What I Ate Wednesday #113: Back to Normal

How many times have you heard the word “detox” over the past week? Every time the holidays come around, everyone scrambles to find the best ways to not gain weight and not over-indulge. And when we all give in to the holiday treats, we all want the quick-fix to lose the bloat and get back to where we were pre-holiday, right? Personally, I’m not one to say no to pumpkin roll and peanut butter cups.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I’m also not a fan of detoxing. In theory, the idea of cutting out all of the sugar, alcohol, and excess snacking sounds like a good idea. But when I go from all to nothing, I’m not the most fun person to be around. [Don’t ask Nathan.] I prefer to just go back to my regular way of eating.

[Breakfast]
Protein Egg White Oatmeal Oats Fresh Almond Butter Coffee
How could I possibly give up my most favorite breakfast?

[Lunch]
Whole Foods Salad Bar Garlicky Kale
I’ve been going salad bar crazy! This is an old picture, but just imagine all of the delicious salad bar toppings you could possibly get from Whole Foods, Wegmans, etc. It’s the best.

[Dinner]
Lemon Feta Chicken Israeli Couscous Salad

Chicken Shawarma Cabbage Salad Saurkraut Hummus Baba Ghanoush
Nice, light dinners. The other night I made feta chicken, Israeli couscous salad, and a green salad. Last night we went to dinner at a new Mediterranean place that was setup like a Chipotle-style way of ordering. I loaded up on all the veggies and the delicious chicken shawarma, hummus, and baba ghanoush.

[Snacks]
Don’t be fooled by the pictures above. Along with my healthy bars that I’ve been snacking on, I’ve also been popping into the fridge to grab some bites of leftover sausage stuffing, all of the squash and sweet potato, and there have been many spoon dips into the almond butter jar! Obviously, I could be stuffing my face with worse food but there has still been a bit more snacking than a normal day.

So it may not be totally back to normal, but we’re getting there! There’s no quick fix for anything so rather than torturing myself [and everyone around me] with food I don’t want, I’d much rather enjoy what I’m eating and take my good old time.

Food for Thought

Are you a detoxer or do you just got back to your norm?

Thanksgiving + Wedding Weekend

Two of the reasons we came home were Thanksgiving and my cousin’s wedding. These events made for a pretty marvelous weekend and, even though I’ve said it 100 times already, I’m so glad we could come home for it.

Leading up to Thanksgiving was pretty great too; we had dinner with friends last week and went to hang out at their house afterward. You can tell I’m not used to the cold weather anymore because as soon as we walked in, I stole her warmest clothes. And then she handed me a glass of sparkling wine.. that’s a good friend right there!

Sparkling Wine

Yep, that glass says “She Said Yes!” Ha.

I did a pretty poor job of actually getting pictures of Thanksgiving festivities, but I did get a picture of some of my prep and a little post-turkey day lunching.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

My favorite homemade dessert!

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Roasty veggies are the best leftovers!

I got some more quality time with my little girl.. it’s so fun now that she’s really starting to recognize me!

Jilly Bean Brittany

Lap time is pretty much my fave.

Jilly Bean

“Ok, I’ll stand still for about 3 seconds so you can take a picture.”

And of course, there was the wedding which was almost as beautiful as the bride!

Nicole Bride Brittany

Kirk is one lucky guy!

I love this girl; she’s not a cousin that I grew up knowing too well, but when she moved to Baltimore a couple of years ago, we really got to know each other and she’s fantastic. And her shiny new husband, Kirk, is such a perfect match for her. I miss hanging out with them.. it’s always such a treat when we come into town. Kirk, by the way, had the best reaction when she walked down the aisle. Quivering lips and all.. it was so sweet.

Kirk Nicole Wedding

Wish I got a better shot of his expression!

I also wish I got more pictures of the night, but hey, that’s what happens when you’re dancing like crazy!Ā [I totally smacked the photographer.. whoops!]

What a weekend! And now it’s time I get my body used to eating a normal amount of food again. I’m thinking this card describes my thoughts..

Cardio Mice

Our meal plan this week isn’t so exciting in terms of actual cooking, but I’m sure we’ll find some pretty exciting food to eat when we meet up with our friends!

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Carry out Thai
Monday – Grilled feta chicken with Israeli couscous salad
Tuesday – Out with friends
Wednesday – Out with friends
Thursday – Jilly’s first birthday!
Friday – Out with friends
Saturday – Out with friends

Food for Thought

How was your Thanksgiving?
Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?

What I’ve Learned From 1 Year in California

Happy [waddle] day after Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday and were able to spend time with your friends and family. I ate entirely too much [who doesn’t?] and I fully intend on doing the same thing tonight!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Trust me. There was WAY more food!

The Friday after Thanksgiving last year, Nathan and I packed up and shipped out to California. Thanksgiving was certainly an emotional day and I can’t believe 1 year has already passed. It’s pretty ironic that we’re back in Baltimore this week but it definitely feels good to be home. Over the past year we’ve had our ups and our downs. Nathan and I have had so many new experiences together that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’ve learned so much in that time.

  1. Nathan is my best friend.
    We couldn’t have done this without each other. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and strongest support systems. Moving away from all of your family and friends into an unknown world is scary and trying. Like I said, we’ve had our ups and downs, but ultimately, this experience has made us stronger and grow closer.
    Nathan Brittany Dolores Park
  2. Making friends is tough!
    For real, I don’t know how kids do it. There has been a lot of trial and error and I’ve had a few people stick. I’m not really sure why they put up with me, but they do!
  3. I’ve done a lot of growing up.
    I haven’t had much of a choice. Before Athleta and personal training, I spent a lot of time at home by myself. If there’s one thing that really makes you think about what you’re doing with your life, it’s spending hours of time alone. Sure, I may still question what I really want to do when I grow up, but hey, I’m only 27. I still have some time to figure that out.
  4. California is a pretty cool place to live.
    Nathan and I have gone on so many mini road trips and fun adventures that we couldn’t have done in Maryland. From wineries to beaches right around the corner to incredible hikes to eating our way through the city, we’re certainly not taking our surroundings for granted.
    Mt Tamalpais
  5. Home is where the heart is.
    After everything is said and done, I love just being home. Every time we come home, it feels like we never left. The time that I’ve been able to spend with my family and friends is unbeatable. I cherish every minute with my grandparents and it’s so fun watching Jilly grow. Staying with my parents has been fun too; any extra time I can get with them, I’ll take!
    Jilly Bean

It’s been a hell of a year and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for us. I have a good feeling about 2015; it should definitely be another learning year but I think now that we have our feet set a bit more, things will fall into place.

Food for Thought

Does your family have a second night of Thanksgiving?
Have you moved far from your family before? What did you learn from the experience?

We’re Home!

It was a pretty uneventful weekend after a looong week last week. Saturday we caught up on some much-needed r&r and got ready to hit the road.. or sky. Whichever you prefer. It was a laundry, packing, eat-everything-in-the-fridge kinda day.

Yesterday was more relaxing than a typical flying day too. Our flight wasn’t until 4:45 p.m. so we actually got to sleep in, hit the gym, and have a quiet morning. It was nice to be able to take our time and not get up and rush out the door. That said, we landed in Baltimore at 1 a.m. EST. Nathan and I didn’t mind so much because it was 10 p.m. for us. My parents, on the other hand, are the best. They dragged themselves out the door to pick us up dark and early! Let’s be honest though.. it wasn’t so much dragging as it was bouncing from excitement šŸ˜‰

I couldn’t be more excited for this trip home. I can’t wait to see some of my favorites..

Jilly Bean Poppy

The sweetest picture ever.

I’m looking forward to stuffing my face with my entire family on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Dinner Deep Fried Turkey Slicing

There will be LOTS of deep fried turkey carving!

I’m so, so happy to be able to be there when my cousin gets married on Saturday!

Nathan Me Nicole Kirk Awkward Family Photo

My favorite picture of the 4 of us..

And, of course, I can’t wait to celebrate my little bean’s first birthday.

Jilly Bean

Look how teeny she was!

Jilly Bean Walking

Can’t believe it’s already been a year..

Ironically enough, we’re going to be celebrating our 1 year in California while we’re back in Baltimore.. but I’m ok with that. It’s going to be a good 2 weeks, my friends. And it’s a great way to start my week, for sure. No meal planning this week.. it’s a play-by-ear till Thursday. Fine. By. Me.

Food for Thought

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, are you able to be with your family?

Quick & Easy Cranberry Relish {Recipe Redux}

Growing up, on almost a nightly basis, my family would sit down to dinner, someone would say “this is good, mom!” and she would say “thanks, I have no idea what’s in it or what I did so I’ll never be able to make it again. But thanks!” She’s always been very much about throwing everything you have into a pot and making something out of it. Go figure, she has a daughter that likes to follow recipes to a T. When I saw this month’s Recipe Redux theme, I laughed.

In the US, November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your own children. Please share one of your favorite food memories and the healthier ā€œredoā€ of the recipe.

You follow? It was hard to think of something when she never made the same thing twice! Well, seeing as how Thanksgiving is upon us, there’s always one side my mom makes. Cranberry relish is something I started helping her make at a very young age because it’s just that easy and it takes all of about 5 minutes. Of course, we also have the “traditional” cranberry jelly on the table, too. But the relish is the good stuff.. aside from all of the sugar that went into it. Time to redux that recipe!

Quick & Easy Cranberry Relish

Makes ~1 1/2 cups

Quick & Easy Cranberry Relish -- Barr & Table

Ingredients
– 1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
– 1 medium orange; zested and juiced
– 1/2 medium pomegranate
– 2-4 tbsp honey [sweeten to taste]

Directions
Wash your cranberries [be sure to remove any mushy berries!] and toss in a food processor. Process until the cranberries are a chunky relish consistency. Empty into a bowl and add in the orange zest, juice, pomegranate, and 2 tbsp honey. Taste and add more honey if you want it sweeter.

I recommend making it the day before and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. The flavors really come together more as it sits, but you can, of course, eat it all right away!

Nutritional Information
Per 1/4 cup serving

70 CaloriesĀ  /Ā  0g FatĀ  /Ā  18g CarbsĀ  /Ā  12g SugarĀ  /Ā  3g FiberĀ  /Ā  0g Protein

We make tons of relish for our army of a family and it never lasts! I can’t wait to make it again this year. Pop this burst of color on your Thanksgiving table for a delicious twist on the traditional cranberry.

Food for Thought

What’s a meal or dish you grew up eating?

Taking a Walk Break

It seems to me, we don’t always realize how run down we get until we give ourselves time to breathe. Trust me when I say I was more than well aware of my need for my rest day on Saturday. My workouts on Thursday and Friday left a bit to be desired and I just felt myself trying to plug along to finish out the week. Friday night, I met Nathan and some of his coworkers for happy hour and then we had possibly the best Chinese meal we’d ever had!

Braised Chinese Pork Shoulder

Five Spice Hot and Spicy Pork Shoulder

Chinese Chicken Clay Pot

Chicken Clay Pot

Nathan got some serious side eye when he ordered the pork shoulder after saying “I know, you want healthy.” So healthy.. right. It was darn tasty though! We had an easy and quiet Saturday morning before deciding to head into the city. We chose a new spot to check outā€”Noe Valleyā€”and we loved it! We had a great lunch at Savor, went for a nice walk around a few blocks, and stopped for a little sweet treat on our way to Dolores Park.

Savor Granada Salmon Salad

Fabulous salad with anjou pear, roasted red pepper, caramelized walnuts, and a huge hunka salmon.

Almond Milk Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt Cheesequake

Almond milk peanut butter, chocolate, and the cheesiest cheesecake froyo I’ve ever had!

Mission Dolores Park San Francisco

Busy, beautiful day at Dolores Park

Nathan Brittany Dolores Park

Enjoying the beautiful day!

After a pretty relaxing day and quiet night, I thought I’d be roaring to go yesterday. Turns out my body was still craving lots of rest. I slept until 9! Usually I’m lucky to make it to 7 so I’d say that was a huge success and took it as a sign when I was still not feeling up for hitting the gym. We had another quiet morning and then went for a nice 4 mile walk by the water with a lunch break halfway. I definitely had Lindsay’s post about taking walk breaks on my mind.. it’s nice to have that reminder sometimes.

Dungeness Crab Seabreeze Berkeley

My favorite dungeness crab I’ve had yet!

Berkeley Marina

Another sunny day!

After a quick trip to the grocery store and a little food prep, we’re set for the week! It was another great weekend and it just reminds me how lucky I am to be married to my best friend.

And a super exciting side note, we’re going home for Thanksgiving! Actually, we’re going home for a whole 2 weeks so we can celebrate Thanksgiving, my cousin’s wedding, and Jilly’s first birthday. I’m beyond excited for it and had to keep it a secret for a few days until my cousin got her wedding RSVP from us. But the word’s out now!

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Leftovers
MondayThai basil turkey and lemongrass cauli rice bowls
TuesdaySmokey chipotle turkey burgers with Mexican corn fritters and side salad
Wednesday – Leftovers
ThursdaySesame carrot noodles with chicken and broccoli
Friday – Yom Kippur dinner –> matzah ball soup, brisket, potatoes, and roasted brussels
Saturday – BREAK FAST! I don’t care what I eat šŸ˜‰

Food for Thought

Do you ever had one rest day turn into two?

Sundays in the Kitchen

Somehow, even after a 4-day weekend, Monday still seems to come too soon. So to drown my pre-work week sorrows, I decided to spend the day in the kitchen cooking and baking up a storm!

I had a special request (weeks ago.. oops!) for chocolate chip cookies, so I started there. Last month, Brown Eyed Baker had a chocolate chip cookie throwdown featuring 4 recipes, one of which was our favorite from Alton Brown. Showing Nathan was a mistake.. he immediately wanted to have a throwdown of our own. Rather than having our throwdown, we decided to try the winning recipe; The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

How can you resist chocolate chip cookies like that?! We certainly couldn’t and the verdict is in; we may just have a new favorite chocolate chip cookie!

To combat the indulgent cookies, I got my healthy cook on and prepped some delicious meals for the week. A new recipe from the Tone It Up girls, Carrot & Pumpkin Soup, will be making many appearances this week during lunch along with Jamie Eason’s Turkey Meatloaf Muffins via Sarah Fit. We also have some honey wheat rolls, bulgogi beef prepped for tonight’s dinner, and my latest creation;Ā  Blueberry Ricotta Muffins. I was so happy with the way they came out. They’re super moist and are perfect to have with a little jam.. or in my case, peanut butter. Because everything is better with peanut butter!

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

Serves 12
Adapted from The Lean Green Bean

Barr & Table Blueberry Ricotta Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins Lean Green Bean

Ingredients
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk [I use Almond Breeze]
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pumpkin puree [Not pumpkin pie mix! I use Libby’s]
1 egg
1/4 cup demerara or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Optional Toppings
Jelly or jam
Any nut butter
Earth Balance Coconut Butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 350Ā°F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from coconut oil through vanilla extract. Slowly mix in your flour and baking powder until that is just mixed through. Don’t over mix! Gently fold in the blueberries so they are equally distributed.

Grease a muffin tin and scoop into tins in 12 equal parts. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Let cool, top with your favorite topping *cough peanut butter cough* and enjoy!

Barr & Table Blueberry Ricotta Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

Nutritional Stats
Per muffin

124 CaloriesĀ  /Ā  4g FatĀ  /Ā  20g CarbsĀ  /Ā  3g FiberĀ  /Ā  10g SugarĀ  /Ā  4g Protein

Food for Thought

Do you prep your meals for the week on Sunday?

Foodie Friday: Kind Apple Crisp

Happy Black Friday! I hope you’re still stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner; that’s the way it should be.

This year, I jumped early to call my dishes for Thanksgiving. Usually I would just make some peanut butter cups and call it a day, but as I’ve become increasingly more interested in cooking and baking over the last year, I couldn’t wait to do more.

Knowing I was going to want to have a healthy option for my overactive sweet tooth, so along with my [unhealthy but completely necessary] peanut butter cups, I offered to make an apple crisp. And the best part? It’s so easy and versatile!

Kind Apple Crisp

Serves 12

Barr & Table Kind Snacks Granola Apple Crisp Foodie Friday

Ingredients
6 medium apples [I used 3 braeburn & 3 granny smith]
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups Oats & Honey Clusters Kind Snacks granola
1 1/2 cups Maple Walnut Clusters Kind Snacks granola

Directions
Preheat over to 350Ā°F and grease an 8 x 13″ pan. Peel and thinly slice all apples and toss with lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, combine your 2 flavors of granola.

Lay all of your apples out in your pan and top with granola. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and crisp.

If you want to make this ahead of time, take the crisp out of the oven after the first 3o minutes, let cool, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, bring the crisp to room temperature, then place in the 350Ā° oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until warmed through and golden brown on top.

Top with vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

Craving an apple crisp but don’t have a group to feed?

This is a great recipe to make for two! Make this recipe with 1 apple, peeled and sliced, adjust spice quantities to your liking, and top with about 1/4 cup granola. I recommend baking in 2 separate ramekins for single servings. This will keep the baking time the same, but adjust baking time according to the size of your dish.

Nutritional Stats
Per serving without toppings

137 CaloriesĀ  /Ā  3g FatĀ  /Ā  22g CarbsĀ  /Ā  4g FiberĀ  /Ā  9g SugarĀ  /Ā  2g Protein

Food for Thought

Did you contribute any dishes to your Thanksgiving table this year? What was your favorite dish on the table?

What I Ate Wednesday #23 – Catching Up & Thanksgiving Brews

Holy slacker, it’s been a while since we’ve chatted! It’s been a crazy week and a half that unfortunately included a back injury. I subsequently dubbed last week the week of eating everything in site, which makes this week the week of getting back on track. I must be crazy thinking now is a good time to plan on getting back on track with Thanksgiving being Thursday, but hey, no time like the present, right?!

And speaking of Thanksgiving, as the resident “beer snobs” of the family, Nathan and I are always asked for beer pairings. We’ve been doing our Thanksgiving beer pairing research and I’m happy to share with you our top 5 finds! But first.. the eats.

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Tone It Up TIU Pumpkin Protein Pancake Spaghetti Squash Powercakes Tahini Nooch Sauce Premier Protein Plus Peanut Fluff

[Breakfast]
Back to basics. My Tone It Up pumpkin protein pancake with banana slices and peanut fluff [2 tbsp peanut flour*, 1 packet stevia, & water to reach desired consistency]

[Lunch]
Kale salad with spaghetti squash, lots of veggies, and Powercakes Tahini Nooch sauce. This has been my favorite go-to dressing as of late. It’s packed with tons of protein and flavor.. think garlicky kale from Whole Foods. YUM!

[Dinner]
Roasted salmon with honey almond spaghetti squash. Simple but full of flavor!

[Snacks]
Grapefruit. (Not pictured)
Green Protein PiƱa Colada.. a GreeƱa Colada, if you will šŸ˜‰

Quick recipe! Protein GreeƱa Colada
– 1 Premier Protein vanilla shake
– 1/2 frozen banana
– 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
– 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
– 1 cup spinach
– 2-4 ice cubes

Throw everything in your blender and froth up! This baby packs a 32g protein punch! Perfect for your workout days.

Apple and peanut fluff*.

*Peanut flour can be found on iHerb.com. Use code ZAF482 to receive $5 off of your first order.

Thanksgiving Brews

When pairing beverages with food, most people immediately consider wine. Beer is often an afterthought, but not in our house! I’ve been researching the top beers to pair with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and I think I’ve found the list that’ll make even your pickiest beer-drinker happy!

  1. Ayinger Oktober Fest-MƤrzen
    Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen Thanksgiving Beer

    Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen

    This is an easy-drinking, copper-colored beer that isn’t overpowering. It will compliment everything on your table from sweet potatoes to a hearty sausage stuffing, with its notes of caramel and smooth, subtle hops. At 5.8% ABV, this will be an all-around crowd-pleaser.

    Can’t find Ayinger? Look for Paulaner or Sam Adams!

  2. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Thanksgiving Beer

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    If you’re looking for a beer with a little more punch to stand up to your stuffing, SNPA is the way to go. A touch of citrus flavor and a slightly bitter, but balanced, taste provides a crisp, clean finish.

    Can’t find Sierra Nevada? Look for Flying Dog or Lagunitas!

  3. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis
    Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen Thanksgiving Beer

    Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

    A beer that’s always found in our house, Kellerweis will satisfy any drinker’s taste. This fresh, crisp beer is a great way to start the evening paired with a creamy goat cheese or brie (which should definitely be on any list of appetizers!) It’s also the perfect way to end the night; with its subtle notes of banana and clove, you have the perfect companion to spiced desserts like pumpkin pie.

    Can’t find Sierra Nevada? Look for Paulaner or Victory!

  4. Ommegang Abbey Ale
    Ommegang Abbey Ale Dubbel Thanksgiving Beer

    Ommegang Abbey Ale

    You can’t go wrong with a Belgian-style beer; especially if you’re talking Ommegang Abbey Dubbel. Another beer that can stand up to the lighter dishes as well as heavier, this well-balanced beer with notes of fruits and molasses will pack a punch at 8.2% ABV.

    Can’t find Ommegang? Look for New Belgium or Chimay!

  5. Rogue Chocolate Stout

    Rogue Chocolate Stout Thanksgiving Beer

    Rogue Chocolate Stout

    For those guests looking to go to the dark side, this chocolate stout is the way to go! It’s a silky, smooth beer with notes of chocolate and espresso. It is a perfect compliment to dessert, but can also stand up to the heavier dishes.

    Can’t find Rogue? Look for Evolution or Sam Adams!

Food for Thought

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving? Do you prefer beer or wine paired with your dinner? What is your favorite beer?