Tabbouleh Time!

Need something fun and colorful for Summer that packs a punch with nutrients?

I got ‘chu.

Meet tabbouleh- a vegetarian salad that’s sure to become a fast smash-hit at your house.

You’ll need:

– Grains! Tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur, but I frequently make mine with quinoa and farro, and it’s just so tasty. Other good grain options would be brown rice, cous cous, or kamut.
– Olive oil (pick a good one! quality matters here 🙂 )
– Fresh lemon juice
– Fresh parsley
– Fresh mint
– Dash of salt

^the “fresh” on the herbs matter too. Give that spice rack a quick rest for this one- thank me later.

I made two versions of this, and the second is gluten-free:
Version 1: farro and quinoa (because I couldn’t find bulgur)
Version 2: quinoa

Directions
Stove cook those grains, then put them in a glass bowl with 1/4 C (gooooood) olive oil and 1/4 C fresh lemon juice. Trust me so hard on this one…fresh lemon juice.

Then, let the grains, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil sit together and get to know each other for awhile, about an hour.

Then add in 1 C fresh chopped parsley and 1 C fresh chopped mint (would also be really good with green onion and oregano!), a diced cucumber, and chopped cherry tomatoes. Mix together ingredients and refrigerate to your heart’s content. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold- perfect for summer!

You can top with sliced almonds or dried cranberries for an added crunch.

I store these in glass pyrex- makes them easy and quick for on-the-go lunch packing.

Let me know if you decide to give this recipe a shot- would love to hear your thoughts or any modifications you made to make it your own!


-Stacey

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Hormone-Balancing Chocolate Mint Drink

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!

Today feels like a Wednesday, but thank goodness it’s only Tuesday-packed full of organic chemistry! I have decided to finish the rest of the semester up in the next two weeks before I start a new job that I just accepted (more on this later), which means I don’t have much free time. However, I did manage to procrastinate just long enough to whip this baby up.

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I started off this cold, chilly fall morning thinking, “I’m going to make hot chocolate” but it turned into a frothy morning drink thing. We’re going to call thing a “Mint Chocolate Hormone Balancing Drink”.

This concoction has hormone-balancing ingredients like coconut oil and maca root powder. I read several articles on maca and finally ended up consulting pubmed for more conclusive/reliable research. Many of the healthful claims about maca haven’t been scientifically proven [yet], however, maca does appear to be beneficial in elevating mood (1), regulating estrogen levels, especially in menopausal and post-menopausal women (2) as well as serving as a helpful alternative for persistent pain management (3). Until we know more about maca scientifically, take all the “maca will change your life and your energy levels and help you grow strong, Rapunzel-like hair” with a tiny grain of salt. Yes, it’s a great root starch from the Andes mountains, and yes, it does provide health benefits (and I’m hopeful that with more research we will know more). But remember that in most areas of life, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”…so don’t make maca your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner situation.

Okay. Recipe time. This one is quick and easy, and the balance of the nutty flavor of maca with the cacao powder and mint gives such a satisfying taste without being overbearingly sweet. If you do find your sweet tooth in need of some TLC though, just add a couple of tbsp of organic maple syrup to this recipe- I’m sure that would be a treat!

Mint Chocolate Hormone-Balancing Drink

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Print

A smooth, mildly chocolatey and refreshingly minty morning drink with hormone-balancing benefits.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1 C water
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder (I bought a bag for $3.99 from Trader Joe’s, right by the hot cereals)
  • 1 ½ tbsp maca powder (also purchased from Trader Joe’s for $3.99)
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (favorite is linked here!)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves, trust me…
  • 1 C ice cubes

Directions

  1. Pour water, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  2. Blend on high until ingredients are mixed well. Note: This will be frothy and smooth, not thick and creamy.
  3. Pour and serve. I like to top with fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

This has been perfect for today’s cold weather. Let me know if you decide to give it a try yourself!


Vega Probiotics

A note on maca powder or cacao powder: make sure the only ingredient on the bag is “maca powder” or “cacao powder”. Sometimes sneaky ingredients like “sugar” will find their way into you pure ingredients, and sugar deserves to be somewhere fun and celebratory-like cake. 🙂

-Stacey

Also note: this isn’t a miracle smoothie that will solve all your hormone troubles. It’s ultimately up to you to eat a balanced diet consistently from whole food sources under the direction of a doctor or a registered dietitian, and I am neither.

Sources
(1)
(2)
(3)


Keepin’ On + Vanilla Berry-Kiwi Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Guys. I’m gonna be real.

For the past few weeks I have struggled with feeling inspired…more than just with my blog content (you may or may not have noticed that I slowed down from hammering out a post daily).

I started wondering, “Should I continue pursuing my degree in dietetics?” Graduation seems so far away at times since I’m working full time using my sociology degree (Yes, kids. You CAN get hired using that liberal arts degree after all!) and taking one/two classes at a time is DRAGGING.

So naturally, I started looking at other degrees career paths. Master’s in Pubic Health? Oh. I could do that! But as I was doing a case study for my nutrition class on Friday night I thought, “I love this crap. I’m just gonna have to suck it up and stick it out.” So that’s what I’m doing. Sticking it out- juggling work with school, and keepin’ on (even though TBH I wish my school wasn’t online and was in person- I LOVE THE CLASSROOM. But I’m thankful anyway).

And today on my run I was reminded of how I always struggle during the first mile and a half and forget why I love running. It’s not until I push through until miles two or three that I FEEL it. “THIS is why I run. Because I’m out here, when I could be anywhere else.” And it’s liberating, after the first mile and a half of clumsy feet/ gettin’ into my groove.

But I keep on.

And then suddenly my muscles remember what we’re doing. My breathing picks up and settles into a familiar pattern. My legs swing happily beneath me. I can feel the wind (on a good, breezy day anyway). There’s nothing like it. And there’s nothing comparable to the feeling of finishing a race after months of training hard. There’s nothing sweeter than the feeling of accomplishment.

So I’m keeping on.

Past this semester of “Ugh why am I doing this?” until I get my groove back. Because I will. Because nutrition is my ultimate jam, and I’m good with people.

So whatever you’re pursuing, keep on…past the mile/semester/time of being uncomfortable, because trials develop perseverance, and perseverance develops maturity. One day you’ll find joy in what seemed like suffering, because you’ll have accomplished your goals…and there’s nothin’ sweeter than that. (1)

Except this, maybe this:

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Vanilla Berry-Kiwi Chia Seed Pudding

It’s gluten free. It’s dairy free. It’s pudding.

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-1 C coconut yogurt (I used vanilla)
-small splash of milk (sorry, I’m still working on the measuring thing
-1/4 C chia seeds
-1/2 C raspberries
-1/2 C blackberries
-1/2 C strawberries
-1/2 C kiwi, peeled and sliced

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-Mix kiwi, blackberries, and splash of almond milk (we’re talkin’ probably less than 1/4 cup of almond milk, guys. Jusssst a splash) in a medium-large mixing bowl.
-Once mixed(ish), stir 1 C coconut yogurt into mixture
-Add chia seeds and stir some more
-Pour in glass container and refrigerate overnight.
-Enjoy a serving for breakfast (about 1/2 cup), topped with favorite granola

When you wake up in the morning, this should be your view:

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I know it doesn’t look all that appetizing, but it is. Oh. It is. Promise.

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About chia seeds:
-not just for chia pets

 

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source: Target.com

-high in Omega-3 fatty acids (if you don’t like seafood, here’s your substitute!)
-high in protein (about 4g/serving in this pudding!- not including the protein from yogurt)
-an antioxidant! Healthful anti-inflammatory properties in these seeds

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Let me know what cha think if you give this recipe a shot! I’ve got a fun Workout Wednesday post in the works for mañana.

Hope you’re having a lovely week. Keep on keepin’ on!

-Stacey

Footnotes: (1) Romans 5:4


[Addictive] Maple Vanilla Granola Recipe

Hope everyone had/is having a wonderful weekend!

The pup and I hung around the house thanks to thunder storms all weekend long. I don’t complain about an excuse to watch “You’ve Got Mail” until I fall asleep though 🙂

IMG_2264-2Zack survived his very first solo grocery shopping trip, and he did quite well. He even sent me texts as he frantically searched for all the items on my list. He returned with a chai tea from my favorite coffee shop in town. Marriage to this guy is so good.

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^ made me laugh. God bless him.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can find a slow cooker recipe for lemon garlic chicken and potatoes on my story that I threw together today. Turned out fantastic! I’ll post the recipe on the blog later this week if you missed it.

But first!

I have to share this granola recipe with ya’ll before I forget it. This granola is like crack, so if you’re hoping for something that’s not completely addictive…oops. But don’t take my word for it! Give it a shot yourself, and let me know what cha think!

This stuff is gluten free and full of goodness.

Maple Vanilla Granola

1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
4 C gluten free oats (or whichever rolled oats are your favorite!)
a dash (or two or three) of cinnamon- I love cinnamon

Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl separate from the wet ingredients.
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Mix:
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C organic maple syrup
Justtttt a tad of organic vanilla- I like to eyeball it. (Still working on measuring things!)
1/4 C natural peanut buttah
I like to heat these ^ until softened (not too long!)- it’s much easier to stir.

Then, pour the mixed, wet ingredients over the mixed, dry ingredients.

Stir until nice and mixed, once it seems all the dry ingredients have been nicely covered.
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Spread evenly on a non-stick pan and pop in the oven for 30 minutes on 275, stirring frequently (every 8-12 minutes) and making sure it doesn’t burn. You want it this golden brown color!

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You can also get creative and add raisins, almond slices, coconut slivers, or dark chocolate to this mixture once it cools. Store in an air-tight container. Serve over smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, or enjoy by the handful. This stuff is packed with healthy fats and carbs (complex ones!) and also makes a great fuel for athletes.

Hope you all have a great Monday!!!

Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey


Slow-cooker chicken breast recipe (low FODMAP friendly)

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-1.5-2lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (mine was frozen, and that was fine!)

-2 large Idaho potatoes OR 4 new potatoes, diced with skin on (I used Idaho potatoes because it’s what was in the pantry, but I think new potatoes would be even better)

-2 tbsp of garlic-infused olive oil

-2 large lemons, juiced

-1/2 tbsp rosemary

-1/2 tbsp oregano

-dash of black pepper

Mix olive oil, fresh lemon juice (NOTE: don’t use the lemon juice that comes in the crappy plastic lemon and expect this to taste just as good), rosemary, oregano, and black pepper. Pour about 3/4 over chicken in slow-cooker, and pour the rest over the diced potatoes layered on top of the chicken. Close slow-cooker and set to high for four hours, or low for 6-8 hours.

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If you want to make this and you’re not following low FODMAP, feel free to add minced garlic and some diced onion to this recipe! Very aromatic, and you’ll come home from work feelin’ 50 shades of accomplished!

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This could also be layered with green beans and be delicious. I steamed some broccoli separately, and it made for an easy meal.

I intend to make some chicken salad with the leftover chicken. mmm.

Let me know if you try this recipe! Feel free to tweak it! Confession: I have a *hard* time measuring ingredients. I’m more of a pinch and pour kind of cook, so if you feel like it needs more or less of something, make it your own! It’s YOUR kitchen! Go crazy.

Hope you have a great Wednesday 🙂

-Stacey


Vanilla Berry Smoothie Recipe

CHECK OUT THAT BLUE SKY!

For the past few days it has been gorgeous outside! Seriously. Wow.

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View from the top floor of a parking garage in OKC. Am I the only person who always parks on the top floor of the parking garage so I don’t forget where I parked my car? I am a grandma.

Last night dinner wins:

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I found a low FODMAP friendly version of delicious shrimp scampi from here (THANK YOU), and discovered that garlic infused olive oil is permitted on low FODMAP- PRAISE!!! I was about to lose my mind (up in here, up in here) over the no garlic rule. Give.Me.Gahhlic. Also, all the brown rice pasta (in moderation). I actually had two heaping helpings- serving sizes be damned.

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Sides were arugula salad with olive oil and lemon drizzle and some walnuts, green beans, and peppered tomatoes…because I was craving them. Zack thinks I’m weird *whips hair*.

Low FODMAP update:
-I have stopped counting how long I have been enduring life without salsa.
-Update: 3 weeks since I started over after eating my body weight in chicken fried steak a few weekends ago (but in my defense, it had been 4+ years since the last time I ate chicken fried steak at all)
-Symptoms are still happening, but I’m in pain far less often- WIN!
-I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN AND THIS IS A HUGE DEAL
-Energy levels…slowly, ever so slowly, increasing! 🙂
-Also on new meds, so shoutout to those bad boys

You can’t win, ulcerative colitis.

Today I made a smoothie thing in an effort to disguise my enteragam protein from the doc.

I’m going to call it this thing a vanilla berry smoothie. And in case you haven’t had granola on top of your smoothie, you are missin’ out. View this post for a homemade pb granola recipe.

Here’s a new smoothie recipe:

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-1 scoop vanilla Vega sport protein (1/2 scoop if you’re low FODMAPpin’)
-1 C water
-2 tbsp pb
-1/2 C frozen raspberries
-1-2 C frozen blueberries
-1/2 C plain Greek yogurt (lactose free yogurt if on low FODMAP/ maintain dairy free diet)
Blend!

Top with granola, eat with a spoon
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Fun facts:
-smoothies should be consumed as snacks, rather than replacement meals, because drinking your calories doesn’t register in the brain the same way food does. You could be drinking more calories than you would be consuming if you were eating them, because drinks just aren’t as satiating as food. You can read more about this here
-Try to blend your smoothie to a consistency where you CAN eat it with a spoon, and make them full of protein and fats to make you feel fuller, creating a more satisfying snack
-Also, be careful not to add TOO much fruit, because it will turn to sugar!
-I wasn’t intentionally doing any sort of marketing by using their glasses, but Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston is worth checking out. They’re big supporters of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and their beer is good.

Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday 🙂 Keep moving forward! YAY WEEKEND!

-Stacey


Weekend Recap + GF & Low FODMAP PB Granola Recipe

Hi, Friends!

It’s been a minute. Last week was spent juggling phone calls with insurance companies and doctors in between naps. I’ve been flaring hard, running to the bathroom 16 times a day or so and fighting to stay hydrated, so I was begging for the insurance companies to comply and get me infused. One phone call, the representative asked if I had tried a “generic” brand of medication, one that was “less expensive and less of a hassle than an infusion.” I’m not sure who gave insurance company reps a license to practice medicine, but GAH THEY SUCK. Rant over.

Finally, on Friday.

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Four years on this medication, and it’s losing its efficacy, but I’ll go for an appointment next week to brainstorm more solutions. But I am still SO thankful that symptoms have slowed down a bit since. PRAISE!

My parents came for the day on Saturday, and we took them to Torchy’s Tacos. If you live in Texas, Colorado, or Oklahoma and you’ve never been to Torchy’s, you should re-prioritize your life to include Torchy’s. My dad was pretty stoked about it. Then, they kindly took a “family photo” of us with our little house before they left.

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After my parents left, we drove to the lake and watched the sun set. Perfect ending to a day.

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Jaxon was thrilled to do some exploring. The little deaf dog is doing better at obeying sign language.

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On Sunday, I made homemade granola while we watched a healthy dose of Netflix.

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The very best part about this recipe is that it’s Low FODMAP AND gluten free (AND delicious). Recipe at the end of this post :).

Sunday was capped off with a four mile walk/run. Isn’t campus beautiful? I went to UT Austin, so this is a very genuine compliment coming from a rival school, where football is blood and life (even though we have been strugglin’). Really though. Such a pretty place for a run.

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The first two miles were rough. Getting back into it felt like my lungs forgot how to give me enough oxygenated blood, and I literally saw stars from being dizzy once I made it to the top of some hills. I fully believe that the first couple miles are the worst part of running. I decided to walk/jog the two miles home. My body is still working to heal from this flare. It felt so good to be out on the pavement again, though. My happy place.

As promised…

PB granola recipe:

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If eaten in a quantity equal to or less than 1/4 C, it’s low FODMAP.
-2 tbsp coconut
-2 C gluten free old fashioned oats
-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
-1 tbsp chia seeds

-1 tbsp pure maple syrup
-2 tbsp melted coconut oil
-1/2 C softened PB

mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together. Put them in the oven on aluminum foil for 30 minutes on 350, tossing occasionally. Ta-dahh! Granola. My personal favorite way of getting carbs in the early morning

Hope you are having a great Monday, or at least find comfort in the thought of tomorrow being Tuesday 🙂

Keep moving forward

-Stacey