things to do

I put shower gel in my hair instead of conditioner.

I ate cajun in my morning bowl of oatmeal, thinking it was cinnamon.

I went to bed at 8:30 last night and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I had no answer for an elderly woman who asked me what day it was.  She thought I was being nice. 

I ate scrambled eggs two nights in a row.

The craziness continues.

The good news is that after tonight, I’ll be busy with only fun stuff for the next couple of weeks.  Vacation, here I am!  My brain thanks you.

I plan on vacation being filled to the brim with…

(1) Reading

I just finished Commuters by Emily Gray Tedrowe.  On first page, I honestly didn’t really like it. I had to force myself to keep going, because I just didn’t feel like the book was taking me anywhere.

And then I began the journey of getting to know the characters.  A young, punky guy who seems to just want someone—anyone—to believe in him.  An elderly woman, willing to do anything for the man who didn’t enter her life until recently.  A woman rediscovering her own life.  Rediscovering her husband after a severe accident that left him without a memory.

So many stories.  All combined into one family.  By the end of the book, I couldn’t put it down.  I felt so connected to each of the characters; they were so real.

 

Next on my list? 

I just, just, just started it, but so far I’m really liking it.

(2) Cooking

Because, really, there’s no excuse for the fact that I haven’t put the package I got from Jess to good use.  It’s a shame, really.

She sent me this package of graham flour.  I’m beyond excited to put this to good use.

To be continued…Tomorrow Morning!

(3) Preparing for Christmas

Because no Christmas is complete without at least one or two cups of hot chocolate and a night filled with baking cookies.  Not to mention the fact that I have some Christmas gift shopping to do (last full weekend before Christmas!)

Let my vacation begin! 😀

Question: Are you all done Christmas shopping?  Not me!!  Almost, but not quite.  I’m determined to finish it all this weekend though, sticking to my resolution that I will not be a last minute gift buyer.

best of friends

Not gonna lie.  This was probably one of my favorite breakfasts of the week. 

Yes, I love oats.

But there’s something about biting into a giant sized whole wheat bagel, smeared with chunky peanut butter, and finishing the meal off with fruity sweetness.  Perfect.

Here’s another bite of truth: blueberry picking with my Pepere was the highlight of my week.  The blueberries literally—literally!!!—came off the branches in clusters.  You simply had to grab a handful, and they fell directly into your bucket.  And they’re absolutely bursting with sweetness.  Which makes this (this = cottage cheese, raw oats and blueberries) my favorite snack of the week.

 

There is no competition for these two treats of today.  None. 

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that Nicole, aka Loving Simple Moments, is my very best friend.  And I’m not just saying that as a cliche statement.  I mean, really, if you knew this girl in person, you would totally understand.

Whenever we hang out, I always have fun.  It doesn’t matter if we’re meandering our way through a country fair in the middle of nowhere…

 

 It doesn’t matter if we’re spending time at Trader Joes, where we say “yes” to any and all free food samples….

squirting ketchup onto a beef hotdog…note that my face is saying, “umm…I don’t know about this.” :mrgreen:

 

 

 It doesn’t matter if we’re shopping till we’re dropping….

 

 We always—always, always—have a blast.  I can count on this girl for when I need a good cry, a long conversation, or just a drive out to the mall.  She’s always there.  And she’s always an awesome friend.

This weekend, starting tomorrow night at 5:30 sharp, Nicole is kidnapping me.  Yes, kidnapping.  To where?  No idea.  Seriously.  Not a clue.  All she told me is that I need to…

(a) Bring a cute, girly sundress. (b) Bring my pj’s, toothbrush, and any makeup necessities.

And (c) bring my appetite.  Yes.  I can do that.

Needless to say, I may not be around for much of this weekend.  Instead, I’ll be off somewhere, living it up with my bestest of friends. 

I.  Can.  Not.  Wait. :mrgreen:

Question: What was your favorite snack/meal of the day?

eating well

As I was eating breakfast this morning, the following thought popped into my head.  “Sarah, why do you eat healthy?”  The question came as sort of a surprise.  Completely unexpected.  In fact, I was kind of caught off guard.

Is it about maintaining a healthy weight?  Or increasing the years of life?  Just personal food preferences?

Maybe.  And yet, there’s more to it then just that.  I don’t choose the foods that I do simply because I want to maintain my weight or hope to live longer.  I eat well because it makes me feel good.  I love feeling energetic.  Full of life. 

So in reality, it’s not really about enhancing the quantity of life but more about the quality of the life that we have been blessed with.  I make most of my regular, every day food choices based on how I know it’s going to make me feel in the long run.  Healthy.

All those other extra things that come along for the ride (healthy weight, less at risk for certain diseases, etc.) are just the cherries on top of a big ol’ icecream cone.

 

That was a mindful to think about over a bagelwich and a cup of coffee.  But I felt deliciously content in those thoughts.  Because sometimes when people ask me why I eat so healthy, I don’t even know what to say.  It kind of just became part of my identity and I’m happy with the way I feel when I’m eating well.

Which is why, despite vacation being over, I’m excited to move back into my normal eating habits and patterns.  It does the body (and soul) a world of good.  Vacation food is yummy.  Indulgent.  And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy ever single bite. 

But at the same time, it always feels good to be back. 😀

 

 Enough jabber.  Let’s talk breakfast.

Bagelwich:

  • 1 whole wheat “everything” bagel (sea salt, poppy seed, sesame seed, and garlic flakes)
  • 1 oz. creamy goat cheese
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white, “fried” in a nonstick pan with cooking spray

Amazing.  I love it when the egg yolk—still slightly runny—mixed and mingled with the rustic goat cheese.  The bagel was chewy, dense, delicious.  Just the way I like ’em.

I’m off to unwind from the long car drive home.  I think a walk is in order!! 😀

Question: What is your favorite bagel flavor?

D-D-D-Drivin’ Along

I love waking up to a big bowl of fruit.  A big ol’ bowl of watermelon.  Juicy.  Sweet.  Refreshing.

 

It held me over until everyone else woke up around 8:30.  Time for oats, coffee, and the discussion of plans for the day.

I made the same mix as yesterday, only I subbed in a nectarine for the banana. 

 

We decided to keep the plans laid back for today.  It was raining, so hiking was out of the question.  Not that I’m against hiking in the rain, but I’d much rather be out hiking and have it start to rain, versus starting out a hike in the rain.  If that makes any sense at all.  Probably not. 😉

Anyways, as I was saying, the plans were laid back. 

Drive.

Eat.

Act like a tourist.

 

 We took a drive out to North Conway, and hit one of our favorite restaurants in the area for lunch.  The Muddy Moose.  I have yet to be disappointed here.  Their food is always delicious and the selection is great—everyone leaves happy and satisfied, no matter what the palate preference.

Dad ordered a dish of mussels in a white wine sauce for the table to share.  Um.  Amazing.  ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 Love the New Hampshire charm of the restaurant.

Picture drawing is NOT just for kids, FYI.

 

 In addition to the mussels, the meal started out with some warm, crispy bread.  So good!  I’m kind of a self-proclaimed bread snob, and this one was perfect.  Doughy on the inside, crispy on the out.  Yum!

 

 For my entree, I ordered the Portobello Burger.  I was expecting an actual burger-styled mushroom, but it came out in a roll.  At first I felt disappointed.  And then I took a bite.  Disapointment flew out the window.  Whoooosh!!!

This.  Was.  Delicious. 

The mushrooms were moist and meaty—packed with flavor.  They mixed and mingled with the broccoli, onions, olive oil & garlic, and tomatoes, creating the ultimate flavor combination.  I will definitely be attempting a “remake” at home. 😉

 

 Fellow Bloggie! :mrgreen:

 

 The rest of the day involved:

More driving…

More eating… (granola bars, fruits, hummus & veggies)

 

Viewing rivers, mountains, lakes…

 Being silly…

 Shopping…

Trying on hats and looking totally chic while doing it…

 

 Did I mention driving?

We drove through mountains, over mountains, by mountains.  We drove through towns, cities, forests.  We drove through rainstorms.

 

Driving.  Lots of driving.

Nicole and I entered into fits of laughter by the end of the car trip.  We’ll just blame it on exhaustion.  Pure, complete exhaustion. 😉

 

 By the time we rolled on home, we were all starving, and Nate & Nicole treated everyone to some pizza.  I had one giant slice of vegetable pizza and a large side salad, dolloped with a bit of refried beans. 

 

 

 Dinner was delicious.  😀

Cheers!

Peace Out.

Question: What is the longest car ride you have ever been on? 

Vacation: Day 2

Good Morning!!!

I woke up bright and early this morning after a solid 8 hours of sleep.  Slept so good!

Breakfast

Just some plain ol’ oats (1/2 c.) mixed with about a cup’s worth of plain yogurt, topped with cinnamon & nutmeg, and then finished off with a dollop of peanut butter. 

 

And then we all decided to relax with some reading.  My dad and I have ambitions to start a book club at some point, but we always seem to be reading different books at the same time…haha.  Dad is currently reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…

 

 And I’m reading my way through The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. 

So far?  Lovin’ it!  More reviews as I get further through the book.

 Deckside Reading.

 Morning Snack: Nectarine and a handful of mixed nuts

 

We took a brisk walk to stretch out the soreness and kinks after yesterday’s hike and then headed out for a drive along the Kangamangus Highway. 

You’re probably thinking…highway?  Boring.  Right? 

This highway, however, isn’t ordinary.  It holds spectacular views of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, and there are a ton of vistas and trails to stop at and enjoy the awesome scenery.  So gorgeous! 

 

My lunch was a hodgepodge of all things delicious.

Basic (but delicious) salad.  Sliced green olives.  Walnuts.  Craisins.  Pesto Baguette from a local cafe.  Jarlsberg cheese.  And some more refried beans for protien and fun. :mrgreen:

 

Dessert!!!!

 

 I heart picnic lunches. :mrgreen:

Time to stretch the legs out again!!

We went for a laid back “nature style” walk at Sabbaday Falls.  It felt delicious to  S-T-R-E-T-C-H.

 

I felt as if I had instantly entered a rainforest at the top.  So pretty!

 

 

 This afternoon demanded coffee.  Mostly for a refreshing, cool treat.  But also for the caffeine boost.

We meandered over to a local cafe, and I ordered a medium iced soy au lait.  It was just okay.  Nothing special or wonderful, and it needed some serious doctoring.  I ended up throwing in some cocoa powder and a few sprigs of mint (offered by the cafe, which I loved.) 

Icy.  Cold.  Sweetness.  Perfect for a sunny afternoon treat.

 

 

Looking like the locals. 😀

 

 New Hampshire is full of rivers and swimming pools…

  

 …and places for soaking your feet.

 

 

 

Afternoon Snack: 1/2 a Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Granola Bar

 

 Dinner

I always look forward to dinner on vacation.  It’s relaxed.  It’s laid back.  It’s delicious.

Tonight’s menu was simple but tasty.  Whole wheat pasta with mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce and some extra sauteed peppers & onions thrown in.

 

 Twirl, twirl, twirl.

 Dessert!!!

It didn’t end there.  Nicole and Nate rolled in the driveway to spend two nights in New Hampshire with us, and we’re all digging into some Edy’s Sandwich Icecream.  Life is good.  End of story.

G’night!

Question: What are you currently reading?  OR, what is your favorite book?  Favorite book: To Kill A Mockingbird

Vaction Day 1 (continued!!)

Mt. Moosilauke

4,802 ft

10 miles round trip

6 hours to complete

 

I woke up this morning at 7:30 sharp.  After taking one quick look at the weather forecast, my heart sank.  Today was supposed to be the nicest of days.  Sunny.  Cool.  Perfect.

Figuring it was too late to get started on a long hike though, I just sipped my coffee and journaled for a bit.  But once I acknowledged this weather news to dad, it wasn’t long before everyone was ready, getting situated in the car, and driving towards the base of Mt. Moosilauke.

I was in charge of preparing the food and packed copious amounts of gorp (i.e. kashi heart to heart, mixed nuts and craisins.)  We stopped at least every hour for handfuls of this stuff.

 

 I also packed granola bars, oranges…

 

 …and bagels.  With globs and globs of peanut butter.  I can not eat enough when I’m hiking and this tasted amazing.  Not even a fancy restaurant meal could have satisfied me more at this point. 😉

 

 

Each mountain holds a story.  A mystery, waiting to be uncovered.  Tales and adventures. 

Mt. Moosilauke had many.  One of the major adventures involved a lost, very young lab/rottweiler mix who followed us up for most of the mountain, sharing our gorp and water, and waiting for us as if he knew he would be safer to follow our “pack.”  I was afraid we wouldn’t find his owner, but at the same time, I knew he would have a home with us if we didn’t.  He was such a great hiking companion and friend, and we all fell quickly in love with the little goober. 

Eventually, we ran into another family and asked them if they would take the dog back down to the hut and see if his owners were waiting for him down at the bottom.  Despite knowing it was better that the pup make his way down the mountain (he was getting tuckered out by this point and we didn’t have enough water), I still almost cried.  I needed to know he would be okay.

And then (the end of this story is in sight) on top of the mountain, I spotted a dog that looked identical to the dog that had been our hiking companion.  Identical!!  Turns out, that dog was “our” dog’s father, and the owner had been searching for him on a different trail.  The story ended happily when the owner reunited with her pup down at the bottom once again. 

I love adventures.  Especially when they have happy endings.

 

 

Once the trees began to look shorter and shorter, we knew that we were quickly approaching the top…

Gorgeous.  Breathtaking.  Surreal.

I felt as if I were in another country.  I’ve never actually visited Scotland, but this is kind of what I would expect it to look like.  I don’t think I would have been the least surprised to spot Sir William Wallace riding his trusty horse along the trail.  :mrgreen:

I love the entire journey of hiking.  The muddy boots.  The smells of pine.  The conversations.  The cleanest of clean fresh air. *Sigh*

But views like this are what make it all come together.  It’s the cherry on the icecream

Goodbye, Mt. Moosilauke!  Until next time. 😀

Driving Home

Three hungry hikers arrived home, and I immediatley pulled out some sushi to munch on.  I’m not even entirely sure what each roll consisted of, but I do know there was shrimp, avocado, and cucumber.  Delicious!

 For the main meal, I made a gigantuous salad, topped with refried beans and half an avocado. Not very pretty, but entirely what I was craving after a long day of hiking.

And then there was food, straight from the grill.  Dad was at it once again…

There was asparagus…

Rib Eye Steak and Grilled Home Fries

Life is good.

Goodnight world…

Until tomorrow!

Question: Do you enjoy sushi?  What is your favorite kind? 

Question: Do you see any shapes in the clouds in the picture above?  I’m curious if other people are seeing the same thing that I’m seeing. 😉

Vacation: Day 1

Listening to the Beatles.  Driving through a gorgeous sunset.  Munching on a hummus veggie sandwich.  Laughing.

I love car trips.

Vacation has commensed.  :mrgreen:

Although my family is not normal.  We don’t relax like normal people do while on vacation.  Instead, I’m rushing around this morning, taking bites of a whole wheat bagel with honey roasted peanut butter & banana, with thoughts of Mt. Moosilauke looming over.  Making gorp.  Making coffee.  Packing lunch (which will probably involve another bagel…HA!) 

I love it. :mrgreen:

Mmmm…hiking fuel.  Gotta love it.

Alrighty, off to help pack up before the day gets too warm! 

Question: What is your ideal vacation?

Pampered Morning

I woke up smiling this morning. 

So did my oats.

Simple banana ‘n’ oats, topped with chia seeds, Natures Path Pumpkin Flax granola, peanut butter, coconut and two dark chocolate chips for eyes. :mrgreen:

Twas a delicious morning.

I took my first day of vacation and ran with it.  Quite literally.  I decided to lace up my sneaks and run.  I’m not sure if it was the cold weather numbing my legs or if my knees were truly having a really good day.  Whatever the reason, I had no pain in either my knee or my foot.  It allowed me to zone off and really take in the run.  It was quite honestly the best run that I’ve had since being injured.  I relished each and every moment, wishing it would never come to an end. 

My run, of course, did come to an end.  And when it did, I felt like a new person.  If I was smiling this morning, I was positively beaming at this point.  Four miles of walking and running with no pain.  What an invigorating morning! 😀

As I was icing my knees, I filled up a ramekin with nonfat, plain yogurt and topped it off with kashi heart to heart, raisins and a sprinklin’ of coconut.  All while reading the new Cooking Light magazine.  Everything about this morning felt so indulgent…so luxurious.  I almost felt guilty, as if I should be studying…writing…reading.  Something.

When lunch time rolled around, I had “jarlsberg” on the brain.  Shooting for simplicity, I grilled up two slices of whole wheat sourdough with a thick slice of jarlsberg cheese and a smear of homemade strawberry jam for a positively delicious lunch.  One bite into this crispy, gooey sandwich, and I immediately thought to myself, “this is what France must be like.”  Hey, a girl can dream every now and then. 😉  On the side, I cut up half an apple and poured a cold glass of milk. 

I’m not normally the type of girl who can lounge all morning long without a care in the world.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I read a book in the afternoon hours.  But that’s exactly what I found myself doing this afternoon.  And I loved every single minute of it.  After all, if I was going to spend the day in “luxury”, I may as well go all out. 😉

I read.  And read.  And then I read some more.  I finished the book “Lunch in Paris” which I started to love during the first few chapters.  But then I found myself becoming increasingly bored!?  Her descriptions of food and life in Paris were absolutely beautiful, but I felt like the author started to lose interest in her own writing by the end of the book.  I was ready for it to finish and I sort of felt like she was too.  Of course, I know some people who absolutely loved this book, so maybe it’s all a matter of perspective?

Anyways, grocery shopping was one thing on my list that I did want to do finish today.  So I packed the other half of my apple with a few carrot sticks and trotted off to the grocery stores.

I’m sure that eventually grocery shopping may reach the feeling of being a “chore” for me, but as of right now, it’s such a joy. 😀  Some of my best food-related conversations have been in the grocery store.  Whether talking about artisan breads or the best dark chocolate.  People have their opinions and I love to hear them. 😀

I even love putting the groceries away when I get home.  I especially love that, once again, there’s food in the house. 😉  I put together a quick snack of dried plums and almonds to munch on. 

Dinner tonight was kept simple and came together in a flash.  Mom made the sauteed chicken breast, which had a light sauce of chicken broth, thyme, salt, pepper and a bit of butter.  So juicy and fresh!  I roasted up some sweet potatoes with cauliflower, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and fresh pepper.

Super simple.  Super satisfying. 

The highlight of my day came with a gentle “tap, tap” on the door.

When a deliverer handed me a boquet of an Edible Arrangement, I handed it back to him with a reply, “Oh, I think you have the wrong house!”  He looked back at his address tag and said, “Sarah?”  I must have looked shocked, and the poor man was left standing there with the fruit.  Then my face lit up as I thanked him and read the note.

Nicole and Nate sent me this gorgeous arrangement of fruit.  I chose a strawberry as the first fruit to try and my mouth nearly exploded with the sweet juiciness.  It tasted as if it had just been picked!  The rest of the fruit was equally delicious.  My parents and I nibbled our way through, mm’ing over each different fruit.  Let’s just say this will no longer exist come tomorrow. 😉

Who knew living the life of luxury could be so exhausting?  I’m sleepy and it’s only 9 o’clock. :mrgreen: 

Question: What is one thing that you like to do to pamper/spoil yourself? Aside from having a leisurely spent morning, I also love reading magazines outside on a sunny afternoon (preferrably with an iced coffee in hand,) long walks or bike rides, or eating breakfast in bed.  😀