365 Project: Recipes 211-225

The other day I wrote about how I recently started the Autoimmune Paleo Program. The majority of recipes I post in this batch of 15 were made prior to my starting that. I always cook faster than I post.

211. Zesty Tomato and Olive Sauce


Source: Original

Notes: I sauteed garlic, basil, and yellow grape tomatoes in a tablespoon of olive oil. Then I added 6 oz of quartered black olives, a can of crushed tomatoes, and a small can of tomato paste and simmered.

Rating: LOVED

212. Eggplant and Mushroom “Meatballs”


Source: Plenty

Notes: I used quinoa instead of millet. Cooking whole grains can take up a lot of time so I typically prepare one grain in a slow cooker over the weekend, refrigerate the leftovers, and use them in other recipes during the next few days.

Rating: LOVED

213. French 75


Source: The Fashionable Cocktail

Notes: My sister bought me this book for the holidays a few years ago. It is a great mix of simple and elaborate cocktails.

Rating: Liked

214. Digestives



Notes: This recipe said you could use a sweetener or milk. I used stevia. These cookies tasted good but they weren’t crisp like a traditional digestive. I would try using milk next time or perhaps baking them a bit longer.

Rating: Liked

215: Fig Salad with Pomegranate Dressing


Source: Original

Notes: This was a lovely salad to kick off fall with. It was figs, arugula, plum, and goat’s cheese.  The dressing was olive oil, pomegranate vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

Rating: LOVED

216. Egg in the Hole


Source: Original

Notes: This is one of my favorite comfort foods but I’d never attempted to make it before. I buttered Ezikel bread and cut a hole through one slice. I but a whole egg and spinach in the hole and cooked in a frying pan like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Rating: Liked

217. Eggplant Salad


Source: One Good Dish

Notes: I added these cutlets to an arugula salad with goat’s cheese. They didn’t get as crispy as I had hoped.

Rating: Okay

218. Eggplant Mango Udon Noodles


Source: Plenty

Notes: Loved these flavors. I used udon noodles instead of soba noodles.

Rating: Liked

219. Mango Dream Smoothie


Source: Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

Notes: I also added some spirulina to this.

Rating: LOVED

220. Vanilla Chai Latte


Source: Original

Notes: I made chai tea with some vanilla bean and heated coconut milk. I have since learned that traditional chai tea isn’t on autoimmune paleo because of the seeds in the spices so I’ve started making an earl grey latte instead.

Rating: Liked

221. Garlic Beef and Broccoli


Source: The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

Notes: It had been ages since I had cooked red meat. This was a nice alternative to Chinese takeout.

Rating: Liked

222. Dill Shrimp Salad


Source: Original

Notes: I made lemon dill vinegarette and tossed with cooked shrimp and lettuce.

Rating: Liked

223. Turkey Sage Sausage Patties


Source: The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

Notes: The recipe called for ground chicken but my butcher only had turkey so I used that which does tend to get a little drier than other meats.

Rating: Liked

224. Sunchoke Salad


Source: Original

Notes: I roasted sliced sunchokes in the oven and served in a spinach salad with fresh peaches and apricot dressing.

Rating: LOVED

225. Pear and Fig Spice Cookies


Source: The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

Notes: There are some variations suggested in the recipe. I tried a slightly different version later but preferred this one.

Rating: LOVED




Mindful Monday: A New Challenge


About a year ago I broke out into hives and never figured out why. A couple of months ago I woke up and my left eyelid had swollen half way shut. I was told at urgent care this was most likely a delayed allergic reaction. Antihistamines cleared up both the hives and the eyelid, but since it happened twice I was referred to an allergist specialist.

Based on my history and symptoms she didn’t think it was a food or environmental allergy. Instead of testing me for reactions to common allergens she recommended that we first do some blood work to rule out autoimmune diseases. She was able to rule out serious diseases such as Lupis but my ANA test did come back positive. This means that my allergic reactions are the result of healthy cells being attacked by my immune system from time to time. An ANA test can sometimes come back positive in a person who doesn’t have any autoimmune issues. However, since I have been diagnosed with psoriasis and mild rosacea in the past my doctor has ruled this out as a false positive. Psoriasis and rosacea are also autoimmune diseases and it’s not uncommon for someone with one autoimmune disease to develop more as time goes on.

My allergist feels that since my breakouts are not frequent I don’t need to be on antihistamines on a daily basis unless my I start having more episodes. Since I’m currently not exhibiting any clear signs of another specific autoimmune disease I’m waiting until my next appointment with my primary care physician so I can go over my labs with her and see if there are specific tests or specialists I should be consulting with.

Right now this isn’t a big deal, however, I know what autoimmune diseases run in my family and I’m a big fan of being proactive vs reactive when it comes to health issues. So after going over some resources that were recommended to me, I decided to try The Autoimmune Protocol or Paleo program. This is very similar to people who follow a paleo or whole 30 plan except it is much more restrictive. You cut out all foods that can cause inflammation and after 30 days you slowly start reintroducing them one at a time. You keep a log of your symptoms and how you are feeling each day. When you have a reaction to something it’s a sign that you want to avoid that food.

I’m over a week into the elimination portion of the program and it’s hard. You are limited to any meats and fish that are fresh and don’t have any additives or hormones and any fruits or vegetables as long as they aren’t nightshades. This means no grains, no seeds, nothing processed, no eggs, and no dairy. I’m lucky that I live in NYC and have access to butchers, fish markets, and farmers markets which makes meal planning much easier.

There are three things that make this plan challenging for me.

1.It is animal protein based: I’ve gone through spurts of eating a vegetarian diet. I started eating meat again this winter around the time of my surgery because my iron levels were so low and my body wasn’t absorbing supplements. I’ve been off iron for a few months now since I’m no longer anemic and had been eating less and less dairy. I was hoping to go full vegetarian again and perhaps eventually vegan but that doesn’t seem possible right now. I have a lot of guilt around eating meat which I shouldn’t because I was raised an omnivore so this isn’t a new concept to me. While meat is encouraged at every meal on the AI Paleo plan I’m following the suggested plan for people who aren’t used to eating a lot of meat. I typical day for me has one meat meal, one seafood meal, and a vegan meal which is usually soup and a salad or a breakfast shake with coconut milk for a little fat and protein.

2. It is challenging to eat out: A lot of my socializing is around meeting friends for a meal. This program makes it challenging to eat out. I generally have to limit myself to a salad and make sure there are no nightshades like tomatoes on it and do a vinegarette or oil and vinegar for the dressing. The other alternative is getting a meat and vegetable dish as long as I can get it without condiments or marinades that may contain nuts, seeds, or nightshades.

3. You can’t have coffee. Beans and legumes are also off limits which includes coffee beans. 😦 Caffeine is allowed in the form of tea. I like tea but I LOVE coffee and I’m still having a hard time with this elimination.

In all my posts about health, I must emphasize that I’m not a medical expert or doctor. I would like to share the resources that I am finding the most helpful right now:

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook 

The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast

The Paleo Mom

Simple French Paleo

A Squirrel in the Kitchen

Wanderlust Wednesday: My Favorite NYC Runs


The North Woods in Central Park 


Earlier this week I spoke about breaking out of a running rut by switching up my routes. I’m spoiled by living in NYC with a number of amazing parks and trails. I wanted to share some of my favorites trails that you should check out next time you’re in the Big Apple. Even if you’re not a runner these are delightful walks.

1. Cherry Walk (Riverside Park): This narrow trail is along the Hudson River and takes you from the Upper West Side to Harlem. You have to commit to this run because there is no way off the trail until you reach the end. The best time of year for this route is spring because as its name suggests it is particularly lovely when the cherry trees are in bloom.

2. The North Woods (Central Park): Lovely trails, waterfalls, and wildlife make you forget you’re in the heart of Manhattan.

3.The Reservoir (Central Park) If you want to run on a flat surface this trail is great and the views are spectacular.

4. The Inner Loop (Prospect Park) This is a go to if I’m training for an organized race. It’s marked with distance points so it’s easy to track your distance.

5. Fort Greene Park This is a smaller park compared to others on the list but you can cover the entire park in a short time.

6. Riverside Park South This is another river run but it’s easy to switch up your routine by heading inland to the park at points or outward on the docks.

7. Inwood Hill Park This park is at the top of Manhattan just below the Bronx. There are lots of up hill runs and lovely views of vistas across the Hudson.

8. The Peninsula (Prospect Park) If you want to enjoy some nature on your run through Prospect Park this is an alternative to the loop run.

9. The Boardwalk (Coney Island) I love running here early mornings in the summer. It’s right along the beach and is sleepy before the swimmers and sun bathers hit the sand.

10. Harlem Meer (Central Park) The south side of Central Park can be flooded with tourist on nice days. This Northeast corner of the park is low key and the path along the pond and willow trees is beautiful.


Mindful Monday: Breaking Past a Running Rut


So I’ve had a rough year. I’ve talked in the past about my weight issues and surgery to remove my lap band this winter and it has been a real struggle. I have been yo-yo-ing between a 20 lbs weight difference over the past six months and it’s hard. I know my body and that how I work. I have to work twice as hard for half the results where a number of my friends and family are genetically built to live on pints of ice cream, never exercise, and maintain their weight.

I really want to get to a point where I don’t care about the number on the scale or the size on a dress label, but if I’m honest I’m not there yet. I do want to feel healthy and strong so I’m trying to shift my frame of mind from success being measured by hitting physical milestones vs pounds disappearing from the scale. On thing I’ve been focusing on is running.

I’ve been running since 2011 when I did the couch to 5K program. I had fallen off a routine due to all these health issues and surgery last fall and winter. This spring I wanted to get back into a routine so I went back to basics and started my favorite C25K Podacast training again.

Now I’m back in a rhythm of running for 30 minutes about three times a week. This fall I plan on doing Bridge to 10K again. In the meantime, I’ve been committing to keeping up with my weekly runs. Those who know me understand that I’m not a creature of habit in a lot of ways. I get bored easily. I don’t always take the same subway to work because I get restless if I’m walking the same side streets every day. Based on this you might think that running for the same amount of time several days each week would be tedious to me, but it isn’t.

Running like any activity is about learning what you like, what you hate, and what challenges you in a good way. I’ve learned that I really don’t like running on a treadmill so I plan my runs around the weather each week. This also plays into the time of day that I run. During the summer when it gets hot I tend to do more evening runs. Now that we’re entering falls I do more morning runs during the week and afternoon runs on the weekends since it’s cooler and the sun goes down earlier.

What really helps me shake things up though is running different routes. Sometimes I run on pavement and other days I run on trails which switches things up and gives my joints a break. What is so wonderful about the parks in NYC is that I can run the same direction for months and constantly find new trails and detours that I didn’t know exist. I typically can run 5K in thirty minutes but my distance can change based on my route. I can often go further and faster if I’m running a flatter path or a course I’m familiar with. Somedays I don’t get as much distance in but it’s a more challenging run because of an incline or running uphill the majority of the time. This keeps things fresh. Some days a run is breezy and the time flies by. Other days thirty minutes feels like three hours and I want to cry. But keeping with this helps me appreciate the strength my body has.

365 Project: Recipes 196-210


Here is the latest batch of recipes from the challenge. I’ve crossed the 200 recipe mark!

186. Apricot Vinegarette


Source: Aim True 

Notes: This was a great end of summer salad dressing.

Rating: Liked

187. Strawberry Daiquiri Smoothie


Source:  Aim True 

Notes: Despite the name of this drink it is alcohol-free.

Rating: Liked

188. Apricot Bulgur Salad


Source Aim True 

Notes: I adapted this from Kathryn Budig’s recipe. I used bulgur instead of red quinoa.

Rating: LOVED

199. Tempeh with Blackberry Hoisin Sauce


Source: The Little Book of Fruits and Vegetables 

Notes: I made this recipe vegetarian by using tempeh instead of chicken. I served this with steamed broccoli and peppers.

Rating: Liked

200. Orange Blossom Detox Shake


Source: Original

Notes: I blended dandelion greens, arugula, and spirulina with orange blossom water and distilled water.

Rating: Liked

201. Debutante Cocktail


Source: The Fashionable Cocktail 

Notes: I love cocktail bars and thought doing some more drinks at home and learning how to make some more obscure drinks might be a fun addition to this project. This drink is gin based.

Rating: LOVED

202. Egg White Breakfast Wrap


Source: Original

Notes: I scrambled egg whites with soy cheese, peppers, and arugula in a frying pan and served in a whole wheat wrap.

Rating: Liked

203. Summer Veggie Pasta


Source: Cooking Light 

Notes: I omitted the sausage from this recipe and used whole wheat rigatoni.

Rating: LOVED

204. Chocolate and Pear Quesadilla


Source: Weight Watchers  

Notes: This was a quick and easy dessert to make.

Rating: Liked

205. Pear Cider


Source: Original

Notes: I blended fresh pear, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, juice from half a lemon, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Rating: Liked

206. Veggie Scramble and Sweet Potato Hash


Source: Original

Notes: I scrambled egg whites, almond cheese, peppers, and arugula together. In a separate pan, I cooked a grated sweet potato in coconut oil.

Rating: Liked

207. Horne Brothers’ Sandwich


Source: Reel Fancy Dinners 

Notes: I love the show Twin Peaks and served up some themed food and cocktails for the final that recently aired.

Rating: Liked

208.Black Yukon Sucker Punch


Source: James O 

Notes: I liked this more than an Irish Coffee.

Rating: LOVED

209. Leland Palmer


Source: Reel Fancy Dinners 

Notes: Sometimes I find a traditional Arnold Palmer too sweet. I liked this because it was lemon juice instead of lemonade.

Rating: LOVED

210. Tomato Party


Source: Plenty 

Notes: I’m taking advantage of the last days of summers by scooping up the last of the tomatoes, stone fruits, and berries at my local farmers’ markets.

Rating: Liked