ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

Today’s the Day I Tackle Tofu February 5, 2011

What’s up, lovelies? How’s your Saturday been?

Mine began with a bowl of Rainy Day Oats ūüėČ as it was raining when I woke up, which made getting out of bed not so easy, but I couldn’t wait to get to the gym for RPM Plus. So, I made this beauty…

Rainy Day Oats

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk, organic PUMPKIN (brought it back…I’ve missed it!)
  • sprinkles of cinnamon and sea salt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • toppings: chopped date, blackberries, 1/4 cup Nature’s Path pumpkin seed raisin cereal for crunch, ¬†1 tsp Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple butter, peanut flour “butter” spread (made from 2 tbsp peanut flour, sea salt, almond milk to desired consistency…PLEASE bring it back, Trader Joe’s!)

plus some red leaf chai tea

PHENOMENAL! Man, I have missed pumpkin!!! Got me all pumped for RPM.

Workout today: RPM Plus (60-minute format), 20 minute core class by a pilates instructor, and BodyPump (that I taught)

For lunch today, I knew exactly what I wanted and dreamed about it my whole workout…an “Asian Bowl.” So, I ran by the grocery store on my way home to get the ingredients. It was a cheap lunch.

Step 1: cook tofu (yes, today’s the day I learn to cook this feared ingredient of mine). After lots of recipe searching, I ended up just cooking 1/4 block of extra firm tofu in a small skillet with soy sauce for 5 minutes, turning a few times. I read a lot about pressing it for 30 minutes and cooking for another 35-ish minutes, but my growling tummy was not having that. The 5-minute fix was much better. I LOVED IT!!!

I still have 3/4 of a block left to cook¬† get creative with…suggestions? What should I do with it?

2. Make sauce of 2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp Maranatha (one of my favorite brands of all things nut butter) Almond Butter, and water to desired consistency and to thin out.

3. Steam the mixed Asian veggies (140 calories total) and brown rice (1/2 cup) together to save a pot.

4. Top with tofu.

5. Pour on sauce.

FEAST!!!!! Oh. my. foodgasms!!! It’s so wonderful to give your tummy EXACTLY what it’s asking for. Aren’t we lucky to have access to so many ingredients? This was a filling lunch!

Mom and I ran some errands before church as I am trying to find a few key pieces for vacation after cleaning out my closet.

Snack time: can you guess? hehe

I haven’t had this flavor in ages…what a yummy treat! Still no sign of blueberry muffin around here ūüė¶

Church service tonight was amazing. All about the redemptive quality of a relationship with Christ even though we have to deal with the consequences of our sin. We’re in a series on the life of King David and how he pointed to our ultimate King, Jesus Christ, in so many ways, but could not fulfill all that Jesus was to be for us.

Dinner with my family tonight at Tony’s Oyster Bar.

Appetizer: steamed oysters on the 1/2 shell with a little cole slaw. I ate more oysters than just these ūüėČ They were big and juicy and a little sweet…perfect!

Salad: Garden…dry (no dressing). Our waiter made a face at me when I ordered it dry. Perrrty¬†goood ūüėČ

Entr√©e: grilled mahi¬†mahi with pineapple mango salsa and mixed saut√©ed veggies. This is my favorite mix of steamed veggies at a restaurant. The meal overall was just OK. I’ve had better. The veggies were soggy and maybe had a hint of butter (I’m praying that they didn’t use any on them). The fish was cooked, but just kind of ‘blah’; I’ve had better here before.

Dessert when I got home: peanut flour banana sauce with an organic pink lady apple (it had a weird taste). I used a whole nanner¬†in the sauce this time, so it honestly could’ve¬†used more peanut butter and/or peanut flour, but I just went with it. Plus some sleepytime tea. I missed it last night, and I don’t think I slept as well. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I think it helps

Now, I’m munching on a pear (I just looked them up, and they have about 100-120 calories in them. I had no idea!) because I was still not full. I’ve been hungry all day.

Tomorrow’s a BIG day…SUPER BOWL!!!!, and it’s rest day for me (I hope), so I have Disney research to do, blog reading to catch up on, and pancakes to make for breakfast ;). I’ll also do a reader’s request tomorrow.

Tell me ANYTHING…I am officially opening the floor for whatever you want to share with me. I just love reading your comments.

 

Grocery Shopping and New Ingredients February 1, 2011

I’m back! It’s been a blasty reading those blogs and catching up on your lives.

Today’s breakfast: red chai tea and…

I-Wanna-Try-a-Blueberry-Muffin-Larabar Oats

Here are the ingredients in the new Larabar that I’m aching to try. I still can’t find one. ūüė¶

sooooo….here are the oats I cam up with

  • usual banana/chia seed/greek yogurt mix
  • 1 chopped date
  • handful of blueberries
  • lemon zest from an organic lemon (NEW ingredient for the day!)
  • maple extract (because the vanilla we had in the panty had corn syrup in it)
  • toppings: honey drizzled over peanut flour banana sauce, almonds (since I didn’t have cashews)

It was the closest I could come to the Larabar, and it was gooooooooooooooood!!! The lemon zest really added the perfect hint of flavor. I use it in baking a lot, but haven’t used it in oats yet.

***If anyone has connections at Larabar, please let me know ;)***

Also, I got this info today from my friend Lindsay…”Tragedy! Trader Joe’s has discontinued their peanut flour!! Ugh!! I went on Saturday to buy some and they were sold out. I just called to see if they had any in and they said it has been discontinued :(” I guess we’ll all be ordering PB2.

Workout today: taught Zumba and took BodyCombat.

Lunch when I got home from gym¬†and running errands (including grocery shopping as I was low on produce), I made some kale chips. They are AMAZING!!!! I just drizzled some EVOO on a bunch of kale de-stemmed on a baking sheet, sprinkled with some sea salt, and put in oven¬†for 15 minutes in the oven at 375*…just until the ends brown and get crunchy.

It makes enough for at least 2 meals. I had some kale chips with a Caitlin lunch of a sweet potato topped with organic baked beans (thanks, Caitlin!), a little edamame, and a few carrots topped with tahini. (This is a dinner-sized plate.)

And lunch dessert…red chai tea and an orange.

After some studying, I had a phone date with the owner of Angus Barn to talk about her experience in Africa as I am going to South Africa on a¬†Christian medical missions trip¬†in May. She’s absolutely amazing and someone that I look up to so much. She told me, “I admire anyone who is giving of their time and efforts to a third world country as you are doing! I can completely relate to your passion.” One of friends went to the restaurant over the weekend and got to tour the wine cellar and their son got to make an ice cream sundae in the kitchen. Angus Barn is class act. Period. I can’t wait to go back.

Quick snack and my favorite smoothie I’ve made to date…my favorite color to date. It’s always fun to press “blend” and see what color comes out of the ingredients I put in the blender.

Purple Chocolate Berry Bomb

  • 1/2 cup plain keifer
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • a few blueberries and goji¬†berries (hey, I used every kind of berry¬†I had hehe)
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • a little ice

It was sooooooooooo good!

I’m a wedding planner¬†on the side, so I had a meeting with a bride and her fiance the mother of the bride today to go over some details.¬† When I got home, I was hungry for exactly this…

…the rest of my Amy’s pizza (Roasted Vegetable with no cheese) and a salad BEAST (mixed greens, a few carrots, grape tomatoes, 3 slices of organic¬†cucumber, edamame, 3 sliced mushrooms, tabouli, and original tahini¬†hummus). YUMMMMMMM! I couldn’t wait to inhale this ūüėČ

Dinner dessert (y’all know¬†my rule: Every meal gets dessert ūüėČ ): an organic Pink Lady (so crunchy and perfectly sweet) with a square of 100% unsweetened chocolate, and some Yogi Bedtime tea as I watch my Heels slaughter BC!!!! GO Heels!!!!

Getting to grocery shop is such a privilege, and it’s great to have all these new ingredients! It’s great to be back. Sweet dreams, y’all!

Love,

me

 

Breaking the Blog Fast January 31, 2011

Hey y’all! Guess what? Blog fast ends tonight! So, obviously I can’t re-read ALL of your lovely posts from the 10th, even though I wish that I could. Will you please leave a comment and let me know which posts are your favorite or that you really want me to read? I’m excited to get back to y’all…I’ve missed youuuuuuuuu!

It’s been a while since I’ve had oats, I can’t believe it! This morning, it was back to the basics…with red chai tea.

In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (the Trader Joe’s ones are better than Quaker…better flavor and texture), water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkle of sea salt and cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pure maple extract
  • 1/2 smashed nanner
  • toppings: blueberries, a few raw soaked almonds, drizzle of honey (a yummy new addition), peanut flour banana sauce, sexy spice ūüėČ

Workout: 45-minute RPM, BodyPump, BodyFlow

Lunch: a slice of leftover Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza with no cheese, salad BEAST (organic mixed greens, 2 pieces of celery, tabouli, hummus, 7 baby carrots, a leftover chicken tender from last night), …

…and a pear for dessert ūüėČ

After a lot of studying, a snack…a small organic fuji apple with 2 tbsp Naturally More, and a chocolate berry smoothie.

Berry Chocolate Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate¬†protein powder
  • a few blueberries
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • a little ice
  • cacao nibs to garnish

A little more studying, taught a Zumba class for my Club 59 ladies, a shower hehe, and then some dinna!

I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a Mom who buys mahi¬†mahi for dinner ūüėČ (I love you, Mom!)

…a hunk of mahi¬†mahi¬†cooked stovetop¬†with a little EVOO, a squirt of lemon juice, a little basil, and 1/2 cup plain brown rice, and some steamed brussels sprouts (I think they are officially my favorite veggie ūüėČ ) YUMMY!!!! This is the most “comfortable” meal I’ve had in a while, and it felt nice to just enjoy it without thinking about every little ingredient.

And dessert…orange and 2 squares of 100% cocoa chocolate.

Has anyone tried the new blueberry muffin Larabar? I can’t find them anywhere.¬†Also, I only have 2 Larabars left for snacks. Anybody seen them on sale anywhere? Leave me those comments! I can’t wait to get to readin’ tomorrow…

 

The Power of Suggestion January 29, 2011

Filed under: breakfast,Happy Bowl,lunch,RPM,salad beast,veggies,working out — ansauls @ 2:27 pm
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Happy Saturday, my loves! What are y’all up to today? Anything surprising and super fun? The weather is soooo¬†much prettier here. Literally, it was 28* when I woke up this morning and is supposed to get to 58*. WHAT?!

So, dinner last night ended up being a local steakhouse because my Daddy saw a special Travel Channel episode on steak yesterday ūüėČ Oh, the power of suggestion ūüėČ

The meal began with a “40-compartment salad bar” that they have. I love a good salad; it’s the perfect start to any meal. I piled it high (you should have seen the pathetic excuse for a bowl they had). I guess I should’ve¬†aimed smaller, but I wanted so many toppings on that lettuce ;)…blueberries, cottage cheese, 1 slice of tomato, 2 broccoli¬†florets, banana peppers, mixed fruit (which came out of its own juice and something I don’t do usually, but I really wanted some fruit on this beast), 1 slice of beet, a little crumbled egg, red onions, a few olives.

Then on to the main event (yes, I did it)…a 6 oz. filet and a plain baked sweet potato.

I was so full that I didn’t even want dessert (Have I been getting too many calories this week? I’m wondering!), but I did get some decaf coffee. You can’t resist when…

So, even though it’s been over a week since I have had any coffee…the power of suggestion…

I like how the bold taste of coffee compliments red meat. It was either that or red wine ūüėȬ†However, I have had this coffee before, and this wasn’t as¬†tasty as I remember.¬†I had a few of these little cups. My family ordered Hot Fudge Sundae Cheesecake for dessert, but I didn’t try any. They liked it a lot.

This morning began with the rest of my “Pretty-in-Pink (Lindsay) Smoothie” topped with a few cacao nibs for garnish…

…and a Sexy Bowl: sliced avocado, 2 chopped dates, organic fuji apple, 1 tbsp¬†tahini¬†(my first time everrrr!), and sexy spice.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the tahini, but it really grew on me. What do y’all use it in? I like this new ingredient!

Y’all be honest with me…does this seem like too big of a breakfast? I concerned about overeating this week since I haven’t been as hungry. :/

Workout today: RPM Plus (the 60-minute format), a quick core class, and BodyPump. AND I got to see my friend Lindsay! We usually miss each other during the week because of our schedules, so it was fun to pedal beside her this morning. (Enjoy Angus Barn for me, Linds! Go ahead, your deserve it!)

I didn’t know what I wanted for lunch, and I was surprised that I wasn’t hungry, but I ended up eating a random mix…

1/2 navel orange, 5 baby carrots, a few steamed broccoli florets that I had leftover, about 1/4 of a can of rinsed black beans for protein, 3 pieces of celery, 1 tbsp original tahini hummus, and 2 tbsp tabouli.

***I’m going to try to start measuring more stuff so that I can give y’all exact amounts and so I can start being more sure of not using too much of anything.***

Dessert: 1/2 frozen banana blended with a splash of almond milk topped with a mix of dark chocolate cocoa and a teeny squirt of light agave. I love the combo of banana and chocolate (and nute butter, but I layed off hehe)

Off to church…

DVRing¬†my Heels vs. the Pack to watch when I get back. I think we’re doing fish for dinner, and it’s snack time! Yippeeeee!

Love,

me

 

The Beast and the Beauty January 18, 2011

Hey y’all! I’m watching my Heels beat ClemPson¬†hehe right now. If I could not have gone to UNC, I would’ve applied to Clemson…seems to be a great school.

Anywho…thanks for all your comments this week. I’ve enjoyed catching up with y’all and hearing your thoughts. It means so much to me!

Breakfast today was OIAJ! There’s a little smirk on my face every time I get to the bottom of a jar when there’s about 1-2 Tbsp of nut butter left, because I know there’s oats in a jar on the way. Today a finished the jar of Sunflower Seed butter, the majority of which was used for my Balls of Energy. In their honor, I made

Jar of Energy Oats ūüėČ

In the jar:

  • 1 Tbsp-ish of Sunflower Seed Butter
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • sprinkles of sea salt and cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Twister Power powder
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • toppings: Ball of Energy crumbled, 1/2 sliced banana, and a few raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries

I scraped out every last bit of that sunflower seed butter ūüėČ YUMMY! I am already excited about breakfast tomorrow as I type this hehe

I had 8 oz. of leftover green juice from yesterday for my snack after I taught this morning.

When my tumbly¬†started rumbling for lunch, I really just wanted veggies. I keep craving them this week. So, I tried to clean out my leftovers in the frige but ended up adding some more…

I had 1/2 a sweet potato with black beans and sexy spice (I’ve never put cinnamon on black beans before, but don’t knock it til you try it…it wasn’t bad hehe), a little bit of goat cheese, an organic Braeburn apple with sexy spice, a pile of veggies (Brussels sprouts/broccoli/carrots/cauliflower/edamame). Veggie fix: check!

And a little dessert: peanut flour sauce (it looks like a Ying-Yang sign that we used to draw in middle school) and a cup of chai tea. (It’s amazing to me how my palette has changed to not crave coffee in merely a few days.)

Workout today: taught Zumba and went to Hot Yoga at One Heart Yoga to detox this afternoon.

Dinner was a usual favorite…Sweet Tomatoes! I got to catch up with my old boss and friend Brooke who is due in 5 weeks, and I haven’t seen her in months! It’s so fun having friends who are pregnant as I get to learn so much from them.

I had the beasts of all salad beasts for starters. I piled on tons of veggies and beans that looked fresh and crunchy and yummy. I tried wheatberries for the first time…LOVE the texture. It’s nice when you can try something new at a restaurant as it’s already prepared and if you don’t like it, you haven’t lost grocery money on an item. Also, Whole Foods bulk bin is good for trying a little of this, a little of that.

Then some bean and barley soup in veggie broth. All veggies! So yummy! On the side, 2 small pieces of cantaloupe¬†with cottage cheese and a few bites of a whole wheat sugar-free banana muffin top. The muffin top wasn’t that great, so I decided not the waste the calories.

Because I had a beautiful dessert on the brain…

I had this x2 (oops!). I was still not quite full after the first pathetic excuse for a bowl hehe.

As a whole, it was full of guilty, negative, judgmental¬†thoughts as I have to give myself grace that I can’t be everywhere for everyone. If I could have one super power, it would definitely be being able to be in more¬†than 1 place at once.¬†Do¬†you ever feel like that?

That’s all for today. Good night, bloggies. Sweet dreams!

Something to read and ponder…

“Rethinking Thin” Book review

 

Addicted to Juicing January 17, 2011

What’s up, buttercups? How was your day? Were you off work/school?

Yay for a yummy bowl of oats and a hot cup of chai tea for breakfast! I’m loving the tea!

In the mix today:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, almond milk, water, greek yogurt (added in at the end)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkle of sea salt and cinnamon
  • 1/2 smashed nanner
  • toppings: crumbled Rise & Shine muffin, blueberries, soaked almonds, Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter, Naturally More

YUMMY in my tummy!!!!

Workout today: 45 minutes of RPM and a BodyPump class this morning, and taught Zumba tonight.

Snack post-morning workout: the other half of my green juice from yesterday and a Gala apple. It’s like instant life!

Lunch today was a splurge because everyone was home because of the holiday. So, we went to…

Natty Green’s is a southern pub and a local brewery. As always when I go to a brewery, I try a local brew. Today I rolled with Buckshot Amber Ale. It had really good hints of caramel and toffee and wasn’t super filling.

Appetizer, which I have been craving for a few weeks! NACHOS! but not just any nachos…THE BIG NASTY! I like when restaurants use blue corn chip for nachos instead of regular flour chip. The chili on them had a hint of sweetness. I definitely had my fair share.

My meal was a bison burger (such a treat and so rare to find!) with just grilled onions and mushrooms on top, a pickle,¬†and a side of veggie sticks. They were really accommodating¬†to my request for no cheese, bun, or mayo, and I LOVE a restaurant that has veggie sticks (aka carrots and celery) as a side. The bison was de-lish, no grease like beef but a little more flavor than turkey or chicken! I’ve needed that protein today.

As you can tell, lunch was DEFINITELY NOT a clean or raw meal, and I paid for it all afternoon. I have felt miserable. Why do splurge even though it tastes good? Mira made an interesting comment about how our flesh fights what we should do with what it wants. I struggle with knowing how to pull back and when to indulge with my family because they don’t buy into eating raw or clean, and I feel singled out a lot of time…any advice?

After Zumba, even though I wasn’t super hungry after that huge lunch, I decided my body needed life aka fruit and veggies ASAP to get rid of this ickiness I feel. I juiced a handful of cherry tomatoes, 4 baby carrots, 1/2 apple, handful of spinach, 1 cup water, Twisted Power powder, and¬†2 small pieces of celery that I had left in the blender. Then to eat, I steamed¬†Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli and¬†ate the other half of my apple. For dessert, a small bowl of berries with a Ball of Energy and a cup of Bedtime tea.

I already feel energized and a little better after just 30 minutes or so. WOW! This juicing technique is the jam!

Do y’all have any favorite juice mixes? I’m up for trying anything?

Sweet dreams. See y’all tomorrow!

 

Detox Retox January 16, 2011

Evening, y’all! What in the world is up with football underdogs? WHOA!

Well, I held the hunger (and juicing) at bay until lunch time and was able to sneak some studying in. Then, this happened….

I pretty much through all the veggies I could find in the blender.

Serves 2

  • 1/2 tomato
  • a few carrots, chopped
  • a yellow pepper cap
  • a couple florets of broccoli
  • a handful of spinach
  • organic lemon with rind
  • cup of filtered water

It’s like magic! Just press blend (and dream of a VitaMix), and ta dahhhh

It’s like Mira said at yesterday’s workshop: there’s no way that I could eat this many veggies, but juicing makes it easier to get it in.

I had a glass of green juice, a fuji apple with a Ball of Energy (dessert), and a “stuffed pepper” for lunch.

For the pepper, I just capped a yellow pepper (used the cap for juice), baked it at 350* for about 12 minutes…just enough to cook it a little and heat it up so that the edges are a little brown. Then, I stuffed it with quinoa, broccoli, and Craisin pilaf inspired by Real Simple.¬†(Yay for saving time and a dish by cooking it all in 1 pot.)

To save time, I steamed the broccoli in with the quinoa while it was cooking. For 2 servings, I did 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup of water, 3 broccoli florets in the pot, then added about 1/3 cup of Craisins¬†at the end to plump up in the water. Garnish with scallions and¬†soaked almonds.¬†The quinoa smelled so nutty while it cooked…yummy! The pilaf was a great balance of flavor and texture as the Craisins added just a hint of sweetness to the crunchy broccoli and pepper….and, look at the color!

It felt nice to take a little extra time on cooking lunch instead of throwing stuff together really quick, plus, now I have LEFTOVERS! hehe ūüėČ

To continue with the detoxing, it was off to Hot 90 for me at Open Door Yoga. I was a sweaty mess…

After detoxing, why not re-tox? ūüėČ hehe¬†We went to Rockford, and they just happen to have $5 wine night. I know it isn’t eating raw or detoxing my body to have wine, but it seemed like the right decision to make to catch up with one of my best friends. Let me introduce y’all to Merlot…

¬†I met one of my best friends at yoga then we went to dinner and FINALLY exchanged Christmas gifts…hey sometimes you have to¬† stretch it out, you know? (p.s. – i LOVE you, KT!)

I was going to order just a salad, but decided that I could have that anytime at home and to try something new…blackened tilapia with Asian spices in a cilantro-jalepeno¬†tortilla filled with coconut slaw (YUM!) with a side of ratatouille¬†(new food for the day) and a side of Thai chili sauce.¬† Usually, I would not order a wrap, but this sounded amazing, and I didn’t get a lot of protein at lunch, and Rockford had “buy¬†1 get 1 half off” on their large plates tonight. The ratatouille¬†was amazing…eggplant, stewed tomatoes, squash. When I asked our waiter what was in it, he said, “Well it’s peasant’s dish.” If so, I’ll be a peasant. SOOOO YUMMY! Maybe I’ll watch the movie now ūüėČ It was definitely worth the indulgence…even the sauce was good.

Random, but this plate at the restaurant are the same plates that my family grew up eating on when I was little. Each dish is served on a different plate, so I felt really lucky and nostalgic to get to eat on this one again.

My friend, Katie, got a turkey burger with Monterey jack and cous cous. She said it was delish as well!

Katie and I both were craving tea, so as we parted, I headed straight for the store. I bought a Bedtime Tea and a Chai. Y’all, I have NEVER liked hot tea, but my palate craves it now. It’s so funny! I didn’t even want coffee…weird! So dessert happened at home…

  • a Ball of Energy (the smallest one I made hehe)
  • a square of 85% cocoa that was yummers (Mom was sweet enough to buy it for me)
  • a frozen nanner¬†blended with some almond milk in the blender topped with raspberries and blackberries (Is it OK to have 2 nanners in 1 day? I usually try to keep it at 1.)

And that’s a wrap…

Sweet dreams, bloggies!