enjoying the journey

I can’t even begin to tell you how frightened I was of this morning’s long run.

For starters, I was flying completely solo.  Dad had to go into work (therefore, running his mileage later in the day.)  And as much as I love running by myself, it scared me silly to think that I wouldn’t have our usual conversations to distract me when I needed it the most.  Somehow, talking to myself never feels quite the same. 😉

Secondly, I haven’t run 9.5 miles in over a year.  A year!  And the last time I did, I had some major knee issues.  Speaking of knee issues, my third reason for being scared out of my mind was that my knee has been acting up over this past week.  Needless to say, my inner runner’s confidence was feeling a little shaky.

It was morning.  It was 7:30.  It was now or never.  (Never was never an option.)  I grabbed my water, a clif shot (which I had picked up for free from last week’s 5k,) and began my fearful trot.

Mile one and two were the toughest.  But from that point on, I sort of just melded into this lovely groove.  “Settle down, Sarah.  You’re fine.  Relax.  One step at a time.  Enjoy this run.”

(See?  I do talk to myself. )

Once my mind quieted down, I found myself quite enjoying the sounds of crunchy sand beneath my feet.  I enjoyed the sounds of morning doves cooing to each other.  I enjoyed the smells of muffins and coffee whirling up to my nose as I passed by the local bakery.  I even enjoyed the raspberry clif shot and being scared half to death by one quite large, almost unrealistically over-sized goat.

Running wise, I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.  Probably going back to my pre-injury days!  It was such a delicious feeling. 😀

As always, I immediately refueled (and rehydrated!) myself post-run.

Sweet and Salty Garden Salad
Serve with homemade bread ‘n’ butter, crackers with cheese, or whatever suits your fancy.

  • Mesculin Greens
  • Cucumber and tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Snap peas
  • Green bell pepper
  • Raisins
  • dressing: sprinkle of sea salt, olive oil and a drizzle of honey

There was a little more refueling later on after dad completed his 9.5 miles.  We both found ourselves in the mood for something cold, creamy and delicious.  The choice was Ben & Jerry’s.  Obviously.

Chunky Monkey = my favorite

Time to relax and unwind with a good book.  It’s been forever since I read last, and tonight it just feels like the right thing to do.  Hope you’re all having a happy Saturday! 😀

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! :D )

Week 7:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles (Feelin’ Good!!)

Week 9:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY

QUESTION: Favorite ice-cream flavor?

Advertisements

simply perfect

 

Sometimes I go a little overboard with dressing up my salad.  Just a little over the top.

Sometimes I layer it in creamy sauces and deep, rich, lively vinaigrettes. 

Sometimes I want my salad to be ready for the ball, when it really just wants to hang out with lettuce and tomato, on some casual, laid-back Friday afternoon.

 

3

 

For a girl who enjoys practicing the art of simplicity, I sure did lose sight of the simply dressed salad. 

Until tonight, of course.

 

4

 

Honey, here’s your wake up call…

 

5 

…sometimes you can’t beat simple.

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

A dash of freshly ground sea salt.

A squeeze or two of honey.
   

2  

Simple.  Perfect. 

Simply Perfect.

 

1

 

Question: What is your favorite way to dress a salad?  Vinaigrettes?  Creamy dressings?  Oil and vinegar?

adressing the salad

I’ve been known to add random, unexplainable things to my salads.

For example, I like to fill my salads with lots of leftovers.  Christmas leftovers—I think—are especially good.  This did, however, raise some eyebrows at the dinner table.

But—really—you have to admit, brown sugar glazed carrots are good on anything.  Turnips too.

And then there is one of my most favorite combinations, which includes chicken, black beans, corn and avocado.  This also raised some eyebrows, but in a good way.

Roasted squash isn’t exactly your typical salad fare, but my tastebuds sure are happy with it.

When all is said and done, there is one thing that is always true.  One thing that the entire family continues to agree on. 

Homemade, viniagrette dressing.

I made it during the Christmas holiday, and one of my uncles declared it was the best viniagrette he has ever had.  I wish I could pat myself on the back, but the truth is that this recipe can be made by anyone.  It’s not at all stuffy or fancy, and can be made in under 5 minutes.  Ready for any ol’ time, when you just want a simple but snazzy homemade dressing to grace your salad. 

This dressing will turn strange salads into something normal. 

And it will turn boring salads into something extraordinary.

It’s kind of a win-win.

Family Favorite Vinaigrette Dressing

This dressing is a family favorite, hence the name.  It goes lovely with all kinds of vegetables and pairs well with strong cheese.  And considering how simple this is to put together, you can throw it together directly before your meal.  It does, however, taste even better with age.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. parsley flakes (or 1 c. fresh, loosely packed)
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Blend the above ingredients together in a blender, until smooth. 
  2. Drizzle over your favorite salad and ENJOY. 😀

Question: What is your favorite salad topping/mix-in?  I love feta cheese, cranberries, and anything that has been roasted!

dreaming of december

Signs that December is just around the corner…

Fluffy flakes of white are falling from a soft gray sky.

A vase filled with bright, smiling sunflowers graces the table.  A reminder of warmer days. 

The wood stove emitts a (wonderfully) endless supply of warmth. 

The warmest of warm north face jackets, gloves, scarves, mittens come out from hiding.   

Where rose petals have fallen, bundles of seeds take their place.  Preparation for next summer.

Squirrels fatten up.  However they can. 😉

I’m forced to keep an eye out for ice patches on my morning jaunt.

Signs that December is right around the corner.

I love the gentle changes in season.  The subtle warnings of an upcoming winter.  The chilly bite of a sharp wind.  How snow flakes feel as they fall against my face on a pre-dinner walk.  The warmth of a wood stove.  The promise of upcoming holidays and celebrations. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love to paint.

I’m sure that I’d think very differently if I was forced to paint this entire wall (which my dad deserves credit for!)  I’d think differently if it were my job, or if I was being judged on the quality of my work.

But when it comes to touching up, spreading out a fresh coat of paint, and marveling at how different (how NEW!) everything is beginning to look, I love it.

Painting is a long process, especially when it involves an awkward wall along a stairway.  But it’s fun, fresh, and exciting all at the same time.

I don’t know.  It might have something to do with the fact that the name of the paint is called “Oatmeal.” 😉

Dad spent his entire afternoon painting.  I jumped in to help midway.

The both of us were starving by the time lunch rolled around.  And I was definitely feeling too lazy to cook.  No.  Erase that.  I was feeling too lazy to clean the dishes that were bound to be an unwelcome side effect of cooking.

We decided to go for take out!

Sushi can be a perfectly healthy take out option.  I like to go for the veggie roll made with brown rice, for added nutrients and filling fiber.

To make lunch a bit more filling, I made us each a larger than life leftover salad.  It included fresh lettuce and lots of the remaining leftovers from Thanksgiving.

  • turnips
  • brown sugar glazed carrots
  • dollop of cranberry sauce
  • grilled salmon
  • cucumbers, tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. white beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt

Everything was so filling and satisfying.  The perfect fuel for painting. 😀

Off to relax!  I began reading a new book called “Commuters,” and I’ve just started getting into it.   

Happy Weekend! 😀

Question: What is your favorite way to use up the leftovers from Thanksgiving?

a change of mind

“Croutons are boring.”

I’ve thought this thought more times than I can count.  They’re fillers.  Stuffed into a gorgeous salad, just to take up room.  Kind of like iceburg lettuce. 

In fact, I can honestly say that croutons are the one item in a restaurant salad that I will push off to the side.  Feta cheese, yum!  Cranberries, yum!  Roasted beets, double yum!

Croutons? Stale.  Hard.  Tasteless.  Cardboard.

So today I set out to prove myself wrong. 

I’ve been told that croutons should start with either a bread that you hate (thereby turning your bread into something you love) or they should start with a bread that you love (thereby turning your croutons into something extraordinary.)

I chose the latter.

A nice, crusty loaf of pumpernickle, complete with a doughy-soft center.  A gentle but complex flavor.  Perfect.

I resisted the urge to eat a hunk of bread just as it was, and diced it up into little bite-sized cubes.

The next step was heating the pan. 

My goal was to have a crunchy crouton that still held on to its soft, fluffy center (no stale croutons, please!)  With that in mind, I threw the heat to high.

Once the pan was nice and hot, the bread was tossed in, along with about a tsp of olive oil.  The garlic powder was added later on, once the croutons were almost at their ready point.  Nobody likes burnt garlic!

The real test came when I plummeted a hot crouton into my mouth, instantly tasting the garlic-infused pumpernickle flavors.  It was crunchy.  Then it was soft.  It was exactly what a crouton should taste like.

Instead of shrugging the croutons off to the side like I might normally do, I gobbled them all up first.  And found myself wondering why everything else on my salad had to be so boring.

It’s amazing what a homemade crouton can do.

Homemade Croutons–serves 1

Try these crunchy-soft croutons on top of your favorite salad, a homemade soup, or even as is with a smidgen of cheese to garnish.  Try different spices, oils, bread for a change of flavor.  Any way you eat them, these croutons are deliciously addicting!

Oh, and try to withhold your desire to eat a hot crouton directly from the pan.  Let it cool for at least a minute or two.  Otherwise you will burn your tastebuds, and all hopes of enjoying a delicious meal will be lost.

  • 1 large slice of bread, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • garlic powder
  1. Heat pan to medium-high. 
  2. While pan is heating, toss together the bread and olive oil.  Add to hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Cook until browned and hard on the outside (about 5-6 minutes.)  Sprinkle garlic powder and cook for another minute or so.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: What is your favorite part of a salad?

feeling inspired

Life is full of inspiration.

My old 10k running bib inspires me to run, even on those occasional days when I really don’t feel like it.

A sunny fall day inspires me to take lots and lots of photographs.

My old journals inspire me to keep making new goals for myself and to make them happen.

Homework from past nutrition classes inspire me to keep learning, researching, reading. 

Julia Childs, Molly Katzen, and memories of my Memere inspire me to cook.

And—tonight—a fresh, local stalk of brussels sprouts at Whole Foods inspired dinner.

Originally—this was before catching sight of the bright green sprouts—I was envisioning a piping hot bowl of oatmeal for dinner.  Or a lazy, over easy egg with toast for dipping. 

So easy.

But you know what else is easy?  Roasting veggies.  Nothing but a few good veggies—any kind will work—a hot, 425 degree oven, and a bit of olive oil and sea salt is needed.  Let your veggies sit in the heat of your oven for a good 20-25 minutes, while you dance to your favorite songs and enjoy the whole process. 

Salads were the empty canvases for displaying the roasted veggies.

Oops…wait…quick snack break! :mrgreen:

 I kept the salads simple.

  • mixed greens
  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • green olives
  • avocado
  • kidney beans
  • olive oil

When the veggies are roasted to your liking (now is a good time to practice your patience, letting them get crispy brown for absolute perfection!), either let them cool a little before throwing on your salad.  OR, if you’re like me, top your salad immediately and let the lettuce wilt slightly under the intense heat of the roasted veggies.  Mmm…it’s one of life’s little pleasures. 😀

Dinner was simple.  Simply inspired.  Inspired by the brussels sprout.

Question:  Life is full of inspiration.  What is yours (in cooking, life, homework, writing, etc.)?

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?

(not) meant to be

Eight hours of sleep and feelin’ good! :mrgreen:

I forgot how deliciously creamy oat bran is, when cooked with chia seeds!!!

  • 1 c. lowfat milk
  • 3/4 c. water
  • seasonings: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla
  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 c. wheat bran
  • toppings: FEED apple granola, walnuts, maple syrup
  1. Bring milk, water and seasonings to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add in oatbran, apple, and chia seeds.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Once beginning to thicken, add wheat bran and cook for one more minute.
  4. TOP as desired! 😀

Morning Snack: Orange and mixed nuts

A morning headache converted my original plans of a 5-mile run into a 4-mile walk.  I welcomed the change in pace.  Despite taking yesterday off from running, I just wasn’t feeling it today.  A walk felt 10 times more refreshing for this morning’s workout.

That being said, I’m going to need to really do some schedule tweaking for this upcoming week’s workout routine.  I think I foresee many “night runs” in my not-so-distant future. 😉

My morning walk left me hungry, and I was completely ready to eat by noon.

Brown rice.

Roasted Turnips.

Leftover Bruschetta Chicken (from yesterday.)

The Bruschetta Chicken is my new favorite recipe.  I first tried it about a month ago, when Nicole had us over for dinner.  She served it alongside her homemade foccaccia bread, caesar salad and a zucchini stir fry.  Home cooking at its finest.  My Memere would have been proud. 😀

This chicken dish is worthy of being served for company but quick enough to get on the table for any day of the week.  Best of all, it’s kept healthy with a few simple ingredients, including lycopene rich tomatoes.  Lycopene is an antioxidant known mostly for its effect in reducing cancer risks.

I followed the recipe—almost completely—but modified it just a bit by using real egg whites, whole wheat flour/breadcrumbs in place of white, and cutting back just a bit on the salt.  This meal turned out delicious and reheated well for the use of leftovers.  It makes for the perfect autumn meal. 😀

Bruschetta Chickencourtesy of Taste of Home

  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. egg whites
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4-oz. each)
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs (I made my own, toasting whole wheat bread in the oven until dried out and processing with basil & oregano for spices)
  • 1 T. butter, melted
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 T. fresh minced basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in eggs, then in flour; place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken.
  2. Loosely cover baking dish with foil. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160-165.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the chicken. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

Can I just say how excited I am to see turnips in my kitchen again? :mrgreen:

Autumn, how I love you.

Post-lunch sweetness!

Afternoon Snack: cheesestick and whole grain pretzels

I’m telling you, it was not meant for me to go running today.

First, there was this morning’s headache that turned my intentional run into a walk.

And then there was tonight—before dinner—when I decided that a 3-mile run sounded like a good idea.  I was one mile in, feeling strong, and suddenly—out of nowhere—it began to rain.  You guys know me by now.  I love running in the rain.  It was completely lovely.  But then I saw a lightning flash and heard its companion (aka thunder) bark with an incredible fierceness that made my heart skip a beat, my hair stand on end, and my feet feel as numb as an icecube.  I sprinted through puddles and dirt, bolting towards home.  It was probably the quickest 2-miles I’ve done in a long time. :mrgreen:

I love rain.  I’m scared of thunder.  And that’s the truth. 😉

Time for dinner!

  • mixed greens
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • black olives
  • 1/2 c. whipped, 1% cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil

+ kashi crackers.

I love a fresh, crunchy salad for dinner! 

I also love dark chocolate for dessert.

I just bought a new binder and planner today!  I tried getting myself used to the Google Organizer features, but—honestly—I have to write it down with a pen to make it work.  There’s something about holding an actual notebook and crossing my To-Do list out with ink.  It feels so rewarding. 

Tomorrow is going to be an early morning!  My preceptor for Food Service wants me in at 7 o’clock.  Setting the alarm for 5:30 sharp!

Question: How do you keep yourself organized?

a taste of france

Mold scares me.

I was a little more then concerned when I looked into my water bottle, only to see mold growing all over the sides and bottom.  It was a jungle.  An intensely dark, mold-infested jungle.  Thankfully, I’m still alive to tell the tale. 😉  But still.  Mold is scary and shouldn’t be fooled aorund with.  So, in celebration of the fact that I’m still alive (kidding…kind of), I’m sharing with you this warning to please check your water bottle.

Moving on…

Thankfully, there was nothing scary about breakfast.  Just the standard ol’ bowl of “un”overnight oats.  With coconut and a spoonful of almond butter.

These days, I’m enjoying my morning coffee with only a minimal amount of soy for color and froth.  Sweet breakfasts and bitter coffee go so well together.

AM snack: orange and almonds

If you’ve meandered your way around blog land, you have probably seen people eating salads topped with fried eggs.  At first I thought this was a completely odd idea.  I thought to myself, “fried eggs and greens do not belong together.”  And then I read a book on France, and discovered that eating a bed of greens with an egg on top is a pretty common dish after all.  One of France’s traditional dishes, the Salad Lyonnaise, is simply a bed of frisee lettuce, bacon, croutons and a poached egg on top.  I can’t decide if it was the fact that I was absolutely craving eggs today or if it was due to the fact that I have a not-so-secret obsession with France, but suddenly I wanted an egg on my salad.

I did, however, end up straying from tradition, and opted for a fried egg instead of poached. 

Greens, bell peppers, avocado, bottled beets, tomato, garbanzos, and the fried egg (1 whole egg + 1 egg white).  With a final drizzle of EVOO. 

Amazing.  I’ve officially been converted.

Dessert!!

Afternoon Snack: yogurt with flax and granola

Dinner

I literally spent the better part of my day doing homework.  I was researching various therapeutic diets for patients in the hospital setting, only to discover that I was starving by the time that dinner rolled around.  It was super nice having pasta salad in the fridge (made earlier in the morning), just waiting to be served with the roasted broccoli (2 tsp EVOO + sea salt…425 degree oven, 20 minutes, flip half way through).  So, so nice.  It was also nice being able to eat outdoors in 72 degree weather. 

Mmm…life is good.

This is one of my favorite pasta salad recipes because it’s brimming with crunchy veggies, tangy-sweet dressing, and protein-packed beans.  The flavor is right on the mark, it’s quick to throw together, and it makes enough to serve at least 8 people (probably more.)  Great for packed lunches too.

Pasta Salad Plus–Taste of Home’s Light and Tasty

  • 12 oz. whole wheat spiral pasta: cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 can (16oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 can (6oz) pitted ripe olives, drained and sliced

    “Dressing”

  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. Mix pasta with next eight ingredients up to olives. 
  2. In a bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together.  Pour over salad and toss to coat.
  3. ENJOY!!!! 😀

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

Question: Are you a routine coffee drinker?

chopsticks

I wrote out an entire post, only to have it completely eaten by WordPress.  Which means, that the post will wait until tonight and I’ll leave you with a short little blurp. :mrgreen:

Have you ever eaten with chopsticks? 

It is an experience. 

A little while back, the Broccoli Hut made a post on eating with chopsticks, and how it adds to the entire dining experience.  It slows you down.  Makes you notice that you’re eating.  I completely agreed.

I am a self-proclaimed inhaler of food.  Not when I’m eating out with friends and family or at a fancy schmancy restaurant.  But at home?  Yes.  I inhale.

Which is where chopsticks come in.  Now, let’s face it, not every meal can be eaten at a slow, leisurely pace.  There are times when I’ll need to wolf down a lunch in five minutes flat, and times when dinner is something that must be fit in—somehow, some way—despite being in a rush.  But there are also times when it’s important to slow down and enjoy the food that we’re eating.  Life is too busy.  It’s important to take time out and enjoy the day, whether by ourselves or with friends and family.

I’m convinced that part of the reason why people who consume the Mediterranean Diet are so healthy, is due not only to the foods that they eat, but also due to the fact that they eat. so. slowly.  A drink of wine here.  A laugh with a friend there.  A small bite every other conversation.  It’s so relaxed. 

Chopsticks, chopsticks, chopsticks (not that people on the Mediterranean Diet eat with chopsticks, but I’ve found it’s one of the easiest ways to slow the entire dining process down :mrgreen: )

So my challenge to you is to try using chopsticks.  For a meal.  Or a day (although eating oats with chopsticks may prove to be kind of challenging 😉 ).  Most grocery stores carry the free wooden kind that you can simply pick up and mess around with before investing in a pair.  They’re super simple to use once you get the hang of it.

The How-To of chopsticks

Don’t be intimidated.  And don’t be put off by the fact that you may drop food on your shirt at first.  True Story: I have olive oil stains on my t-shirt too.  But as everyone who uses chopsticks will attest to, it gets easier with time.  You’ll be a pro before you know it. 😀

Question: Have you ever used chopsticks?