What a Tool!

5 09 2009

Happy Saturday morning Blog Buds!  Hopefully you all get to enjoy the extra day off Monday for Labor Day!

First off I want to say thanks for all the great comments and emails about the blog!  Keep ‘em coming!  I love hearing from everyone!  As I mentioned in the email announcement I sent, I’ll offer this site’s first giveaway once there are two consecutive posts with comments from 30 or more different people.  Hmm, I wonder what the first prize will be? A unique mug for your morning coffee?  A cookbook?  An assortment of Larabars?

(speaking of prizes, be sure to read through to the end of the post – you’re in for a fun dessert treat!)

Today’s FitFeature is about a particular kitchen tool, the hand chopper (you may have seen a knock-off version on late night infomercials called the “Slap Chop”.)

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About 6+ years ago it seemed that everyone I knew was having Pampered Chef parties (including me).  As direct marketing parties go, Pampered Chef was a good one!  (Someone cooks food for you then you eat yummy treats!  Gotta love that, right?)  Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of various Pampered Chef tools.  And I must admit that they really do make the prep work easier.  This particular one is a favorite of mine if only for making chopping onions easier and less tearful!  Plus it is really easy to take apart and rinse off.   Kitchen tools that cut down on your prep time are definitely worth the upfront investment if they will propel you to make more healthy home cooked meals with fresh ingredients.  I have a small list of great tools that I use regularly and will feature from time to time.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • Mandolin slicer
  • George Foreman Grill
  • ThunderStick (it’s NOT what it sounds like it is!)
  • FridgeSmart containers by Tupperware (keep my veggies fresh much longer)

What is your favorite kitchen tool? Drop me a comment!

On to Friday’s round-up of Feats and Eats!

Weight Training (Back & Tris)

  • Barbell Bent Rows 4 working sets of 12 reps
  • Parallel Grip Lat Pulldowns 4 working sets of 12, 9, 7, 12 reps
  • Tricep Pushdowns 3 working sets of 12, 10, 10
  • TRX Low Row 3 sets of 10, 10, 10
  • Overhead KB Tricep Press 3 burnout sets of 20, 20, 20

Poor pups didn’t get their “wogging” session but we’ll make up for it over the weekend!

Friday started with a cup of coffee pre-workout.  Yet another Starbucks mug, I know!  Those damn mugs call to me when I’m in the store…

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After the workout I was really hungry, so not only did I go for two pieces of toast this time, but I also make a rice protein & almond milk shake.  My usual Ezekial 4:9 sprouted grain bread was nowhere to be found at the grocery store, so I had to go with another version by the same company called Genesis.  This one has a lot of sprouted seeds and has a distinctly sesame taste. – can’t decide if I’m ok with that or not.  After toasting I added raw almond butter to both, then topped one with raw honey and one with raw agave nectar.  While the nectar tasted great, it is thinner than honey and had pretty much rolled off the toast before I got to eat it!  I’m using my favorite toast plate (which is really a sushi plate – my friend Beth made it for me at a ceramic studio as a gift and I use it all the time!)

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We had plans for an early (10:00 AM, cheap seats) showing of a new movie called “Extract” so I packed up some pepitas to take in my purse into the movie with a bottle of water:

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Lunch was my usual BIG salad, this time with a side of wild rice.  I added some orange pepper to my salad today – the only rainbow color I’m missing here is blue!  Spinach, romaine, arugula, dulse, pepper, nutritional yeast, fresh tomato, sundried tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinegar:

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Mid-afternoon snack was just a cup of decaf coffee with non-dairy creamer and a side of two-bite extra dark chocolate (while reading my Kindle – the PERFECT afternoon!)  Had to use my “reading glasses” mug:

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Finally dinner time! I’d been smelling this all day in the crock pot!  My mom’s chili recipe!  (It’s so good!)  But it does have ground beef in it so before I add the beef, I divide some out for me and put MSP’s batch into the crockpot.  First I sauteed some onion and green pepper (that I had used my hand chopper to chop up):

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Then I cut up half a block of remaining tofu I had in the fridge to add to the pan:

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Then I took the plant-based items out of the pan and partially browned the ground beef, just long enough to get it really crumbled (it will cook the rest of the way in the crock pot.)  I added the tomato juice, chili beans, kidney beans and spices to the crock pot and mixed it all up.  I put my tofu, green peppers and onion into a small pan and spooned out some of the chili mixture for my vegetarian version, then added the beef to the crock pot for MSP’s beefy version.

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His is on the left with cheese mixed in, mine is on the right topped with some nutritional yeast (for cheese flavor + some B12) and a few crushed Baked Tostitos:

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It was a GREAT meal!  Very filling!  And SO easy (which is how I like every meal to be – if it’s not easy, it probably won’t get made in my kitchen!)

After dinner we toasted the holiday weekend:

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And later on into the evening, it was time for a dessert.  MSP had standard ice cream and I had the HEALTHIEST ICE CREAM EVER!!  This recipe is credited to  Gena, a fantastic raw food blogger in NYC Choosing Raw, and the post where she shows how to make this banana soft serve is titled “This Post Will Change Your Life” (Click on the title of her post to check it out and see the recipe.)  She’s not kidding, either – it will change your life!  🙂  You would never imagine that you could make ice cream out of JUST frozen bananas, but it really does come out that consistency.  It’s GREAT!  I love having an awesome “go-to” dessert that I can feel really good about.   Gena, I thank you for this heavenly creation!  Here’s how it looks (topped with a squeeze of agave nectar):

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Well that’s my Friday friends!  Hope yours was a fine start to a great holiday weekend!  Enjoy!

See you soon!
— Shari B. =)

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2 responses

5 09 2009
Alexandra

Hello! Love your blog. I have no idea how I found it but I’m glad I did. Your eats look wonderful. I love to know what people are eating (I’m sure I’m not alone) so please keep the pictures coming!

By the looks of your meals, and your post above about your chili without beef, it looks like you’re a vegetarian. Yes? I read through your older posts and didn’t see anything on being a vegetarian or how/when you transitioned.

I’ve been trying for a while to transition to a plant based diet but haven’t been able to do so. A bit afraid of gaining weight/fat due to the drop in animal protein and increase in carbs/fat (although good carbs and fat) usually associated with vegetarian eating. It would be great if you could write about when you transitioned and how you did it. Were you worried about losing muscle and gaining fat? Did your body composition change for better or worse. How about energy levels? What about satiety? Sometimes when I eat plant based meals, I’m not satisfied and end up having to eat some animal protein.

Sorry for all the questions but I would really like to eliminate meat from my diet and need to be convinced that I won’t lose the little muscle I have and replace with fat.

Thanks for giving us a peek at your daily Feats and Eats!

Sincerely,

Alexandra

5 09 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hi Alexandra!

I’m so glad you like the blog! Thank you! Your comment has so many excellent questions and topic suggestions, so I will absolutely make the next post about getting them answered for you. I’d been trying to come up with a good way to start talking about how I ended up eating the way I do now (because it has REALLY been a journey) and figured I’d need to break it into segments so as not to have a 5 page post! 🙂 So this will be a great way to get the conversation started! I completely relate with you on your fear of losing muscle without having the protein – I was in the same boat. I’ll share my experience in the next post and then feel free to let me know any thoughts you have or any additional questions it may bring up.

Have a fabulous day and thanks again for the great questions! My mind’s already clicking away with things to include and I’ll aim to get it out there tonight for you.

–Shari B. =)

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