time for a hill

Today was really stressful. Not for any particular reason; I don’t have anything huge going on at work, I have an exam tomorrow but I’m not really worried about it. I just woke up with this gut-wrenching anxiety. I hoped that maybe once I got to work and was distracted it would go away, but it hung over my head all day. I just felt this extreme anxiety about nothing. I came home and went to spinning, where I got to thinking about how life is a lot like spinning. After each hill, or sprint, or painful endless flat, you hope that you’re done. You hope that you can take a five minute break, even. But the break never comes. You have to push up that fourth hill of the night harder than you pushed up the first hill, but when you’re done it is all worth it. And that’s kind of how I’m feeling about this whole “alone-in-the-world” anxiety I’m having. It’s painful, and it’s hard. But I know it won’t kill me. I know that I will get through it. And I know that when I do, it will make “normal” life all the better.

I’m also upset about this anxiety because I was really looking forward to seeing how I felt after the meals I had today. I think today was the most fruit-and-vegetable-centric food day I’ve had in a while. I started my day with juice from half a lemon in 8 ounces of water. I’m trying to form a habit of doing this, as it alkalizes your body and acts almost as a mini cleanse to get your digestive system off on the right track for the day. After my lemon water, I had a green monster smoothie that had frozen mango chunks, a banana, 1/2 a cup of flax milk, 1/2 an avocado, and 1 cup of raw spinach.

I put it in my recently purchased blender bottle… I am in love. Even though the blender ball in it only works to smoothly blend protein powder or really-easy-to-blend things, I pour my pre-blended smoothie in them at night and let it sit in the fridge so I can just grab it in the morning. I shake up my blender bottle and it’s ready to drink! It keeps it from separating. I also love it when I just want a simple protein shake, because it gets out all the clumps and does away with that sand-like texture that a spoon just can’t compete with. Oh, and did I mention it was only six dollars?!

For lunch, I had a big salad with romaine, red onion, avocado, ground flaxseed, chickpeas, and marinated portobellos, along with some plain soy yogurt with raspberries mixed in.

After work, I was dying of hunger (I think I need to get some more protein in my breakfasts), so I made a quick protein shake with a cup of flax milk and a scoop of my Amazing Grass Amazing Meal chocolate protein powder. I (of course) used my blender bottle and it was quick and super easy. It gave me enough to energy to tide me over through spinning. After kicking some serious butt at spinning, I made an italian veggie sandwich and some chickpeas on the side.

Italian Veggie Sandwich


2 Slices of Sandwich Bread (I used a hunk of a baguette)
3 1/4 inch slices of eggplant
1 Cup raw spinach
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch strips

Cut the slices of eggplant in half and sautee them on low heat in olive oil with a little balsamic. Sprinkle on some garlic powder too. Once done (5 to 10 minutes), remove from heat and sautee spinach in oil for about 1 minute, until just cooked. Don’t over cook! The more you cook spinach, the less nutrients are available to you! Once done, stack your eggplant and spinach onto your bread. Add your sliced roasted pepper, and enjoy!

This sandwich would also be really delicious with broccoli raab in place of spinach, or portobellos in place of eggplant. Of course, you could always pile them on in addition to everything else, too.

Hope you had a great last day of January!


chik’n pomodoro panini

The weather in Philly has been incredible lately. The fact that it’s 60 degrees in January is slightly concerning, but I can’t complain. When the weather starts to look like spring, I always crave smoothies. For breakfast, I made an incredible smoothie with raspberries, my Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Chocolate Protein Powder, a banana, and soymilk.

After my energizing breakfast, I headed to Whole Foods (with a full stomach.. very important!) and picked up my food for the week.

For lunch today, I knew I wanted something savory and warm, so I decided on a panini.

Chik’n Pomodoro Panini

adapted from Corner Bakery‘s Chicken Pomodoro Panini


2 Slices of Sandwich Bread
1 tsp Vegan Pesto
1 tsp Vegenaise
1/8 to 1/4 C of Roasted Garlic Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1/4 C Raw Spinach
A few leaves of Fresh Basil
1 Tbsp Daiya Vegan Mozzarella
4 Gardein Chick’n Strips
Olive Oil to grease panini press

Prepare your chick’n strips according to package directions. You can use whichever brand you prefer, but Gardein are my personal favorite. While they are cooking, prepare the rest of your sandwich. On one slice of bread, spread your Vegenaise, and on the other, spread the pesto. Sprinkle one of the slices with Daiya, top with spinach, chopped basil, and the diced tomatoes. Once the chick’n strips are done, place them onto the sandwich.

Heat up your panini press, and once hot, pour on a small amount of olive oil and cook your sandwich for about 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. You could easily make this without a grill or panini press. Just cook like you would a grilled cheese, covering on low heat to ensure the middle gets warm and the Daiya melts.

This panini is so good! It quickly disappeared…

This is one of those sandwiches that I keep coming back to. I’ll forget about it for a while, and as soon as I’m reminded I just have to have it. It’s serious comfort food.

For dinner I kept it simple with spinach pasta with… spinach!

I poured the hot pasta over raw spinach to steam it and then tossed it all in a teaspoon of earth balance with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Ten points if you can name the cookbook in the background. 😉