Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I tried my hand at sushi the other day and it turned out soooo good!  (well, not so pretty, but the taste was awesome!

Here it is!  Just a basic roll! (And I cheated a little by using this little device my aunt got me for Christmas):

Got this from The Olive Oil Place the day before I made the sushi.  New favorite place of mine!  We got this awesome olive oil mister and Pineapple vinegar!!!  (Hawaii anyone?!)
 I chopped some snow peas and sweet peppers to put inside.
 Sushi rice = short grain brown rice + 2 T rice vinegar + 1 T sugar + 1/2 t salt:
 Mixed some wasabi on the side!!
 Sorry for the bad picture, but just load 1/2 C sushi rice on each side of the press...
 Fill with your ingredients, close, and press onto a sheet of nori, then roll!
It's that easy!  I kind of missed the nori, but I made another one today and it turned out beautifully!

Luana ola!

Anyone have a favorite roll that I could try my hand at?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Okara (Soy milk leftovers)

After doing a bit of research yesterday, I found out that the pulverized "flesh" of the soy beans that is left over from making soy milk is called "okara" is japanese.  I thought this stuff had to be useless nutrition-wise but I just couldn't bring myself to throw it away...GOOD THING I DIDN'T!!

It just so happens that okara is extremely nutritious:  having fiber, protein, and still some vitamins left in it.  Soy beans are sure tough even after they're made into much; I'm impressed!!!!  this link shows the nutritional facts of the great stuff!

Just so we are all aware, let's have a comparison of skim milk, rice milk, soy milk, and almond milk:

Skim cow's milk

Rice milk

Soy milk is above

Almond milk

One thing to note here is that the calcium from plant-based foods like leafy greens, soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk are much more bioavailable (absorbed by the body) than cow's milk.  The iron in dairy products and meat actually block the calcium from being absorbed by the body.

Sorry about the tangent...back to okara:  yesterday, I decided to make up a recipe using the stuff and this is what I came up with:

  1. Saute 1 thin slice of onion, 1 clove garlic, and 2 big pieces of broccoli chopped fine, and 3 slices pineapple core in a skillet with 1/4 c veggie broth.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and spicy curry powder, and chopped rosemary to taste.  Then add wasabi powder if you want.
  3. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and preheat the oven to 375 degrees (or get another skillet ready)
  4. spray a muffin tin
  5. mix 1 C okara, 2T wheat germ, sauteed veggies, 2T whole wheat flour, 2T water, 1/2 t baking soda
  6. bake 30 minutes or until golden
*Note:  when done, the mixture will be very moist.  To fix this, I will probably use more flour and less okara in the future.

Step 1:
 Step 5:
 Step 5:
 Step 6:
 Finished product!  note the cute heart shapes!!!

Please feel free to give it a try and let me know of any changes you make!!

Luana ola!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Soy Milk!

Had a delicious breakfast of toast with peanut butter!  I swear, I could eat this every day and never get tired of it!  Along side this amazing dish, I had a glass of our first ever home made soy milk!  This maker is one of the best investments I have made in a long time.  For $125, we got the maker (that can also make almond and rice milk) and 25 lb of non-GMO organic soy beans.
 You have to soak the soy beans for 4-6 hours (or over night) before adding them to the cooker.  This is the beans after 5 hours...plump and about doubled in size!

 Here is the maker and blender
 Just place the beans in the silver canister, twist on the blade/motor, and insert into the kettle.
 Press "milk" and wait about 15 minutes until the machine beeps and the light turns green!
 And presto!  Delicious soy milk!  Now, I will tell you that this milk tastes a lot different than the kind you get in the store because that stuff has preservatives and sweeteners added to it.  You could add these things to your milk, if you want, but in my opinion making fresh milk at home should stay as natural and fresh as possible :)
 Oh, and here's the leftover bean paste.  I did not want to throw this away because I am just not wasteful like that, so after a little research, I found that you can use this like you would use any other mashed bean:  in soups, in batter for quick breads, as added protein to shakes, and the list goes on.
Another interesting fact, is that soy does not have estrogen-like effects on the human body like we had believed!  A good article (with lots of scientific research) can explain it here.

Next up, Vegan recipe books so I can get some research done!

Luana ola!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Brand New Day

Yesterday was an emotional day for me.  I had my last day of undergrad at Carthage and I had been emotionally eating all day.  I did not listen to my body for hunger cues, I just listened to my mind telling me to eat more "satisfying" food to make me feel good for that moment.  After that moment was over, I felt terrible, not to mention I had a bad stomach ache too.  Thankfully, Andrew coaxed me out of the house and to the library where I picked up some great books!  Here they are:

I am reading Savor first and so far, it is great!!  I can't wait to read the rest!
I'm sorry I don't know how to rotate these because they are from my phone...I think I'll start taking pictures with my regular camera again...
 I loved the title of this one and I have TONS of broccoli at home (as you can see, p.s. there's more in the freezer!  Go Costco!)
 I have heard a lot about people going Vegan recently and feeling great.  Whole Foods has a 28 day challenge going on for learning about a Vegan lifestyle.  They give you a book, recipes, and a weekly class at the store to make sure you are being healthy about your food choices.  I am thinking of trying it for the month of February, so I grabbed these books to learn to swim before I dive right in.

While looking through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I found this fantastic quote:
Quote from Ellie Kreiger, "becoming a nutritionist "is like a pyromaniac becoming a firefighter.""
     So true!!!!!  Visit her site here .
She has been one of my favorite chefs on the Food Network since her first episode and this quote made me connect with her even more!  I am a food lover and I will admit that studying nutrition has diminished my love of certain foods.  Not to say this is a bad thing, but I just am more aware of eating some of my favorites and saving them for special occasions.

Luana ola!  Have a happy and healthy day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The End of College

It's official!  Today is the last day of my college career as an undergraduate student!  I have a quick presentation to give and a paper to turn in about The Academy of Athletic Advancement .  I also have work at Parmida today, so it's a full day but I actually get home around 7PM!  That's early compared to what it has been lately (9:30 or later...)

To kick off this beautiful day I had...
OATMEAL!!! (of course)

I don't know what it is about this stuff but I love it, especially in these bitter-cold months.  This morning's bowl was made with oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, soy milk, and mixed nuts for a little crunch on top.  MMMMM...  It was warm, hearty, and satisfying.

Time for a little yoga and really kick start this day!

Luana ola!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Becoming an R.D.

After reading a post from Kath Eats, I realized how important becoming a Registered Dietitian is to me and that there are people out there who have to take extra time and go back to school.  I have been following Kath's blog ever since I started blogging myself and have enjoyed her pictures of food and fun!  I have been wanting to become an RD for awhile now and I know it is my calling, but I got scared when I found out that I will have to take the Masters and Internship program together due to the fact that I already have a BA in Exercise Sport Science.

I have recently been looking at Dominican University and some other local schools.  Andrew has a great career right now and we are going to stay in the mid west for awhile longer.  As much as I would love to go to North or South Carolina or even Hawaii to get my accreditation, it would not be practical.

As for now, I am doing a bunch of research and trying to start a small business (the Salt Scrubs).

My lunch today was a delicious salad!  Considering that it is winter time, I have been more in the mood for comfort foods like warm soups and stews, casseroles, and other hearty dishes that warm the soul, stomach, and home.  After buying a good amount of produce from Costco on Sunday, I figured that salads are going to become part of my daily meal plan once again (I don't want my money to go to waste!)

I then made desert (for after dinner of course).  I am so proud of myself because I made this up right off the top of my head!  I just hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells:

  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 2 T apple butter
  • 2 T flax meal
  • 2 T soy milk
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 T dried cranberries
  • 1 T chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray 2 small tart pans with cooking spray.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.  The mixture should be just moist, not wet but not dry (add a little more soy milk if the mixture is too dry).  Spoon the mixture equally among the pans and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Place in the heated oven and cook until firm and pulling away from the sides of the pan (about 15-20 minutes).  Enjoy!

Luana ola!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Blues

It's that time of year when everyone starts wishing they lived in Hawaii...

The days are short, dark, and cold; and all you can think of is sitting by a warm fire with a blanket and a steaming cup of something hot.  For me, this time of year always makes me want something warm and thick for breakfast:  pancakes, porridge, toast with peanut butter.

It is for these reasons that I write this post.  I really want to start making my own sourdough bread again! I made it a couple times in the past and absolutely loved it!  The fun thing about sourdough is that you can play around with the types of flour used to make different tastes and textures.  I have also learned that home made white sourdough is actually better for blood glucose levels than regular whole wheat bread!  It is something in the fermentation and bacteria that aids in digestion and breaks down the gluten and proteins so our bodies don't have to.  A basic sour dough starter is 1 c flour and 1 c warm water; mix and let sit overnight, up to a week in the fridge.  The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor; but be careful because although it's tough to do, the starter can go rancid.  Be sure to "feed" it with 1/2 c flour and 1/2 c water every 12-24 hours.

The next thing I wanted to talk about was porridge and pancakes!  Two of my favorite things!  We all know how to make both easily and very inexpensive, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes...

Porridge Pancakes!!!
All you need is 1 c porridge and 1 egg.  Mix in some spices, dried fruit, or nuts and drop by spoonfuls on a hot griddle.  When they are warm and fluffy, serve with syrup/jam/compote/or nut butters!  Perfect for any day of the week!!!

Oh I almost forgot!  I didn't have a chance to post yesterday, so here's what I made for breakfast and lunch:
This is a rice pilaf with long grain brown rice, pineapple, dried cranberries, thyme, salt, and pepper

Fruit smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, nori, and walnuts

Fantastic spicy curry of brussels sprouts, onion, celery, kidney beans, broth, and garlic

When I finally got to eat it, I topped it with raw onion and red pepper flakes!

More later on the body scrubs!  Please let me know if any one is interested so I can get this business rolling!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ancient Grains

As most of us know, consuming whole grains is an important part of a healthy diet.  Whole grains not only provide a substantial amount of fiber in the diet, they also provide many vitamins and minerals that are extracted during the refining process.  The biggest difference between whole grains and refined grains is the nutrients.  Although many manufacturers have begun adding those vitamins back in to the flour/meal after refining, those nutrients are not absorbed as easily in the body as they would be naturally.

When we think of whole grains, we tend to think of whole wheat or oats.  These are great grains to begin switching to (if you don't already do so), but having only 2 types of grains in your diet can get boring and can limit you to all of the unique tastes and textures of some of Mother Nature's greatest gifts; ancient grains!  These grains have been around for decades and have slowly been eased out of mass consumption until recently.  The reason these grains fell out of popularity is unknown, but I have 2 good guesses:  1)  they take a while to prepare, and 2)  wheat is easier to grow/harvest/refine and is cheaper to sell.  This means that wheat production rose and all other whole grains got pushed to the side.

Thankfully, we are beginning to see many ancient grains in the markets again!  Specialty food stores and most stores that have bulk bins will have many of the following grains for you to try.  The important thing to keep in mind when buying grains for the first time:

  • Buy in small quantities at first so you won't be spending a lot of money in case you don't like it
  • look up recipes and have one in mind before you buy the grain; this way, you are more inclined to actually cook it when it comes home
    • The majority of gains should be soaked for 12-24 hours or at least thoroughly rinsed before cooking to get rid of the bitter taste
Finally, here are the grains!!:
  • Quinoa (keen-wah)- quick cooking and gluten free, complete protein, soft and fluffy texture, comes in  red/black/pearl
  • Kamut- a type of non GMO (genetically modified organism) wheat that is longer and more golden than standard wheat, must be soaked overnight, virtually impossible to overcook, creamy and chewy in texture (great for pilafs)
  • Teff- said to be the smallest grain on earth, 150 times smaller than average wheat berry, gluten free.
  • Freekeh- any wheat that's harvested when its's still green then fire-threshed to give it a smoky flavor and pop, grassy flavor
  • Farro- best known in Italy, this term is broadly used for members of the wheat family that have a nutty flavor and stout build, from farro piccoli that makes a good risotto to slow roasted farro that has a woodier taste
  • Millet- found in birdseed, has been used as a staple in China for centuries, can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Rye- dense and earthy cousin to wheat, close in taste to that of a walnut.

Remember, the more variety in your diet, the happier and healthier you will be!  So try a new gain this week and let me know what you think!

By the way, sales of the body scrub should be up soon!

Luana ola!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Soy Milk

Right now, I am reading the book called The Food Revolution.  It is about how what we eat impacts our health and our world.  Tons of interesting information that was really eye opening!

One of the chapters that I just finished was the chapter about dairy.  Now, I am a huge fan of cheese and yogurt (which I probably will not give up completely, although there are some very tasty vegan "cheeses" out there, but that's another post) but I have heard before reading this book that due to the fact that dairy is an animal product, it can actually weaken our bones even though it has calcium and added vitamin D.  The problem here is the protein make up of dairy.  As humans, when we consume animal-based protein, the iron actually takes some of the calcium out of our bodies, leaving us at risk for weak bones and possibly developing osteoporosis.  The good news, is that there are many plant-based sources of protein, vitamin D, and calcium that blows dairy products out of the water!

Green leafy vegetables, like the ones pictured above are loaded with, not only calcium, but vitamin K, iron, vitamin C, and many other good nutrients.  1 large stalk (280g) of broccoli, boiled and drained without salt has 122 mg calcium that is absorbed much easier than the 1 cup (245g) of milk that has 299 mg calcium.  Although the amount of calcium seems great in the milk, the body only absorbs a minuscule amount.  Good sources of plant-based calcium include kale, cabbage, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens.

Another decent source of calcium is in plant-based milks like soy, rice, almond, and coconut.  Soy milk has the highest amount of protein of these milks at a lovely 2.4g per 8 fluid ounces.

Speaking of soy milk...did you know that it is much cheaper to make your own than buying it?  Andrew and I are planning on making it as soon as our equipment comes in.  All we need is the maker and the beans.  Once we get going, we can have soy milk for under $0.15 per glass!!!!!!  That is so much cheaper than any animal's milk and soy milk.

Speaking of animal's milk, I'm pretty sure we are close to the only species that drinks milk from other mammals...ever think of that?

As always, please feel free to post comments and your thoughts, they are always appreciated!!

Luana ola!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Academy

I have finally gotten a chance to sit down and talk about my new internship!  It is at the Academy of Athletic Advancement in Schaumburg, IL.  The website can be found here.  It is a great place to workout and train whether you are an athlete or someone who wants to get into very good shape.  For those of you who don't like to work hard, sweat, and be sore, this place is not for you.  For a while, I forgot how much I like weight training.  I love the feel of muscles working and getting stronger; it's almost like a high for athletes.

I am going to start blogging about my food again because I realized that it really helps me to watch what I am eating.  When I have readers who are counting on me to post healthy and delicious recipes and to be a role model, I tend to stick to my beliefs better.  So thank you for keeping me honest!

Today, I kicked off my morning with a slice of whole grain toast, a banana, and peanut butter.  This time, though, I smeared the PB in the banana (and a sprinkle of cinnamon) and ate the toast plain!  It was a new adventure for me but one that still tasted great and got my metabolism off to a healthy start.

I had a great raw protein drink after my workout by Garden of Life.  The taste is unique and something to get used to, but the ehalth benefits are fanominal!  Check it out:  http://www.gardenoflife.com/

Enjoy this beutiful weather!! 40 degrees in Chicagoland!

Luana ola!