Monday, April 30, 2012

Pineapple Quinoa Bowl

What to do when both of your pineapples ripen at the same time? In addition to a pineapple banana green smoothie this morning, I whipped up a pineapple quinoa dish for dinner. Yum!! It's basically a healthier version of a sweet and sour/teriyaki bowl.

Pineapple Quinoa Bowl
serves 4


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 3 TB soy sauce or bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1 1/2 TB Sesame Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I didn't have any fresh, or else I would have used that)
  • 1 cup edamame (shelled)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple in small chunks
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • fresh ground pepper
  • cashews, toasted (optional)
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3 TB mirin
  • 1 TB soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos


  1. Puree 1 cup of pineapple in your blender with 1 cup water
  2. Add 1 cup quinoa to a small saucepan. Measure out 2 cups of the pineapple/water mixture. Add more water if necessary to reach 2 cups. Add in 3 TB soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes with lid on pan.
  3. Add 1 1/2 TB sesame oil to a wok or cast iron skillet on high heat. Add in garlic and green onions. Season with cayenne pepper and ground ginger (or add in 1 inch grated fresh ginger). Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Combine all veggies in pan and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with fresh ground pepper.
  5. Add quinoa into pan and stir well. Add in pineapple. Mix 3 TB mirin with 1 TB soy sauce/Bragg's Liquid Aminos and pour over mixture. Mix well until pineapple is heated through.
  6. Serve with toasted cashews or sesame seeds on top. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I did it! Signed up for a Race!

I officially signed up for my first race event this week! It's a 10k that is local here in South Lyon and benefits the local library - Book'n Trilogy. I had mixed feelings about choosing this event to support with my dollars because it's not even a library that we can go to (we are in Lyon Twp so our library is different). There's some seemingly political issues surrounding the history of why other libraries in the library system let us use theirs but SL doesn't, and instead they charge $100/family/year for Lyon Twp residents. Yes, I know we pay lower taxes, and yes, our library is tiny and doesn't have as much to offer, but in the spirit of the philosophy of why libraries exist, it bothers me! Anyway, Thad pointed out that it still supports a worthy establishment, and he is of course, right.

The date is May 19th - 4 weeks from yesterday! I feel confident I can run 10k since I did a couple weeks ago with Stephanie, so I'm not panicking about it. I did have a bit of a walk break at mile 4 when I did it though, so I do need to do a structured training program to be sure I don't overwhelm myself the day of the race. My pace is slow, and for the most part I'm okay with that. Today I did a 'long' run of 4.15 miles and my pace was an average of 11:30.

The part of me that isn't okay with that time is the part of me that just wants to already be the fit person I wish I was. I know I am being hard on myself. Thad reminds me that I spent many years of my life pretty much sedentary and obese. I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be the one people say, oh look how far she's come, or she did/looks pretty good, considering. A year ago I think those comments would make me feel good, proud of what I've accomplished. Now I just feel like I should have come further in the past year than I have. I know I'm being impatient with myself. But really what I want in this whole journey of mine - to just be normal, to be healthy, to be fit. The crazy thing is that on one hand, I really want to just be 'normal' - where people I meet new would never guess I had been so heavy and lived such a different lifestyle, and keep that to myself as my past - and then on the other hand, I enjoy being able to help and inspire others and in doing so, share my story. How can I somehow be proud and shamed by the same circumstances? I guess it's the lifelong story of wanting to fit in and not have my weight be the first impression someone has of me and define their perception of me - along with a view of the person I believe I really am inside who wants to share and help others find some inspiration that may help them change their lives.

Building a Hoop House

No, we aren't building a hoop house in our backyard. :) We did help out yesterday with building two hoop houses at the farm where we will be getting our organic CSA shares from - Stone Coop Farm. We were looking forward to helping for a couple weeks, but when the day came yesterday, I have to be honest and say I dreaded going because of the chilly weather. But we made a commitment, so off we went!

And like most things, we didn't regret it once we were there. The sun came out and we got moving, the chill in the air wasn't so bad. It was nice to meet the two women running the farm and other members/volunteers. Really makes you feel a part of the farm, that we are contributing in some small way to making it a success. I am so excited to start getting our shares, although it will be June before we do. This is a huge expansion for them on new property and they have exciting dreams for the future. So nice to be supporting someone who is so passionate about what they are doing too!

While Thad climbed a really tall later and screwed in bolts, I worked with another woman to lay out some brackets, bolts and nuts all along each side of the hoop house so they would be ready to go. It's really pretty amazing how some boxes of parts, metal tubing and plastic will come together and create these hoop houses that are going to house tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant to help them get more heat and offer better protection from extreme environment changes and pests. I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Swiss Chard Mushroom Frittata

With a large bunch of greens from Stone Coop Farm's hoop house last week I decided a quick frittata for dinner would be a great way to start using them. Turned out delicious!
Swiss Chard Mushroom Frittata
serves 4

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • dried or fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 TB nutritional yeast
  • 1 TB canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large bunch swiss chard - chopped - separate stems from leaves.


  1. Heat 1 TB canola oil in a cast iron skillet. Add in garlic and red bell pepper and stems of swiss chard, saute for 1 minute. Add in baby bella mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Whisk eggs and egg whites together.
  3. Add in chopped swiss chard leaves and combine with veggies, cover with lid if necessary to help them wilt. Mix well. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in eggs, sprinkle with 1 TB nutritional yeast. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Throw in the oven on broil for 1-2 minutes to help brown the top a little.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Good Form Running

Thad signed us up for a free workshop at a local running store in Brighton, Elite Feet - it follows the "Good Form Running" program. I wasn't really sure what to expect, and started to get a little nervous as some of the attendees came in all dressed in their best running gear, looking terribly official! What was I doing there? I'm barely able to call myself a runner at this point!

It was an excellent class, taught by the manager of the store, Mike, who clearly has a passion for what he does and an interest in learning more and sharing it with others. After an introduction to the main points of Good Form Running, he took us outside to the alley to run and film us. Then he had us take off our shoes and run barefoot and filmed us again. After that, he had us count our strikes with our right foot for 10 seconds (he timed us).

What I learned about myself - I think I have pretty good posture and arm position, but I need to work on leaning forward a little more and striking with my midfoot. I of course did better barefoot with that because your body automatically adjusts - which is why the whole trend in barefoot running. (no, I'm not taking up barefoot running, but I may consider more minimal/transitional shoes at some point). I run a little too much with a heel strike, but not as much as some of the others in class. It was also nice to see people there that had come to 2 or 3 of the workshops and had improved over time with their form. The ideal goal for strike count is 180 in a minute (left and right total). Most of those in class had 13 like I did, except a few (including Thad) that had 15, which is the goal. I was fascinated to learn that 180 does not depend on speed whatsoever, but on height of knee as it comes up and goes back. He showed us videos of a 12 min mile and a 5 min mile, both with 180 strikes. Really interesting stuff! A metronome is what would help to get the right # of strikes, and I understand there's an ap for that (of course there is!).

So, I need to keep all this in mind and work on adjusting my form a bit, then I'd like to go back for another workshop and see if it's improved. Thad really enjoyed the class and learned a great deal about his posture too. This has been another fun thing to do together :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Healthy Carrot Cake Waffles

Happy Easter! A special day calls for a special breakfast. Carrot Cake is my favorite cake - so why not make it into some healthy breakfast waffles?

Healthy Carrot Cake Waffles
makes 8

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, ground in blender
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 TB cornstarch
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely shredded carrots
3-4 TB coconut oil (melted) - or use canola oil
2 TB pure maple syrup
1 TB succanat or brown sugar


  1. Mix well and add more flour if it isn't thick enough. Use 1/2 cup measuring cup to pour into each quadrant of your waffle iron. 
  2. Top with your favorite waffle toppings! try walnuts and unsweetened shredded coconut with maple syrup. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grapefruit Avocado Spinach Salad

So it all started with half an avocado. That's how many of my lunches begin - with one ingredient! I have been using grapefruits this week in my smoothies and doing a quick search online, saw grapefruit and avocado combined in several recipes. And so, at 10pm last night, today's lunch was born! 

Grapefruit Avocado Spinach Salad
serves 1

  • 1/2 pink grapefruit, sectioned, each section cut in half
  • 1/2 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 3 cups baby spinach (or however much you'd like)
  • 1/2 TB pepitas
  • 1/2 TB pine nuts (toasted if you have time, I didn't)
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
Dressing ingredients: 
  • 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB juice from pink grapefruit
  • 1 tsp honey
  • fresh ground salt and pepper

355calories, 18.5gfat (2.2 saturated, 3.4 polyunsaturated, 10.2 monounsaturated), 83.4mg sodium, 526.8mg potassium, 44.5g carbs, 8.6g fiber, 8.8g sugar, 7.8g protein.

high in vitamin A, C, manganese, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin

note: measure out your nuts! they add up quickly. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Have you heard of the Body Adiposity Index? I was reading an article about it this morning and thought I'd try calculating. I've known BMI is a loose measure that has its faults, and I'm always interested in hearing different methods of measuring healthy/overweight/obese. BAI uses the measurement of your hip circumference and your height to calculate body fat, along with gender and age. They claim it can be more accurate than BMI. I'm still not convinced either is entirely accurate, I guess we'd need a scientific method for me to really believe it!

Using BMI calculations, I'm still at 26, which keeps me in the overweight category. I still have lbs around my tummy to lose (and yes, there's probably some extra skin there too) and so I 'see' where that fits. Interestingly, using BAI calculations I am in the healthy category, with a body fat percentage estimate of 26.1%. That in fact puts me right about in the middle of their scale for healthy, which does surprise me.

Interested in calculating your BMI vs BAI? go here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Who would ever have thought? Definitely not me! Today I ran with Stephanie and did a total of 6.2 miles, basically a 10k! I honestly never thought I'd be a runner. I never liked it. Even after losing all this weight, I had never even run a mile straight until the past several months. My first real exposure to running was the bootcamp I did last August, and I remember feeling pretty good about my ability to run, something I was hesitant about going into it. Still, Only 3 months ago I set myself a goal for the year to run a 5k, with the thought in my mind that I'd need to train for weeks to do it. Apparently not. Last Sunday I ran a 5K+, this Sunday I basically ran a 10k! unbelievable! A special thank you to Stephanie, my yoga + running friend who really gave me the confidence that it was something I was capable of doing in the shape I'm in now.

Last night Thad and I were at our friends Angie and Steve's for dinner and a movie. We ended up watching an interesting and inspiring documentary, called Spirit of the Marathon, that profiled both elite runners and new runners of all ages, training and running the Chicago marathon. One of the key things that really stood out for me is how so many of them talked about how running a marathon changed their lives forever, how the sense of having accomplished it opened them up to the possibilities in life - i.e. if they could do this, they could do anything they set their minds to. I found it especially interesting because I've had friends talk about how running is such a mental exercise. All of these sentiments led my thoughts right to yoga actually. I really feel that that is the impact yoga has had on my life.  I honestly credit being able to start running like I have with both the physical and mental training I've developed in my yoga practice.

Now I've had people telling me I should train and do the half marathon (Detroit in October). My hesitation is whether I want to devote that much time to running, when at the same time I really feel I want to further develop/focus on my yoga practice. Although running more often might help me with those last pounds I can't seem to lose!! So, I'm at a 'we'll see' point I guess. Either way, feeling pretty proud of myself today!