Monthly Archives: July 2012

Very Berry Smoothie (lactose free)

After a rainy start to the week, the second half has been beautiful…. high 70’s and sunny. So I’ve been taking advantage of the weather the past few days.

On Tuesday, I volunteered at the Lake Champlain Basin Program Resource Room. The LCBP is “a federal, state, provincial, and local initiative to restore and protect Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed for future generations.” And their resource room is where you can go to learn information or ask questions about the lake. I’ve been volunteering there once a week for the past month. It’s been great, this week I got to have a long discussion about kettle lakes, a type of glacially formed lake.

It was Sunny the whole time I was there but as soon as I left it started raining, so I went for a quick 2mile run then I did  Nike Training Club’s 45 minute “crunch and burn”. Man, did I feel the burn the next day. The NTC app is free on your apple devices. It has 4 categories: Get Lean, Toned, Strong and Focused. And workouts range from 15 to 45 minutes and beginner to advanced. It lets you pick your own music and gives you words of encouragement though each exercise. It’s like a free gym membership at home.

On Wednesday I went for a 15 mile bike ride along the lake, all the way to the Winooski River.

On Thursday, I biked 3.4 miles, stopped locked my bike, ran 4 miles, got back on my bike and rode the 3.4 miles home

Today, I went for a hilly 4.5 mile run

To refuel when I got back from these workouts, I sipped on a protein packed smoothie. Since finding out I was lactose intolerant, I’ve been trying to replace the protein I’ve been missing in my diet. Insert Green Valley Organic Lactose Free Kefir.

It’s natural cow’s milk that has had the lactose broken down to sugars that are easier for your intestines to digest. And the plain only has 90 calories per 8 oz serving and 8 grams of protein.

Very Berry Smoothie (175 calories, 8 g protein in 1 12 oz serving)

3/4 cup of Plain Green Valley Organic Lactose Free Kefir (or your kefir brand of choice)

1/2 cup of frozen blue berries

4 frozen strawberries

1/2 a frozen banana

2-3 ice cubes (depending on how thick you want it)

Blend all ingredients up in the blender for 2-4 minutes, until smooth. Pour into a 12oz glass and enjoy! Garnish with: frozen fruit, flax seeds or a basil sprig (optional).

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Spinach and Cannelloni Bean Dip

This past weekend, Mark and I went to my parents for the weekend. They were throwing a graduation party for my brother and all my relatives, neighbors and friends were invited. I actually had some employment last week, working as a research specialist at UVM for a week and I had to work Friday night. After getting out around 8, I met Mark for dinner at Bluebird Tavern. I got an arugula salad and ratatouille. The ratatouille was delicious and chocked full of roasted local veggies… yum!

We headed down to my parents on Saturday morning. We arrived in time to help set up and prep some of the last minute food… like a killer fruit salad (blueberries, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, peaches, and pineapple). Look, there was a heart in one of the strawberries… strawberry to my heart?!?

I spent most of the party running around fetching things like serving spoons and more napkins, but I also got to see all of the people that are important to me. And the night ended with a spectacular firework show put on by my dad and his friends. Somehow I didn’t take a single picture.

On Sunday, Mark and I went to Cohen’s to get the best bagels ever and we ate them down at the beach. It was nice to have the sand between my toes and the salt breeze in my hair. I’m a total beach kid at heart… and boy oh boy had I been missing the ocean.

I made this dip for the party on Saturday, its super healthy and flavorful and it can be served with pita chips, endive spears or veggie crudité.

Spinach and Cannelloni Bean Dip

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 clove of garlic

12 oz of spinach

1 15 oz can of cannelloni beans

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Black pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute then add in the spinach and let it wilt for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Let the mixture cool. Then place the spinach in a clean (old/not cared for) dish towel, squeeze out the excess water over the sink. Place the spinach in the food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve with pita chips, endive spears or veggie crudité.

I served mine with Stacy’s Italian Harvest Pita Chips to rave reviews

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Greens and Beans

I’ve been trying to get my ducks in a row lately. I been feeling off for the past few months and in the last month it had taken a turn for the worse. And to top it off, I’m in a new city with no doctor lined up. So I started keeping a food journal and recording my symptoms… and I was able to link my queasy tummy and associated troubles to dairy. So for the past 2 weeks I cut dairy out of my diet, which to say the least has totally sucked. The only reason I’m not a vegan is because of cheese! But the great news is that I’m feeling insanely better. I’m going to find a doctor and get an official diagnosis, fingers crossed, maybe it’s something else.

Removing dairy has put me pretty much in vegan territory. I’ve decided to keep eggs in my diet for protein because existing solely on vegetables, though my dream, requires insane amounts of veggies to sustain you, and let’s face it that can be expensive

Here’s a look at my dairyless life thus far:


And not all is lost… these little “dreams” are delicious, they’re made out of almond milk but I swear if you didn’t know, you’d think they were made with moo juice. And they only have 100 calories!

We spent the 4th with friends in Montpelier. And this past weekend, we went to Mark’s parents to see Mark’s mom star in “the Mad Woman of Chaillot”. I also had the opportunity to eat some delicious veggies from Mark’s dad’s vegetable garden… nothing like fresh picked veggies. I’m insanely jealous. He did send us home with some goodies…

A strawberry rhubarb pie bakes as I type:

Greens and Beans

1 tablespoon of oil

½ an onion diced

1 clove of garlic minced

½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon of Italian seasoning

1 bunch of Kale, I used Red Russian because it’s one of the more tender varieties and it was on sale

¼ cup of scallions, sliced thinly

1 cup of cannellini beans

Lots of black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the onions and sauté for 4 minutes then add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Then add in the red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add in the kale and scallions and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Then add in the beans and sauté for 1 minute to warm the beans. Top with black pepper and enjoy.

I also impulsively signed up for cooking light magazine, $13 for 13 issues… how could I not? So I’ve been checking the mail compulsively.

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Banana Bread Larabars

This past weekend, one of our college friends was in Vermont visiting his girlfriend, so on Saturday we met up for an afternoon by the beach and dinner in Burlington. On Sunday, the four us hiked Hunger Mountain. It’s only 4 miles round trip but it’s pretty steep and definitely a good workout for your butt. We got a little silly on the hike and had a great time hangout out with some friends.

For a little energy boost once you reach the top, a larabar is always a good choice. They are chocked full of good fats, protein and fiber. They generally have 3 to 5 ingredients and are very minimally processes (think dehydrated fruit and a whirl in the good ole food processor). They are also: dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free, and vegan. All of these things leave your mind and body satisfied.

However, when not on sale, this tasty source of fuel can be a bit costly. We snagged some at a steal, 75 cents a bar, the other day. Once those ran out I contemplated making my own, which cost about $0.60 a bar. And making your own is on par with the difficulty of getting in your car/ hopping on your bike and heading to the store to buy them.

We also lucked out the other day when we were at the store… over ripe bananas were on sale for 8 cents a banana! So I decided to make banana bread larabars, one of my favorite flavors.

Banana Bread Larabars

Makes 2 larabars (1 bar: 230 cal, 5 g fiber, 6 g protein)

1 large, over ripe banana, sliced and dehydrated, about 1/4 cup once dehydrated

1/4 cup of dried dates, chopped

1/3 cup of raw almonds

To dehydrate the bananas, stick on a dehydrator sheet and follow the instructions. Or if you don’t have a dehydrator sheet (like me) preheat the oven to 175 to 200°F, depending on how low your oven will go. Slice the bananas and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 2 hours, keep an eye on them starting at about 1.5 hours, you don’t want them to get too dehydrated and turn into crispy banana chips. Remove them from the oven when they have reduced in size and have just begun to brown, but they still have a sticky, slightly gooey texture. Remove with a spatula, or fingers if they get too stuck, which they might. Measure out a 1/4 cup of the bananas and place it in a food processor with the 1/4 cup of dried dates. Combine them in the food processor letting it run for about 2 minutes. You might have to stop it periodically and scrape down the sides. Once combined well, transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Add the 1/3 cup of almonds to the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds to a minute until the almonds are grounds, but still have some small chunks. Transfer the almonds to the bowl with the dates and banana. Combine all the ingredients together. I found using my fingers was easiest. Then divide the mixture in half and give your hands a quick rinse. Leave your hands a little damp, I found it helped prevent the mixture from sticking to my hands. Shape each half in to a rectangular bar. Wrap in parchment paper and store in the fridge until consumption.

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