Let The Sushi Adventures Continue…

I had to work all weekend, so on Saturday I went for a much-needed sushi lunch! This time we went to Sake Hana in Westborough, which was a short 5 minute walk from work. We were the only ones there so we sat right up front at the sushi bar, meaning we were able to watch all of our sushi being made! We started with an appetizer, on the house, which was a spicy tuna avocado ball: spicy tuna wrapped in avocado with a crunch. Delicious!

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We then asked the sushi chef to surprise us with something. He served us tuna with a “special sauce” over sliced cucumber. It tasted like it was grilled (slightly smoky) and we loved it!

We asked the chef to surprise us with some sashimi, since I had never tried it. We were served salmon, yellowtail and striped fish. Basically you are just eating big pieces of raw fish! The salmon was doable for me, but I didn’t like the other two. I think I will stick with my sushi rolls, but I am glad I gave it a try!

Since I wasn’t a fan of the sashimi, we asked the chef to surprise us with sushi rolls. He made us a volcano roll (spicy tuna, crunch, shrimp tempura, avocado, wrapped in pink soy paper) and another roll which I don’t know the name of, but it was deep fried with various sauces on top and was delicious! I liked both of these rolls a lot.

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Next, even though we were stuffed, we got another roll for the “presentation”…it was served to look like a lobster! It had green beans in it, which I didn’t like, but other than that it was good. The presentation was by far the best part; they even put lights under the lobster head so it lit up purple. Very cool!

 

Overall, I thought the sushi was very good. Not the best place I have tried, but I enjoyed letting the sushi chef surprise us, as well as being able to watch first hand as he made our rolls. And I was glad I mustered the courage to try sashimi, even though I wasn’t a fan (gotta be adventurous sometimes). My only complaint was that the waitress sort of hovered around us while we ate; possibly for translation purposes with the sushi chef, but it was a bit much. I think if we were there at a busier time of day that wouldn’t have been an issue. But I would definitely go back again!

Transformation Tuesday: Dirty Girl Mud Run Edition

My fellow dirty girl’s thoughts on our mud run!

Rookie Running Life

This past weekend was filled with fun, especially since my two best friends and I were running our second Dirty Girl Mud Run, a down-and-dirty 5k obstacle course filled with mud, rocks, grime, and all things mother nature.

It was a great day for the race – sunny, but not too hot and humid. We lucked out there. We entered the 10:30 wave, which seemed to be a popular option since some obstacles had us waiting in line to complete – such as the “Get Over Yourself” wall climb. But my friends and I made the most of our wait, catching up on life while dancing to some of the music blaring from the speakers.

According to my friend Lisa’s Fitbit (by the way, you MUST check out her blog here), we burned over 400 calories while having a great time. I must admit though, it took a…

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2nd Annual Dirty Girl Mud Run!

Saturday I completed my 2nd 5k mud run! We had a blast once again and definitely got nice and muddy (I think I need a pedicure to get all of it out of my toenails). I only did it with 2 friends this year, but the other 2 are definitely doing it next year, so we will carry on the tradition once again!  I also donated my shoes again at the end; Dirty Girl will clean and donate the muddy sneakers to those in need. Therefore, I have an excuse to buy some new sneaks…yay!

This year we ran a later wave, so we had to wait longer at some of the obstacles than last year. But according to my Fitbit (which I wore under a sweatband so it didn’t fall off), I still burned 410 calories…not bad for running/climbing 3.1 miles! We celebrated with our free beers, free Larabar samples, and lunch at the sports park before heading home. Then my boyfriend and I celebrated with dinner. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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Before and after!

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Tough mudders!

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Last year’s before and after photos!

Mexican Rice-less Stuffed Peppers

I made these delicious stuffed peppers on Monday after a friend provided me with the recipe…thanks Jess! You should all check out her blog Rookie Running Life; she posts lots of healthy recipes, running tips, and more! The peppers were super easy, and I liked that they didn’t have rice because I didn’t have to spend a lot of time cooking the stuffing. It also makes them pretty low-carb. Genius!

One half of a pepper along with some fruit was filling enough for me. I also tried one with salsa on top and it was really good! I did have about 1 1/2 cups of stuffing leftover, so you could either make an extra pepper or save the extra stuffing to put on salads (which I did). Delicious taco salads plus stuffed peppers = win. Enjoy!

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Mexican Rice-less Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 6 half peppers
  • Print

Adapted from: Rookie Running Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (I used low sodium)
  • 3 large red or green bell peppers, halved, de-seeded
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese

Directions:

1) Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place pepper halves in the dish, facing upright. Bake them at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

2) While the peppers are in the oven, drizzle some olive oil on a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Then add in the ground turkey and cook through. Add the taco seasoning once the turkey looks almost done.

3) Add the beans and corn to the turkey mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so.

4) Scoop your turkey stuffing into the pepper halves and sprinkle a good heaping of cheese on top. Place in the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until bubbly. Watch them to make sure cheese doesn’t burn!

Sushi Sunday!

So it seems like I have been having sushi on Sundays a lot recently…maybe I should make this a weekly thing? I certainly wouldn’t mind that! I tried another sushi place in Westboro with my friend Gary, who seems to be an expert on delicious sushi places in the area. We went to Sachi Japanese Steakhouse, which is literally right across the street from the bar I work at (dangerously close). The inside was beautiful; we sat at the bar, which had a great ambiance. They had a ton of different specialty rolls to choose from, so we tried 4 different ones, all of which were delicious! Once I try all the sushi places in Westboro I am going to need to do a comparison and decide my favorite rolls; I certainly am doing the rounds. Gary and I need to make this into a walking tour so we can make the Fitbit happy too!

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Lobster Roll: Lobster deep fried in crunchy tempura batter, rolled in soy seaweed stuffed with cucumber & daikon radish, served with chef special sauce

My thoughts: It was rolled in pink soy seaweed, which I thought was unique, but overall sort of bland.

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Westboro Roll: Yellowtail, tempura flakes, avocado topped with shrimp, eel, salmon, tuna, avocado, tobiko, scallion, wasabi mayo & eel sauce

My thoughts: Delicious! Loved the creamy avocado on top and the sauce was very good.

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Boston Bruins Roll: Shrimp tempura with cucumber inside, topped with smoked salmon and avocado, wrap with soy bean paper. Served with spicy mayo, eel sauce

My thoughts: So good, probably my favorite! Loved the mix of crunchy shrimp tempura with smoked salmon as well as the spicy mayo. Yum!

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Little Delicious Roll: Cream cheese, avocado, crab meat & spicy tuna deep fried & served with a sweet & spicy sauce

My thoughts: This was clearly the least healthy (the whole roll is deep fried) but it was served warm, which made the cream cheese gooey and it was amaaaazing. However, it was very filling…I was glad to be splitting it with someone. Definitely my second favorite 🙂

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Well, I am now hungry for more sushi. Unfortunately I don’t have my own personal sushi chef (sigh), so I will be making myself stuffed peppers tonight with my friend Jess’s recipe; can’t wait to see how they turn out! My mud run is this Saturday, so I will also be doing lots of running this week to prep for that. I had a blast last year and can’t wait to do it again!

Coconut Almond Granola Bars!

My good friend Jess (check out her blog here!) got me an awesome Pampered Chef brownie pan for my birthday. I was super excited to make granola bars in it, because the ones I make usually end up looking like cookies rather than bars. Also, the last time I made them, I baked them on the wrong side of the wax paper (who knew there were two sides?) and they all stuck to it and it was a giant fail. So now that I have the pan, they came out in perfect squares and did not stick – win! I have also tried making these with peanut butter chips and peanut butter (omitting the coconut and using less oil), so you can make these in any variation you like. Enjoy and let me know how they turn out!

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Chocolate Almond Granola Bars

Adapted from: Fit Foodie Finds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup**
  • dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a brownie pan with coconut nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium size bowl, mix together oats, coconut flakes, and cocoa powder. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  3. To form bars, wet hands and scoop a palm sized amount of dough. Press into each brownie well, making sure to press them very firmly (they will keep their bar shape better this way). You may need to keep wetting your hands so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Your hands will get messy!
  4. For garnish, add more coconut flakes (press into bars).
  5. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, just enough to turn the coconut flakes golden brown. Wait until cooled to remove them from the pan with a plastic spoon/spatula (I put the whole pan in the freezer for a bit).
    Nutrition Info (Per bar, from My Fitness Pal):
    Calories 211
    Fat 10 g (6 g saturated)
    Fiber 3 g
    Carbs 28 g
    Sugars 9 g
    Protein 4 g

**So you’re probably thinking “Corn syrup is not healthy! What are you doing?” The recipe I adapted this from calls for brown rice syrup. I could not find this at any grocery stores or Trader Joe’s, but she says she found it at Whole Foods (which I don’t have nearby). I tried to substitute agave, but it’s too thin – the bars didn’t stick together as well. So I stuck with light corn syrup. I chose light over dark because it had less ingredients. But I was curious about this brown rice syrup, so I looked it up. Turns out its only made from two ingredients: brown rice and water! Less ingredients, and ones you can actually recognize/pronounce, is always better. However, it has almost twice the sugar (22 g per 2 tbsp vs. 12 g in corn syrup) and more calories (150 per 2 tbsp vs. 120 in corn syrup). What does the nutrition student recommend? In terms of overall health, the more natural product is better (brown rice syrup), although you will need to remember that sugar is sugar and calories are calories. Since I couldn’t find it, I stuck with light corn syrup. Let me know if anyone finds the brown rice syrup and how it turns out! Maybe you could use less to reduce calories/sugar while still making them chewy? If I ever find it I will make them again and update the recipe 🙂

 

Lightened-up Beef Stroganoff!

Happy Tuesday (is there such a thing?) I hope everyone had a great 4th of July; I had an awesome time at a family wedding and at the beach for the long weekend. However, now that the holiday is over, it’s time for me to get back to my usual gym and cooking schedule. My favorite food of all time is beef stroganoff, and while my mom makes the BEST version of it, I had to try to make it a little bit healthier. I once tried this recipe, and while I’m sure some people would like it, I wasn’t a fan (probably because of the Worcestershire sauce). It just didn’t taste the same as my mom’s stroganoff! So I decided to follow mom’s recipe but tweak a few ingredients. It came out really great, tasting ALMOST as good as the original (nothing beats yours, mom!)

I had bought some brown rice pasta at Trader Joe’s awhile back, so I used those in place of egg noodles to add some whole grains. They tasted just like regular pasta, and I liked that the only ingredients in the noodles were brown rice and water; can’t get much more natural than that! And while I don’t eat gluten free, these noodles are, so that is a great advantage to them as well! In place of sour cream, I used fat-free plain Greek yogurt, which was a fantastic substitute; it tastes just like sour cream without the fat, as well as adding protein to make it more filling. And finally, in place of margarine, I pan-fried the beef in olive oil to add some heart-healthy fat. I did keep the white flour to coat the beef, because I felt like the sauce wouldn’t thicken if I didn’t, but you could substitute whole wheat flour to boost the whole grain benefits (I didn’t simply because I didn’t have any). Without further ado, here is the recipe…it does require some multi-tasking, but it is a pretty easy recipe and doesn’t take too long to whip up. Enjoy!

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Lightened-up Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) brown rice noodles
  • 3/4 lb. stew beef (I used Trader Joe’s, which is all natural with no hormones)
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes (in 24 oz. water)
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Fill a large sauce pan with water and heat to a boil. Add whole package of noodles and cook until desired doneness.

2.) While noodles are cooking, cut stew beef into smaller pieces. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add beef. Reduce heat to medium and cook until brown.

3.) While beef is cooking, fill a large bowl or measuring cup with 24 oz. water. Heat to a boil in the microwave, then add 3 beef bouillon cubes. Stir well and heat for another minute in the microwave. Then keep stirring until the cubes are dissolved (you may need to crush them a bit with a fork to speed this up).

4.) Once beef is browned, add flour and cook until coated.

5.) Add in the beef bouillon and heat until bubbly. Add in extra flour to thicken if it is too watery. Then turn off heat and stir in Greek yogurt.

6.) Pour sauce over noodles and add salt and pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

Tips!

*You can use more water/bouillon as well as yogurt to make more sauce

*I have made this with chicken before and it is also delicious, if you don’t eat red meat!

*The sauce is awesome by itself if you wanted to make it meatless, or replace the meat with mushrooms!