Tag Archives: healthy-living

17-April-2017 To Go Breakfast Bars

2017-Apr-17_FourNightsAWeek_0638_edited-1Last week I was reading a NY Times food article on the subject of vegetarian and vegan cooking (The Hippies Have Won). In the middle of the article, was a reference to a blog and cookbook series, Thug Kitchen. No kidding, this was one of the most fun cookbooks I ever browsed through and since all the recipes were plant-based, well… it was a win for me. If profanity is a hang-up, you might want to just follow the sanitized version below, but if you want some real kitchen coaching, buy the damn book, cook from it and learn to eat healthier.

Here’s the recipe for a strawberry version which was posted on Thug’s website. My version was based solely on what I had in the house to use up. I’m pretty sure the Thugs would be okay with that.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup uncooked millet
  • 1-1/4 cups chopped mixed nuts or seeds (I used all almonds)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or similar dried fruit (I used half dates and half ginger – not the sugary stuff)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, not corn syrup with maple flavoring)
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter (I used Sunbutter)
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white or brown sugar (I used brownish – Florida crystals)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a 9×13 inch baking dish and line with with parchment so some of the paper goes over the edge of the pan.  (Seriously, my mother reads this, so I’m leaving out the “good parts”).
  2. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat and add the oats, quinoa, and millet. Stir them all around until they start to smell toasted, about 3 minutes. While that is happening, combine the nuts and cranberries in a large bow. Pour in the all the toasted oat mix and the salt and mix together.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, peanut butter, oil, sugar and vanilla and warm until everything is melted. Make sure that the peanut butter is all mixed, and then remove from the heat. Pour this all over the dry mix and stir until everything is coated.
  4. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and press it down with a spoon (or a hand!) to even it out and make sure it is really in there. Throw it in the oven until it all looks toasted, 25-30 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature in the pan then throw it into the fridge. When it’s all nice and cold, cut into bars. They keep best in the fridge.

Now, go and buy the Official Cookbook and enjoy the ride and some great advice on plant-based.


02 April 2017 Yogi Tea

2017-Apr-02_FourNightsAWeek_0583I’ve become a huge fan of the site, Find What Feels Good and Yoga With Adriene over the winter months. If you haven’t discovered Adriene Mishler and her YouTube videos, I think you are really missing out on a great way to build a home yoga practice.  Adriene also shares “off the mat” tips and this morning her recipe for Yogi Tea popped up.  

While I enjoy an occasional cup of Chai, I like to forego the milk (or milk substitute) products and cut out sugars.  In my opinion, this tea was totally enjoyable as is without adding either milk or sweeteners. And it filled our home with a warm and spicy aroma. In the YouTube video, the explanation of why each ingredient was selected and how it might affect digestion is shared, but I just enjoyed the warmth and comfort from the brew.  I hope you do, too.

This recipe is the one I played with. It was posted on Organic Authority and adapted from Yoga Yoga. After you play with the recipe a bit, you can tweak the ingredient amounts suggested to suit your own taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 20 whole cardamom pods (split the pods first)
  • 8 ginger slices (1/4 inch thick, no need to peel)
  • ½ teaspoon organic black tea leaves (I used 1 teabag)
  • Milk (dairy or non-dairy) to taste (my preference – didn’t use)
  • Honey to taste (my preference – didn’t use)

Method

  1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil.
  2. Add cloves and boil for one minute.
  3. Add peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Cover and boil for 30 minutes (or longer).
  4. When ready, remove from heat, add black tea and let cool. Strain tea. (I added the teabag after boiling the spices together for about 3 minutes and then added the teabag, and steeped the tea at a low simmer for about 30 minutes).
  5. Add milk and honey to taste.

Changes, changes

This blog has been in hibernation for more months than I want to admit, partly due to schedule demands and partly due to a major shift in eating.

About 6 months ago I started to notice how s-l-o-w my metabolism had become and how little energy I had. Substitute sources for proteins in our mostly vegetarian diet were no longer easily digested.

One change that I made was to join a fitness and training facility, SLS Fitness. Right across the street from the school in which I work, I no longer had an excuse about “getting to the gym” and with several colleagues also going, there was strength in number. The day Sherri Sarrouf came to talk to us about starting an exercise program was one of the best days of my life – everything she described made perfectly logical sense. Using rest-based training (Metabolic Effect), over the last six months my energy levels have been climbing and I am building more muscle.

Stage II of the process involved working with Susan Kirby, a trainer and nutrition coach at SLS.  And here is where we’ve made some major changes to what and how we eat.

While I no longer am strictly vegetarian, I am careful to eat lean proteins: chicken, turkey, lean fish.  I am using olive and coconut oils and eat so that at least half of my plate is vegetable.

I compute hormonal carbs (carbohydrates – fiber – protein) and try to keep that number around 15 while I keep fats to 10 or less each meal.  I eat something about every 3-4 hours using the principles of Metabolic Effect as a guide. This is helping me keep insulin levels more level. Given that I was able to do this with very little trouble while on vacation, I think it’s a eating lifestyle I can deal with.

We still cook and prepare meals at least 4 nights each week and eat very few prepared foods. So while this blog of collected recipes will no longer be strictly vegetarian, there still will be lots of ideas for home cooks who are vested in healthy eating.

Enjoy!


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