Back to the Grind

Now that my summer vacations are over, my body will surely be thanking me. This is because when I was on my multiple getaways this summer I cared to shovel my face with delicious food.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine on occasion and in moderation, but unfortunately – I go big or go home.

So as I return home, I am refocusing and getting serious about eating clean again and working out on the reg. I’m sick of feeling shitty when I eat like shit or bad about myself when I skip my run with the  excuse that it’s miserably hot out. I’m promising myself that I’ll try my best to get back on the healthy train. All you can do is try your best, right?

For me, the healthy train means eating clean 95% of the time with one big free meal a week and a few chocolate and/or alcohol dalliances here and there.

A friend asked me recently if I count my macros.

I had no idea what macros were! luckily she explained it to me – and little did I know I had all the info in my Eat-Clean Diet book.

east-clean diet macros1

The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged, page 28.

eatcleandiet3She also told me about My Fitness Pal, an iPhone app that I had heard about but never tried. She said she used it to count her daily macros and it’s helped her a lot.

myfitnesspalI’ll do a full review of the app once I’ve used it for awhile and can really tell you about it. But it is already proving helpful with portion sizes – one of the main issues I need to work on! I am floored at some of the actual serving sizes it’s showing me in comparison to what I previously assumed appropriate serving sizes were.

Here’s to saying goodbye to an indulgent, relaxing summer and kickin’ my ass into gear for the end of the year. Who’s with me?

Easy Stir Fry Sauce

Last week I was really missin’ the stir fry station we had at the cafeteria near my first year (freshman) dorm room.

You could personalize your stir fry by choosing whatever you wanted and the cooks would make it up right there in front of you. Sigh.

Nowadays I have to resort to googling: “how to make a stir fry sauce,” in order to eat. 😉

Obviously I would never imagine making something with ginger, like a lot of stir fry recipes have, so Tuna and I settled on a soy-sesame sauce. It was so good I’m going to use as it as my go to stir fry sauce from now on!


Google led us to THIS article that we based our stir fry sauce on.


1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp red vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar


Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Dump on protein and veggies of choice and cook in a skillet for 10-15 minutes while stirring.

Serve over brown rice.

easystirfrysauce1Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Broccoli and Cheddar Quinoa Bake

I was nervous about this one.

Why? Because it was an experiment.

I need to keep experimenting with food….because this recipe is AWESOME – if I do say so myself.


Looking at Pinterest gave me the usual inspiration that it does with recipes like this one and this one.

I subbed out some of the ingredients that I don’t like (parm, cream of mushroom soup), with some like cheddar and vegetable stock.

When it went in the oven, I wasn’t so sure.

broccoliquinoabake3But I’m starting to think that anything with cheese on it is going to be good. So it turned out alright.

broccoliquinoabake5Actually, it turned out like I’m going to be baking it and devouring it quite often.

This dish screams coming back for thirds seconds.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack)
  • 10 oz vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat chipotle mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp wheat bread crumbs


Cook quinoa.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Spray a shallow 9×13 glass Pyrex casserole dish (that’s just what I used, you could probably use any pan) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the vegetable broth, mayonnaise, milk, 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese, Splenda, and pepper until mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.

Pour mixture into casserole dish. Sprinkle 1/8 cup cheese on the top and bake for 30 minutes.

Take out the dish, sprinkle 1/8 cup cheese and bread crumbs on top for some crunch. Put back in the oven and take for 10 more minutes (40 minutes total).

broccolicheddarquinoabake4Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bites

So in true CNG style, this is basically the easiest “recipe” ever.

Step 1: Take a dark chocolate chip.

Step 2: Shove it inside of a raspberry.

And you’re done!

I used big ol’ chips that broke apart the raspberries a bit, so next time I shall use the mini kind.

darkchocolatechips These yummy bites aren’t even a guilty pleasure because dark chocolate is good for you.

darkchocolateraspberrybites2They were the perf little snack to bring to book club last week and disappeared shortly after my arrival. 🙂

choclateraspberrybitesThanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Slow Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

I finally remembered that I own a crock-pot and that I need to USE it!

This was the first time I tried cooking full chicken breasts with the crock-pot and love love loved how easy it was. Plus, no futzing around with raw meat – I dumped the chicken right from the plastic into the pot.


I looked up some generic recipes for cooking chicken in the crock pot and altered it to what I had in the fridge. (Whenever I make something new, Tuna has started asking me, “Are you going to make it with everything the recipe says?)

Cooking in the crock-pot gives everything so much more flavor! Since I haven’t been able to perfect baked chicken breast in the oven, I was relieved for a better tasting – and easier – solution.

The only downside is that you need to plan ahead because most crock-pot recipes call for at least 4 hours of cooking time.

Added side effect: this recipe fills up your house apartment with wonderful smells.


Serves 2-3


  • 1.3 lbs chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste


Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart crock-pot. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

roastedredpepperchicken3Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Star-Cut Watermelon

Don’t have enough skill time to whip up a gorgeous red, white, and blue cake to take to a 4th of July barbecue?

I don’t either.

Thank gawwwd summertime allows for fruit to be a more than acceptable potluck dish. I may not be a master baker, but I can cut up fruit.

This year I was feeling a little extra festive and came to the conclusion that plain old squares of watermelon were just not fancy enough.


Too bad I forgot to look for a legit star cookie cutter at the store. But I wasn’t going to let that deter me from forcing this melon to be snazzy.

Luckily cookie cutters are only kind of hard to cut and re-bend. Sorry, no Christmas tree shaped cookies this year.

Instead, we will have fucked up stars.


It’s the thought that counts, right?


A Peek Inside My Kitchen

Like I’ve said before, I’m slightly obsessed with keeping healthy food in my apartment. If I have junk food around, I will most definitely eat it. All of it.

To prevent a ridiculous amount of potato chip consumption, I’m at the point where I keep a nutrient stocked pantry/fridge most of the time.

It’s pretty cool to be able to cook a variety of dishes on any given night by throwing together ingredients that I already have in the fridge. Before I started eating clean, that never would have happened.

To give you more of an idea of what my normal food sitch looks like, I thought it could be fun to take a peek inside my kitchen.

a peek inside1

Let me just say that in no way do I think I am a pantry expert. Hell, I’m still figuring out which veggies need to be refrigerated and which ones don’t.

fruitbasket1My dream pantry would be more along the lines of this:

But I have come up with a few tricks that make my food storage space more appealing to me!


fridge3I like to keep everything where it’s easily visible. Otherwise, I’ll totally forget what I have and end up wasting or buying double of things I already have in stock.

fridge2Every time I buy fresh produce from the farmer’s market or the grocery store, I keep the little green bins it comes in. Not only are they cute, but they also help me keep everything organized.

Yup, you are seeing my lunchbox in there. I pack my lunch the night before I eat it, and keep it all packed up so in the morning I can literally just grab it and go.


My freezer isn’t as full as I’d like it to be. I plan to start making more leftovers to freeze for future meals when I get the chance to experiment with my crock-pot a little more.

freezer1Frozen fruit = necessary for smoothies. When I first started making smoothies, I mostly used fresh fruit until my mom was horrified and told me to buy FROZEN fruit. The $$ saving factor of frozen fruit is absurd.



Glass jars. Not only are they pretty, it’s healthier to store your food in glass containers (vs. plastic).  It’s fun to decorate/label them too – I got the idea from our very own Peas and Crayons! 

jar1Using baskets, etc to group individual items. I’m experimenting with different samples of protein powder right now, plus I still have some GU hanging around for when I start half marathon training again.

kitchen2I finally broke down and have been buying the boxes of Clif Bars because it is cheaper than buying them individually!

Leftover produce bags are the perfect size for my juicer’s pulp canister. That way, when I’m juicing, I can just pull out the bag and plop it in the trash without having to clean the pulp out of the bin.

pulpbag1I showed you mine, now you show me yours!

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday! 

Old Fashioned Pecan Bread

This is an oldie redone into what I had left in the pantry.

Blueberries out, pecans in.

It’s crazy how the same batter can taste so different featuring just one extra ingredient.


My family of beach-goers chowed down on this for breakfast. Heated, served with cream cheese? The best.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup splenda or sugar substitute
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 eggs (use 2 eggs, 1 egg white)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Pre-heat oven to 350°F and grease a bread pan with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl: oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, sugar, and wheat germ.

Beat together eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.

Fold pecans into the batter and pour into the bread pan. Bake for about 50 minutes.

Let the bread cool before serving.

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Looking Back: Juice Cleanse

Soooo, the juice cleanse taught me a lot of stuff.

greenjuice3A whole lot of shit happened during those three days: some good, some bad, and a little ridiculous thrown in.

Would I do it again?

Meh. I feel the same way about a juice cleanse as I do skydiving – once is enough.


  • The physical effects

I had a much easier time waking up in the morning, which we all know is a huge issue for me. I swear on my life that my hair got longer (useful when you’re growing out your bangs) and I definitely felt lighter and less bloated.

  • Getting to know more about food

That’s what my whole “journey” is about, right? I found it hilarious that beets look soggy and juicy when they’re raw. I thought all along that when they got that droopy look, they were cooked. I also never thought about peeling a lemon like an orange before. I’m so smart.

  • Tasting ingredients now

I would never have thought I would be able to take a bite of something and taste the parsley or agave nectar in it. Oh yeah, and the ginger. Unfortunately, I realize now that Kung Pao has lots of ginger.


  • Staying strong

Juice cleanses are depressing. At least they are for me. I like thinking about what I’m going to eat for my next meal. It’s what part of the fun in life is about. Placing extreme limits on yourself surprisingly is not very much fun.

  • Low energy

I took my resting heart the first night of the cleanse and it was 66 beats per minute. That is super duper slow for me, which was almost a little alarming!

  •  Fogginess

I kept getting caught saying the wrong words in sentences. For example there was a lot of:  “I put the fridge in the juice.”


  • Avoiding Instagram and all of the blogosphere

Dealing with the glorious pictures of everyone’s delicious-looking food was most definitely going to be too much for me.

  • Mixing it up

Playing with temperature worked. The variety of hot (nut milk) and cold (frozen lemonade) tricked my mind into thinking it was having exotic meals.


  • Double duty

I made and packed the juices in twos, threes, and fours. On the first night, I prepped my green juice for Day 2 and Day 3 at the same time. Four juices took me an hour and a half to make. All that washing and peeling and chopping and cleaning takes a while. However, it was nice to have it all done in one go.

  • 2013-06-03 09.18.57-2In person food avoidance

I didn’t eat with office people at lunch, and Tuna was a saint and tried not to eat or even talk about food in front of me.


  • More prep

I wish I had eaten a little bit healthier during the week or two leading up to the cleanse, though I didn’t do too bad on that front. But weaning myself off of caffeine? That is a must.

  • Distraction

Distraction seems to be the key when it comes to surviving a cleanse. It was hard to watch sports because of the commercials for Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Even people eating in Game of Thrones made me jealous. So – I guess I mean distraction that doesn’t involve food.

  • Following up

I just missed food so much, which made me over-indulge after the cleanse.


I have a whole new appreciation for kale.

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Post Juice Cleanse

This is comical to me.

“The idea is to break the..cleanse primarily with fruit (day one).” [NUH UH.]

“Then add salads and steamed veggies (day two).” [NO WAY.]

I wasn’t about to have freakin’ only fruit the very first day I could actually HAVE FOOD again.

I had been dreaming about food for three whole days and could not wait to EAT. At least I had some restraint the first day post cleanse and planned some light meals in advance to hesitantly nibble down.

My post cleanse breakfast:

a simple strawberry banana smoothie with chia seeds.

firstmealEven though it was liquid, I was so glad to finally have something with a little substance to it.

That settled in my stomach okay, so I made a cool smorgasbord salad for lunch.

2013-06-05 13.05.57-2It was definitely different biting into my food again! The shrimp was so flavorful and the crunchy bean sprouts tasted like the freshest things I’ve eaten in my entire life.

My stomach sure grumbled a lot that first day post cleanse, but I was just so happy again to be eating, that’s pretty much all I cared about. I had a greater appreciation for food’s vibrancy. It was depressing not being able to eat.

I thought about my first dinner pretty much the whole time during the cleanse. I kept adding and subtracting ingredients in my mind.

It was perfect. 2 eggs and 1 egg white, yellow corn, salsa, guacamole, and shredded spinach.

firstdinnerI mixed it all up like a Chipotle bowl.


I went a teensy bit overboard on the first day, but I did eat a little slowly and everything turned out just fine.

Until I woke up the next morning.

I was putting in my contacts and notice that my right eye looked extremely red. Being sent home for pink eye (even though it was just allergies) multiple times in the third grade made me realize immediately: I had pink eye.


I think so. I don’t think there’s any medical way doing a juice cleanse gave me pink eye. Actually, when I first googled [ummm]: “Does a juice cleanse give you pink eye?” the first items that popped up were about how juice cleansing is a good way to treat pink eye. LOL.

I do think, however, the juice cleanse messed with my body a lot. Mentally, it made me stronger for sure. But physically, it kind of sucked.

For a total weight-loss of 5 lbs in three-days, I immediately gained half of it back in one day, and all of it within a week at the beach.

2013-06-08 12.01.29-2And I’m not feelin’ that a 5 lb weight loss and re-gain is worth caffeine withdrawal headaches, digestive issues, and getting a possible bacteria infection afterwards gave me the drive to do another juice cleanse in the future. It totally takes a toll on your body in different ways, even if it can be slightly coincidental.

It’s starting to seem like my experiments end in Urgent Care attendance.

No matter how I loathed the juice cleanse, I did see and feel some positive health benefits (clearer mind, better sleep, hair and skin effects) that will encourage me to continue to add nutrient rich juice as a meal supplement – whenever I can.