Sunday, January 29, 2012

8 week health challenge

Every time a new year comes around, I decide that this is the year to get healthy. I vow to drink more water, eat better, and workout like crazy until I finally look like a Victoria's Secret model. Of course, the New Year's hangover is followed by my birthday, which is followed by an annual trip to Utah, which is followed by my best friend's birthday, which is followed by Valentine's and Mardi Gras and another birthday etc etc etc. It just seems like there's never a good time to actually stop celebrating and get fit... until now!

A handful of my friends and I, are starting an 8 week health challenge tomorrow. One of my coworkers found it on the Six Sisters Stuff Blog, and we all decided that it sounds like a great way to be healthy and lose weight together! The basis of the challenge is all about promoting healthy behavior- drinking water, eating fruits and veggies, working out, and avoiding sweets. There's also a cash prize to the 2 people who lose the most weight, and live the healthiest at the end of the 8 weeks. Sounds pretty fun right?

If you check out the challenge, and decide you like the sound of it, join in! I'm super excited to get started tomorrow- I already have all my green smoothie ingredients chopped and ready in the fridge! I'll keep you updated on my challenge progress- I plan to eat tons of tasty meat-free meals and lose weight while doing it :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


In order to save money and calories, I very rarely eat out during the weekdays. Today, however, I neglected to pack a lunch, and Julie didn't want her frozen pot pie, so we figured we'd try some new restaurant neither of us had ever been before- Smashburger! I always thought this place was just another burger and fries joint, but I was really excited to find out they also have a meat-free black bean burger!
Julie and I both got the black bean burger- hers with smash fries, and mine with veggie frites, and we both absolutely loved it! The texture is great- soft, mashed beans on the inside, and perfectly grilled on the outside. Some veggie burgers to mush together too many ingredients, but this black bean patty was simple, tasty, and just right.

The veggie frites, while pretty good, were more of a sautéed vegetable stick than a fry. The smash fries were also pretty good, but the haystack onions were totally delicious! Julie and I both snuck some of Greg's fried onion strands and they were super tasty. The veggie frites are definitely the healthy choice, but the haystack onions are definitely the scrumptious one!

I must say this new dining adventure was a total success. If you're in the mood for a fast, delicious, meat-free burger, definitely check out Smashburger. I was pleasantly surprised, and I hope you will be too! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

green smoothie in a mason jar

If you've ever seen a green smoothie, and wondered if it tastes like an ugly liquid salad gone wrong, I have news for you. Green smoothies are freakin' delicious! I made my very first one today for breakfast, and now I think I could have one every morning!

For my first attempt, I kept it simple with minimal ingredients, but I think with this basic base, I can start getting more creative for different flavor and/or nutritional combinations.

Stuff you need: 1. 1/2 cup rice milk 2. 1 banana 3. apple 4. 3 handfuls of kale 4. 3/4 cup water

If you hate mornings like I do, get everything prepared the night before- core your apple, and chop it up along with the banana and kale. In the morning, combine the rice milk, apple, and banana in a blender and start running it.

As the blender runs, add the kale in small amounts. When you add the kale in, I recommend you pour a little water in at the same time, so everything continues to blend together smoothly. When all the ingredients are nicely combined and the liquid is to your desired consistency, pour it up, and suck it down!
Isn't that green lovely?
Some thoughts on green smoothies:
1. If you bring it to work, all your coworkers will ask you what the hell are you drinking? Is it pesto?
2. Once you get over the color and the kale in your teeth, it honestly tastes just like a regular banana smoothie, and is seriously delicious.
3. Don, our IT guy and health guru, recommends adding different greens into the same smoothie for better national value- collards, spinach, carrot tops- all great choices.
4. Don't waste your solo cups every morning! Drill a hole through the lid of an old mason jar, and use that for your newfound green smoothie obsession!

Let's be honest. I'm totally obsessed. It's delicious, it's easy to make, it's crazy good for you, and it actually kept me full until lunchtime! Yeah. I think I'll be drinking these A LOT :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

qrunch burgers

Hey has anybody tried the quinoa patties from Qrunch Foods yet? Last time I was at Whole Foods, the free-sample-man convinced me to buy a box, and so far so good.

I like that they're completely unique to anything else on the market.- there's a nice variety of veggie burgers and chik'n patties, but I really haven't seen a lot of quinoa burgers floating around yet. I also like that the Qrunch patty is gluten fee, vegan, and made with just a handful of good ingredients. Unfortunately, they're a little high in saturated fat for my liking, but I think that's probably okay, as long as you don't start yourself on a Qrunch burger IV drip.
Today for lunch I had a Qrunch burger served over a bed of sautéed kale and spinach, with a little bit of Newman's Own Italian dressing. The quinoa patty has a nice texture- light and flaky, with still enough to bite into- and I love the flavor, which I think is best described as buttery. Yumm.

If anyone else has tried these bad boys I'd love to hear what you think! Personally, they're a little high in fat for me, but I think it'll be nice to have these in the freezer for meals every now and then. Thanks Qrunch burger! Big kudos to you :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a scrumptious 25th birthday

Excuse me one moment while I put on my fat pants, and talk about my birthday feasts. Even though today was my actual birthday, I feel like I've been pigging out all week in its honor- man I love birthdays! If you're looking for good veggie grub around Denver and the surrounding area, let me tell you where I've recently binged myself:

• Friday night was my Mom's birthday dinner at India's- I love Indian food, not only because of the unique flavors and spices, but also because there are so many great meat-free options! Saag Paneer, Aloo Gobi, and Navarattan Korma? It was all great!

• Saturday night a group of friends treated me to pizza at Lala's pizzeria and wine bar. The wine selection is spectacular, the pizza is great, the eggplant parm is even better, and to top it off- they have gluten free options! Absolutely fabulous.

• Sunday night the boyfriend and I walked over to Shells and Sauce for some tasty Italian fare. It's a cozy little place with all the usual dishes- homemade pastas, thin crust pizzas, and some nice vegetarian and gluten free options. I got the cheese ravioli and it was ridiculously good.

• I managed to actually cook a meal yesterday, but since tonight was my actual birthday, my parents took me out to Tommy's Thai. After some hefty meals the past few days, nothing sounded better than fresh, spicy vegetables served over steamed rice. Once again, Thai food is great for meatless options, so I happily dug into some tofu spring rolls, and Pad Kra Pow. It was everything I was craving and more- Tommy's is definitely one of my faves.

Well, moral of the story is that it was an amazing, and incredibly delicious birthday weekend! I also got some awesome kitchen gadgets I can't wait to play with, lots of fun new cookbooks and spices, a beautiful flower delivery, and I even found my cubicle decorated this morning at work! A BIG thanks to everyone who made my birthday so special this year. I seriously have the best friends and family in the world. I love you guys! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

high altitude hard-boiled eggs

I know that Easter is months away, but hard-boiled eggs are good all year round! I got another batch of beautiful, happy eggs from my parents, and since I don't eat them quickly enough, I decided to hard boil a big batch the other night.
Aren't they gorgeous? My parents get eggs from a man in their neighborhood who has a little flock of happy chickens- they have space to roam in, plenty of food, and they produce these stunning, multi-colored eggs. Happy chickens make me happy too :)

Anyway, I don't know if cooking times are different for those at sea level, but these are the directions my mom gave me, and they worked perfectly here in Colorado.

How to hard-boil eggs at altitude
Stuff you need: 1. Eggs 2. Water 3. Salt

Place your eggs into an appropriate sized saucepan. You want the eggs to fit nicely in the bottom, so they won't rattle around, or be too tight either. Fill the pan with enough cold water to cover the eggs, and give the water a healthy helping of salt.

Place the saucepan on the stovetop, and bring to a boil using medium high heat. When the water is at a full rolling boil, let the eggs cook for 3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes, place a lid on the pot, and remove it from the heat. Let the saucepan sit for 20-22 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse the eggs under cold water.

That's it! Store your hard-boiled eggs in the fridge, and devour them in all kinds of things- on toast at breakfast, chopped up in a stir fry, sliced over a bed of greens, or my personal favorite, mixed with some mayo in an egg salad sandwich!
My roommate, Molly, got her fancy egg salad recipe from Shape Magazine, but I just freehanded mine. 1 chopped egg + 1 rib celery + a little Vegenaise + salt & pepper = the perfect, quick, and tasty egg salad, which is absolutely divine, served on whole wheat toast, with mustard and lettuce. Happy chickens. Happy egg salad. Happy erin :)