Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Great God

I apologize for my absence the last few weeks, as you already know, I have been very busy with work, family, and the competition that I am in (only 2 weeks left!). However, in my normal "blogging" time I have been searching blogs, the internet, and books for a good resource pertaining to clean pregnancies.

I am very interested in learning more about becoming pregnant, how to be clean and active during pregnancy, along with clean living and fitness postpartum. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a good, thorough resource for this type of information. I have found that most pregnancy information is either scientific/medically based (not exactly pertaining to natural or clean methods) or it is vague and unsupported by research. Any thoughts or suggestions? I have been thinking that it would be much easier if Tosca just partnered with an MD and wrote a book! :)

Also, I have been in search of a Homeopath or Neuropath that I could go and see for some advice on this; however, there are not a lot of good resources for finding someone that is recommended and would be covered by my insurance. Oh well... maybe I will just have to start a resource of my own to help all of us out! ;)

Last night at church, Mark, one of my fellow choir members, sang a few songs during the service and one of them was a song by Fernando Ortega and Mac Powell called "Our Great God". It is such a beautiful, emotional song and it really touched my heart. This is the best video that I could find to share the song with you.

Have a most blessed day!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Almond-Walnut Butter is Delicious!

Last Friday, before going to Sioux Falls to see Allan's sister's family, I made almond-walnut butter, as inspired by this post. I also made raw almond butter with coconut oil and cashew cream.

I decided to ditch the oatmeal in the morning and this week I have been enjoying my old favorites for breakfast. Allan makes breakfast for me every morning and all I have to do is make my espresso in the Bialetti. Isn't he sweet?

1/2 c egg whites + 1 chicken sausage

1 slice Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread with a thin spread of Almond-Walnut butter

Americano with 1 tbsp cashew cream

Yesterday, I found this in the mailbox...

After skimming through it, I think that this will be a great issue! Just look at those cookies with frozen yogurt - I will definitely be enjoying one of those some time soon!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Scallops with Mango Black Bean Salsa

Last night I made scallops for the first time and they were d'lish! I saw a package of scallops at Trader Joe's and decided that because I had never tried my hand at making them, I would find an interesting way to serve them. I always love scallops at restaurants, how difficult could it be? As it turns out, it is not difficult to make amazing scallops right at home!

I made Dani Spies' recipe for Pan Seared Scallops with Mango Black Bean Salsa. To spice things up, I seasoned the scallops with sea salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. I added these same spices along with some cayenne pepper to the Mango Salsa. The scallops turned out perfect - very moist and tender, with a brown seared crust. However, Allan and I did not care for the red peppers in the Mango Salsa. Usually, I really like red peppers and eat them raw while I cut them up. But for some reason, I did not like their crunchy, slightly sour taste combined with the soft, sweet mango and buttery scallops. Next time that I make scallops, I will serve them over fresh pico-de-gallo or guacamole from the Eat-Clean Diet book.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chia/Salba vs. Ground Flax

I know that there are a lot of people that are confused about the nutritional difference between Chia/Salba seeds and ground flaxseed. I have been doing a bit of research and here is what I have come up with.

This is the nutritional profile comparison:

*Please note that the caloric difference between Flaxseed and Chia/Salba is due to the fact that Flaxseed has 1g of monounsaturated fat and .5g more protein than Chia/Salba. Please remember that monounsaturated fat is an EFA and is GOOD for you. In addition, it has been proven that a diet high in protein will keep you fuller longer.

As you look at this chart you should notice that Chia/Salba and Flaxseed have a very similar nutritional profile. They both contain similar amounts of Omega 3, 6, and 9 EFAs as well as fiber - the two main reasons most of us consume either product.

The main difference between the two is the price per serving. Here is a comparison of the price per serving of a couple different brands of Chia/Salba and ground flaxseed:

*It is best to purchase whole flaxseeds and grind them at home using a blender, magic bullet, coffee grinder (devoted to seed grinding), or food processor. Oftentimes, pre-ground flaxseed can become rancid in the store.

As you can see, the difference in price per serving between Salba and Bob's Red Mill Ground Flaxseed is $0.44 per serving, which adds up quickly. If you consume 1 serving per day, the difference is $13.20/month.

Also, remember that whole and ground flaxseed is available in the Bulk bins of most grocery retailers. There you can purchase Flaxseed for deep discounts. Chia/Salba is starting to pop up in the bulk bins of some retailers, but is still difficult to locate and more expensive than flaxseed.

Overall, if you are a budget-conscious shopper, Chia/Salba is not nutritionally worth the extra money. However, if budget is not a concern, I would recommend trying Chia/Salba seeds because they have a really cool texture when soaked in liquid.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trail Mix, Purple Oats, and Green Protein Ice Cream

It was a cold day today in MN. There were even threats of frost overnight tonight! What is going on?!?

On Friday I made this wonderful Trail Mix recipe from the Eat-Clean Diet website, including the coating. It is a wonderfully yummy snack and I CANNOT keep my hands off of it. Let me warn you, IF you make this recipe, package it into single serving portions and only eat one portion per day. Otherwise, you may never stop eating it.

This is the wonderful purple oats combo that I made for myself for supper on Thursday. It was delightful! It is a combination of the following:
All placed in the Vita-Mix. It was really good, but next time that I make this I will only mix the blueberries, chia seeds, wheat germ, protein powder and almond milk in the Vita Mix and then pour over the reheated porridge, because I really like the texture of the oat groats and brown rice.

Here is the Post Workout Ice Cream that I have been making for myself lately. It is the perfect mid afternoon pick me up!
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 scant handful strawberries
  • 1 tbsp flax seed or chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 frozen date
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 2-3 ice cubes of frozen whey strained from yogurt cheese
  • protein powder

Friday, May 15, 2009


"Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony."
—Thomas Merton

I hope that you have a wonderfully happy and fulfilling day today!

I am off to run intervals and then run a few errands. I hope to be back later with a pic of my yummy green postworkout shake and the purple oats that I ate for supper last night!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Eat-Clean Diet Website gets a facelift!

Check out the new Eat-Clean Diet website for a new look and feel along with some really cool new resources and features all in one spot!

Chicken Sausages

What brand of chicken sausage do you eat?


These are wonderful breakfast sausages that are easy to make, natural, uncured, do not contain added nitrates and nitrites, and are naturally sweetened with honey. Check out the nutrition info and ingredients for 3 sausages.

Note: I only eat one sausage every morning.

Sweet Pain!

I started NROL4W Stage 6 yesterday and I could already feel the sweet pain last night before bed. Usually it take 24 hours for the soreness to set in, but not with this Stage. Stage 6 is optional and consists of strength building exercises to really improve the power of your muscles. I am excited to see how strong that I can get in the next 3.5 weeks!

I put together the Iron Gym last night. It was pretty simple to assemble, as long as you pay close attention to the instructions; although, the tools that come with it are pretty weak. There is only one doorframe in my house that was appropriate to use with the Iron Gym as you need to be able to slide this little anchor behind the doorframe to ensure that the Iron Gym doesn't fall off of the wall while you are on it (that would be a BAD thing!).

I have decided that I would like to start incorporating yoga into my fitness routine. I have always been very interested in yoga and a few years I ago I watched/practiced with the FitTv program Namaste Yoga; however, I soon grew tired of having to fast forward through the commercials. I would definitely use FitTv more often if they didn't have commercials during their programs, but I digress... I would like to incorporate yoga into my routine, but yoga classes at studios by my house are expensive ($15-20 per class) and that is a bit out of the budget right now. So, in the meantime, I have been considering purchasing a few yoga DVDs, using a site like, free OnDemand shows from FitTv, and using the videos that Polly has on yoga is yummy. Any suggestions?

Here are my planned eats for the day:

Pre-M1 - amazing grass chocolate green superfood in almond milk
M1- egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/2 cup overnight oat groat porridge with 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp ground flax, 2 tbsp wheat germ + cinnamon + vanilla
M2 - 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt cheese + frozen mango/blueberries, thawed
M3 - 1/2 pita + chicken + mixed greens
M4 - apple + 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1 tbsp raw almond butter
M5 - VitaMix smoothie: strawberries/dates + spinach + protein powder + frozen whey from yogurt cheese + maca + 1 tbsp chia seeds
M6 - strawberry chicken salad, no cheese and dressing on the side, at DeGidio's for the Choir year end Supper

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Seafood Selector

I just received my monthly newsletter from Dani Spies where she shared a link to a very useful Seafood Selector pocket guide that I thought I would share with all of you. This pocket guide is an easy reference tool to use when shopping and ordering seafood to determine which seafood is safest (i.e. lowest in toxins, mercury, etc.).

In the same newsletter she gave the following instructions on how to determine if your fish oil supplement is safe. I am going to do this tonight!
If you have not checked out Dani's site, you should. She has a ton of great recipes and 101 videos that are extremely helpful and definitely CLEAN. Enjoy!

On a side note, Dani seems to be a fan of Simply Clean, she listed my Chocolate Protein Bar recipe on her site as a recipe that she would like to try. Thanks, Dani!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

My bestie, Jennifer, is in town from Duluth for a few days and last night, accompanied by her boyfriend, Ben, joined us for supper. It has been a long time since we have been together in the same room and it was great to be able to actually see her. There is something special about physically being in the same room with someone that you love rather than phone calls, texts and facebook chats.

We dined on grilled bison and lean grass-fed beef burgers along with grilled zucchini and whole wheat buns. Allan was our chef on the grill and he did a great job. The burgers were moist and the zucchini was grilled to perfection.

Todays Eats Will Be:

Meal 1: egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/2 of (1/4 cup dry rolled oats + 1 tbsp chia seeds + 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 2 tbsp wheat germ + pumpkin pie spice + vanilla + 1 1/4 cup water)
Meal 2: 1 cup strained nonfat plain yogurt + frozen mango/blueberries, thawed + 1/2 of oats from Meal 1
Meal 3: seared tuna + lettuce + balsamic
Meal 4: 1/2 pita + banana + 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1 tbsp raw almond butter
Meal 5: chicken + broccoli + lettuce

I noticed that I forgot to announce my Cooler 1 results from last week. As of Friday morning, I lost 1.5 pounds... and that was on a rest week! I was really proud of myself for keeping the timing of my eats in check and also for drinking a gallon of water every day! I would really like to keep up my water drinking, as I think that it helps keep the chronic headaches that I used to get at bay and keeps my eats in check (especially carbs).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's to everyone!!!

Some day soon I hope to be celebrating Mother's Day with all of you as a fellow mother.

Unfortunately, this Mother's Day weekend was a cold one, so we didn't get to go out on the trails with the bikes, but we had a nice weekend with our moms.

On Saturday night we treated Allan's parent's to the Longfellow Grill. A fun, hip place along the Mississippi River. Lois (my mother-in-law) and I dined on grilled chicken breast over pears, greens, corn, and sweet potatoes with a side of corn bread, which I split with Mark, my father-in-law, and Allan. The guys enjoyed bison burgers topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms with a side of sweet potato fries. No, they were not the nice oven baked variety that I make, they were the full fat, oily variety. I tried one and they were nothing to shake a stick at. Mine are much better. :)

This morning was the last choir performance of the current choir season, practices will resume in the Fall. The summer church season begins soon and we will start attending Thursday night church services - I look forward to this time of year when I get to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday mornings!

After church, we treated my parents to breakfast at Key's Cafe. I ordered an egg white veggie omelet without looking at the ingredients list and was shocked to find HASHBROWNS in my omelet! I have never seen anything like it. I tried pulling most of them out, but gave up and simply ate the omelet as it came. After breakfast I had the worst stomachache. What was I thinking?

This weekend we also went to the movie, earth. I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out and we finally had time to go and see it. I really enjoyed it - the animals were cute, James Earl Jones' voice was very soothing, and I learned a lot about the different species of animals and various parts of the world. Overall, it was a great movie. It would have been the perfect movie to see at an IMAX theatre.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cooler 1 and Biking Photos

As promised, here is a photo of my Cooler 1 Chocolate Oats. It's not pretty, but OH SO YUMMY!!!

Here are my Cooler 1 eats for yesterday:

Meal 1: egg whites + 1/2 red pepper serving + chicken sausage + 1/2 serving Overnight Oat Groat Porridge
Meal 2: egg bake + 1/2 apple serving
Meal 3: bison + green beans (1.5 servings)
Meal 4: chicken + lettuce + 1/2 serving cucumber + 1/2 apple serving + balsamic
Meal 5: 1/2 serving oat groat porridge in Cooler 1 Chocolate Oats
Meal 6: egg white frittata + mushrooms + red pepper + spinach + jalapeno

Here are my Cooler 1 eats for today:

Meal 1: egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/2 serving oatmeal
Meal 2: egg bake + 1/2 apple serving
Meal 3: bison + mixed greens + cucumber + balsamic + 1 Cooler 1 Protein Bar Muffin
Meal 4: bison + mixed greens + cucumber + balsamic + 1 Cooler 1 Protein Bar Muffin
Meal 5: bison + mixed greens + 1 sweet potato

These are a few pics from our bike ride last Saturday:

Taking a break on a beach that was very similar to the one that Allan proposed to me on.

A view of the river.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Yesterday morning I finished Stage 5 of New Rules of Lifting for Women! It is suggested that you take off one week between stages, so I will be taking active rest days until Monday when I start Stage 6. Stage 6 includes negative pull ups, so I purchased an Iron Gym. On Friday morning, I think that I will put it together and start to play around with it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sweet Potatoes are Yummy!

Day 2 of Cooler 1 was just about as good as Day 1 of Cooler 1. I feel like Cooler 1 is definitely manageable as long as you are extremely prepared and have enough good eats on hand to keep yourself from boredom or grabbing for something that is not in the plan.

Yesterday, someone asked me how I like to prepare my sweet potatoes. I usually prepare sweet potatoes in one of the following ways:

1. Bake them like a white potato

I wash and dry each sweet potato and then cut each one into 4 pieces (once in half, then in half again). I then place each piece of sweet potato in tin foil. I cook the sweet potatoes in one of two ways:

A. Bake in the oven at 350˚ F for 35 - 45 minutes. I check them at 35 minutes to see how soft they are. If they are not done, I let them keep baking until they are soft.

B. I place them on a the shelf of a hot grill until they are soft, about 25 - 35 minutes.

2. Make them into Sweet Potato Fries using one of the many recipes that I have in Tosca's books and the CE magazines.

3. Buy frozen sweet potato cubes and steam them until they are warm and ready to be mashed.

I love sweet foods, so I always top my sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Allan prefers his sweet potatoes with Ketchup, BBQ sauce or butter + salt & pepper. 

I have also heard of people using greek yogurt as a topping for sweet potatoes or mixing them into a smoothie with protein powder to make a yummy treat. Try mixing things up and trying out new ways to spice up an old favorite. What is your favorite way to prepare a sweet potato?

Here are my eats for the day:

Meal 1: egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/2 serving red pepper + 1/2 oats serving cooked with 3 tbsp flax + 2 tbsp wheat germ

Meal 2: egg bake (1 egg serving + 1/2 veggie serving) + 1/2 serving sweet potato

Meal 3: Cooler 1 Protein Bar muffins

Meal 4: bison + 1.5 servings of green beans + apple

Meal 5: chicken + lettuce + 1/2 serving english cucumber + balsamic vinegar

Meal 6: egg whites + chicken sausage + broccoli + 1/2 serving sweet potato fries (seasoned with chili powder and cayenne pepper)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cooler 1 Chocolate Oats

I regret not taking a picture of this... No, it was not a pretty site, but it was delicious!!!

Cooler 1 Chocolate Oats

1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup water
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (can use water instead)
1 tbsp chia seeds

Cook oats in water, according to directions on box (stove top or microwave works).

Place cooked oats, almond milk and chocolate protein powder in a Vita-Mix or blender, loosen the top to let the steam escape or pressure will build up. Blend until mixed. (Note: DO NOT use your Magic Bullet for this step).

Place chia seeds in a bowl and pour oat mixture over the top. Stir until combined. Let sit for 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken.

If desired, reheat bowl in microwave for 30 seconds to warm up the mixture.

This was one of the most amazing tasting bowls of oats EVER!!! YUMM-O!!! If I was not on Cooler 1, I would top this with some almond butter and cocoa bliss.

Cooler 1 Menu: May 4th

Good Evening!

Today was a fabulous day! It was definitely the best first day of cooler 1 that I have had so far. I think that my 5 day Cooler 1 challenge is going to be much easier than I originally anticipated. I was extremely surprised that I really did not get that hungry today and was easily able to go 3 hours between each meal. Meal 6 (supper) ended up being a little late tonight because the grill started acting up. It took twice as long as normal to cook supper. Oh well... things like that will always happen and I am not going to let it get in my way. 

The fridge is stocked with planned leftovers: grilled chicken, grilled bison, english cucumbers, steamed broccoli, steamed green beans, romaine lettuce, baby spinach, apples, baked sweet potatoes, and egg bake (with 20 egg whites, mushrooms, red onion, jalapeno pepper, red pepper, and spinach). Next time that I make an egg bake, I would like to add sundried tomatoes!

I am sitting here with Allan in the living room enjoying a nice cup of Passion Fruit Tulsi Tea, relaxing before bed feeling quite proud of myself for my accomplishment with Cooler 1 today! :) 

Here are my eats for today:

Meal 1: egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/2 serving red pepper + 1/2 oats serving cooked with 3 tbsp flax + 2 tbsp wheat germ

Meal 2: egg bake (1 egg serving + 1/2 veggie serving) + 1/2 serving broccoli

Meal 3: chicken + romaine lettuce + 1/2 serving english cucumber + balsamic vinegar/lime juice + 1/2 sweet potato

Meal 4: chicken + broccoli + apple

Meal 6: bison + green beans + 1/2 sweet potato

P.S. I received my copy of the Eat-Clean Diet for Men today. I have not had a chance to open it up and start to read it, but am very excited to take a look when I have time tomorrow or Wednesday!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kicked My Butt

Allan and I went on a nice long bike ride along the Mississippi River. We started our adventure at Hidden Falls Park in St. Paul and biked through downtown St. Paul, stopped at Golden's Deli for lunch, up Summit Hill, down Crocus Hill, to Shepherd Road and back to Hidden Falls Park. Being that the bike path runs along the river bluffs, there were lots of hills mostly uphill on our way to downtown and then a few downhills on the way back. However, on the way back we biked into the wind the entire time, and let me tell you, that was not as easy task! By the end of the ride my quads were burning!!!

Today I plan on making Cooler 1 Protein Muffins for my Cooler 1 challenge next week and 2 pans of Chocolate Protein Bars for Allan. Because the Chocolate Protein Bars are difficult to mix, I am going to try using the food processor's dough blade to blend the dough together.

Allan and I have been really loving these Raw Organic Food Bars lately and I would love to find a good recipe that is similar, because they are expensive.

We have tried a few different varieties and have decided that the Chocolate Coconut flavor is definitely the best flavor. We love to throw them into Allan's Twin Six crumpler bag and enjoy them on a beach along the river (which we have done twice in the last week). 

Speaking of Raw Food, pop on over to Gina's blog, where she is giving away a spiralizer.