A Weekend Off-line

I don’t do it too often, but this weekend I decided to just unplug and take some time away from my laptop. Sometimes it’s nice to be internet free and just enjoy life without constantly going online and facing that computer screen.

I’ll admit I didn’t go 100% computer free. It was actually a lot harder than I thought! I ended up checking a couple emails and ordering some textbooks for my upcoming school semester. But it was still nice to spend so much time away from my computer, especially now that I’m in between semesters and theres no school to worry about.

Since I got most everything I needed to do finished earlier in the week, it was nice to just hang around with no plans, see friends, watch some tv, read, and just do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

My weekend started off with a lovely bowl of pb and jelly. In smoothie form.

I just blended together some frozen blueberries and cherries (I froze some fresh ones the other day – those are the best!) with a cup of unsweetened almond milk, ice cubes, 1/2 T peanut flour and the outcome was this pretty purple smoothie. Topped it off with some blueberry muffin pieces and a light sprinkle of peanut flour.

I think by now, most of you know that I have a slight obsession with pb + jelly and will eat it in any way shape or form. From cookies to oatmeals to smoothies 🙂

It was one of those weekends this weekend. Where my stomach was a bottomless pit and just couldn’t be satiated no matter how hard I tried. I finally decided to just listen to my body, so this weekend was full of good eats 😛

Some foodie highlights this weekend:

Lots of grilling

Yummy baked goods

Many(!) handfuls of fun snacks

Even though I was technically ‘unplugged‘ over the weekend, it didn’t keep me from thinking about moving to a self-hosted site. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I’m still fairly new to the blogging world and not all that tech savvy so any advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

Alright, the day is still young and I ‘ve still got a couple things I want to do today so I’ll catch you all later! Have a great Sunday 🙂

Do you ever take time away from your computer? 

What do you love to do on the weekends?

Any advice on self-hosting a blog?


Smoothie Magic and {Not So Much} Muffin Tops

I’m on a smoothie roll!

Lately I just can’t go a morning without them. This morning I probably had one of my favorite ones yet and all it took was that one magical 1/2 tablespoon of peanut flour.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Rainer Cherry Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • a couple frozen rainer cherries
  • 9 ice cubes
  • 1 serving chocolate protein powder (I use true vitality)
  • 1/2 T peanut flour
  • 1/8 t xanthan gum

I’m also on a baking roll. (Successful bakes are a whole other topic ;))

Every once in a while I catch the baking bug and it comes down to how much time and motivation I have.

Time was on my side the other day and I was craving muffin tops so I got baking.

Remember that really flat looking thing I had yesterday morning?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a muffin top pan.

That way my muffin tops can look like this…

rather than this…

It’s a sad looking thing, isn’t it?

I had a brilliant plan to use an ice cream scoop to scoop out little mounds so that they would miraculously bake into fluffy little muffin tops.

Couldn’t have been more wrong. As usual.

Apparently runny batter spreads when baked. I’m sure the whole world knew that. Yet I thought for some reason mine wouldn’t.

But’s its all good, because in the end all baked goods taste the same whether they’re flat, puffy, or in muffin form.

And these turned out pretty tasty.

{Not So Much} Chocolate Muffin Top

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup oat bran (or 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour if you don’t like the crunch of oat bran)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup sucanat
  • 2.5 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 2 T dark cocoa powder
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 2 egg whites
*Mix all wet ingredients in a small bowl.
*Pour wet into dry and stir to combine.
*Place bowl in refrigerator for 10 mins.
*Meanwhile, preheat oven to 35o degrees.
* After 10 mins, scoop mixture out with ice cream scoop into whatever pan floats your boat 🙂
*My muffin took about 17-20 mins to bake while my {flat} muffin top took 10 mins. 

These are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. They’re just as great eaten straight out of the fridge, which I’ve been doing. Literally.

I don’t know how many times I catch myself standing in front of the fridge eating who knows what with the door ajar. I guess it’s a win-win. I get extra AC plus my hunger is satiated 😉

What’s your favorite muffin flavor? If I HAD to choose, I’d say I love a good classic blueberry muffin.


Productivity and Protein

Today was full of reviewing learning, finishing my last paper(!), and protein.

It pretty much started with a question…

What does one do when one is forgetful and forgot to put the ice bucket back into the freezer last night?

Go to the nearest coffee shop of course!

Starbucks just happens to be my nearest coffee shop so thats where I stopped by after the gym this morning. Actually, I didn’t exactly stop in since this particular Starbucks has a drive-thru. More like drove by. Laziness to the max? Yeah, I think so.

I couldn’t exactly just drive by and ask for a cup of ice now could I?…so I ordered myself a nice large cup of iced coffee. Something I haven’t had in a while.

Along with my iced coffee, I got my large cup of ice.

So why did I want this ice so badly? – I’ve been wanting to make a cold protein shake/smoothie for a couple days now and since I keep forgetting to put the container back in the freezer to actually make ice, I’ve had to resort to semi-cold chocolate milk. It’s good, but just not as good as it would be with ice. Especially in this heat.

Since I had a huge cup of coffee, and there was no way I could stomach both a protein smoothie and 20 ounces of coffee, I figured I may as well use it as my liquid.

So in went 1.5 cups of iced coffee, 1 serving of chocolate protein powdera couple glugs of unsweetened almond milk, and about 2/3’s of my venti cup of ice.

The outcome?

I poured it into the previously ice filled Starbucks cup and it actually almost looks like a Starbucks frappe. I either put way too much liquid in or not enough protein powder, so it ended up tasting just like what I would think a Starbucks coffee frappe would taste like. yum 🙂

I think the coffee I added in that ‘protein frappe’ may have given me some super concentration powers or something because I plowed through my paper like no other. Three cheers for coffee!

Shortly after it was lunch time and I found out that not only do I not have ice in this house, I have no food. Well, there’s some food, but the majority of it is expired.

After some scrounging around I finally came up with soba noodles, silken tofu, and eggs. Um…protein in a bowl? I think by that time, my stomach was ready to eat just about anything in a bowl.

Layer 1 – Soba Noodles:

Soba noodles pack quite the protein punch. Surprising, yeah?

Layer 2 – tofu:

I don’t think silken tofu is meant to be sliced. I couldn’t even pick move it to the bowl without it breaking on me.

Layer 3 – 1.5 eggs:

Basically just 1 egg + 1 egg white sprinkled with cayenne pepper.

A nice sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Plus some chopped basil. (I LOVE (!!!) the smell of basil)

All mixed up with a little more toasted sesame seeds and cayenne pepper.

(Not to be gross or anything but…Don’t stare at the photo too long or else the noodles start looking like worms – don’t say I didn’t warn ya! 😉  )

I don’t think I’ve had such a protein packed lunch in a long time. It was actually so filling I never finished it. I ate all the other layers, but left some of the soba.

Right before dinner I had another protein bowl. Just a mini one though.

cottage cheese + a generous sprinkle of cinnamon + operations management notes

I wonder if protein has anything to do with productivity because I was certainly able to concentrate a lot better today than the previous days. Protein = full = satisfied = more concentration on work & less concentration on hunger pangs?

Or it could have been the fact that I finally got into study mode.

I think my brains reached capacity for the day so it’s time to crash and start new tomorrow.

Night! 🙂

 

 

 

 


Photo Friday

Friday morning started out early with a fun strength workout followed up with an all-in-one type breakfast. I wanted to drink a chocolate protein shake, but I also wanted oats, and there was no way I could eat both a bowl of oats AND a large protein shake, so I just had them both at once.

I kept it on the cool side though, since it was hot hot hot outside yesterday.

Ok, so I just looked at the weather and it doesn’t seem like it’s that hot from the numbers, but I promise it felt way hotter. Perhaps because the humidity is 80%+ everyday.

I was out and about pretty much all day yesterday, and I realized that I really haven’t shown any photos of Hong Kong other than food, so I’ll show you my afternoon through photos…

Lunch in Soho

There are restaurants lining this hill and at every block it opens up left and right and there are MORE restaurants.

 You can pretty much always find shade somewhere here because of all the high rise buildings.

One thing most of these photos have in common? People. And a whole lotta them.

I took most of these photos in Central, more specifically Soho where a ton of restaurants are located. It’s a very international area where everyone speaks English.

The last two photos are in Mong Kok – you may remember me mentioning this is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, particularly on Saturdays.

I don’t have many plans today other than getting back on track with summer school, once again…but tomorrow (Sunday) I’m going on a boat trip!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Grab and Go Breakfasts – Part 1

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And I’m not just saying that because I may be slightly obsessed with it.

In reality breakfast is really what fuels our bodies and prepares us for the rest the day.

Lets do a quick comparison:  Breakfasts vs. Cars.  Say what??

Well, if you have a car that needs 93 grade fuel and you give it 87 or 90, it’s obviously not going to function too well in the long run. It’s the same with breakfast.  If I’m feeding myself refined carbs and sugary foods like toaster strudels, pop-tarts, or fruit loops every morning, I’m pretty much asking to have some kind of energy crash before I even reach for my mid-morning snack. We have to fuel ourselves with 93 grade fuel real foods that will keep us full longer and give us energy in the long run.

So basically, what I’m trying to say is that we are all european sports cars 😉

I know everyone is a busy bee these days and sometimes don’t have much time to make or eat breakfast, making it easiest to just grab something quick and easy from the freezer, counter, drive thru, or just plain skip out on breakfast.

My question is…why would you skip breakfast when it’s the best meal of the day?  Alas, I understand that not everyone is obsessed like me, so I’ve come up with a few suggestions for you busy young professionals who don’t have that extra time for breakfast, as you’re busy trying to make this world a better place.  At least that’s what I’d like to think. ;)

So get your notepads iPads out and jot this down…

First, I highly recommend stocking up on whole grains such as steel-cut oats, rolled oats, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat tortillas, and whole grain cereals.

Next up is the dairy. Low-fat or non-fat yogurt (if flavored, I recommend the ones sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar and are under 10g of sugar), 2% or skim milk, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs.

Lastly, the extras.  In-season fruits, frozen fruits, nut butter, unsalted nuts, veggies.

These are all very convenient and easy to purchase foods that can be effortlessly interchanged throughout the week for an assortment of breakfasts.

Breakfast in under 5 mins:

Cereal

This is probably one of the easiest and most convenient breakfasts.  However, it is key to choose the right kind of cereal. One that is high in nutrients, fiber, whole grains, and relatively low in sugar.

Cereal F.A.C.T.S has a great fact sheet that summarizes and ranks cereals by their nutritional content.  Check it out!

My personal favorite is a mix of Barbara’s peanut butter & chocolate puffins, 1 Barbara’s shredded wheat, a generous serving of Nature Path’s kamut or brown rice puffs and a sprinkle of fresh or frozen fruit.  All topped off with some ice cold unsweetened almond milk.

My usual ratio of unsweetened to sweetened cereal is 2:1.  So 2 portions unsweetened (kamut puffs & shredded wheat) and 1 portion sweetened (puffins).

I’d follow suit Amanda‘s recommendation and take it up to a whole new level by adding some cottage cheese and/or nut butter for an additional protein boost!

Smoothies

This is a great go to, especially during the summer, and it’s super simple. All you need is a blender, milk, frozen bananas, other frozen fruit and all else is optional.  I prefer to add a scoop of protein powder for more staying power, my favorite brand being Green Foods True Vitality in vanilla or chocolate flavor.

A couple of my favorite blends: chocolate heaven, açaí bowl, and almond banana.

The real smoothie queen, however, is Julie over at Peanut Butter Fingers. One glance at her smoothies and I’m pretty sure you won’t be skipping breakfast. That’s how good they look.

Just blend em up and bring it along to consume during your commute to work.

Yogurt

(source)

This one is all up to personal preferences as there are so many different types of yogurts out there. My personal favorites are Siggi’s, Whole Foods brand non fat yogurt, and Strauss plain non-fat yogurt.

Just mix in some fresh or frozen fruit, top off with some cereal, granola, or nuts and you’re good to go.

I like greek yogurt because it has a higher amount of protein and hopefully keeps me full a little longer.

So there you have it! Now you busy professionals (*cough* yusi *cough*) have three less excuses for for not having enough time for a nutritious breakfast.  Keep an eye out for Grab and Go Breakfasts – Part Two coming on Saturday!  Tomorrow is saved for my weekly in & out.

Night!


Some Vita-mix Action

My vita-mix got a pretty decent break over the long weekend and it was about time I break it out again for some VMA (vita-mix action).  I really think this is the most used gadget in my kitchen, but I’m not surprised why.  It can pretty much make anything.  This morning I just wanted something cold and simple so I ended up using:

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1 cup low-fat unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2.5 pieces ice
  • 1 rounded tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • a couple dashes vietnamese cinnamon and a couple more on the finished product
blend it up!
And a couple mins later, a banana almond smoothie was born:
Very banana-y with a hint of almond.

It was simple and delicious.  But it would be even more delicious had I shaved some dark chocolate over it and mixed it in.  But alas, I was running low on time and had to get myself over to they gym pronto.

I had a decent workout that started with 18 mins on the treadmill looking something like this:

– min 0-1 @ 3.2
– min 1-2 @ 3.5
– min 2-3 @ 3.9
– mins 3-7 @ 6.5
– min 7-7:30 @ 7.5
– mins 7:30-10 @ 6.6
– min 10-10:30 @ 8.0
– mins 10:30-13 @ 6.7
– min 13-13:30 @ 8.0
– mins 13:30-16 @ 6.8    (all at a .5 incline)
then,
– min 16 @ 12 3.8   (at a 12 incline)
– min 17-18 @ 3.5  (at inline 3.5)

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