Monday, February 22, 2010

Chia Seed Pudding

Still on my healthy foodness. I killed my blender last week so I needed to replace my Green Smoothies with something else healthy for breakfast. Enter Chia Seeds! I've read a lot about these awesome little seeds and was skeptical to try them till I heard that my Vegan Sister Grace was cool with them.
So what are Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are just like the stuff you smear on terra-cotta pots to make Chia Pets only you eat them instead of letting them grow green fuzzy grass. Apparently the folks down in Mexico have known about these guys for a while and make their Chia Fresca with them. Here's what they look like raw and in my fave pudding (see video at the end)

So Chia Seeds are super jam packed of good for you stuff. They have more protein that any other food of it's type, tons of calcium and boron, potassium, more antioxidants than blueberries, iron and omenga 3s and 6s. So basically they're just all around good for you. And unlike Flaxseed they wont go back and you don't have to refrigerate them after opening them. For more info visit

Chia Seed Info

Chia seeds will absorb whatever liquid you soak them in. As they absorb liquid they form a thick gel around them. The ratio is something like 1:9 Chia:liquid. So you can make just plain Chia Gel and add stuff to it or you can make a gel out of the liquid of your choice. So last week I ate a lot of Chia for breakfast and snacks.  I read lots of recipes for it and chose the one that sounded like the best for breakfast.  Chia Seed Pudding!  As I try to drink less Cow's Milk I'm trying lots of milk alternatives.  I hate soy milk but almond milk and I get along just fine.  So I put 5 tablespoons of Chia seeds in a plastic container and added a cup of Vanilla Almond Milk, shook it up and let it set in the fridge overnight.  When I woke up I had a delicious almost tapioca pudding type breakfast and a video on it is below

I hope you try Chia seeds and come to enjoy them as much as I do!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sookie the Viking Kitty

This weekend Bruce and I got a cat! It is so exciting.  I have been wanting a kitty for a few months now but didn't think I was home enough to take care of one.  But since Bruce is around so much and he loves cats he said he'd help me.

Friday night I decided that I really wanted one and Bruce and I decided we'd get one on Saturday.  I told him to start picking names and I would chose from 3 girl names and 3 boy names.  He chose Boys: Kermit, Gizmo and Yoshi and for a Girl: Bella, Wednesday and Sookie.  I chose Kermit and Sookie.  So Saturday after I got off of work we went out in search of our cat.  We went to the Petsmart on 281 and Bitters and all the cats were older.  So then we tried the one on Dezavala and at first it didn't seem like they had too many.  There were only 4 out in the middle of the store and one was adopted already.  The one I played with first was cute but seemed a little sad and tired after being played with all day. 

Bruce and I were gonna give up and go home but then we went over the Petsmart's permanent adoption center and were looking at about 8 cats there.  We weren't really finding anything we liked until an adoption advocate walked in and asked us what we were looking for.  I told her I wanted a lap cat but that Bruce still wanted one that was kinda playful.  She asked if we cared if it was an older cat and I said this it didn't really matter to me but that I still wanted a somewhat younger cat.  So she said "Let me introduce you to Lisa (soon to be Sookie)." 

She knelt down and opened the cage of an enormous cat.  She started telling us all about her and about how she was probably a mix of Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat and so she wasn't fat (at 17 lbs) she was just big boned.  She told us to get down with her on the ground and see how we liked her.  As soon as we started petting her she got her motor boat going and was so happy.  She purred and purred and after a few minutes she got out of her cage and crawled into Bruce's lap and just rubbed on him.  When the adoption lady came back she asked us what we thought and we unanimously knew that this was our cat.  

So Saturday night we get her home and she goes and hides behind my China cabinet.  She hid there for a few hours then migrated to behind my kitchen trash can.  She hid out most of the evening and when it was time for me to go to bed she was still hiding out in the kitchen.  For some reason throughout the night I kept waking up and at 4 AM I went to the living room where Bruce (the night owl) was still watching Lost episodes.  He told me that at 2 AM he went to take a shower but couldn't cause Sookie had claimed it.  He left her alone and told me if I went in there quietly she might still be in there.  So I go looking for her and she's not in the shower.  I go back to the dining room to look behind the china cabinet, no Sookie and then I look in the kitchen, no sookie.  So I go back to the bathroom and notice that the laundry hamper door is slightly open so I open the door...

...and there she is.  Piled high on top of my towels.  Somehow she opened the door, got inside and closed it again behind her.  I started laughing and just sat there for a while petting her and she seemed totally relaxed and happy.  

I went back to bed and in the morning she was in the same spot.  She hung out in my hamper for most of the night and came out once or twice to eat.  But around 7 o'clock last night she finally came out and laid with me on the couch.  We bonded watching the olympics and when I went to bed she was still out around the apartment playing with Bruce or begging to be scratched.  

She is nothing like I thought I wanted but now I know she's perfect for me.  She is so smart and sweet and I can't wait for her to get more comfortable so she wont feel the need to hide as much.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cooking for Two

I love to cook. Growing up I used to watch my mom cook and she made dinner every night for us and we had a family meal (without Haley though cause she was usually at dance class). But I remember sitting on the countertops and watching her cook and just seeing how calm and serene she looked while doing it. The majority of the time my mother and I spent together growing up was in the kitchen. So maybe thats why I love to cook.

Before I started dating Bruce I probably cooked for myself once or twice a month. I just never really did it because I hated cleaning up the mess and cooking for one is just so boring and wasteful. So the first few meals I made Bruce were kinda meant to WOW him, I made things with lots of flavor, lots of flair and made sure the table was always really nice. In the first few months I made him Chicken Piccata, Green Enchiladas, a roasted whole chicken, countless breakfasts, Carrot Cake, Dump Cake and more.

I haven't been cooking as much this semester cause we've both been so busy. What I have been doing though is keeping lots of food in my fridge so there's at least always something to eat. I keep healthier food around and try to limit the amount we eat out. I am loving the healthier food, I find myself eating substantially less fast food and fried food and actually rarely even crave it anymore. I eat all three meals a day usually with a snack in mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Things I like to always have on hand are: eggs, wheat bread, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, milk, various nuts, stuff for sandwiches, apples, lettuce, spinach, cottage cheese, granola, wheat thins, cranberry juice, tomato juice, avocados, wheat pasta, trail mix, apple sauce, frozen fruit (for smoothies) and red potatoes. I know not all of this is healthy but a lot of it is much healthier than what I'm used to.

For me it isn't so much the losing weight, it's just about eating more balanced stuff. I used to live on Whataburger like 3 times a week now I can barely have one without feeling super super sick. Part of why I want to eat healthier is so that as a side-effect I'm also helping Bruce eat healthier. I know I can't control what he eats when he's not with me but I can make sure that when I cook, I'm cooking healthy balanced meals that are good for him too. He's diabetic and so these last few months I've been really reading up on it and trying to cook things that I know are good for him. Left to himself his diet usually consists of lots of fast food and about gallon of Diet Coke a day. Through my research I've found that there are certain vegetables and different things you can cook with that are great for diabetics and help work to keep his sugars down and kidneys working, so I always try to incorporate those into meals as well. He's definitely noticed my new found interest in getting healthy and I think its starting to have the effect I want and rubbing off on him. He's eating a little less, not drinking as much Diet Coke and most importantly smoking less.

So this week I've taken it a step further. On Sunday I made my birthmom's Vegan Chili which was about 4 cups of beans (red and black), bell peppers, onions, celery, carrots, chipotles, adobo sauce and seasonings. I cooked it all day and it turned out great! Bruce loved it, even though at first he was at first skeptical of the lack of meat. It was Super Bowl Sunday so I guess as a man it is the day to crave meat. But he loved it all the same. I made some spanish rice with it (which was not healthy) but luckily the chili is so filling that he didn't eat as much of the rice. Then for the rest of the week I've been making my Green Smoothies as seen below and they have been great. They are filling and I really feel the difference in my energy levels. When I have one in the morning it helps me stay awake and alert for the rest of the day.

So yesterday morning I was making my 4th Green Smoothie of the week and I ran out of Spinach! So I will definitely have to double my purchase or maybe just get a much bigger bag. But last night I was getting ready for bed and Bruce asked if I would make him a Green Smoothie and stick it in the fridge for him in the morning. I was so excited! I hadn't even thought to offer him one because it just didn't seem like the kinda thing he would normal go for but I was so thrilled that he wanted to try it. I told him I'd run out of Greens but that I'd happily make him a smoothie, I'd just have to figure out a way to put the lowest sugar fruits in it for him. So this morning I woke up and put a banana, 1/2 and orange, 1/2 an apple a small handful of blue berries and blackberries and then a good amount of carrot in the blender for him and whipped it up. I tasted it after to make sure it wasn't too sweet and it tasted fine. It didn't taste nearly as sweet as the ones I make for myself so I stuck it in the fridge for him. I am just so happy he asked, today I'm gonna look up online fruits and their sugar contents and try to buy some that I can put in the smoothie that will be good for him. I would hate to be giving him these delicious smoothies that are healthy for me to him and have them be unhealthy for him. I'm just so thrilled he is making a conscious effort to add some healthy-ness to his diet.

So it looks like my strategy is working. If I eat healthier he'll see it and want to do it himself! I know I wouldn't have started all this healthy stuff if he wasn't in my life. I want him to get healthy and the best way to do that is to get me healthy at the same time. For me the important thing is just adding lots more fruit and vegetables to my diet. I'm not taking away things, except for fast food, I'm just adding good stuff. I can't wait to keep exploring all theses great healthy food options. The best part is, that healthy food often has much more flavor than fatty-fried foods. They're also a lot of fun to cook. One day I hope I'll have little kids in the kitchen watching me cook healthy wonderful meals so they can grow up to do the same.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Green Smoothies Day 2

Green Smoothies Day Two from Tyler Archer on Vimeo.

So I'm slowly trying to add more healthy things to my diet- I'm not dieting per se I'm just adding healthy stuff to what I already eat. Right now its the Green Smoothies. One of my favorite blogs Happy Foody talks a lot about Green Smoothies and they have always been tempting but I just had never tried them. They seemed messy and like more work than they are so I just never went there. Well this weekend I was making Deirdre's Vegas Chili and decided to take the plunge and also try my first Green Smoothie. Happy Food has a very simple first recipe for them and I made my first one on Sunday. It was easy, it wasn't as messy as I thought and it tasted delicious.

The recipe is super easy:
1 Frozen Banana
1 whole peeled orange
handful of mixed frozen fruit (strawberries, cantaloupe, lots of berries and pineapple)
Fresh pineapple
Lots of Spinach

One thing that Happy Foody says that I wanted to try was putting you smoothie is a fun cup cause you'll be more likely to finish it. Also using a big straw so you get more of the good stuff faster. I'm using my Vegas cup from Fremont Street and it works great.

The green smoothie is awesome and freaking people out while drinking the green goop is fun too!