Friday, March 18, 2011

FRESH FOODIE'S KITCHEN: Homemade Granola Bars

I like these bars for so many reasons: 1. they are so quick and easy to make, 2. they give me protein and healthy fats that I really need as a vegetarian, 3. they satisfy my sweet tooth, and 4. they are very satisfying and curb my cravings. I enjoy them on the go, or at the end of the day with a cup of hot tea.

  • Almond Butter
  • Honey
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Trail Mix of your choice
  • Oatmeal (uncooked; quick oats or slow cooked oats, NOT instant) 
  • Cinnamon

*REMINDER: Measuring food and counting calories make me crazy, so I avoid them at all costs. If you are a measurer or calorie counter, you'll have to figure out your desired quantities.


Mix in a bowl until evenly distributed and of a sticky consistency. Place several spoonfuls on a large piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to assist you in forming your bars into your desired size and shape. Refrigerate until ready to eat to help solidify the bars further. (None of these ingredients need to be refrigerated, so these bars can be put in your purse or lunch bag without the worry of them spoiling during the day.)

NOTE: Because the ingredients are a little pricey and the bars are calorie dense, I recommend limiting your intake. I usually can make about 4 or 5 bars from a batch and make that last me a whole week.

Let me know what you think! Fresh Foodie's Kitchen is a test kitchen! Your feedback is always appreciated.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

FRESH FOODIE'S KITCHEN: Quick and Easy Vegetarian Nachos


-"Meat" Mixture: Saute in extra virgin olive oil...
  • onion and bell pepper (saute thoroughly before adding crumbles)
  • Morning Star Sausage Crumbles (or meat sub of your choice)
  • cayenne pepper
-Preparing Nachos: Layer in this order....
  • Baked Tortilla chips (My favorite is Guiltless Gourmet brand spicy black bean flavor, but I can't find them anymore.)
  • Black beans
  • Collard Greens (Glory brand "sensibly seasoned" is my favorite kind)
  • "Meat" Mixture (from recipe above)
  • Shredded cheese mix (I usually use 2% mexican or taco blend)
  • Salsa of your choice (My favorite green salsa is Herdez brand salsa verde. My favorite Red salsa is Frontera brand Jalapeno Cilantro)
Microwave for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FRESH START, AGAIN.... Update and goals

*taps mic* "Is this thing on? Hello? Anybody out there?"

Yes, it's really me. I'm back. Starting over. Again. The story of my life. The gain and loss endless cycle since I was 10 years old. But I can do this. I really can. I have to.

I decided to put Couch to 5K on hold at the end of the summer 2010. I got to the point where I could run 20 minutes straight! It was amazing, but had stopped losing weight like I did at the beginning. So I did some more research and found out that the shorter intervals from the first couple weeks of the program are best for weight loss. Training for endurance running is great for strengthening your heart and lungs, but it puts your body under a lot of stress and a lot of times ends up causing a plateau or worse, weight gain, which is what happened to me. I got tired of physically pushing myself to the limits on my runs, making healthy choices and still not seeing the scale budge at the end of the week.

When I moved I decided to try being a vegetarian again since I liked it so much the first time. (I've never been much a meat lover, I ate it more for convenience than anything.) I felt like I had better circumstances: a bigger city with more dining and shopping options and no roomie to distract me from my salad with the smell of a bag from Chick-fil-a (my fast food fave). A few of my new local friends are vegetarians and so I have a good support system.

Heart disease and diabetes run in my family. I'm trying to outrun them. I have been showing symptoms of both in recent years and I really want to do my part to fight back. I also have always suffered from constipation (TMI, I know), and when I eat a vegetarian diet that problem is eliminated (ooh, that's a bad pun). In other words: I just feel better as a vegetarian.

Just one problem: when I eliminated meat from my diet, I was ravenous. I adopted the idea that as long as it wasn't meat, it was fair game. I was eating things on a regular basis that used to be occasional indulgences: ice cream, candy bars, chips, restaurant food, chocolate covered pretzels, corn nuts, and cookies hot from the oven made from rolls of dough. Sure they were all organic, all bought from the health food store. But that just means they're not full of chemicals, not that they're not full of fat and sugar and salt. I would try to convince myself that I was still eating a healthy diet; the scale, my clothes, and the mirror disagreed. Not to mention I started feeling tired and sick all the time.

I know when I started on YouTube I said I wasn't going to spend money to lose weight, but it got to the point where I was bored with workout videos, walking outside, running on the treadmill. The only time in my life that I even got close to goal was when I was going to a gym that had loads of group classes. I like the fact that I cannot procrastinate. The class is at a certain time and I can't put it off. Besides, I LOVE group classes. I love the dancing, music and choreography, the structure of the weight training classes, the feeling of having a personal trainer (without actually having one). I workout longer, harder and more regularly and have more fun doing it than when I do any other form of exercise. So, when I found out that there was a gym by my new place that had unlimited classes for $30 a month, I couldn't pass it up. Now I do Zumba, power sculpt, hip hop, turbo kick and more. It never gets boring. It also helps me fight my depression. No matter what, I always enjoy it and feel great afterward.

My new goals are:
- focus on a diet rich in fruits and veggies (and not fritos and ice cream.)
- do at least 4 classes each week
- take a multivitamin to supplement my vegetarian diet
- drink at least 100 oz of water every day
- get at least 7 hours of sleep every night
- post all workouts on twitter and dailymile
- make a youtube update video at least once a month

Oh, and here's my inspiration photo: I wanna look this good in a dress JUST LIKE this one...

So, with renewed focus and optimism, let's do this!