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Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

Ok, I know I’ve been promising this bread for forever. Ok, like a week, but still. I’m finally ready to share it today!

First, I want to catch up a little bit. On food. On fitness. Life. Etc.

First of all-my sister is engaged! How crazy is that?? I’m the maid of honor and I’m so happy for the couple! We even broke out the good champagne to celebrate!

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It happened on a hot air balloon in Napa-hwo perfect is that? They stopped by for congratulations and to partake in our grilled nectarine salad (because we got nectarines from Costco with only a few days to eat them…)

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Recipe here.

Another meal I’ve been meaning to post were these beautiful parmesan and spinach soufflés.

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Plus a delicious side salad with herbs, meyer lemon infused olive oil, and aged white balsamic vinegar.

In workout news, I messed up my shoulder today. I was weight lifting with my trainer. We did heavy snatches and I did pretty well-didn’t hit my max but made the lifts I should have made. Then, heavy deadlifts. After working my way up to heavy weights, I did a set of 5 at 210, a set of 3 at 220, and a set of 1 at 230, followed by max reps at 230 (I got 2-apparently my form was going and I wasn’t allowed to try a 3rd with my ‘cat back’). Then,I worked on behind the neck snatch grip presses and snatch balances. It was fine. So basically I spent a lot of time stabilizing heavy weights with my shoulders with no issues. Then since there was a bit of extra time, we did some core work-roll outs. You may have seen those ab wheels before, but I used a barbell with circular plates to roll out. I got a little too ambitious on the first one and roll out to far, and then got kind of stuck and ended up sort of face-planting and felt a pop in my shoulder. I was worried at first, but everything seems to be in the right place and it feels much better than it did initially. The pain is in the same area that my shoulders get creaky, especially this one, so I think it’s just a bit of a sprain/strain. I’m hoping it feels better soon!

In life news, I’m jetting off to Hawaii with my family! My dad has a conference so we’re tagging along and making a vacation of it. To be perfectly honest, I’m a bit worried about what I can eat but I’m sure we’ll make it work. Hawaii is full of nuts and coconut, and the last time I was there I ate both and ended up with a pretty bad allergic reaction to macadamia nuts (this is before I completely avoided them and was still in denial).

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It’s actually looking to be a pretty active vacation for me. I have a 10 mile run scheduled this weekend, which will feel great in the heat and humidity I’m sure…Plus some other shorter runs. I’m also hoping my shoulder is ok to visit some of the Crossfit boxes I visited last time I was there! Other excitement includes another visit to see the piggies.

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The biggest thing I’m excited about it visiting a goat dairy farm! We went many years ago and I remember trying delicious goat cheese. Plus-RUMINANTS. I think as part of the tour we get to milk them? So pumped!

In terms of my health-my stomach is mostly healed but not 100%. There are still times were I feel super dizzy and nauseous, and tums/pepto still has to come everywhere with me just in case. Luckily, at this point it seems these episodes are mostly linked to certain foods. Which can be frustrating, but I’m trying to be better about figuring out what foods and how to better avoid them The list of things that makes me sick includes dark chocolate, onions, mexican food, tortilla chips, wheat, too much sun butter, too much fatty food. The list goes on. I really do feel like some of this is temporary and won’t affect me in time when I’m fully healed, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m sticking to gluten free-all of these breads I make with gluten free flour, and you’d never know it. It seems to be even less noticeable with pumpkin bread than banana bread too.

Which FINALLY brings us to the recipe! I wanted to make sweet potato bread, but couldn’t find the recipe I used in the past so I figured, why not try my own hand at it? Like I’ve said before-I’ve tried very hard to screw up my basic banana bread recipe so I might was well try a little bit harder!

Sweet Potato Bread

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Ingredients

1.5 cups mashed, cooked sweet potato or yam

1 c flour

1/3 c milk

2 bananas, mashed

2 T oil (I used avocado)

1 egg

1 T vanilla

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1/4 c honey (can add more-to taste)

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

Optional: 1 T orange juice (I wanted to moisten it and in full honesty the only citrus we had was a tangerine so I just used the juice from that)

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top

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  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix wet ingredients well, then add dry ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top (this just makes it pretty!)
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.IMG_3644

This dense bread is the perfect segway between summer and fall. It’s a dense, warm bread but doesn’t quite have the kick of fall spices.

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What is your favorite quick bread? What should I experiment with next?

 

Old Habits/ My Puppy is Growing Up

So I know I haven’t blogged much lately. Part of it has been business, part of it has been I feel like I don’t have that much new to contribute! Either way, despite my hiatus, I’m still in the habit of taking food pictures, so I thought I would share some of them, because why not?

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These are spinach and cheese pupusas, and I’ve been sort of obsessed lately. They come frozen, and are basically spinach and cheese in a cornmeal shell.

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Super simple dinner: BBQ chicken, spanish style rice, and green beans cooked in the same style as my garlic roasted broccoli.

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Lunch at Le Boulange-salad with balsamic, chicken, dried cranberries, and gorgonzola.

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Chicken and dumplings with a salad on the side.

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I’m obsessed with this salad-I actually have it for lunch most days. Chicken, goat cheese, dates, nectarine, tossed in a champagne vinaigrette.

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Funfetti pancakes with the family. For the pancakes I just did the banana+and egg trick in the blender and threw in some oats.

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Cooking Light’s lemon parmesan risotto, with a salad on the side. The awesome thing is that this recipe is made entirely in the microwave, so it’s half the work on regular risotto!

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Last weekend I went out to brunch with my friends. I got an egg white omelette with turkey burger, spinach, and cheddar inside (topped with avocado of course!).

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That evening, I went to a Latin restaurant with friends and got delicious salmon over rice.I loved the fruit salsa on top!

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Another Cooking Light gem was this lemon marinated chicken, with a side of feta rice. Super fast and simple, but so flavorful!

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I’m obsessed with figs. Don’t you love summer?

Now-puppy picture overload!

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Nectarine and Date Salad with Feta

Hello! I hope everyone’s week is going well! Today, I’m sharing a recipe with you all which basically what I’ve been having for lunch every day at work, so stick around until the end of the post!

I started work at 7am today, so a quick breakfast was in order. Cherries+polenta+Luna bar. I probably eat too many bars, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I currently have a healthy alternative baking in the oven which is a total experiment so we’ll see how that turns out!

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I didn’t get to have lunch until 1:30, so I was pretty ravenous and tired by then! Lunch was a salad with dates, nectarines, chicken, and feta (recipe at the bottom).

Plus Mary’s crackers.

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I’m trying not to get froyo at work more than once a week, but since I was so hungry, I had a small cup with blueberries.

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After working the rest of the afternoon, I had a quick snack before Crossfit. A random bar I found that didn’t haven anything I’m allergic to (i.e. nuts-which nearly every bar has), a banana, and a couple of pieces of these freeze dried apple/raspberry balls.

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Crossfit was good, but my hip has been bothering me lately when I squat for some reason, so I’m trying to be gentle to it. I worked on power snatches (not landing in a full squat), and did very shallow overhead squats in the WOD which was 12 minutes of overhead squats, push press, and push ups on the minute with an increasing rep scheme. Not a crazy intense one, but I got a good shoulder burn!

Dinner was a few Cooking Light recipes from the Cooking Light app. The app is so convenient-they even make meal pairings with main dishes and sides, and it’s easy to scroll through different recipes based on their principle component (like poultry). Today, we had BBQ chicken which I ate over a piece of gluten free bread, coleslaw, and mashed sweet potatoes with sage and browned butter.

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For a little something sweet after dinner, I had a little sunflower seed butter and raspberry jam on gluten free bread.

Now-recipe time!

Date Nectarine Salad

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Ingredients:

For the salad:

8-10 oz grilled chicken breast, chopped

1/2 c feta

2-3 nectarines, chopped

about 15 pitted dates, chopped

3 large handfuls of lettuce

For the dressing (adapted from Cooking Light)
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T minced shallots
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 t Dijon mustard
1/8 t salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed

Mix up the dressing, and then toss it all together!

Serves 3

 

 

My Life: Puppies, Vet, Food

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What has been going on lately leaving me such little time to post? This one is part of it! She’s quite the handful. Fortunately, I think we’re starting to get through the worst of the biting phase, but it’s still a work in progress. She started puppy school a couple of weeks ago, and already knows come, sit, down, and shake. She’s a bit headstrong though, and still somewhat easily distracted. She listens to every word we say, and cocks her head to the side when she doesn’t know what we’re saying or if she hears a new noise. She puts her tongue and mouth on everything, and anything is fair game to be chewed on. The weird thing is she really likes licking feet and ankles. She’s also started jumping up to put her front paws on all the furniture. It’s only a matter of time before she’s stealing food from counters!

Work at the vet has been going really well, and I really like my job. That said, it’s basically my entire life right now, to the point that I have dreams about it every night.

And finally, food. Because I’m home, food is a lot more interesting! Last Sunday, I went to another Giant’s game with my mom and got cauliflower flatbread.

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And a hot fudge sundae. YUM.

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Oh, and a sunburn. Look at what a beautiful day it was in SF though!

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Other notable and colorful meals?

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A teriyaki bowl with asparagus. Quick and easy.

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An egg white scramble with spinach, nutritional yeast, and lemon thyme salt, plus oatmeal and an amazing nectarine. My friend who lives on an orchard visited me again last weekend!

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My current go-to work lunch. Recipe coming soon!

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Eggs with brown rice/quinoa blend, plus a nectarine for breakfast.

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Cooking Light Asian Lettuce Cups with mint snow peas, plus brown rice/quinoa.

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A post-workout protein smoothie into which I accidentally dumped a third of the container of dark chocolate cocoa powder, hence the intense color. The smoothie was half cocoa powder, and the other half was a frozen banana, soy milk, a pinch of protein powder, and a handful of spinach.

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Froyo at lunch at work. Want to hear something terribly sad? I realized I’m allergic to one of my favorite froyo toppings! Apparently the last ingredient in Heath bars is almonds. On the one hand, this makes me really sad that I won’t be able to enjoy Heath in my froyo any longer, but on the other hand, I’m glad I have an explanation to why I was having a significant mystery allergic reaction. Boo.

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Brown rice+my copycat SweetGreen salad-watermelon and feta!

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A very pale but delicious dinner. Cooking Light’s lemon marinated grilled chicken, rice with feta and spices, and frozen then baked cauliflower with Greek seasoning blend.

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A simple breakfast of eggs, and blueberries/a tiny banana with sun butter.

And finally:

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The Primavera salad from Le Boulanger with no nuts and added chicken!

What’s the best thing you ate last week?

The Answer Should Be Yes

Well hello guys! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? My life has literally been nothing but the vet lately. Animals are taking over my life. Because then I come home to a crazy pup and a needy kitty!

I’ve had no energy or desire to pop open my computer these past few days. The first couple of days were totally exhausting, and my brain shut down before 10pm. Yesterday I started work at 7. I’m there for 9 hours a day, including lunch, and I’m on my feet the entire time. Needless to say, my feet haven’t been too happy about this! I love working at the vet though-I’m getting the hang of things much faster when I’m there 40 hours a week rather than the 4 hours a week I had been doing during school.

What else have I done this week? I went to the Farmer’s Market on Thursday-there’s one in the evenings right next to work on Thursdays. I’ve done some workouts, including teaching my spin class. One workout in particular I’d like to mention is the reason my legs are currently sore, and will only get more sore.

I mentioned it before, but I’m working with a trainer this summer. I trained with him all throughout high school, and in just the 2 weeks I’ve been with him this summer, everything is improving. My Olympic lifting technique is improving rapidly. In Crossfit, I feel like the strength/Oly portion gets glossed over on the way to the WOD, so this is really good. I still need to get a little more confident in my lifts, and my max weights should go up even more. Yesterday we did both snatches and cleans. I PRed my snatch again this week-from the power position. How crazy is that?? Then we did squats. I’m on a lifting program, and this week was sets of 10, 10, and 8. Yuck. High rep squats are the worst. My first set of 10 was 145#, my second was 155#, and my set of 8 was 165#. I can confidently say I’ve never done a set of 10 at 155# before. The thing though is, I never doubted that I wasn’t going to make these lifts. I think the mental aspect of weightlifting is incredibly important, and in high school, this is something that really shaped me in other areas of my life, which is one reason I fell in love with weight lifting. I actually wrote part of my college admissions essay about this. I can’t believe I’m actually sharing this, but I think it is really important so here’s a little excerpt:

“In weightlifting, I learned to push through mental roadblocks, launching myself into uncharted territory. With my mind, I could push my body further than with sheer strength. With difficult lifts, I found that if the thought of failure crept into my mind, I would instantly fail.”

Also note that I was a much better writer 3 years ago-being a science major does not foster the same types of skills…

I think that weightlifting has been a huge influence in shaping who I am.

Anyways, back to the workout. After squats was push presses and bent over rows. Then conditioning. My trainer asked me how my legs were. I said they were okay, to which he replied, “Oh, I thought they’d be shot.”

The answer should be yes, they were shot, because then I proceeded to do conditioning full of burpees.

6 minutes, on the minute:

1. 1 power clean (85#), 10 burpees

2.  2 power cleans, 8 burpees

3. 3 power cleans, 6 burpees

4. 4 power cleans, 4 burpees

5. 5 power cleans, 2 burpees

6. 6 power cleans, 1 burpee

I honestly surprised myself that I even finished 10 burpees in a minute!

But yes, now I’m feeling those squats. I started to get sore 2 hours later. So this should be interesting.

Foodwise?

Breakfasts

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I mashed up a ripe banana with cocoa powder and then stirred in oats. I topped all that with plain Greek yogurt and sunflower seed butter.

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Eggs+oatmeal. My berries to oatmeal ratio was 2:1 which was just about right. Oatmeal isn’t exactly my thing.

Lunch

For the first half of this week, I packed really unphotogenic sweet potatoes stuffed with black bean soup, chicken, and avocado. Plus a veggie. I’ll spare you the pictures. I finally settled on a favorite work lunch of a salad with dates, feta, chicken, nectarines, and champagne vinaigrette.

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Dinner

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Black bean soup with cheese and avocado.

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Salad with corn and avocado, topped with Trader Joe’s BBQ chicken.

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Parmesan encrusted chicken over garlic spinach, with a sweet potato on the side.

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Take out-a chicken burger with dijon and avocado on a gluten free bun.

And of course-this is necessary:

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How was your week?