a leafy tale

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sarah.

Sarah loved the outdoors.  She loved to walk.  She loved to run.  She even loved to rake. 

One day, Sarah decided to join the “no-makeup” bandwagon for the day.  Instead of gussying up and going to the mall—as might be expected on a typical Saturday afternoon—Sarah threw on a big ol’, cozy sweatshirt and headed outside.  Rake in hand.

The entire family joined in on the autumn experience.  Hours upon hours flew by, with everyone hard at work. 

(my arms will be very, very sore tomorrow, FYI!!!)

But then, despite the beautiful day, the array of autumn’s colors & smells, and the boundless energy that everyone seemed to have at the very beginning, people began to grow very, very tired.

Sometimes—most times—growing tired is equivalent with being silly.  It kind of just happens.

 

(Let it be known that dad started it.)

Tackle #1

Tackle #2

Leaf jumping.  Leaf catching.  Leaf tackling.  All three are absolutely necessary when raking a yard. 

After raking the yard and countless numbers of tackles, it was time to go in and eat.  Which, by the way, was also absolutely necessary.

Roasted chicken legs.  Brown rice ‘n’ peas.  Heaps upon heaps of roasted butternut squash.  The entire family agreed that this was the perfect meal to refuel on.

Energy input = complete.

The.  End.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Who doesn’t love a hot side of roasted veggies?  The preparation is super simple, and the flavor is sweet and intense.  I always seem to err on the side of being a purist when it comes to roasting veggies, but you could also add in cinnamon and nutmeg, which I think would go lovely with the butternut squash.  This is an easy vegetable side to add with any meal. 😀

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Dice the squash into bite sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop in oven for 10 minutes.  Flip with a spatula.  Continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until soft, tender and browned.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you regularly do yard work?  What is your favorite/least favorite? 

Tomorrow is *Day 2* of the Breakfast Bonanza.  If you haven’t started yet, that’s okay!  You can jump in any time.  Just let me know what breakfast(s!) you want to include on the breakfast post for next week.

OH, and even trying ONE new breakfast overall is great too.  Just have fun with it! 😀

produce of fall

Today was filled to the brim with all things fall.

I drank a soy misto with a pump of toffee mocha.

I sampled hot, local apple cider from whole foods.

I wore a plaid, flannel shirt.  😉

I picked the last of the season produce from our vegetable garden.

I’m convinced that cold weather tomatoes are some of the most flavorful.  It’s as if they make up for their lack of good looks with a bright personality. 

And then I roasted an acorn squash. 

My Pepere habitually drives out to local farms every week, in search of the freshest produce.  He returns with potatoes, still clinging to the dirt from which they were plucked.  Bags and bags of onions that instantly bring on visions of fried potatoes and onion soups.

Best of all, he brings home squash.  Lots and lots of squash.

After throwing the seeds into the yard’s compost pile, I sliced this baby up and threw it onto a sprayed baking sheet.  Twenty minutes in a 425 degree oven (with a gentle flip half way through) turned this humble acorn squash into a thing of beauty.  Those crispy, caramelized bites get me every time. 

A drizzle of olive oil enhances the flavors of a simple salad.  In the same way, the sweetness from fresh maple syrup serves to further enhance the natural sweetness of an acorn squash.  A little goes a long way. 

I love soy mistos with toffee mocha.

I love late summer produce and hot apple cider.

I love wearing plaid.

And I really, really, really love roasted acorn squash.

Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

  • 1 acorn squash, deseeded and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • sea salt
  • fresh (real) maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Add squash to sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10 minutes. 
  3. Flip squash over and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup.

Question: What is your favorite thing about the fall?

cold recovery

I don’t know what’s come over me.

Apparently, nobody gave me the memo that you’re supposed to lose your appetite when you’re sick. 

And—apparently—nobody gave me the memo that you’re supposed to crave mostly soup and crackers when you’re not feeling well.

I spent about 10 minutes or so at the Whole Foods’ meat counter on Friday, battling out the question of whether I truly wanted to spend a mini-fortune on ground beef.  Ground, local, 90% lean *grass fed* beef, to be exact.  Was it worth the cost?  Was it worth my returning the local honey jar back to its shelf for another day, another dollar?  Was it worth it?

Short answer: Yes.  Yes, it was.

I’ve come to the conclusion that for the amount of times that I actually purchase and eat red meat, I want to make it count.  I want caramelized onions.  A whole wheat bun (courtesy of Trader Joes.)  And I want the best of the best beef.  Local.  Grass fed.  Delicious. 

(Just remember that grass fed beef tends to be much leaner than it’s grain fed counterpart.  This means (a) reduced heat and cooking time is usually necessary and (b) your beef is going to be much healthier.)

*****************************************

Unfortunetly, I’m still sick.  But—looking at the sunny side of things—I’d rather be sick now vs. Tuesday when I have to go to a Food Service Directors’ meeting. 

In an attempt to get myself feeling back to normal, I’ve been focusing on:

#1: Tea

#2: Fresh Fruits

Cold, chilly, fruit.  Preferrably of the citrus variety. 😀

Just as a little side note, did you know that Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin?  This means that your body has a limit of what it can hold, and past that certain amount, your body simply flushes it out (think of this like filling up your bathtub to the point where it can’t hold any more…it simply overflows!)  So the next time you’re sick, eat an orange but skip those expensive Vitamin C supplements.)

#3: Baking.

I baked.  Mom baked.  I licked the frosting beaters.

And yes, baking is totally necessary for a full recovery.

Besides, there is a good excuse for having a big sheet of carrot cake in the house right now.  It’s my Pepere’s 78th birthday, and with the entire family having a cookout over his house, carrot cake it had to be!  This recipe is a guarenteed crowd pleaser.  I can’t wait to see how it tastes!

#4: Greens, greens, greens.

There’s nothing like filling up on some fresh produce to make a girl feel like brand new again. 

 Yum!!

I’m not sure if a run is going to happen tomorrow, but you never know.  Sometimes a short little run or a walk can do wonders for clearing up a stuffy, congested head.  😀

Question: Do you normally lose your appetite when you’re sick?

weekend post: my most favorite of things

Thank you all for the get well wishes!  I’m still not feeling completely myself today, but at least I was able to do everything that I had set my plans—and my heart—on doing.  I can tell that my immune system is hard at work fighting something off, and I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be back to normal.  😀

Today was filled to the brim with a few of my most favorite of things.  It all started with an early morning walk.

And a bowl of your basic oatbran.

This bowl of creaminess was filled—and topped—with warm, sweet bananas.  With a sprinkle of walnuts and chia seeds.  Plus a drizzle of fresh maple syrup.

A short breezy morning walk + a warm, filling breakfast + a hot cup of coffee = just a few of my most favorite of things.

Next on the list: hitting up a farmers market with my sis.  My best friend (aka, Nicole from Simple Moments.) 

We ooohed and ahhhed our way through thai basil, fresh organic kale, peppery radishes, and rainbow colored heirloom tomatoes.  It was nearly impossible not to buy everything in sight.  I’m sure you understand. 😀

And I also spent some time with my fur-nephew Stitch.  He desparately needed a manicure, which is a two-woman job. 😉  Nicole held him, while I snipped away.  He’s such a sweetie-pie, and just acts all upset and hurt vs. scratching or biting.  The poor little guy gave me the saddest look, with an expression that said, “I thought you loved me.”

The post-manicure kitty treats seemed to make up for any hurt feelings. :mrgreen:

 Spending time with Nicole + spending time with Stitch + hitting up a farmers market and feeling 100% inspired to continuously eat fresh and local = just a few of my most favorite of things.

My dad is convinced that everything tastes better when it’s cooked over an open fire. 

I’m convinced that he’s right.

Dad built a gigantic tripod, complete with a chain link to attach a cooking pot. 

Dinner over an open fire.  It felt so early American.  Completely primitive.

On the menu: split pea soup!

 And crackers for dunking.

My bowl was filled, filled, filled to the brim with warmth. 

 But wait!  No campfire is complete without s’mores.  It would be so wrong not to bring out the graham crackers, the fluffy marshmallows and the dark chocolate squares.

Step 1: toast a marshmallow.

Step 2: Redo ‘Step 1’ as necessary.

Step 3: Top the toasted ‘mallow with a square of dark chocolate.

Step 4: Ooze together. 

Dad’s s’more—obviously—came out perfect.

Step 5: Enjoy.  Each.  Bite. 

Don’t be afraid to get all messy.

A campfire + Split Pea Soup cooked over a fire + ooey, gooey s’mores = a few of my most favorite of things.

Twas a deliciously wonderful Saturday.  In every sense of the word. 😀

Goodnight World!!

Question: What were a few of your favorite things about today?

gone green

Oh how I love new beginnings, new days, new mornings, new months.  September is going to be wonderful, I can just feel it. :mrgreen:

I was up at 5:45 again this morning.  This wasn’t nearly as hard as it was yesterday morning—no need for an alarm clock!  Imagine how easy it will be once I learn to actually go to bed earlier. 😉

Breakfast was eaten slow-food-style again this morning!  I so love, love, love having the extra time to relax before the rest of the day gets busy. 😀

I spent my second day of food service in the high school, meeting some more people (including the vice president of the school), and spending a lot of time working on writing out job descriptions for the employee positions.  I wish I would have thought to talk with the employees about this, just to hear firsthand what they think their job entails and whether the description is accurate or not.  I’ll have to remember to do that tomorrow when I bring them in for my preceptor’s approval. 😀

Lunch came at normal noon time today!  No grumbling, growling, cranky stomachs in sight (or hearing). 😉

Leftover Sausage and Broccoli Penne topped with feta cheese, from yesterday’s meal.

And lots of other snacky goodies.

  • raw veggies—carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, green bell peppers
  • fresh fruit—orange and apple slices
  • almonds

Fun. Lunch. 😀

I came home around 2:30’ish, which gave me ample time to finish up the job description materials.  Going through half of them took me most of the afternoon, into the evening.  I felt like I was on a roll by that point, but I’d rather hold off and make sure that my preceptor is feeling okay with the way that they’re turning out.  I’d hate to find out that I’m doing them all wrong!

Afternoon Snack: cottage cheese, Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal (which—by the way—is the only high fiber cereal that I actually enjoy), and a scoop of peanut butter

One of Augusts’ many goals was to become more green. 

I think I’m finally progressing in a positive direction.  My ‘problem’ with wasting trash bags and paper towels has decreased considerably. 

And as far as food goes?  Well, it doesn’t get much more green then eating a green salad filled with local (as in home-grown) vegetables.  Green.  In every sense of the word. 😀

  • beet greens
  • tomatoes
  • celery and carrot (which were not from the garden, unfortunately!)
  • last of the homemade basil hummus
  • olive oil and sea salt

With some kashis on the side for some c-r-u-n-c-h action.

I loved hearing about all the ways you guys &  gals unwind after a busy day.  I could relate to many of them, and found myself nodding in agreement.

Tonight, I unwound with a 3-mile run and a 1-mile walk (to break up the run.)  It took some motivation to get myself out the front door, but I was so happy to be trotting along once I actually got movin’.  Happy.  So, so happy. 

A run truly does slow things down.

Question: Do you have any goals, plans, ideas, thoughts, or expectations for September?