Category Archives: Daily Reflections

Healthier Foods

Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers & Brown Rice with Avocado

There’s a bunch of food pictures here.  I hope they make you think YUM! instead of ewww.

I’ve been cooking.  A lot.  And spending time concentrating on what i eat.  This means some interesting adventures in the kitchen.  I wanted to share some of my concoctions.

Tuesday night i made Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers, a recipe from Skinnytaste.  I did have some slight modifications to the recipe because of what we had in the house and i hate using  a portion of a can of beans for some reason.

These came out great, although n

ext time – more seasoning.  I had skipped the spicy peppers, but the recipe needs a bit more of a kick.  They look ugly, as you can see, but taste pretty darned yum and make great leftovers.  I’m also guessing they’d freeze well.  I had it with some brown rice mashed with avocado and a salad.  There are lots of salads in my life right now.

Yesterday’s breakfast was a scary smoothie – almost black!  It was made of:

  • 1 banana (frozen)Scary Smoothie
  • 1.5 cups of chard (frozen)
  • 1 cup cherries (frozen)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup water

It’s official, chard in my smoothies is too grassy-tasting for me.  I need to try mixing it in a combination of greens, not just straight like this.  Other than that, this came out pretty good.  The smoothies aren’t super low in calories and are sugary, but it’s from fruit.  I didn’t get this way from eating too many apples!  It kept me feeling full well until lunch, and it takes a while to drink that much, which feels satisfying in itself.

Last night’s dinner adventure was a stir fry with flank steak, peppers, snow peas and broccoli.  The peas and peppers were in this week’s farmshare, and i picked up the broccoli at the stand.  I don’t cook much beef, but i wanted to make this process easier on the husband, and thought this might perk him up.

Flank Steak & Veggie Stir Fry

I made a sauce with:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

and let the meat marinate in half of it while i chopped  the veggies.  I was worried about it being too spicy, but it was just enough of a kick.  I loved how vibrant the veggies looked and they were cooked just enough.  And for a girl who doesn’t like much beef?  This was awesome.  I’m definitely going to make this dish again with whatever veggies are looking good.

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CSA week 2

Kohlrabi, strawberries, lettuce, beets, Thai basil, and bok choy this week!

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Kale chips

Kale chips made with sesame seeds and salt. The kale is from the farm share. Lets see if I can avoid eating them all at once!

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Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy cake!

Mike turns 42 soon, so for his birthday Aimee and i made him a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy themed cake! It’s a towel and a (fondant) version of the guide. I’m really pretty proud of it.

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CSA week 1

I haven’t had a chance to eat anything yet, but here’s a quick photo of this weeks CSA. We were supposed to get radishes, but they got too big and woody so we got annuals instead.

My half share veggies included: lettuce, baby bok choy, spinach, kale, collards and leeks.

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Sweeping shame

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I know, I know.  This is what happens when i don’t sweep regularly.  It’s gross.  This was the stairs, hallway and dining room (AKA Zone 1).  YUCK.  But at least it’s gone now, right?

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Farmers Market!

Finally! I was able to make it to the Wethersfield Farmer’s Market!  I had been a steady attendee in years previous, but hardly made it at all last year.  It started back up for the season at the start of May, but with so much going on, I hadn’t made it to it’s new location at the Solomon Welles House.  It’s right by Wethersfield Cover (and the DMV), which makes for a better location.  It’s also grown quite a bit!  Even this early in the season, it was packed with delicious food, plants, crafts and more!

When i drove around the corner (parking was at a premium, thanks to the summer-like weather) I saw the NoRA Cupcake Truck.  Now, if you live in CT and hadn’t had the pleasure of a cupcake from them, you’re missing out.  I got myself a Bannoffee cupcake, which was exactly as awesome as you’d think.  I hope they come regularly!

Lucky Taco was there too, but as i had to go pick up plants afterwards, i didn’t get to visit them.  I hope they come back next week.  I love the addition of the food trucks, and this venue seems to be much more inviting to them!

I did stop by my favorites – Sweet Pea Cheese for some of their apricot maple goat cheese.  This might sound weird, but it’s just sweet enough and tastes amazing.  To me it tastes like summer, and it took serious willpower not to try and find some crackers right away!  I also picked up some butter rolls from Morning Glory Bakery.  I found out this is their last season before moving to Tennessee.  Their rolls are amazing, and the idea of it being their last go up here is a total bummer.

I also picked up some free range eggs from a new-to-me company called Killam & Bassette Farmstead.  I have been craving eggs lately, and can’t wait to enjoy some fresh eggs tonight for dinner!

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Eggs from Killam & Bassette Farmstead

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Apricot Maple goat cheese from Sweet Pea Cheese

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Alpacas!

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The New Normal – Routines & Healthy Habits

I’m in another transition period.  Duncan is (hopefully) starting work soon.  Michelle was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease.  Aimee is expecting in October.  Ian’s mother will be moving in with them this summer.  The upcoming Life Events will require me be particularly flexible, patient and communicate well, probably through the end of the year.

I love having a base-line normal, on a daily, weekly and overall basis.  Routines are my anchor to ‘normalcy’.  I can count on small things like doing sun breathes when i wake up, laying out my clothes or writing an email to Ian regardless of how chaotic the day may be.  Those touchstones are small, but provide great comfort.

Each of these Life Events will bring changes, and a new normal will emerge, however temporary.  Often times these changes distract me, and become excuses to get away from my values and goals.  Or i become focused on one element, leaving other important aspects behind.

So i’m trying to change some routines & habits to encourage better health.  For example, i know that weighing in every day, while sometimes depressing, keeps me aware of my weight.  When i am aware of my weight, i eat better and am motivated to exercise.  It’s now routine to step on the scale.  I can work on being mindful, accepting my body as it is right now, and making decisions to be healthier.

I am trying for the new normal to include walking and running.  If there are no other plans and it’s not raining, i should go outside and exercise.  I will not miss watching television.  The new normal also means making healthier meals and cooking in.  Again, it’s a time investment, but i enjoy being in the kitchen.  I’ve got the habit of making breakfast and lunch down, so now i can improve on them, making sure they include lots of fruits and veggies and less processed foods.  Why not make today’s dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast & lunch all at once?  If it’s the New Normal to spend time cooking, i can account for that.  It only takes a few weeks for it to feel seamless and be habit, and once it’s routine, it’s even easier, just part of life, like cleaning the kitchen counter or sorting the mail.

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A Run! OK, Run/Walk.

Last night, after months of not running beyond a few feet, i got back to it.  Spring, having time again now that the PE is done, and making some other healthy choices has been great motivation.  I won’t lie.  Being a (slow) runner and the awfulness in Boston has also influenced me.  I’m more determined to aim for the Hartford Half Marathon this year.  It already has been a goal because it’s a big anniversary year, but now just a little more.

So it was 4 miles of mixed running and walking.  My knees are a little sore today, but that’ll lessen up as i get back into it (and have less weight to carry on them).

Afterwards I caught up with Ian for a few, had a good shower and made a dinner of chicken sausage and salad.  The salad had lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomato, celery, carrots, goat cheese and seeds.  Pretty yummy!

The truth is, exercise encourages me to eat well, which encourages me to exercise.  It’s a good cycle.

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Smoothies

This may come as a shock, but studying for the Professional Engineer exam has been stressful.  My ‘free’ time has been spent, the last several weeks, in front of piles of text books practicing calculations, reviewing regulations and memorizing equations.  Or collapsed in a pile of tears, stressed and afraid.

This situation has created two challenges.  The first is no time to go outside and walk/run.  Last year i ran quite a bit, and then lost it in the fall.  I’d like to get back to it, but the studying and stress created a time and energy crunch that just didn’t let it happen.  The second was stress eating.  I am awesome at eating my emotions, and so found cookies, chips, chocolate and just about anything else to eat to soothe my stress.

The result, of course, is gaining weight, which is the opposite of my long term goals.  So, now that the test is over, i can return to healthier eating and getting more exercise.

When i try to ban something from my diet, i crave it like nothing else.  Or it’s suddenly everywhere, taunting me.  Knowing this, as well as how easily i can become obsessive at tracking calories (i end up going for low-score and not eating), i’m just changing habits towards more healthy ones.

Step 1 of this is changing over breakfast.  I love fruits and enjoy smoothies, but my blender isn’t the best, and i was convinced i couldn’t make a good smoothie with it.  Then, after a little internet-foo, i realized i could use my immersion blender with a mason jar.  This has revolutionized breakfast for me!  So i’ve been adventuring the last few days with mostly fruit combinations.  My goal is to focus on this for a week or two, playing with the ratios and what works best for me.  I’m 3 for 3 on good combos, and looking forward to finding more!

I also signed up for the 2013 CSA at our local farm, which should give me opportunities to play with even more great combinations.  I can’t wait for that to start up in a few weeks!

Pear, banana, strawberry and spinach

Pear, banana, strawberry and spinach, i added water & orange juice.

strawberry, blueberry, carrot and spinach

strawberry, blueberry, carrot and spinach, i added water & pomegranate juice

strawberries, blueberries, banana and spinach

strawberries, blueberries, banana and spinach with water & pomegranate juice

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