Cooking

Blue Apron Review

Hey everyone! I tried Blue Apron and I am so excited to share information about it with you. Blue Apron is a subscription service company that delivers three meals a week to your door. They send you everything to make three dinners for two people. You can pick between a number of options. Such as whether you want fish, meats, or if you are a vegetarian.

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I had a little trouble because if you choose that you eat meat, you are also possibly sent pork and beef which I'm not a fan of. I'm also allergic to shellfish and I love vegetarian meals but was curious about the chicken dish. I can't wait for them to open up the options more so we can pick and choose the exact meals we want. I think I will place another order under the vegetarian menu.

The cool thing is that all meals are typically under 500 calories. I did think that the meals I received were heavy on dairy. We had a beef chili, buffalo chicken and pizza. My favorite was the chili.

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We actually had two days worth of meals with the chili alone.

The pizza was ehhh. We had little success with the dough and it was interesting. It was a white pizza with egg and arugula on it. I wasn't much of a fan.

The buffalo chicken wings were cool. I really enjoyed the side salad that came with it. For the sour cream, I replaced it with Greek yogurt because I'm not much of a fan ... Oh and I removed the skin on the drumsticks before cooking them.

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Overall, it's a cool service and fun. The cost is about $60 a week so you have to know that you will be eating dinner at home and that perhaps you can have leftovers. The leftovers of the chili really made it worth it. And you receive recipe cards so you recreate the meal with store bought ingredients.

I also like that you get sides that are healthy and green and creative. Definitely a great way to spruce of a diet. I get bored with my regulars.

I don't think I will purchase weekly from blue apron but I will definitely check the website weekly to see if the meals are something we want.

Hope this helped you out a bit!!!!

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week at The Cookery

Today, for lunch,  a girlfriend and I visited The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry for their Hudson Valley Restaurant Week lunch. Since as far as I could remember, I've had different people tell me this place was amazing and I needed to try it out. I don't come to Dobbs Ferry often, but I finally had the opportunity and I couldn't pass it up. image

They were all right about The Cookery. This place is good. For $20.95 each, we ate well and took home leftovers. The place was completely empty at noon. I hope that was just a freak accident because the food was so good, this place should always be bustlin'. The waiter was also very kind to work with us. Both my friend and I are a little finnicky, but he allowed us to make substitutes. When we told him we wanted to skip on dessert, he offered up another appetizer as a replacement. That doesn't happen everywhere you go. Usually you have to eat what's on the prix fixe menu and if you don't want dessert, well too bad. I am impressed.

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We ordered and shared the crostino of fresh ricotta, topped with truffle honey and thyme; buttery salty potatoes with parmigiana slavenian fleur de del; fried brussel sprouts with gorgonzola spice; fresh mozzarella made right before we arrived; my friend had the meatballs and I had the cauliflower ravioli with lemon brown butter, garlic, toasted bread crumbs and parmigiana.

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The food was absolutely delicious but definitely on the heavy and salty side. I am happy I had a friend who eats just like I do and we just picked on the foods and savored all the amazing pairings. It does look like the main event for this restaurant is a pig roast and other pork-related meals but I don't eat pork so we didn't try it. I would definitely return to The Cookery again. It's small and very welcoming. Great place to dine.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is going on until November 17th. You should definitely take a look at their website and stop by a few restaurants you've never tried before. You may find a new favorite local restaurant to frequent.

My next stop is Harvest on Hudson.

Focus T25 Day 2

Today was Speed 1.0 and I liked it. The best part of it was that in between each move there was a stretch section. This really helped because my legs are so sore. I can stand and I can sit, but the in between part is really difficult at this moment. I hope that improves. It's funny, you think you are in great shape until you start a new workout program and BAM! you realize there are a bunch of muscles that haven't been used in awhile. That's also probably because I was doing Ripped in 30 for awhile and under that program, you are doing the same routine for 6 days. Your body gets used to it.

I think my favorite part about doing this challenge with a Beachbody Coach is that I am accountable to someone. Every time I look or think about eating, I wonder to myself if this is going to look good on the message board. Seriously! Today, I was in NYC and on every corner there is a Starbucks. I was really hungry because I had only consumed a tiny bit of quinoa....less than a handful.... and I ran out to a meeting. All I wanted was a Grande ICED Vanilla Latte with skim milk and maybe a coffee cake would have slipped into my hands. I stopped myself from walking in the hundreds of Starbucks in NYC and opted for a trail mix snack.

I really don't believe in crazy dieting but I do believe we can always find substitutes for our cravings. It's nice to see my brain thinking this way. Perhaps I did it before but now I am more conscious about it.

The added benefit about working in the city today . . . . I walked 2.2 miles in total!

Meals for the day:

Breakfast: : Chocolate Vegan Shakeology with vanilla soy milk, cherries, blueberries, and raspberries

Snack: Trader Joe's Breakfast trek mix

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Lunch: Small serving of quinoa with onions, spinach, cabbage and cranberries

Snack: Mojo Sweet and Salty Trail Mix bar - peanut butter pretzel flavor

Dinner: Turkey burger with one slice American cheese, quarter tomato, on Whole Wheat bun and a side of garbanzo

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bean salad.

 

 

Look how pretty that is. Contains garbanzo beans, green peppers, tomatoes, red onions, olives, lil bit of lemon juice, lil bit of salt, lil bit of olive oil and lots of love.

I'm sure I will have a snack tonight. Maybe more of this yummy salad or perhaps some broccoli with hummus. I promise it won't be chocolate cake. ;-)

Focus T25 Day 1

IMAG0879 That's what you might look like immediately after the cardio workout. Nothing really beats a 25-minute workout however, that doesn't include the cool down which is another 2 minutes or so. Add the prep time and the moment of shock and silence immediately after the workout and I think  you need to carve out at least 40 minutes for FocusT25.

I expected this to be harder after trying the Insanity cardio. I really liked how he built us up to the harder moves. 10 minutes or so into the routine, you do a "Burnout"  segment which is like Insanity. This portion includes all of the moves you just finished building up to but done really quickly one after the other. He repeats this but takes less time to build you up to the second "Burnout" portion. I felt the workout primarily in my calves and quads.

I forgot to wear my heart rate monitor but I will next time. I'm going to try to continue doing this workout in the morning because by noon today I felt my metabolism moving at lightning speeds. However, I'm going to have to work on my food consumption because I was also very lethargic by noon.

50899-breakfast-trek-mixAn hour before the workout I had Trader Joe's Breakfast Trek Mix. There are 210 calories in a bag. Ingredients: Granola, almonds, cranberries, and greek yogurt flavored chips. Calories from Fat: 90, Total Fat: 10g or 15% daily value (DV), Sodium: 65mg or 3% DV, Total Carbs: 26g or 9% DV, Dietary Fiber 2g or 8% DV, Sugars: 15g, Protein: 4g

Half an hour or so after I peeled myself off the floor, I had the Chocolate Vegan Shakeology with a banana, one cup Silk Coconut Milk beverage, and one serving of raw peanuts. Total of 300 calories.

For lunch I had a quarter cup of Quinoa with cranberries, onions, and spinach.

Then an apple followed by a Mahi Mahi burger also from Trader Joe's with whole wheat burger buns. mahi-burgers

I followed that by teaching a Zumba class. This is crazy. Let's see how I pull this off --teaching at least twice a week and doing this workout. My quads, hamstrings, and buns are burning.

After the class I headed over to a BBQ and ate a little bit of a vegetable lasagna (whatever was left over) and a turkey burger patty, no bun. I also munched on Pretzel Chips ... about 1.5 servings with Chipotle Dip.

As you can see, I am not great at counting calories. Perhaps I will look into an app or something. I'm really proud of myself for not going after the yummy chocolate cupcake filled dessert table and consuming it all. I typically would justify all that chocolate consumption with the fact that I worked out so much. I tried my best and felt like that was a big success --not eating all those cupcakes. Until tomorrow.

Reboot first-hand experience

Two weeks ago I blogged about the join the reboot website. At the end of the post, I asked that if anyone was REALLY going to do the juice fast, to document and share with our readers. My friend, Elizabeth Silleck, went through with a juice fast recommended to her by the folks at Join The Reboot. Below is her short essay on how it all went down:

So, after watching the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” I was inspired to try, for the first time, a fast. I shouldn’t really call it a “fast”, because in reality, I was eating and drinking all day. The difference lay in what I was eating and drinking. For five days, my diet consisted solely of fruits, vegetables, and the freshly made juice of fruits and vegetables (with very few exceptions like raw honey and raw agave nectar for flavoring, herbal tea, spices, olive oil, soy sauce). No meat, no animal products, no fish, no poultry, no grains, no beans or legumes, no alcohol, no caffeine, no over the counter medication. NOTHING processed. The premise behind it, without going into too much scientific detail, is that the average American diet lacks the essential micronutrients to keep a body functioning in a way that is healthy, as it is dominated by starch, fat, sugar, and oil coming from animal products and highly processed foods.

 

So basically, for five days I ate nothing but the edible parts of plants, and their juice. The principle behind the juice is interesting, as well: it takes a whole mess of vegetables or fruits to make one large glass of juice—more vegetables or fruits than you could eat in one sitting. Juicing essentially extracts the vital nutrients from the vegetables and fruits that are desirable, and concentrates it into liquid, which is more easily absorbed and doesn’t take up so much room in your tummy. It’s like a “shot” of goodness, to get you “drunk” on health.

 

Now, the documentary-maker actually consumed NOTHING but fresh fruit and vegetable juice for two months straight, as he was working to overcome obesity and a chronic auto-immune disease which was not responding to any medical treatment (by the way, it worked…he dropped about 100lbs, went off all steroids and essentially cured his condition, with JUICE). I am a relatively healthy individual who already avoids processed foods, works out consistently, and regularly eats vegetables, though I now realize not enough, and not a wide enough variety. In any event, my fast was limited to one juice per day, and four additional meals of just fruits or vegetables.

 

For example, for breakfast I might have a sliced mango, a sliced peach, and blueberries in a bowl. For lunch I might have a salad of kale, red onion, celery, tomato, strawberries, zucchini with a mustard balsamic vinaigrette. For dinner I might have roasted fennel, sweet potato, onion, with a side of carrot-ginger soup. Believe me, I have discovered how delicious vegetables can be, especially when they are fresh and organic, and you put a little thought into preparation. The great thing is, the website (www.jointhereboot.com), includes very simple, yummy recipes to keep you on track.

 

So, why did I do this? Well, firstly, I am kind of in the midst of some very significant spiritual and psychological work, so the idea of a cleanse really appealed to me. Secondly, watching the documentary made me realize that although I have a healthier-than-typical diet, I basically go to the grocery store and buy the same old tired veggies: broccoli, onions, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes; and the same old tired fruits: bananas, oranges, strawberries, blueberries. I don’t give any thought to what’s fresh, what’s in season, what the nutrient content of different foods are and what I might need. Variety is the spice of life! So I thought this would be a good way to introduce myself to some diversity and get what are perhaps much-needed vitamins and minerals. Also, I am a drinker of coffee and rum, and I knew this would force me to forgo both for at least five days, which is never a bad thing. Lastly, I guess I just wanted somewhat of a health challenge, to create a goal and reach it, and to break the monotony of my current fitness regimen.

 

How did it go? Well, I won’t lie, the first day SUCKED, but I knew it would. It was the caffeine withdrawal that got me—severe headache, slight nausea, complete fatigue. I had planned for this, though, so I made sure I had no reason to need to do any work or go outside. I did a stretch video first thing in the morning before the headache got too bad, and the rest of the day I sat around with an ice pack on my head, drank my juice, ate my fruits and veggies, and watched more documentaries on Netflix. By the end of the day, the headache was less severe, and I went to bed. Day 2 was MUCH better, no headache, though I found myself constipated. I realized I’ve been relying on coffee to act as my morning laxative, and without it I was backed up. Not cool. Though my energy level was great, I was enjoying my food and juice, I felt satiated, I was mildly constipated until day 5. The morning of day 5 I let it all out, forgive any imagery this may arouse. I kicked caffeine, I cleansed my body of all animal products, I went 5 days without ingesting anything processed, any animal fat, any artificial chemicals.

 

What did I find? Surprises! I was not at all any more hungry than usual—in fact, I think I may have been less hungry than when I’m eating chicken sandwiches and the like. To be fair, I usually do heavy weight training and cardio exercise six days a week, so I need protein and more calories than I did during this week. I did do light cardio on Days 2, 3, 4 and 5 (jogging outside, elliptical), but no weightlifting. I definitely could not maintain this (nor should one) for the long-term. What I’m very excited about, though, is the fact that I incorporated vegetables and fruits into my life in ways I hadn’t thought of, and feel more confident about trying new things. For instance, I went to a farmer’s market and they had some beautiful okra. I’d never cooked okra. I had no idea how to cook okra. I’d eaten it before, but it intimidated me. But then I thought, what the hell, I will find a recipe online. I have olive oil, I have garlic, I have onions, I have spices…I can figure out SOMETHING. And I did! I chopped it up and sautéed it with olive oil and onions, added some cayenne pepper and salt, and it was delicious! The secret is NOT to overcook anything! Of course, eating raw is the best, but some things just are not palatable (ie. eggplant, which IS delicious in a grill pan). So now I feel as if, as I incorporate lean meat and poultry, eggs, Greek yogurt, beans, grains, seafood (yes, I’m salivating) back into my diet, I have this wealth of vegetables available to me to BE the central focus of my meal. I’m really very excited about it—don’t laugh. Also, with respect to fruits, I discovered how much I LOVE natural fruit juice, and I intend to replace my gym-made post-workout smoothies with my own fresh juice, blended with whey/soy/egg protein and banana. This way, I will be getting my muscle builders along with my micronutrients. Very excited about this too! Oh, and one random thing that I have to add: fresh ginger is a MIRACLE. Next time you have indigestion or heartburn, forget the TUMS—chew on a little piece of raw ginger. You will thank me.

 

I think, at the end of the day, for someone like me without any health issues, the biggest value in doing something like this is the impact on consciousness. Every so often we can slip into bad habits, opting for “convenience” foods, indulging in what’s around us at work events, BBQ’s, family dinners without really making CHOICES about what we are going to fuel our bodies with. This fast has really impacted my way of thinking about what I’m putting into my body. It has made me consider my priorities. Is it really unreasonable to pay $2 more for organically-grown produce, or even $10 more for chicken that was raised without antibiotics or hormones or fed pesticide-ridden cornmeal? No, it’s not unreasonable, and in fact, it is now a commitment for me. I’ve spent more on less important things (just consider how much one might spend for a drink in a NYC bar, or a pair of shoes, or cab ride instead of the train in the rain). We make choices every day, but the one thing we can’t choose is NOT to eat. Something has to go into our bodies to provide energy for basic bodily functions, but it’s up to us to decide that we deserve something that will nourish us, rather than poison us.

 

Ok, enough preaching. I just want to end by saying that I feel mentally clear, physically balanced and emotionally serene in a way that is undeniable. I admit, I did go out and purchase a can of organic, fair trade DECAF coffee, because I miss that flavor, but I’m going to avoid full-caf from here on out. And the next time I partake in Captain Morgan, it will be mixed with fresh fruit juice ;-).

 

For more information about the fast that I did, go to www.jointhereboot.com. I recommend watching the documentary first for inspiration: http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/. For information about the healing power of food, go to http://www.foodmatters.tv/ and watch Food Matters. For information about the agricultural industry and the benefits of local and organic food, go to www.foodincmovie.com and watch the movie Food, Inc.

 

Day 1: Health Challenge

It's 3:00pm and I am pretty much done with my challenge. Didn't drink any coffee and I think I can add more veggies to dinner. I did okay so far:

Water in the morning -- DONE . . even got my boyfriend to join me on that one.

Lunch consisted of mostly broccoli and carrots with a side of tilapia.

After lunch sweets are Strawberries and Cherries.

AND I AM GOING RUNNING TODAY AGAIN for 30 minutes.

How did you do?