The Brilliance Of Riced Veggies

The riced veggie trend is one of my favorite things to have happened to grocery stores yet.  Sure, I appreciate the sugar-free products, absolutely.  And I LOVE that there are “natural food” aisles with non-monster brands (once nigh impossible to find.)  But while riced veggies are a cinch to make yourself – if you have a food processor at home – there’s a massive convenience in being able to snag a pre-made bag at the store.  And when a trend hits, that’s what you get – convenience!

I don’t use riced vegetables as the base for my meals all the time – sometimes the larger pieces are a good thing because it feels like you are eating more.  More bulk = feels like more substance.  

BUT…

Riced cauliflower, for one, is a fabulous substitute for rice, pasta, or even mashed potatoes – you get the volume, and a similar texture, without as many calories or carbohydrates.  So it’s a perfect swap for a dinner side (“healthy” fried “rice,” anyone?!) or base, as an example, and can even work for a base for doughs and baked items. 

 

What recently came my way was an announcement about Green Giant’s Riced Veggies – not just the cauliflower, but mixes.  What on EARTH has taken companies so long?!  

The glitch for me is that I have never actually seen Green Giant’s Riced Cauliflower in-store – I’ve had to buy other brands.  So I don’t know if I will have the best luck tracking these down, and desperately hope other companies follow suit (they’d be wise to!) Or…of course…that someone near me jumps on board and ups the stock levels!

The doubly-awesome news? GG is also offering a whole bunch of other mashed and roasted options so definitely check them out (store location link highlighted in the paragraph above.)

YUM!

Absconding With Shrimp

Seafood for dinner is always an entertaining event in our household.  Interestingly, while one of our black cats is essentially a vacuum cleaner when it comes to food, it’s the other – the smaller by 6 pounds, but older by a month or so – samurai cat who goes on high alert when shrimp are being peeled.

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I feel like we don’t even have to open the container – he just KNOWS.  He lifts his head in the air with staccato’ed sniffs, making certain that he’s smells what he *thinks* he does.  And if he is correct, by god, watch your limbs!  If he has it in mind that you’ve got a shrimp, he will – claws extended and all – reach out feverishly to check the scene.  No matter if you are friend or foe, he’s basically going to slap and growl until he’s fully devoured the thing.  Shrimp is the end-all-be-all favorite food of choice for Musashi…

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I also happen to love shrimp, as does my husband.  He makes the most delicious and healthy stir fry (one I daresay I could devour – in total – on the spot, were I not to stop myself after feeling full.)  It’s AMAZING. Full of protein…and incredibly filling.  For a clean eater, it’s a dream come true!

Despite the countless items he was keeping track of while cooking (the wok, the roasting vegetables in the oven, the vegetables that had to be added, the seafood that had to be cleaned…) he also took the time to boil a small pot of water to cook two shrimp for the boys.  The thoughtfulness of that alone warms my heart – who DOES that?!  I took a photo because, even then, he took them out and chilled them on ice…just to be sure they didn’t burn their adorable pink tongues. 

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Once they had chilled enough, he gave each of them one.  Needless to say, Musashi fervently absconded with one, and then managed to snag a less-than-interested Keku’s.  Given that Keku will inhale anything food-related, it’s entertaining to see him “pass” on the shrimp, only for the vehemently fixated Musashi to haul off with it, “grrrrr”ing as he goes.

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Fortunately, though I AM protective of my food, I didn’t bite or growl myself.  But I also – Musashi-like – thoroughly enjoyed my generously-prepared dinner, and felt incredibly grateful to have it. 

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Weekend Meals

Weekends are my wind-down time – I do have two activities on Saturday (Ninjutsu Combat Simulation, and Aerial Yoga), but they aren’t as rigorous as my weekly workout routines (Brazilian JiuJitsu four times a week, cardio three times a week, lifting at least four times a week, Ninjutsu classes four times a week…, and some teaching with Martial Arts kids classes.)  I’m incredibly thankful I can schedule so many activities, as I’m energetic by nature and need to move around.

But for me, Saturday afternoon and Sunday I can give myself a little bit of a break physically, and sometimes as far as eating out.  During the week we usually eat at home, and my meals don’t vary hugely in terms of content… On the weekend, I’m still really clean, but I might have more yolks than I typically do in the mornings, or I might have more servings of fruit, or almonds.  None of it is unhealthy, but I’m less concerned with portions and timing – I sort of just have the clean foods I like with less stringency.  

I’m asked a lot whether or not I have “cheat meals” – I don’t really.  But again, the weekends, or when I travel, I loosen the reigns a bit, going with whatever the flow might be.  That’s enough “cheat” for me – I stick to healthy options, so I never get totally out of hand, or go so overboard that I’m beating myself up.  Just what works for me personally!

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This weekend we went to brunch and my fiancé – who’s always looking out for me! – ordered the eggs that came with HIS meal exactly the way I ordered my three.  😀  Normally I have a whole egg and egg whites in the morning, with a ton of vegetables – but when I’m out, I’m eating three whole eggs in a sitting…and in this case, a few more!  It isn’t something I do every day, so I’m not overly worried about having a few – I could definitely use the aminos, and the healthy fat…plus…PROTEIN! ❤ I always order fruit salad too, for some sweetness…AND extra vitamins!  

We had dinner at home – my favorite ground chicken recipe, and tons of roasted broccoli (he’s always makes it perfectly.) Filling, wonderful nutrients and solid macros…good stuff!

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What’s your weekend plan?

For more of what I munch…!

 

Snow Day Snacks

Depending on where you are, you may have gotten some snow the other day – for many locations in the US, it was a nice, wintery foot and a half or so.  

Now I realize it isn’t as easy to get around in inclement weather (or the aftermath)… And I, too, have to stand on those horrific impending-apocalypse lines at the supermarket.  But I LOVE the Seasons, and I LOVE snow – it changes things up and gives us a chance to SLOW DOWN (rest days?  What are those?!)

My man and I decided to venture out during the blizzard (I mean, why make it easy for ourselves!?)  The pubs in the area had promised to stay open and sure enough, they were.  We wandered (er, were wind-blown!) into one we hadn’t yet tried, and were delightfully surprised – there may have been only four of us in the entire place, but they were incredibly accommodating.

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Not only was I able to get coffee with almond milk (how many pubs have that, you ask?  Not many!), but I was also able to order something clean and delicious for lunch – sliced, roasted turkey.

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The menu was very limited but the bartender didn’t bat a lash when I said I didn’t drink, and that I wanted turkey…minus the sandwich part!  It seems like a small thing, but it is the kind of accommodation and consideration I truly appreciate – while the world has become more conscious overall, offering healthy options at restaurants, it still can’t be expected that every establishment is on board.  

I’m not as flexible with my nutritional choices as most people and I am always and ever thankful to be met with “no problem” or even “let me double check for you!”  

The turkey happened to be UH-MAZING, and I made a point to tell the owner that if I liked it…it is DEFINITELY good!  

Yes indeed, Mrs. Particular LOVED it – it was just what I needed for a snowy day.

Protein!

I’m so thankful for my other half (for countless reasons…)  I say it often, but there is always room to profess it again…  

Despite his long days, he always cares about whether or not I have something healthy for dinner – there will not be a day that I am not thankful, nor that I am unaware of his efforts and kindness.

The other evening I came home from Ninjutsu and he had all of this waiting for me…

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Clean eating is part of my Lifestyle, and I take it very seriously.  Not only did he take the time to pick up the ingredients, but he took the time to prepare them so I could have a healthy dinner when I got home.

I feel so blessed and grateful.

Last Week’s Deliciousness

I sometimes want to say I’m blessed that I don’t get bored with my nutrition…

The funny thing is, I actually get bored in about 2.5 seconds with everything…but never my food!  I know “clean food” may not seem as exciting as having a sundae with sprinkles, but broiled or grilled chicken and roasted vegetables is incredibly fulfilling.  Salt and spices can bring out the flavor and kick it up a notch (let me be clear, I DON’T do bland!  Clean food does NOT = no flavor!)

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Old Bay and Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt are two of our favorites!  I also use Gold’s Cocktail sauce because it’s a lot lower in sugar that some of those out there – it’s worth checking the labels.

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My nutritional choices are generally clean, straightforward, and simple…but they aren’t boring.  

I eat a ton of poultry, seafood and eggs, which accounts for a lot more than it looks like because of the varieties (chicken and turkey can be roasted, smoked, broiled, baked, grilled… And then you have shellfish, white fishes, fattier fishes…all of which can be healthily prepared a multitude of ways as well!)

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I also love smaller pieces of chicken – I like to think of it as the browned-outside-to-moist-inside ratio.  I love chicken breast but…I get really exited about the nubs!  I know, I know…it’s appallingly geeky.  It’s to the point that I’ll jump up and down like one of my cats (Keku, the ravenous one, who basically wolfs his meals like he’s not eaten in days!)  I get an “okaaayyy…” from my hunnie, who deals with my silly shenanigans, albeit with a look of slight concern. 😉 Good thing I’m not a zombie – I’d be jumping up and down in the streets!

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I also LOVE my vegetables – steamed and roasted are my go-to preparations, but I also love having chicken over baby spinach (it packs a more solid nutritional punch than many lettuces, plus there’s a bit of a peppery flavor to it.)  I don’t use dressing but a spray olive oil or dash of balsamic is great when I need “something.”

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We ran out for lunch on the weekend to a new Asian restaurant and since I tend to avoid sauces I’m not sure about, I got the steamed chicken and vegetables.  Easy, straightforward, hard to mess up!  The nice thing in a place like that is that you typically get a LARGE portion – and when we are talking steamed poultry and vegetables, you are looking at a meal that will fill you up for sure, and not derail your fitness efforts.  Water, fiber, protein…CHECK!  A little bit of soy sauce on top, and it was devoured!

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As many of my posts can attest, I could go on and on (ad infinitum!) about healthy foods being enjoyable – I feel like for as many people who say it’s humdrum, there are as many of us who say the opposite!  We aren’t trying to pretend away a reality, or insist a view because being healthy is trendy, or “the thing to do.”  We honestly DO enjoy clean meals, and know that we can feel satisfied without the added junk that can derail us.  Little changes can pave the way for huge results, and the process of discovering food can be truly fulfilling!