Tag Archives: food

Tilapia or Halibut Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe

6 Aug

Hey lovelies, I must share with you this yummy recipe! It’s simple and will fill your house with a tasty aroma! I introduce to you, Tilapia or Halibut Black Bean Enchiladas!

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Ingredients

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2 tilapia fillets (halibut preferred)

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1 cup heavy cream 

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1 egg

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1 cup Italian style bread crumbs

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1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 

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1/2 cup chopped red onion

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1 teaspoon ground cumin

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3/4 cup salsa (I used medium)

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1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained 

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1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or shredded cheddar cheese (I used cheddar)

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10 corn tortillas (6 inch) 

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1 can (10 oz) green enchilada sauce

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Pepper jack cheese 

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1/4 cup of cilantro to add as a garnish

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1 avocado 

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Directions 

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Preheat oven to 350

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Mix the heavy cream and egg until combined

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Pour bread crumbs in a bowl 

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Place fish fillet in cream mixture covering entire fish and then place in bread crumbs. Be sure entire fish is covered.

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Add a tablespoon to a skillet over medium heat, cook each fish fillet for 4 minutes on each side. 

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When fish is cooked, cut into 1/2″ pieces (thin but enough to add a healthy/generous portion into tortilla)

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Spray 11×7-inch (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cumin; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in salsa, beans and cheese. Remove from heat.

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Heat tortillas in microwave

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Place 1/4 cup bean mixture along center of each tortilla. Add cuts of fish. Roll up tightly, and place seam sides down in baking dish; spoon remaining bean mixture on top. Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas, spreading to coat all tortillas. Place pepper jack cheese on top to your hearts desire.

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Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly around edges. Garnish with remaining cilantro and avocado.

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Enjoy the yummy goodness! 

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal 

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Banana Nut Muffins

24 Sep

Good morning lovelies!

We are day numero dos into Fall and it smells and feels so sweet! 

Early this morning I walked my cute boston terrier, Mika, around my neighborhood. I swear, I can feel the change of seasons. The cool breeze and sight chill in the air put pep in my step. It also inspired me to fall into the season.

And fall I did. The autumn weather, the melody of the leaves swaying in the light breeze, and the cool air charmed me to bake. 

This morning I made scrump-tee-lee-ush-es Banana Bread Muffins!

  
Check out the recipe! 

Banana Bread Muffins

Active Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 4 Bananas
  • 1 cup White Sugar (I ran out of white sugar so I improvised with the following: 1/2 cup White Sugar, 1/4 cup Raw Sugar, and 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda 
  • Cinnamon (optional) – I sprinkled cinnamon on the top of each muffin prior to baking
  • 1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips (optional) – I did not use any.

Preparation 

Preheat oven to 350.

Mash bananas and then blend until smooth. Combine all other ingredients one by one until smooth. 

Pour mixture into 12-cup muffin pan.

Or, pour mixture into large greased loaf pan. (If you opt for this, bake time will increase to 50-60 minutes).

Post Baking

You will smell your whole house with the fall aroma of Banana Bread! Open a window and enjoy the moment that is upon you. It is remarkably refreshing and invigorating. When your kitchen timer goes off your delicious muffins are ready to go! I often do the toothpick test to make sure there is no batter that sticks to it. If there is, bake a short while longer and check periodically.

Assuming the Banana Bread Muffins are done, take them out. Immediately brush the tops of each muffin with butter. Don’t be shy, a generous amount is okay. The butter will melt immediately. I brushed 4 muffins at a time. Sprinkle raw sugar on the top of each muffin before the butter dries for a beautiful and delectable garnish! *If you baked a loaf, brush the butter on the loaf and sprinkle raw sugar on top to your liking.

Enjoy!

Happy baking! And may you enjoy the colorful season that has welcomed us.

Thanks for stopping by!

Valgal

XO

Banana Nut Muffins

24 Sep

Good morning lovelies!

We are day numero dos into Fall and it smells and feels so sweet! 

Early this morning I walked my cute boston terrier, Mika , around my neighborhood. I swear, I can feel the change of seasons. The cool breeze and sight chill in the air put pep in my step. It also inspired me to fall into the season.

And fall I did. The autumn weather, the melody of the leaves swaying in the light breeze, and the cool air charmed me to bake. 

This morning I made scrump-tee-lee-ush-es Banana Bread Muffins!

  
Check out the recipe! 

Banana Bread Muffins

Active Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 4 Bananas
  • 1 cup White Sugar (I ran out of white sugar so I improvised with the following: 1/2 cup White Sugar, 1/4 cup Raw Sugar, and 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda 
  • Cinnamon (optional) – I sprinkled cinnamon on the top of each muffin prior to baking
  • 1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips (optional) – I did not use any.

Preparation 

Preheat oven to 350.

Mash bananas and then blend until smooth. Combine all other ingredients one by one until smooth. 

Pour mixture into 12-cup muffin pan.

Or, pour mixture into large greased loaf pan. (If you opt for this, bake time will increase to 50-60 minutes).

Post Baking

You will smell your whole house with the fall aroma of Banana Bread! Open a window and enjoy the moment that is upon you. It is remarkably refreshing and invigorating. When your kitchen timer goes off your delicious muffins are ready to go! I often do the toothpick test to make sure there is no batter that sticks to it. If there is, bake a short while longer and check periodically.

Assuming the Banana Bread Muffins are done, take them out. Immediately brush the tops of each muffin with butter. Don’t be shy, a generous amount is okay. The butter will melt immediately. I brushed 4 muffins at a time. Sprinkle raw sugar on the top of each muffin before the butter dries for a beautiful and delectable garnish! *If you baked a loaf, brush the butter on the loaf and sprinkle raw sugar on top to your liking.

Enjoy!

Happy baking! And may you enjoy the colorful season that has welcomed us.

Thanks for stopping by!

Valgal

XO

Nothing better than a delicious soup to warm a chilly day!!! BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP

8 Jan

Hello friends!!!

It’s chilly here in the District! Wowwweee! It was 23 earlier which isn’t terribly bad, but the wind factor….oh that wind factor made sure it felt in the single digits. Brrrr!

Reflecting upon the past year–yeah, I’m still reflecting, not “resoluting”, I giggle over my fear of spending money on lunch that I often NEVER went out to lunch, because, you know, DC is expensive…Riiiiiiiggggght???  Let me clarify, I participated in the walking to lunch and I watched my colleagues/friends eat a $12+ meal. I walked to trendy restaurants and sipped on their complimentary water with lemon as I dined with my paper bag lunch. I did this time and again at the best bibimbap spot ever, and at the coolest grilled cheese sit-down restaurant known as GCDC, to name a few. I dined out but never ate out. I’m a foodie. What gives? Sure I wanted to save a buck, but food is art, and I like to acquire I mean consume art! It’s well worth the price and I’m a collector. Right!!!!

I finally decided to eat out at least once a week. Sometimes it’s a $5 vegetarian or pescetarian friendly sandwich and other times my entrée of choice is barely shy of a $20 price tag. I almost always buy a $2.75 rice krispie treat at Devon and Blakely on the days I eat out. I go out of my way for this. I don’t care. I have to. I’m an addict.

***If I eat the rice krispie treat, no matter how I feel, I make sure I run, and I run a little extra to burn it off…I do the same thing with York Peppermint Patties…I frequent YPPA often *you know, York Peppermint Patty Anonymous? Oh it’s bad. I keep them in the freezer and when I want one, I nibble on it. It’s like a peppermint fluff of yumminess on my tongue that slowly melts.***

But back to lunch. There’s this one spot I have dined at a handful of times. I always love me their sandwiches and salads. Oh they pair so well together! Mmmm! The soups of the day were always appetizing flavors but who wants hot soup on a hot day? My logic could be deranged because I love iced Americanos always, including cold days, cold days like today. But hot soup on a hot day? No freaking thank you!!! Anyway, it was finally cold enough to order soup here. The day we met I paid $5. A cheap date! Holy guacamole, new addiction (and it’s cheap!!!) ßI love exclamations!

I ordered the vegetarian friendly soup, the Black Bean & Butternut soup. I couldn’t get enough. I was captivated by its flavor and flare. I savored every single bite. When it came to my last bite, I was seriously depressed. I was Doug Heffernan on King of Queens when he serves himself up his last spoonful of pudding. “I get so sad when my foods coming to an end…when you start seeing the bottom of the [bowl] you know it’s almost over…” Oh the travesty!!!
The next day of work was a Monday. I woke up stoked to go back and get more soup! It was a chilly day and soup was a must! I coerced my team to join me (like it was a big deal! Hehe) and we jetted out. I went to order and my vegetarian friendly soup of the day was split pea soup. Whaaaat! No. NO!!!! I tasted it. It was good. Not great like the Black Bean & Butternut soup. I ordered it.

I needed my fix. The next day I called the restaurant to inquire about the soup of the day. I crossed that line. Yea, that line. I’m a soup stalker. Apparently Black Bean Butternut soup and I can only date on Fridays. Seriously. What an effed up relationship…but the Friday slot…hells to the yea! That means something! Friday is sought after real estate-that’s hot! Ha!

Needless to say, I have a tentative date every Friday, so long as the weather permits! Damn these conditions.

But today, today is Wednesday. I’m given the shaft on Wednesdays. But it was particularly cold. I wanted my Black Bean & Butternut soup but was afraid to come across needy if I asked for a secret engagement. I decided to channel my inner Betty Crocker and make it myself. That’s right, ho-freaking-me, MADE..I mean, homemade…

Nothing better than a delicious soup to warm a chilly day!!!

BLACK_BEAN_SOUP_02 A

Here’s the recipe I followed from Sprouted Kitchen… http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2012/1/25/black-bean-butternut-soup.html

Recipe: BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP // Serves 4-6 Inspired by Coconut and Quinoa Some of my measurements are pretty vague, but in a stew-like soup, perfection is not necessary. Taste as you go, add more spice if necessary but beware that both chipotle and cayenne are SPICY, so start small. You can cook your beans from scratch or used canned for the sake of time. 1 Tbsp. coconut or extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped (heaping 2 cups) 3 cups cubed butternut squash (sweet potato would be good too) 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth 1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. cocoa powder pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper 2 cups cooked, black beans (about one can, rinsed and drained) salt to taste avocado, for garnish cilantro, for garnish // tortilla crispies // 3 corn tortillas scant 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions: In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and broth. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook. Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Salt to taste For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 375′. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, dirzzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through. Garnish each both with some diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies! A sprinkle of goat cheese would be quite nice as well.

BLACK_BEAN_SOUP_03 gFinal//flipagram.com/f/Opqzskz2tH/embed

Enjoy my friends!!!

Happy running! J

Valgal aka Valarina

My Definition of Beauty: Sweat

29 Jun

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday funday! I hope you guys are all doing well!

Today my husband and I went out for a ride. We ended up exploring the trails for a total of 32 miles. It was glorious! The sun was beating on our backs and there was a light breeze. The combination mixed with our sweat helped us keep cool as we raced through the underpasses and the trees.

My husband was always ahead of me. I want him to be ahead of me. I don’t want him to have to wait for me just because I’m slower than him. After all, we set out for a ride with the intention to work out and to get our heart rates up. We wanted to feel the pain in our lungs and the hurt in our legs by pushing our limits. If he stayed at my pace, I’d be robbing him of his “work out.” Fortunately, every 8ish miles I found him waiting for me to make certain I was safe. I thought that was rather cute!

But what I have learned from this bike ride, and what I learn from my solo runs, is that people offer comments when they are not invited. Before I get to the specifics, let me explain a little bit about myself.

My name is Valerie and I have struggled with more things than you know. Those struggles have given me substance, character, and experience. They have helped to define who I am. With my struggles I have seen the darkest of days and the brightest of days. I choose to live in the brightest of every day, every moment I can. I have been near death because of my own addiction to anorexia. One cannot be anorexic—you cannot be an eating disorder! But one can suffer anorexia. And I have suffered with it since I was 13 years old. I’m sharing this because it’s time I get real. It’s a self-inflicted affair between me and myself. My anorexia stemmed from my days as a gymnast, and being a cross-country rat. I was a “heavy-spot” and my coach recommended I drop some weight. Per pound I dropped resulted in me being an easier spot and a faster runner. My mile times kept getting faster and faster. It was easy to correlate being thin to being fast. And so I lost more and more. I was down to eating an apple a day. My food journal was pathetic! My beautiful friends around me were developing curves I would never have because of my anorexia, and as much as I wanted to be like them, and have curves, I couldn’t face food. I starved.

Food was the ultimate enemy. My struggle with anorexia is intimate. I know what it is really all about. I have learned that food was never the issue—it’s an issue of control. Fast forward only a few years after my initial struggle and I found myself in a treatment center. I was 5 foot 2 inches, like I stand today, and 78 pounds soaking wet. I thought I was fat. I was robbed of my chance to compete in gymnastics because I might faint or have a heart attack, same reasons why I wasn’t allowed to run competitively anymore. I wasn’t allowed to do anything I wanted. I wasn’t allowed to do anything but EAT! It was tragic!!!! Anorexics, like most teenagers, just aren’t human! They aren’t in the right mind frame. They’re so narcissistic. I thought that everyone would know if I ate more than an apple because they would see it on my thighs!!!

I’ll spare you all the details of my struggle. But I share with you this, I have struggled. I have talked to God and begged Him to help me. But I was so afraid of His help because I didn’t want to really get better. I only kind of wanted to get better. I didn’t want to gain weight. I didn’t want to look different. I wanted to maintain my frame and eat only when people were watching—because in my mind, that was getting better. I wanted the best of both worlds. I wanted to get better to appease my family. I wanted to make them proud. And with each bite, I succeeded. Too bad I couldn’t perfect my already perfect grades to impress them. Instead I was faced with eating every course presented to me on family Sunday gatherings. It was torture for me. The feeling of being full equated to death. I wanted to literally roll over and die because I felt like I could roll over. The feeling of being full, to this day, makes me so uncomfortable I can’t breathe. It’s something I am learning to cope with, but it will never go away.

Let’s fast-forward 15 years to today! Anorexia is still prevalent in my day-to-day routine. For those of you who are my friends, don’t act like you’re not surprised…I control it. What my family and friends fear is that I’m back to competitive running and have a passion for endurance sports. But they need not worry. I’m okay. I just wish I didn’t wait so long to return to the sport.

But let’s talk about something…let’s talk about this idea of beauty. When I was 13 I knew my curvaceous friends were beautiful. I knew I was a beanpole and I knew that being a beanpole was not attractive. But I couldn’t do anything about it. I was under the spell of anorexia. I knew I was different. And I didn’t care. Feeling empty inside from food made me feel beautiful. Today, well today feeling empty inside still makes me feel beautiful, but I only want to feel empty inside after hours of a long workout. I feel beautiful when I have my headband on and my Newton’s on ready to run. I feel beautiful when I have no makeup on and the sweat drips down my face and I taste its salt. I feel beautiful when the sweat from my ponytail drips down my back and onto my calf. I love how my skin glistens after being kissed from the morning or afternoon sun during a run or a bike ride. I feel more beautiful any day of the week when I’m in my athletic gear rather than my casual or professional attire. I mean, I love me my stilettos and pairing them with my newest dress from Ann Taylor, but the promise of sweat and a caloric deficit that my Newton’s offer me makes me much happier. And happiness is a beautiful thing to witness.

But with my happiness comes critics. And this is really what today’s blog is about today. My husband and I rode 32 miles today throughout the District. When I tell you I feel beautiful in my athletic attire, it’s not only because I like how I might look in it, it’s also because I like what it promises me—a work out=sweat. I wear what I wear because it makes me feel strong and pretty. Two words that should bleed together more often!

What I wore today, many girls wear. But today, like other days, I was barked at, catcalled, stared at, and was told “nice rack” one too many times. You might think that’s what I get for getting an augmentation. Ok, I don’t disagree entirely—although I did it for me, not for attention…and I had to do it twice because my first doctor royally messed up. I did it for me because hey, remember when I told you I was anorexic? Couple that with running and I lost all that I was barely given. I’m not shameful when I tell you I got them done. I did it because by being anorexic I deprived my body of what could have been. It was a very difficult decision to make because I didn’t want to come across as if I were narcissistic. Then I was faced with having to do the procedure again because of complications, at which point I wanted them out entirely!!! I hated them. And I hated how I felt about myself because I felt guilty for wanting them, fixing them, and then again for having them.

What I am here to say is, I have breasts. I’m not showcasing them as if I’m on the Las Vegas Strip! I’m not in a padded bra that emphasizes them to be 3x larger in a dress where they are so close to my chin I could eat them for dinner. I’m wearing a freaking sports bra, like every other girl out there, with a tank top. Yes, my athletic clothes might hug my body tightly (like everyone else) and it might make my curves look a little more voluptuous. It’s not intentional and I don’t wear my clothes for unsolicited comments.

My breasts just so happen to be so firmly squished together (so they don’t bounce) giving this illusion of cleavage that apparently makes a gentleman become a complete asshole. I didn’t know seeing cleavage gave men the right to say whatever they want. I am sooooo happy my husband was in front of me when these crude comments were made today.

What troubles me is that there’s this absurd fascination with sex—it’s ridiculous. A beautiful woman walking down the street is subject to insensitive, crude, and demeaning comments because she is beautiful. A woman sweating her ass off at the gym or outside is subject to these same remarks because she has cleavage, or nice legs, or her arms are too sexy. I just don’ get it! A woman can’t win. If she carries herself with confidence, confidence she gains from working out, she’s considered self-centered. You see, I don’t view my body as an instrument of sex. I view it as an instrument of strength!!!

If a man or a woman judges me (or any other woman out there getting her sweat on—I see you, I know who you are and you ROCK!!!) when I’m (she’s) outside pushing my (her) limits, sweating, and pleading with my (her) legs to keep going, because they think of sex when they see a little bit of cleavage, arms, and legs, I think the problem is theirs.

My definition of beauty for myself is not measured by my cleavage. It’s not measured by my sex appeal. It’s comprised of hard work, sweat, and pushing my limits both personally and professionally. For some of my friends, they think it’s being adorned with the newest trends and brand names, getting Botox, collagen, and eyelash extensions, and having perfect hair, makeup and nails. Granted my friends don’t need any of this, they’re beautiful without it, I respect them for doing what makes them happy and not apologizing for it. To each their own! Who am I to judge? I know I’ll never have perfect hair. I know I’ll never have the picture perfect makeup on to look flawless in person and in pictures. I’m okay with this because the hours it takes to do all that, I’d rather be sweating. If I spent that kind of time getting ready, I’m sure I could look glam, too! But I’d rather look like a Boston Qualified Marathoner (when I stand up next to my girlies in pictures)!!!

Here’s the thing ladies, despite what we do for our beauty regime and how different it is, our beauty regime is for us—we do it for ourselves, not for a man! So why do we allow for a man (mean girls, too) to strip of us of our confidence by making inappropriate remarks. I didn’t put my sports bra on today to invite tasteless comments—I put it on to embark on a serious sweat session, to live in the beauty of today, and relish in another victorious day against anorexia.

I read something the other day by a woman I admire and it reminds me of what I experienced today. And it goes like this:

“I truly think nothing bonds people more than sweating together. I am not a let’s get drinks kind of woman [unless it’s after a race, training run, or bike ride J], or a talk on the phone kind of woman. I’m a come and sweat with me and we will be fast friends kind of woman. It shows you what a person is made of.”

-So come on and sweat with me!

Happy Sunday!

Happy Running!!!

 

XO

Valgal

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