Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three Confession Thursday

It's been raining for almost 24 hours straight and although I woke up feeling much better after leaving work yesterday sick, I kind of wished I could have curled up on the couch all day today. Tomorrow a friend and I are hosting a Fall Feast for 6 of our friends so we grocery shopped and prepped some food. In light of spending lots of time cooking and cleaning this evening I thought I would share 3 confessions with you all.

1. It's no secret how much I truly love summer and the warmth and sunshine it brings. Imagine my surprise then when I found myself eager to done tights and [rain]boots this evening. I guess there is a perk to Fall afterall...

2. I think about Texas often. I love my Longhorns more than any professional sports team. Barbecue doesn't taste as good outside of Texas as it does anywhere in the state. It's home. And yet, when people find out I'm from Texas and inevitably say "buy you don't talk like you're from Texas" I simply reply "thank you." I get some delight in surprising East Coasters and challenging their assumption of Southern accents.

3. I'm struggling to balance my newly uber-busy schedule with life and find myself caught in many Catch 22s right now. School vs. future plans. Hot vs. cold. Exercise and health vs. perception, effort, and will. It seems like just as I started figuring stuff out I've gone and confused myself all over again. I guess that Quarter-Life crisis wasn't a one-time thing at 24...

I also wanted to thank those of you who commented on my post from Tuesday about being grateful. The past week especially has taught me that a serious of small, positive choices can really change how a day turns out. I am keeping with that habit and looking for a little bit of good in every day. So, with that...

What do you want to confess?  What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


There are a lot of thoughts swimming through my head so I'm going to do my best to organize them clearly for ya. I definitely want to share that I had a great Tuesday for MANY reasons and I think that my thoughts will demonstrate that my great day was the result of choices I made that made me grateful.

I had a dentist appointment before work which meant getting up early after a long night of class. I whipped up my favorite cereal, choosing peanut butter and a drop of fig jam for toppings with an egg white alongside before heading to the doctor's office.

I made it into work and chugged through the morning despite battling a bit of fuzziness after lots of thinking, etc. as a result of 5 hours of class.

On my walk home for lunch I had a great phone call with my mom that helped me think through some ideas I've been mulling over. She was supportive and encouraging - I love my mom!

Lunch was a serving of split pea soup along with the last 1/4c of baked beans and a slice of Udi's whole grain bread toasted and topped with tomato paste and a schmear of hummus.

Instead of constantly checking my blackberry as I headed back into the office I deemed it a technology-free 10 minutes and thought about what I was grateful for. That might have been the big turning point in my day.

The afternoon flew by and before I knew it I was heading to my late afternoon meeting. It went well and then I headed over to the quad to witness Bid Day with my office. Bid Day is when freshmen find out which sorority they will be joining and they gather on the quad to meet those chapter members and begin their Greek Life careers. I was so happy and back in my element for this hour that I think I scared a few colleagues with my enthusiasm. It brought back so many positive memories of when I joined my sorority and made me feel proud and inspired to continue to be a part of my organization and Greek Life as a whole today. I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the evening.

I headed to the gym after work (!!!) for an elliptical session inspired by who knows what. It didn't hurt that I wanted to have exercised some before parking it on the couch to watch the Biggest Loser though! I did 2 miles in 20 minutes not wanting to overdo it with my foot (I'd say its maybe 90% better at this point). You have to start somewhere, right?

After a quick stop in the store for a few items I headed home as the sun was setting. Instead of grumbling that sunsets are getting earlier I paused and took in the beautiful sky. Those few seconds inspired even more happiness, yay!

I played in the kichen, roasting up my first kabocha squash, a sweet potato, and kale and got dinner ready. It was time to break into a pouch of Bob's Red Mill polenta and I wanted to make sure I had some for lunches for the rest of the week.

Tonight's bowl contained broccoli, one carrot - grated, fresh grated Cabot sharp cheddar, and a serving of polenta. On the side I had kale chips and a sample of my roasted veg. You'd have thought it was November or December with all the comfort I cooked up!

Now I'm snacking on an amazingly flavorful ripe pear from the farmers market and watching the Biggest Loser. I am pleased to report that it's much, much better than the season premiere was. I have a conference call at 9:30pm that I doubt I'll complete because I am exhausted. I had quite the full day!

What are you grateful for today? Do you find that positivity and a "good day" is a conscious choice you make?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nerdy Little Book Worm

Once my crockpot was set I hunkered down and cranked out 3 hours of school work. Fun, right? I managed to soak up all of the information in one of my classes while successfully procrastinating accounting. It's becoming my mantra for the fall!

Lunch was a serving of baked beans with an English muffin - half topped with Earth Balance and half topped with tomato paste and red pepper spread.

I took a break when the timer rang to finish my soup in the blender. What did I make, you ask? Split pea soup! Since I have a baby crock pot (1.5 quarts - I got it at Target for $7!!) I halved the recipe and omitted the meat. To make up for the smokey flavor I added in paprika but otherwise I followed the recipe to a T.

I know I did other stuff somewhere in the afternoon but I guess we'll just call it schoolwork since I seem to have entered a memory lapsing vortex.

Somewhere around 5 I had a snack of a pear with a drizzle of nut butter and cinnamon.

And then dinner was a salad with the last drop of black beans and Food Should Taste Goods plus a serving of soup.

I finally tackled accounting and felt quite proud and accomplished when I finished. I snacked on a toaster waffle, unwound, and finally went to bed. I didn't realize until about 10pm that I had hunkered down and got to business and forgot to leave my apartment to run other errands. Whoops!

This morning I woke up to more clouds, rain, and cooler temps. Enter - PB&J hot cereal that I packed to take into work.

And with that I'm off. Monday's my long day so I'll see you all tomorrow unless the blogging bug bites :)

Do you ever get to wrapped up in what you're doing you forget about other "to-dos"? What's your favorite slow cooker recipe? Let's get a nice, gluten free collection of recipes started!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Unexpected Twist

Last night took an unexpected twist shortly after I finished blow drying my hair to go out. I got the first symptoms of a migraine :( I quickly popped an Advil, put on pajamas, and crawled into bed... at the late hour of 9:52pm. I fell asleep about 45 minutes later but woke up in the middle of the night with extreme hunger pangs. I made a mini cup of hot cereal (~1T of grains) and crawled back into bed. I finally woke up at a reasonable morning hour of 9:15am with another round of hunger pangs.

Enter - hot cereal with blueberries plus an egg white with a drop of cheese. It's cloudy and in the 60s so a hot breakfast that was quick to make was a perfect choice. The cereal is topped with 1/2T total of almond and peanut butters plus a few crushed almond slices.

From there I set out for groceries for the week from the Farmers Market and Whole Foods. I first perused the market for a bit:

Here's the haul for the week (plus there was a mini trip to Trader Joe's on Friday for a few essentials):

Farmers Market:
  • corn
  • Honeycrisp apples
  • eggs
  • Comice pears plus one Asian pear
  • kabocha squash (1st time trying it!)
Whole Foods:
  • Food for Life English muffins
  • kale
  • roasted buckwheat (kasha)
  • maple syrup
  • onion
  • barbecue sauce (it was $1.70 so I stocked up!)
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen broccoli
  • Food Should Taste Good chips, The Works flavor
  • baked beans 
Total: about $45
That may seem high for one person but keep in mind the gluten free barbecue sauce, syrup, and English muffins were $5 a piece. I also don't mind spending my money for some of the best tasting, local apples and pears. Store-bought just can't compete!

I procrastinated getting work done by prepping a soup for the week in the crockpot. Here's a hint:

Any guesses??

How much do you spend on groceries each week? Do you prefer buying specific types of food (local, organic, what's available, etc)?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Extra Time?

After celebrating a holiday that was both spiritually and physically demanding for half of last weekend, it was so nice to get an extra day to be productive. Especially when Someone's to-do list spans a couple of pages!

The productivity actually started yesterday for me though so I'm going to rewind just a bit. I packed breakfast to eat at the office to ensure that I could get as much done as possible. I had PB&J hot cereal with the usual mix (1/4c BRM hot cereal and kasha, 1/4c almond milk, 1/2c water, cinnamon, splash of vanilla, 1/2T chia seeds, 1t TJ's berry jam and 1/2T peanut butter).

To continue the streak I somehow "found" more extra time working while eating lunch. I had a salad with spinach, carrot, and a few almond slivers topped with Amy's Italian dressing plus the last serving of black bean soup (that's not frozen) mixed with even more spinach. I put the last couple of Food Should Taste Goods on top crumbled. I instead used lunch to pick up some essentials at Trader Joe's.

My stomach rumbled a few hours later so I picked up a filling snack on campus - 2 pc veggie sushi plus brown rice and black beans. I think lunch lacked good staying power.

I got home, inhaled a peach, and ran down to the laundry room to get that "to-do" out of the way. Mid-way through washing and drying I decided I would be treating myself to dinner out and called in an order at my favorite Thai restaurant. I placed my order and then realized I only had a small window to pick it up before laundry was done and needed to be taken upstairs. Enter - the quick workout! I ran the .3 miles each way guaranteeing I made it back home with enough time :)

Dinner was a side salad of greens plus 1.5 bowls of Pad See Eew with chicken. I had them cook it with less oil but it was still too saucy so I soaked up some of the extra. My tummy doesn't like all that oil!

Dessert was cinnamon toast and then I called it a night after catching up on some TV show pilots I missed this week.

Sleeping in never felt as good as it did this morning! I felt ready and raring to go when my eyes opened. I whipped up an egg white sandwich on Udi's whole grain bread with spinach, red pepper spread, and ~1/2T of parmesan cheese with a side of some defrosted frozen berries.

I took care of more to-dos and then set off with the goal of getting the last few items I needed to complete my apartment face lift. I am not 100% done but rather 85%. The improvements I made today were a big jump up: new comforter and new couch pillows! All that's left are things to hang on the wall and a throw blanket or two.

For lunch I was craving hummus and pizza. I took a risk and experimented a bit with my usual pizza recipe. It's just like a wrap but hot and crispy, right? First I toasted a defrosted brown rice tortilla until it was golden and crisp. Then I spread ~1.5T tomato paste on top and added some spinach and bell pepper slices. I toasted that up for about 5-7 minutes to let everything set. Then I removed the pizza, spread ~1T red pepper hummus on top and added some red pepper spread at the last minute.

This rocked and I am excited to make another one soon!

I snacked on a honey crisp apple with a bit of nut butter for dessert and then tried to watch the Longhorn game. I gave up around halftime (~6pm) and left for a power walk and errand. I walked with the couple of things I needed to return and then ran / walk back as the sun was setting. Exercise and another task completed - score!

It took a while for me to get hungry but when I did I struggled to decide on what I wanted. I had a serving of whole grain gluten free pasta cooked that I wanted to use but was craving stir fry. I ended up picking out the broccoli and chicken from last night's leftovers, adding more frozen broccoli, peas, garlic, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper, and making the leftovers seem just a tad healthier than last night. It was delicious!

Now I'm relaxing a bit before going out. I haven't been out in a while but I think it'll help me continue to feel like my old, productive self that gets a lot done in a day.


Do you like redecorating? What do you always leave for last? Have you ever health-ified restaurant leftovers?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walkin on Sunshine

I have to confess that I love the 90 degree temps that are gracing DC this week. As a result I'm in a great mood and looking for excuses to spend time outside; it's quite a stark contrast to the hibernating I tend to do one the temps turn cooler!

This morning I packed breakfast to bring with me. We had an all staff meeting with breakfast served beforehand so I planned to also have a serving of fruit with my egg sandwich. 2 slices of Udi's whole grain bread, spinach, hot sauce, 1 egg white. I was really tempted to add jam but chickened out (pun unintended) at the last minute!

Because of said meeting the rest of my morning flew by and before I knew it I was hungry for lunch. That sandwich and fruit definitely didn't hold me over as well as a bowl of hot cereal. I had a salad with romaine, spinach, carrot, my last almond cracker, a drop of hummus, black bean soup (like dip), and a drop of cheddar. I also had ~1/4c brown rice with ~1/4c kidney beans, peas, and okra with some BBQ and hot sauce. Time to eat up leftovers in my fridge!

My afternoon snack was a peach with 1/3c Crunch Maple Sunrise with a light drizzle of peanut butter.

I made a last-minute plan to meet Suzy for a bit of shopping downtown and decided to do a bit of exploring on my way to the store. I strolled through Lafayette Square and took in the sights. Summer is still holding on!

I wound up at the White House farmers market and fell in love with these decorative squash!

I decided on a quick fro-yo while waiting for Suze which ended up being a great decision because shopping lasted almost 3 hours and I was so hangry by the end I metroed home instead of walking like I usually would.

Enter the quickest dinner ever: leftover steamed veggies bulked up with more frozen spinach and broccoli, tamari, a spoonful of black beans, and the half serving of soup from last night that I didn't eat. Plus an English muffin - half with hot sauce and cheese, half with Earth Balance as dessert while watching Grey's.

Sorry for the quick and rambling post - it was a long but GREAT day and I'm beyond ready to sleep!

Do you tend to do spur-of-the-moment things during the week? Is it still warm where you are or has fall officially arrived?