Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

Archive for the ‘Clean Eating’ Category

Hey all,

Second day blogging in a row–woot! I have a ton of things to do but I think I may be more energized and focused after some writing, so here I am!

After graduating from Muhlenberg College this past spring, I moved to Burlington to live with the boy and start my MSW program. Since moving in, sprucing up and decorating the apartment has taken up a big chunk of my time. This summer I completely revamped an old dresser I bought for $50 at a thrift store and I painted every room in the apartment except for the kitchen (I’m waiting on new shelving before I do that). Recently we’ve added some more furniture, rugs, and some decorations. Here’s where we’re at!

The bedroom

Paintings I did. Inspired by Georgia OKeefe

More bed room, featuring the dresser I refurbished

Living Room. P.S. my mom got that chair for free!

Since we don’t have side tables or a coffee table, I made a tray that matches the decor in the living room which we can place in the center of the couch and put food, drinks, and anything else on. I purchased an unfinished wooden tray from a craft store, painted it a beige color and then hot glued blue patterned paper onto the bottom. I sealed the wood and paper with polyurethane so that it would be water resistant (it’s not water proof but stains can be cleaned off with a sponge). Here’s the finished product!

Above my desk in the office (featuring adaptable vision boards)

Shelves I made out of snowboards in the office

The bathroom isn’t too exciting but you can see pictures of it here.

As I mentioned, I’m waiting on some new cabinets for the kitchen. In January my landlord is having wooden cabinets put in. This will be a welcome change from the dirty, dented, metal cabinets from the 70s that we have now! After that I’m going to paint the kitchen blue! I’ll document it all 🙂

And noooooooow lettuce-less salad!

During a break in class earlier this week, I was craving salad. I mentioned it to one of my friends in the program and she said “go with it!”–my thoughts exactly! I enjoyed a small garden salad with italian dressing both days of class this week (monday and tuesday) and then I made myself a lettuce-less salad for dinner last night and had the same for lunch today! I got the idea for lettuce-less salad from Julie at pbfingers.com. When I saw the lettuce-less salads she was making I really thought she was onto something. Lettuce is FINE with me but it’s kind of boring…and I don’t want to waste money on boring things! So I whipped this concoction up last night.

In the mix: black beans, broccoli slaw, julienned zucchini, chopped cucumber, chopped green pepper, and adzuki, pea and lentil seeds + italian dressing.

Got this for less than 2 bucks! Good deal for 7 grams of protein in a one cup, 89 calorie serving!

I’m on a salad binge and I’m lovin’ it! 😉

What’s your favorite salad concoction?

Talk to y’all soon!

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Made a really good dessert last night that took literally 30 seconds to make.

All you need is store-bought chocolate peanut butter (or make your own) and strawberries. Scoop some peanut butter into a bowl, zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds, dip your strawb, place in mouth, melt.

Skinny indulgence in a jar

Good nutrition, check! Wholesome ingredients, check! (Double Click to check it out for yourself!)

Easy peasy dipping "sauce"

So good, how could this have protein and antioxidants in it?

*Suitable for Phase 2 of South Beach Diet

Question:

What’s your go-to quick dessert?

I made this tonight (with my new All-Clad saute pan!!! I looove it) and it’s definitely one of my favorite dishes. Very filling, flavorful, and full of protein and veggies! Those of you who don’t like it hot might want to omit the red pepper flakes and chili sauce but beware, it probably won’t taste as good!

Stir crazy: in progress

Tasty Thai: Success!

What You Need:

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Chicken stock
¼ cup Low sodium soy or tamari sauce
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Fish sauce
3 tablespoons Sweetener (I used sucanat)
3 tablespoons Peanut Oil
1 Vidalia Onion, halved and sliced into strips
1-1 ½ lbs Chicken, cubed
5 cloves Garlic, minced
¼ cup Chili sauce
2 Bell Peppers
1 cup Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Sprouts (Any kind but soy sprouts have tons of protein)
3 Plum tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 ½ cups Fresh basil leaves (Thai is best but I used Genovese)
Ground pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 Lime (or lemon)

What You Do:

  1. Prepare quinoa (Rinse quinoa to remove bitter coating, boil the chicken stock, pour in quinoa, simmer until moisture is absorbed)
  2. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sweetener. Set aside.
  3. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add onions and chicken.
  4. When onions are fragrant, add garlic and chili sauce and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add bell peppers, mushrooms, sprouts, tomatoes, and basil and stir-fry until soft.
  6. Turn heat down to medium and add ground pepper and red pepper flakes. Squeeze lime directly over ingredients in pan.
  7. Serve stir fry over a bed of quinoa and a few spoonfuls of sauce from the pan. Enjoy!

Question for the Foodies:

What’s your favorite grain?

Mine is quinoa. I love the texture and the fact that it’s protein packed. Mix it with veggies and you have an easy, well-rounded dinner! I just bought hard red wheat berries today so I’ll be trying those in a recipe for the first time soon. Stay tuned!

May Be of Interest:

Quinoa, my Favorite Grain!

I’ve always liked risotto, except for the rice. Which I know doesn’t really make sense since rice is pretty much the main ingredient. So you can guess how excited I was when I came upon this recipe for Shrimp and Zucchini Barley Risotto on pbfingers.com which she borrowed from health.com. Just like Julie (from Peanut Butter Fingers), I served it over a bed of steamed broccoli.

It smelled and tasted so good and was surprisingly creamy given that there was only a small amount of butter and some parmesan cheese in it. Dan and I had just one serving and we were full.

Mmmmmmm

(Makes four 1-cup servings)

What You Need:

  • 3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup lightly pearled barley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

What You Do:

1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.

2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add barley; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and salt. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes). Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese, butter, and pepper.

Nutritional Information: Calories 387, Fat 9g, Protein 26g, Carbs 52g, Fiber 10g, Cholesterol 97mg, Iron 3mg, Sodium 653mg, Calcium 200mg

World’s Healthiest Foods: Barley – WHFoods.org

7 Healthy Risotto Recipes – Health.com

Feel Like You're Cheating, but You're Not!

I just threw together the yummiest breakfast food; It tastes like pumpkin pie but you’re really being quite healthy! Steel cut oats have so much fiber in them and they are whole grains. The spices and pumpkin add antioxidants into the mix and the Splenda is calorie free. And it’s filling too. PERFECT, right?

Here’s What You Need:

  • Canned Pumpkin (Which is already cooked. I didn’t know that before researching it!)
  • Splenda or whatever sweetener you want
  • Pumpkin pie spices (I used just cinnamon and nutmeg but you could use anything you want)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Steel Cut Oats

Here’s What You Do:

  • Cook steel cut oats according to the directions. My box said to boil 3 cups of water, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, add 1 cup of oats, simmer and cover. Then stir occasionally for 10 (al dente) to 20 (creamy) minutes. Let sit for 2 minutes. It didn’t say to strain it but I did since there was some water left.
  • Scoop 1 cup of oats into a bowl and save the rest for later (cold oats are yummy).
  • Add 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, a packet of splenda (or two packets of regular sugar), and several shakes of spices.
  • ENJOY!!

Let me know what you think.

Of Possible Interest:

Health Benefits of Pumpkin – Suite101.com

Spices and Herbs, Unexpected Sources of Antioxidants – HealthCastle.com

Top Fresh and Dried Herbs and Spices for Antioxidants – Eating Well Magazine


I’ve read way too many blog posts, heard from several friends, and read in too many magazines that you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise it off. This is similar to the false belief that you can have a healthy body as long as you consume less calories than you burn off (maybe you’ll lose weight but it won’t be healthy). These are not healthy ways to live!!

If you want to have a healthy weight and healthy body, this is the formula Tosca Reno, author of the Eat-Clean Diet follows: A beautiful healthy body = 80% nutrition + 10% exercise + 10% genetics.

This comes as a shock to many people but it’s a good thing! If genetics only play a 10% role in our health, then we have the most control over it! And if you aren’t a work-out-a-holic, have no shame! There are tons and tons of ways to eat delicious yet healthy food.

Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome!

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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at AlixandraWest@gmail.com. You can also anonymously ask me questions at http://www.formspring.me/HealthyBalance1 I would love to hear from you!

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