Staying Normal

With the last day of classes comes a mixture of excitement and nervousness.  Excited to be finished and watch this semester’s hard work come to an end.  Nervous to see finals just around the corner. 

In an attempt to keep myself calm, cool and collected over the whole ordeal (finals tend to throw me into a studying panic,) I try to keep my eating, sleeping and exercise habits teetering around normal.  That means:

  • Be in bed by 10 and up at 6.
  • Eat normal (aka, eat when hungry, stop when full…keep focused on veggies, fruits and wholegrains. 😀 )
  • Keep Active!

Eat Normal?  Check!  I made a super quick breakfast for time sake.

  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 1-1/2 c. kashi heart to heart
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • scoop of peanut butter

Simple + Yummy + Filling = Perfect.

Several hours later, with a homemade raisin bran muffin and a glass of milk sitting in my belly, I headed out for a 4-mile walk with mom.  Walking was the perfect energizer, and gave me some serious oomph for another few hours of studying.

Plenty of veggies found their way into my lunch, as I first made a salad of the remaining odds and ends in the refrigerator.  A piece of leftover cucumber, a couple chunks of tomato, the rest of the greens, etc.  I love clearing things out and seeing the fridge become empty before shopping day.  :mrgreen:

There were also some roasted brussels sprouts as an accompaniment (favorite. veggie. ever!) and 1/2 of a huge sweet potato with some homemade white bean dip.

White beans are lovely as a dip and perfect for spreading over crackers (or sweet potatoes! :mrgreen: )  I simply processed a can of rinsed white beans, added a bit of red wine vinegar to taste (about 1-2 T.) and some crushed, dried rosemary.  Simple but very tasty. 😀

+ an apple for some sweetness

Somehow I managed to plop myself right back down into my chair in order to sneak in some more study time.  I started to worry that my brain would explode but it never actually happened. 😉  Where does all that extra information go, anyways?  I hate feeling as if I want to remember everything and then realizing how much I actually forgot by looking back over my past exams and quizzes.  There’s just too much knowledge that I want to keep locked in my head, but there’s never enough room for anything.  *Sigh* 

This afternoon I decided to test out the new coffee/latte making machine by brewing up an espresso and frothing some milk.  I added a small tsp of sugar to the espresso, followed by the milk which frothed really nicely on top.  I can’t wait to test out soymilk on this machine. 😀

+ an afternoon snack of kashi’s and cashew butter

I was starting to cramp up from sitting down and studying all day, and decided to take advantage of the sunshine in the form of a long bike ride.  My legs felt nice and fresh and neither my IT band or my knees were bothering me at all.  Biking is such a wonderful thing during injuries. My dad and I were talking about how biking can really show you the world with less chances of injury (vs. running, for example.)  I would love to travel through different states with nothing but my backpack and bike…and maybe a friend or two.  Add that to my bucket list. 😉

When I came home from the bikeride, I was hungry for some fuel and found mom outside cooking up some Buffalo Style Al Fresco Chicken Sausages .  I quickly threw together some asparagus to include on the side (simply snap off the tough ends of the asparagus bunch, drizzle on a tsp or two of olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.)  Together, they only take about 7 minutes to cook.

I topped my chicken sausage with sauteed onions and ketchup for that perfect bite.  The asparagus came out lovely, along with the oven roasted potato fries (sprinkled with cajun and garlic.) 

+ sweetness of course 😀

Eat Normal?  Check.

Stay Active?  Check.

In bed by 10 and up at 6 this morning?  Check, check.

One day of studying like a mad woman down…5 to go! :mrgreen:

Question:  Do you try to keep things as normal as possible during busy (or stressful times?)  How?  And does it seem to help?  For the most part, I do try to keep things normal.  I find that a lack of sleep is the worst thing for me, and eating every 3-4 hours or so keeps me energized throughout the day.  And—I think it’s ironic—but staying active even when I’m mentally exhausted gives me a boost of energy as well. 😀

Frugal or not?

Ever think about how much you pay for each week of food?  I’m not talking grocery bills.  I mean, the actual food consumption on a weekly basis.  One of my classes required that we write down exactly how much we spent for a week based on what we ate.  Mine came out to $45.00.  But the most interesting part of this experiment was that it really pinpointed where I spend the most.  Things like organic spinach and cottage cheese were the post expensive, along with yogurts too.  Obviously I would never give some of my favorite foods up, but it’s interesting to see where the money goes. 😉  The good news is that even with choosing healthier fare, my lunches were still cheaper then a typical fastfood meal.  That made me happy. :mrgreen:

Do you think you spend a lot or a little on your food consumption, and where does most of that money go?

For breakfast I had a very frugal bowl of oats.

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. milk + 1/2 c. water
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1/2 banana
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt with 1 T. flax (stirred in after oats were cooked)
  • toppings: 1/2 whole wheat pumpkin muffin, peanut butter sauce (1 T. peanut butter + 1 T. milk, heated—KERF idea!) and a sprinklin’ of coconu

At first I didn’t know what to think of the yogurt & oatmeal mix.  Not quite hot, not quite cold.  But then as I ate my way through it, I started to really enjoy it.  It was very reminiscent of both regular oats and overnight oats—the best of both worlds. 😀

 For a quick morning snack, I snagged a handful of pistachios and an orange.

I was really excited for today’s workout.  Along with my foot pains, I haven’t been able to indulge in my normal weekend long runs.  In a moment of thinking outside the box, I decided to embrace both running and biking for one fun workout. 

I decided to start with the 4-mile run so that my legs would be nice and fresh.  Then I hopped on my bike for a fast-paced, hilly 6-mile loop.  I’m trying to slowly reintroduce myself to biking, since it always takes me a while to fall in love with it.  Once the warm weather rolls around though, I’d like to lengthen my bike rides and shorten my weekly running mileage.  There are some great loops that I’d love to check out! 😀

After my bike ride, I snacked on an end peice of whole wheat sourdough bread with a pat of cashew butter.

I felt very “spring-ish” after spending my morning outside in 40 degree weather.  A big ol’ salad was exactly what I was craving: greens, cucumbers, carrots, garbanzos, black & green olives, green bell peppers and my favoritest dressing mix: tsp each of olive oil, balsamic, orange juice and a dash of garlic powder and mustard.

+ whole wheat bunnies which are always fun to eat!

These next couple of weeks are going to be insane with homework for me!  I have my presentation on coconuts for Wednesday, two exams on Tuesday, a Cancer presentation coming up, and multiple other assignments (including the Haitian Diet paper, which I promise to turn into a special posting very soon!! 😀 )  I love feeling busy and productive though.  And despite feeling nervous for the presentations, I have to say I’m kind of looking forward to the extra practice.  Besides, talking about coconuts is going to be really interesting. 😀

I had an insatiable appetite this afternoon and made an early snack of Doctor Kracker’s Seeded Spelt crisps (yum, yum, yum!!!) with some vegetable hummus and a laughing cow wedge and an apple on the side. 

Look at this handsome man! 😀

My sister and her husband were having internet problems, so my dad went over to work on it.  I stopped by to chat with Nicole and see my two favorite nephews (aka, Highstreet and Stitch.)  Stitch is such a ham for getting his picture taken.

Everyone was home for dinner tonight, and eggs were on the menu (which, by the way, are another super cheap protein choice!) for a quick and easy meal.  I turned mine into French toast and topped it with peanut butter and homemade blueberry jam.  Veggies on the side were slightly unconventional but still fun to crunch on. 😀

The finale of my meal took place with an oatmeal raisin cookie. 

My mom “won” a few cookies from work, as she met a certain goal.  She passed on this cookie to me, and I opened it up tonight.  So doughy and chewy and perfect! :mrgreen:  I love my oatmeal raisin cookies to be slightly undercooked, chewy with oats and studded with raisins.  This one was so rich and buttery. 

I think I’ll get back to studying for a bit, and then I plan on making a snack and relaxing! 

Question of the Day: Do you think you spend a lot or a little, and where does most of your monetary food bills go?  I think I spend about average, considering where I live.  Some of my costs are definitely a little higher with eating healthy, in regards to organic spinach and low fat dairy products (gotta have my yogurt!)  But I try to cut costs in other areas to make up for it too. 😉

No pumpkin, no problem!

Carrot Top Oats

  • 1/4 c. each oatmeal and oatbran
  • 1 c. soymilk + 1/2 c. water
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and a splash of vanilla
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1 medium carrot!!! shredded finely
  • 1 T. raisins
  • toppings: 1/2 a pumpkin muffin and 1 T. Teddy’s peanut butter

The soymilk added some sweetness, but so did the carrot!  It also plumped up the volume and offered pizzazz to the whole bowl.  Loved it! 😀  I think the secret is to grate the carrot very finely.

This morning I was plopped on the couch, with my books in hand.  It was torture making myself get through another full-fledge homework day after yesterday’s marathon of studying…but then the phone rang.  Nicole was heading to Target, and asked me to tag along…it was all the coaxing that I needed!!! :mrgreen:  It was so nice to have a morning out and about, which included a tall vanilla latte.

These cute Starbucks Christmas cups are still here!! 😀 

Of course, once again, I forgot to ask for decaf.  I think it has to do with my subconscious desire for an afternoon caffeine boost. 😉  No better time then now to workout!

I decided to take the risk of freezing, and headed out for a 6-mile bike ride.  My legs were burning up the hills, it was such a great workout.  It’s been about a year since I biked last, so it’s definitely going to take some time to get myself adjusted again. 😉  Once I pedaled into the driveway, I started walking out my legs on a flat spot of the road.  Then I kept walking.  And then–then!!I started trotting.  Very slowly at first, bumping up and down at a turtle pace.  There was an inkling of pain, and I told myself that if it progressed, I would stop immediately.  But it stayed the same, and I found myself running/walking 2 miles.  It was exhilerating, refreshing and absolutely amazing.  Mind you, my legs were not used to running at all and even the 2 miles seemed rough.  But I ran.  Without pain.  I didn’t push it, and I don’t plan on introducing a regular running pattern for a while.  But I did love every second of every single step. :mrgreen:

When I came home, I took an ice bath.  😯

And yes, it’s as painful as it sounds. 😉  If I hadn’t alread put together this salad beforehand, I probably would have opted for a warm bowl of soup instead.  But my legs did feel very relaxed after the icing.

Salad

  • mesculin mix
  • carrot, sliced
  • cucumber slices
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • a few green and black olives
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • splash of balsamic and orange juice

+ a toasted slice of whole wheat and walnut bread with a slather of almond butter

This afternoon I made a favorite yogurt combo: plain dannon yogurt, 2 T. crushed flax and some granola on top. 

Dinner.  Was.  Amazing.

This dinner easily wins my favorite meal of the week. 😀  I made some vegetarian sushi with brown rice, avocado, carrots and cucumbers.  Check out my sushi tutorial for more info on the how-to’s of sushi. 😀

I think the real winner of this meal, however, was my dad’s veggie stir-fry.  When my mom asked him where he got the recipe, he simply stated that he threw a bunch of veggies together, added some seasonings, and that was that!  He kept the wok on a really high temperature too, which caramelized the vegetables and shrimp.  Total yumminess!!  Here’s what went in:

  • 1/2 cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 package of shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • baby corn
  • water chestnuts
  • bean sprouts
  • sauce: 1 T. soysauce, crushed red pepper, 1 T. sesame oil

We were all mmm’ing our way through the meal. 😀 

Loved all your opinions on ketchup, by the way…I think it’s unanimous that ketchup does not count as a vegetable serving. :mrgreen:

I’ve decided to do one of my presentations on coconut fat.  I’ll be researching a ton of nutrition journals to put the presentation together.  Since coconut fat is mainly saturated, it has been on the “bad” list for fats.  However, there are some other research articles showing that the type of saturated fat in coconuts is different.  Most of the saturated fat is in a form called “lauric acid.”  Lauric acid is a “medium chain triglyceride,” which means your body can more easily break it down and use it.  The current study that I’m looking at from a journal on Lipids shows that it may even improve cholesterol levels, although there is not enough evidence to prove this fact.  So in other words, don’t start gorging on coconuts.  😉  More research is needed, but I think it’s an interesting topic to look at!

What are your thoughts on coconut?? 

A Day With Dad

Nicole and I were up early after our slumber party last night.  I woke up feeling really groggy, as if I could sleep at least several more hours.  I think I was mildly dehydrated and the first thing I did after getting up (well..besides first playing hide n seek with High St. and Stitch) was guzzle a tall glass of water. 

Then Nicole and I had some Kashi Honey Oat waffles.  This is by far my favorite flavor.  And I was so excited that despite Nate being allergic to nuts, they still have peanut butter in the house!  I’m such an addict, I can’t imagine a day without it. haha…

I topped mine with two big globfuls of the pb and a bunch of strawberries and banana.  Mmm…

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…and I also added some yogurt.  Another necessary food item I can barely go a day without.  Greek or not, I love ’em all. 😉

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I ended up not going to church today and had Nicole drive me home instead.  I felt super tired and just wanted to relax at home for an hour or so.  My parents were at church, Matthew was working; it was just me at home taking in the quietness of the early morning.  Sometimes it’s a much needed experience. 😀

I was happy to see some chilled coffee in the fridge too.  Perfect with 1/2 c. soy as usual, along with what was originally a huge bowl of watermelon.  🙂

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Oatmeal for lunch?  Sure, why not?  I was absolutey craving my regular bowl of oats that I didn’t have this morning.  So I made the usual apple ‘n’ oats that I’ve been making for the past several mornings.  Delicious as always.  And super filling.  I don’t know what it is about this mix, but it keeps me full longer then any other food can.  Maybe it’s that extra bit of oats I’ve been adding? 

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Aside from the taste and ‘filling power’ that oatmeal gives me, I also get a whole lot of energy too.  Which was great for this afternoon. 

Dad and I decided to take a bike ride to an icecream barn that’s 7.8 very hilly miles round trip.  It was absolutely georgeous outside, and the views were beautiful.  There’s this one opening during a flat spot that makes me feel as if I’m biking through Canada.  The first bike-ride of the season, and I’m excited for many more…:D

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The ice cream was great too.  I love “working” for my food in the form of walking or biking to get it.  The icecream here was great too. I  ordered a small on a sugar cone and was happy to find that I could choose two different flavors (it doesn’t take much to excite me…:D )  On top I had grasshopper which was like a mint cookies n’ cream.  I always choose something minty when I go out since we never have it at home.  It’s not  flavor we can all agree upon, but I absolutely love it.  However, that wasn’t the best flavor.  The bottom scoop won the flavor contest because what can beat oatmeal raisin???  It was so good, with big chunks of juicy raisins and oatmeal cookies.  I loved how chewy and sweet ‘n’ cinnamony it was.  Mmm…

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My dad and I took a break at this opening to guzzle a bit of water.

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And then I noticed there was an old wagon in the back and felt as if I had instantly shown up in Virgina.  😀 

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Supper was terrific tonight.  Dad and I hadn’t really planned anything in particular, but kind of just had a conversation like…
“what are you in the mood for?” 
“Hmm..I don’t know.” 
“Well, this corn looks good.” 
“Mmm…yeah, it does.  Ohhh…look they have sirloin steak.”
“Ohh…let’s get some.”

And when we came home we just sort of through spices together and it all came together to give us a meal we’ll be talking about for days. haha…

Backing up, the farm down the street is now selling their own pork, chicken, beef, etc.  Imagine my excitement…I’ve begun reading Omnivore’s Dilemna but even before that, I’ve been super concerned with where I’m getting it from.  Here, the chickens are literally free roaming on the top of a grassy hill overlooking a pond.  The pigs are happily eating in a shaded corner of the farm with a little red barn that they’re free to enter and leave as they please.  This is exactly how God intended animals to live.  And I love that I’m supporting a local farm as well. 

So, anyways, the meal was put together in a flash.  I prepped the potatoes first by first spraying some doubled up foil with nonstick spray.  Then I diced some potatoes, threw them on and topped it with:

  • T. EVOO
  • garlic powder
  • cajun powder
  • salt & pepper

They came out tasting absolutely delicious and crispy from the grill.  We cooked them for about 15 minutes, give or take a few.

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And the corn was pre-soaked, then placed directly on the grill for a nice and smoky flavor.  I loved it this way!

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The Grill Master himself…:D

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Look at those grill marks…mmm…

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All together, along with some sauteed peppers and vidalia onions as well.

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Now I’m relaxing, watching Yes Man, and hoping that you’re enjoying the weekend too! 😀

Have a happy Memorial Day tomorrow!