Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup

Great, FILLING, and very flavorful sweet potato soup. This cookbook is fantastic and has many more delicious soup/stew recipes! I highly recommend it.

So, I've been really into soup lately.  I can make a ton on the weekend before a week of work, it fills me up incredibly, and it is so flavorful!  

I really enjoyed this soup, but have to be honest, that I'm not sure how I feel about the orange in it.  I might try to take it out the next time I make it.  So, that's up to you.  Let me know what you think!

1 tbsp of olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups of Vegetable Brother (book recommends homemade, but I used an organic container from Whole Foods)
Zest and juice of 1 orange (I might take this out next time)
1 1/2 cups of almond milk unsweetened, plain
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat up the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Place the onion in the pot and cook it for 10 minutes (or until translucent).
2. Then, add the garlic, ginger, thyme, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Allow that to cook with the onions for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the sweet potatoes and toss throughout the ingredients in the saucepan. Let cook for 5-6 minutes.
4.  Pour in the vegetable broth and increase heat to high heat until brought to a boil.
5. Lower heat to a simmer for 20-25 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are soft, tender).
6. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender with a tight-fitting lid, covered with a towel.  
7. Return the soup to the pot and add the almond milk.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until heated through, and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Quinoa, Arugula and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad

It's Friday!! Which means, I have to go back to work Monday.  I've REALLY been enjoying this time off to relax, rejuvenate, work out, cook, clean, relax :), etc.  It's going to be pretty challenging to get back into the motion of working again.  I just want to make sure this healthy kick won't be too difficult! MAN! Well, I guess I can't complain about having 2 weeks off! It makes me never want to get out of the education career--that's for sure :)

Speaking of healthy..I made an amazing salad (check it out below):

OMG! SOOO Delicious! 
I adapted a recipe from the cookbook: Forks Over Knives.  Which by the way, I HIGHLY recommend.  It has so many stews, soups, salads, and just tons of meals that are 100% plant based.  

Okay back to the recipe.... BTW, this is really quick and easy if you already have quinoa and chicken (optional) made already.

Serves 1 (I was a lone soldier today)

  • 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa (cooled if possible--wasn't for me, I was too hungry!)
  • 1 1/2 cups of arugula
  • Some chopped red onion (I used a little less than 1/4 of a cup)
  • Some grated carrots (I used a small handful)
  • 2 tbsp Toasted pumpkin seeds**see note below
  • 3-4 oz of chicken breast (optional)--I used this recipe for my FAVORITE almond baked chicken--which by the way, make sure to broil for last 3-4 mins so it's crispy!
  • 1/2 orange juiced (and zest)
  • 1/4 lime juiced
  • 1-2 tbsp of rice vinegar (use to your taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine quinoa, arugula, red onion, carrots, and pumpkin seeds in a bowl.
  2. Mix orange juice and lime juice (FRESHLY SQUEEZED), zest, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper in small bowl.
  3. Drizzle over salad and mix together.
  4. Top with chicken (optional)
**Note: I toasted pumpkin seeds to give a bit more crunch! I did this by putting about 2 tbsp in a cast iron skillet on medium heat for about 4-5 mins (until they turn brown and start popping.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kale, Pineapple and Almond Milk Smoothie!


Well, I did two things....

First, I did a RIDICULOUS workout this morning from the website Daily Burn called INFERNO.  And yes, it is as intense as the name.  I thought I was in pretty good shape, but my LORD, this was challenging.  It is a 21 day challenge where you do insanity-like workouts every two days with yoga in between for recovery.  I thought I wasn't going to make it through but I did! I definitely recommend this site if you want variety and some motivation for working out (there are cool points features where you get awards and points for doing workouts and earning achievements).  I sometimes feel like a kid with this where I just want my sticker!!!

Okay, second, and more importantly....I made a green smoothie that is ABSOLUTELY delicious!  

I am so proud of myself, that it doesn't taste like seaweed or bitter vegetables.  I think I may have this everyday! Truth is...I didn't really come up with this myself.  I stole it.. I mean...I altered the recipe from Whole Living.  Here is the original recipe.

I changed it a bit because I wanted to add some more fiber and protein...and I didn't have a banana (silly husband took it this morning!).

Please try it yourself and let me know what you think! My only dilemma there too much sugar and carbohydrates from the fruits? Mah...who cares, I'm eating a cup of kale in this baby and I barely taste it :)


  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 3/4 cup of pineapple (with juices)
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
Put it all in a blender and VOILA! delicious smoothie that tastes like heaven! :)

And BTW---Here are the nutrition facts :) I used Daily Burn Tracker to calculate.

P.S. I put morning snack because I drank this after my intense workout.  I felt great! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A change in format and....FALAFEL BITES!

Okay, so after some long reflection (okay, maybe only 5 mins)...I decided, unapologetically-on-my-own-with-no-regrets, that I should change the format of posting about my cleanse! I know very big decision that I'm glad I reflected so long about :) 

I am going to post new recipes that haven't been on my site so that I am not repeating the same thing OVER...and OVER....and OVER!  Because let's be honest, we repeatedly eat the same things we like..right? Or maybe that's just me.  Oh well, I hope you like this better.

Today I made these....delicious....unbelievably gluten free...delectable...falafel bites! I love falafels (or any mediterranean food really :)!)

Falafel Bites 

adapted from Tasty-Yummies

These falafels were delicious and perfect for my cleanse! They're especially fantastic dipped in all natural hummus (I get Cava from Whole Foods).

1 15 oz can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/4 cup of parsley
1 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
1-2 tsp of minced garlic
1/2 lemon juiced
a pinch of sea salt
a little bit of pepper
1/4 cup of almond flour
3/4 tsp of baking soda

  1. Put all the ingredients, EXCEPT the flour and baking soda, in a food processor and make the ingredients CHOPPED, not into a paste.
  2. Add the flour and baking soda and mix together until more of a paste that you can form into a ball.
  3. Form into a large ball and cover.  Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at least, up to an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Put a silicone mat or parchment paper onto a baking sheet. 
  6. Make 1-2 inch diameter balls of the chickpea mixture and place them on the baking sheet.  
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Then put on a salad or dip into hummus and enjoy!

Day 3 Cleanse

Day 3!

Can't believe it's been three days! I ate an AMAZING filet mignon for dinner last night at Clyde's.  In looking at the menu I realized that it is super difficult to continue on this cleanse.  I basically pretended that I would die if I ate any gluten, soy, or lactose...  They said that almost ALL of their food is cooked in a soy-based oil, so they made me a "special" filet that wasn't cooked in any of these things. I mean who knows what they cooked it in.  It probably was cooked in a ton of butter and I probably ruined my cleanse.  But, since I made it seem a VERY big deal that I not have dairy or soy, hopefully they honored it! If not....WOOPS.  

We also saw Les Miserables in theaters, which was great, but LONG.  You really have to be in it for the long haul! I think it was the singing that made it longer. If you're going to make a play into a movie then you should have some sort of intermission! I had to pee so badly, but it was so packed in the theater I just sucked it up.  But seriously I thought my back and legs were going to cramp.  Man, three hours was just a WEE bit too long.  I would have been okay with 2 and 1/2 but those extra 30 mins really did me in!

Okay back to the recipes....

For breakfast I had an egg with muesli and almond milk.

Delicious! Here is the recipe for the muesli:


I make a TON of this and put it into a large air-tight container. Keeps for a while!


  • Gluten free oats (I used a whole bag)
  • 1 cup of raisins (or any other dried fruit you like)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2-3 tsp of cinnamon (depending on how much you like)

  1. Combine ingredients in an airtight container and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!
  2. Add your favorite type of milk to about 1/2 cup-1 cup of the mix! I used almond milk and it was fantastic.
  3. Optional: I added some fresh blueberries to it, which made it delectable!


Had a great workout session...Check it out:

Elliptical: (Interval workout level 8)
  • 4 minute warm up
  • 1 minute going the fastest I could
  • 2 minutes cool down
  • repeat for 7 times
  • 5 minute cool down
Daily Burn Workout

I pay for the Daily Burn for $10 a month and get workouts.  The workout I did today was called "Powerball Strength". You did four different circuits of repeating 2 moves for 30 sec each 3x.  Here is a sneak peak of some of the moves:

  • Ball tuck (in a plank position on the ball, with the ball under your shins, and you pull your butt up without bending your legs--so you look like an upside-down V--if this is too hard, you can bring your knees into a tuck instead)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Patty cake plank (In plank position pretend your playing patty cake by lifting one arm out at a time)
  • Push up on ball (With shins on the ball in push up position, complete regular push ups, if this is too hard, go down to the ground on your feet or knees)
  • Side squat with ball raise (hold the ball in your hands with arms out in front of you with feet together, squat to the left side and at the same time lift arms over head, then go back to starting position and then repeat to the right side)
  • Chest press on the ball
  • Alternating lunge with ball (Start with ball over your head and feet together.  Then, lunge forward with your right food while you bring the ball to the outside of your right foot, return to starting position.  Repeat on the left side)
  • Washing machine (hold arms out with ball in hand with feet hips distance apart.  Shake arms back and forth without moving your hips or legs).  


For lunch, I had a kale salad with avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes and cooked quinoa.  Then, I tried to eat some of the leftovers from yesterday (cauliflower, butternut squash, and chickpea coconut curry), but I was super full so only had a few bites.

Here's the picture:
If you want the recipe for the salad:

Serves 1

  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup of red onion
  • 2 tbsp of cranberries (no added sugar)
  • 1 tbsp of sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa (cooled if possible)
  • 1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (I used half a lemon)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients up to the quinoa in a bowl. Mix around well and add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  (Optional: I added a bit of my vinaigrette from Day 1 of the cleanse.  Tasted great!)


Trail Mix:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite nuts (I used almonds, pecans, and walnuts--roasted but not salted)
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite dried fruit (I used dried apricots, raisins, and blueberries)
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract
Mix it all together in a bowl and bring it with you to the movies! Like I did :)


Filet Mignon at Clydes with potatoes and veggies!

Fabulous! Except, the potatoes weren't that tasty...but added some pepper which made it better :) It always does!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cleanse Day 2

Cleanse Day 2!

So today begins the second day of my cleanse :) Yay! It feels like it's been a week, but it's only been a day so far (wah wah wah....)  I've been feeling pretty good! I have lots of energy, but I did have a headache yesterday and last night I was pretty hungry before going to bed.  But, all in all, I've really been enjoying this so far!

Today I started out with a MUCH better breakfast smoothie.

Here's the recipe:


  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup of berries
  • 1 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
Put all the ingredients in a blender and liquify! Then enjoy :) 

After enjoying my smoothie, I took the metro and a long walk (well pretty quick walk since I was running late--a lot farther than I thought!) to go to my barre class.  YES, that is how it is spelled.  If you live in DC, I HIGHLY recommend checking out BFitDC.  It is an amazing studio with fantastic teachers of the barre method.  I definitely notice my legs, hips, butt and arms working and it is relaxing and energizing all at the same time.  It's a nice break from running and doing more intense cardio and a great break after work!

Then, I came home and made a DELICIOUS and very filling lunch.  (Wow, I use a lot of CAPS and parentheses...sorry if that's annoying!)  Anyways, check it out below:

Butternut Squash Soup and Chicken Salad with Avocado and Vinaigrette  dressing.

Most of these recipes came from this blog....which was probably adapted from another blog :). So check it out below!

Besides the almond baked chicken, I put these in the salad, as well: 
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tbsp of sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/4 of a red pepper
  • organic mesclun lettuce
  • organic arugula

Now seriously, this was SUPER filling.  I almost couldn't finish it.  Maybe it was the avocado, or the chicken, or the soup or the combination of the two...but this is a definitely for someone who is hungry after a great work out :) 


  • Some more fruit and nut bites
  • Some roasted and salted almonds :)


For dinner I whipped up some cauliflower, butternut squash, and chickpea coconut curry!  I had some leftover butternut squash from the soup I made a few days ago and didn't want any vegetables to go to waste! 

Check out the recipe:

Cauliflower, butternut squash, and chickpea coconut curry

  • 1 lb of cauliflower
  • 0.5 lb of butternut squash (this is how much I had as leftovers, but use as much as you want!)
  • 1 15oz can of organic chickpeas
  • 1 yellow onion (feel free to use less, I just love onions!)
  • 1 13.5 oz can of light coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1-2 tsp of curry powder (I used 2 because I LOOOVE curry)
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut cauliflower and butternut squash up into bite sized pieces.
  • Put cauliflower and butternut squash in a medium bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and top with salt and pepper (as much as you like).  Then mix around.  

  • Place cauliflower and butternut squash on a baking sheet and roast vegetables in oven for 25-35 minutes (until lightly golden and easy to put a fork through the vegetables).
  • While cauliflower and butternut squash is cooking, chop up some onions.  Grease a saucepan with coconut oil.  Put the onions in the saucepan and sauté on medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  • Rinse chickpeas and let strain.
  • Add spices to onions and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add chickpeas to saucepan and let cook for 5-8 minutes at medium to low heat (until cauliflower and butternut squash are done).
  • Add cauliflower and butternut squash to saucepan.  Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Then let cook for 5 minutes.
  • Then enjoy!  This is great as a side with the almond chicken (like I have shown below).  Or, it is a great as a stew over quinoa!

After this delicious dinner, I SERIOUSLY had a tough time not cheating.  I don't know why, but I was pretty hungry.  Looking back, maybe I should have added a salad or something.  Let's just say that 2 Christmas Cheesy Hallmark Movies saved the day by keeping my mind off of it! Thank GOD for Netflix! (PS I highly recommend Christmas Kiss.  

Christmas Lodge was cute but pretty terrible acting.  

I mean TERRIBLE lines as well.  But still cute!).   PHEW! It was a close one for cheating on this cleanse.  Well, hopefully tomorrow is a little bit easier :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Cleanse is Back!

Okay, I'm pretty embarrassed for how long it's taken me to post on the blog.  Let's just say that life has been crazy at work, home, and everywhere, but I'm back in the game! And I'm going really big....CLEANSE TIME!

I'm sure everyone is in a similar boat where we ate way more than we wanted to during the holidays and feel (and probably are) about 5-10 pounds heavier.  I also just watched Hungry for Change a documentary about how the way we eat makes us sick and some of the foods we ate, especially sugar, are pretty much like a drug that makes us addicted! I knew about some of the things they talked about, but this really hit home.  

Well, I wanted to RECHARGE my body and start over! So, I'm going to be posting about some of the recipes I used on this cleanse and hopefully this will inspire others to join my 21 day cleansing challenge!  If I can get my husband in on can do it too :) 

Day 1:


Veggie Shake (to be honest, it's not one of my best, since I don't have our juicer we used to use...but not too shabby)

P.S sorry I don't have pictures for this...I realized later in the day that I would posting recipes.


  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 bunches of kale chopped (or spinach--whatever tickles your fancy)
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice (fresh, not from the carton)
  • 1 Fuji Apple (any type of sweet apple)
  • 1/2 cup of berries
  • 1/2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds

  • Put the above ingredients in a blender in the order they appear in the list.
  • ENJOY!

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage (from my site)

Almond Baked Chicken Salad (Chicken from Live2Eat).  See below.

BTW, this chicken was NOT very crispy if you follow the recipe from the site.  To make it crispy, I put the broiler on for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking.  Made a HUGE difference in the taste!


  • Almond Baked Chicken
  • Organic Baby Romaine Lettuce
  • Organic Arugula
  • 1/4 cup of organic cucumber
  • 1/4 cup of organic sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 rip of celery
  • 1 tbsp of dried cranberries (no added sugar)
  • 1 tbsp of sliced almonds
  • Gluten free diva's vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6


2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (I used 1/2 tbsp because I only had dried)
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill 
(I used 1/2 tbsp because I only had dried)
salt and pepper to taste


Fruit and Nut Bites 
(Disclaimer: I used half the amount of nuts because then it's actually possible to make into bite-sized balls.)


Almond Chicken Bake (see above for link) and 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples Recipe (adapted from


  • 1 lb of brussel sprouts (trimmed and halved)
  • 1 apple (I used Fuij)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup (optional--I didn't use it because of the cleanse and it still came out great!)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss brussels sprouts and apple slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brussels sprouts are tender and browned on edges, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  • Transfer brussels sprouts and apple to large bowl. Stir in cranberries, walnuts, and maple syrup (optional).