Category Archives: vegetarian

Ultimate Reset: Part Deux

My hubby has been talking about the reset a lot lately.  He has had to go to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling well and because he has strayed way farther from the post reset life than I.  With him being in Memphis and me being in Virginia last time, he kind of just went back to what he knew.  Since he got back from that job and has been home, we both have struggled.  Him with my cooking not being as processed/not healthy as before and me with trying to keep on my healthy path someone who is not quite there with me also in the house.

Rewind to a few months go when he asked about doing the reset again.  I was like um…didn’t we just do it? It’s not a cheap program and I really didn’t know about diving in again so fast.  But then I stopped to listen really to what he was saying.  He wanted to do the reset again to get back to that place of health and he knows this time with us in the same state, I’ll be there to catch him as he comes off of it.  To keep him from having such a large relapse because I won’t go there with him.  Now the money seemed to not really matter or the fact that we already did this…this started to be something bigger…something that was about him taking back his health again.  It became clear that he felt he needed this to be back in control of his eating and that made it clear to me as his wife that I needed to support him on this.  I had to stop thinking about the fact I wanted to finish Combat or that I wanted to do something for me.  It became about the fact that he needs me to do this to help him and it will not hurt me one bit to join him and support him.

So, today we ordered the dual Ultimate Reset kit.  I was just going to order the refill kits – but it’s actually cheaper with the sale to just buy the whole dual kit.  Considering since we did it last year there have been a few program changes (the soothe supplement, reset in a hurry, and shakeology incorporated into the meal plan if you want to drink it) I was glad it worked out that way.  We aren’t starting right away – we are starting April 21st – so in about a month.  This gives us time to get the new kits (regular shipping from Beachbody is about a week) and time for us to adjust to a new schedule (the man is going to be taking on a new position with a very different commute in April) and avoids the April celebrations (I have 2 bridal showers, a bachelorette party, and a birthday all going down in April and while I am trying to lose weight, I’m also a human who really demands a piece of birthday cake on my birthday) so I don’t have to face a delicious cake on day 2 of the reset or something equally insane.  It is manageable to do the reset and have events…but it’s definitely not preferred if you can avoid it.  And since we have some open time between the party madness and the wedding I am in…just makes sense to wait until the open time.  Of course…I am lucky that my dress for the wedding is a corset back so I have some room to lose without fear because I can just tighten the heck out of that sucker if I need to do so 🙂

Anyway…I’m working on getting a facebook like page up and running so if you want to join me on this crazy venture we will have a place to discuss the whole process.  I am hoping to have a challenge group of 5 people…but the more the merrier.  If you order before the end of March, you can save on the reset.  If you can’t order in the next few days, you can still order in April and have your kit in time to start with us on the 21st.  Here is my before and after shot from when I did the reset in September 2012.

I lost 21 lbs and felt really good by the end of it.  I was sleeping better and had way more energy and was able to handle stress a LOT better.  I’m getting excited to feel that way again…I have never felt as great as I did during week 3 of the reset and the month or so after before going back to a less regimented diet.  And as you can see, I was in a hotel at the end – I finished the last 4 days of the reset on travel for work.  It can be done!

Are you in?  Email me at healthyengineer@gmail.com for questions or check out my Ultimate Reset site  All the deals are listed on my March Promotions page for a break down of what you save with each version of the reset.  If you are interested in signing up as a coach you can do that by going to my main site here and you will save some extra on your kit (it’s an extra 25% off for a coach…which is huge with this kit).

Kale and Feta Breakfast Casserole

I love eggs.  Like I realized during the Ultimate Reset that truly, eggs are probably my favorite food.  So when the man asked for a breakfast egg casserole I was more than happy to oblige.  Enter Kale and Feta Breakfast Casserole (or lunch casserole…which is when I eat it).

This recipe starts with very few ingredients.  Very simple and very easy to find…you probably have most of them at home already.

10-12 oz fresh kale, washed and coarsely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 oz)
12 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. spike seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
First things first, preheat the oven to 375F/190C.  Wash and dry the kale, then coarsely chop.  Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan.  When oil is hot, add the kale and cook until kale is wilted and starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  
Spray a 9×12 casserole dish with olive oil and put kale in the bottom of the dish.  Crumble feta cheese over the kale.  Beat eggs with spike seasoning, salt, and fresh ground black pepper; then pour eggs over kale/feta combo.  Take a fork and gently stir so veggies and cheese are well distributed in the eggs.
Bake the casserole 40-45 minutes or until eggs are set are the top is starting to lightly brown.  I cooked mine the full 45 minutes and it was darker brown and still awesome.  Serve hot.   

There is a note that it tastes good with a dollop of sour cream, but I didn’t have any so I didn’t have it like that. I did serve with a little salsa and roasted veggies on the side, which made a fantastic lunch.  This was a great taste.  I don’t know how familiar you are with spike seasoning, but it is awesome for vegetables.  I used it a ton during the reset to steam veggies and fell in love with it.  It’s very much a staple in a healthy kitchen in my opinion!

Let me know what you think of this one if you try it!

Strawberry Oat Squares with Jam

The need for this recipe in my house because of the man and the desire to start dabbling in healthy sweet snacks and desserts.  We try to stay away from processed foods, so there is a need for a healthy dessert for the times we want something sweet and fruit won’t cut it.  This recipe stood out to me because of the fact she said it tastes like a nutrigrain bar.  DONE.  I love those things and haven’t had one in ages.  I also liked how easy it seemed (and is) it would be to make.  .

This recipe originated from Oh She Glows, a vegan blog.  I was tempted to make the vegan version, however I don’t want to sue earth balance, I prefer to use an organic butter in my cooking.  If you would like a vegan version, just use the same amount of Earth Balance.  I took one shortcut, I went with the pre-made jam instead of making it myself.  I do want to make these with the homemade jam one day.  The other substitution  the lack of Kamut flour was because I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Servings: 6-10

Ingredients
For Oat Base

  • 1.5 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s red mill all purpose baking flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea sald
  • 1/2 cup Succanat sugar (can use brown sugar)
  • 1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds + 4 tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
For Strawberry Jam, use 1 cup pre-made or the ingredients below
  • 2 1/4 cup chopped strawberries chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a pan with parchment paper.  I used a 2 qt rectangular pan, but a square pan can be used.  
  2. To make the strawberry jam, in a medium sized pot add the chopped strawberries and sugar.  Heat over low until the strawberries begin to sweat and it gets a bit watery.  Once it heats through, add in the chia seeds and stir well.  Bring to a boil and simmer over low to medium heat for at least 10 minutes.  Once it has thickened a bit, remove from heat and cool 5-10 min.  You may add arrowroot powder to thicken if desired.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the chia egg and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the oat base dry ingredients (oats, flour, sucanat or brown sugar, baking soda, and salt).  In a small bowl mix the oat base wet ingredients (melted butter or earth balance, maple syrup, almond milk, and chia) and stir well.
  5. Reserve 1/2 cup of the dry oat base mixture in a separate bowl.
  6. Mix the large portion of dry oat base to the wet oat base and mix well.  Pour the oat mixture into the pan and press down with fingers.  A pastry roller can be used to smooth if necessary.  
  7. Pour the strawberry mixture or jam on top of the oats and smooth out.  Sprinkle on the reserved 1/2 cup of oat mixture.  
  8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Allow to fully cool 30-40 minutes before gently removing from pan.  Slice and serve or store 🙂
I LOVE these.  I will definitely have these in my rotation and try different fruit toppings.  I cannot wait to use the strawberry jam recipe except on apples with cinnamon – that will be amazing too.  These are sweet, but a good substitution for the common breakfast pastry or quick grab recipe you might be using now.  Yes they have sugar in them, but they have a lot of other good things too.  Chia seeds (yes those chia seeds) are really little nutritional powerhouses.  And you get the benefit of making them at home and knowing exactly what you put in them.  
One tip I have for you before you run out for ingredients.  This one is a good one for a trip to a bulk store (like Whole Foods).  I was able to buy the ingredients for very cheap by purchasing only what I need.  I don’t bake much and I don’t need a whole bag of sucanat, but the 1/2 cup I needed was only $0.86.  The oats were a dollar and the whole wheat flour (I already had the all purpose at home) was another dollar.  Everything else is a standard thing at my house, so even if I had to buy more jam or fruit, it would be only another few dollars.  Healthy and economical?  Good deal.
Hope you enjoy these delicious bars!!  Let me know if you try them out 🙂

Mexican Style Brown Rice Casserole

As I have worked harder on my weight loss, I have fallen into the habit of doing meal prep of 2-3 meals a week on Saturday or Sunday. It saves me money as well as keeps me on the straight and narrow – meaning keeps us from going out to eat. I wanted to share a new recipe I found and made this week that is extremely easy to throw together but tastes delicious and has a lot of nutrients.  Casseroles are perfect for a busy family because you can throw it together and bake.  I often have left over rice from the batch I make in the rice cooker so this was a great way to use it up.

I am going to write it out as I prepared it, but you can go to the site for the original recipe.  It has a few mistakes or typos or something so you can take that and play with it as you want.  This is my interpretation.

Mexican-Style Brown Rice Casserole 
Serves 6
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 oz Wegman’s mild salsa
  • 16 oz organic frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup organic mild cheddar cheese
  • 15 oz can organic refried pinto beans
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 1.5 cups cooked brown rice (mine was a combo of short grain and jasmine)
  • 10 oz organic frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Coat a 2 qt glass dish with EVOO.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine rice, salsa, and cumin.  Spoon 1/2 of rice mixture into a prepared baking dish and spread to cover the bottom of dish
  3. In a large bowl combine refried beans, black beans, corn, cilantro, and chili powder.  Mix well and spread bean mixture on top of the rice layer.  Smooth with rubber spatula.
  4. Squeeze excess water from thawed spinach.  Sprinkle evenly over bean layer.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese.  Top with remaining rice mixture and smooth.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Place casserole in the oven and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.  Cut into 6 pieces and serve.  
I served mine with a little salsa on top instead of the suggested sour cream and had a salad on the side.  My husband had his with some roasted veggies we had left over.  This meal is incredibly filling because of all the beans and corn in it.  It’s really awesome comfort food.  The serving suggestion is to add more vegetables, but you could easily grab some tortillas and wrap these up as an amazing burrito or have a smaller serving (maybe half of one serving) with a side of eggs for a healthy and different breakfast.  
I also like these types of casseroles because they are very easy to play with to make different variations.  I already have been thinking of making a fajita version that substitutes the spinach with a layer of sauteed peppers and onions.  

January Read – THRIVE

I have set a lot of goals for myself this year and most of them require learning more about something. Business, food, exercise, ect. I will read at least one book a month that is personal development and/or purely to learn something new.

This month’s read is THRIVE: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier. I picked this book after it was recommended to me by another Beachbody coach. I don’t know if I will ever eat vegan or vegetarian 100% of the time. But I do know that I need to learn better how to put together filling and nutritious vegan meals so I can eat more of them and be fueled for P90x properly.

I just started reading this book and will post a review after I finish. I also am taking a Coursera class on nutrition this month. I really need to understand food more and the only way to do that is to study.

Has anyone read THRIVE? Any other nutrition books, especially plant based nutrition, you recommend? Please leave me the titles in the comments of those or any other personal development books you love 🙂

Week of January 14th – Meal Planning

Another week and another batch of meals.  I’m getting back with the meal planning after the crazy holidays and being out of town.  I’m also really working to be better with prep with the hubby back in town.  I did decide that I am going to modify how I meal prep.  I am going to do two meal preps a week instead of one big one.  The man and I get really bored with meals and just need a lot of variety.  So here is this week’s meals we have planned so far:

Orzo and Chickpea Salad – one note – I made this sans mint since neither the man or I are super crazy about it.  it was still delicious.  I served it over a bed of romaine lettuce and green pepper. (vegetarian)

Crockpot Pinto Beans – Haven’t tried this one yet but it did finish in the crockpot this morning…excited to have with rice and salad.  I love beans for protein, fiber, and all the other nutrients. They are SO filling and as I’ve mentioned before – I love love them on the vegetarian diet.  I may grab some wholly guacamole or DIY some to go with these and some corn a la one of the reset meals. (vegan)

Spinach and Bean Stir Fry – This one is from a cookbook I have at home.  Have not cooked it yet, details to come.  (vegan but the serving recommendation from the book is to have with boiled eggs so it’s a vegetarian meal)

Salad – Basic tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell pepper, mushrooms…whatever we want thrown in a container.  I made a greek vinaigrette from the Ultimate Reset guidebook and we eat it with that.  This is a good lunch and I have some fruit with it.  How I get to my veggie servings, especially if I’m having beans and rice for dinner. (vegetarian or vegan)

I also bought a ton of fruit – strawberries, pineapple, banana, and oranges to have as snacks or as dessert.  Shakeology in the morning of course…it keeps me sane as I try to get out of travel mode.

Food Favorites: Eat Drink Smile

I found my new favorite food resource – Eat. Drink. Smile.  She has a meatless section and so far everything I have made has been delicious!  I have had to make some mods due to ingredients and availability…but in general love them.  I find that people that make vegan/vegetarian meals that are not vegan/vegetarian tend to make more filling meals.  Granted, it’s only been a few months of me even living in this world so maybe I should shut up 🙂  But I find her meatless section is full of stuff that I just love.  So far:

Black Bean Jambalaya – AMAZING.  Like seriously.  I didn’t use the hot sauce and instead added a few drops of liquid smoke.  Served it with bob’s red mill gluten free cornbread and it tasted way too delicious to be full of healthy ingredients.  This recipe is vegan but nobody will complain…trust me.

Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Rice Bake – Really really filling…more than I thought it would be.  I didn’t use the saffron – I balked at the cost of it (it’s like $20 for 5 pinches).  But it was fine without it.  Just remember if you use brown rice to cook it in the pan longer (about 2x as long) to make sure your rice isn’t crunchy.

Giant White Beans with Goat Cheese and Pesto – I don’t really live close to Trader Joe’s so I used regular old white beans.  To make it more like what she did, I chopped up 2 medium tomatoes and added them to the layers.  I then added more goat cheese…because who doesn’t love goat cheese???

I am thinking of the list below for the next few weeks:

Cabbage Au Gratin – comments mention adding zucchini to it…which sounds yum

Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese and Spinach

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna – because the 3 most delicious words in the English language are in the title

One of the things I have learned most about being a mostly vegetarian is that hearty meals are not so hard to find.  The main thing to do is to use hearty veggies and beans to beef up a meal.  An extra side of roasted veggies does wonders and don’t be afraid of grains in moderation 🙂  Also – fruit is the BEST dessert!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew

I have an amazing recipe to share.  My husband actually found this one on vegetarian times and we both give it 5 stars.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew (link goes to original recipe on vegetariantimes.com)

Serves 6

30 minutes or fewer

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, diced (¾ cup)
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped (½ cup)
  • 1 Tbs. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 2 16-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 1 32-oz. container butternut squash soup, divided
  • 1 ½ cups couscous

Directions:

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Sauté carrot in oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes more, or until soft. Stir in cumin seeds and bay leaf.

2. Purée 3/4 cup chickpeas and 3/4 cup butternut squash soup in blender until smooth. Add to carrot mixture along with remaining chickpeas and soup. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, place couscous in heat-proof bowl, and stir in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Cover, and let stand 3 to 5 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff couscous with fork. Divide couscous among 6 shallow bowls. Ladle chickpea stew around couscous in each bowl.

Note: The recipe on the site has a picture on the site. I”m not sure what that is a picture of but it is not the picture of the stew. The picture I posted is representative of what two of us got when making this recipe. It’s truly a stew and not at all as dry as the picture on the site would lead you to think.

The one modification I made is that I had this with millet, not couscous. Because I had millet at home and I didn’t have couscous. It was still amazing. I think it would be just as awesome with couscous and next time may use that if I happen to have it or don’t have millet left to cook up. It was SO filling. Perfect if you are trying to eat light. I also had a side of roasted vegetables with it because I’m all reset-afied and think that every meal needs vegetables with it now 🙂 The portions are very generous as well!