Saturday, December 11, 2010

Changes and friendships

Today has turned out to be a pretty good day.

I am feverishly working on updating a new online calendar.  I'm kind of a calendar nerd and love setting them up, getting organized, and having all that info at my fingertips.  I'm not always so good at following through with the long lists I place on the to-do section or remembering to log in daily to see what I am supposed to have each day.  Still, we'll see how this new one works out.  You can check it out for yourself at Cozi.

I slept in late and then took a short nap later in the day.  I had my book club on Thursday night, and we talked late late into the night.  We don't quite have down the style to actually talk much about the book, but it's fun to chat with a great group of girls at least!

On my own I'm reading The China Study, and am transitioning to eating vegan now.  Why I decide to change my eating habits during the holidays I shall never know, but so be it.  I already feel much better when I eat only vegan foods.  We still have a decent amount of non-vegan foods in the house, so I imagine it will be a slow transition as we eat up the non-vegan items at home.  It doesn't seem right to waste a bunch of food, so we'll probably eat some and donate some.

Irish has vehemently refused to watch Super Size Me with me.  He is enjoying a guy's night at the movies right now, and it is recording on my DVR for me to watch alone.  Thanks to Discovery Health for airing it so I can finally see it!

Question of the day: Do you think there is a particular time in line when we are the wisest at choosing our friends?  I think we always choose our friends based on the set of people available to us at the time.  As kids, it is the others in our neighborhood or schools.  As adults, it's people at work or the infamous FOAFs (friend of a friend).  I recently rediscovered my childhood best friend online.  We moved apart and didn't keep in touch starting in early elementary school.  But strangely enough, when I found her, it turns out that she's a vegan!!!  Who could've guessed!  And I'm making friends now in our newly formed book club, which is great, but I think it's been well over a decade since I've had friends with priorities so drastically different from mine.  I see the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality now.  I certainly wouldn't be able to invite them to my home after hearing about where they live... they would probably be too afraid to step out of their cars anyways.  And yet, they consider themselves average to below-average for the crowds they associate with.  It's an interesting and very different group from my norm to be sure.  So when do you think we have the most authentic friendships?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sore throat woes

This past week was total chaos.   Things were insane at work, there was almost no down-time at home either, and healthy eating dwindled to a minimum.  A sad state of affairs, for sure!

In light of all that, I can't say that it surprised me when I woke up this morning with a sore throat.  One of those that makes all the sinus connections in your head hurt.  So I used the neti pot on my nose, hydrogen peroxide rinse for my ears, and concocted the mother of all sore throat gargles.  I figured, why pin my throat comfort on just one gargle recipe with one ingredient.  So I combined several ingredients into one.

Oddly enough, I also think I stumbled upon a quick easy vegan/vegetarian broth base as well in the process!

So here is my Sore Throat Gargle info.  You have the option to make it acidic or alkaline, depending on your preferences.  From what I read, either can kill the bacteria, but some are more immune to acid while almost none are immune to alkaline. You should rinse out your mouth after using the gargle, especially if you use the acidic version.

Sore Throat Gargle

Start either version with
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Heat until very warm.

  • Add 1 tsp baking soda
  • Add 2 tsp ACV (apple cider vinegar), 1 tsp lemon, and 2 tsp honey.
Stir well.  Gargle for 1 minute.  Repeat in 15 minute intervals, then less often as the pain subsides.

If you don't have all the ingredients listed above (cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, etc) you can omit them as you wish.  They each have various "claims to cures" for sore throats.

Oh, and the vegan/vegetarian soup base?  All those optional ingredients!  Mix all of them with the amount of water that makes it palatable to your tastes.  1 cup water (as used in the gargle) will be very strong.

Vegan Soup Base
  • Water
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or less for less of a punch)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of sea salt

Well, it's time for me to gargle again, so wish me luck and I hope you all stay healthy this weekend!!

Any big Halloween plans this weekend?  Anybody else have sore throat remedies that help?  If so, I'm all ears!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Up to speed

Sadly it's been a long dry spell without time for blogging.  That's because it's been a very busy time in real life. For the most part, it's been a good busy.  There has been some turmoil at the workplace, but other than that it's all been positive. And there's always going to be some kind of drama anywhere you work. At least that's my philosophy.  I try to be very go-with-the-flow and avoid all the mess that I can.  Life is an adventure, why make it a bad one right?!

We've taken a few trips, about to take one more, done some spring cleaning, visited with friends, explored new hobbies... fun stuff!  It's just meant that I haven't had time at the end of the day to hop on the computer and write.  All in all the computer is now a very tiny part of my life.

I've been vegetarian for about 10 months now and am so happy that I changed my eating habits.  I love the flavors and variety that you can experience eating veggie, and I now have no problem requesting veggie options at restaurants.  I used to be timid about it, afraid that I'd get eye rolls or spit in my food.  Now I'm bold and eager to make requests.  My favorite is when they check back to see if this or that ingredient is ok, basically to see if I want it vegan.  Usually I very graciously thank them and request that because it means they're aware and I love that.

Another new development is that I'm now lactose intolerant.  I had a couple weeks where I did not eat or drink any dairy.  When my mother-in-law came into town, we ate out a lot and that led me to having dairy again.  I woke up sick each morning from the previous night's dinner and had doubled-over tummy pains.  I was relieved when she left and I could control my foods better.  I started to track and pin down the issue, and it was definitely dairy.  While I will occasionally have dairy foods and take a lactase enzyme pill, I am by-and-large one step closer to eating vegan as a result.

One of the most challenging things about eating differently is the questions and comments you get from people.  I'm pretty sure my in-laws hate that their son's wife is a "granola hippy dippy fruit loop" who is encouraging them both to eat crazy things like vegetarian entrees.  I frequently get comments that the person could never live without meat.  I also get grilled about my protein sources.  Usually from out of the blue and from people who have not reached any level of friendship with me.  It's certainly a question that I can answer, but I kind of feel like asking them to name which foods they ate that day to reach their 5 fruits and veggies and 11 whole grains.  I'd bet money that I could answer easier than them.

The most pleasing result has been some of the surprising people who are supportive.  It just proves that you can't judge a book by its cover.  One was a woman whose husband guts deer in their garage after he hunts. (Although realistically it should not surprise me since she regularly has to walk in on that gruesome scene.)  Another was a big ol' redneck guy who would love to hunt one of every animal if it were feasible.  He just asked if I'd be asking him not to eat meat.  I said no, and he said we were cool.  Que sera sera, let it be, amen!

Well I've rambled quite awhile now, so I better get going.  I'm using our TEeeny computer so I can't do pics.  Sorry! :(  Hope everyone is doing well and I'll be trying to make the rounds as time allows!  Lots of love!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Myth busting

Hi my long lost friends!
Yes I am still alive.  Yes I still try to read as I get the chance.  Yes life has completely gotten in the way of blogging.

So here's the short version:  Life was getting a little out of control.  I was trying to juggle too many things at once, and my health was suffering.  Sleep deprivation, frustration, stress, quality time, it was all just getting messy.

I took some drastic measures that really shook things up for a little while.  Forced myself to create some boundaries in work-life.  Slept when I got too tired, even if that meant I fell asleep on the floor.  (Let me just say that I think my back is now prepared to visit an ashram in India one day from the number of hours I crashed on our living room floor.)  Didn't touch a home computer, blog, email, or anything personal that related to electronics for a week+ on end.  When I did, I would pay bills, check quickly that I hadn't received dire emails of relatives falling ill, and sign right back out.

I had to put the life back in living.

I have to say that I love it!

I doubt I'll be a full-time blogger.  I definitely want to post as I'm able.  I have a long list scribbled on a piece of paper of things I've been wanting to post.  I may not have many pictures.  I may not be whipping up a ton of original recipes.  I may have a few days between posts.  It will come as it comes.  It will be organic.  It will fit into my life and not the other way around.

While I don't feel like blogging ever became a burden before (because I enjoyed it), I was pulling in too many directions.  I have wrapped up several projects during this outage, which helps immensely.  I have made changes in other areas of my life as well.  I may have future periods of silence when new projects crowd out the few minutes I have available each night to be productive.  Life always has those curve balls.  The only way to plan for them is to plan to be flexible.

Coming down the pipeline one day soon will be my new domain name.  It's been purchased already so I just have to seam the site and blogger together.  Then from there may be further changes at some point.  One thing at a time.  Blog will be laid back, not type A!

So there you go.  Question of the day is your turn.  What do you want to ask me?  Is there even anybody left??

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yoga and Expectations

I went to yoga again tonight.  I'm really enjoying it and one of the best parts is rearranging my work schedule to try to ensure that I can break free in time.  Kind of makes me want to line up classes every night!  Of course the logical thing would be to realign my day anyway and practice when I get home each day. 

I just try to be happy with what I can do each day and not set specific expectations onto myself.  When I do, the success is shortlived and it creates disappointment.  I strive to be the best version of myself every single day and that is the best goal of all.  You can still live with goals, just not set yourself up for a fall.  When I was in the dating world, there were guys who tried to put me up on a pedestal.  I never liked that for two reasons.  One, they were worshiping a glorified version of my true self.  Two, what goes up must come down, and the taller the pedestal, the harder the fall.  Creating unobtainable expectations or goals for yourself is the same thing.  But this time, you hold both the disappointment of being let down and the pain of the fall.

Of course, you have to hold yourself to standards and set some goals.  This isn't a get out of jail free philosophy.  I actually think it frees you up to live with more passion.  Speaking of passion, it's time for bed and I don't think I need to spell out anything more than that!!!

What is your relationship with goals and expectations?  How passionately do you live your life?

P.S. As class ended tonight, I found the sweetest level of relaxation that I probably have ever had in the relaxation pose.  Looooooved it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Praise for the path

I pondered an interesting revelation the other morning on my way into work.  I can remember about a year ago when I first heard of green monsters and Kris Carr.  I totally understood why she took the path she did, ate the foods she did, and really loved and adored her outlook and vibrancy.  I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine how she sacrificed all the "good" foods to force herself to eat only healthy food day in and day out.  I thought it must get miserable.  I also assumed it had to be a full time job to prepare all the healthy specialized foods.

It really made me laugh to reflect back on that.  I wake up every morning with a grumbly tummy that craves my daily green monster brekkie.  My favorite desk lunch on earth is a whole grain pita with hummus, kale, broccoli, and carrots.  I know have ZERO desire to eat meat, fast food, donuts, and many other unhealthy foods.  I have even been craving less chocolate lately!!!!!!!  I NEVER knew that was possible! 

As I continue to learn more about nutrition and what food works best with my body, the changes continue.  I am a dairy junkie no more and have learned that "not all money is good money" also refers to free food.  Not all free food is good food... some of the cheap unhealthy junk just needs to be left on the counter.

I'll continue to enjoy my green monster every morning and the inexplicably happy feeling my tummy feels after getting filled with all those nutrients.  I'll continue to munch my pita while my coworkers pack on the BBQ.  I can really truly honestly testify to anyone that you CAN love eating healthy.  You have to give it a little time, but it really is true. 

Oh and I can promise you that it is nothing close to a full time job.  I have a full time+ job and a million other things on my plate.  I still manage the veggie path every day and I have my morning monster down to a science.  It is totally do-able.  Plus think about how much faster and easier it is to eat raw... no cook time at all!

Did you have any beliefs that you personally disproved as you continued your path in life?  What foods can you happily eat day in and day out?  What cravings fell by the wayside as you ate better?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I got my OM on tonight!  I saw a bulletin listing for a yoga class nearby and decided to take the plunge.  I've done yoga on and off for most of my entire life.  When I was a wee little lass, my mom did yoga.  I used to find it sooo hilarious that my mom would have to struggle to get the poses because it was so easy for me to contort my little body into the positions.  My favorite (very modified) yoga move was to run at a breakneck speed down the hall that ended in my parents' room and launch myself into a headstand on their bed.  I considered it gymnastic yoga, my special hybrid.

Over the years, I forgot about yoga.  I would return to it from time to time, but had never actually taken a class.  I had an old yoga book from the '70s and DVDs up until tonight.  I have to say I really liked taking the class.  It was a small class and everyone was older than me.  I could do some poses better than others and some worse.  The teacher wasn't too handsy, but did offer correction and detailed directions on how to do things correctly. 

The hour flew by and I felt strong and accomplished at the end.  I loved NOT being in control of what poses are done, not knowing what we're doing next, and not being sure if I'd ever tried the pose before or not.  I can be kind of a control freak and was very nervous walking in not knowing what to expect.  While I found a parking spot I told myself that I was just going to surrender to the experience.  If everyone was more advanced than me, if I had to get corrected on every pose, if they seemed unwelcoming, or anything else negative, that was ok.  I was there to let everything go and to learn.  It was oddly empowering to be out of control.  I definitely plan to go back!

Let's see, things have been pretty good lately.  I'm taking better care of myself and getting closer to the healthy amount of sleep each night.  I am on bottle #2 of toxin free castile soap for my hair.  That saga continues but I'm very optimistic that this shampoo gets along better with my hair.  I'm whittling down my real life to-do list.  I'm eating delicious vegetarian foods.

What have you been up to lately?  Are you taking good care of yourself?  What has been your best outcome from stepping out of your comfort zone?  Do you like challenging yourself like that or do you like staying in your safe cocoon?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Checking in

Just a super quick update.

Still working on my hair.  Still working out.  Still eating healthy.  A little website change is in the works.  More to come on that as the changes become apparent.

Life is still good!

Just finished some healthy online shopping for protein powder and more toxin-free shampoo.  Also looked up more home remedy hair treatments.  I know this is mainly about food and not hair, but they still use pantry items so I think it kind of works with a little stretch of the imagination.  I will report back on them as I get the chance to try them.

I still love you guys and haven't forgotten you for a second.  I had to pull back and do a little TLC, though.  Adequate sleep kept giving way to blogging so I hit a wall where I had to recuperate.  Other than work purposes, I think it's been a couple weeks since I've even been on the computer.  I really kind of took a technology detox for awhile.  I have to say that even though I missed you and wondered what I was missing for your sites, I really enjoyed using the computer and phone WAY less than usual.

I'll elaborate more later, but it's late and I have some hair to wash.  xoxo!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hair progress

I gotta say... I'm not sure that if I hadn't started the process of transitioning my hair onto toxin-free shampoo I could do it again.

In case you haven't heard the hype, the chemicals and surfactants in regular shampoos are supposed to be bad for you.  For the past couple years, I have dealt with frustrating scalp issues.  I tried to note the circumstances that lead up to a rash on my hairline.  I tried different shampoos and ultimately concluded that it was my body's reaction to stress.  I certainly felt stressed when I had these painful little rash spots along the hairline just above my temples.  I didn't necessarily notice the stress beforehand, but I definitely did once they appeared.

Several months ago, I learned about the potential issues (including allergies and rashes) that can occur with standard shampoos.  I still hadn't learned everything I needed to know to make an educated decision, so I did the best I could.  At that point I knew that the sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates were bad news.  I went to the beauty supply store and combed the aisles for my best option.  I ended up selecting a tea lauryl sulfate with tea tree oils.  I love tea tree oil because it feels so good on the scalp, so this sounded like the best choice to me.  It worked well for awhile, then I got another breakout.  Since I thought it was stress, I figured it wasn't the shampoo and bought another few bottles.

Then I learned more and found EWG's Skindeep website.  I learned about castile soap and that the best shampoos don't act like the typical ones-- they don't suds and bubble.  They also don't do it all the first time, so you truly lather, rinse, repeat.

I researched shampoos and hair treatments; finally I selected a gentle, scalp-calming shampoo.  I found information on the Healing-Scents website for a treatment that can speed the adjustment period.  I'm using that combo religiously, but I'm STILL not through this yet!

If anybody else is bracing to go through a similar transition, here is the process that gives me the most normal hair days.  If I can never get back to good hair days, I won't continue all this drama long term.  I'll keep you posted to let you know if there's ever light at the end of the tunnel.

Hair Transition Formula, a.k.a. Hair Shots

I adapted "The volcano" method slightly from Healing-Scents to make it possible to do on my own.  I've had to use it every time I shampoo for a few weeks now. 

If any of you have the cheap plastic take home drink shakers from a restaurant (like this), it's a great way to get this process done on your own.  Plus it's super classy to take your drink shaker into the shower with you.

  • Put 2 shots of apple cider vinegar and 2 shots of water into the cup.  Swish them together and put the strainer piece over it.
  • Shake baking soda into the shot glass and fill with enough water to stir it into a liquid solution (about even to the level of the baking soda).  I would say 1/3 full is right.
  • If you don't have such a classy container for your concoction, feel free to improvise freely with your glass and barware until you figure out what works best for you.  Use 1/2 cup ACV with 1/2 cup water.

  • Wet hair.  Shake the baking soda into your hair.  Use a little at a time to work it all around your scalp.
  • Tilt head WAY back and slowly pour the ACV mixture onto your hair.  It will fizz and bubble, so don't let it head south into your eyes!
  • Once it's all worked through, rinse it all out.
  • Do your lather, rinse, repeat routine with the castile or toxin-free shampoo.
  • Afterward, you can use nothing, a toxin-free conditioner, or another ACV/water rinse.
  • Rinse out whatever you used and pray that your hair is manageable enough to get through your day!
I am truly an optimistic person, so I'm still excited to see what will happen when I'm FINALLY done with the transition.  I just hope it happens soon!!  I also hope that "normal hair" with toxin-free shampoo is similar to normal hair with the SLS sudsy shampoos.

Here are a few pics of my hair from Easter weekend.  I had blowdried and straightened my hair, and this was the best it got.

Sorry the pic is a little fuzzy.  I wore out my arms trying to get a clear mirror pic and this was the best I had.  It reminds me of stringy teenager hair. :(

The scalp doesn't look too bad.  My hair feels like it's coated in wax.

My hair looks a little better now, and is more manageable (aka, clean looking) as well.  It still feels like it's coated in wax, though.  If I used styling products, this might be fantastic since it provides its own adhesion.  I just want to have it move naturally, though!

So there ya go.  All the details.

What do you think?  Am I nuts for trying to get my hair and scalp off the suds?!  Would you ever consider going toxin-free for your hair products?  If you've done this already, do you EVER get past this waxy hair point?!??

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Let's try this again

Sorry I've been gone.  It's time for a little fess up honesty time...

I've been burning the candle from both ends lately.  For awhile, I could do it, but after the stress of many things compounded with unexpectedly hosting in-laws for a week, I hit the wall.  I couldn't get enough sleep because they were up all hours.  I couldn't work out, which added to the exhaustion and crankiness.  I have had to eat out for about 2 weeks straight, which I actually hate.  Many of the small things that were stable in my day-to-day were changed.  While not everything that changed was bad and several were long-term good things, the temporary was a lot of added stress. 

This past week, I was no longer able to juggle everything.  I would finish work, head to the next restaurant, come home and crash on the couch until hubby dragged me to the bed.  I would wake up feeling wiped and do it all over again.  I slept late this morning, and I'm trying to be more cautious about what I do this weekend so I can recuperate.  Blogging may make a slow return to my life.  I want it to always be enjoyable and fun, so if it would be just another item on the to do list, I won't post that night.  I know that many of the stresses are going to improve with time, so I can go slow until then.

I want to reassure everyone out there who hasn't given up on reading me that I will still be posting and reading as time allows.  I still care very much about all of you.  And I think it's also important to reassure all of you that there were no major tragedies in my life, nothing disastrous happened, my life, marriage, and outlook on life is still a very happy and upbeat one.  I just test my limits sometimes and have to re-balance my priorities.

So here are the not too exciting highlights for you (besides what I mentioned above):

I am almost through the hair detox and onto the other side now.  I had no idea how frustrated and moody I could be by having continually gross and oily-looking hair.  I would wash and blowdry my hair only for it to look like I was channeling Alanis Morissette in the 90s.  When you have to look professional everyday, that is a big aggravation indeed.  Thankfully, I had one good hair day a couple days ago.  I am hopeful that with one more shock treatment, it will be ready for a normal routine with the toxin-free shampoo.  I have a post planned with more on this.

I am trying to tackle a few things that are important to me just a little bit at a time.  I am being more conscious about my stress levels and not letting myself sweat stuff that isn't vitally important.

I realized that when I bring my lunch to work (aka no business lunch), I am almost always "raw until dinner."  I really feel good and I L-O-V-E LOVE my breakfast smoothie.  It is so calming to my tummy and so filling.  Plus it is super healthy and makes me happy.

I also realized that I am probably dairy sensitive and am contemplating vegan as a result.  The week leading up to our hosting duties, I really did not have any dairy, which kind of cleansed my body of the effects.  Once we hosted and were eating out for every meal but breakfast, I had a meal with cheese for dinner.  The next morning I woke up with a bad bloaty tummy ache.  A light bulb went off for me at that moment.  I used to wake up with that feeling FREQUENTLY, but I never knew why.  I never even considered that it could be dairy.  Maybe it was fiber, or getting too hungry during the night, or having something too rich and fatty, but I NEVER considered dairy because I was raised on it my entire life.  I thought my brother was a little loony for believing he magically turned lactose intolerant at 30.  Not being used to ordering without cheese yet, I had another couple meals with dairy ingredients over the past couple weeks.  I noticed a correlation between those meals and tummy aches the next morning.  So I think I'm onto something important here.

Irish found very thin-soled New Balance shoes for me to start using as I transition into barefoot walking then running.  If I stick with it, then I'll probably get some of the specialized shoes to use.  On a sadder note, the trash to treasure treadmill was a dud.  There was a broken part on it that is no longer made.  Oh well.  We may consider buying a treadmill or elliptical after awhile.

This morning was so peaceful and relaxing that I savored every second I could get.  We slept with the window open and the ceiling fan going because there was a cool breeze.  We woke up to a light rain early this morning.  None of the screaming neighbor kids were fighting outside, so we just heard the rain, the breeze, and the birds.  It reminded me of an anniversary weekend we spent at a B&B on the lake.  It was so peaceful and amazing that it felt sacred.

What's the best thing that's happened to you lately?  For any of you with a treadmill or elliptical, what's your preference and why?  When you notice you're off balance, what do you do to realign your life?

Oh yes, I almost forgot!  Averie has a necklace giveaway, and Katie has a shopping spree giveaway!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Til next time!

Our out of town guests just left.  They're the reason I've been SO scarce.  I'll be back to posting tomorrow.

It's been hard having our lives interrupted like that.  I value some "me time" like getting to blog, read all of your blogs, work out, check our DVR, get ready for work in peace, and get ready for bed uninterrupted.

A few tips for those of you planning to be houseguests in the near future:
  • If the homeowner is trying to work out, please let them do their thing in peace.  It may be the only thing holding their sanity together.
  • Once the bedroom door is shut for the night, consider yourself on your own.
  • If they happen to be vegetarian or vegan, please abstain from offering your leftover chicken takeout to them multiple times.  If you offer once and they decline, I will assume you simply forgot their eating habits.  But after that, you just appear to be testing them... in their own house... which seems rude.
  • No matter how much you love the homeowner, try to give them a few minutes of peace in their own house.  Staying with them for every waking minute can be too much time together even for married couples who chose to live under the same roof.

I think I mentioned the last time that I hosted guests that I usually clean thoroughly after our guests leave.  I like getting the dirty sheets, towels, glasses, and plates done and put away so I can feel back to normal.  I started the process, but it's late and most of that will keep til tomorrow.

So for now, goodnight.  Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Question time!
Do you like hosting houseguests?  Are you the frequent crash pad for family/friends?  What was the best thing you did all weekend?  I know it's weird, but my favorite part of the weekend was clearing all the dead plants from last year out of the backyard and prepping the flower beds.  I also settled some reorganization/decorating dilemmas that arose last week.  Love that feeling of accomplishment!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dinner wishes

I'm just sending out a super quick post because we have guests in town.  I was supposed to have a little prep time to get ready, but um, plans changed and no such luck.

That's ok we can roll with it.  I'm starving, though, so I hope I can get everyone's butt in gear pronto!

If I can make a request, this is absolutely what I want for dinner tonight!  YUMMMMMM!  I'm craving it!  What will I actually get to eat? Who knows.

Ok, off to corral the hungry mobs into dining.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter frock

So I mentioned this weekend on a friend's page that I would be the one at church who wasn't wearing a new dress.  She called it a "frock" which made me giggle, so without further ado I will show off my not-new but still cute Easter frock.

So this is what I wore to church yesterday.  I felt very pretty and flouncy, and loved pulling out a dress, since I rarely wear them.  I have a handful of cute, pretty dresses that I just cycle through for fancy occasions.  Weddings, family reunions, Easter, Christmas, company parties, etc-- I just select one and go.  Who besides you remembers that you've worn the dress before anyway?  The paparazzi don't come after me so there's no wicked tabloid commentary about it.

Did you have a good Easter/weekend?  Anything fancy or pretty low key?  Are you a self-pic person?  In what clothing do you feel your foxiest?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Barefoot running


As a little kid, I didn't have much more physical activity than playing with my friends.  I was skinny.  Some of my fellow skinny kid friends were put on uber-fatty diets to force weight gain.  Thankfully my parents never followed that advice, but I wasn't in cheerleading, gymnastics, track, basketball, or volleyball.  Looking back some of that makes me sad.  I would have loved to be in sports.  I could have excelled in things where my small frame was an asset.  But we do better when we know better, and at that time those two options were the best that parents knew to do.  So cest la vie.

But one of the beautiful things about life and growing up is that you can do what you want.  Even though I'm still thin, my cardio endurance could GREATLY improve!  I hate having poor endurance and have been trying to improve it slowly but surely.  It's baby steps for sure.

I love the idea of being a runner, but right now I'm still in the fast walker stages.  My husband's path is very different.  He was the super athlete in high school, but he stopped all forms of exercise after graduation.  After 14 years, he's at the fast walker stage right there with me as he tries to work off the buddha belly.


When I heard about barefoot running, I was intrigued.  I started reading about it.  I quickly learned it was pretty controversial, but I didn't buy into the negative nellies.  The idea totally made sense to me.  We were made to run, we were made to go barefoot.  I started noticing that you do walk differently when you're barefoot.  Shoes really do make you roll heel-to-toe, which seems to aggravate the arch in my experience.

So I think I'm going to pursue barefoot running.  I started yesterday and today with walking.  Because my neighborhood has issues with broken glass strewn about, I am wearing thin flat soled shoes.  I have experimented for a few weeks with different shoes to see what works well.  I try to start hobbies with minimal upstart because I can go off course easily and don't want the money pit if I don't stick with it.

My hot pink clearance sale Simples seem to work the best so far.  I'll be looking into cheapy flat soled lace ups before I graduate into running because I don't want to step out of the shoe as I go. 

If I stick with that and enjoy it, then I'll look into Vibram KSO's or BFT's huaraches.

I am so lucky to have a sweet hubby who is always supportive of me, so he's already agreed to the shoe investment once I feel I've reached that point.  He thinks I'm kind of nuts for buying into the idea, but he'll support me in it if that's what I want to do.  I think that's an element of a good partnership.  Who knows, he ventured into vegetarianism with me, so maybe he'll end up being my running buddy after all!  There's def no pressure on that one, though.  You gotta do whatever exercise you enjoy.  In the meantime, I'll love the time I spend with my walking buddy.

Have you ever heard of barefoot running?  What are your thoughts and why?  Do you ever pay attention to the way you walk?  When you get passionate about something, do you burn bright and then burn out, or do you burn steady?  I can def be guilty of burning bright then burning out because there is so much goodness in life to try that it's hard to stick with just one pursuit!  With other things, though, I do burn steady and form new habits.

Roots and wings

Happy almost Easter everyone!

Grounded and Happy

I know I've mentioned how important I think perspective is, but I think that's what keeps us grounded.  What do you do to keep yourself grounded?  I would consider myself a pretty grounded person.  I try not to get too far out of balance with anything.  I think that's important.  You have to take care of yourself and all that you value.


I tend to gauge how grounded I am with my level of happiness.  If I get grumpy, cranky, testy, short-fused, I try to reel it back and do something that I value to get back in line.  Sometimes I just need down time to do nothing and veg.  When the well runs dry, I feel like I have nothing more to give.

This past week, blogging got bumped several days due to sheer exhaustion.  Too many things in real life were slowly grating away, and I needed a little break. On those days, posting would have been just another chore to get off my list.  I always want it to be enjoyable and to share myself in a meaningful way, so I just abstained.  I'm back and feeling much better now, though!

(The title is from Sweet Home Alabama, which was playing in the background tonight.  You can have roots and wings.  That's a pretty great definition of grounded!)


I worked in quite a bit of exercise today.  It felt fantastic!!!  My body feels loose, relaxed, refreshed, and strong. I dragged my tired butt out of bed and started with stretches.  From stretching, I moved into muscle strengthening.  I do as much as possible without machinery or equipment.  I worked my abs, arms, legs, and pushed myself further on the splits.  I need to try isolating the upper half of the stretch (I think it's the groin and hip flexor area) because I'm hitting a point where my knees are tweaking to go lower.  After breakfast, we went walking.  I can tell things are blooming by my allergies, but we made our whole loop without a niagara nose from either of us.


I had a tasty breakfast smoothie this morning after my long workout.  Almond milk, flax seed, 1/2 avocado, spinach, nooch, cocoa powder, hemp protein powder, banana, apple, cinnamon, natural PB, and a tiny bit of clove/ginger/nutmeg.  It was delish!  Irish gave it a teensy little taste and said it wasn't bad but it had something in it that he didn't like.  True, but I wouldn't tell him what it was.  If you never give foods a try because you think you don't like them, then you can't expand your horizons.  You may not like spinach in plain form, but I promise I can figure out a way to fix it where you like it as long as you don't know it's there.

I also had occasion to try coconut butter on cranberry orange muffins tonight for dessert.  Divine.  They were kind of dry, so I slathered the coconut butter on top.  They magically became much creamier and tastier.  I'm in love!



Still detoxing my hair from all the grime.  It's gross and frustrating.  Hopefully it will be over soon, though.

How do you keep yourself grounded?  Do you feel refreshed by exercise or is it just a necessary evil to you?  Are you willing to stretch your food horizons?

Irish and I were talking earlier today about how much muscle looks good for a woman.  What do you think?  As I build more muscle, I like seeing it more and more.  That visible sign of progress, those tight abs, that's sexy to me!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

You say you want a revolution!

Sorry it's been a few days.  Sleep deprivation is a b!tch and I had to get through the work week.  Back in the game now, though!

Grocery Finds

I am rarely the one who grocery shops because I always find new tasty treasures.  Today I actually had to get stuff on my way home from work, and as anticipated, I found some surprising things.  After the initial shock of noticing some crazies wandering our neighborhood grocery, I dug into a couple fun sections to see what I could find.  Their cocoa powder was a swing and a miss.  Plain cocoa powder and nothing more.  No extra dark, nothing.  I'll have to look again later.

The grain section made me happy, though.  Milled flax seed to use as an egg substitute.  Tons of alternate grains to the plain old flour, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal.  They had barley, millet, bulgur... all kinds of fun stuff!  I only left with the milled flax seed because I wanted to decide what I'd use the grain for before I bought it.

In general, I was just proud that the local grocery store had some healthy options.  Little steps forward to make me smile! :)

Food Revolution

We watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution tonight.   It was pretty interesting.  I was really shocked about what really mattered to the RD overseeing the project.  Seemed like she had lost her sense of what really mattered along the way.  I was lucky to be raised in a family where we valued health.  We made the best choices as we knew how.  My mom baked french fries instead of frying them, and we very rarely even ate them.  We always had veggies on our plates.  I got brown bagged lunches so I never had to eat the pizza that always reminded me of puke on a plate.


One thing that I've already learned in my few years on this planet is that you will continually learn more about nutrition.  If you decide that you learned all there was to learn 20 years before, you can guarantee that you'll be wrong.

It was also a little sad to me that they couldn't raise the $80K needed after the kids pulled off such a great performance and two of the girls cried.  I realize that it was a big order to fill in one night and that each invitee would have to shell out a grand, but I kinda figured they'd make it happen.  Overall we liked the show even if it was frustrating to see what an uphill battle it was just to feed kids something healthy.

Have you noticed improvements in your local grocery store's stock?  Do you think Jamie Oliver can really turn things around?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dumpster diving hippie

Oh my goodness lovies, I've missed you all!  Sorry I've been MIA for a couple days!

Things are going well here.  I've had a few changes in the last couple days.  Exciting things in the works.  One was a fantastic Reduce, Reuse, Recycle moment.  Hubster was on his way out the door Sunday and returned soon afterward with quite a racket.

He found a treadmill on the curb.  We aren't a home with much disposable income, so we have a long-term wishlist.  A treadmill or elliptical machine has been on the wishlist for a few years now.  He plugged it in and it worked!  A 4 inch part has to be replaced, but according to le google it may just cost us shipping because it's a common flaw.

Another change is that I'm taking the plunge into natural shampoo.  So far, I'm kind of disgruntled.  I've heard that is VERY common.  I also think I know why hippies always looked like they could use a shower.  My hair has been looking like I went without a shower and lived under a bridge for the past couple weeks.  I'm not one to give up easily, though, so I'm still trying to give it a chance.  But if it takes a month for my hair to "change over," I don't think I'll make it.

Food food food...  Irish made me some delicious butternut squash and was even sweet enough to snap a few pics for me.  My plan is to post that tomorrow.  Otherwise, my food has been pretty boring lately.

Exercise... I've been loving the extra daylight in the evening.  It's allowed us to take family walks together after work, which has been great for de-stressing.  And of course I'm super excited about the treadmill!  I can't wait!!  Irish has exercised 2 days in a row now.  That's happy news to me!  Although he sure knows how to drive me nuts sometimes, I love the guy and would like to keep him around for a few more decades.  Oh, and there's also the fringe benefit.  Let's be honest ladies, who would turn down the chance to admire some muscles on their man?!

I don't feel like I'm very exciting today now that I've actually written it all down.  Now I have to go wash my hair.  Literally.  So I don't buzz it all off and start over.  Actually, that's not a bad idea at this point...

Would you ever consider snagging somebody's trash to be your new treasure?  What's the best trash-to-treasure find you've ever had?  Do you feel that health extends into the beauty products you use?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hummus for your face

So the long awaited hummus recipe.  It's tangy and zesty and yum!

As you've probably learned by now, my recipes are generally an ingredient list rather than precise measures.  This one is no different.

Kick You in the Teeth Hummus

  • Hummus (plain, pine nut, or red pepper are probably best)
  • Spicy dijon mustard
  • Dried minced onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Basil
  • Savory all purpose
Mix all ingredients together.  (I didn't think to take a pic once it was mixed together because it just looked like hummus.)

    Dear God this is good!  I thought I loved hummus, but you kick it up a few notches and it gets even better.

    This may be my new absolute favorite sauce/condiment.  I slathered it on both sides of the pita from yesterday, and I licked it off my fingers.  There's no shame when it's that good!

    What's your favorite condiment/sauce? Do you like lots of spices?

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Keep it in persepective, pita please!

    Bad play on words, check.  I think it was kinda creative.

    Moving on to the perspective part first.  Then we'll launch into the food.


    So you'll be happy to know that I got a little more sleep last night and I didn't chew through the walls today.  I already felt so much better just not putting all that unnecessary junk into my body.  When you're that exhausted and your tank is low, you don't care what you use to fuel your body as long as it helps you hobble along.  That's not good!

    Perspective is an interesting thing.  Usually when you need it the most is when you lose it all.  This week I have witnessed several people lose all sense of perspective because they have let their priorities get skewed way off kilter.  It's such a pointless waste of energy, and you often neglect something important when you shift priorities because you forget what really mattered.  Keep it in perspective and you're much more prepared to tackle things as they arise and know what matters and what doesn't.  Plus you're way less likely to do a metaphorical face plant.  I'm not trying to be preachy.  This week has just highlighted the importance of keeping perspective, so I thought I'd spread the word.

    Now for the pita portion of this broadcast.

    Sweet fry pita

    What do you do when you have leftover sweet fries, but they've been reheated enough that they're a little tough to eat by themselves?  You blend an idea to make a sweet potato sammich with a salad pita and the existing fries.  Don't worry, this story ends well.  Here's what you'll need:
    • Leftover sweet fries  (This batch included plenty of noochy goodness)
    • Whole grain pita
    •  Spinach
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Hummus (specific version will be tomorrow's post)
    Grill or oven heat your sweet fries back to a toasty temperature.  While they heat up, break your pita in half to get inside.  If it's brittle like mine are, go ahead and separate the pocket seam to allow plenty of room to pile high.  Spread on the hummus first, since it will help the veggies stick a little.  Then start piling.  I like to chop my broccoli and carrots into little pieces so I can really pack them on.  When you get a big mound of veggies on 2 pita halves, cover them with the sweet fries, hold in place, and put the other sides of the pita over them.

    Oh sweet vegan goodness this stuff is amazing!

    You really have to try this combo, it is so good.  Plus if you want a really amazing souped up hummus, that's coming tomorrow.  The next time I make sweet fries, I will probably set aside a couple pita-fulls just to repeat this sammich.

    Do you like to get creative with leftovers?  Are you good at keeping things in perspective?  What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Don't eat without sleep.

    So I'm afraid this is going to be a super quick 'n' dirty post.  You'll see why in a sec.

    First, though, I'm so happy to hear that you vicariously enjoyed my spa day!  It really was SOOO nice to relax and have a little "me time."  In case any of you care, the budget meeting between me and Excel was canceled, and the spa day came to a screeching halt by the dreaded....


    phone call from the mother-in-law!!!!  Dum duh duh duh!  Yes, she caught me just before I got to sink my teeth into dinner and I wasn't freed until an hour later.  I think she's learned that she can only catch me by phone if she calls when Irish is out of town.  Otherwise, I always hand the phone to him.

    Anywho, on to today.  Which really started last night.  I had a LAAAAAATE into the night work function, so it was about 1am before bedtime came.  The 6am alarm came way too early and I felt like a school bus ran right over my head.  As the day rolled on, I noticed that I was inhaling any sweet, fatty, junky, unhealthy food that I could grab.  Maybe a year ago that wasn't such a stretch from my daily ways, but now it's so very unlike my daily routine!  I'd heard people say that you eat worse when you're sleep deprived, but now I can attest 100% that it's the honest truth.  And now with that, I need to catch a few Z's.  Tomorrow I should be back to my regular blogging and reading routines.  Looking forward to catching up with you all again! :)

    For you married ladies out there, how is your relationship with your in-laws?  Who else has noticed that they devour half the city when sleep deprived?!

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Spa Day

    I'm coming to you live from the OA Home Spa.

    Yes that's right, ladies and gents, I've enjoyed all the finest spa treatments that my home has to offer!  After a relaxing morning of dawdling, catching portions of edited-for-TV versions of movies, grooming the dog, coaxing the dog to pee in the winter wonderland outside, and watching her work her way through the food puzzle breakfast, it was time for a little me time.

    I started with an ACV hair rinse, followed by a microderm abrasion session.  I was then coated in a luxurious moisturizer from head to toe and enjoyed my home pedicure treatments.  The kitchen staff then allowed me to prepare a large cup of my favorite hot cocoa made with almond milk.  I then moved the seat warmer (BB), and relaxed with my warm mug of liquid chocolate.

    Ahhh, life is grand!  I plan to catch a little light internet reading, then attend the mandatory and less spa-like budget meeting between myself and a spreadsheet.  Dinner at the spa will be a salad pita featuring spinach, broccoli, carrots, hummus, and whole grain pita.  Dessert is leftover chocolate mousse cake with added raspberries for decadence.

    But before I go, I thought I would share the details on the Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse.

    Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

    • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (if it's already diluted), probably 1/2 tbsp if undiluted
    • 2-3 drops tea tree oil
    • 1 cup filtered water
    I placed all the ingredients in a salad dressing glass so I could drizzle it down my scalp and hair easier than if it were just in a glass.  You could also put it in a spray bottle.  Take mixture and a wide tooth comb into the shower.

    Shampoo hair as usual, then comb out hair with wide tooth comb.  Tilt your head back and apply the ACV hair rinse along the scalp line and throughout the hair until everything is soaked (scalp and hair) and the mixture is gone.  Again comb through hair.  After waiting several minutes, quickly rinse hair just a little, and you're done.  Let hair dry naturally.

    This rinse should help your scalp and hair.  You won't need conditioner afterward.  (I was skeptical since I've needed conditioner for my entire life, but you truly don't need it.)

    I took before and after pictures of my hair, although I'm not sure you can really see a difference besides the straightened vs. wild looks.



    Sadly for all of you, the spa is not currently open to the public.  However, if you'd like to partake in the budget meeting sessions on my behalf, I'll be more than happy to allow you to become the pro bono CPA for this organization.  Happy Sunday everyone!

    Does anybody else use pantry products for other purposes? I have several multipurpose items, like vinegar for cleaning produce and the kitchen, ACV and epsom salts are good for a relaxing bath, tea tree oil in the washer for an extra cleaning boost, ACV hair rinse, safflower oil is good for really dry skin... Tons of great uses!  What are your favorite home spa treatments?

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Working out the kinks

    No post yesterday because it was bloggie maintenance time.  Added IntenseDebate and CommentLuv.  Will get back into the groove this afternoon after I work out all the kinks!

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    My chicks didn't hatch

    So I have to confess something embarrassing.

    My giveaway fell through.

    Sad, I know.  Disappointing.  I counted my chicks before they hatched, and then they never hatched.

    It was going to be a Celestial Seasonings Wellness Kit.  Doubly disappointing to me because I love and adore the company.  I've loved them ever since I was a little kid and had one of their old Sleepytime Tea tins (an actual metal tin!).

    I stored my little junk treasures in it and thought the illustration of the Sleepytime Bear all tuckered out was the most adorable little thing.

    Celestial Seasonings was kind enough to send me a little consolation prize, though.  I get to try some of the teas, but won't have one to share or the book, the mug, etc. that came with the kit.  If I could foot the bill to try duplicating the kit for a giveaway, I would, but times are tight 'round these parts.

    Oh well, we just roll with the punches and move on.  So let's see what goodness the mail brought me today.

    FedEx?  We like FedEx!  Let's see what's inside...

    A tower of teas!  (You could probably tell that was it, right?)  I'd say that's a pretty nice consolation prize.  Look at all the fun flavors.  Goji berry pomegranate?  Sleepytime vanilla?  Yes, please!  That ginseng energy is going to the office to cure a case of the Mondays. (one of the greatest movies ever, seriously.)

    Officially, it's a gluten free kosher tower, which I know may be important to some of you.

    They're environmentally conscious and believe in fair wages and ethical trading, which I know is also important to many of you (especially to me). 

    And always a little fun goodie for you while you wait for your water to heat...

    Inspirational or uplifting quotes on every box.  The little things like this make it seem like the company really puts thought into their products and acts consciously when making decisions.

    While I am disappointed that I will not be able to share a fun giveaway with you, I am still excited to try 5 new flavors of CS.  Hope you all have a wonderful evening!

    Do you like tea?  What flavors and brands are your favorites?  Do those "little touches" from a company ever make you smile?  I think my parents always had at least one box of CS in our kitchen growing up, so I feel comforted any time I fix some for myself.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    G-edamame while they're hot!

    Thank you all for the great feedback about the garden!  I'm glad to hear that others love gardening as much as us.  It's also a little comforting to hear that we're not the only ones who poured all our blood, sweat, tears, and hopes into our garden only to get a couple measly fruits of our labor.  Here's to hoping that this year will be a bumper crop!
    I came home from a very long day at work tonight   I had hoped to get home in time to go for a walk before dinner, but since it was dark by the time I came home, that wasn't going to happen.  Instead I settled for Irish fixing dinner for us so I could just sit down and relax when I got home. 

    We tried our own made-at-home edamame tonight.  I've had edamame several times at Japanese restaurants, but since Irish avoids sushi (and the restaurants that serve it) like the plague, he's never gotten to try it.  We found a bag of shelled edamame at WF a couple weeks ago, so we bought it to give it a try.  Overall, I would say that it was good.  It kind of tasted like juicier lima beans because we didn't used any seasonings.  Usually they are sprinkled with a savory seasoning like garlic, and I might do that if we make them again.  Since Irish loves lima beans, he was pretty impressed with the edamame.  Even better, we found it in the frozen veggies section at Target for about 1/2 the price.


    The brown rice we ate with the edamame was less of a success.  I came home to a horrific burnt smell.  Clearly something went wrong with the ratio between rice and water, and there was a heaping pot full of burnt rice instead of a lovely side dish.  In case anybody would like a review of burnt brown rice, Irish said it tasted like eating cigarettes.  He spit out the one bite he tried.

    Eh, c'est la vie.  I cannot tell you what a huge improvement I've seen in my mood since we've gotten into spring weather and daylight past 5pm.  I'm practically giddy about spring!

    Do you like edamame?  How much do you think the weather affects your mood?

    Monday, March 15, 2010


    So yesterday we went for a lovely walk in the beautiful weather, then bought some tomatoes, peppers, and other fun stuff at the nursery.  Plant shopping is probably my favorite kind of shopping!

    We've grown our own fruits and veggies for the past few years with mixed results.  Some things didn't grow, some things did, and usually what did grow was eaten first by birds, squirrels, or a certain fruit and veggie-loving pup.  I think I got to eat two tomatoes last year and one pepper.  Not exactly a banner year.

    Who needs Snausages when an apple a day keeps the vet with the thermometer away?!

    So this year, we're going to try something different.  We've been container gardening up until now because we didn't trust the soil that we inherited with the house.  The previous owner was an avid gardener, but seemed to be the king of DIY.  We're pretty sure he rigged up his own wiring to his shed, he kept hundreds of jars of old nails and screws just in case, and we found pesticide laced ant traps and saltines stashed on top of  the fridge.  Kinda made us think twice about what he used on the soil.

    After a couple years of treating everything organically and attempting to grow things in containers with minimal and expensive success, we're ready to test the uncharted waters soils.  Irish is our head gardener, BB is second in line, and I'm the paranoid one scratching because I'm sure a bug bit me.  In other words, Irish and BB enjoy gardening much more without me.  Which is fine.  They garden and report back to me on the progress.  I inspect and supervise as necessary.  At the end of last season, we (meaning Irish) created and prepped several plant beds and corrected soil problems around the yard.  We are now in a good starting position to have a successful year.

    So off to the store we went yesterday to pick out all the yummy sounding food fruits & veggies.  We got bright lights swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, onion chives, roman lavender, and strawberries.  I tried several times to convince Irish that we should buy one of the two kale plants left.  He wasn't biting and I was kind of disappointed.  Granted I have no idea what it needs or if it continues to grow after you eat off all the leaves.  But at least we knew it was organic!  We love this local nursery that sells all kinds of plants and is totally organic.  They're often cheaper than the big box stores, they're local grown, and you know that it's safe to eat the food plants because the store didn't pre-poison them for you.

    We will also grow herbs when we're a little more into the season.  Beyond that, we'll have to evaluate if there's space left in the garden for anything else.  Since BB is such a veggie lover, we can't plant certain things that are potentially poisonous to pets.  Two years ago she ate all but one garlic before we caught her!  Thankfully she didn't get sick, but I've read that the poison can accumulate (like mercury for humans), so we're being cautious.

    Do you garden?  What are your favorite things to plant?  What else do you think we should add to our garden (feel free to support my cry for kale!)?  Do you enjoy the outdoorsy goodness that Spring brings? I don't think I ever realized how incredible spring is until this year.  I used to say that summer was my favorite season, but spring is quickly closing in!  I was also thinking that people should wait until spring to start their NY resolutions.  It's the season of growth and renewal, so why not?!

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Power protein wrap

    We took another family walk today with Irish, BB, and me.  It's so great to enjoy the beautiful weather and exercise together!

    Afterward, I stretched and made up my own little protein wrap.

    Protein Wrap

    • Spinach or whole wheat tortilla
    • Natural nut butter (I used natural PB)
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Little dab of local organic honey
    Pretty self-explanatory here.  Layer the nut butter, sunflower seeds, and honey on one side of the tortilla, then roll into a wrap.

    Open wide!  It tastes delicious, keeps your taste buds interested, and has some chew and crunch to it.  Plus it's naturally got good proteins going on without any powders.

    Well, I'm off to enjoy the rest of the day with my awesome lil' family.  Two days of weekend just aren't enough, but we're going to make the most of it!  Spring is in the air and I'm so excited!

    What's your favorite part of the weekend?  Do you like planning the weekend in advance or just taking it as it comes?

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Sweet fry

    Irish and I made homemade fries tonight for dinner.  Two sweet potatoes for me, two russets for him.

    Homemade fries are a beautiful thing.  They are baked, not fried.  They are salt-free if you make them that way, which we do.  They pack a lot more flavor than any I've had at a restaurant or commercially made, especially my sweet potato fries.  They're a pretty guilt-free indulgence into a traditionally guilty food.

    So here's the skinny on making them for yourself.

    Sweet Potato Fries

    • 2 average size sweet potatoes, cleaned and peeled
    • Lots of your fave spices.  We used savory all-purpose, garlic pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and dried basil flakes.  Some were also dusted with nutritional yeast (nooch).
    Heat oven to 450*F.  Slice potatoes into wedges and lay onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle spices over the tray.  Cook for 10 minutes at a time.  The cook time varies based on the thickness of the fries; thicker fries take longer to cook.  In our experience, you'll need at least 25 minutes, but it's wise to check in frequently unless you like burned fries.

    The regular fries are pretty much the same recipe.  We added some red chili pepper flakes and spread the nooch on a little thicker.  In hindsight, we would probably cook the regular fries on a lower heat for longer to get the right crunchiness.

    They were very yummy to munch our way through.  We have a few left to eat with dinner tomorrow too.

    Other updates for this weekend:

    We took a lazy approach to today since it's been a killer busy week.  Then we took a nice long family walk through the neighborhood.  It was so energizing!  I think I get the winter blah's because it's cold, gets dark early, and all I can do is bundle under blankets and wait it out.  Getting out in the sunlight in short sleeves was so awesome!  I came home feeling so much more energetic.  The pup had a little spring in her step too.

    We also tried a food puzzle with BB for dinner tonight.  She doesn't really like playing with toys because she would rather be with people.  She seemed to love the exercise so much during our walk, though, that I figured it might be fun for her to work for her food a little. 

    "Where's my food mommy??"

    So I put her food inside a Kong-style toy, let her smell it, and then made her figure out the rest.  At first she pouted, but she really loves her food so eventually she started working to get the food.  She ended up loving it and got so excited about playing around.  It was awesome to see her having so much fun.

    Do you like healthifying traditional foods?  Do you get the winter blues?  If you have a dog, do you take absolute joy in them? Without a doubt I have the best dog on earth and can't get enough of her!

    P.S. Averie's got a cookbook giveaway going.