Back In Town

First, I want to give a big thank you shout out to Brandi for doing a guest post for me yesterday! I really appreciate the time and effort she put into making it happen. Stay tuned in the future for other guest post opprotunities!!

We traveled over the weekend so we planned to have a late breakfast. To tide me over, I had a banana with a cashew macadamia nut butter smear. It did a fantastic job of holding me over, I now know why so many fellow bloggers eat this particular snack!

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For breakfast, we ate at the Cracker Barrel. I had planned to get pancakes and eggs only to discover their new skillet meals on the meni. I ordered the veggie skillet with sunny side up eggs, light on the cheese.  It was loaded with roasted broccoli, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and potatoes.

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OMG! This was a killer breakfast, the dear husband ordered the same thing and asked me to duplicate it at home only a few bites in. It was a load of food and I only finished about 3/4 of it. But I saved a little room for breakfast dessert; a biscuit with grape jam. Need I say more?

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After breakfast, we made the three hour drive home. On our way, we stopped in town and did a few errands. I had an unphotographed grande half caf 2 pump vanilla latte while we were out. Once we arrived home, I had a handful of almonds

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and a bowl of grapes.

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After more errands and some laundry, I hung out with the most recent copy of Health magazine and my treadmill. I walked for 45 minutes and relieved all the tension from the long drive. I took a quick shower and then got started on dinner. I wanted to make something quick and easy so I made mustard BBQ sauce glazed salmon

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with half a baked sweet potato topped with cinnamon

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and steamed yellow and green beans with carrots. I tossed the veggies in garlic.

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After dinner, we finally sat down to relax. I had a couple of reese’s hearts to cure my sweet tooth

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and finally went to bed with my book.

Overall, my weekend was pretty good. How was yours?

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Back on Track

With the truffles and hard week behind me, I was ready to get back on track with healthier eating yesterday. I think it is funny how it ebbs and flows for me. I go through phases of eating junk food and then realize that my body is actually craving fresh, whole foods. Kristin, my new friend from group, commented yesterday about straying from a meal plan being an indicator that something emotional is going on. I think in my case, that is exactly right. My physical body doesn’t crave crap food, my mind does. I feel so much  better when I eat healthy, whole foods that when I start to crave the junk foods, maybe it is time to access what is really going on. What is leading me down the path of feeding it instead of feeling it? I am excited at exploring this concept more.

So, with a new attitude, I started my day with blogging and a breakfast, I made grits and sunny side up eggs. 

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It was a good filling breakfast that held me over for a few hours while the dear husband and I got to work on my bead business. I am making exciting progress and am super excited to unveil one of my deepest passions. We stopped for lunch around 1, I made whole wheat couscous topped with a MSF tomato basil burger and marinara sauce  I had been simmering all morning. I added a little shaved parmesan cheese and lunch was born. This is one of my old go to meals from years ago, I must say, it was still as good as I remembered.

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For lunch dessert, we shared a bowl of grapes and then headed out for some bead business errands.

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While we were out, we picked up lattes; I ordered a decaf venti 3 pump vanilla latte. As you may already know, I love starbucks vanilla lattes and aren’t something I’m willing to give up. Getting it with 3 pumps seemed like a happy compromise as it had a nice vanilla flavor and it wasn’t too sweet.

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Once our errands were done, I made my BSI submission for dinner. It was a recipe I came up after exploring lots of stir fry sauce recipes. The results were Orange Miso Tofu Stir Fry which I served over 100% whole wheat buckwheat noodles. Both the dear husband and I agreed that it was delicious!

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My camera cord is MIA but for the record, I had a square of Ashley’s tiger butter for dessert and greek yogurt and a creamed honey spoon for a late snack. All in all, yesterday was a really good day. It restored faith in myself that I do know how to enjoy food without going overboard. And faith isn’t something that comes easy to this girl.

Question: How do you walk the line between what your body and your mind crave?

Friday Fun Day

This week has been the worst [health] food wise, I didn’t do any planning so my meals were all spur of the moment. I normally go into the week with a meal plan and food shop for everything I need. I think that being spontaneous can be fun when it comes to food but I think I thrive on having a plan. I’m hoping to get back on the planning wagon this weekend which will result in cleaner eating.  Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed every bite of sushi and the foods you are about to see but I’m ready to move back towards moderation.

And with all that said, I’ll forge ahead with yesterday. I was running late so I had breakfast at work. I had The Chef make me a couple of scrambled eggs with cheese and fruit on the side.

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I had a multi grain sandwich thin so when I got back to my office I made a little sandwich.

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My wallet couldn’t afford sushi one more time, so I had staff lunch. Yesterday’s selection was vegetable pizza

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and salad.

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I had two slices of the pizza, probably equal in size to one normal piece. It was good but it was pretty spicy since it was loaded with jalapenos. It kept me full all afternoon and even held me through the event I was so excited about. I got to meet Brandi for the first time. We met via weightwatchers online and have remained friends even though I am no longer a weight watcher. In that time, we have had a couple of missed opportunities to meet and yesterday was finally our day. I also got to meet her husband, Nick.

We met at starbuck’s where we both got a passion fruit tea. This tea was really good! It caffeine free, sugar free and artificial sweetener free and it is tasty to boot!

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We shared nice easy conversation and she gave me this gorgeous box of truffles. I didn’t indulge till later 😉

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They were only breezing through town so we couldn’t share a whole foody love meal but we still had fun. We already have plans to meet again for a hiking trip in the spring, I can’t wait!

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After my fun filled afternoon, I was hungry. I still had an errand to run for The Pro so by the time I got back to my side of the world, it was dinner time. I called the dear husband and asked what he wanted to do. We agreed to meet at the Italian hole close to our house. I started with a house salad

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and a breadstick.

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For the main course, I had seafood linguine. The sauce on the linguine was perfect, sometimes, they are too heavy and oil but this was light and brothy.

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After dinner, we came home and caught up on the DVR. We shared this little gem that Brandi had given us. It had a mild orange and rich dark chocolate flavor that was very pleasant. It was also hot! I mean, hot! It was kind of surprising, actually!

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Another reminder to sign up for my country bob’s giveaway! All you have to do is comment on that post, link back to the contest and you are all set. If you don’t have a blog, comment and send me an email confirming that you don’t have a blog. I will also be including a very special surprise so be sure to sign up! The contest ends Tuesday, good luck!

Question: Do you thrive on food plans or flying by the seat of your pants? Do you spend alot of time planning your meals and shopping?

Breakfast for lunch, Junk Food for dinner

I slept in until a little past 7 yesterday, I would have slept longer but I had to get to yoga. I drank my cafe au lait while eating breakfast. In the bowl was Barbara’s shredded spoonfuls, ground flax seed, dried blueberries and milk.

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After breakfast, I headed to yoga class. The class had, yet again, another new teacher who had suffered from some miscommunication. She thought the class was supposed to be a gentle hatha flow class for beginners. We didn’t even come to standing until about 45 minutes into it. At that point in the class, she said “we are going to come into Warrior I” and immediately, we came into warrior I. She looked up and said “oh, you are already there” because she was expecting to have to teach us the pose. A few moments later, she seemed very confused about what was going on and said something about us being more than beginners so I finally spoke up. I told her that the class was normally a vinyasa I and II class. She looked like a deer in headlights and said, “so this class has been way too easy” and we all agreed that it had. Then she said she wish she had known because she normally teaches vinyasa and was having a hard time teaching a gentle class. We finished out the class with a few sun salutations but by then, time was up.

After class, we all sat around and had a long discussion about the class. It was a complicated discussion that I’m still not even really sure what happened.  In the end,  I’m not sure if it is the studio for me anymore. With all of the teacher changes and style changes and level changes, I’m just not sure I can keep paying the high price. I like vinyasa and feel that, for the money, I should get what I pay for.  Confusion like this has happened many times over the past couple of months and it only leaves me frustrated. I have been told that maybe these gentle class come by to teach me something but they only teach me that gentle yoga is not my thing. I just sit, lay or whatever in the poses and feel frustration. I like vinyasa because it doesn’t give my mind time to wander; it is very much a moving meditation for me. I do yoga to ease my anxiety and depression and those gentle classes just make it worse.

I have found another studio in the area that is a few minutes further away, but they have a vinyasa class on Saturday mornings. Once my session is up at my current studio, I may give it a try.  I wish I had another r option but at this point, I don’t feel like I do. I have talked to Laura, the studio owner, about the problem but it isn’t being resolved. It actually makes me really sad because it really feels like home to me. It is the only studio I have ever practiced in so I feel emotionally tied to it. Yoga changed my life so walking away from the place that made that happen is hard.

After yoga, I came home and caught up on my blog reading and then made lunch. I saw lots of omelets in blogland and thought that would be the perfect way to use up some things in the fridge. I made a mish mosh fritata with shrimp, corn, black beans, onions, broccoli, light cream cheese and mozzarella.

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On the side, we had toasted english muffins with an olive oil drizzle. This was a eggs-ellent lunch 🙂

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With a full belly, I made a menu plan and shopping list for the week and then we headed out for errands. While out, I had a venti caramel latte to help keep me warm. It was very frigid outside! Once we got home, it was almost 5pm and we knew we wanted to get in a good workout. We met upstairs and he rode the recumbent bike and I did a run on the treadmill. I am very proud of this run because it was the longest I have ran in a couple of years. I walked for 5 minutes, ran for 26 minutes and then did a 4 minute cool down. It was awesome.

When I met the dear husband, I was an avid runner. I typically ran about 5 miles a day and it was just part of who I was. Once I moved into my current neighborhood the running stopped. The hills here are insane, more like mountains and the adjustment made havoc on my hips. It was just too painful to run anymore. Now that I have yoga in my life, the running doesn’t seem to bother my hips the way it did back then. Of course, I haven’t run outside yet so we will see when spring comes. Even if I have to run on the treadmill forever, I am glad that running is back in my life.

Once we were fresh and clean from our workout, I made us some junk food for dinner. I made a batch of morning star farms buffalo “wings”

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a pan of sweet potato fries

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with carrot sticks

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and blue cheese dressing for dipping.

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What a fun dinner this was. Even my carnivore husband thought that the “wings” we good and the sweet potato fries were killer! It was all pretty spicy so we wanted something sweet to balance it all out. Since it was so cold, I really wanted something warm. I made rice pudding with pecans and topped it off with chocolate chips.

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It was a warm and comforting dessert. I made it from a box with the exception of the nuts and chocolate but I will be seeking out a recipe for homemade. I want to have this treat again!

Have you ever felt so frustrated with something you love so much? What have you done to resolve it?

Finaly Relax Time!

I slept in until 7 am yesterday, it was nice and I know my body really needed the rest.  Once I got up, I made myself a chocolate cafe au lait with TJ’s sipping chocolate. This was my best cafe au lait yet, the sipping chocolate is only mildly sweet and has a rich dark chocolate flavor. Mixed with milk and coffee and you have yourself a lovely morning treat.

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For breakfast, I was craving grits and eggs because I had been talking with my friend Brandi about them for the past couple of weeks. I ended up over cooking the eggs but they still tasted great. My mom used to make grits and eggs for us and then we would chop the eggs up and mix it all together. It looks disgusting but it tastes oh so good, this photo is before the chopping action :). To get a little fruit into my day, I had a tangerine on the side.

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For lunch, I made whole wheat couscous with Dr. Prager’s California veggie burger and TJ’s mango salsa. This was so good, I added a little extra chili sauce into the salsa to give it an extra kick.

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My lunch was pretty light on protein so I actually got hungry again pretty quickly. The dear husband and I were out and about so I settled on a latte from Starbucks. I left my camera at home but I think you guys know what they look like 🙂 The latte still didn’t do the trick and I found myself having a major craving for ham! It was an odd craving but I went with it. We still had to do the grocery shopping so I picked a ham for Thanksgiving and a ham for us.

Once I got home, I made an easy dinner. I heated up the ham, made sweet potato half moons and steamed asparagus. I spiced the sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and a sprinkle of cumin. For the asparagus, I just drizzled it with a bit of olive oil once it was done. It was a nice this pre-Thanksgiving meal.

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A little after dinner, we decided to watch Baby Mama, it was OK in that stupid funny kind of way. While we watched, we munched on some popcorn. Then later for dessert, I had a vitamuffin.

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Thought Provoker: Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving? Do you have plans to cook, travel or both? I have plans to do both. We will be heading down to NC on Wednesday after work. I am planning to pack lots of foods to take with us to keep me on track though. I am cooking the ham and a dessert for Thanksgiving and really look forward to seeing all of my family.

Encouraging Words

Thank you all for your kind words yesterday. Some days, I feel so strong and confident and others, not so much. When I woke up yesterday, I didn’t realize I was so emotional about the day before until I started writing. Once I started to write, it all just came tumbling out. It was so good for me to release it and it felt even better to read your comments. Some of you brought me to tears with your compassion and understanding. I always feel so misunderstood and it is so comforting to know that there are people in the world that get it.

My writing put me in a big rush to get to yoga on time. Instead of eating an early breakfast, I ate a quick banana and an almond coconut KIND bar. I was in such a hurry that I didn’t take a picture. Luckily, I still got to yoga in time to set up my mat and visit the ladies room 🙂 When I got there, I was very happy to see Linda, probably my favorite yoga teacher thus far. Linda teaches vinyasa and she really knows how to build internal heat and get out all of the kinks. Linda’s class is the kind of class where you just hate her for it but once it is all over, the love starts pouring out.  When the class ended, she told us that she will not be teaching the Saturday AM class again until January and for this, I am very upset. We talked to her about the sub from last week and she thinks that we should tell her that we prefer the vinyasa style so hopefully it will all work out.

I came home after yoga and made the dear husband and I a nice breakfast. For some reason, I was really in the mood to cook. So, instead of worrying about the things we wanted to get done, I cooked. I made spinach polenta topped with egg, salsa and goat cheese. First I sauteed onions and garlic in a little ghee (clarified butter) and then added in diced ham. Once the ham was nicely browned, I added milk and then the corn meal. Once the polenta was thick and creamy, I added in frozen chopped spinach and a dash of nutmeg. This breakfast was rich, hearty and satisfying!

After our late breakfast, we headed out for a day of shopping. The cold snuck up on us here in VA and my sweater and long sleeve inventory was really lacking. While we were out, I grabbed a chai green tea latte from Starbucks. With a Starbucks in tow, we hit up the Halloween section at Target and then headed out for a bite to eat. We went to Noodles & Company which I am guessing is a chain but the one we went to is the only one in the Metro Richmond area. It was our first time there and we both really liked it. It seemed to be the perfect place for when you want to go out but everyone isn’t in the mood for the same things. I got pad thai with tofu and added a little rooster sauce to it. I ate about 1/3 of the noodles and didn’t eat the tofu, it was soft and mushy, not my kind of tofu.

After eating, we headed to the grocery store to stock up for the week and then headed home. Once home, I made us a big pot of popcorn because we were both mildly hungry.

About halfway through, I realized that I was really hungry and went for a piece of fried chicken we had picked up from the grocery store. I didn’t eat the skin but the chicken was still good. Just the piece of chicken did the trick so I didn’t eat anything with it.

We watched a couple episodes of the Suze Orman show and then hit the hay. I was really looking forward to the extra hour of sleep!

Thought Provoker: Is there a form of exercise that you have a love hate relationship with?

Yoga and a Recipe

I woke up with a major food hangover yesterday, I didn’t want to get out of bed for anything. I had an 8:30 am yoga class so I got up anyway and made breakfast. I made 2 eggs n baskets with local nine grain bread and earth balance. I didn’t have anything on the side because I actually wasn’t hungry but I knew I needed to eat because I wouldn’t be out of yoga until late morning.

This weeks hatha flow yoga class was taught by Candy, a teacher I had never practiced with before. When I first saw Candy, my first thought was relief. She was overweight! I can’t tell you how many super thin yoga teachers there are in this world so to see one that I would consider to be like me, I was excited. For a couple of reasons, really. My big dream is to be a writer while teaching yoga “on the side”. She eased my mind that not all yoga teachers have to be thin.  And secondly, I knew my ego would not come in to play because I would not be constantly comparing how thin the teacher is to how overweight I am.  It was a wonderful feeling.

After class, I had a private lesson with Laura, the owner of the studio. If I have a mentor in this world, I do believe it is Laura. She compels me to want to live a yogic life and be my own best person. From the moment I met her, I felt a connection with her that makes me feel like she has been a cherished friend my whole life. Needless to say, I always enjoy my private lessons with her. This lesson was about a yogic approach to my anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder. I could write an entire article on all of the things that I learned but the biggest thing that I learned is that my body needs two different things depending on whether I am anxious or depressed. The two are so closely tied in my mind that I had just assumed the opposite. She taught me some “real world” techniques for when busting into warrior II just isn’t appropriate as well as the proper asanas and flows for when it is.  The whole session helped me understand why I enjoy the poses and the flows that I do with some real legit yoga wisdom to back it up.

In addition to the yogic techniques, we also explored a little more into ayureveda. We talked about my being a kapha and some of the foods that will help keep me balanced. From, that I have decided that I would like to educate myself more of these principles and probably make some changes to my diet accordingly. Laura urged me to take a real world approach and to avoid any extremist ideas which I find to be the most rational and intuitive. 

Once I was home from expanding my yogic horizons, it was lunch time. I was pretty hungry and wasn’t up for much involved cooking so leftovers and frozen veggies came to my rescue. I had a mango sausage with whole wheat couscous and steamed green beans with almond. The couscous and green beans didn’t really do it for me so I ended up only have a few bites.

After lunch, we headed to Barnes and Noble to look for books about ayureveda. That idea turned out to be a dud but we did get a latte while we were there 🙂 I got a toasted marshmallow mocha and a pretzel because I was still hungry from lunch. The pretzel was revolting, really, so I only had the one bite. It looks much better than it tasted.

Once we were home from B & N and the rest of our errands, I started on a pot of chowder right away. My friend was coming over for dinner and I knew it would be a really long cooking process. I had seen a couple of recipes for edamame chowder and with those, here is what I came up with.

Roasted Edamame Chowder

4 cups shelled edamame

3 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste

3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

1 large onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed with salt

1 lb of small red potatoes, sliced into half moons

2 cups frozen corn

4 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 cup half and half

Cheddar cheese for topping

Instructions:

Pre heat oven to 400*. Coat the edamame the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and toss to combine. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes stirring often to ensure even roasting. Once roasted, turn off the oven but the leave the edamame inside.

Meanwhile, cook bacon on medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan as set aside of paper towels. Remove as little or as much of the bacon grease as you would like but be sure to add a little olive oil if you remove all of it. Sautee the onions in the bacon grease (or olive oil) until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the crushed garlic and sautee for another minute. Add the potatoes and corn and sautee for 5 minutes. Add in the chicken broth and increase the heat to med high. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce head to med and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove half of the soup mixture and add to the blender and puree until smooth. Once smooth, add back to the cooking pot along with the roasted edamame. Stir well to combine and taste for salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After simmering, stir in the half and half and let stand for about 5 minutes. Top with crumbled bacon and cheese.

The chowder turned out great, I served it along side whole wheat yeast rolls and everyone was happy. The soup was rich and creamy and just what we needed on a cold rainy night! For dessert, I had a small bowl of local butter pecan ice cream, it was so good but it made me really cold. I think it is ALMOST time to retire ice cream for the season.

Thought Provoker: Do you make note of how certain foods make you feel? Do you have a tendency towards eating them anyway because they taste good even if they make you feel bad? My body does not like to be overloaded with sweets but my mind always wants to eat them. I try to only have a little but sometimes the sugar monster takes over.