Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 8 - Sick of Green Smoothies

It's not that I don't like them, I really do. But, I already eat a lot of fruit and greens separately and don't think it's such a huge benefit to combine them all in the morning. I'm never very hungry in the morning and just plain whole fruit is more satisfying to me than taking it in liquid form. Also, I'm still wary of Green Smoothie Breath.

This isn't to say I'm giving up though! For me, this challenge was not about drinking a green smoothie every day, but to cut back on my partying and eating late at night, get on a more normal schedule.

But that wasn't really accomplished on day 8....we were out allll night running errands for the upcoming move into our house this weekend. Got home at 10:00, was eating egg sandwiches and with a screwdriver at 11.

(Side note - first I tried mixing vodka with my leftover green smoothie from the morning - I figured it'd be like fruit juice and vodka right? No! It was nasty! So bad that I poured my concoction down the drain even though there was good liquor left in it!)

I'm blaming the egg sandwiches on Nathan and his mom, she sent us home with these delicious little green peppers and tomatoes from her garden, and they were just begging to be put into an omelet, which Nathan made.

Ok ok I'm making excuses. But I feel fine today so whatever.

Here, so there is something useful to read in this post - a yummy raw carrot salad I made the other day. It could be a side on its own, but I put it over some baby spinach.


1 pound carrots, coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 to 4 cloves garlic, mashed or minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of salt
About 1/2 teaspoon harissa (Northwest African chili paste), 1 tablespoon minced green chilies, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

My version was a bit simpler, because grating carrots sucks - just threw everything in the food processor, leaving out the paprika, harissa, and cayenne.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Days 6 & 7 - Weekend Recap

Friday: I did end up being pretty productive, and rewarded myself with cocktails & toast before bed. Since I got plenty of sleep I woke up feeling great on Sat. though. No smoothie Friday, because I was finishing off a bottle of carrot juice from Trader Joe's. That place rocks. Bottle of organic carrot juice for $2.99 goes a long way - I mixed it with orange juice, then diluted with water, very bright orange and delicious!

Sat: Did many chores in preparation for the bachelorette party, plus squeezed in an hour long bike ride along the Mississippi River path - gorgeous. Since my "breakfast" takes place at about 2 p.m. on the weekends, I didn't have room for a smoothie before the girls came for party setup at 4:30, and then drinking and snacking commenced!

Some Pics:

The Bridesmaids
The Cake, complete with Man In Speedo:

Speedo Man tucked securely in my bra, getting his toes sucked.

Saturday night turned into a big pile of ick complete with too much food, cake, liquor, topped off with white castle at the end of the night.

Sun: Felt like a$$. Oh well what's to be expected after a party like this? Finally felt good enough to eat around dinnertime and then it was a banana, salad, and toast. We zoned out and rented I Love You Man from redbox - not highly recommended - the first half was funny enough, but really got old by the end. Has anyone seen this? Is it just me or was the relationship between Paul Rudd and his fiancee completely unrealistic? Bleh...
But, feeling great now, Monday in the cube has gone fast and relatively painless so that's about as good as I can ask for here....


Friday, August 21, 2009

Days 4 & 5

I'll roll these into one post and say I hope both days will be a success, even though today's only half over, but Nathan's going out of town tonight with our home laptop and I usually avoid the computer at home on weekends anyway.

Yesterday I made my smoothie (apple, frozen pineapple, frozen blueberries, collard greens - good combo), ate decently throughout the day, not too much close to bed, and got a decent night's sleep.

While Friday nights are usually party nights, Nath will be heading up north for a bachelor party while I get ready to host the bachelorette's party at our apt. tomorrow night. So tonight: Packing, Cleaning & Productivity. Hopefully. Unless I get lonely and meet my friends out at the bar, which very well could happen….

As of now, my only plans are to get out of this cubicle as quickly as possible.

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 3 - Doing Better & My Food History

Yesterday went a lot better than the first two days. Had my smoothie, had a healthy light dinner (carrot and collard green soup from the other night, salad, and some PB toast) and drank only chammomile tea before bed. The sleeping part was not so much a success though, because Nathan returned home after 4 a.m. because he was spraying our ceilings at the new house…and it's hard to sleep without him! I'm feeling fine today though…

So, Nichole (Pure and Simple Home), who's also doing the Green Smoothie Challenge, just asked me how I got into the whole raw food thing, and I figured I'd share here for everyone to read.

I grew up eating a very standard american diet. My mom cooked, not usually totally from scratch, we ate a lot of pasta with ground beef and tomato sauce from the jar, baked potatoes, iceberg lettuce salads with ranch dressing, pillsbury rolls from the can, and there were always ice cream and cookies in the house. We were all generally healthy and thin too though.

Around age 17, having never given a thought to my weight, I started realizing my (already skin tight teeny bopper) clothes were becoming too tight for me. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't exercise, ate s'mores pop tarts for breakfast, and little debbie nutty bars for lunch.
I started paying attention to calories and diet foods and how much I ate. I remember nibbling on little bags of special K cereal to keep me full in high school.

College came and I still didn't know much about "real" foods. I ate from the dorm cafeteria and lots of pre-packaged foods in my room, and of course, drank a lot of alcohol. I gained who knows how much, maybe 15 pounds over the next couple years, but lost it my junior year when I studied abroad in Budapest.

There, I remember eating lots of apples, bread, and frozen veggies. I didn't know how to cook and they didn't have much pre-packaged, and also I walked constantly.

By the time I graduated after 5 1/2 years of college, I was back to about 20 lbs. heavier than my comfortable weight. My final semester I lived in a co-op with 17 people where we rotated dinner duty for the weeknights - there was a strict budget and mandatory vegetarian option and I crushed a garlic bulb for the first time in my life.

After college I started learning how to cook more, I'd never had a strong taste for meat but thought it was especially repulsive to handle raw so never bought it. When I met Nathan 3 years ago we started cooking more together and since then I've just gradually become more aware about how crappy processed food is for your body and how horribly animals are usually treated in the meat and dairy industries. Eventually all my extra weight came off, helped by the fact that I joined a gym and started doing some yoga, which I didn't in college.

I'm not strictly vegan but just naturally avoid most animal products. I love fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, etc. I do still eat eggs about once a week, mostly as an after bar alcohol absorbing snack, but try to ease my conscience by buying organic cage free, as unregulated as those claims might be.

A good friend of mine started telling me about raw foods about a year ago, and as I started reading more I was really intrigued - people claimed to have amazing health benefits. Last Feb., feeling very in need of a detox from a rough winter, plus being stuck in a rut and bored, Nathan and I decided to do a 1 month raw experiment. We weren't incredibly strict about it and didn't feel any crazy bursts of energy as others have described, but we also were pretty uneducated as to how to go about it…. Nathan did lose 15 pounds though, which he was pretty happy about!

Since then I've continued reading a lot of raw/vegan blogs and trying new recipes, and also giving a lot of thought to how screwed up our food industry is. It makes me sad to think so many people are stuck back where I was in college, spending money on overpriced "reduced fat" cookies, "light" yogurt (with artificial sweeteners), cereals, breads, and frozen dinners that claim to be nutritious but are loaded with chemicals…. All while passing through the produce section clueless about how to prepare a lot of those amazing veggies. So I keep up this blog in hopes to spread the love of good healthy food, even if it's to only a few people. And because I'm bored at work and it's a great way to log recipes =).

Cheers, K

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 2 - I suck at this.

Yesterday I was fine most of the day, recovering from Day 1, made my green smoothie when I got home from work so I wouldn't be starving by the time we went out to eat: Apple, frozen pineapple & mango, kale - good combo!

But, then our guests came for dinner and we broke out the Surly for them to try - you can only buy it in MN and sometimes in surrounding states. I was actually alternating sips of beer and smoothie (which they thought looked disgusting and declined to try!)

We couldn't get into the Red Stag because it was too busy, so ended up nearby on the patio at Brasa instead. They specialize in rotisserie meats from local farms (at least that part is nice), so I ate mostly cabbage salad, collard greens, and yams, plus some white wine sangria. Don't know if it was the cabbage or what, but both Nathan and I had the worst gas after. At home around 10 p.m, I decided a piece of toast and whiskey would be just the thing to settle my stomach. (I really do believe in the curative properties of whiskey). It worked too, but all that plus mooching off some of the pasta and green beans with peanut sauce that Nathan heated up at about 11:30, left me in exactly the state I've been trying to avoid in the morning….bloated and bleary eyed.

But, yay, the (work) day is almost over, I survived a tornado touching down just about a mile away here in downtown, and I have a bowl full of leftover green smoothie waiting for me at home.

Cheers, K

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 1 - Not a smashing success

So yesterday was the first day of the Green Smoothie Challenge a.k.a. Kelly tries to get on a more adult like schedule and not feel like a$$ at work every day. Well it's 9:30 in my cubicle and I'm feeling pretty…..bleh. But at least I have a pretty good excuse. Here was my day yesterday:

-Green Smoothie (at least I got something right): 1 orange, about a cup of frozen pineapple & mango from trader joe's, huge handful of kale. This was an experimental combination and I really liked it.

-Big salad for lunch

-Snacks after work: Sprouted bread with all natural PB & honey, Carrot sticks with PB, a couple pieces of organic dark chocolate. (Note - Trader Joe's sells Ezekiel sprouted bread for less than I've seen at other places, plus their own brand and at least one other brand for way cheaper, around $3.50 a loaf)

Then I cleaned out the entire car which hadn't been done in over a year (yikes) filling a whole trash bag, because I had to go pick up a paint sprayer from my parents' and needed to make room. We are so busy for the next 2 weeks before we move into the house, repairing the floors, re-doing the ceilings, stripping wallpaper, painting, and all the additional little tasks that come with buying an old house.

By the time I got the sprayer & brought it to the house it was 10 p.m. before I got back to the apt. so that's the reason I ended up eating so late last night! I made some whole wheat pasta, boiled carrots, and sauteed collard greens with garlic and finally sat down for my ritual watching of Sex & The city reruns at 10:30 with a glass of wine (hey it was open in the fridge from last week and was gonna go bad - and yes I drank the entire remaining half bottle.)

Nathan got back from working on the house around midnight and we finally went to bed after 1. Ugh. Whatever, today's another day. Although I'll definitely end up indulging at least a bit because we're going to the Red Stag Supperclub with my relatives in town from Wales =).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spiralizer Giveaway!

Katie over at Chocolate Covered Katie is having a contest to win a spiralizer. You get 6 extra entries if you make one of her recipes and write about it on your own blog! This is so worth it people - veggies go to a totally different level when spiralized - check out a couple of my favorite zucchini noodle recipes here and here.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Green Smoothie Challenge

….or for me personally, the "I'm turning 27 and sort of want to stop feeling like a wasted college student" challenge.

I think it was fate that I happened to read Sara's Green Smoothie Challenge kickoff post this morning. The challenge starts on August 17, the day after my 27th birthday, and I feel like I could use a change.

Not that I really wish to convert overnight into a responsible adult-like person who wakes up and does yard work before noon on the weekends or anything. I still love partying, closing down the bar, having friends come over until 4 a.m. and crash on our couch, and sleeping until 2 in the afternoon.

But, this summer, it's started to get just a tiny bit old - because we do it pretty much every weekend. And some weeknights too, except not nearly to that extreme. But, there have been more and more days, especially nice weather days, where I've wished I had more energy and had ummm actually ventured outside before 4 in the afternoon.

And the weekdays are awful. Both Nathan and I are exhausted pretty much every day, dragging through the workday, and we always blame it on the fact that we're night owls and never feel like going to bed. I have a nagging suspicion though our constant tiredness could have something to do with the fact that dinner & cocktails usually start about 10 p.m. in our house.

(No not every night mother, I'm not an alcoholic.)

I've always ignored the advice that you shouldn't eat right before you sleep, but I'm so sick and tired of being tired. It leads to crankiness and lack of motivation at work and guilt for not getting more out of life.

So, it was perfect that I read that post this morning, I am so in for the 30 day challenge and hope anyone who reads this will join me, if you feel like you could use a change in your life. Even if it isn't for you, please tell anyone you know who might benefit, because these things really can make a difference. Go read the testimonials on Sara's blog Happy Foody.

Here's the description and guidelines, copied from her post (But visit her blog for more details & green smoothie recipe links):

Last year I launched the Happy Foody 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge…it was a huge success and helped many people change their eating habits. SO…we’re going to do it AGAIN! It’s the perfect time to kick start a healthier you…summer is coming to a close soon and fall upon us. Seasons are changing…and you can change too! Adding a green smoothie to your day is the BEST thing you can do to get on the path to a healthier you. When you drink a big green smoothie in the morning, it fills your body’s need for those vital nutrients to function throughout the day. You will slowly STOP CRAVING junk food. It’s like magic!

We will begin on August 17 and end on September 17. Here is what you are committing to:

Drink at least 16 oz. of green smoothie per day (a quart would be even better!)

Do some sort of activity every day. This could be an intense workout, or just dancing with your kids around the living room. It could be a 15 minute yoga session or a walk around the block.

Add a green leafy salad to your lunch or supper (with light dressing…stay away from the creamier sauces).

Stop drinking pop.

Cut out all white sugar.

So, I'm not going to be super strict about this, but just use it as a motivation to make some small changes and to start using my Vita-Mix more - my addition to the above list of commitments would be cut down on the late night eating & drinking.

And now after all those resolutions - all I can say is I'm glad this challenge starts next Monday after my birthday because Thurs. thru Sun. is gonna be one big party!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quinoa Salad

I've made this simple salad three times in the last couple weeks, it's perfect for the tomatoes & cukes in season and great if you want something heartier than a lettuce salad.

Quinoa is sort of a cross between rice and cous cous - I always thought it was a grain until a few minutes ago when I looked up the nutrition links for this post and found out it's actually the seed of a plant related to spinach and swiss chard….interesting.

Anyway I don't know why it's not more popular. It's more nutritious than brown rice (more protein and essential amino acids - check out detailed info here and here), I think it has a better, richer taste, and it's easy to cook. It is a little more expensive, but not prohibitively so. It's available in the bulk section of most larger grocery stores.


-Cooked Quinoa
-Tomatoes, cut in chunks -Cucumber, peeled & cut in chunks
-Olive oil
-Lemon Juice
-Garlic, Parsley, or Mint (optional)

1. To cook quinoa: Rinse thoroughly, because it has a coating that can leave a bitter taste. Combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water, bring water to boil, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed. I like to just under cook it so it has a creamier texture.

2. Combine all ingredients to your taste, depending on how veggie/garlic/oil/herb loving or averse your crowd is. I like about equal parts quinoa and veggies, equal parts oil and lemon juice, and just a few shakes of garlic powder.

If you want to make this a raw dish, I hear quinoa is quick & easy to sprout, but I've never tried it.

In other news….

Posting has been sparse everything's been so busy - we closed on the house last Friday and have been out almost every night of the week, playing tennis, showing everyone the house, taking days off work, drinking on patios, hosting a couple parties with only folding chairs, snacks, and drinks (no one seemed to notice we don't have furniture or decorations. Who says it takes a lot to throw a party?) and meeting our neighbors.

Happy August everyone….we have 2 good warm months left here in MN, get out and enjoy them!