Blueberry and Minty Peach Vanilla Shakeology

Hello there!  I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Portland continues to bask in summer’s glory with sunshine, delicious produce, and SO many weekend activities!  It’s hard to keep up with everything that goes on throughout the summer!  

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I am now in week 12 of training for the Portland Marathon and seriously can’t believe the race is only 7 weeks ago!  On Saturday my long run was 16 miles.  16 miles!  That is 3 miles longer than I have ever run before.  It was by no means easy.  It was hot, I got tired, and walked more than I would prefer.  I did, however, finish and that is my main goal for the race.  I’ll keep trucking along and putting my best foot forward with each run 🙂

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Last weekend, Nick and I picked fresh peaches on a farm on Sauvie Island.  We came home with a box of huge, juicy peaches that entice me every time I open the fridge!  With those on hand, along with the huge bag of blueberries I picked on Sauvie Island and froze, I had the perfect solution for lazy summer days.  To keep cool on Sunday before heading to the second day of MusicFest NW, I headed straight for the blender and whipped up a Blueberry and Minty Peach Vanilla Shakeology.  Pure perfection.

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Blueberry and Minty Peach Vanilla Shakeology Recipe:

Serves 2

For the first layer, combine in a blender:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 handfuls of frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • Ice

Blend and split between two large glasses.  If it’s really warm in your house, place the glasses in the freezer while you make the second layer.

 

For the second layer, combine in a blender:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 organic peaches
  • 6-8 (or to taste) fresh mint leaves
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology

Blend and pour over the first layer in the glasses.  Stick a straw in there and enjoy!  ❤

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Orange Black Bean Hummus

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My other half is allergic to peanuts and many of peanut’s relatives, including garbanzo beans.  This means that regular hummus is typically a no-go in our household unless its just for me (which is neither fun nor economical) or Nick wants to endure a stomach ache, itchy throat or other unpleasant side effects (also not fun, healthy or economical).  He likes the taste, texture and many ways to use hummus though, so this often leads to him risking it!  Not too long ago, I found a local brand (King Harvest) that makes a black bean hummus and it is really delicious!  Shortly after that, I was flipping through the book Quick Fix Vegan and came across a recipe for black bean hummus that uses orange juice to add an interesting flavor.  I immediately gave the recipe a shot and it has become a new favorite for snack and meal preps!

Black beans are an excellent source of:

  • Protein (a single one-cup serving of black beans provides almost 15 grams of protein, which is equivalent to the amount of protein in 2 ounces of meat!)
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin B1
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Manganese and Magnesium
  • Phytonutrients
Fun graphic I found on Instagram :-)

Fun graphic I found on Instagram.  Click on the image to see larger version 🙂

Oranges add to the nutrition benefits with:

  • Lots of Vitamin C
  • More fiber and folate
  • Vitamin A and B1
  • Potassium and calcium

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, sesame tahini (sesame seed paste or sesame butter found in most health food stores) provides:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Riboflavin, niacin and thiamin (all of which help convert food to energy, maintain skin and keep your nervous system functioning well)
  • Sesame seeds are one of the best sources of copper, a powerful antioxidant and a necessary mineral for your immune system and for enzymes that produce energy, build connective tissue and metabolize iron
  • Iron and phosphorus
For more information: Nutritional Facts of Roasted Sesame Tahini, The World’s Healthiest Foods: Black Beans,  The World’s Healthiest Foods: Oranges

I purchase my black beans from bulk bins at my local food cooperative and cook about 1 cup (yields about 3 cups cooked) at a time to use to prepare a few meals or snacks throughout the week.  Not only is hummus incredibly easy to make, making it from scratch saves a lot of money!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (about half of a medium sized orange)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cup of cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Chili powder and cilantro to taste

Place everything in a food processor and blend!

Enjoy as a dip for vegetables, a spread on sandwiches, with pita chips, or any other way you enjoy hummus 🙂

Baked Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad with Pearled Barley

I was headed to work that night, so I ate mine from a glass tupperwear.

I was headed to work that night, so I ate mine from a glass tupperwear.

Spring is in the air!  The weather has been treating us well in Portland, with less rain and more of that much needed sunshine, and the excitement of summer produce and festivities is making my heart so full it could burst.  In celebration of the warmer weather, I made this baked goat cheese and arugula salad with strawberries and pecans the other night.  Although it took a little over an hour to put together, the salad was so refreshing and light, yet still filling and absolutely delicious.  I typically test my cooking skills by how much hot sauce Nick uses, and he hardly used any on this dish!  Score!

I served it with a side of pearled barley seasoned with thyme.  Whole grain barley is a high-fiber, high-protein whole grain that boasts quite a list of health benefits.  Pearled barley, unfortunately, has been through a process that removed its hull and nutritious bran layer.  Barley groats are hulled but still have that bran layer.  Pearled barley is the most commonly used form of barley and is easily added to soups or cooked on its own as a rice substitute.  Some of barley’s health benefits include the following:

  • Barley is has a low glycemic index (measures how foods that containing carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels)
  • Good source of soluble fiber, which is effective at lowering cholesterol and is beneficial at slowing the absorption of sugar
  • Barley is also a good source of insoluble fiber, which may be beneficial in helping the body to maintain regular bowel function
  • Naturally cholesterol free and low in fat
  • Barley contains Vitamin B3, Vitamin B1, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper.
  • Barley also contains antioxidants and phytochemicals, which studies have indicated may decrease the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

For more information, see Barley Foods and The World’s Healthiest Foods.

I had some pearled barley in my pantry from a soup I made a while ago, so I decided to use it as our grain with the salad.  Cooking it with thyme and onions made a tasty, yet mild, side to the flavor packed salad.  We had quite a bit of barley left over and used it the next day with black beans, lime, cilantro and avocado to make a power bowl.

Pearled Barley Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1 small onion
  • Thyme (2 sprigs fresh or dried)
  • 3 cups water
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the pearled barley and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the barley is lightly browned.  
  2. Add the onion and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the grain is tender.
  4. Fluff the barley with a fork.  If you used fresh thyme, remove the sprigs and serve.

Click here and here for other yummy-looking ways to eat pearled barley.  I may have to try these too 🙂

Baked Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad Recipe

Original Recipe from Clean Eating Magazine.

Serves 2.

  • Olive Oil (in a spray bottle would be best or you can use cooking spray)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chopped raw unsalted pecans
  • Baby arugula
  • Fresh Strawberries
  1. Image-14To caramelize the onions, lightly spray a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high.  Add the sliced onions and stir frequently for about 1-2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, sticky and light caramel color (about 1 hour).  Remove the skillet from heat and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.

 

 

2.  While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  In Image-11a small bowl, lightly beat the egg whites and set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.  Using your hands, press the goat cheese into 4 balls and then flatten each into 1/2-inch-thick patties.  Dip the patties in egg, turning to coat completely.  Next, dip each patty into the panko mixture.  Repeat the process twice with each patty.  Transfer patties to a small plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and stick in the freezer for 20 minutes.

 

3.  Line a medium baking sheet with foil and mist with olive oil.  Arrange the cheese patties in a single layer and mist the tops with olive oil.  Bake for 6 minutes, flip the patties and bake for another 6 minutes, until golden.

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4.  Turn the oven heat off, add the pecans to the baking sheet and leave in the oven for an additional 3 minutes.

5.  For the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, dijon mustard, and some salt and pepper.

Plate the arugula with sliced strawberries, caramelized onions, pecans, dressing and two patties per person.  And…devour 🙂

Is Shakeology Worth the Price?

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You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of excited fitness folks posting pictures of their Shakeology drinks all over the internet and you may be wondering what all the fuss is about and if it is worth the price.  The Shakeology website lists the many healthy ingredients and benefits of adding the supplement to your diet, but what the website doesn’t tell you is how a busy and often broke graduate student can afford a monthly supply.

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One way I have made room for Shakeology in my monthly budget is I have prioritized my health and fitness.  By putting healthy living first, I am spending money wisely on quality foods instead of spending it on garbage foods, alcoholic drinks, and going out.  I used to love to stop at one of Portland’s many coffee shops and grab a latte and possibly a snack just about every day.  Furthermore, on long days that I did not prep meals for, I would grab dinner at a nearby restaurant for around $6.  If I have school, my internship, or work 7 days a week, I could be spending between $10 and $70 per week on store bought meals and snacks.  That is $40 to $280 per month just for lunch and a snack!  Yikes!  Replacing those calorie laden lattes and store bought meals with Shakeology and home-cooked meals has saved me money and time and has given me huge rewards in my fitness goals.  Furthermore, ordering Shakeology Home Direct means I don’t pay shipping costs and a new bag arrives at my doorstep every 30 days without me having to remember to order and wait for another bag!  You can set up Home Direct to alternate flavors so you never get bored either.  Acquiring a Team Beachbody Membership gets you 10% off all orders.  Also, being a Team Beachbody Coach gives you a 25% discount.

photo-4I drink Shakeology everyday at lunch time to give me an afternoon boost of more than 20 different antioxidants and phytonutrients, fiber, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, amino acids and protein all in a delicious smoothie.  Who doesn’t like to feel like they are drinking a decadent chocolate milkshake in the midst of a stressful day?  Because my mornings are usually rushed, making Shakeology is a quick way to make sure I have a filling lunch and I won’t need to grab take out while I am at work, school, or internship.  Since adding Shakeology to my daily diet, I have decreased my caffeine intake and can easily resist the multiple cartons of ice cream you’ll find in my freezer at any given time.  Combined with exercise and a clean diet, I have lost 21 pounds since I started drinking Shakeology.

Shakeology comes in 4 flavors, two of which are vegan!  I blend Shakeology with a wide variety of ingredients depending on my mood and nutritional needs including: coconut milk or almond milk, fruit (fresh or frozen), spinach, almond butter, avocado, slivered almonds, oats or coconut oil.  I also use extracts to create a variety of delicious flavors.  To get an idea of the versatility, some recipes for each flavor can be found at the following:

Order Shakeology Home Direct here and I’ll send you a fun free gift to help you get started (or continue) your fitness journey!

Of course, Shakeology is backed by Beachbody’s 30-day Monday Back Guarantee: “If you don’t start to see and feel the benefits of Shakeology within the first month of using it, or if you’re not 100% satisfied for any reason, just return it within 30 days for a full refund of the purchase price, less s&h – guaranteed.  That’s our promise to you.”  You can keep the gift I send you 🙂

As always, if you have questions feel free to email me at scottileona@gmail.com.

Brown Rice, Goat Cheese and Walnut Patties

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I had some goat cheese in my fridge that needed to get used and found this great recipe in an email from Everyday Health.  These come together really quick once the rice is cooked.  I cooked the rice while working on homework and finished them up before starting a 12 hour shift at work!  I ate a couple patties with an arugula, tomato and avocado salad.  Yum!

Time Saving Tip: The recipe makes 6 patties, so there were some left over for Nick’s dinner that evening and for one of us to grab for lunch the next day.  I always make large portions of recipes to save time in meal prep the following days.  You could also make these and freeze them for grab and go meals during a really hectic week.

Brown Rice Versus White Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain that has just had the outer layer removed through milling, while white rice is brown rice that has also had its bran and much of its germ removed, which reduces its nutrient content.

Photo courtesy of lundberg.com

Photo courtesy of lundberg.com

Reasons to Switch to Brown Rice:

  • Brown rice has twice the manganese and phosphorus as white rice.  One cup of brown rice will provide you with over 80% of the recommended daily value for manganese!
  • It also has 2.5 times the amount of iron, 3 times the amount of Vitamin B3, 4 times the amount of Vitamin B1, and 10 times the amount of Vitamin B6!
  • Brown rice boasts a high fiber, which assists in weight loss
  • Brown rice is also a good source of the minerals selenium and magnesium.

See realfoodforlife.com and www.whfoods.com for more information.

Recipe:

Adapted from everydayhealth.com.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 dry cup brown rice, cooked in 1 cup water
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans, or whatever you have in your pantry!)
  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1 large egg white
  • Salt, pepper, thyme

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice.  Once the water is absorbed, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onion until soft, and add the carrots.  Cook on low, stirring often, until the carrots soften and the onion is lightly browned.  Remove from heat.
  3. Preheat the over to 400 degree F.
  4. Transfer the cooked vegetables and brown rice to a food processor (my food processor is small so I had to do this in two batches).  Add the walnuts (or whatever nut you are using), goat cheese, egg white, thyme, salt and pepper.  Pulse until well blended but still course.  Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Heat about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture on the skillet and press down with a spatula to form a 3-inch patty.  Repeat until you have 6 patties.  Cook the patties until well browned, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  6. Lastly, transfer the patties to a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes.

These are simple and versatile!  Play around with various additions and enjoy 🙂