June 30, 2011

Hopeful Future, Happy Food

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3

Set my heart on things above... On Christ's calling for my life: to love others, serve, and share His gospel with them. On treating my husband with unconditional respect, not only when I feel like he deserves it. On giving everyone second chances, on not remembering the things that have passed, on not focusing on the negative past but the hopeful future. On painting and drawing for my Savior, not just for me. On eating healthful, wholesome foods that will strengthen this body that God formed for me. On exercising not for myself, not for looks, not to be the best, not to stand out, but for physical strength that will add years to the life the Lord has blessed me with, to share His story when I'm old and gray.

That's my hope. That's a new life in Christ, the old ways have passed and the new ways are here to stay, with more to come. I love God's promises. My prayer is that everyone could experience them to the fullest. Life is wonderful when you do!

Today, dear Thursday, was lovely. It was a 5K jog day on the treadmill, followed by a killer workout from Self magazine with Karena and Katrina. It has become my favorite, and so far the moves have yet to "bore" me to tears. It feels better every time I go through it, so much so that I have decided to do the whole sequence twice - making it a full 20min workout. All you need to add is a good cardio session, a nice stretch and you got yourself an hour of AM bliss!

The rundown:
• warm up
• 5K (3.2 miles) treadmill jog pain free pain freeee!
• cool down
• water, water, water
• stretch
• 20 min strength training
• 16 push ups
• mini-stretch

After that beauty, I got me some bfast. Chocolate oats and a mini green smoothie were waiting for me in the fridge, which I love because I don't have to spend 5 minutes created or even decorating my breakfast, it's just sittin' in the fridge from the day before!

Green slime: tofu, kale, coconut milk, chia gel, frozen banana, vanilla.
Chocolate bowl: steel cut oats (cooked in rice milk, water and cinnamon), wheat germ, unsweetened cocoa powder, ground flaxseed meal, blueberries and strawberry slices.

Once lunch came around, I came to the sad realization that I forgot to pack some flatbread with my tempeh pot pie. I made the pot pie filling the other day, but didn't feel like making a pie top or baking it, so I have been enjoying the filling with bread on the side. So what did I do? Ran to the store on my lunch break, found the most practical grain available, and topped the baby:

kamut puffs! Oh yes I did!

Here's why: we eat kamut puffs like it's candy (as a topping for yogurt smoothies, oatmeal, coconut creams and green monsters) and I didn't really feel like spending money on an entire loaf of bread, or bag of seedie rolls, or even a baguette. So I got kamut. And it blew my mind. 'Nuff said!

Dinner went down this way:

edamame joy from the freezer, to the microwave, to my mouth. kale chips with olive oil n' salt, mixed veggies with nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, salt n' pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary and italian seasoning. Increeedible!

Okay. It's been long enough, I have to have another gallery of food. It has simply been a delicious round in June, and I want to share the sights with the world!

cauliflower thrown into a food processor with paprika
veggies in lime juice with edamame and avocado
tomato, corn, green onion, zucchini, summer squash

funny zucchini acorn squash bread with quinoa flour
apple n' almond butter


oh-my-goodness-you-were-perfect waffles (recipe!)
with maple syrup and fig jam, for my hubby and his brother
the morning brother had to fly back to Mexico

tempeh sammie = homemade bread, mustard, avocado
tomato, zucchini, tempeh pan fried with spicy delights.

Life tastes delicious. God made the most tasty foods I have ever met, let's admit it!

Happy almost Friiiiday!!

June 28, 2011

Dark Chocolate Sweet Potato Cookies

I made these about 9 years ago, or 10 (or the beginning of June). They lived in my freezer until June 22, 2011. They were the most delicious little bites I have ever made, and I want to make them again and again and once again. 100% dark chocolate, unsweetened, with only cocoa and oil and darkness, is not the most appetizing square I would ever nibble on, but once it's cut into tiny bits and thrown into a cookie sweetened with purely banana... you will start flying. You may just eat the whole batch, and regret it. Not because you feel full and may have gained a pound or 18, but because the cookies are gone. Don't let them disappear. Make them last. Throw them in the freezer. Eat one or two a day or every other day or every week. These are beauties. These are unique. aaand... breathe..


Dark Chocolate Sweet Potato Cookies
adapted from Healthful Pursuit

Makes 8 million (about 12) cookies


Ingredients:
• 1 cup quinoa flour (or flour of choice, I just love quinoa 'cause it's a whole grain packed with loads of protein!)
• 1/2 cup wheat germ
• 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 3 tbsp applesauce
• 1/4 cup mashed banana
• 1 tbsp chia gel (1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water, let it sit and thicken)
• 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (cooked and skinned then mashed)
• 1/2 cup 100% dark chocolate bar, cut into bits


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with parchment.
2. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine all wet ingredients in a small bowl.
4. Pour wet into dry, stir to combine 'till all dry spots are gone.
5. Roll dough into golf ball sized balls, place on parchment and bake for 13-15 minutes.
6. Let the cuties cool for about 4 minutes then transfer to a wire rack for proper cooling. Enjoy shortly after!


Speechless.

June 27, 2011

Beanie Fajitas Dancing on Tostadas

One would think that by the time July comes around, we would have seen plenty of sun already. But when you live in ye ol' Northwest, that is not the case, my friends. We learn to embrace the never-ending rain, the overcast mornings and our once-every-two-weeks heat wave (lasting for half a day).

The weather forecast calls for a high of 75, and we strip down to shorts, tank tops and flip flips. Oh, it's pouring down rain outside? There is not even a small patch of blue skies for miles and miles? We were promised 75, so we will patiently wait, as our feet land in 3-inch-deep puddles.

Dear June, oh sweet, quiet June, you were lovely. I had never gone so many days without running, filled so many mornings with weight sessions, hadn't drawn so much in months. So today, I'm giving thanks to God for the 6th month of 2011, and I'm pairing it with a more-like-winter recipe.

Today's sweat-filled hour, complete with "oh maaan that's a whole lotta sweating in a little amount of time" photos that I, at the last minute, decided not to post... teehee, went down this way:

• warm up: high knees, straight leg kicks, soft squats + butt kicks
(bahah I definitely typed "butter kicks") • 16 push ups
(baby steps! Working up to 20....hopefully by 2012!?)
• 5K on treadmill, jogging like a wounded soldier
• stretch, stretch, breaaathe
• 25 minutes of killer strength training
• 16 push ups

It was definitely one of those craaaazy good workouts where your muscles are screaming for hours after you leave the gym. Girl version guns, here I coooome! I love me a good morning in the gym. You know what else I love? This delicious recipe. Gaze your eyes, my friends:

It's an unspoken rule: you're so allowed to sing "accidentally in love" while making anything that tastes even slightly like Mexico. And, you can eat any chili soup cold so don't let any one tell you that sweating is a must when downing them beanie goodness.

Beanie Fajitas atop Tostadas
Inspired by Eat, Drink and Be Vegan's "Gimme Chimis"
Serves 2, for a light lunch


Ingredients:
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 green onion, diced
1 tsp chopped garlic (I used dried)
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salsa (I used my hubby's homemade salsa)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 dash sea salt

1 medium zucchini, julienned
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups pinto beans
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 corn tortillas
lime + fresh cilantro + avocado = garnish

Directions:
1. In a frying pan on medium heat, add avocado oil, onion, garlic, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and salsa. Stir around to coat and let it sit n' do its magic for a few minutes, while you chop and julienne your veggies.
2. Prep the veg (tomatoes, zucchini) and add to the pan, stir to coat with cinnamon chili powder goodness. Let them marinate for about 4 minutes, then add beans and vinegar.
3. Remove from heat, transfer to two bowls and grab your tortillas.
4. With a flat iron pan on medium heat, add all four tortillas (if they fit) and let them sit for about 5 minutes, then flip, wait another 5, and flip again. Continue until you have some delightfully crunchy, golden edges and you feel content with your homemade tostadas. If you're cooking a day ahead, store these crunchy babies in some foil to maintain their crispiness.
5. Consume everything in sight, mindfully.

PS: I found that wrapping them corn tortillas (toasted) in foil does not keep them any more fresh than if you left them on the kitchen counter for a day. But, toasting them bad boys a day later makes for one incredible crunchy disk, so go for it! Just don't burn them, like I did, 'cause their dark centers' flavor somewhat (or is an exact replica of) dirt and mud, dried.

I love vegetables and chili powder with tomatoes. I can't hide it any longer. I wish I could eat them every single day of my life, and that is what I usually do. I need to go read a book. I need to step out of ye ol' kitchen for a night (done, done, and did!). I need some mo' journaling and sketchbook time with Jesus. I love these relaxing evenings! Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the muuusiiiic...

June 26, 2011

The Cooks and Their Salmon

Once I got married back in October of 2008, I seemed to have parted for a bit from good friends (let's be real here, there are about 3) since all I wanted to do was make incredible memories with my new husband God blessed me with. Girlfriends and I would plan double dates, movie nights or small get-togethers and they simply never happened. I even stopped going to bible study with the college group at church on Thursdays, cutting myself out of the social world almost completely.

I didn't see anything wrong with it, though, since I was in a dream world where only my hubby and I existed. We didn't have to plan any dinners, host any parties or attend any events, there was no pressure and we weren't feeling like we were missing out on anything.

I don't know when things started to change, but I started to sacrifice hubby time for some friends time (or simply sister time) and had loads of fun catching up with everyone. Married life is crazy wonderful, but we can't leave our friends hanging, I had to remember that! Here's the dilemma, though: when friends hang out, what normally goes down? Food and or coffee. And I don't really applaude most restaurants out there. I would much prefer having someone over to mi casa for a cook off, or a "let's attempt to make this" themed evening in the kitchen. So that's what has been goin' down in the past year or so.

No Olive Garden, Starbucks or Red Robin, just buy some produce and let's find a recipe and cook, yo! A month or so ago, I had a friend over for some salmon burgers in homemade pita bread, sweet potato fries and a fruity dessert. We combined it with a movie night and had a flippin' blast!

And guess what? There was no 2,000mg sodium in the burgers, no trans fats on the fries, no bleach in the bread, and no 8 gallons of refined sugars in our fruity tarts. The portion sizes were controlled, and we didn't feel so stuffed that we were going to tumble onto the flour, clenching our tummies and regretting it all. Not to say this is exactly what happens when eating out at a restaurant, but I sure have had one or more of those experiences more than once in my life time. Just sayin'.

For the salmon burgers, I found inspiration in a recipe from a Healthy Choices book which actually called for tuna, I think, but we are a salmon family so salmon it was. The sweet potato fries were the basic recipe: preheat oven 400F, wash 'em potaters, cut 'em into fries, spray baking sheet non-stick stuff, spray fries, sprinkle w/salt, peppah, ground flaxseed or wheat germ, bake for 30 mins or so, flipping them a couple times. Pita bread 'twas this here recipe.

Dessert was all thanks to Oh She Glows (and glows, and glows some mo'....) Baby fruit tarts that we made in cupcake tins and accidentally added way too much almond butter (my fault) and ended up with oily dough that smelled that peanut butter cookie dough! No complaints :)

We had a blast, I love this girl! We've been amigas since we was youngsters and it's so fun to catch up every once in a while to see what is going on in our lives. God truly blessed me with this friendship and I hope to never lose it, even if it means a few less nights a year with my love bug, Edu. Love me some friends!

"Let all those that seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let such as love Your salvation say continually, let God be magnified." Psalm 70:4

Praise Jesus, friends! His love for us is overflowing, His blessings never end!

June 25, 2011

Seattle Rock N' Roll Marathon

My husband is a marathon rock star.

expo day last Thursday: bib pick up, bib re-sell (goodbye bib of mine...), check out the finish line, come to agreement as to where the cheerleader wife will take photos.. etc!

The day began at 3:00am this mornin', our alarm clocks sounded and we rose. There was very little life on the streets this morning, but a whole lot of life ready to pound pavement just miles South. There was a long distance event taking place some 4 hours later, and everyone who loves a good jog knew about it, as they were locked in deep meditation: either praying, crying, eating, stretching, jogging or trying their hardest to roll out of bed.

The weather was friendly, mid 50s or so, the sky covered with light gray clouds with no hint of sun or rain. The boys were dressed for kickin' some serious race boo-tay and the wife was loaded with reading material, snacks, drink, camera and double phone action, as well as some running shoes herself.

I dropped them off at the shuttle buses, which would drive them from downtown Seattle (finish line) to Tukwila, where the start took place. Then I took a few turns and found me a fantastic parking spot right next to the finish. After the run, of course, the truck seemed about 18 miles away, since I had two men with destroyed legs and extremely fatigued bodies looking to get home as soon as possible... or at least sit down for once in the past 500 hours of sprinting (a little exaggeration never hurt anyone).

From 5:00am - 7:00am I ate some delicious chocolate oats (rolled oats, kamut puffs, cinnamon, cocoa powder, chia gel, wheat germ, coconut milk, blueberries) with an apple, I read Heaven is for Real from start to alllmostt finish, I wrote about life in ye ol' journal, and I grabbed onto my gut about 6 times thinking I was going to wet meself if I didn't find a bathroom soon. Too much detail?

Around 7:15 or so, I decided to find a restroom and check out the finish line. It was a radzolla exciting moment as the bands set up, music played from speakers the size of my apartment, and volunteers were everywhere you looked, awaiting the arrival of the amazing ones (re: runners of long distances). I met up with my familia 'round 8am at mile 11, where we had planned to see Carlos towards the end of his race and Edu at the half way mark.

job duty #1: find Carlos. snap photos. cheer him on. pray.
job duty #2: run to other side of street
job duty #3: find Edu. snap photos. cheer him on. pray.
job duty #4: run back to original side of street.
job duty #5: run to finish line. snap photos of Carlos.
job duty #6: wait for Carlos at designated waiting zone.
job duty #7: hug. hug. hug. walk, slowly...
job duty #8: run to last stretch for marathoners.
job duty #9: wait for first place marathoner
job duty #10: count all marathoners 'till we see Edu
job duty #11: find Edu. snap photos. run with him. pray.
job duty #12: run to finish line. see Edu. cheer. scream.
job duty #13: find Edu after race. hug. kiss. hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug some more!

yes. that is my husband. far, far away... go, eduuuu goooo!

It was the most beautiful moment of my life. We laughed, we cried, they limped, held their stomachs, felt sickly, limped some more, got dizzy, tried to warm up to stop the shaking, lied down, took power naps, ate steak and tortillas, tried to figure out what made the race so stinkin' hard, realized it was the hills, brain stormed ideas for future races to improve their times, and gave thanks to God. Incredible!

To all the runners out there: 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathoners, full marathoners, ultramarathoners, triathletes, my hat goes off to ya. It's an incredibly inspiring way to spend your free time, I recommend it to anyone who hasn't put their running shoes on in a while. Get out and move them feet! Your body will thank you. And it's what we're called to do, no? Take care of our bodies - after all, God formed them with His own hands. The Creator of this entire world --- formed you to His image. Thank Him. Love yourself.

oh and if you don't want to just walk,
well... run a marathon or something :)

[marathon] 26.2 miles: 3:00:05

[half marathon] 13.1 miles: 1:48:05

love!

The LORD is good to all;
He has compassion on all He has made.
Psalm 145:9

June 24, 2011

Miso Soup in June

Let's just say it: I'm doing a fantastic job at posting Winter recipes! If only everyone had partially chilly, slightly cloudy with a slight of rain showers Summers like Seattle does. Then everyone could enjoy these recipes in June! This miso is super simple, quick, and delicious with only a few ingredients. I vote you make it on one of your Seattle-weather evenings, it's a gem.

Miso Soup
adapted from 101cookbooks Serves 1 for light lunch or snack

Ingredients:
• 1 serving whole wheat pasta or soba noodles (wrap your hand around a bunch of raw noodles until you reach the same diameter as a quarter = 1 serving!)
• 1-2 tablespoons miso paste
• 1/2 cup tofu, cubed
• 1 small handful watercress or spinach
• a pinch of red pepper flakes
• cilantro, if on hand

Directions:
1. Cook pasta or soba noodles according to packages directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, set aside.
2. Bring a small pot of water to a bowl (about 2 cups for one serving) and, in a separate dish, whisk your miso with some of the boiling water. This is done separately in order to prevent clumping.
3. Add whisked miso to boiling water, remove from heat. Add tofu and let it sit for a few minutes.
4. Gently drop your drained spaghetti in a bowl, pour tofu + miso broth over pasta and garnish with green onion, spinach, red pepper flakes and cilantro.