/Knee Tuck
  5. Ab roller
  6. Weighted Sit-Ups

Buy-Out: 10 Burpees

 
7/12/13
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/2 rounds
  1. KB Swings
  2. KB Clean R
  3. KB Clean L
  4. KB Reverse Lunge
  5. Weighted Lunge Twists
  6. KB Renegade Row
  7. Reverse Crunch
  8. Side-Plank Toe Touch
  9. Front plank
  10. Pull-ups
7/16/13
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/3 rounds
  1. 6 Turkish Getups (3 each side)
  2. KB Single-leg Deadlift R
  3. KB Single-leg Deadlift R
  4. Ab Roller
  5. Weighted Ab Twists
  6. Pilates Hundreds
  7. Plank w/ Knee Tuck
7/18/13
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/2 rounds
  1. KB Swings
  2. Thruster R
  3. Thruster L
  4. KB Bent-Over Row
  5. Weighted Lunge-Twist
  6. Plank->Side Planks
  7. Dive Bombers
  8. Pilates Sit-Ups
  9. Bicycle w/ out-and-in-arms
  10. Pull-ups
8/2/13 – Time Challenge, 3 Rounds (My Time: 18:45)
  1. Box jumps x 20
  2. KB Snatch R x 10
  3. KB Snatch L x 10
  4. KB Renegade Row x 10
  5. Lunge Twist R x 5
  6. Lunge Twist L x 5
  7. Pull ups x 3-10 depending on your fitness level

And now for something completely different delicious…

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Raspberry Mint Smoothie

I’m on a mint kick right now and have really enjoyed adding it to my smoothies.  It’s great for digestion and adds a nice refreshing kick to the smoothie.  I’ve also learned that many fresh herbs go well in smoothies and have lately enjoyed cilantro and basil; can’t wait to find more good combinations!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds (or try using sprouted flax or chia seeds!)
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 2-3 sprigs of mint
  • 1/2 package frozen raspberries

Mix that up in your blender until smooth and you will have a sucka-punch of flavor to your face!

Speaking of sprouted flax and chia seeds, that’s been my latest experiment and I’m pretty happy with the results:

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That is chia on the left and flax on the right.  It took only a week to go from seed to overflowing sprouts that were pushing the top of the container off.  They added a really nice fresh flavor to my smoothies and some wonderful nutrients.  The one thing I haven’t been able to find out is if sprouted flax and chia are more or less nutritious than the raw seeds.  If anyone has info on that I’d love to see it!

Keep healthy!