Busy Bee

Let me tell you internet, my life has kind of exploded in the last few weeks.  In a good way.

I started working again a few weeks ago, for the first time since last June.  (I’m a photographer.)  I was only going to do one assignment, and then another one came up, and another one, and another one.  I also acquired my new studio on February 1st, and decided to have a workshop this past Saturday with 11 other photographers, 3 models, and 2 makeup artists.  So I was very busy organizing that nonsense, and I have been recovering ever since!

Health-wise, I am still continuing to feel better every day.  I’ve been increasing my activity levels every week.  I do need more naps than when I was sitting around doing nothing, but only on my Ease into 5K running days (just finishing week 2!), or on days where I’m working on my feet all day.  However, I can get through a workout or a work day with minimal problems (as long as I keep to my routine and eat regularly), and that’s pretty awesome.

I made a yummy smoothie this morning with some frozen açaí pulp I found at Whole Foods.

Valentine’s Day Açaí Smoothie

1/2 cup apple juice (not from concentrate)
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 banana
1 package Sambazon frozen açaí

Blend!

I wanted to do some Valentine’s Day baking, but I’ve been too busy.  Excuses, excuses.  One day this will be one of those blogs where I post the amazing things I bake all the time.

We don’t usually do anything on Valentine’s Day, but tonight we’re going to my favourite restaurant to eat pizza.  I hope everyone has had an awesome day, and:

Smoothies in a Bowl

I put chocolate chips in my breakfast ’cause I’m a grown up and I do whatever I want.

After I said that smoothies in a bowl are my new favourite breakfast, I googled it and found out it’s actually a popular thing in blog-land.  Now I know what bloggers are talking about when they talk about SIAB (and it’s not side impact airbags)!  Check out the Smoothie in a Bowl page on Kath Eats Real Food.  Her pictures make me want to have breakfast for every meal of the day.

This smoothie was made with:  2 clementines, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 handful of spinach, 1 cup of frozen blueberries and raspberries mixed, and 1 cup of frozen strawberries.  Topped with 1.5tsp chia seeds, 1tbsp unsweetened coconut, and a handful of tiny dark chocolate chips.

I need to start getting more creative with my smoothie base.  What are your favourite smoothie recipes?

Vitamix: Day 13 / The Ultimate Smoothie

Over the last 13 days I have perfected my smoothie.  I have one every morning and it rules.

Best Smoothie Ever

2 mandarin oranges, peeled
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 banana, peeled
1 large handful baby spinach
1 1/2 cups frozen fruit (I use a mixture of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
1 tbsp chia seeds

Blend the oranges first to make orange juice.  Add everything else and blend.

 

I’ve been trying to add more greens and decrease the amount of fruit.  I want more protein too, but I don’t know what to add.  Either way, this smoothie is delicious and totally makes my morning.

Vitamix: Day 3 / Hummus

I met with a sleep specialist yesterday afternoon to discuss the results of a sleep study I did a few weeks ago.  My doctor wanted to see if I have sleep apnea that’s contributing to my fatigue.

The sleep study was a really weird experience.  I had to go at 8pm and then sit in my room for about 2 hours while I could hear other people snoring and/or watching Two and a Half Men from their (every 5 seconds:  *laugh track* “MENNNNNNN“).  Eventually it was my turn, and then I had stuff glued all over my head and chest and tubes stuck up my nose.  I had to sleep on my back and basically try not to move so the nose-tubes didn’t tickle and block me from breathing.  They woke me up at 5am after a horrible night’s sleep and I walked home with globs of white glue all over my head.

And I don’t have sleep apnea!  He says I could have narcolepsy, except I don’t have some major symptoms and my sleep study was normal, so probably not.  He said I should fix all my autoimmune-related problems and then call him if I still have trouble with fatigue and sleepiness so he can do more tests.  HUMMUS.

Sorry, I couldn’t think of a good segue.  Hummus.  I made some.  With my Vitamix.

But first, I had a smoothie for breakfast, with:

  • 1 orange, peeled (blended first to make juice)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 big handful baby spinach

This is basically the best smoothie I’ve ever had.  NO SPINACH CHUNKS!  It had the consistency of Booster Juice.  So awesome.

The hummus was good too.  Filling!  Adapted from one of the Vitamix recipes.

Hummus

  • 1 19oz can chick peas, about half of the liquid drained
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in the Vitamix except salt.
  2. Select variable 1, turn on, quickly increase to 10 and then switch to High.
  3. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients down.
  4. Add salt to taste.

Sorry, Beast (that’s what I’ve named my Vitamix, by the way), but next time I’d probably use the food processor.  It was a bit difficult to get the hummus out of the bottom of the container, so I ended up wasting quite a bit.  But I still love you.

I have a weird burst of energy today.

Vitamix: Day 1 / Sunbutter

You may recall that I actually got a new blender this summer.  Technically it was free because I redeemed my Visa rewards points. It isn’t that great.  It has a “smoothie” button, but if I didn’t have enough liquid I would have to press it 3-4 times.  It really struggled with frozen bananas.  And frozen berries.  And frozen anything.  I had to put in way more liquid than I wanted.  As a result, I basically stopped making smoothies for breakfast because I was always disappointed with how they turned out.

The Vitamix, however, is AWESOME.  But it comes nowhere near being able to fit under my cabinets:

"I laugh at your puny kitchen."

I wanted to make a smoothie for breakfast, but I realized I barely have any food in the house, so I made one with what was available.  This included:

  • About 1 cup of original almond milk
  • A handful of frozen mixed berries
  • A handful of frozen blueberries
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

This was… not the best smoothie ever.  BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT.  The point is, the Vitamix took about 2 seconds to pulverize this mix of things into a smoothie without once screaming for more liquid.  It laughed at my paltry frozen fruits.  And then it destroyed them.

Since the smoothie didn’t work out, I needed another Day 1 recipe.  So I made sunflower butter!

I used about 1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds that I got during my trip to Whole Foods Las Vegas, and about 2tbsp of olive oil.

You need to add oil to get the consistency you want.  I added it about 1tsp at a time.

On Aidan’s gluten-free bread.  It was pretty good!

“Oh Crap I Have A Cold” Smoothie

Oh crap, I have a cold.

My current client is a textbook publishing company, and we’re doing a series of fitness photoshoots where we go to different schools and photograph kids doing exercises.

(Which means I find it hilarious to tell people, “I shot 40 kids today!”)

In the last 2 weeks I’ve worked with over 150 kids.  It was only a matter of time before I caught a cold.  I started to feel something last week, so I took a bunch of Cold-FX and it went away.  And then came back in full force yesterday.

But I’m happy, because I haven’t had a cold in several months, whereas last year I was getting them every 6 weeks or so.   I just hope it doesn’t last too long, because next week is going to be LONG and I need to be at 100% (my current 100%, which is more like 75%).

“Oh Crap I Have A Cold” Smoothie

1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 banana
1 giant orange (I was too lazy to peel it, so I cut it in half and then scooped the pulp into the blender.  This would be much easier with a grapefruit spoon.)

1 cup frozen raspberries and blueberries
1 tbsp sprouted chia powder

Blend.  Drink.

Looks suspiciously like my last smoothie.  Originally I was going to make a super powered smoothie full of spinach and stuff, but I just wanted something fruity and delicious.

I spent my entire day looking up medical articles and resources that I can print and bring to my doctor’s office to convince him to treat my thyroid symptoms.   In the meantime, I’m looking for another doctor, but I haven’t had much luck yet.  I’ve emailed lots of local medical professionals, even talk show hosts, but I haven’t heard anything back.

What do you do when you have a cold? I have to be better in 6 days!

Smoothie Time

Last weekend, I bought a bunch of plants, and then spent about 3 hours cleaning my balcony and planting things.

I planted 8 herbs and 5 kinds of flowers.  I’m generally a plant killer, but I’m going to water them this time, I swear!  Plus it’s been really nice to sit out on my balcony on my days off and read A Feast for Crows.

Unrelated:  Being gluten-free for almost a month now, I’ve learned that I suck at preparing food for myself.  I’m way too lazy, and I basically have NO appetite now (what’s up with that?).  So, between laziness and hardly ever feeling hungry, I’ve been skipping breakfast a lot and that’s a Bad Thing.  So I decided I need to start making smoothies again for breakfast.

About 6-7 years ago, my brother and I saw an infomercial for a Magic Bullet blender and ordered one.  When you ordered one, you got a second one, FREE!!  INSTANT GUACAMOLE FOR EVERYONE!

My friends made fun of me for buying a “smaller, crappier blender” from a freaking infomercial, but I’ve actually used it on a regular basis since I got it and it has outlived two other “real” blenders.

Last week I whipped out the Magic Bullet, threw in some kale, a bunch of fruit, and some almond milk, and attempted to make a Green Monster.

I took the first sip, and… OH GOD THERE ARE CHUNKS OF KALE IN MY TEETH.  It was disgusting.  It didn’t blend at all.   I tried to re-blend it, but it just… slowly whirred to a stop.  R.I.P. Magic Bullet.  I ended up pouring the smoothie through a wire mesh strainer and filtering out all the kale.  GROSS.

Time to buy a grown up blender.  Check out this bad boy:

Yeah, that’s right.  I’m going to leave that “700 Watts of Power” sticker on it so everyone knows how awesome my blender is.  HEY HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW BLENDER?  CHECK OUT HOW MANY WATTS IT HAS, IT’S RIGHT THERE ON THE STICKER.

Simple smoothie:  1 cup of milk, 1 heaping cup of frozen blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and 1 Tbsp of almond butter.

I pressed the smoothie button, and 30 seconds later I had a perfect smoothie.  It was delicious and it fit perfectly into my favourite moustache glass.  Plus, now I can enjoy breakfast on my balcony while smelling herbs that I don’t know how to cook with.

Smoothies every day for breakfast from now on!

7 Days of Quinoa: Day 3

Last night, I had the sudden dream-idea to bake yesterday’s breakfast and turn it into some sort of delicious quinoa apple crisp, and I woke up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT wondering if that would work.  Seriously, who does that?

I’m not the best cook in the world (though I’m pretty damn good at Kraft Dinner), so I decided that was probably a stupid idea and went back to sleep.  Then I was scrolling through my RSS reader this morning and I saw Angela‘s post about baked oatmeal.  Her ingredients aren’t that different, right?  This could totally work!

So I whipped out my leftovers from yesterday, and added:

- 1 more apple
- 1-2 cups of milk

And baked it in a casserole dish at 350°F for 42 minutes.  It… was basically exactly the same as yesterday, except slightly more delicious and apple-y.  I ate it with some vanilla greek yogurt.  I’m guessing the quinoa didn’t get crispy because it was already cooked?  Or maybe because it’s, uh, not oats.

Anyway, that wasn’t going to be my Day 3 post until I was leaving my house this evening and fell down my building’s concrete stairs.  Now I fully plan on doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day as the entire left side of my body slowly turns into a giant bruise.

Can’t catch a break.

7 Days of Quinoa: Day 2

Day 2. I decided to make breakfast and chose the very first recipe in Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood.  I adapted it a bit.  Their recipe calls for diced dried apple slices but I didn’t bother with the drying.

Apple Strudel Breakfast Cereal
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
1 apple, sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp brown sugar

1. Place almonds in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir frequently until the almonds are toasted (about 3-4 minutes).  Set aside in a bowl.
2. Combine quinoa, water, apple, raisins, and cinnamon in the same saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 17 minutes.
3. Stir in the vanilla and brown sugar.
4. Divide into bowls and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

It makes a LOT of leftovers.  Next time I would use less quinoa, and I wonder if it would work with milk instead of water?  I would also eat it with vanilla yogurt as suggested in the book.  I bet it would be really good with almond butter or something too.

This was delicious, but I only ate about 1/3 of my bowl and I felt really awful afterwards – sleepy and lethargic.   I’ve felt pretty bad all day and my thyroid feels really sore.

I keep having to remind myself that it is going to take longer than THREE DAYS to see an improvement.