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. 

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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?

goals and basil

Warning: My day was completely random.  This post will follow suit.  :mrgreen:

I love new months!!  Who cares if it’s August 4th, and I’m just now getting to this topic?  Not me!  I don’t think it’s ever too late to reflect on past goals, while also making new ones. 

July’s Goals

  • no tv for the month
  • incorporate strength training into my daily routine and learn to love it!

Results???

 

(source)

It was hard.  Really, really hard.  For the first week, I experienced serious withdrawals from not watching tv (sad, but true.)  But then it became easier.  And then—gasp—I actually enjoyed it.

Not watching tv felt almost liberating.  Freeing.  Satisfying.  Rejuvinating, even.  I felt alive, like it didn’t matter if I was back by 8 o’clock on Tuesday night to watch Jillian Michaels.  It didn’t matter.  I said yes to going out at night, even if it meant simply taking a walk or hitting the mall.  The night seemed longer and way more fulfilling.

And, I read.  A lot.  Seven books in one month is unheard of for me, but it was completely possible when I wasn’t being entertained by the tube.

 

That’s not to say I won’t ever watch tv again.  I like flipping it on during the weekends, and I love watching a great movie now and then.  But this was such an eye opener for me! 

The strength training goal?  Well…urm.  That could use some work.  I think I need to be more specific with my goals, which is what I plan on doing for the month of August.  I’ll reveal the official goals tomorrow. 😉

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If a guy ever brings me a boquet of flowers, let it be basil.

 

Roses smell pretty, daisies make me smile, but basil makes me swoon. 

I was sent home with a ton—an absolute TON—of red and green basil today.  Jessica, a fellow nutrition major and foodie, told me that I could have as much of it as I liked since it was rapidly flowering and she had to compost a lot of it before it went to seed.  I was more then happy to take it off her hands. 😉

Basil.  So.  Much.  Basil.

Tonight, I quickly transformed a large bunch of it into my homemade basil hummus.  It was the perfect accompaniment to my salad and kashi crackers.

 And cheese.

I’m obsessied with this Drunken Goat’s Cheese from Whole Foods.  The rind is soaked in red wine, which gives it the outer red color.  None of the flavor is absorbed though.  You’re left with a clean, mild goat cheese flavor, which melts at the touch of a finger.  It’s delicious. 

Goals.  Basil.  Cheese.

Sorry for such a random post.  My day felt random, and it seems that my post turned out that way too.  Sometimes you just have to roll with it. 😉 

Question: What is your favorite way to use basil?  I’m excited to have a ton of basil because it’s my favorite herb.  But since I have so much, I need some serious inspiration! 😀

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??