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I accomplished my goal for yesterday – and then some!! I had been wanting to try to run home from work for some time now, for both the challenge and to experience a new running route since open spaces for running in NYC are sorta hard to come by. After work yesterday I changed into my running clothes, stuffed my work clothes and shoes into one of my drawers and locked it and grabbed by subway pass, ID and keys and hit the pavement! I made sure not to bring my purse or wallet yesterday to reduce the amount of things I had to carry home with me. I work waaaaay downtown – literally at the bottom point of Manhattan so I had a bit of a journey ahead of me up the West Side highway to get to Central Park, and then cross over to the Upper East Side. I had no idea how far it would be so I took my trusty Garmin Forerunner 405.
The West Side Highway running path was much nicer than I had expected! Not only are you separated from the highway so that you’re not breathing in exhaust, but it goes alongside the Hudson River so I got a nice sea breeze as I ran along. I even got to see the USS Intrepid on my way uptown!
…it’s massive my friends! I finally left the running path and made my way eastwards towards the park entrance at 72nd Street. I looked at my Garmin and saw that it only took me 6 miles to get there – not bad! When I got into the park I debated a little; cross directly at 72nd Street and head up to my apartment, or keep going? The masochist in me won. I almost think it’s a dangerous game for me to be reading the book Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. It’s a truly amazing book, but it definitely awakens the warrior inside me and makes me want to push myself further and harder.
…12 miles later I found myself at the exit to the park, tired and exhilarated. It was my longest run since the Boston Marathon in April and felt great!! I’m actually considering making this a weekly occurence for me. Maybe it won’t be 12 miles every time (it would have been just about 8 miles if I had gone straight home), but it’s just a nice and different way to end the work day. Next time though I’m definitely going to remember to bring some of these suckers though in case I make it a long run again…
I was kinda fading by the end. These little Honey Stinger chews are great though if you’ve never tried them. Processed foods and running gels/chews can do a number on my digestive system so I was so happy to find these a little while ago. They’re organic and use honey as the main sweetener so it’s much gentler on your tummy. Plus they contain sodium, potassium and magnesium; which helps prevent cramps during intense exercise. Try them out!! Enjoy the beautiful weather today everybody – I know I will! :)
Happy hump day everybody!! The weather here is still damp and cold, so I came home absolutely craving a baked potato this evening. I just discovered this stuff called Delhi Saag made by Jyoti and I am so freakin’ in love! I highly recommend this stuff as an alternative baked potato topping!
I was clearly in a very green mood tonight because I ended up making a monster salad to go along with my potato. Seriously, this picture doesn’t even begin to show you how massive it was… I used half a head of green leaf lettuce, half a cucumber, one plum tomato, a ton of spanish olives and a homemade dressing of dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive juice, salt & pepper. Love, people; love.
I’m sitting here downloading my morning run stats from my Garmin and I am shocked – my mile time has gone waay down!! I ran 3.72 miles this morning with an average pace of 7:32!!! Maybe I should change my name to Speedy: ;) Well off to chillax and watch some Real Housewives action. Gotta rest up because I’m planning to run home from work tomorrow!! I think it’s about 8 miles, but let’s just hope I don’t get lost!!
Wanna know what I ate today? I’ll give you a hint… you can slurp it all up through a straw. That’s right, I just finished the first day of my 3-day BluePrint Cleanse – Foundation Level. The juices are all raw & unpasteurized and quite tasty I might add! I started off my day with Green Juice, which was filled with Romaine, Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Parsley, Green Apple, Spinach, Lemon.
Since I did the Foundation level, there were actually three of these spread through the day (juices 1, 3 and 5). The next juice was one of my favorites… the Pineapple, Apple & Mint Juice. Yummers! …followed by another Green Juice.
Juice numero cuatro was a Spicy Lemonade made out of Lemon, Agave and Cayenne Pepper. I seriously love this juice regardless of how gross it sounds. I’ve heard people say it’s similar to the Master Cleanse, but I’ve never tried that one so I have to trust their word on that. …followed by the final Green Juice.
This drink is a mix of Raw Cashews, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Agave and tastes like heaven in a bottle. Ever since my first time doing the BPC I have actually started making this drink in my Vita-Mix quite regularly. It helps to soak the cashews when making it yourself, but the Vita-Mix is so crazy powerful you almost don’t have to.
How do I feel? Quite good actually! I normally eat mainly vegan with the occasional sushi/sashimi dinner so I didn’t have much “preparation” to do before this. Last time I think my body was being filled with a lot more junk so I experienced some detox side effects like headache, fatigue and nausea, but this time so far so good. At work today I was kind of cold, but then again I’m normally cold at work… I was actually even able to hit the gym and get a swim in! I limited myself to 1/2 mile so as not to burn myself out because I want to be able to go to spin class tomorrow.
Ok chickadees, I know it’s only 8:48pm, but I’m off to get ready for bed. Although it is a nutritional cleanse and provides lots of vitamins and still gives you 1,250 calories. Not a ton, but way more than most “fasts”.
Oops, this was supposed to be posted last night… sorry guys! I’ll still post my Day 1 recap of the Blue Print Cleanse tonight though!
Today got a taad bit hectic and I just needed something to chill out and get rid of all of my negativity. I figured a Vinyasa Yoga class was just the thing to set things straight… man was I right. Every time I walk out of a yoga class I always tell myself I need to go more. I’m now making a pact that Wednesday night is going to be yoga night, no if’s and’s or but’s!
After class I had to stop by the Bikram Yoga studio on the UES to pick up the heaviest box of juices I have every tried to carry. I definitely got an arm workout! Juices for what? Tomorrow I am starting a 3-day juice feast through the BluePrintCleanse! This is my second time doing a three-day cleanse and I’m super excited. It’s tough to do, I’m not going to lie, but I really wanted to do this to get myself back on track. Recently I’ve been letting myself get bogged down by stress, work, etc. and I have noticed all of my sugar & junk food craving slowly creep back into my life which is not ok. I honestly hate when it does to my state of mind as well as my skin.
The pre-cleanse instructions state “LISTEN UP! NO farewell-to-solid- foods-with-a-steak-and-martini dinner the night before you start. You will NOT be a happy camper by the end of Day One. And that’s a promise”. Well considering I don’t eat meat, I don’t have to worry about that, but I still tried to keep my eats pretty clean today.
I started off with a big salad filled with cukes, chickpeas, olives & an amazing homemade dijon mustard vinaigrette. Followed by some edamame and stove top popcorn (that I ate too quick to get a picture of).
I’m nervous about tomorrow because I always have trouble getting into the cleanse despite not actually being hungry… I just sorta miss chewing. They give you a list of “cheat foods”, but for $195 for three days, I refuse to cheat! I do love the little Fact Sheet they include though which explains all the benefits of each ingredient. Wish me luck, I’ll be back with a full recap tomorrow!! Check out what I got for picking the stuff up at Bikram by the way… a pass for a $30, 30-day Bikram Yoga membership!
The weather outside is definitely frightful today… rain, rain and more rain! I’m sure the trees and flowers are loving it, but despite my affinity with plant-life, enjoying getting rained on is not something that we share. Summer rains are a whole different beast of course, but that’s because I strangely enjoy thunder and lighting. Plus getting wet when it’s warm out is far different than a 40 degree, cold, rainy day. Clearly I needed something warm, spicy and comforting to dry me out from the inside out! Enter the falafel.
I seriously love falafel, yet for some reason I have never in my life tried to make it before! Since this was my first time and all, I um, used a mix. :oops: Don’t judge!! It was actually pretty amazing… I highly recommend it.
I used the Fantastic Foods brand mix because the ingredients were all natural and mostly organic and it was 100% vegan. True, I’m not a full vegan (and even had a tiny bit of yogurt with these), but I mainly eat a diet that is 90% vegan out of personal preference.
These were to die for… both in salad form and gyro form! I topped it with some homemade tzatziki/cacik sauce. I didn’t have cucumber so it wasn’t traditional and I kind of melded the two recipes anyway. I used 0% plain Chobani, 1 clove garlic mashed into paste, a dash dried mint, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1 tbsp finely minced white onion, salt to taste, and the juice from 1/2 a lemon. Divine!
Well I’m off to catch up on some episodes of Life. Sooo obsessed with that show! If you guys have never seen it you should totally check it out – it’s on Discovery Channel and has some of the most amazing animal/nature shots I’ve ever seen.
I thought I would write a quick explanation on food combining since I mentioned it in my last post. I know some people approach food combining differently, so I wanted to explain the way I have decided to follow them based off Natalia Rose’s approach. I have mapped out some simple rules & exceptions.
There are 4 basic groups (excluding non-starchy veggies); fruit, nuts/seeds, fleshes and starches. These groups should not ever be eaten together, but can all be enjoyed with raw or cooked non-starchy veggies with the exception of fruit.
Starch: breads, rice, potatoes, avocados, legumes (lentils, beans, cooked peas), young coconut, cooked corn, pasta
Flesh: eggs, fish, poultry, meat (lamb, pork, beef, etc.), wild game, shellfish, cheeses
Nuts/Seeds: all nuts, seeds, dried fruits and mature coconut (small and brown)
Fruit: citrus, bananas, berries, etc.
- Fruit should always be enjoyed on an empty stomach. Fruit is a “quick exit” food which means it can be consumed 30 minutes before another food group.
- You may eat different foods within the same group for the exception of the flesh group – i.e. Do not mix cheese & meat, or fish & poultry.
- Wait 3 hours after eating a properly combined meal before switching food groups; 4-6 hours if the meal contained flesh.
- Caffeine is best consumed on an empty stomach.
- “Neutral Foods” may be combined with any food group except fruit (dark chocolate, raw goat cheese, oils)
A Few Exceptions:
- Avocados combines as a starch, although may also be combined with fruit.
- Lettuce or celery may be combined with fruits.
- Bananas may combine with the nuts/seeds group, as well as with starches.
There is a ton more rules & exceptions when you start to really delve into things, but since I’m just starting out I’m pretty much just sticking to the above. The main thing is really to just avoid processed food and dairy other than raw goat cheese (which is fine since I’m a little lactose intolerant), practice food combining to the best of your ability and listen to your body to figure out what feels best for you.
I like to start out the day with some variation of the Green Lemonade listed in the book, and then have fruit or a fruit smoothie throughout the morning until lunch which I am trying to keep raw. So far this has been making me feel really great so I’m going to continue on. …and of course I am keeping wine in my diet – which is actually allowed by raw food standards!! As is raw chocolate of course!
I would like to introduce you to my new best friend… Gnosis Chocolate. Check out the ingredient list. Could it be? Healthy, raw and dairy-free chocolate?? The ingredient list says it all: Cacao beans, agave nectar, Crystal Manna Blue-Green Algae, Vanilla Bean, Peppermint Essential Oil, Love.
My older sis actually turned me onto this chocolate after she and her husband found it in Whole Foods – and ended up buying about 10 boxes of the stuff! It has the texture of fudge, with just the perfect amount of sweetness to satisfy your dessert craving. Honestly I just can’t get over how PURE this stuff tastes. It actually comes in different flavors and you could get the regular kind called “Simplicity”, but for my first box I wanted to get the Cool Peppermint flavor since mint & cocoa are my favorite combo ever! Who needs thin mints or york peppermint patties though, when you have this stuff?? If you live near a Whole Foods or health food store, stop reading immediately and go out and buy some!!!
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the unveiling of a new line of Lipton PureLeaf Iced Teas… sweetened with Stevia! The event was held at the posh restaurant Butter in NoHo. The space was gorgeous and decorated perfectly for a health-forward event in my opinion.We started off with a short lesson on how tea is made and got to see and feel different types of teas. From long, rough cut green teas to superfine black teas.
Gilbert Kendzior, Lipton’s own Master Tea Blender shared his 30 years of experience working for Lipton buying, tasting and creating delicious tea blends. It was truly interesting learning more about the process of making tea from bush to tea bag. I also learned lots I never knew about Lipton – they are an incredibly environmentally friendly company working with the Rainforest Alliance to ensure sustainability worldwide. We even got a lesson on how Gilbert tastes new blends and decides if they’re suitable for the company.Now for the eats!! Chef Alex Guarnaschelli whipped up an amazing meal for us, incorporating the Lipton teas into all of the dishes except for the amuse bouche – which literally means “to amuse the mouth”! …and the butter of course ;) They were homemade and soo good. I don’t eat dairy too much, but I did sneak a taste.I was surprisingly the only vegetarian and non-dairy eater there, but the chef was kind enough to tailor the menu to suit my dietary needs. I tasted the dairy-filled soup everyone else got and to be dead honest I actually like mine better. :D It was a roasted yellow & red tomato soup with baby palm fronds. I thought the colors were amazing.
My next amuse bouche was toast points topped with fresh made hummus, scallions and roasted leeks (they’re hiding underneath). This was one of my favorite dishes – so flavorful, yet still light!The next course was a Roasted Squash Caponata with Celery Root, Mache and a Lipton Tea Lemon Dressing. Mouth-watering my friends… who would’ve though to use iced tea as a sauce base too?
Ok, I didn’t eat this, but had to show this…That’s Chef Alex in the middle showing her enormous whole-roasted Striped Bass stuffed with roasted Brussels Sprouts, Heirloom Potatoes and Tea Buerre Blanc sauce.Instead of the fish I got the most amazing vegetarian pizza you could imagine. Seriously, this dish made me realize that I NEED to come back to Butter soon because Alex is crazy talented! It had the most amazing pesto, purple heirloom potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes. The crust was so amazing too – it looks oily, yet somehow tasted light and wasn’t even slightly oily to the touch, just perfectly crisp!Finally we finished off an amazing meal with a fun take on coffee and tea. I had an apple sorbet topped with coffee granita on a lemon-tea caramel sauce and tea-soaked raisins. Everyone else had ice cream instead of sorbet… they had no idea what they were missing ;) Ok, so now for my review of the product. I’m a tough critic because while this blog may be called Stevia ‘n Spice, I do not have a huge sweet tooth. I like subtle sweetness (and natural). On it’s own I wasn’t a huge fan of the tea, although I must say it was much lighter and cleaner tasting than any bottled iced tea I’ve ever tried.
However, in the beginning of the event we tried the tea mixed with fruit purees, juices, etc. and I thought they were fabulous. I tried the tea myself in a glass topped off with some sparking water and loved it!! I think the bubbly water added the perfect amount of lightness I was looking for. Also, Chef Alex made a great suggestion – pour the tea and some ice in a Vita Mix (or high-powered blender) and make your own sorbet!
Would I buy this product on my own to drink? Honestly, probably not. However, I really might get this to make some summer cocktails when I’m entertaining my friends. Waaay better for you then a lot of those “cocktail mixers” you find in the grocery store!!
- General Taste: 7/10
- Compared against other “bottled teas”: 8.5/10
- Overall Score: 8/10
Check out what came in the mail courtesy of NuNaturals! I seriously can’t wait to sample everything. I’m quite familiar with the white stevia powder packets, since I tend to carry them around with me so that I can have them handy for sweetening up my beloved soy lattes or for my oatmeal at work. Hey, a girl’s gotta be prepared! ;)
I’ve been experimenting a bit with all the new Stevia products and I must say that I am loving the new Clear Stevia drops! About 5 drops are equivalent to the sweetness power of 1 tsp sugar, but unlike sugar it is liquid so it flavors my food and drinks more evenly since there’s no dissolving necessary. None of that funny aftertaste that is oft associated with Stevia as well – just pure sweetness with no artificial ingredients. I’ve been trying it in everything from Breakfast Cookies, to lattes and smoothies! Come back soon with a recipe for my new favorite breakfast drink – it’s fruity, sweet and green! Sounds gross, but hey – don’t knock it til ya try it!
I’m heading out of the city tonight to visit a friend for a little slumber party :) I’ll be back tomorrow with that recipe and maybe even some pictures from tonight!
This was Curried Squash & Red Lentil Soup from Gourmet magazine and I have to say it was pretty amazing… I only partially pureed this, leaving some nice chunks for texture. Here’s the recipe along with my modifications:
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 (main course) servings
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 1 1/4 hr
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 – 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used a combo of hubbard squash, butternut squash and yams)
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like it hot!)
2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup red lentils
2 quarts water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, then cook squash, yams, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
- Add lentils and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Puree about half of the mixture with a hand blender or separately in a food processor.
I basically just used the recipe from CCV and it was lovely. Thanks girlie! It’s just boiled about 3 cups cauliflower (drained), a tsp of Better-Than-Bullion Organic Veggie Soup Base, 1 clove garlic (boiled along with the cauliflower), 1 tsp Dijon mustard and salt & pepper to taste. Throw everything in the food processor and voila! I added a touch of water to create a creamier texture, but it’s up to you how soupy you want things.
And now the Pièce de résistance… Pumpkin Pudding!!! I made this vegan-style with silken tofu in place of cream and it was ridiculously good! To be honest it was a touch sweeter than I hoped because I accidently bought pumpkin pie filling instead of plain canned pumpkin, but I opened it before realizing my mistake so I can’t just put it to waste…
It’s basically just a cup or so of soft, silken tofu and 1/3 cup of pumpkin purée. Since it was already spiced and sweetened I didn’t add anything, but in the future I’ll definitely be using plain pumpkin and my own spices and a touch of honey or agave nectar. Oh yeah, I also made this deliciousness… Vegan Sausage & Peppers!
I used a whole green bell pepper and one small red onion sliced into strips, minced 1 large clove of garlic and sautéed them for a bit. Then I added a few dashes of pizza seasoning, herbs de Provence, red pepper flakes, a tablespoon of tomato paste and some water to create a sort of a sauce. I threw in some diced Seitan Sauasage a well as some kidney beans for some extra protein… delish!