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Blaugust 20: Salmon and Asparagus Pouch


I’ve been so productive today! I did this on purpose because I have social plans that will not leave me time to be productive this evening or tomorrow. I actually forced myself to get up before 9 today to have a good chunk of time to get work done.

After that, I made myself a tasty and easy lunch that, of course, is healthy too! And pretty.

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Lunch, meet world.

It was ridiculously easy to make. I put all the food in a little aluminum foil pouch, covered in olive oil, with Herbs de Provence sprinkled on the salmon. Using the cooking instructions from the salmon’s packaging, I cooked it for a while at 425.

I wasn’t paying close attention to the timing. I might have taken it out some than they instruct, or left it a little longer. I really don’t know. In any case, it was all cooked perfectly!

The asparagus was perfectly tender and slightly roast-y.  The salmon was just right, fully cooked but still most and such a nice pink that I almost took ANOTHER picture. I didn’t though…

So, a healthy meal that takes very little preparation, not much time, and is pretty filling? Yes, I’d definitely make this again. Other vegetables can be subbed in too, but you have to make sure it’s not something that takes longer than the fish to cook to the desired level.

If you were going to do something like this, what vegetables would you use? What would you eat for a side? Would you never, ever eat this because your taste buds are broken? Discuss.

Blaugust 9: Sometimes I Cook


For longer than I could say, I haven’t been cooking much. So the fact that I made something quite delicious for dinner this evening feels like an achievement.

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And it tasted better than it looked! I used Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta, which has vegetables in it as well as the usual grains. I made a tasty but not particularly noteworthy tomato sauce. I put a little more balsamic vinegar in it than I should have for that amount of sauce. The red pepper flakes gave it a nice kick.

The chicken was cooked simply, coated in breadcrumbs and then pan fried in oil. I bought chicken thighs this time because it was a better deal. I prefer breast meat in general, but this was pretty good. The golden-brown rule: the thinner the piece of meat, the easier it will be to cook. The result was cooked perfectly with a delicious crunch.

To drink, I had some of this Italian margarita (premade) that I found the other day. I have to admit it’s not my favorite, but I’ve discovered that the flavor goes very nicely with ginger beer, so I mixed some in.

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That’s it for now. I know it isn’t too exciting to read, but when you’re trying to build up certain habits, a moment of victory feels like it’s worth documenting. Tomorrow I’ll be eating the leftovers, probably with some sauteed asparagus.

Blaugust 6: 3-Ingredient Tropical Smoothie


I love a good smoothie. I drink a lot of them in the summertime, more than the winter (usually, but in fact all bets are off in terms of seasonal eating. I rarely have soup, stew, or chowder in the summertime but it could happen. I never drink iced coffee in the winter. But I love a cold margarita anytime). They’re easily customizable, taste good, and are pretty healthy, as long as you avoid ice cream or frozen yogurt as an ingredient. That’s what turns it into a milkshake…

Today for lunch I made a simple smoothie that would probably be better suited to a beach in the Caribbean. It was simple and fast to make. Smoothies aren’t always as filling as one might need (so if you’re extra hungry, add another thing to your lunch that has protein and nutrients that will actually fill you up), but this one was tasty and satisfying.

Here’s what it included:

1 frozen banana (a fresh one would also work)

Equivalent amount of frozen mango chunks (“chunks” always seems like a terrible word to include in a recipe)

Coconut almond milk not quite covering the frozen ingredients

That’s it! I’ve got to say, coconut almond milk is HEAVEN. I feel like it needs to be one of my kitchen staples. Budgeting and avoiding the grocery store has usually meant I’ve skipped buying it lately in favor of regular almond or soy milk. But those do not compare…

Smoothies are wonderful to make because you don’t actually need a recipe. Take the ingredients you want and combine them, make sure you have enough liquid to deal with the whole ingredients, and blend until it’s smooth. What ingredients would you use for a relatively healthy but delicious tropical smoothie?

Workout Plans and Garlic Hands (Salmon and Kale Dinner)


I like to put a check mark on my wall calendar every day I work out. I had this idea when reading some blog post in which someone was talking about the “gold-star” system for marking when they had accomplished a certain thing. I can’t remember what that thing was, but I thought I would see if it helped me get back into the habit of working out. Early this month I looked at my calendar and saw the two checks next to each other on May 1 and 2, and I thought, hey, it would be cool to put a check mark up every day this month!

I don’t always do the same level of workout, but I’ve read that this is a good thing. You need to take breaks some days. Of course, it’s better to get your heart rate up and to work out for a little longer, but ten minutes is still better than nothing at all, if you just push yourself a little to make it a good ten minutes. I’m extending my definition of workout out a little bit to make it a little easier to get it done every day, so if I take a long walk one day I don’t need to do more, and if it’s late and I haven’t done it yet, a few minutes with some weights or a few yoga poses will do for that day. That doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off and just do a short, basic workout every single day…

It’s all part of my general awareness that I need to be more mindful of my health and habits. Healthy living is an ongoing journey. It’s not about losing five pounds to fit into skinnier jeans or looking “good” in a bikini. People can choose to lose weight strictly for vanity purposes if they want to. That’s not my aim. I would like to lose a bit of weight, but I don’t think I need to–at the same time, I don’t want to gain any more. I’m trying to focus on the health aspects because I know that is what is going to help me have a better quality of life when I’m older. Keeping active and feeding myself with good things is an investment in myself. I want to be a hot old lady.

Today’s dinner was made with those goals in mind, after a nice workout of yoga and weights. I defrosted a filet of salmon and dressed it with olive oil, chopped garlic, french sea salt, and some thyme and tarragon. Lemon would have been great on it, but I had no lemon.

I had already eaten before I realized this picture was blurry. It didn't look like it when I was taking it! This is what I get with my phone. So inadequate.

I had already eaten before I realized this picture was blurry. It didn’t look like it when I was taking it! This is what I get with my phone. So inadequate.

As you might have guessed, this is not a recipe. It’s just a basic way of cooking fish, with herbs to make the flavor a little more interesting. One of the things I have mentioned before is that if you’re making something like this, seasonings and herbs should be to taste. Use the ones you like. put curry powder on it if you want. That’s the beauty of a simple thing like this.

As a side, I sauteed some kale in olive oil and more garlic (one clove for the whole meal, and there was still some left over! Seriously, it was huge), adding some roasted red peppers halfway through. Since those are already cooked, I could have mixed them in after the kale was done cooking, and if I ever do this again I think I will try it that way.

At least it still fit in my hand.

At least it still fit in my hand.

My favorite sort of food to cook is generally simple and easy to make, but kind of looks fancy. There’s a sense of indulgence and luxury, but it’s actually not fancy at all and usually doesn’t cost too much. I’d estimate that the ingredients for this dinner (not the full price for each thing, but the portion I used) come out to less than $3. It was tasty and healthy and natural. And satisfying in a way that admittedly delicious fried food rarely is, if ever. That’s another reason to eat healthy. Junk food satisfies a shallow craving, giving instant gratification. Natural, nutritious food satisfies on a deeper level, and over time will make me feel stronger and healthier.

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