Friday 25 June 2010

Whil Wheber Strikes Again

A few days ago I was spending my entire paycheck...err...visiting my favorite grocery store, and I decided on a carnivorous impulse to buy a family sized package of steak tips. One million dollars later, I was at home marinating steak. I'd actually never prepared red meat before! I was a vegetarian during and after college, so basically my Mama made the red meats before college, and M usually makes them now. There wasn't really much to the steak tip prep, but I was still nervous that I was forgetting something...It turns out you can't go wrong with steak tips!

I marinated them in some Organicville Sesame Teriyaki, and let them steep for a day or so. We chopped up one red pepper, a yellow pepper and a large red onion to go along with the tips.

Oh Whil, you do such a great job grilling stuff...You put delicious meats in my belly and a smile on my face.

We ended up with a great big pile o'meats/vegetables

The steak was sooooo good! I think grilled steak tips might be my new favorite food! The sesame teriyaki marinade was just right-- you could taste the teriyaki, but it wasn't overpowering. The tips were a bit chewy, maybe next time I'll tenderize them...or something...

For dessert, I made some chocolate covered bananas. I had a bunch of these ripe bananas that I didn't want to go to waste. I don't eat bananas very often, and when I do, I only eat them if they're a little bit green...I usually make banana bread, but this time, I tried something new.

Ingredients: Green & Black's 85% dark chocolate, almond butter, bananas, unsweetened coconut flakes.

I melted the chocolate and almond butter in a pan over low heat, and rolled the banana pieces around until they were covered.

I put them on a tray and drizzled the remaining chocolate over them along with some coconut flakes.

I put them in the freezer for about an hour and then served.

mmMMMMmmmm...chocolate bananas. A match made in Heaven. The dark chocolate balanced the sweetness of the ripe bananas perfectly.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Buffalo 'n Beets

One of my favorite "in moderation" foods is buffalo chicken. M makes a pretty meal grilled buffalo wing--which I adore--but my heart lies with the greasy fried goodness of buffalo chicken tenders. Every now and then I will convince M to add them on to our take-out order (I pretty much try every time we order Italian takeout, but M has this Jedi mind trick to get me to not want them anymore) and I bask in the bready, fried, blue-cheesy glory that are buffalo tenders.

In an effort to healthfully satisfy my buffalo craving, I decided to make baked buffalo chicken tenders:

Gluten-Free Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders
(sheesh...what a name!)

  • Chicken tenderloins (or a chicken breast sliced into tenders)
  • Almond meal (I used the Trader Joe's variety)
  • Franks Red Hot
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Blue cheese dressing for dipping
I started by rolling each tender in almond flour (frowny face unintended)

After spraying both sides of each tender with olive oil, I placed them on a baking sheet. Then I placed them in the oven at 450 for 10 minutes on each side. It was about 90 degrees in Boston last night, and about 120 degrees in our kitchen...

In the meantime, I poured some of our gigantic container of Frank's Red Hot into a frying pan along with about 1Tbsp of butter over medium heat

When the tenders were finished baking, I coated each of them with the buffalo sauce

Voila: Gluten-Free Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders

To go with our chickens, I decided to make a beet salad using beets I picked up at the Copley Farmer's Market.

I cut off the beet greens to save for another day

Then washed and wrapped each beet in aluminum foil and placed in the oven at 450 for about 30 minutes.

While the beets were roasting, I put together a salad of mixed greens, goat cheese, walnuts and blueberries

Once the beets were done, I rinsed them in cold water. The skin comes off easily in cold water after roasting--all you have to do is gently rub the beets.

Voila: Beet Salad

I was so excited that the beets worked out! They were a great way to spice up a salad that we make fairly often. Plus, beets are in season in Massachusetts right now! We needed a nice, cold salad to offset the spicy hotness of the buffalo tenders: it was, in my opinion, the perfect summer salad.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

Eating produce that's locally in-season is a great way to insure that you're getting the best, freshest fruits and vegetables.

To check what's in season near you, visit Sustainable Table

Visiting your local farmers market is a great way to pick up seasonal produce--what they have is what's in season and it's usually fresh and delicious!

Guacamole Obsessed

I will be the first to tell you that I have a mild...okay, moderate... obsession with guacamole. I'm not sure how it first started, but I know that every time I visit Whole Foods, I drop a pretty penny on their guacamole.

Yesterday's trip to WF started like any other, but while reaching up for the guac, I stopped short. A crazy idea popped into my head: why don't I make some guacamole. I haven't made guacamole since middle school Living Arts class (aka Home Ec.) with Mrs. Gruber. If my memory of middle school serves me, making guacamole was a complicated process with a multitude of spices that must be in the perfect ratio in order to actually taste edible. I put my fears aside and whipped out my internet capable mobile phone and looked up a recipe...After all, I've matured a lot since middle school (I think) and I have much more cooking experience under my belt. This is what I came up with...


(Adapted from Whole9 and Martha Stewart)

  • 4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

I sliced the avocados in half, peeled them and pitted them using a trick I picked up at a Mexican restaurant where they make guacamole in front of you. You pierce the pit with the sharp side of a knife, and then wiggle it back and forth until it comes out. When I first saw our waiter do this I was intrigued, but maybe everyone does it this way...

I mashed all four avocados with a fork and added the lime juice. Four avocados makes a boatload of guacamole FYI.

Then I added the rest of the spices and the cilantro and broke into a new container of Whole Foods Plantain Chips-- another WF item for which I have strong feelings.

The guacamole turned out really well. The recipe was simple (unlike the one I followed in middle school), and it actually tasted like restaurant guacamole! Next time, I think I'll add some tomato and a little bit of red onion to jazz it up a bit. If you're thinking of adding tomato to your guac, make sure you de-seed it first: the slimy tomato seeds can change the color and consistency of the mole.

Anyone else guacamole obsessed?

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Quote of the Day

"Set your goals high because what a person accomplishes is in proportion to what they attempt."

-Mitchell Naufell

Friday 18 June 2010

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Kale Chips

I'm all about trying out other blogger's recipes right now. Most recently, we attempted Everday Paleo's Pecan Crusted Chicken and a kale chip recipe found on Oh She Glows.

Pecan Crusted Chicken


  • 1/2 cup spicy brown mustard (preferable of the organic variety)
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 Chicken Breasts

For this recipe, I used my favorite honey:

Honey Gardens Apitherapy Raw Honey from the town next to my hometown in Vermont, The Green Mountain State.

I combined the mustard and the honey in a bowl:

Chopped up the pecans in the food processor:

Next, I coated the chicken in the mustard/honey sauce and rolled in the pecans. I placed the chicken in a greased (olive oil) glass baking dish (aka my pie pan)...

...and baked the chickens at 350 for about 35 minutes.

While the chicken was baking, I washed and de-stemed one head of kale that I picked up at the Copley Square Farmers Market. I laid the kale out on a baking sheet, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

I popped the tray into the oven at 350 and baked for about 10 minutes per side, until the kale was crispy.

The results were delicious!

I will definitely be making both of these dishes in the future. The meal was so good that when I packed the leftovers in my lunch this morning, Chester went into my bag and attempted to open the tupperware containing the chicken! He was caught in the act (thankfully), and while I don't have a picture of the actual incident, he looked something like he does after destroying his "baby."

Note the mutilated baby in the background

No chicken for Chester!

Thursday 17 June 2010

Our First Official "Backyard Workout"

After a recent trip to Mohegan Sun, which included a fruitful roulette endeavor, M and I decided to invest in some gym equipment for our home. M had been wanting to set up a home gym for a while, but stubborn me had resisted. Before we got into our Crossfit-like workouts, I was a cardio demon, and I thought that I would never workout at home unless there was an elliptical machine involved. I've since changed my tune (after seeing and feeling great results with our new regimen), and I've gotten super excited at the prospect of getting a good workout in at home.

Some searching on led us to everything we could possibly need for some butt kicking workouts in the comfort of our own backyard:

His and Hers kettlebells: 20lbs for me and 53lbs for M. We debated on getting me the 35lb-er, which I usually use for kettlebell swings. We decided on the 20lb for now, because I'm not strong enough to do thinks like Turkish Get-Ups with a 35lbs bell...yet...
Rings: for pull-ups, dips and muscle-ups...err...for M to do muscle ups...and me to attempt them in vain.

Undulation Rope: um...for what this guy is doing?

Speed rope: M got me my very own PURPLE speed jump rope! Now I can jump rope in style...maybe the purple will distract me from the fact that I can only do one double-under at a time...

Our First Official "Backyard Workout"
(in the style of Melicious)

Jump rope
Arm swings/circles
Leg swings
Hip circles
Other Stuff

Partner 1 runs 400m -Partner 2 does burpees
P2 runs 400m- P1 does burpees
P1 runs 400m - P2 does kb swings
P2 runs 400m - P1 does kb swings
P1 runs 400m - P2 does squats
P2 runs 400m - P1 does squats
P1 runs 400m - P2 does sit ups
P2 runs 400m - P1 does sit ups

Time: circa 18 minutes

My Stats: 4 x 400m (we didn't do splits), 30 Burpees, 60 kb swings with 20lb bell, 75 squats, 95 sit-ups

We didn't time our splits, but each 400 probably ended up being about 2 mins. We ran around a 400m city block instead of a track, so there were four, 90 degree angle turns, which probably slowed us down a time, we'll do splits. I was really impressed with myself after this workout...but after writing it down I want to do it again...and better...It never looks/ feels as good on paper as it does when you're panting and blinded by sweat immediately post-workout.

I'm looking forward to doing many a workout at home! YAY for saving money and having a regular exercise routine! A regular home exercise routine that's not a DVD! I hate getting sweaty in my living room...outside is much more fun. Maybe I just haven't found a DVD that works for me...

Does anyone else workout at home sans DVD? Or with a DVD? If so, which one?

Tuesday 15 June 2010

The Bad Vegetarian

This week's IIN module talks about plant-based diets...and it got me to thinking about myself and how I used to be a bad vegetarian...

The summer before my senior year of college, I spent ten weeks on Appledore Island in the Isles of Shoals as a research intern at the Shoals Marine Laboratory. While living on Appledore, weate all of our meals in a dining hall setting. The majority of the staff on the island were either vegetarian or vegan, so there were always multiple variations of each meal: something I had never encountered before. Before my visit to the island, my only brush with vegetarianism was with my sister, who considered eating an empty hot-dog bun with ketchup a vegetarian meal.

All of the different food offerings opened the door for long dinner conversations about plant-based diets. It seemed as though everyone had a different reason for becoming a vegetarian or vegan, whether it be for morality or for health. I admired the discipline and ingenuity (mostly the discipline) of my new vegan friends and wanted to be a part of their elite group.

After leaving Shoals, I changed the way I ate. My four year fling with a plant-based diet started as an attempt to only eat meat if I knew where it came from. I had no problem doing this at home in Vermont, where I was lucky enough to have access to local chicken and beef. At school, however, the hamburgers didn't even look like how could I possible know where they had come from? Thus, I cut out meat all together. Eventually, my reasons for becoming a vegetarian became moral reasons rather than health reasons. All in all, I was ill informed and unprepared and my decision to stop eating meat led to years of disordered eating.

To make a long story short, after a three years of eating mainly yogurt, fruit, peanut butter, cereal and fake meat products, my diet was no longer supporting my lifestyle. Even though I wasn't eating meat, I didn't feel healthy: I felt lethargic, heavy and stuck. I had taken my main source of protein out of my diet and I hadn't replaced it with anything: I was eating mainly fruits, complex carbohydrates and dairy products--and not enough dairy to get adequate protein for my lifestyle. I didn't eat nearly enough vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens, and there was no variety to the foods I did eat. I ate the same thing every day for weeks at a time. Something needed to change and I knew what the change should be, I just felt extremely guilty about implementing it.

In November of 2009, I bit the bullet and started eating meat again. M had made some delicious looking Italian Grilled Chicken, and on an impulse I ate a piece...or maybe three. At first I did feel guilty about eating meat again-- it seemed too difficult to explain why I gave up my vegetarian lifestyle...I didn't want to go back on my word or my morals. However, I immediately felt the effects of eating more whole food protein, and those effect far outweighed the integrity of my morals. I felt more energized than when I was eating mainly wheat gluten protein products. I also felt like I could eat less food and be more satisfied.

My diet changed again after starting the Institute for Integrative Nutrition program. Now I'm experimenting with all kinds of vegetables and fruits to add more color and variety to my meals. I'm eating more whole foods and less refined products and I'm modifying my favorite recipes to include healthier ingredients. IIN had drastically changed the way that I look at food-- I actually get excited to go to the grocery store and buy nutritious goodies to fuel my body. This new way of eating has changed the way I look at myself too. After years of disordered eating, I'm finally in a good place in terms of my body image.

I call myself a "bad vegetarian" because I didn't eat many healthy foods. I would eat a bowl of cereal for every meal with a piece of toast with peanut butter and honey. Being a vegetarian wasn't easy for me. I didn't know that eating tons of processed carbohydrates wasn't the best idea(Kashi GoLean is supposed to be good for me, right?). There are so many easy ways to incorporate a variety of vegetables into one's diet. I should have done more research and experimented with foods more often, but I wasn't mentally in a place where I cared that much about myself, and my body suffered as a result. I chose to be a vegetarian with good intentions, but for the wrong reasons.

My hope is that through health counseling, I can educate and support others to make similar changes in their lives. I will be able to give them the tools to figure out what is nutritionally best for them, and the resources to support their dietary choices (something I wish I had had when I was attempting to be a vegetarian). In addition, helping people sort through their issues with the larger aspects of life will, I hope, help them sort out their issues with food and to figure out what is most beneficial for them. Happy people are healthy people, after all.

Monday 14 June 2010

Whirlwind Wedding Weekend: The Importance of "Cheat Meals"

I spent this past weekend in upstate New York with all of my beautiful girlies from Hamilton. One of our own, Little MRS Trailmix tied the knot! The ceremony was brilliant-- I had never been to a traditional Jewish wedding before, and I pretty much love anything that involves a new-to-me cultural or religious tradition. The reception was fantastic! The food was delish, and the band was SO much fun! We basically danced and sang our faces off all night long!

M and I arrived on Friday evening, and went immediately to the rehearsal dinner-- a catered affair at the Cranwell Resort . The spread included lobster, steak, chicken, clams and all of the sides you would associate with those tasty meats. After dinner, we went back to our accommodations, the Shaker Meadow Bed and Breakfast, where the bride had so thoughtfully reserved rooms for our whole group of friends. There we had an after dinner bonfire complete with s'mores...mmMMMmm...

On Saturday morning, we woke up early to accompany the bride on a pre-wedding, get-your-jitters-out run through picturesque New Lebanon, NY. We ran three miles down Lovers Lane...seriously...past farms and open fields. It was a wonderful start to the morning!

The ceremony and reception were at Tannery Pond. I can't imagine a more perfect place for this wedding! Check out Mrs. Trailmix's blog to see why...

The reception was outside, under a tent decked out with string lights and Chinese lanterns. The dinner was family style: filet mignon, red snapper and portobello ravioli. The drinks were...well, free...and that explains why the only pictures I have of the entire event are the following:

The bride made all of the table labels-- they were just so cute I had to take a picture...I know how hard she worked on them!

The place settings were also made by the bride and groom! My favorite part was the sprigs of lavender with their names and wedding date attached.

The wedding favors were gourmet chocolates with a tribute to the Dave Matthews Band--the Bride and Groom's favorite band.

Some Wine

My drink of choice: the always-classy Bacardi and diet. It's my guilty pleasure...actually not so guilty...Check out the drink flag! Another DIY methinks.

Someone else's guilty pleasure...I think I just liked the color.

The wedding was so much fun! After reading Mrs. T's wedding blog, it was so cool to see everything come together. I think everyone had an amazing time-- it was one for the books. A wedding to aspire to.

As for "cheat meals," I think that depending on your diet/ lifestyle, they are an approved necessity. Some people need them in order to stay sane and on track with their healthy eating, while others can happily forgo the cheat. I fit somewhere in between those two groups: I eat clean, healthy meals probably 85-90% of the week. When I feel like eating something that's not in my "diet," I don't beat myself up, because I know that I'll be back on track the next day.

So if I'm at an amazing wedding and I wish to partake in some adult beverages and chocolate, I do! When am I going to be at this wedding with this chocolate ever again? It took me a while to get to a place where I didn't punish myself for "cheating" and now that I'm there, I'm much happier. Life is so much more fun when you can enjoy yourself with friends without thinking about sticking to your normal diet 100%. The trick is to hop back on the wagon after your meal/day of indulging. It can take practice, but it can help when you know that one day of eating is not going to have a huge negative impact on your goals.

What is your "cheat meal" philosophy?