San Francisco Treat (Curried Vegetables)

IMG_0184_small

I am very fortunate to have friends, Nicole and Amish, who live in San Francisco.  Nicole and I have known each other since we were two-years-old and we have remained great friends throughout the years.  Nicole married Amish a few years ago, and I had the privilege to participate in their wedding.  Amish is from Nepal but came here for his masters degree.

IMG_0143_small

The first day (Friday) I arrived in San Fran, Nicole took me to Pacifica Beach to visit the tide pools.  We mostly saw small crabs, sea anemones, and jelly fish.  I wish all flights ended in such a relaxing style.

IMG_0138_small

After the beach, we went to their house for dinner.  Amish is the master of making curry sauces, so I asked him to share a healthy version of his recipe with my readers.  He agreed to make a cauliflower/potato curry and an eggplant curry.

IMG_0184_small IMG_0170_small IMG_0162_small

5.0 from 1 reviews

Amish’s Nepali Curried Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • For the Curried Eggplant
  • 3 Asian eggplants, cut into 4 inch strips
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into thin slices
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • ½ inch of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) of mustard oil
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 handful of chopped cilantro for garnish
  • For the Curried Cauliflower:
  • 2 small potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bited sized pieces
  • 6 garlic gloves
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled
  • 20 Fenugreek seeds (or cumin seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) of mustard oil
  • 1 handful of chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions
  1. For the Curried Eggplant:
  2. In a blender combine garlic gloves, peeled ginger, and one teaspoon of water and blend until it forms a paste. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder to the paste and set aside. Heat mustard oil on medium/high heat in a large pot. Add onion to the hot oil. Once the onion have turned translucent (about 2 minutes), reduce the heat to medium and mix in the paste. Add the eggplant strips to the mixture. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the diced tomato and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the eggplant is very tender and the tomato has broken down. Garnish with cilantro.
  3. For the Curried Cauliflower:
  4. In a blender combine garlic gloves, peeled ginger, and one teaspoon of water and blend until it forms a paste. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder to the paste and set aside. Heat mustard oil on medium/high heat in a large pot. Add fenugreek seeds to the hot oil. Once the fenugreek seeds turn black, reduce the heat to medium and mix in the bay leaves and then the paste. Add the cut cauliflower and potatoes to the mixture. Cover the pot and cook for 7 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally throughout cook time. Garnish with cilantro.

 

Amish thought he was being sly, but I saw him sneaking in extra tablespoons of mustard oil!

IMG_0190_small

Amish is a scientist at Genentech, and I may have accidently purposely scheduled my visit to San Fran during Genentech’s private concert they hold for their employees every year. Genentech rented out the entire AT&T stadium for the concert and provided free food, drinks, and alcohol!  Famous, and I mean famous, artists performed for us.  This year they had Demi Lovato, Nickelback, Pitbull and Train!  Call me lucky!!!

IMG_0214_small

That’s Demi Lovato behind us!  I will admit it… I’m a fan!

After the concert we wandered around the city and stumbled upon the Seven Sisters. You may recognize these houses from a little show called Full House.

IMG_0268_smallIsn’t this couple above adorable!

IMG_0277_small

 

Nicole and Amish have a raspberry bush in their backyard, and I probably ate at least 20 berries straight from the bush before we moved on to our next Adventure for the Soul.

 

 

On my last day in San Fran, we only had a few hours before my flight so we visited the Golden Gate Bridge and Japantown.

IMG_0291_small

It was very cold, windy, and foggy by the bridge but it was well worth it!

IMG_0307_small

 

 

In Japantown, I was super excited to find chia seed lotion-water.  However, after trying the  sample, I was not much of a fan.  It left a sticky residue behind.

 

 

 

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities.  Each neighborhood has a unique culture and microclimate.  I think it would take months to see everything this city has to offer, and I plan to return soon to visit Nicole, Amish and other friends in the area.

Protein Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

IMG_0076_small

When I first got married, I picked up baking.  I loved rocking a cute apron while creating delicious cupcakes in the kitchen.  Some of my specialties were white chocolate raspberry cupcakes, chocolate mousse cupcakes, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.  The more I got into baking, the more gear I purchased. I even ended up with a cupcake caddy. Talk about obsessed!  But a girl can’t live on cupcakes.  This most likely attributed to my 20 lb weight gain.

The other day, I was scrolling through Pinterest and saw beautiful lemon poppy seed muffins.  I thought to myself, “I can make those healthy!”  So I added a little protein powder and replace the poppy seeds with chia seeds…

IMG_0079_small

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Protein Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 12
 

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups oat flour (ground oats up in blender/food processor)
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla brown rice protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup Truvia for baking
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 5 egg whites
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 small lemons
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry until blended.
  5. Wipe muffin tins with cooking oil.
  6. Use a ¼ measuring cup to fill each muffin tin.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for approx 12-15 minutes.

 

The Bear doesn’t care for protein powder because it adds a chalky taste.  You can omit the protein powder and add more almond meal for a tastier treat.  As with everything, eat in moderation!

IMG_0073_small

Speaking of healthy muffins, my very good friend, Nicole, is queen of making healthy muffins!  I’m off to San Francisco to visit her for the weekend.  I should have an Adventure for the Soul post for you on Monday.

Question(s) of the day: What’s your favorite thing about San Francisco?  Where is your favorite place to visit there?

Mango Avocado Salsa

IMG_0064_small

When the Bear and I bought our first house a few years ago, I was fortunate that it came with an 80 year old avocado tree in the back yard. It’s one of the perks of living in an old house.  Though our house is small (1030 sq ft) as was normal in the 1920s, it has a ton of charm.  But I digress…

My love for avocado didn’t start when we purchased our first house.  Nope, as a child I grew up in a small village called Fallbrook, the safe-proclaimed avocado capital of the world.   Fallbrook is known for its large rolling avocado fields.  Fallbrook even has an annual Avocado Festival, where you can find avocado fudge and avocado ice cream.  Basically, if you can eat it, they found a way to put avocado in it!  As a child, instead of a silver spoon in my mouth, there was probably an avocado.

So I present to you, as heritage to my routes, this Mango Avocado Salsa!

IMG_0054_small

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mango Avocado Salsa
 

Ingredients
  • 1 mango
  • 1 large avocado or 2 medium avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño
  • ½ red onion

Instructions
  1. Dice the mango, avocado, jalapeño, and red onion. Run the knife through the cilantro. Combine in a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the ingredients and toss until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Serve with flax seed tortilla chips or chips of choice.

IMG_0069_small

Avocados aren’t just tasty.  They are quite healthy too.  Even Thing 1 and Thing 2 love them.  However, avocado peels are not good for dogs, so we have to take the avocados away from them and replace them with a treat. I think they have caught on because there is an avocado waiting for us every evening after work.

Reason for eating avocado:

  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Folic acid
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Viamin C
  • Vitamin E

Always eat avocado in moderation, as they are high in fat!  Even the healthy fat can make you fat.

With summer around the corner, what salsa do you enjoy for outdoor fiestas?

These Shoes are Made for Running, but How Long do they Last?

Let’s talk about the life of running shoes.

The other day I was talking to a coworker about running.  He is a regular gym seeker, but usually sticks to the elliptical for cardio.  After telling him about training for my first 10k, he decided to give running a shot only to find pain in his joints.  Since he is in great shape, I figured it might be his running shoes causing the pain.   Of course I went home to do a little research on the matter.

Here is what I found:

Generally speaking, most running and walking shoes last up to 500 miles, but for hard runners they can last up to only 300 miles.  It really depends on your body weight, running style, and the surface you run on.  Asphalt is going to wear the soles of your shoes faster than trail or treadmill running.  For example, I run on asphalt about 18 miles a week.  I also do cross and strength training in the same running shoes, so that probably adds another 8 miles per week.  Let’s say I plan to replace my shoes at the 400 mile mark.  Using simple math I would need to replace my shoes in 3.8 months.

[400 miles / (8+18 miles)] / 4 weeks = 3.8 months

What to look for:

It’s important to replace running shoes before they wear down to avoid injury.  As running shoes lose their cushioning, and therefore, shock absorption, it increases the stress on your muscles and joints.  One way to tell that your shoes are worn out is by looking at the midsoles of the shoes because they tend to breakdown before the outsoles.  Also, look for stretching in the heel, impressions on the outsoles, and how the shoes have molded to your foot.  These are all signs that it might be time for new shoes.

IMG_0085_small

Sidebar: Love these Nike Shields! They reflect light making them perfect for outdoor running.

How to Prolong Shoe Life:

To prolong the life of your running shoes try using two different shoes.  If you are an everyday runner, alternating between the shoes allows them to breath between each run and helps with moisture control.  Another tip is to just run in your running shoes and avoid walking or working out in them.  Since I only have one pair of running shoes, the math above tells me I’m almost due for a new pair.

Which leads me to my next questions, what are your favorite running shoes? Why do you like them?

Broccoli Stuffed “Baked” Sweet Potato with Red Pepper Sauce

2013-05-17 17.14.21_small

I have a new found love for sweet potatoes. The nice thing about sweet potatoes is that they are so versatile.  With the switch of a few ingredients, they can go sweet, like in sweet potato pie, or savory, like in sweet potato totes (Yup, they are a thing!).  Sweet potatoes are also very healthy.  Here are eight reasons to incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet:

  • Vitamin C: Aids in a healthy immune system and produces collagen which helps maintain youthful skin.
  • Vitamin D: Helps build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth.
  • Vitamin B6: Reduces chemical homocysteine in our bodies, which in turn reduces heart disease.
  • Magnesium: A relaxation and anti-stress mineral.
  • Iron: Good for red and white blood cell production; helps with stress and metabolizing protein.
  • Potassium: Electrolyte that regulates heartbeat and nerve signals.
  • Beta-carotene: Helps strengthen eyesight and boost immunity.
  • Low Glycemic Index: Contains natural sugars released slowly into the bloodstream making a balanced source of energy.

Since I have been craving sweet potatoes lately, I wanted to use them in a new way.  I got the idea for these “baked” potatoes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The 150 Healthiest 15-Minute Recipes on Earth.  

2013-05-17 16.59.43_small

5.0 from 2 reviews

Broccoli Stuffed “Baked” Sweet Potato with Red Pepper Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh broccoli
  • 7 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomato strips with oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (feta would also be delicious)

Instructions
  1. Preheat the broil.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and pierce with a fork. Place the potatoes in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons of water. Microwave the potatoes on high for 8 to 12 minutes until tender. Turn the potatoes halfway through for even cooking
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Place the broccoli in the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. While the broccoli and potatoes are cooking, combine the tomatoes, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes with oil, garlic powder, basil, oregano in a food processor. Process until until smooth. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, place on a broiler sheet. Carefully slice each potato down the middle and stuff each potato with half of the broccoli, sauce, and cheese.
  6. Broil for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sauce is warm.

2013-05-17 17.13.42_small

I enjoyed this recipe with russet potatoes before. I loved the idea of “baking” the potato in the microwave on a busy work night. I had hoped it would work well on sweet potatoes, and it did!

2013-05-17 17.12.35_small

I still haven’t gotten the Bear to eat sweet potatoes, so he got a very large russet potato!

What is your favorite sweet potato recipe?