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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

26 Oct

Shepherd’s pie is pure comfort food. This recipe from Nava Atlas’ Vegan Holiday Kitchen is one of my favorites. Sometimes I substitute crumbled tempeh for the lentils and add a can of diced tomatoes. I almost always add extra veggies like green beans.

Find the recipe here: 

http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/lentil-and-mushroom-shepherd%E2%80%99s-pie/

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Thanks for reading!

Art, Science & The Meaning of Good Food

28 Sep

I used to hate science.

In high school I was in art club. I had dreams of becoming an artist. A designer, a painter, maybe even a sculptor. I made my own clothes and wore them to school. I entered my drawings and paintings into contests and actually won on a few occasions. I made my own jewelry, I sewed quilts and gave them as gifts, I painted polka dots and palm trees on my bedroom walls. I was a creator.

Fast-forward 6 years. Imagine me sitting in a large lecture hall surrounded by pre-med students desperately trying to decipher what the professor was scribbling on the blackboard: organic chemistry. This was the worst of my science-heavy academia, but many similarly technical courses ensued: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, medical nutrition therapy… you get the picture.

As I was cooking the other day- carefully examining a recipe in one of my new cookbooks while simultaneously improvising with a dash of this and a substitution for that- I started thinking about the opposing forces of art and science. Some of us naturally sway more in one direction than the other. But these are not “gifts”, they are skills, meaning we can become adept at both no matter which way we tend to lean. And, in my opinion,  we all need a little art and a little science in order to be balanced. As I half-followed that recipe, I realized that this opinion is also a perfect description of my philosophy on food.

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Food is fuel. (True). Food is memories, connection, and creativity (Also true).The sciences get us what we want (lower blood pressure, weight loss, faster race times). The arts are ends in themselves (the warm fuzzies from a bowl of soup on a cold night, the comforting memory of your grandma’s signature pie). Our relationship with food needs the sensibility of science to keep us healthy. It also needs the expression of art to make us feel alive and connected to our culture, to the people we break bread with, and to ourselves. I’ve seen how things can go awry if either of these aspects is forgotten. Ripping the art out of food leaves us with carbs/protein/fat, calorie counting, chugging lemon/cayenne/maple syrup concoctions, and obsessing over ways to “rev our metabolisms”. All art and no science ignores the compelling research that proves food really can be our medicine. Our disordered interpretation of how we should view and experience food has left us with a broken and abusive relationship with the thing that is meant to nourish us on all levels.

I am cooking much more now (for myself and for True Food clients). The creator in me revels in the vibrant colors, endless flavor combinations, and the reassuring act of producing nourishment for myself and others with my own two hands. The scientist beams with pride knowing that each ingredient, recipe, and final meal was carefully crafted with the intention of improving and supporting health.

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Wherever you fall on the science-art spectrum, I encourage you to seek out balance, especially when it comes to food. Without science, we are merely floating into an abyss. Without art, we live a rigid life. As for food, make choices based on what you know will nourish your health (I am confident your intuition will lead you to the right stuff), but don’t forget to create, play, savor, share, and enjoy what’s on your plate.

A soup recipe worth trying:

African Peanut Stew

(adapted from Peas and Thank You)

The Science: a meal of soup will fill you up (fiber- and water-licious!), fuel you up (nice balance of complex carbs, healthy fats, and plant proteins), and make you feel great (loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants up in here).
The Art: a blend of the vivacious colors of nature, varying textures, and punchy flavors will have you smiling and “mmm..”-ing until the final spoonful.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 T. curry powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 T. minced ginger (or 1 t. ginger powder)
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 T. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. red lentils
  • chopped fresh greens (kale or spinach work nicely)

How-To:

  • Combine all ingredients except greens in a soup pot on the stove or in a crockpot and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Right before serving, stir in greens until wilted. 

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In the end, we all need a little of both worlds. The scientist must engage creative thinking to solve his hypothesis and the artist must learn technique to master his medium.

Psst… you still have one more week to win 20 LARABARS! All you have to do is share this post and sign up for the True Food newsletter.

Thanks for reading.

Recently…

13 Jul

Yay, it’s finally the weekend! I love that cozy place between last week’s craziness and preparation for next week. Saturdays are where the magic happens!

After a glorious 8 hour slumber, we headed out for breakfast and the farmer’s market.

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fruit/yogurt/granola parfait, scrambled egg, Companion 5-Grain toast, and coffee.

Today’s haul included eggs, beets, peaches, blackberries, green beans, sweet corn, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, and summer squash.

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We also made a quick stop at the mall (before it got crazy busy) and made it home by 11a.m. Love Saturday mornings like that!

Let’s reverse– some highlights from last week…

Overnight oats with the sunrise. Blueberry/peach is my new favorite combo! I’m also loving Wallaby greek yogurt. This batch of oats is topped with toasted crushed walnuts.

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Christmas in July! French press for one with Nutcracker Sweet inbru that I found in the depths of the cabinet.

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Gracie wishing I’d made French press for two…

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Food For Life Ezekiel Flax toast, scrambled eggs, and peaches +blueberries…

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My new favorite snack: frozen banana slices with a schmear of coconut almond butter.

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Popcorn + almonds

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A few epic salads were devoured last week….

This one is a mix of greens, roasted corn/green beans/onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and tofu. Baked salt & vinegar chips on the side.

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And this one is greens, a crumbled veggie burger, brown rice, cucs, tomatoes, and dolups of hummus and greek yogurt. The salt & vin chips made another appearance!

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The best dinner of the week was this Mexican bowl, hands down!

Brown rice, smashed pinto beans, sautéed summer squash and onions seasoned with chili powder/cayenne/paprika, tomatoes, greek yogurt, cilantro, and a heap of nooch! So. Good.

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Also had some fun with the spiralizer. More on that later!

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Also last week….

Mornin’ garden gazin’ (check out that bedhead, hehe)

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And a midweek Dave Matthews Band concert! Out past 8pm on a Wednesday night? Who are we??

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’ve got some good stuff in the drafts folder! Thanks for reading 🙂

Post-Holiday Happenings + “No Gym Required” Workout

8 Jul

I hope you all enjoyed a long holiday weekend! Ours was great- family time, friend time, pool time, patio time (and a million bug bites to show for it!). I always feel a little foggy coming off of an extended vacation/holiday and look forward to getting back to my routine 🙂

To lift myself out of my fog on Sunday, I did this cardio workout. You guys have requested more “no gym required” workouts, so here you go! This is a great workout to do at a track/bleachers or anywhere with a flight of stairs.

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After getting hot and sweaty I showered and headed straight to the kitchen- my favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon. We got an amazing farmer’s market haul on Saturday, so I was extra excited to do some cooking. I made a green juice with grapefruit that totally hit the spot. Then I got to work on Kath’s baked oatmeal for the week, and white bean veggie burgers, kale chips, and sweet corn for dinner.

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After dinner activities included some work (yuck!), couch time, and popcorn (yum!).

I kicked off the post-holiday Monday with a baked oatmeal square topped with peanut butter and headed to the gym for work. After work I made a spontaneous grocery trip primarily to get anti-itch cream for my bug bites. They kept me awake last night!

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The rest of the day…

Lunch

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Veggie burger crumbled over greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and topped with balsamic dressing and goat cheese. A mix of Popchips and rice crackers with hummus on the side.

Pre-yoga snack

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, the juiciest peach ever (SO happy peaches are in season!!!), and apple slices. Not very pretty, but yummy!

Yoga was really hard tonight. At one point I even considered leaving, but I toughed it out and my stress levels (and my hips) are happy I did.

Dinner roasted in the oven while I showered.

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Tofu with a sriracha/cayenne/chili powder/paprika rub, beets, and beet greens sautéed with olive oil/garlic/apple cider vinegar all topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Now it’s time for reading and sleeping! Thanks for reading 🙂

Wedding Brain and Clean Eats

1 Jul

So glad this Monday is wrapping up! I’m not feeling too hot today. Tired, headache, neck and jaw pain- NOT a good way to start the week. I blame it on the fact that over the course of the weekend I went from a lazy bride with zero wedding plans to this:

Wedding brain

Just when I thought my life/brain was at full capacity, I managed to squeeze another category into it. We visited our first venue on Friday, hammered out a first draft guest list on Saturday, and developed a line-item budget on Sunday. I’m learning that wedding planning is like everything else in life- as complicated or as simple as you choose to make it. You can plan a three ring circus OR you can plan a little party- it’s all up to you.I love this article from A Practical Wedding titled “Your Wedding is Not a Show”. It puts things into perspective for me. Since JWD and I are on a very tight budget, perspective is crucial. Let’s be real, despite the upswing in planning I am still a “lazy bride”. There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I will lose sleep over centerpieces and aisle runners 🙂 Looking forward to sharing my wedding planning simplifications as the planning ensues (and would love to hear your tips if you have any!).

In other news, after a weekend of traveling, brunching, and lunching, I was very much looking forward to getting back into my normal food routine today.

An unseasonably chilly morning spurred an oatmeal craving.

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Old-fashioned oats, soy milk, blueberries, walnuts, peanut butter, unsweetened coconut, stevia, and cinnamon.

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Lunch was leftover shrimp salad with leftover crumbled roasted tempeh (can you tell leftovers are my go-to lunch??) rounded out with salt & vinegar Popchips, grapes, and a sparkling water. LOVING Seagram’s Key Lime right now!

Afternoon snack before yoga was a too-ugly-to-be-photographed green smoothie with Sunwarrior. Greens + cocoa powder make for a very unappetizing color. It was delicious though!

The theme in my yoga class tonight was “listening to your body”. It was exactly what I needed and made me feel SO much better, but still exhausted and ready for an early bedtime. 

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After yoga, JWD whipped up a yummy dinner of smashed pinto beans and sautéed veggies and sweet potatoes. Time to close my eyes and hope I feel better tomorrow- it’s going to be a jam-packed day!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Easy Weeknight Dinners and a Killer Cardio Workout

25 Jun

Hello!

Is it Friday yet?? This week has been a doozy and we’re only 2 days in, oye. 

Hence the frozen pizza we had for dinner last night and the eggs we had tonight.

Here’s how a dietitian does frozen pizza:

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First, I look for the lowest sodium per serving I can find. Then, I check out the calories (I like to stay around 300 or less). This one is Amy’s Margherita Pizza. 1/3 of the pizza comes in at 280 calories and 550 grams of sodium. Not perfect, but for a frozen pizza those stats are pretty good! Before I pop it in the oven, I load it up with extra veggies to improve the nutritional quality and give it a little more… er… “meat” so to speak. Also, I always pair my frozen pie with a heaping salad. Dinner was ready in less than 30 min!

Tonight was another late one, so we did eggs in whole wheat tortillas. People don’t usually think of eggs for dinner, but it is one of the easy weeknight staples at our house!

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We sautéed onions, diced sweet potatoes, jalapeño, tomatoes, and greens in a pan before adding eggs. I had one tortilla full plus more on the side.

Backing up a bit… 

Pre-dinner, I got a workout in before leaving the gym. I was in the mood for something tough to shake off some stress, so I decided to attempt this baby…

3 Rounds:

1000 meter row

50 burpees

50 box jumps

400 meter run

This is not a Running on Sunshine original, but I can’t remember where I got it. I tend to write workouts on random scraps of paper and find them stuffed in my gym bag, wallet, car, pockets, and (JWD’s favorite) strewn all over the house. I found this one in my gym bag and knocked it out.

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Now I look like this. I think it’s time for bed….

Thanks for reading 🙂

Cheat Meals and an All-in-one Workout

23 Jun

Hi, happy weekend!

I’m not a huge fan of the term “cheat meal” because of its close proximity to the other bad word- “diet”. However, a cheat meal is a helpful concept for many people. I also loosely abide by this healthy eating guideline. JWD and I generally choose one meal per week to indulge- and by indulge I mean go out to eat. This is primarily a budgeting tool, but it helps keep us healthy too.

Many of my clients designate a cheat meal because it forces them to put thought into their splurges and gives them an incentive to stay on track the rest of the week. They plan ahead, pick a meal or event where splurging is inevitable (dinner with friends, birthday party, etc.), and savor and enjoy every bite when they sit down to that meal. It also stops them from eating so-not-worth-it stale birthday cake in the break room. Who wants to waste their cheat meal on that??

WARNING: a cheat meal is NOT an excuse to eat everything in sight. After all, it’s your cheat meal not last meal. Keep it reasonable.

So if I had to choose a cheat meal for last week, Thursday night’s pizza and beer would be it! First, let’s back up a bit…

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I started Thursday with a tall green juice, coffee, and overnight oats (oats, soymilk, greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, stevia, and cinnamon).

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I worked all morning, then threw together lunch with leftovers before heading to a meeting. Greens, salmon, millet, avocado dressing, and melon on the side.

The afternoon included a grocery store run, a bike ride, and a quick shower before a fun night out!

JWD and I went to an O.A.R. concert. Pre-concert festivities:

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Pizza and beer! The Pageant is an awesome venue in St. Louis. They serve craft beer and allow you to bring in your own food, so we ordered a Pi pizza to go. 

The show was AMAZING! We didn’t get home until after midnight (wayyy late for us), so I was a tired girl on Friday. To rebound from a “cheat meal” night, I drink plenty of water (the sodium is what kills me), resume my normal healthy eats, and get in a good workout. No need to deprive or “burn off extra calories”.

I want to share Friday’s workout with you because it was a fun one.

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Cheat meals- yay or nay?

Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend! Thanks for reading 🙂

Getting in the Groove + a Cardio Workout

19 Jun

Hey there! Wow, two posts within less than a month- I’m on a roll 😉 This week I finally feel like I have a rhythm going in my new work/life schedule. I used to despise transitions, but I’ve had so many in the past few years that I’m learning to roll with them (and even enjoy them a little). Anyway…

I spent most of Tuesday in meetings and at my desk, so when I found an opportunity away for a workout in the afternoon I gladly took it. St. Louis gets pretty sticky in the summer, so late afternoon workouts will only be bearable for a little bit longer. I was in the mood to get my heart rate up after so much sitting, so I adapted this workout from my blog idol, Peanut Butter Runner.

Cardio Workout

1.5 mile run

*10 burpees

Run stairs – 2 laps

*20 squat jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*30 box jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*40 mountain climbers

Run stairs – 2 laps

*50 jump rope singles

1.5 mile run

After my workout, I downed a smoothie and headed back to the gym (shower not required = best perk of working at a gym) 🙂 Dinner was easy and amazing:

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Smashed pinto beans that I seasoned with cayenne, paprika, and chili powder combined with sautéed onions, peppers, yellow squash, corn, and tomatoes. I topped it with avocado lime dressing, greek yogurt, and nutritional yeast. I ate mine on a bed of salad greens, JWD ate his in a tortilla.

Today had an unexpectedly calm start when my early client cancelled, so I took advantage and had a quick breakfast before heading to the gym for a strength workout before my next appointment.

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Egg + egg white open-faced on an english muffin, a pile of juicy melon, and coffee. (and unpictured green juice).

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I spent the rest of the day working at my desk with a lunch break featuring dinner leftovers and a snack break.

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Hemp-a-licious (seriously, that’s what it’s called) brown rice cake topped with coconut almond butter and nature’s candy farmer’s market berries. This almond butter is my obsession right now. So. Good.

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I was feeling fancy for dinner, so we made salmon and a crazy concoction of millet, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed beet greens.

Now it’s time for reading and early bedtime! We have fun plans tomorrow night, so I need my rest tonight!

Thanks for reading 🙂

A New Chapter

18 Jun

Once upon a time there was a blogger. She blogged… and then she didn’t. And then she blogged again… and then she didn’t. Sound familiar?  🙂

It’s been a challenging few years. I’ve been in survival mode for most of it, making sharing my life on this blog difficult. But a new chapter is upon me and suddenly blogging feels right. I’m ready to share, to be an open book, and to ditch the ideas of perfection, ideals, and “shoulds”. The perfect time will never come, no circumstances will ever be ideal in every way, and I will always be “under construction”. There is no better time than the present. 

Big changes since we last met, my friends…

1. Instead of sitting in a classroom learning about nutrition and exercise, I am finally out practicing it. I am working as a dietitian and personal trainer at a fitness center and also for a private practice dietitian in sports nutrition, weight-loss, and media. 13430_10201042496846065_475774142_n 2. I became an aunt! My sister gave me this wonderful gift- my nephew Waylon. DSC02200 3. JWD and I are engaged! I am over the moon excited and the wedding journey has only just begun.

4. Therapy- lots of therapy 🙂 I told you I am “under construction”. People treat therapy like it’s a bad word. I think that is nonsense. Since when is wanting to improve yourself a bad thing? We are all a work in progress. Everyone needs a good therapist. It’s life-changing 🙂

My dream is for Running on Sunshine to be a place to share my nutrition and fitness know-how with you, a place for you to turn to for the truth about the latest health craze, and a place to share my day-to-day craziness laced with my personal healthy living tips for mind, body, and soul.

With that, let’s get reacquainted. Here is a look at my Monday… DSC02036 I started my post-vaca Monday (just got home from a week at the beach!) bright and early with a green juice, egg + egg white on an english muffin, and melon before heading out for an early nutrition client. After my client I got some work done at a coffee shop. After another appointment, I headed home for lunch.Leftover tofu taco salad, lemon La Croix, and the last of this yummy snack I posted on instagram today.

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My afternoon included a meeting with the dietitian I work for, and a nutrition client at the gym. I snacked on a rice cake topped with the most incredible coconut cinnamon almond butter I made on Sunday and sliced strawberries and a Luna protein bar in between meetings. 

I ended the day with my favorite hot yoga class. This class makes Mondays so much more bearable. It is my religion. I have cried, laughed, bit the dust, and mastered poses I thought were impossible on my mat in this class. Please do me a favor and dedicate an hour of your Mondays to something that feeds your soul in this way!  

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I was a sweaty, blissful mess after class. Post-yoga, I took a much-needed shower and threw together dinner with JWD.

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Roasted sweet potato fries, tempeh, salad, and sriracha for dipping.

Then  I curled up with a new book, The Fire Starter Sessions, for a little wind down time before bed. I’ll leave you with this great quote from my book: True Self It’s good to be back! Thanks for reading 🙂

Buffalo Wings Veggie Style

25 Mar

Happy Monday! This is what spring time in STL looks like:

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Brrrr! Looks like soups, hot tea, and steel cut oats will be on the menu for a bit longer. Here’s another recipe with a spicy kick to keep you warm…

You already know that plants make up the majority of my meals. People ask “Don’t you miss eating meat? Isn’t it hard to not eat it?”. I think this is funny because it turns my style of eating into a punishing diet- the complete opposite of what it actually is 🙂 I choose to eat what I eat because it makes me feel great, it fuels my workouts, and it’s yummy! If meat sounds good, I eat it (like turkey on Thanksgiving).

However there is one meat meal that I don’t necessarily miss, but I miss the idea of- buffalo wings. I am a hot sauce junky! I love the combo of the fiery sauce, crunchy celery, and cool dressing for dipping. When I saw several Buffalo Cauliflower Wing recipes circulating Pinterest, I knew I had to try them and… OH. EM. GEE. This recipe is amazing. To push it completely over the top, I whipped up cool and creamy yogurt dipping sauce. Yum!

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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower

Batter:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional; sub an additional 1/4 cup flour if you don’t use it)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk (or any milk)

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Pepper Hot Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter), melted
  • Red pepper flakes for extra heat

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450*F.
  • Cut cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
  • Whisk all batter ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Add cauliflower to batter and toss until evenly coated.
  • Place cauliflower on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet or on a wire rack stacked on top of a cookie sheet (I used a wire rack to allow the excess batter to drip off the cauliflower pieces).
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Carefully transfer baked cauliflower into the sauce bowl and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Return cauliflower to wire rack/cookie sheet and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is crispy.

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Lean & Clean Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 T vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (optional)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon + zest
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup soft cheese crumbles (goat cheese, blue cheese) (optional)

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients and blend with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.

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Thanks for reading 🙂

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