Monday, June 29, 2015

That Time I ate my way through New Orleans and Alabama + Clean, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Vegetarian Pho

I had a work conference in New Orleans last week and thought I'd have all the time in the world to catch up on blog stuff, eat healthy, have some quality time for myself... not so much. Not at all actually. It was an amazing time though! It was my first time in NOLA - Harrison flew down on the last day of the conference and some of my friends from Florida came up for a few days on the town. Then we drove to Alabama to see Harrison's family and hit Grady, Montgomery and Birmingham (sadly we were just there for a minute, I was praying for some downtime to finally have a drink with my blog crush Nadine but it was non stop).

For New Orleans I highly recommend every single restaurant we stopped at in NOLA but my favorites were Charbroiled Oysters @ Drago's (I don't even do oysters), ghost tour with Free Tours by Foot, and Frenchman Street. My fav stops in Birmingham: The Purple Onion (Harrison has been talking about this restaurant since we met) and Kelly Ingram Park. Here are some highlights:


Bourbon Street!


Maison on Frenchman Street


Harrison's Grandma Pearl had this food waiting for us when we arrived to her house (no cell service, no internet, no neighbors. Quite different from DC life!)


Exploring his grandma's property - Harrison spent summers here!


Boppin around the farm


This was at our Civil Rights stop in Birmingham. It really got me thinking about how wild it is that just a few decades ago Harrison and I wouldn't have been allowed to even play softball together. And how great all these big strides over the last week have been.


And now it's back to the real world womp.

Before I left for the conference I attempted some pho. Let me start by explaining that I once had  Vietnamese co-workers who introduced me to this incredible dish, but who also always ordered for me (in Vietnamese) and I have never been able to re-order or re-create the exact dish. It's not quite paleo (rice noodles, sorry) but it is super healthy and super super delicious. Mine was also a little heartier/less soupy than your average pho but I loooved it.



Servings: 5
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets ($2.50)
  • 1 12 oz package of snow peas ($2.00)
  • 32 oz broth ($1.50) 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 package pho / rice noodles (I found mine at Wal-Mart! - $2)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped ($1)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced and seeded ($1)
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms ($1.80) (I used a package from Wal-Mart also)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • Serve with fresh basil, fresh cilantro, and sririacha sauce

Cook the noodles according to the package directions (I just put mine in a covered bowl of water and let it set for 20 mins. Too easy).

Combine the broth, water, onion, salt, garlic and broccoli in a pot and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Serve with the basil, cilantro, hot sauce, or anything else your heart desires!

Do you like pho? Do you make your own? What is your favorite New Orleans stop?? 


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Look Ma - No Hands! Low impact workouts with no hands/wrists

So when this whole finger thing happened I was given strict instructions: No activity that jostles the hand, and no using my right hand. Aka no exercising, because when you think about it what kind of workout does NOT jostle one's hand (answer: yoga! But wait, you have to put weight on your hands in yoga so nope).

I didn't realize how stressed out I am without exercise. I have so much energy and tension that gets worked out in daily exercise and walking miles with the dogs every night and all of it was just stuck inside of me. When I told my hand therapist how I was feeling she said "oh! Drink more wine. Really." If only my health insurance would cover that... She also suggested a stationary bike (not paying for a gym membership) and pilates so Pilates it was!

I scoured youtube for low impact videos that don't use hands or wrists and here are some of my favs:

Fitness Blender Pilates for Lean Legs & Toned Core (these two really do everything).



Barlates Body Blitz THIS ALMOST KILLED ME. The shakes kicked in right around minute 7.



Blogilates Extreme Abs Workout (Hello Cassey, it's been awhile since you ripped up my insides)






10 Minute Barre Abs Workout - my favorite part is the girl in the back complaining about how bad it hurts. THANK YOU!

Do you know any good hands free workout videos? Please share!!



Monday, June 15, 2015

Paleo Meal Plan for the Week + Paleo Veggie Bowl

Monday already?!? Whatever, I'm excited because I have a short work week before I head to Richmond for friends' wedding! I started hand therapy last week (yes that's a thing and ICYMI) and got a splint and have been able to use my right hand again- hallelujah!

This weekend I binge watched OINTB (hallelujah again) with a friend and some PALEO FRIENDLY CHEESY NACHOS. Saturday was my sister in law's high school graduation party, complete with a moon bounce - those things are just as fun at age 29 as they were when we were kids, except I seem to fall a lot harder and sweat a lot more? Sunday I was determined to get. it. TOGETHA after 2 weeks of being out of commission. I food prepped:


Which included a soft boiled egg gone rogue:


Went to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries + $100 worth of things I didn't know I needed. I have been hearing about this Trader Joe's rationing coconut oil drama (is that really a thing? I haven't seen it at my TJ's lately so I am assuming it's true?) and was not at all surprised to see Wal-Mart has capitalized on this "crisis" with a whole new section (a little more expensive but it's there!):


I looked up "pantry organizer" on Amazon and ordered the top 3 best sellers (this, this and this), and did ALL THIS (no before picture because just looking at the before is too stressful. This makes my type A heart SING):


I also did a lot of terribly adult things that 20 year old Lindsay would be humiliated to hear qualify a "great weekend", but I guess this is growing up? Anyway, here's my meal plan for the week, lots of experiments and new recipes to come:




A few weeks ago I was browsing Pinterest for plant-based recipes (Netflix has officially scared me away from meat- not cutting it out but def cutting down) and came across lots of veggie bowls but all were creamy or noodley or rice-y so I put my own paleo spin on it.



Servings: 3
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads cauliflower ($5)
  • 2 carrots ($.50)
  • 2 stalks celery ($.20)
  • 1/2 onion ($.50)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 10 oz bag of snap peas ($2.50)
  • 2 bell peppers (any color is fine) ($2)
  • 1 large yellow zucchini squash ($1.50)
  • 1 large green zucchini ($1.20)
  • 1 10 oz package of mushrooms ($1.80)
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil or cooking fat of choice
  • Serve with: I used this paleo Italian dressing but my friend Maggie introduced me to this amazing honey lime dressing that I'm going to use next time)

Cut the cauliflower into florets and place 1-2 cups at a time in the food processor to make cauliflower rice. If you don't have a food processor, I used to just grate my cauliflower on the cheese grater which works just as well (just a bit messier). Season the cauliflower rice with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder and some salt, and saute over medium heat (with  1 tsp olive oil) for about 5-10 mins, or until it is soft.

Now chop all your veggies. I use the $19 Vidalia Veggie Chopper and it takes about 5 mins to chop all these veggies. It's amazing and lasts forever - Harrison's mom has had her's for 5+ years).

Coat a large frying pan with olive oil and turn the oven to medium heat. Start off with the carrot, celery and onion. After about 3 minutes, add in the peppers, garlic and snap peas. Sautee for another 3 minutes then add in everything else, including the rest of the seasonings.

Once everything is cooked, scoop out some cauliflower rice and top with the veggies and dressing of choice!


What are your favorite veggie dishes? Any miracle organizing products your recommend??