April: Seasonal Produce

Happy April 1st!

No April Fools’ Day jokes from me today.

Spring is here and that always means one special thing to me…fresh in-season produce is back!

This certainly varies depending on region for how early in Spring you see fresh foods popping up at your farmers’ market, and I’ve got to say that’s one thing I’m excited about in regards to living in California.  I have very high hopes for the markets here in the coming weeks!

Let’s take a look at what’s in season for this time of year…

When you eat fruits and veggies that are currently in season, you consume produce that contains an even higher nutritional value.  The produce is also more flavorful, fresh, and cost-effective!

September produce from the farmer's market

Be on the lookout for the following fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market, food co-op, and grocery store this month!

fruits:

  • grapefruit
  • honeydew melon
  • mango
  • oranges
  • papayas
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries (my favorite!)

veggies:

  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • avocados
  • beets
  • beans (fava, green)
  • broccoli
  • cabbages
  • carrots
  • chard
  • chicory
  • chives
  • cucumbers
  • endive
  • fennel
  • garlic
  • greens (including dandelion, collard, and some lettuces)
  • sweet onions
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What about Springtime do you look forward to most?
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dark chocolate, please! {wiaw}

Hey friends!

Is this week totally flying by for anyone else?!  I’ve been especially busy lately, but my days are full of great things.

And, randomly, I just have to say – I’m grateful every single day that I’m working towards making my passion a career.  I’m thrilled with the path my career is going down!  I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I’m just loving every moment of it right now.

But anyway, let’s move on to this week’s food highlights…

Love Your Veggies WIAW button

**check out more WIAW posts at Jenn’s blog**

butternut squash apple cereal breakfast bowl

going crazy over this breakfast right now:
a little brown rice + butternut squash (roasted in coconut oil and cinnamon) + a diced apple + walnuts + cinnamon + almond milk

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Well, this isn’t exactly a great picture, but it’s just what I’ve got….

a friend took a vacation to Florida recently and brought back some fresh fruit for me!  She knows me well :)  And this orange from her?  absolutely delicious!

enjoyed alongside overnight oats in a nearly-empty jar of my favorite SunButter

hot pumpkin oats with coconut oil, banana, and almonds butter

hot pumpkin oats with hemp seeds, cinnamon, coconut oil, banana, and almond butter

salad with veggie burgers

salad with homemade bean burgers

lunch egg, carrots, rice cakes with pesto and avocado

lunch. on repeat.

fried egg with black pepper (lots. always), rice cakes (one with cilantro pesto, one with avocado), and carrots

Dark Chocolate Peanut Uber Larabar

one of the new Larabar flavors…loved it!
(fact: I love every one of their bars.)

dinner salad with salsa chicken

another salad…

romaine + corn + sliced grape tomatoes + carrots + salsa chicken + avocado

Theo dark chocolate almond sea salt chocolate bar - healthy dessert - delicious

I <3 dark chocolate.

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What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?

the darker the better for me!

Do you enjoy your job/career?

I wasn’t crazy over what I was doing last year but I’m loving what I’m doing/will be doing for the long-term now!

wiaw: I never get tired of this dish.

I absolutely loved the response yesterday’s post got.  Thanks so much for your thoughts, support, and shares on other social media outlets.  I love that I can share where I’m at and what I’m working on in my life with all of you!

what i ate wednesday button

And since it’s Wednesday, let’s dive into a few food highlights from this past week…

thanks for Jenn for hosting another week of WIAW!

green smoothie - breakfast

I had a green smoothie for breakfast a few times this past week…I love starting my day off with one, even if it makes me freezing cold for 2 hours after…

homemade oatmeal banana bread

homemade whole wheat oatmeal banana bread, toasted, and topped with cranberry apple butter

chili with avocado - dinner

Zesty Sweet Potato & Bean Chili (loved this recipe!) with avocado on top

I ate the leftovers on top of millet (with more avocado on top) – such a good combo

chicken, green beans, sweet potato tots - dinner

organic grilled chicken + roasted green beans + sweet potato tots <–I was craving this dinner for days

mexi-bowl dinner

mexi-bowls!  this meal never. gets. old.

trader joe's takeout dinner with zida peeping in the background

Jesse and I picked up to-go dinner from Trader Joe’s last night after our 5k…a wrap for him, a salad for me, and sushi to share!
do you spy little miss Zida girl, sniffing out the food, who is now tall enough to put her chin on the table?!

theo holiday chocolate bar dessert

impulse buy from the co-op!
it was on sale so I couldn’t resist…totally worth it.

homemade apple & pear crisp

homemade apple pear crisp!  one of my absolute favorite desserts.

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What’s a dinner/meal you never get sick of?

Who has their menu planned for Thanksgiving?

October: Now In Season!

I realize I say this nearly every new month, but I can’t believe it’s October already!  Time just flies…

This Fall-like weather we’re having is absolutely perfect – cool nights, warm days, a little rain mixed in there – I just love it.

The cooler temps definitely have me craving comforting, warmer foods, too.  I *finally* bought pumpkin this past week and already made a batch of pumpkin bread (plus I’ve pinned a ton of pumpkin recipes on Pinterest – anyone else?).  The apple orchard is calling my name, and so is soup – sweet potato black bean chili is on our meal plan for later this week.  I can’t help but snag up deals on the winter squash at the co-op, and I’m already excited for Saturday’s farmer’s market…you can’t tell that I love food or anything, can you?

Let’s take a look at what produce is now in season….

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When you eat fruits and veggies that are currently in-season, you consume produce that contains an even higher nutritional value.  The produce is also more flavorful, fresh, and cost-effective!

September produce from the farmer's market

Be on the lookout for the following fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market, food co-op, and grocery store this month!

Fruits:

  • Apples!
  • Grapes (the end of their season)
  • Pears (again, the very end)
  • Cranberries
  • Lemons
  • Pomegranates
  • Oranges
  • Dates
  • Figs

Veggies:

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Beets  (<–I’ve never tried a beet…I’m not sure what to do with it!)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower (yay!)
  • Celery
  • Potatoes (many varieties)
  • Pumpkins!
  • Cucumbers (nearing the end)
  • Eggplant (again, close to the end of its season)
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • many varieties of Lettuce
  • Parsnips
  • Persimmons  (<–another I need to try)
  • Radishes
  • Squash!
  • Turnips
  • Tomatoes (nearing the end)
  • Peppers

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What foods are you craving now that it’s Fall?

wiaw and highlight reel #1

So last week I mentioned that I want to play around a bit with my What I Ate Wednesday posts.  For today, I’m going to share both yesterday’s eats and some highlights from the past week!

what i ate wednesday button

first, yesterday’s food journal…

breakfast

tropical green smoothie breakfast

a tropical green smoothie
into the blender went: mixed greens + avocado + frozen banana + frozen mango + frozen pineapple + apple cider vinegar + hemp seeds + maca powder + spirulina + coconut water + almond milk
topped with homemade granola + pepitas

morning snack

quinoa raisin bar and an apple snack

an apple + a quinoa raisin bar

lunch

salsa chicken taco, peas, corn lunch

a salsa chicken taco (leftovers from Monday night’s dinner) + peas + grilled corn

afternoon/pre-run snack
*we went to the same 5k fun run that we did last week*

pre run snack - brown rice cake with pecan butter and sea salt

recycled picture

I had the same thing as I showed last week actually, but times 2!
2 brown rice cakes topped with pecan butter and a sprinkle of sea salt

dinner

dinner salad

I honestly wasn’t even hungry when I came home (no real idea why) but I knew I needed to eat something substantial, especially after running, so I threw together a salad.

romaine + quinoa + broccoli + carrots + a hard-boiled egg + shrimp + macadamia nuts + balsamic vinaigrette dressing

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and here are a few food highlights from the past week…

french toast with peanut butter and banana breakfast

french toast for breakfast on Saturday morning!

mug "cookie dough" dessert with banana

I experimented with a microwave dessert the other night and made what tasted just like cookie dough, but didn’t have any sugar or wheat flour.  I have some fine tuning to do but I definitely planned to share it sometime!

smoothie in a bowl breakfast

The September Smoothie Challenge is going strong!

toasted sandwich, apple, yogurt lunch

an easy lunch from Sunday – grilled sandwich, apple, and almond milk yogurt with cacao nibs

a loving spoon peanut butter

I tried out some of the A Loving Spoon nut butter – delicious!

homemade pizza

homemade pizza!!
crust recipe coming your way tomorrow!

gifts from Wild Harvest - animal crackers and tea - organic

Wild Harvest is a major sponsor of the Healthy Living Summit coming up this weekend, and as a kind gift, they sent the attendees some treats!  This package just made me *that* much more excited for HLS this weekend!!
p.s. those animal crackers are crazy addicting.

olive garden drink and dinner

We ate at Olive Garden on Saturday evening with some family – sangria plus plenty of food!  My favorite dish there is easily the minestrone soup.

Mix My Own bags

My order of Mix My Own arrived – I love it.  I have more to tell you about it, plus a code for you to save money on your own mix…more on that to come!

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What are some of the best things you’ve eaten recently?

The Benefits of Eating…Bananas!

Previously in this series, the benefits of eating:

Bananas tend to get a bad rep from some people but I really don’t understand why.  Yes, each banana is about 100 calories but that isn’t much more than an average apple and bananas have so many benefits.  It just comes down to moderation.  From many studies I’ve read, having a banana 5 days a week is great for your health!  Which is very good news, since I eat one at breakfast most days of the week :)

{source}

Bananas are healthy for us because they….

1. contain the essential mineral potassium (probably what bananas are most famous for).  This aids in muscle growth, nerve cell function, sends oxygen to the brain, regulates the body’s water balance, and helps to maintain a regular heartbeat.

2. are rich in vitamin B6, which helps regulate blood glucose levels.  **this is good for pregnant women and women suffering from menstrual cramps

3. contain about 3-4 grams of dietary fiber.

4. provide folic acid, which is crucial for healthy cell division; has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke and can actually improve your mood (due to tryptophan).  **especially good for pregnant women and women trying to conceive

5. are a source of high natural energy.

6. are a great source of vitamin C.

7. contain resistant starch which may increase fat metabolism.

8. score a 91 on the NuVal scale!

9. can help prevent, regulate, or overcome a number of illnesses and conditions, including the following; depression, anemia, PMS, brain power, blood pressure, hangovers, constipation, heartburn, morning sickness, ulcers, body temperature control, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), strokes, and stress.

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Like I mentioned above, I love bananas.
They’re very versatile–just some of the ways to eat bananas:

  • eating them plain, of course
  • mixed in or a topping for oatmeal
  • sliced into a bowl of cereal
  • topped with peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed spread
  • blended into smoothies
  • made into breads, muffins, pancakes, etc.
  • sliced and placed on {peanut butter} toast, bagel, or english muffin
  • grilled (I’ve heard of this but never tried it)
  • freezing and then making into healthy banana soft serve (this is enough of a reason to need a food processor, come on wedding registry! :)

What’s your favorite way to eat a banana?

enjoyed my food and (finally) had a good run!

Hi everyone!  Back at another week…my last week of student teaching already!  I don’t know how I’m not going to cry when I say goodbye to my kids on Friday :(

A week ago I shared a goal with you: the Enjoy Your Food challenge.

Several of you pledged to join in with me, which I was so excited about!  I thought I’d share how it went for me…

Overall, I liked it!  I caught myself reaching for my computer or phone a lot more often than I expected to though.  There were two times where I didn’t eat just at the table focusing on the meal–once by total accident (I grabbed my snack and plopped right in front of the Ellen show, then realized it as I took my dirty dish to the sink) and once on purpose (I chose to lazily eat my breakfast at the t.v. on Saturday morning, it was the weekend after all).

The week’s goal definitely made me think about my food though and it was a great reminder to be grateful for the opportunity to have healthy food available to eat!

If you tried or even thought about the challenge, did it stick with you when you ate this week?  What kind of an affect has it had on you?

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On another note, I finally had a good run this afternoon!  After two weeks of dreaded, tiring, “why on earth am I registered for a half marathon?! what are you thinking?!” kinds of runs, I enjoyed the 4-miler I completed today.  And it came down to this–I made myself go slower.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been trying to run too fast in my recent training and needed to just take my time, think about rolling my feet, breathing, and being thankful for the ability to run at all.  It worked!

So my new goal for this week has strictly to do with my running:
Take each run easily, train for the distance not the time, remember to focus on form, and be thankful.

Do you set weekly goals for yourself?  If so, what are you working towards this week?