Self love and running from zombies

Okay, so I know usually under “food” you’ll find all the loverly recipes that Boyfriend and I make, but today I’ve got something a bit more personal.

I have a confession to make. I really haven’t been loving myself lately. And I don’t mean in a casual ‘eh, I’m okay’ kind of way. I have been actively disliking my body, not taking great care of myself, and putting myself in a generally negative place.

Three weeks ago I got a new running app in the hopes of losing some weight. In the app you listen to a story set in the zombie apocalypse, and periodically, zombies chase you. I don’t actually like zombies, or running, and my first run left me almost sobbing and sore for a week. I WAY over did it, and while working out is good for you, that wasn’t good for me.

Friday, I stepped on the scale and saw the highest number I’d ever seen there. It broke me. I cried a lot, and I felt depressed for most of the¬†weekend. I let myself focus on all of the stress I had in my life and all of the things I hate about my body.

It’s time for that to stop.

I know I won’t be able to change my entire way of thinking with one blog post, but I’m going to try, with time. My body is strong and beautiful. It lets me run and dance and sing and laugh and kiss and hold hands and hug and eat and walk and jump and play. It’s amazing. Just because I don’t like how much fat is around my middle does not give me a right to forget that.

But I’m also not at a healthy weight. So I’ve decided to adopt a few habits that will help me remember to love myself while working towards a healthier me. I’ll try these six (ish) rules, for two weeks and see what happens.

1. I’ll do something out of self love everyday. It could be painting my nails, snuggling with Boyfriend, having coffee with a gal pal, or treating myself to a (not too unhealthy) treat, guilt-free.

2. I will eat two servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner. I don’t get enough veggies, and I’m hoping a concrete goal will help me fix that.

3. I will get 8 hours of sleep each night.

4. I will drink those 64 oz of doctor recommended water everyday.

5. I will keep a food journal, not to punish myself when I splurge, but to keep myself mindful of what I put into my body.

6. I will work out twice a week. I know myself and my schedule. I’ve tried to work out every day. It doesn’t happen. Twice a week is a manageable number, and I’m hoping that as I find routines that work for me I may be able to add in a third.

I have a couple other more general rules, like eating breakfast every morning, heading off negative thoughts, thinking more thoroughly about the calories that are in any alcohol I drink, drinking green tea in the morning, and trying to make workouts fun (with that running app, books on tape, and company).

I’m going to take control of the way that I feel about myself and the health of my body. Look for healthier meals on this blog for the next two weeks, and, if you’re interested, updates on how this list of rules is working for me, at the bottom of the recipes.

Thanks! ūüôā Wish me luck.

Disclaimer on the running app: it’s called Zombies, Run! ¬†and I actually highly recommend it. I’ve used it several times since the first time, and really enjoyed having a story to move to. Just don’t over do it. I did turn off the random zombie attacks for a while, because they were making me anxious, but they are back on now. The story keeps you coming back, and gives you something to focus on.

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Delicious Gnocchi and Sausage Skillet

Gnocchi and sausage skillet. Time to eat!

Gnocchi and sausage skillet. Time to eat!

Oh. Yes. This is easy. It’s tasty. It’s filling, AND I can keep the leftovers for lunch? Yes. I love this recipe. I can even send Boyfriend into the kitchen with this one, and I won’t have to help (to be fair, Boyfriend is not a barbarian man who can’t tell a kettle from a frying pan [Note: no man is. GIVE THEM A RECIPE, AND LET THE SEXISM DIE PEOPLE], but he does sometimes have a lot of questions for me. This was nice, because I was quite busy, and dinner magically appeared, no questions asked.)

So it was a good night. We’ve had this once before, and loved it too. Plus, it’s quick for nights when I just cannot get through the pile of homework before me.

So, without further delay….

Boyfriend’s rating:8-9 (he adds helpfully that next time we should add fresh mozzarella. This would up the calories, but also it would up the happy so….)

My rating: 9

Gnocchi and Sausage Skillet (calories according to the Kitchn.com: 652

  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • ¬†salt and pepper
  • 1 package of kielbasa sausage (chicken or turkey sausage would also be good in this)
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 ounces fresh basil (1/2 to 1 cup loosely packed)

Cook gnocchi according to package directions (hint: when they float to the top of the pot, they’re done! This should only take 2-4 minutes). Heat a skillet with some olive oil, then add the sausage until it begins to brown (about 3 minutes). Now push the sausage to the side of the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Put the tomatoes in, sliced side down, and cook for about 2 minutes. You want to blister them. Now stir the sausage back in, and cook for a few minutes.

Gnocchi and sausage skillet before the gnocchi

Gnocchi and sausage skillet before the gnocchi

Then add the gnocchi and cook for a minute or two to combine all the ingredients, but don’t let the tomatoes break down into a sauce. Remove from heat, stir in basil, season with salt and pepper, and serve!

Gnocchi and sausage skillet. Time to eat!

Gnocchi and sausage skillet. Time to eat!

recipe adapted from the Kitchn.com

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Saturday 2/14 at 2:00pm

This is what I was doing.

This is what I was doing.

Need I say more?

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Cheesy Squash and Gnocchi with Kale

So… this one didn’t hit the spot with me, but I’m still posting it because Boyfriend really liked it. To be completely fair, I was a little bummed last night when we ate it (school got canceled and then un-cancelled) so it’s possible that colored my taste buds. It was fine, but I think there was too much garlic and too much kale, so feel free to try it with modifications if you’d like.

Boyfriend’s rating: 7

my rating: 4

Cheesy Squash and Gnocchi with Kale

Calories (from the Food Network): 438 per serving

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (we used pre-cut Trader Joe’s squash)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water (we used water)
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
1 17 .5-ounce package potato gnocchi
3/4 cup grated parmesan (or pecorino romano cheese)

Then, add garlic, sage, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for a few minutes or until the garlic softens.Start by melting half the butter, then cook the squash for about 8 minutes, or until soft.

cooking the squash, sage, and garlic

cooking the squash, sage, and garlic

Preheat your broiler, and then add the water or broth and bring to a simmer. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally until the kale wilts.

adding the kale

adding the kale

Now stir in the gnocchi, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.

and now the gnocchi

and now the gnocchi

Stir in 1/4 cup of cheese and the rest of the butter and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. If you have a pan that can go in the oven move it into the oven beneath the broiler (or if you’re a broke college kid like we are, transfer everything to a pie place and put that beneath your broiler). Cook for 3 minutes, until your cheese is bubbly and delicious looking. Then enjoy!

and it's done!

and it’s done!

Recipe adapted from the Food Network

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Crazy Easy Chicken Lo Mein

As busy college students boyfriend and I try hard to find recipes that are easy and fast while being healthy and fairly low calorie. This one hits the nail on the head. Not only is it super quick, it’s delicious, less that 400 calories, and makes enough for us to have two more meals off of this recipe! Love it.

My rating: 8.5 (this was darn good)

Boyfriend’s rating: 6 (but he says with onions and more chicken he’d bump it up to a 9)

It’s true that this meal is a little low on meat, so adding more would not be out of the question, but it was so good that I wouldn’t have missed the meat. Throw in a few veggies or add some saut√©ed tofu before serving and you’ve got yourself a super tasty meatless meal!

As it was, I have had one heck of a week, and this meal was just the comforting noodley goodness I needed to shake it off. I went back for seconds (which I don’t usually do because I like having leftovers). It was that good.

So here it goes!

Ingredients:

  • ¬Ĺ lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized¬†chunks
  • 1 – 13.25 to 16 oz. box of linguini or fettuccini pasta, broken in half (we used spinach and chive linguini from Trader Joe’s)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut in thin 3 inch long strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut in thin 3 inch long strips
  • 1 bunch green onions, white part sliced and green part cut in 3 inch long strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¬ľ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (we used veggie)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut up your veggies and meat (this is the hardest part). Throw it all in a stock pot or deep skillet and cook it,covered, on high, bringing it to a boil.

everything goes in one pot

everything goes in one pot

time to stir!

time to stir!

Stir and recover.

steamy deliciousness

steamy deliciousness

Then cook for 15 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through, but 15 minutes did it for us), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Enjoy your delicious noodley, comforting, tasty, warm meal!

time to chow down!

time to chow down!

Recipe adapted from The Wholesome Dish

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Vegetarian Lasagna

This recipe was pretty darn good. ūüėÄ
Even Boyfriend, who tends to feel ambivalent about meatless meals, liked it a lot. “Better than 85% of food,” he said.
I am generally a supporter of tofu. I think it gets a bad rep because people try it without learning how to cook it. I’m sure in other recipes I’ll rail about that more, but in this recipe the tofu is quite good. So give it a try.

My rating: 8

Boyfriend’s rating: 8

My mom’s rating (because she recommended it): 8.5

Vegetarian Lasagna (4 servings, 413 calories each)

  • 2 cans¬†14.5 ounces each) no-salt-added basil-oregano-garlic diced tomatoes
  • 1 package (16 ounces) soft silken tofu
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce (we used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 3¬†cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup of Italian cheese blend
  • 2 Tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

Start by cooking the tomatoes in a skillet for 10-15 minutes to thicken them up.

cooking down the tomatoes

cooking down the tomatoes

Then strain the tofu in a colander to remove extra moisture and crumble the tofu.

Draining the tofu

Draining the tofu

Grease¬†an 8×8 baking dish and layer 1/3 of the tomatoes, 2 noodles, 2 Tbls of pesto, half the tofu, 1/3 cup of cheese, and half of the salt and pepper.

measuring the pesto

measuring the pesto

layering the lasagna

layering the lasagna

Repeat these layers again, sprinkling the sun dried tomatoes in with the cheese. Top with the last 2 noodles and the rest of the tomatoes, cover with tin foil, and bake for half an hour at 375¬įF.

putting in the sun dried tomatoes

putting in the sun dried tomatoes

before cooking

before cooking

Then uncover, press the noodles down into the sauce, add the last 1/3 cup of cheese, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes more. Lastly, remove from the oven and let the lasagna set for 10 minutes before cutting.

cooking veggie lasagna

cooking veggie lasagna

A delicious serving of veggie lasagna!

A delicious serving of veggie lasagna!

Recipe adapted from Prevention.

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Honey Glazed Salmon

So, as a rule, I’m not big on fish. Or shrimp. Or any seafood really besides crab, and if we are being honest that is just because I like cracking it. In that vein, you won’t be seeing a whole lot of seafood recipes on this blog, but this week Boyfriend picked out the recipes, and lo and behold, fish.

So here it goes.

Honey Glazed Salmon

My rating: 5 (but if we are rating it on a scale of worst to best fish? 8)

Boyfriend’s rating:7

It was pretty good. The sweet and savory flavors went well together, making a decadent sauce that left my face feeling a little (not altogether pleasantly) buttery. The tastes were very good though.

Salmon 

Calories- 369  (but we had pretty big pieces of salmon)

  • 2 (~6 oz) salmon fillets
  • 4¬†tsp flour (one for each side of each filet)
  • 4¬†tsp honey¬†(one for each side of each filet)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Brown butter lime sauce

Calories- 81 per Tbsp

  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (ours was big and it was super garlicky, but tasty!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Cover salmon in the flour and then drizzle the honey over both pieces.

floured salmon

Heat olive oil in a skillet (you may need to do each piece separately, but we have a large skillet, so we did ours at the same time.

cooking salmon_MG_8427

The salmon will need to cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Ours took longer because they were pretty thick pieces, but you are looking for the fish to stop looking translucent and become an opaque pink color.

While the salmon cooks brown the butter in a sauce pan, stirring or swirling occasionally until it becomes caramel colored and fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in other sauce ingredients with a whisk.

Serve! We served our salmon with fresh baby spinach with a citrus vinaigrette, but this would be good with snap peas, green beans, or other veggies too.

_MG_8443

Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic.

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