Friday, April 30, 2010

The Best Kind of Friday

You know those days - where there's a perfect mix of work, meetings, and a great lunch that just makes the day fly by? I enjoy those day, especially when the weekend is waiting at the end of it!

Breakfast was... raspberry vanilla hot cereal. It's still been cool in the mornings so I'm enjoying my favorite breakfast while I still can!

A mid-morning meeting brought about lunch somewhat surprisingly yet I was happy to head out to eat. After the Cherry Blossom Brunch at the beginning of the month, I discovered that Quinn works right near my office. Since she is wrapping up her time in DC, we had planned to meet up once more before her move. A reader Ashley met us as well as Quinn's favorite sushi spot - Kaz Sushi Bistro.

Ashly was so sweet - when she arrived, she had cupcakes in tow for Quinn and she brought me some of my favorite hot cereal! I really couldn't thank her enough for this gesture. Thanks again Ashley!!

There were 2 things I noticed right away on the menu: 1 - that they add dashi (seafood broth) to their soy sauce and 2 - they actually tell you that it's mixed in! This helped me avoid an allergic reaction for which I was extremely grateful. The waitress was also helpful in identifying a couple of dishes that were safe for me to choose.

I ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Bento which came with rice, seaweed salad, and what I think was tempura tofu. I inhaled my seaweed salad as we talked and made a small dent in the chicken and rice.

The conversation was great as well - Quinn wrote a great re-cap as well. While lunches won't be possible, I'm sure we will see one another again with the great DC-area blogger community we are proud to be a part of.

My afternoon included a celebratory awards picnic outside which wasn't a horrible way to spend a sunny afternoon ;)  It was quitting time as soon as I got back to campus and I ran an errand before heading home.

I had a small bit of plain NF yogurt with a bit of cereal, cleaned up my apartment (I love to start the weekend off with it clean), and then headed out for a short walk and more errands. Along the way I spotted this

I'll be sharing more about this little sign over the weekend. Any guesses what it's for and why I noticed it?

It took a while for my dinner appetite to kick in but once it did I just couldn't fill up. I started with a salad with about ~1/4c kidney beans and corn, veggies, and romaine and spinach mix. Plus tortilla chip crumbs with some cheese.

Then I had a generous 1/3c brown rice with half a roasted zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms which I roasted and topped with soy sauce.

There was some more cereal and then ~1/8c defrosted frozen berries, almost a serving of Coconut Milk Vanilla ice cream topped with a bit of PB and a few more nibbles of rice. Fullness finally came after this!

I'm calling it an early night because I have an exciting day planned for tomorrow. Have a good night!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sionara Sucker

Dear Boot,

I'm not sure how to say this, but it's time to break up. My sesamoid is slowly but surely healing and I think I'm ready to see other people. You see, in the last week the pain you were causing me was getting to be a bit much and for my overall health I'm ready to set out on this next phase in my life. I hope you can understand. I really do appreciate all you've done for me - there were times in the last 2 months where I couldn't have made it without you and for that I'm grateful. See you around.


I'm still not healed and won't be running any marathons any time soon. But, my doctor felt like I've progressed enough to move into my sneakers with custom orthotics designed to keep pressure off of this bone in the ball of my foot. So, until further notice, I will be the cool kid wearing my sneakers with everything a la elementary school. Please don't knock it. It's FAR better to commit this fashion faux pas than to live with life in the walking cast that offset my hips, caused me leg pains, and has destroyed my balance.  :)

The day got started with another bowl of blueberry / raspberry hot cereal with 1/2T PB and a pinch of cacao nibs. Plus the standard egg white.

Lunch was the last 1/2 serving of Spring Greens Soup, my last slice of this 7-grain GF bread, and a salad with roasted beets, 1/4c kidney beans, pinch of feta and almond slices, and a slice of eggplant.

Snack #1 - apple with AB. Snack #2 was 1/4c plain non fat yogurt with 1/2 tsp of jam and ~1/4c Crunch Maple Sunrise.

After work and the doctor, I took a short walk through my new favorite neighborhood near my apartment. It was a celebratory stretch of my legs!

Then I tackled project change my clothes over for spring and summer. I'll just say that it took up a good part of the night! I broke for dinner when my stomach was growling and threw together something pretty quick: a Mexican veggie scramble:
In a non-stick sprayed pan, I headed up 1/3c frozen corn, frozen broccoli, bell pepper strips and green beans, sliced baby 'bella mushrooms, and 1/2c kidney beans. I added the last splash of veggie broth, salsa, and 1/4c water, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and chili powder. I put a lid on the mix and let it simmer until the liquid evaporated while stirring occasionally. I originally was going to have this with rice and instead had it with a few tortilla chips and extra salsa. It was pretty filling and I had leftovers of the mix.

I finished project Clean-Out, chatted with my cousin who is picking the college he will attend next year (!!) and am now resting my foot before heading to bed. Whew, if you made it to this point, congrats!

Woohoo for Friday being here!

Hello Old Friend

Friend, I'm sorry that we haven't seen each other since February. It's my fault, I dropped the ball. But, I have a really good excuse, I promise.

My guilt finally got a hold of me tonight and there was no way I was going to break our 1st get-together since February. It felt great to catch up. We really must do it more often! Not to mention, I forgot how good I felt after we parted ways. I will definitely be talking to you soon.

I did it. Last night I dusted off the ole gym pass and went to pilates. I cannot tell you how good it felt to walk in the doors of the gym, let alone do something active for an hour. And the best part - I forgot how good I feel after exercise. Hello endorphins, party of 1. Seriously, I was happy and was reminded of why I exercise. It was like re-connecting with a part of me that's disappeared over the past 2 months. I visited my old self. Here's to hoping there's more progress to report at my doctor's appointment tomorrow!

Breakfast was hot cereal with raspberries and blue berries...

Lunch was more Spring Greens Soup and cheese toast. Today's bowl was topped with some mushrooms sauteed in a bit of vegetable broth and garlic powder. Plus an apple with AB.

Snack was half a cucumber and a clementine before pilates.

I was craving kidney beans so I created a "beefed up" version of red beans and rice. I simmered some okra, bell peppers, and broccoli in the last of my vegetable broth and some BBQ sauce and spicy mustard. I seasoned the mix with basil, oregano, and garlic powder. At the end I stirred in 1/2c of kidney beans and served it over 1/2c of brown rice. I ended up adding some Mexican blend cheese and more BBQ sauce.

Nighttime snacks were a pear with cinnamon, a toaster waffle, and then a bit more Crunch Maple Sunrise cereal and a spoonful of non-fat plain yogurt. I was extra hungry tonight, probably because I think I worked out more than I actually did...


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Go Lucky

My tantrums of Monday quickly faded away into a new and sunny day yesterday! I still have no reason for my case of the Terrible Twos but I can tell you that after taking my iron supplements again I seem to be in a better mood. Welcome to life being anemic I guess. Thank you gluten intolerance :)

Breakfast was a berry good bowl of hot cereal: the usual base (BRM hot cereal and buckwheat, 1/4c almond milk, 3/4c water, 1/2T chia seeds, cinnamon) with a generous 1/2c of berries mixed in. There were strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, all topped with 1/2T PB and crushed almonds and cacao (which is a good source of iron!). Plus an egg white.

I actually came home for lunch to get in a little movement and to whip up something fresh. I dusted off a (new) old favorite recipe: Spring Greens Soup! This batch contained:
  • 1/2c diced onion and celery
  • 3/4c chopped parsley
  • 4 oz potat veggie broth
  • .5c water
  • 3c spinach
  • 3c mixed greens
  • 1.25c frozen broccoli florets
  • garlic, salt, pepper, to taste
The whole batch clocked in right around 300 calories, 1g fat, and 21g fiber!  I had a generous 1c serving along with toast topped with 1/2 a slice of provolone cheese.

This combo held me over quite well (~3 hours) and I was happy when snack time rolled around. A little fun fact about me: I would often have 3 "afternoon" snacks in elementary school. In the 6th grade we were allowed to have an afternoon snack, so I (always hungry at this age) had a plastic baggy with potato chips or some something similar. Then when I got home I'd have another snack (or sometimes 2). This could include, and I kid you not, carrots, fruit, or a salad, an Uncle Ben's rice mix like my favorite - Chicken and Broccoli (before we knew it was definitely not GF), or barbecue beans either of which I would cook up on my own. Of course, then it was off to various sports practices or to play outside for hours until dinner. I definitely earned my childhood nickname of "the Bottomless Pit"  :-D

This afternoon snack was a fun mix of foods: a Persian cucumber purchased from the farmers market this weekend, Fuji apple with some AB, and 1/3c of heaven Nature's Path Crunch Maple Sunrise cereal. I will be sharing my thoughts on this cereal later but just know that it's fantastic!

I ran some errands after work including a trip to the bookstore. 3 books and a Logic Puzzle magazine later, I headed over to Whole Foods. I had 1 item on my list and left with only that item (which cost under $1). Cheapest WF trip yet!

Dinner was my last Bistro veggie burger on half of an English muffin (topped with BBQ and hot sauce) and various roasted veggies. Tuesdays have become burger / barbecue night in the Gluten Free Grazer house and I like having that routine!

Of course, my snack of the other half of English muffin and Asian pear was consumed while watching my favorite part of Tuesday - Biggest Loser. They were in Dallas on last night's show and I got teary-eyed a few times! This show is one of my biggest sources of inspiration to stay healthy and I ended up doing a bunch of arm and abs exercises during it.  I really love the show!

I didn't fall asleep as easily as I would have hoped but I'm just kind of rolling with it. My day was a break from the norm and I'm factoring in the copious amounts of sleep I got over the weekend.

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

After hearing all of the buzz in the blog world about coconut oil and coconut butter, I started looking for some to try out. Now, despite my enjoying coconut milk ice cream, I have never really loved coconut. Not coconut water, not coconut shavings, etc. so I was secretly hoping that coconut oil wouldn't taste too strongly like coconut. I know, it sounds silly, but a girl can hope, right?

There are a lot of benefits to using coconut oil, which you can read about here. I thought it might be a great way to incorporate a new healthy fat into my diet.

So, when the folks at Tropical Traditions offered to send me a sample of coconut oil to try I thought "Why not?"

I decided to try it on a piece of toast, something that would highlight the flavor in a subtle way. The oil is a solid at room temperature but I found that it melted very quickly on the toast, like butter.

Upon tasting it, the flavor was pretty strong - like a mouthful of coconut. It's not quite my favorite, so I'm not sure how often I will be using this.  If you are looking for a new oil to use and enjoy the tropical flavor of coconut then I recommend giving this oil a shot!  I am glad that I had the chance to try this oil but do not think that it will become a pantry staple.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Case of the Terrible Twos

Not once, but twice in the last 24 hours I have been on the verge of a temper tantrum. Kind of like the ones little kids have, where they want to scream, stomp their feet, and get their way. No, I'm not 2 but I'm going to blame these little episodes on my Type A tendencies and not enough sleep. Just another manic Monday...

I spent part of my afternoon relaxing and lounging around which is exactly how some part of Sunday should be spent in my opinion. A little before lunch I decided to make kale chips with a large bunch of kale I had purchased. I enjoyed some along with leftover greens over ~1/4c brown rice plus a pear with cinnamon and PB.

I ventured out a bit later to take a short stroll sans boot (as approved by the doctor) through a newly discovered part of my neighborhood. I'm still baffled at how I could have lived in the same area for almost 3 years and not know that this quiet little suburban oasis exists in between 2 of the busiest streets in the city!  As I walked home I decided to treat myself to a manicure. It was a good idea at the time...

I have a place I love going to, where the service is reliable and the wait is practically nothing. However, I had the exact opposite experience. I wasn't told there was a wait, just that I would be helped in a minute. 45 minutes later, just as I was ready to walk out, the manicurist sat down. And it all went downhill from there. I love the color I got but am still not happy 1) about the service that I received and 2) that I had an internal temper tantrum through the whole thing and am still pretty irked about it.

To cheer myself up I stopped to get some frozen tangy yogurt, which was topped with strawberries, pear, and walnuts. It was yummy and made things right in the world... until I started to get itchy aka the start an allergic reaction. Last year I was able to enjoy this treat but it seems like fro yo will be a favorite past-time from now on. You live and learn.

All weekend long I'd been craving a big bowl of black bean soup, which is exactly what I had for dinner. I had 1.5 servings topped with hot sauce and a sprinkle of parm with 4 or 5 tortilla chips with a bit of cheese melted on top. There was also a side salad in there for some veggies :-) 

Bedtime snack was an apple with cinnamon and a slice of toast.

I ended up tossing and turning for most of the night until about 5am and then slept soundly until my alarm clock went off. I wasn't feeling rested at all so it will probably be an early night for me.

Breakfast was hot cereal with 1/4c almond milk, 1/2T chia, about 1/2c berries: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and a couple of raspberries. All topped off with cinnamon, 1/2T PB, and crushed almond slices and cacao. Fun, fruity, and different.

Lunch was being provided for us at work today at 1pm and I was in dire need of a snack around noon. I had this fruit and nut bar in my desk drawer and decided to eat half of it to hold me over. It smelled delicious - sweet and like maple syrup. I was excited to try it!

Well, after eating half of this piece, my mouth and throat started to get really itchy and I had another allergic reaction. These bars are gluten and dairy free so I should have been fine but wasn't. Food attempt #2 = fail.

After lots of water I was ready for our lunch meeting. However, the only gluten-free friendly option was a salad with mixed greens and tomatoes. I had a plateful with a bit of dressing and was hungry as soon as our meeting let out.

In search of real food, I got the Vegetarian Chili from Au Bon Pain which is low fat, vegan, and gluten free! It was extremely flavorful and exactly what I was craving. I poured half over some more salad greens and finished the rest on its own. I rounded out my meal with an orange.

4 hours later, after a trip to Trader Joe's (and tantrum #2) and cleaning my kitchen, I started to think about dinner. The lunch I had was a powerful combo! I roasted a tray of various veggies and made some brown rice with vegetable broth for extra flavor.

Dinner was a serving of leftover baked beans, kale chips and roasted carrots, and 1/2c brown rice topped with 1/2 a roasted zucchini, 1/2 a roasted bell pepper, and eggplant slices with a bit of feta, hot sauce, and balsamic vinegar. This was so good! Fresh, simple, and very little clean up (!!). I felt like I was dining on the Mediterranean with those flavor combinations.

Now I'm trying to stretch out my lower back and hips which have been giving me trouble all day. 9 weeks in this walking cast is really starting to wear on me I think. I'm hoping for good news during my appointment on Thursday!

I might have some fruit and I think for my sake (and those who I interact with) I'm going to get to bed early to avoid any more tantrums :-)