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Posts Tagged ‘protein’

This post is a tribute to my darling friend Frances, who first served me a version of this recipe one cold, particularly lonely NYC night, because she knew without my saying, that CHOCOLATE was just what the doctor ordered…

Friendship like you read about

Remember when I mentioned that protein powder + sweetener + Greek yogurt can taste like buttercream frosting?

Well, if you don’t love those ingredients,

OR IF YOU JUST REALLY LOVE FROSTING

You rang?

You might

There’s not

Wanna

much

Sit down

else

For this one.

To say.

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE:

  • 2 VERY ripe medium-sized avocados (almost on the verge of going bad)
  • 1/2 c high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I’ve used Ghiradelli and Sharffenberger)
  • 1/2 c Agave (or honey, maple syrup, or feel free to experiment with sweetener of your choice)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt to taste (start with 1/4 tsp)

Peel and cut avocados into 1/2 inch chunks. Throw all ingredients into food processor. Process, scraping down sides until texture is smooth and everything is incorporated. Add any extra cocoa powder or sweetener etc. to taste. Transfer to Tupperware and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes, or as long as you like.

Grab a spoon…or get a firm grip on the sides of that Tupperware…and DIG IN

Oh, and this one’s Over the Counter

Thank you, Frances :). Love you girl!

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I maaade it!!! In just a few short hours I went from here

NY Sunrise

To here!

Tennessee Sun

Don’t get me wrong–for better or worse (ok, it can be a rocky relationship), I love that concrete jungle. But as I sit here typing this post with warm sunshine streaming through the windows and the sound of birds chirping for ambiance, I can say with confidence that there’s no place I’d rather be.

I can’t stay long because I want to take advantage of this time with my family, but I thought I’d leave you with a few healthy highlights from my last few days!

Greece is the one country I would visit if given the choice to go anywhere. I fell in love with Greece while watching Lena’s whirlwind Greek romance in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which takes place in a breathtaking coastal town. Am I joking? Sure as shootin’ not.

Lena + Costas 4 ever

I do have enough sense to realize that now might not be the absolute best time to show up there, so I’ll settle for a shout-out to my fave country with some delicious uses of two AWESOME Greek foods. These Mediterranean treats have taken my meals from mediocre to incredible!

Feta Cheese…on a sandwich

Simple genius

Ok ok, maybe not earthshattering, but when I saw this combination on our Seamless menu yesterday, it was a revelation to me. I’d never thought to use feta as the cheese of choice on a deli sandwich! And boy.did.it.hit.the.spot. Combined with herbed turkey breast, sliced cucumber, arugula and spicy dijon, the saltiness of the feta created a party for my tastebuds!

Feta cheese is originally made from goat or sheep’s milk originating in Greece, and it has a particularly high protein content, as well as a salty bite that give it its unique flavor. I scarfed this baby up (would not recommend), and will definitely be using feta on more sandwiches in the future (would recommend).

I apologize that the above sandwich picture looks like a sleepy frog face (or maybe I’m alone on that one?). Still getting the hang of this.

Uncanny

Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream

As intended, I picked up some Greek yogurt after work on Monday, and have been using it in place of sour cream on my Furritos

One forkful per bite!

Unadulterated Greek yogurt as a pinch hitter for sour cream works in almost every scenario that I can think of. I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference, and the cool creaminess paired with my spicy filling added SO MUCH to my dining experience!
Greek yogurt is easily one of the most versatile foods I have ever come across, and it is a nutritional ROCKSTAR, especially on the protein front. I am always looking for ways to incorporate more protein into my diet, and Greek yogurt has often come to my aid to truly make me feel satisfied after a meal.

Greek Yogurt + Protein Powder = FROSTING

Naturally, I saved the best for last.

See him?

After enjoying the above delectable, yet slightly insubstantial salad two nights ago, I was craving a Green Monster like whoah.com. Unfortunately, I didn’t have most of the necessary ingredients on hand. Instead of admitting defeat, I got crafty! I opened my coveted Chobani and added the following to it:

PROTEIN FROSTING

  • 1/2 scoop banana-flavored Spirutein protein powder (or as much as you can get in so that the top layer of yogurt is covered)
  • 1-2 tsp agave or honey or 1/2 packet Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

And then I stirred heartily but carefully so as not to spill the powder, and the ingredients slowly incorporated to create a thick, luscious buttercream frosting-like texture. Out of this world. I felt like an overworked adult naughty kid secretly spooning frosting into my mouth while mama’s not lookin’!

I cannot wait to try this with other flavors–I imagine that vanilla, chocolate and strawberry would all be bangerang!

Ok, I’m feeling a little jet-lagged from this Greek getaway (call me, Costas!), so I am going to find my parents and enjoy the rest of this relaxing, gorgeous Tennessee day!

I’ll leave you with a fantastic Interval Treadmill Workout that I conjured up yesterday in an effort to get in and out of the gym in around 30 minutes. Not only will this workout leave you with a nice sweaty glaze, the varied speeds and inclines made the time go by in a snap!

Make the Time Fly Interval Treadmill Blast

Minute Speed Incline
0-3:00 4.8 3.5
3:00-5:50 7.6 0
5:50-6:00 8.4 0
6:00-9:00 4.6 5.5
9:00-11:50 7.4 1
11:50-12:00 8.4 1
12:00-15:00 4.4 7.5
15:00-17:50 7.2 2
17:50-18:00 8.2 2
18:00-21:00 4.2 8.5
21:00-23:50 7.4 1
23:50-24:00 8.4 1
24:00-27:00 4 9.5
27:00-29:50 7.6 0
29:50-30:00 8.4 0

End this workout with about a 3-5 minute cool-down walk on the treadmill.

I love interval/incline workouts like this, because as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am not a huge fan of intense and long-distance running for my body. I can do the above blast and feel like I really got my endorphins on, but it only consists of twelve minutes of actual running. Let me know if you give it a try!

Heading out to soak up some Dixieland Delight!

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Despite the dreary weather, I’ve managed to have a lovely day so far! I snapped a photo on my walk to the subway–I don’t know what these flowers are called but they’re gorgeous. Any blossoms in early April set my heart aflutter with excitement for the coming Spring!

I met my friend Maria bright and early at Peels, one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city.

As a southern girl, I find the cozy ambiance and sophisticated spin on comfort food very aPEELing (see what I did there?).

The 2nd floor of Peels is basically my dream kitchen

Plus, everything I’ve tried there is delicious! For breakfast, I particularly love their Bircher Muesli: “Cider and Yogurt-Soaked Oats, fruit, toasted seeds.”  I adore ‘Overnight Oats‘, which I discovered through Kath’s blog, and this dish is basically an amped-up version of overnight oats. Each serving of thick, creamy oaty (Greek?) yogurt comes with two generous layers of of sunflower seeds, topped with a handful of seasonably-fresh fruit and a dollop of what must be house-made jam. This breakfast is surprisingly filling, and I find myself CRAVING it during the week. Re-creating this at home is on my to-do list!

My muesli today included a selection of citrus fruit slices and what tasted like a mixed-berry jam. SO good!

Maria ordered one of their signature ‘Build-A-Biscuits’ with eggs, sausage and cheddar. Also super yummy! I highly suggest hitting up Peels if you live in the city. Note: Reservations for Saturday and Sunday Brunch are taken only for parties of six of more guests.
Walk-in’s are encouraged at any time. They only seat complete parties on a first come, first serve basis (read–come early).

Maria and I had a great time catching up. We stayed at our table for a while after we were finished, which was clearly frustrating to our waitress. I generally think it’s rude when people abuse their right to stay at a table after a meal, but Maria and I rarely see each other and wanted to soak up every minute before she had to leave for work. We tipped well!

After Peels, I headed over to the Whole Foods in Union Square to pick up a bag of one of my favorite snacks–unsulphured dried apricots.

My understanding is that unsulphured dried apricots are simply dried apricots that have no additives whatsoever. The neon-orange (when is neon food ever a good thing?) ones that you usually see have had sulphites added to them that help preserve their color.

Less nutritious AND blinding

Not only are unsulphured apricots preservative-free, I personally think they taste a million times better. Unfortunately, the only place I’ve been able to find the ‘good ones’ is the bulk section at Whole Foods (Union Square and Chelsea locations, that I know of). I’ve stumbled upon one or two other health food stores that carry them, but they’ve been overly-dried and tough. The Whole Foods ones are large and juicy, just the way I like ’em! 🙂

While at WF, I also snagged a Poland Spring flavored sparkling water.

I LOVE flavored sparkling water/sparkling water in general and would drink it completely in place of still water if I could afford it. WF sells these babies for 79c each, which seems like a pretty good deal to me, so I usually treat myself to them when I’m there. My fave flavor is the Raspberry Lime, pictured above, but today’s selection was slim pickins’ so I had a Mandarin Orange. Still tasty.

I decided to stay at WF and read for a while before heading uptown. I’m currently reading An Island at the Center of the World, which is fascinating so far. I will post more on this book when I’ve finished it!

I headed home around noon, tummy grumbling for lunch, and I made myself an fab-u-lous Green Monster Smoothie.

Using frozen bananas gives it that thick, spoonable texture

I just recently got on the Green Monster train and I’m never looking back. I like my veggies, but let’s be honest–I’d take a peanut butter banana smoothie over them any day.  Now I can have the best of both worlds! You TRULY CANNOT taste the spinach, I promise.

Today’s Green Monster included:

  • 1 scoop banana-flavored Spirutein (a plant-based protein powder that tastes great and comes in a variety of flavors)
  • 1 tbs Trader Joe’s chunky peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana, pre-cut, peeled and baggied to make life easier
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 c Fage plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs flax meal
  • 3 ice cubes
  • dash of cinnamon
  • several LARGE handfuls of spinach

Then I just stuffed it all in my shoddy but still kickin’ $20 Hamilton Beach Blender and blended away! I cannot get enough of these smoothies, honestly, despite the chilly weather. I may or may not have gotten under the covers to take this one down…

I also tried a few pieces of a Trader Joe’s chocolate bar that I picked up last weekend. Unlike the other chocolate products I’ve tried from TJs, this one was disappointing :(.

Disappointment

Still ate the portion I broke off (hello chocolate is chocolate), but might try to find a recipe to use the rest of the bar in, since it’s not great on its own. I am, however, a huge fan of  TJs 72% Dark Chocolate Pound Plus bar.

Delightful!

Now I’m off to run some errands, get in a little cardio and get ready for dinner tonight with my friend Christina! We’re going to Bareburger, which gets rave reviews. A really good burger is definitely a top five savory meal for me, but I am picky about them. Look forward to seeing how Bareburger stacks up!

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

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TGIF and a ‘Caught’ Moment

Happy Friday! Hoooos excited for the weekend? (I have a habit of writing ‘hoo’ instead of ‘who’ as a UVA grad and I just like the way it reads better!)

So–I plan to document as many of my meals  as possible, but I am still VERY green at this, and today I kept forgetting to take pictures before consuming (or in the case of my lunch, trashing). I am also currently using my iPhone to take my photos, since I can do it much more discreetly than with a regular camera. I’ll get there eventually! I truly apologize for how atrocious these pictures are.

My Friday started off with a delicious breakfast:

Coffee (have a cup every day, not pictured); Thomas’s 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin, lightly toasted with a tbs of homemade almond butter on each half, plus some sliced banana and cinnamon. I ate the rest of the banana while assembling this. I also enjoyed a fabulous morning cocktail of Tropicana orange juice, extra pulp, mixed with seltzer. So yummy! I don’t have that beverage very often at work because I usually have a seltzer with lunch and hate using two cans in one day? BUT, it was a Friday, so I treated myself.

Lunch was unfortunately a disaster. I tried ordering a tuna salad sandwich on potato rye bread from a new deli on our Seamless Web account, and it smelled RANCID. So disappointing, because most places we order from are great and I love the tuna salad from another one of our deli options (just enough mayo to bind, chopped celery, fresh scent!).

It smelled so funky that I took one bite and tossed it. You live, you learn. I was STARVING at this point, so I ended up making a cheese and jelly sandwich on some hearty toasted multigrain bread from our kitchen, a combo I adore thanks to Julie (one of my favorite bloggers). I also had a side of steamed veggies with hummus and part of a mushy 😦 apple.

I was a wee bit hungry an hour later so I peeled and ate a juicy, sweet grapefruit

This picture does not do the size of this grapefruit justice. It was enormous!

I Grabbed the Gold as an afternoon snack.

I KNOW it looks like poo a hockey puck, but I promise they’re SO GOOD. Instant energy boost.

I finally hightailed it out of the office in time to catch the 5:30 train–I commute to Greenwich, CT for my job every day, which sounds awful but I actually love it. I plan to dedicate a post to that topic!

I made it back to the city just in time to catch an awesome class at the GrayBar Equinox in Grand Central called Boot Camp. (I shoved a handful of almonds in my mouth before getting off the train–I have to have some kind of fuel within an hour of a workout). This class was taught by one of my favorite instructors named Laura, a tiny cute blonde who lures you in with her sweet demeanor then kicks your butt to kingdom come. I especially love her spin classes–she gets up in your grill and yells at you to work harder while turning your resistance up to an ungodly level…and I like it.

This class was mostly strength-focused, but had just enough cardio to keep it fast-paced and fun, and I broke a serious sweat.

Once home, dinner was leftover Thai red curry, ordered earlier this week from work, over brown rice and veggies. I also had one of my fave post-workout desserts: Fage Greek yogurt with half a scoop of Spirutein banana-flavored protein powder, 1 tbs of cocoa powder, a small spoonful of drippy natural PB (TJs) and honey to taste–all mixed together (use those muscles, it gets thick!) into a delectable pudding.

About the get in bed–I’m particularly wiped out this Friday. I stay in most Fridays to recoup from the week, unless there’s something specific I’ve planned. Love being fresh as a daisy on Saturday morning!

Somehow I convinced my friend Maria to have breakfast with me tomorrow morning (she’s in school so I think she’s an early bird too) at Peels in the East Village.

Such a cute and cozy atmosphere

Peels has one of my favorite breakfasts and dinners in the city–the Bircher Muesli and the BURGER, respectively. I can’t wait!

Before I hit the hay, I want to share a very beanie bumbles moment that occurred today. I sit on my tush pretty much all day, so I like to take a few moments here and there to stretch. It feels fantastic and frankly, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t need to stretch during the day?!

Usually I do this in the bathroom stall, which only fails when I lose my balance and bump into the side, alarming and, erm, disrupting? any neighbors a la Austin Powers. But today I was bold–too bold–and thought I could squeeze in a few stretches in the room between the bathroom and the hallway (basically an empty room with mirrors that serves as a thruway to the toilets).  Right as I was in the position on the LEFT hand side of this photo

A coworker walked in, practically colliding into my downward-facing figure! A VERY awkward exchange ensued, where she exclaimed ‘oh!’, followed by ‘doing some yoga?’, and I mumbled ‘just a bit of stretching, not a big deal you know! ‘ (yep, those were my words) before hightailing it back to my desk. Lesson learned: stick with stall stretching, an imperfect system though it may be.

Do you ever stretch at the office? If so, where do you do it?

See you tomorrow!

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