Saturday, June 12, 2010

Moveable feast

Today I took my kids to a family festival. There were some twenty food stands there, but I had packed sandwiches on whole wheat, carrot sticks, apples and homemade trail mix (with mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips, for the kids). Plus a big tumbler of ice cold water. So we all ate a healthy lunch as our moveable feast instead of the festival food options: funnel cake, gyros, hot dogs, chips, cotton candy, Dove bars and the like. I was not hailed as a good mom for bringing our lunches. No, instead, I was dubbed "the meanest mom in the world." Sound familiar? I did, however, treat them to a lemon ice later when the temperatures climbed.

And I thought of all of you when I saw this group of parade participants! Look at those veggies (a leaf of red cabbage and a pickle where there too) and the protein: a fish. Only thing I'd change: white to wheat. Good stuff.

Friday, June 11, 2010

We Did It As A Family!

I had all but dismissed the challenge of trying a new vegetable because we have the craziest week with end of baseball, end of school, birthday party, etc.

Then I took my 7 year old grocery shopping with me.  As we wandered the produce aisle, me filling the card with yummy fruits, he approached me and told me he really wanted to buy something.  I asked him what and he pulled an eggplant from behind his back!

Here's how our conversation went during the rest of the shopping trip:

Me:  That's an eggplant!
Him:  That's a funny name.  It doesn't look like an egg. Does it come from a tree that chickens like to eat?

Him:  I really like holding this eggplant like it's a little baby.
Me: You're weird.

Him:  Mom?  What color is eggplant?
Me:  It's eggplant. ( I know, I should have said aubergine.)
Him:  Cool, eggplant has its own color named after it.

Him: Mom, how are we going to fix this eggplant?
Me:  I think we'll roast it with some salt and pepper and put a little parmesan on top when it comes out.
Him:  I don't want to put cheese on it.
Me:  Why not? You like cheese.
Him:  But not on top of fruit.
Me:  Oh, sweetie, do you think eggplant is a fruit?
Him:  It's not?
Me: Nope, it's a veggie.  Do you still want to buy it?
Him:  Totally.

Then when we picked up siblings from ball practice, he immediately gloated that he got to buy an eggplant and we were all going to eat it together - groan from big {picky} brother, jealousy from big sister who wants her own eggplant baby.

We ended up grilling it with a garlic/basil marinade.  I was proud of my two non-picky kids who popped it right into their mouths with no fear.  It was delish!

Well, now, you don't see THAT everyday...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coco POP

No my friends that is not Coco Puffs it's Coco Pop and it is a product that Audrey has got me hooked on. You're looking at my mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. These little, babies (actually they're not little but the size of a bread and butter plate) are popped in a popper in our local grocery store. I've never seen them being made but I think Audrey has. Three weeks ago Audrey introduced me to them and now Coco Pop and I have formed a very serious relationship.

Here's the scoop......they are all natural mulitgrain (mostly rice), no fat, no sugar, no cholestrerol, no preservatives and pretty much no calories (16). Yep, it's flavored air and very tasty I might add. I have a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese spread on one of these in the morning and a 1/2 Tablespoon of peanut butter in the afternoon. I wonder if they are popping these at any of your groceries stores, I sure hope so!

Audrey likes them with Nutella, who wouldn't?!

Opening Day

Our local swimming pool opened today. And we were at the door less than an hour after it opened. My kids were very, very happy, so happy and eager that I couldn't slather the sunscreen on fast enough! Of course, I was the color of that white stuff in the picture, while many around me were already quite sun-kissed. But I'm O.K. with that pale Victorian (healthy) look. I was even more O.K. with the bod in the swimsuit. Mine that is. More confident than I've been in years past thanks to all of you.


I LOVE it when my kids get out for the summer. The only problem I am having this year is getting myself out of the "funk" I have been in for the past week or so. Especially the last 2 days. My stomach is STILL queazy and rotten from all the food I inhaled! I say inhaled because that's unfortunately what I did!
Ironically, food doesn't even taste good when I do this. UGH! I'm trying to remind myself why I want to be healthy. Why I want to stick to this challenge. I guess it's time to just DO IT!
My kids don't stress me out, but I guess not being in our regular routine is throwing me off. It is nice to see others have been struggling a bit. I guess it's time to be like you and pick myself up and keep going. Life is too short to stay down too long :)
I took your advice today and got back to work. Yesterday, I rested, and it was awful. I barely left the couch. Today is much better. I woke up and went for a long walk, then came home and got through about half of an arm work out, and half of an ab work out. That's about all I could handle, but I decided it was better to listen to my body and not push it too hard.

I really think moving has helped me feel better. I was trying to explain to my husband how I feel if I don't exercise during the day. He didn't really understand, but I feel such weight and stress leave my shoulders after I work out. Do you know what I mean? I find I am much more patient with my children. I was not a good mom yesterday, hopefully today will be better.
Thanks for all the support and encouragement. I feel so honored to know you all.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Little Teeny Tiny Cabbages

Little teeny tiny cabbages, that's what I think Brussels Sprouts look like don't you? I had planned to make the Swiss Chard Gratin recipe that I posted but I never got to the store to buy the Swiss Chard so for my extra veggie points I went with the Brussel Sprouts that I had purchased on Saturday.

I didn't use a recipe but just prepared them in a way that I thought would be tasty. I only prepared one portion as I knew that he who will not be named would not eat any of them. I cut five sprouts into quarters and blanched them in some lightly salted water for 4 minutes. Then I sauteed one strip of bacon (cut in small pieces) and a quarter of a large onion thinly sliced for about 5 minutes. I added my sprouts and sauteed for a couple of more minutes, finished up with a grinding of fresh pepper and then ate these pretty fragrant veggies with some baked Mahi Mahi......hmmm, good.

I thought those little teeny tiny cabbages were very tasty and the bacon accounted for most of the calories and one slice is not that many calories.

Bad Brownie Day

See that fella on the counter. Well, that's how I'm feeling right now. I haven't had a chance to walk in the last couple of days because of rain and the last day of school. Schlumph. Also, I made a pan of special brownies for my 3rd grader on his last school day and the recipe was a total flop. The kids didn't even finish their one brownie. What's more: I ate a largish one in its entirety, not because it was delicious, but because I made it and felt obligated to the recipe (how weird is that?). I did pitch the rest though despite the food wasting guilt.

So, one of the things I do when I'm feeling schlumpy is make myself a cup of tea. The ritual of making a hot cup of something (in this case decaffeinated green tea) and slowly sipping it calms me and gives me a fresh start. I mostly stick to herbal and decaffeinated varieties. Not suggesting anyone veer from the wisdom of her faith, just sharing a little calming ritual that makes me feel like I'm getting a do-over. And I definitely need a do-over on this gray, bad-brownie, no exercise day.

I ate beets, and I can prove it.

Do any of you watch The Office? Can you ever look at beets without thinking of Dwight? Did you see the episode where Angela looked like this:

Hilarious, but totally creepy!

I'm happy to report that I ate some beets and I liked it! I found a recipe that utilized the greens, too, because I don't like waste and I do like greens. You can find it here.

I picked beets because they are the only vegetable I've ever had that I didn't like. My mom used to make them from a can. Gag. They made me want to hurl, but my brother liked them, so we had them on his birthday a few times.

I've never had them as an adult, but they use them on Iron Chef, so I HAD to believe that fresh beets were yummier than grody canned ones. And, hooray, I was right! Even the kids liked them!

I can now say the only food I don't like is fish and black licorice.

What do you do?

What do you guys do when you have a silly little cold? Do you push through it and keep exercising? Tone it down, but still get a work out in? Or just rest? I remember when I was swimming on a team, my coach always made me push through what ever my body was fighting. I rarely took a day off and missed practice. Any advice anyone? Will I get better faster by resting? Or moving my body?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My silly mental block

I have sat down several times over the past week trying to post something on this blog, but for some reason or another I end up scrapping what I have written so nothing ever gets posted.

Anyone who knows me, knows I NEVER run out of things to say, but when it comes to writing I get this mental block and though I write a lot down, very little actually stays on the page. I don't know why, but I worry about everything when I am writing from the punctuation to double meanings. Maybe it is the fact that I can go back and reread what I have written that creates the problem. When I am talking I can’t take back what I have said (it’s really too bad sometimes too) so I just keep going.

I know this blog is kind of a safe haven so as we go through this challenge I’ll keep trying to step out of my comfort zone and post some things.

I also wanted to add, I have loved reading everyone’s posts. It is so comforting to hear women dealing with the same things I am. Your fun stories, recipes and encouraging words have made all the difference this past week. I have failed so many times at past diets and ”lifestyle changes” but this time around I really feel like I can do it, so thanks to all of you for that.

Chinese Chicken Salad

I wouldn't say this recipe showcases any new vegetable to my repertoire but eating raw veggies was not my strong suit.  And how tasty is ginger!!  Sorry, no picture but really, really good. 

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp ginger root, fresh, grated
1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup snow peas, cut in half lengthwise on a diagonal
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
4 pieces lettuce (I use romain leaves)

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, and ginger until blended.  Add chicken, snow peas, peppers, carrots, and green onion; toss to mix and coat.

Immediately serve salad in lettuce leaves or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.  Yields about 1 1/4 cups chicken salad and 1 lettuce leaf per serving.

Pulling oneself out of a funk.

My mental conversation for the past week has pretty much consisted of snap out of it, get moving, what's causing this blah feeling...just to mention a few. Since I've started this challenge back in February I have not have more than a weak day or two in a row and easily bounced back from it knowing others were counting on me.

This past week I just didn't care. I didn't fall into an eating binge, I didn't completely stop working out but there was no motivation behind what I was doing. I was just going through the motions and discouraged that I could not be there to support others in need.

Mondays always build my weeks foundation. I'm a little OCD about everything that needs to happen on that day...but I was tired and didn't get up to go to the gym. After a day without a workout but accomplishing many things on my list I decided it was time to get out of my funk. One important step to getting out of a funk is knowing what got you there in the first place. This time it was an external factor, one of which I have not control and really shouldn't care about, but I do. But, I realize this and need to move on.

So this morning I was out the door early with Sam in tow and headed for the gym. I got a three mile run in before my yoga class which meant I had to continue to pick up the pace so I could make it to class on time.

As I've mentioned before I love this yoga class. There is just something about this instructor that speaks to me. She always has such profound and real things to say. Today I really needed to hear what she had to say. Here are two that stuck:

1) If you don't take time to get yourself healthy who is?

2) Sometimes you just let life happen to you, when are you going to decide that you can make something out of life, do something about it?

She always ends with a long quote, I almost walked up and asked her for it today...but I was out of time. My two hours of in the kids center were up and I had to move it....RIGHT OUT OF MY FUNK.

Edamame, I love you

I've had edamame before, but I've never done anything with it, just eaten it raw. Do you all know how good edamame is for you? The soybean is a complete protein containing all of the amino acid building blocks. It also provides an antioxidant boost from plant chemicals called isoflavones. So, this week I wanted to try a summery salad with edamame. And boy am I glad I did! I had two generous helpings of this for lunch. It was so fresh and satisfying and went especially well with the leftover healthy crab cake from dinner last night.

Edamame Corn Salad

1 pkg 16 oz shelled edamame
3 ears fresh corn
1 red bell pepper
4 green onions
1/4 c parsley

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c cider vinegar
1 T oregano flakes
1 t garlic powder
1 t sea salt
1/4 t ground black pepper

Chop the fresh ingredients; remove corn from cob. Mix together. Add dressing. Stir. I halved the recipe knowing that I'd be the only one eating. I also forgot to put the parsley in.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week #1

In some ways I did really well.  In other ways, well, let's just say there's a lot of room to grow.  First off I have to say that I like the rewards of points for good behavior.  I feel my inner child aching to put a gold star next to my name!  I plan on doing a lot of things differently this week.

-I really like protein.  It makes my my meals much more filling and I do much better if I have some good protein in the morning.  The days I skipped breakfast or grabbed something light were challenging for me.

-I will plan all my meals for the week.  Yes, even breakfast and lunch for me and Logan.  I've been winging it for the day time meals thinking I had them covered.  Not so!

-I will plan my activities for when Logan is napping.  I used to have lunch and watch the programs I wanted to watch on tv.  I found this my weakest time for all things bad for me.  I will now weed my garden or work on some artwork, read, household repairs, clean the bathrooms, weave that basket I've been meaning to get to...ANYTHING but sit, watch tv, and eat in the name of relaxation. 

-I will not compare my journey with others.  I am on my own path and that is just fine.  I have a lot of work to do and a lot of changes to make.  My deadliest obstacle lies in comparing myself to others.  This week I have my head down and focused on the week ahead of me. 

A friend of mine sent me this quote and I love it.  It has been on my mind since committing to this challenge...

"Wilma Mankiller, the first female principle chief of the Cherokee nation, once told me how the cow runs away from the storm, while the buffalo charges directly toward it- and gets through it quicker. Whenever I'm confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo."  -Donna Brazile

Here we go, week #2!



Foodgawker has been my new go to food blog because it's a magical portal into the wonderful world of yummy food. A round-up blog that pulls together the best of the many wonderful food blogs, it is an index, if you will.

Foodgawker is organized photographically. We can probably all agree that the photographs are the best part of a cook book. It also has a search engine so that you can look up recipes by ingredient or category (great for this week's veggie challenge). This is a huge help to me because I can see what the meal will look like on the plate right away and determine if it has a fighting chance to make it past my picky eaters's eyes and into their mouths.

I am a gawker geek. . . and proud of it. Go gawk your way to a some tasty new meals!

Trashed . . .

Look what's in my garbage can:

It's almost half of an enormous Costco apple pie that was given to us as a gift.  It has been sitting on my counter for four days taunting me.  I couldn't stand it another minute, so I picked it up and dumped it.  My hubby will be sad since he's been whittling away at it slice by slice - but me, I'm more of a remove the temptation altogether type of girl.  And I've learned that sweets in my house are my downfall.  Adios Apple Pie.  I will not miss you.

Swiss Chard, Spinach and Rice Gratin Oh my!

This caught my eye this morning as I was reading the news online. It's from the NYT and I think it has real possiblities in regards to Ms Thunder Bumpers challenge for this week. If you added a portion of meat or fish it would be a great dinner.

Swiss Chard, Spinach and Rice Gratin

I like this dish as much cold as I do hot. It’s very portable — if you’re looking for lunchbox ideas, try it.

1 pound Swiss chard, washed and stemmed

1/2 pound spinach, washed and stemmed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 large eggs

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated gruyère cheese

1 cup cooked basmati brown rice

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you clean the chard and spinach. Fill a bowl with ice water. Strip the leaves from the chard stalks but hold onto the stalks. Wash the leaves in several rinses of water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard leaves. Blanch for about two minutes, just until tender. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer immediately to the ice water. Blanch the spinach for 30 seconds, and transfer to the ice water. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain, squeeze out the water and chop medium-fine.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 2-quart baking or gratin dish with olive oil.

3. Trim both ends off the chard stalks, then dice them. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the diced chard stalks, thyme, rosemary and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for about five minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so until fragrant. Add the chard and spinach. Stir together for 30 seconds to a minute, just to blend the mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

4. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Stir in the chard mixture, cheese and rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to the baking dish, and drizzle on the remaining oil.

5. Bake 40 minutes until firm and brown on the top. Remove from the heat, and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can serve this warm, at room temperature or cold.

Advance preparation: The blanched greens will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator in a covered bowl. The recipe can be prepared through step 3 up to two days ahead. The finished recipe will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving (based on four servings): 260 calories; 16 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 174 milligrams cholesterol; 19 gramscarbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 389 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 14 grams protein

Nutritional information per serving (based on six servings): 173 calories; 11 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 116 milligrams cholesterol; 13 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 259 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 9 grams protein

Give me those numbers girls!

Add up your numbers Tuesday through Sunday and post them in the comment section here.

If you completed any of the Ms. Thunder Bumper challenge you can include those points or keep track of them to post next week.

If you have not done so make sure you decide on a 30 point challenge and get started!

You have until Wednesday at midnight...your local time to complete the bonus challenge.

Good luck and keep up the good work!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bolder Boulder Recap, Part 2

***This post was so long, I lost interest writing it halfway. If you missed part 1, you can find it just a few entries back.***

Since I'm starting at the back of the pack, I kind of jog in place until the crowd thins out enough for me to really get moving. The conditions are perfect. There's a slight breeze, and it's just cool enough to be glad for a chance to run. I find my pace and breathing pattern, and FINALLY begin to relax. This feels good, I feel normal. I zoom by the idiot who is hobbling around in his Moon Shoes. I see a group of college kids up on a balcony with a beer in one hand and a sign in the other that says, "YOU RUN, WE'LL DRINK." I spot a group of porta-potties, but I don't need them anymore. I make a mental note, though, in case disaster strikes in the next mile or so and I have to utilize the Tampax that's nestled safely in my bosom. I pass the first of many local bands. This one's named Air Dubai and is playing weirdo middle-eastern hippie music. I'm not into that kind of thing, but I sorta dig it. At least for today.

I catch my reflection in a storefront and see that I'm smiling. Like, a full-on toothy grin. And that's when it hits me- I am about to have THE TIME OF MY LIFE!

There are maybe 25 bands, mostly in the first and last two miles. They play everything from Pearl Jam to The Cars to the typical singer-songwriter crap that can be heard on any college campus in America. I sing along to everything I know. Loud. I dance a little jitterbug when I get to a house that's blasting big band music. They whistle and clap for me. The race is 6.2 miles, but I swear I run at least 8 from all the zig-zagging I do to high five every single supporter who sticks out their hand. I am pelted by marshmallows, showered with bubbles, squirted with hoses and sorely tempted to do the slip and slide, but think better of it at the last minute. The banana just ahead of me, however, jumps straight into the kiddie pool. I am offered a cupcake, consider it, but refuse. Because it IS Boulder after all, and you never know WHAT might be in the baked goods.

I discover something slightly alarming. Apparently, two separate groups of belly dancers are necessary in order to fully support the people running the Bolder Boulder. Not one, but two. TWO. The first group takes me off guard, but when I see the second group, I'm totally into it. I pass an older lady with magenta hair wearing a particularly bedazzled bra top and harem pants. She's not doing much in the way of dancing. I can't help myself. I yell out, "Shake it ladies, shake it!" She screams back, "WOOHOO! PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IN THE MIDWEST, BABY!" I almost reply, "I'm a republican!" just to be controversial.

I reach the banner that says 5K and think, "Oh No! Halfway! I don't want this to be over!" My cheeks start hurting from all the smiling.

At about mile 4 I see a lady with a sign that says, "NO ONE MADE YOU DO THIS." I think she is commenting on all the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans, but for me it means something different. I think about myself 8 weeks ago. I think about the comment I made on that post of Alicia's, how I said something like, "Gee, sure wish I could do the Bolder Boulder this year." I think about how incapable I felt at the time. Running... it's been an escape for me, because life is hard right now and I don't know how to solve my problems. I feel completely overwhelmed in my personal life, totally incapable. But then again, just maybe....

The tiniest tear escapes the corner of my eye. I shake it off, chalk it up to hormones, thank my lucky stars that Aunt Flo hasn't turned out to "support" me yet, and pick up my pace. I run my best times in the last two miles.

I've been warned about the hill leading into the finish at CU's Folsom Stadium, but it doesn't phase me. I've been running up tough hills for a while now, and I'm totally prepared. Plus, with my adrenaline pumping I feel like I could run up Everest right now. I round the corner, get impatient with the slow pokes in front of me, and turn into the stadium. It's maybe half full. People are leaning over the barrier to high five each person that passes like we're the team that's about to play in the super bowl. I search the stands for my husband and girls, realize the search is futile, and decide to really enjoy this last half lap. The music is blaring, the crowd is roaring, I could lift off at any moment. I literally leap across the finish line. Like a dancer's leap. I realize this is the dorkiest thing I've done since show choir in high school, but I don't care. I'm so happy, so fulfilled, I can't help myself. I want to do a cartwheel, but I'm not confident that I still can. So I settle for a leap. Or two.

I keep walking, because that's what everyone else is doing. I find someone with a watch and ask the time. I've told everyone I think I can do this race in under 70 minutes, but secretly I'm shooting for 66. The girl with the watch tells me it's been 66 minutes since my gun went off. Later I discover my official time is 64:51.99.

I'm thrilled, proud, vindicated, even though I finished in 20, 621 place.

I find my husband, Matt. He is absolutely crestfallen when he realizes he somehow missed me crossing the finish line. He blames my shirt. Tye-Dye doesn't stick out in this crowd. I pose for a picture.

A full two hours later I get home and take a shower. I pull off my sports bra and out pops the tampon. I realize I've completely forgotten about it. I laugh at myself for taking this so seriously.

The race is over and I've done it. I wish I could do it again tomorrow. I'm sad I have to wait a whole year, but I'm comforted by the thought that next year I won't be doing it alone. You see, I've been planning a Healthy Wives weekend getaway, and let me tell you, it's gonna be gooooood!

So how 'bout it ladies? Memorial day 2011?

Mixing things up

Back at Healthy Wife this go-round, and having taken the past challenge "off", I thought I'd change up my routine this time. Part of that involved embracing Cat's Walking/Running challenge and I've averaged about 2.5 miles a day walking briskly. I live a couple of blocks away from a Great Lake and so, it's been a real treat to walk along the streets bordering the shore and see how the lake is doing. She's fine, by the way. I have also resurrected my bicycle and have been packing the little ones in the Burley and going for scenic rides of the neighborhood. We go dog spotting or lawnmower spotting. I, of course, manage to add another 2 or 3 miles to my day and double my workout. I just love seeing all the bikers,walkers, runners, joggers and strollers out there. I feel the sense of community when I see my neighbors out and about. What a great feeling!

I was sorely tempted to give up my 5:45 a.m. rec center weights class this session, but then I thought, hmmm, if I don't do this class how am I going to keep up in the plank arena (the class is the only place I regularly do plank position). And I have a wee bit of pride there (as it took me 6 months to work up to 4 one minute planks during the class).

I've also reached a point where I don't journal points will reflect that, but I've kind of gotten into the rhythm of the how much, what and when to eat. Still, there are two times when journaling is a huge help: that time of the month that red headed runners of their first 10Ks can write about with such wit and panache and the other is when I'm entertaining. Lots of taste testing before, then there are also appetizers and dessert book-ending the main meal.