Monday, September 15, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Honey & Soul Paleo Goodies

*Disclaimer: Honey & Soul sent me a goodie box with a few different flavors of their paleo-friendly cookies (gf). All opinions in this blog post are my own, as always.

I think it is safe to say that cookies are probably one of my favorite things to eat for dessert. And by dessert, I mean, after any meal at any time of the day. I never said I was perfect...

#cookiemonster



These days, with school, working, and volunteering, I am all about keeping my diet uncomplicated, realistic, nutritious, but totally enjoyable too. Because the best part of food is being able to enjoy it, right? And sometimes, when you are studying O-chem, or as I like to refer to it, "OH-NO-Chem," you just need a darn cookie.

I was lucky enough to receive a goodie box with a few different flavors of Honey & Soul's paleo cookies. Let's just say, the box didn't last very long in our apartment. 

Honey & Soul uses only real, high quality ingredients you can pronounce, so there's no fake stuff. Almonds, dates, maple syrup, coconut flour - just to name a few basic ingredients. The cookies contain no grains/no dairy/no gluten/no soy and are paleo-friendly.

The flavors I tried were: 
  • Double Chocolate Sea Salt Pecan Cookie
  • Chunky Monkey Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookie
  • Coconut N'Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookie (my favorite...big time)
I absolutely loved the Coconut N'Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookie. It had that hint of coconut, lovely oaty flavor, and then of course, big chocolate chunks that won me over. The boyfriend absolutely devoured a few of the Double Chocolate Sea Salt Pecan Cookies, even admitting "these are good for a gluten-free cookie." That's big. Trust me. I also just noticed they offer a cookie of the month subscription...danger. 

Winnie at Honey & Soul has very kindly offered to give one lucky She Eats Well reader a box of sample goodies (9 goodies!). I love Winnie's story and am all about supporting a fellow business woman. So, how can you enter? A few ways, because we're all about options here and the more you choose to do, the higher your chances. 

3) Follow She Eats Well on Instagram
4) Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite type of cookie! 

If you do any of the above 1-3, please leave a comment letting me know which you've done and your favorite type of cookie!  I'll randomly select a winner by this Saturday 9/20.


Your inner cookie monster will thank you.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recipe: One Pot Red Coconut Curry with Vegetables (gluten-free, vegan, paleo)

Let me tell you a story about curry.

I love different types of food: Thai (I waitressed my way through college at a Thai restaurant), Ethiopian, French, Indian, and the list goes on. But goodness gracious, do I love me some good Indian food - especially that Chicken Tikka Masala. Well, the boyfriend isn't too keen on the Indian food. In fact, it's not that he doesn't care for it, it's that he is scared of trying it because of what he thinks it could do to his, shall we say, digestion.  

This is because one of his best friends ate Indian food a few years back (yes, years back) and had some, well, stomach problems immediately after. 

I think this is one experience, experienced by someone who is not my boyfriend. This single experience does not define everyone! But my boyfriend begs to differ.

Now, why on earth am I telling you this story? Well, one, because I think it is hilarious. And two, because, I truly love curry - whether it be Indian or Thai or whatever! It's delicious, flavorful, and warming, which can be great for digestion. And I especially love Thai red curry, which is spicier, when made with coconut milk. 

This curry recipe is made with Thai red curry paste and is fool proof. These days, I am all about simple, no-fuss, one-pot meals. I like to make a decent-sized batch of something so my fridge isn't sad and empty when I peek in during the week.

And lets just say, there were no accidents after eating this curry. This one-pot, Thai curry, is what I like to refer to as "Midwestern-boyfriend approved."

Amen. 

One Pot Red Coconut Curry with Vegetables
Gluten-free, vegan, paleo
4 to 5 servings

7 garlic cloves, chopped
1 - 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled & chopped
2 jalapeños (or 1 if you don't like a little heat)
1/2 large onion or 1 medium yellow onion
1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
1 zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 cups squash (I used Kabocha and it was to.die.for)/sweet potato, chopped
2 bell peppers, sliced (doesn't matter which color)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cans coconut milk (lite)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1 lime, to squeeze right before serving

*Just a note, you can really use any veggies of your choice, but I recommend having 1 starchy vegetable like squash or sweet potatoes

Chop the garlic cloves, peel and chop the ginger, chop the jalapeños, and slice the onion. In a soup pan, add the coconut oil. Then, add your base of chopped goods: garlic, ginger, jalapeño(s), and onion. Saute over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions become translucent.


Then, add everything else in, except the lime. Bring the soup to a boil and then put a lid on it and let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the starchy vegetable (squash or sweet potato) is cooked (easily pierced with a fork). 


Stir and taste; you may need to add more salt. I added more salt and more chili powder in the end, as I prefer my curry spicy. 

Serve hot in a bowl and squeeze some lime on top; it makes a good difference so don't omit this step. Happy eating!

I like this curry because in each bite, you get hunks of garlic and ginger. I hope you love it too!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WIAW: On the Go

I did a tiny bit of food prep this past Sunday and boy oh boy did it pay off. I knew this week was going to be a very busy one, so I wanted to make sure I had a quick go-to meal in the fridge and at least one snack ready. I am starting to find a groove with this new life and feel thankful that I am also starting to create a routine. 

This week has been full of firsts! I took my first test in physiology. I had my first training at one of my new jobs. And I will also have (later this week) my first orientation at one of my volunteer jobs. The puzzle pieces of my life are coming together.

This morning, my boyfriend tried to leave the apartment without having eaten breakfast. I snapped at him (in the most loving way) and said "You can take five minutes for your health!" And I gave him a scary-fierce stare into his eyes. 

That's the last time he'll skip breakfast under my watch.

We become real busy, real fast. And when that happens, I think it's important to remember how a few minutes of slowing down to simply eat or drink some water will help us cope with the quickness that is life.

So on this What I Ate Wednesday, lets talk about easy, quick, on-the-go meals and snacks. I'm happy I did just a bit of food prep on Sunday night. So happy, in fact, that I plan to do even more this coming weekend; I want to get it down to a science. I want to have constant access to all the snacks!

I woke up bright and early to get in my favorite hour Vinyasa flow yoga class. Post-yoga, I sipped on a very hot cup of coffee, and made a breakfast that included the good ole' basics: two scrambled eggs with two pieces of gluten-free (Canyon Bakehouse brand) toast with butter, crunchy almond butter, honey, and flax seeds. This toast was full of healthy fats and those fats are what help satiate me. Adding a bit of salted butter on the toast before I add the real toppings is a game-changer. Don't be afraid of fat, folks - gotta rev up that metabolism. And oops, I deleted this photo accidentally...

I packed my afternoon lunch and snacks as I had to go to lecture, then drive to my Physiology evening lab. So, I packed the following: a Coconut Peanut Butter Green Smoothie (would you like this recipe?), Farmers Market grapes, hard boiled eggs, green tea (I randomly got this at my running group this weekend), and homemade chocolate chip Larabars.






Can we please talk about these homemade Larabars? These are genius. First, I have always loved the blog Oh She Glows. She creates vegan recipes. Although I am not vegan, I love that her recipes are so beautifully photographed and thus, she makes me want to eat allthevegetables. These Larabars took 10 minutes to prep on Sunday, and are in my freezer all week for when I want a snack or something sweet. And, they fit my (not-awesome) student budget much better than the regular ones I'd buy at Whole Foods.

Oh. And here was another snack. I don't know if I can buy these again. They are too addicting, in the weirdest way. They are what I like to call an "empty food" meaning they don't really have any nutritional value...not quite sure where those 4 grams of fiber come from.



After my Physiology lab, I came home and heated up a bowl of Coconut Red Curry with Vegetables, which I made on Sunday evening as well. Lets just say, I'll be sharing this easy, one-pot recipe with you all later this week. This curry was warming and hearty, full of fresh ginger, garlic, and lots of vegetables. And my belly felt good afterwards.



And then, for dessert, I dipped a spoon in some almond butter and added some chocolate chips. What can I say? We were learning about metabolism in Physiology. I really wanted to fully understand how my body digests and burns fats (beta-oxidation to any science geek out there). 

And that, my friends, is What I Ate Wednesday. Lets talk one-pot curry, soon!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Journey to Become an RD: My First Week of School


Well, I have officially made it through my first week of my 2-year Dietetics program at San Francisco State University. I'm feeling happy, freaked-out, stressed, and extremely committed. 

I've decided to document my journey with a new series on this blog: Journey to Become an RD. I hope this series is appealing to those who are interested in some aspect of the profession, as well as helpful to anyone considering pursuing the RD license. 

But lets back this up a bit. To give some context to the larger picture, my entire journey will (ideally) look like this:

Fall Semester 2014
Winter/Spring Semester 2014
Summer 2015 no school/Begin applications for Dietetic Internship
Fall Semester 2015
Winter/Spring Semester 2016
Dietetic Internship somewhere in 2016 & beyond
Take & pass the RD licensure exam 

That is, 4 semesters of full-time school work, followed by a Dietetic Internship, and passing the RD licensure exam. But wait, that's not all! In between all that school work, I will also be working part-time and doing plenty of clinical and community nutrition volunteer work. 

Right now, I am trying to figure out my routine, as I function best with a good routine. I know my class schedule, and am now filling in the gaps with employment and volunteer work. It's a puzzle I am happy to put together, with lots of patience, and a big side of hope. With that being said, here is are my classes this semester:

Organic Chemistry
Physiology with Lab
Foods, Production, & Service
Foodservice System Management

And of course, here are my honest (as always) thoughts after making it through one week of my RD program: 

  • My advisors are incredible and I am looking forward to developing a solid relationship with both. They are two women who are clearly dedicated to making each student's experience the most worth while in an impacted program.
  • I feel old! I've never been one to think about people's ages very much. I always just picture everyone around me is 26 years young or so (when in fact, I am 28 years young). But being on a predominately undergraduate campus, I am reminded of how old I am. And not necessarily in a bad way. Rather, I truly appreciate the experiences I've had since college that have brought me to where I am and I feel confident about my ability to succeed. 
  • I ask [a lot of] questions. I have no shame. I don't care what other people in my class think about my questions. I am there to learn and I am paying for my education. And Organic Chemistry is hard; it's as though I am learning a brand new language. So no, I will not nod my head and pretend I get it. I'll raise my hand, and ask my questions, and not think twice about it. And I'll likely make a very confused face if I still don't understand it. I have never been able to mask my facial expressions very well. 
  • I don't miss my old routine. At least, not yet...If I am being really honest, the only thing I miss thus far is my steady paycheck. But being a student is temporary, and I can live with that. Even though I haven't found my new routine yet, I know that soon I will, and that is comforting to me throughout this roller coaster of a change. I am excited about what is to come and it feels unbelievably satisfying to be working towards a goal in which I felt for so long, was unattainable. 
And the journey is just beginning.




Thursday, August 28, 2014

Virtual Smoothie Date

Let's have a virtual smoothie date. Again! ...Smoothie season is dwindling down, after all. Soon, these Summer nights are going to be darker and crisper, and there's going to be a whole lot of pumpkin everywhere. 


If we were having a smoothie date right now, I'd tell you that this past week was C-R-A-Z-Y! It was my first week in my post-bacc RD program, and I pretty much just did what I had to do to get through the week. Lots of new faces, lots of orientations and new classes, and lots of getting lost on campus (a sense of direction is something I seriously lack). But, while I have worries about getting good grades and doing well academically, I have no doubts about why I am doing what I am doing. And that feels really, really good. 

It's amazing to finally feel like you're where you're supposed to be. 

If we were having a smoothie date right now, I'd tell you that I read some great, thought-provoking posts and articles this week. I love the diversity of the blog world. Here are a few things that really resonated with me: 

Five Reasons You're Not Losing Weight, by The Real Life RD: http://www.thereallife-rd.com/2014/08/5-reasons-youre-not-losing-weight.html
(I love how this post goes beyond food; it's about ensuring you're taking care of yourself too)

Is a Low-Carb Diet Ruining Your Health by Laura Schoenfeld, MPH, RD: http://chriskresser.com/is-a-low-carb-diet-ruining-your-health 
(I love reading the comments on this article - it just reminds me of how everyone is unique)

http://minimalistbaker.com/baked-rosemary-beet-chips/ by The Minimalist Baker 
(OK, not thought-provoking, but I can't get these off my mind. Must make! With olive oil, not Canola oil, of course)

And finally, I would also tell you that in all honesty, I felt very uninspired in the kitchen this past week. I think this was because of all the change happening in my life, as well as the fact that I don't have a routine established quite yet. And that's OK. That's why sometimes, we really have to take life day by day, sometimes. However, Thursday was a special day. My boyfriend turned 29 years young! Unfortunately, he was traveling for work for the past few days, even on his birthday. I decided to bake him a cake, homemade, my Mom's style (or Debbie D's style, as I like to refer to it). I bought all the ingredients (can you say gluten? The things I make for those I love!) and spent a few hours in the kitchen baking my Mom's chocolate cake with cream cheese chocolate frosting. And can I tell you something? Frosting this cake was so therapeutic. Something about holding that knife, swirling pillowy frosting around, smoothing the edges, in silence, with just the window open. I could have done it for hours. But alas, I finished the cake. And we celebrated, in our small apartment that smelled like butter and sugar. I made sure he made a really, really good wish. Because he deserves for it to come true. 


We had our cake. And we ate it too. Happy Birthday B!

And a very happy long weekend to you all! 

XO Laura