Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Noshing with Bunny & Oops-A-Daisy

Well, it seems I forgot to blog on Sunday AND Monday! :( Well, let's see if I can make it up to you.

Sunday, the hubs and I didn't feel like staying a home and cleaning house. It was a beautiful day so we headed for the mountains for a hike along a river. Lordy, were the fur kids hot and pooped. And pooped out. Nothing like fresh air to cause some bowel movements among our dogs! lol At the end, we let them wade in the river a bit and Roxie just did a belly flop in the shallow part and laid there.

I have been cooking up a storm because I went to the Farmer's Market this weekend and loaded up on the fresh veggies. Saturday night I made the best salad:

I was trying to replicate the salad I had at The National. This salad is fresh red lettuce with shaved radishes and red onion with chopped mint and lemon vinaigrette. It was good, not great. Not enough mint. Too heavy handed with the lemon. But I still enjoyed it.

Monday night, I made this scrumptious fish dish ..... chili-lime panko crusted tilapia served on a bed of basmati rice with lime zest and cilantro, topped with a "salsa" of corn, black beans and red pepper. And a big ol' dollop of homemade guac! I think I am finally getting into a groove with tasty, fresh, healthy recipes.

Last night, I made a Mediterranean-inspired "Big Salad" with romaine, plum tomatoes, cucumbers, tuna, feta, chopped mint, toasted pita "croutons" and kalamata olives. SO GOOD! You know we love our big salads in warm weather at Casa Bunny.

Tonight (sorry for the crap photo!) I made polenta and topped it with this amazing "sauce" of Italian sausage, kale and diced tomatoes topped with some fresh grated Parm and served with a side of steamed yellow squash tossed with chopped, fresh basil. My first time cooking with kale and I was a little worried but it was DELICIOUS. I spiced it up with some garlic and red pepper flakes. Really good.

I am so happy that I have just been able to pull together some great dishes this week without a plan or any recipes. I relied on inspiration from my reading and Pinterest! lol As noted above, I feel like I am really starting to "get" the whole cooking for a better Bunny. My one guilty indulgence has been these:

MMMMM! The sweet. The salty. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing. I swear I think I would marry this pretzel if I could. And only 100 calories a pack. So, guilty because processed. Not because lots of calories. Unless you eat two packs. Or three. Not that I have not that or anything.

Well, peeps, I am off. Sorry for dropping the ball. Hope you are all doing well. Be back soon! B.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Noshing with Bunny: To Meat or Not To Meat

Friends, this post is going to be an incredibly short one because 1) I had a HORRIBLE night of sleeping last night (or, should I say, NOT sleeping last night!) and 2) I am exhausted and 3) I have a shit ton of freelance work to do before I can lay my head on a pillow tonight.

That said, I have two recipes I have cooked this week to very, very meaty, the other very, very veggie. They do have one thing in common, however.....they are both from Cooking Light's Website. Here's the meaty one:

Nom, nom, nom....these were DE-LISH-US. And simple. Make a pocket in a thick chop, stuff it full of yummy blue cheese and grill/"fry" in a skillet with a heavy hand of pepper. After taking the chops out to rest, I braised the pears in the pan leftovers until they were warm and wee bit brown. As you can see, I served with steamed cauliflower/broccoli mix and the fancy Kraft mac & cheese. This dish was excellent and, believe it or not, very good calorie wise...if I put it all into the calculator correctly, about 435 calories for a 6 oz. chop which is a plenty generous portion. Sadly, it was later that night we watched Forks Over Knives. But, gladly, having just had this dish, I couldn't imagine totally giving up meat. At least little piggies. Speaking of Forks Over Knives, tonight I started my goal of having 2-3 meatless meals per week. Tonight we had these:

First, right off, let me say that I omitted the bacon. Because this was a VEGGIE ONLY meal. And I didn't have any bacon in the larder anyways. But these were still just as yummers. The sauce is cream cheese and chicken broth but I herbed and garlicked it up. You could really go in many directions with this recipe. Feta would be great. Or "Mexicaning" it up with salsa. Or swirling in a little pesto. Not super great calorie wise (mainly because I gorged myself out on them!) but very tasty. I served with a side of flash sauteed zucchini ribbons. Very good for my first conscious veggie meal.

Well, that's all peeps! Hope you are all having a great week! I am going to go ahead and tell you that I WILL NOT be hear Friday because I will be out indulging in pop culture instead of just writing about it. I am going to a fundraising concert for another local non-profit. So have a good weekend! Kisses, Bun.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Building a Better Bunny: Weighing Vegan

Hello, peeps! Today, I took a "mental health" day from work and have been busy, busy. I did some freelance paperwork this morning, have completed an interview for my freelance work, FINALLY finished rightening my clothes closet for the warmer months (which sadly results in returns....I HATE returning stuff!), finished a few chores, and it's barely lunchtime! Anyhoodle, I thought I would make a quick post before I headed into a busy afternoon.

Yesterday, when I visited Wally World, I also picked up a food scale. I have read again and again that if you are serious about weight loss, you should have a scale. It is especially helpful, I understand, for measuring proteins. WalMart did not have a big selection, but I chose The Biggest Loser brand:

Here it is measuring some yogurt last night (I was making "ice cream" sandwiches....check back Wednesday for the results!). I like this scale because it has quite a few functions (many I may never use), and it is very compact so it will be easy to store out of the way in our tiny kitchen. It also came with its own batteries which was a plus. I see this becoming a very well used and functional tool in my kitchen.

Last night, the hubs and I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend watching it. It made me rethink non-plant protein like Super Size Me made me rethink fast food.

From the documentary Website: "Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. The idea of food as medicine is put to the test. Cameras follow patients who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed."

Wow, was this approach an eye-opener. Like most Americans, I usually drink the Kool-Aid handed to me, but this film will make you reexamine your food choices. In fact, the hubs and I have already had a few conversations about modifying our diet to reduce animal-based proteins. I ordered a few vegan cookbooks this morning to start investigating options for plant-based, whole-food eating. Especially after I looked at my menus for this week and realized I had us down to eat meat EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Big meat. Hamburgers. Pork chops. BIG. MEAT.

I would really be willing to greatly reduce my intake of animal-based protein but there are some items (CHEESE!) I would have a hard time eliminating. Regardless, I think any significant reduction in your intake would have a health benefit, so for our health, I am willing to go down the road a ways, especially since the hub's fams has a history of high cholesterol and cancer, and my fams has a history of cancer, as well. I promise to report back on the journey. I see possibly cutting our days of meat-eating in half to start. The good thing is that, going into summer, fresh fruits and veggies are abundant and easy to come by so that will make this experiment easier.

Well, that is all for today, folks. I have another interview later, need to exercise, and need to go run some errands (returning some of those items I found in my closet!). Oh, and I need to take a shower. That might be important. Come back Wednesday for Noshing with Bunny! XO, B.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wheel of Random: What's Growing On?

Today has been a wonderful day weather wise. Simply beautiful....70, sunny and somewhat windy. The hubs and I had decided earlier in the week to take the day to work in the yard. We are really behind on working in the yard this Spring because of the hub's school, but he finished Friday and has eight weeks off before his next class.

First, I headed off to WalMart to buy some potting soil and plants for the garden. Unfortunately, the weather is still a wee bit chilly at night (we discovered when looking at the forecast) so my plan to plant a little today went by the wayside. Instead, my plants are now residing in my master the GARDEN tub (ironic, no?!?).

What you see is two yellow Romas, five pickling cukes, two red bell peppers, one orange bell peppers, one Thai basil, three Italian basil, and one parsley. I didn't want to pass some of these plants by and wait until later because I was worried they would be sold out. The tub is really receives ambient daylight and make them super easy to water. FINALLY, something good out of that tub (which we never use).

We spent about four hours weeding, cleaning and raking leaves. For sure, there is still much to do, but what I love about working in the yard is that even in a half a day, you can see so much progress. Here's a peek at the back yard:

Our peonies also are in bloom. Here is a beautiful one I picked and put in our kitchen window to enjoy.

Other than that, it's been a regular weekend....chores, errands, etc. Roxie wishes to tell all of you, "HELLO!" So, here she is:

Hope you all are having a great weekend! Be back tomorrow with a Building a Better Bunny post! Later taters! B.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oh, Crap!

Well, I TOTALLY forgot to post yesterday, peeps. I am really busy today....haircut this morning, some chores I need to get out of the way this afternoon, and then off to a dinner party later this evening, so I will need to make this a quickie. But everyone likes a quickie, right?!?! :)

Last weekend, we received The Descendants through Netflix and the hubs and I both really enjoyed it. It wasn't really what I expected, but in a good way. The girl who played the older daughter was great. George Clooney was good, but when is he not good? Or at least good to look at? I would recommend it highly.

My current guilty pleasure/ear wig song is We Found Love by Rihanna. I am loving exercising to it. And I sing it all day. Just about every day. And have been for weeks.

The next book I think I am going to read is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoolt. This book has literally been sitting on my bedside table for years. I don't know why I keep passing it over, but I am going to make myself finally pick it up.

From Amazon: "From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories?"

Compelling, no?? I think I am ready for a compelling read. I will report back after I finish it and let you know what I think.

Well, that's all folks! I am off to scrub toilets and wash doggie stuff. Have a great weekend! B.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Noshing with Bunny: Making the Grade

I promise that ALL my posts from here on out won't be about healthy shizz, BUT I have been trying to modify my culinary skills to trim down my recipes and to include some new items in rotation that are delish AND healthy. So, I thought I would share a few of my successes...and failures...with ya'll.

First up...I made this one up. Black beans & corn nachos. A can of corn (low sodium, rinsed), a can of black beans (rinsed), a can of Rotel (I was out of fresh tomatoes), red onions, cilantro, a squeeze of line, and a sprinkle of Mexican cheese served with baked chips. Yummy Mexican fix. GRADE: A-

Shells with ricotta, mushrooms and spinach. I found this recipe on Pinterest. I used jarred sauce (Prego Heart Healthy) with part-skim ricotta and low-fat mozzarella, but found the filling could have used a wee bit more seasoning. GRADE: B+

These are those diet Coke mix a box of brownie mix with a can of diet Coke. These were, well, sorta gross. The top had a weird "crust" and the texture was weirdly rubbery. Even the hubs, who will eat about anything sweet, threw out after trying to eat them twice. It just took me once. BLEH. I would rather make the real thing and just suck up the calories. GRADE: D

Oh, a cocktail! I call this one the "Mocklada" as in mock pina colada. I found the inspiration HERE. Basically, you use the pineapple flavored coconut water (GREAT new discovery!), dark rum (I used Kraken...mmmmm!), but instead of plain seltzer, I used pineapple coconut seltzer (zero calories!) I found at WalMart. You can have one of these for about 120 calories. So refreshing and tasty! GRADE: A

Then, I made these yummy fish tacos. I baked frozen tilapia sprinkled with chipotle seasoning. But the best part of this was the underpinnings.....I shredded romaine then heavily coated it with lime juice and a heavy hand of cilantro. I used to coat it with Spicy Ranch dressing. This option was definitely more ass-friendly and very filling. GRADE: A-

If any of you have any delish but healthy recipes to share, but give me a shout. I hope you are enjoying the new structure of the blog. Again, I promise this isn't going turn into a weight loss blog. But it will be SOME of the focus. :) Have a great week! B.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Building A Better Bunny: My Fitness Toy

So, who knew that fitness had gotten so...fancy?!? I have learned that there are all kinds of technology-based gadgets out there that can measure just about anything up to and including evaluating your sleep quality. Wow. It can be a little overwhelming. There are HRMs (heart rate monitors) and Body Buggs and BodyFit and, the one I have purchased, the fitbit:

The fitbit is like a pedometer on steroids. It is no bigger than your thumb and easily clips on your clothing. Many women apparently wear it on the middle of their bra. I have been wearing mine on my waistband or clipped to my front pocket near the waistband. No reason to get all fancy. The fitbit also is not retails for $99. I, however, decided it was worth the investment for me and would give me a reason to be serious about my new healthier lifestyle. Because I would use it if I invested in it.

The fitbit tracks all kinds of data....steps taken, miles traveled, calories burned, and it also is one of the gadgets that will track your sleep. I have not used it to track my sleep....yet. But I will in the future. When you receive your fitbit, you log onto their Website (membership is free if you own the device) and sign up with your stats and such so it can most accurately track your daily movements.

The best part? The fitbit syncs with My Fitness Pal (see last Monday's post) so that all the data captured is turned over to MFP (you don't have to use MFP though; you can track your calories and such on the fitbit site, but I already used and loved MFP so I stuck with it). Your data on MFP also is shared to the fitbit site. Here is what the fitbit dashboard looks like (this is NOT mine):

Colorful, no?!? I am still learning all this gadget can and will do, and I will admit that I am still not 100% sure I LOVE it. But it is pretty neato. And motivating. Today, I walked 7,806 steps or 3.56 miles. That equaled 495 EXTRA calories on MFP to indulge in should I so choose. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I chose the fitbit over the BodyFit because it didn't make my butt look bigger you don't have to wear it on your arm (the BodyFit fits on your upper arm like an armband....I thought it would fit weird under clothes and invite too many questions); however, the BodyFit tracks your metabolism which is probably a better indicator of your daily calorie burn. Further down the fitness road, I may consider one of those, as well. I don't have a gym membership so I figure this is another way to invest in my fitness future. Hope you all are doing well! Be back Wednesday with some cooking! Love, B.