Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#WIAW with Ancient Grains

...and I'm back with my WIAW Numero TRES! I miss photographing every single one of my eats... I still find myself trying to make all of my food "look  pretty." I guess that's just a little joy in my life. Oh the love life of a foodie...

So let's recap today's eats & treats!

{Breakfast - 6:30am} Ancient Grains Oats


Stir together:

Topped with (& ultimately stirred in):

  • 1/4 cup Cooked wheat berries

  • 1 tbsp Popped quinoa (yes! popped! here is how - be sure to cover the skillet or else you'll have quinoa everywhere!) >>> LOVED the crunch!


{Morning Snack - 10am} 1 Hard-boiled egg + 1 Egg White, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder

How do you hard boil your eggs? Here is how I do it, and it couldn't be easier! Comes out perfect each time. The egg is such a wonderful nutritional source for anythingarians! Don't fear the yolk, please. It's packed with omega-3s and folate, which are not found in the egg white, by the way. And just like the beloved egg white, it's loaded with protein.


{Lunch - 1pm} Mixed green salad with salmon, steamed string beans, and a little bit of more popped quinoa for more crunch!



{Afternoon Snack - 4pm} Borsht and whole wheat flat bread with a slice of Lite Swiss. I love this cheese. All natural and with 50 calories, 7g of protein, and 4% total fat (8% DV saturated) - you can't get much better than that!



...and last but not least... {Dinner - 7pm} Mixed salad, pasta with grass-fed beef, onions, and mushrooms, and Russian Salad "Vinegret" (made of cooked beets, potatoes, dill pickles, and sour kraut)... I admit to helping myself to probably 3x the pictured portion of Vinegret... I never put a limit on my veggie intake :)



And a litt bite to satisfy a sweet craving... I made these chocolate chip cookies the other day for my friend's birthday! I followed Liz's recipe, and yes, I used my CHO, too! These cookies were wonderful. My modification: I added chopped toasted almonds!


P.S. How do you like my new nailpolish? It's actually dark brown, bu turned out burgundy in these photos (and my skin looks red?!?!).

P.P.S... speaking of CHO... There is just a few hours left to enter my Chobani giveaway! Hope you did it already! There is nothing better than a company that makes good quality, good-for-you products... or perhaps there is! A company that does both and is super kind, supportive, and generous! Chobani donates 10% of its profits to charity, and constantly sponsors events. The reasons to love Chobani seem to be endless. :)

P.P.P.S. Today's strength-training featured the following:

  • 3 sets of 12 squats

  • 50 alternating lunges

  • 3 sets of 12 wide-armed pushups (2 sets done on knees... I'm getting there!)

  • 3 sets of 25 sec wall squats (these really made my thighs burn!)

And that's a wrap, my dears! Hope your week is going well! And thanks to everyone for your support of some of the changes that I (and my blog!) am going through. You da best! ;)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Things are changing... again?!?!

YUP... but not in my dietary journey kind of way (that's already been done!)! Rather, in my blogging style kind of way!

I want to expand my horizons, explore the vast and exciting world of blogging, to challenge my writing style, and to learn more about living, breathing, exercising, and experimenting... with food, fitness, fashion, beauty... all the fun things in the life of a 20-something gal.

Will ya join me?

Why are you doing this, you may ask? Because I recently hit a new milestone in my blogging life... I posted my 100th post. That's right... I've written ONE HUNDRED POSTS... Each and every one documenting every. single. meal. -AND- every. single. workout. Does this make my attempts at blogging kind of official? :) I sure hope so! I've loved every moment of it, and I'm ready to make more great blogging memories.

One of the (many) reasons why I enjoyed blogging over the past two months is because it served as my daily food and fitness journal. It allowed me to take a look at my daily habits and patterns. Over time, I've begun to pay attention to my protein intake. I also noticed the formation of a bad bad habit (though nothing new in my 20-some years of life!) - I've been indulging in way too many sweet treats. That's what happens when you have tea and coffee dates every single day with the two most fun girls (my mom and grandma). Oops? Nah, no regrets. I've enjoyed them all, and will continue to do so, just will less sugar.

I would also like to incorporate more strength-training and muscle-building in my exercise routine. These aspects are so important, especially for women, and particularly for women like me with hormonal imbalances. My blog/journal has clearly shown that I rely way too much on running as my prime form of exercise. That's what happens when you can't afford gym membership... But it surely doesn't mean I can't do indoor workouts in the comforts of my own home. I need more yoga, pilates, jump rope, and the simple push-up in my life! So here is a warm and official welcome to them all! :)

For those of you who enjoyed my daily meal recaps... Don't you worry! I will continue to share my fave experiments/recipes (don't be surprised if they are mostly of breakfast, since as you know - I'm obsessed with breakfast) and to recap a day's worth of meals for the "What I Ate Wednesday" (WIAW) event! They will accurately represent my day-to-day food choices and evolving dietary habits in my attempts to listen to my body and its needs.

I will also continue to share with you my favorite finds (both edible and not) and hopefully host giveaways to keep it fun for ya'll!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by each day! I hope you continue to support and enjoy my blogging endeavors!

...and now I must stop typing because my arms hurt... Yes, this girl just did some push-ups! Looks like that's another milestone to celebrate ;)

xoxo. Veronica

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Very Berry & Sweet Saturday {Wheat Berry Cereal}

Those leftover wheat berries had to be eaten, and quite promptly (and deliciously) they were! I loved today's creation - totally delicious, totally original, totally healthy!

Blueberry Wheatberry Cereal


  • 1/2 cup Wyman's Wild Blueberries (give time to defrost - I did so overnight!)

  • 1/2 cup cooked wheatberries

  • 1 tsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • Adorned with Honey Nut Cheerios for sweetness and light crunch :)


Lunch was wonderful! Do you notice my usual arrangement - a bowl of soup on on my fave square plate? I like plating all of my food rather than serve as I eat. It's helpful to visualize the portions (and it looks totally pretty!). Of course, this doesn't mean I don't go for seconds...


Lunch included cauliflower potato soup with fresh herbs; sauteed zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper, onion, and carrot (with a squirt of ketchup - adds amazing sweetness and creaminess to the mix!); and "imitation crab meat" (Alaskan pollock) cooked with onion, celery, and leek.


...Now, what was consumed the rest of the day was (unfortunately) a picture-less but a sweet bliss...

Afternoon snack included my fave CHO, 1/2 of mini whole wheat bagel, and coffee.

We had family friends over for dinner, for which we made mixed salad (with cranberries and walnuts = love), mashed potatoes, and "мясо по французски " (pork chops a la French... though I don't actually think the French make this...). Pork chops are beaten until tender, rubbed with salt + pepper, and then topped with red onion, a small dallop of mayo, and grated cheese. Baked at 350F for ~20min, until done. This is a treat that we only make for special occasions (my family rarely makes pork), and oh my goodness, it was delicious! I haven't had it probably in... 4 years... Oh, and we also had freshly made crepes with tea for dessert.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had special plans to meet up with my girlfriends to attend a gymnastics competition! It was so fun! I was in awe, and there were so many times when I felt like my heart had stopped as I watched the gymnasts do crazy flips and jumps. I have so much respect for professional athletes... And these were not only full-time athletes, but also full-time students! Incredible.

We then went out for dessert at Old Man Rafferty's to celebrate one of my friend's birthday! Being indecisive and clearly in love with sugar, we ordered FOUR pieces of different cakes... Exact names escape me, but one was topped with salted caramel, another was infused with bailey's espresso, another had apples, and the last but not least was a chocolate blackout cake. To say we were sugar high does not do it justice...


It was so fun to finally spend time with my girlfriends. We are all so busy and stressed out with our studies, that these moments are always truly special!

I hope you all find the time to spend with your friends and loved ones, no matter how busy life is... At the end of the day, it's the moments with the people you care about and those that care about you that truly make life worth it. Stress isn't worth it, however.

More fun get togethers are planned for Sunday! Gosh, I'm such a social butterfly this weekend (for once...)

Friday, February 24, 2012

No more lemons!

[...for some reason this post didn't publish last night, so I apologize for the delay!]

A mah-velous mornin' to you! Last night I prepared a batch of wheat berries, but when I woke up this morning, all I wanted was the original good ole' whipped banana oatmeal that I haven't had in ages.


And so, whipped banana instant oats it was!

  • 1/4 cup instant oats

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 1/2 mashed banana

  • 1 tsp chia

  • 1 tsp chocolate PB2

  • dash of cinnamon and salt

  • sprinkled with a few wheat berries for extra chewiness

  • and colorful strawberry slices to beautify and brighten!



...and because my stomach warned me that it wasn't satisfied just yet, I had a teeny tiny piece of whole wheat flat bread with a tsp of MaraNatha Creamy Almond Butter, sprinkled with coconut flakes and chia. And then tummy was pleased.


A few hours later (during class) I snacked on a cutie - gosh darn they are so sweet and juicy! A perfect (and easily portable) snack.

Lunch came on the earlier side because (1) I came home earlier than expected since lecture got out early, (2) my stomach was ready for it, and (3) grandma had it all made already!

Russian Dill Pickle Soup "Rassol'nik" and sauteed vegetables with more wheat berries! (I rarely cook a batch of anything ahead of time. I prefer to make things on the spot. But since my wheat berries were made and ready to be eaten, I rather consume them as soon as possible to keep them fresh!)



They are so cute and round. Love their chewiness! And the nutrition facts are a-mazing | 7g protein, 6g fiber (22% DV!), and 10% DV iron! AWESOME.


Just as I was wrapping up my lunch and ready to leave the table, grandma pulled out roasted sweet potato from the oven. Sweet potatoes. One of my many foodie weakness. So in went a few slices. No regrets. There was still room. Ah, the beauty of leaving a table feeling 90% full :)


But just an hour later, and incredible sweet + chocolate craving kicked in... and for better or for worse, I had one recipe on my mind that clearly I couldn't get rid of... Chocolate-Covered Katie's Cookie Dough.


It looks like cookie dough. It takes like cookie dough... But it's actually chocolate chip hummus! haha. I love Katie's chocolate creations - she always adds a unique and healthy spin to the classic.


Among my mom, grandma, and me, it was devoured in its entirety... Looks like I'll have to make it again ASAP. No problem ;)

The cookie dough was consumed with a cup of tea... I made the mistake of not only infusing my tea with lemon, but also eating the entire lemon slice... Surely you recall that I love lemons and do eat them whole... My poor teeth, however, paid the price... I couldn't chew anything non-soft for the rest of the day... So that gorgeous salad you see right there... only the soft veggies (tomatoes and beets) were consumed... Instead, I had to rely on additional servings of the other dishes, which I didn't mind because they were delicious... Fried potatoes with mushroom, more sauteed veggies, and a teeny tiny pork cutlet (pasture raised!)


Late night snacking featured fresh pineapple - my favorite tropical fruit! Teeth were still sensitive, but I suffered through it. The pineapple was so worth it. :)

Happy Friday Night!

Tell me: Do you have any exciting travels, get-togethers, eats or treats planned for the weekend? Tomorrow night I'm going to a gymnastics meet with my friends from school!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wheat Berries For All

Last night, I realized that (1) I needed an especially filling breakfast because my Thursday mornings leave no room for a morning snack, and (2) I haven't had oats in a while! Not sure how I let the latter happen... Must be my recent pancake craze.

I'm still oh so in love with my SunWarrior Protein Powder (Vanilla), and was happy to experiment with a new protein-packed SIAB recipe (smoothie in a bowl).

Blueberry Vanilla Protein SIAB:



Overnight: (the classic combo) 1/4 cup old fashioned oats + 1 tsp chia + 1/2 cup water

Morning: Reheated on low heat + 1 scoop protein powder + somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup water (enough for a smoothie consistency) + 1/4 tsp salt (combat's protein powder's sweetness)

Adorned with defrosted wild blueberries! (from Costco) Wild blueberries have nearly 2x the amount of antioxidants!

Dear self: how many times do I have to remind you to not go crazy over blueberries on days when having purple teeth isn't exactly professional...

...And now... welcome to the wheatberry craze...

I can't believe I completely forgot about the wheat berries I bought several weeks ago! Especially since I loved them so much. I surely made up for the deficit with today's meals (and tomorrow's breakfast... hint hint)

Somehow, time was on my side today... I finished my clinical off-site 30 min early, which meant I had time to stop home for lunch on my way back to school. I had prepared this delicious wheat berry salad last night thinking I would be downing it behind the wheel (only at traffic lights, I promise!) or at school. Instead, I got to eat like a normal human being - seated, at a table, with food on a plate instead of a container. So. Much. Better.


Wheat Berry Salad with Chicken, Chickpeas, Corn, and Fresh Vegetables | Last night I cooked the wheat berries according to instructions on the package. | In the morning, I mixed in 1/3 chicken breast, 1/4 cup canned chickpeas, 1/4 cup canned sweet corn, and raw veggies (cucumber, zucchini, yellow bell pepper, tomato, broccoli, and parlsey). | Drizzled with balsamic vinegar + olive oil + salt + pepper.


Eaten in entirety with a small loaf of whole grain bread. Delicious.

An afternoon snack in the form of more whole grain bread with cheese (melted in the toaster oven! yum!!) and coffee followed lecture (and a marvelous and much-needed one-hour nap). And then I was off to the clinic to volunteer!

DIAB (dinner in a bowl, haha) awaited me when I got home. This time, I combined my leftover wheat berries with stir fry veggies. For flavor, I stirred in ketchup ad nutritional yeast. For greenery, I sliced up a tomato and zucchini. My family had salmon, and left a piece for me, too!


A sweet and colorful dessert/ late night snack followed! A sweetie and an orange! A perfect combo!


Ah! The weekend is almost here at last! Gotta love Fridays! Do you have any exciting plans?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#WIAW Numero Dos! Pancakes, Parsley, and Late-Night Walks.

It's officially my What I Ate Wednesday, Numero Dos!

{Breakfast - 7:30 am} - Strawberry Vanilla Protein Crepes

I clearly seem to be recently obsessed with (1) pancakes and (2) my SunWarrior Protein Powder. Today's protein-packed crepes satisfied this new obsession. Inspired by yet another fave blogger of mine, Katie from Dashing Dish. Mine obviously did not come out anywhere close to perfect as did Katie's, but their deliciousness made up for that. Topped with MaraNatha Creamy Almond butter, sprinkled with chia and coconut flakes (CocoChia), and strawberry slices for extra tartness, sweetness, and color.


My crepes came out in all sorts of shapes and sizes...


...and I saved the littlest one for last! So cute!


So here are the details on the slightly altered recipe. (Original can be found here)

Strawberry Vanilla Protein Crepes:

  • 1/4 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani Strawberry)

  • 1/2 scoop (or 1/8 cup) plain or vanilla protein powder (I used SunWarrior Vanilla)

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 2 flax eggs

  • 1/2 cup oats (regular old fashioned oats)

  • 1/8 cup water

1. Blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

2. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray (I used coconut oil) over medium heat.

3. Spoon the batter onto pre-heated skillet (however much/little you'd like - depending on the size of desired pancakes!)

4. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.

5. Remove from the skillet when both sides are cooked, and enjoy! Get creative with the toppings. I am a fruit topping kind of gal, but today was especially in the mood for almond butter.

{Lunch - 12 pm} - Mixed salad (all parsley - no lettuce!) with chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, and grilled chicken. Apple. My little favorite jar of trail mix (almonds, pistachios, peanuts, and raisins. (Raisins courtesy of my dear N, who picked them all out of her granola because she doesn't like raisins and thought I did! Silly girl.)



{Snack - 3 pm} Coffee. Whole grain toast with Lite Swiss cheese. Dark chocolate with sea salt (= heaven! A real treat from Trader Joe's! )

{Dinner - 7 pm} Mixed salad with string beans and grilled chicken breast. A meringue with tea for a sweet treat.


My mom and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather and went for a post-dinner walk! It must have been in the upper 50s tonight! So lovely!

{Late Night Snack - 9:30 pm} A cup of Lifeway's Blueberry Kefir (probiotics!!!)

...And a few words of wisdom from my dear Yogi Tea...


And that's a wrap! Tomorrow is Thursday, which means it's a very long day for me - clinical off-site, lecture, clinic = gone from 7am until 10pm. I already have a filling breakfast to look forward to! Any ideas what it could be? :)

P.S. Chobani giveaway still going on! Go enter. Now. Please. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Hour with Grandma


Okay... if I haven't admitted this to you already... I'm obsessed with this protein muffin recipe that I've been making for the past few weeks. It's delicious, easy, fast, and so filling! Today, I topped it off with a spoonful of PB2 peanut butter, which was the perfect nutty saltiness I desired!

For snack, I packed a jar of raw veggies - celery and carrot sticks to munch on during class! [There is a reason one of my nicknames is bunny-rabbit in Russian...]. I also always carry a little jar of nuts with me for those days when my packed snack just doesn't curb my morning hunger... Today was one of those days! So, I also munched on a handful of almonds and peanuts.


Then came lunch and a lunch lecture (on the role of medical interpreter in community clinics). With lunch lectures comes free lunch, and today's free lunch by far surpassed the typical free pizza. Gourmet sandwiches - one with turkey and another with grilled veggies and mushrooms. Guess which one I liked more? :) Veggie one, duh!


The day was beautiful, but I just wasn't in the mood to go running... However, knowing me and how amazing I always feel after any run - I forced myself to put on my running shoes and head outdoors for a 3-miler. No regrets there fo' sho'! Though I felt a little tired and my legs a bit heavy, I came home feeling refreshed and relaxed.


And talking about running shoes... I finally invested in a new pair, and I'm in LOVE. Brooks PureFlow shoes definitely fall in my "treat" category, but a treat surely worth the investment ($90 >> but I got a 10% student discount, therefore, $81!!!). They are well-cuchioned throughout the sole, and especially in the midfoot-forefoot, which is exactly what I was looking for (I'm recovering from a metatarsalgia). The forefoot's sole is also wider, giving the forefoot landing more surface area, and thus a softer landing and more stability.



And post-run, I got ready for a Happy Hour with my grandma! Well, not the kind of happy hour you all think... It's my family's tradition to have coffee or tea time every afternoon... Today was a coffee date (I brewed half-caf-half-decaf for us). And to hold us over until dinner, we had our beloved Chobani. I also toasted whole wheat mini bagels for us. I topped my bagel slice with Laughing Cow soft cheese, grandma chose butter. To "fool" our stomachs, I sliced the mini bagels into 4 slices instead of the regular two. So what you see here is actually just 1.5 mini bagels! We left the happy hour with happy tummies. :)

Chobani is always my go-to snack after a run - the protein source is unbeatable! The coffee may seem like a bad choice for after a work-out, but it actually works great because of its antioxidant content. [In fact, it was recommended by Runner's World!]


More antioxidants came in the form of a bowl of defrosted mixed berries. No sugar added. Eaten as is. Loved every bite :)


For dinner, I had a craving to fulfill... All I wanted was fried eggs! I've read way too many blog posts on runny yolks atop of a bed of grains... hence the craving... My happyolk rested on top of buckwheat kasha. A side salad (topped with roasted shredded beet) completed this wholesome meal.




...but here is the real treat to finish off the night! Haven't had ice cream in what seems like forever! This one is my favorite... Haagen-Dazs Vanilla & Almonds Bar... No more words are necessary right here...


Hope your week is going well! Don't forget to treat yourself to something special - edible or not! A moment of joy... A moment of rest... A moment of peace and quiet... A moment to be...