Remember me? and some eggplant.

Hello Healthy People!

It has been an extraordinary amount of time since I have posted –and for that I am sorry! I sort of took a hiatus to focus on life post grad, love, work, etc etc.  *cue corny love song*

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Good news: In August I moved back to Virginia to live in the DC metro area… surprisingly one of the healthiest and most active populations in the country! I work here now and have a very balanced and happy life.

capitol

But I found I really missed writing so here I am once again.

ALSO I MISSED SHARING RECIPES.

Here is my version of healthy baked eggplant parmesan with fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes.

eggplant

Ingredients: (I prefer organic, but it’s up to you!)

(1) Fresh Eggplant

Fresh Mozzarella (whole –usually it soaks in water to stay fresh)

One Jar of tomato sauce

(2) tomatoes

1/2 a bag of smoked julienne cut sun dried tomatoes

shredded mozzarella

italian breadcrumbs (whole wheat, or you can make your own!)

(1) egg

1 tbsp of milk

flour

fresh ground salt and pepper

olive oil

Fresh Garlic Cloves

fresh basil

splash of water

FYI this recipe might seem like a pain in the glutes but it is SOOOO worth it!!!

How to prepare:

1.) I began by slicing up the eggplant…you want to try to get the slices about 1/4 inch thick and all about the same size so they cook at the same rate.

2.) Then I have two bowls– one filled with a cup of flour, the other filled with an egg wash which is the egg, milk, splash of water to thin it out and then whisked to mix it all together.

3.) Beside the bowls I have a large plate with the italian seasoned bread crumbs and the pepper and salt.

4.) Dip the eggplant into the flour to begin, on both sides.

5.) Next both sides get dipped into the eggwash

6.) The slice is then put on the italian breadcrumbs and flipped so both sides are covered. Then the pepper and salt are ground on top of each side.

7.) The slices are put onto a baking pan and drizzled all over with olive oil –and put into a broiler.

8.) The amount of time you broil or bake the eggplant in the initial process is up to you. It took me about 10 min each side before the eggplant was golden enough for me to finish the prepping. Golden on both sides is the goal–I even prefer a little brown.

9.) During the broiling process I minced garlic, sliced the tomatoes and mozz, and rinsed the basil.

10.) In my baking casserole dish I drizzled tomato sauce into the bottom with some minced garlic.

11.) I took slices of eggplant (about 6) and covered the bottom of the dish. It’s ok if there is glass of the dish showing.

12.) I topped the slices with a spoonful of sauce, a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella, some garlic, and another slice of eggplant.

13.) On top of the top layer of eggplant I drizzled tomato sauce, sprinkled the sun dried tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, crushed pepper and salt, and a piece of fresh basil.

14.) I put the rest of the sauce in between the eggplant to serve as a sauce on the side of the dish.

14.) Finally I heat the oven the 400 degrees and cooked the eggplant for about 25-30 minutes covered in foil with the shiny side face down.

Then I cleaned up the tremendous amount of flour all over my nike workout shirt and kitchen floor.

 

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Happy eating and exercising,

XOXO

Jess

Black Bean Burgers

Happy Tuesday Healthy People!!!

(I don’t think he got his awesome 300 physique eating burgers….just sayin’)

When I was little my cousins had this “Burger King” fake plastic play set up that we would play pretend and make burgers. Only problem is when I was little, for some reason there was noooo way I could pronounce Burger.  Every time I said it, it sounded like BOOOOGER.  Cute. Slash gross.  Anyways, all of the other 5 year olds loved this and made me be the drive thru window person who has to repeat burger the most. Needless to say…I was a vegetarian so the word burger didn’t even need to be located in my vocabulary…until…

BLACK BEAN BURGERS.

Let me just be honest. These burgers are BANGIN’

I found this recipe from webmd.com so you know it’s definitely legit.

But like I’ve said before I change up all my recipes from time to time so I like to put avocado spread or guacamole on mine or sometimes break it up and throw it over salad to lessen my carb intake.

Vegetarian, vegan (replace the egg with egg replacement!), carnivore, prescatarian, whomever you are….you gotta try this!!!

We are always looking to expand the diversity of food so you’re in for a treat.

This week’s challenge is to try a JUICE at least once!!! If you have a juicer…great! If not head to your nearest organic food place or google where there is one closest to you.  Seriously, you will get hooked on micronutrients in no time!

Happy Eating and Exercising,

XOXO

Jess

Dietitian’s tip:These black bean burgers may be prepared ahead of time and frozen. They’re higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, so they make an excellent stand-in for regular hamburgers.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Serves 6

Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
    • 3 cups water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, peeled and seeded then diced
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
    • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
    • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and chopped
    • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 green (spring) onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 3/4 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs
    • 6 whole-grain hamburger buns
    • 6 slices tomato
    • 6 slices red onion
    • 3 bibb lettuce leaves, halved

Directions

In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the beans, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaf.

While the beans are cooking, combine the tomatoes, half the yellow onion, half the garlic, the tomato paste, vinegar, chipotle chili, 3/4 teaspoon of the cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is a thick sauce, about 5 minutes. Set the chipotle ketchup aside to cool.

In a frying pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium heat. Add the remaining yellow onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and the remaining garlic and saute until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool. Set the pan aside.

In a food processor, combine the drained beans, onion mixture, brown rice, pecans, green onion, the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse several times until the mixture is coarsely pureed. Fold in the beaten egg and bread crumbs. Form the mixture into 6 patties, each about 3/4-inch thick.

In the same pan used for the onion mixture, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides and heated through, 7 to 9 minutes total.

Serve each burger on a bun topped with 1 tomato slice, 1 onion slice, 1/2 lettuce leaf and a dollop of the ketchup.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size: 1 prepared burger
Calories 389 Sodium 791 mg
Total fat 11 g Total carbohydrate 59 g
Saturated fat 1 g Dietary fiber 15 g
Monounsaturated fat 5 g Protein 16 g
Cholesterol 35 mg

Garlic White Wine Sauce (Vegan meal and Vegetarian Versions)!

Happpy WINES-day Healthy People!!!

I hope you had a wonderful Hump Day so far…Today inspired me to create a new recipe for both vegans or vegetarians and/or anyone who likes tasty good food!

WINE. Wein. Vino. вино. 酒. نبيذ. vin. wino. vang.

No matter what language you say it in, wine still tastes just as good 🙂

So tonight I decided to make whole wheat pasta with steamed broccoli and a garlic white wine sauce with pine nuts, the vegetarian version adds goat cheese!

Let’s Cook

To begin, set up your pasta and boil it.

Wash and rinse your organic broccoli and put it in a steamer of some sort (you can always microwave if you need to!)

mhmmm Broccoli!!!

Then start to make your sauce by getting a large sauté pan. MOST recipes say put in like a ridiculous amount of butter….

And since I wanted to make a vegan version of this/ I’m not a fan of butter I chose the following ingredients:

1.) Olive Oil

2.) White Wine

3.) Garlic

4.) Pine Nuts

5.) Almond Milk

6.) Basil

7.) Salt and Pepper

8.) Flour

early stages of sauce making...

So here’s the plan. I turned the burner on med high heat to begin drizzled some olive oil into the pan (maybe 1 tsp) and added 1 tbsp Garlic.

Coated the pan with the mixture, swirling it around.

Reduced Heat to Medium

Added 1 Cup of White Wine, I chose Chardonnay because I had it in my fridge…

Using a whisk, whisk it all up together.

Start to add seasonings, I had the salt and pepper grinders and would add as I went so it infused with the flavors.

I added 1/4 cup of pine nuts (this is for protein for all the vegans out there)

As I whisked I added about 1/8 cup more of olive oil, give or take…you don’t want it to be too oily because that’s fats although healthy fats you want to be aware of the amount!

Add more minced fresh garlic! I added a looottt because I love the flavors together. Up to you but I added about a tbsp more.

….might’ve added a little bit more wine…. (shhhh)

Then I reduced the heat to medium low and whisked in about 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (because that’s what I had, I’m sure the regular one would work just as well)

As I was whisking I sprinkled in about a tsp of flour to thicken it a little bit, but remember this is an oil base dressing like sauce so it’s not going to be thick.

I kept the heat on low and added the broccoli to the mixture soaking up the flavors. Once the pasta was cooked I added that too and swirled around.

Put it on a plate, poured a glass of wine and added a little bit more ground pepper.

Bon Appetit!

….BUT….

I decided since I’ve been craving goat cheese lately (I know weird, esp with this vegan thing…) I would make an exception and add some to this dish. IT was sooo delicious. I planned on adding sundried tomatoes but realized I didn’t have any at home… 😦 but next time I would definitely add them or even roasted red peppers. This dish can be enjoyed hot or cold which is great to make the night before and have for lunch the next day #winning !

So I hope you can enjoy this dish someday, always feel free to make it yours with different ingredients–that’s what I love about cooking: it’s like art and you are the artiiist!

Happy Eating and Exercising,

XOXO

Jess

Baked Zucchini Sticks from another blogger!

Hey Healthy People!!!

I am currently absorbed in my Capstone Paper right now so instead of being super awesome and writing my own post I’m going to share another bloggers recipe for baked Zucchini Sticks. Mhmm…

This is probably what I look like after staring at my computer for so long…

And when I turn this paper in….

Here’s a preview of the Zucchini Post:

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Caramelized Onion Dipping Sauce

Yesterday in Boston was BEAUTIFUL. Made me glad that I’m holding on to summer with all that I have. I’ve definitely moved into the late-summer produce. We’re getting a lot of squash and potatoes in our CSA box instead of the corn and tomatoes of a few weeks ago… Luckily I really like squash and potatoes and they don’t scream fall (at least not to me).

Click on Beantown Baker to be taken directly to the post and see the recipe!!!
I hope you are keeping up with this week’s challenge!!!
Happy eating and exericising,
XOXO
Jess

Breakfast > All other meals.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and therefore breakfast foods can be consumed at any point throughout the day… Breakfast for dinner anyone?  In the morning however, it is also substantially one of the most important meals because you are essentially breaking the fast. Waking up your metabolism and preparing for the day. If you skip breakfast you are more likely to have cravings and eat unhealthy throughout the day.

So this whole vegan thing is realllllly changing me. I’ve read a few books on it, watched a few documentaries and as my personal experience can confirm it is definitely challenging. But is it worth it? Almost two weeks into the process and I would say…yes.

I know in the beginning of the experiment I was almost pained by the difficulties of becoming a vegan.  I was naive in assuming it wouldn’t be that large of a change between being a vegetarian to a vegan (I mean we already both ate lots of tofu)… I even posted how ridiculous it is to confine yourself to something so restrictive.  But after educating myself on a lot of different issues I find myself leaning towards the vegan lifestyle completely. I mean we as humans are the only species that drinks another animals milk? weird huh.

 

Well anyways here are my top ten VEGAN Breakfast foods:

 

1.) Irish Style Steel Cut Oatmeal topped with berries and agave syrup

2.) Cereal (I prefer Hearty Bran) with Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk (I love unsweeted vanilla almond milk)

3.) Amy’s Brand Tofu Scramble-doesn’t taste like eggs but it’s good!

4.) Breakfast Burrito sans eggs, WW tortilla with black beans and veggies.

5.) Green Power Smoothie with Soy Protein instead of designer whey

6.) Vegan Pancakes: Apparently (Haven’t tried this yet) You can replace each egg with 1 T ground flaxseeds and 2 T water, and sub soymilk with a little bit of cider vinegar for the buttermilk.  Instead of all white flour I recommend subbing half for whole wheat and always topping with some fruit!

7.) Fruit Salad! All your favorite fruits. Sprinkle some Truvia (stevia naural sweetener) if you need some extra sweetness.

8.) Frozen Vegan Waffles! I like the Van’s Lite or Blueberry Kinds

9.) Soy Yogurt (check the labels, some have milk products, I prefer Silk in Raspberry)

10.) Vegan Breakfast Bar (when you’re on the go!)

 

So now that you have a few breakfast options, maybe think about incorporating more Vegan meals into your everyday routine. You too might find some benefits in veganism, one bite at a time.

 

 

 

Happpy eating!!!

xoxo,

J

P.S. Monday starts a new fitness challenge of the week, make sure you are keeping up with this week’s parking as far away as possible from any place you drive to! (ie grocery store)

Coconut Curry Tofu with Veggies, Vegan!

Aloha world.

Since I imagine you like this pondering over the tofu section at the grocery store, similar to how I was before this guide:

Plato, the great philosopher

I found this guide to tofu if you ever questioned which firmness to buy at the grocery store:

This has been my favorite vegan recipe so far! 

Whatdoyaneed?

1 can of UNSWEETENED light coconut milk

1 package of extra firm tofu, drain and cubed

2 “mississippis” of oil (either peanut, olive, etc) drizzled around the pan

1 small onion, chopped

minced garlic

2 tsps of curry powder aka take the lid off and just eyeball how much you want

chop up cilantro and add one tight fistful

seasonings: garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, turmeric

Veggies: anything youuuu want! I did 1 yellow bell pepper and brocolli

Howdoyoucookit?

Simmer, mhmm smells so good!

Begin by heating the large sauce pan on medium heat putting the oil, garlic and onion in and allowing it to simmer. Next add the can of coconut milk.  YUM.  Every time I say coconut I think of the song “put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up, she put the lime in the coconut called the doctor woke him up said DOCTOR is there nothing I can take, DOCTOR to relieve my belly ache”…not even sure if those are the right lyrics that’s like a decade old song…and now you all just witness my stream of conciousness.

Just ignore the can of bud light in the corner...not mine lol

ANYWAYS.

Allow for the mixture to bubble. Add as many spices as you want. I added the curry and tumeric, salt and cayenne–I like it spicy so I added some hot pepper sesame oil too!

Spice it up!

Add the veggies and put down to a med-low heat and cover. Stir every couple of minutes or so with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Why is tofu so weird looking?

Steam the veggies by covering with a lid….for about 6-8 minutes

steam it up baby!

Taste to make sure it is done before removing it from the stove! Aka it’s hot enough and tastes so good and doesn’t need additional seasonings.

I served it with organic Quinoa! THIS WAS SO GOOD. Seriously. Like a flavorful travel experience in my mouth.

So here’s to happy and healthy eating! Did you remember the fitness challenge of the week? Always use the stairs! Have you been able to defeat that challenge so far? Keep it up!!!!

xoxo,

J

To become a vegan or to not…that is the question

At four years old I decided to stop eating red meat because I wanted to be more like my mom. I kept eating chicken for a while but soon after gave that up too as a kid. In 8th grade I gave up eggs just because the thought of them freaked me out but started eating them again in high school because I needed “protein in my diet.”  I occasionally eat fish…so you could call me a “pescatarian.”  The Mediterranean diet has been noted by a lot of researchers and doctors of the health benefits to following a diet of lean proteins, no red meats, lots of fruits and veggies and very little breads and simple sugars.

 

But in this world, not eating steak or a hamburger is sometimes like having the plague. When I admit that I don’t eat meat….that’s usually the face I get (below).

YOU’RE A VEGETARIAN??? HOW?!?!?

Then there are always those people when asked why they are a vegetarian/vegan/raw dieter etc etc… act like the following:

 

 

But I try to explain myself. I used to think that if I could not physically kill the animal that I should not be allowed to eat it. I have caught and ate fish…I could not see myself killing a cow, or a chicken etc. But that argument was debated by so many carnivores that I sort of gave up on it. I have thought about starting to incorporate meat into my diet. Even my future boss (post-graduation) is convinced red meat is necessary in one’s diet for muscle strength and rebuilding tissues/fibers. However, how does a horse become so muscular and strong? Does it eat meat? no.  There is science that suggests that humans should be plant eaters due to the nature of our jaw. No meat eating animal has the ability to move its jaw side to side. Usually it is an open close, straight up and down mechanism. Look at alligators, dogs, cats, lions…they all have the carnivore jaw.

 

But this does not mean I can tell anyone what they should eat by no means. And I respect the same in return. I often say ohhh yeah I’m weird I don’t eat meat which serves as an ice breaker and also a way to not be served meat. Especially when it sort of grosses you out at this point (no offense but me and the meat aisle at the grocery store stay far away from each other).

 

So I am now contemplating the benefits of becoming a vegan. I know it is a difficult thing to do. I would have to give up my favorite things…omelets, greek yogurt, sushi, and feta cheese. Oh and ICE CREAM. But I am curious to see the effects to my body as a runner and athlete. So I am proposing a one month vegan challenge from March 12th to April 12th. I will post in a section called the “Vegan Diaries” about the recipes I use and the challenges I have. Nonetheless it should be an interesting experience. And the goal of adding more healthy foods to my diet will be assisted by the natural vegan constraints.

Just so you know Vegans must take a supplement called B12 which is only found in animals. Sometimes Vitamin D is taken as well but if you live in a sunny place…like Florida, you don’t need to have that as a supplement.

 

Happy Vegan-ing 

xoxo,

J

 

Healthy Quinoa Salad

For years I’ve been hearing about how healthy this “quinoa” stuff is.  I am a big wild rice fan so it took me a while to experiment with this new foreign grain.  Mini uhh balls is basically how I could explain it. Gluten Free and healthy!  It doesn’t have much of a taste but it is great with this dish! I’m excited for all of the recipes I will make with this in the future. I decided to make a salad dish I could bring with me to Virginia Tech this weekend for the Southeastern 2012 Fitness Expo.  I remember last year we worked out A LOT so I wanted to bring healthy snacks and drinks to keep it allll balanced out =)

VT Fitness Expo, Click to check out Website!

So I couldn’t come up with a name for this salad other than quino-whaaat?

Begin by Gathering all of the ingredients:

1.) Quinoa

2.) Tomatoes

3.) Spinach

4.) Basil

5.) Type of White Bean (I chose canellini)

6.) Smoked Sun Dried Tomatoes of course…

Dressing Ingredients:

1.) Minced Garlic

2.) Olive Oil

3.) Balsamic Vinegar

4.) Salt and Pepper

5.) Zest of a small lemon

Dressing


What
now?

1.) Start with putting 2 cups water into a sauce pan adding one cup of quinoa. Get the water to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover (cook 10-15 min more, until water evaporates)

2.) Cut up tomatoes

3.) Put basil leaves and spinach (2 handfuls) into a food processor or in my poor college student case a blender….

4.) In a bowl add tomatoes, and greens.

5.) Drain beans and add them to bowl.

6.) Start to drizzle olive oil and the vinegar around the dish, along with seasoning (always season as you go!)

7.) Add quinoa once it is finished and mix it all together.

8.) Add minced garlic and lemon zest.

9.) Finish with adding sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese if you’d like!

GREAT SNACK/Small meal…it is delicious! I was actually surprised. I think it sitting overnight will be even more flavorful for tomorrow’s full day of working out. Stay tuned in the next couple of days about my experience at the fitness expo!!!  Expo is a great time to learn, workout and critique fitness–so I most definitely intend on sharing my thoughts with you all!

I do think next time I might chop up an onion to create some more flavor and possibly add mini mozzarella balls to accompany the flavors, almost becoming a caprese salad.

HEALTHY AND TASTY!

 

bon appetit!

xoxo

J