Friday Favorites

Aaaaaaaand it’s Friday again! After a busy week (and a somewhat busy weekend), I’m looking forward to chilling out tonight! Meanwhile, here are some of my recent favorites, following a similar format from my last Friday Favorites post.

Celebrating…Saint Patrick’s Day! We went out to dinner with my grandmother (the one who made me 1/4 Irish!) and chowed down to corned beef boiled dinner and shepherd’s pie. I even dressed up my fridge for the occasion. Contributing to the green: mixed greens, spinach, dill, beet greens, kale, pepper, fennel greens, dandelion greens, romaine, and celery. Nearly half of that food is for Wilbur to share with us.

St. Patricks Day fridge

Lots of green for Saint Patrick’s Day!

Watching…Vikings

This is the show that holds us over while waiting for Game of Thrones to come back on. It’s not always the best acting or the best plot, but it’s interesting to watch this culture we know so little about. One of my favorite parts of this culture is the strength of the women, whether it’s the female warriors (“shieldmaidens“) fighting beside the men, a female earl, or the ones left back at home to rule while the men are away plundering. I’m trying to convince WHH to do a couple’s costume for Halloween.

Vikings logo

Reading…A Dance with Dragons (aka Game of Thrones book 5). As you may remember, I’ve been slowly getting through this series since last year and I’m nearly done! I’m pushing to finish before season 5 premiers on April 12.

Listening…to A Dance with Dragons. Yes, I know. Pretty ridiculous. I knew I wouldn’t get through the entire book on time for the premier, so I got the free month on Audible and now listen on my drive to work, my lunchtime walk, and my drive home from work. I have to say that even though I don’t love the voices the narrator does (characters seem to be either English, Scottish, or Irish), I am that much more obsessed with the series because I’m able to be that so immersed in it every day, even consulting A Wiki of Ice and Fire whenever I need more information or a memory refresher of one of the previous books.

A Dance with Dragons Audible

Eating…three new recipes this week, all of which I failed to take pictures of! I made Baked Maple Chicken with Wild Rice and Pear Pilaf, Late Winter Harvest Quinoa Bowl, and Curried Chickpeas with Spinach. My favorite by far was the quinoa bowl. I had never tried nutritional yeast before and I’m definitely digging the cheesy flavor. I have a lot of the almond “cheese” left over that I will be sprinkling on top of salads and soups!

Late harvest quinoa bowl

Source

Running…this pyramid interval on the treadmill. I’ve learned that I need to be very careful with my treadmill running. In addition to changing my cadence, running on the treadmill also changes my stance and I do find that it bothers my IT band and previous glute injury site a bit, so I need to be careful and not do it too often. But after an insanely cold winter that still isn’t letting up, I needed to get in a run. This kept me from getting bored and though not overly challenging, it was enough to get on a good sweat.

Planning…our summer vacation! With the Euro way down, me about to be in nursing school the next two years, and some major purchases being probable in the next few years (next house, cars) we decided to seize the opportunity and travel to Europe again! After falling in love with Switzerland the last time around, I knew I wanted to hit up Austria in the future, so that’s on our list of possibilities, along with Germany, Prague, and Budapest. Price will determine where we end up since we’re not as decided this time around as to our destination(s). Any suggestions?

Salzburg

Source

Questions: Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, whether you’re Irish or not? Do you prefer to read books or listen to them? Made any new recipes recently or tried any new workouts? Are you making any summer vacation plans?

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Plated Review

Spring is (almost) sprung! We have finally had three days of above 30 degree temps and it’s been glorious!

Spring is sprung

Today I wanted to share with you my experience with Plated, a meal subscription service. The subscription part is relatively new–when I ordered it about a month ago, you could buy individual meals. Now, you need to subscribe to weekly deliveries, which makes me a little bit less of a fan.

Plated logo

I decided to try it out because I wanted to expand our palates (as mentioned in my goals for this year) as well as learn new cooking methods. I saw a coupon for four free meals when you buy eight, so I decided to buy it as a birthday present to myself.

To get started, I chose the dates I wanted my meals delivered. Every week they release a new week’s worth of recipes going out four weeks.

Plated delivery dates

Next, I checked out the offerings each week. Plated offers seven items each week and you filter them based on the protein. As you click on each item, you’ll get a better picture of the recipe as well as additional details.

Plated weekly menu details

The recipe will tell you what they send, what you need (usually very minimal), calories, and any potential allergens.

Plated meal details

Given that I wanted to try new ingredients and cooking methods, I ended up ordering:

  • Roasted Quail with Salsa Verde and Spanish Rice
  • Braised Cod with Swiss Chard, White Beans, and Almonds
  • Thai Peanut Chicken Curry with Sticky Rice
  • Seared Pollock with Blood Orange, Olives, and Grapefruit Salad

Altogether, it cost $54: $24 for 2 plates at $12 each and $30 for 2 plates at $12 each plus $6 shipping. This included the 4 free plates with free shipping on one order. Not a bargain by any means, but definitely less than four meals at a decent restaurant, not to mention the convenience of having everything ready to go and a couple of delicious meals planned for the week.

I couldn’t wait to get my first box! Unfortunately, it arrived a day late. That was a bit of a bummer since I was planning on making one of the meals that night, but when I asked the Plated crew where my box was, they gave me a $12 credit for the inconvenience.

Plated box

Upon opening, I was greeted with the recipe cards.

Plated box opening

Further down, underneath some spacey-looking insulated wrapping, were the ingredients. Beneath them were three huge (reusable!) ice packs. Note: each package only contained two recipes (seared pollock and curry rice) as I ordered two separate shipments of two recipes each.

Plated box contents

I wanted to try the seared pollock recipe first. I got out all of the items needed and read the entire recipe card.

Pollock ingredients

 

Pollock greens

(The pollock was busy defrosting)

Pollock recipe card

How delicious does this look? And all kinds of professional in our new, non-toxic pans!

Seared pollock

Et voila!

Plated Seared Pollock with Blood Orange, Olives, and Grapefruit Salad

The consensus in Whole Health Household? Delicious! I’m not normally a fan of grapefruit, but it really added some nice bitterness and acid to this dish. We kept the recipe card and look forward to making this again in the warmer months!

How did the rest of the dishes fare? Let’s start with the other meal in this order, the Thai Peanut Chicken Curry with Sticky Rice.

Plated Thai Peanut Chicken Curry with Sticky Rice

It’s not much to look at, but it was pretty good. It didn’t blow my hair back, but it was a good dinner. I ordered this to get me out my spicy comfort zone. I’m only one-quarter Irish, but you would think I was 100% with my intolerance to spice! I’ve been pushing myself the past year and have definitely gotten better, but I still begged WHH to not put in all of the gochujang (a spicy red chile paste) and I was glad I did.

In our next box, we had the two remaining meals. This box also came a day late, so I yet again emailed to ask where our delivery was. They let me know it would come the next day and I was credited $20. I was really excited to try the Roasted Quail with Salsa Verde and Spanish Rice, so I made that dish first.

Plated Roasted Quail with Salsa Verde and Spanish Rice

So I now know I’m not much of a fan of quail. There’s hardly any meat on them (I didn’t realize just how small they’d be) and not much flavor. The salsa verde was also rather tasteless. It needed more seasoning, so I ended up throwing some salsa in it. On the plus side I used the remaining two quails for a delicious stock that I then reduced by boiling to make a sauce to drizzle over a stuffed “airline supreme” cut (aka Statler chicken cut). Now that was yummy!

Airline supreme stuffed chicken

And finally, we have the Braised Cod with Swiss Chard, White Beans, and Almonds.Plated Braised Cod with Swiss Chard, White Beans, and Almonds

This was also quite yummy and the second recipe card that we ended up keeping. My only complaint would be that there weren’t many differences in texture aside from the crunch from the almonds. Everything else was about the same texture and I don’t know about you, but I like when my meal varies in texture. I might choose to roast the onions instead of saute.

All in all, we had a lot of fun trying new recipes, flavors, and cooking techniques. The meals themselves were definitely quality and I felt like I was dining in a nice restaurant. The only downside is that I felt incredibly wasteful recycling or throwing out all of the materials that held small quantities. The lack of delivery on the promised shipping days was frustrating, but I appreciate that they take customer service seriously and credited my account without me asking for any compensation. We’ll see if that improves as I have two new meals coming at the end of the month thanks to the $32 credit (I was fine with paying an additional $22 for shipping and the remaining dish prices). Next up we’re trying Pan-Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Spinach Feta Twice-Baked Potatoes and Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snap Peas!

Questions: Have you tried a meal service? Would you ever try one? Have you made any new and exciting dishes lately or anything that you thought would be delicious and ended up kind of meh?

Back to Basics

Hello again and happy Friday! I am so excited to finally get back to you since microbiology is now done! Let the celebrating begin!

Bancroft cocktail

I don’t know about you, but with the snow, cold, and shorter days, my body has not been acting like itself. I was just about recovered from my holiday metabolic whiplash, when the Super Bowl and my birthday came along, and I was happy to have an excuse to indulge again. Ever since then I feel like I’ve been on one bad roller-coaster of cravings and increased appetite. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the incredibly cold temps, but I’m sure a part also has to do with my higher than usual sugar intake.

Chilly with text

I’m so sick of it that I decided to go back to basics to reboot my system a bit. Nothing crazy, just more accountability. For me, that means logging food in MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal logo

The biggest problem I found after a few days of logging my food? Not eating enough at breakfast and at lunch. No wonder I’d be so hungry once I got home! How did that happen? I think I started playing the comparison game (never a good one to play!) as I looked at other peoples’ breakfasts and lunches on other blogs. The thing I failed to remember, though, is many people graze throughout the day. I don’t–I eat only four times a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner) because I only eat every three to four hours, so each meal needs to have a solid 300+ calories.

Breakfast smoothie calories

The other inkling I had that I my eating was a bit more off? I seem to have a little more jiggle in the middle even though I’m more or less the same weight. Perhaps it’s my body’s ancient response to the cold, thinking I need to hold on to body fat to make it through the winter. Perhaps having a bulk of my calories at the end of the day and being so hungry caused me to overeat. Again, it’s most likely a combination of things.

Paleo oatmeal

Paleo oatmeal to help fill me up!

The other part that’s helpful about using MyFitnessPal is being able to see where my macros are going. I thought that I was eating more protein than I actually was, so increasing my protein will also be a focus for me. Protein always does a fabulous job of filling me up, and add in a good dose of fiber and fat? I’m good to go for hours!

Pollock over arugula

Protein and fat-filled dinner with a good dose of fiber

Another tool up my sleeve? I signed up to rent five fitness tracker through Lumoid. I want to see how many calories a day I’m actually burning so I can get a better idea of how much I should be eating. Depending on the calculations out there for my height, weight, age, and activity level, I should be eating anywhere from 1500-2000 calories. That’s a big difference! The service is also a great way to try out fitness trackers if you’re considering buying one. I’m already not digging wearing a tracker visibly on my wrist, so I don’t think the Jawbone UP is for me.

Jawbone UP

As I’ve always said, it’s not about the weight. It’s about feeling good and I just feel off. Tired, a bit stiff and achy (thanks again partially to the cold I think), weirdo appetite, and a bit softer than I’d like to be. I’m not soft by any means, but you know when you just don’t feel right in your skin? Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to make better. And I know that with a few minor tweaks, I’ll be there.

I’m sure the fact that spring is around the corner will help as well. I always find that once the warmer weather hits, the sun is out more, and I’m able to be outside more, my appetite and energy levels naturally regulates itself. Just having the warm sun shine on my face feels so good!

Questions: Do you have problems with your appetite in the winter? Do you usually stay on track? Do you use any tools to keep yourself on track?