Friday, August 29, 2014

My next adventure awaits in Bali!


I'm so excited I love traveling to South East Asia! I went to Bali when I was only 10 years old so I don't remember anything. The name 'Bali,' means a fierce warrior.

I read the book Eat, Pray, Love years ago and then saw the movie and it inspired me to want to go back to this beautiful country! I loved the scene where Julia Roberts is biking through the countryside, that is definitely something I want to do passing by rice paddies. I'd like to visit beautiful temples, eat some delicious vegetarian food, take yoga classes in an open air studio, relax on the beach and get some spa treatments. I took surfing lessons in Hawaii so maybe I'll try kite surfing in Bali or watch night surfing. There's no direct flight to Bali so my choices for a layover include Qatar, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, or Bangkok. What would you pick? I went with Bangkok, this will be my fourth trip there! It'll be a 22 hour flight to get there.


I've been shopping for maxi dresses because your legs have to be covered at Hindu Temples in Bali.
The dresses also need to be light clothing in natural, breathable fabrics, nothing that will wrinkle when I sit down and sweat. So I'm slowing building up a wardrobe for this trip. I'll also be packing lot of insect repellent with me!

I read that one of the great joys of life is having something to look forward to.  So I'm using a countdown app to countdown the days to my vacation. This season the Real Housewives of OC vacationed in Bali which made me more excited to go! Tamra and Heather bicycled through the rice paddies, the girls got fish pedicures, took an elephant ride and visited the monkey forest.








Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pina Colada Popsicles


I used to make the most awesome frothy and rich pina coladas from scratch. However in watching my calories I haven't made it in a few years so I thought I'd make a pina colada popsicle instead. This recipe only requires three ingredients and is super easy, healthy but creamy.  The key is to not let the pineapple overwhelm the batter. To cut back on sugar I use Ideal sugar for all my recipes.  If you don't have Ideal you can use banana to sweeten this recipe, I'm just not a big fan of bananas and always think they ruin any smoothie they are in. Other good additives are rum but just a tad because it doesn't freeze well. Or you could use rum extract, coconut extract if you don't taste enough coconut in these. For an added kick add some ginger beer.

Ingredients

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups chopped pineapple 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender, until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds, and freeze.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cherry Vanilla Popsicles


It's cherry season and I've really gotten into eating them since I bought a cherry pitter. I've made this recipe a few times now as it's become one of my favorites. I've tried it with honey but thought the honey's taste was too strong for this recipe. I've also done half and half with coconut milk for a richer taste. The vanilla is the key ingredient, don't forget it, and taste your batter to make sure it's flavored perfectly before freezing in your molds. Don't use vanilla yogurt, it has added sugar in it. You can add a drop of liquid stevia to this if it's still not sweet enough for you.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pits removed 
  • 2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds 
  3. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight

Recipe Source: thechicbrulee
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sesame Veggie Stir Fry




I've been eating tofu since high school and thus am very particular of its taste. I used to freeze tofu to get a firm texture. Then recently I started baking tofu to get it to be chewy.  I've tried many brands of tofu over the years and now only use Twin Oaks because they've already squeezed out all the water for me and it's the firmest tofu I've tasted on the market. It's grown on a farm in Virginia from organic, non-GMO soybeans. It my favorite brand because of the wonderful taste straight out of the package, it's like nothing else on the market. I came across this recipe which has been a game changer for me. So for those of you who say you would never eat tofu or didn't like, you must try this recipe with Twin Oaks tofu (available at Whole Foods). The key to delicious tofu is marinating it in a sauce overnight. You can find toasted sesame oil at Trader Joe's, it's absolutely delicious and you only need a little bit.

You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand for this. I found that half a head of red cabbage yielded a ton of food, while still being so low in calories. I made this recipe with quinoa, but you can use any carb that you prefer. I measured dry what 5 servings would be and cooked according to the directions, then I divided equally between my glass containers to take to work. Likewise I divided equally the package of tofu which coincidentally is 5 servings among my containers. For the protein and carbs I felt I needed to eat exactly one serving of but I freely added vegetables making one huge plate at work. I always make my lunch for work on Sundays because it's so easy to just pull out the fridge every morning my lunch ready to go.


Ingredients
1 container extra-firm tofu
Quinoa
Broccoli, florets
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½ head  purple cabbage, chopped
carrots
1/4 cup tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
juice from 1 lime
1 large clove garlic, minced
½  teaspoon fresh ginger, minced 
Couple dashes black pepper
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
sesame oil (for frying)
toasted sesame oil (for flavor)
black sesame seeds 

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together tamari sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.
  2. Chop tofu into chunks and  add to bowl with marinade. I prefer to let this sit overnight flipping the bowl around a few times.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a  large pan and turn on heat to medium-high. When pan is hot, remove tofu from bowl (draining the sauce and saving for later) and brown tofu on all sides until golden. The tofu will not brown if you poured the sauce into the pan. 
  4. Once tofu is golden brown (after about 6 minutes), remove from pan and set aside on a plate. Add sesame seeds to the tofu and flavor with a little toasted sesame seed oil.
  5. Next cook your vegetables, once done flavor with your remaining sauce from the tofu.
  6. Serve veggies and tofu over quinoa.


Nutritional Analysis
368 cal, 22g protein, 11g fiber


Here's my lunch at work when I dump the food out of my containers into a plate. Can you believe this is just one serving of food? When you spread the more nutritious food to cover your plate it looks visually full, so eat as many healthy vegetables as you can.

Recipe Source: theglowingfridge


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Cucumber Spa Popsicles


One of my favorite things about spas is cucumber infused water! Cucumbers have a high water content and are moist and help cool you in the summertime. I packed some in my bag for the beachDid you know that kiwi has more potassium than a banana, one kiwi has more Vitamin C than an orange, contains tons of fiber, and enhances energy levels too. Kiwis are my mother's favorite fruit and I used them in my chia pudding recipe.. These popsicles are healthier and cheaper than store bought popsicles, plus I use reusable sticks! The food for these 5 popcicles cost me only $2.48 plus the sugar (I use Ideal no calorie sugar). You should always taste the mixture as you go to determine how sweet you want yours. I've made these a second time adding a cup of green grapes instead of water and lemon juice and it was as sweet as candy!

ps you could add some Moscato to these popsicles if you wanted, just saying...


Ingredients
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 Kiwi
  • 2.5 TB lemon juice
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 2.5 TB Ideal
  • ½ cup cold water
  • pinch of salt (optional)
Directions
  1. Peel strips off the cucumber leaving on about half of the of the dark green skin.  
  2.  Zest the lemon. 
  3. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender  
  4. Taste and adjust sweetness & saltiness. 
  5. Pour into popsicle  molds and freeze overnight.

Makes 5 popsicles

Linking Up With: Sunday Edition
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Which Kitchen Gadgets Are Worth the Money?

I know there's so many gadgets out there that you think what's the point, the old fashioned way works just fine. Well let me tell you these gadgets get a lot of use of me and make things so easy!

I've been eating so many cherries this summer because of this pitter. It's just so much enjoyable to throw a pitted cherry into your mouth so all you focus on is enjoying the flavor instead of fishing out the seed with your teeth. I've been eating a lot of cherry topped oatmeal so this makes it easy for me to prep the cherries for it.


I bought this lime squeezer for a party I was throwing to make margaritas easy but I've found that I use this very often. A lot of recipes call for half a lime and this makes it an easy squeeze. If I cut a lemon in half I can also use it in this. My favorite lime recipes are cilantro lime salad dressing and this alcohol free cocktail.

Yes I could cut the top off a strawberry but once you try this tool that makes it quick, easy, and pulls the hole thing out you'll want to use it all the time! 


I use this container to store cut lemons in my fridge.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Orange Creamsicles


Remember those delicious Orange Creamsicles from your childhood? Here's a healthy recipe to make them. It's even creamier if you add some coconut milk to it!

Ingredients
2 cups unsweetened orange juice
3/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 TB raw Agave Nectar
¼ ts vanilla extract
5 tall drops of liquid stevia

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Taste mixture and adjust sweetener as needed.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

Makes 6 popsicles



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