Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Update ;)

Let me start by saying that I love the Olympics! They've pretty much consumed my free time at home, but we still managed to get some things done this weekend. I had a great hike Friday after work. It was hot (around 100) but I had time so I took the longer trail up. Friday night we usually don't plan our dinner and end up making something based on what produce we have left. This Friday ended up being a pasta with pesto, squash, tomatoes and kale. It makes me feel good that our kitchen is well-stocked enough to do that, and that we're not wasting money/calories by eating out all the time.

Saturday we went to see 2 YMCAs in the area. When we went to the first we found out our membership would be good for all the Y's in the area, so we checked out the one that's closer to my way home. They were very different, but offered a lot of things we'd like. We have to decide if we want to spend that money on the Y or on bikes. It's really a matter of what Carly thinks she'd use more. We spent the rest of the day cleaning. I'm going up to NY to visit family tomorrow, and Carly's parents are coming here Wednesday to visit her so we had to deep clean for the week. I took the day off from working out, but I couldn't help myself from doing some light arm and ab exercises while we watched Women's Soccer.

Saturday night we met some new friends at a Mediterranean restaurant. It was really good. I'd scoped the menu online and felt pretty comfortable, but I also asked the waiter to check on some of the food I wanted to order to see if it was vegan. I also asked him to ask the chef if he could make me a pasta dish with whatever veggies and tomato sauce. Luckily both appetizers (hummus & eggplant dip) were vegan, and they subbed raw veggies for the buttered pita. The chef made a pasta that was delicious but lacking in the amount of veg. It had about 4 pieces of artichoke and 5 or 6 mushrooms. It was still yummy though!

Vegan pasta at Ilios Noche

Sunday morning I went to the gym and had a really good workout. I guess knowing that I'll be able to mix up my workout options in the near future was enough to get me out of my funk! I tried the strength setting on the Arc trainer for 25 minutes and I liked it a lot. It was 45 seconds of level 20 or 25 and then 15 seconds of level 70, so I worked as hard as I could for the low resistance sections and then "recovered" during the heavy resistance. I usually don't feel any soreness in my legs after a Sunday workout but I'm feeling it today. I went back to my preferred 10 reps slow & heavy followed by 5-10 of lighter & faster reps on the strength machines. I feel good all over today in terms of soreness and shape. Yesterday was 5 years since we adopted our beagle, so I took her for a nice long walk when I got home from the gym. For lunch my wifey was in the mood for Qdoba so I had a black bean veggie burrito...I'm a little addicted to burritos right now!!

Veggie burrito from Qdoba

We spent the rest of the day cleaning, packing & watching Olympics. For dinner we made a riff on this recipe for Zucchini (Summer) Paella with a few tweaks. It was fantastic! I think we were both happy to eat something with a different flavor profile than what we've been eating recently. We used long grain brown rice instead of short, used more broth, more spices, and added a pack of frozen spinach and used a full can of chickpeas.

 Traveling tomorrow will be interesting. My first trip being plant based! I scoped out the Detroit airport (where I'll be connecting and will need lunch) and it's actually rated highly among plant based eaters for options. I've also been using Happy Cow to scope out places to go in NY. It'll be nice to have a few days off!

Friday, July 27, 2012

This Business of Food

I must admit, I usually title my posts once I've finished because I often am not entirely sure what I'll write. This morning, however, I'm listening to one of my all time favorite albums that I haven't listened to in at least a year called "This Business of Art" by Tegan and Sara. I've also been thinking a lot about food activism and the Chickfila story and how food is big business so the title kind of came naturally.

I've mentioned before that a long time ago (5 years??), Carly and I stopped eating at fast food restaurants. This decision was motivated by health and our desire to not give our money to corporations like McDonalds and Chickfila. The Chickfila scandal has been interesting to watch as someone who was already committed to using my money spent on food selectively and who is an out gay woman. I learned about Chickfila's anti-gay donating a few years ago, and I'm surprised that it's become such a big deal out of nowhere. I appreciate the outrage and I'm glad for people who are starting to get a lesson that their dollars have more of an impact than they think. I hope that it makes people consider the other things they spend their money on, and helps them make better spending decisions. I know I could do better, but I don't have the drive to investigate every last product I buy.

I do try to buy local and from small businesses when I can, and if I learn something about a company doing unethical things I stop spending money there. In high school I refused to shop at Walmart because of how they treated female employees, and I still only shop there if it's a last case scenario. I found this awesome website yesterday called Spencer's Market which sells small quantities of gourmet, artisanal and organic foods from small batch producers. I ordered some granola bars, sprouted sunflower seeds, nut cheese, soy curls, and coconut oil yesterday. I love that you can buy small quantities from different vendors and pay shipping for the whole package. It's like a virtual farmer's market!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I'm in a bit of a funk. I'm feeling bored with my workout routines and I'm not quite sure how to shake them up. Last week I felt like a superstar. I worked out in some way every day from Saturday to Friday of last week and was excited and energized for each workout. I took Saturday off to have a date day, and when it came time to go to the gym on Sunday I went without much excitement, but also without any dread. I had a decent workout, and a nice walk with my girls after.

Monday I felt like the last thing in the world I wanted to do was go to the gym, but I went anyway. I did cardio, and was able to do more sprint sets than ever before. I listened to a good cardio hip hop mix from Songza. I burned more calories in 30 minutes than I have before. But I still felt dissatisfied after. Yesterday I started to have a pain in my back about an hour before I left work. I was dreading going to the gym even more than Monday. I did some web research on mixing up strength training workouts, but couldn't really find anything that motivated me there. I did 10 solid minutes on the elliptical as a warm up and tried a new method for the weight machines where I did 10 reps on a light weight, 8 on a medium weight, and then 6 on my heaviest possible weight. It was challenging only because my back was hurting, but it didn't feel as effective as the slow reps I usually do. I only spent 25 minutes on strength (I usually do 45) because I wasn't feeling it, and my back was hurting more. I got home earlier than expected so I spent 45 minutes mowing our overgrown lawn with our old school reel mower. Probably not the smartest plan because after dinner I started getting mini back spasms and had to take Aleve and ice it down.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooking Weekend

I spent a good amount of time cooking this weekend. Last post I wrote about how much harder it is to quit bad food habits than to quit smoking, and I didn't even consider that changing your food habits requires a serious commitment to spending more time in the kitchen. Restaurant food and quick fix food is usually full of extra calories/fat/processed crap, and it's hard to rely on those things when you're serious about eating better. Sometimes I get frustrated by the time I put into food preparation (mentally and physically), but I know it's worth it. I also try to make it more fun by working alongside Carly and/or listening to music while I cook. I've made a point to put on music when I'm cooking on week nights because it helps me zone out and use that time to de-stress and dance around the kitchen.

I've noticed that my new plant based diet has been excellent for resisting temptation. It's much easier to say no to foods when I don't know what's in them, or when I know they have something I don't eat anymore. We went to the movies on Saturday and it's nearly impossible to sit through a movie smelling everyone's popcorn and being in that setting without wanting to snack. We actually bought almonds and a healthy snack mix to bring in but left it in the car because we had a big lunch at an Indian restaurant right before the movie. I was still tempted to go for the popcorn or a pretzel, but I couldn't be sure there was no dairy in them so it made it easier to resist. I actually had a dream this morning (the one I was in the middle of when the alarm went off!) that I kept eating a bite of something and then realizing it had dairy or lard or something else I didn't want in my body. It was weird and I'm not sure if I should look at it as a message to keep up what I'm doing or that I need to relax about it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Changes

I went to a new doctor on Tuesday for an annual check up, the kind that only women get. It's interesting meeting new doctors and trying to tell them the important things about your body and your past health. It was a really good experience overall and it got me thinking about some stuff. First, my health stats are looking good. I'm right where I want to be with weight and blood pressure. When the doctor listened to my heart she asked if I was a runner because my heart beat was slow and steady. Then she listened to my lungs and complimented me on them as well. She was very supportive about my plant based diet, and is going to run extra checks on my blood work to make sure my nutrients are solid.

This is so vastly different than experiences I had in the past when I was overweight and struggling. Healthy habits are encouraged when you're already doing them, but usually mentioned more in passing when you're not. I read about this phenomenon in the Veganist and Crazy Sexy Diet books I read, where traditional American medicine completely ignores diet and activity level as a root cause of health issues. This was especially poignant for me when I was filling out paperwork. I had to fill out my personal and family health history including diet based diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. I had to divulge my smoking habits. I did not have to disclose anything about my diet!

The doctor made a big deal about my quitting smoking and conviction to never start again. She made a comment about how incredibly difficult it is to stop smoking. I almost laughed because giving up cigarettes is a breeze compared to shifting your diet to a more healthy, sustainable, and holistic one. There's a negative connotation to smoking in our society, and there aren't many cultural or family rituals tied to smoking. Food, on the other hand, is completely enmeshed with our lives. Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing & gravy. Restaurants serve meals that are grossly out of proportion, full of fat and sodium, and never get challenged for it. We see food commercials and advertisements constantly. I'm not trying to take anything away from those of us who quit smoking or who still struggle with that. It's hard. But making a permanent shift in your eating habits is about a million times harder.

I wish that we lived in a society that was more supportive of people who don't want the SAD (Standard American Diet) for themselves and who choose to go a different route. I applaud anyone who is eschewing the norm and trying to make changes.

In other news, I went on a great hike after work yesterday. The weather was great, although it was a bit hot and hazy at the top. I'm so blessed to be able to drive by an awesome mountain on my way home every day. I'm looking forward to the weather cooling off a bit so that I can be outdoors more. We're trying to plan some type of outdoor activity for this weekend. It's looking like a visit to the local botanical gardens and a picnic.

Last night's dinner was a creative use of leftovers suggested by my lovely partner. We had two (big) servings of veggie chili saved in the freezer, so she suggested that I put mine on top of baked sweet potato and she'd have hers with mac & cheese for some chili mac. It was delicious. I don't know if there are many foods I enjoy more than sweet potatoes!

Today is my late day at work. I did my favorite yoga/pilates workout this morning, it's a great way to start my day. I have to work by myself tonight (I usually have at least one other person with me to watch the desk), so I made an almond butter and jelly sandwich for dinner later. I'm actually looking forward to it! I have to remind myself that every meal doesn't have to be fancy or take a lot of effort to prepare.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


It seems I've taken another short hiatus. This time was unintentional! I read a fantastic article yesterday called "Keeping up to Keep Weight Off" about how difficult it is to continue losing weight once you've started, and to maintain an ideal weight. Although the beginning of the article is slightly disheartening, the overall message is exactly how I feel. One quote I loved was "If you hate exercise, it's a multiyear process to become someone who loves it instead. If you love fast food, you need to gradually shift your attitudes (and even your work schedule) toward being someone who loves cooking healthy meals. It's the process that creates the outcome. When you eschew quick fixes and become the process so that regular exercise and healthy eating defines you as a person, then weight eventually comes (and stays) off as a happy byproduct."

I feel like this defines my personal experience. I tackled food first (and continue to tweak what I do!), and in the last year or so I've become a person defined by regular exercise as well. I still wish I could do more, and I hate that my schedule forces me to be at the gym so often rather than outdoors, but I'm proud of myself for being the type of person who is defined by healthy eating and exercise. I love when people I've met post-fat tell me that they can't imagine me being overweight, it's probably the best compliment I could get.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Box of Goodies

Yesterday I got a fantastic package from Amazon: new Asics (which my ankles are telling me I desperately needed), aleppo chili powder (pretty much my favorite spice), and the cookbook "Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

I can't wait to break in the new shoes. I'm going to use them for running and the gym, and use my old Asics for hiking. My ankles are definitely hurting from my run on Monday and cardio yesterday. I had a great strength session on Tuesday, and yesterday in my cardio I was able to do 10 minutes total at sprint speed (before I was doing about 8). I usually strive for 1 minute intervals of sprinting, and yesterday I felt so good after the 7th sprint that I kept going for an extra 30 seconds! I don't know if it's the diet or the consistent exercise, but I'm happy with how my body is responding. I'm either going to the mountain or working out at home today. It's been raining and storming all week so I have been stuck at the gym and I need a change of pace for a day. Tomorrow I'm in Boone all day for a conference so I probably won't work out tomorrow unless I get home earlier than expected. 

Food has been good this week. Last Friday Carly and I spent an hour going through our freezer and pantry and made a list of everything we have in the house. We only spent $50 at the store/farmers market this past week, which I think is awesome to feed two people 3 meals a day for a week. I flipped through my new cookbook last night and I'm SO EXCITED about it. There are tons of new recipes to try, plus incredibly handy guides to the best way to cook different veggies, grains & beans. I feel like we eat a lot of the same things every two weeks, so I'm looking forward to trying new dishes. And now my favorite pics from this week!

Kimchi Fried Rice: I bought local Kimchi at a farmer's market a few weeks ago and it made an amazing fried rice with volcano rice, sesame tofu, onions, green peppers, and broccoli

Taco salad: romaine, cucumber, green tomato, scallions, red wine vinegar & fresh salsa for the salad; sauteed black beans with onion, green pepper, & diced jalapeno on top with homemade corn tortilla chips and a hefty drizzle of hot sauce

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blogging Catnap

I took the weekend off from blogging...sort of a blogging catnap. I needed to think about where I want to go with the blog, how I want to express myself, and how much of a commitment I want to make. I think my strength lies in more free-flowing verbose entries written when the mood strikes. I already use a lot of energy sticking to routines, and adding a forced daily blog entry isn't doing me or anyone reading any good.

This weekend was good. I'm learning how much more difficult it is to make food decisions when you stop eating dairy! I've been doing some online reading about eating a plant based diet and there are some articles I'd like to share. The first is a perspective from Mark Bittman (amazing chef & NY Times food columnist titled "Got Milk? You Don't Need It" about dairy consumption and his personal experience with giving up dairy. I love reading his columns no matter what the subject, but this one obviously struck a chord. I haven't had any dairy for 5 days and I feel like I have more energy and I can breathe out of my nose better than I have been able to in awhile.

For those of you worried about certain nutrients lacking in a plant based diet, I read another excellent blog post titled "How to Convince Anyone to Go Vegan". I know that to a degree I'm drinking the vegan kool aid right now, but I love this post for providing information on the concerns people have about vegan diets in a concise and easy to read way. I'm looking forward to reading more about people who've adopted a vegan lifestyle. I read a post that's an interview with Rich Roll, a vegan endurance athlete. I get so inspired reading about people who are achieving amazing things on a vegan diet.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I'm wondering if people are still reading and if this format's getting tiresome. I thought it would be nice to have consistency but I feel like it's becoming monotonous for me, therefore it must be worse for anyone reading! Thursday is typically my long day at work so I usually am less exciting and less able to do other things.

I had my usual breakfast with a side of soy milk. I got a new brand of bread and I'm really liking it (Alvarado St. Sprouted Whole Wheat). Lunch was a piece of focaccia with a side salad, a Gardein chick'n scallopini and a peach. Dinner was the same as the night before, pasta with pesto and veggies. Snacks were Kashi go lean, watermelon, peanuts and oatmeal with blueberries.

I didn't do any working out, and it was the first day with no gym, mountain, at home DVD in almost 2 weeks. I walked the dog for about 15 minutes in the morning and then walked another 15 minutes at work. I also did some light yoga and stretching in the morning before work. It was weird taking a day off, but I think my body appreciates it!

I'm reading a book right now about an economics professor from Bangladesh who started a microlending system to improve the lives of poor people in his country. His program has spread throughout the world, is very successful, and he won a Nobel Prize for his work. The book itself isn't as good as I thought it would be, but what he did is incredibly motivating. It shows that small changes in your life can have huge impacts for you and the people around you. I've read several articles that discuss how living with or being close to a healthy eater correlates with making better lifestyle choices. I guess that's my aim from this blog and in my life. I know that everyone doesn't have the willpower, support, or drive that I do to be healthy, but I hope I can inspire people to make small changes that will add up over time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July!

Had a bowl of Kashi Go Lean with soy milk for breakfast. Lunch was a hike-nic (more on that later) of leftovers: barley salad, focaccia, cabbage, watermelon & an oatmeal cookie. Dinner was farfalle with sauteed leeks, banana peppers, zucchini, eggplant and cherry tomatoes with homemade basil almond pesto. Snacks were a Luna bar and oatmeal with blueberries.

Farfalle with veggies and pesto

We both had the day off and decided to take advantage of it with a hike at South Mountains State Park. It's about an hour from our house and we heard there was a nice waterfall loop trail. The trail was 2.5 miles. It started nice and easy for about a half mile, and then there were stairs leading up the last half mile or so. We stopped part way up at an observation point to get pics of the falls. Then we continued up to the top of the falls where there's a nice flat area with pools of cold mountain water to cool you off after a hot hike up. We stayed there for a bit and then made our way back on the loop trail. That trail was surprisingly quiet, I think most people went back the way they came up. It was super packed at the park, and I was hoping to find a more secluded spot for our picnic. Luckily, when our loop trail met back up with the main trail it was right next to a spot where we could drop down and sit by the creek for lunch. It was a good hike, and Carly kept up a decent pace. I think I still got a good workout, especially carrying the 20-30lb bag on my back!

Carly and I at the falls

Again no formal learning happening. It was nice to see so many people out enjoying nature, although a majority of them seemed to be there to picnic and likely eat crappy food. I loved watching the kids run up and down the trails and swim in the mountain water. I wish we could all capture some of that enthusiasm and remember what it was like to be so excited by nature and moving our bodies. I've been so lucky to be able to remember that feeling and cultivate it by experiencing the great hikes and outdoor spaces here.

I don''t know if I ate dairy on the 4th because I'm not sure what the oatmeal cookie was made from. Today is officially day one of being dairy free. I'm not going to use the word "vegan" to describe my eating (unless I'm somewhere out to eat where it's easier to convey). I still might eat eggs. I am still going to eat honey. I'm against animal cruelty (who isn't??) but I don't have the burning desire to go full out vegan in my entire lifestyle. I'd like to adopt a term I've heard often in my learning, and that is a plant based diet. There is less of a moral/ethical connotation to that term and I think it better captures what I'm aiming for. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Usual breakfast. Lunch was a Kashi spinach & artichoke pasta (best frozen meal I've ever had!), a small piece of focaccia, and a salad. Dinner was veggie meat tacos with roasted cauliflower. Snacks were tamari almonds, a Luna bar, watermelon, and oatmeal with blueberries. It was our first time making roasted cauliflower and I loved it! It's not usually my favorite thing but for some reason roasting it with garlic is incredible.

I went to the gym for cardio. I did 30 tough minutes on the arc trainer. My legs were burning during the first two sprint intervals and I had serious thoughts of either giving up or not doing any more fast intervals. As I kept going my legs loosened up and I managed to piece together 9 total minutes of sprint pace. I was quite proud of myself after and I felt that great after workout high.

Nothing new here.

I'm almost there with the lack of dairy in my life. I'm not planning on any more but Carly brought me a homemade cranberry oat cookie that I'm not sure about, so if it does have dairy that will be my last dairy food for the foreseeable future. I'm lucky to have a partner who is so supportive of my dietary decisions. It can be hard to plan meals that will satisfy us both, and my not eating cheese will only make it harder. I appreciate her willingness to adapt and to try new foods and new ways of cooking. It makes my life easier than a lot of other plant based eaters!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Typical breakfast. Lunch was part of my eat all the remaining dairy that Carly doesn't like mission. I had a Smart Ones 3 cheese ziti with a Gardein chick'n scallopini, half a cucumber and a peach. Dinner was homemade cherry tomato focaccia bread (recipe to follow) with a big salad. Snacks were a mini Luna bar, watermelon, a Perfectly Simple Peanut Crunch bar, and oatmeal with blueberries.

Delicious dinner!

I had planned on going to the gym for cardio but I was feeling sore and tired all day. I did 30 minutes of my favorite yoga/Pilates blend with some extra stretching at the end. I stuck to my listen to my body concept and it paid off. The deep stretching was exactly what I needed and it'll make today's cardio easier!

Still not reading any health related things right now, and there hasn't been anything worth sharing from the blogs I follow.

My lunch was not satisfying at all. I grabbed the cucumber as a last minute thought because I realized that my frozen entree had zero vegetables! I can't believe I used to just eat one of those by itself for lunch. Now I realize why I used to feel hungry most of the time. It was such an interesting contrast to my dinner, in which I ate a relatively small piece of focaccia with a huge salad. I felt satisfied for the rest of the night and pleasantly full. I'm excited to get through one more day of dairy and then start a new phase of my eating.

I downloaded an app a few days ago called SuperBetter that has quests that ask you to do things to build up personal resilience, which they define as "the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficult challenges". Yesterday I had to develop a personal motto, and I chose "Be mindful and make it count". To me this encompasses everything I do for myself. I try to be more mindful of how I treat myself, how I treat others, and how I process information. Being mindful while I eat helps me feel more satisfied, and being mindful while I exercise helps me stay motivated. Make it count helps remind me that if I'm going to do something I might as well give it my best effort so that it makes an impact. I've read a lot of articles and tidbits that say that visualizing exercise beforehand and positive self talk during a workout can actually improve the results of that workout. This is something I try to do every day.

Here is the recipe as it appears in Vegetarian Times, see below for my modifications:

Cherry Tomato Focaccia
Serves 8

This bread is hearty enough to be served with a salad for a light lunch or supper.


¼ cup shelled roasted pistachios
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
½ tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved


3½ cups bread flour
1 Tbs. sugar
2½ tsp. instant yeast
2 tsp. salt Olive oil, for greasing baking sheet

1 | To make Topping: Pulse pistachios in food processor until ground, but with some larger pieces. Transfer to bowl, and stir in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.

2 | To make Focaccia: Stir together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and 1¼ cups water in bowl. Knead dough in bowl 5 minutes. Cover bowl with towel, and let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

3 | Generously grease rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Stretch dough into 12- x 11-inch rectangle in sheet pan. Let dough rise 1 hour.

4 | Preheat oven to 450°F. Dimple dough with fingers. Whisk 2 Tbs. water into pistachio mixture, and brush onto dough. Press tomato halves cut-side up into dough. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bottom.

PER SLICE 329 cal; 9 g prot; 11 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 48 g carb; 0 mg chol; 589 mg sod; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugars

My modifications: I made the dough with 2 C bread flour, 1 C spelt flour & 1/2 C whole wheat flour. I also added garlic powder and oregano to the dough. I made the dough using steps 2 & 3 but refrigerated it overnight. Instead of using their topping I brushed the dough with sundried tomato pesto we made a few weeks ago, and I sprinkled chopped almonds over the top of the whole focaccia.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Super Hot Sunday

I had Kashi Go Lean with soy milk and a banana for breakfast. Lunch was in the middle of errands, so I had a Subway veggie delite with avocado spread and split a bag of baked chips with Carly. Dinner was a barley salad (recipe below) on top of romaine, garden lettuce, and spinach with cucumbers, green pepper and cut up veggie burger. Snacks were a mini Luna bar, a Clif Mojo bar, watermelon & vanilla ice cream.

Our $2 watermelon from Earth Fare...yum!

I love going to the gym for strength training on Sunday mornings. I have a certain path I like to take from machine to machine, and it's hard to do that during that 4-5PM hour during the week. I did 15 minutes on the arc trainer to start, my legs were sore from Jillian on Saturday! I spent about 40 minutes doing different strength machines and dumbbell reps. I'm still doing the slow & steady 10 reps at a heavy weight followed by 10 more reps of quicker pace for most machines. I feel good about it and think it's starting to become noticeable in my body.

I spent most of  yesterday being busy so there wasn't much time for reading or learning (even fun reading!). I was entertained by the list of celebrities nominated for PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity. I wasn't aware that a lot of the people on the list were vegetarian/vegan. It makes me feel less weird about going in this direction myself, especially when I see athletes on the list.

Nothing fancy for Sunday. After the gym I spent about 2 hours shopping and doing errands. When we got home we had lots of typical Sunday housework to do like laundry, straightening up, organizing and cooking. Our house is poorly insulated so it got increasingly warm throughout the day. We got up to 89 degrees inside, and that's with the AC and fans running. It isn't pleasant and makes it more difficult to enjoy the weekly prep we usually do on Sunday.

Barley salad on greens with a veggie burger

Barley Salad
makes about 6 servings

1 C dry barley
3 C water (or follow directions if your barley is from a package)
8 sundried tomatoes
6 ears fresh corn, cut off cobs
3 banana peppers, diced
1 red onion, diced
3 cups kale, chopped
Spices (we used garlic powder, seasoned salt, paprika, black pepper and aleppo chili flakes)
White balsamic vinegar to taste

1. Cook barley on stove or in rice cooker with water and sundried tomatoes. Add spices of your choice to the water so that the flavors cook into the barley.

2. Saute the corn, banana peppers, and red onion for 8-10 minutes on medium heat and season veggies to your taste. (We make this salad a lot and we always add corn and onion, but add other veggies depending on what we have on hand)

3. Remove sundried tomatoes from barley once it's cooked and dice. Place cooked barley, sundried tomatoes, and corn mixture together in a large bowl. Add a generous amount of white balsamic vinegar to coat mixture.

4. Add the kale one handful at a time, taking the time to massage the kale in your hands for 1-2 minutes per handful. It will get darker in color. Once it's darkened, add it to the barley. Stir to incorporate kale. We usually let the salad sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. We typically eat it cold or let it come to room temp, but you can warm it up if you prefer.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Social Saturday

Saturday was an interesting day. I recommend that anyone trying to keep an eye on food intake makes Saturday a relaxed food day! We got up early (aka our normal weekly time) to get to the farmers market when it opened at 7. We then had to meet with a woman we met who is running this awesome program that gives fresh local produce from a community garden to people who walk on a track to earn food credits. She was running late so we ate breakfast at Waffle house. I got a peanut butter waffle and didn't realize that meant they put peanut butter chips (candy) in the batter. I ordered 2 egg whites when I saw that because I knew the chips were useless in terms of nutrition/protein.

Lunch was a spinach wrap filled with the mornings bounty and things from the fridge: green tomato, green pepper, carrots, radish, baby spinach, black bean dip and feta. Had some blackberries, a few chips, and a vegan lemon cookie on the side.

Dinner was a 4th of July party thrown by a co-worker. It was a lot of fun but a big challenge in terms of food. The burgers/dogs (I brought veggie dogs) weren't served until 8pm so I ate more snack type food than I intended. For dinner I ate two veggie dogs, baked beans, red cabbage that we made, and another cabbage slaw. I had small bites of banana pudding and cake for dessert. Snacks for the day were a Luna bar, chips and salsa, cheese, watermelon and a few cheese and tomato pinwheels.

Since I knew we were going to the party I did a Jillian Michaels workout in the late afternoon. I love her Ripped in 30 DVD because the workouts are interval style and not repetitive (although at this point I almost have them memorized!).

I suppose I took a day off from learning yesterday. I'm not reading any food books and didn't pay much attention to blogs yesterday.

I'm really excited to get in touch with the woman who is doing the garden. Right now people can come walk for produce on Monday and Friday morning so I'd like to find a night during the week where we can run the program and give people more options to earn food. I'm so inspired by the idea and I hope now to see it in action.