Tag Archives: Almond butter

Plyoburn!!!

This morning I got to attend my absolute favorite workout class! Its called Plyoburn and it can only be found at Castle Hill Fitness in Austin. The instructor, Amid, is intense, and plays really good music for working up a sweat. Its all hip hop :). I seriously dream about this class when I am away at school. Its a mix of plyometrics, lighter weights with high reps, and cardio. And it burnssssogood.

For lunch and dinner, Courtney and I went a little stir fry crazy. She is vegetarian, almost vegan and a good cook!

For lunch, we stir fried some eggplant, red bell pepper, onions, and bok choy with a little olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. We also threw some garbanzos in there. I wanted some carbz so I shoved the veggies to the side and stir fried 1/3 cup rolled oats with a bit more oil. To serve, I mixed it all together (…with a blob of almond butter).

After a day of shopping with zero successes, we decided to drop by HEB for groceries. HEB is a Texas grocery store chain and it is awesome. It is huge and has everything. But its not organic… it just as an organic section. Great prices though!

For dinner, we prepared red lentils by boiling them for 45 minutes and quinoa for 15 minutes. Then we stir fried some broccoli, egg plant, red bell pepper, onions, and bok choy with a little olive oil. To serve, we mixed it all together with Soyvay Teriyaki sauce. And I may have added a blob of almond butter to the quinoa… Delicious!

Get excited because tomorrow is Sweet Potato-Pecan-Quinoa Tamales!! I know I am.

PS… I miss Pace.

The weirdest day of my life.

Yesterday started out pretty typical. I woke up and ate the last straggling products of the kitchen. Then, I went to the coffee shop a few blocks away, Java Jones, and chugged a coffee (light roast, large, whole milk) and used their internet. It was the day I wanted to move out of the house and put all my stuff into storage, except for what I would want for the rest of summer. I will be spending summer home in Austin, Tx and also in Tibet! Then, in September I will come back to Santa Barbara, pick up all my stuff, and move to my new school in northern California!

Anyway. Back to the coffee shop. I looked up all the different storage units and movers in SB and they were all pretty similarly expensive except this one. It was creepily cheap. Like, were talkin’ 20$ a month and a free driver and car. So, clearly being a cheap college kid I chose that one. I called them up and the woman said to come down and sign the papers.

So I put the address in my iphone, hopped in the car, and drove. I bypassed downtown on the highway and got off about in the area of Santa Barbara that you could say isn’t as nice as the rest (because its still Santa Barbara for craps sake). I turned off on this street called Yanonali street and was driving pretty slow so that I wouldn’t miss the storage place. First, I saw about 5 men. And then a few feet later I was able to see about 60 Hispanic men all lined up on the side of the road. I thought something was wrong or they needed something so I slowed down. They all started running towards my car and yelling! In like .2 seconds my car was surrounded by literally 40+ men yelling “What you need? What you need?! How much hour?!” I was so confused! I rolled down the passenger window a bit and asked if they needed anything. Amongst the yelling, this one younger guy explained in perfect English that I had come to the road where people pick up day labor.

Excuse me?

He asked if I had any jobs or needed any work done and explained that that was what all these men wanted. They were asking for work and wanting to know how much pay per hour. I said I was sorry and that I didn’t have any work I needed done and asked if there was anything I could do for them. There wasn’t of course.

So I kept driving and found the storage unit about 45 seconds later. All the while I was just incredulous that there was a street where men (I am fairly certain they are immigrants and probably are undocumented) gather and wait to be picked up for labor. Obviously they find work there everyday, or else they wouldn’t go there! Who is picking up these workers off the street and just taking them to work?

I walked into the storage building, which was basically just a giant warehouse. The woman whom I had just talked to on the phone wasn’t there, instead there was a sign that said they would be back in 20 minutes.

45 minutes later she showed up and sold me a storage unit. However, she said that my credit card had been denied and so I had to call the bank and fix the issue. As it turns out, she had typed in the wrong expiration date. Cool. After signing all the papers and whatnot she informed me that today was the day that the driver was off duty, so there would be no truck or driver to help me.

Excuse me?

How the hell was I supposed to move my mattress, boxes, etc my myself AND without a car that would fit it?

Wait a minute…

I asked the woman if I could hire one of the men on the adjacent road for like 20 or 30$ an hour. She said, “Why sure! But just offer them 9$, that is what they work for anyway. Tell them you will give them a tip! A propina!”

Umm, no thanks. 9 dollars per hour is below minimum wage in California. I’m not really interested in slavery, but thank you.

I thanked her and got in my car and left. As I approached the area with all the men, I slowed down and waved over a young looking guy (he was kinda cute!). He didn’t speak any English so I did my best with my Spanish. I told him I could pay 40$ for two hours of moving stuff. He hopped in and off we went.

It was so awkward. I tried to tell him that I am a university student and that I was moving, but I am not sure if was able to understand me. I drove all the way home with him in silence (like 20 minutes). We went in my emptyish house and I waved him into my room and garage and pointed at the stuff I needed help moving. For the next 30 minutes we moved stuff into the car and I finished packing. My mattress wouldn’t fit inside the car so we put it on top. The only problem was that I had no rope to tie it down…

So, we used electrical wires and extension cords. Yeah. Safe, eh? He did a really good job of fitting everything into the car and tying strong knots with freakin’ plastic.

We hopped into the car and started driving back to the highway. I stopped by an ATM and gave him the 40$. Before we had even gotten on the highway, at like 30 MPH, the mattress started lifting off the top of the car and bending backward.

Sh*t. 

I asked him (in Spanish) if he thought it would be okay to get on the highway. He laughed and shrugged. I rolled down the front windows and motioned him to use his arm. So we got onto the highway with our arms hanging out the windows, holding onto the mattress.

We had to drive in the slow lane for the 20 miles at like 40 MPF. The speed limit is 65, but we only got honked at once. I had to pull off to the side to rest my arm twice. I was so afraid a policeman would pull us over. My friend may have had to get the heck outta there if that had happened.

We made it back to the storage unit and in like 10 minutes flat we he had got all my stuff into the little unit. I thanked him and he smiled, said “okay!” and started walking back to the road where I had picked him up.

So bizarre.

I went home, passed out for two hours, and decided to use the UCSB gym and pool one last time. I swam for 30 minutes. I didn’t do a set workout because I just wanted to think about what had happened. Afterwards I went to the gym and did this little number…

Weights Workout

  • 12 bicep curls (15 lbs)
  • 12 tricep extensions (30 lbs)
  • 3x 12 squats with 50 lb barbell
  • 2x 30 lunges with a 12.5 lbs weight in each hand
  • 3x 12 “raises” (I don’t know what they are called) with 50 lb weight. This is where you hold the barbell in your hands, hanging down, bent over at a 90 degree angle. Then use your back and butt to stand up straight.
  • 2×12 step ups (onto a tall step) per leg, holding 8 lbs ball
  • 50 butt/leg lifts per leg
  • 30 side kicks per leg
  • 50 butt/leg lifts per leg
  • 30 side kicks per leg

After the workout I sipped a vanilla protein shake while I prepared dinner, which was delicious and simple. Try out the recipes!

Sweet & Salty Kale Salad: Cook a bunch of de-stalked kale in a pan so that it burns just a little. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil, several grinds of salt, and 2 tsp honey.

Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Almond butter Sauce: Prepare whole wheat pasta (about a cup cooked). In a bowl, mix together 2 tbsp almond butter, a few drops canola oil, and a couple tbsp’s water. Mix and microwave for 15 seconds. Toss with pasta!

After dinner I had to pack up my stuff for the rest of summer. I fit all my stuff for the next three months into 1 large suitcase, 1 carry on suitcase, and a backpack. Beat that suckaz!

Then, I had to clean the house so that me and my house mates can get our deposits back. That sucked. One of the girls left lots of food. Nastyyy jars of spaghetti sauce and moldy cheese. I took out 7 bags of trash. SEVEN. And this was round 2 of my cleaning.

I had intended leaving Santa Barbara by 9, but I didn’t get outta the house until 11:30pm.

This is part two of the weird story.

My plan was/is to drive to Long Beach to stay with my friend Maddie on Wednesday and Thursday (today), go to a carnival/concert with her and some friends on Friday, and fly out to Texas on Saturday.

So, I put her address into my iphone and set off. It said it would take 2 hours, but I figured I could make it in about 100 minutes. An hour and a half later, my iphone said that I was there! But wait….

Im in Pasadena?

I checked the directions and it turns out that my END address had been mysteriously changed to some pub in Pasadena called Brauhaus. Bro-House. Cooool.

I put in her address again and find that I am 4 highways and 45 minutes away from her house.

F M L.

It is now 1 in the morning and I am almost an hour away. Whatever. Im’a do this.

So I get back on the highway and am following directions, but California highways can get so complicated! I was driving and driving and being so careful! It was dark and super foggy. It seemed so eery, like I was in the future world where there is no trees or greenery. There was tons of construction on every highway I got on. 6 lane highways had been reduced to 1 lane, but because it was so late at night, there was hardly anyone on the road besides me and the construction workers. I was checking my map like a psychopath. The highway split into something like “Port ABCDE” and Groves Road. That wasn’t part of my directions… So I took the port side.

And then I ended up on an island.

I still have no clue where I was. I had gone over some kind of suspension bridge and was now off the mainland. There were tons of oil refineries. These giant machines dipping into the ground. And then I proceeded to get lost among all these “Port” roads. There were no other regular cars on the roads I was on. All there was were giant, strange looking trucks with missing cargo holders. I am fairly certain regular cars were not supposed to be where I was. I am pretty sure it was oil refinery crew only.

And I almost drove onto a ship?

Whatever. I made it to Maddison’s house at about 2:45. I used the spare key to get in and crashed on the spare bed. Five minutes later, I got a text from her asking me to pick her up at a party because they were drunk and stranded.

Okayyyy.

I got to bed at about 3:15am. I am so tired. But I still woke up at 8 and can’t fall back asleep.


It’s chickpeazy!

This recipe is for roasted pumpkin chickpeas. You can eat them by the handful for a nutritious snack or, as I recently discovered, you can put them in greek yogurt with almond butter and enjoy them for breakfast!

Recipe: Serves 2

Drain 1 can of chickpeas and roll them around on a towel to absorb moisture.

Pour them into a bowl and add 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp of canola oil, and 3 tbsp pumpkin. Stir them so that they are all coated. Add in 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tsp maple agave nectar. Stir, but not hard enough to break the peas!

If you can, let them sit for an hour or more to absorb the flavors.

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly spray a baking sheet with canola oil (or perhaps you could just use foil?).

Spread the chickpeas evenly over the baking sheet. Try to make the layer only 1 chickpea deep. There will be pumpkin clumps and chunks!

Bake for 25 minutes. Take them out and stir them 2-3 times during the 25 minutes to ensure even crisping!

Benefits:

Chickpeas * 1 cup contains 164% of your daily needed molybenum, 85% of your manganese, 70% of your folate, 20 grams of fiber, and grams of protein! Molybenum is important because the body uses it to detoxify sulfites. These sulfites come from preservatives, including prepared foods like a restaurant salad bar! Because of their high fiber content, chickpeas can lower cholesterol, keep you fuller for longer, and prevent a blood sugar spike.

Pumpkin * one half cup contains 400% of your daily needed vitamin A! Also has lots of vitamin C and fiber!

Classic

This is just a healthified version of the PBJ sandwich. Instead of white bread, use whole wheat bread or a tortilla. Peanut butter often has hydrogenated oils and sugar added, so instead try using almond butter (or Nuttzo!). The pink lady apple can take the place of jam, it is super sweet and adds fiber. The apple is the key to fullness in this little sammy. I added a natural jam, Crofters Superfruit Spread – European. I don’t really recommend it. For the price, it is not that great. Looks pretty, right?!

Recipe: Serves 1

Smother a whole wheat tortilla with 2 tbsp nut butter and 1 tbsp whole fruit jam (optional).

Thinly slice half of a pink lady apple and layer over the nut butter. Add a drizzle of cinnamon or honey, if desired.

Roll it up and enjoy!

Benefits:

Almond butter * healthy and filling monounsaturated fats!

Apple * high in pectin, fiber, and antioxidants

Whole wheat * more filling and nutritious than white flour, and has the added benefit of not spiking blood sugar

My version of…. Going Greek.

If you aren’t eating Greek yogurt yet, get on that shi*. It has 3x the protein of regular yogurt and is thicker and creamier. This breakfast has endless possibilities, you can use any type of fruit, nut, nut butter, and granola that you want.

Recipe: Serves 1

Scrape a container of Greek yogurt into a bowl. I love vanilla and plain. Add in a fruit, granola, dried fruit (if desired), nut and/or nut butter. I added in dried Goji berries, blackberries, buckwheat granola, vanilla granola, Maca powder, almonds, and almond butter.

Benefits:

Greek yogurt * All the same benefits as yogurt, like calcium, but with more protein and less sugar!

Blackberries * Have an even higher concentration of antioxidants than the famed blueberry.

Goji berries * One of the greatest fruits on the planet for your health. Sadly, in the US we can only easily get dried Goji berries. Goji berries  contain beta-carotene, B1 and 2, Vitamins C, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Almonds *A great source of monounsaturated fats! These are the fats that raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels!

Maca * Maca has been used by the Peruvians for thousands of years. It is claimed that Maca helps endocrine function which includes sexual function, metabolism, fertility, digestion, and brain function.

Buckwheat granola * Buckwheat has even more benefits than other whole grains. It has B vitamins for energy, more iron, extra fiber, more protein, and the flavonoid rutin!

Banana-Almond Butter Oats

This breakfast is pretty standard for me. Oats are so versatile, you can theme your breakfast any way you want. This creation is banana-almond oats! Coconut butter on top is also a favorite.

Recipe: Serves 1 lazy lady/man.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk (regular, almond, or coconut)
  • optional: tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 banana, ripe
  • 1-2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • salt, cinnamon, Maca powder (optional) to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp almond butter

Directions – Microwave 1/2 cup oats with a bit under 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, and an optional sprinkle of chia seeds for 3 minutes.

When it is finished, in another bowl, microwave half a banana for about a minute until hot and melty.

Stir into your oats 1tsp vanilla, a dash of salt, a dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp of Maca powder, and 1-4 tablespoons of egg whites (depending on how much protein you want; they also make it creamy).  Then stir in your melty sweet banana and top with a heaping tablespoon of almond butter!

Benefits:

Oats * A slow digesting carbohydrate that will keep you full for longer and not spike your blood sugar because of its high fiber content! Also contains potassium, phosphorous, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.

Banana * A good source of fiber and potassium.

Almond butter *A great source of monounsaturated fats! These are the fats that raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels!

Maca * Maca has been used by the Peruvians for thousands of years. It is claimed that Maca helps endocrine function which includes sexual function, metabolism, fertility, digestion, and brain function.

Chia * Used by the ancient Aztecs, it was considered food of the Gods. They contain omega 3′s, B vitamins, calcium, niacin, and thiamin. The ratio of protein to carbs to fat is perfect!

This will make you a breakfast eater.

This is my 2nd favorite oat combo. I ran out of shredded coconut and slivered almonds for a pretty topping, so lets just pretend…

Easy, Classic Oatmeal

Recipe: Serves 1. Gluten Free.

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats or oat bran
  • 1/2 cup milk (regular, almond, or coconut)
  • 1 banana, ripe
  • dash salt
  • dash chia seeds
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp Maca (optional)
  • 1 large egg white or 2 tbsp egg whites
  • Toppings: coconut butter, almond butter, coconut shreds, sliced almonds, nuts, seeds, etc

Directions – Microwave half a cup of rolled oats (or oatbran!) with a little under half a cup of milk and half a cup of water for about 3 minutes. Be sure to use a tall bowl! In another bowl, microwave a frozen banana until its squishy, about a minute. Stir the banana, a dash of salt, a dash of chia seeds, a few drops of vanilla, a teaspoon of Maca, and a tablespoon or 2 of egg whites into the oats. Top with an overflowing tablespoon of almond butter and coconut butter. I put the almond butter into the spoon first and then pour the coconut butter on top. Top with a pinch of slivered almonds and shredded coconut!

Benefits:

Oats * A slow digesting carbohydrate that will keep you full for longer and not spike your blood sugar because of its high fiber content! Also contains potassium, phosphorous, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.

Almond butter *A great source of monounsaturated fats! These are the fats that raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels!

Maca * Maca has been used by the Peruvians for thousands of years. It is claimed that Maca helps endocrine function which includes sexual function, metabolism, fertility, digestion, and brain function.

Chia * Used by the ancient Aztecs, it was considered food of the Gods. They contain omega 3′s, B vitamins, calcium, niacin, and thiamin. The ratio of protein to carbs to fat is perfect!

Milk * Milk has calcium, vitamin D, and protein! Soy does as well.

Banana * Good source of potassium, fiber, and healthy sweetness.