Chocolate Coconut Butter!!!...And Quinoa Lentil Salad

Lentil Quinoa Salad 
Quinoa Lentil Salad

  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 1 cup Lentils
  • 1 ear of Corn 
  • Dried Mint
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Lime Juice & Zest
  • 2 cups Spinach 
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Mint
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes 
Place 1/2 cup of Quinoa in microwave safe dish with 1 cup water, cover and microwave on high for 8-9 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, place 2 cups water, 1 cup lentils, 1 bay leaf and 1 tablespoon dried mint in medium saucepan, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once quinoa is done, put whole ear of corn in microwave for 2-3 minutes. 

Cut corn off cob, fluff quinoa with a fork, remove bay leaf from lentils and combine all three ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add lime zest and juice, spinach, tomatoes, fresh basil, mint and cucumbers. 

I ate mine mixed with 1 T cashew hummus and with an egg on the side. YUM!

But, the real deliciousness came after dinner of course. CHOCOLATE COCONUT BUTTER on Dark Chocolate Bread!! Life can't get better than that. 

Chocolate Bread with Chocolate Coconut Butter 
Chocolate Coconut Butter
  • 2 cups Coconut, shredded & unsweetened
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate 
Blend in food process for 5-10 minutes. End result= smooth delicious coconut butter! No need to put in the fridge hardens at room temp! 

Chocolate Bread
  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 5-7 drops stevia liquid sweetener 
Place 2/3 cup rice & 1 cup water in bowl and soak overnight (in fridge). Rinse and drain rice. Then everything into the food processor. Grease 8 inch round pan and pour liquid batter into pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. 

Bread is a little chewy and mine wasn't sweet at all, but topped with Chocolate Coconut Butter..I can't get ENOUGH!!! Maybe next time I will add a few more drops of Stevia. I'm still very confused about my stevia argument. The one and only reason I am trying it is because our past dietitian that had a really great outlook on food and total body health thought stevia in small doses wasn't bad. She had done a lot of research and stevia has been around for A LONG time...we just now got it in the US because in large doses we don't know what it will really do....And here in the US we don't seem to know how to do things in small doses. 

So, I'm trying it out. One drop in my coffee w/ almond milk in the morning was wonderful! 

How to Poach an Egg: Eggs Benedict Placebo Style

Today's Lunch:

Eggs Benedict with Sauteed Carrots & Tomatoes Topped with Fresh Basil

Homemade "Hollandaise Sauce"
  • 1 Tablespoon Cashew Hummus
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon water
Carrots & Tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato
  • S&P
  • Fresh basil
Saute, season and devourer!

Dinner tonight was a little different. I now know I hate celery. Weird right? Celery isn't really all the flavorful and I love crunch, but two different food items have lead met to this discovery.

  1. Cosmic Coconut: Organic Go Green Juice= the celery/peppery flavor was so overpowering I couldn't get over it. 
  2. Homemade "Sloppy Joes" with ground celery seed= same sweetish/peppery flavor that reminds me of a bloody mary. 
Well the Homemade Sloppy Joes were still good, just very different.

Homemade Sloppy Joes:
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef (grass fed/regional which means it came all the way from east GA....)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 T onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 T chilli powder
  • 1/2 t celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • S&P
  • Tons of red pepper flakes and ground red pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce 
  • 1 Tablespoon Siracha 
Saute and eat over fresh spinach greens. On the side I had my own quick version of ratatouille!

Quick Ratatouille
  • 1/2 teaspoon ghee 
  • 3 baby Hansel and Gretel Eggplant, sliced
  • 1, 15oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano  
Saute and enjoy for a quick side dish or main meal over rice. 

I did more cooking today for the week, but hopefully I will get a post up tomorrow with the details of the lovely Quinoa Lentil Salad I made for the week! 

You will notice some changes in the recipes for the next few weeks. Once again, I am trying a new approach to eating. I tried Gluten Free and it just didn't work for me. It taught me a lot though. It help me incorporate more veggies into my diet and not be so afraid of meat/seafood (two major food sources!) 

I still wasn't really happy with what I was eating though and analyzed my diet for a few weeks to see what was missing. I found out 4 huge holes/over-following areas I really need to revamp and redo.
  • Potassium: Some days I wouldn't even get 50% of the K+ I need in a day! 
  • Calcium: Still struggling to get enough since I don't do dairy. Greek Yogurt is strained 3x removing the majority of the whey protein which is where most of the calcium is found...and GY is the only kind of yogurt I eat
  • SUGAR!!!: Some days, even though I was eating a "normal" amount of calories my sugar intake was close to 90grams! That is more than double what you need in a day...One day I took in 300% of the Sugar I needed in the day and only 1500 calories...For me 1500 calories is NOTHING! I normally eat between 2000-2500.
  • Fat: Always too low! Could this possibily be why I was eating so much sugar? Not having enough fat always ends in feeling unsatisfied and needing something NOW and for me that always means something sweet. 
So my big question was where was all the sugar coming from and do I REALLY need it all? I do exercise a lot, but 90g of straight up sugar just seems like TOO much. I don't eat a lot of cookies,cakes or sweets (minus the daily intake of dark chocolate) what was the culprit? Fruit mainly (dried and whole) and silly things like sandwich thins, adding 1/2 t of agave to coffee, the Mango Salsa I made had 26g of sugar in 1 serving (only 136 calories...but 26grams of sugar!). 

Something just wasn't lining up. It just didn't seem right to get all the sugar in. So, I've decided to try (and who knows how long this kick will last..) to eliminate all sugars for a bit and just see how I feel (Fruits included...aahhh!!) 

New plan:
  • Only using foods that have been on Earth or a LONG time. 
  • Removing all added sugars, fruits included (well, not tomatoes?)
  • Increasing the amount of fat intake with meats, 2% Fage Yogurt, Unsweetened Chocolate and Nut Butters 
  • Decreasing the amount of oil (canola and all seed oils are HIGHLY processed and haven't been around that long) and increasing the amount of clarified butter (ghee--through clarification process lactose is removed) 
  • Let me clarify: I'm not cutting out Carbohydrates, I'm decreasing the amount of sugar in my diet..Big Difference! 
So we shall see how it goes! I'll keep you updated on energy levels, mood swings, exercise mentality, sleeping and food cravings!

Yah! Bought a Basil Plant: I know it is late in the Season! Replant & hoping it won't die!

Summertime Veggie Burger

This was lunch all week.
Local tomatoes, cucumbers and sprouts, Homemade Cashew Hummus and a little spicy brown mustard, Amy's Bistro Burger and a Whole Wheat Sandwich thin. Satisfying and delicious.

Veggie Burger Delight 

Bennett-Burk's Farm Cucumbers and Tomatoes 
Homemade Cashew Hummus
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • Juice from 1 lemon 
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • 2 T Tahini 
  • S&P
  • Hungarian Paprika 
  • Onion Powder & Garlic Powder 

Fish Tacos, Mint Mango Salsa and Yogurt Jalapeno Lime Sauce

Beautiful Evening

*Disclaimer: Blogging and Journaling have a lot in common. However, for me they are almost polar opposites. I've found in the past I only journal when things are rough and I need to vent (therefore--I never go back and read my journals...would not be considered a good pick-me-up). Blogging on the other hand I only feel like doing when I'm in good spirits. This most likely brings us back to the italics post--blog land. I feel I must mystify my world in order to show to internet land. Hopefully this meal and pictures will do the trick. (If you actually spoke with me this weekend, you know it was really wasn't all that great of a weekend--But Harry did try his best to cheer me up!) 

The weather some how has seem to take a break from the unbearable heat this weekend. This meant spending as much time as possible outside before the heat hits us again. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday by the pool, Saturday night porch-sitting (so wonderful that this verb has finally reentered my vocabulary--porch-sitting was a daily occurrence in Charleston) and tonight I tackled my first grilling experiment!

Mint Mango Salsa

Mint Mango Salsa
  • 1 mango
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomtoes
  • 1 cucumber 
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Juice of 1 lime

Cherries, Yogurt Jalapeno Lime Sauce and Salsa

Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 
  • 1 whole Jalapeno
  • 1 whole cucumber 
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin 
Blend in food processor. 

Final Product: Grilled Corn Tortilla and Tilapia with Mint Mango Salsa and Yogurt Jalapeno Sauce

Fish Marinade: 
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Red Pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
Warning: The Yogurt Sauce and Salsa are HOTT!! I even had to get out some extra yogurt to put on top. Maybe seed the jalapeno for the yogurt sauce too, I just threw it in whole.

Blueberry Morning

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Berry Soft Serve 

For some reason this weekend I was itching to do some baking. These days I normally hate to bake.

The funny thing is that baking is how it all started for me. I've heard the story a zillion times: Dad sleeping, mom and siblings out, me smiling sweetly asking daddddyyy can I do an speriment? answered with a grunt. My three year old self dashes to the kitchen-- grabbing butter, sugar, flour, maybe a few eggs: starting my very first baking venture.

This was followed with mint cakes dyed green (my sister and brother forced a bite down, eyeing the other with helpless expressions of concern and worry), endless chocolate chip cookies, friends spending the night and instead of watching our non-existent cable getting busy in the kitchen: cream cheese brownies, 3 layer chocolate cake, strawberry pie, pumpkin muffins...I could go on forever. I loved baking from age 3 to probably 20.

 During my second year of college I moved into a house with a kitchen (no more dorm living! thank goodness) and this is when I found my real love for cooking. No need to measure, mix exactly right and if it doesn't taste quite right add a few more spices and you'll be somewhere just as good--if not at the exact place the recipe had in mind. This is when my love affair with baking ended. Who wants to spend so much time going back and forth from the computer to make sure the measurements are right: this much vanilla, flour and sugar?

So this weekend started with a full forced memory of why I still hate baking. Yesterday afternoon I decided to try out a Black Bean Brownie Recipe. And, yes that sounds gross, but I've heard so much about them I wanted to try it out. I looked around and combined a few recipes, but mainly followed one pretty closely. However, I just couldn't bring myself to add 2 1/2 cups of sugar. So, I cut the sugar in half, added extra cocoa to make it dark chocolate, added coconut and almonds to make it a Dark Chocolate Almond Joy Brownie. Well as good as it sounds, GROSS. And, the worst part is that I made them in mini-muffin tins and I kept trying them because I thought surely this one will taste better? No..well maybe this one? 1000s of calories later, a tummy-ache and lost of wasted ingredients I threw them all away. Wasteful, yes, but much better than keeping them around and making myself sick.

Black Bean Brownies in Trash

So this morning to redeem myself I woke up wanting to try again. I decided to make some Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes served with Dark Chocolate Banana-Berry Soft Serve. DELICIOUS! They were filling and perfect for a beautiful Saturday morning. If you've never tried making Banana Soft Serve, you must. It is a great ice cream replacement. I made extra today, popped it in the freezer and in hopes that it will keep me from buying the $5 coconut ice cream this week.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning house and getting organized. The biggest change was in the screened in porch, so I will show the before and after of this room only. As things throughout the house get better I will keep sharing! (Some rooms I forgot to take before pictures though, but just imagine great house with lots of dust and a dark color scheme.)

Glass Castle: Before

After: And Don't Ask How I moved the Swing or Table Alone..I just did.

I ended the day with yoga: 40 people, 105 degrees and lots of sweat...I needed a smoothie for dinner and fast! Delicious Summer Melon Smoothie to replenish and replace those electrolytes: 10g Protein, 8g Fiber, 108% of VitA, 62% VitC, 32% Calcium, 10% Iron and 23% Potassium. 

Summer Melon Smoothie

Summer Melon Smoothie:
  • 1/4 cantaloupe 
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 t agave nectar
  • 2 cinnamon 
  • Ice 

Food Update

It has been so long since I've done a food update, I don't even know if I can remember all these recipes? But, I guess we will start with Breakfast, work towards Lunch and Dinner and end with my sweet (both sweet in thought and sweet in taste) snack bars.

Here goes nothing...If you make these at home and they taste awful, most likely means I did something completely different and have no idea what it is..that is the hardest part of writing up a recipe..I never ever measure.

Guess it goes back to the days of my Mother saying: "A big squeeze of Dijon"..."Well Mrs. W, a big squeeze of Dijon for you will most likely not be the same as a big squeeze of Dijon for an ex-ole-miss football player?" (As my mother tried to write down her famous balasmic dressing recipe for our youth director).

Spinach Eggs, Local Berries and Cantaloupe and Dark Chocolate Coffee Shake 

I know I can remember this one. This is what breakfast looks like Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday I make an after yoga blend at work: Coffee, PB, cocoa powder, vanilla and frozen banana.

I first heat up the olive oil in the skillet, put in a whole cup of spinach and allow it to slightly wilt. Then crack in the whole egg. Wait until the clear part of the egg turns white, then cut open the egg yolk and quickly scramble the eggs. I like my eggs a little runny. Salt and pepper and YUM!

Cornmeal Crust Veggie Pizza with Vegan Cheese and Fresh Basil

This was dinner last Monday (4th of July). I blindly went to Whole Foods after yoga and just walked around without a plan for dinner or the week. My newest goal is MEAL PLANNING!! I'm super jealous of my sister and fiancee and their huge success with meal planning= delicious meals, saves money, uses up random Kashi Wild Rice Package from 2010 and best of all beautiful pictures that have recently been uploaded on facebook. Y'all interested in being a guest on the blog? Very hesitant to ask due to the fact that the pictures and recipes most likely will be the champions of the blog!

XX$ later I came home still unsure what dinner would actually turn into. I sauteed zucchini, onions, red peppers and garlic in olive oil. Seasoned with favorite spices: Hungarian paprika and S&P. Lined a store bought frozen cornmeal crust with TN tomato slices, fresh basil, veggie blend and crumbed on some cheddar vegan cheese (made out of almonds??). The end result = tasty and messy, vegan cheese does not act as a very good binding agent. Next pizza will feature some type of sauce. This pizza desperately needed some glue.

Shrimp Cakes, Coconut Crust Tilapia/Spicy Asparagus,Coconut Ice cream/TN Peaches & Dark  Choc Almonds

So, theses three pictures represent moving week = clean out freezer.

Shrimp cakes = disastrous. I will try them again in the future and I did eat them, but the recipe is not worth sharing. I know I can make them good, but I didn't want to buy any new ingredients so the salsa was bland and the cakes could have used some more veggies.

My go to: Coconut crusted fish. Of course this was good. Tilpia fillet with olive oil, hungarian paprika, red pepper, cumin, S&P and dash of cinn covered with coconut and broiled 10-12 minutes. Served with spicy Aspargus and Onions. I got on an Aspargus kick.
Here are two variations both delicious, roasted at 400 for 8-10 minutes perfect appetizer:

  • 1 t Olive oil, S&P and lemon juice
  • 1 t Olive oil, S&P, Hungarian paprika and onions 
Last pic is my newest yet expensive obbession: coconut milk ice cream. Everyone knows a beach trip without Ben& Jerry's is not a beach trip. So, I had to find something to cure the cravings while I watched everyone else chow down on New York Super Fudge Chuck (NYSFC) and Cherries Garcia. 1/2 cup only has 100 calories (NYSFC 400+), but interestingly has about 25% of your sat fat needs for the day. We know coconut has a lot of sat fat, but is that something I really need to worry about since I rarely ever eat meat? I think not, because I love coconut and coconut ice cream! The bigger concern is it is about 5$ for a pint. 

Cran-Cashew Almond "Thank-You" Snack Bars

And finally we made it to the snack bars. My flight out of Pensacola was of course delayed (worst kind of delay with us sitting on the airplane on the runway.) So, estimated arrive time in Memphis was around 1am. Who other than my dearest brother and sister-in law would want to pick me up at the airport? Very sweet, I knew they were tired and it was the last thing they wanted to do. But, I was really grateful and made them some snack bars to take with them to their final destination: the gillionth wedding of the year. We will disregard that I did not hear the final verdict on their taste...(I did hear in a round about way finally that they were greatly appreciated and passed out to everyone in the hotel room....possibly this will provoke a comment on this post? ha)

I will have to rack my brain to think up exactly how I made these. I will add a link to the recipe soon, but the biggest tip is to dump the mixture in wax paper, use hands to spread out, then using the back of the knife along the edges to push them together to make the edges pretty!

Off to complete the errands for the day! And, thank goodness I'm not a crazy lune: I found my comforter. I somehow managed to lose a full size huge comforter in college. I just don't get how you lose something that large, but I was starting to think it must not be that hard when I couldn't find my comforter for 2 weeks now since I've moved into the Harbert House (pictures of the house to come!)

Vaca,Wedding,Sick,Work,Famous,Work,Move,Work,Move,Paint, Clean,Move,Sleep,Run,Yoga,Vaca

Playing with new Garmin HR Monitor

Crazy Pictures of the Moon

Very Common Afternoon...Ipad and 2 Computers

Beach Fun

Crazy times = exhaustion. I went from a week of relaxing vacation (somehow I always seem to need a week off after vacation to catch up from vacation) straight to Tupelo, MS for my first High School Friend's Wedding.

We reminisced about our 10 year plus friendships and repeatedly expressed our confusion/concern on how it was actually possible for one of us to be getting married. Sixteen groomsmen and bridesmaids later we were hit by Mississippi heat and some good 'ole Memphis rap/Motown music. Two hours in we were all gathering around the fans dripping sweat and guzzling another beer trying to remedy our dry throats. Even though our Hog call put their Hotty Toddy cheer to shame, we were not the only ones creating a ruckus on the dance floor. Here is a clip of the whole wedding party getting down while the band took a short break (notice all the groomsmen changed to matching tennis shoes for the reception).

Tupelo Wedding

The wedding ended with quite a few scenes that could be written in italics, but in order to save the dignity and spare embarrassment of my dear friends we shall skip right over the lingering smell of throw up.

The wedding buzz wore off immediately with the return to Memphis.I trudged through the work week, each morning downing several glasses of tea, plus any other meds that could possibly help a sore throat, cough and stuffy noise.

The week included millions of dirty Kleenexes, a 2 second blip on CBS The Early Show (please disregard the extreme country accent, blaming on sickness Church Health Center CBS The Early Show), a promotion, and moving to the Harbert House.

Not Even Mentioned..Sheer Exhaustion Cleaning Out Nanny's House/the Glass Castle

Growing up one of my favorite books was If you Give a Mouse A Cookie. I think I really just liked it because I love cookies and goodness gracious I can't even drink milk anymore, so please can this book stop haunting my life.

If you give my father a project, he will ask for a wrench, if you give him a wrench he will find a rusty pipe, if he finds a rusty pipe, he will ask to buy a new sink, if he buys a new sink he will have to buy a new cabinet, if you give him a new cabinet, he will install the dishwasher and if he does indeed install that dishwasher he will find a leak.

This time frame that we are covering does include the wonderful holiday of Father's Day. And I could not be more thankful that my good 'ole Dad can install fans, shower heads, dishwashers and disposals. But, somehow the Wills Family will always and forever be under the If you give a Mouse a Cookie spell and I guess I should be glad because I really do love cookies, I just don't really care for the cottage cheese container that has to sit under the dishwasher to catch the water that leaks throughout each load of dishes.

I am sure more will come about my new house, but all I can say is it is quite the upgrade from a stuffy 2 bedroom apartment: front porch with rocking chairs and swing, high ceilings, great gas stove, big windows, screen porch, gas grill and great back yard and patio. Can't wait to start taking food pics!

We have finally made it to 4th of July weekend and the only reason I have actually had a second to breathe and update. Last minute I decided to drive to St. Louis and spend the weekend with two best friends from high school. We had a blast. We ate, drank, danced, acted silly, watched and danced to the Justin Bieber movie (yes, new all time low..SK wanted to declare the day National Bieber day and only listen to his music...I shut that one down pretty quickly), talked about serious things we never thought we'd be dealing with, funny things we never thought we were capable of doing and catty things we shouldn't have been saying.

St. Louis

Now, I'm home and my room is still unorganized and I've spent the majority of the day in bed. Happy Birthday America: Thanks for allowing me a break from our fast pace life style. It was very much needed.