Sometimes you need a splurge

Saturday I was sick and feeling very sorry for myself. Nothing too serious, just the kind of sick that really annoys you and make you feel mopey. My usual “I’m sick and grumpy” comfort food is either a big bag of baked chips or a fresh loaf of bread (or both and I am not kidding) and I didn’t want to do that.

If one is highly righteous about one’s diet, there should be no comfort food whatsoever right? If you aren’t hungry, you don’t need food. We all know that! Still, sometimes, knowing it doesn’t mean a thing, and it’s food we want and nothing else. The 2 years old inside just throws a tantrum: “I don’t want to be healthy, I want food and I want it now, NA!”  I have been at this long enough to know that sometimes all you can do is pick your battles. If it’s food and nothing else, so be it, but I’ll be darned if that food is crappy food that I will regret for the rest of the week. With all that in mind, I got a little creative. I dove into my fridge and pantry to see what I could find: Non-fat Greek yogurt, strawberries, bananas, spices, oh look! cereals!

You’ll remember my Banana Cream that I love to make regularly, I started with that, added spices, local honey, and then decided to build a parfait out of it!

Pretty right? It was also delicious! I totally felt like I spoiled myself and it’s loaded with nutritious foods. A win, win and win!

This is pretty much a “to taste” kind of recipe, meaning that there is not set “amount” of anything. It just depends on taste. I made it pretty sweet, because I was hoping the honey would help my throat 😮

Banana Cream Parfait
1 serving

Ingredients
1 medium banana
1/4 – 1/3 cup Non-fat plain Greek Yogurt*
Big pinch (to taste) Pumpkin pie spices
1 tsp (to taste) local honey
1/4 to 1/3 cup your favorite cereals (I used Go lean)
6-8 strawberries, finely chopped (one sliced for garnish!)
Tiny pinch ground clove

Mash the banana with a fork until creamy-chunky, add the yogurt, spices and honey and mix well.
In a dessert glass layer cereals, strawberry pieces, banana cream and repeat until the glass is full (or you run off of stuff!). Garnish with the strawberry slices and sprinkle lightly with ground clove.
* It’s more yogurt than I use in my banana cream unsually, but I wanted it very smooth and the color looks better in a parfait.

It’s healthy, filling, a little more calories than I usually put on a snack, but a lot less than a big loaf of bread or a huge bag of chips which are my traditional “I’m feeling sorry for myself” foods. Did I mention that it was absolutely delicious?

The bottom line is that living a healthy lifestyle is not an “all or nothing” thing. It’s not black or white, it’s a mix of colors, nuances, little steps and big leaps, all mixed together. To make this work long term, you have to accept that sometimes the step in a tiny one. That’s ok because  if it keeps you from being flung backward, it is still a victory!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it like a loaf of bread sticks to my behind! HA!

Best Nut Butter EVER

I have already shared my adventure with making Almond Milk, and from there I have been having fun with making almond meal or flour (with the remaining pulp from making almond milk) and finally Almond butter. I am intolerant to peanuts, so I have never eaten peanut butter willingly. My first attempts at almond butter opened a whole new thing for me. It’s delicious!

I found several recipes/methods on the web in various blogs, and decide to give it a try. I buy raw almonds at the Heart of the City Farmer’s Market to make almond milk, and started from those. I took 2 cups of raw almonds, put them on a cookie sheet and roasted them in the oven (350F but my oven isn’t quite precise) 10-12 minutes. Then I let them cool completely and threw them in the blender for about 12 minutes scraping the sides regularly. That’s it! No oil, just a tiny pinch of salt, that’s my basic recipe in my old immersion blender with the blender/chopper attachment.

That’s what I was doing until this week, because this week I got a VITAMIX! Isn’t it a beauty?

So I decided that to celebrate my new toy, I would experiment a little. I started with raw almonds again, and roasted them again, only this time I added pre-roasted sunflower seeds that I had on hand. Then I added some spice, and honey and processed the whole thing until super creamy.

The result was a delicious nut butter that is still creamy and delicious after days in the fridge. It’s just to die for! The trick it to keep pushing the nuts around with the tamper tool (the black thing that it sticking out of the top) and to stop and take a break when it gets too warm, not the base, the nut butter! You see, the Vitamix is so powerful that the friction of the blades can produce heat, so if you don’t want to cook your nut butter, you want to monitor the temperature of the stuff (just put your hand on the side) and when it gets hot, take a break until it’s cool again.

In the same line of idea, next time I will roast the nuts the day before and keep them in the freezer, that way it will be cold and won’t heat up so fast! It’s my 3rd batch of Nut butter and by far the best one. Not only it’s spiced and sweetened, but the power of the Vitamix made it so creamy and smooth that it’s just not comparable!

Here’s the recipe! It makes about 1 1/2 of nut butter.

Autumn Nut Butter

1 1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds (Trader Joes)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch ground clove
1 TBSP (or less) honey (I used local honey)
1 pinch salt

Roast the almonds in a preheated (350F) oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Monitor so that they just barely start browning, don’t over-roast. Let cool completely!

Put Sunflower seeds and almonds in the blender.

Add the spices and process until creamy.

If using a Vitamix: take breaks if the mixture gets too hot, processing in burst of about 30 seconds to 1 minute, pushing the mixture around with the tamper tool constantly. In a regular blender, process for about 10 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides every now and then.

Once it’s nice and creamy, add the honey and salt and process some more, about 30 seconds in the Vitamix, 1-2 minutes in the regular blender. Et voila!

It’s delicious by itself, even better with a banana! it’s filling! I LOVE the stuff! You can make your own variations. Have fun experimenting with this! Please let me know if you find another tasty mix :)

Don’t waste your energy!

Hi there!

Battening down the hatches for Monday’s exam, I have been MIA while studying. Do not fear, I am not gone, just really busy! In the meantime, here’s something I posted on my desk to make sure I don’t forget it. I thought it might be helpful to you too :)

Don't waste time and energy thinking about what you can't do, just give all you have to make the most of what you CAN do!

Post in the work for October (not including the recipes as those are spontaneous):

Nerditicity:

  • Over-training, what is it? What do I do?
  • Water, really?
  • Carbohydrates, friends or foes?
  • Buddying up!

Moves:

  • Pallof Press
  • Pilates single leg lift
  • Stability block fight <– just made the name up! HA!

That’s what’s in the work, so please be patient as this girl finishes up studying, gets ready for Mom’s visit, for a vacation, a visitor… Lot of stuff going on and it’s all good! :)

Be good n stuff!