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Sprializing Zucchini

6 Mar

Let’s talk about zucchini noodles. Or zoodles if you’re fancy.

I’ve known about zoodles for a while, but they always seemed kind of time consuming. Then, I tried some at our local Noodles & Company and decided to look into exactly how time consuming they really are. If by ‘look into’ you mean, see a spiralizer at Target and just buy it with no forethought or research.

This is the exact one I bought at Target (OXO spiralizer at Target) they also have it at Amazon (OXO spiralizer on Amazon) both are listed at $40.00… which is what I paid. I also saw this one on Amazon while writing this post and it looks pretty similar for just $27.99.

As I said, I did NO research… otherwise I would have gotten the cheaper one off Amazon. Anyways, I bought it on a whim and brought it home. We had some zucchini in our fridge, so I unwrapped it and used it that same night.

It was SO EASY that Jack could do it!

You just chop the ends off the zucchini and stick one end into the spiky part of the machine and put the other end against the blade. Then crank. And crank. And crank.

So. EASY.

I had heard that a drawback of zoodles is that they can be kind of wet and watery. So,when I do my set up I throw a paper towel under the blade. All the zoodles collect on the paper towel and then I just roll them up and let them hang out while I’m cooking the rest of dinner.

To cook them up, I just add some olive oil to the pan, throw in the zoodles and shake on some salt and pepper.

That’s it. And they are SO GOOD! We’ve had them probably 4 times since I bought the spiralizer and we love them! Just keep in mind that they really cook down. That entire pan above made this much cooked zoodles:

So if you’ve been thinking of trying zoodles… go for it!

Now I need to branch out and start spiralizing other stuff. Do you have any favorite items to spiralize?

 

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Adding to my Breakfast Shake

26 Sep

I mentioned in my Goals Update that I was working with my doctor and nutritionist to get my high cholesterol under control. I’ll go more into that in another blog post, but I did want to talk about how my breakfast shake has changed to include more healthy foods.

Basically, I’ve been doing meal replacement shakes 3ish days a week as a way to get a healthy breakfast into me when I’m commuting to work in the morning. I did a protein shake comparison in this post and I’ve been drinking the Vega One Protein & Greens in Coconut Almond for a few months now. My go-to recipe has been the shake + 1 ¼ cups water + 1 TBSP peanut butter + 1 banana + ice.

When I met with my nutritionist, we talked a lot about the effects of dietary fats on inflammation and cholesterol. I decided to try adding some of the suggested foods into my morning shake to get them into my body without much thought or effort. I started with adding a handful of baby spinach, because I had a leftover salad bag in the fridge. I was shocked that even though the entire shake turned the color of Shrek…it didn’t change the taste at all!

So, I kept adding more and more healthy things into my shake until I came up with my new morning recipe. I actually added TOO many healthy things, so I had to back off of some of them so it didn’t taste like dirt. Also, I was adding ½ avocado but found it too wasteful because by time I’d go to use the other half it was all brown and gross.

Here’s what I’m doing now:

4 walnut halves (plant-based Omega-3 source)
1 ½ TBSP flaxseed meal (plant-based Omega-3 source)
½ banana (a whole banana was too high on the glycemic index for me)
1 handful baby spinach
1 ½ cups water
1 scoop Vega One Protein & Greens in Coconut Almond

I put all that in my Nutri Ninja and blend the bejesus out of it. Like for a full 60 seconds. It is a totally blended liquid at that point with no chunks or anything. If you don’t do this, it totally gives the shake a chewy consistency…which is kind of gross.

Next, I add:

1 TBSP chia gel (plant-based Omega-3 source)
Handful of ice

Then I pulse it a few times to give the whole shake a milkshake-like consistency. I was adding chia seeds, but read that making them into a gel is better. So, once a week I take about 3 TBSP of chia seeds and mix it with 2 cups of water. I stick it in a tupperware and shake it for a bit. Then, a minute later I shake it again and stick it in the fridge. They turn into a gel in about 15 minutes and then you can just scoop from that all week long.

Now, if you would have told me that my morning shake would contain chia seed gel and flaxseed I would have laughed so hard that I’d choke on my Krispy Kreme doughnut…BUT, this actually doesn’t taste very different than my original recipe. I’ve upped my shakes to 5+ days a week and I really like that it’s such an easy — and tasty — to get a whole bunch of good stuff into my body without really trying.

Do you have a shake recipe that you love? Feel free to share it in the comments!

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Trying the Mystery Peeps

15 Mar

I love marshmallows.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you totally know this due to my Marshmallow Tasting Party, The Story of the Missing Marshmallows, Big Mistake and many, many more mentions of the sugary goodness.

This year I heard that Peeps came out with three mystery flavors to try and KNEW that I had to have a little taste testing session at home. They only carry them at Walmart, so I made a special trip to buy some.

Mystery peeps - Pocketful of Joules

I roped Travis and Jack into my fun so that I could see how our answers compared to each other. But I can just give you a spoiler and say… they weren’t good. I mean, I certainly won’t be going out and buying any more.

We let Jack pick the tasting order, so the three of us first tried Flavor #3 of 3. We also let Jack go first with his thoughts, so that he didn’t just repeat what one of us said.

Our thoughts on #3 of 3:
Jack: White marshmallow
Travis: Maraschino cherry
Me: Sour cherry

Jack went a little literal with his guess, but he ate the whole thing… so he must of liked it. Travis and I both thought it tasted like cherry, but I thought it also had a bit of a sour tang on it.

Our thoughts on #2 of 3:
Jack: Chocolate
Travis: Peanut butter. But it smells like stinky armpits.
Me: It tastes exactly like a buttered popcorn jelly belly bean.

We were totally split on this one, but I’m sticking with my answer of buttered popcorn. I’m not sure where Travis is getting the ‘stinky armpits’ smell from – because it is so obviously a buttered popcorn jelly belly smell to me – but he was pretty adamant about it. I’m wondering if this one would taste better toasted…

Our thoughts on #1 of 3:
Jack: Cherries. Or poop. {spit it out and wandered away to play}
Travis: Chocolate
Me: Hot Chocolate

Travis and I both agree that it is kind of chocolatey, but I think it’s pretty similar to the taste of a packet of powered hot chocolate when you stick your finger in and lick it off. Jack is in a phase where he thinks poop is the most hilarious word ever. So, there’s that.

I checked the Peeps website, Twitter and Facebook page and it doesn’t say when the mysteries will be revealed, but it seems like it will come out before Easter. I’m glad I tried them out, but honestly all three of them were pretty awful. Give me my normal flavored Peeps any day!

Did you try the Mystery Peeps? If so, what are your flavor guesses?

3/31/16 Update: Peeps announced the answers and they are: #1 of 3: Chocolate Milk, #2 of 3: Buttered Popcorn, #3 of 3: Sour Cherry!

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Running with Wine & Food… but not Scissors

14 Mar

I classify myself as a fair-weather runner, because I pretty much just like to run outside when it’s 60 degrees or warmer.

And sunshine. You’ve got to have sunshine.

I mean, while training for my Relay Marathon last year I totally ran when it was cold and icky, but that is NOT my preference.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up in Maryland, it’s giving me the urge to strap on my running shoes… so I thought it would be a good time to find some upcoming races to add to my schedule.

As I was looking through my options, I was impressed at how many events center around running AND food. I mean, most races provide you with some lame bananas and bagels at the end… but now there are tons of events that combine running and wine, running and beer, and even running and crabs (did I mention I live in Maryland…?)

If you want to get really crazy, there is a Krispy Kreme Challenge race in North Carolina where you run 2.5 miles, eat a dozen donuts and then run 2.5 miles back. I’m not going to lie, that sounds pretty amazing and I’m thinking of taking a little road trip next February! {I’m not sure that I could eat a whole dozen donuts, but there is an option to be a ‘casual runner’ where you can just eat as many donuts as you’d like}

I ran the Charm City Crab 5k last year and thought it was great. I mean, the 5k portion was terrible because it was so hot and humid, but the beer/cider/wine festival with food trucks and crabs was pretty fantastic!

Crab 5k 1

My plans for this year are to run a race every month from April to November, starting with a 5k in Ocean City. Then, I think I’ll hit up the Crab run again, a trail run at a nearby vineyard, actually run the Diva race in September (you can see what happened last year here) and finish with another go at the Team Relay Marathon where I met a penguin at mile 3 last year!

Joules and the Penguin

So, now I’m wondering… have you ever run a weird race that combined running with something else?

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