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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Chickpea, Tomato, and Shrimp Rice Bowl

Hello hello!

I’m coming at you today to share one of my favorite easy recipes. Months ago, I was looking for a good chickpea recipe. I came across some on Budget Bytes, but I was lacking ingredients for a lot of them, so I decided to wing it. To my surprise, it turned out pretty tasty. Over time, I ended up just throwing chickpeas, tomatoes and spices into a pan without measuring, and eating it over rice with feta for a yummy and filling lunch or dinner. When I was home for Christmas, I wrote down what I did one day so my mom could have it, but then I lost it! No surprise there.

Earlier this week, I had about an hour until I needed to head out for babysitting and had no clue what to make for dinner to take with me. I had leftovers from the night before, but I ate them at lunch. I decided to start this recipe from scratch in hopes of sharing it on the blog, and I’m happy to say I ended up with the best edition of the recipe to date. I also added shrimp, which I don’t always do. It’s really good either way, so no worries if you’re not a shrimp fan-just leave it out! I won’t pretend to be a food blogger and tell you what types of tastes and complex flavors are in this dish, so just trust me and try it. It’s good.

The cook time says 45 minutes, because that’s how long brown rice takes and that’s what I used this time. You can make this go quicker by making the rice ahead of time, or choosing a grain that cooks quicker, like pearled couscous or white rice. On weeks when I have my life together (not this week) I make a bunch of rice on Sunday so it’s ready when I make something like this! The rest of it only takes about 20 minutes. This “technically” makes 4 servings, based off the amount of rice, but listen to your body and eat what you want 🙂 You know I couldn’t make it a whole post without saying something like that. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but don’t be overwhelmed! A lot is just spices.

 

Chickpea, Tomato, and Shrimp Rice Bowl

Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 bowls, but eat what you want!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice dry
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups small frozen shrimp
  • 1/2 bag (8oz) spinach
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 oz feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. When there are 20 minutes remaining, go on to step 2.

  2. Sauté the olive oil and garlic in a deep skillet until it simmers, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add the chickpeas, cumin, paprika, basil, oregano, lemon juice, and diced tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. In the meantime, thaw the shrimp in a bowl of water.

  4. Add the thawed shrimp. Tear the spinach into smaller pieces, and add half the bag. Stir it all and let it continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.

  5. Serve over rice, top with feta, and enjoy!

Tips: if you’re planning to eat this for a few days in a row, don’t cook all the spinach at once. Go ahead and add the amount you’ll eat the first time, then the following times add spinach to the dish before microwaving and let it wilt in there. In my opinion, spinach gets yucky after a couple days in the fridge. The same goes for the feta-only add what you’re going to eat right then, otherwise it will get weird in the fridge. I hope that makes sense.

How to build a yummy bowl

Let me know if you try it- it would seriously make my life! Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you have a great weekend.

Day in the Life of a Nutrition Student

Happy Friday!

This was the first week back after spring break, and getting back into the swing of things was tough. But I made it to Friday and I’m so excited for the weekend! My parents are coming to town today and tomorrow is an engagement party for my sister and her fiancé! I’m so excited to celebrate them and hang out with my family.

Today I thought it would be fun to share a day in the life post. I love reading these on other blogs-I’m totally nosy and just like seeing how other people do life. Also, I think it will be fun to look back on this in the future and remember what a “typical” day was like. I say “typical” because yesterday I had 3 classes, but MWF I only have one. Every day is a little different for me. So without further ado, here’s what I was up to yesterday!

7:30 Time to wake up! I took the dog to pee, then went right to the kitchen. Breakfast was oatmeal with cinnamon, peanut butter, and raisins. I eat this almost every morning, and somehow I’m not tired of it. I also eat on the couch every morning while watching the Today Show and reading blogs. Even though I’m all about intuitive eating, that doesn’t mean I eat every meal at the table with no distractions! I love that my classes start later this semester-this time in the morning is probably my favorite part of the day.

8:30-9:20 Study time! I finally peeled myself from the couch to work on some biochem with another cup of coffee. My professor posts audio of his lectures and advises us to listen to them again and take notes within 24 hours of lecture, so I worked on that for Wednesday’s lecture.

9:20-9:45 Pack up and get ready for school. I spend approximately 2 minutes on my appearance for school. I pretty much always just throw on workout clothes, whether or not I’m exercising that day, and a hoodie. Hey, I like to be cozy. I put on moisturizer, pack my lunch, and call it a day. I also HAVE to get my room clean before I leave for the day, or it drives me crazy.

9:45-10:15 Commute to school. I park my car at the park & ride and take the bus from Durham to Chapel Hill. The commute isn’t bad at all, just 20 minutes on the bus.

10:15-11 Put my lunch in the fridge at school, eat a snack (banana, pretzels, cheese), and hang out in the break room.

11-12:15 Class time. My first day of the class is environmental science. After class, I had 15 minutes to get to my next one. Sometimes I rush and go grab my lunch between class, but yesterday I decided to wait.

12:30-1:45 Class number 2-medical nutrition therapy! We learned all about cardiovascular disease. I had a pack of crackers to hold me over until class was over.

1:45-3:30 Break. Yesterday I used the long break to meet with some classmates about a group project and then continued working on those biochem notes. Oh, and I ate lunch. I had a salad almost exactly the same as the one I shared last week. About an hour later, I was hungry again so I had some soup that I made a few weeks ago and froze. I just grabbed the container from the freezer this morning and let it thaw during the day.

Studying view.. not too shabby

3:30-5:15 Last class! On Tuesday, my epidemiology class is a lecture but on Thursday we have lab where we work on an assignment in teams. Yesterday we had the whole time to work on the part of our group project that is due today. Class ends at 4:45, but we stayed a little late to finish up.

5:15-6 Commute, pick up my car, go by Target for a few things. I needed coffee filters, spinach, and chocolate milk. All the essentials.

6-6:30 I’m greeted by Livi when I get home, who promptly leaves me to go eat. Does anyone else’s dog do this? Once everyone is home, she runs away and eats all her food. I also talk with my roommate and swap my leggings for running shorts.

6:40-7:40 Run and walk. I ran 3.5 miles outside and it felt so great! I ran at an easy pace and listened to a podcast. When I got home from class, my head hurt and I just felt blah after being at school all day. After my run, I felt all better. Fresh air and endorphins are a winning combination. I came back in after my run to grab Livi and took her on a short walk.

7:40-7:50 Make dinner. I didn’t want to cook but I was hungry, so I made a sandwich. I used my roommate’s awesome panini press, which I should use more often. I’m super boring when it comes to making sandwiches-just spicy turkey, provolone, and spinach! I finished off a bag of carrots in my fridge and dipped them in ranch, duh. The chips are sea salt and cracked back pepper flavor and so good.

7:50-9:30 I watched the news for a little bit, then showered, started some laundry, and cleaned a bit.

9:30-11 Blogging and Netflixing. I decided to not do any more school work for the day. I thought about working more since I know I’ll blow off studying this weekend in favor of hanging with my family, but I decided relaxing was more important. Sometimes clearing my mind is more beneficial than trying to force myself to study more! So I turned on Gilmore Girls and started working on this post, then went to sleep around 11.

The end. I hope you have an awesome weekend!

Spring Break Eats + Vacation Without Guilt

Hello hello!!

I’m currently on spring break and it has been wonderful. Last Thursday through Sunday, I was in Savannah, GA, for a bachelorette trip. It was absolutely perfect! Then I came home for a couple of days, and now I’m at the beach with Chip and the dog.

I’ve been eating a lot of delicious food today, so indulge me while I share with you. Also, I want to talk about vacationing without panicking about food and exercise before/during/after.

Food in Savannah

One of the most fun things we did on the trip was a pub trolley during the afternoon on Friday. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the beach, then changed and went straight to the pub trolley. By some small miracle we put together this meal after all that fun and it was so good.

Don’t be fooled, we picked up those amazing looking garlic knots from Mellow Mushroom.

Saturday morning we had a brunch at the house, complete with a mimosa bar. Later in the day, we went to some rooftop spots and I ate several pieces of the buffalo flatbread on the right. Can’t beat the view-Savannah is so pretty!

Food at Home

I probably had 5 salads this winter, and I didn’t make any of them. Salads aren’t as appealing to me in the colder months, and I can never find dressing I like. The salad we made on the bachelorette trip was so good and I wanted to recreate it at home, so I decided to give packet ranch a try. I heard it’s the closest you can get to thin restaurant ranch, which is the best kind. I used one packet Hidden Valley ranch mix, 1 cup whole milk, and 1/2 cup mayo (I actually hate mayo), and it turned out perfect. Sure, I could probably make it all from scratch with no additives but I ain’t got time for that. And I doubt it would taste as good. Yep, I just dedicated an entire paragraph to ranch dressing and I’m not mad about it.

I made a quick grocery run on Sunday then threw together the plate on the left. The mac n cheese was already in my pantry, but I bought salad stuff, the ranch packet, and a rotisserie chicken. The chicken was delicious, only $6, and I used it in at least 4 meals this week. Win!

Lunches Monday-Wednesday looked like the salad on the right. It’s full of mixed greens, cucumber, celery, red pepper, carrots, broccoli, chicken, feta, and ranch. One day it didn’t quite fill me up, so I had the rest of the mac and cheese. Another day I was stuffed. Our bodies know what we need.

Beach Eats

Every time we come to Chip’s parents’ place at Myrtle Beach, we eat at this place called Mr. Fish. We went Wednesday night once we got in and it did not disappoint.

I had wine (duh), unpictured she-crab soup, a salad that was just ok, and boom boom shrimp that were so yummy. I also had a side of mac and cheese with my shrimp but it was awful! Like, how do you screw up pasta and cheese? So I had some of Chip’s fries instead.

A Word on Vacation and Guilt

In the past, vacation often stressed me out. Leading up to it, I would try to eat less and exercise more. During vacation I felt guilty when I “splurged.” I felt out of control over certain foods and often ate past fullness, because I didn’t know when I would eat them again. (Also, I often restricted before vacation which tends to make you hungry and feel out of control around food.) After vacation I would vow to “clean up my diet” and hit the gym more.

Now I have given myself unconditional permission to eat, and there are no “good” or “bad” foods. I order what I want, whether that’s a salad, a fried shrimp dish, or both. I know I can eat these foods anytime I want, so I don’t feel like I have to eat it all. I can stop when I’m full, or I can keep eating if I want. The bottom line is that I listen to my body and I’m flexible, and I don’t associate guilt with food. (This applies to my regular life too, but I’m focusing on vacation here.)

In Wilmington last year

The same goes for exercise. Now that I exercise as a means of self-care rather than self-control, I don’t freak out if I miss several days of running or the gym. Sometimes I will run, walk, or lift weights on vacation, but I don’t HAVE to. Not worrying about calories, exercise, or being “bad” on vacation makes it so much easier to fully relax and enjoy myself when I’m on a fun trip. Also-of course you’ll probably eat out more and have more drinks and treats when you’re on vacation. That’s what vacation is for! It’s a time to explore new areas and foods and switch it up from the regular routine. Enjoy it fully!

Spoiler alert: I’m not perfect, whatever that even means. Sometimes the food police catch up to me. After eating at Mr. Fish, I was eating Ben and Jerry’s from the container (as one does) and took a peek at the nutrition facts label. Bad idea! Suddenly I was worried about fat and sugar and things I usually don’t worry over. I was mad at myself for caring! I turned the label away and focused on my internal cues of fullness and satisfaction. I used those to help me decide when to stop eating rather than an external cue (the label), but it was harder than usual. Intuitive eating / making peace with food is a lifelong process, and we are always learning! Don’t let experiences like the one I described get you down-you’re not doing it wrong! There’s no such thing.

And with that, I’m heading back to the rest of my spring break. Today is the warmest day of the weekend-high of 59!- so we are planning on actually going on the beach today. My dog is dying to get out on the beach (yep, she told me), so I’m excited to take her out there. Have a great weekend!!

Shutting up My Inner Critic This Swimsuit Season (And Every Season)

It’s March, and in North Carolina that means sunny skies and comfortable temperatures. It also means the beginning of body shaming disguised as advertisements to convince us that we need to change our bodies for the summer. These messages are backed by a lot of money, and they can be convincing.

A few years ago, around this time of year, I would think about the approaching bikini season. I would feel unhappy with my body and beat myself up for not “working harder” in the months prior. Maybe I should have made my workouts ten minutes longer. I would look so much better. No matter how much I tried to change my body, I was never 100% satisfied. It’s a losing game, really. Diets don’t work and what we strive for is often not in line with our genetics/body type. I spent time and energy chasing an image of perfection that doesn’t exist.

In the past, I wished for the body I had when I was 16, when I wasn’t even a fully developed woman. (I was never 100% happy in that body, either.) I’m almost 24, and I’ve gone through many life changes since then. Our bodies change with us. In addition, size diversity has always existed, and it always will. We should celebrate that rather than idealize one type of body. I’ve come a long way with my body image, but that doesn’t mean I never struggle.

Via Pinterest

Today I’m headed to a bachelorette weekend for one of my best friends. We are planning on going to the beach one day. As it got closer, I had a moment of panic about wearing a bathing suit. I wondered why I felt this way. I know I don’t want pursue changing my body. I’m happy and healthy as I am. The truth is that giving up the “perfect body” ideal can be hard, even when you know that it doesn’t exist. I mean, hello-we aren’t born hating our bodies. Society teaches us to, so it takes work to unlearn what we’ve heard our whole life.

I decided to try on my swimsuits and purchase a new one if I wasn’t comfortable. Of course, I found myself picking out parts of my body I wasn’t happy with. Honestly, I do not spend much time looking at my body on a day-to-day basis. I love what Kylie has to say about a good body image day- it’s a day when you do productive things and don’t even think about your how your body looks. I’m happy to be in a place where most days look like that. I feel good in my body, but I’m not obsessed over how I look. So sometimes, when I’m “forced” to take a good look, my inner critic gets louder. Unlike years before, though, I got past it and didn’t leave the experience vowing to “do better.” I picked out the swimsuit that made me feel my best and set it aside to pack. Then I moved on with my day.

Our inner critic is always there, but we can learn to fight back and give it less power. Here are a few ways I combat my inner critic when it tells me my body isn’t good enough:

I tell myself I’m great the way I am, right now. I get mad at the diet industry instead of myself. I remind myself how unproductive and harmful pursuing changing my body would be. I tell my inner critic that my worth as a person is unrelated to my appearance. I surround myself with body positive messages on podcasts, Instagram, and blogs. I follow people on Instagram who are in bodies that look different than mine. This reminds me that all bodies are good- there is not a “perfect body” to strive for. I get mad at the discrimination that many in larger bodies face EVERY season of the year, which reminds me that body positivity is a much bigger movement than my own body concerns. All of this puts my inner critic in her place, and allows me to move on to more important things when I have a bad body image moment/day.

Via bodypositivememes

I know I’m rambling, and these are all things I’ve said before in some form or another. I’m writing this because I know that feeling of dread every year, and I suspect you might, too. I don’t want you to feel like that. Your body is good just how it is, right now. You deserve to rock whatever swimsuit you want. If accepting and loving your body seems too far off right now, maybe you can start by trying to not hate your body. It’s not easy, but I promise it is so worth it.

So this year (and every year) I’m vowing to let myself be, and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll take care of myself, mentally and physically, and let my body do what it wants. And I’ll continue my work to be confident with whatever that looks like.