Leaving Atlanta’s Weather + WIAW

Sometimes Mother Nature is a big help.

I know most of you think I’m nuts based on the US weather as of late.

This was my view this morning:

My camera couldn't pick up the snow very well so I took some artistic license.

My camera couldn’t pick up the snow very well so I took some artistic license.

… 

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Butternut Touch My #strangebutgood

Today is an adventure.

In more ways than one…

The focus of this particular adventure is a #strangebutgood soup.  The recipe for this spicy Butternut Squash-Apple Soup can be found on my beautiful Swiss friend Lucie’s blog.  The soup is delicious… but even better when done as a guest post for a bad ass blonde!

It’s sweet.  It’s spicy.  It’s everything you never knew you always wanted.  Just like my date last night. #twss

Butternut Squash Apple Soup… 

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Cinco de Strange But Good

I’m stranging-up Mayo!

 

(That’s May, not mayonnaise.)

It occurred to me that many of my Mexican-inspired creations are a bit strange.  Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines, and I’m always looking for a good way to shake it up!

No matter what time of day you celebrate, I have an appropriately themed dish!

 

Breakfast

Cocoa-Cayenne Sweet Potato Oatmeal

Sweet Potato CCC Oatmeal

Mex-Fast Tortilla Stack

Mexi-fast Tortilla

 

Small Plates

Tofu Jalapeño Poppers

Tofu Stuffed Jalapenos

Avocado-Mango Soup

Avocado-Mango Soup

Mexican Pineapple and Beet Salad

Pineapple Beet Salad

Mexican Cauliflower “Rice” Bowl

Mexican cauliflower rice bowl

 

 

Entrees

Mexican Socca Pizza

Mexican Socca Pizza

Seitan Chorizo

chorizo

Tequila-Lime Tilapia

Tequila Lime Tilapia

Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

 

Libations

Piña Mezcalita

Piña Mezcalita

 

Dessert

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Black Bean Fudgy Brownies

Mexican Black Bean Brownies

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

Check out the FitFluential Cinco de Mayo Round Up for more ideas!

What’s your favorite cuisine to add a #strangebutgood twist to?

Do you have Cino de Mayo plans?  Any special meals?

 

Creamy (Raw) Red Pepper Soup

Rules can inspire creativity.

Translation: no body puts baby in a corner!

One of my favorite things about this particular cleanse is that, while there are parameters, the rules are easy to work within.

For instance, one of the guidelines is to eat more raw veggies than cooked.  I love raw vegetables, but sometimes that can get a bit boring.  Raw soup, on the other hand… that’s interesting!  Eating a soup raw may seem strange, but it really is good.  And perfect for this warmer weather!

Creamy Raw Red Pepper Soup

The cool thing about this chilled soup is the creaminess.  The avocado and hemp seeds lend healthy fats and a smooth, cooling factor that is perfect against the jalapeño kick.

Red pepper and carrots add a natural sweetness.  It’s still early in the season, so I added just a bit of stevia.  I may or may not have added an extra jalapeño in my version… don’t worry, that’s not in the recipe as written below.

Red Pepper Soup

All you need is a blender to make this souper-easy soup.  I used my Vitamix, but any high-speed blender would work.  If you chop up the veggies a little more, I think you could even make it in a Magic Bullet!

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Raw Red Pepper Soup

Creamy Raw Red Pepper Soup

  • 1 C warm water
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 T hemp seeds
  • 1 T red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: 3-4 drops lemon liquid Stevia 

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (I used a Vitamix) and process until thick and smooth.  Allow to run for 4-5 minutes until slightly warm.

Makes 4 sides or 2 larger servings.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

I always feel a little high after eating raw – is that just me?

What inspires (or forces) you to think outside the box in the kitchen?

Are you a raw food fan?

Mexican Chicken Soup

The only thing I like better than Indian food is Mexican food.

 

Depending on the day.

On this MLK Day, I am celebrating equality Mexican-style with soup.  After seeing Jenn’s Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, I was craving a batch.  Alas, I have no crock-pot and I can’t follow a recipe.  This is what resulted:

Mexi-Chicken Soup… 

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Happy Singles Awareness Day

I like being married to the gym single.

monopoly cats

I couldn’t even handle having a cat in my life.

What I can handle is eating red food.  I’ve been traveling too much to make anything special, but if I make it to the grocery store today I may eat something red.

In the meantime, I did manage to round-up my favorites… and separate them into courses.  This is what happens when you blog on an airplane.

Then I couldn’t help myself – I made a new sugar-free, high protein microwave cake when I got home from the airport.  It was late, the pics are dark… but this is what happens when you are without chocolate cake and Nuttzo for days.  Cravings must be satisfied!  Recipe at the end.

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Breakfast

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal (To-Go!)

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal (To-Go!)

Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal

Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal

Roasted Beet and Orange Smoothie

Roasted Beet and Orange Smoothie

Mains

Crabby Smoked Gazpacho

Crabby Smoked Gazpacho

Vegan Goat Cheese Stuffed Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Vegan Goat Cheese Stuffed Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

 

Veggie Sushi with Beet Wasabi Sauce

Veggie Sushi with Beet Wasabi Sauce

Dessert

Beet Protein Frozen Custard

Beet Protein Frozen Custard

Strawberry Smoky Almond Tart

Strawberry Smoky Almond Tart

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This last dessert is the one I made upon arriving home last night.  I had a fierce peanut butter and chocolate craving, and this sugar-less treat fit the bill.  And did I mention it has 30g of protein???

If you stop the microwave while it still looks a tad jiggly on top, you’ll have a gooey, molten cake.  Which is exactly when I did, and highly recommend.  Then I topped it with a healthy serving of Nuttzo (which I am obsessed with), and a festive strawberry heart.

PB Chocolate Cake

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Microwave Cake

  • 2 T peanut flour
  • 1 scoop (2T) chocolate protein powder
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 C egg whites
  • 1/4 unsweetened almond milk (or water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 drops chocolate liquid stevia (I used NuNaturals)

 

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add wet to dry and stir to combine.  

Transfer to a small, greased bowl (I used coconut oil).  Microwave until just done, ~ 45-60 secs.  

Transfer to a plate, top as desired, and enjoy!

Approximate Nutritionals: 180 calories, 4g fat, 150.8mg sodium, 11.2g carbohydrates, 4.8g fiber, 1.5g sugar, 31.5g protein

I received this jar of NuttZo free of charge through participation in a FitFluential campaign. I was not otherwise compensated; all opinions on the product are my own (I already ate the stuff religiously). Check out NuttZo on Twitter and/or Facebook!

***

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I think this is the perfect night to curl up with a glass of red wine, some popcorn, and dark chocolate while watching Grey’s.

Do you have big Valentine’s plans?

What is your favorite Valentine-themed food?  I dig those Reese’s hearts… the shapes have more PB!

 

Smokey Chicken Wing Chili

I have never eaten a chicken wing.

Gnawing on a bone does NOT appeal to me.

The sauce makes it tempting though.  Yummy, smokey hot sauce.  Why should I have to chew on a bone to get it? A thick bowl of Tabasco-laced chili sounds much more appealing!

Chicken Wing Chili

The smoked paprika and the Tabasco sauce zing worked really well with the fire-roasted tomatoes.  It gave the chili a campfire feel.  Almost as rustic as gnawing on a bone, no?

You can adjust the amount of paprika and sauce to your heat preference.  If you don’t have smoked paprika, you could also add a little liquid smoke.

Chicken Wing Chili

Traditional chicken wings sides of carrot and celery sticks are the main veggies I used in the soup.  I topped it with smokey blue cheese and celery leaves… and a little extra sauce because I do love my heat.

This would also make an excellent vegan chili if you replace the chicken with TVP!

Chicken Wing Chili

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Chicken Wing Chili

Smokey Chicken Wing Chili

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 C no sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can no salt added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
  • Celery leaves
  • Crumbled blue cheese, to top

Cook the chicken in a large pot over medium heat and set aside.

Pour oil in pot and allow to warm.  Add the onions, red pepper, celery and carrots , cooking until tender, ~10 minutes.

Add the garlic and spices, cooking until fragrant, 2-3 mins.

Add broth, chicken, tomatoes, beans, and hot sauce.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve topped with crumbled blue cheese to taste.

Makes 5 servings.

Approximate Nutrition (does not include cheese): 285 cals, 11.6 g fat, 119 mg sodium, 20.3 g carbohydrates, 5.9 g fiber, 4g sugar, 22.9g protein

***

I’ve also never had a fast food hamburger.  Or a baked potato (can’t stand potatoes).

Do you like chicken wings?

Is there a “common” food you have never eaten?

Strange But Good Mornings

Strange doesn’t wait for 5 o’clock!

 

Neither does my mother… she’s in Mexico! 😉 

Remember Kat’s “Amazing Kitchen Mistakes” post?  We’ve been on the same wave-length eating similarly, so I apparently am also making happy accidents.

Have you ever under estimated how much is left in a bottle?  I thought there was just a drop of butter extract left when I dumped it into my oatmeal… it was more like 1/2 a teaspoon.  I thought I’d ruined it.  Too much extract can be nauseating (and I don’t need more of that!).  It turn out, too much butter extract in your oats is like eating cookie dough for breakfast.  Strange, but unbelievably good.

 Cookie Dough Oatmeal

Cookie Dough Oatmeal

  • 1/2 C oatmeal
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp butter extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 5-6 drops liquid Stevia
  • 1 T peanut flour (or nut butter, to taste)
  • My toppings: pomegranate arils, Greek yogurt, more cinnamon

 

Cook oatmeal as usual, adding flavors in the last 2-3 mins (or when your microwave finishes).  Stir in peanut flour when just done, adding addition liquid as needed.  

Add toppings.  Inhale.

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I’m not the first person to do eat quinoa in the morning… but it’s still uncommon enough to be strange.  And it’s good! 

What took me so long it beyond me, but quinoa for breakfast is amazing.  If you haven’t tried it, you must.  Particularly this cinnamon-y version.  The heaping scoop of cinnamon with the coconut butter had me dreaming of an airport treat that shall not be named.

I just realized this looks a lot like the oatmeal above.  I had a lot of pomegranate.*  Sorry.

 *Did you hear the FTC found “POM Wonderful health claims to be deceptive?”

 

Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Quinoa

Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Quinoa

  • 1/2 C quinoa, cooked with a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp coconut butter
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Milk, to taste (I used ~ 1/8 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • My toppings: pomegranate arils, Morningstar maple breakfast sausage

 

Stir it all together, top with your favorites, and enjoy!

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In order to kill two craving with one stone for Meal 2, I added a poached egg to the last of my mom’s Matzo Ball Soup.  The strange part isn’t even the egg.  It’s HOW I poached it.  My lazy arse poached that thang in the microwave.

Let me be the first to tell you that runny, silky, yolk porn goodness streaming into a hot bowl of soup is heaven on a spoon.  So good that I wanted to be spooned after it was over.

 

Matzo Ball Soup

Microwave Poached Egg

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar

 

Fill a small bowl (I used a cereal bowl) with water.  Add 1 T of apple cider vinegar (this is important – it keeps the egg white intact).  Microwave until boiling hot, about 2 mins.

Crack the egg and gently drop it into the water.  Whites will begin to cook/thicken, and you may need to use a spoon to carefully direct them around the yolk.  

Microwave for another 20-30 seconds.  Remove immediately from water and place in soup, atop salad, on bread, etc.

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Now for the link up!  The rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above.

In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!  Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

 

Sprint 2 the Table

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instragrams of your creations. :)



***

This time tomorrow I’ll be in a forest in FLA… in the midst of an 8-hour adventure race.  Ahhhh!  #strangebutcrazy

Also, I forgot to mention I was featured in FitFluential’s Ambassador Spotlight yesterday! Check it out here.

Have you ever made breakfast quinoa?  What are your favorite mix-ins?

What #strangebutgood creations have you enjoyed lately?

 

Turkey Beer Chili

No drinking in Junk-Free January.

JFJ

Booze cooks out, so I’m calling the recipe “in bounds.”

With the holidays over, you may have some extra beers lying around your house.  Don’t let them go to waste!  Even if you don’t drink beer, it’s a good idea to keep them on hand.

Beer can act as a tenderizer, adds lightness to batters (think: beer bread), and leaves behind a light hop/barley flavor in stews.  I used a pilsner in this chili recipe, but a lager would work well too.

Chili is meant to be hearty, not soup-y (in my not-so-humble opinion).  Mine is a beast of a bowl.  Between the turkey and the beans (the more you eat ’em, the more you…), it’s nearly thick enough to eat with a fork.

Depending on your preference, ground chicken or crumbled tempeh would also work well here.

I like the smokiness of  a Tex-Mex-style chili, so I added some liquid smoke and used fire-roasted tomatoes.  If you don’t have smoke you can simply leave it out, or add smoked paprika in place of some of the ancho chili powder.

Mexican food is one of my favorites, so I made sure to add in jalapeno and cumin.  The heat is pleasant – not overwhelming – and just what the doctor ordered in the suddenly arctic weather we are having in Atlanta.  Seriously… what happened to our Southern California-like weather?

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Turkey Beer Chili

Turkey Beer Chili

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp avocado oil (can use olive)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 T ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 10-15 drops liquid smoke
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted, low sodium)
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 C pilsner beer
  • 1/2 C low sodium veggie broth
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh chives and Greek yogurt, to top

Heat a large pot  over med-high heat.  Spray with olive oil or cooking spray and place turkey in pot.  Stir the turkey and cook until no pink remains (~ 5 mins).  

Add the olive oil and the onion to the pot.  Cook over medium heat until softened (~5 mins).  Add the garlic and jalapeno, cooking until fragrant (~2-3 mins).  Add spices and stir to combine.

Add the carrot, pepper, tomato puree, beans, liquid smoke, and beer.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Mix in broth and vinegar, then cover.  Allow to simmer and thicken over low heat for 30-45 mins.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve, garnished with chives and Greek yogurt.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: To make gluten-free, replace beer with more broth or GF beer.  To make vegan, use tempeh in place of turkey.

Approximate Nutritionals: 316 calories, 8.7g fat, 57.1mg sodium, 26.9g carbs, 7.2g fiber, 5.5g sugar, 30.9g protein

***

2 reminders: the h.h. gregg $100 gift card giveaway ends at midnight (click here to enter), and don’t forget to link up your Strange But Good creations tomorrow (click here for logo and details).

What is your favorite style of chili?

Have you fully recovered from the holidays?  I’m still spinning a bit.

A Taste of Atlanta

Bloggers make the best house guests.

 

This weekend my girl Allie @ Forgotten Beast came to Atlanta for a visit and to train with my trainer, Steve, at House of Payne.  Allie is also training for a figure competition.  She definitely lives up to her blog name – girl is a BEAST!

Steve made us strike a pose for a post-training mug shot:

 

We trained, we had posing practice… and then we ate our way through Atlanta. 

Allie eats a plant-based diet, so I knew I had to take her to one of my favorite vegan places in town, Dough Bakery. We split the “egg and bacon” biscuit above along with some vegan soft-serve before walking around one of Atlanta’s funkier neighborhoods (Little 5 Points).

For dinner we hit up Cakes & Ale where we split basically half of the menu and took pictures of it.  All tasty, but our favorite was the brie, and marinated greens with walnut croutons.  Our second favorite was the absolutely fabulous staff (Hi William!).  We rounded out the night with a craft beer from Brick Store Pub.  Allie is a fan of the craft, and this place has a beer menu that reads like fine dining restaurant’s wine list.

 

 

We stayed up too late chatting and eating the remainder of my S’more Bars.  It was awesome.  And I begged her to move to ATL.

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The next day we continued to eat our way through Atlanta.  It was the day of my cooking demo at Taste of Atlanta!

 

 

I was terrified, but SO glad to have Allie there for moral support.  My friend Kathleen also came; it means so much to have friends there when you jump so far outside your comfort zone.  You guys were also so great with the encouraging comments and tweets this weekend!

There wasn’t a huge crowd, but there were spectators that weren’t my friends.  I thought when they said they’d provide 2 burners that it would be little  stop top… notssomuch.  It was a Bunsen burner.  Between that and the wind, the Butternut Squash-Apple Soup took what felt like forever to make.  Just browning the garlic took 10 mins.

 

The view from the stage during set up

 

Overall, it did go well.  The burner eventually warmed up (thank you to the amazing volunteers who helped get it going), and I was able to prove that this is a soup you could make on a campsite.  :)

I did have an amateur fail: I was so flustered by the end that I forgot to add the turmeric.  Thank god Sweetwater Growers’ infused olive oil and fresh herbs were so flavorful the soup still tasted good.

 

 

Thank you to Scott and Sweetwater Growers for asking me to demo my recipe using their Red Pepper-infused olive oil.

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Workout Recap

Last week I mentioned we added 100 pull ups (assisted ) to my daily routine.  I did them most days… travel and long workouts threw me off a little.  My goal this week is to buy a pull up bar so it’s easier for me to get them done each and every day.

But that’s not as exciting as posing pics, right?  Yes, I asked permission before plastering Allie’s ass on the internet.

 

Workout Recap (10/1 – 10/7):

  • Monday – Shoulders/Glutes, Calf raises, 100 pull-ups, 1 mile walk
  • Tuesday – Chest/Bis, 100 pull ups, 2 mile walk
  • Wednesday – Legs (w/ trainer), 2 mile walk
  • Thursday – Back/Tris, 100 pull-ups
  • Friday – Rest, 100 PUs, 1.5 mile walk
  • Saturday – Legs (with Trainer), 2 mile walk
  • Sunday – Rest, 2 mile walk

***

I’m 4 weeks out from my competition… the diet is getting crazier.  More on that and a new fitness feature tomorrow! 

When was the last time you had to go outside your comfort zone?

Have you ever met your “online” friends in real life?