Tag Archives: Almond

Healthy Breakfast Quinoa

This morning I woke up and realized I only had a tiny, tiny amount of oatmeal left. Since I’ve been trying to eat mostly vegan lately, I didn’t want to eat yogurt or eggs for breakfast, so I thought I’d get a little creative and use inspiration from many recipes I’ve seen to create my own breakfast quinoa.

The result was actually amazing! I can’t wait to try this again tomorrow morning.

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Since I rarely use real recipes and I just make things up as I go, here I’ll try to describe my process, in case you want to recreate it (which you should, because this was SO good).

Ingredients:

Quinoa

Almond Milk

Raisins

Dried Apricots (or any dried or fresh fruit)

Cinnamon

Honey

Almonds (or walnuts)

I already had quinoa pre-made from last night, but if you don’t, you can start from scratch, which might actually be better. (I’ll be trying that tomorrow.) Mine was a quinoa-bulgur wheat mix, but I recommend just straight quinoa. I had… a normal serving size? About a cup? Not really sure. You can be more precise if you want.

I put it in a little sauce pan, turned the heat on low, and poured in some almond milk (but not too much at first). I tossed in some raisins, and a small amount of honey and cinnamon and some sliced dried apricots (though you can use whatever fresh or dried fruit you desire). I mixed it all together and kept adding almond milk until it was a consistency that looked good to me (I didn’t want it to be too watery but you can make it as watery or dry as you’d like). At the end, I chopped up some almonds (if you have slivered almonds, or shelled walnuts, even better so you don’t have to deal with cutting whole almonds) and tossed them in, and gave it a little taste test to see what I thought. YUM.

Since I had a tiny bit of oatmeal, I cooked that and mixed both together, and the result was a delicious, sweet, healthy, protein-filled, fiber-filled, nutrient-dense breakfast to start my day. Seriously this might be my new favorite thing. Dare I say… better than oatmeal??

TRY IT. I dare you.

Here are some suggestions for things to add, though the beauty of this is that you pretty much can just do whatever you want and it will most likely be amazing.

– Fresh blueberries

– Fresh strawberries

– Almond butter

– Avocados

– Maple syrup

– Peaches

– Mashed banana

– Protein powder

– Chocolate chips

– Greek yogurt

… The list can go on as far as you’d like. Just some ideas to get you started.

Seriously this is my new favorite discovery. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

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Mid-Day Mind Munchies and Yoga

Sometimes I wonder if I think about food too much. Am I alone here? Or does anyone else ever feel like they just obsess over food all day, every day. I plan my whole day around my food and exercise, and I plan my food and exercise around each other, and its not because I’m some inspiring, intense, die-hard foodie or fitness goddess. I’m not. At all. I’m the laziest sonofabitch you’ll ever meet, and (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog), I seem to love stuffing my face with food until I want to cry. It really should be pathetic.

But, alas, I somehow still get myself to exercise, and since food already takes up 90% of my brain space, I inevitably plan my exercising around my food and my life around my food.

I FUCKING LOVE FOOD. And I think everyone out there does too, but some people like to act like food doesn’t consume their thoughts, because they think it makes them look cool. Or strong. Or healthy. Or who knows. But don’t kid yourself… I can see riiiiight past it. Your brain is salivating.

Anyway… What I meant to say was… Here are some pictures of my food today!

Because, I love food, and I take pictures of food and I don’t care.

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Lunch salad, which I ate out of a huge bowl, because spinach takes up a lot of space, and its easier/more fun that way if you’re savage and happen to be eating alone like I am. It kind of feels like I’m the guy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, eating an entire box of Lucky Charms out of a huge mixing bowl, like a boss:

Anyway… My salad consisted of spinach, chickpeas, corn, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, pine nuts, raisins, and for dressing, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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[This part needs to be read in a snobby British accent.] As the second course for todays prix-fixe menu, we have featured our house specialty, the Artesanal Dry-Farmed Herloom Beta-Carotene Puree with an H2O Reduction Sauce.

In other words… microwaved sweet potato.

Literally the most gourmet thing you’ll ever find in nature. It blows my balls off.

Sweet potato is what happened when God had a lot of liberating sex on Saturday night with Mr. God (or Mrs. God, since LadyGod could have very well been a lesbian. Who am I to make that kind of assumption…) and was feeling happy and overly generous to Her children on the 7th day, so She said, here, kids, take all my gold and my money and my secrets and run wild. So they partied hard, got really drunk, and passed out in the dirt and all the gold got stuck somewhere deep in the soil, and months later sweet potatoes popped up. So now you know some agricultural history. You’re welcome.

Later in the afternoon, I was feeling hungry (as if my enormous bath tub of salad wasn’t enough), so I made myself a smoothie much like this one, but with almond butter instead of peanut butter. After it was blended, I added a little more almond butter, and right now, as I’m drinking it, I keep finding little chunks of heaven amidst this delicious smoothie, and I’m patting myself on the back for having such a brilliant idea.

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So far, so good. I actually didn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast, because my almond butter needed attention (I can already see that my goal to not finish this jar by the end of the week is going to be really difficult), so I ate an open-faced sandwich: whole wheat bread, almond butter, banana. Bomb dot com.

After watching a bunch of TED talks and killing all the ants I found in my room (don’t ask… I’m pissed), I did half an hour of yoga, following a Jillian Michaels’ video:

 

And now at the early hour of 4:49pm, I’m finally getting my day started. Its Sunday, don’t hate. I’m going to the movies, and I’m making my promise ahead of time – I will not eat anything from the concession stand. I’m bringing a bag of almonds and maybe a piece of fruit, if I get hungry (though this smoothie should keep me full for a while), and tonight I’m eating the rest of my salad (yeah… I forgot to mention, I couldn’t finish it) and maybe some plain soy yogurt with honey for dessert.

HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE, okay!?

If all goes well, today will be another successful vegan day. Hooray!

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Grocery Shopping

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to two grocery stores yesterday and spent half of my weekly allowance on food that I shouldn’t even need to buy. But, its not likely that my host family will be buying tempeh and almond butter, so I’ve been taking matters into my own hands (aka broke-ass wallet) for the past few months and buying myself things that I want/need.

I went to Monoprix, the big “normal” grocery store, and bought whatever didn’t need to be bought at Naturalia, the organic, healthy store. I came home feeling like Santa, excitedly arranging all of my food on my tiny table in the corner of the room, and proudly taking pictures, just for YOU.

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Featured on my list of healthy items:

– Oatmeal

– Quinoa

– Nuts

– Thin Brown Rice Cakes

– Sun Warrior Protein Powder

– Organic Whole Wheat bread

– Fruit (apples, bananas, avocados, tomatoes)

– Vegetables (sweet potatoes, canned chickpeas, spinach)

– Tahini sauce

– Almond butter (I caved in…)

– Tempeh

– Soy Yogurt

– Almond Milk

 

This is a very limited list. But these are my staples, and knowing that I have these in the house, I feel prepared and ready to eat healthy and clean for the rest of the week. Dinner times I know will always be a challenge, but I’m learning slowly that it is okay to make my own dinner and eat that instead. It takes a bit of courage (I’m shy and I feel the need to be respectful) but ultimately, it tends to work out okay when I give it a shot. But at least for the other meals of the day when I’m on my own, I don’t have any excuse now to not eat right. My challenge is to avoid all the other temptations around the house, and trust me, there are plenty.

Oh yeah, also my challenge is to not finish the enormous jar of almond butter by the end of this week. Because my brain does not understand “all things in moderation” or “portion control” or “STOP god damnit!” when almond butter is in front of me. I knew I shouldn’t buy it, but again… brain shut off, hand grabbed jar, wallet paid, and oops now its here.

Im TRYING, okay!?

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Paleo Carrot Cake Balls

Ok, that title is misleading. They would have been paleo, but I took some liberties with the recipe and added a little bit of oatmeal, so the ones I made are not actually paleo. But if you want to make them yourself and you want them to be paleo, just don’t add the oatmeal. Duh.

(If you don’t know what paleo is, it’s basically eating like hunter-gatherers used to eat, before the advent of agriculture. Essentially, it is meat + fruits/vegetables, no dairy, carbs (like bread, etc), sugars, etc.)

I got the idea to make something carrot-cake-y because there were a ton of shredded carrots in the fridge and I wanted to put them to good use. So I went on my Pinterest and looked at a few carrot recipes and I decided to make paleo carrot cake balls when I examined the ingredients and realized that everything was available in my house and the recipe was simple. That’s how I roll… I ain’t about to make an effort. Shiet.

These make an excellent pre or post workout snack, they provide plenty of healthy fats and protein and all-natural sugars, so when you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to completely destroy your diet/body, make these instead. They’re delicious and so healthy.

After dinner, I offered some for dessert to my host family and to my great pleasure, they loved them and they loved that they were a healthier version of dessert. I’m hoping to keep making little things like this that I can share with them so that I can better introduce my need for a healthier diet into our daily lives here. Baby steps. This was a good way to get things going and I feel proud of this small accomplishment. I wonder what I’ll make next??

******

Soooo anyway, I’m going to wing this next part… the recipe.

I loosely based my balls (… pause, reflect on that phrase… and continue… because you are more mature than me…) on this paleo carrot cake balls recipe from Sweet Pea Sylvie but as soon as I realized that measurements don’t really matter and that these are basically just a big mixture of delicious items, I started taking liberties and ended up with my own little version (thats also how I ended up making them not paleo, but you can just ignore that part if you’re super paleo-y). For the sake of showing you how to make them, I’ll try to make a recipe out of what I did, but in all honesty, you can pretty much eyeball everything… you literally cannot fuck these up even if you tried.

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MY ABSURD PALEO CARROT CAKE BALL RECIPE (… with commentary)

3/4 cup almond flour (If you want to make this yourself, you can just grind almonds in your food processor until they are powdery. Or so I hear, I’ve never actually tried this.)

6-8 pitted dates, cut into pieces… Recipe calls for 5, but I’m giving you some leeway here because I know you’re going to eat a few of them, obv.

4-6 dried apricots, cut into pieces

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 

A bunch of shredded carrots (Okay, proper measurement says 2 cups, but really, who gives a fuck. They’re your balls and you do what you want to them. Amirite??)

1/2 tbsp cinnamon (Seriously, I have never measured cinnamon in my life and I tend to think people that do measure it are entirely deranged. Its cinnamon, people! The Lord’s gift to us. Get crazy. Take your top off!)

A pinch of ground ginger (I don’t know why I added that, but I did, and you will too if you’re following this ridiculous recipe. This is essentially me playing in the kitchen and trying to act scholarly about it.)

2-4 tbsp coconut milk (oops… I just realized I put way more than that, which is probably why my balls came out really moist. Whatever, they’re delicious!)

A handful of raisins (Again, who ever measures raisins. The more the merrier.)

6-8 almonds, chopped into small pieces

Here’s the non-paleo [optional] part: 1/4 – 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (I didn’t measure this, but this is another dumb estimate)

Instructions: Put it in a food processor. Thats it.

Okay, really, here’s what I did, kind of…

  • Pit and chop dates and apricots.

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  • Mix the dates, apricots, and shredded coconut in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed.
  • Add almond flour, oatmeal, carrots, and spices and mix well.

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  • Add coconut milk and blend until desired consistency is reached.

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  • Remove and put dough in a separate bowl, and gently fold in raisins and almond pieces.

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  • Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Once cool, form into balls, roll in a bowl of shredded coconut, and store in freezer or refrigerator as desired.

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  • Try to not eat them all in one sitting. I dare you. Whoever said “guilt free” was full of shit.

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*******

Recipe brought to you by Strong Fits Well. Thats me, bitches. And if you try my recipe and think its shit, then 2 things: 1) you’re full of shit because its delicious, and 2) not my problem.

ENJOY! ❤

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Warning

Almond butter jars should come with a serious warning label:

This shit will NOT last nearly as long as you naively think it will. Don’t be a fool.

 

I bought my almond butter like a week ago, okay, maybe 10 days ago, and its a HUGE jar… I figured it might last several weeks… HA. What an idiot. It’s nearly empty and I honestly don’t know why! I think I black out every time I eat almond butter and I wake up the next day not remembering anything that happened, with a strange man in my bed (or in this case, a strange empty jar) and pills all over the floor. Almond butter is kind of like roofies I guess. Sweet! Drugs!

 

Not.

 

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Almond Butter

Look, if you haven’t figured out almond butter yet, you really need to get your shit together, because honestly there is no excuse to be living your life without this stuff.

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I found almond butter (for 10 euros, eek) at Naturalia, pretty much the only organic/natural food store in Paris/France (that I know of) and I found whole wheat rice cakes (thin ones) too, and I’m basically having a party with myself right now, licking almond butter off of my fingers and trying not to get it all over my pretty little computer. (PS: whole grain/brown rice cakes are a great source of slow digesting complex carbohydrates – aka good carbs – and they are low in calories so they can act as a nice substitute for bread and they are great to eat as a pre-workout snack.)

Almond butter, for those of you that are living in darkness, is like peanut butter, only better. (Check out this little info graphic comparing both nut butters, if you want to know more) (Also, for someone like me with high cholesterol, almond butter has less saturated fat than peanut butter so its better for me lil’ arteries). It has around 100 calories in one tablespoon and around 7 grams of protein, but what its really great for is getting some of your very important healthy fats (i.e. monosaturated fat) and for satisfying every desire your body and mouth could ever crave. Spread it on whole wheat bread, mix it in your oatmeal, in your protein smoothie, make delicious almond butter paleo balls (plenty of recipes online if you’re curious), or spread it on whole grain rice cakes and top it with a banana, like what I’m doing right this second. Its filling, lean, and so good for you! Just remember to stick to the listed serving size (even if you have to measure it out… 1tbsp is deceiving) since nut butters of all kinds are calorically dense, and if you’re trying to watch that pretty little figure of yours, you might want to consider not doing what I did and sticking the spoon straight into the jar and eating like it ain’t no thang.

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I’m begging you, try this shit, or get out!

Note: With any nut butter, try to buy organic and raw, since they tend to have less ingredients like salt, sugars, and preservers that alter the flavor and nutrition content of the product. Look for ones with the least amount of ingredients possible, and make sure they are all ingredients you can pronounce! (This goes for all food, pretty much). The one I bought today lists almonds as the only ingredient. Yours should too, or at least come very close.

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