French Onion Soup & A GIVEAWAY!

Well, I survived my Monday, did you? It is gloomy around here this morning which immediately puts me into a lethargic mood. I am going to get the legs moving on a walk to see if that can amp me up a bit.

Breakfast

I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo of my breakfast yesterday but I had a peach flavored Chobani with blueberries on top (Chobani hooked us up at the HLS with some great coupons btw). I learned that I don’t enjoy the peach blueberry combo and will probably never do that again. It wasn’t terrible but there definitely wasn’t the peanut butter-banana-combo love action happening in the least bit. I didn’t really think that one through. I was in a hurry. The peach yogurt would have been great by itself but I was trying to increase my fruit intake! Well, better luck next time.

Lunch

I booked it home for lunch and threw together a semi-sweet salad made of mixed greens, Driscoll’s raspberries, crunchy grapes, avocado, feta cheese, and walnuts. I topped it off with a light drizzle of Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard dressing.

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I finished lunch off with an apple and a bite of peanut butter before heading back to work.

Dinner

Dinner was wonderful last night for many reasons:

  1. It was VERY simple.
  2. It was ready for me when I got home from work and errands thanks to the crock pot.
  3. It is one of my all-time favorite soups.
  4. I got to use cute soup bowls that my co-worker gave me.

On the menu was French onion soup. Into the crockpot  went 3 yellow onions, 2-32 ounce boxes beef broth (reduced sodium), a splash of Worcestershire, a few cracks of black pepper.

I covered the soup and set it on high for 4 hours.

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The soup turned out great but I would change the cooking time next time. Instead of the short cooking time, I would cook it on low for about  7-9 hours. I couldn’t time it right with work to do it that way so I had to do it the high temp way, and the onions ended up a little crunchy. I like them to be more tender and ended up sautéing them for a few minutes in a separate pan on the stovetop and then adding the back into the soup.

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So, here is the recipe for you that I would use the NEXT time I made this soup, and it would turn out perfect.

French Onion Soup Crock Pot Style

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 2-32 ounce boxes of low sodium beef broth
  • 3 Vidalia onions, chopped into 2-3 inch strips
  • 1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Topping:

  • Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
  • Bagel chips, homemade croutons, or crunchy bread*

*I made my version gluten-free so I used thinly sliced almond bread which I toasted in the oven.

Directions

  1. Place soup ingredients into large crock pot. Cover and turn on low for 7-9 hours, or until onions are tender.
  2. Ladle soup into microwave safe bowls. Top with crunchy bread of choice, then cheese. Microwave for 1 minute or until cheese is melted.

ENJOY!

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Sneaky Pete’s Oatstanding Giveaway

Now, sound the horns. It’s time for my very first giveaway on Beautifully Nutty!

When I was at the Healthy Living Summit in Cambridge, I sampled a beverage from  Sneaky Pete’s Beverage Co.  called Oatstanding which is an oat-based beverage. Oats have been shown to have many health benefits. The soluble fiber in oats can help to lower cholesterol, can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and can help to improve overall heart health.

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One bottle of Oatstanding has 3 grams of fiber (2 grams of soluble fiber) which is equivalent to about one bowl of oatmeal. The majority of people do not get the recommended amount of dietary fiber daily, so this is another way to help increase your fiber intake.

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Besides the health benefits, this product also tastes good. I am a gal who enjoys a sweetened beverage now and then, and this one was refreshingly light, and had just the right amount of sweetness to it (only 5 grams of sugar). It is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up and also great for on the go.

They offer 5 different flavors: Apple Away, Grape Escape, Mango Mystique, Peach Perfection, and Raspberry Beret.

They have a great site full of even more information on their product. If you would like to learn more, click here.

They are so excited about their product, that they want to giveaway a sample of all 5 of their flavors to one of my lucky readers (U.S. residents only).

Enter to win: Simply write a comment on this post about your favorite on-the-go drink or snack. The winner will be chosen at random and will be announced Friday morning. Good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. A WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED.

Have a great day. :smile:

Note: I was not paid by Sneaky Pete’s for the opinions in this post, however I did receive the beverages at no cost for this giveaway. The opinions expressed about this product are solely my own.

Decisions, Decisions: HLS Day 3

It’s time for the final recap of The Healthy Living Summit. Presenting you with day 3 (Sunday)…More photos, less talky.

HLS 5k

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(photo courtesy of Courtney)

Healthy Breakfast and Good-Bye’s

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(photo courtesy of Jamie)

Harvard Square

Both Shannon and I had later flights on Sunday, so we took advantage of our extra time by walking to Harvard and admiring their beautiful campus and the surrounding area.

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It looks a little different from good old Minnesota State University, Mankato! It is a breathtaking campus.

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We oogled the fresh goods at a local farmer’s market and bought flavored nuts from Q’s Nuts, a local company, and I bought a sweet apple for the airport.

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A cupcake truck to tempt us on our walk home…we denied it after much contemplation.

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Back at the hotel, we had 45 minutes to shower, pack, and be down in the lobby to catch a cab back to the airport. In case you’re wondering, yes I did have to sit on my suitcase in order to close it, thanks to all of the great swag! My bag weighed in at 48.5 lbs on the way home.

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At the airport I polished off a small sample of Q’s nuts, my large farmer’s market apple, and then decided I needed some greenery, so wandered around until I found myself a nice little side salad. My first flight was from Boston to Chicago.

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A layover in Chicago (for 3.5 hours) led me to buy more food. Another salad…

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Hmm….what else do I want? So many temptations surrounding me.

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After about 45 minutes I decided that a bowl of vanilla Fro Yo was just what I wanted.  Those apples look pretty tasty though don’t they? I walk by them every time I am at the Chicago airport and drool by the window.

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Fro Yo two days in a row. That needs to stop now. Have you noticed I am quite the indecisive person? It’s not something I’m proud of. Smile with tongue out

Next flight, Chicago to Minneapolis. I munched on a box of Wild Harvest Organic Raisins from the conference and then tried to sleep (with no such luck). I arrived in Minneapolis around 12:30, and crawled into bed around 1 am. It was a LOOONNGG day of traveling and I was so happy to be home.

The main message I took from the conference is, be true to you and remember why you started your blog. I started B.N. to share my love for food and fitness in hope to inspire others (and motivate myself) to live a healthy lifestyle. What you read on my blog is all me. I write how I talk, and am real with you every day. Not every day is a great day, but I do try and find the positives in every situation and keep my blog uplifting and light. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

To the great friends I met over the weekend: you are all such incredible, inspirational people. I learned something from each and every one of you. I look forward to staying in touch over the years and hopefully meeting up with you all again!

I am so glad I made the decision to attend HLS12. I attained so much valuable information and am now finally starting to digest and process it all. I am in the process of putting some of what I learned to work! Expect great changes to Beautifully Nutty in the future.

I will be back to normal posts again. The recipes are piling up and I have some major catching up to do. I hope you’re excited!

Happy  Hump Day!

Shake Out the Nerves: HLS Day 1

Hi friends! I am home sweet home from my trip out to Cambridge, MA for the Healthy Living Summit 2012. I have A LOT to tell you. I was going to try to do a recap of this weekend in one post, but there is absolutely no way I would be able to do that without writing you a novel. So, I’m going to break it down day by day. Bear with me.

Last time I left you I had recapped my day with Dana in Boston. Moving on to Friday….

Friday morning, I was one lazy lady. I slept in, eventually rolled out of bed (I do literally roll out of bed), made myself a cup of joe, and plopped myself in front of the computer for a couple of hours. It felt phenomenal to just sit and relax.

I even ate breakfast in my room. I picked up a vanilla bean non-fat Greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s the night before and enjoyed (a few too many) cinnamon almonds from TJ’s as well.

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Then came the activity

I decided to make something of myself around 11:00, so I jumped into my workout clothes, laced up the ol’ Asics, and made my way to the river. I used MapMyRun to track me through 4 miles. I jogged and walked while enjoying the beautiful views of Cambridge.

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Back at the hotel, I had my first mini mingle with some of the HLS ladies. A fellow blogger Aundra, led a group of us in an outdoor Zumba class. She scoped out a nice shady spot for us just outside of our hotel, and there was a nice breeze to keep us cool as we broke it down.

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Image courtesy of Aundra

She got me sweatin’ and was the cutest, happiest, Zumba instructor I’ve had yet. Such a fun time!

After Zumba, I showered up and headed to the HLS registration tables to pick up my bag-o-swag, and then sat in on a presentation and discussion led by Derek of the blog Greatist.

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Derek emphasized the importance of being your best self, and staying true to who you are in life, and in your blog. His presentation was a great way to kick off the conference, and was a great opportunity to mingle with other bloggers, and discuss ideas with one another.

Let’s talk about this swag bag.

Holy cow I was a little girl on Christmas when I got this bag. Thanks to wonderful sponsors and donations, the gift bag that each attendee received was overflowing with great products from workout headbands and a t-shirt from Five Bamboo, to Organic Granola from Cascadian Farms, Odwalla bars, SoyJoy, and many other great products.

We were also loaded up with coupons for products from Almond Breeze, Wild Harvest ( a HUGE sponsor for this event), Laughing Cow, Stonyfield, and more. Such generous donations and swag bags!

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Oh, and did I mention Reebok? Um, hello! They gave us all a pair of absolutely adorable RealFlex shoes. Are you kidding me? That is amazing! They are so much fun, come in lots of different colors and are very comfortable.

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Thank you for all of the generous gifts!

After scrounging through the goodies, it was time to meet up for another “mini mingle” which was a photo walk around Cambridge. We walked our way to the very famous Fenway Park. Unfortunately we couldn’t look inside, but it was still neat to see the outside of it, and more importantly I had a chance to chat with so many sweet ladies.

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That marked my third sweat session of the day.

Once we got back I was drained, but knew I needed to gather up some last bits of energy because I had a cocktail partAY to attend to.

I neglected to really take any photos of the cocktail party, except for this awkward one which was taken in my room beforehand…

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I was all nerves walking into the cocktail party as I did not know a soul except for a few people I had spoken with throughout the day. When I am placed in situations where I don’t know anyone, I tend to get shy. It forces me out of my comfort zone and I realize that sometimes this is the only way a person can grow and get over the uncomfortable feeling. It’s good for me.

I approached the first friendly welcoming person I could find, and within minutes I was engaging in conversations left and right with fellow healthy living enthusiasts. Being that we all have so much in common, it was very easy to keep conversation flowing. I was meeting so many great people with interesting things to say!

The only thing weighing me down was that my energy level was at a 3 out of 10. My body was working over time to keep me going. I wanted to enjoy the moment though so I kept pulling through. 

At around 9:00, I managed to spill my glass of red wine all down the front of my tan skirt. I was that girl. Womp wooooommmmp. I used my clutch to cover it up as I quickly made my way up to my room. Embarrassing.

A little cold water and white bar soap, and I worked that stain right out.

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So here I am in my hotel room at 9:00 pm, the party is still going on downstairs, I’m debating what to wear if I go back down to the party, I’m feeling very cozy in my gorgeous Hyatt room, and little Ms. Melanie is completely spent.

I made an executive decision right then and there that I was going to stay in the rest of the night. I took the wine on my skirt as a sign that my body was ready to call it a night. After all, I had a very busy day ahead of me, and wanted to be in good shape for it.

I snuggled into bed, and slept sound. I had survived day one, which is the most nerve-racking of them all. SO much more to come. Please stay tuned!

Turning Into a Carrot

Happy Thursday!

So, this post is ALL over the board. I missed a day of blogging so I’m going to try to catch you up on anything I feel is important enough to share.

First of all, this arrived on our doorstep yesterday. My very own food dehydrator. No more spending mega dollars on dried fruit and veggie chips at the store, I’m making my own. You better believe there won’t be any preservatives or added sugars in my dried goods. I can’t wait to get this up and running. I am particularly excited to try to make veggie chips. They will be a great crispy snack, or at least I am hoping they will be.

For dinner Tuesday night I made myself an egg scramble with 1 egg, 1 (or 2?) egg whites, cheddar cheese, and diced avocado. I topped it with Wild Harvest’s Mango Salsa and had a tasty meal in no time. I also ate cooked carrots–I think I am officially turning into a carrot the way I have been eating those bad boys lately.

Wednesday Breakfast

I started my day off yesterday with a cup of coffee and a bowl of cinnamon and honey yogurt.

I was at a conference for work all day and since lunch wasn’t provided, I brought my own of course. I packed cooked carrots, and a banana pancake with almond butter. I also brought an extra banana in case I needed something else, but it turned out that I didn’t eat the banana but should have eaten it, because by 5:00 I was not feeling so hot. I know that if I go too long without eating I tend to bloat, but the conference setting we are in doesn’t make snacking very easy. First of all food and drink are technically “not allowed” in the auditorium we are in, so if I did want a snack I would have to have one outside of the auditorium, and second, it’s so cramped in the stadium seats, that reaching into your bag to dig out a snack makes for quite the tricky task.

 

I don’t want to deal with the bloating again today though, and since I am at the conference again, I’m going to do my best to have snacks in between meals to help tame my gut.

During lunch break, my co-workers and I set out for a walk. It was incredibly humid and hot here yesterday, so we walked at more of a leisurely pace than we normally would. It felt great to stretch the legs for a while after being cramped so long.

After the conference, I had plans to meet up with my girlfriends, so I packed myself a little snacky dinner: cheddar cheese, a hard-boiled egg, more carrots, and honeydew melon.

I headed over to my friend Julie’s house along with my friends Kate and Amanda. We caught up, laughed a lot, watched SYTYCD and completely enjoyed eachother’s company. I love all of those girls so much. Girlfriends are so amazing. Oh, and I cannot forget to mention we also hung out with her two adorable Maltese pups, Ava and Bella. Seriously the cutest little furballs.
This old lady (moi) had to leave the party at 8:30 to get home and pack her lunch for today so she could make sure to hit the hay by 10:00 pm. I need a lot of sleep these days.

I am out of here for the day, unless Moose decides to jump on my computer and write a guest post. :smile: Have a great day every one! It’s looking like a beautiful one around here.

Food Prep Sunday

Well, I still can’t believe the weekend is over. It was a good one as they always are. Saturday was spent celebrating Kari and Tony’s wedding and relaxing in the evening.

And Sunday…

We slept in until 8:30 which felt amazing. It was so nice to have a relaxing morning and not have to rush to get up, or set the alarm. Once I rolled out of bed, I got to work on a fruit smoothie.

In the mix:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Sweetener
  • Splash of water (to get things moving)

I also had a cup of hazelnut coffee. I drank my liquid breakfast while flipping through the Sunday paper and cutting coupons.

After a leisurely morning, we got out and ran our standard Sunday errands. We made a trip to the co-op for freshly ground peanut butter (we priced it out and it was cheaper to buy it this way than make our own), then we went to Target, and lastly Costco. By the time we got home at 12:30 I was about to eat my hair. Our fridge was fully stocked.

I whipped up a batch of scrambled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. I wanted to try incorporating some Dry Curd Cottage Cheese (SCD talks about this stuff all the time). It took me 2 weeks to find this cheese–I thought I had the right kind during the intro diet, but turns out I bought the wrong stuff. Anyway, I mixed in a spoonful of DCCC into the eggs with high hopes of a cheesy nummy egg, but it turned out to be a flop. It tasted like cottage cheese mixed with eggs (duh) and I should have known that it would come out that way. I guess I thought the cheese would sort of melt into the eggs a little better. The texture was a little too funky for me. I topped it with salsa which made it taste a little better, and I choked down a couple of bites before moving on to something else.

After my failed DCCC eggs, I went on to eat cooked carrots, watermelon, and almond butter. Then, I hit the road to go meet mom for a hot and humid walk. We walked around mom and dad’s neighborhood for about a half hour and we looked like wet noodles by the time we got back because of the humidity. It was a great walk though! After the walk I hung out with mom, dad, and Abbie before coming home to get to work in the kitchen.

I think Sunday can officially be deemed food prep day. Lately, it has been working out well to spend a few hours on Sundays preparing food for the SCD so that I am able to continue to stay on track throughout the week. It can be slightly exhausting but it’s always worth it in the end.

Yesterday I made…

  • Cooked carrots
  • Applesauce
  • Cheesecake (SCD)
  • Crockpot Chicken
  • Tilapia
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Pineapple gelatin
  • Homemade BBQ sauce (recipe to come)
  • And I cut up fresh strawberries from a Costco-sized container

Cooked carrots: place organic baby carrots in a large bowl with about a cup of water, cover and microwave for 8-10 minutes or until carrots are fork tender. I have been eating these like crazy and wanted to have plenty for the week ahead.

Applesauce: Peel, core, and slice your apples. Place in pot with an inch or two of water in bottom of pot. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 10 minutes or until apples are fork tender.

Let the apples cool slightly, then transfer the apples (not the water) to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Refrigerate and enjoy plain or with cinnamon. That’s what you call all natural applesauce!

Next up was SCD cheesecake and I used this cheesecake recipe right from the book.

Crock pot chicken: I placed two boneless skinless chicken breasts into the crock pot with ground mustard, salt, pepper, and a touch of honey. I set the crock to low and let it go for 4-5 hours. Once the time was up, I removed the chicken and placed into my Pyrex so that it would be ready to eat for lunch or dinner this week.

For dinner, we cooked up tilapia seasoned with fresh dill from our garden, fresh lemon juice, and pepper. I ate mine with ketchup (obviously), and I had a side of cooked carrots with a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey.

I LOVED the carrots with the cinnamon and honey holy cow. They tasted like a dessert to me! I finished the meal off with a piece of cheesecake pictured above. Hmm…well, it tasted better than the last time I made it but that’s because I had used the completely wrong cheese! The taste was alright, but I had a hard time getting past the texture. It wasn’t smooth like I was hoping. Oh well, I can’t say I didn’t try, but probably won’t be attempting to make that again.

There you have it; my busy day in the kitchen. The next couple of days I am going to be cooling it with introducing new foods into my diet. My body has been a little off lately and I this past weekend I wasn’t feeling too well. I plan to eat a modified version of the intro diet for a couple of days to get me back on track.

This is what I’m tentatively planning to eat (I am basing these foods off of the SCD Intro Diet and modifying to fit my needs):

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Lean beef (if necessary)
  • Fish
  • Fruit Juice Gelatin
  • Cooked carrots
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas

Basically, I’m just adding applesauce and bananas on to the intro diet. Since I have already improved tremendously, I know I will be able to handle both of those foods just fine yet still give my system a bit of a break. This will only be for 1 or 2 days, then I should be able to move on again with adding foods back in slowly. That’s the plan as of now.

Once I was all done with the food prep, the rest of my Sunday night was spent watching the Season Finale of The Bachelorette. I am pretty surprised with the outcome. Have a great day everybody! I’ll catch up with you soon.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Well hello there friends. Happy Thursday to you all.

A week ago I had a venting session about how overwhelmed I was with the SCD and how I wasn’t sure if I could continue to follow it as closely as I had been. I wrote that post at the end of a long work day and on a day when I wasn’t feeling well. Needless to say, my thoughts at that moment were most likely hinged to the fact that I was in fact exhausted, but not because I couldn’t handle the food preparation and the details of the SCD, more because I had a rough week.

Since my vent session, I have continued to follow the SCD very closely, sticking to “legal” foods and progressing with the diet at a rate based on my own health status. I have been doing very well with sticking to the allowable food items. I am really learning to pay attention to my body and how it reacts to different foods and activities. I continue to experiment with introducing foods back in to my diet to see how my body reacts (I learned I wasn’t ready for raisins—I knew better too).

I am about 2 1/2 weeks in to the SCD and I am feeing well, but still not 100%. It is rare that I have a “bloaty” day, and if I do, I can usually immediately associate it to a certain food that I ate, or correlate it to not eating as frequently as I should throughout the day, not drinking enough water, etc.

I continue to see the gastroenterology specialists who are treating my U.C. with medications, and who are fully aware that I am following this diet. I will continue to heal and share my journey with you all. It has been about two months now that I have been in this “flare” stage, but it feels like it’s been a whole lot longer than that. Thank you all for supporting me through this process. I can only hope that I am helping someone else out there who is facing the same challenges as I am.

On a lighter note, how about a Wednesday recap?

Breakfast: plain yogurt (SCD) sweetened with honey and topped with 3/4 of a peeled peach or maybe it’s a nectarine? Either way, it was delicious.

Lunch: I didn’t get to snap a photo of lunch because I literally had to stuff my face in a couple of minutes due to getting out of work late and Moose deciding to upchuck in the living room. I grabbed peanut butter and a banana before I had to head back to work.

Dinner: After work I came home and dug into some more of that super juicy refreshing watermelon salad I made the other day. This was part one of dinner.

I had two artichoke hearts from Costco while I pondered dinner options. These babies are packed in oil, so I gave them a rinse in the sink before eating them. They are very tasty! Dinner part two.

I was completely indecisive about what to eat for the more substantial portion of my meal. In the meantime, I meandered out to the backyard to check on the growth of one particular zucchini in the garden (aka the only zucchini in the garden right now). To my delight, it was ready to be picked! Finally, our first one of the year. I have a feeling now that the first one has been picked, they are going to start shooting out like wildfire like they did last year. I am going to have zucchini coming out of my ears soon (I hope!). I can’t believe how fast they grow. Just the day before I picked it was at least 2 inches shorter I could swear.

So clearly the next part of my dinner had to include the zucchini.

 

I remember an idea I saw on Pinterest for some sort of zucchini pizzas, and I ran with the idea.

First, I cut the zucchini into 5 mini rounds. I blotted each one with a paper towel to remove some liquid. Ideally, I would have like to let these sit in a colander with a sprinkle of salt for 20 minutes, and then blot them off with a towel, because I would be able to remove even more liquid. But since I was not in the mood to wait 20 extra minutes, I forged ahead.

I got the oven preheating to 375°. I prepared the zucchini bites on a piece of aluminum foil (easy clean up). I sprayed the aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray but in reality, I probably didn’t need to do that as there was so much water that came out from the zucchini in the baking process and I don’t think they would have stuck.

I then sprinkled garlic powder on the zucchini, then layered on a tablespoon of homemade marinara sauce, cheddar cheese, and chopped green olives, and popped these bites in the oven for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I turned the oven to broil, and cooked for an additional 3 minutes until the cheese was melty.

 

A quick, easy and healthy SCD meal in less than 20 minutes. Um, hello, yea! Dinner part three.

I debated sprinkling some parmesan cheese on the top but decided they were cheesy enough as is. I would make these again in a heart beat. They would be perfect for little ones too or even a fun snack or appetizer option.

Zucchini Pizza Bites (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a zucchini, cut into 5 circles
  • Garlic powder
  • Marinara or pizza sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • Your favorite pizza toppings: mine happens to be olives

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Cut zucchini into 5 rounds, blot with towel to remove excess liquid, and place on baking sheet or aluminum foil
  3. Sprinkle zucchini with garlic powder
  4. Spoon sauce on each zucchini, then cheese, lastly toppings
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn oven to broil and bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Not too shabby for not knowing what I was going to eat for dinner, right?! Bring it on zucchini, I have a lot more plans for you. After dinner, I walked on the treadmill for an hour while watching Wheel of Fortune and So You Think You Can Dance.

I am out for the day. Enjoy this day, and I will catch up with you later gators.

 

Na Cho Average Nachos

Well, hello there! How is everyone’s Tuesday rollin’ out so far? I’m going to give you a quick run-down of my day yesterday and then I have a super amazing recipe I want to share with you from Sunday evening.

Monday Morning

I started off my morning lacing up the sneaks for a 3.5 mile run around the neighborhood. It was a hot and sweaty run, but there was a nice breeze which helped keep me comfortable. Post-run, I attempted to model my new strawberry cup I bought at Target the other day. It matches my strawberry plate! I also bought a lemon cup to match my lemon plate. The summer dishware was 70% off and I just couldn’t pass it up.

For breakfast, I whipped up a smoothie, made my to-do list, and hit the road. My most recent smoothie obsession is a smoothie made with a frozen banana, a splash of pineapple juice, 1/4-1/2 cup SCD yogurt, and a dab of honey. It is so creamy and tropical tasting. I am loving it.

See-Food Lunch

I got home from running my errands around 11:00 and I was starvin’ marvin. I pulled out the watermelon from the fridge and snacked on some of that while I pondered my lunch options. I really couldn’t decide on anything substantial so I chose to start with a bowl of seedless english cucumber slices. I peeled the cucumber, sliced some of it up, splashed it with vinegar, a pinch of fresh dill, and salt and  pepper. This was my experimental food for the day. I am hoping I can tolerate it okay. The salad was very refreshing and I would love to make a big batch of it.

And so began my see-food diet day. I saw food, I ate it.

I ate some peanut butter and honey.

And some SCD crackers. I made one batch of crackers and then split it into two batches: one cinnamon and sugar (saccharin) batch, and one salt and pepper batch.

I also snacked on a handful of cherries. I am making sure to chew the cherries very thoroughly to help aid in the digestion process. I realize that cherries may be slightly “advanced” at my stage in the SCD, but I have decided I will not go all summer long without eating cherries. They are in season right now and the season is so short-lived and I have been eating a few here and there. They don’t seem to bother me at all. I am enjoying every perfect bite.

I had a sliver of SCD bread too.

I was wanting something dessert-like yesterday, so I searched around and found a SCD gummies recipe on Comfy Tummy’s site. The only ingredients are 1/2 cup grape juice (or whatever juice you have on hand), 3 unflavored gelatin packets, and 1 Tablespoon of honey. I just followed the directions right from Comfy Tummy’s recipe, and this is what I got.

These weren’t too shabby for a sweet treat, but they don’t compare to my grocery store bulk gummies that I like so much.

Afternoon Walk and Dinner

In the afternoon I met up with my girly Kate for a walk around the neighborhood. It was going to be a walk around the lake but when I found out we would have to pay $6.25 for parking, we made other plans. We headed to a nearby neighborhood and hit some beautiful trails around there. We walked for an hour which, in the 100° heat, turned us into hot sweaty messes.  As always, it was SO good to spend time with her and catch up on life. I love her, love her, love her.

By the time I got home at 6:30, I still wasn’t hungry for dinner. I think it was a combination of snacking all day and over-heating from the walk. I actually felt nauseous for a little while. Eventually I came around and ended up eating a bowl of cooked carrots, a couple of cinnamon cookies, a bite of muenster cheese, and a few more cherries.

Okay, I have got to move on to the long awaited recipe I have been so excited to share with you (drum roll)…

Butternut Squash Nachos!

Butternut squash SCD legal nachos. I kid you not. These are na cho average nachos. To begin, I peeled a large butternut squash.

I used the long neck of the squash to make “chips” on the mandolin. I sliced these very thin so they were chip-like. I steamed the other portion of the squash in the microwave and pureed it in the food processor. I bagged up the puree and placed it in the freezer for another day. You know I wouldn’t waste food. Haste makes waste.

Okay, so once the chips were sliced, I placed them into a pot of boiling water and boiled for two minutes. After two minutes, I placed them into a colander in the sink and rinsed with cold water until the chips were cool enough to handle.

Then came the tedious part. I used a paper towel to dry each individual chip and placed them onto my baking mat (I used two baking sheets). This took me a while but considering the end result, it was so totally worth it. Once all of the chips are placed onto a baking mat or parchment paper, spray with olive oil or canola oil, sprinkle with salt, and place in a preheated 375° oven.

I wasn’t sure how long they would take to bake, but it ended up taking about 30-35 minutes, turning the pans and switching shelves half way. I ended up flipping the oven to high broil at the end so that I could try to crisp up the top a bit.

While the chips were baking, I prepared the toppings. I took one avocado, diced it, added a splash of lime, cilantro, cumin, and salt and pepper. I gave it a stir and had guacamole in a flash. I grated cheddar cheese to melt over the chips. I seasoned some leftover pulled chicken with chili spices.

When it was time to assemble, I placed a layer of chips on the bottom of the plate, topped them with cheddar cheese and chicken and popped them in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Then I topped the nachos with organic salsa and a heaping spoonful of guacamole.

Holy moly you guys will not believe how insanely delicious this was! I didn’t want it to end. Can you believe this is SCD friendly? I am very proud of this dish. It was worth every bit of effort and Dana agrees. These nachos are the bomb.

I am going to leave you with that to drool ponder over. I hope you all have a great Tuesday. I will catch up with you soon!

 

Na Cho Average Nachos
Print
Butternut Squash Nachos (for two)
Ingredients
  • Chips:
  • 1 butternut squash neck, peeled
  • Cooking spray or canola oil
  • Salt
  • Toppings*:
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salsa
  • Guacamole (mix all ingredients)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Dash of Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • *Use whatever nacho toppings you enjoy: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, black olives, would be great additions to this dish.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.
  2. Use mandolin or sharp knife to slice squash into thin round chips.
  3. In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add chips; cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove chips from stove and pour into a colander in the sink; run cold water over chips until cool.
  5. Use towel or paper towel to pat each chip dry and place on baking pans.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the chips begin to crisp.
  7. Turn oven to high broil and broil for 2 minutes, watching carefully so that chips don't burn. Once they are crisped up to your liking, remove from oven.
  8. Plate the chips and add cheese and chicken. Cook in microwave for 45 seconds.
  9. Top with the rest of your toppings and devour.

Grab a Snack

I really like that word, “snack.” I don’t know if it brings on a feeling of comfort or what it is, but when I hear the word it makes me happy. It makes me think of snuggling on the couch and watching a movie; it gives me a cozy feeling. I also love during Rachael Ray’s show when she is about to go into a commercial break and says, “go grab a snack and come on back.” I am a weirdo I am aware. But, speaking of snacks, I have some of my favorite SCD snacks to share with you all. Even if you aren’t following the SCD, these snacks are healthy and delicious options if you are in need of a little pick-me-up.

But first, let’s recap dinner last night because it was pretty darn tasty. I sautéed asparagus spears and green peas in a tiny bit of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. I also had shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce made from SCD ketchup and horseradish. On the side, butter lettuce with homemade honey mustard sauce.

Honey mustard: mustard, Dijon mustard, honey, and apple cider vinegar.

For me, the asparagus and pea sauté stole the show. I love those two veggies. Num num.

For dessert I ate a bite of peanut butter with honey. Later in the evening I munched on cooked carrots and applesauce.

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Now, on to those snackies. These have been some of my go-to’s lately. They are all SCD-friendly but like I said, SCD or not, they are great snacks for all.
1. Juicy, sweet watermelon. I keep this stocked up in the fridge, all cut up and ready to go. Sure it’s a little bit of a pain to cut up, but it’s well worth it.

2. Cooked carrots. When I have a little extra time I make a big batch and store them in the fridge so that they are easy to grab. I keep them at eye level so I am more likely to go for them first when in need of some energy.

3. Hard-boiled eggs. These are a great source of protein so if I need something to hold me over for a little while, I eat one of these. I like using our egg slicer to make perfect slices, and I sprinkle with a touch of salt.

4. Yogurt bites. Cool, refreshing, and fun.

5. Banana soft serve or yogurt and honey. It’s like eating ice cream, ’nuff said.

6. Mini muffins made from almond flour. Limit to 1 or 2 mini muffins a day though!

7. Smoothies with fruit, SCD yogurt, and spinach.

8. Banana with nut butter or just a bite of nut butter on its own.

9. And my newest snack addition: Almond Saltine Crackers. I found a great recipe from Comfy Belly’s site.

Here’s how you make them. To begin, preheat your oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of almond meal or almond flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Next, add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. It’s okay to use your hands to help mix, I did! Form into 2 balls of dough.

Place a dough ball on a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper, and top the dough with a layer of parchment paper (like a cracker dough sandwich). Use a rolling-pin to roll the dough into a flat large rectangle/circle/whatever shape you can roll it into. Carefully peel off top layer of parchment paper.

You can see mine was far from perfect. It doesn’t matter though! Use a pizza cutter to cut into cracker size rectangles, and transfer the baking mat and crackers to a baking pan. Sprinkle with a light amount of sea salt.

Bake for 20 minutes (baking time with vary so keep an eye on crackers and watch for a lightly golden color and crisp edges).

Split crackers apart.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container and you have a salty snack on hand when you need it. They taste a whole lot like saltine crackers and I really like these salty snacks.

Almond Saltine Crackers (courtesy of Comfy Belly)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together almond meal and salt.
  3. Add egg and olive oil; mix well and form into 2 balls of dough.
  4. Place a dough ball on a non-stick baking mat, and top the dough with a layer of parchment paper.
  5. Use rolling-pin to roll the dough into a flat large rectangle/circle/or whatever shape (it really doesn’t matter).
  6. Carefully peel off top layer of parchment paper.
  7. Use a pizza cutter to cut into cracker size rectangles, and transfer the baking mat and crackers to a baking pan. Sprinkle with a light amount of sea salt.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes (baking time with vary so keep an eye on crackers for a lightly golden color and crisp edges).
  9. Split crackers apart.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Happy snacking! Oh, and happy Monday? Kidding, yes it will be a happy Monday. Again, I’ll try and be positive about Monday if you will! Catch up with you later.

Banana Muffins and Yogurt Bites

Happy day everybody!

The weather has finally cooled down around here and it is so pleasant again. I was getting a little tired of the 100° heat. I live in Minnesota, now come on I’m not used to that. It is in the mid-70′s right now and supposed to warm up to the 80′s or so which is just perfect considering we are going to a pool party today. Want to know the most exciting part? My brother is here all the way from Bogota, Colombia! I haven’t seen him since our wedding in October and I am psyched to see him!! YYYYYaaaayyyyy!

This morning, Dana and I made our way to the gym after sleeping in until 8:40 am. I couldn’t believe we slept in until then, we don’t ever do that. We must have needed it. Anyway, we warmed up with a mile run then hit the weights and cranked out triceps, shoulder, and chest work. Dana was my personal trainer today and he whooped my butt. My arms are already sore. I couldn’t take a picture without holding my arm with my other hand to stay steady. I’m a serious wuss. But hey, I strength trained today! I said I wanted to get back on that train, and although I may be a little weak right now, you have to start somewhere. I feel like I am starting over now that I am starting to get my energy back again. That’s okay though.

I have a large watermelon to cut up before the party today and a few other things I want to do, so I am going to try to whiz through the rest of this. Here goes a recap from yesterday!

Saturday Lunch

This is a sorry attempt at a photo of a banana with cashew butter. It was really tasty but the photo sure doesn’t present itself that way!

I also stuffed my face with a load of watermelon which again, I forgot to take a photo of it but you know what watermelon looks like.

Afternoon workout and snacks

In the afternoon, I made my way down to the treadmill and got a half hour walk in while watching The Doctors. I also weeded the garden in the back which is looking real good! I can’t wait for all of the fresh veggies soon to come.

I made myself a snack of yogurt with honey and cinnamon a little while later.

And whipped up some nummy little frozen treats for Dana and I.

Please welcome strawberry-banana yogurt bites.

I simply blended:

  • Homemade SCD yogurt (you could use whatever yogurt you prefer)
  • Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • Touch of honey (because the yogurt is slightly tart)

Once blended, I poured the smoothie mix into the star freezer molds and place in the freezer overnight.

Today I popped them out of the molds and taste-tested. They turned out perfectly sweet and are such a nice and healthy way to cool down in the heat of the summer. These are perfect for adults and kids alike. If you don’t have fancy freezer molds, you could simply use a mini muffin tin or an ice-cube tray.

So cute, right?!

Speaking of mini muffin tins and cuteness…a few days ago I gave you a little sneak peek to a muffin that I had made. Well, it’s sharing time. :smile:

I am working on making snacks for Dana and I that are quick and tasty, and that can hold us over for a little while. I searched around and found a recipe for SCD Banana Muffins from this site. However, knowing me, I adjusted the recipe slightly. I am so excited to share these little gems with you. I prepared them in mini muffin tins so they are perfectly snackable.

Mini Banana Muffins SCD-friendly (makes 2 dozen mini muffins)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 2 medium overripe bananas,  mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 honey
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 2-mini muffin tins with sunflower oil (or whatever you have on hand); set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves; mix well and set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, beat together bananas, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add vinegar and honey and mix.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients until combined; do not overmix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans half-way through.
  7. Muffins are done when toothpick inserted in middle of muffin comes out clean and tops of muffins begin to feel firm. Remove from oven and enjoy!
I am loving these little guys just plain jane or with a little smear of cashew butter.
For Dinner…
We brought dinner over to the Greg and Sue’s (my in-laws) last night. We brought lean hamburgers seasoned with salt and pepper, SCD ketchup, butter lettuce to use as our burger “buns,” and asparagus to grill on the side. I topped my burger with legal cheddar cheese and a slather of mustard and loaded my plate with asparagus. I went back for seconds of the asparagus. What is it about grilling asparagus that makes it so absolutely delicious?! LOVE! Before we grilled the asparagus, we nuked them in the microwave for 4 minutes to make sure they was cooked enough and easier for me to digest.
This was OH so GOOD!

When we got home I started making another batch of homemade SCD yogurt because I ate up the first batch. Then I was led out back where there was a little excitement. Our neighbors just got a 4 year old golden retriever and they met for the first time last night. Moose was introduced to a new friend named Sadie. Moose goes crazy over golden retrievers; he absolutely adores them. Remember this photo from the dog park?

Ok, that may not have been a golden retriever, but close.

It was so sweet watching Moose and Sadie together. Sadie was a little apprehensive but she was also just introduced to a new home and is working on adjusting to a lot of changes. I give it 2 weeks and they will be BFF or lovers, one of the two.

Alright, I am off to prepare for the day! Enjoy your Saturday wherever you may be. I am loving life.

FroYo Sunday and Frittata Recipe

It’s Monday, my most favorite day of the week. You all know I’m kidding, but I will do my best to stay positive if you promise to try and do the same. I am meeting my mom and possibly dad for lunch during my break from work, so that is something fun I get to look forward to!

Yesterday…

Dana and I carried out our normal Sunday morning routine which consisted of coupon cutting while eating breakfast, and then going grocery shopping. We already had quite a few groceries but still needed a few things like PEANUT BUTTER!

We then got busy on tackling two of the worst house cleaning jobs: bathroom and kitchen. We divided and conquered with Dana taking the bathroom (bless is heart) and I took the kitchen. We have stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and although they are beautiful to look at, they are a pain in the neck to keep clean. But nevertheless, they are clean right now, so we will enjoy it for a short while. It feels real good to have both of those rooms cleaned.

Mid-morning, I snacked on a bunch of Special K Sea Salt Cracker Chips and then I made myself a PB2 and jelly open face sandwich on spelt bread.

Then we were out the door to visit with mom and dad. I also snacked on some chips there, but that time it was Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips. After mom and dad’s we headed to Dana’s parent’s place to visit over there for a while, and then we made our way home.

I was starving when we got home so I made myself a light (early) dinner at 4:50. Lower sodium turkey deli meat wrapped around mozzarella string cheese.

Plus some more Special K chips (I am LOVING chips today apparently) and hummus.

I ended with a bowl of cooked carrots with a little sugar.

At least I thought that was the end, but no. Dana and I made our way to a local frozen yogurt shop for a special Sunday treat. Come to think of it, we had frozen yogurt last Sunday too. This could be a nice little tradition we have started. :smile: FroYo Sunday.

I chose cookie monster frozen yogurt with brownie pieces, cookie dough, snickers, sprinkles, and whipped cream. What a great way to end the weekend.

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I had a few requests for the frittata recipe that I had made the other day with my first frittata ever. I thought I would share it with everybody in case anyone else was interested. I used this recipe as a guide since it was my first time. I wanted to make sure I got the proportions and baking time right and such. I did make some adjustments to the recipe and put my own spin on it. I can now consider it my frittata recipe.

Melanie’s First Frittata: Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cilantro or other fresh herbs (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In an oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat on the stove top
  3. Add onion; allow to cook down for 2 minutes
  4. Add mushrooms; allow to cook for 1 minute; lastly add spinach
  5. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper; mix well
  6. Remove skillet from heat and add spinach mixture into egg bowl
  7. Pour entire mixture back into skillet, sprinkle with cheese, and place in oven; bake for 25 minutes*
  8. Remove frittata from pan carefully and cut into 4 triangles. Garnish with fresh herbs and salsa or your favorite egg accompaniment (I love ketchup) and enjoy

*Baking time may vary. Keep an eye on the skillet and watch for melty cheese and a firm egg bake.

Dana and I finished this off ourselves for dinner, but it could be split between four people and served with a big fruit salad and some fresh-baked whole grain rolls for a more well-rounded meal. I enjoyed making my first ever frittata. It was actually extremely easy and turned out great.

Have a happy day! I am getting back on the workout wagon this week….I have fallen off slightly. Yikes!

P.S. Are you following me on twitter yet? NuttyMelanie could use some friends.