Exciting News!

Hello?? Does anyone still read this thing?

So its obvious that I pretty much have abandoned this blog…but A LOT has changed since my last post, which has led me to be inspired to start a fresh, new blog! (More on that in a sec.)

So what has happened since my last post?

  1. I applied to physical therapy school in the winter. (Very, very stressful process for lots of reasons. Let’s just say, I hate applications.)
  2. Despite the fact I invested a lot of time and money into taking more pre-requisite classes, taking the GRE, getting 100 + shadowing hours in PT clinics, and writing essays for my applications, I was not extremely optimistic that I would actually get accepted anywhere. But not only did I get in but, I GOT INTO MY TOP CHOICE SCHOOL! 
  3. After my first week of school, Chip proposed on our 2 year anniversary! We are going to get married!
So basically, my life has done a complete 180. I went from being a depressed and discouraged recent college grad living with my parents and working at Whole Foods (great job, by the way, but not what I want for a career…) to pursuing my dream career at a prestigious doctorate program and being engaged to my best friend.

And so I started a new blog: Tyler & Chip. It’s sort of a wedding blog in that its primary purpose is to be the place where family and friends to find information on the wedding, the registry, etc., but I miss the healthy living blog world (well, I’ve still been reading, just not posting), and I really want to get back to posting about food again. Also, my fiance (!!) is training for a marathon (and has pretty much become obsessed with it!) and wants to do some marathon training posts.

So, its going to be different than Raspberry Runner, probably more of a life blog than a food blog, but I’d love for you to come check it out!

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Procrastination

Ok, so no time for a real post right now….I’m frantically studying for my second test of the week. (And by frantically, I mean taking breaks every once in a while to check blogs and facebook.)

Anyway, I must share this website with you all. It’s called Bake it in a Cake. The concept is exactly what it sounds like. It features cakes and cupcake with fun ingredients baked inside of them.

Many of the images look like they could have come straight off of This is Why You’re Fat, but there are definitely some that I am tempted to make. For example:

  • Savory broccoli cake with a whole piece of broccoli in the middle
  • Mini pumpkin pie baked into a cream cheese vanilla cupcake
  • A honey vanilla cupcake with homemade baklava in the middle topped with spiced buttercream icing and pistachios

Whoa, YUM!

What would you want to bake in a cake? And has anyone else found any fun websites recently?

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Maple Protein Pancakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese

According to Google, pancakes are awesome, healthy, and better than waffles. They are also made out of pancakes (?). Why is Google’s predictive searching so amusing to me? 

Anyway, my sister came home and visited for the weekend and brought home pumpkin cream cheese! Despite the fact that I still wish it was summer, it has been in the 60s in the morning (80s in the afternoon still) and there is pumpkin cream cheese cream in my fridge. This means that it is time for a fall-ish breakfast.

Normal people put cream cheese on bagels, but why limit yourself? Cream cheese is great on lots of foods, including pancakes!

Maple Protein Pancakes (serves 1)

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t real maple syrup 
  • lots of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

You can just mix and spoon on to pan if you want the texture from the oats. I really like it that way, but this time, I decided to blend all the ingredients in my Magic Bullet before cooking. Blending will result in a more  traditional pancake texture.

with pumpkin cream cheese

And then I decided to add almond butter and some Cascadian Farms Maple Granola, too!

YUM.

These pancakes are a great alternative to oatmeal and use pretty much the same ingredients. You just add egg whites, cottage cheese, and baking powder to the oats and cook on a pan instead of in a pot or microwave. Some of you may add egg whites or cottage cheese to you oats anyway. And pancakes are just as fun to add creative toppings to as oatmeal :).

What is your favorite fall themed breakfast?

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Shrimp Paella (and B-Day Recap)

Earlier tonight, I made a rockin’ shrimp paella. Seriously one of my best cooking projects as of lately. More on that later….

As of September 8, 2010, I am 23, which means I am really old to be living with my parents not even close to being 30! Heck yes :).

Last year on my birthday, my boyfriend hand-crafted me an oak cutting board with my initial in a mahogany inlay.

vegetables not included ;)

We had only been dating for about 3 months, and I had not talked about him on the blog at all. (He didn’t even find out about the blog for 5 more months. You can read his official introduction here if you missed it.) Even though he did not know about the blog, he did know about my passion for food and cooking (it’s pretty obvious for most people who hang out with me). The cutting board was the perfect gift. Talk about setting high standards for the rest of the relationship! (Did I mention he made it himself?!)

This year did not disappoint. We went to Charleston for a weekend long birthday celebration with some friends who live down there. Friday night, we had dinner at a restaurant downtown called FIG that had amazing dishes with local fish and local produce. Saturday, we went to the beach and then cooked shrimp and grits for dinner and drank lots of wine and champagne :)! What we did not do was take a lot of good pictures, but there are a couple snapped by our friend on her i phone like this one:

the boy and me at FIG

Birthday 2010= Success!

Now onto tonight’s dinner.

I adapted this recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, but my version is neither fat-free nor vegan. I also did not follow her simple one pot instructions and made a huge mess in the kitchen. Here is a montage of my cooking process followed by the recipe:

Shrimp Paella (adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 large Vidalia onion (or other sweet yellow onion)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil for sautéing, if desired
  • red wine, optional*
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of light red kidney beans
  • 1 1/4 cup dry brown rice**, cook according to package instructions with either veggie broth or water
  • 1-2 lbs of shrimp
  • Old Bay seasoning (sprinkle on shrimp)
  • ~ 1/2 t crushed saffron
  • ~ 2 T paprika***
  • ~1 t cumin
  • a couple pinches of cayenne 
  • salt and pepper to taste

*I added a couple splashes of Syrah to the veggies while cooking and enjoyed a glass while eating. Completely optional, but I highly recommend you do the same.

**Original recipe used quinoa, which would be delicious but less paella-like, IMO. Also, I did not have any quinoa, but I had plenty of brown rice.

***Original recipe used 2 teaspoons of smoked Spanish paprika. I only had normal paprika, which is less flavorful, so I added 2 tablespoons. Also, I doubled all the other spices b/c it tasted bland to me with the original proportions. Play around and see what works for your tastes.

As for the cooking process, you can either follow the instructions on the original recipe, or you can do what I did and cook everything how ever you feel like and throw it all together in the end. The end result will be tasty either way!

Are you a recipe follower or modifier?  I seem to be incapable of following a recipe exactly. I think of recipes as more ideas than instructions.

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End of Summer Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Summer is quickly ending, and I am not really ready for fall yet. Mainly because I am now taking physics as a grad school pre-req and trying to get my applications together as deadlines get closer and closer. Ahh! 

It may be fall in the food blog world with everyone breaking out the pumpkin, but here at Raspberry Runner, it is still summer. Technically, summer does not end until September 22nd anyway, and it feels like summer in Georgia well into October.

Summer produce is still very in season and very delicious where I live. Especially tomatoes. God, I love summer tomatoes. And Whole Foods had some gorgeous local heirloom tomatoes on sale, so I obviously had to buy them.

Ok, so that is a recycled picture from last year at a farmer’s market. But I bought one that looked just like that. Plus I bought a purplish-red one. And I used them both to make this:

Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Salsa (adapted from NY Times Health)

  •  2 medium size heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-3 jalepenos (1 for mild, 2 for medium, 3 for spicy)
  • 1 stalk of white sweet corn
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • small handful chopped cilantro 
  • Juice from one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop tomatoes, jalapeno(s), avocado, and cilantro. Cut kernels off the corn. Raw summer corn is sweet and crunchy and perfect in this salad. Mix everything in a bowl with lime juice and salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.

I served this over chicken breasts with kale chips and white wine:

This was my first time making kale chips, and they were great! I’ve been meaning to try them for at least a year now. So easy and delicious. I can’t believe it took me so long to try them! Chip ate them, but was not as impressed as I was.

We also shared a sushi roll as an appetizer. I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t eat any sushi. I’m slightly addicted ;).

This roll came with all my favorite fillings: salmon, tuna, and avocado. Plus lots of ginger on the side. Yum! 

Are you anxious for fall or still holding on to summer?

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So far today

Still having camera issues, so I’ve been using my computer. Pictures aren’t great, but they could be worse. Anyway, here is what I have eaten so far today:

Breakfast: Protein Pancakes (aka probably the best pancakes I’ve ever made!)

I have been looking for a good recipe for healthy pancakes that are high in protein but do not contain protein powder. I think I found a winner!

Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes (Adapted from The Hungry Runner Blog)

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 t baking powder

When I first mixed all of this together, it did not look like any pancake batter I’ve ever seen. I nervously spooned the “batter” onto a hot buttered pan, and these somehow came out looking and tasting like delicious pancakes! Success!

The pancakes were seriously good and just what I was craving. I made 3 small-ish pancakes with this recipe and topped them with almond butter, organic strawberries, a spoonful of cottage cheese, and a drizzle of real maple syrup. Not sure it needed the syrup because the strawberries were super sweet! I love berries in the summer :)

Speaking of fresh summer produce, I bought some heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods on sale, and I put half of a purple-ish one in my spinach salad for lunch today:

Also in the salad went some leftover chicken and 1/4 of an avocado (which is hiding somewhere in the spinach). I tossed it all with a simple balsamic vinaigrette (~1 t olive oil, 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 t hummus).

Then I tried a carrot cake Larabar. I was good enough, but definitely not my favorite. I put whipped cream cheese on it and pretended it was cream cheese icing. Now all I can think about is how much I want some real carrot cake :)

And that’s all for today! I am going to get ready to go to class now…I decided to take Physics at Georgia State so that I can apply for physical therapy school. I’m nervous. Wish me luck!

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Non-Processed Breakfasts

I put blueberries in my oatmeal while it was cooking, and it tasted like a blueberry muffin. Yum! I have done this before, but I forgot how good it was. After cooking, I added a more blueberries on top and a spoonful of cashew butter.

Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • one medium banana
  • handful of blueberries
  • ~1 T cashew butter (or nut butter of choice)

It was so good I ate it again the next day, but with almond butter! 

This morning, I was craving savory, so I made some cage-free eggs over easy and put them on top of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Creamy Buckwheat Cereal with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Picture taken after I had started eating it

 

Just for fun, I put my breakfast into a calorie counter and found that the nutrition was strikingly similar to my favorite “fast-food” breakfast: the Starbuck’s Spinach Egg White Wrap.

Tyler’s Eggs and Buckwheat Cereal

  • 280 calories
  • 10 grams fat
  • 32 grams carbs
  • 0 grams sugar
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 17 grams protein

 

Starbuck’s Spinach Egg White Wrap

  • 280 calories
  • 10 grams fat
  • 33 grams carbs
  • 4 grams sugar
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 18 grams protein

 

While the Starbucks wrap has more fiber (I’m guessing from the wheat wrap, which has 29 ingredients btw), it also has 4 grams of sugar. For a meal that doesn’t taste sweet at all, I think this is a lot. I would like to save my sugar intake for chocolate, thanks. I think that added sugars is one of the biggest problems with processed foods. Even if you don’t eat “sweets” you are still getting sugar in your diet (often in the form of HFCS), and you wouldn’t even realize it unless studied nutrition labels all the time.

Speaking of processed foods and breakfast, I subscribe to Spark People newsletters, and recently there was an article about whether it is better to skip breakfast or eat a doughnut for breakfast. [Warning. Rant ahead.] The author said that if these were your only choices, you should eat the doughnut. She claimed that your body’s metabolic rate will stay the same as if you were sleeping if you don’t eat breakfast and then slow down even more until you eat (um…what?!). She also said that one doughnut will not do too much caloric damage (true, I guess) and that skipping breakfast all together will cause you to crave a high fat, high calorie lunch (hmm…not in my experience).

Now, I think that breakfast is awesome and that more people should eat it, but there are so many things wrong with her argument. First of all, what she said about metabolism is absolutely ridiculous. I think that dieters worry way too much about their bodies going into starvation mode when it takes days of fasting or extreme caloric reduction to see any measurable effects on metabolism [source]. A few hours certainly would not have a significant effect.

Also, I do not like the assumption that when people get too hungry, they become incapable of making healthy food choices.  I actually crave healthier foods when I am hungry because I know that healthy foods are generally more filling and that I will feel satisfied, not sick, after eating a large healthy meal. When I am not hungry, but wanting to eat, is when I usually crave things like cheese and chocolate. And junk food with lots of sugar and fat is addicting, so if I were to eat a doughnut or cinnamon roll or waffles for breakfast, I would be more likely to crave junk throughout the day than if I skipped breakfast.

So in my opinion, you should skip breakfast in lieu of a doughnut if these were your only two choices. Worst case scenario, you would be hungry for a couple hours, and then you would eat a big healthy lunch and feel great. Or if you really want the doughnut, eat it. Everything in moderation, but don’t think that you are doing your body any favors. It’s the same as having ice cream or cookies for breakfast. Just because breakfast is important doesn’t mean that anything for breakfast is a better choice than not having it. What do you think?

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