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What I Ate Wednesday #159: Easter Weekend Re-Cap

I thought this week I’d do the obligatory holiday re-cap for my What I Ate Wednesday post.

After working an early shift at the hospital Saturday, I caught a bus out to New Jersey to visit my family. Since I knew I’d be traveling and didn’t want to be loaded down with pyrex containers, I bought lunch for a change. It was a nice treat!

Not-sad Desk Lunch from LPQ

Not-sad Desk Lunch from LPQ

 

When I got to New Jersey, first things first: My mom, sister, aunt, and I went to the nail salon because, well, when in Rome…Then we had dinner at my parents’ house. I completely forgot to take pictures because I was stupid-tired. I’d been up early (even for me) to work the 7-3:15 shift, and I was wiped. I had a good time eating salad & stuffed cabbage and drinking lambrusco with the fam.

After the Christmastime redo of my old room, it’s actually much more restful to sleep in. My mom also took my suggestion to put a white noise machine in there, so I actually slept through the night without headphones. Some of the vintage decorations, remain, though—like this picture my sister made for my day, and these pictures because, well, unicorns in the 1980′s. I must have been about 4 when my mom got these. I tried to color the one on the right pink with a marker, but it’s faded with time.

Easter morning started with a walk to go get some coffee with my mom and then hot yoga with my sister. I always forget how much I love New Jersey hot yoga. Nothing like a class in your native Garden State tongue. It was also a great change of pace to do Bikram instead of my usual heated vinyasa. I  noticed, though, that I felt completely zonked out for the next few hours. I lost track of how much water I drank.

I did eventually enjoy a glass of rose champagne, though. Lovely! rose champagne

We grazed on appetizers (crudities, kielbasa, cheese) before having dinner around 4. I went for some lamb, ham, salad, string beans, and a pierogi. A couple hours later dessert was laid out. There was coconut cake, chocolate cake, cookies made by someone’s friend’s grandma (?), and various flavors of Jeni’s ice creme. I really sucked at remembering to take pictures, but I had a few bites of chocolate cake and cedarwood vanilla ice cream. As a kid, I was all about dessert, then in college I was all about the wine, and now I’m more about just enjoying the time with family.

Easter 2014

It took me a while to get home, and after unpacking, I noticed my stomach was growling. I made a sweet potato with peanut butter—it was the perfect thing to eat before bed.

What are some of your family’s typical holiday foods? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

What to do with Easter leftovers

Last year, I was digging on some babka French toast after Easter. Polish/French toast? I don’t know. It didn’t matter because it was delicious.

This year, I ended up with a to-go container of meat, so my leftover creations are on the savory end of the spectrum. One inevitability was leftover lamb with roasted veggies, baba ghanoush, and goat cheese. lamb leftovers

On the “good experiment” side of things, Monday morning, after throwing in a load of laundry and getting my ass kicked by Jillian Michaels, I threw together this super-satisfying breakfast with the contents of what was left in my fridge and freezer.kielbasa leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 small shallot, sliced thin or diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced leeks (thawed from frozen)
  • 1 large handful kale
  • 2 slices kielbasa, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 c liquid egg whites

Directions:

  1. In a small pan with a lid, sautee shallot and leeks in olive oil until beginning to caramelize.
  2. Add kielbasa. Sautee another few minutes.
  3. Add kale. Cover to wilt.
  4. Meanwhile, scramble egg whites in a skillet or microwave, covered, at 45-second intervals until cooked.
  5. Add egg whites to kielbasa & kale mix. Serve immediately.

How do you like to use leftovers? 

 

Another Week, Another Stupid Ad

Walking down the street the other day, I spotted this business. I walked by it and then immediately backed up to take a picture. indulge

After seeing a lot of ads lately (like this one) implying that women need to live smaller and suppress their appetites, I was struck by the way a woman in this one is “indulging” in an entire cake.

Talk about a contrast to this Crystal Light ad:

Tiny Win

First off, where in the Columbus Circle shops can you go sit on the counter, grab a cake, and dig in? Is this meant to illustrate some luxurious loss of control? And why is her top all askew? Must be some cake. Are we tiptoe-ing around the lip of the Madonna/Whore dichotomy here?

Most importantly, perhaps, what’s wrong with an ad showing a woman enjoying a normal-sized piece of cake? I can understand how lesbians eating Bagel Thins together could be a bit much for mainstream America, but, like, cake! What is the big deal? It does not to be a matter of mini-cupcakes or entire pies!

I’m not saying we should be eating slices of cake on a daily basis, but a healthy diet has room for a legit dessert every now and then—and we can totally keep our clothes on for it.

Have you seen any ridiculous advertisements lately? Do you take your clothes off to eat cake? 

 

 

 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter. Congratulations to those of you who survived your Lenten sacrifices. Enjoy your creepy-ass chocolate bunnies! easter

Today I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and eating lamb. Have a great Sunday, whether you’re doing the Easter thing or not!

How does your family celebrate holidays? 

Eggplant Caviar, Approximately

April always makes me want to listen to Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. I think it’s something to do with a musical flashback to my first year of college, that fresh-air feeling of Boston after a long, dark winter. It was still cold as s*** but it smelled like spring. There were cherry blossoms outside my window and I still had the stamina to pull all-nighters listening to music and writing and go to class the next day like it was the most normal thing to subsist on no sleep. Hah! Now I feel like death with a swipe of eyeliner if I get less than seven hours.

I had a time times to kill after getting everything organized for Tuesday’s event in New Jersey, so I started unpacking boxes of old clothes at my parents’  house to separate things to give away.  I sniffed this one scarf I used to wear almost every day back in March/April/May of 2005 and since then, the song “Queen Jane, Approximately” has been stuck in my head.

The next morning, I made myself take a weekend day (or at least try), since I’d been going at full speed for a bit too long and have some busy weeks at the hospital coming up. After a refreshing hot yoga class, I took a few minutes to pick another recipe for my April Cookbook Challenge. Cheers to not forgetting three weeks in a row!

IMG_5562This go-around it was eggplant caviar from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food.  If I’m remembering right, this book was a Christmas gift from my mother back in 2008 or 2009. Of course, instead of actually following the recipe, I just followed the first and last few steps (roast & scoop eggplant, mix in olive oil). I completely side-stepped the minced garlic and fresh parsley on top, going instead with the Garlic Gold infused olive oil I got for Christmas this year because, well, why not? Culinary spring cleaning, what up? Eggplant Caviar, approximately.

Ingredients:
1 eggplant
salt + pepper
2-3 tsp garlic-infused olive oil
Directions: 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice eggplant lengthwise. Season cut edges with olive oil (or olive oil spray) and salt and pepper. Place face-down on baking sheet and roast until soft inside, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from over.
  3. After allowing eggplant to cool, scoop insides into a bowl. Stir well to ease into a puree texture.
  4. Stir in olive oil 1 tsp at a time until mixture is desired smoothness. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
This is great on toast, but I also mixed some into a cauliflower rice stir-fry and loved it that way. It’s also great tucked into an omelet. Who are we kidding, though—I could eat this from the bowl with a spoon. I think this recipe is going to be added to the regular rotation. This may or may not mean I just buy an extra eggplant every week instead of allowing this to replace the roasted slices I enjoy in salads, stir-fry, and on toast. I have no idea how or why I’m such an eggplant freak, but it’s the number one reason I could never follow a macrobiotic diet. I love me some nightshades, what can I say?
What foods can you not get enough of? 

A Few Things for Friday

1.) Wedding season it almost here. #vanityWhite Strips

 

2.) This  hilarious post from Foodtrainers: “Are you an “Instaslave?” (I’m totally a little bit guilty of 9 & 10)

3.) Sometimes I get living-space envy when I see bloggers talking about being upstairs or being downstairs in their home. I essentially live in one room and it feels huge. Until I read something about someone’s basement or washer-dryer in the garage. Then I remember I don’t have to clean all those rooms and I feel happy and NYC-smug again.

4.) This Lobster Polenta Pizza from How Sweet It Is—right up my alley. I can’t believe I spent the first 18 years of my life thinking I hated lobster. I could basically eat it with anything now. For the uninitiated, Trader Joe’s frozen langostino tails are a good day-to-day substitute.

5.) Any of you guys with upcoming travel plans, check out this jet-lag app—so cool!

6.)  How to do “small plates” right.

cosmo surf and turf7.) Sexy-time in the presence of crustaceans just sounds like a bad idea. Lobster claws are strong! Also, can someone please tell the folks at Cosmo that they totally missed an opportunity to make an Annie Hall joke?

On a semi-related note, I tend to dream about lobsters when I have anxiety about whether I should be involved with someone I’m involved with. This winter, I had a dream about getting a lobster at a suburban grocery store. Instead of giving it to me in a bag, the person behind the counter just handed it to me, and the lobster clamped down on my left arm. My dream-self tried to play it cool, tried to shake it loose, but no dice. I asked the cashier if she could please kill the lobster, and she gave me a blank stare. It was then I realized that in order to get the lobster to let go of me, I had to first let go of the lobster. I woke up skittish as ever but feeling like I’d learned something.

8.) I’m working on next month’s newsletter—drop me a line at keepingitrealfood(at)gmail(dot)com if you want to be added to the list.

Are you a slave to Instagram? Do you like lobster? 

 

Eat Great, Feel Great Event

Token "action shot"

Token “action shot”

Tuesday night I gave a talk on foods to help you look at feel your best for the coming beach season at Athleta in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. We had a great group of people who came out in the rain for the event. Rather than just lecture the whole hour, I did a more informal  discussion with Q & A throughout. We talked about a whole bunch of foods that can help us feel in top physical form by fighting bloat and promoting weight loss/maintenance, but we also discussed foods that boost serotonin levels—great for helping to shake off any lingering winter blues. A few of the many foods we talked about:

  • Lemon: This powerful detoxifier works as a natural diuretic and gentle laxative. The scent of lemon has also been shown to ease anxiety and promote positive feeling.
  • Chicken/Turkey/Lean Beef: Poultry and meat are rich in amino acid tryptophan, which the body converts into serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with mood.
  • Fish/Seafood: Fatty fish are potent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Don’t like fish? Try a fish-oil supplement.
  • Avocado: The potassium fights bloat, while the healthy fats keep you satisfied while also working wonders for your hair, skin, and nails. An added bonus—the vitamin B6 helps enhance the rate at which our body converts tryptophan into serotonin.
  • Bananas: A great source of vitamin B-6, tryptophan, and bloat-banishing potassium.
  • Chia Seeds: Another great source of Omega-3s. They also contain 6 grams of fiber per tablespoon to promote satiety. They’re also thought to promote hydration—great for warm-weather workouts.
  • Yogurt: The probiotic bacteria in yogurt fight the good fight in the GI tract and help promote regularity. Since most of our serotonin is produced in the gut, a happy gut means a happier you.
  • Whole Grains: A great source of B-vitamins, whole grains also have more tryptophan than other, more refined sources of carbohydrates. The fiber also promotes healthy digestion.

Thank you to Athleta for being such a great host!

I also want to give a big thank-you to The Chia Co, General Mills, Rodan +Fields, and Goodie Foodie NY for providing treats for our swag bags.

Also, thank you to my sister for taking some pics at the event.

What are some of your favorite feel-good foods? 

 

What I Ate Wednesday #158: Work-From-Home-Monday

Athleta April 15What I Ate Wednesday, we meet again. How’s your week going? I feel like I’m still coming down from the excitement preparing for last night’s event. One of my favorite things about being a dietitian is being able to do workshops and other healthy-eating events in the community. I want to give a big shout-out to the folks at Athleta for being so great to work with! Also, thank you to everyone who came out! I had so much fun! I’ll have a post about the event soon.

Monday, I was working from home, which was a great opportunity to tie up loose ends for Tuesday. I also had quite a mountain of emails to tend to after working at the hospital Saturday and spending most of Sunday in Queens catching up with friends. One of the things I underestimated when starting my own business was just how much time I would spend on it. It’s what I wake up thinking about in the morning, and it’s what’s on my mind when I go to bed. For better or worse, it doesn’t even feel like work because I’m doing something I’m passionate about that allows me to use my skills while also learning new ones. Turns out that “labor of love” cliche is true.

One thing I should admit, though, is that on my work-from-home days, my meals do not score very high on the “presentation” side. I see nothing wrong with eating salad right from the mixing bowl…

Things in BowlsHere’s what I ate this past Monday. I wasn’t planning to make it a meatless one, but that’s what happened:

  • Breakfast: A smoothie similar to this one, except with chocolate whey protein powder. Of all the protein powders I’ve tried, whey is still my favorite—love the texture! I also feel it keeps me full for much longer than other types, and I can practically feel my muscles saying, “Thank you” after a workout when I have this for breakfast after. An aside: it happens to make smoothies taste like a Wendy’s frosty. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but hey.
  • Lunch: Another giant salad, with butter beans and tons of roasted veggies, plus a little avocado. A little later, I had a single-serving bag of Trader Joe’s kettle corn. Totally forgot to take a picture, though. Whoops!
  • Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with flax, cinnamon, and a few blackberries, topped with a drizzle of the rosemary fig honey I’ve been enjoying lately.
  • Dinner: I was trying to use up some kale, so I added some Trader Joe’s falafel, roasted veggies, hummus, tahini, and goat cheese.
  • Snack: Another photo fail: a sliced banana with PB2.

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

How do your meals differ from when you’re at work vs home?  

 

Food and Mood

Irving Farm cappucinoTonight I’m giving a talk on what to eat to look and feel your best. What we eat can have a huge impact on how we feel, just as how we feel can effect what we eat. However, it doesn’t have to be a vicious cycle! Sometimes taking a few extra steps to nourish ourselves with good food can help us hit the reset button and get on track with enjoying making good choices.

In that vein, I wanted share this piece on Food and Mood from the Atlantic.

Happy full moon lunar eclipse Tuesday : )

What foods do you eat to feel good? What foods make you feel not-so-good? 

The ghost in the white noise machine

Alternate title: “Eclipse Weather.” Yep, we’ve got a full moon lunar eclipse tomorrow night, so aside from the usual crazy, we’ve got, like, mega-ultra full moon weirdness.

Great example: Saturday morning, my muscles were begging for yoga before my shift at the hospital, so I unrolled my mat, turned on some music, and hit the white noise machine by my bed. About fifteen minutes in, the machine turned off by itself, across the room. I’ve had the thing five years, and it’s never done that.

I joked, “Okay, ghost. Very funny. Can we do this after I finish yoga?” Guess someone was sick of hearing this song. I turned the machine back on and finished my solo vinyasa class.

Literally four minutes after I was done, the machine turned off again. I think it was more busted than haunted—it turned off again as I was trying to fall asleep. It was just the timing that amused me. Things always break for me during an eclipse, so go figure.

Speaking of broken, my big toenail on the other foot is not sure it still wants to be attached to me. I am giving it time to decide and being extra nice. We will see, but What. The. F.

shakshukaI was speaking with a client recently about how important it is to nurture ourselves during stressful or busy times when things are very much in flux. One of the most basic ways we can do that is by feeding ourselves balanced meals at regular intervals and not pushing ourselves too much. So, with that in mind, here are a few (or okay, a lot) of my favorite basic “healthy comfort foods”:

On another note, I re-watched 20 Feet from Stardom the other night while folding some brochure’s for tomorrow’s Athleta event, and just well, wow. Now all I want to listen to is David Bowie’s “Young Americans” and the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” On repeat.

What are some of your comfort foods? 

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