Thursday, March 31, 2016

Arugula Parsley Pesto

Hope everyone is having a great week! Kevin and I have been busy settling into our new apartment, and I am just starting to get the hang of my new kitchen. I have a lot more counter space, which is really nice, so I can keep most of my appliances out and ready to use. At our old place the only appliances I regularly kept out were my blender and KitchenAid mixer. Now Im able to have out my toaster oven and food processor, the latter I have been using quite regularly. The recipe Im bringing you today uses a food processor and makes a variation of one of my favorite sauces: pesto!

Arugula Parsley Pesto
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed in 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 dates
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl mix together the ground flaxseeds with 2 tablespoons of water and allow to thicken while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food process and process until smooth but fairy chunky.
  3. Taste and add salt or pepper to taste. Add more water to achieve your desired consistency.
  4. Serve over hot pasta, rice, or even as a dipping sauce.
Amys Notes:
I had my pesto over some steamed kale with rice and butter beans. Later I sprinkled it with nutritional yeast. Yum! YUM!
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Taste of London is my idea of Heaven - a food festival in Regents Park with 40 of Londons best restaurants offering some of their most popular dishes. There are cookery demonstrations by some of Londons top chefs and also an abundance of stalls from artisan producers and premium brands.

It is also Pascals idea of hell - lots of people, eating standing up and queueing!!

However he very kindly offered to go with me this weekend and boy I had a feast. I started at Barbecoa with slow roasted pit beef with new york slaw, ketchup and beef dripping crumble. This was great - the meat was so tender and went perfectly with the slaw. I can imagine it would taste even better with the fantastic views the restaurant has of St Pauls cathedral.

We then had a kebab by Sabrina Ghayour for Action Against Hunger - it was an eastern spiced chicken and pomegranate shawarma with yogurt sauce, mint, tomatoes, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses - this was good but a bit dry - not my favourite. It was a shame as Sabrina Ghayour is an absolutely phenomenal chef.

Next was asparagus, pea and goats cheese croquettes with wild garlic pesto from Ember Yard. These were so good I forgot to take a photo!! I definitely need to go to this restaurant.

I obviously needed to have a burger and my top choice was meat liquor and it didnt disappoint. I had the deep hippie burger which was a mustard fried beef patty, dead hippie sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and minced white onions. This was delicious - cooked pink with the right amount of cheese and sweet crisp pickles….very messy though!

After the burger, it was only right we had a hot dog from Bubbledogs - I had the BLT (bacon, lettuce and truffle mayonnaise) - I wasnt expecting anything amazing but I was very pleasantly surprised - it was really good. The sausage had a bit of a kick to it and I adored the truffle mayonnaise…even Pascal raved about it!

It was now time to move onto the sweet stuff. I started with a mini salted caramel cupcake and a mini mars bar crisp from the Primrose Bakery - 5 stars to both - I will definitely be trying to recreate these at home.

My favourite dish of the whole festival was the salted caramel soft whip with honeycomb from Tredwells. It was so good I have now added Tredwells to the top of my restaurant list. I could have eaten about 10 of these puddings!!

I finished off with the malted marshmallow peanut butter frozen custard with chocolate covered pretzels from Shake Shack. This was good but not a patch on the salted caramel soft serve!

I could have actually eaten more (oink oink) as there were so many good things to choose from however I didnt want to explode. Plus we had already spent a small fortune on entry tickets and all the food and Pascal was ready to sit down!

All in all a lovely day, I will definitely be making this a yearly occurrence!

Taste of London
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Coconut Curry Hummus

I bring hummus to everything.  Dinner at a friends house, hummus.  BBQ or picnic, hummus.  Pot-luck at work, hummus.  I have my usual hummus that a bring, which is a traditional hummus topped with spices and pine nuts (find it here).  And I also have a few other hummuses (hummi?) in my arsenal:

Spicy Buffalo Wing Hummus
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Lentil and Cashew Hummus
Green Split Pea Hummus
Chive Hummus

A friend of mine, who happens to work at Total Wine (essentially Costco for beer, wine, and liqour) invited me over for apps and beer tomorrow evening.  So what am I bringing?  Hummus of course!  For this hummus, I didnt want to take the time to soak and cook chickpeas, so I chose to use yellow split peas, which cook up in under an hour.  I was also out of tahini, so in go the raw cashews!  Add some spices and voila!  Curry hummus!

Coconut Curry Hummus
Time: 40 minutes prep, 5 minutes blending
Servings: party-size servings
        1 cup dried yellow split peas (about 3 cups cooked)
        3/4 cup lite coconut milk (from the can)
        1/2 cup raw cashews
        1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
        3 Tbsp curry powder
        1 tsp coriander
        1 tsp smoked paprika
        1/2+ tsp cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
        1/2 tsp ground ginger
        1/4 tsp onion powder
        1/4 tsp garlic powder
1.)  To cook the dried yellow split peas, rinse and sort the peas.  Put the peas in a pot with three cups of water and heat to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed or has evaporated.  Stir occasionally over the last 10 minutes to ensure the peas dont stick to the pan and burn.  Allow to cool.
2.)  In a food processor, add all ingredients along with the cooled split peas.  Process until smooth and creamy, adding additional coconut milk and cayenne pepper to reach the desired texture and spiciness.
3.)  Top with sprinkled paprika and serve as a veggie and chip dip.  It can also be used as a sandwich or wrap spread.
Amys Notes:
After finishing this recipe, I used the hummus to make collard green veggie wraps.  With a little bit of siracha added, it was delicious!
This recipe makes quite a bit, so feel free to halve the recipe if you dont go through hummus so quickly.
If you dont happen to have yellow split peas, any other type of bean will do, but it wont have quite that curry-yellow color in the end.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016


So if you are in Switzerland, you can not NOT try and eat cheese... And what is the famous promoted Swiss cheese specialty? FONDUE!!!

So we had fondue today. The recipe existed around the places here since about 17th century... And the basic idea is that it is grated cheese with some wine - all melted together with some spices, and then you dip the bread pieces into the melt. And enjoy! (read below all about it - with tons and tons of pictures!)


We used some marinated pork and chicken, and some traditional bread, so it took some time to prepare the meet. Then cutting up some bread and preparing cheese is a matter of minutes.

We marinated in orange juice, white wine, with onions, garlic and dried plums. Very good!

The we grill it with almost no oil at all. May be adding a little bit of marinade as well

The man at work
Bread - make small-ish cubes:

The man is doing a really good job :)

All ready. Instead you can either have veggies, or just little pieces of meat. Everything that goes well with  cheese and can be put on a fork :)

Now we need to prepare the cheese, which I was doing parallel:
Cheese for Fondue in Switzerland is sold in pre-prepared packs, so just take it and melt it (with some white wine)

Le Gruyere is the best for fondue. Or so they say :)

We also added some garlic (yes, because I am a fan of garlic!) and white wine (we even tried it with red, it was good too)

Then start melting it all together

Add spices to taste - pepper, herbs. No salt!


Then get a nice atmosphere - it is so important!!! :)

My bf is the best - he does bring me a rose, or tulips, or just a
bouquet of flowers out of the bloom :) Lucky girl, I know!

Add some wine in the mix:

And enjoy it:

Then you will really need to digest:

Fondue is GREAT! Try it! Good day to yall!

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Homemade Tahini

& Day 3, Week 3 
*Homemade Tahini recipe below

Happy hump day to everyone!  I feel like this week has been going by rather slowly.  Probably because we have such a fun weekend coming up.  On Friday, our good friend Marley is coming into Spokane from our college town of Pullman to go out for her 21st Birthday.  Then, on Saturday, our couple friends, Ian and Danielle are having a BBQ at their new house and a party through the evening for Dannielles Birthday.  One other thing that is quite eventful this weekend is.... Arrested Development coming out on Netflix!!!!!  Kevin and I will, probably spend any second we get watching all of the new episodes.

Tonight for dinner, I ended up going to my parents house to catch up with my mom and help her make dinner since she has been working all week.  We ended up making a sweet Thai curry with a bunch of veggies and a spice mix I got this weekend from this great local spice store.  All I can say is, YUM!  Check out the picture in my daily log below. 

Food log:
  • Breakfast: 2 bananas, 1 apple
  • Lunch: mixed greens with broccoli and chive hummus, 1 apple
  • Dinner: sweet Thai curry over brown rice, sugar snap peas
  • Extras: my Moms homemade guacamole with whole grain chips as an afternoon snack, (1-2) beers in the evening at trivia

Exercise log: Walk with my parents dog around the neighborhood

 How I feel:  I weighed myself this morning to find that I was one pound down from last week. That makes 9 lbs total since I started the 6-week Eat to Live plan.  Im happy with this progress, but I think what shows even more of my success is my appearance. I feel like I can feel the fat melting off the many places it has been hanging on to, and the muscle underneath developing and showing through with each trip to the gym.  My husband Kevin even has said that, while he always thought I was skinny (thanks dear), he is noticing that I seem "smaller", like somehow my bones are shrinking me to be leaner.  Im hoping that is not the case, and that my fat I have been holding on to for too long is coming off.  That reminds me of this picture I saw the other day (source unknown):
So, over the next week I have two BBQs that I am going to.  One tomorrow for work, and another for our friend Dannielle as I mentioned above.  For BBQs my go-to food to bring is always my hummus (recipe here).  It is great because it is healthy, but on the "approachable healthy-side" for most people.  Since a large part of hummus is tahini (sesame seed butter), and buying it in the jar generally costs up the ying yang, I decided to try to make my own.  Here is how I did it:

Homemade Tahini
  • 2 cups unhulled sesame seeds
  • 1-3 TBSP sesame or other oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and shake to evenly spread.  No need to stray your pan, the sesame seeds produce their own oil. (In a toaster oven, toast at 400 and do 1 cup at a time). 
  2. Toast for 8-12 minutes until the some of the seeds turn a very light brown.  During toasting, make sure to take out the pan and lightly shake to move the seeds around.
  3. Once toasted, immediately scoop into a food processor with a small amount of oil.  Process and scrape the sides periodically.  It will take a few minutes to go from seeds, to crumbles, to liquid-y tahini.  Be patient!
  4. Store the tahini in an airtight container in the fridge and use for dressings, hummus, or spreads. Yum!
Amys Notes:  Like I said above: be patient with the tahini!  It will come together.  I dont have too heavy duty of processor (although it is quite loud and I was worried the neighbors might come knocking to see who was running a chain saw), and mine was able to get the job done with about 8 minutes of processing.  This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of tahini, which is about how much comes in a jar at my local grocery store (for nearly $7 a jar!).  When buying the sesame seeds in the bulk section, I was able to get 2 cups of seeds for about $2.  Thats over a 70% savings!  

What sorts of foods do you make at home to save money, or avoid preservatives and other additives?

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Days 5 of Metamorphosis or how things can go wrong

So, a bumpy ride on days 5 and 6. Day 5 was good till I went out with friends - then everything started to go all the wrong way. 

Day 5 was a big day in many respects. I definitely did something right in my workout, as I was feeling an amazing feeling of burning - not the usual one, but somehow different, deeper and more pleasant. So, the MS went great (though I still have problems with the pace, and oh so many other things, but I am going through it). I counted how many reps Tracy does - about 40 each exercise on each leg. I managed to bring 1st and 2nd to 40 reps on Day 5, and to about 25-30 the 3rd and 4th exercises. Which I think is good. 

In the evening I was invited to a friends house for her wonderful risotto and girl-talk :) But I brought my own food (some sweet potato corn and carrot-parsnip), and tried only a little spoon of risotto. But after two glasses of wine, the girls managed to convince me to come to a party with them. Oh well, thats where things went a little out of hand. We had some beers in a bar, and then went to a club. So I was home only by 4 am or so. I had like 4 beers, and danced for like 3 hours. So, no, drink is not good, but at least I danced. Surprise surprise: I woke up the next morning with a horrible hangover and one kilo less of me (my scales actually showed 54.0!!!). All that dancing paid off, but then the drink also let my body know that it was not the best night fir it. Argh!

So in the end day 6 was a rest day. Now it will be Saturdays then - I just was not able to move today. :( I feel guilty, but really there is not much I can do. So, I am working out on Sundays now.

What is worse, I had one more dinner - today! And then I actually had some Chinese dumplings and maaan were they good!!! But oh well I think in terms of weight I now fell to about where I started. But oh well, I had a good day and it would have been really impolite not to eat there (friend of mine is leaving Bremen, and went for all the trouble cooking for all of us...)

So, off to a greater tomorrow. Will get some sound sleep now, so that I can start well and fresh tomorrow. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!!!

This is the cartoon from my childhood, that I loved - about "I think I can" - the part I am referring to starts around 1:10 :)

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Diet Planning Process And Diet Performance

Ive discovered there exist two different mobile phone industrys within the arena of going on a diet. The very first is the field of planning. In the realm of planning you are able to organize each meal for the following week or month or however lengthy you need to plan. If youre detail-oriented, write lower the number of croutons come in your preparing salads, or specify the right length for that blueberry you need to eat. Why dont you? The greater specific youre in your plan, the simpler it will likely be to follow along with, right? Well, not.

Let’s talk now concerning the other world: the field of reality. In the realm of reality, you convince you about what you would like to consume, frequently. You venture out together with your buddies for supper on the couple of nights that you simply hadn’t planned for, as well as on a couple of individuals nights you consume pizza, plenty of pizza. You consume a blueberry split one evening because everybody else is getting one, and also you shouldnt stick out. On three occasions you purchase and eat three chocolate bars within twenty minutes without no reason. You consume three huge foods that the Italian mother cooked, because you are aware how happy shes if you need to release your belt simply to breathe after her foods. Nothing ever goes as planned. That’s the key message. Conditions will often change and youll be made to modify your original plan. I needed to learn to handle these situations.

Your house that with this Wednesday’s dinner, you’re intending to have eight oz . of skinless chicken with veggies, however, you are just asked to some bbq (hotdogs, burgers). Don’t torture yourself and remain home, unless of course you do not like this group. Have some fun, but attempt to limit yourself. Youll most likely consume more calories in the bbq than your original dinner, but you may may change your week’s diet plan. Making changes for your eating behavior is definitely an talent that needs some practice. Use logic and never your feelings when creating these types of changes.

Try eating gradually in the bbq, simply because they will throw meat to you if youre empty-handed. You can easily just stress and toss lower a couple of greasy hamburgers when you aren’t having to pay attention. I’ve done this too many occasions. Attempt to look busy, and try to possess a food inside your hands, but don’t take any bites. Tell the hosts you’ve already eaten three hamburgers when you are really on the first.

A way of searching at both of these different mobile phone industrys in going on a diet would be to spot the distinction between logical thought (planning) and emotional execution (reality). You may be very logical when creating your plan, since you most likely haven’t even began your diet plan yet. Youll total the right quantity of calories each day, hit all of the different recommended food groups, but still have the ability to eat one bit of a bag of chips each day. That’s great-before the diet begins. Once you discover yourself within the fishbowl instead of around the outdoors, everything appears to alter. The guidelines now appear unfair. “Why must i eat this garbage each day?Inches “I have desires (pizza, enchiladas, chow fun).” “I seem like I’m imprisonment.Inches We frequently forget that people volunteered with this diet. So we could possibly get so emotional the execution in our diet, just following a plan, becomes completely impossible.

Thats the way we found be overweight. The kinds of food and also the quantity we eat grew to become too vital that you us. We attempt to quit, but a part of us still puts up a significant fight. It belongs to us now, unless of course we are able to change.

Ive got a friend named Shaun. I’ve known him for around nine years. He is like me and you except he truly dislikes eating. I understand that’s difficult to imagine. Shaun explained eventually he wishes he could simply take all his nutrition in pill form. Actually. Just slosh them lower with water. This way he wouldn’t waste whenever needing to chew anything. The main reason Ive introduced you to definitely Shaun is to inform you that you will find different ways to become. Theres Shaun, us, and everybody among. You are able to walk into that “in between.” Whenever your feelings are locked on the bear claw, think just how much better you’d look should you lost one inch anywhere. Reducing weight has to be more essential than the usual one-evening stand with a few chocolate Kisses.

If you wish to give up eating certain kinds of food (like snacks or pies) a good option to begin is in your house. Have a look around your home, particularly in your refrigerator and freezer. Would you see something that will tempt you greatly? I have to help keep all kinds of fatty meals and desserts completely from the house, if I understand theyre there, theyll eventually crawl directly into my mouth. I do not mean to get it done. I might be a target of my very own genes. So rather, basically absolutely need to have something, I’ll visit 7-Eleven and purchase “just one” of anything (usually chocolate) and produce it back. That’s my rule-only one regular-sized bit of unhealthy foods. Obviously I possibly could go back and purchase a different one, but when exactly the same clerk is at the shop, he’ll think I’m a pig to return so soon. I do not usually take that chance. However, many other stores sell chocolate bars, and regrettably, I possibly could drive to most of them blindfolded.

A number of you do not live alone when i presently do, and you might want to get the help of your partner or roommate to help keep fattening meals away from home. This might be much more of challenging for you personally, since your food atmosphere may not be beneath your control. Just a little cooperation might be so as. Hopefully, your partner or roommate is someone that you are able to feel at ease discussing the particulars of the diet. Or possibly she or he would like to get rid of a few pounds. Getting a encouraging friend could be great, presuming she or he takes this diet seriously. It is almost always simple to know if someone takes an eating plan seriously.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 3 of Metamorphosis

Well, I know I know, I promised not to write every day, but well I need it. Cos another surprise: -0.6kg (1.3lbs) this morning (55.1kg/121.2lbs). This is like the lowest I have been for at least a year. When I reach 52 kg mark, it will be the lowest in like 5 years I think... :)

DC was good today, but yet again, I tried to increase intensity - do it a little more energetic. There is still a LONG way for improvement of course, but today I was sweating like a pig on slaughter :) I cant say I like sweating (and even though Tracy is asking to start liking it), but I was never a much sweating type, so for me it is simply uncomfortable for now. But knowing that with that sweat the inches are going makes me like it a little more. But I have to say I will stick with this intensity without increasing for the next couple days, as I felt like dying by about 20 minute mark, and one of my legs started hurting a little - from all the jumping, Im not sure. But I will take it easy. Joints and muscles have to get used to jumping.

MS was as excruciating as ever. It gets only slightly easier, but not really. I tried to concentrate on the movements, the angles, all the comments that Tracy gives to make all the exercises correct. And that paid off - one of the moves is actually much more difficult than I originally did it :) HAHA Found some more pain for myself :) But at least I am doing it correct. I still have problems with wrists - they hurt a lot, so I have to change their position often. But all in all, very fulfilling workout and I start to really love it. I was sweating even then (not like pig anymore, but still quite substantially...).

So, the diet is still kicking, and there is no way Im gonna give up now after losing so much in water and bloating in just 2 days. I get invited to dinners, but I feel fine with that - I can just bring my doggie bag with my TA food and may be introduce others to the yummy pudding - it tastes delicious for anyone :) And so far I have no problems refusing to go to lunch with colleagues and so on - I have my food, my diet, and I am proud I am doing it. Though of course, this is only day 3, but I think I can do it. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Results of day 3: So far I lost about 1.4 kilos (around 3lbs) out of the max 7 I want to lose (and I know it would slow down starting tomoro or the day after - I am now losing a lot of liquids and bloating), I love the way I feel, I can FEEL I am lighter and slimmer when I touch my tummy, I get out of bed and right away feel smaller :) Thats a great feeling. I feel energetic throughout the day and even have energy to still do some salsa in the evenings sometimes. Yey!

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As we were flying home from France on Easter Sunday we were unable to have a proper roast lunch. My husband Pascal was most put out as it is tradition in France to have "Lamb Pascal" -  a simple roast leg of lamb with herbs. We ended up having it today as a belated Easter lunch - I am just gutted we have no Easter eggs left for pudding!

Cooking times totally depend on the size of your leg of lamb - ours was 1.940 kg and took 1 hour 35 minutes - it will say on the packet instructions.

Ingredients for 5-6 people:

Leg of lamb (around 2kg)
5 cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper
A good glug of olive oil
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp "herbes de Provence" (a mixture of savoury, thyme, lavender and other herbs)

If you can try to remember to take the lamb out of the fridge two hours before cooking so the meat is not too cold.

Preheat the oven to 190 C / 170 C fan / gas mark 5.

Run the lamb under cold water to remove any stickiness of the meat and dry it well with paper towels. Removing all the excess moisture will make for outside crispier when cooking.

Cut the garlic into small slithers and then cut holes/pockets into the lamb with a sharp knife and stuff the garlic in.

Add a glug of olive oil (not too much as lamb already has lots of natural fat) and generously season with salt and pepper and the "herbes de Provence". Next dress with some rosemary.

Put the lamb in the oven and roast for the correct time. Once it is ready, take it out of the oven, cover in foil and rest for another 10 minutes so the juices flow back into the meat.

Pascal doesnt like sauce so we didnt make any however you can put your roasting tin on the hob over a low heat (if the tin allows that) and add a large glass of chicken stock or red wine and deglaze the pan by scrapping all the good bits from the bottom. Reduce, season and then serve as a nice simple sauce. As I said we didnt do this, however I think it is a good idea.

Finally carve the lamb and serve with a vegetable of your choice. We chose the Mallorcan dish Tumbet (recipe to follow) however it would have been more traditional to do small roast potatoes and green beans.

This was so simple and easy but really delicious - a favourite of Pascals. Personally I prefer something with a bit more "sauce" but it was nice to eat something more rustic for a change. It went wonderfully with the aubergine, pepper, onion, potato and tomato of the tumbet - not very French but still Mediterranean - especially when I added a dollop of hummus on the side :-)

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