Strange But Good Travel

I can’t travel like a normal person.

At least I wear shoes…

Shoeless travel

Yes, I sent this to Passenger Shaming on Instagram.

The creepiest part was that when I said something to the flight attendant she said it happens all the time.  Apparently parents even let their kids go to the bathroom barefoot!  I have a friend that is a flight attendant and SHE said it happens on every flight.  WTF?!  End rant.

I’m on the other side of the country this week with Vegas (though not IN Vegas).  Being 9 weeks out from my competition, I had to supplement my travel a bit.  I brought chicken, turkey burgers, veggies, roasted sweet potatoes, and frozen Greek yogurt (a must – it doubles as an ice pack) with me.  Okay, I supplemented my travel a lot.… 

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Stand Up Desk + WIAW

Do you realize how much you sit?

It makes my hips hurt!

I’ve gone through a lot of “hacks” to have standing desks.  At one job I stacked up Girl Scout cookie boxes to set my laptop on.  When I’m at home working, I use the condo gym to build a treadmill desk.   I can’t stand to sit still.  Standing up while I’m working helps to improve my focus.  Hey!  Something shiny!

Homemade standing desk

When my boss suggested I look into a “real” standing desk, I was thrilled.  After some research, VertDesk offered to hook me up with one of their adjustable height desks.  Talk about not sitting still – I was bounce-off-the-walls elated.  The VertDesk even has a push button control to make height adjustment easy.  My co-workers can adjust it to their height and use it and, if I ever DO decide to sit, I can simply push a button to lower it.

We’ve all seen the articles about how sitting is killing us… but why exactly is a standing desk beneficial?

5 Standing Desk Benefits… 

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Recovery, Workouts, and Sweet Potato Pie Waffles

Sometimes there’s no shame in staying in bed half the day.

Especially when the last couple of weeks have been chaos!

Last Monday I depicted pre-conference life.  This Monday is recovery life.  Marvelous recovery.  Recovery life started with sleep.  Since I couldn’t take pictures of that, we’ll pick up with the wakeful part of the weekend.

You are making too many sober decisions

Agreed.

… 

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S’More Poutine

This really needs no intro.

Who needs to explain dessert porn?

Many of you have heard of poutine.  It basically french fries with gravy.  Well… I’ve always found it to be a bit overwhelming.  I don’t love white potatoes or gravy.  I do love sweet potatoes and almost anything sweet.

This is going to sound really strange… but I hand-on-the-Bible swear it’s good.

S'more Poutine

I kept it simple by using sweet potato crinkle fries from the frozen section at Fresh Market.

While they baked, I whipped up a quick peanut butter sauce.  If you haven’t had sweet potatoes with nut butter… well, you’re missing out on a truly amazing #strangebutgood combo.  Top all that with marshmallows and pop in under the broiler to achieve that crunchy s’more char.

S'More Poutine

Make this.  You’ll be left licking the plate and moaning “I need ‘smore poutine!” ;)

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S'More Poutine

S’More Poutine

  • 1 serving sweet potato fries (I used the frozen variety)
  • Peanut butter gravy (see below)
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Gravy

  • 2 T peanut flour (or nut buter)*
  • 2 T unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 T pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4-5 drops vanilla liquid stevia

Bake the sweet potato fries according to package instructions on a piece of foil or parchment.  Meanwhile, mix together Gravy ingredients in a small bowl.

Remove from oven and top with gravy, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.

Return to oven under broil for 1-2 mins.  Watch it closely – it will burn!  Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a plate.

*Note: I buy my peanut flour on iHerb.  You can use discount code USO924 for $5019 off your order.  You could also use protein powder or nut butter here.  If you use regular nut butter you may want to reduce the amount of milk.

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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. :)



***

This is going to make for the perfect Labor Day weekend treat.  Bonus points if you have a campfire to toast your ‘mallos over.

Have you ever had poutine?

What’s your favorite sweet potato topping? 

Pre-Vacation Food + WIAW

Wasting food is one of the 7 deadly sins in my house.

 

There are starving children in Africa!

Before leaving to go out of town I make it my personal mission to eat everything perishable in my house.  If it’s not eaten before I leave, it’s eaten on the road.  I’ve done a couple of travel food posts before; while I’m not in competition mode this trip I still would rather have my own food from home than eat nasty airport food.  I’d also rather not pay a ton of money for nasty airport food.  That money is better spent on chocolate and wine in Europe!

Often people are surprised by the food I bring through security.  You CAN bring food!  Just avoid the liquid.

Pro Tip #1: Protein powder will not be mistaken for cocaine.

Legit powder

Pro Tip #2: If you freeze yogurt, it’s a solid!  

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This WIAW is a crazy mix of leftovers.  I’m not even going to try to separate it into meals!

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

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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?

 

Cleaning Up My Act + WIAW

It is time I clean up my act.

Let’s be real – its beyond time.

It’s generally pretty easy for me to keep my diet in check during the week.  The weekends…. it’s another story.  Since I’m not competing this year I haven’t been following any real nutrition plan.  Of course I took that to the extreme.  

What I know about myself is that I love to indulge.  I also know that when that starts happening too much, I feel like crap.  It affects my physically and mentally.  I’ve been struggling lately, and I know it’s time to reign it in.

bulking

For a few years now I’ve been doing a version of the Standard Process Cleanse.  That’s the protocol I’m following for the next 21 days, except using my own supplements rather than buying their program.  Basically, it’s eating super clean and eliminating common allergens like eggs, dairy, nuts, and gluten.  The first 10 days is meatless.  The last 11 days includes chicken and deep sea fish.

I’m only through Day 1, but here’s my first reactions:

  • Not taking pre-workout is hard
  • I’m going to need to buy a lot more veggies
  • Some of the dishes I made when doing this previously are really good – I’m excited to bring them back
  • Fruit can make a fun ice cream dessert
  • Good lord, I miss meat

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This WIAW is my first on the 21 clean(se) train.  I’m still working out the best foods to bring and when to time protein and carbs to get the energy I need.

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations! … 

Read More »

Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

New kitchen methods fascinate me.

 

The stranger the learning, the better!

This week’s ingredients aren’t necessarily strange, but the way I cooked it was strange to me.  It’s a quinoa casserole… but you don’t have to cook the quinoa first!  Perfect for the lazy chef.  Like me.

For some reason I have a mental block about cooking grains.  It seems like SO much effort.  I know this is totally irrational, and I make other things that take much longer.  It is what it is.  When I saw this recipe from Lee where she simply baked the quinoa uncooked, I knew I had to try it.

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole

 

I used Mexican flavors here, but I’m excited to try the method with other flavor profiles (French is next on the list!).  It’s one of those magical recipes that seems like it took a ton of effort, but is incredibly easy.  It’s a one dish meal – I just tossed everything in a bowl to mix and transferred it to the dish.

Random story about my dish – it was just returned to me by a friend.  She’d had it for 2 years from when I brought over these Mexican Black Bean Brownies to an Oscar party.  LOL!

Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

 

If you like heat, you’ll love this.  If you don’t, I’d keep the paprika but leave out the cayenne.  The smoked paprika is a must for me.  I love that smokiness with the Mexican spices and the slight sweetness from the sweet potato.

Between the bean and the quinoa, this makes for a fantastic protein-rich vegan dish!

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Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 1/2 C quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
  • 1/2 C vegetable broth
  • 1/2 can (8 oz) salt-free black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small white (or orange) sweet potato (~275g), diced

 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and miix until everything is evenly combined.  Pour into baking dish, spreading evenly to combine.

Cover with foil and bake for 75 mins, or until sweet potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked.

Makes 9 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’m so excited for this weekend – I’m going to see some of my old teammates at the Atlanta Rollergirls Bout!

Do you have certain foods that seem like a lot of effort to cook?

What is your favorite quinoa dish?

 

5 Things I Love

Last week was a long one.

 

Understatement of the year.

This past weekend I made sure to savour every blissful moment.  I took an extra moment to appreciate new product finds, watch my sister’s music video on repeat, and enjoy dinner at a special restaurant for no particular occasion.

In this month of love, I wanted to share a few apples of my eye with you guys! 

1. Jojoba Oil

It is saving my skin from winter.  My skin is dry in this crazy weather, yet it is also oily in spots and prone to breakouts.  Slathering it with oil was a terrifying thought… but I trusted my sister’s advice and gave it a shot.  Lo and behold, it works!  

I now use Jojoba oil as a nightly moisturizer, along with a bit of tea tree oil on any acne spots.  Both can be found at Whole Foods or most natural food stores.

Jojoba oil… 

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The One Where Food Became Fuel

Food, in the simplest of definitions, is fuel.

 

I missed that memo.

Food, for me, has always been entertainment.  It’s art.  It’s an experiment.  It’s what I do when I’m sad, happy, grumpy, tired, bored… I love food.  End scene.

You might imagine that a limited diet is my worst nightmare.  I’ve been trying to prove you can still be creative on a competition diet.  You can… but the last week of cutting is HARD.  You’ll notice from last week’s WIAW at 4 days out, I still had a lot of variety.  This time around I decided to try something new.  Being more boring traditional.

I cut fat and am sticking to lean proteins (mostly tilapia).  My main veggie is asparagus.  My carbs are oatmeal in the morning and sweet potato after that.  I’m not hungry at all… but my palette is bored out of its mind.  Food has become fuel.

4 days out

 

Why am I doing this?  Quite simply, to see if it’s necessary.  I want to compare last weekend to this weekend.  Will it make a difference if I eat more like everyone else the week before a competition?  Only my abs time will tell!

The fascination with experimentation is what’s keeping me on track this week!

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I almost feel like I should apologize for the repetitive nature of this WIAW.  I am 4 days from my 4th figure competition.  It’s the last one for a long while… I promise next week will be more interesting.

WIAWbutton

Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!

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Breakfast:

I still start the day with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was oatmeal with a ton of cinnamon, honey, and pomegranate atop a homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I really do love the turkey “sausage.”  It’s something I would make in the off-season too – they’re a great clean, low-sodium alternative to the store-bought stuff.

As usual, I ate it in the car on the way to work.  Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait!

Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait

 

Mid-Morning Snack:

Surprise, surprise.  Tilapia.  I did add some variety with cucumbers, red bell pepper, and purple sweet potato chips (with cinnamon).

tilapia and purple sweet potato

 

Lunch:

Fish variety at lunch – I had Perch with my asparagus.  The asparagus I pre-sauteed during food prep with shallots, garlic, lime juice, and herb.  I’m really loving the perch – it’s super mild.

perch and asparagus

 

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

Tilapia.  Again.  Added some variety in two ways: I used purple asparagus and I made it into ribbons!  Purple asparagus is thicker, so it makes it a bit easier to shred into ribbons.  Fuel can be fun.  Ish.

asparagus ribbons

 

Dinner:

Dinner was is my favorite treat – Sea Bass.  It even makes asparagus taste better.  Purple sweet potato is like dessert.  I topped it with some nutritional yeast for a nutty accent.

sea bass and purple sweet potato

 

Dessert:

It’s not really dessert anymore.  Tilapia topped with a blend of Mexican spices and cucumber with salt-free mustard.  Nom.

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I prepped all my food to take to Denver today for this weekend’s competition.  Tilapia and curry-roasted asparagus are on tap for the plane.  Others on the flight are going to love me. #sorryimnotsorry

Do you view food simply as fuel?  Fun?  Something else?

How do you keep it interesting in the kitchen?