Thai Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

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One of the most common questions I get from people when I first tell them I eat a plant based diet is where do you get your protein from?

It’s a valid question for sure. Most people don’t realize plant based foods do contain protein. Plants don’t have as much protein as a slab of meat of course, but plant protein is well used by the human body and best of all, it doesn’t slow our bodies down while trying to digest and absorb it.

The first plant based protein source people think of is…TOFU! Other plant based sources of protein include beans, lentils, quinoa, hemp protein (sold in powder form), tempeh, amaranth, even rice and potatoes have protein.

I am trying to eat more protein these days. So I created a delicious Red Curry just like you would get in a restaraunt. I used bell pepper and French green beans for my vegetables but you can use any veggie you like! Zucchini or broccoli would be especially good. If you like lots of broth with your curry add extra vegetable broth or coconut milk, or better yet, both!

Also, I cook in large quantities. Every Sunday night I make a big batch of something and that’s what I eat for lunch all week. I know that’s not normal. But because I do that I use a very huge skillet. It’s a 5 quart frying pan with tall sides to keep food from spilling out. I got it at TJ Maxx for $25 and it was a great purchase! So if you don’t have a huge frying pan or don’t want to eat the same thing all week, halve this recipe.

Ingredients:
2 blocks extra firm tofu, cubed
8-13 oz coconut milk or light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup sliced shallots
1/2 pound French green beans
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos
30 leaves fresh Thai basil, sliced

Directions:
Preheat your huge skillet over medium. Add a little olive oil and the cubed tofu. Let the tofu sizzle for about 10 minutes, then add the soy sauce or aminos and cook for 10-15 more minutes until the tofu is browned. Move the tofu to a large bowl and set it aside for later.

Add a little more olive oil to the huge pan and return it to medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, shallots, red pepper and green beans and sauté for about 5 minutes.

While the vegetables cook, mix the coconut milk, broth and curry paste in a bowl. Add the liquid to the vegetables and incorporate the cooked tofu. Cook for about 5 minutes until everything is nice and hot. Add the Thai basil and stir. Serve over brown rice.

This is the red Thai curry paste I used. It also comes in green. I want to try that next!
This is the tofu I buy as well. I don’t “press” it.

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Slice the tofu in 8 sections, like so.

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Then slice it the other way, then cut it in to cubes.

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I mentioned I used Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of Soy Sauce. Even though they have similar ingredients, the Amino Acids haven’t been fermented and it is gluten free. The taste is very similar in my opinion.

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My Vacation to the San Juan Islands

Hello Everyone!

Last week I was in the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Seattle, celebrating my parents retirement, my brothers 37th birthday and my parents 42nd wedding anniversary! My brother and his wife were kind enough to put this trip together and they rented an amazing home for us all to stay in. There were 7 of us on this trip: my brother Greg, his wife Leslie, their 9 year old son and 6 year old daughter, our mom and dad and me.

I arrived in Seattle and it was very chilly compared to Salt Lake City! I spent a day looking around Seattle and visited Pike Place Market. I loved all the flower vendors!

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I wish I could have taken some of these flowers home!

Next, I took a ferry out to San Juan Island. It was very cold for the first few days of the trip.

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Doesn’t that just look chilly!

The weather did improve though and we found out we were here during the warmest days they have had in the last 9 months!

I went for a couple short runs but stopped to snap some pictures.

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Oh and cool is my nieces shirt? It says “hugs & pugs”!

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Lilly would feel so honored if she only knew.

Every day we went sight seeing. We were always trying to spot some orca whales, but no luck.

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The ocean

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Part of my good looking family

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Me

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Snug Harbor

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Snug Harbor

It was nice to have such a beautiful home to return to at the end of each day.

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Tough Life, I know

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Cute barn on the property

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The living room aka the dance floor 🙂

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The well used kitchen

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View from the kitchen window

I can’t believe I didn’t see a single pug on this trip. I only saw a partial pug. It was half Pug, half Boston Terrier but it had the friendliness of a Pug and friendly owners too!

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Me, on a boat

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Kayaking with my pops!

Thank you to my family for a great vacation, especially to Greg and Leslie for organizing everything and renting that house!

Sweet and Sour Quinoa

Happy Friday!

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Oh man, does that look good or what!?

I highly recommend you give this recipe a try! I have mentioned before that I use a rice cooker to cook a huge batch of quinoa at once. Then I measure the quinoa into 1.5 and 2 cup portions, place in a ziploc bag and freeze. That way I always have quinoa on hand. It is the biggest time saver! Also, I buy my quinoa from Costco which makes it a huge money saver as well!

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cashews coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or whatever oil you want to use)
2 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, diced
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled ands minced
1 red bell pepper
2 cups frozen Lima beans
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
15 oz can pineapple rings, cut into pieces, juice saved
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Pineapple juice from the canned pineapple, about 8 tablespoons

First, prepare all your ingredients. I highly recommend a food processor.
In a really big frying pan or wok heat the cashews over medium heat for 4-5 minutes to toast them. When they are toasted put them in a small bowl and set them aside for later.
Add the oil to the frying pan and saute the green onions and garlic for about 30 seconds or until they are sizzling. Then add the hot pepper and ginger and saute for about 2 more minutes. Then add the bell pepper and lima beans and cook for about 4 more minutes or until the lima beans turn a brighter shade of green and the pepper softens a bit. Next, add the basil, pineapple, quinoa, soy sauce and pineapple juice. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat for 10-14 minutes until all the juice has been absorbed.
This would be good as a side, served with your favorite source of protein or as a stand alone lunch.

Now look at this little dickens! This is my cushion I sit on while I type. I went upstairs for 2 minutes to do some laundry and when I came back down Lilly was passed out on my pillow! Look, no arms!

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5 Minute Peanut Sauce & Lilly Pics

I am a huge fan of peanut sauce. But sometimes I don’t have time to make my real Peanut Sauce so I came up with a cheater version that can be whipped up in under 5 minutes with ingredients you probably have on hand.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, microwave for 1 minute and stir until the peanut butter is emulsified, microwave more if necessary and stir.
Of course you can do this on the stove top as well.

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Now get ready for this. These are the best photos ever taken of Lilly.

Here she is sunbathing.

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Nobody sunbathes like a Lilly Pug!

Here she is looking at a ball. Actually, boyfriend threw a ball for her to play with. She ran walked quickly after it. Looked at it. Cried. Then laid down and fell asleep.

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All photo credits go to the talented boyfriend!

Mango Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Good Monday Morning!

Over the weekend I made one of my favorite recipes. In fact, I can’t believe I haven’t shared it on here before now! This used to be my number one favorite salad up until I came up with the Strawberry Avocado Quinoa Salad.

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I have made this for dozens of people at cooking demonstrations and everyone loves it. At least that’s what they tell me, ha!

This salad is very easy to make and you can substitute any bean or grain if you like. I like to serve it over a bed of greens. Boyfriend chose to eat it taco style in corn tortillas topped with guacamole. But you can eat it any way you like!

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups diced mango (I use frozen because it’s easier)
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 small red onion, diced small
1 bunch cilantro, minced stem and all
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hemp oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked & cooled quinoa
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

Combine the mango, pepper, onion, cilantro, vinegar, oil and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the quinoa and stir to incorporate. Fold in the black beans. Serve immediately or for best results refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the favors come together.

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Then for dessert I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Balls.

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Have you made these yet? No? Why not!? They are so easy and delicious.

Unfortunately, the very next day we found ourselves fresh out of rice krispy balls. On a Saturday night. What a nightmare! Since one batch of balls clearly wasn’t enough for us I decided to double the recipe and spread the mixture into a 9×9 baking pan to make rice krispy squares. A winning idea I must say!

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Have a great week!

Healthy Eating on the Road

Hello friends! Have you missed me??

I was at a fitness convention in San Diego all last week and just got back last night. So, I raced all day Saturday, had Sunday to “recover” and pack then took off Monday morning for a week of well…more working out!

I landed last night, slept a little then taught a 7am class.

I’m tired.

And I have no food in my house.

Which means I don’t have any fabulous recipes to share with you.

So instead I thought I would share a few of my best practices for eating healthy while traveling!

One of the most common statements I hear from my clients is something along the lines of: I can’t eat healthy when I travel. It’s impossible.

It’s not impossible but it does take some planning.

I was lucky enough to be traveling with other health-minded individuals. When we got to San
Diego one of the first stops we made was the grocery store. Boring you say? Nonsense. It was the best stop we made. And we went back to the grocery store every day!

That first night I purchased the following items:
A loaf of Ezekiel bread
A small jar or natural peanut butter
Some bananas
Some peaches
Carrots
Hummus
Veggie wrap for dinner (pictured below)

I had also packed Lara Bars and Vega Protein powder in my suitcase. I put the protein in a ziplock bag then stick the bag in my “blender bottle” for safe travels.

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So you see, with those few items I was set for dinner, breakfasts and snacks. I believe I spent about $23 on my groceries which is about the price of just one meal.

For breakfast I like to have a Vega shake. That’s one of my favorite things to pack with me because then I know, no matter what I will get protein, fiber and a days worth or fruits and vegetables.

For lunch or breakfast or a snack I will make a sandwich with the bread and peanut butter and just slice a banana on it instead of buying agave nectar or jam.

Then I had plenty to snack on with the Lara Bars, fruit, carrots and hummus. If I always have healthy food on hand to snack on I am much less likely to get out of control at the all you can eat pasta bar, you know what I’m saying?

Almost every day for lunch I returned to the grocery store for a veggie wrap made of cucumber, lettuce, tofu and avocado along with a side of hummus & pretzels. The pretzels aren’t my favorite but they come in a handy single serving portion.

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Delicious!

I was rooming with my friend Andi and she is very good about sticking to her meal plan when she travels. Her favorite part of the grocery store was the salad bar because she could get her greens and hard boiled eggs and grilled chicken. It was pretty slick.

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When I’m at a restaurant I almost always get a salad. I know, boring, but I always feel good after I eat greens and I always feel bad when I don’t. So that’s that. I just ask the server to leave the cheese off.

Another good dining option is sushi. I was able to order a pretty custom vegetable roll which was amazing. Sorry, no picture, I was hungry and it disappeared before my eyes!

Now don’t feel sorry for us and our grocery store meals. We still had fun, I promise! Here we are on our last night enjoying a glass of wine.

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Cheers everyone! Have a great week!

Adventure Race Chronicles

Well, we survived! Actually we did better than that, we raced for 12 hours in near 100 degree temperatures and didn’t sustain as much as a blister or a flat tire! Success!

We are now suffering from some “saddle soreness” though…YOW!

We ended up only having to run about 3 miles, not the 17 miles we had prepared for. But I don’t think we were really sad about that. It was really hot.

Here is how the day went:

5:30am: Woke up and ate a breakfast of Ezekiel bread with almond butter and agave nectar (my standard pre-race meal) and a cup of coffee.

7am: Arrived at race check in, received our maps and check point coordinates. The boys plotted the course. More on that later. At this time we learned where the race would start, what order we would be running/biking/paddling/climbing and where we needed to drop our gear & boat off at.

8am: Dropped the boat off at the designated spot. Drove to the start.

8:30am: Arrived at the race start, determined what gear we needed to have on us and what could be left in the gear box and picked up later. We would only have one chance to get items out of the gear box. Snacked on Laura Balls. Made many jokes.

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It was all laughs before the race start! My teammates kept me giggling from 7am-11pm! We were not the most serious racers but I am positive we had the most fun! Those guys are awesome!

10am: Race begins and it’s already about 80 degrees out! We started running, carrying our packs, life jackets and paddles. We had to run approximately a mile to our boat (a 2 person sea kayak that we smooshed 3 people in to). Began paddling.

I lose track of time here. We paddled down the Jordan River for about 5 miles. Our sea kayak was not the easiest to steer. The boys did all the paddling, I rode in the middle. I felt very useless in this section but there wasn’t enough room for all 3 of us to paddle at once without knocking paddles. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of this, but I am positive we looked great. 🙂

Next, we got out of the river and put our running shoes back on. We got quite wet during the river portion but it felt good. From here we left our boat, water shoes, paddles and life jackets and ran to a climbing gym about a mile away via paved roads. This was more like an urban adventure race as we did zero trail running.

We arrived at the climbing gym and had to choose 1 of 5 routes to climb. We all had to climb the same route. We earned time deductions for how high we made it up the wall. I’m very happy to report that all 3 of us made it to the top! I knew the boys would make it but I didn’t think I would make it half way up since I had only practiced climbing 3 times and it’s definitely not my forte. That was my personal success of the day!

Then we ran back to the boat.

Here’s the fun part. Not. We had to “portage” (carry) the boat back to the start which was about a mile away. Other teams had wheels to put under their boat, but not us. We pretty much just carried it. If we ever do this again we will be using wheels!

1pm: Once back to the starting area we ditched the boat for good and prepared for the rest of the race. We changed into our biking gear and packed our bags with all the food & water we would need for the rest of the day! This would be our last chance to get anything we needed out of our gear box. We also fueled up on sandwiches and Gatorade.

Side note: this is the only race I’ve ever done where stopping and eating a sandwich isn’t frowned upon, it’s actually encouraged! That’s my kind of race!

1:30pm: We were now on our way to the mountains where the race would really start to feel like an adventure. Until this point it had all been urban. We started biking on a paved trail until we got to the trail head. At this point, it started getting extremely hot. I was so thankful to be on the bike and not running. Running in that heat would have been…nearly impossible.

Once we arrived at the trailhead we were supposed to hit a “check point” and write that number down. This is was our main frustration with the course. The check points were not where they were supposed to be. The boys are highly trained in land navigation and they are very precise. Unfortunately, the race organizers were not precise and didn’t put the check points where they were marked on the map. This was a huge source of frustration for us because we were doing everything right but ended up wasting a lot of time searching around for points that were more than 200 meters off!

Thats ok, we were in it for the experience of team racing and fun and nothing else.

Now it’s about 2pm and we started mountain biking up the mountain. It was HOT and our heads started pounding. We were drinking as much water as we could and spitting water on ourselves to cool down. With the dry heat it didn’t even feel like I was sweating. Things were rough for me at this point and I felt like I was hardly moving.

Then we came upon a runoff stream. It. Was. Glorious. We stopped and got our clothes wet with the cold water and cooled our bodies. We had a little blue lagoon moment at it was incredible. I believe it totally saved us. Our headaches went away and afterward we felt so invigorated.

We made it to the checkpoint at the top and had a choice to make. It was 3:30pm and we had until 8:30pm to either trail run or mountain bike. We chose to stay on the bike. Our task was to hit as many “check points” as we could and then be back to the top by 8:30pm to head back to the start/finish.

We did great during this part and racked up a bunch of points from hitting so many check points. It also meant we biked for 6.5 hours before biking back to the start.

We checked in at 8:30pm, exhausted from the climb back up the mountain. But then it was time to descend. We must have been ready to be done because we hauled major booty down that mountain. It was by far my favorite part of the race. Oh did it feel good!

Once we were down the mountain we had to bike back to the start the same way we came. I think at this point we really didn’t even care about being in a race. We were just chatting and having fun and enjoying the cooler temps and the darkness. We saw a skunk, some fox and 2 bucks on our ride back! At one point we were like, ‘oh yeah, this is a race, we should probably speed up!’

We made it across the finish line around 10:00pm I think. It was great to be greeted by Jeff’s family!

Since we weren’t allowed to use our phones during the race I had mine securely put away and didn’t take any pictures or track how far we went. I really have no idea how many miles we rode, but I know we rode for about 8 hours.

Then we packed up, went home, ate, showered and slept!

The next day the saddle soreness was unreal. The seams from my shorts had embedded into my tush and I had lovely sores. The boys had their own issues which I won’t elaborate on.

In the end, it was a great experience and I’m so glad we were able to race as a team and I am really proud of us. Thank you boys for racing with me!